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Monday, 27 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 27 Aug 2012
IAS, IPS crunch: Blame it on career shift, slow hiring
Ajay Banerjee/TNS
New Delhi, August 26
For long considered dream jobs for any aspiring Indian youth, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS) are today facing a huge shortfall of officers and it may take several years to bridge the gap.

Reasons for the shortfall include slow rate of recruitment and trained officers opting out mid-career for hefty private sector pay packages. Moreover, there has been increased demand for IAS officers from the Centre and state governments to run newly implemented social sector and urban infrastructure schemes. More IPS officers are needed for security-related duties, tackling Naxal violence, intelligence gathering, probing financial frauds, the newly set up National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Marine Police.

As per the data made available in Parliament last week, the country faces a shortfall of 1,777 IAS and 1,255 IPS officers against the sanctioned need for 6,154 and 4,730 officers, respectively. Not a single state has full strength of these officers, the data shows.

Almost 50 per cent of IAS posts are vacant in Jharkhand, while Nagaland with 60 per cent vacancies is the worst hit in terms of IPS cadre strength.

Retaining IAS talent is a serious issue. The charm of the red beacon-fitted white Ambassador and power to decide future of millions of people is no more enough to hold back bureaucrats. Figures show that 181 IAS officers left their jobs between January 2002 and June 2012, mostly for the corporate-MNC sector.

The shortage will take some time to bridge. This year, the countrywide intake of directly recruited IAS officers will be 180, the Union Public Service Commission, the examining body has been informed by the Ministry of Personnel. The figure has been arrived at following recommendations of a committee headed by B S Baswan, a former Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA). This suggested a cap of 180 IAS officials per annum to effectively manage future promotions and postings.

In case of IPS officers, the main reason behind the shortage is the increase of 815 IPS-cadre posts in the total authorised strength due to cadre reviews in 2010 and 2011. Between 2008 and 2011, 30 IPS officers quit their jobs as security-related jobs were in great demand in the private sector following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In a written reply in Lok Sabha on August 21, Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh indirectly put the blame on the previous NDA regime.

“(There was) a low average intake through Civil Services Examination in IPS between 1998 and 2002. The average batch size was only 40. Now the batch size is 150 officers per annum.”

To reduce the IPS shortfall, a new mode of recruitment has been started from this year with a limited competitive exam for officers of state police services, officers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces.
Indo-Pak MPs: Let us make border irrelevant
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, August 26
India and Pakistan should allow each other’s citizens to travel across the border in their own vehicles and discontinue the practice of police reporting to avoid undue harassment.

The two countries should also permit educationists and senior citizens visa-free access. These are among some radical recommendations made at the fourth India-Pakistan Parliamentarians dialogue that concluded here recently. The dialogue was co-chaired by former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha and Pakistani Senator Khurram Dastgir Khan. Both Indian and Pakistan delegations included Parliamentarians from different parties.

Releasing a joint statement at a press conference here, Sinha said the meeting was held in an “extremely cordial” atmosphere and no attempt was made to sweep anything under the carpet. “The feeling among the people of both countries is of friendship and is quite clear that the people of the two countries want to live in peace and prosper together.”
How India can counter cyber war in the Northeast
Maj-Gen J.S. Kataria (retd)

There was little or no warning about MMS/SMS creating a panic situation among people from the Northeast. Cyber space, a twentyfirst century bomb with unprecedented lethality, is the latest and chosen weapon to perpetuate communal disharmony and fear psychosis

Security personnel keeping vigil in violence-hit Dhubri district of Assam earlier this month. The tsunami of violence that has hit the nation indicates that the situation is being exploited by inimical forces to keep India away from the path of peace, harmony and growth
Security personnel keeping vigil in violence-hit Dhubri district of Assam earlier this month. The tsunami of violence that has hit the nation indicates that the situation is being exploited by inimical forces to keep India away from the path of peace, harmony and growth. Photo: PTI

The geo-political importance of Assam in the national security strategy of India is apparently neither understood nor factored appropriately by our national security strategists. The state has been facing insurgency on account of ethnical assault by infiltration of muslim settlers from Bangladesh since independence. Despite the Rajiv Gandhi Assam Accord of 1985, successive governments have come and gone without implementing the accord. Virtually no deportation took place and infiltration continued unabated. People of this region experience strong sense of alienation on account of neglect and racialism.

