India, Pak fail to narrow differences
Tribune News Service
Jalil Abbas JilaniNew Delhi, July 5
The trust deficit between India and Pakistan was clearly evident today as the two countries concluded their two-day Foreign Secretary-level talks with a commitment to carry forward the nascent peace process.
India made it clear to Pakistan that it must realise the urgency of bringing to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack in the light of revelations made by Abu Jundal, key plotter of the mayhem, while Islamabad rejected any insinuation of any involvement of its state agencies in acts of terror in India.
“Terrorism poses the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region… I emphasised that bringing the guilty (of Mumbai attack) to justice would be the biggest confidence building measure (CBM) of all,’’ Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said at a joint press conference with his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani at the conclusion of their meeting.
Mathai said he had shared with the Pakistani side the outcome of Jundal’s interrogation, which suggested the involvement of Pakistani state actors in the Mumbai mayhem. He said India had provided more evidence on the 26/11 attack to Pakistan during the Home/Interior Secretary-level dialogue in May in Islamabad.
“The arrest and the ongoing interrogation of Jundal has now added urgency to this matter…we will continue to pursue this matter with determination to its logical conclusion,” Mathai said.
The Pakistani diplomat observed that terrorism was a common enemy of the two countries as both of them were the victims of the menace. “Trading charges will not take us anywhere… our government is very serious to move from adversarial relationship to positive narratives.”
Jilani said he had told Mathai that the entire evidence on Jundal should be shared with Pakistan so that it could investigate the matter. He said he had also offered a joint investigation into the Mumbai attack.
“There should be absolutely no setback (to the dialogue process) because we can’t afford a setback.” He said he had been associated with the dialogue process with India for quite sometime and had every reason to believe that that the two countries had made a lot of progress on all issues, including terrorism.
While Mathai welcomed the movement on the trade and economic front between the two countries, Jilani was of the view that their Home and Interior ministers as well as respective agencies should meet more often in order to share information and defeat terrorism.
In a joint statement issued after the foreign secretary-level talks, the two countries said their talks on peace and security, including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges were held in a frank and constructive manner.
The Foreign Secretaries reviewed the ongoing implementation of the already adopted nuclear and conventional CBMs. It was decided that separate meetings of expert-level groups on nuclear and conventional CBMs would be held to discuss implementation and strengthening existing CBMs and suggest additional mutually acceptable steps that could build greater mutual trust and confidence. The dates of the meetings of expert-level groups would be determined through diplomatic channels.
The two sides also recognised the need to strengthen the existing cross-LoC CBMs for streamlining the arrangements to facilitate trade. They decided to convene a meeting of the working group on cross-LoC CBMs on July 19 in Islamabad to recommend steps in this regard.
Points of contention
n India wants Pakistan to realise the urgency of bringing to justice the 26/11 perpetrators in the light of revelations made by Abu Jundal
n Islamabad has rejected any insinuation of any involvement of its State agencies in acts of terror in India
n India has shared the outcome of Jundal’s interrogation with Pakistan that suggests the involvement of State actors in 26/11
n Pakistan wants entire evidence on Jundal to be shared
n Pakistan has termed terror a common enemy of the two countries, saying both were its victims
CBI to grill NDA Commandant
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 5
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will question Lt Gen Jatinder Singh, the just-removed Commandant of the National Defence Academy, Pune.
CBI sources said the questioning would take place soon. The rank of the Commandant of the NDA is higher than the rank of Joint Secretary to Government of India and permission is needed to question officers who are in the rank of Joint Secretary or above. In this case, the permission has been cleared by the Ministry of Defence.
The CBI had on June 24 unearthed a job-for-cash scam in the NDA and has so far booked two Colonels, including Col Kulbir Singh, the staff officer to the Commandant. Defence Minister AK Antony had yesterday ordered the immediate removal of the Commandant.
Sources said the General was being questioned on the suspicion of his involvement because his Staff Officer was arrested on June 24 and booked by the CBI under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Around 40 persons were given jobs in the NDA on the basis of bribes. The CBI has alleged that bribe was accepted by officials and their touts for recruiting subordinate staff like cook, gardener, library and laboratory attendants, cadet orderly and lower division clerks. The staff officer is alleged to have obtained illegal gratification between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 4 lakh from each candidate.
“Since the Commandant’s staff officer is involved, it is logical that the General is questioned,” CBI sources said.
