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Saturday, 15 October 2011

From Today's Papers - 15 Oct 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Punjab Regiment is 250 years old

Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, October 14 As part of the 250 Raising Day Celebrations of the Punjab Regiment, a special commemorative stamp and a first day cover were released by President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhawan today. Defence Minister AK Antony, Chief of the Army Staff, Gen VK Singh and Colonel of the Punjab Regiment, Lt Gen KJS Oberoi, were also present on the occasion.  A host of other events and adventure activities are being undertaken to mark the occasion. These include a 1,156 km para-motor gliding expedition from Meerut to Ramgarh (Jharkhand) where the regimental centre is located and a cycle expedition from Ramgarh to New Delhi. The purpose of these expeditions is to display the regiment’s spirit of adventure and to connect with the masses in the hinterland, to motivate the youth and foster national solidarity.  The Punjab Regiment is the oldest Infantry regiment of the Indian Army and traces its origin to the later half of the 18th century. The ancestral units of the Punjab Regiment were formed out of the erstwhile Coastal Sepoys, which were later known as Carnatic Battalions and then Madras Battalions. In October 1761, the first battalions of the Punjab Regiment were raised. The designation of these battalions underwent several changes in subsequent years and later came to be known as 2nd Punjab Regiment and its recruitment was confined to areas of Punjab.  The First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, now part of the Army’s elite Special Forces, was a part of the Punjab Regiment, having been raised as the 8th Battalion Coast Sepoys in 1761 at Trichinopoly.  Its later redesignations included 67th Punjabis, 1/2nd Punjab Regiment and the 1st Battalion Punjab Regiment. In 1952 it was converted to 1 Para (Punjab) and later reorganised into a commando battalion.

 

 

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111015/main6.htm

All IAF helicopters in UN mission withdrawn

New Delhi, October 14 Indian Air Force has withdrawn all of its Mi-17 and Mi-35 attack helicopters deployed in the UN missions in Congo and Sudan to provide support for anti-naxal and other humanitarian operations in the country.  "We had our detachments operating in Congo and Sudan but based on our own requirements, the UN requirements have been taken back. All our people who were operating these Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters are now back with us," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said here.  The IAF had deployed around 20 Mi-17s and over 10 Mi-35 helicopters in the UN operations which were providing close air support to the ground troops operating in the two trouble torn countries.  The IAF had last year decided to withdraw all its aerial assets from the UN operations in view of the requirements in supporting Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in anti-naxal operations in Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand. — PTI 

 

 

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111015/nation.htm#11

Indian and French troops exchange combat strategies

BD Kasniyal  Pithoragarh, October 14 In the first ever joint combat exercise between armies of France and India at Chaubatia in Almora’s Ranikhet area, troops exchanged methodologies to combat terror on Wednesday.  Sixty troops from both armies are taking part in the 15-day joint exercise organised in the rugged Chaubatia hills.  Named ‘Shakti 2011’, it is the third in the sequence of joint exercises between Indian troops and those from other countries.  “This is token presence of the troops from both the countries, which will be followed by larger numbers of troops in the coming days for the exercises,” said Colonel Manjit Kalra, commanding officer of Indian troops.  Indian troops are learning the methodology of tracing the mines planted in the battlefield from the French army. In turn, French troops are learning the methodology to fight terrorists from their Indian counterparts. “The joint troops are also being trained about different methods of firing in the battle field,” said the commander.  According to information, 60 jawans from the 2nd Bihar Regiment of 99 Mountain Brigade from India and same number of troops of the 13th Mountain Battalion of French army are taking part in this exercise. “Keeping in mind the increasing strategic importance of South Asia in the world and close relations between China and Pakistan in the recent years, this exercise indicates the likely military collaboration between India and France,” said Lt Gen (retired) MC Bhandari.

