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Saturday, 3 December 2011

From Today's Papers - 03 Dec 2011

Reply strongly to any future NATO attack on Pak: Kayani to troops
Afzal Khan in Islamabad  Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has upped the ante in the standoff with the United States by telling his troops that aggressors would not be able to evade a crushing retaliation in future.  Vowing to respond to any future “aggression” (by US and NATO troops) with “full force” regardless of its consequences, he also permitted the troops to retaliate to any attack without waiting for directions from the command.  ANGRY VOICES: Protesters in Lahore burn an effigy of US President Barack Obama on Friday. ANGRY VOICES: Protesters in Lahore burn an effigy of US President Barack Obama on Friday. — AFP  “Be assured that we will not let the aggressor walk away easily,” the army chief said in a message for the troops and added he had “clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences”.  The morale-boosting message was specially drafted to deal with the gloom and apprehensions in the ranks about military’s state of preparedness after Saturday’s NATO air strikes on border posts.  Paying tributes to the 24 soldiers who were killed in the incident, Gen Kayani said he was proud of his men who responded with all resources at their disposal, including artillery. “We all salute the courage displayed by brave officers and men of 7 AK Regiment,” he said.  He believed the attack could have been retaliated effectively had the communication network not broken down. “Timely decision could not be taken due to breakdown of communication with the affected posts and therefore lack of clarity of situation at various levels, including corps HQ and GHQ. The troops are, therefore, given weapons relevant to the task they are expected to perform. But, the latest attack has forced a rethink of the strategy with the focus shifting from fighting militants to ensuring security of the border,” he added.   Pak Rejects US plea on Bonn meet  Islamabad: Ignoring fresh calls from the US, Pakistan on Friday said it will not budge from its decision to boycott a key conference on Afghanistan's future in Bonn next week in the wake of a cross-border NATO air strike that killed its 24 soldiers.     Pak officials gave go-ahead: Report  According to a Wall Street Journal report, Pakistani officials mistakenly sanctioned the NATO strike that killed its own 24 soldiers. "Pakistani officials at a border coordination centre gave the go-ahead to American airstrikes", it said.
Trilateral security pact India’s “no” reflects maturity
India has demonstrated that it has its own independent views on regional and global issues by categorically telling Australia that it cannot be part of any multilateral security arrangement. This has been the country’s policy ever since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, when India decided to chart a nonaligned course. The necessity to restate the fact arose when Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd declared in a media interview that India was ready to join the US-Australia security pact meant to keep a check on China’s moves in the Asia-Pacific region. Mr Rudd’s statement — the response of “the Indian government has really been quite positive” — has no meaning when India is “not aware of any such proposal”. Perhaps, he took India’s “positive” response for granted, as he is scheduled to be in New Delhi soon for talks with Defence Minister A.K. Antony when he is expected to convey his country’s desire to revoke the ban on uranium exports to India. India needs uranium from Australia and is also interested in reaching agreements on fighting terrorism and maritime security. But these are separate issues, having nothing to do with the US-Australia defence architecture.  The US and Australia have their own calculations as far as China’s rise as the dominant player in the Asia-Pacific region is concerned. The US is working overtime to stop China’s growing influence in the region and beyond. Washington’s new military base in Australia is aimed at implementing its policy of containing China. Interestingly, the US supported Vietnam when China protested against the India-Vietnam cooperation pact for exploring oil and gas in the South China Sea. Washington’s Myanmar policy also appears to be undergoing change as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited that country this week and appreciated the political reforms being undertaken by the ruling military junta.  But why should India become a part of the US Asia-Pacific strategy? New Delhi is, of course, concerned about China’s String of Pearls policy to strengthen Beijing’s presence in India’s immediate neighbourhood. But it has to plan its moves the way it suits India’s national interests. There is no point in demonstrating that India is competing with China. It is wiser to go in for cooperative diplomacy as can be seen in India’s Look East policy. It has resulted in considerable gains for India in East Asia.
