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Sunday, 12 June 2011

From Today's Papers - 12 Jun 2011

Three Days, Three Strikes Naxals raid CRPF camp, kill three jawans
Alert along Andhra-Chhattisgarh border after strike  Raipur/Hyderabad, June 11 In the third incident of Maoist violence in the state in as many days, three CRPF jawans were killed when Naxalites attacked the force’s camp at Bhejji village in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district today. Ten Maoists were also killed in the encounter, but their bodies were taken away by the ultras.  The Andhra Pradesh police have sounded an alert along the Andhra-Chhattisgarh border since Bhejji village is barely 40-50 km away.  A group of around 250 Naxalites attacked the CRPF camp in Bhejji village, Additional Director General of Police Ram Niwas said. Jawans opened fire forcing the Maoists to retreat after the two-hour encounter.  The injured jawans are being taken out of the encounter site and being shifted to a hospital in Jagdalpur for treatment, he said.  Senior officials of police and the CRPF rushed to the site and additional forces were also sent to the area. The police have started search operations in the area. Naxals had blasted roads to prevent reinforcements from reaching the spot.  Khammam district Superintendent of Police P Harikumar said that the Andhra police had taken all precautionary measures along the Andhra-Chhattisgarh border besides keeping a watch on the movement of suspicious persons entering the state. "We have already alerted our policemen on the border and movement of security forces has been increased," the SP said.  Yesterday, Naxals blew up an anti-landmine vehicle killing 10 security personnel in Dantewada. On Thursday, they had opened indiscriminate fire near the camp of Chhattisgarh Armed Force in Naraynpur district, killing four jawans and leaving another injured. — PTI

CIA chief takes on Pak over collusion with militants
Shows evidence of Pak security’s efforts to help terrorists  CIA chief Leon Panetta CIA chief Leon Panetta  Islamabad/Washington, June 11 CIA chief Leon Panetta has confronted Pakistan's military leadership with evidence of collusion between militants and security officials in the country, causing fresh strains in the troubled US-Pak ties.  Panetta, who arrived in Islamabad yesterday, presented the evidence during meetings with Pakistan army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha late last night, media reports said today.  The CIA had passed intelligence in the past few weeks to its Pakistani counterparts on two facilities where militants made improvised explosive devices but when Pakistani forces raided the facilities, the militants had disappeared, the reports said.  Panetta showed Pasha "satellite and other intelligence information that the CIA believes is evidence of Pakistani security's efforts to help Islamic militants based in Pakistan," ABC News quoted US and Pakistani officials as saying.  The CIA chief shared with the Pakistani generals a "10-minute edited video that shows the militants evacuating two bomb factories in Waziristan," Time magazine quoted its sources as saying in a report on its website.  One of the bomb factories is based at Miranshah in North Waziristan and the other is in South Waziristan. The militants in North Waziristan are believed to belong to groups led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose men target US and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan.  Both Bahadur and Haqqani are also believed to have peace deals with the Pakistan army. During his meetings, Panetta conveyed the CIA's belief that the militants had been warned by Pakistani security officials prior to the raids, ABC News reported. Panetta travelled to Islamabad just hours after his Congressional hearing to become Secretary of Defence, a trip that US officials described as a way to "discuss ways to improve cooperation".  However, his visit, expected to be his last as CIA chief, “underscored the lack of trust that US officials continue to have in their Pakistani counterparts,” ABC News said.  Since the killing of Osama , the US has urged Pakistan to take “decisive steps” to crack down on militants and handed over a list of five top terrorists, including Ayman al-Zawahiri and Ilyas Kashmiri, that it wants Islamabad to apprehend or kill.  US and Pakistani officials admitted that the escape of militants from the bomb-making facilities was a “setback,” ABC News reported.  Pakistani officials made a “rare admission that some kind of collusion was possible,” a Pakistani official told the Washington Post. — PTI