 

 

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111015/nation.htm#13

Pak milItary is the real beneficiary of US aid

After a decade of engagement between the US and Pakistan, what emerges from both countries’ perspective is that post-9/11 US aid has been focused mainly on carrying out counterterrorism operations, not helping the Pakistani people or the economy S. Akbar Zaidi   The Pakistani military has skilfully exploited the pathology of too big and too important to fail.  IT is not much of an exaggeration to state that Pakistan has always been an aid-dependent country. Estimates suggest that the gross disbursement of overseas development assistance to Pakistan from 1960 to 2002 (in 2001 prices) was $73.1bn, including bilateral and multilateral sources.  Almost 30 per cent of this official development assistance came in the form of bilateral aid from the US, the largest single bilateral donor by far. Assistance of this magnitude was made possible by the fact that Pakistan's leadership, especially its military leadership, clearly aligned itself with the US during the Cold War.  US aid to Pakistan was vital during the 1960s. It helped play a significant part in numerous development projects, food support and humanitarian assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other mechanisms. By 1964, overall aid and assistance to Pakistan was around 5 per cent of its GDP and was critical in spurring Pakistani industrialisation and development. Not only was aid vital in the 1960s, it was also focused on civilian economic assistance.  Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaque Kayani Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaque Kayani  The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 resulted in increased US development and military assistance as Pakistan became a frontline state in the war against Soviet occupation. Large and undisclosed amounts of money and arms were channelled to the Mujahideen fighting the Red Army in Afghanistan through Pakistan's military and its clandestine agencies, particularly the ISI. While this 'aid' was not meant directly for Pakistan's military, there is ample evidence that significant funds meant for the Afghan Mujahideen were pocketed by Pakistani officers.  US assistance during 1971-2001 did not put Pakistan on a path to self-sustaining growth, nor did it bring about any real value in terms of America's own Cold War objectives. The expulsion of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan with strategic help from Pakistan was a major gain for Washington, but the Afghan campaign also ended up strengthening the praetorian state in Pakistan while doing little to aid its people. After September 2001, the nature of the US aid to Pakistan relationship changed primarily to purchasing Pakistan's cooperation in counterterrorism. In 2002-10 (and not including commitments such as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009), the US gave Pakistan almost $19bn, or more than $2bn on an average each year, with twice as much allocated in 2010 ($3.6bn) than in 2007. During 2002-08, only 10 per cent of this money was meant for Pakistani development, and as much as 75 per cent of the money was explicitly for military purposes. In more recent years, the share of economy-related aid has risen, but it is still less than half. It is important to state that the primary purpose of aid to Pakistan has been counterterrorism, not economic support.  Since 2008, there has been a rethinking in the nature of US assistance to Pakistan. The first major step was the promulgation of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill, which commits $7.5bn in non-military aid to Pakistan over five years. However, it is still not clear when and how the legislation will actually start delivering aid to Pakistan. The Christian Science Monitor reported that only $285m of this money had been spent by May 2011.  After a decade of engagement and assistance between the US and Pakistan, what emerges from both countries' perspective is that post-9/11 US aid has been focused mainly on carrying out counterterrorism operations, not helping the Pakistani people or the economy, or building democracy. This assistance has not achieved the counterterrorism objectives of the US or Pakistan, even acknowledging that the objectives have been inadequately defined. It has had the effect, however, of strengthening the praetorian state further - thus reinforcing the very weaknesses of Pakistan's democracy that the Americans decry.  The question asked in Islamabad, as well as in Washington, as to what benefits US aid brings to Pakistan, is being answered as follows. In Washington, the question being asked post-Bin Laden is: what is or has the US received in return for the $20bn aid given to Pakistan over the last decade? And the answer seems to be 'not very much'. In Islamabad, the question being asked by politicians and civil society members is similar: what has US aid delivered for the people of Pakistan? The answer again is 'not very much, except that the military has benefited the most'.  Both Pakistan and the US have reason to be disappointed with the results of American aid. Though the US hoped that this assistance would encourage Pakistan's army to help in the war on terrorism in the border regions of Pakistan, there has been no real evidence that the Pakistani army has been on the same page as the US administration in this regard, or that the government and military feel as strongly about Al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban as does the US administration.  The Pakistani military has been the main beneficiary of aid from the US, exploiting the pathology of too big and too important to fail. Since military aid has been two or three times as large as economic aid, the US government has strengthened the hand of the military in Pakistan's political economy, sidestepping the elected civilian government because there has been more trust, unfounded, no doubt, in the ability of the Pakistani military. There is an urgent need to shift the relationship away from a myopic focus on the military towards a more productive use of aid. Such a shift might just strengthen democracy in Pakistan as well.  — The writer is a political economist By arrangement with Dawn, Islamabad.