The demographic landscape of various districts of Assam closest to the international border, starting with Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta and even Nalbari has changed dramatically due to its porous nature. The pressure caused on the land owned by the tribals and the original residents of Assam coupled with the political clout of settlers from Bangladesh have created an explosive amalgam -- the cause of many communal conflagrations. The rise of Badruddin Ajmal and his party, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is a pointer in this direction. The national political parties have been lacking in commitment, setting the stage for forces inimical to India for exploiting the situation.


    Northeastern India comprises the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. Also known as the seven sisters, these are connected to the rest of India by a narrow strip of land known as the Siliguri Corridor that is bordered by Nepal on the west and Bangladesh on the east.
    The region has a population of about 40 million, comprising roughly four per cent of the national population. It has over 220 ethnic groups and equal number of dialects, making it a hugely diverse region. Northeast India is known for its unique culture, handicrafts, martial arts, and scenic beauty. The hills states are predominantly inhabited by tribal people. Migrants from Bangladesh, West Bengal, Tibet, Burma and Thailand have settled there over various periods of history, seriously altering the region's demography.
   During the British Raj, northeast was ruled as a part of the Bengal Province. Assam came into existence in 1874. At the time of Independence, the northeastern region consisted of Assam and the princely states of Manipur and Tripura. Nagaland was formed in 1963, Meghalaya in 1972, Arunachal Pradesh in 1975 and Mizoram in 1987, all carved out of Assam. Sikkim was integrated as the eighth North Eastern Council state in 2002.
    During the Raj, the northeastern states were isolated from their traditional trading partners like Bhutan, Myanmar and Indo-China. Partition in 1947 made this a landlocked region, exacerbating the isolation.
    Problems include insurgency, unemployment, and lack of infrastructure. Since the beginning of economic liberalisation in the 1990s, studies have shown that this region lags behind the other states in terms of development. The northeastern states have accused New Delhi of ignoring the issues concerning them.
    There have been a number of insurgent activities and regional movements in all parts of the northeast, requiring the deployment of the armed forces and paramilitary forces on internal security duties. At present insurgent activity continues in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.
    The border dispute with China remains unresolved. While Chinese troops regularly intrude into Arunachal Pradesh, it stakes claim over the entire state, calling it Southern Tibet.

The people of Assam and Kokrajhar in particular have suffered from riots for a long time. Bodos, the largest tribe of Assam launched their agitation as early as 1960, as they were fearful of being reduced to a minority in their own land by Muslim settlers. The agitation peaked in the 80s and 90s. There were large scale riots and violence in 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1998. With the Bodo Accord of 2003, the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) was formed and Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) delineated. BTAD included certain non Bodo majority areas to make it contiguous. Despite the formation of BTC, the pressure of outside settlers on the tribal land continued unabated.

The current conflagration in Kokrajhar, Assam a strategically important region of our country has generated ripples of Pan India unrest. The peaceful rally against the Assam riots in Mumbai suddenly took a violent turn - fingers are pointed at Badruddin and his party AIUDF. Cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore also witnessed violence. This coupled by the virulent doctored MMS/SMS - a communal cyber assault created fear psychosis amongst those from the north east living in various cities of India, leading to their exodus.

The origin of the doctored MMS/SMS and subsequent violence in various parts of the country dumbfounded one and all. The source of the doctored MMS/SMS has been traced to Pakistan -- call it a jihadi cyber attack or a well orchestrated information warfare campaign. Badruddin and his party are under the lens for their likely involvement in the Mumbai violence. This has cast a shadow on India's national security and its multi-cultural identity. Apparently, having lost in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan is opening a new front and threatening India's eastern flank with an inexpensive option of a well planned information warfare.

The country is seeking answers to a few pertinent questions. Are the Assam riots and their ripple effect on India, an amalgam of our internal politicking exploited by the external force? Do the national security agencies have the technical wherewithal and the requisite expert resources to take counter measures for any such assaults in future?

Politicking to grab power at the cost of nation building is a norm with our political leaders. It is a bygone conclusion that our national/ state level political parties and their policies are responsible for the current impasse in Assam and elsewhere in the country. Yet, it was heartening to see our parliamentarians speak in one voice against the violence. The tsunami of violence that has hit the nation is indicative of the fact that the situation is being exploited by our inimical forces to keep India away from the path of peace, harmony and growth. The worry is that AIUDF and Badruddin should not be thriving on jihadi money and we may find that it is an extension of extremists from Pakistan- a replacement for the banned Indian Mujahedeen.

