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Friday, 18 May 2012

From Today's Papers - 18 May 2012

North Korean Rocket Failure: Symptoms of Bigger ‘behind the Scene’ Power Play
North Korean Rocket Failure in the Context of Big Power play Dynamics
-          Kamlesh K Agnihotri*
On April 13, 2012, the North Korean Rocket, which was supposedly carrying an ‘earth observation’, satellite flew for a few hundred miles after launch and thereafter plunged into the sea on its southward trajectory. The rocket launch was being watched by the whole world, particularly the Asia Pacific countries with a certain degree of anxiety. The US watched the event in abject frustration as it could not do a thing to prevent the event despite all the pressure that it brought to bear on the regime - directly or indirectly. What appears to be a straight forward defiance of the international community by North Korea (DPRK) is actually driven by serious ‘behind the Scene’ power-play dynamics in motion, of which this country’s actions are just the visible and outward symptoms. This comment seeks to delve into these behind the Scene ‘machinations’ which have been going on for close to five decades, but have acquired greater traction since the start of the new millennium.
Right from the July 1953 armistice resulting in cessation of hostilities, DPRK has been a proverbial ‘thorn in the US flesh’. Since no formal end to the war was declared at that time, the two Koreas technically continue to be at war. By insinuation, the supporting parties to the war - China on the side of North Korea and the US backing South Korea (ROK) - continue to harbour mistrust of each other deep within. There were no diplomatic relations between the two countries till the first secret visit of Henry Kissinger in July 1971 followed by the first State Visit of President Nixon in February 1972 leading to  the historic ‘Shanghai Communiqué’. This broke the ice between Washington and Beijing and subsequently led to the formal establishment of diplomatic ties in January 1979.
The end of cold war in December 1991 with the disintegration of erstwhile Soviet Union brought the US and China relatively closer. Other common factors like Russia continuing to be a  common adversary of sorts; strengthening bilateral economic engagements; softening of US position on Taiwan by its recognition of One-China policy; all contributed to the two disparate states with totally different systems ethos and ideologies to pull together, at least on the surface.
This unlikely relationship  in the contemporaneous global situation appeared to be somewhat stable for at least a decade leading up to the new millennium; with the US clearly being the more powerful, senior and better endowed partner projecting a condescending and benevolent attitude towards China. This could be surmised from the emergence of wholesome economic and trade engagements between them. China, on its part, sought to cleverly embrace the capitalistic economic model with ‘Chinese characteristics’ and get rich quickly by riding on the assured demand factor for cheap, low-to- medium end, day-to-day requirements of the burgeoning and affluent US market. The US policy makers on the other hand, considered  that drawing in China towards greater ‘globalisation’  based on market forces would  slowly but surely sow the essential seeds for nudging the single party controlled communist state towards a more  inclusive democratic system of governance . Washington of course, had the precedent of the Eastern European countries after the Second World War and the Central Asian Republics post the Cold War in the mind.
Both the countries thought at that time that they would eventually get the better of the other in their endeavours.  While this economic interplay was in progress and China took  great strides by riding on breath-taking  export wave to US and other western countries, the US was not overly concerned. The belief that  its sole superpower status  remained unchallenged, duly strengthened  by meek capitulation of China during the Taiwan crisis in 1996 when the  US deployed its Carrier Strike Group  through the Taiwan Strait, kept the Americans in their comfort zones.  At that time, china perhaps miscalculated that its economic strength coupled with its trade leverage vis-a-vis the US would enable it to get away with the military muscle flexing by limiting the American options on Taiwan. But the lessons of that disastrous retreat were not lost on China. In fact, widespread consensus was reported to have developed within the Chinese leadership and public at large that China should never ever face an adverse moment like that in future. The serious push towards Armed Forces modernisation was sanctioned immediately thereafter by the stung Chinese leadership.
As the new millennium dawned, the Chinese military modernisation and consequent capability accretion gained momentum, duly backed by the upward spiraling economic growth. The positive gradient in both these parameters, coupled with the creation of robust technical, technological, research and development base, obligated the developed world to sit up and take notice of this Asian giant. China on its part, sought participative license and gained entry into all kindly global diplomatic, economic, cultural, scientific, educational and security institutions, frameworks and formulations. It stated joining pre-formed groupings and forums and fashioned its own alliances where it could not gain entry or found it disadvantageous to its interests. On the face of it, China proclaimed   its intent of ‘Peaceful Rise’ and further   moderated it to ‘Peaceful Development’ when the previous formulation was seen to become too ‘inconvenient’ in the global real-politick. Some of these alliance - SCO, ASEAN+3, BRIC followed by  BRICS - were considered to be absolutely legitimate groupings brought about by certain common issues, interests and perceptions  of the participating countries.