Pakistan told about role of State actors in 26/11: PC
Kolkata, July 5
The information gathered from the alleged Mumbai terror attack mastermind Abu Jindal has been used to tell Pakistan about the role of non-state actors and "perhaps even state actors" in the attack, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said here today.
He denied that his ministry was not aggressive in confronting Pakistan with the information obtained from Jindal, who was arrested at Delhi airport June 21 after his deportation from Saudi Arabia.
"To the extent it is necessary, I have shared with you and the people of India the essential information that we have gathered from him. And we have used that to tell the Pakistan side the essential information clearly points to state actors and perhaps even state actors were behind 26/11," Chidambaram said.
“We hope Pakistan will come forward and help us with specific information about his activities in Pakistan which will help us in tracking down several others involved in the terror activities in both the countries,” he said.
Denying the allegation that several innocent persons were killed in the CRPF firing at a fake encounter, he said the firing was done in the face of armed attacks by the Maoists on them. The killing of the jawans was equally unfortunate. onceding that three states continued to be "badly affected" by left wing extremism, he said West Bengal was "virtually free" from any such threat.
"Although three states continue to be badly affected by LWE (left wing extremism), West Bengal has shown remarkable recovery. The three districts of the state (Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore) are now virtually free from any LWE threat," he said here.
Chidambaram and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal held a press meet at Calcutta Press Club, where they highlighted achievements of UPA II.
BSF, Pak Rangers agree to check cross-border firing
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 5
India and Pakistan today made an announcement to prevent cross-border firing by troops saying both sides were keen to control such incidents. The two countries also agreed to work out ‘modalities’ to de-escalate tension in case of a ceasefire violation.
The decision will percolate down to the post commanders along the border, Director General of BSF UK Bansal and DG Pakistan Rangers Maj Gen Rizwan Akhtar told a joint press conference at the conclusion of their four-day talks here.
“We heard each other with patience and maturity. We sincerely hope to start a new chapter in our endeavour to guard the border on the western front,” said Bansal.
He was seconded by his counterpart Gen Akhtar. “We talked in detail (on the issue of cross border firing)...This should not happen. We will better the mechanism, we will ensure that those parameters that we have discussed here will be told to every trooper on the border and we believe that we will have better results," said Akhtar.
“First we will try that no such firing incident occurs. In case, the ceasefire is violated. Then the first attempt will be to ‘nip it in the bud’ instead of blaming each other for having started it,” said Bansal.
Replying to a question, Gen Akhtar said “We will ensure there is no infiltration from either side.”
The two sides also discussed menace of smuggling of drugs and fake currency.
Defence lab develops battlefield water purifier
New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) A portable water purifier that can be used by troops on the battlefield to quench their thirst from available surface water has been developed by a defence laboratory in Rajasthan, an officer said Thursday.
The ultra filtration membrane-based Field Water Purifier for military use is a backpack-type unit that can be manually operated by soldiers while moving in the battlefield or on missions, defence ministry official Col S.D. Goswami told IANS over the phone from Jodhpur.
"The water purifier is capable of purifying the surface water available during troops movement on the battlefield and convert it into potable water of World Health Organisation standards," Goswami said, giving details of the new product from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) stable.
"This equipment purifies enough water for an army section of eight to 10 soldiers to quench its thirst for a day," he said.
The system, which weighs just about eight kgs, has been developed keeping in view the harsh field environments, varying field water quality and most important of all, the user-friendliness of the equipment for army personnel use.
The purifier filters water up to 40 litres per hour and can be operated by hand and by foot, apart from having 300-hour anti-fouling mechanism to ensure smooth operation and optimum use.
"Water from rivers, lakes, ponds, and canals can be purified using this equipment and has been designed and developed for hard field conditions and all types of water availability," the officer said.
The equipment could soon become a part of the Indian Army's infantry, armoured and engineer section of soldiers on the move during both insurgency operations.
"It is both for war-time and peace-time use," he said.
The system is specially suited for plains and mountain terrains, where major cause of water contamination is the turbidity due to suspended or dissolved silt, as well as microbial impurities.
The purifier does not need electricity or any chemical for purification of water.
The defence laboratory has fabricated and completed tests on a demo prototype of the water purifier and it is now ready for field evaluations.
