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Monday, 8 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 08 Oct 2012





http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/nation.htm#11
Army opposes reservation in its schools under RTE Act

New Delhi, October 7
The Army is opposing implementation of 25 per cent reservation for children of weaker and disadvantaged groups in its around 150 schools under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, saying it will hamper the educational prospects of wards of its own personnel.

A letter in this regard has been sent to the Defence Ministry by the Army Headquarters, Army sources said here. The 1.3 million-strong force runs around 150 schools across the cantonments in the country.

The stand in this regard was taken some time ago and the government has been apprised about the reasons behind it, the sources said.

This position has been taken in view of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which makes it compulsory for every private unaided school to admit at least 25 per cent in its entry-level class children belonging to weaker and disadvantaged groups.

Explaining the reasons for opposing the provision of reservation, the Army sources said this would deprive “our own wards of quality education in our schools”. — PT

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/nation.htm#14
Potent BrahMos will be Navy’s ‘primary weapon’
Supersonic missile successfully test-fired off Goa coast
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

Bangalore, October 7
The supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, said to be the best in its class (290-km range), would be a primary weapon for the Navy in the coming years, said a top official of the BrahMos-Aerospace, the Indo-Russian joint venture which manufactures the missile.

The Navy, in continuation of its trials, today successfully test-fired the missile, capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kg.

It was test-fired from warship INS Teg - the Navy's latest induction from Russia - off the coast of Goa early this morning. The missile successfully hit the target ship.

Two other warships - INS Tarkash and INS Trikand, both Talwar-class frigates like the INS Teg - will also be armed with the missile in vertical launch mode.

“The Navy has also got a number of indigenous ships coming up. Project 15 Alpha (INS Chennai) has already been inducted. Now 15 Bravo and 17 Alpha (destroyers with stealth features) are getting ready. The BrahMos missile is going to be the most effective weapon for the Navy”, the official said.

The missile has already been inducted into the Army and the Navy. While the induction of the first version of Brahmos missile system in the Navy started from 2005 with INS Rajput, it is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

The Air Force version of the missile is also said to be ready and work is going on to modify two Russian Sukhoi (Su-30) fighter jets to make the aircraft BrahMos compatible.

The official said to enable the Su-30 to carry the heavy BrahMos, the missile carrying points of the aircraft were needed to be relocated for which the airframe would have to undergo change. “It will have to be done structurally”, he said.

The IAF made available two Su-30 fighter jets to the HAL for the tests, the official said, adding that the plan was to have one squadron (20 planes) of Sukhois armed with the BrahMos. The missiles would be used to engage stationary targets in the enemy territory, he said.

However, the French Raphel fighters, chosen by the IAF to act as a medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), or the indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas (which is yet to be inducted in the IAF) would not be able to carry the BrahMos because of its weight.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/main1.htm
Rethink Bluestar memorial: Shinde
Says there’s no infiltration from Chinese side
Perneet Singh/TNS

Attari, October 7
Without naming anybody, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today indirectly attacked the ruling SAD and the SGPC for construction of Operation Bluestar memorial.

Talking to mediapersons after inspecting the Integrated Check Post at Attari, Shinde said, “It is up to them (those constructing the memorial) to see whether they are reviving terrorism or not. They should introspect. I will only say that we have already suffered a lot due to the scourge of terrorism.”

Shinde dubbed the attack on Lt Gen KS Brar (Retd) in London as unfortunate. He, however, said he would not like to disclose about the agency that is protecting Brar. When asked whether India will extradite those who attacked him, he said it is not the right time to comment on it as the matter was still under investigation. The Home Minister, however, said the government was bound to take action against those behind the act.

On reports of Chinese incursions in J-K, Shinde said: “I have visited the China border beyond Pyong Lake. Our security personnel and officials are fully vigilant. There is no infiltration from the Chinese side, though there may be a few instances.”

Regarding SMSes which allegedly emanated from Pakistan and created panic among the North-East people staying in cities like Bangalore and Pune, he said the matter has been taken up with Islamabad.

On embezzlement of border development funds in Punjab, in which the role of former minister Gulzar Singh Ranike is under the scanner, Shinde said the state government was already investigating into it.

He said the matter has been brought to the notice of his ministry and they are looking into it.

At the ICP, the Home Minister took stock of the problems being faced by officials. “I have been told about various problems being encountered on security and trade fronts,” Shinde said, adding that his ministry will initiate all possible measures to address the grievances.

