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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

From Today's Papers - 04 Sep 2012
China told to stop infrastructure development in PoK: Antony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 3
On a day that the Chinese Defence Minister arrived in New Delhi, his Indian counterpart AK Antony, in a separate development, today told Parliament that China has been asked to cease all infrastructure development works in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

In a written reply in Parliament, Antony said the government was aware of the infrastructure development by China at the border and its undertaking of infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

“We have conveyed our concerns to China about their activities in PoK and asked them to cease such activities,” he said.

China, he said, disputes the international boundary between India and China. There is no commonly delineated ‘Line of Actual Control’ (LAC) between the two countries.

He said, “There has been no Chinese intrusion into Indian territory in the past three years. However, Chinese patrolling as far as their perception of the LAC are treated as transgressions.” Such incidents of transgressions are taken up with the Chinese side through established mechanisms such as hotlines, flag meetings, border personnel meetings and the newly established working mechanism on consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs.

Chinese Defence Minister to meet Antony today

General Liang Guanglie, Minister of National Defence of China, and his delegation will be locked in a two-hour-long meeting with his Indian counterpart AK Antony and his team of top officials on Tuesday
Army to seize illegal arms
Bijay Sankar Bora/TNS

Guwahati, September 3
The Army has been entrusted by the government with the task of tracing and getting hold of illegal arms and ammunition available in violence-affected districts of Bodoland Autonomous Territorial District Council (BTC), including Kokrajhar, Chirang and adjoining Dhubri, in view of the occurrence of sporadic incidents of violence in those areas despite heavy presence of the Army and Central paramilitary forces.

There have been allegations from various quarters that the availability of illegal arms with many elements in the BTC area was one of key reasons behind the escalation of violence last month. In fact , violence was stoked by a shootout incident during the night of July 19 when motorcycle-borne miscreants opened fire at two youth leaders of a religious minority community.

A Defence source said the Army had launched a special operation in Kokrajhar district under the BTC in search of illegal weapons and the operation would be extended to other affected districts like Chirang and Dhubri later on.

The Union Home Ministry is well aware of the threat posed to the social peace in the BTC area due to the availability of illegal weapons in the area and the previous Union Home Minister P Chidambaram during his visit to the violence-affected areas had admitted that it was a matter of concern.

The BTC area was home to a large number of former militants belonging to the now disbanded Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT). The BLT leaders formed the Bodo People’s Front (BPF) after the signing of the Bodo Peace Accord in 2003 with the Centre and the party is now in power in the BTC.

Various religious organisations of the minorities allege that many of the former BLT men were still in possession of illegal weapons. On the other hand, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has not ruled out the involvement of radical and fundamentalist elements behind the recent spell of riots between the Bodos and the Muslims in the BTC and adjoining areas.

The anti-talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), led by its chairman Ranjan Daimary, who is now in jail, also called off its unilateral truce with the Central forces in the aftermath of the BTC violence raising apprehensions that its cadres might train guns on the people of a minority community.
India, China Defence Ministers to hold talks today
New Delhi: Defence Ministers of India and China will hold talks here on Tuesday during which they are expected to take a decision on resuming the military exercises of their Armies stalled since 2010.

During his talks with AK Antony, Gen Liang Guanglie, who has become the first Chinese Defence Minister to visit India in eight years, is expected to address New Delhi's concerns over Chinese military infrastructure build-up along the border and discuss more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs).

Gen Liang's visit takes place at a time when the two Asian giants are competing vigourously to gain a foothold across the continent for resources. He arrived in Mumbai on Sunday on a five-day visit to the country.
He is scheduled to hold wide-ranging discussions with Antony on issues relating to border and bolstering military-to-miltary cooperation.

"We are planning to resume the army-to-army exercise 'Hand-in-Hand' from next year and a final decision in this regard is expected to be taken at the meeting between Gen Liang and his Indian counterpart," a senior Indian Defence Ministry official said.

