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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

From Today's Papers - 17 May 2011

PM meets defence top brass, reviews security
New Delhi, May 16 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today reviewed the overall security scenario with the military top brass in the backdrop of the killing of Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s reported statement that an Abbottabad-like operation by India would invite a befitting response from Islamabad.  The 90-minute meeting, held at the PM’s residence, was attended by Defence Minister AK Antony, National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Army Chief Gen VK Singh, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, Naval Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar.  Official sources said the PM was briefed by the Services chiefs on the overall security situation and the general preparedness of the defence forces. Issues like the changing security situation in Pakistan and the situation along the Sino-Indian border were discussed, official sources said.  The meeting came less than a week after Antony held a similar two-day meeting to review the overall security of the country, especially coastal security, and two days after the PM returned from Kabul after discussing the situation in the region in the aftermath of the Al-Qaida chief’s killing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  The situation in the region has undergone a dramatic change in the wake of bin Laden’s killing by the US forces in Abbottabad on May 2. Since the killing, New Delhi has upped the ante against Pakistan, demanding the extradition of fugitives from the Indian law, who have taken refuge in the neighbouring country after committing heinous crimes on the Indian soil. Last week, India released a list of 50 of its most-wanted terrorists which it had given to Islamabad during the Home Secretary-level talks.  The sources were surprised over the statements emanating from Pakistan ever since the Army Chief stated that India had the capability to undertake Abbottabad-type strikes carried out by the American forces to hunt down and kill bin Laden. First, it was Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and now the ISI chief has made threatening noises against India. “What do you expect the Army Chief to say when the media asks him if India could also conduct a US-type operation against terrorists wanted by India who have been provided safe havens across the border,’’ the sources asked.  Referring to the situation along the Sino-Indian border, the sources said New Delhi has been concerned over the increasing Chinese presence in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.  The strains in Pakistan-US ties following bin Laden’s killing have led to suggestions that Islamabad’s already close relationship with China would only become stronger now. Islamabad is also said to be keen on ensuring a role for China in Afghanistan once the US-led coalition forces start withdrawing from the embattled nation in July.  Pakistan Prime Minister Yousua Raza Gilani is flying to China tomorrow on a visit that will be keenly watched both in New Delhi and Washington.
India scoffs off ISI’s threat  New Delhi: India is unlikely to give any credence to Pakistan's ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha's threat that any Abbottabad-like attack would invite a befitting response, calling it a "tall claim" to hide his own failure. Brushing aside Pasha's warning, government sources said the ISI chief is not an operational man and the statement was just a reflection of how frustrated he was after Pakistani establishment's failure to detect the US raid on the hideout of Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. — PTI

Amend dismissal rules, AFT tells Navy
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 16 In a significant ruling that could set into motion a process to amend certain provisions of the Navy Act, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has held that regulations pertaining to the powers of summary dismissal vested in naval authorities do not meet the ends of natural justice.
Unlike corresponding provisions in the Army Act and the Air Force Act, which bring out clearly the fundamental provision of providing an opportunity through examination of the witnesses and the right to cross-examination by the accused in the presences of an independent witness, the Tribunal observed that provisions of the Navy Act lack requisite inbuilt safeguards.  “It will be pertinent to draw the attention of the respondents (Navy Chief) to the peculiar situation, in which the personnel of the Navy are seeking redressal in High Courts and AFTs, due to the summary powers of dismissal vested in the Navy Act,” said the Tribunal’s bench, comprising Justice AC Arumugaperumal Adityan and Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman.  Disposing of a writ pursued by the widow of a sailor who was dismissed by a summary court martial for allegedly falsifying official documents, the Tribunal set aside the punishment and ruled out that her husband would be deemed to have retired from service and that she would be entitled to family pension from the date of her husband’s death. The Tribunal held the summary trial to be vitiated since it was against the principles of natural justice.  The sailor was dismissed from service in May 2000 and sentenced to 90 days rigorous imprisonment besides reduction in rank. He died in November 2010 during the pendency of the writ filed by him earlier. He had contended that he had not been given adequate opportunity to defend himself during his summary trial.  The Tribunal also directed the Navy Chief to consider incorporation of suitable measures to make the provisions of Regulations 27 and 29 of the Regulations for the Navy, Part -II (Statutory) to be in conformity with the safeguards as built into the corresponding provisions of the Air Force and the Army Acts, since the summary disposal powers of dismissal cannot be treated as an admonition.