 

 

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111015/edit.htm#6

Army Commanders’ Conference

Today at the Army Commanders’ Conference, being conducted at the Manekshaw Centre, high on the agenda were ‘Professional Military Education’ for Scholar Warriors of the Indian Army and ‘Life Cycle Sustainment of Equipment’.  The current professional development philosophy for officers was focused mainly on structured and institutionalised training, aimed at enhancing war fighting skills. The ARTRAC proposal aimed at ensuring that officers gained adequate understanding of issues of national, strategic and technical importance, in their formative years also, through professional military education.  On the ‘Life Cycle Sustainment of Equipment’, it was felt that there was a need for evolving an effective system that would comprehensively address equipment related issues. The aim was for the stake holders to take a ‘womb to tomb’ view of the equipment, right from the concept formulation stage, so that sustainment costs are lowered.  Later in the afternoon, the Chief, Army Commanders and PSOs had a constructive interaction with Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, Defence Secretary and MoD Officials.  During the next two days, the Chief will interact with Army Commanders and concerned PSOs on Operational and Human Resource (MS) matters.

 

 

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=76599

01:45 PM ET Share Comments (69 comments) Permalink Is Pakistan preparing for war?

By Omar R. Quraishi, Foreign Affairs  If Pakistani news channels can be taken at face value these days, the country is preparing for war. Retired generals, ambassadors, and professors weigh in on the likelihood of U.S. attack with an unrelenting intensity. The anchor of "Capital Talk," one of the most widely watched news programs on the popular channel Geo, recently asked guests what Pakistan should do when the impending attack occurs. A couple of his guests said that Pakistan should mobilize its forces and respond with full force. Officials have been more circumspect, but have issued the constant refrain that Pakistan's sovereignty must not be compromised.  On Facebook, meanwhile, new groups rally Pakistanis to the defense of the homeland. Just a few hours before sitting down to write this article, I received a text message with a similar call to action from a professional acquaintance. The rambling screed read, "Let them taunt us as an economically failed state, for they know not how thousands of Pakistani workers are currently working in the Middle East, Western Europe, and North America... Let them call us a technologically backward state, for they know not how we are the sole Muslim state with nuclear capability."  Read: Time to get realistic about aid.  In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, such propaganda is everywhere. I have never seen it so virulent. But, in fact, Pakistan can ill afford any war, much less one against the sole remaining superpower. Sure, thousands of Pakistanis work abroad and send home billions of dollars in remittances every year. But many of those workers left precisely because Pakistan did not have jobs for them or because the economy was failing to properly reward their academic and professional achievements. And, of those employed within the country, the vast majority pay no taxes at all; Pakistan has among the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world. The country's collection agency, the state-run Federal Board of Revenue, is infamously corrupt.  Defense budgets being virtually untouchable because of the military's outsized domestic power, the civilian government has dealt with the lack of revenues by cutting back the Public Sector Development Program (its social spending budget) by around 150 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) between 2010 and 2011 alone. Islamabad is left with little option but to seek development and emergency assistance from other countries. Following severe flooding in southern Pakistan last year, for example, the central government immediately called for foreign assistance. Eventually, such aid made up almost all of the relief effort. A similar appeal by the U.N. after this year's floods, for over $300 million, has raised less than a tenth of that amount, indicating that there will be nothing Pakistan can do to prevent another natural disaster from becoming one more humanitarian catastrophe.  Read: Double down on Pakistanis.  It would be fair to say that, purely from an economics point of view, Islamabad cannot afford worsening relations with the United States because it still needs aid. If the United States were to cut off the government today, its non-military budget for next year would be jeopardized, since the country's tax revenues are nowhere near enough to cover budgeted expenditures (the deficit for 2010-11 was close to six per cent of GDP).  Meanwhile, the country's defense budget takes up most of what little resources there are. And, this year, the military requested and received a budget increase of 45 billion rupees (about $458 million) over and above what it had been allotted during last year's budgeting process - without specifying why it needed the extra money. Despite its outsized military spending, Pakistan often responds to U.S. requests that it do more to fight terrorism by arguing that opening another front against the militants would be prohibitively expensive while declining any additional U.S. involvement. Indeed, with U.S. assistance or without, going to war is costly in both men and resources and imposes a heavy financial burden on Pakistan's already weak economy. (The country has to import a host of basic goods and services because it is unable to produce them itself.) So, even as Pakistan's generals are hesitant to step up their campaigns against militants, or allow the United States to handle the problem alone, they are uninterested in further provocations with the Americans.  