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Tuesday, 13 September 2011

From Today's Papers - 13 Sep 2011





IAF Group Captain held over suicide of sacked woman officer

Bhopal, September 12 Indian Air Force Group Captain Amit Gupta was taken into custody today for questioning in the suicide of Anjali Gupta, the first woman flying officer to be court martialled, the police said. The police said she committed suicide due to alleged failure of a live-in relationship with Amit Gupta.  The body of Anjali was found hanging from the ceiling fan in the house of Amit Gupta (51) on Sunday night in Bhopal. A resident of Delhi, Anjali was working in a private firm in Bangalore. On way to Bangalore, she had stopped over at Bhopal to meet Amit on September 7.  "Parents of Anjali Gupta have alleged Amit had promised Anjali marriage since long and on his refusal, she committed suicide," Rajesh Bhadoria, the City Superintendent of Police, told reporters.  Bhadoria added, "The family alleged Amit had always convinced Anjali he’d divorce his wife and marry her. According to them, Anjali had visited Amit's home several times." — IANS

MoD clears 10 pc disinvestment in HAL Ministry of Finance to determine valuation

Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 12 In a development that will be watched keenly across the aviation and defence circles in the world, the Ministry of Defence has in-principle cleared 10 per cent disinvestment in the largest defence pubic sector undertaking (DPSU), the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).  The MoD’s okay will now be vetted by the Ministry of Finance to arrive at the valuation of the company, its projected share price and also what kind of investment will be okayed — institutional or open to public. The public sector giant recorded sales of Rs 13,000 crore during the last fiscal. Sources in the MoD estimated that the valuation of the company, that owns vast tracts of lands in Bangalore and has plum joint-development deals in hand, would be in excess of Rs 65,000 crore.  The proposal will have to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and also the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA). The MoD proposes to disinvest 10 per cent across the next five years.  One of the reasons for the disinvestment is to mop up revenue. The Ministry of Finance has asked all ministries to suggest which of the PSUs could see some investment.  Sources said since HAL is key to Indian Air Force modernisation plans, the disinvestment will have to be carefully calibrated. It could be that the government permits only Indian institutions to pick up stake.  In the past, two DPSUs - Bharat Electronic Limited and Bharat Earth Movers Limited - have had some stake sold off. HAL is one of Asia's largest aerospace companies involved in manufacturing and assembling aircraft, navigation and related communication equipment as well as operating airports. One of the key projects is co-development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). India and Russia have signed a contract and HAL will be a Indian partner. HAL has just produced Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Tejas for IAF. It will get final operational clearance by the end of the year. A prototype of the Naval version is ready. HAL is already drawing up design for the medium combat aircraft and is also assembling Sukhoi-30-MKI in India.  The fine print  Proposal will have to be cleared by CCS, CCEA  Valuation likely to be in excess of `65,000 crore  Mopping up revenue reason behind the decision  Govt could allow only Indian institutions to pick up stake

Pak has been an unreliable ally: Joe Biden

United States Vice President Joe Biden has said Pakistan has been an "unreliable ally" of the US in the war against terror and asserted that it was in their interest to cooperate more. Click here!  Biden, who spoke to CNN on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, said Pakistan has failed "on occasion" when forced to choose between the US and Al Qaeda [ Images ].  The price of Pakistan's choices has been the "loss of life of American soldiers in Afghanistan," he was quoted as saying on the CNN website.  The interview is set to air later tonight. Islamabad [ Images ] has "been very helpful in other times," he added. "But it's not sufficient. They have to get better. We need a relationship that is born out of mutual interest. And it's in their interest that they be more cooperative with us."  "We are demanding it," he said.  The US-Pak relations had dipped to the lowest level since the May 2 US military operation that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden [ Images ] in Pakistan's garrison city of Abbottabad.  Pakistani authorities insist they did not know bin Laden's location. Despite troubles in Pakistan and elsewhere, the US is "getting close" to bringing about an end to organised,  legitimised terrorist activities, Biden said.  "We have done great damage to ... al Qaeda," he said. "Satellite organisations" have emerged in Somalia and elsewhere, he said, but "they are less coordinated" and "less capable."  "And we're relentless in pursuing them," he added. As a result, Americans are safer today than they were a decade ago, Biden asserted.

Pipavav Defence & Mazagon Dock in a JV for submarines, warships

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat-based shipbuilder Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd will be partnering with Mazagon Dock Ltd to build warships for the Indian Navy. This will be first time since Independence that a private sector company has been selected by a firm controlled by the Ministry of Defence to jointly build warships.  The company's board on Monday approved the setting up of a joint-venture company --- Mazagon Dock Pipavav Ltd' for this purpose, the company said in a filing on the Bombay Stock Exchange.  The company has described the development as a "game-changer" as it will help the company scale new heights.  The firm already has Rs 3,000 crore worth of orders to build naval warships for the Indian navy. It is also in the process of building one of the biggest dry docks in the world which will become a significant asset for the company's warship building programme.  Integrated ship-building facility Pipavav Shipyard had last year signed an agreement with SAAB Dynamics AB, part of Sweden's Wallenberg Group, to tap opportunities in India's defence segment.  Earlier in June this year, Pipavav Shipyard Limited (PSL) changed its name from PSL to Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd. This was done as the company intended to become an intergrated defence, oil and gas sector company.  The company is also in the process of bidding for two significant contracts for the Indian Army.

