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Sunday, 13 November 2011

From Today's Papers - 13 Nov 2011

Punjab to get first taste of proxy voting
CEC rules out advancement of elections Anupam Bhagria/TNS  Ludhiana, November 12 For the first time in Punjab, persons, who are not able to cast their votes because they are posted at faraway places, will be able to do so, courtesy proxy voting.  Announcing this at a news conference at Punjab Agriculture University here today, Chief Election Commissioner of India (CEC) Dr Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi said, “It has already been introduced successfully in six states. As a result, the polling percentage has considerably improved.”  About the elections in Punjab, he said, “Although Punjab has prepared well for elections, there will be no advancement of poll in Punjab. These will be held before March 13. The reason is that we are also holding elections in four others states along with Punjab.”  On whether or not former Punjab police chief PS Gill could contest elections, he said, “Anyone in India can contest elections.” But on his role in the state home ministry, he said, “If he is serving there on an honorary basis, then he can contest elections. Otherwise, he cannot. We got complaints that he had promoted about 300 police personnel in his area. However, we found that only 57 have been promoted, far less as compared to other districts of Punjab. But I have instructed Moga deputy commissioner and officers to keep a check on his activities.”  What is proxy voting  Proxy voting means casting of vote through a proxy that the voter nominates.  Such voters include Armymen or individuals who stay far away from their hometown or village.  For Armymen, a service personnel can nominate any eligible voter from his constituency on an approved form and submit it to his Commanding Officer (CO).  The CO will forward the proxy nomination to the appropriate authority who will send it to the district electoral officer or returning officer after due verification.  The district official or returning officer will then send the acknowledgement to the CO.
Army's biggest war game begins in Thar desert
Jaisalmer: The Army's biggest war game Sudarshan Shakti has begun in the Thar desert. Lt General A K Singh, the Southern Army Commander, visited various units on Saturday.  The exercise is to test the operational effectiveness of the Pivot and Strike Corps of the Southern Army and validate certain new concepts. The Pivot Corps training manoeuvres are underway with the Strike Corps manoeuvres following closely on its heels.  The Army commander was briefed on the progress of training by Lt General Sanjeev Langer, GOC, Strike Corps. He also witnessed day and night training manoeuvres. A large demonstration would be organised on November 23, in which Army and Air Force senior officers and journalists would attend.  Another interesting outcome of the joint exercise will be the integrated air-land war-fighting machinery which will assess and highlight the synergy between the Indian Army and IAF. Hence, IAF aircraft, including Sukhoi-30, MiG-29s, MiG-21 'Bisons', Cheetah, Chetak and Mi-25 attack helicopters, are also taking part in the exercise.  Source said 'The Southern Army is working towards 'Capability-based approach' based on series of transformational initiatives spanning, concepts, organizational structures and absorption of new age technologies, particularly in precision munitions, advance surveillance system, space and network-centricity, under the overall guidance of the Indian Army, for which the Army chief and the Southern Army Commander were the main proponents. The unique feature is the joint exercise between the Southern Army and its counterparts in the Air Force and Navy. Defence sources said approximately 30,000 troops, over 200 tanks and many Fighter aircraft are participating in the exercise.  . Bhopal based sudarshan chakra 21 Strike Corps& 12 Desert Corps of Jodhpur are participating in the exercise. The military exercise has become very important as being seeing the current scenario & also participation of two Corps has made that even more relevance. With over 30,000 troops participating in the exercise, this is the biggest military manoeuvres being conducted so far in history of Indian Army. The exercise will continue till end of December. The dynamic process of operations, both offensive and defensive, integrating and validation of concepts of modern warfare that have emerged during the transformation studies of Indian Army, network centricity, testing and evaluation of new equipments are some of the objectives to be achieved in the exercise. The exercise aimed at rapid mobilization involved several mechanized operations towards offensive operations. Battlefield transparency and operational plans based on real-time situational awareness was enhanced using intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) inputs from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and satellites.With air assets to play a decisive role in future battles, the increased air assets of the Army and Air Force would be employed in an integrated manner in the exercise.
