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Friday, 6 April 2012

From Today's Papers - 06 Apr 2012







http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120406/nation.htm#3
‘Coup’ Report
Army Chief forewarned of stories on troop movement?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
Indian Army Chief Gen VK Singh was possibly aware of repercussions of troop movements towards the national capital in mid-January this year. Two Army units had moved towards the capital and the possible interpretations were probably evident to the Army Chief’s mind. In an interview to a magazine in middle of March given to a weekly magazine, the Chief hinted at it clearly.

In response to a question, Gen VK Singh said, “Even, let us say one of our forces or divisions or brigades does exercise, somebody will say, oh! they did exercise. It was not an exercise, they wanted to do something else. Now you will make a story out of it. There are lots of people who want to make stories these days for various nefarious aims, if I can put it like that.” This he had said in an interview published on March 13.

He also said that “if somebody has got any doubt, they should come and face us. They won’t because they know they are wrong”. In that interview he had also said that Army was doing a professional job but there were people both uniformed and not in uniform, some civil servants, who had their own axis to grind. They start feeding all kinds of wrong things, he said.

The Chief told the weekly magazine, “So, you tell him (journalist) something juicy, it comes on front page and nobody even looks whether there is any truth in it. It is already done. So, you have already thrown muck on somebody. There are lots of people who are doing that and I don’t know what their motives are.”

The Army Chief’s comments last month assume significance against the backdrop of a report in a newspaper, the Indian Express, yesterday that there was an unusual movement of a Mechanised Infantry unit from Hisar in Haryana.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120406/nation.htm#2
Unnecessary attempts to throw muck at govt, Army: VK Singh

Kathmandu, April 5
Breaking his silence, Army Chief Gen V K Singh today dismissed as ''absolutely stupid'' a report on the ''unusual'' movement of two army units towards Delhi in mid-January, saying unnecessary attempts were being made to ''throw muck'' at the government and the army.

Here on a three-day visit, Gen Singh said such reports show that people were unnecessarily trying to throw muck at the government and the army and they need to be taken to task.

"This is absolutely stupid," he told PTI when asked to comment on the report in the Indian Express yesterday that said the government was "spooked" on the night of January 16-17 because of the movement of a mechanised infantry battalion from Haryana's Hisar and a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade. "Whosoever is trying to make stories against the army chief is deplorable. "And what it shows is that people are unnecessarily trying to throw muck at both the government and the army and such people should be taken to task," he said.

The Army Chief is in Nepal to attend a three-day Regional seminar on Natural Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

In New Delhi yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the defence establishment dismissed the report as "alarmist" and "absolutely baseless."

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120406/edit.htm#4
Constraints on defence spending
Requirements of armed forces can’t be ignored
by Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (retd)

The allocation of Rs 1.93 lakh crore (about $40 billion) for the defence sector, as reflected in the national budget, was entirely on the expected lines. At 1.9 per cent of the GDP, a marginal hike from the previous year’s 1.83 per cent is nothing much to cheer about. The armed forces have been clamouring for about 2.5 per cent all along so as to remain competitively modernised vis-a-vis the adversaries. This seemingly big hike of 17.6 per cent in this year’s budget estimate comes down to 13.1 per cent when viewed against the revised estimate of Rs 1,70,937 lakh crore. And when seen in the light of current inflation, it becomes all the more marginal.

The armed forces have a long list of crucial acquisitions, comprising aircraft, ships, submarines, guns and modernisation of shipyards that may require as much as $50 billion in the coming years. The amount of Rs 79,579 crore, (about 41 per cent) earmarked for capital expenditure would only meet a part of the requirement. Besides, 30 per cent of this amount goes into pay and pension, leaving behind a long-term inadequacy of resources to juggle around. The usual statement that additional needs of the armed forces would be met as and when the circumstances demand is a pet weapon used by every Finance Minister to silence the critics.

This scenario became obvious after the government had displayed its Economic Survey in Parliament. The subsidies had risen to nearly 2.5 per cent of the GDP which is highest in the last 10 years. The fiscal deficit remained uncontrolled at 5.9 per cent instead of 4.6 per cent as envisioned last year. The disinvestment target of Rs 40,000 crore as projected in 2011-2012 budget had not been achieved. To add to the government’s woes, the crude oil price was escalating by the day.