Dialogue with Pakistan The opponents must revise their opinion
by Surendra Kumar  The narrative of the opponents of any dialogue with Pakistan runs as follows: Pakistanis hate India; even children are taught hatred against India in madarsas. One can’t find a single Pakistani who doesn’t have an animus against India. Pakistan has been flouting the UN Resolution on Terrorism by aiding, abetting, training and sending across terrorists from its territory. The ISI and the Pakistan Army have been behind terrorist attacks in India, including the one in Mumbai in 2008. Pakistan hasn’t brought the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack to justice though India has given ample proof of their involvement. Pakistan foments violence in Kashmir and pursues terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore and the summit with General Musharraf in Agra didn’t result in any peace dividend. It is the army chief and the ISI chief who call the shots in Pakistan, so no useful purpose is served by talking to the civilian government. Pakistan has been opposed to greater cultural and people-to-people contacts with India; it is the hub of international terrorism and is fast sliding into a failed state, etc.  Even if all the above were largely true, so what? How does the suspension of dialogue punish Pakistan? Will it hasten the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators of the 26/11 crime? Will it lead to dismantling of training facilities and the arrest of known terrorists in Pakistan? Will it facilitate a solution of the Kashmir problem and return of peace and normalcy in the Valley? Will it erode the dominance of the army and the ISI in Pakistan? Will it strengthen the hands of the civilian government in Pakistan and support democracy? Will it strengthen political stability in South Asia? Will it promote good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan? Will it serve our broad national interests and enhance our international image? An honest answer to all these questions is an emphatic NO! If so, what do we gain by not having a dialogue with Pakistan?  Let us face some inconvenient questions. We can’t change our geographical location or wish away Pakistan. Though saddled with complex internal and external problems, Pakistan is not going to evaporate in thin air. Whether we like it or not, we must learn to live with Pakistan with all its failings; post-Partition baggage of animus and bitterness against India included. We aren’t Pakistan’s largest trading partner or investor or source of defence supplies or financial supporter. In a nutshell, the suspension of dialogue doesn’t hurt it; other countries are not going to follow suit; Pakistan won’t be so isolated as to beg for peace with India!  We have defeated Pakistan four times comprehensively. Has it made us more secure than earlier? The hawks on the Indian side must realise that India is not the US; it can’t go in for a surgical strike like the US attack at Abbotabad which killed Osama bin Laden. We can’t undertake drone attacks and kill selectively India’s most wanted on Pakistani soil. India can’t go on a hot pursuit without risking a full-fledged war with its neighbour. Lastly, no matter how much some lunatic fringe might wish, there is no way India can destroy a nuclear Pakistan even when on the verge of collapse!  Since 1947 every major conflict between India and Pakistan has been followed, sooner or later, by the resumption of dialogue. Even after Kargil and attacks on Akshardham and Parliament, we returned to the table. Mr Vajpayee used to ask what we would discuss with Pakistan: the weather in Lahore! Ironically, it was he who launched the peace offensive by travelling to Lahore in a bus. He invited General Musharraf to Agra though he was perceived by many Indians as the father of the Kargil conflict. So, instead of keeping the dialogue on and off, why not let it continue uninterrupted, ignoring the cycle of ups and downs in relations as advocated by the irrepressible Mani Shankar Aiyar? It found echo in the interviews Pakistan’s new Foreign Minister, Ms Hena Rabbani Khar, gave to the media during her maiden visit to India.  The opponents of this argument will dismiss it disdainfully as utter capitulation to Pakistan! It will encourage Pakistan to inflict 1000 cuts with impunity, they will claim. But is there any other option except dialogue? Have the naysayers ever come up with any plan, short of a dialogue, which will resolve the Kashmir problem, stop terrorist attacks from across the border and result in normal and peaceful relations with Pakistan?  