What if Mexico, not Pakistan, was the epicentre of terrorism?

America since 9/11 has not suffered a major attack, despite the current terror alert. During this decade India has suffered many terrorist strikes, by a seemingly invisible enemy. People lament the fact that India can’t seem to get its act together. Perhaps we ought to see how different things might have been if Mexico and not Pakistan had been the ‘epicentre’ of global terrorism.  The two countries shares similarities, in that what jihadi groups are to Pakistan, dangerous drug cartels are to Mexico. The cartels control swathes of Mexican territory bordering the US and are not under central government control; the Mexican army is fighting them. Jihadis control swathes of Pakistani territory, neither under Islamabad’s control; the Pakistani army is fighting them. If the Lashkar-e-Toiba is a creation and is sustained by a section of the Pakistan army’s shadowy intelligence agency, the drug cartels’ financial clout ensures they get cooperation from ‘rogue’ elements in the local government and police.  There are differences between the two countries. At 3,000-odd km, the US-Mexican border is longer than the Indo-Pak border; at least a third of it is fenced or has a wall, far more high-tech than anything India has. And yet an estimated half-million Mexicans manage to illegally slip into the US every year. The illegal crossings into India from Pakistan are far less, yet the few that take place in the Kashmir sector are enough to set into motion the various acts of terrorism.

The illegal immigrants integrate into the Latino American community, a huge 16 per cent of the US population, or even into the Mexican-American community, a significant 10 per cent of the population. And there is the proliferation of arms, explosives and technology in America, though terrorists have shown that you don’t need Army-issue RDX for a blast (the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing used a truck of fertilizer). The easy availability of guns is why America periodically sees an Ajmal Kasab-type deranged individual going on the rampage at campuses and other public places.  Since 9/11, Americans have spent about US $360billion on federal homeland security measures. Airline security has become thorough; border patrolling has become so aggressive that it borders on racial profiling; CCTV cameras are extensive in cities and in industrial or economic sites deemed to be potential targets; and so on.  Despite all this, however, if Mexico was the ‘epicentre’ of terrorism, with badlands similar to Pakistan’s tribal areas — inaccessible and providing refuge for the most zealous terrorists in the world — then it is unlikely that the US would have escaped unscathed.  Newsweek identifies 40 foiled domestic plots by terrorists in the US since 9/11; if Mexico had been Pakistan, then you could argue that 40 would have been the number of successful terrorist plots, even if the foiled plots were ten times as much. That’s what happens near the epicentre of an earthquake; you necessarily suffer much of the damage and the aftershocks.  There’s a big difference between US counter-terrorism and India’s which would work in favour of better American security even in this scenario: the key role played by Muslim-Americans in their military and intelligence agencies. Accounts of Osama bin Laden’s elimination place an Urdu-speaker as part of the CIA-SEAL team.  There have been public accounts of Arab-Americans or Muslim-Americans working both in the US and abroad in counter-terrorism. Such an integrative approach would bear results even if terrorism was hatched next door, in Mexico.  Contrast that with India. Our intelligence agencies are manned by persons who are mostly socially conservative and who follow an unspoken rule of avoiding the induction of Muslims in key posts. No wonder our agencies are unintelligent. Do we have spies watching Hafeez Saeed’s or Dawood Ibrahim’s house in the way that the CIA had people watching Osama’s house? It is doubtful. You could argue this is because the US has more resources or political power than India, but you cannot deny the fact that we have many inadequacies in our mindset and our approach.  If Mexico were the epicentre of terrorism, then perhaps India would face less terrorism attempts simply because of the sheer distance that terrorists would have to travel simply to get here; also, Mexican terrorists might have little motivation to expose themselves in a distant country to help out radicalised Indians — even if they were co-religionists.  This argument, however, overlooks two things. One, much of our terrorism, though abetted by Pakistan, has its roots in our societal problems, governmental apathy and community violence.Secondly, as long as India has a problem in Kashmir, it will always be vulnerable to terrorism.  This is not going to sound good to middle-class or ultra-patriotic ears. But it is a fact. And so it is not enough to say that India suffers because it is located next door to Pakistan, the ‘epicentre’ of terrorism. For all its faults, America is the kind of nation that attempts to solve its political problems. Maybe it is more difficult for India to do so, but there is not even a token effort in that direction. And this is why our record of fighting terror since 9/11 has been far less impressive than America’s.


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