What the world failed to appreciate however, was china’s overt and mostly covert support to such states and regions that were considered to be global pariahs for reasons ranging from gross human rights violations, sponsoring of cross border terrorism, willful and consistent proliferation of nuclear technology and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). China of course justified such support in terms of national interest, but sought to exploit those states as fronts for progressing its politico-diplomatic agenda of emerging as a global power, by indulging ‘statecraft with Chinese characteristics’.
Having become the second largest economy with no indications of an unusual slowdown, China looks to challenge the US on different fronts by ‘leap-frogging’ across various parameters, with an eventual aim of upstaging it as the global hegemon. This is where such isolationist regimes like the DPRK have tremendous leveraging potential for China. The US had termed DPRK as one of the ‘3 Axes of evil‘ in January 2002, the other two being Iran and Iraq. However, having acknowledged China’s increasing ability to influence regional affairs particularly those concerned with its immediate and friendly neighbours, the US sought Beijing’s assistance in its long- outstanding efforts to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula. The Six-party talks mechanism thus took shape with the main aim of capping Pyongyang’s nuclear weapon program, with active mediation and persuasive power of china vis-à-vis DPRK.
The first round of Six-Party talks took place in August 2003 at Beijing and there were positive indications to the effect that it was feasible to stop the DPRK’ from progressing further with its nuclear program. US adopted the ‘carrot  and stick’ approach off and  on, easing  sanctions at one time and promising additional aid  as also freezing and defreezing the North Korean accounts in Macau and Hongkong based Banco-Delta Asia  and stopping supplying of luxury goods meant for the  consumption of Kim Jong Il, and his elite coterie. The Confabulation carried on the next few series of talks and the high point was reached with North Korea announcing the termination of its nuclear program. The enduring image of the cooling tower of the Yongbyon reactor collapsing under huge cloud of smoke and rubble shown on the visual media as part of voluntary demolition by DPRK, tended to make one feel that the Korean nuclear program would indeed be capped under guidance and watchful eyes of the five parties to the talks.
In hindsight, that optimism was extremely short-lived. The Six-Party talks soon ran into a stalemate and finally stalled when DPRK pulled out of the talks in early 2009 over ‘verification of denuclearisation’ issues. To prove a point, it tested its second nuclear device on May 25, 2009, despite stiff opposition from the global community. The United Nations Security Council sanctions which followed, could just not be crippling enough to dissuade DPRK against undertaking further adventures, as China continued to  supply the most essential survival wherewithal and logistics under the pretext of desperately needed humanitarian  assistance. Throughout the duration of Six-Party talks, as US and other members continued to lean heavily on China’s good offices to coax DPRK towards desirable outcomes, China apparently continued to leverage the North Korean differences with the US to its own politico-diplomatic advantage.
In addition to the nuclear program, DPRK Concurrently continued work on building a reliable delivery vehicle - either a rocket or a missile. It launched a three stage rocket on April 5, 2009, which flew to about 3800 km over Japan, before falling into the Pacific Ocean. In light of regular threats issued by DPRK against American-South Korean joint exercises in the Yellow sea and nearby international waters, terming them as acts of extreme provocation, the launch of this long distance rocket added greater volatility to the threat perception in the region. The threat quotient was particularly high for South Korea, though Washington was no less concerned.
The fact that the April 13 rocket failed should only give temporary sense of relief to the on-lookers and those who stand to get affected the most. The new North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un, is in great hurry to consolidate his power and standing, both domestically and internationally. It is therefore considered that he will not let this setback or future international pressure get the better of him. Thus the global community will most likely witness either a repeat launch of the long distance rocket or the test of a third nuclear device in near future.
While the task of rectifying that technical failure will be that of DPRK, it is any body’s guess as to who will defray, disperse and block the international pressure on the country against going ahead on this undesirable path. Why should this particular country not relish playing the high-stakes game, especially when the rewards are the ‘Centre of the Universe’ status and  the associated pride, prestige and influence.
And as long as China continues to strive towards this ‘envisioned future’, countries like DPRK will continue to ‘cock a snook’ at the world, an occasional failure notwithstanding.
Pak set to reopen NATO routes
Zardari to attend the alliance’s Chicago summit next week
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will attend NATO's upcoming Chicago summit as Islamabad looks all set to open the six-month blockade of the military alliance's supply routes to Afghanistan.

