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Monday, 18 April 2011

From Today's Papers - 18 Apr 2011

In Naxalbari, no talk of ‘red rebels’
The Maoist movement is not an issue in Matigara-Naxalbari, the newly carved out constituency, which will see a 5-corner contest  Naxalbari (Darjeeling), Apr 17 The guns fell silent here long ago. Cries of “China’s chairman is our Chairman” are no longer heard. The fields of Boroorujot and Bengaijot villages are lush green with crops, and there is no trace of the revolutionary fervour that triggered a violent peasant agitation 44 years ago, ultimately blossoming into the blood-splattering Naxalite (Maoist) movement engulfing various parts of the country today.  Even as India continues to be singed by red terror, with Maoists still active in carrying out an armed struggle, Naxalbari - a name that once used to sent a chill down the spines of the authorities - now looks like any other sleepy rural hamlet in the plains of northern West Bengal's Darjeeling district, which votes tomorrow to elect a new state assembly.  It all started on May 25, 1967 when police fired on peasants demanding their right to till a piece of land at Bengaijot, killing nine people and two children. This action triggered a movement which snowballed into a militant movement that derived its name from the area, about 32 km from Siliguri. Tukuriya forest, the site of the guerrilla warfare camp once run by the Naxalites, is now feared only for snakes. Today, very few people are even ready to talk about the Left uprising cradled by the fields and tea gardens of the area.  Not surprisingly, the Maoist movement is not an issue in the newly carved out Matigara-Naxalbari constituency, which will see a five- corner contest, with the main battle likely to remain confined to CPM’s Jharen Roy and Congress’ Sankar Malakar.  The three other candidates are Asim Sarkar of the BJP, Atul Chandra Roy of Kamtapur Progressive Party and Dipu Haldar of the CPI-ML.  Dipu Haldar, in her late thirties, says she has been reminding the 1,92,913 electorate about the glorious past of the place. “But we are opposed to killing class enemies,” she said.  Echoes CPI-ML state secretary Subrata Basu: “Taking lessons from the failure of the Naxalite movement in the mid 1970s, we want to launch a movement sans the doctrine of individual killing. I am campaigning door-to-door. I think that the people will do a fair judgment.”  On the other hand, Sankar Malakar of the Congress said: “Pro-changers will come up with flying colours.” — IANS

US bares its Libya plan
Use of force isn’t easy for regime change  With US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy together committing themselves to the use of armed forces to dump Libya’s Gaddafi regime into the dustbin of history, now there is the likelihood of swift military action in the troubled West Asian country. In a newspaper article, the three leaders have made it clear that they will not allow Colonel Gaddafi’s forces to massacre the Libyan civilians who have risen in revolt against the dictatorial regime. Their non-ambivalent stand has come after a three-day conference on Libya in Qatar failed to come out with a clear line of action. The Libyan rebels had also appealed to the international community to come to their rescue soon.  Thus, it is now crystal clear — the US along with its allies is ready to get more actively engaged in Libya for bringing about a regime change. There may be no hesitation to use military might. But will it be as easy as it appears? The US will have to work hard to persuade Russia and Germany not to do anything that helps the Libyan dictator to silence the forces of democracy in that country. Russia is of the view that the UN Security Council resolution on Libya does not call for a change of regime there. It only stands for ensuring a “no-fly zone” to prevent the massacre of civilians by Gaddafi’s armed forces. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, too, is opposed to the use of the military to dislodge the Gaddafi regime. Both Russia and Germany favour recourse to a political process for the purpose.  This shows that the rift in the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) — which has the UN mandate to intervene in Libya to prevent the killing of pro-democracy civilians there — remains as pronounced as it was at the beginning of the Libyan crisis. NATO must iron out its differences soon in the interest of democracy and peace in Libya. Allowing Gaddafi to perpetuate his rule on any pretext will send a wrong signal to the other dictators in West Asia who have been trying to cling on to power despite massive protests against their tyrannical regimes.