After his meeting with Antony, the Chinese Defence Minister will hold a meeting with the Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne at the South Block before calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Military exercises between the two countries had started in 2007 but were put on hold in 2010 after a series of hiccups in the defence ties between the two sides.

The first exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007 and the second in Belgaum in India in 2008. The third edition was to have been held in China in 2010 but has since remained stalled.

After the denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal by the Chinese in 2010, New Delhi froze all bilateral defence exchanges with Beijing. Though the defence exchanges have restarted, there were still some issues like China declining to give visa to an IAF officer belonging to Arunachal Pradesh.

China considers Arunachal Pradesh as part of his territory and calls its as 'South Tibet', a claim rejected by India, which says the state is its integral part.

The two sides also have a long-pending boundary problem along the over 4,000 km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Special Representatives of the two countries have held 15 rounds of talks on the issue but not much progress has been made in this regard.

Gen Liang's visit will be the first by a Chinese Defence Minister to India since Gen Cao Gangchuan's trip here in March, 2004. A Defence Minister-level visit to China from India had last taken place in May, 2006.

He will also visit Taj Mahal in Agra and Qutub Minar in New Delhi.

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Army not allowed to use force to stop Chinese incursions: BJP
NEW DELHI: Defence personnel posted at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) were not being allowed to use force against repeated Chinese incursions in Jammu & Kashmir's Ladakh area, Opposition BJP claimed on Monday.

"Our forces at the border are saying they are not getting permission to use force to thwart appropriately the incursions and illegal moves by the Chinese. BJP demands immediate protection to the border villages of Ladakh and if needed use of force by our security forces," BJP Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay told reporters here.

Chinese incursions in Ladakh have increased in the wake of China's defence minister Gen Liang Guanglie five-day India visit, he claimed.

Describing the Indian government's silence on this issue as "baffling," he demanded that India take up this issue with the Chinese and strongly oppose it.

He claimed that Chinese armed forces put pressure on Indian border villages not to unfurl the Tri-colour at Demchhok, near the LAC.

"Instead the villagers were asked on Independence Day to unfurl the flag in a hall near ITBP post, at a distance from the LAC," Vijay said.

Development work in the border village of Koyul in Leh has also come to a halt as a result of it, he claimed.

"The surprising silence of defence and home ministries in this regard is mysterious," Vijay said, adding that the Deputy Commissioner of Leh had written to the Divisional Commissioner, Srinagar, who, in turn, requested the home ministry to intervene in the matter, but no action has been taken.
Army opens recreation club for jawans, JCOs
CHANDIGARH: In a first, the Army has opened a recreational club for jawans and junior commissioned officers(JCOs) at the western command headquarters in Chandimandir. Till now, only officers enjoyed the privilege to visit such clubs.

The decision is being interpreted as Army's attempt to nurse the colonial hangover of drawing a fine line between officers and soldiers.

Inaugurated on August 23 by Army chief General Bikram Singh, "Jadunath Sainik Institute" houses a restaurant, a gymnasium, a library, cyber cafe, conference hall and a sports room for indoor games.

The club has been named after Naik Jadunath, who had died in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947 in Jammu & Kashmir and was later awarded Param Vir Chakra, country's highest gallantry award.

Sources said the Army would set up more such clubs across the country for its troops.

The navy and air force already have such clubs for its JCOs and other ranks, but the Army till now had not taken such an initiative.

Most of the Army cantonments and cities have clubs exclusively for officers only and membership is restricted to officers and their families.

The opening of a club for jawans is being seen as an attempt to bridge the gap between the officers and other ranks and has been welcomed by the defence fraternity.

Major General KS Bajwa (retd), an officer of the first batch of IMA, said, "The move would give jawans a sense of belonging. Today's jawan is more educated and more ambitious, having greater expectations from life. He wants more. It's a good decision."

Gen Bajwa also said it would help curb incidents of violence like the one witnessed in Leh recently.