The NATO extended an "unconditional" invitation for its summit next week to Zardari and supply routes for foreign troops in Afghanistan will be reopened after negotiations conclude with the US, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said today.

Both Defence Committee of the Cabinet, Pakistan's highest body on security issues, and the federal cabinet have endorsed the President's participation in the NATO Summit in Chicago after the invitation was sent by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, he said.

A final decision on reopening the "Ground Lines of Communication" or supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan will depend on the outcome of talks between the US and different ministries and organisations of Pakistan, Gilani told reporters on the sidelines of an official event.

"We have directed the concerned departments to conclude their negotiations. The talks are still underway," he said.

Pakistan closed the supply routes after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 of its soldiers in November.

Islamabad and Washington were unable to put their ties on an even keel as Pakistan had been insisting on an unconditional apology from the US for the air strike.

Though Pakistani leaders, including Foreign Minister Hina, have sought to project participation in the NATO Summit and the demand for an apology from the US as separate issues, analysts have noted that Islamabad has climbed down on both the apology and the demand to end US drone strikes.

Hina has said Pakistan has decided to reopen NATO supply routes for non-lethal cargo destined to International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. She said the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) in its meeting on Tuesday took the decision in principle for ending the blockade, though it has yet to be implemented.

The civil and military teams negotiating fresh terms on engagement with the US have been authorised to bring the matter to a closure, she added.

“The reopening of supply routes is in the interest of Pakistan, and is being done in accordance with the policy guidelines recommended by the Parliament,” Khar said, adding that objections being raised by the opposition were unfounded. “There is no hidden agreement behind the reopening of NATO routes,” she said while talking to private TV channel Geo News.

Khar said the issue of NATO supplies was not only related to Pakistan and US but it was also linked to ties with 50 more nations.

The Foreign Office today announced President Zardari would attend the NATO Summit during May 20-21 as both the Defence Committee of the Cabinet and the cabinet had endorsed the invitation. (With inputs from PTI)

Climbdown by Pak?

Though Pakistani leaders have sought to project participation in the NATO Summit and the demand for an apology from the US as separate issues, analysts have noted that Islamabad has climbed down on both the apology and the demand to end US drone strikes.


    NATO extended an “unconditional” invitation for its summit to President Asif Ali Zardari
    Supply routes for foreign troops in Afghanistan will be reopened after negotiations conclude with the US
    A final decision will depend on the outcome of talks between the US and different ministries Pakistan
    Pakistan closed supply routes after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 of its soldiers in November

The reopening of supply routes is in the interest of Pakistan, and is being done in accordance with the policy guidelines recommended by the Parliament.
The Siachen story
Why Indian Army cannot withdraw from the glacier
by Maharajakrishna Rasgotra

In July 1982, under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s direction, I had restarted the India-Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s talks which had remained stalled for over two years.  Before my departure for Islamabad the Prime Minister’s instructions to me were typically laconic: “Talk to them about everything they want to talk about, including Kashmir; what I want to know from you when you come back is whether there is a grain of sincerity in him”.

President Zia-ul-Haq had been making noises about wanting peace with India.  My very first meeting in Islamabad was with President Haq, who advised me to work out with his officials a Treaty of Peace and Friendship, including a No-war Pact.  Over the next two and a half years we did successfully negotiate such a treaty, but at the last minute under American advice, Pakistan backed off from signing it.  But I shall not dwell on that long story here.

