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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

From Today's Papers - 13 Nov 2012




Hu to step down as military chief


Beijing, November 12

China’s new leader in waiting, Xi Jinping will have a surprise head-start to emerge as the most influential leader, as outgoing President Hu Jintao has reportedly decided to step down from all posts including the all-powerful post of the military chief.


Xi, currently the Vice-President is expected to be formally nominated as the General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party at the end of the ongoing 18th Communist Party Congress on its last day on November 14.


Scorching speculation, Hu has decided to formally relinquish his position as military chief at the end of the party Congress, Hong Kong-based ‘South China Morning Post’ quoted officials as saying.


Hu’s decision to opt for complete retirement has surprised many analysts as he was expected to keep the top job of the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, especially in the backdrop of recent reshuffling of military top brass which was packed with officials who worked closely with him.


Vice Premier, Li Keqiang, 57 regarded as successor to Premier Wen Jiabao is also Hu’s protege. The Central Military Commission overseas all aspects of 2.3 million strong military. Xi is currently its Vice-Chairman.


Turning 70 next month, Hu technically will be stepping down as party chief and as President after the Congress on November 14. But the formal transfer of power was expected to take place early next year.


Hu’s complete departure from party and military is watched closely in India as he is widely regarded as one of post-Mao Zedong Chinese leaders who rebalanced ties with India bringing an element of “strategic equilibrium” to otherwise pro-Pakistan Chinese foreign policy.


He is credited to have reset Sino-Indian ties, repairing the damage caused by the 1962 border war and improved ties.


Barring the problem of stapled visa to residents of Jammu and Kashmir in 2009, which China stopped after vociferous objections from New Delhi, a number of initiatives including agreement to prevent tensions at disputed borders provided a positive momentum to bilateral ties. — PTI


India watchful


    Hu Jintao is widely regarded as one of the post-Mao Zedong Chinese leaders who rebalanced ties with India bringing an element of “strategic equilibrium” to its otherwise pro-Pakistan Chinese foreign policy

    He is credited to have re-set Sino-Indian ties, repairing the damage due to the 1962 War and improved ties

    Barring the problem of stapled visa to J&K residents in 2009, several initiatives including agreement to prevent tension at disputed borders provided a positive momentum to ties

Time between discharge, reinstatement counts for retirement benefits: SC

R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent


New Delhi, November 12

The Supreme Court has ruled that the period between discharge and reinstatement of a Havildar in the Army should be taken into account for the purpose of retirement benefits. It directed the Chief of Army Staff to pass appropriate orders fixing the terminal benefits within two months.


A Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi delivered the verdict on a petition filed by Havildar Satbir Singh. Satbir had joined the Army in August 1982 and was promoted as Lance Naik in 1985, as Naik in 1986 and as Havildar in 1990 when his tenure of service was extended to 24 years.


However, in December 1988 the Army Headquarters, Adjutant General Branch, issued a letter laying down a procedure for removal of “undesirable and inefficient” candidates by way of discharge or dismissal.


On the basis of the procedure, a show-cause notice was issued to Satbir in 1995 as his service record revealed four “Red Ink Entries” during 12.5 years of service. After a perusal of his reply, he was discharged from service in April 1995.


The Delhi High Court directed his reinstatement in May 2008 with no benefit of salary and other allowances for the “intervening period”. However, the SC said that having found that the “discharge/termination is legally unsustainable, we are of the view that the incumbent, namely, the appellant, ought to have been provided relief at least to the extent of counting the intervening period for the purpose of terminal benefits. It is true that during the intervening period, the appellant, admittedly, did not work, in that event, the Division Bench was justified in disallowing the salary for the said period. However, for the terminal benefits, in view of the categorical conclusion of the HC that discharge/termination is bad, ought to have issued a direction for counting the intervening period at least for the purpose of terminal benefits.”


The apex court rejected the HC reasoning for not considering the intervening period -- that Satbir had four red ink entries. “We hold that the said reasoning adopted by the Division Bench of the HC cannot be sustained in view of its own authoritative conclusion in setting aside the discharge/termination order.”


Case file


Havildar Satbir Singh had joined the Army in August 1982 and was promoted as Lance Naik in 1985, as Naik in 1986 and as Havildar in 1990 when his tenure of service was extended to 24 years


In December 1988, the Army Headquarters, Adjutant General Branch, issued a letter laying down a procedure for removal of “undesirable and inefficient” candidates by way of discharge or dismissal and he was discharged in April 1995


The Delhi HC directed his reinstatement in May 2008 with no benefit of salary and other allowances for the “intervening period”

Pak Interior Minister’s visit uncertain


New Delhi, November 12

The visit of Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik to India on November 22-23 for operationalisation of the landmark Indo-Pak visa agreement is unlikely to take place as Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde would be busy in Parliament being the Leader of Lok Sabha.