Hostage crisis: Navy diverts warship to Somalia
Swap deal not one of the option Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, April 17 As Somalian pirates continue to hold seven Indian merchant sailors hostage, the Indian Navy, in what is a possible retaliatory posture, today diverted a warship from anti-piracy patrolling duties to station it off the coast of Somalia in North-eastern Africa.  On Friday pirates released eight of the 15 Indian sailors held hostage since September last year. Seven other Indians, which includes six officers, have been held back despite the pirates having got an undisclosed sum as ransom from the owners of the merchant ship MV Asphalt Venture. The ship was hijacked in September last year when it was on its way to Durban from Mombassa, Kenya.  The pirates have been quoted in the international media as wanting to trade the seven Indian sailors in a “swap deal” with Indian authorities to seek the release of more than 100 of their brethren captured by the Indian Navy. Sources confirmed that representatives of the external affairs, home affairs, defence and shipping ministries, respectively, met today to take stock of the situation.  The Navy was tasked to send its warship. A Talwar class frigate a 4000-tonne vessel has been diverted from the its anti-piracy duties off the gulf of Aden to be stationed off the coast of Somalia, sources said while refusing to give further details on the operations the ship will carry out. Additional ships will take some five days to reach, hence the Indian Navy can seek the aid of other Navies in the areas. A flotilla of European and US-led Navies is on patrol close by and the international Navies usually cooperate with each other at high seas.  Authorities are tight-lipped about the possible options that the government will exercise to free the remaining seven hostages. A “swap deal” is not one of the options on the table. The last time India was involved in the hostage “swap deal” was in Kandahar 1999 when three terrorists were released to free 150 passengers of the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 taken hostage by pro-Taliban militants.  Meanwhile, this morning the MV Asphalt Venture owners appealed to Somali pirates to keep their word and release the vessels remaining seven Indian sailors. The owners have expressed deep disappointment over the pirates reneging on their word. This is despite meeting all demands of the negotiated settlement and paying the mutually agreed ransom, an official statement issued by the company said.

PM hopes new mechanism on border with China will bear results soon  
On Board PM's Special Plane:  Sounding optimistic on the India-China relations after his meeting with President Hu Jintao earlier this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight expressed hope that the decision to set up a new bilateral mechanism on border management would bear "concrete results" in the near future.  Giving a sense of the meeting with Hu on Wednesday in Sanya, China, Singh said they had talked about a wide-range of issues, including trade imbalance and the Chinese President had agreed that his country too has a "responsibility" to deal with the problem.  "It was a very cordial meeting. We discussed bilateral issues and trade imbalance. We also discussed other relevant issues to international situation and possibility of cooperation between our two countries in international fora like G-20, WTO and UN Security Council," he told accompanying journalists while returning from a five-day two-nation tour of China and Kazakhstan.  Singh and Hu met on the sidelines of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit and among its significant outcomes were the decision to send a high-level Indian military delegation to China and setting up of a new mechanism for managing peace on the borders.   Read more at:
With regard to defence exchanges which are set to be resumed after a pause of about nine months, Singh said, "my expectation is that they will be continued."  India had suspended high-level defence exchanges in July last year after China refused proper visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal as he was serving in Jammu and Kashmir. This was seen by India as questioning its sovereignty.  About the new mechanism for border management, Singh said it was a Chinese proposal made during the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao to New Delhi in December last.  "This is work in progress. I hope some concrete results will be visible in the near future," he remarked.  On the issue of growing trade imbalance in favour of China, Singh said he had raised the issue with Hu, saying that India imports goods and services which gives rise to the imbalance and the Chinese President recognised that it was a "problem".  Referring to India's desire for greater access to Chinese markets, the Prime Minister said he had specifically mentioned two areas - pharmaceutical industry and IT -- where Chinese could do more.  "I can't say he (Hu) did say precisely about these two areas but he did say that he recognises that China also has a responsibility to tackle the problem of trade imbalance," Singh said.:

India’s Military’s Cold Start Doctrine And Impact On Deterrence Stability In South Asia – Analysis
Deterrence in South Asia is delicate because of rapid militarization and operationalisation of Indian Military’s Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). CSD has the potential not only to operationalise Indian military’s aggressive doctrine on the basis of pre-emption but can also trigger a nuclear conflict. Main purpose of Cold Start is to give a “punishing” reply to Pakistan in case of any alleged terrorist attack on Indian soil with totally different orientation of the Indian armed forces from defensive to offensive.  Under CSD the Indian army would carry out swift, quick and offensive joint operations against the Pakistan military. Main objective of such operations is to create an element of surprise and give no response time to thePakistan military. CSD would require reformation of the army’s offensive power into eight smaller division-sized Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) that would have mechanized infantry, artillery and armour. (Indian army’s division size is around 23,000 troops). These IBGs would be self-contained and highly-mobile, with Russian-origin T-90 MBT and upgraded T-72 M1 tanks at their core, adequately backed by air cover and artillery fire assaults, for rapid thrusts into Pakistan within 72-96 hours. Possible deployment of these IBGs would be in Punjab and Rajastan sector close to the border with Pakistan.  India India  India  In 2005 the Vajra Shakti Exercise, brought flexibility in its Holding corps or defensive corps. These holding corps were designated as Pivot corps. Pivot corps can initiate offensive if required in the battlefield. It would have offensive punch in it and could be used as mixed corps. According to the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen J J Singh, ‘‘They (Pivot Corps) have assigned roles, which are offensive as well as defensive and the doctrine does not spell them out in detail. The decision making has been left to theatre commanders, depending upon their assessment and evaluation of the situation. These pivot corps has an infantry division, armoured regiments and an independent mechanized brigade. Such a reformation in the Indian army shows its intentions to operationalise Cold Start Doctrine against Pakistan.  To operationalise this concept (CSD) the Indian military has carried out almost 10 major exercises close to the border with Pakistan. Main purpose of these exercises was to overcome the deficiencies in the Indian military and develop synergy and integration among the armed forces to carry out integrated operations against Pakistan. In these exercises the Indian Army introduced latest weapons and equipment, including Long Range Reconnaissance and Observation System-(LORROS), this system would enhance her surveillance, observation and targeting capabilities. In 2005 Indian military practiced Force Multiplication Command Post- (FMCP) to integrate real-time flow of information as a principal tool for decision making and NCW capabilities in the Indian Army.  The Indian Army has also worked hard to improve it capabilities to supply logistics in the dark formations without lights. In last six years the Indian military has practiced its capabilities to carry out Swift and Quick operations without any time barrier.  In 2007 the Indian military introduced its capabilities to fight a war in the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) environment in the Ashwamedh exercise. This demonstrates that India is ready to wage a limited war under the nuclear umbrella. From 2004 to 2010 the Indian military practiced offensive operations with its special forces; it has tested its capabilities to carry out heli-borne operations behind the enemy lines. Such capabilities are essential as far as surgical strikes are concerned. In 2009 the Indian army carried out an exercise called Hind Shakti, on that occasion Indian army’s former Chief General Deepak Kapoor claimed that, “this exercise is another step in army’s continued venture to fine tune its Cold Start Doctrine” which shows Indian military’s continued efforts to operationalise this doctrine against Pakistan.  The years 2009 and 2010 were very important, as far as operationalisation of the CSD is concerned. In these years Indian military introduced and practiced, Intensive Electronic and Information Warfare capabilities, Satellite imagery, Helicopter borne operations and, Surveillance systems. Another important induction in the Indian military’s weapon and equipment were Battlefield Surveillance Radars (BFSRs) and Weapon Locating Radars (WLRs). All these inductions are serious threat to the national security of Pakistan.  In addition to that the Indian Air Force practiced its precision strike capabilities during day and night operations and also carried out a massive fire power blitzkrieg, they have also practiced their joint operations with the army and mechanised forces. Such synergy and integration is necessary for the quick and swift operations. Despite all these elements India is working to overcome shortages in the Indian military machine. To fill this gap India will spend around US $ 200 billion on defence acquisitions over the next 12 years. It has plans to buy 278 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters by 2015 from Russia and 1000 T-90 Tanks by 2020. The Indian Defence budget for 2011-12 has crossed the 34 billion $ mark. India has become the world’s biggest arms importer according SIPRI think tank 2011. All these trends are destabilising factors and would provoke arms race in the region.  On the nuclear side, India would be able to secure huge reserves of stockpiles under the Indo-US deal. Currently India possesses 500 kg plutonium and 11.5 metric tons of reactor grade plutonium in spent fuel. According to some estimates India would be able to increase its nuclear arsenal from 100 warheads currently to 300-400 warheads in the next five years, putting strategic stability of south Asia in disarray.  Indian Cold Start Doctrine and technological advancement in the conventional and nuclear field will bring qualitative and quantitative transformation in the Indian Military and impinge upon Pakistan’s national security interests. So keeping in view the strategic realities of South Asia it is advisable for Pakistan to take concrete measures to safeguard the National Security interests of Pakistan. Moreover it is imperative for the international community including US-EU-OIC-and SCO members to come forward and resolve the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, only then we can establish long term peace and stability in the region.  Note: Excerpts are taken from the research paper Masood Ur Rehman Khattak, “Indian Military’s Cold Start Doctrine: Capabilities, Limitations and Possible Response from Pakistan” SASSI Research Paper 42, September 2010.

