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Sunday, 21 August 2011

From Today's Papers - 21 Aug 2011




Navy gets stealth frigate Satpura
Ajay Banerjee writes from Mumbai  Continuing with its warship-building programme, India today commissioned its second indigenous stealth frigate, INS Satpura, which is the biggest in its class in the world. The ship, which is 143m long, can tactically fire weapons even before the enemy detects it.  This one comes 15 months after the first such ship, the INS Shivalik, was commissioned and includes a provision to fit the deadly super cruise missile, the BrahMos, at a later stage. It carries some eight different types of radars and sensors to pick out activity at sea and form an anti-missile defence for its own protection besides coordinate the firing of onboard weapons. Two electronic warfare suites other than a host of missiles, torpedoes and anti-submarine warfare capability are also on board.  Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma commissioned the warship here today as Defence Minister AK Antony, who was originally scheduled to do the honours, was “indisposed”.  The third ship in this series - the INS Sahyadri - is on its way and will be commissioned next year.  “For the first time, the DRDO-produced special steel was used on INS Satpura,” said Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the ship maker Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL) Vice-Admiral HS Malhi (retd).









ITBP deployment along China border to go up
35 new posts, 13 more battalions along Himalayan frontier soon Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, August 20 Undertaking its first major expansion since 1978, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) is setting up 35 new border outposts to plug the existing gaps in defences along the Himalayan frontier.  These posts will complement the existing 142 outposts manned by the force to guard the Line of Actual Control and the international border with China.  “At present, the gap between two posts varies from 50 to 130 kms. We intend to reduce this to an average of 20 kms,” ITBP Director-General, R.K. Bhatia, told The Tribune during a visit to the force’s Basic Training Centre at Ramgarh near here today.  In addition, 102 existing posts are being upgraded with additional manpower and better infrastructural facilities to cater to the operational requirements that include general surveillance and undertaking long-range patrols in difficult conditions. “We have identified areas in consultation with the Army where new border outposts or additional troop strength is required,” Bhatia added.  As part of its ongoing restructuring and expansion, 13 new battalions are being raised this year. The strength of 20 existing battalions is being increased by two companies each. A company comprises 120 men. To cater to the expansion programme, the ITBP has just finished recruiting 13,500 personnel. Their training is scheduled to begin in October.  Interestingly, the ITBP has also started recruiting troops from all across the country instead of drawing manpower from the hilly regions as was the practice earlier. With the force now acquiring an “all-India character”, some battalions are now rotated to stations in south, central and western parts of the country. This is done so to facilitate training, rest and recuperation of troops, who are deployed at altitudes above 9,000 feet and also enable them to be closer home at times.  Bhatia also said that as part of its modernisation programme, the force is looking to replace its locally manufactured INSAS rifles. “We would be going in for the more advanced version of the INSAS rifle that is coming up. It is an improvement over the existing version, incorporating some imported components and design modifications,” he added.  All terrain vehicles, of which are 70 are being sources from local manufacturers, advanced surveillance equipment and more night vision goggles are also on the cards.








India, Pakistan to discuss nuke CBMs next month
Ashok Tuteja/TNS  New Delhi, August 20 India and Pakistan will consider in Islamabad next month some far-reaching nuclear and conventional confidence- building measures (CBMs) between them with the aim of promoting peace and security in the region.  According to sources, dates were being worked out by the two countries for the meeting of the expert groups on the issue. The meeting, in all probability, would be held in the middle of September.  This will be the first time since 2007 that the two neighbouring countries will discuss at the expert group level the sensitive issue of nuclear and conventional CBMs. The issue was briefly touched upon at the Foreign Secretary-level talks in the Pakistani capital in June. In the past, they have concluded nuclear CBMs - an agreement not to attack each other's nuclear facilities and an accord to inform each other about the testing of ballistic missiles.  The two countries have been discussing proposals for limited disarmament, concluding a regional treaty not to carry out tests or simultaneously signing safeguard treaties.  Asked if India had noticed any positive change in Pakistan’s attitude towards the bilateral relationship at the talks between the Foreign Ministers last month, sources said Islamabad was apparently realising now that it owed to its people to move the ties with India forward.  On whether Pakistan had agreed to grant the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India, they said Islamabad had promised to do so at the earliest. Indications are that Pakistan might formally accord the MFN status to India by October. The Commerce Secretaries of the two countries are also expected to meet soon.  Meanwhile, parliamentarians from India and Pakistan concluded a two-day meeting here yesterday, calling for an 'uninterrupted' dialogue between the two countries. They also pushed for liberalising the visa regime to ease travel between their people and underlined the need for resolving all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism.  The two-day parliamentarians' dialogue was co-chaired by senior BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Pakistani Senator Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali.