Pak army wants peace too, says PM
rime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the India-Pakistan peace process has the support of the Pakistan army, and that he will visit Islamabad only when it takes "solid steps" on the 26/11 attacks.  Singh said he didn't have blind faith in his counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani but that their discussions had given him a positive feeling.     "When I discussed with the Pakistan PM whether Pakistan's armed forces were on board (on the peace process), the feeling I got… was that they were on board."  Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar had made the same claim earlier.  On whether he'd be visiting Pakistan, Singh said that whenever Gilani met him, he extended an invitation.  "But I also said the right moment to visit Pakistan will be if solid steps are taken (by Pakistan on 26/11)."  The PM said he clearly understood "that one more Mumbai-like attack will be a big setback to the peace process", and that Gilani understood this as well.  On his "man-of-peace" remark, Singh said, "In Gilani, Pakistan has a Prime Minister ready to work with us... I tend to believe Pakistan has a democratic government. We would like to strengthen the hands of the democratic government."
India will adopt a 'trust but verify' approach with Pakistan: PM
Believing that Pakistan Army is on board on the peace process, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said he was not putting "blind faith" in his counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani who has clearly understood that another Mumbai-type attack would give a big setback.  Singh, who met Gilani in Maldives on Thursday and decided to write a "new chapter" in the bilateral ties, made it clear that India would adopt a "trust but verify" approach as he acknowledged that the relationship was prone to "accidents".  Making it clear that India wanted to strengthen the hands of Pakistan's civilian government, he said he saw in Gilani "a man who is willing to work with us" and shares the view that terrorism is a common enemy.  Singh said he had "left Prime Minister (Gilani) in no doubt (that) if the Indian public opinion is not satisfied that justice is done to those responsible for the barbaric act at Mumbai, the peace process cannot move forward."  Replying to questions from journalists while returning from Maldives on his meeting with Gilani, Singh said, "I would not not like to go into the details in this matter. But I did discuss with Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani whether Pakistan's armed forces were on board, the feeling I got was that after a long time, Pakistan's armed forces are on board."  On the prospect of dialogue set to resume very shortly, he said it will have the "advantage of a more informed dialogue. What will be the outcome of that dialogue, I am optimistic.  "But India-Pakistan relations are subject to accidents, and therefore we both recognise that if there is another incident like the Mumbai-terror attack, that could give a big setback to the process of normalisation, I think that is fully understood by Prime Minister Gilani."  He said his visit to Pakistan would take place only when Pakistan takes solid steps against the Mumbai terror attack accused in that country.
Hurriyat throws AFSPA challenge
Srinagar As the debate over Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) heats up, the hardline faction of Hurriyat on Saturday said in a statement that a “rebellion that nobody would have witnessed or heard about” would erupt in Kashmir if the Act is withdrawn.  The statement followed media reports on Friday that the Army has warned that the central government would be compelled to give freedom to Kashmir by 2016 if the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is revoked from the valley. The Hurriyat has termed the purported Army warning as an “unintentional” truth.  “If the Disturbed Area Act, Public Safety Act or the draconian laws like AFSPA are revoked, India can't find a single person in Kashmir that would accept its sovereignty,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said. “Instead, a people's revolt against the Indian military occupation would erupt that nobody would have ever witnessed or heard about.”  The Hurriyat spokesman said that it has been proved that India is holding on to Kashmir through military might. “It is clear that after the revocation of these draconian laws, India can't occupy Kashmir even for a single day,” Akbar said. “In the changing global scenario, no country can be occupied through military power.”  Hurriyat said that Acts like AFSPA are just an offshoot of “India's occupation of Kashmir” and that their basic demand is the end of “occupation”.  Taking a dig at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is engaged in a war of words with Army over withdrawal of AFSPA from certain areas of the state, the hardline Hurriyat faction termed it as “vote bank” politics.  “His statements (over AFSPA) don't mean anything before Indian Army and he knows it very well,” Akbar said. “These contradictory statements are being given to deceive people and after mutual deliberations.”
India to review defence offset policy
Government promises clarity in policy starting with the $12 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft deal  Iftikhar Gilani New Delhi  Foreign defence firms are expected to invest Rs 10,000 crore in local tie-ups and manufacturing by 2020 under the offset policy ALSO READ  The Air Force is losing out. On the ground  The Flying Machines IAF to induct first C-130 J transport aircraft  India is reviewing its offset policy in defence procurements, introduced in 2006, to bring in more transparency and clear ambiguities even as review of the 11th Plan has pegged the Army’s shopping list at nearly at Rs 41,000 crore. The offset policy is aimed to prevent cash outflows and make it mandatory for foreign firms that bag defence contracts to reinvest a part of the total contract value by entering into local tie-ups in the defence industry.  Announcing reviewing of the policy, Amit Cowshish, Additional Secretary in the Department of Defence Finance, said that lack of clarity had led to several perspectives and interpretations. At a seminar organised here by Observer Research Foundation, he admitted that initially there were uncertainties about success of the policy. However, he said, “I have no doubt that this policy will stay for years to come.” Cowshish said that the defence procurement policy would become more effective. "In the near future, things will change substantially starting with the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) deal,” he added.  While the offset business has created huge opportunities for Indian defence firms, many believe that it has hampered quick acquisition of equipment. According to the policy, any defence deal over Rs 300 crore must have an offset clause. It is estimated that Rs 10,000 crore is expected to be invested in local tie-ups and manufacturing by 2020 due to this clause. In the latest, biggest-ever defence deal—purchase of 126 MMCRA aircraft worth $12 billion—the short-listed companies have to reinvest 50 per cent of their contract amount in India.  The industry, however, is concerned that foreign firms are only willing to transfer technology to Indian partners. Circumventing the process, some foreign firms manufacture 70 per cent of products outside India sharing or transferring just 30 per cent of technology.  Vivek Lall of Reliance Industries emphasised that improving capability to innovate products required focus in future. He said that priority should be given to sharing of technology rather than transfer to achieve success in the longer run. Others said that the government should integrate its own departments and have one authority to make a coherent policy. David Jarrett, Business Development Director of General Dynamics International, said that the global defence industry was eyeing the big India defence market.
Man beaten up in Geelani's rally is our man: Army
The army has said the man who was beaten up by the mob on suspicion that he had made an assassination bid on Hardline Hurriyat faction chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani during a rally in Srinagar was actually a member of its "covert team". "An army man was beaten up by the mob due to mistaken identity (in the public rally addressed by Geelani on Friday). His service pistol, identity card and mobile were snatched by them," a defense spokesman said here in a statement issued late last night.  A "covert team" of army and state police was sent to Sopore, 55 km from here, to gather information on the presence of "terrorists" in the public rally, he said.  Hardline Hurriyat faction had on Friday claimed that an assassination attempt had been made at Geelani by a man carrying a pistol who was nabbed by people at the rally.  "The man was nabbed when he was asked to show his identity card at the rally...Why would a man come to a rally with a pistol? It could possibly have been an attempt to target Geelani,"  Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar had said.  The defence spokesperson said, "The man, seriously injured, was rescued by his colleagues, and admitted to the army hospital...A case has been lodged by the army against the miscreants." Meanwhile, police also denied that there was any assassination attempt on Geelani and said that the man who was beaten up was Naik Kamlesh Kumar Mishra, working in the Army's Military Intelligence (MI).
Time to test India’s Cold Start Doctrine
India is quite optimistic that in case New Delhi is able to impose limited war on Pakistan, international community would intervene to support Indian armed forces logistically, tactically and strategically in the final assault. New Delhi is also expecting that international community, including United Nations, would not allow the war to prolong. No one had ever thought that an ordinary military paper would receive so much recognition that military strategists would include it as war strategy against Pakistan. India ‘s Cold Start Doctrine has never been rehearsed nor is in conformity with the ground realities but some of the Indian top Armed Forces officials are convinced that it would at least enhance India ‘s might in international community. An idealistic situation has been presumed, which can go in either direction. The speed and timings calculated for move Strike Force, Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) as well as the Reserves by road, rail and air do not match means of transportation available in India. It is on record that Indian Army Chief General V.K Singh denied the existence of the Cold Start Doctrine. In a recent leak of Indian classified papers, Indian command discussed various steps to defeat Pakistan which include 1) Provoke a civil war within Pakistan, 2) Provoke mutiny within the Pakistani armed forces, 3) Plan in which India, with the cooperation of US and NATO troops, would carryout selected attacks on pockets inside Pakistan, while Israeli aircraft and guided missiles will destroy Pakistan’s nuclear plants. This would be followed by ground attacks by NATO troops from the west and Indian troops from the east.India ‘s foreign policy is the major irritant between Indo-Pakistan relations as a very powerful lobby in India is waging a proxy war strategy to bleed Pakistan through provinces of Balochistan and Sindh. However, one thing is sure that India cannot defeat Pakistan militarily as any wrong move may cost very heavily to India. New Delhi should not even think about any misadventure as Pakistan would be left with no other option but to use multiple nuclear deterrents.India would be quite innocent if it is of the impression that US and other western countries do not consider her military threat. It is because of its military ambitions and economic strength that many countries consider her as worse adversary. However, as in international politics there is no friend or foe and relations between the states are governed by self interests, US and western world do not pronounce New Delhi as imminent threat. In fact, India is being used by the western powers to weaken Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran and China. Western nations’ long-term plans to slice off Northern Areas and Tribal Areas from the map of Pakistan cannot be accomplished without the support of India. India’s present strategy is to further develop its conventional superiority to fight and win a limited war with Pakistan in a nuclear environment. However, it is not easy for India to tackle Pakistan alone. It is right for India to plan a joint attack in collaboration with many countries as Pakistan can inflict very serious losses beyond recovery to India. Input from India revealed that a “Mumbai attacks” like operation has already been planned by India in coordination with other foreign agencies. The sole objective behind the plot is to blame Pakistan for state sponsored terrorism. US State Department has already issued a travel alert to its citizens in India, warning them of possible terror attacks in the country. India has started amphibious and ambushing training at two locations including Andaman and Nicobar islands. Army Commandos, Marine Commandos and Guards from the Indian Air Force are participating in the training. The Special Forces training will be followed by an Indian Navy’s amphibious exercise next month. In another development, Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne in a recent statement confirmed that Indian Air Force has withdrawn all of its MI-17 and MI-35 attack helicopters deployed in the UN missions in Congo and Sudan. All personnel engaged in operating these 20 MI-17 and 10 MI-35 helicopters have reported back to Indian bases.Although, the Indian Air Chief claims that these helicopters will be used by Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in anti-Naxal operations in Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand but the real story is being hidden from Indian masses. Unconfirmed reports also suggest that these helicopters would be placed on Indo-Pak border. Few days back Indian Cheetah helicopter, which was carrying an Indian Colonel, two Majors and a Junior Commissioned Officer was forced landed after it violated Pakistan’s airspace in the Kargil sector. Later they were allowed to fly back as a goodwill gesture. Indian Air Force has accelerated its activities against Pakistan and deployed two squadrons of Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft at the Jodhpur Air Base, close to Pakistan’s Sindh province. An additional squadron has been earmarked for Halwara Air Base in Punjab. Test flights of Su-30MKI aircraft are also being operated from the Leh Air Base. India has recently placed order for additional Russian Sukhois combat jets to bring the number of these jets to 272. India acquired six C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft from US’ Lockheed Martin this year and has placed order for additional six C-130J aircraft. Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was asked whether US troops could launch an attack on Pakistan before withdrawing from Afghanistan. His reply was simple “Any such attack by US forces from across the Afghan border would prove 10 times harder than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Pakistan is monitoring the situation. To counter Indian threat Pakistan has alerted its forces. Pakistan has already deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles on its borders. The missiles would provide a deterrent to the use of nuclear weapons by either Pakistan or any other country. No doubt, Pakistan’s strategic nuclear forces have acquired the desired edge. It is also prepared for nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is visiting various garrisons to witness the functioning of Command and Control System (CCS). War is no solution to bring peace but when it is imposed, it is the only option.

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