The application of 'propaganda through the Fifth Columnists' to destroy the adversary from within was first propagated by Kautilya in his magnum opus Arthashastra. Kautilya's philosophy of propaganda was a heady concoction of truth mixed with facts and options to destabilise the adversary from within. Kautilya has said, "An arrow may or may not kill but an idea can even kill in the womb". The current situation created through the MMS/SMS that originated from Pakistan, is a leaf out of Kautilya's Arthashastra and an attempt to destabilise India by creating communal disharmony. Information warfare which encompasses cyber attacks is the latest and chosen weapon of our adversary.

Information warfare is an American concept which came into fore during the 1991 Gulf War. It is a skilful use of information about the enemy aimed to demoralise the adversary's populace and the defence forces through propaganda as enunciated by Kautilya; using information technology and social media as the force-multiplier. The doctored MMS/SMS that caused fear psychosis amongst the people from the north east leading to their exodus is evidently the handiwork of specialists in the field. As usual, Pakistan is bound to deny the complicity of its state agencies.

It does not require great mind to understand our adversary's intentions behind the shrouded screen of doctored MMS/SMS. Over the years the demographic status of majority of the districts in Assam has shifted in favour of Muslim majority, largely the settlers from Bangladesh. Pakistan is clearly attempting to exploit the demographic shift, to open a new front.

India has its information warfare centres in place but the moot question is that are we ready to take on such threats. If the answer is yes, then why our intelligence agencies have had little or no warning of the MMS/SMS creating a panic situation amongst the people from the north east and the undue delay in tracking their place of origin. Why the intelligence again failed in giving advance warning on the developments that took place in Mumbai? Do we have international safeguards or treaties in place? We, the proud holders of Kautilya's heritage have not kept pace with time and application of knowledge in the present context. Our intelligence agencies and the national security strategists have to generate capability for execution and countering information warfare (propaganda), a twentyfirst century bomb with unprecedented destructive power, to safeguard the safety and security of our nation.
India evaluating China’s military exercises in Tibet
 Even as the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is seized of the Army’s plan to raise an exclusive strike corps for the China border in the eastern sector, the Army is evaluating the recent ground-air combat military drill by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on the Tibetan plateau.

The PLA has carried out four exercises in Tibet since March.

“We constantly monitor and analyse such exercises; there is no change in the pattern and no new areas are being opened by the Chinese military,’’ sources in the Army said.

On infrastructure-building by China along the border, Defence Minister A.K. Antony told Parliament last week that the government was regularly monitoring all developments in “our neighbourhood,’’ which have a bearing on national security. “Required measures have been initiated through development of infrastructure and operational capabilities to achieve desired levels of defence preparedness to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India,’’ he said in written reply.

Keen to get at least the Air Force also on board, the CCS is learnt to have asked the armed forces to further work out finer details and come up with a compact proposal for raising a strike corps. Discussions on planning a strike corps as well as two additional divisions for defence of Arunachal Pradesh began about six years ago and continued at various levels before the proposal was sent to the CCS in the form of a note a year ago, government sources familiar with the development on this front said.

Initially, the Army proposed raising three divisions — comprising nearly 45,000 troops — at an estimated cost of about Rs. 7,000 crore. It was proposed to have the corps headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal.

The proposed strike corps will draw support from IAF fighters operating from renovated bases in the northeast. Sukhoi-30s have been posted at bases in Tezpur and Chhabua. In addition, Jorhat, Bagdogra, Hashimara and Mohanbari bases are also being upgraded.

“The PLA has held at least 21 exercises in the Tibet region over the past one-and-half years. These have been designed for specific scenarios. These exercises also convey to India that they are gearing preparations in high altitude conditions. China wants to convey that it is testing and strengthening its conventional deterrents and enhancing military capability in hostile territory,’’ said Srikanth Kondapalli, Chairman of the Centre for East Asian Studies in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“India is also conveying a message about its capabilities through Agni V test or deployment of SU-30s,’’ he said.

As perceptions of the Line of Actual Control differed on both sides, transgressions often took place, he noted.
Indian Army all set to procure 126 French combat aircraft

New Delhi: Addressing the concerns raised over the process of selecting Rafale fighter planes, the government is moving ahead to procure 126 French combat aircraft and effort is also being made to complete the deal within this financial year.

Contract negotiations for the multi-billion dollar deal will resume soon, government sources told PTI. Questions had been raised over the process by an MP besides some other quarters but a committee of independent monitors has given a clean chit to the process, they said.