It was obvious that the government would cut expenditure wherever possible. In the light of dismal assembly election results, the rail fare hike ruckus and the ensuing elections in 2014, the government would avoid taking measures that could hurt aam aadmi. In fact, the Finance Minister conceded that he could not afford to take any political risk in the light of the constraints of coalition politics. Non-planned expenditures were, therefore, obvious choice for the Finance Minister’s axe. Defence spending thus bore the brunt of the cuts. Since national security is beyond the comprehension of aam aadmi, the government could afford to take a chance and relegate defence to a lower priority for some time without hurting it unduly.

The Finance Ministry’s bizarre query some time back from the Ministry of Defence as regards the likely duration of threat from China betrays this approach. The armed forces are an easy target for the Finance Minister for they have no lobby among the parliamentarians or the public in general.

China’s defence expenditure at $110 billion announced on March 4 is nearly three times that of India. The increase of $18.4 billion (11.2 per cent) over last year’s allocation is only a part of the total hike. Considering the hidden component of the budget, which is a part of communist China’s policy, the actual figures may be much higher. This is in step with the increased pace of defence spending over the last decade. China feels that its defence spending is commensurate with its economy.

China’s rising defence expenditure and its proclivity to be aggressive and even intimidating has become a cause for disquiet in India. It has invested heavily in Tibet and all along the Indo-Tibetan border from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh. It plans to spend another $1.5 billion this year on extending highways, building new roads and repairing the old ones. It has already built a wide network of roads, totalling to about 63,000 km in and around Tibet. Sitting in a position of advantage, it shows little interest in resolving boundary dispute with India. As a counter, India could take advantage of its own favourable standing in the Indian Ocean which is China’s life-line. The Indian Navy must show its flag as a maritime power to dominate the Indian Ocean. It is in India’s long-term interest to invest in strengthening the Navy.

China has gone decades ahead of India. India can no more match it militarily in the near future, especially when China produces most of its military hardware indigenously and India relies largely on procurement from outside with hardly any worthwhile indigenous military industrial base. Interestingly, while China has emerged as the world’s sixth largest exporter of conventional weapons, India has become the largest importer of weapons.

Under the circumstances, India can hardly afford to be discordant and anti-China. The only way it can manage China is through diplomacy and pursuance of common areas of interests. But diplomacy too works from a position of strength and, therefore, there is need to keep the powder dry without slackening military preparation. Even Pakistan with a weaker economy spends a much higher percentage of its GDP on defence and keeps us on tenterhooks. Last year it spent $6.4 billion on its armed forces.

Considering the current strategic environment and the relations with our immediate and distant neighbours, the defence forces are required to maintain their combat potential all the time. With fast changing technology and competitive re-armament, modernisation remains an ongoing process, needing continuous investment of resources without much interruption. India has two compulsive strategic rivals who want to deny India its legitimate standing in Asia. Both spend heavily on defence, far in excess of India.

The significance of defence spending and its impact on the national economy has not been fully realised in India. While some see defence and development as complimentary, others see it as competitive, and yet others unfortunately view it as mutually exclusive. As for development, security is an essential pre-requisite, so is security for development. Security ensures an environment of peace and stability in which the economy can flourish and without which it could even disintegrate. Such environment inspires confidence, stimulates foreign investment, trade potential and encourages industry and employment; all important ingredients of national growth. There is an obvious linkage between defence and development, needing equal emphasis. Unfortunately, we in India do not quite realise this relationship.

The studies carried out by the US and the British after World War II have highlighted the relationship between defence expenditure and economic growth. In fully developed countries, military expenditure does not promote the same level of growth as it does in developing countries. However, excessive defence spending, as seen in under-developed countries, hurts the economy. Military expenditure results in a mixture of strategic, economic and political spin-offs. Though the linkages are obvious, it is not easy to quantify them clearly.

Despite significant defence spending over the years, India failed to build its military industrial complex. The defence industry in the US, the European Union and China has shown how defence spending can promote economic growth. It is worth mentioning here that countries having major military industrial complexes are also the major economic powers of the world. The government’s effort to jump-start the indigenous defence industry, however belated, by opening the defence sector to the private sector, allowing FDI and ensuring an offset clause in all our procurements from foreign vendors, is a welcome development.

