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Sunday, 6 November 2011

From Today's Papers - 06 Nov 2011





No joint military drill with China even in 2012
Ties were snapped in 2010 after China refused visa to Northern Army Commander
Ajay Banerjee/TNS  New Delhi, November 5 It seems India will go slow on resuming military-to-military exchanges with its neighbour China. The Indian Army’s plans for holding field exercises with other nations during 2012 do not include any engagement with the People Liberation Army of China.  Well-placed sources confirmed the calendar for the Indian military exercises during 2012 does not include China and also added that India will allow Vietnam, among a list of other countries, to come and train at the specialised Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte, Manipur. Vietnam, which does not have a good relationship with China, is slowly inching closer to India at the military level. In the past, India had deepened military relations with Japan, South Korea and also with Mongolia - all not very comfortable with China.  It was in 2008 that the Indian and Chinese forces had last conducted a joint exercise at Belgaum in South India. The first edition was in 2007 at Kunming in China. The military exercise was ironically named “Hand-in-Hand” and both forces indulged in tactical manoeuvres, interoperability training and it once even had “a joint counter-terrorist operational exercise against a simulated enemy”.  Sources said, there has been no decision on resuming the exercise as New Delhi believes Beijing needs to firm up its stand on various bilateral issues and stick to it. Also the Indian establishment has expressed it displeasure over the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and is edgy over growing Chinese aggressiveness in Tibet and also the unbridled aid and military supplies to Pakistan.  New Delhi suspended military exchanges with China in August 2010 after it refused a visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt-Gen BS Jaswal, who was slated to go an official visit. China had then taken a stand that Jammu and Kashmir was a “disputed” territory. As a fallout, India refused to hold the third round of Hand-in-Hand exercise with China and had put all other military exchanges on hold. It also refused visas to Chinese military officials.  It was only in June 2011 that a thaw was seen. An Indian military delegation headed by a Major-General, serving in J&K, visited China in June this year. This was the outcome of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in April to discuss trade, commerce, military, and resumption of defence exchanges. China had then said it was “vigorously committed” to developing military ties with its “important neighbour” and was ready to resolve the visa row through friendly consultations.  The Indian military delegation visited after an apparent move by China to reverse its two-year policy of giving stapled visas to people hailing from J&K.  Meanwhile, sources said among the countries that have recently availed the jungle warfare training at Variegate included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal and Tajikistan among others. So far, around 30 nations have availed themselves of the facility besides the Indian paramilitary forces deployed in anti-Naxal operations.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111106/nation.htm#10
                    
CAT grants relief to thousands of pre-2006 pensioners Slams babus for apathy and errors
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, November 5 Coming down heavily on government officials over their apathetic attitude in interpreting rules and directives, the full Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has granted relief to central government pensioners who retired before 2006. It has allowed their petition seeking parity of their pension with that of similarly placed employees who retired in 2006 and after.  Anomalies in pay and pension fixation consequent to implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission had resulted in pre-2006 retirees drawing pension lower than post-2006 retirees. The CAT decision affects thousands of central government employees.  The CAT has held that the term “minimum of pay in the pay band” would mean minimum of pay corresponding to the scale held at the time of retirement and not minimum of the entire pay band itself as interpreted and implemented by the government through a clarification.  The Sixth Pay Commission had created four broad pay bands. Each band had, within it, several different scales corresponding to the rank and grade of an individual.  The trouble had arisen when the pension of the individuals concerned was fixed at the minimum of the entire pay band instead of the minimum of the scale corresponding to his rank.  “The CAT judgment is on the same lines as the decision of the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in the SS Matharu Vs UOI case,” Maj Navdeep Singh, a local lawyer dealing with service matters said.  “It would go a long way in bridging the gap between pre-2006 and post-2006 pensioners,” he added.  CAT observed, “What is worse is that there is no application of mind even at the level of Director and Secretary, who merely sign the note and the clarification is issued after obtaining finance concurrence and approval of Minister of State (PP), without going back to the Cabinet for such a modification.”