A section of Congress leaders have accused Shinde of ignoring them during his visit and lodged a strong protest with the party high command. A statement released by these Congress leaders said neither the Union Home Ministry nor the state administration informed them about Shinde’s visit. They have shot a letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi, demanding a strong action against Shinde. “Despite AICC’s clear instructions to ministers to visit the district Congress offices, the minister neither visited any party office nor he invited any Congressmen to his events,” said the statement. On his part, Shinde said he was in Punjab on an official visit and not for any political programme. There was no need for the partymen to be angry, he said.
It is up to them (those constructing the memorial) to see whether they are reviving terrorism or not. They should introspect. I will only say that we have already suffered a lot due to the scourge of terrorism.

— Sushil Kumar Shinde, Home Minister

Religious matter, says SGPC

Reacting to the Union Home Minister’s remark, SGPC Secretary Dalmegh Singh said the memorial was a religious matter of Sikhs and it was being built following a nod from the SGPC executive. He said the memorial would be in the form of a gurdwara and gurdwaras have always spread a message of peace. He said the memorial could not be linked to the attack on Lt Gen KS Brar

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/main2.htm
ACRs, salaries & assets of public servants come under RTI, rules SC
The rider: Petitioner can’t claim such details as a matter of right
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 7
The Supreme Court has ruled that even personal particulars of public servants relating to salary, annual confidential report (ACR), assets and departmental action could be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, if the competent authority was convinced that this would be in public interest.

“Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or the State Public Information Officer (SPIO) is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed, but the RTI petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right,” a Bench comprising Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra held.

The Bench acknowledged that performance of an employee/officer in an organisation was primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects were governed by the service rules which fell under “personal information”.

Such information had no relationship to any public activity or public interest and the disclosure of the details “would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual”, the Bench noted.

Further, details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns “are personal information which stand exempted from disclosure” under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. Similarly, copies of all memos issued to an employee, show cause notices and orders of censure or punishment would also qualify as personal information, the Bench clarified.

However, these particulars could be ordered to be disclosed by the CPIO, the SPIO or the Appellate Authority in a “larger public interest”, the Supreme Court ruled.

The Bench made the clarifications while dismissing a petition filed by one GP Deshpande seeking details of the service and other personal details of a Regional Provident Fund officer at Nagpur, who was facing a criminal case. The petitioner had failed to prove that this would be in public interest, the Bench held on October 3.
What the court says

Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed, but the RTI petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/main5.htm
Potent BrahMos will be Navy’s ‘primary weapon’
Supersonic missile successfully test-fired off Goa coast
Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS

Bangalore, October 7
The supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, said to be the best in its class (290-km range), would be a primary weapon for the Navy in the coming years, said a top official of the BrahMos-Aerospace, the Indo-Russian joint venture which manufactures the missile.

The Navy, in continuation of its trials, today successfully test-fired the missile, capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kg.

It was test-fired from warship INS Teg - the Navy's latest induction from Russia - off the coast of Goa early this morning. The missile successfully hit the target ship.

Two other warships - INS Tarkash and INS Trikand, both Talwar-class frigates like the INS Teg - will also be armed with the missile in vertical launch mode.

“The Navy has also got a number of indigenous ships coming up. Project 15 Alpha (INS Chennai) has already been inducted. Now 15 Bravo and 17 Alpha (destroyers with stealth features) are getting ready. The BrahMos missile is going to be the most effective weapon for the Navy”, the official said.

The missile has already been inducted into the Army and the Navy. While the induction of the first version of Brahmos missile system in the Navy started from 2005 with INS Rajput, it is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

The Air Force version of the missile is also said to be ready and work is going on to modify two Russian Sukhoi (Su-30) fighter jets to make the aircraft BrahMos compatible.

The official said to enable the Su-30 to carry the heavy BrahMos, the missile carrying points of the aircraft were needed to be relocated for which the airframe would have to undergo change. “It will have to be done structurally”, he said.

The IAF made available two Su-30 fighter jets to the HAL for the tests, the official said, adding that the plan was to have one squadron (20 planes) of Sukhois armed with the BrahMos. The missiles would be used to engage stationary targets in the enemy territory, he said.

However, the French Raphel fighters, chosen by the IAF to act as a medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), or the indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas (which is yet to be inducted in the IAF) would not be able to carry the BrahMos because of its weight.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/main4.htm
UK: Lt Gen Brar’s attackers will be brought to book
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, October 7
With New Delhi taking up strongly with London the recent assassination attempt on Lt Gen KS Brar (retd), Britain has assured India of its determination to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice.

