Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 10 October 2011

From Today's Papers - 10 Oct 2011





Vietnam takes on China, says India can explore its oil

Hanoi, October 9 Unfazed by Chinese threats, Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang today said India and other foreign nations were welcome to explore hydrocarbons in areas within his country's jurisdiction, as he sought to deepen strategic and defence ties with New Delhi.  Ahead of his maiden state visit to India from Tuesday, President Sang said the objectives of his trip are to continue to strengthen friendship between the two peoples, reinforce, deepen and add greater substance to bilateral strategic partnership.  "This visit takes place in the context that the time-honoured traditional friendship and strategic partnership between Vietnam and India are witnessing strong growth in all areas for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and development," Sang said.  "We note with satisfaction the fine developments of the strategic partnership between the two countries in all areas, including security- defence," he said.  The high-level visit, which will be closely followed by Beijing, comes at a time when both countries are having their own difficulties with China. Commenting on the controversy over oil exploration by India in two Vietnamese oil blocks in the South China Sea with Chinese authorities raising objections claiming that it was their area, Sang defended Hanoi's deal with India.  "It is a fact that all cooperation projects between Vietnam and other partners, including ONGC, in the field of oil and gas are located on the continental shelf, within the exclusive economic zone and under the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam, entirely in conformity with international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," he said.  We welcome foreign companies to work with Vietnamese partners in oil and gas projects on the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Vietnam and in conformity with Vietnamese laws," Sang said The Chinese claim on the South China Sea has been rejected by both India and Vietnam, saying as per the UN the blocks belong to Vietnam. India has also made it clear that its state-owned firm would continue to explore in the resource-rich South China Sea.  The President said Vietnam was also committed to protecting the legitimate interests of foreign companies which have invested in the country.  "Vietnam commits and is responsible for protecting the rights and legitimate interests of foreign companies doing business in Vietnam," the 62-year-old leader, also a politburo standing member of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam, said.  Asked if Beijing was overbearing in its attitude towards Hanoi, the Vietnamese President said that his country hoped that China's fast paced development would contribute positively to peace, stability and progress.  "China is a country with a growing role and influence in the region and the world. We hope that China's development will contribute positively to peace, stability and development in the region and the world," he said. — PTI     ‘China an important neighbour’  China and Vietnam fought a brief war in 1979 and according to analysts, Hanoi has grown wary of the Middle Kingdom's growing economic and military might. But the Vietnamese President sought to downplay this. “China is an important and close neighbouring country of Vietnam,” he said, adding that Hanoi attached great importance to the development of good neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation with China, which constitutes a priority in its foreign policy.