The government is making efforts to conclude the deal during this financial year, sources said. The examination of the process was ordered by Defence Minister AK Antony after former MP Mysura Reddy questioned the method of selecting Rafale as the lowest bidder for the deal. Responding to the charges levelled by him, Antony had recently issued a letter to the former TDP MP saying that the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) has been directed to proceed to complete its deliberations and finalise its report.

In his letter to Reddy, Antony said, "The issues raised by you were examined by Independent monitors who have concluded that the approach and methodology adopted by the CNC in the evaluation of the commercial proposals thus far has been reasonable and appropriate and within terms of the Request for Proposal and Defence Procurement Procedure." "Before any further action is taken, the entire issue of approach and methodology adopted by the CNC to determine the L-1 vendor as well as your letter and other references received in this regard will be re-examined by the Defence Ministry to ascertain that the entire procurement process is reasonable, appropriate and as per the laid down procedure," Antony had said.
Prithvi-II missile test, a success
The Strategic Forces Command, which is in charge of nuclear weapons, successfully fired the surface-to-surface Prithvi-II missile from Chandipur in Odisha’s Balasore district on Saturday, confirming yet again that the armed forces are capable of launching nuclear missiles independently.

The missile, drawn from the inventory of the armed forces, lifted off from a road-mobile launcher at 11.04 a.m. at the Integrated Test Range. It crossed the entire range of 350 km and smashed the targeted area with a dummy payload in the Bay of Bengal, with an accuracy of less than 10 metres.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed three Prithvi variants: Prithvi-I for the Army; Prithvi-II for the Indian Air Force; and the Dhanush for the Navy. All the three have been inducted into service. Prithvi-II, a single-stage missile using liquid propellants, can carry a 500-kg warhead and is meant for deep interdiction.

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, who was present at the launch, said all the stages, from the lift-off to the impact, went off with precision. Five radars and five electro-optical tracking systems along the coast and two ships tracked the missile’s trajectory all through the flight, which he termed “an outstanding success.” “Prithvi-II is a user-friendly missile, which has a completely guided trajectory all through,” said Dr. Saraswat, who is DRDO Director-General and architect of the Prithvi variants. It is guided by a sophisticated inertial navigation guidance system (INS) and controlled by thrust vector and aerodynamic control systems.

G. Satheesh Reddy, Associate Director, Research Centre, Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, said the entire avionics system functioned perfectly, helping the missile reach its targeted area with a single-digit accuracy of less than 10 metres. The RCI, a DRDO facility, developed Prithvi-II’s avionics.

The teams from the armed forces and the DRDO were led by Project Director N. Sivasubramanyam and Programme Director Adalat Ali. The Director of the Hyderabad-based Defence Research and Development Laboratory, A.K. Chakrabarti, and Integrated Test Range Director M.V.K.V. Prasad witnessed the launch.

Dr. Saraswat said the arrival in Bangalore of the fully modified Embraer-145 aircraft from Brazil on August 22 “marks the beginning of the integration phase” of the indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW and C) system, an “eye in the sky” that will track hostile and friendly objects in the air and on the ground.

The Embraer aircraft has already been integrated with the indigenously developed Active Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar with dummy electronics. The AESA radar is a joint project of the Centre for Airborne Systems and the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment, both DRDO laboratories, based in Bangalore. The AESA radar has a power amplifier that uses gallium arsenide-based transmit modules. This will enable the radar to have a more sustained life than the conventional tube-based radars. “Our AESA radar is contemporaneous with the best in the world,” Dr. Saraswat said.
Indian army chief axes ex’s decisions
The purge seems to have begun as Indian army chief General Bikram Singh is slowly but steadily overturning several key decisions taken by his predecessor, General VK Singh, which range from policy and procurement directives to postings of senior officers in key positions. The Indian defence ministry, left rattled by General VK Singh’s propensity to “shake up the system” and indulge in brinkmanship, is exhibiting tacit support for General Bikram Singh’s drive to “put the Army’s house in order’’ by not standing in the way, say sources.
Singh’s move to shut down the Technical Support Division (TSD), the clandestine military intelligence unit accused of illegally tapping telephones in New Delhi, and transfer the director-general of military operations (DGMO), Lt Gen AK Chaudhary, have stood out since both were closely associated with Gen VK Singh. While the TSD was directly reporting to Gen V K Singh, he had also pushed for Lt Gen Chaudhary’s appointment as the director-general of Assam Rifles (AR). On Friday, the government announced Lt Gen Ranbir Singh will be the director-general of AR, a post which had been lying vacant for the last six months since the then DG, Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy, was moved out at Gen VK Singh’s behest.

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