Adarsh case: Now, hard disk goes missing
Mumbai, May 16 In a significant turn of events in the Adarsh missing files case, the CBI today told a Magistrate that a computer hard disk of Maharashtra Urban Development Department (UDD) is missing even as the agency said it was mulling conducting polygraph tests on the three arrested state government officials.  Three officials of the UDD - desk officer Gurudatt Wajpe, assistant town planner N N Narvekar and a clerk Waman Rawool - were arrested on May 5 by the CBI. — PTI

Whither Pakistan?
THE REGION that we call Pakistan today was a part of ancient India and remained a gateway to invaders from the North and the West into ancient India and thus a political and cultural hotspot. Pakistan, came into being as a political entity in 1947, carved out from the undivided India, under the false assumption that common Muslims can live peacefully only in a country of their own.  The assumption, however, proved to be totally fallacious, when East Pakistan revolted against the ill-treatment meted out to it by West Pakistan and became independent Bangladesh in 1971.  Britain, before vacating its colony in India, partitioned the country into India and Pakistan in 1947, leaving the young political entities to their fate. While India adopted a secular constitution under the influence and guidance of Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, and other secular-minded leaders, Pakistan, as fate would have it, lost its founding father Jinnah, who was secular in his outlook, the very next year. Pakistan, perhaps, would not have become a rabid state that it is today, if a largely secular-minded Jinnah had lived for another 10-15 years molding its political process. But Jinnah’s untimely and unfortunate death left Pakistan rudderless and inevitably Pakistan became a full-fledged Islamic state in 1956.   In the 60 years since their independence, while India has all along drawn its strength from its secular constitution, Pakistan’s identity crisis has pushed it into prolonged periods of political instability and military rule. One of the Pakistani military dictators, Zia-ul-Haq, sowed the seeds of religious extremism, and since then it has been downhill all the way for Pakistan as a society and as a nation.   Pakistan’s obsession with Kashmir is another reason for its political instability. When undivided, the rulers of the princely states were allowed to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. The princely state of the then Kashmir was ruled by a Hindu King, Raja Hari Singh, with the state comprising of a majority Muslim subjects. Hari Singh decided not to join India or Pakistan and wanted to keep Kashmir an independent state.  When Pakistan came to know this, it sent its rangers to forcibly take over Kashmir. Hari Singh immediately signed the treaty of accession with India to join the Indian Union. The Indian army entered Kashmir and stopped Pakistan’s march. The part of Kashmir that Pakistani forces occupied then is still under the control of Pakistan, while India administers the rest. Both the nations since then have been wasting huge sums of money in arming themselves for a possible armed conflict to decide the ownership.   In hindsight, Kashmir perhaps would not have become a flashpoint, if India had not helped East Pakistan become Bangladesh. During the civil war between West and East Pakistan, West Pakistan used its armed might against the hapless East Pakistanis, resulting in a huge exodus of refugees from East Pakistan into India. This forced India to get involved in the war, and Bangladesh was created after the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971. Pakistani army is still smarting under the defeat in the war and has been trying, in its own words, to “bleed India through a thousand cuts,” through cross-border terrorism in India and engineering communal troubles in Kashmir.   Unfortunately for Pakistan, the presence of foreign players with their hidden agendas in its political space has only added more problems. The Unite States’ blinkered foreign policy of getting rid of socialist regimes at any cost saw Pakistan getting pulled into the US-Soviet proxy war in Afghanistan, with the US arming religious extremists, including one Osama bin Laden, to get rid of USSR-supported Najibullah, the then ruler of Afghanistan—a reason why US’s current attempt to hunt down terrorists in Pakistan is uncannily similar to Dr. Frankenstein chasing the monster he had created.   China has it own agenda in Pakistan. There is no love lost between India and China, especially after the 1962 Indo-China border war. And more importantly, China is antagonistic to India, because India gave Dalai Lama refuge after he escaped from China following the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Also, China sees India as an economic rival in the region, whose progress it would be only too happy to stall. Pakistan needs weapons which China supplies to keep India in check.   And there is another discreet player in Pakistan’s political scene: Saudi Arabia (plus other Sunni-Islamic gulf countries). Saudi Arabia, besides exporting its own brand of Islam, funds Pakistan’s religious scene which includes a lot of madrasas, with many of them having become recruiting grounds for extremist/terrorist organizations.  Pakistan’s proximity to US or US’s need for Pakistan in a geostrategic sense makes Saudi Arabia want to have Pakistan under its influence. Also, Pakistan is a nuclear state, and in a possible Shia (Iran) vs. Sunni (Saudi Arabia and the rest) war, Pakistan, a Sunni state, will provide the fire power (nuclear, no less).   Given these ground realities, it is going to take a Herculean effort from Pakistan to free itself from foreign influence and become a responsible nation. An opportunity offered itself to set the record straight when the world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden was taken out by the US forces on the Pakistani soil. Osama could not certainly have taken refuge in the cantonment area near Pakistan’s capital without the knowledge of Pakistani army and ISI, indicating their complicity. But Pakistani government and civil society wasted this opportunity to rein in the army and ISI by belligerently glossing over their omissions and commissions.   However, Pakistan’s hopes as a nation lie in initiating drastic structural changes in the way things are run. Now, Pakistan is a sham democracy with its army and intelligence wing calling the shots and the common people having no say in governance. Only when Pakistan gets a truly representative democratic government, it can rein in its army and intelligence wing. Also, Pakistan should consider switching over to a secular constitution. Tall order, but failing which, Pakistan can never hope to shed the tag of rogue nation.