Dialogue with Pak Army More disadvantages than advantages

by Kuldip Nayar   A US think-tank has proposed a dialogue between India and the Pakistan Army. The proposal has merit to the extent that the army is a stark reality in Pakistan’s polity and it has been there in one form or the other for more than five decades. On the other hand, the problem that India faces is how it reconciles its democratic credentials to the character of unelected army. One is answerable to the people while the other seeks their obedience. It is not possible for the two to be on the same page. Yet, if issues like Kashmir have to be settled, the army’s nod is necessary.  There is probably a case for an unofficial, behind-the-scenes contact with the Pakistan Army. Even this contact will evoke criticism in some circles on both sides. Once, during General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime a proposal to have talks was mooted. I recall how let down the liberals at Lahore felt when they heard this. They argued that such a step would give credibility to the khaki. New Delhi abandoned the idea. There was also a belated thinking within the establishment about the effect on the Indian forces over the “recognition” of the Pakistan Army as a political entity.  Zia rationalised that the army’s control in Pakistan as a necessity in the absence of any other stable alternative. He wanted his forces to have the same status that the army enjoyed in Turkey. He assured me that they would intervene only when the constitution broke down. I told him that the case of Turkey was different. Over the years, it has created conventions and has drawn a Laxman Rekha beyond which the Turkish armed forces do not act. In Pakistan, the army has intervened whenever it has thought it fit to do so.  That may have been the reason why Zia would often tell me that you (India) would be better off in settling Kashmir and other matters with the army because if and when democracy returned to Pakistan “you would have problems.” It is true that New Delhi has not reached anywhere with the “democratic” government in Islamabad. But it is equally true that the army never left Pakistan alone.  Pakistan has a “popularly elected government” at the helm with the Prime Minister, the National Assembly, the Senate and other symbols of parliamentary democracy. Yet there are no two opinions that the Pakistan Chief of Army Staff is the last word when it comes to dealing with India and Afghanistan.  Taking up India first, there is no movement on any issue, reportedly because of the army’s disinterest. Militant training camps have not been dismantled despite assurances by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Nor is there a change in the pattern of militant activity. For the army, this is a low-cost war, bleeding India through a thousand cuts. According to the US media, the ISI is reportedly helping the Lashkar-e-Toiba, a group of terrorists, responsible for the Mumabi blasts. It is more than two years since Pakistan Home Minister Rehman Malik promised Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram to curb the Lashkar effectively. Till today, the case has not had a proper hearing. Either its dates are postponed or the judges are transferred.  Islamabad has no heart in the case. India’s Defence Minister A.K. Antony is not given to making false statements. He has alleged that the Pakistan Army has blessed the opening of more training camps and developing newer routes for infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad may not like the charge. But it is not explainable why attempts by militants to cross into India are increasing and why the clashes on the border are getting uglier with casualties on both sides? India lost an army official a few days ago in an area 100 kilometres away from Srinagar.  As for Afghanistan, Pakistan treats the country as its “strategic depth.” Islamabad’s main grouse against New Delhi is that it does not lower its presence in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai, who visited New Delhi last week, has established firmer relations with India, which will train and equip his forces, much to the chagrin of Islamabad. However, Karzai’s problem is similar to the one which US Admiral Mike Mullen has raised: “Militant Haqqani network acts as a veritable army of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency.” Mullen has gone further by warning that if Pakistan does not discipline the Haqqani Islamist militia, America will do that, meaning thereby that it may operate in Pakistan territory from where the Haqqani network operates.  Islamabad’s hostile reaction to America is natural. General Ashfaque Parvez Kayani enunciated at a meeting of NATO military chiefs that while his country was committed to the struggle against terrorists, Pakistan had the “sovereign right to formulate policy in accordance with its national interest and wishes of the people of Pakistan.” There can be no exception to that. But Islamabad should have learnt by this time what Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has said: “You think that you can keep a wild animal in the backyard and it will only go after your neighbour?” India is paying for it. Pakistan itself is a prey to it.  Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reads the situation correctly when he says that there is something “fishy”. At an all-party conference he has said that when everyone is pointing at Pakistan, it should do soul-searching as there must be some reason why other countries do not accept Pakistan’s contentions. The Asif Ali Zardari government or General Kayani may reject his viewpoint. But he has gone against the tide and told the people that Pakistan may be at fault when it finds most countries in the world not taking it on its face value.  Prime Minister Gilani may be right when he says, “they (US) cannot live with us, nor can they live without us.” Yet the American government has lowered its tone but not the tenor. It has gone ahead with the operation against the Haqqani network. Washington has announced that it will start pulling out its forces from 2014.  The point is not whether this would happen ultimately, but whether the proposed exit by the US can bring Afghanistan and other countries in the region to chalk out a joint strategy to root out terrorism in the absence of American and NATO forces. Pakistan is deluding itself if it is depending on China. It would not want to enter the arena where it could get hurt. In this scenario, General Kayani’s mistrust of Kabul and New Delhi will not help because they will be on the Pakistani side if and when it decides to eliminate terrorism in the region.n

India-China to resume annual defence dialogue early next yr

After a pause because of the Visa row, India will resume the annual defence dialogue with China in January next year to discuss several key issues including resumption of Hand-in-Hand bilateral army exercise between the two nations.  China had suggested a date in the month of November this year but both the sides mutually agreed to hold the dialogues in January 2012, sources in Defence Ministry said here today. The last round of Indo-China dialogues had taken place in Beijing in January 2010.  Various issues such as the situation along the Indo-China border and resumption of Hand-in-Hand exercise between the armies of the two sides will be discussed during the meeting, they said. New Delhi had suspended military exchanges with China in August 2010 after it refused to grant permission to a senior Indian Army Commander to proceed on an official trip to Beijing.  As an immediate fallout of the event, India refused to hold the third round of Hand-in-Hand exercise with China and had put all other military exchanges on hold. The first two editions of the army to army exercise had taken place in Kunming in China in 2007 and in Belgaum in 2008.  Putting an end to the strained military relations, India had sent its first military delegation to Beijing in June this year. Meanwhile, India and China will also hold the special envoy level talks on the issue of border management here, before the end of this year. National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivsankar Menon will be leading the Indian delegation during these talks.