Earlier, in the first week of May, the Army had announced that it was considering doing away with the colonial-era practice of sahayak or batmen under which soldiers were assigned to serve as valets.
Stop all ventures in PoK, India tells China
NEW DELHI: China may claim there is "not a single" People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldier in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) but India remains thoroughly unconvinced. Ahead of the delegation-level meeting with visiting Chinese defence minister General Liang Guanglie on Tuesday, India has again asked Beijing to stop expanding its strategic footprint in PoK.

"The government is aware of the infrastructure development by China at the border and their (Chinese) undertaking infrastructure projects in PoK. The government has conveyed its concerns to China about its activities in PoK and asked them to cease such activities," said defence minister A K Antony, in a written reply in Lok Sabha on Monday.

The statement is bound to ruffle the feathers of a prickly China that is already miffed with the new US defence policy to progressively shift 60% of its formidable naval fleet to the Asia-Pacific region, and Washington's description of India as "a linchpin" in this unfolding strategy.

But while India is unwilling to jump onto any US-led bandwagon to "contain" China, and takes adequate care to respect Chinese sensitivities, Beijing continues to expand its presence in PoK and the Gilgit-Baltistan areas in the garb of infrastructure projects.

Moreover, India remains concerned about the ever-expanding Beijing-Islamabad military nexus, which is clearly directed against New Delhi, as well as the massive build-up of military infrastructure by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) and its naval forays into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

China has also helped Pakistan rapidly expand its nuclear and missile arsenals, as also supply it with a whole lot of conventional weaponry that ranges from JF-17 and F-7 fighters to F-22P frigates and early warning and control aircraft.

India is expected to raise these concerns with China during the 90-minute delegation-level meeting between Antony and Gen Liang on Tuesday, with the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne also slated to call on the Chinese dignitary later in the day.

On Monday, Antony said, "The government is fully seized of the security imperatives of the country and reviews the threat perception from time to time as well as the need for developing requisite infrastructure (to counter China) in the border areas."

"Indian territory under occupation by China in J&K since 1962 is approximately 38,000 sq km. In addition to this, under the so-called China-Pakistan `boundary agreement' of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq km of Indian territory in PoK to China. In the eastern sector, China illegally claims approximately 90,000 sq km of Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh," he added.

In reply to another query over the Chinese naval presence in IOR, Antony said the government was keeping track of projects like port development and deep sea mining by China in the region.
Indian, Pak troops exchange fire in Uri sector, first in 9 yrs
Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged heavy fire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector late on Sunday night. The firing that continued for several hours is the first breach in ceasefire in the area since 2003 when India and Pakistan called truce.

On Sunday night, the Army said, jawans patrolling the LoC in Kamalkote sector in Uri noticed some movement near the Zero Line. “When the men on duty challenged the infiltrators, they came under fire from the bunkers from the Pakistani side. The Army retaliated and the exchange of fire continued till midnight.”

The Indian Army has blamed the Pakistani counterpart for providing cover to the infiltrators who were trying to sneak into the Valley.

Defence spokesman Col Birjesh Pandey told The Indian Express that Pakistani soldiers fired on the Indian pickets in Uri sector.

“This is the first ceasefire violation in the area by the Pakistan army since the announcement of the ceasefire between the two neighbours nine years ago,’’ he said.

Pandey said the exchange of gunfire continued for 40 minutes with both sides using light weapons.

“After the firing ended, the Army searched the area, but nothing was found there.”, Pandey said.

He added that this could have been a ploy to push the militants on the Indian side.

Sources said the Army would register a formal complaint with the Pakistani side on the issue.

Following the ceasefire violation, security on the LoC has been beefed up.

The sources said ceasefire violations by the Pakistani side are expected to increase as they are desperate to push in militants into the Valley ahead of the onset of winter.

Ganderbal: Combing ops continue

The combing operation launched by a joint party of the J-K Police and the Army after an encounter with militants in Ganderbal district on Saturday morning continued for the third day on Monday.

Two militants have been killed in the encounter so far. On Monday, the combing operation continued in the forests of Chattergul in Kangan in central Kashmir.