US Navy drones: Coming to a carrier near China?
Yokosuka (Japan):  The US is developing aircraft carrier-based drones that could provide a crucial edge as it tries to counter China's military rise.  American officials have been tight-lipped about where the unmanned armed planes might be used, but a top Navy officer has told The Associated Press that some would likely be deployed in Asia.  "They will play an integral role in our future operations in this region," predicted Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, commander of the US 7th Fleet, which covers most of the Pacific and Indian oceans.  Land-based drones are in wide use in the war in Afghanistan, but sea-based versions will take several more years to develop. Northrop Grumman conducted a first-ever test flight still on land earlier this year.  
Van Buskirk didn't mention China specifically, but military analysts agree the drones could offset some of China's recent advances, notably its work on a "carrier-killer" missile.  "Chinese military modernization is the major long-term threat that the US must prepare for in the Asia-Pacific region, and robotic vehicles aerial and subsurface are increasingly critical to countering that potential threat," said Patrick Cronin, a senior analyst with the Washington-based Center for New American Security.  China is decades away from building a military as strong as America's, but it is developing air, naval and missile capabilities that could challenge US supremacy in the Pacific and with it, America's ability to protect important shipping lanes and allies such as Japan and South Korea.    

ISI mole in Indian Army jailed for three years
New Delhi:  A personnel of the Indian Army, who was working as an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) module and passing on sensitive information inimical to the country's security to Pakistan, has been sentenced to three years in jail by a Delhi court.  "The accused is convicted under section 120-B of the IPC for entering into criminal conspiracy with one Pramod who was working as an ISI agent to indulge in espionage activities to transmit sensitive and secret information regarding Indian Army to the enemy country (Pakistan)," District Judge O P Gupta said, holding Army Signal Man Ritesh Kumar Vishwakarma, guilty of indulging in espionage activities.  The court convicted him under various other sections of the IPC and the Official Secret Act.  A native of Bihar and posted in Army's signal unit at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir, Ritesh was arrested by Delhi Police's Special Cell sleuths at Palam airport on October 20, 2006.  
The sleuths had received a tip-off that the 28-year-old signal man would be reaching Delhi's Palam airport from Leh by Jet Airways at about 9: 15 AM on October 20, 2006 and would be carrying some sensitive, secret, defence-related documents for passing the same to ISI agents.  Ritesh was caught with documents including several hand-written notes related to the Army, diagrams about security plans, pen drive, camera and camera films.  Prosecution said the police had got the tip-off that Ritesh was working with some ISI agents based in Kathmandu for the purpose prejudicial to the safety, security and interest of India.  "He had been unauthorisedly collecting and communicating to some ISI agent and some other foreign agents, information which was calculated to be directly or indirectly useful to the enemy country. Passing of the said information was likely to affect sovereignty, integrity and security of India," the probe agency said.  After his arrest, he was jointly interrogated by the Indian Army, Delhi Police and Intelligence Bureau personnel. The court noted that had the recovered documents fallen into enemy hands, it could have affected the security of the State.  He remained in custody from October 10, 2006, to May, 29, 2009 and then again from January 21, 2011, till the date of pronouncement of the judgement. The court, while sentencing Ritesh to three years in jail, also set off his sentence against the period of his detention.  