This is expected to be conveyed by New Delhi to Islamabad soon, official sources said. Malik had indicated to Shinde, when they had met in Rome on the sidelines of the Interpol General Assembly last week, that he would travel to New Delhi to formally launch the new visa regime. — PTI

Mooted after Kargil, coastal radar net to be ready in 2013

Vijay Mohan/TNS


Chandigarh, November 12

The ambitious Coastal Surveillance System (CSS), envisioned to plug gaps in maritime security along India’s sea frontiers, is finally expected to be fully operational in about 10 months.


The CSS is a chain of ground-based static radar, electro-optics and meteorological sensors located along the eastern and western coastline for monitoring the movement of ships and small boats. The data and images obtained through these sensors are transmitted to the centralised control hub through a hierarchical reporting system comprising regional centres.


The culmination of the CSS, which was launched by Defence Minister AK Antony on August 25, would come over a decade after it was recommend by a group of ministers as part of the national security revamp that was initiated after the 1999 Kargil War. The project got an impetus only after the 26/11 terrorist strike in Mumbai.


“We have already completed the installation of CSS sensors in three sectors — Gujarat, Maharashtra and Kochi,” said HN Ramakrishna, Director, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), which is executing the project. “As per the schedule, the work will be over by September,” he added.


The CSS, which will be operated by the Coast Guard, comprises a network of 46 manned sensor stations and 11 remote operating stations. These sensors would be mounted on top of light houses wherever feasible, while at other places, these would be housed on 30-m-high towers.

MoD failure on apex court orders invites contempt

Tribune News Service


Chandigarh, November 12

Failure on the part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to implement directions of the Supreme Court to sanction counter-insurgency (CI) allowance to regular Army combatants deputed to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the counter-insurgency areas has invited initiation of contempt proceedings against the MoD and the BRO.


In January, the apex court had upheld a decision by the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal granting the CI allowances to regular Army personnel posted to the BRO. Sources said the appeal against this decision was filed in the Supreme Court on the insistence of the Border Roads Development Board (BRDB), brushing aside initial legal advice by the Ministry of Law against filing of such an appeal and despite the fact that military pay and allowances are not a subject matter of the BRDB.


Taking up a petition filed by Lt Col KK Nair, contending that this amounted to contempt of court, the Tribunal today issued notice to the MoD, the BRDB and the BRO.

No relief: Army man dies on way to loo

Unusual row Wife fails to get compensation, triggers controversy

Tribune News Service


Chandigarh, November 12

In an unusual case, defence pension authorities have denied benefits to the widow of a jawan who died after sustaining head injuries due to a fall when he had gone to the toilet while on duty along the Indo-China border.


Lakshman Kumar of the Dogra Scouts was the quarter guard commander on duty from in August 2009 and while on duty he was relieved by the guard second-in-command so as to enable him (Lakshman) to refresh himself. While moving to the toilet, Lakshman slipped on ice and suffered a head injury. He died four days later.


The death was declared while on duty and was attributed to military service, but since then his widow, Dakshina Kumari, hailing from the remote Kinnaur region, has been struggling to get the ex-gratia payment. After her claims were rejected by the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA), she moved the Armed Forces Tribunal, seeking judicial intervention to redress her grievance. The Tribunal’s Bench comprising Justice Rajesh Chandra and Air Marshal SC Mukul on Friday issued notice to the Central Government.


The PCDA has maintained that Lakshman was not on duty at the time of the incident, stating that he came on duty from 7 am in the morning till 8 pm in the night on the said day and not from 6.60 am in the morning to 6.30 am the next morning as mentioned in records.


Terming the PCDA’s rejection of her claim not only to be illogical, but illegal, unethical, against principles of humanity and also without due authority, the petitioner has contended that she has been granted Special Family Pension by treating him on duty, as such, the respondents cannot have different parameters for ex-gratia by declaring that he was not on duty at the relevant time.


The petition also states that the PCDA cannot, by any logic, expect a person not to use the toilet while deployed on guard duty for long hours and such an action “beats logic to morbidity”.


Terming the PCDA’s claims about her husband’s duty hours as incorrect, the petitioner has further contended that even if her late husband had not been on duty and had merely been in unit lines, still the death was fully on duty since the entire unit is deployed on active duty on the border. A soldier in such circumstances is expected to be on duty 24 hours a day.

Business of intelligence

What India can learn from UK

by PR Chari


Undoubtedly a flat statement, but intelligence analyses must address credible threats to national security. And that is where the problem arises. Which threat is ‘credible,’ and which threat is fanciful lies in the eyes of the beholder. More clearly, in the eyes of the decision-making elite charged with managing the defence effort; they must balance the need for ensuring territorial integrity and national sovereignty with the challenging requirement to provide for economic development and inclusive growth to insure against internal unrest.


The current controversy in the United Kingdom over the replacement of its four Trident submarines—the crown jewels of its nuclear deterrent—illustrates this dilemma. Briefly, its fleet of four Trident missile-armed submarines is to be retired in 2020 and replaced by four Vanguard-class submarines. These would be acquired in addition to Joint Strike Fighters, Type 26 frigates, unmanned aircraft, and armoured vehicles. With the national budget under severe strain, stagnant growth, rising unemployment and a dismal economic future staring the UK in the face, how will Whitehall pay for the Vanguards estimated to cost more than $30 billion?