Things may be slow, but are in control: Navy chief
Ajay Banerjee in Mumbai  Having seen the adverse reaction of the nation to a crewless vessel - MT Pavit - drifting into Mumbai, the Indian Navy has changed its patrol plans and ship-detection procedures at sea to make sure that a such an incident doesn’t repeat itself.  Though severely handicapped in the absence of a chain of coastal radars or the automated identification system (AIS) for ships out at sea, which were promised after the 26/11 attacks, Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said the Navy was tracing how Pavit sailed undetected from more than a 1,000 miles to land at Mumbai.  Admiral Verma admitted that the task of securing the coast and setting up radars or the AIS could not be done by the Navy alone. Hence, other agencies have been roped in.  “It will be too huge for me. I do not have that kind of manpower,” the Admiral said in response to a question by reporters as to why the Navy does not take control of these projects since it was designated the overall in charge in February 2009.  Admiral Verma was categorical as he referred to steps taken after 26/11. “Some of them have not moved at the pace as one desires. There have been procedural issues. In some cases, the task has been gigantic like the one in case of issue of (identity) cards to fishermen,” he said.  “Things are in control,” Admiral Verma said as he referred to the coordination between various agencies that is done at the level of the Cabinet Secretary.  Originally, the Navy has suggested a Maritime Commission and also a Maritime Security Adviser under the PM for being the single point in charge for sea matters on the pattern of the National Security Adviser.










8 infiltration bids in August
SRINAGAR: Infiltration attempts along the LoC have increased in recent days as eight such bids were reported this month.  Defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar identified the officer as Lt Navdeep Singh, commissioned into the Army Ordnance Corps five months ago. He said two soldiers were also injured in the encounter. Lt Col Brar said the terrorists were using a boat to infiltrate perhaps for the first time.  "This is certainly a new development. The terrorists were also carrying an inflatable five-man dinghy,'' he said.The spokesman said six slain terrorists fell into the river while as many were killed near its banks. "Five AK rifles, one pistol, two boats, 50 assorted grenades, two radio sets, two compasses and one GPS besides a large quantity of war like stores were recovered from the scene till the reports last came in,'' he said.










'Anna a decorated soldier, didn't desert Army'
LUCKNOW: Indian Army response to an RTI query has laid to rest all rumours related to Anna Hazare's stint in the force. "Anna never deserted the Army and has no record of punishment. He was honourably discharged from the Army on completion of service," the Indian Army said in response to the query.  Delhi-based activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal had moved an RTI application seeking details of Anna's service. In response, Army's public information officer (ASC records, South, Bangalore) LT Col Arun Kumar said: "As per records held with this office, he (Anna) had never deserted the Indian Army. Yes, he was honourably discharged from the Indian Army on completion of service."  "Anna enrolled with the Army on April 14,1963. No.13822764A ex-sepoy Kisan Hazare had completed his training at Aurangabad. His designation, when he joined the service, was Recruit. He was attested as soldier on November 16, 1963. He was holding the rank of sepoy at the time of leaving the service," the PIO letter stated.  It added, "No punishment was accorded to Anna as per service records. Following medals were notified to him: Sainya Seva Medal, 9 Years Long Service Medal, Sangram Medal, 25th Independent Anniversary Medal and Paschimi Star."  Agrawal had sought a six-point information on Anna on April 13, 2011 from the defence ministry. He wanted to know if Kisan Baburao Hazare started his career in the Indian Army in 1963 with education upto seventh standard.  "I heard several people raising questions on Anna's stint in the Army. I only wanted the truth to be out," said Agrawal. Since the Army has praised his role as sepoy, my purpose has been served, he added.  On certain points, Agrawal said, he was still awaiting information. "I am still to get any information on rules in Indian Army, especially about educational qualification for recruitment of drivers in 1963 and at present and jobs in Indian Army (including about supportive staff like cooks etc.) which do not require any minimum educational qualification."  Incidentally, before responding to Agarwal's application, the CPIO had on May 27, 2011, invited objections from Anna under Section 11 of the RTI Act. Explaining the procedure, former UP information commissioner Gyanendra Sharma said: "In cases where information is sought about the third party, a PIO may or may not seek an NOC from the third party. And if the third party does not respond, PIO is free to provide the information if he thinks it is for public good."  But what has baffled the activist is the leaking of the letter to the third party (read Congress spokesperson) who mentioned it at a press conference in New Delhi on August 14 and questioned why Anna did not respond to the CPIO letter asking if information about him be provided under RTI or not. "I was shocked when spokesperson of the ruling party referred to the letter at a press conference in a bid to defame Kisan Baburao Hazare," he said. Agrawal has now sought a probe into the alleged leak of the said correspondence and has written to the appellate authority of the Army.