Maoist warning foretold attacks on security forces in Chhattisgarh?
NEW DELHI: There is a direct link between the Maoist attacks on security forces in Chhattisgarh over the past two days, and a statement issued by the CPI (Maoist) on June 3, exhorting "oppose Army deployment in Bastar". The statement from Dandakaranya special zonal committee spokesperson Gudsa Usendi seems to be a warning of things to come.  A fresh statement issued by Usendi on Friday confirms that the earlier statement was a warning about attacks on security forces by the Maoist army PLGA.  In the latest statement, the Maoists have claimed that the PLGA would launch similar strikes like the ones on Friday and Saturday. The rebels have been demanding an end to Operation Green Hunt; to reverse the proposal to allot 750sq km land for the training college, where the Army will be present to train paramilitary forces to combat Maoists; action against senior police officials, who were responsible for atrocities against villagers at Chintalnar and the unconditional release of tribals who are languishing in jails on charges of being Left ultras.  The attacks that killed 13 security personnel over the last two days are a warning against the Army.  The party had also issued a statement, warning against the Army's presence at the training centre in Kanker when the proposal first came up. Having lost many of its senior comrades since then, including Azad, the Maoists are wary of the Army.  "Talk of training is nothing but a ploy to deceit the people! Giving powers to the Army to attack in the pretext of 'self-defense, is nothing but free-hand for massacres and atrocities on adivasis," are the slogans of the June 3rd statement. "As the first column of the Indian Army arrived in Kanker, the formal process of Army deployment in Bastar has commenced," it warned.  It explained. "It's being said that in the name of self defense, ministries of defense and law had issued guiding principles for the Army... the glaring fact is that the Army is now deployed in the ongoing war against people of our country."  Linking the "land grab by MNCs" to moving Army to the region, the party said, "as Army vehicles started moving into Bastar, SAIL declared that the Raoghat mining project would be privatized and a global tender notice would be issued. This makes the picture clear... On one side, there would be a vast Army base and on the other side of the Maad region, MNCs would fall in line in a rush to plunder precious iron ore from Raoghat hills. The mining mafia would become active... and the land of the tribal people would be acquired forcefully."  It alleged, "After Kashmir and the north-east, now the Indian Army is going to wage a war against most oppressed people of India... apprehensions are that the AFSPA would also be clamped in Bastar."  The statement added, "since 2005, state armed forces used Salwa Judum and Operation Green Hunt to set ablaze more than 700 villages; killed more than 1,500 people; raped hundreds of tribals; destroyed crops; looted the villages and forced thousands to flee their homes."

Field trials of Arjun tank begins
JAISALMER: Arjun tank Mark 1, handed over to the army, started trials for familarisation by the troops at the Pokharan field firing range on Saturday. The trials will continue for three to four days, defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami said.  An upgraded version Mark 2 has been developmed and in final stages by Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) .  About 90 per cent of the equipment of the Mark 1 is indigenous. It's next trial will be conducted in October while the production of these tanks will start from July next year onwards.  A spokesperson of DRDO said, "Arjun Mk I tanks have been handed over to the army, the Mark II version of Arjun tank is still under development." Initial trials for developing Mark 2 has been started in Jaisalmer's Pokharan field firing range.  Goswami said, "The trial of Arjun tank at Pokharan is just an initial trial on specific scientific & technological incorporation on specific features of Arjun tank Mk 1 in use."  DRDO source said, "The Arjun Mk2 main battle tank (MBT) — currently under development since mid-2007 will be more expensive and have a higher imported content than its predecessor, the Arjun Mk1. But in terms of mobility, protection and firepower, the Mk2 variant will come closest to what Indian Army HQ wants: an MBT with highly enhanced crew protection and maximum survivability in highintensity, fire-saturated combat environments."  Missiles can be fired from Mark II version to destroy long-range targets and bring down attack helicopters, an official said.