Manmohan Singh takes stock of country's nuclear arsenal
NEW DELHI: India on Monday took stock of its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems like long-range ballistic missiles, fighter-bombers and warships towards its quest to have an operational nuclear triad -- the capability to fire nukes from land, sea and air -- in the near future.  Sources said the top-level meet held by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was "not just a general security review'' but in fact a full-fledged Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) conference to assess the steps being taken to consolidate and strengthen India's "minimum but credible nuclear deterrence".
The status of two crucial but delayed "strategic programmes", the 5,000-km-range Agni-V missile and indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant, is said to have figured in the discussion apart from "overarching strategic issues".  While the three-stage Agni-V is to be tested later this year, INS Arihant is also slated to go for "harbour and sea trials" once its miniature 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor gains "full criticality". The defence establishment is eager to induct INS Arihant, armed with 12 nuclear-tipped missiles, by next year because it will constitute the most effective and difficult-to-detect leg of the nuclear triad.  The NCA meeting was attended by defence minister A K Antony, national security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon , DRDO chief V K Saraswat and the three Service chiefs, Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Verma and General V K Singh, among others.  It comes close after ISI chief Lt-General Shuja Pasha's threat that Pakistan would give a befitting response to any Indian attempt to launch any Abbottabad-like operation since targets inside India "had already been identified'' and "rehearsals'' carried out.  This sabre-rattling comes in the backdrop of Pakistan furiously building up its nuclear arsenal, which already stands at an estimated 70 to 90 warheads compared to India's 60 to 80.  Pakistan's two new heavy-water reactors coming up at its Khushab nuclear facility are clearly geared towards producing weapons-grade plutonium to supplement its ongoing enriched uranium-based nuke programme, as reported by TOI earlier.  What has added to global concerns is the fear that jihadis may gain access to "loose nukes", enriched uranium or nuclear technology to make "dirty bombs" in the ever-deepening mess Pakistan finds itself in.  India, however, does not want to engage in a verbal spat with Pakistan. This much was evident with sources emphasizing the NCA meeting on Monday was "a routine pre-scheduled exercise" held once every three-to-six months to review the management of India's nuclear arsenal.  Pakistan does not have a clear-cut "no first-use" nuclear doctrine like India, having left it deliberately vague to unsettle India's conventional military superiority. Moreover, it's Army chief General Pervez Kayani who has his finger on the nuclear button in Pakistan.  In India, the NCA is controlled by the civilian leadership, with the "political council" led by the PM being the "sole body which can authorize the use of nuclear weapons''. The NCA's executive council, headed by the NSA, only provides inputs and "execute the directives'' given to it by the political council. There are, of course, "alternate chains of command'' for retaliatory nuclear strikes if the political leadership is "decapitated'' in a pre-emptive first strike by an adversary.  Both the NCA and the tri-Service Strategic Forces Command (SFC), which manages the nuclear arsenal, were created in January 2003 after the 10-month troop mobilization along the Indo-Pak border under Operation Parakram in the wake of the December 2001 terror strike on Parliament.