Army livid with actor Mohanlal playing army man in ads

He may be Kerala’s greatest living actor, but when Mohanlal tried to mix fact with fiction and portray in real life that he was a 1971 war hero, he seemed to have gone too far.  For a 45-day period stretching from December 1, 2010 to January 15, 2011, during the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, Mohanlal appeared in a series of print and TV advertisements in army uniform, wearing an impressive array of medals and badges that mark him as a 1971 war hero, an NSG commando, a gallantry medal awardee, and the recipient of a commendation card from the army chief. The ads also featured Amitabh Bachchan.  Incidentally, Mohanlal and Bachchan were co-stars in Kandahar, a film that released in the same month. The film was made by Mohanlal’s own production house, Ashirwad Films. Guess what role Mohanlal played in Kandahar? A brave army officer and a commando.  Well, all this would have been fine but for the fact that Mohanlal had been appointed as an honorary officer in the Territorial Army by the ministry of defence in 2009. He is therefore bound by strict rules and regulations that bar him from misusing or misrepresenting his uniform. According to sources in South Block, upset army officials now want to strip him of his rank permanently.  The advertisement was noticed by a retired army officer, Brigadier CP Joshi, while on a trip to Ooty. “I was appalled to see a man who has been honoured by the Indian Army pull off something this cheap, putting on medals he clearly does not deserve. How can he claim that he took part in the 1971 war, or is qualified to make parachute jumps, or is a NSG commando,” asks a furious Joshi.  “We live and die for it. How can somebody so cynically use it for commercial gain?”  Apparently, not only has Mohanlal broken the law that prohibits him from putting on medals he has not been awarded, he has also indulged in an unethical practice, deeply embarrassing army headquarters. “We gave him the uniform to give bring greater focus on the Indian Army. But he has used it for selfish commercial purposes, to portray himself as a decorated officer when he has never been awarded a medal. We are now planning to propose that his rank and uniform be taken away,” a senior army officer told DNA on condition of anonymity. According to him, “he can only use his army uniform in an advertisement to motivate youngsters to join the army. But even that requires special permission from the office of the army chief after following procedures.”  The ad campaign was the outcome of a sponsorship deal between the tourism ministry of the Kerala government and Mohanlal’s Ashirwad Films, according to which the later was paid Rs50 lakh for promoting the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (held fromDec 1, 2010-Jan 15, 2011) for a period of 45 days.  “The GKSF had a sponsorship deal with Ashirwad Films owned by Mohanlal. While they publicised the 45-day shopping festival through newspapers, billboards and TV channels, we in GKSF distributed tickets of the movie Kandahar produced by them,” said KN Sathish, founder director of GKSF, who recently took over as district collector, Kasargod.  In retrospect, it appears that Mohanlal saw an opportunity to not only make some money, but also promote his latest film, which, sadly for him, bombed at the box office. But the advertisement did not have any disclosure stating that his picture in it was from a film, and most people assumed that he was sporting medals awarded to him by the ministry of defense.  Under section 419 of the Indian Penal Code, such impersonation is illegal and he can be prosecuted for identity theft or fraud.

LT Gen visits Red Eagle Division

ALLAHABAD: Lieutenant General SK Singh, Uttam Yuddh Seva Medal Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, General Officer Commanding in Chief, South Western Command visited the Red Eagle Division on Saturday.  During his two-day visit to Red Eagle Division, the General had a close look at the Operational Readiness of the formation. The General also addressed all ranks of the formation and emphasised on upholding the high standard and values of Indian Army. He exhorted all present to ensure battle readiness at all times and expressed great satisfaction over the efforts put in by one and all in the Red Eagle Division.  He was accompanied by Kusum Singh, regional president, Family Welfare Organisation (FWO). She inaugurated a Children's Park at the family accommodation for JCO/OR. She also interacted with families of all ranks and enquired about their well being. She praised the efforts of women in ensuring a happy, harmonious and a prosperous family life of every soldier in the station.  The General is an alumnus of Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) Dehradun, National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla and IMA Dehradun. He was commissioned into 2/8 Gorkha Rifles on December 24, 1972. He has attended the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington and National Defence College at New Delhi. He has been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Asistant Military Secretary at Army Training Command, Indian Defence Attache in Embassy of India at Ankara, Turkey, Principal Director Administration in Strategic Forces Command, Deputy Military Secretary in Army Headquarters and MGGS in Headquarters Southern Command. He has been an instructor in Infantry School Mhow, IMTRAT Bhutan and DSSC Wellington.

Jammu & Kashmir India to deploy T-72 tanks on border

Defence preparedness will now be enhanced on the Himalayan heights along the operating boundaries with China and Pakistan following reports of repeated incursions of troops and the military cooperation between the two countries. As part of this, T-72 battle tanks, designed by the erstwhile Soviet Union, will be deployed on the borders.  "There are plans to do so," a highly-placed source in the army told Hindustan Times. He said this was on the lines of the army's efforts spelled out by the Centre to enhance infrastructure in the area. Sources also said this was "part of the operational preparedness" along the borders, especially the line of actual control (with China). This was one of the major points of discussion during the visit of Northern Command chief lieutenant general KT Parnaik to Ladakh about seven days ago.  During his visit, he "reviewed" the situation along the line of actual control. He stressed the measures being undertaken to maintain vigilance and the sanctity of the boundary.  The briefing by the commander of 14 corps, lieutenant general Ravi Dastane, also focused on the need to have a more aggressive posturing along the borders to have a physical and psychological advantage over the other sides.   Army chief general VK Singh had said on October 5 there were "around 4,000 Chinese including People's Liberation Army men in Pakistan occupied Kashmir."  The army has put up signboards en route to the LAC to bolster the morale of the troops and the locals.






No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal