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Sunday, 8 January 2012

From Today's Papers - 08 Jan 2012

Intel warns of Chinese terror threat to Dalai Lama

Mumbai, January 7
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama may be harmed by six Chinese nationals who are likely to sneak into India, intelligence inputs received by Mumbai police have warned.

According to city police sources, the inputs reveal the name of one Chinese national of Tibetan origin - Tashi Phuntsok - who was waiting to sneak into India with the intention of gathering intelligence on the Tibetan administration in exile and to cause harm to the Dalai Lama.

Besides, Mumbai and Delhi could come under fresh attacks by home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, sources said, adding that Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), under intense pressure from Pakistan’s ISI, is planning to target important political leaders in poll-bound Punjab, including a minister.

“Dalai Lama keeps visiting Mumbai and other places in the state. The threat to Dalai Lama need not be underestimated. Loss of Chinese passports and recovery of Chinese passports need to be reported promptly, so that the concerned agencies could question them thoroughly. In this regard, the activities of the followers of ‘Shugden’ cult (an anti-Dalai Lama group) need to be kept under strict vigil,” the intelligence report said.

The six suspects, in all likelihood, were from China’s secret service, the sources said. “Some Tibetans may be inspired by Chinese to harm Dalai Lama. A good number of Chinese youth enter India on business visa, ostensibly for some clandestine activities. It is likely that they may try to visit certain areas prohibited for Chinese like Tibetan camps,” they said. — PTI

After visa row, Delhi to send smaller delegation to China
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, January 7
A day after the flare-up between India and China that threatened to snap fledging defence-related confidence building measures, New Delhi has changed its mind to call off a scheduled military delegation’s visit to Beijing and has now decided to send a truncated one.

The Indian military delegation, drawn from all three armed forces, has been downsized by half
The delegation’s visit had been called off on Friday after Beijing refused a visa to Arunachal Pradesh-origin Indian Air Force pilot, Group Captain M Panging

The Indian military delegation has been downsized by half from its original size of 30 members. The delegation is drawn from all three armed forces. The delegation’s visit had been called off yesterday after Beijing refused a visa to Arunachal Pradesh-origin Indian Air Force pilot, Group Captain M Panging. However, during the night, it was decided to take a more pragmatic view. The delegation size has been halved probably to send a message that India was unhappy with the developments but has opted against putting defence related ties in a freeze.

The delegation will leave as scheduled on January 10 and visit Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai during the four-day trip. Had the delegation been called off it would have been a serious reversal in the ties between the two countries, said sources. The two nations, after a hiatus of two years, had resumed the Annual Defence Dialogue in December last and even announced additional CBMs.

The two sides are at an advanced stage of taking a decision on a joint civil-military mechanism to maintain peace along the disputed line of actual control (LAC). The Indian Navy is looking to have a protocol at sea so that warships of the two fast-expanding nations are not involved in any accident. The Indian Army and the Peoples’ Liberation Army of China have such a protocol along the LAC where it has been successful.

Defence ties had been snapped in June 2010 when China refused a proper stamped visa to Lt Gen BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was serving in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi had then told Beijing that it was interfering on an issue that existed between India and Pakistan.

Last April Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Chinese Premier Hu Jintao had met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Sanya where the two decided to resume suspended military ties.

Army draws LoC on Facebook use
Sujit John & Prashanth GN, TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 05.00AM IST
BANGALORE: Indian Army personnel cannot provide any indication of their workplace on online forums, especially social networking sites including Facebook.

A recent Army letter says certain internet and social networking guidelines were issued earlier, but these were not implemented in the desired manner, leading to many cases of security breaches. It also says action will be taken against those violating these rules.

The Army's worry is that public access to such information could increase the vulnerabilities of both the Army and its personnel. Some information could provide clues to the Army's strategies. It could also make personnel more vulnerable to things like honeytraps (spies using sex to extract information). Social networking sites have made it much more easy for strangers to form relationships. And as the online publication 'Foreign Policy' says in an article on honeytrapping, "Cleverness, training, character, and patriotism are often no defence against a well-set honeytrap."