On return from Pakistan, I told Prime Minister Gandhi that while my talks with the officials had gone off well, I could not really vouch for much sincerity on Zia-ul-Haq’s part.  For I had picked up information from other sources in Pakistan that many Kashmiris from both sides of the LOC were being trained by ISI agents for armed jihad in Kashmir at the end, in success or even failure, of the ongoing jihad in Afghanistan.  In another visit to Pakistan in 1983, I had heard some vague talk about the Pakistan army’s plans to extend its reach to the Karakorram Pass and link up Pakistan-occupied Baltistan with Chinese Occupied Aksai Chin inside J&K’s Laddakh region.  When I mentioned this to Prime Minister Gandhi she asked me to speak about this with some people in our Defence establishment, which I did.  Our Army already had information about some such schemes being hatched in Pakistan and was monitoring developments.

In early March 1984, I accompanied Prime Minister Gandhi to a meeting in the Defence Ministry’s high-security Map Room.  There were no more than six or eight other persons there, including the Defence Minister and the Chief of Army Staff.  On a large map were flagged the positions of the Pakistan army’s base – posts below the Saltoro Range, which constitutes the Siachen glacier’s western flank, and the routes the Pakistan army’s so-called “scientific” expeditions had been  treading in the region for the last one year or two.  Meanwhile, Pakistan’s two allies  – China  and the US — had been publishing maps showing the entire glaciated region up to the Karakorram Pass as territory under Pakistan’s control.  This was a blatant violation of the Cease-Fire Line (CFL) Agreement of July 1949.  Under that agreement the CFL from point NJ 9842 onwards was to run “north to the glaciers”, which would leave the larger part of the Siachen glacier and the region east of it in India.  Perhaps, the US and China viewed this as a sort of consolatory recompense for Pakistan’s losses in 1971. 

Particularly vexing for us was the thought that our two difficult neighbours, already in illegal occupation of large chunks of J&K territory, would link up to surround Central Ladakh on three sides within our own territory.  Such a juncture would give them dominance over the Shyok Valley and easy access to KhardungLa Pass, and from that vantage point their forces would threaten Leh, a mere half days’ march from the Pass.  The myth about Siachen, the  adjoining glaciated areas and the Karakorram Pass being of no strategic importance is a recent invention:  now that the region is secure, such myth  making comes easy.  Things looked very different to us when a clear danger loomed on the horizon. 

So, the Army was given the order to move in and prevent the Pakistan army from occupying any part of the Saltoro Ridge or the Siachen glacier. The risks were carefully weighed; the Pakistan army’s plans to gain territory and strategic advantage in Ladakh, by stratagem or stealth, had to be forestalled and defeated, and if that led to war, so be it.  The one post the Pakistan army had succeeded in occupying on the Saltoro Ridge was quickly removed, and   ever since no Pakistani soldier has been allowed to set foot on the Siachen glacier: a reality which Pakistan’s army and governments have assiduously kept away from their people. 

I was asked to be at that critical meeting, because I was to go to Islamabad a few weeks later to continue with the ongoing treaty negotiations.  Sure enough, General Zia-ul-Haq’s Chief of Staff, General Khalid Mahmud Arif, in a private meeting with me gently chided India saying that Siachen was Pakistan’s and what we were doing was not right!  I suitably rebutted his claim; the matter was not raised with me again, and there was not the least hint of the ongoing negotiations being broken or stalled. General Arif and I have remained good friends and have been engaged, poste-retirement, in the search for India-Pakistan peace and reconciliation in a forum called the Neemrana Initiative.

I am a firm believer in the mutual need of our two countries for peace, friendship and cooperation.  I also think that in view of the Pakistan army’s changing perception of India, New Delhi should creatively respond to Islamabad’s positive gestures. I think it is time for military leaders of the two countries to meet from time to time to inform each other of their respective security perceptions.  I also think Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should  now pay his long over-due visit to Islamabad.   Siachen does not appear to me as ripe for settlement just now, but a mutually satisfactory agreement on the Sir Creek is within easy reach. The visit should also be used to allay Pakistan’s suspicions and fears on water-related issues.

