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Thursday, 10 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 10 Jan 2013
Jawans' killing: Strong protest by India
Highly provocative, says Antony Pakistan envoy ticked off
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Tension between India and Pakistan flared up on Wednesday with New Delhi lodging a strong protest through diplomatic and military channels a day after the brutal killing of two soldiers by the Pakistan Army.

Even as the government directed the Army not to retaliate, the force conveyed to its counterparts that the onus of consequences of the recent round of military belligerence would lie on Pakistan. Yet, Islamabad remained in denial mode. The Pakistan High Commission rejected the charge that Pakistani troops had killed the Indian soldiers.

Army sources said the operation from the Pakistani side was carried out by the Special Services Group (SSG), a NSG-type commando unit of the Army.“Even though the underlying message is to hold the 2003 ceasefire agreement and not escalate matters, we will do what we will do at our own time to respond,” a top ranking Army official said. Army authorities refused to be drawn into setting a time-frame for such a response.

Defence Minister AK Antony described Pakistan’s action as “highly provocative” and said the way the bodies of the Indian soldiers were treated was inhuman and highly objectionable. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid termed the incident as “unacceptable” and warned the incident could have an adverse impact on bilateral ties. “We cannot and must not allow escalation of this very unwholesome event that has taken place,” he said.

As strong reactions by the government and political parties came, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai summoned Pakistani envoy Salman Bashir to his office. He was told that Islamabad must investigate the actions of the Pakistan Army that were in contravention of all norms of international conduct and ensure that such incidents did not recur.

Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia called up his Pakistan counterpart Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem Ahmed at 10 am today to lodge a strong protest. “The action of the Pakistan Army was in grave violation of the rules of engagement for any civilized and professional Army,” Bhatia said. The rules of engagement for both armies are part of the 2003 agreement.

The Foreign Secretary pointed out to Bashir that Pakistan troops had been regularly crossing the LoC in the Mendhar sector and engaging Indian troops patrolling there. Mathai also drew attention to the killing of Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh and how their bodies were subjected to barbaric and inhuman mutilation. “The head of one of them was severed,” Army authorities said.

Later, in a statement here, the Pakistan mission said the allegations made by India was “baseless and unfounded”. It was important for the two sides to make serious efforts to maintain the current trend of improving bilateral ties and avoid ‘negative propaganda’,’’ the high commission said.

Ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops had figured during the expert-level Conventional Confidence Building Measures (CBM) talks between the two countries here last month. New Delhi is of the view that the November 2003 agreement has been a major CBM and was effective only as long as Pervez Musharraf was at the helm of affairs.

Sources said the intrusion and killings would also have to be seen in the context of the Pakistan Army’s revised military doctrine, which for the first time lists militant groups and internal dangers as the biggest threat to the country’s security rather than India. Sources said the hawks in the Pakistani establishment might again be out to prove that India remained Enemy No. 1 for Pakistan.

South Block still believes India must remain engaged in the peace process with Pakistan as an adverse relationship was in neither country’s interest.

Pak denies killing

Pakistan on Wednesday denied that its troops crossed into Jammu and Kashmir and killed two Indian soldiers but said it was ready to investigate India's claim.
It was a pre-planned operation: Dy GOC
Tribune News Service

Rajouri, January 9
Brig JK Tiwari, Deputy General Officer Commanding of the 25 Infantry Division, today said the gruesome killing of two soldiers by Pakistani troops in the Mendhar Sector on Tuesday was a pre-planned operation.

Interacting with mediapersons after paying tribute to the two martyrs, Brig Tiwari termed the Pakistani Army’s action as most barbaric and inhuman. “It was a highly provocative act and pre-planned by Pakistan, which is highly condemnable,” he said.

Explaining how the killings took place, Brigadier Tiwari said, “Our area domination patrol was moving from one post to another along the Line of Control (LoC). Mid-way, it came under heaving firing by a group of Pakistani troops who had crossed the LoC and intruded deep into our side. The firing continued for over half an hour,” he said.

He said the soldiers were ambushed amid thick fog that greatly reduced visibility in the area, which has a thick forest cover and helped Pakistani troops intrude into India.