For those who live outside of Pakistan, then, it is a fair question why the public tenor is so aggressive. When relations between the United States and Pakistan were more stable a year ago, a little posturing on the part of the government about sovereignty had very little cost abroad and high potential rewards at home. It appeased both the military and certain segments of society. Thus, Pakistani officials routinely spoke out against the U.S. drone program and the like, but never did anything to stop it. (In fact, the government and military even approved the strikes and leaders of at least three major mainstream parties privately confide that drones are effective.)  Read: Iran and Saudi Arabia square off.  After a while, the media took the establishment's cue and expanded its message. News programs have become increasingly reactionary and nationalistic, especially in regard to the United States. The United States' abandonment of Afghanistan, and subsequently Pakistan, in the 1990s is a constant refrain. Shows regularly postulate that the United States is doing the same. Naturally, the mixture of alarmism and nationalism is appealing, and wins viewers. And, of course, it is even true to some extent; Americans are leaving the region at a time when the Taliban are resurgent. Pakistanis, especially those who are liberal and progressive, feel that the country and region is being left to its own devices.  But with the U.S.-Pakistani alliance on the rocks, the tennor is more troubling. An anti-American public is now putting pressure on the government to stand up to the United States in ways that it might not be capable of doing. If there is some kind of permanent break in ties between the two countries, of course, the only ones who will benefit will be the Taliban, their allied militant groups, and the conservative element in society.  To prevent such a break, Pakistan will need to address its political dysfunction at its root: the imbalance between the government and the military. Fixing that would be exceedingly difficult, since it would require finding some solution to the Kashmir problem and reigning in domestic terrorism, but it needs to happen. It is the only way to stop jingoistic posturing, and it is the only way that defense spending could conceivably be reduced to free up resources for the social sector and for human resource development.  If Pakistan's centers of power could be rebalanced, the United States might even warm to the country again. This should be in the interest of all Pakistanis - those who do not want their country to become another Taliban-ruled Afghanistan; those who understand that the United States is Pakistan's largest trading partner, second-biggest investor, and the decisive voice at the World Bank and the IMF; and even those in the military who realize that the United States is their largest beneficiary.  There is no indication, however, that Pakistan will undertake needed soul-searching anytime soon. For now, the government seems firmly under the sway of the military. At the September 29 All Parties Conference, over 50 political and religious parties passed a resolution declaring that the government would sue for peace by talking to the Taliban and other militant groups. Even though the resolution was drafted by civilians, the initiative came from the military. The generals recently launched several operations in parts of the tribal areas, so their thinking, quite possibly, is that going into North Waziristan now could have significant blowback.  They ignore the fact, of course, that negotiating with the Taliban without first making any gains against them will only embolden them further. This happened in South Waziristan in 2006, in Swat in 2009, and in Fata in 2010. Already, the deputy chief of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, has come out in favor of the resolution, but gave two preconditions: that the state review its relations with the United States and that it impose sharia law in Pakistan. These steps would transform Pakistan into Afghanistan in the 1990s. Instead, Islamabad must push the military to seriously crack down on extremists. To do this, the parties, especially the ruling Pakistan People's Party needs to go back to its electorate (most of the PPP's voters are not at all in favor of a Taliban-like regime) and start druming up support for operations against the militants. The government could then talk to whatever remnants remain from a position of strength.  Read: Why the Rich Are Getting Richer.  Right now, rank emotionalism seems to be guiding the contours of Pakistani foreign policy, especially in terms of its relationship with the United States. One can only hope that the civilian leaders at least try to take charge. They have a clear stake in the country not becoming a pariah in the eyes of the world. If they can be more pragmatic they might manage to ease the tensions between the two countries. Even then, Islamabad will have the difficult task of passing the message on to the general public, much of which still seems to think that Pakistan is better off without the United States.