The LibDems (Liberal Democrats), junior coalition partners of the Conservative Party in power, have dubbed the Trident “a Cold War relic,” and have proposed opening a debate on how best to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent in the modern age. They have proposed two alternatives to address this problem. Either build only three instead of four vessels, or abandon the Trident option altogether in favour of nuclear-armed cruise missiles based on the existing Astute-class submarines. These options were rejected by Prime Minister Cameron declaring that the UK must have a credible deterrent, “otherwise there is no point in having one at all”. All this rhetoric can, of course, be dismissed as theatricals, since uneasy political partners are jockeying for advantage within the British “coalition dharma”.


The more urgent issue, however, is the referendum in Scotland coming up in 2014 on its continuance within the United Kingdom. Should Scotland vote for secession, the first item on its agenda would be closure of the Trident home ports in Faslane and Coulport. The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has strongly urged this policy, arguing that the consequential loss of some 520 jobs could be easily created from savings by removing these weapon systems. Critics also argue that the strategy of having one boat on patrol at all times is excessive. Desperate problems beget desperate solutions; so the UK is giving serious thought to basing the Trident submarines somewhere else in the UK or even in the United States since “Trident is effectively an American weapon.”


But the more urgent issue needing debate is why the UK needs to replace its Tridents and sustain its nuclear deterrent. Who does it need to defend against and deter? During the Cold War the UK made the case with great difficulty that it needed to deter Moscow. But the UK never had any credible military capabilities against the Soviet Union, and had always sheltered under the nuclear canopy of the United States. After the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1990, the relevance of the British deterrent became questionable. However, British Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has argued, “You can’t say with any certainty today who will be threatening us in 20, 30, 40 or 50 years’ time,” suggesting that the UK must hedge against an uncertain nuclear future. But this makes the perfect case for all nations to acquire nuclear weapons to hedge against their uncertain futures!


So, what are the lessons here for Indian intelligence? Both RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and IB (Intelligence Bureau) are focused on Pakistan and its efforts to destabilise India by cultivating local militant groups. Pakistan is unlikely to rein in its chief instrument— the Lashkar-e-Toiba— which has since become a support arm of the ISI and the Pakistan Army for continuing its war against India by other means. Indeed, Pakistan has added a new dimension to the strategic theory by using insurgency and terrorism as the weapons to further its national interests under the rubric of nuclear deterrence. Much greater efforts and resources need to be devoted, therefore, by India to address the internal threats to its national security, which prominently includes left-wing extremism that has begun infiltrating into urban areas.


The threat from China is no less significant and derives from its “all-weather” friendship with Pakistan buttressed by nuclear technology and conventional arms transfers. China is expanding its military presence in Tibet, Xinjiang and the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan to augment its overall policy to confine India within South Asia. China’s growing cyber warfare and satellite surveillance capabilities are designed to enhance the PLA’s anti-access and area denial operations, heralding a marked change from its earlier defensive to an offensive strategy. The intention is to “fight and win local wars on its borders” by enhancing the PLA’s ability to launch mobile operations in the Tibetan plateau, using all its elements of power, which has obvious implications for India’s security.


Simultaneously, a larger role is being assigned to its air and naval forces. China is also placing a new emphasis on maritime security by according greater attention to its territorial claims in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. China’s puzzling activism in the South China Sea is explicable by its desperate need for fossil fuel resources. But its alarmed Southeast Asian neighbours have banded together and sought the countervailing power of the United States. Indian intelligence needs to assess, therefore, the fuller implications of the US ‘pivot’ or ‘re-balancing’ towards Asia to pursue its national interests in this deteriorating situation. There is good reason for India to shed its timid policy of inactive neutralism, and see where its advantage lies in this emerging Asian disorder. Naturally, India must sustain its burgeoning trade relations with China while reducing the growing deficit between its imports and exports, but it cannot ignore China’s inimical actions either.


Like the UK, India must review its old orthodox beliefs regarding national security, and think more innovatively about pursuing its best national interests in a rapidly changing world.

India, Maldives holding joint military training exercises

The fourth joint military training exercises between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) - EKUVERIN 2012 - is being held in Belgaum from November 12 to 25.


A total of 45 personnel from the MNDF are taking part in the exercises along with the personnel from the Indian Army. The bilateral annual exercises, which commenced in 2009 in Belgaum, are alternately held in India and Maldives. The aim of the exercises is to enhance the close military cooperation between the two countries. Brigadier General Ahmed Nilam, Commandant – Marine Corps, MNDF would be reaching Belgaum later to observe EKUVERIN 2012, along with senior officers from the Indian side, according to a release by the External Affairs Ministry here.


Defence ties between India and Maldives have continued to expand and strengthen over the years. In April this year, both the countries, along with Sri Lanka, held joint Coast Guard/Naval exercises – DOSTI XI - off the coast of Male (Maldives) to strengthen the bonds of friendship and enhance mutual operational capability and cooperation in the region. Defence Minister A.K. Antony had also visited Maldives in September.


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