What can we do? Continue and sustain dialogue and convince Pakistan of enormous positive fallout it can reap from peace with India. Make them realise the transformational effect of peace dividend on the one hand and the real possibility of the Frankenstein of terrorist infrastructure created by them boomeranging and eventually destroying them on the other hand. Who knows, one day, they might appreciate the logic and rationale of our overtures! We must forcefully ask the US, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, France, Germany and other major investors and trading partners of Pakistan to counsel it to make peace with India for its own survival and prosperity. Why would they do that? We shouldn’t underestimate the attraction of India’s bourgeoning market and huge investment prospects! No, I am not suggesting a third party intervention but mere prudent use of the carrot of our growing economic pie!  The generation of Pakistanis that saw Partition is long gone. But the generation that saw the break-up of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh, and India’s role as a midwife is 40-year-old or so. Many of this generation can’t forget and forgive India for the loss of East Pakistan; wounds haven’t healed, not yet!  Yes, the Army and the ISI control the levers of power in Pakistan. But both are, post-Abbotabad, on the defensive. Uncle Sam has been vocally criticising the ISI. The uprising in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Libya might have demonstrated to the military top brass in Pakistan the power of people, unarmed, non-violent but passionately and fearlessly demanding their rights.  I don’t believe that young Pakistanis — aged 15-25 years — watching international TV programmes and surfing Internet remain unimpressed by the accolades heaped on India and the economic transformation underway, notwithstanding the fact that millions of people are still below poverty line. These Internet savvy people might be harbouring similar aspirations and dreaming dreams as the youth in India to experience the fruits of progress and prosperity. Even if 10 million, as estimated, young Face-book/Twitter users in Pakistan could be engaged in a frank dialogue with their Indian counterparts on social networking sites, asking questions which they can’t raise publicly and sharing thoughts and ideas unburdened by memories of Partition, they could become a potential constituency for the promotion of peace. Such Pakistanis would realise that there can’t be progress and prosperity in their country unless there is peace with India.  The Pakistan Supreme Court reportedly quotes from Indian court judgements. Indian films and film stars, music, fashion, cricket, writers, academics and the media are soft power resources which can over a period minimise the trust deficit and goad the decision makers on the two sides to take a plunge and transform the decades of enmity into neighbourly peace. Corporate sectors in both countries can benefit enormously from the normalisation of relations, so they have been advocating greater trade and economic interaction.  While exploring the prospects of peace in every possible way, we must not lower our guards: sharpen intelligence gathering, promote multi-agency coordination, acquire most sophisticated equipment, identify sleeper cells of terrorists and nip terrorist attacks in the bud. We must maintain a degree of nuclear and military superiority over Pakistan to discourage it from precipitating any crisis on the border.  After the bomb blast in front of the Delhi High Court and stone-walling of prosecution of the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage, very few Indians dare propose peace overtures to Pakistan. They are instantly denounced as unpatriotic! But won’t giving up peace efforts mean playing in the hands of terrorists? Many sane Indians might concede, at least in private, that the majority of Pakistanis wish peaceful relations with India. As the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, used to say, we must pursue the peace of the brave. Are we ready?n  The writer is a former Secretary, Ministry of External Affaris, and the Dean, Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi.