Year's biggest infiltration foiled
An Indian Army lieutenant and 12 militants were killed in north Kashmir on Saturday, in the biggest infiltration attempt from Pakistan this year. Two army jawans were also injured in the day-long gunbattle in Gurez sector of Bandipora district. The infiltration attempt — the eighth this month — from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was foiled when a group of militants tried to cross the Line of Control (LoC) near the Kishanganga river.  "At around 1am on Saturday, our troops intercepted the group trying to infiltrate through the Kishanganga river on inflatable boats," said Srinagar-based defence spokesman Lieutenant Colonel JS Brar.  Army officials said the boats were similar to those used in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.  "Five AK-47 rifles, a pistol, two boats, 50 grenades, two radio sets, two compasses and a global positioning system device were recovered," said Brar.  While the gunbattle ended at 5pm, the combing operation in the neighbouring forests went on till late evening, as sources said the army feared that it had been a group of 17 militants.









Who disrupts Pak-China relations?
Sajjad Shaukat  On July 30 and 31 this year, 14 people were killed and 42 injured in two separate incidents in the Chinese city of Kashgar. At the start of August, security forces blanketed central areas of Kashgar, days after violence which resulted into ethnic tensions in the Muslim Uighur area where Uighurs in Xinjiang – the largely populated Muslim province, stormed a restaurant, killed the owner and a waiter and murdered four people in a street. In the other incident, a truck in Kashgar was hijacked and the attackers killed the driver, and stabbed people at random. Six culprits were killed before the crowd turned on them.As regards these latest terror-incidents, the Kashgar authorities said in light of initial investigation that the attacks in China’s restive Xinjiang region were masterminded ofterrorists trained in Pakistan.Most of the political experts including those of the China have questioned the Chinese government’s claim that recent violent events in the Xinjiang area were planned abroad by the Islamic extremists, trained in Pakistan, adding that there is no such evidence. An analyst opined, “I do not think, there is any reason to assume that any Pakistan-based organization is orchestrating these attacks.” In this respect, on August 4, even the public security minister of China Meng Jianzhu, avoided any mention of Pakistan.In the recent years, several violent events have rocked Xinjiang where many Uighurs, a predominantly Muslim Turkish-speaking people dislike the influx of ethnic Han Chinese.The fact of the matter is that Indian secret agency, RAW in collusion with American CIA and Israeli Mossad has arranged these new subversive acts in China. In this respect, we cannot blame these secret agencies without some logic. With the networks of RAW, CIA and Mossad, Afghanistan has become the hub of regional conspiracies, particularly directed against Pakistan, China and even Iran. Under the pretext of Talibanisation of Pakistan and unrest in the country, which has collectively been arranged by CIA, RAW and Mossad have been destabilising Pakistan to ‘denuclearise’ it. For this purpose, the US seeks to shift Afghan war to Pakistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. While Obama administration which already continues with its agenda of secret war in Pakistan, has planned a covert war against Pakistan which will include Karachi, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where these foreign secret agencies are assisting the insurgents and their agents with money and weapons. The course of drone attacks will further be extended to other regions beyond Pakistan’s tribal areas. On August 6, NBC TV channel disclosed that the “US has a contingency plan to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons…if it fears they are about to fall into the wrong hands.”It is an established fact that in India there are several training camps where many Muslims are being trained by Indian military, while some are being trained in the camps in Afghanistan. Thus, besides sending highly motivated insurgents from Afghanistan, CIA, RAW and Mossad have rapidly established their collective network in Pakistan. They have recruited Pakistani nationals who are vulnerable and can work on payroll, giving them high financial incentives to work for them. These elements are creating instability by supporting separatist and hostile elements in Balochistan province, and also in other cities of our country. In this regard, suicide attacks, assaults on Pakistan’s security personnel, targeted killings especially in Karachi, etc. might be cited as an example. With the logistic aid of RAW and CIA, Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) has been waging a separatist war. After Bugti’s death his grandson, Brahmdagh Bugti is currently operating against Pakistan from Kabul. On July 23, 2008, in an interview with the