 

 

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/13/is-pakistan-preparing-for-war/

Should India talk with General Kayani?

We need to take the bull by its horns and confront the Pakistan Army [ Images ] directly. However blasphemous and anti-protocol it may seem we must insist that General Ashfaq Kayani be a part of the dialogue process, says Vivek Gumaste.

What exactly defines the trajectory of normalisation of relations between warring neighbours like India [ Images ] and Pakistan? Is it when an attractive young Pakistani foreign minister with an engaging smile waltzes through India swinging her Birkin bag to the fawning admiration of smitten glitterati?  Can we assume that the two nations are inching closer to genuine bonhomie when External Affairs Minister S M Krishna [ Images ] brushes aside protocol and drops in on a reception in New York hosted by his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar on the sidelines of the recently concluded UN General Assembly and then surmises: "…Pakistan happens to be a close neighbour with which we have a connection, both in terms of civilization, we have same common history, background and language. Hence it is necessary to normalise relations with it."  The answer is neither. In fact both instances unequivocally emphasise a fundamental flaw in our foreign policy vis-a-vis Pakistan; an approach that is overshadowed and consumed by symbolism as evidenced by inane paeans to our common heritage rather than judged by the principles of realpolitik; so much so that in the lexicon of our Pakistan diplomacy superficiality has been substituted for substance and pretence has supplanted the real.  In his opus, Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger characterises realpolitik as foreign policy 'based on calculations of power and national interest'. Diplomatic tête-à-têtes and social niceties are mere adjuncts to sweeten the harsh ground reality; a means to an end and not an end in itself. That is where Indian diplomacy hits a stumbling block.  While Pakistan stands out as a past master in the art of diplomacy, India comes across as a bumbling novice readily accepting at face value diplomatic chatterati without being able to decipher its nuances. In other words, we have been mesmerised by a play of words into a self defeating paralytic inertia with disastrous consequences for our national interest.  Neither can foreign policy be perceived as a platform solely to exhibit ones debating prowess or flaunt one's moral superiority with the inevitable, 'I told you so' rhetoric. Unfortunately that is what our foreign policy towards Pakistan has been reduced to: a strategy that revels in these meaningless one-upmanships in lieu of tangible national gains. Former foreign secretary and current Indian Ambassador to the United States, Nirupama Rao [ Images ] was reiterating the same fallacy when at a recent panel discussion on India-US Strategic Relations organised by the Brookings Institute, a Washington-based think-tank, she remarked: "India's point of view (on terrorism) is increasingly believed in and subscribed to."  We cannot remain content with scoring a debating victory. Mere approximation of world opinion with ours devoid of decisive action is not going to secure our national interest.  Compounding the deleterious effects of our confused self-defeating psyche is a faulty modus operandi: both traits feeding into each other to ensure failure and engender a dangerous situation of vulnerability.  It should have dawned on us by now that we have been speaking to the wrong entity: a puppet civilian government that is impotent and inconsequential in Pakistan's functioning. Pakistan's diplomatic interaction with India is a stalling technique and a cover for the Pakistan Army's nefarious misdeeds.  The scene that is being enacted across the border is a complex charade; one big lie without an iota of truth or a speck of sincerity. The Pakistan Army is the command and control centre of an evil triumvirate that includes terror groups and the political establishment (whenever it exists), each with a distinct, scheming role in an ongoing Indophobic ploy aimed to deceive rather than negotiate making honest interaction almost impossible.  Still smarting from the defeat of 1971, the Pakistan Army remains a seething cauldron of   Indophobic vitriol that shows no signs of abating. It continues to persist with its anti-India shenanigans using terrorists as a proxy: a point that the current ugly spat between Pakistan and the United States reaffirms.  When Admiral Mike Mullen [ Images ], the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army described the terrorist Haqqani network in Afghanistan as a 'veritable arm' of the Inter Services intelligence, he publicly unmasked the immutable Janus faced visage of the Pakistan Army: seemingly a standard bearer against terrorism but in actuality an inveterate confidante of terrorist groups. More importantly this altercation revealed the primary calculus of the Pakistan Army's unholy nexus: its singular anti-India focus.  The New York Times rightly averred: "The Haqqani network is seen as an important anti-India tool for the Pakistani military as it assesses the future of an Afghanistan without the Americans, a situation Pakistan sees as not far off."  Despite its hapless predicament in the face of relentless US pressure post 9/11, Pakistan craftily transformed an uncomfortable situation into a self serving venture by siphoning off billions of US aid dollars (almost $5 billion) earmarked for Afghanistan, to fund its anti-India strategy.  In short, Pakistan's anti-India game plan remains on track, ideologically and logistically, and more robust than ever, unaffected by the tumultuous events of the last decade.  By now it must be clear to everyone that India's diplomatic confabulation with the civilian government in Pakistan is tantamount to an exercise in nihilism; barking up the wrong tree and achieving nothing. Course correction is necessary by emulating the example set by the United States.  Most exchanges with Pakistan involve Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani, the real seat of power. In May 2011, when Hillary Clinton [ Images ] visited Pakistan post Osama Bin Laden's [ Images ] dismemberment, General Kayani was very much a part of the negotiations. And on an earlier visit, Clinton spent more time with General Kayani than with President Asif Ali Zardari [ Images ] or PM Yusuf Raza Gilani [ Images ].  We need to take the bull by its horns and confront the Pakistan Army directly. However blasphemous and anti-protocol it may seem we must insist that General Ashfaq Kayani be a part of the dialogue process. Not that I am hopeful of such a possibility or its positive outcome, but it is our last chance at successful dialogue and worth a try.