streamlining military judicial system
The role and responsibility of the Judge Advocate General’s Department, the forces’ legal wing, has increased manifold over the years, while manpower remains deficient. The judiciary has also recommended cutting down certain cumbersome and time consuming procedures to expedite court martial trials. This has mandated restructuring the department and strengthening its officer cadre and support staff Col M S Jaswal (Retd)  The Army, Navy and Air Force each have a dedicated legal structure called the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department to assist in the implementation of the Army Act, the Navy Act and the Air Force Act. The JAG is the chief legal adviser to the respective service chief and renders legal advice on a wide range of aspects including discipline, vigilance, service conditions and judicial matters involving service personnel. An officer of the department designated as the Judge Advocate (JA) forms an integral part of general court martial proceedings, helping the court to conduct proceedings in a fair and judicious manner, summing up the entire evidence and giving opinion on the legal aspects of the case. The JAG advises the respective chiefs on post-confirmation petitions and other statutory representations on points of law and facts raised by the petitioners. JAsG are also responsible for imparting legal training in the services. They are the “Nodal Legal Agency” for single point contact with the institutionalised judicial system, liaising with the Attorney General, Solicitor General, Ministry of Law and Justice, Law Commission, International Committee of the Red Cross, National Human Rights Commission and the Bar Council of India apart from the higher judiciary.  Judicial Intervention  The Delhi High Court, in the case of Nahar Singh Vs Union of India, had expressed serious concern at the manner of handling of court cases relating to the Army on behalf of Union of India pending in the Court. The High Court observed, “After going through the entire statement in the affidavit and problem being faced by the JAG Department, we are of the considered opinion that a study should be taken up by the Ministry of Defence for upgrading the JAG Department in order to enable them to be more effective in the Court as also in all other forums. The activities and the responsibilities of JAG must have increased manifold through the years and, therefore, we are of the considered opinion that steps should be taken to consider as to why the said Department should not be upgraded like any other effective Branch.  Accordingly, a committee under the chairmanship of a joint secretary in the MoD was constituted to evaluate the mechanism for dealing with court cases and pinpoint deficiencies. It observed that apart from handling disciplinary cases, the role and responsibility of the department has expanded considerably. It now include family and matrimonial laws, human rights and international humanitarian law, contracts and commercial laws, cyber laws, right to information and many more. Further, the complexity of the cases has also undergone a sea change. The matters concerning economic offences, involvement of senior officers in fraud cases, gender justice and complicated legal issues have thrust greater responsibility on JAG officers.  The major recommendations of the committee include —  n Provisioning of additional JAG officers in the three services to extend availability of legal cover to lower formation / station levels.  n JAG Department officers to be designated as Government Law Officers, which would allow them to appear before courts to effectively defend cases filed against the Union of India.  n Induction of law graduates in the JAG Department be regulated by grant of permanent regular commission while continuing with existing modes of short service (male and woman entry) and inter-arm service transfer to ensure longer utilisation of legal manpower.  n JAG to have technical and functional control over legal cells which would provide requisite monitoring and accountability.  n Unification of the codes of the three services and an integrated JAG structure headed by a lieutenant general or equivalent with corresponding upgradation/ strengthening at the levels below.  Acknowledging the committee’s report, the Delhi High Court observed, “The respondents are seriously considering the question of the improvement in the working of the JAG Branch and related matters. We do not, in that view, consider it necessary to monitor the progress made by the respondents in the said direction any further. All that we need say is that, if the respondents have realised on an evaluation of the current procedures and practices that the working of the JAG Branch requires a fresh look and certain steps taken to make it more efficient and effective, it would do well to introduce proper measures in that direction as early as possible...”  In a recent judgment in the case of Maj SS Chillar Vs UOI, the principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal observed, “Before parting with the case, we would like to observe that in conduct of court martial proceedings, some elementary mistakes are committed. Neither the JA, who advises the court martial has, at any time, experience of conducting a sessions trial, as a result of which he could not properly advise the court martial authorities, nor are the prosecutors properly trained to conduct such criminal trials.” Stating that for such matters a properly trained prosecutor is required, the Tribunal said, “This is highlighted in this case that such elementary mistakes were committed in conduct of the criminal prosecution. Therefore, the authorities should appoint proper prosecutors for conducting such criminal cases in court martial proceedings, likewise, a trained presiding officer, who knows how to conduct a criminal trial or a JA who had an experience of conducting criminal trials. We have seen number of court martial cases which have come before this Tribunal and we find that most of the elementary mistakes were committed in conduct of the criminal trials.”  