Scrutiny of the records of discussions surrounding the demarcation of the ceasefire line in 1949 will show that leaving the glaciated region as a ‘No-Man’s Land’ or an ‘International Peace Park’, etc, was never in anybody’s thoughts; for invariably always such areas become playgrounds for adventurers, spies and trouble makers.  It should also be remembered that the entire line that divides India and Pakistan in J&K  has resulted from armed conflicts followed by ceasefires.  That is what has happened in the Siachen region also.  In due course as this reality finds recognition in Pakistan, demilitarization of the region should become possible.  Meanwhile, if requested, we could even consider allowing genuine Pakistani scientific expeditions to the glacier.

After the recent tragedy in which Pakistan lost 150 soldiers in an avalanche, if its army wishes to withdraw from these treacherous heights, they should feel free to do so.  Prime Minister Singh can assure them that while the prevailing public opinion in India does not permit his government to agree to immediate withdrawal of the Indian Army from the Saltoro Ridge, it will not step beyond its present positions.n
Army Chief Singh to get farewell by Southern Command today
The handing over of office by Gen V K Singh to Lt Gen Bikram Singh marks a generational shift in leadership.

Army Chief General V K Singh, Army Chief Designate Lt Gen Bikram Singh, along with Army Commanders of the Indian Army, visited the National Defence Academy (NDA) on Thursday. The chief and the chief-to-be posed together for a group photograph in front of the Sudan Block. Both the officers are alumni of the NDA.

The handing over of office by Gen V K Singh to Lt Gen Bikram Singh, currently the Army Commander of Kolkata- based Eastern Command, marks a generational shift in the leadership given that Gen V K Singh is the last chief to have been commissioned into the Army prior to the 1971 War of Liberation of Bangladesh. Lt Gen Bikram Singh on the other hand was commissioned in 1972.

It was a unique gathering where besides General Singh, nine serving Lt Generals - Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen S K Singh, Adjutant General Lt Gen JP Nehra besides Army Commanders- Lt Gen AK Singh, Southern Army Commander, Lt Gen K T Parnaik, Northern Army commander, Lt Gen K Surendranath, Army Commander, ARTRAC, Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan, South Western Army Commander, Lt Gen Anil Chait, Central Army Commander along with Army Chief designate Lt Gen Bikram Singh, Eastern Army Commander and Lt Gen Jatinder Singh, NDA Commandant - came together. It was a visit to the alma mater for five of the general officers. Western Army Commander Lt Gen Shankar Ranjan Ghosh, also an NDA alumnus, could not attend the conference.

The last time such a unique delegation from the forces visited the Academy was in November 2010 when Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma and Army Chief General V K Singh together visited the Hunter Squadron at the Academy.

The high-profile delegation arrived at the NDA at about 9.30 am. General V K Singh inaugurated the meeting of the 47th Investment Advisery Committee (IAC) of the Army Group Insurance Fund (AGIF) at the NDA. The meeting was attended by distinguished personalities from the field of economics, industry, finance and management who provide expert advice in an honorary capacity on AGIF investments and fund management.

The Army Chief is on a two-day visit to the city and will attend a farewell by the Southern Command on Friday. He is also slated to review the Passing-out-Parade of the NDA on May 30 - a day prior to his relieving the office of the Chief of Army Staff. The NDA PoP which takes place on May 31 every year has reportedly been advanced by a day citing the same reason.
India ready for U.S. howitzer purchase
India's Defense Acquisition Council gave the go-ahead to buy 145 howitzer guns nearly 25 years after a procurement scandal derailed the purchase.

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NEW DELHI, May 17 (UPI) -- India's Defense Acquisition Council gave the go-ahead to buy 145 howitzers nearly 25 years after a procurement scandal derailed the purchase.

The deal will "exorcise" the "Bofors ghost" by inducting the army's first modern 155mm howitzers since the scandal in the mid-1980s, a report by The Times of India said.

The council, led by Defense Minister A. K. Antony, cleared the purchase of 145 M-777 .39-caliber ultra-light howitzers from the United States in a direct government-to-government deal worth $647 million under the Foreign Military Sales program.

The final contract with BAE Systems, which now owns Bofors, will be signed as soon as the Ministry of Finance and then the Cabinet Committee on Security give their expected agreement, the Times said.

Senior politicians, including former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, were accused of receiving kickbacks from arms manufacturers in return for paying inflated prices for Bofors guns.