The writer is a former Director-General, Defence Planning Staff.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/army-chief-trashes-newstroop-movement/162379/on
Army chief trashes news on troop movement
Calls the reports that appeared in Indian Express absolutely stupid
Army Chief Gen V K Singh today dismissed as "absolutely stupid" a report that the Indian government panicked for several hours in the face of unexplained troop movements near Delhi in January.   

"This is absolutely stupid," Singh said when asked to comment on the report.
The report in Indian Express that said the government was "spooked" on the night of January 16-17, because of the movement of a mechanised infantry battallion from Haryana's Hisar and a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade created a storm in the government.   

In New Delhi yesterday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the defence establishment dismissed as "alarmist" and "absolutely baseless".

The Army Chief is in Nepal to attend the three-day Regional Seminar on Natural Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/CAG-report-on-gaps-in-Indias-security-failed-to-bother-MPs/articleshow/12552834.cms
CAG report on gaps in India's security failed to bother MPs
NEW DELHI: The political establishment was outraged when Army chief Gen V K Singh's letter to PM Manmohan Singh highlighting the hollowness in India's battle preparedness found its way into the media. Many politicians had even asked for the chief's sack, assuming that he had leaked out the sensitive facts. But now it transpires that the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) had in a report in December highlighted the same critical gaps in India's defence, only much more starkly.

The irony is that the startling report had failed to create even a ripple, much less an alarm. This was despite the fact that the report painted a more frightening picture than Gen Singh's March 12 letter. Here's a sample: "At present the artillery arm of Indian Army comprises of regiments holding a mix of various gun systems whose technology ranges from World War-II and those developed in the 1970s". Indian artillery, in other words, was obsolete, the CAG said.

In fact, the report said it in as many words: "Artillery guns of modern technology could not be made available to the troops for over a decade for replacing the existing guns of obsolete technology of 1970 vintage. Acquisition of artillery guns included in the 10th Army Plan has not materialized till now. The abnormal delay in procurement of the new guns had not only impacted the operational preparedness of the Army but also resulted in substantial cost overrun."

None of this, however, roused Parliament's Public Accounts Committee which is mandated to scrutinize the findings of the auditor. The panel did not even take up the findings for detailed scrutiny, even though it's headed by an opposition leader, BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi. There are 21 other members, representing all parties, and none of them got alarmed. And yet the Army chief's leaked letter, the parties maintained, had given away national secrets.

Army guns obsolete, Navy deals flawed: CAG

The CAG's report on defence preparedness in December 2011 not only painted an overall grim picture, it went on to give regiment-wise and weapon-wise details of how the Army lacks the firepower that, by government's admission, it must have.

Stressing that the country has not acquired heavy artillery after the controversial purchase of Bofors 155mm howitzers in 1986, the auditor says: "Self-propelled guns are required to provide continuous fire support to mechanized formations, which normally operate cross-country in plains and deserts ... The Indian Army is presently holding SP guns with technology of 1970s.

"Acquisition of quantity 'X' of 155mm 52 calibre towed guns and self-propelled guns (wheeled/tracked) was included in the 10th Army Plan (2002-07) but could not materialize as of October 2010 ... This was to be replaced by the Army for its existing force level of 105mm/122mm/130mm guns of obsolete technology."

Another CAG report on the Indian Navy was tabled in Parliament in the monsoon session last year, and once again ignored by the public accounts committee. That talks of India's lack of competitiveness in sea warfare. "The Navy followed a flawed approach in acquiring its new fighter aircraft fleet by not finalizing the associated weapon package with the contract for it. Eleven out of 16 MiG 29K aircraft, acquired at a cost of $740 million (Rs 3,400 crore) have been delivered in December 2009 and May 2011. No item of armament contracted for in March 2006 has been delivered as of October 2010 adversely affecting the operational capabilities."

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/04/05/world/asia/india-srinagar-violence/
Militants killed in gunfight with Indian forces, military says
Srinagar, India (CNN) -- Five militants were killed Thursday in a fierce, 10-hour gunfight with Indian security forces in the Kupwara district of Indian-controlled Kashmir, an Indian army spokesman said.

The slain militants likely belonged to the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba group, Srinagar-based defense spokesman Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said.