Get basic policing right first to ensure rule of law
Imagine the Indian Army begins to conduct training camps to train all of us on how to use firearms to defend ourselves against foreign attacks. Imagine they provide booklets on how to make grenades that you could throw at invading soldiers. Imagine the army chief saying that our soldiers can’t be expected defend every single part of the country, overstretched as they are, having to go abroad on UN peacekeeping missions, helping census officials, conducting elections, delivering humanitarian relief and constructing buildings for events like the Commonwealth games. Would we buy this logic?  Yet, this is precisely what we are doing with respect to our police forces. In the face of rampant sexual harassment of women (let’s not trivialise these crimes anymore by calling them ‘eve teasing’) the Delhi police force has decided to rely on D-I-Y methods. It is training women in self-defence techniques, martial arts and handing out pepper-spray recipes outside schools and colleges. Some may see these measures as practical and pragmatic, but they should worry us deeply. For they represent an abdication of the State from its fundamental responsibility – using its monopoly on the legitimate use of violence to ensure that there is rule of law.  The earliest Indian traditions view the role of the State as protecting its citizens from the predatory world of matsya-nyaya, the law of the fishes, where the strong prevail over the weak. The state, through the establishment of danda niti, the rule of law, ensures that the rights and freedoms of the individual are protected. Citizens surrender a part of their freedoms to the State, so that it may ensure that they can enjoy the rest. This deal is the fundamental premise in the world’s constitutions, including our own. In other words, we citizens have appointed the State as our security guard. It is absurd for the security guard to outsource the job back to us, for then, why do we need the security guard in the first place? Article continues below the advertisement...  If we all need to learn martial arts and use pepper-sprays, why do we need the State? Yet, instead of demanding greater competence from the State – essentially demanding that the government does its job better – we are increasingly reconciling to its incompetence. Cities of the world that have low incidences of sexual harassment are unlikely to have high proportions of women with black belts in karate. They are, however, likely to have governments – including police forces, public prosecutors and courts – that do their job well.  “What’s the harm if the police ask women to learn martial arts?” you say. First, while it may be necessary for Indian women to fend for themselves as a practical matter, to the extent that our attitude resigns them to their fates, it marks a disgraceful collective surrender on our part. Second, the more we resort to private means of securing public goods, the more incentives we create for the government to get into all sorts of pursuits and businesses that it shouldn’t be getting in to.  The more we employ private security guards, drive our own vehicles, use our own generator sets, drink bottled water and, yes, do “tossing the scarf over the attacker’s neck and pushing him down with a handbag, pricking him with a hairpin or pen, hitting with shoes”, the more we allow the government to run soap factories, distribute alcohol, run airlines, railways, buses, taxis... the possibilities are endless. At another level, the same Government of India that can’t even provide water and sanitation (which, incidentally, the Indus Civilisation enjoyed) arrogates to itself the grand project of restructuring Indian society.  It also creates innumerable laws and regulations without regard to the true costs and consequences of enforcing them. The more time Mumbai’s cops spend checking if orchestras in the city’s bars have no more than four female and four male artistes, the less time they have for catching potential Kasabs.  The Bangalore police are asked “to prevent, prohibit, control or regulate any vocal or instrumental music, sounds caused by the playing, beating, clashing, blowing or use in any manner whatsoever of any instrument, (in) any premises of any trade, avocation or operation resulting in or attended with noise.” And how can the Delhi police go all out to protect women when they have to enforce the ban on plastic bags, look out for graffiti and illegal signboards, cigarette shops near schools, and protect the eco-system of the ridge area?  Assigning some of these jobs to the police might be justified, but only after they accomplish their basic duties competently. A government that can’t prevent women from being molested on the streets is unlikely to do better against criminals and terrorists. Whether it is karate for Delhi’s women or Salwa Judum for Chattisgarh’s tribals, we shouldn’t accept the government passing the buck back to us.  Unless we exert severe pressure on the government to do its job competently, we’ll never be able to close the divide between those who can privately acquire public services and those who can’t. And, there be dragons!