“The operation continues in the area,” Army’s spokesman Col Brijesh Pandey said. “It is a dense forest and the terrain is also difficult. The operation will continue till the entire area is combed.”
'Now Punjab will able to hold NCC camps'
MUKTSAR: Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday urged the Government of India (GoI) to abolish the existing criteria of Army recruitment on the basis of 'Recruitable Male population' and replace it with the one on the basis of capability and merit as done in the past, to enable more and more Punjabis to join the Armed forces on the basis of merit.

Addressing the gathering here after inaugurating the first NCC Academy of the country jointly with the Union Minister of State for Defence M Mangapatti Pallam Raju, Badal said that there was a time when Punjabis dominated the Indian army with majority of soldiers besides the top brass including Generals, Major Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels hailing from state.

However he bemoaned that the state had suffered adversely after the GoI had adopted the criteria of recruitment on the basis of 'Recruitable Male population' of the state as a result of which the share of Punjab in Army has been restricted because itconstitutes only 2.5% of the national population. The Chief Minister impressed upon Dr Raju that it was the need of the hour to change the formula so as to allow more and more youth of state to join the Army.

The chief minister said that today was a 'Red Letter day'for Punjab as two NCC training academies were being inaugurated at Rupnagar and Malout for imparting the best training facilities to National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets from state for further grooming them for Indian Armed forces. He said that it was indeed a matter of pride and honor forthem that Punjab was the first state in the country to have two world class training centers for imparting coaching to the NCC cadets.

The chief minister further said that to aggrieve the situation the insufficient infra structure of NCC deprived the state from holding national level camps here and bereft the Punjabi youth from the opportunities to share experiences with the cadets of other states by holding a joint camp.

The chief minister further said that in order to prepare the youth for the Armed forces the state government has also opened 4 New NCC units in Punjab which included 23 NCC Boys battalion at Rupnagar, 6 Punjab NCC Girls Battalion atMalout, 2 Punjab R&V Squadron at Ghuda and 3 Punjab Navel Unit NCC at Bathinda.

Addressing the gathering Union Minister of State forDefence Dr M Mangapatti Pallam Raju said that the two NCC Academies inaugurated in Punjab today would go a long way in imparting quality training to the NCC cadets of the state. Dr. Raju said that due to the untiring efforts Punjab has become the maiden state of the country to have such state of art academies for training the cadets.
Over 12,000 acres of Defence land is under encroachment: Govt
New Delhi: About 12,364 acres of Defence land is under encroachment and the Defence Ministry has issued detailed instructions for ensuring vigilance, detection and prevention of such cases, the government said on Monday.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "About 12,364 acres of defence land is under illegal occupation or encroachment including by civilians."

On the number of cases of alleged corruption relating to Defence land, he said, "Seven such cases of alleged corruption and irregularities regarding defence lands have been reported to the Ministry."

Replying to a query on women serving in armed forces, he said, "At present the percentage of women officers as per held strength of officers in Army, Navy and Air Force (excluding medical streams) is 3.3, 3.9 and 10.04 per cent respectively."

Antony told the House till 2011, the recorded strength of women in Defence forces was 366.

In a separate reply over integration of auto-pilot system in Jaguar fighter aircraft, he said, "Procurement of autopilot for 55 Jaguar aircraft has been completed and commercial discussions for repeat procurement of additional 95 autopilots are under progress."

Integration of autopilot on Jaguar aircraft is being undertaken in two phases.

On modernisation of armed forces, he said, a total budget of Rs 52,998.02 crore was allocated for the purpose in 2011-12, while the actual expenditure incurred was Rs 50,723.97 crore.

In reply to a separate query over widows of ex-servicemen in the country, Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju said, "The number of widows of ex-servicemen in the country is 5,47,097 in the country."

On incidents of Pakistan Army capturing and killing some Indian soldiers including a Captain-rank officer during the Kargil war, Antony said, "The Ministry has taken up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs and has asked the MEA about the steps taken by them in this matter."

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