Nawaz Sharif and the military establishment
Speaking at the headquarters of the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) in Lahore on June 10, on the occasion of a reference meeting to protest the killing of journalist Saleem Shahzad, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif called on the Pakistan military to change its mindset. He called for its accountability under the country’s democratic system, asked the GHQ to abandon its hold on the foreign policy of the country, especially its India-centric obsession, and its tendency not to tolerate criticism. It was clear which institution he was addressing as he made reference to his own policy of d├ętente with India after acquiring nuclear status for Pakistan. He said former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit was sabotaged by an unauthorised invasion of Kargil to pre-empt his party’s initiative. He said: “End your domination of foreign policy if you wish the criticism to end”. Careful to avoid indicting the entire institution, he pinpointed his observation: “The army is under the domination of a handful of people with a specific mindset”.  Since the SAFMA reference was about the death of a journalist with clues pointing to some elements in the establishment, Mr Sharif urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the killing, pledging that he and his party would stand with the journalist community “till the killers are brought to book”. Given that a campaign is on to muffle the public protest against the killing of Saleem Shahzad, the PML-N leader has spoken out at the right time and in defence of an aspect of democracy that has gone missing in Pakistan.  The positive side of the PML-N policy is its steady adherence to the strategy of normalising relations with India as a corollary of its stance on Pakistan’s status as a nuclear power. The unspoken rule in nuclear theory and practice is that after having achieved nuclear deterrence, two rival states must achieve agreement on status quo. Mr Sharif’s reference to Kargil was actually aimed at conveying the fact that the Pakistan Army was wrong to pursue conflict — overt or covert — after the 1998 nuclear testing by Pakistan when he was prime minister.  Stemming from the PML-N’s adherence to the 2006 Charter of Democracy signed with the PPP, its policy plank of seeing with India goes against the continuing India-centrism of the GHQ, abhorred by the international community and diagnosed by it as the root of the strategic mismatch in the war against terrorism. This is also the fatal bedrock on which the GHQ is isolating Pakistan in the world, confirming the impression that some elements with the Pakistani state are interfacing with al Qaeda instead of fighting it.  This is not the first time that Mr Sharif has expressed his determination to continue his post-1998 policy with India. His repeating it on June 10 points to the dynamic nature of his thinking often identified by his opponents with policy contradiction. The effort to remove Pakistan from the rut of isolationism apparently contradicts his party’s position that the war against terrorism is not Pakistan’s war. If the PML-N wants the GHQ to relent on India and thus ensure Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence, it will have to own this war — the journalist Mr Sharif came to SAFMA to defend died saying Pakistan was wrong in not owning this war. As the PML-N policy stands today, it persuades one to focus on the various unexamined aspects of its relationship with the army. When it says the war against terrorism is not our war, it is getting cosy with the elements in the armed forces sympathetic to the cause of the extremists willing to interface with al Qaeda. Less directly, its rather strident expression of anti-Americanism also allows it to retain its influence within the rank and file of the army. Since Mr Sharif has criticised the current military leadership rather than the institution itself, one must understand PML-N’s anti-Americanism as a less permanent part of its domestic rivalry with the PPP with whom it expects to contest the next elections.  Mr Nawaz Sharif knows that his right-wing party has more traction within a Punjabi-dominated army than the PPP. Everyone else knows that only his party can achieve normalisation with India to clinch the war against terrorism. The world outside is also realising this.

'BrahMos shining example of Indo-Russian defence ties'
The BrahMos cruise missile is a ''shining'' example of contemporary Indo-Russian defence cooperation and captures several aspects of bilateral military ties, Indian Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra said today.  Congratulating the people involved in the joint project on the 10th anniversary of the maiden launch of the deadly supersonic missile, which is coinciding with 'Russia Day' national holiday being celebrated tomorrow, Ambassador Malhotra said, "The BrahMos project is a shining example of contemporary India-Russia defence cooperation.  "It captures several aspects of our defence cooperation, which has moved from a buyer-seller relationship into one involving joint research, development and production of advanced and world-class systems."  He underscored that the project has combined Indian and Russian technological capabilities with manufacturing expertise available in public and private industries of the two strategic partners.  He said it has help in the prosperity of tens of cities and towns in both countries involved in the joint project.  "It has benefited industries located in cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad in India as well as those in places such as Orenburg, Miass, Reutov, Perm and Safinova in Russia," Malhotra said said in an interview to Voice of Russia radio.  He noted that a conference on "Joint Ventures and Technology Collaboration in Defence" will be held tomorrow in New Delhi to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the BrahMos launch.  Moreover, a Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Chair would be established at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and a Dr H A Yefremov Chair at the Moscow Aviation Institute, Moscow in honour of the two outstanding scientists, who were behind the inception of the project.  He said the Chairs will serve to build Centres of Excellence for High Speed Aerodynamics at the two prestigious institutes. The BrahMos missile, which gets its name from the two great rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva, is built by BrahMos Aerospace which is a joint venture established in 1999 by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyenia.  Over the years the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been further developed for launch from multiple air, ship, submarine and land based platforms.  Ambassador Malhotra recalled that several other India-Russia projects presently underway, such as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft project, the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft project, and those for the manufacture of T-90 tanks and SU-30MKI fighters in India, also go beyond a traditional buyer-seller relationship.  "The pattern of cooperation we have developed has brought benefits to vital sectors in India and Russia. India has benefited from access to technology and materials that have contributed to its security and development, while Russian industries in these sectors have prospered from having India as a reliable and preferred partner," he said.

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