India at the Forefront of Growth for Defence Spend: F-INSAS Updates from the Indian Army
LONDON and NEW DELHI, July 5, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The 2nd Annual Soldier Modernisation Conference, hosted by Defence IQ in collaboration with the Indian Army, has been confirmed to take place 11-13 September 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Delhi, India.
This year's programme focuses on the highly publicised F-INSAS programme, estimated at a $10Bn forecasting budget, with Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia, Director General, Directorate Infantry and Lieutenant General Sumer Singh, Director General, Directorate Perspective Planning - both representing the Indian Army - to lead discussions on capability gaps and perspective planning for infantry requirements up to 2020+.
Lieutenant General Bhatia and Lieutenant General Singh are joined by senior representatives of the Indian Army as well as the DRDO - the Defence Research and Development Organisation in India - on the speaker faculty, which already features international military participation from the US, Israel, Czech Republic, Italy, Croatia and Spain, amongst others.
The main purpose of the event is to present attendees the much-needed networking platform for international industry professionals to meet senior military decision-makers responsible for the major programmes - notably F-INSAS - within India's defence organisations, and to hear directly India's current priorities and ambitious future requirements.
Whilst there is still much speculation on the plans of the Indian Army for allocations and contracts, with global organisations weighing out their priorities between India and other emerging markets such as the Middle East, India undeniably remains at the forefront of growth in the world in terms of defence spending.
According to Visiongain's analytical report, "The Indian Defence Market 2012-2022," it is estimated that India will spend $38.51 billion on defence in 2012 alone.
As UPI.com quotes from the study: "Despite the continued existence of restraints on the market such as slow tender processes and a dominant state sector, huge opportunities exist for a wide variety of defence firms. Those who are willing to work within the Indian government framework for indigenization of production will find themselves in a potentially long-term and lucrative arrangement."
4 high-profile cases will test Army's Northern Command
The chief of Northern Command – Lt Gen KT Parnaik -- has in a message to the rank and file made it clear that no deviation from laid-down procedures or indiscipline will be tolerated in his area of responsibility, reports RS Chauhan
The Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command of the Indian Army [ Images ] is currently busy with four high-profile inquiries dealing with two alleged human rights violations, one attempted rebellion and another dealing with alleged corruption by a senior officer.
The high-profile Pathribal killing case, dating back to 2000, and the alleged fake encounter at Machhil are being finally taken over by the Army. After the Supreme Court gave the option to the Army to either take over or allow a civil court to try the accused Army personnel involved in the Pathribal case, last month, the Northern Command has now begun the step-by-step legal process. A court of inquiry has been set up which will examine, cross-examine and question all those involved in the infamous case. Even civilian witnesses would be summoned if necessary, Army sources say.
The Pathribal case relates to an incident in March 2000 when five unidentified terrorists, reportedly perpetrators of a massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chattisingpora village, were killed in a joint operation by an Army and police joint team. Later, however, allegations surfaced that the unidentified terrorists were actually innocent youth from a nearby village. The Army, however, pointed out that the operation was joint and based on an intelligence input by the local police. A Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry was ordered. The Army, however, refused to be part of the CBI probe, leading to a case that went up to the Supreme Court.
Now, on orders of the Supreme Court, the Army has begun the court of inquiry. Whether it will lead to a court-martial of the personnel involved will depend on the kind of evidence that gets produced.
The Machhil case of 2010, in which an Army officer is alleged to have lured three labourers to a border area and then killed them to pass them off as terrorists, has been finally given to the Army after a two-year delay caused by the insistence of the civil administration that it wanted to try the men in uniform.
Another significant case that is currently being tried in Northern Command is the rebellion in an artillery unit two months ago in Ladakh after jawans, enraged by mistreatment to one of their colleagues, clashed with some of the officers and beat them up. Considered a very serious breach of discipline, the court of inquiry currently on under the Leh-based 14 Corps is likely to take at least another month to be finalised before any conclusion is reached.
The fourth high-profile case of inquiry involves a major general rank officer -- in-charge of ration and supplies in the entire Northern Command -- is also under progress. The major-general is alleged to have indulged in financial irregularities and alleged corruption in dealing with suppliers.
Sources say the chief of Northern Command – Lt Gen KT Parnaik -- has in a message to the rank and file made it clear that no deviation from laid-down procedures or indiscipline will be tolerated in his area of responsibility. The outcome of these four high-profile cases will also in a way send out a clear signal, the sources added.