The Tribunal held that in its experience trials by court martial relating to offences like murder or other penal code offences or offences under the other Acts are not properly conducted like a regular criminal trial. The result is that they will turn into acquittal.  “The authorities have to undertake an overall review of conducting court martial trials pertaining to offences under penal code or other civil offences by a competent prosecutor, who has experience of trial. The presiding officer should also be a trained person, who has seen the trials conducted by a sessions Court, so that they can appreciate the difference between the two and regulate the court martial proceedings as if they are conducting a criminal trial. Presiding officers, prosecutors and the JA should be sent for training in a criminal court, where trials are conducted. The matter requires serious consideration of overhauling of the procedure,” the Tribunal ruled.  The tribunal also observed that before trial by a court martial commences, three-tier proceedings —, a preliminary inquiry, then charge stage and thirdly, the summary of evidence is undertaken, which is cumbersome, time consuming and totally unwarranted. Once the investigation is done, then, the case should be immediately taken before the Court. Holding that the pre-trial proceedings create more confusion waste time, the Tribunal ruled that this exercise should be shortened and expedited.  Impact of the Armed Forces Tribunal  The Tribunal has Appellate as well as Original jurisdiction to hear appeals arising out of court martial verdicts and applications on service matters, respectively. This has increased the work load of JAG officers exponentially. About 10,000 cases pending in various High Courts and lower Courts relating service matters have been and are being transferred to the respective AFT Benches.  Independent legal cells would be required to be established at a much larger scale for defence and monitoring of the cases pending before the AFTs where the disposal rate is much higher since the respective benches are exclusively hearing service matters. At the Tribunal’s regional bench in Chandigarh, on an average 50 to 75 cases are listed every day. Giving progress of each and every case to all concerned at the end of the day consumes additional 4 to 6 hours after the Court rises for the day. Thereafter the legal cell officers have to read through and prepare for cases listed for the next day. The present arrangement is highly inadequate to cope up with the work load. It is pertinent to mention that since expeditious dispensation of justice is expected before the AFT, there is an exponential increase in the number of cases against the Armed Forces, especially on issues relating to pension, disability pension, family pension and pay and allowances. It is, therefore, essential that adequate number of qualified and experienced officers are positioned to deal with such cases appropriately.  The strength of JAG Department in the Army in 1980 was about 105 officers and the present authorised strength is just 120 officers. Thus there has virtually been no increase for the last 31 years. On the other hand the entire organisation has been restructured with substantial increase by way of raising new units/formations. Even the AV Singh Committee did not examine restructuring of the JAG Department since the matter was already being examined by the MoD.  The Way Ahead  A need is thus envisaged to take immediate steps and undertake the following:-  n Restructure the JAG Department. In doing so, take away the pre-trial advisory role of the Department and allocate it to the Discipline and Vigilance Wing of the Adjutant General’s Branch having law qualified officers, thereby leaving only the trial and post-trial functions with the JAG Department. This would indicate compliance of the cardinal principle of justice that, “Justice must not only be done but must also seem to be done” ;  n Depute JAG Department officers to various institutes that train civilian law officers.  n The cumbersome three-tier proceedings in the form of court of inquiry, hearing of charge and recording summary of evidence before commencement of trial need to be cut down. Once inquiry is completed, the case should be immediately taken before the competent authority, who on finding prima facie charges, may convene a court martial.  n Set up Armed Forces Tribunal Legal Cells with highly experienced, efficient and motivated law officers with sufficient permanent civilian administrative support staff in the form of shorthand writers, clerks and munshis, sufficient independent transport, modern office equipment and electronic gadgets etc. Till such time the department is short of qualified law officers, the possibility of employing retired law qualified officers who are registered as advocates on a contractual basis may be explored. These officers can also be tasked to represent Union of India where government Counsels are not available for a particular case.
Army to seek PM's support on AFSPA
With pressure mounting on the Centre for a partial removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from at least downtown Srinagar, the army brass is set to approach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for support on the sensitive issue.