Thursday's gunfight is the second in the area in the past 10 days in which five militants from the same group were killed by Indian security forces, he said.

The latest violence came a day after the United States announced a bounty of up to $10 million for information leading to the conviction of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who is linked to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, for his alleged role in the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.

Brar said a joint operation was launched early Thursday by the army and police based on information about the presence of militants in the Khurmur forests area.

"They were asked to surrender," he said. "However, they opened fire, resulting in an intense fire fight. In the ensuing encounter, five terrorists were killed. One soldier was slightly injured."

The police are working to establish the identities of the slain militants, Brar said.

Saeed helped found Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a radical Muslim organization that aims to bring about Islamist rule in parts of in India and Pakistan.

The group's military wing, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, which means army of the pure, is blamed for violence in the disputed territory of Kashmir aimed at liberating Muslims.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba began operating outside Kashmir. It is suspected of carrying out several high-profile attacks in India in the past few years.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Troop-movement-Armymen-laugh-at-bureaucrats-for-hitting-panic-button/articleshow/12552016.cms
Troop movement: Armymen laugh at bureaucrats for hitting panic button
TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 02.17AM IST
NEW DELHI: A day after a news report about unauthorized military movements kicked up a row, defence ministry sources picked holes in the conspiracy theory, stressing that it was silly that sections of the government acquiesced in the scare about the intent of units when they were only engaged in routine exercises.

A senior officer said that even if a "reckless" Army chief were to think of flexing muscles, it wouldn't make much sense for a few hundred troops to be moved from Hisar and Agra.

Over 6,000 trained soldiers are posted within Delhi throughout the year as part of the larger Army deployment. Several others pointed to the fact that thousands more soldiers were in the national capital during the period. These troops had come to Delhi for the Army Day celebrations and the Republic Day parade. Thousands of trained troops arrive in the national capital weeks ahead of January 15, the Army Day.

Sections in the government made the authorities press the panic button by representing the movement of two units on January 16 as a sinister manoeuvre by the supporters of Army chief General V K Singh.

There are other reasons also why many in the government find it mysterious that supposedly seasoned people bought into the suggestion that the movement of two units was actually meant to be muscle flexing by supporters of the Army chief.

Many in the defence ministry pointed out that it would have been an extremely foolish step to mobilize troops along the crowded national highways over several hours, if the intent was to flex muscles. Officers also drew attention to the fact that every unit of the Indian Army carries out mobilization exercises at least once every quarter, since the Operation Parakram days.

"Why would you want to bring a few hundred soldiers via road, taking several hours," an officer asked.

When India mobilized its troops to the Pakistan border in the wake of the December 13, 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament, serious problems with swift mobilization were exposed. Worst was the extreme slowness with which troops mobilized to the border.

Ever since Operation Parakram, all Army units carry out regular mobilization exercises. These involve the troops mobilizing vehicles, weapons, rations, fuel etc to figure out preparedness. The units move out of their base and go several kilometers ahead before turning back. Then a review is carried out. What the mechanized infantry unit based in Hisar and the 50 Para Regiment based in Agra did was the same - they moved ahead as part of regular mobilization.



http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-17623704
India army chief Gen Singh says troop report 'stupid'
India's army chief Gen VK Singh has dismissed as "absolutely stupid" a report that two key army units were moved towards Delhi in January without the government being informed.

On Wednesday, the Indian Express reported that the unexpected movement "had spooked the government".

PM Manmohan Singh has said the report is "alarmist".

The report comes at a time when the government and the army have been involved in a series of disputes.

On Wednesday, the government had rejected the report, saying that the army movements towards the Indian capital were "routine".
'Muck'

"Some people are trying to throw muck at the government and the army. Such people need to be taken to task," Gen Singh said on Thursday from Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, where he is attending a seminar.

The Indian Express report said the incident took place on the night of 16 January - the day Gen Singh filed a case in the Supreme Court in an acrimonious row with the government over his age.

"Intelligence agencies reported an unexpected movement" by two key military units from Hisar (in Haryana state) and Agra (in Uttar Pradesh state) towards Delhi, the report said.

The movement caused considerable alarm and consternation in the government, it said.

It added that Defence Minister AK Antony was informed, Prime Minister Singh was woken up early on 17 January and Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma was called back from a trip to Malaysia.