The Army has said that on the internet, personnel cannot make any comments on matters related to the Army's policies; they cannot discuss Army matters with even retired Army employees. They have also been told not to forward chain mails pertaining to the armed forces.

A senior defence ministry official told STOI: "Defence personnel are not provided internet connections in their official establishments. There is however an intranet connection that allows personnel and establishments across the country to communicate. Using personal email ID is not permitted on the official computer."

The official said there are guidelines for defence personnel using email and internet connections on their personal computers at home. "There are guidelines about what can be communicated and what should not be even from home."

Army holds disaster management exercise
In order to be prepared for the natural calamities and disasters, the Army conducted a two-day major disaster management exercise - ex-Mountain Rescue in Aid to Civil Authority - at the Annandale ground, Shimla, on January 6 and 7.

The exercise was conducted in conjunction with the Civil Administration and Fire Service Department. The aim of exercise was to practice evacuation of Civilian population from the disaster affected areas in the mountains of Himachal. Army Aviation Corps and Air Force helicopters practiced casualty evacuation drills in conjunction with the Army’s Special Forces and regular troops of Jutogh battalion.

While disclosing this, the spokesperson of Army, mentioned that major calamities that have struck the Indian sub continent during the last decade have underscored the need to adopt a multi dimensional, multi diciplinary and multi sector approach to disaster management. “Within the ambit of this approach the armed forces constitute a significant and potent entity, available with in the Central and State Government for disaster response and relief. The armed forces by virtue of their organisational strength motivation discipline and operational preparedness have always risen to the occasion earning the appreciation of the environment for their singular contribution towards disaster management”, the spokesperson added.

India does a U-turn, to send small military team to China
NEW DELHI: In an overnight U-turn, India has decided to go ahead with sending a military delegation to China next week but curtailed it to 15 members, instead of the original 30, after Beijing refused to issue a visa to an IAF officer, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh.

The 15-member tri-Service delegation will leave for China on Sunday, as was scheduled earlier, to hold talks with their People's Liberation Army (PLA) counterparts as well as visit military establishments in Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai from January 10 to 13, said officials on Saturday.

Group Captain M Panging, the chief operations officer at the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter airbase at Tezpur, will, however, not be part of the truncated delegation. The visa denial to Group Captain Panging had led to the delegation's visit being put on hold on Friday, with the defence and external affairs ministries speaking in different voices, as reported by TOI.

Given its over-cautious attitude about not doing anything to ruffle a prickly Beijing, India in the past has avoided sending officials hailing from Arunachal Pradesh for defence and other exchanges with China. The defence establishment seems to have inadvertently included Group Captain Panging in the 30-member delegation, which included eight officers each from Army, Navy and IAF as well as six from the integrated defence staff, much to the external affairs ministry's consternation.

Consequently, a 15-member delegation, led by an air vice marshal, will now be heading for China as "a reciprocal visit" to the one made by a 29-member PLA delegation here in the last week of December. This was one of the ``net outcomes" of the 4th India-China annual defence dialogue, held in New Delhi on December 9, which had decided to enhance "the range and scope of bilateral exchanges at various levels'' as a confidence-building measure between the world's two largest armies.

If the delegation's visit next week had been called off, it would have been the second time in less than two years that India would have taken such a step. Earlier, in July 2010, India had frozen all military exchanges with China after Beijing had denied a proper stamped visa to the then Northern Army commander Lt-General B S Jaswal on the grounds that he was commanding forces in the ``disputed and sensitive'' region of Jammu and Kashmir. The ice was broken only after an Indian delegation, led by Major-General Gurmeet Singh, commanding a Rashtriya Rifles division in J&K, visited Beijing in last June.

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