BBC, Brahmdagh Bugti, while answering to a question regarding getting arms from neighboring countries, replied that they are fighting for self-defence and “have the right to accept any foreign aid in this perspective”. Another CIA and Indian-supported separatist group, Jundollah (God’s soldiers) is also working against the cordial relationship of Pakistan with China and Iran. In the past few years, both the militant groups, kidnapped and murdered a number of Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan, while committing other subversive acts in the province.It is notable that on April 18, 2008, the ex-Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi openly claimed that “some external forces were trying to weaken China-Pakistan strategic ties” by “creating misunderstandings.”In fact, the very day when Beijing signed agreement with Islamabad to develop the Gwadar seaport in Balochistan, a siren went off in the capitals of Washington, New Delhi and Tel Aviv. The USA took it as a threat to its global plans, and India felt that it threatened its integrity. American close ally, Israel also took it as a greater threat from a Muslim country. China which has invested billion of dollars to develop Gwadar seaport which could link Central Asian trade with rest of the world, irritates the US and its allies India and Israel. The problem was not restricted to Balochistan alone, it also related to the Karakorum Highway, which was extended to Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and the tribal areas of Pakistan. When in 2004, Beijing signed an agreement with Islamabad for an extension of the historical highway from Gilgit to Swat, passing through Dir and Chitral, that highway was named the Karakorum Highway phase II. US-led India and Israel also presumed that project as a threat to their secret strategic interests.Notably, Washington which signed a deal of civil nuclear technology with New Delhi wants to counterbalance China by making India the superpower of Asia. In this context, a cold war has already started between the US-supported India and China. In this context, during her trip to India, on July 20 this year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged India to be more assertive in Asia, saying that the country should play more of a leadership role. On the other side, while showing US paradoxical approach by concealing American double game, she remarked, “Pakistan must do more to tackle terror groups operating from its territory being used for attacks that destabilise Afghanistan or India.”It is mentionable that by ignoring Sino-Pakistan peace-approach, on December 29, 2009, Indian former Army chief General Deepak Kapoor had openly accused that Indian Army “is now revising its five-year-old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.” On October 15, 2010, Indian new Army Chief General VK Singh also expressed similar views.In the recent past, when more than 180 persons died in ethnic riots occurred in Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang province, Indian and American media blamed Pakistani militants for supporting the insurgency so as to deteriorate Sino-Pak ties. In fact, with the tactical assistance of the US and Israel, New Delhi which had given shelter to the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama and his militants has been playing a key role in supporting upsurge in the Tibetan and Muslim areas of China.It is of particular attention that in February 2010, the US President Obama met with Dalai Lama, infuriating Beijing. In this connection, Obama’s purpose was to encourage uprising in the Tibetan areas. It is noteworthy that India is supplying weapons to the Tibetan militants and those of the Xinjiang, but in order to conceal its covert activities, New Delhi has always accused China of backing Maoist uprising.All these developments prove that CIA, RAW and Mossad which are behind subversive events in Pakistan are also assisting violent acts in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. By fuelling ethnic violence between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese, their aim is to weaken China. But their major purpose remains to manipulate the ethnic division, and terror-attacks in the Chinese province so as to divert the attention of Beijing towards Pakistan-based Islamic militant groups, while RAW-assisted Indian Muslims have joined the rank and file of these activists.However, China and Pakistan cannot neglect their defence when their adversaries are acting upon a secret diplomacy. Both Islamabad and Beijing have signed several agreements of cooperation in the diversified areas such as defence, agriculture, healthcare, media, economy and technology, etc. Returning to our earlier discussion, India, US and Israel are plotting to disrupt the Pak-China cordial relations by backing the violent attacks in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, while distorting the image of Pakistan in the eyes of Beijing. sajjad_logic@yahoo.com






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