The army told the newspaper that the units were engaged in a routine exercise to test their mobility in fog and did not need to warn the government in advance.

Several analysts said the report, coming at a time of tense relations between the government and the army, was "mischievous" and "should be thrown in the dustbin".

The Indian Express has stood by the report and said it is a "meticulous reconstruction and a very sober interpretation of the movement of two key army units" towards Delhi.

There have been several run-ins between the army chief and the government.

A letter Gen Singh wrote in March to Prime Minister Singh about the inadequate state of India's defences was leaked and the general recently alleged he was offered a large bribe from a defence industry lobbyist.

There was also a bitter dispute over the general's age, which he eventually dropped.

He went to the Supreme Court on 16 January to have his date of birth as recorded by the military - 10 May 1950 - changed to a year later so that it matched the date on his birth certificate and other documents.

He dropped the case after the court indicated it could rule against him because he had already accepted three promotions that were based on the earlier date.

Changing the date would have meant that he could retire in 2013 instead of this year.

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-is-indias-defence-establishment-rotting/20120405.htm
Is India's defence establishment ROTTING?
B G Verghese

The civil-military confrontation shows that integrating the defence ministry and reforming procurement are overdue, says senior journalist B G Verghese

The disgraceful civil-military crisis India has witnessed denotes complete failure of leadership on the part of the army chief and the defence minister. Rather than try and paper over the cracks, both should go.

The honour and security of the nation are far more important than small egos, "goodness", petty party and civil-military infighting, and a frightening public tendency to suspect conspiracy and corruption at anybody's prompting.

The larger and far more important issue that must be addressed is the dismaying exhibition of deep systemic and structural rot for which successive governments, across parties, must take responsibility. Indecision, drift and factionalism, not just on defence issues, have become the hallmarks of governance and politics.

The role of sections of the media in all of this has been less than glorious.

After a wholly unnecessary and unseemly age row, the army chief casually informs the country through the media that a year or more ago he was offered a Rs 14-crore bribe by a just-retired lieutenant-general to facilitate purchase of what he considered substandard and overly priced trucks.

This was an extraordinary and irresponsible stance. Why make that disclosure now? The chief, however, properly reported the matter immediately to the defence minister, who asked him to reduce the matter to writing and initiate action.

The chief did not wish to pursue the matter, while the minister demurred, since there was nothing in writing.

Here was a duet of folly and farce when the house was on fire. The defence minister does not appear to have kept the prime minister in the loop. Indeed, the entire national security apparatus was seemingly bypassed.
National secrecy trumped national security for a whole year until the bubble was burst by the general for collateral reasons -- suggestively to stymie a civil-military arms dealer cabal conspiring to defame him and subvert honest and effective army procurement.

A very recent letter from the chief to the PM was leaked next, with the not-so-secret revelation that the army is ill-equipped, even unprepared to fight a war today.

Instead of addressing the fundamental rot, the debate has revolved around the second order of irrelevance.

The current tamasha has the whole world laughing at India -- and has done the armed forces' image and morale great harm. Two issues that emerge cry for immediate attention: one, civil-military mistrust within the ministry of defence; and two, defence production and procurement policy.

The armed forces are not integrated with the defence ministry but constitute a parallel, though subordinate, echelon. The three services, too, are not integrated but are under separate commands and lack increasingly required co-ordination despite a weakly structured Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Both are hangovers from India's colonial inheritance. Jawaharlal Nehru, fed by Krishna Menon, was for civil, not just political, supremacy, fearing a military coup.

It was for this reason that the Kargil Review Committee and subsequent committee recommendations favouring a chief of defence staff and an integrated ministry failed to pass muster, with inter-service rivalries reinforcing the case for civilian control.
This obsolete structure has exacerbated civil-military mistrust, caused endless delays in processing matters and allowed many emerging matters to fall between the cracks.

The age controversy also points to the need for urgent reform. The highest military commands must be based on merit and efficiency, not gerontocracy.

Some civilians rise to the highest ranks not on the basis of competence but because they are survivors, having done no "wrong" in hindsight only because they did nothing and merely marked time.

Achievers take risks and most likely make mistakes. So to equate a bona fide error or less-than-optimal outcomes or additional costs with malfeasance -- a disease of epidemic proportions in India -- is to invite paralysis.