In a letter to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office William Hague also assured New Delhi that Britain would continue updating Indian officials about the progress of investigations in the case.

Hague conveyed his “shock” at the attack on Brar in London on September 30 and hoped for his “quick recovery”, official sources here said.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, who was in London earlier this week, is believed to have taken up with the British authorities the attack on Brar by four unidentified men in Old Quebec Street near Oxford Street in London last Sunday.

Britain has taken seriously the attack on Brar, who led ‘Operation Bluestar’ in 1984 to flush out ‘pro-Khalistan’ militants from Golden Temple.

“It (the attack on Brar) is of great concern to the UK. We don’t want these people here exporting their terrorist views because they represent a real threat to people in the UK apart from anything else. It is regarded as being as unacceptable and despicable as people in India do,’’ British Foreign Office Minister in-charge of India Hugo Swire had said. — PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121008/nation.htm#10
More ex-defence personnel now eligible for benefits
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, October 7
Modifying the definition of the term “ex-serviceman”, the Central government has brought more categories of ex-defence personnel under its ambit who would be eligible for post-release reemployment in government establishments. These rules were last amended in March 1986.

Orders issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), the nodal government agency for notifying such rules for all ministries, on October 4 has also redressed certain anomalies and ambiguities existing in earlier rules that prevented some ex-servicemen from reemployment.

Government rules stipulate certain conditions for ex-armed forces personnel to be considered as ex-servicemen. Only those personnel, who fulfilled these conditions, were eligible for post-release benefits, including reemployment in Central or state government agencies. Many persons, who served in the armed forces, were not considered ex-servicemen for several reasons such as the length of their service or the reason for their discharge.

The new notification, while covering aspects of all level of posts across Group A, B, C and D, will now also include those armed forces personnel who have been released consequent to the reduction of establishment they were posted to.

Significantly, the recruits boarded out from service on account of disability have now been brought under the definition of ex-servicemen. Earlier, the Ministry of Defence had issued a circular stating that such recruits were eligible for ex-servicemen benefits, but many departments were refusing to accept this stating that only the DOPT was competent to define such rules.

All gallantry awardees would now be considered ex-servicemen regardless of their length of service or pensionary status. The new rules also cover Territorial Army pensioners of both categories, that is, those who earn pension after continuous service or in broken spells.

By specifying and comprehensively explaining the modalities of reservation and adjustment of vacancies vis-a-vis other reserved categories, the new rules have removed the existing ambiguities plaguing post-release reemployment. Similarly, age relaxation for all levels of posts, including that for competitive examinations, has now been clearly specified.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/israel-vows-strong-reply-after-jets-down-drone/1013356/
Israel vows strong reply after jets down drone
Israel on Sunday vowed a strong response after its fighter jets shot down an unidentified drone that violated its airspace, possibly for gathering intelligence.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commended the Army for successfully downing the unarmed and unmanned aerial vehicle without any casualty. “We will continue to defend our borders by sea, land and air to guarantee the security of our citizens,” Netanyahu said.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak praised the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) for their “quick and effective interception”, adding that the UAV was intercepted by F-16I fighter jets on Saturday in the south of Hebron. “We take a severe view of the attempt to violate Israeli airspace and we will consider our response,” Barak said.

The Israeli Army did not accuse anyone for the flagrant violation of its airspace but security officials seemed to be of the opinion that Lebanese Shi’ite faction Hezbollah may have once again been behind the move. The Israeli army intercepted an unarmed drone operated by the Hezbollah movement in 2006 over the Jewish state’s territorial waters.

“An unmanned aerial vehicle was identified penetrating Israeli airspace and was intercepted by the IAF at approximately 10.00 am local time on Saturday,” an Army spokesperson said.



http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/columns/07-Oct-2012/devising-a-robust-defence-policy
Devising a robust defence policy
The Senate Standing Committee on Defence (SSCD) is presently engaged in “devising a robust defence policy that is aimed at making policy guidelines for the parliamentarians” with three objectives in mind:

*  To review current issues pertaining to defence;

*  To determine mandatory changes to the defence policy; and

*  To provide new policy guidelines for better national defence.

Its intentions are noble, but it has started the exercise from the wrong end. The first step that it must take is to assist Pakistani government to issue the war directive, which lays down policy guidelines for the armed forces.

War Directive (WD): A new WD is long overdue. Some of the main objectives it sets are:

*  The structure of Higher Defence Organisation (HDO);

*  Level and size of the armed forces;

*  War stamina to be developed;

*  War objectives to be achieved;

* Capability to be achieved within a given timeframe.