“After the firing stopped, the patrol party started consolidation of the area and found two men of the advance patrolling party missing. After the search, the badly mutilated bodies of two soldiers were found. The head of one of the soldiers was taken away by the Pakistani soldiers,” he said.

“They (Pakistani) are very desperate to send militants and their efforts have been successfully foiled by the Indian Army. That may be a reason for this action,” he said, adding that such an incident had not taken place along the LoC in the last eight to nine years.

Earlier, Brigadier Tiwari laid wreaths on the bodies of Lance Naik Hemraj (29) and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh (28) at the ALC Ground in Rajouri followed by a guard of honour. Wrapped in the Tricolour, their bodies were sent to their villages in UP and MP. The Army also called a high-level meeting of the 25 Infantry Division where all senior officers were present.
Pall of gloom in MP, UP villages

Sidhi (MP)/ Mathura (UP), Jan 9
A pall of gloom descended on two villages in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday from where the soldiers brutally killed in the attack by Pakistani hailed.

Wrapped in the Tricolour, the caskets containing the bodies of Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh were being brought to their villages, a day after the soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated at a forward post in Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

Hemraj (29) hailed from Shernagar village in Mathura district in UP while Singh (28) came from Darhia village near Churhat in Sidhi district in neighbouring MP. The jawans belonged to 13 Rajputana Rifles.

Hemraj’s grieving family was being consoled by relatives amid shouts of "Hemraj amar rahey". "We are proud of the son of our village. We are united in this moment of grief," said Hemraj's uncle outside the home of the soldier.

Singh, who had joined the Army in 2002, is survived by wife Durga Singh and a four-month-old son.

The caskets containing the bodies were first brought to Rajouri from the forward post in Poonch district before being taken in a helicopter to Jammu technical airport. They were then brought to Delhi for the onward journey to the two villages.

Amid a sombre mood, a wreath laying ceremony was held with full military honours at Rajouri airstrip, where Deputy General Officer Commanding (Dy-GOC), Brig JC Tiwari laid wreaths on the bodies of the jawans.

Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh, an MLA from Churhat, said it was very sad that a valiant soldier had lost his life at the hands of Pakistani military men. The whole of MP mourns the loss, he said.

A team of Madhya Pradesh police officials has reached Darhia village to receive Singh's body. — PTI

The Bravehearts

    Lance Naik Hemraj (29, right) hailed from Shernagar village in Mathura district in Uttar Pradesh
    Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh (28) was from Darhia village near Churhat in Sidhi district in neighbouring MP; he had joined the Army in 2002 and is survived by his wife and a four-month-old son.
    Both jawans belonged to 13 Rajputana Rifles
Kargil martyr’s father for action against Pak
Our Correspondent

Palampur, January 9
Dr NK Kalia, father of Kargil War martyr Capt Saurabh Kalia, today demanded action against soldiers of the Pakistan Army who brutally mutilated the bodies of two Indian soldiers posted in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir yesterday.

Talking to The Tribune here, Dr Kalia said the Pakistan Army had indulged in the most dastardly act of brutalising two Indian soldiers despite complete ceasefire on the border which was being followed by both nations.

He said Pakistan had crossed all limits and such acts should not be tolerated.

Dr Kalia said India should take up this issue at international level. Pakistan should be pressurised to punish its erring soldiers who indulged in this heinous act which was in gross violation of the Geneva Convention to which both the countries were signatories.

Dr Kalia said in his son’s case, Pakistan had not initiated any action against its soldiers so far, despite the fact that evidence was provided to the country.

He urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take stern measures and prevent a repeat of such acts at the hands of the Pakistan Army. Time has come that India stopped trusting Pakistan, he added.
Army officer alleges rape; Gujarat cop arrested
Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, January 9
A Gujarat police officer has been arrested following a complaint by a Dehradun-based woman Army officer that she was repeatedly raped by him between November 1 and December 6 on the pretext of marrying her.

The woman officer of the rank of lieutenant colonel came to Ahmedabad and called on city Police Commissioner SK Saikia to complain against Inspector Farooq Qureshi, who is security in charge at the Gujarat High Court. The police officer was arrested from his Gandhinagar residence after the registration of complaint.