 

 

http://www.rediff.com/news/column/should-india-talk-with-general-kayani/20111013.htm

Bofors reloaded: Defence ministry stung again

NEW DELHI: Allegations of kickbacks paid to middlemen in purchase of Bofors artillery guns led to one of the worst electoral defeats for Congress party in the late 80s, and since then the Army has been unable to purchase even a single new artillery gun for over the past 25 years.  But there is a yet unheard of twist to the Bofors scam, it now emerges. Sources said the blame for Army's stalled artillery modernization may lie closer home, with the government sitting on the transfer of technology that permits India to manufacture the Bofors gun in the country.  As the military top brass desperately look around for solutions to the crippling shortage of artillery guns, they stumbled upon the fact that India actually has the entire drawings of the Bofors guns, and had paid for the transfer of technology to manufacture the gun in India. But the Ordnance Factory Board sat on the drawings all these years, never attempting to make the gun in India.  A senior official, not very amused at the turn of events, told TOI that they have now asked OFB to manufacture six prototypes of the Bofors artillery guns within the next 18 months. "If we had indigenous capability, then all these years of effort to buy foreign guns and such crippling shortage in capabilities wouldn't have been there," he said.  A senior military source said the OFB has now been asked to manufacture two guns of the 155/39 mm caliber, the original make of the Bofors gun bought in the 80s. Two others would be of the same caliber but upgraded with new capabilities. The OFB has also been asked to make two guns of 155/45 mm caliber. All the six guns would be towed guns, sources said.  Once they are ready, the Army would put them through extensive field trials and once cleared, OFB could then resort to mass production, one of the officials said.  Despite repeated efforts, OFB representatives were not available for comments on the transfer of technology for Bofors. One OFB official said the board has "dedicated and fully integrated facility for manufacture of various calibers of artillery guns".  For years after the Bofors scandal, there were no efforts to buy new generation artillery guns. When the Kargil conflict of 1999 took place, the Army had to cannibalise some of the guns to run the rest of them to deadly effect.  Over the years, there have been several trials, cancellations, retrials and other efforts. But none of them have succeeded in getting the Army a new generation of artillery guns, leading to serious concern among the Army top brass about the war fighting capabilities.  The closest government came to buying a new generation of artillery guns recently was when the Army concluded detailed field trials, maintenance assessments etc for a government-to-government deal with the US for buying Ultra Light Howitzers for mountains. But even that has now run into legal tangle, with the defence ministry telling Army that a High Court order may be a hindrance. Now the entire issue is under legal examination.