Nitin Pai: The case for military diplomacy
One reason to go to a prestigious institution like IIM or Harvard is for the contacts you develop there. Now imagine after you come back from such a school, your employer — out of the fear that corporate secrets would leak to competitors — forbids you from maintaining any contact with your former classmates. Yet that is exactly the case with our defence officers, who are not permitted to even exchange emails with their former classmates without the approval of their respective service headquarters in New Delhi.  The paranoia underlying such an indiscriminate policy not only embarrasses individuals but also the nation. The world’s largest democracy trusts its officers with deadly weapons but doesn’t trust their sense of discretion. It also damages its own return on investment, for the officers who return from the world’s best military academies abroad bring back only the knowledge, not the social networks that could serve the nation’s interests. This is but one manifestation of India’s overall denial of a place for the armed forces in foreign policy. Apart from a very small number of mid-ranking officers who work together on a limited number of issues, the two anchor tenants of South Block, the ministries of defence and external affairs, might well be on two different planets.
But why do we need military officers to engage in diplomacy? Well, not only does the nature of contemporary international politics call for it, but other important nations practise it. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the US and the four-star generals that head its theatre commands are important players in operationalising Washington’s foreign policy around the world. The Pentagon’s foreign policy resources are comparable to the State Department’s. Look around the neighbourhood. The armed forces are key players in politics and security policies of all our neighbours, from China to Indonesia, from Pakistan to Myanmar. Further afield in Southeast Asia, it is not uncommon for retired military officers — like Indonesia’s President Yudhoyono — to occupy high political leadership positions.  Given our own firm believe in civilian supremacy over the armed forces, we are clearly uncomfortable with the sometimes dubious role the military plays in domestic politics in other countries. However, to pretend that other countries should operate by our domestic norms is unrealistic. Generals Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Than Shwe and Chen Bingde and their colleagues shape their nations’ policy towards India, we like it or not. Engaging them purely on civilian diplomatic terms, if at all, fails to engage their military establishments. Similarly, joint exercises and military-to-military cooperation arrangements only cover professional military matters. India does not engage in military diplomacy in any meaningful form.  This is part of the reason why India finds itself in a bind with respect to Pakistan, where it needs to engage the real power centre but finds itself with no means to. It is not a matter of matching protocol, for it is not purely military matters that we wish to discuss with General Kayani. Washington, in comparison, handles this a lot better through Admiral Mullen and General David Petraeus, the CENTCOM chief, who are the primary interlocutors with the Pakistan army. Given that these admirals and generals are engaged in diplomatic activities of serious importance to India, can we afford to stay out of the military diplomatic loop?  This is not to say that New Delhi must set its generals and admirals off on diplomatic missions next week. Rather, India must make military diplomacy part of its foreign policy toolbox and create the capacities, structures and processes necessary to put it into action.  Diplomacy must enter the syllabuses of our military academies. Trained military officers must be deputed to Indian embassies and missions around the world, both to add to the numbers of defence attaches as well as to perform non-military functions. Not only will this expose military officers to the conduct of diplomacy but also address another problem — the inability of the Indian Foreign Service to ramp up its numbers fast enough to meet the growing demand. Furthermore, the socialisation of defence and foreign service officers through such postings will create benefits in the long term, in terms of greater understanding and policy coordination.  What about structures? As the late K Subrahmanyam consistently argued, India must restructure its armed forces along the lines of the US, with a joint chiefs of staff and tri-service theatre commands. Like it has done for the US, such a structure will lend itself to the conduct of military diplomacy.  However, while we wait for the political and defence establishments to develop an appetite for major reforms, it is possible to make adjustments to the existing structures to get some mileage. Why not make a senior defence officer the National Security Advisor? Why doesn’t the National Security Council have senior military officers in top leadership positions? Indeed, a general in the NSC can well be the point person to engage the Pakistani army establishment.  In the meantime, perhaps we can allow our defence officers to keep in touch with their foreign friends.