The woman officer had earlier also levelled a similar complaint against the police officer, but had later withdrawn it. Qureshi had also lodged a counter-complaint against the woman officer for allegedly blackmailing him. The complaint is still under the police investigation.

The woman officer, a divorcee and mother of two, come in contact with a married Army field officer during her recent posting in the Medical Corps in Bhuj. When the wife of the field officer came to know about their relationship, she hurled abuses at the woman officer, who in turn insulted the field officer in the presence of others. The depressed field officer committed suicide. His family filed a case against the woman officer on the charge of abetment to suicide.

The Army officer filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court to quash the complaint and that was when she came in close contact with Qureshi. The police officer helped her both with money and time to come out of the problem following which their relationship grew.

The woman officer complained that in addition to some hotels in Ahmedabad where they stayed together, she was also “taken around” to different hotels and guest houses in various cities and hill stations by the police officer and abused her sexually between November 1 and December 6. Qureshi, however, claimed that on many occasions, the woman officer herself sent him air tickets to fly to Dehradun to stay with her.

The woman officer claimed she accepted his advances only after the police officer promised to marry her. On December 11, the woman officer wrote a letter to the city police commissioner alleging rape by Qureshi. However, on December 29, when the police approached her for investigation into her complaints, she submitted a letter in writing withdrawing her complaint and desired the chapter be treated as closed.

However, on December 27, Qureshi lodged a complaint with the Ahmedabad police that the woman officer was blackmailing him and demanding Rs 25 lakh or to face the charge of rape. He also submitted mobile phone record of the calls made by the woman officer allegedly for blackmailing him.
Pak Army’s barbaric act
It deserves severe condemnation

In an act reminiscent of medieval times, Pakistani Army soldiers took away the head of an Indian soldier after beheading him and killing a second soldier in a well-planned ambush on an Indian Army patrol in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday morning. Considering that the Pakistani soldiers had deliberately positioned themselves well inside the Indian side of the LoC to execute the attack, both the killing of the Indian soldiers and the brutality involved, reflects clearance at a high level in the Pakistani military’s hierarchy.

The taking away of the head to probably flaunt as a ‘trophy’ reflects on the Pakistani Army’s sickening psyche and its stooping to a barbaric low in addition to the abject lack of respect for the Geneva Convention and for human rights. In the past too, the Pakistanis have behaved in a similarly brutish manner. At the start of the Kargil War, Pakistani troops captured, tortured and mutilated the body of Captain Saurabh Kalia. About three weeks later, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, who had landed on the Pakistani side of the LoC after ejecting from his MiG-21 fighter whose engine had flamed out while flying in the Batalik sector during the Kargil War, was shot in the head and chest. The bones in his body were broken reflecting that he had been possibly first beaten and tortured. Then in February 2000, Pakistani ISI-backed Al-Qaida member Ilyas Kashmiri beheaded an Indian soldier in a raid on an Indian post in the Nowshera sector of J and K during which seven Indian soldiers were killed. Kashmiri was subsequently felicitated by General Pervez Musharraf, who was then Pakistan’s Army Chief and self-appointed Chief Executive, and also awarded Rs 1 lakh as ‘prize money’.

Pakistan has predictably not only denied Tuesday’s incident but has also gone on to insensitively term it as Indian propaganda. For several months now Pakistan has been nonchalantly violating the November 2003 agreement to cease fire along the LoC. Several Indian soldiers have been killed or wounded in such incidents of violations in the past one year. If the Pakistani establishment truly favours peace and tranquillity, it has to then reign in its demons and change its psyche towards India. Pakistan’s brutality deserves the most severe condemnation not only by New Delhi but also by all civilised countries.
Don't go to war, says Pakistani daily
Islamabad: Amid escalating tensions on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, a Pakistani newspaper has urged Pakistan and India not to let the events turn into a war.

Calling the recent sequence of events along the LoC as "disputed", The News International pointed to the varying versions emanating from New Delhi and Islamabad.

Pakistan has accused Indian troops of killing one of its soldiers. Indian officials charged Pakistani troops with sneaking into Jammu and Kashmir and killing and mutilating two Indian soldiers.