Top government sources said the army had suggested at intra-government discussions that it could withdraw from the earmarked areas to push the political initiative without the AFSPA being lifted from those areas.  The army wants the controversial AFSPA to stay in areas from where troops have withdrawn so that they can easily be inducted for anti-terror operations whenever needed.  The army has cited the example of Assam where troops are not present in huge swathes of territory where the AFSPA has been in force since 1958.  Top officers of the Northern Army Command believe that huge protests would be orchestrated in the Kashmir Valley if the AFSPA were to be re-imposed after being lifted from certain areas.  The internal security establishment wants to give a dividend of peace by limited withdrawal of AFSPA.  According to the latest proposal discussed by the two stakeholders, there is no need for the law to be lifted from all of Srinagar but only from the downtown area, where the army wasn't sent even during peak of militancy in 1990s.  Officials argue that this is the best time to push for confidence-building measures in the Valley as the total number of terrorists is down to around 350 due to army action on infiltrators.  "As the army has never operated and is unlikely to operate in future, there is no harm in lifting the AFSPA from three police station areas in downtown Srinagar," said a senior official.  The army is not enthused by the MHA's latest suggestion. It feels that areas from where the law would be lifted, could become safe havens for cross-border terrorists.
Sukna land scam: Court martial proceedings to end today?   Read more at:
New Delhi:  The Army has completed court martial proceedings against former Military Secretary, Lieutenant General Avadesh Prakash, in the Sukna land scam  Lt Gen Prakash is the senior-most Indian Army officer ever to face a court martial.  In January this year, another senior officer, Lieutenant General P K Rath, was court-martialled in the same case.  Both the officers were indicted by a Court of Inquiry last year.  The case dates back to 2008 and involves the transfer of land next to the Army's 33 Corps Headquarters in Siliguri, West Bengal, to a real-estate developer.  The Army inquiry had indicted Lt Gen Prakash for using his position to influence officers to transfer the 71-acre plot of Army land to the developer.  This is what the inquiry had brought out. In May 2008, the Army wrote to the West Bengal government, stating that it wanted to acquire this land. In October 2008, Lt Gen P K Rath took over as the 33 Corps Commander and reiterated the Army's decision to buy the land.  A few days later, Lt Gen Prakash visited Chumta tea estate during his official tour to 33 Corps, and referred businessman Dilip Agarwal, who wanted to buy the land, to Lt Gen Rath.  In March 2010, 33 Corps under Lt Gen Rath granted the land to Mr Agarwal with a no-objection certificate (NoC).  The Army's inquiry had said that Lt Gen Prakash should be sacked for he "became a facilitator in promoting Dilip Agarwal's business."  Being posted at the Headquarters, Lt Gen Prakash had no jurisdiction over Siliguri. The court of inquiry said that he took undue interest in the building project.  Lt Gen Rath had confessed to having taken the decision at Lt Gen Prakash's behest. It is alleged that Lt Gen Prakash, who was in-charge of promotions at the Headquarters, promised Lt Gen Rath a plum posting.  The court martial ordered a two-year seniority loss and 15 years of loss of service for pension for Lt Gen Rath, who has service till March 2012.  An Army court had found Lt Gen Rath guilty of issuing the NoC to the builder, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and not informing the Command Headquarters about the decision.  The Army's internal report stated that his decision was "hasty and top-driven action."  It was Lt Gen Rath's chief of staff, the then Major General Ramesh Halgali who blew the whistle on the land transfer and objected to the NoC being granted.  The officer was initially rapped on the knuckles but was subsequently cleared of all charges.  The Army had earlier told the West Bengal government that this land could not be sold to any commercial developer for security reasons. The developer had falsely claimed that he was setting up an affiliate of the Mayo College in Sukna.  The court martial against Lt Gen Prakash was ordered by the then Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, in February last year under pressure from the Defence Ministry.   Read more at:
Rashtriya Rifles to move from J&K into Red zone