After issue of the WD, the armed forces carry out in-depth studies to evolve the defence policy based on the available resources. Once the government approves it, they evolve a joint defence strategy and the strategies of army, navy and air force.

The WD, which I inherited in 1988 as COAS, was outdated. Despite my requests to the then President and PMs, the new WD was not issued. So, the army on its own developed the new Strategy of Offensive-Defence based on the current land-air warfare concept. Through indigenisation, self-sufficiency was achieved in the production of equipment and ammunition. The army also developed a new strategy on Kashmir so that in future, it would not be drawn into the conflict unprepared, as had happened in 1965 and 1971.

Higher Defence Organisation (HDO): It plays a vital role to harmonise the war efforts of the three services. General Mohammad Sharif’s Commission Report of 1975 also justified the need for establishing the Joint Defence Command (JDC), but PM Bhutto did not approve it and paid dearly for it. As Army Chief, I pleaded with both the PMs - Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif - to establish the JDC, but they too did not listen. Nawaz thought I was seeking appointment for myself. He also paid a heavy price for his failing.

The SSCD should help the government develop the WD first and then ensure that the military comes up with appropriate defence strategies. Some of the issues, which the SSCD has discussed in the recent meeting, need to be given deeper thought.

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs): Regarding our nuclear capability, it must be remembered that WMDs are “not weapons of war.” They could not save the Soviet Union from disintegration; could not help the Israelis avert defeat at the hands of Hezbollah in 2006; or lessen the US and Nato’s pain of being defeated by the Afghan freedom fighters. They would be of no help to Pakistan either. Yet, “WMDs are great equalisers”, as it was proved in 1998, when Pakistan demonstrated its capability and the Indian Defence Minister said: “Perfect nuclear deterrence now exists between India and Pakistan.” This was precisely the purpose in Bhutto’s mind, when he declared to the world, in 1974, “to correct the balance of terror at any cost” and tasked Dr Khan to accomplish it. It was Benazir, who understood his logic and propounded the ‘policy of nuclear restraint’ in 1989, knowing well that India had the capability to develop about 60 or more atomic warheads; whereas Pakistan could hardly put together eight to ten such devices because “only a few WMDs against many can maintain the balance of terror, as of now between Pakistan and India.”

Conventional Military Forces: They are the mainstay of national defence and need to be developed, organised, equipped and trained to meet the WD demands. They keep themselves abreast of developments in the fields of technology, new doctrines, concepts and weapon systems; and change and modify their concepts and plans to maintain the required level of operational readiness.

New Military Concepts and Trends: In recent years, some significant concepts of fighting the war have been developed. These are: the asymmetric war, led by men with high motivation, and the judicious use of missiles in mass. During the last 30 years, the asymmetric war conducted by the shadow armies, led by committed believers, have humbled the mightiest of the mighty in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. In 2006, the use of missiles in mass, in Lebanon, knocked-off the pride of the Israeli Army. Israel is now threatening war on Iran, but is deterred because of the dread that there is no defence against the thousands of missiles, which would be raining over its territory in retaliation from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Pakistan Army’s Overstretch: Whenever called in aid of civil power, the army has delivered by establishing the government’s writ in areas where it was lost. But invariably, successive governments failed to establish civil order in those areas and the political process never started. It happened four times in Balochistan: in 1958-68 Ayub era; 1974-77 Bhutto era; 2006-08 Musharraf era and now 2009-12 Zardari era. The army restored the government’s writ in 2009 in Swat, Dir, Bajaur, Fata and Balochistan, yet Islamabad failed to establish civil order there. Thus, for the last four years, these areas have been gradually drifting into chaos, and the army is blamed for it. The same happened in East Pakistan in 1971; where, by August 1971, the army had restored the state’s writ over the territories of East Pakistan. But the government failed to restore the political process, which resulted into a dangerous drift and downfall.

National Security Management: The SSCD should look into the need for the establishment of a national security management system, which presently does not exist in Pakistan. We do have a National Security Council, but it is more of a disaster management body than for national security. We, therefore, need a dedicated body, working 360 days a year, under the National Security Advisor, and that is answerable to the PM.

The SSCD can best assist the government to prepare the new war doctrine for the armed forces, as it is the most important instrument, determining its war preparedness. Equally important is the need to pullout the army from areas under its control for such extended period, sapping its energies and lowering its guard against real threats. Indeed, the SSCD has some hard choices to make!

The writer is a former chief of army staff. Email: friendsfoundation@live.co.uk

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