"Serious as this incident is we cannot, must not, allow it to propel us in the direction of further confrontation," it said in an editorial titled "Line of Fire".

"The exact sequence of events around the incident in which one of our soldiers lost his life Sunday is, as ever, disputed.

"They (India) say that our (Pakistani) troops opened fire entirely unprovoked in the north Uri sector of Indian Kashmir and that the Indian troops responded and forced our troops to cease fire," it said.

The daily referred to the death of two Indian soldiers in Sona Gali in Poonch district.

It said Sunday's incident was the "most serious incident of recent times" since a ceasefire took effect along the LoC from November 2003.

"There have been numerous violations of the ceasefire, and each side accuses the other of failing to honour it and the entire border region remains highly volatile despite a thaw in relations over the last year," the editorial said.

"Incidents such as this have the potential to put relations between the two countries back in the freezer unless they are handled with the utmost delicacy."

The daily said the LoC was a "flashpoint along its entire length and has the capacity to derail the efforts of those with peaceful intent."

"It is not for us to adjudicate one way or another, but it is for us to urge moderation and restraint by all sides," the daily said.

It said that "neither nation needs or wants another war".
LoC violation: Pak army denies attack, calls it ‘Indian propaganda’
Islamabad: The Pakistani military rejected the Indian Army’s contention that Pakistani troops had killed two Indian soldiers after crossing the Line of Control, saying the accusation was aimed at diverting attention from another incident over the weekend.

A Pakistani military official, who did not want to be named, denied an “Indian allegation of unprovoked firing” along the LoC.

The official added: “It looks like Indian propaganda to divert the attention of the world from Sunday’s raid on a Pakistani post by Indian troops in which a Pakistani soldier was killed”.

The official said authorities had checked with commanders on the ground and ascertained that Pakistani forces had not crossed the LoC or carried out any raid. ”These are baseless allegations,” he claimed.
The Indian Defence Ministry described the killing of the two soldiers by Pakistani forces as a “provocative action” and said New Delhi would take up the issue with Islamabad.

“The government of India considers the incident as a provocative action and we condemn it. Directors General of Military Operations of the two countries are in touch over it,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

“The government will take up the incident with Pakistan government. We expect Islamabad to honour the ceasefire agreement strictly,” the statement said.

In what was described as a “provocative” attack by India, Pakistani soldiers crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and am
Indian Army pays tribute to martyred soldiers
Soldiers and officers of the Indian Army paid their tribute to two jawans who were martyred in an encounter with Pakistan soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir.

The body of one of the soldiers was found 'badly mutilated' in a forested area along the Line of Control (LoC)

Earlier in the day, India summoned Pakistan's High Commissioner to New Delhi, Salman Bashir to register a protest over the killing of two soldiers.

Giving details, Deputy General Officer commanding (GOC) Brigadier, J.K. Tiwari confirmed firing from the Pakistani side.

"Our area domination patrol vehicle was travelling from one post to another along the Line of Control (LOC). Midway, there was unprovoked firing from across the border for over half an hour. There was fire exchange and it subsided. Two of our scouts were found dead during search operation," said Brigadier Tiwari on Wednesday (January 09).

Firing and small skirmishes between the two countries are common along the 740-km (460-mile) LoC despite a ceasefire and slowly improving bilateral ties. The Indian army says eight of its soldiers were killed in 2012, in 75 incidents.

However, incursions by troops from either side are rare, and one media report said Tuesday's (January 08) incident marked the 'first major ingress' since the ceasefire was agreed in 2003.

Pakistan has denied the latest Indian allegations. A Pakistani military spokesman said they were "propaganda" aimed at diverting attention away from a clash along the LoC two days earlier in which Pakistan had said one of its soldiers was killed after an Indian incursion.

India denies that its troops crossed over the line during last weekend's incident.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
India May Include Domestic Firms in Artillery Program

NEW DELHI — The Indian Defence Ministry is considering changing the categorization of its $6 billion artillery program in order to include domestic defense companies in the heretofore international bidding process, according to an MoD source.

“The complexion of completion for future gun programs could change with tougher competition from domestic companies,” said defense analyst Mahindra Singh, a retired Indian Army major general.