The home ministry has moved the Union Cabinet for deploying Rashtriya Rifles units and inducting additional helicopters for logistics in Naxal-affected areas of the country particularly Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Till date, Rashtriya Rifles (RR), which has Indian Army troops on deputation and functions under the defence ministry, is only restricted to counter-insurgency duties in Jammu and Kashmir.  Government sources said that with the Left-wing extremism now affecting more than 155 districts and showing signs of spreading to north-east and southern states of Karnataka, home minister P Chidambaram has proposed that RR units should be deployed for "static" duties in order to dominate the area, enthuse confidence among the local population and keep Maoists at bay.  "RR personnel will not take part in the operations but their mere presence and activity will be a confidence-building measure. Their work ethos and training will act as a force multiplier for central paramilitary forces (CPMFs) involved in anti-Naxalite duties in areas like Abujhmad forests in southern Chhattisgarh," said a senior official.  The home ministry proposal also seeks additional helicopters for deploying and supplying CPMFs in remote areas of Central India.  While North Block wants to augment its anti-Naxal capacities through hiring of air platforms in the interregnum, it is looking to the defence ministry and Indian Army to move some RR units from J&K to Naxal-hit areas and offer CPMFs as replacement in the Valley.  The army, however, is at slight variance with the home ministry proposal as it does not want to disturb the RR counter-insurgency grid in Jammu and Kashmir.  Instead, it is suggesting to the government that as the total sanction for RR battalions is 100 and only 63 have been raised and deployed in J&K, additional battalions up to 37 in number could be raised for Naxal areas as and when required.  The new RR units would supplement nearly 80 CPMF battalions already deployed.  While the army is preparing for any contingency in Naxal-dominated areas, it has already deployed a training brigade between Kondagoan west and Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh bordering Abujhmad forests.  While 71 Brigade of the Bareilly division trained CPMF troopers in jungle warfare till August this year, now 167 Brigade has been inducted to train new inductees in counter-insurgency missions.
Indian Army to begin huge Exercise along Pakistan border
Islamabad—At a time when Pakistanis are recovering from the shock of ISAF attack on two military posts thousands of Indian soldiers armed with hundreds of tanks, armoured carriers and fighter jets are getting ready for manoeuvres in Rajasthan sector along Pakistani border.  More than 50,000 Indian troops along with T-90, T-72, Arjun Tanks and BMPs are expected to take part in this giganticmilitary exercise code named “SUDARSHAN SHAKTI” design to add pressure on Pakistan border.  It is important to note that this extremely large India military war-game is taking place along Pakistan borders at a moment when Pakistan has accorded Most Friendly Nation Status (MFNS) to India in a attempt to normalis ties.  An Indian defence report says that “This exercise will be a trendsetter for the Integrated Theatre Concept”.  Meanwhile, there are reports that a project for ‘Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI)’ is under way to improve the navigational aids at all Indian Air Force airfields.  MAFI is planned in two phases under which 30 airfields are planned for modernization in Phase-I and the balance airfields of Indian Air Force will be modernized in Phase-II. Phase-II will also include airfields of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard as well as any other agency.  The report added that Indian Air Force is also procuring surveillance Radar Elements (SRE), Precision Approach Radars(PAR), UHF Ground-to-Air Radio sets and Commutated Automatic Direction Finder (CADF) systems to upgrade the equipment at its airfields.
Court martial of army's former military secretary complete
The Indian Army Friday completed the court martial of former military secretary, Lt. Gen. (retd) Avadesh Prakash in connection with an alleged scam involving transfer of 71 acres of land adjacent to Sukna military station in West Bengal.  The judgment in the court martial and the quantum of punishment is expected to be delivered Saturday by the court martial, which convened in Guwahati, sources in the army headquarters said here.  The army had in January this year punished another senior officer and former 33 Corps Commander Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath in the same case and had awarded punishment involving loss of seniority and some part of his pension.  Both Avadesh Prakash and Rath had been earlier indicted by a court of inquiry constituted by the army in 2010.  The scam dates back to 2008 when the alleged move to transfer the land in Siliguri district of West Bengal to a private educational trust came out in the open, leading to the army initiating the disciplinary proceedings against senior army officials, including Avadesh Prakash and Rath.  Though the then army chief General Deepak Kapoor wanted to let off Avadesh Prakash lightly with just an administrative action, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had intervened and ordered his court-martial.

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