India's Central Bureau of Investigations continued to look into the Bofors affair despite no major successful prosecutions.

Rumors of scandal were partly responsible for the electoral defeat of Gandhi's ruling Indian National Congress Party in the November 1989 general elections.

In 2004, the Delhi High Court quashed charges of bribery against several people, including Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991.

The announcement of the U.S. Bofors purchase comes as the first user trials of an indigenously manufactured Bofors-type gun are to start, the Indian defense Web site DefenseNow said.

In early March, the Indian army announced an order for 100 .52-caliber howitzer artillery pieces to be made by the Ordnance Factory Board, in Kolkata, West Bengal state, a report by the online news site Indian Express said.

Trials of these OFB guns are to take place at the Pokhran range in Rajasthan state.

The state-run OFB is manufacturing the gun based on the Bofors design which was transferred in 1986 but which lay unused due to the Bofors scandal, DefenseNow said.

"While the OFB has not called its homegrown version of the artillery gun as a Bofors gun, it will be an upgraded version of the Bofors," DefenseNow said.

Defense procurement plans are expected to be speeded up after the defense budget, announced in March, took a 17 percent jump to around $40 billion for 2012-13, partly because of major acquisition plans.

Around 18 percent of the $40 billion will be for capital expenditure -- buying new equipment up to March 2013.

A major chunk of the military budget will be for purchase of the medium multi-role 126 Rafale fighter jets from French manufacturer Dassault, a deal worth between $10 billion-$20 billion over several years.

Dassault edged its main rival EADS with its Eurofighter Typhoon last month as preferred supplier and the final contract -- India's largest single defense deal -- is expected to be signed by the summer.

The tender, which was issued in August 2007, also was contested by Boeing with its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin's F-16, the Russian-made MiG-35 and the Gripen from Swedish firm Saab.

Read more:
India Open magazine stands by 'coup story' criticism
India's Open magazine, being sued for $90m by the Indian Express newspaper, has said it stands by its criticism of a recent story in the newspaper.

Last month, the Express reported that two key army units were moved towards Delhi in January without the government being informed.

Open had criticised the report saying it was The Mother of All Mistakes.

On Wednesday, the Express sent a legal notice to Open and senior journalist Vinod Mehta, seeking damages.

It accused the magazine of "harming the reputation of the daily, its editor-in-chief and three journalists".

The Indian government had denied the Express report as baseless and the army chief had called it "stupid".

"We are surprised by the notice and our lawyers will be responding soon," Open editor Manu Joseph told the BBC.

"Yes, we stand by our story titled 'The mother of all mistakes'," he said.

The Open report had said that the newspaper was "misled" into publishing the story.

Vinod Mehta, managing editor of the Outlook magazine, had given an interview to Open in which he had criticised the Express for publishing the story.
Strong denial

The front-page report had created quite a sensation in the government and media when it was published in April.

It said the unexpected movement of troops on the night of 16 January created confusion in the government and sparked fears of a coup.

The prime minister's office, the defence ministry and the army all denied the report, saying the units' movements were a "routine exercise".

The report appeared at a time when the Indian government and the army were involved in a series of disputes.

The Indian Express claimed the incident took place on the night of 16 January - the day army chief General VK Singh filed a case in the Supreme Court in an acrimonious row with the government over his age.

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

In an effort to slow the units' movements, police were instructed to check all vehicles on the highways leading to Delhi.

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".
J&K police report contradicts Army's version of Nyoma clash

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Even as the Indian Army has time and again rubbished the Nyoma incident as a minor scuffle, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has contradicted it saying there was a mutiny like situation on the night of May 10.
The police report on the incident in Ladakh region's Nyoma fills in some of the blanks in the story so far and also contradicts the army while confirming what Headlines Today had put out first that it was mob fury at its ugliest.
The police report says that a group of 50-60 soldiers not only beat up one officer, but armed with iron rods and knives they spent the entire night hunting for the other officers who had beaten up a jawan.
There were several discrepancies in what the Army had claimed and what Headlines Today had reported. The police confirmed that the Army majors did assault the commanding officer (CO), Col P. Kadam.
Though the Army calls it indiscipline, the report clearly points to an unprecedented mutiny with the jawans attacking their own officers. The Army said the matter was quickly brought under control, but the police report says that the jawans took over control of the camp. They armed themselves with sticks and knives and attacked their superiors and ransacked the mess.
While the Army denied that the officers had to flee the camp, the police report says the jawans had gone completely berserk and hunted all night for the officers who had to go into hiding to save themselves.