Few realise that non-decisions constitute decisions and can be extravagantly costly.

And so to the gaping gaps in military procurement. No artillery acquisitions have been made since Bofors. Vendors who lose out turn "whistleblower", allege faulty or unfair trials, and hint at corrupt practice.

Disgruntled officials indulge in selective, motivated leaks and find media partners looking for "breaking news", however uncorroborated; shallow politicians anxious to score a point, any po#8747 and nervous officials and ministers afraid to decide.

The result is: put procurement on hold, order re-tendering, and blacklist (all) vendors. Middlemen are seen as dangerous characters seeking a cut whereas many play a useful role and need merely be licensed under rigorous rules. Not just vendors but even governments woo India, the world's largest arms importer.

Big money goes with large defence contracts. But not to procure entails multiple jeopardy -- shrinking or ageing inventories, unpreparedness, lack of training and, ultimately, higher costs, sometimes on account of emergency purchases, as during the Kargil war.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/the-army-unit-story-is-alarming-not-alarmist/245825-3.html
The Army unit movement story is alarming, not alarmist: Shekhar Gupta
New Delhi: Indian Army officials, Government and some editors have raised doubts on the story in The Indian Express that claimed 'suspicious' movement of Army units towards New Delhi. However, The Indian Express stood by its story. The newspaper's Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta clarified his stand while speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai on Wednesday and claimed that the report brought the facts out in public interest.

Following is an excerpt from Shekhar Gupta's interview with Rajdeep Sardesai:

Rajdeep Sardesai: You're getting a lot of abuse from people who are saying that here is a seasoned journalist who has resorted to sensationalizing a very very sensitive story. What is your response?

Shekhar Gupta: Once you find facts, you put them in the public domain, you have to have the spine and a thick skin. Facts can't be insinuated. On January 16, Army Chief General VK Singh goes to court and on the night of January 16, this begins to happen.

Rajdeep Sardesai: No, you insinuate the word 'coup'. You used the 'C' word without mentioning the word 'coup'.

Shekhar Gupta: I used the 'C' word but I call it curious. These are facts as we checked them and confirmed them. These facts are in public domain. If somebody says this didn't happen, I have to go back and check or say - no it did happen or say I'm sorry we made a mistake.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Because you're sticking to your story as of now?

Shekhar Gupta: Oh, absolutely.

Rajdeep Sardesai: No less than the Prime Minister of the country has called your story alarmist.

Shekhar Gupta: No, I'll call it alarming, not alarmist because the story comes not just as one odd thing that happened on one particular day, many things happened on that day, but it's not just a coincidence about those things happening. The story has come in a situation where there is a deep division between the political establishment and the Army Chief.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Shekhar, there will be this other argument about national interest? It is an argument that is made particularly by those outside journalism, that national interest was at stake, that here is a story which therefore needs the utmost fact-checking, you can't get a single fact wrong, you can't insinuate, you can't speculate. Then there is that thin line. Have you crossed that line with this story, that Lakshman Rekha between what might be seen as national interest is the question.

Shekhar Gupta: See, that Lakshman Rekha is something that you and I check out every evening in our newsrooms. It's a call we take. If the facts in the story are correct, then hiding any single fact would have done great disservice to the national interest.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Is your story simply about the fact that the government of this country got spooked, it's not really anything else beyond that?

Shekhar Gupta: The story is not beyond anything that is stated in facts here. If you see the last paragraph, we say that these are the facts, these will now be denied, but the whys and the hows and that what next of this will be debated in times to come.

A report in The Indian Express claimed that the Indian Army had moved two units towards New Delhi without notifying the government on January 16. An investigation by the Indian Express newspaper claims that the incident took place hours after Army Chief General VK Singh had moved the Supreme Court on his age controversy.

The paper has cited central intelligence agencies as reporting an unexpected movement by a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar Haryana on January 16.

It says routine lookouts confirmed the movement of an entire unit of Mechanised Infantry, with Russian-made Armoured Fighting Vehicles carried on 48 tank transporters.

The report also says that a unit of the Agra-based 50 Para Brigade was also moved.

The Indian Express claims that the Defence Minister was informed and immediately put in motion an old contingency plan, by issuing a terror alert that would entail more police checking of vehicles and slow down traffic.

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