 

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-sat-on-Bofors-drawings-for-over-two-decades/articleshow/10360084.cms

A New Pakistan Policy: Containment

AMERICA needs a new policy for dealing with Pakistan. First, we must recognize that the two countries’ strategic interests are in conflict, not harmony, and will remain that way as long as Pakistan’s army controls Pakistan’s strategic policies. We must contain the Pakistani Army’s ambitions until real civilian rule returns and Pakistanis set a new direction for their foreign policy.  As Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate committee last month, Pakistan provides critical sanctuary and support to the Afghan insurgency that we are trying to suppress. Taliban leaders meet under Pakistani protection even as we try to capture or kill them.  In 2009, I led a policy review for President Obama on Pakistan and Afghanistan. At the time, Al Qaeda was operating with virtual impunity in Pakistan, and its ally Lashkar-e-Taiba had just attacked the Indian city of Mumbai and killed at least 163 people, including 6 Americans, with help from Pakistani intelligence. Under no illusions, Mr. Obama tried to improve relations with Pakistan by increasing aid and dialogue; he also expanded drone operations to fight terrorist groups that Pakistan would not fight on its own.  It was right to try engagement, but now the approach needs reshaping. We will have to persevere in Afghanistan in the face of opposition by Pakistan.  The generals who run Pakistan have not abandoned their obsession with challenging India. They tolerate terrorists at home, seek a Taliban victory in Afghanistan and are building the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal. They have sidelined and intimidated civilian leaders elected in 2008. They seem to think Pakistan is invulnerable, because they control NATO’s supply line from Karachi to Kabul and have nuclear weapons.  The generals also think time is on their side — that NATO is doomed to give up in Afghanistan, leaving them free to act as they wish there. So they have concluded that the sooner America leaves, the better it will be for Pakistan. They want Americans and Europeans to believe the war is hopeless, so they encourage the Taliban and other militant groups to speed the withdrawal with spectacular attacks, like the Sept. 13 raid on the United States Embassy in Kabul, which killed 16 Afghan police officers and civilians.  It is time to move to a policy of containment, which would mean a more hostile relationship. But it should be a focused hostility, aimed not at hurting Pakistan’s people but at holding its army and intelligence branches accountable. When we learn that an officer from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, is aiding terrorism, whether in Afghanistan or India, we should put him on wanted lists, sanction him at the United Nations and, if he is dangerous enough, track him down. Putting sanctions on organizations in Pakistan has not worked in the past, but sanctioning individuals has — as the nuclear proliferator Abdul Qadeer Khan could attest.  Offering Pakistan more trade while reducing aid makes sense. When we extend traditional aid, media outlets with ties to the ISI cite the aid to weave conspiracy theories that alienate Pakistanis from us. Mr. Obama should instead announce that he is cutting tariffs on Pakistani textiles to or below the level that India and China enjoy; that would strengthen entrepreneurs and women, two groups who are outside the army’s control and who are interested in peace.  Military assistance to Pakistan should be cut deeply. Regular contacts between our officers and theirs can continue, but under no delusion that we are allies.  Osama bin Laden’s death confirmed that we can’t rely on Pakistan to take out prominent terrorists on its soil. We will still need bases in Afghanistan from which to act when we see a threat in Pakistan. But drones should be used judiciously, for very important targets.  In Afghanistan, we should not have false hopes for a political solution. We can hope that top figures among the Quetta Shura — Afghan Taliban leaders who are sheltered in Quetta, Pakistan — will be delivered to the bargaining table, but that is unlikely, since the Quetta leadership assassinated Burhanuddin Rabbani, the leader of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and a former Afghan president, last month. The ISI will veto any Taliban peace efforts it opposes, which means any it doesn’t control. Rather than hoping for ISI help, we need to continue to build an Afghan Army that can control the insurgency with long-term NATO assistance and minimal combat troops.  Strategic dialogue with India about Pakistan is essential because it would focus the Pakistani Army’s mind. India and Pakistan are trying to improve trade and transportation links severed after they became independent in 1947, and we should encourage that. We should also increase intelligence cooperation against terrorist targets in Pakistan. And we should encourage India to be more conciliatory on Kashmir, by easing border controls and releasing prisoners.  America and Pakistan have had a tempestuous relationship for decades. For far too long we have banked on the Pakistani Army to protect our interests. Now we need to contain that army’s aggressive instincts, while helping those who want a progressive Pakistan and keeping up the fight against terrorism.

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/opinion/a-new-pakistan-policy-containment.html

 

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