Read more at:
Howitzers will soon be ready for trials
Two types of indigenously manufactured Howitzers for the Indian Army will be ready for trials by December this year and by June 2013, government told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

In a written reply to the House, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "As per the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) decision of October 2011, Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) is to manufacture 155mm Howitzers."

The OFBs have been asked to manufacture "two prototypes of 155mm/39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns" and the "upgraded version of 155mm/45 calibre Howitzers guns", he said.

On timelines for trials of these indigenous guns, Antony said that the two prototypes of 155mm/39 calibre Howitzers will be ready by December 2012, followed by two samples of the upgraded 155mm/45 calibre guns by June 2013.

On Transfer of Technology (ToT) with the Swedish firm which supplied the 155mm/39 calibre Bofors guns, Antony said, "India had entered into licence agreement with A B Bofors, Sweden for indigenous manufacture of 155mm/39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns and its ammunition."

Replying to a question on rules regarding entry of Army units in the capital after Operation Bluestar in 1984, the Defence Minister said that no specific amendments were made in the policy in this regard.

"No specific amendment in the rules/policy related to entry of Army units in the capital region of the country has been made in response to events in 1984 including operation Bluestar," Antony said.

He was asked whether "the government had modified the rules regarding entry of Army units in the capital region after Army revolt as a result of Operation Blue Star in 1984."

On the training movements of the force, he said these are based on the advance schedules prepared by the Army headquarters. On entry of Army units into the NCR during Republic Day, Antony said, "Army Units including those posted outside the NCR are nominated for participation in Republic Day Parade. The nominated Army Units/contingents enter the Capital Region during Republic Day preparations."

Replying to a question on the on-going probe in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters, the minister denied that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been asked to look into the allegations of kickback by the vendors.

On complaints of embezzlement against Cantonment Board officials, Antony said, "A complaint dated Feb 2012 regarding embezzlement of fund concerning EPF/ESI and Service Tax of workers engaged through outsourcing by the officials of Delhi Cantonment Board has been received."

The matter is under examination in the Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE), he told the House.
India’s threatening posture at borders

WHILE people of Pakistan were hoping that the warmness in relations with India would create a conducive atmosphere and help in resolving critical issues between the two countries, Defence Ministry spokesman in New Delhi has dampened the climate by stating that the Indian army would not be withdrawn from the borders to peace time locations. Reacting to a report in the media that India may move troops back from borders, the spokesman said the report is completely incorrect and the troops would remain at the wartime positions on Pakistani borders.

Over the past couple of years, Pakistan has made a major departure from its policy that outstanding issues be resolved before full normalisation of relations could take place with India. It decided to give MNF status to the neighbouring country and removed a number of items from the negative list for import from India while the President and the Prime Minister paid visits to New Delhi. Earlier too it was Pakistan that took the initiative and announced unilateral ceasefire at the LOC as a gesture of goodwill. After a series of initiatives from Pakistan, one had expected that India would respond positively and withdraw troops not only from the borders but from the occupied Kashmir as well. The statement by the Defence Ministry spokesman indicates that New Delhi would continue to maintain its threatening posture at the borders in line with its policy to keep the neighbouring countries on their toes. In addition New Delhi has embarked on major defence equipment buying spree and regularly carrying out missiles tests to augment its defences while it has no threats from its small neighbours. These developments in India are rightly seen by many Pakistani circles with suspicions because they argue that for what purpose India was maintaining its troops on the borders and why it was spending hundreds of billions of dollars on acquisition of hi-tech defence equipment? Therefore it is need of the hour that India should review its threatening posture, take advantage of goodwill and talk with Pakistan to move forward because the people here would not accept good things from Pakistan and ill from India.

* Commander Kamlesh Kumar Agnihotri is a Research Fellow with the China Cell of the National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi. The views expressed are solely his own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Indian Navy or the Foundation. The author can be reached at

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