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111106/nation.htm#12
                    
US forces had orders to target Indian Army in 1971
NEW DELHI: A set of freshly declassified top secret papers on the 1971 war show that US hostility towards India during the war with Pakistan was far more intense than known until now.  The documents reveal that Indira Gandhi went ahead with her plan to liberate Bangladesh despite inputs that the Nixon Administration had kept three battalions of Marines on standby to deter India, and that the American aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had orders to target Indian Army facilities.  The bold leadership that the former PM showed during the 1971 war is well known. But the declassified documents further burnish the portrait of her courageous defiance.  The documents show how Americans held back communication regarding Pakistan's desire to surrender in Dhaka by almost a day.  That the American establishment had mobilized their 7th Fleet to the Bay of Bengal, ostensibly to evacuate US nationals, is public knowledge. But the declassified papers show Washington had planned to use the 7th Fleet to attack the Indian Army.  They also show that Nixon administration kept arming Pakistan despite having imposed an embargo on providing both Islamabad and New Delhi military hardware and support.  They suggest that India, exasperated by continuing flow of American arms and ammunition, had considered intercepting three Pakistani vessels carrying war stores months before the war. The plan was dropped against the backdrop of the Indian foreign ministry's assessment that the interception could trigger hostilities.  The pro-Pak bias of the then US President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is vividly brought out by their decision to keep three battalions of Marines on standby: a decision which has so far not found mention in any record of the 1971 war.  Documents blame Richard Nixon for Pakistan tilt  A six-page note prepared by India's foreign ministry holds then American president Richard Nixon responsible for the pro-Pakistan tilt during India's 1971 war with her neighbour. "The assessment of our embassy reveal (sic) that the decision to brand India as an 'aggressor' and to send the 7th Fleet to the Bay of Bengal was taken personally by Nixon," says the note. The note further says, the Indian embassy: "feel (sic) that the bomber force aboard the Enterprise had the US President's authority to undertake bombing of Indian Army's communications, if necessary."  As early as June 1971, New Delhi weighed the possibility of intercepting three Pakistani ships loaded with US weapons. This leaves only two other courses regarding interception: That India may intercept the ships before they reach Karachi, or impose a blockade of the Bay of Bengal. Either of these might involve the use of force and would be treated as acts of war, wrote the director (legal and treaties) of MEA.  On December 14, Gen A A K Niazi, Pakistan's military commander for erstwhile East Pakistan, told the American consul-general in Dhaka that he was willing to surrender. The message was relayed to Washington, but it took the US 19 hours to relay it to New Delhi. Files suggest senior Indian diplomats suspected the delay was because Washington was possibly contemplating military action against India.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/US-forces-had-orders-to-target-Indian-Army-in-1971/articleshow/10625404.cms
                    
Operation Parakram after Parliament attack lacked clear objectives: Ex-Navy chief Sushil Kumar
NEW DELHI: Operation Parakram, the military mobilization against Pakistan after the 2001 terrorist attack on Indian Parliament, lacked clear objectives and ended up signalling to adversaries that India was not capable of delivering the decisive blow, feels former Navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar.  Kumar said the massive mobilization was a "punishing mistake" with this December set to mark a decade since five terrorists stormed Parliament, triggering series diplomatic and military actions against Pakistan.  Admiral Sushil Kumar, who was then chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, said, "It was not only a mistake and folly but a punishing mistake." He said Parakram may have in fact emboldened Pakistan and China to increase cross-border violations "because our impotence showed up in Parakram".  While Kumar said then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee ordered mobilization without spelling out rules of engagement, the leader had seen the military build-up as a part of NDA's "coercive diplomacy". Vajpayee believed that the muscle flexing forced the US and other Western powers lean heavily on Pakistan that finally led to Gen Pervez Musharraf agreeing to the January, 2004, joint statement that "he will not permit any territory under Pakistan's control to be used to support terrorism in any manner."  The former Naval chief said the story would be completely different if India were to try a similar operation against China. "God forbid if we were to try an Operation Parakram against China it would be a fatal blunder," he said.  "After Parliament attack the military mobilization was premature, ill-conceived and led instead to a punishing mistake because the entire effort was without a political mission or objective," Kumar told ToI.  When a military mobilize there are rules of engagement for formations, ships and other arms of the military. So at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, where the decision was taken Admiral Kumar asked Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee what the rules of engagement were, what if a naval flotilla were to encounter a Pakistani naval ship? There was none, he said. "He said mobilize for the present, rest will follow," Kumar recalled his encounters with the Prime Minister.  Kumar said that all three chiefs - Naval chief Admiral Kumar, Army chief General S Padmanabhan and Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis - were not very sure of the efficacy of the decision though they executed the orders. "It had no meaning, it was a plain maneuver," Kumar added.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Operation-Parakram-after-Parliament-attack-lacked-clear-objectives-Ex-Navy-chief-Sushil-Kumar/articleshow/10625959.cms

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