Marines chief says Royal Navy will suffer in cuts
One of the Royal Navy's most senior officers has launched a staunch defence of the service and openly questioned why the UK appears to be the only major military power that is cutting specialist capabilities at sea.  In a speech that offers a detailed critique of defence thinking, Major General Buster Howes quoted the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, to underline his point: "In my opinion, any future defence secretary who advises the president to again send a big land army into Asia or into the Middle East 'should have his head examined' – as General MacArthur so delicately put it," he said.  Howes, who is regarded as one of the best minds in the military, also criticised the assumptions made before the 2003 war in Iraq. He described how his own involvement in the campaign with the Royal Marines started to go wrong "within 11 minutes" of operations getting under way. Howes said the campaign strategy was one where "vast ills have followed a belief in military certainty".  His assessment of the current balance of the UK's armed forces is likely to cause consternation in Whitehall, where officials are preparing to demand further cuts from the three services to make up for serial overspending in the defence budget.  Howes, the commandant general of the Royal Marines pleaded the case for more investment in naval power and in amphibious forces, such as his own regiment. Countries across the world had found that they were the "logical force of choice", he said. "This prescient assessment is now increasingly being reflected in the defence policies, priorities and capabilities of … America, Australia, India, France, Italy, Holland, Russia and China. Indeed, of those in the defence 'premiership', only this island state evidences scepticism."  In the speech to the Royal United Services Institute, Howes said: "Almost 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan … must surely have stimulated us to find a different way to defend our interests … particularly if our careful assessment of future conflict environments suggests more of the same."  Last year's strategic defence and security review led to the number of Royal Navy ships being cut as well as demands to shed 5,000 jobs from a total of 35,000 by 2015. Defence analysts warned that the cuts threatened the UK's ability to project naval power, and questioned why the army was spared deeper cuts at the expense of the navy and air force.  Howes said he took part in discussions at the Ministry of Defence before the white paper was published, but admitted that subsequent events caught everyone by surprise. "At no point did our deliberations predict that on the morning of December 17, 2010 … a 27-year-old Tunisian would take his own life in an act of desperate protest … and that this would resonate so profoundly and so quickly across the region." He added: "We cannot just value and retain the capabilities of the moment, and for the crisis that we are in. We must carefully invest in contingency forces and try to insure against alternative futures."  "We must retain the resilience and flexibilty to cope with the inevitable mess muddle and dislocation, and further, to prepare for it."  Quoting from Edward Beach in Keepers of the Sea, he said: "The sea has supplied mobility, capability and support throughout western history, and those failing in the sea power test – notably Alexander, Napoleon and Hitler – also failed the longevitity one."  Howes set out the case for increased investment in naval power, saying the UK could draw upon "500 years of experience of using the sea to our advantage". He said that there are only two means to "theatre entry when not invited" – either the sea or airspace, but the latter "would require massive new investment. There is a reason why 92% of the world's trade is moved by sea."  On Iraq, Howes said the campaign was regarded by some US strategists as a chance to demonstrate "confidence in the irresistible advantage of technology … and a certainty that Iraqi resistance would quickly crumble".  "In direct consequence fewer combat troops were deployed than senior US commanders requested."  Howes, who was in charge of a commando unit, said the plan "seemed to unhinge itself in the first 11 minutes".  "The 2003 Iraq invasion and its aftermath demonstrated that a Blitzkrieg technology and firepower have their limitations too; that overconfidence in them can indeed be problematic."  An MoD spokesman said the UK would retain a strong navy. "The UK has the fourth biggest defence budget in the world and under Future Force 2020 we will deliver a cutting-edge Royal Navy able to land and sustain a Royal Marine commando group from sea, with protective vehicles."  He added: "It will also have Type 45 destroyers, the Type 26 global combat ship, seven new Astute class submarines and a new carrier capability operating Joint Strike Fighter fast jets."

Indian Army trains to hit the enemy hard, fast
Suratgarh: Just one hour from the Pakistan border, the Indian Army unleashed its meanest weapons, to test its readiness for battle. The week long exercise is called Vijayee Bhava. Four-hundred tanks, 300 aircraft, 45,000 men are practicing in the war games, 40 kilometers from the Pakistan border. Every year since the Kargil War, the Indian Army has trained to strike the enemy hard and lightning fast if ever challenged again. "Every army fights to win. There is no prize for second place. I believe there is scope for a conventional war without escalating beyond the nuclear threshold," says Western Army Command Chief Lieutenant General SR Ghosh. Brains over brawn is the new mantra, as the Indian army is now using unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite feeds and televised updates from the battle field to plan operations.  "There is one thing about fighting in the dark. Its another thing entirely to know where you are and where your other units are and to combine your forces for maximum lethality," says Ghosh.  These exercises are essentially training to invade and subdue enemy territory within three to four days. While the Indian Army is confident of doing that, the truth is that in areas like night time operations, air defence and tracked artillery guns, India still has a long way to go.

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