The move to recategorize the project follows a request by domestic private defense firm Tata Power’s Strategic Electronics Division (SED) to allow it to compete for future gun projects, the source said. Tata Power SED announced last month that it has been able to develop a 155mm/52-caliber mounted gun.

Rahul Chaudhry, Tata Power SED’s CEO, said the company has approached the MoD to put its gun to trial and has demanded to be considered for competition in future mountain gun tenders.

In addition to Tata Power SED, private sector firms Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Bharat Forge each has tied up with overseas defense companies to make the 155mm/52-caliber gun in India. The state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation is also developing its homegrown towed howitzer gun.

A senior L&T executive said that company has partnered with South Korea’s Samsung to produce wheeled artillery guns and with France’s Nexter to make mounted and towed artillery guns in India. The company will, however, develop the prototypes only when it is given requests for proposal for artillery projects, the executive said.

Rajinder Bhatia, CEO of Bharat Forge, said it has partnered with Israeli firm Elbit for the towed, mounted and wheeled artillery guns. It also has purchased the plant from Swiss company Ruag Defence for the artillery guns and is developing an indigenous artillery gun, which he said will be ready by 2014.

The Indian Army plans to convert all existing field guns into 155mm/52-caliber guns, and the total demand for the varieties of 155mm/52-caliber guns is worth more than $6 billion, an Army official said.

But efforts to acquire such guns from overseas firms have come up empty. Several tenders were canceled midway after competing foreign companies — including South Africa’s Denel and Singapore Technologies — were blacklisted on bribery charges.

“The overseas defense companies are now forging ties with domestic defense companies to tap into the big-ticket market, as purchasing directly from overseas through competition has not yielded the desired results,” Singh said.

To include domestic companies, the MoD must recategorize the project from “Buy and Make (Global)” to simply “Buy and Make.”

Tata Power SED, meanwhile, says its gun has an indigenous content of 52 percent.
Pakistan suggests UN inquiry over Indian killings
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday denied Indian allegations that its troops killed two Indian soldiers in a second cross-border ceasefire violation in days and called on UN observers to investigate.

India summoned Pakistan’s high commissioner to New Delhi to protest against Tuesday’s killings, in which India’s chief military spokesman said one of the soldiers had been beheaded by Pakistani troops who carried away his head.

Pakistan rejected what it called “baseless and unfounded allegations” but echoed calls of caution from India’s foreign minister by saying both sides need to work hard to maintain a recent rapprochement following peace talks which were revived in 2011.

“Pakistan is prepared to hold investigations through the United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan on the recent ceasefire violations on the Line of Control,” said the foreign ministry in Islamabad.

A ceasefire has been in place since 2003 along the Line of Control in Kashmir that has divided the countries, but it is periodically violated by both sides.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Indian channel CNN-IBN that Islamabad was “a bit appalled at some statements” from India and that she was “saddened”.

“I represent a government that has invested four years to build normalcy… an environment of trust to move forward to achieve regional peace and internal stability,” she said in an interview in Islamabad.

Indian army sources suggested Tuesday’s attack could be a retaliation for Sunday, when Islamabad said an unprovoked Indian attack on a border post killed one Pakistani soldier and wounded another.

Khar said the Pakistani soldier had been “brutally murdered because of Indian firing” but denied that Pakistan operated a policy of “tit for tat”.

“We are a responsible country, a mature country, we must not all go back to having a go at each other,” she told CNN-IBN.

She said allegations of ceasefire violations had to be dealt with responsibly and offered to ask the UN military observers to investigate.

“We can ask a third party to do investigation on this, you know that UN military observers exist, we can call them. We are promising a full inquiry,” she said in the TV interview.

Her ministry said Pakistan was committed to the 2003 ceasefire and called for existing military mechanisms to be strengthened to guard against future violations.

“Pakistan is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India. We have made significant progress… It is important that both sides make serious efforts in maintaining this improvement and avoid negative propaganda,” it said.

The Pakistani military also denied that its troops were responsible.

“Indian authorities were informed that Pakistan has carried out ground verification and checked and found nothing of this sort happened as being alleged by India,” a military official told reporters.

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