Kayani in Kabul
As he manages the increasing turbulence in Rawalpindi's relationship with Washington, the Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has good reasons to reach out to Kabul.  Earlier this week, we saw Gen. Kayani dispatch the Chief of the ISI, Gen. Shuja Pasha to convey Pakistan’s demand for greater control over the U.S. covert operations on its soil.  On Saturday, Kayani headed out to Kabul. The top gun of the Pakistan Army was accompanied by Gen. Pasha, the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.  (This might not be the manner in which Islamabad would describe the order of precedence in this very high powered delegation. But in Pakistan, few question the primacy of Gen. Kayani in defining the nation’s policies towards Afghanistan, the United States and India.)
After the meetings between the Pakistan delegation and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a bilateral commission for peace and reconciliation was announced.  The commission will include the army chiefs and intelligence bosses on both sides,  besides the two foreign ministers.  The Pak Army’s Afghan outreach comes at the beginning of a summer that could define the end game for the prolonged U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.  President Barack Obama had declared that the U.S. will start thinning its troops in Afghanistan from July this year. The U.S. and NATO are formally committed to ending their combat operations in Afghanistan by 2014.

PM hopeful of eased Indo-China ties
New Delhi, Apr 17 (IBNS) Sounding positive on Indo-China bilateral ties, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said both nations were working together to maintain peace and tranquility on the borders, a vital bone of contention between the two Asian giants.  Speaking to reporters while returning from the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit in China on Saturday night, Singh said his talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao were held in a positive atmosphere.  While supporting defence exchanges, the PM hoped that the joint border monitoring system will yield 'concrete results'.  “With regard to defence exchanges, my expectation is that they would be continued and also there was a proposal from the Chinese side when (Chinese Premier) Wen Jiabao came to India to look at the new mechanisms to maintain peace and tranquility on the border. Work is in progress, I hope concrete results will be visible in the near future,” Singh said.  The Chinese had proposed the border management mechanism, he added.  India had suspended high-level defence exchanges in July last year after China refused proper visa to a senior Indian Army officer serving in Jammu and Kashmir, apparently questioning India's claim over Kashmir.  Regarding his talks with Hu Jintao last week, Singh said wide-ranging bilateral issues were discussed.  “It was a very cordial meeting. We discussed bilateral issues and trade imbalance. We also discussed other relevant issues to international situation and possibility of cooperation between our two countries in international fora a like G-20, WTO and UN Security Council,” he said.  Singh said he hoped for easing of relations with Pakistan also.  “If I can succeed in normalising relations between India and Pakistan as they should prevail between two normal states, I would consider my job well done,” the PM said.

Josy Joseph [Times of India]  NEW DELHI: Major General Gurmeet Singh, chief of the Delta Force of the Rashtriya Rifles, would be leading an Army delegation to China following the bilateral decision to resume military ties. Delta Force is the counter-insurgency force for the Doda region of Jammu and Kashmir.  During the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday, the two sides decided to resume military ties, which were frozen last year after China refused visa to the Northern Army commander, saying he commanded the `disputed' Kashmir region. The refusal of visa to Lt-Gen BS Jaswal last June led to India freezing all military contacts with China.  According to government sources, the Army delegation to be led by Maj-Gen Singh will comprise representatives of the Army's Central and Eastern Commands as well as the Army Headquarters. The Sino-Indian border is guarded by Indian Army units under the Northern, Central and Eastern Commands.  According to the discussions underway, the Army delegation would have a total of five members. The Army Headquarters would also have a representative in the delegation.  Sources said the decision was taken in the wake of the Chinese side assuring India that the delegation would be issued regular visas, and not stapled ones. China has been issuing stapled visa to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, since they believe it is a disputed territory while residents of Arunachal Pradesh don't need visa since China claims it to be part of their territory.  Sources here said it was the Chinese side that suggested the compromise of a divisional commander from the Udhampur-based Northern Command leading the Indian Army delegation, because it was concerned about loss of face if they went back on their refusal to give visa to the Northern Army Commander.  National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said in Beijing after the meeting between the PM and the Chinese President that the military delegation would visit China in June, and they would finalise details of a joint military exercise to be held in the future. He said the two sides have also decided on setting up a mechanism for better coordination on border issues

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