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Saturday, 12 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 12 Jan 2013






http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130112/main1.htm
Pak now slams brakes on cross-LoC travel
Halts Poonch-Rawalkote bus service; trade remains suspended
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Poonch, January 11
Pakistan on Friday stopped the weekly bus service between Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir and Rawalkote in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), escalating tension between the two countries. The development comes a day after Islamabad suspended the trans-LoC trade and refused to open the gates for Indian trucks at Chakkan-da-Bagh crossing in Poonch.

Pakistan, in a hotline message, conveyed to Indian authorities about the suspension of the weekly cross-LoC bus service ‘Rahen Milan’ in the wake of mounting tension along the LoC.

“Pakistan officials have conveyed us that there would be no cross-LoC bus service on Monday. They have said there would be no trade and travel between the two sides till the situation normalises along the LoC,” said Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO), Poonch.

He said no trade was carried out between two sides for the second consecutive day on Friday and some truckers, who were stranded at Chakkan-da-Bagh crossing point, had returned to Poonch. “As many as 21 trucks were still stranded. We have told traders about the Pakistan Government’s decision,” he said, adding that no time frame had been fixed by Islamabad for resumption of trade and travel between the two sides. The cross-LoC bus service between Chakan-Da-Bagh (J&K) and Rawalakote (PoK) was started in June 2006 as a major CBMs.

Pakistani troops, meanwhile, violated the ceasefire agreement again by firing indiscriminately on forward Indian posts in the Krishna Ghati sector late last night. They targeted Dogra and Chhajaman posts in the Krishna Ghati sector late last evening and the firing continued till 4 am.

Pak summons Indian envoy

India and Pakistan on Friday continued to trade accusations over ceasefire violations with the Pakistan Government summoning the Indian envoy to serve a demarche over Thursday’s incident. Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani summoned High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to lodge "a strong protest on the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian Army" and sought "thorough investigation" by the Indian Government.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130112/main2.htm
Antony: Army’s prestige must be maintained
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, Jan 11
Notwithstanding provocative actions by Pakistan, India today continued to exercise restraint to prevent the ongoing tension from spiralling out of control. Amid reports of fresh firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was briefed by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

Defence Minister AK Antony, however, is understood to have conveyed to the National Security Adviser that the beheading of two Indian soldiers on Tuesday was a ‘turning point’ and that the ‘prestige’ of the Indian Armed forces must be maintained at all costs. Two days after New Delhi  foreign office in Islamabad on Friday and handed over a demarche, accusing the Indian Army of resorting to ‘unprovoked attacks’ on Pakistani troops on the Line of Control (LoC) yesterday, resulting in the killing of a Pakistani soldier.

India, however, played down Islamabad’s latest move of suspending the trans-LoC bus service. “Our understanding is that because of local circumstances, gates could not be opened on the Pakistani side and, therefore, the bus and trucks could not go...our officials are in talks with the Pakistani side,” MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said.

On the summoning of the Indian envoy in Islamabad, he said: “Sabharwal was issued a note verbale on an incident which is said to have occurred on January 10.” The Indian High Commissioner told Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani that Indian troops had only resorted to ‘controlled response’ to the ‘unprovoked’ firing by the Pakistan Army yesterday. The Indian envoy also stressed the need for maintaining the sanctity of the LoC and adherence to the Simla Agreement for resolving bilateral issues.

New Delhi reiterated that it saw no role for the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan in bilateral issues between India and Pakistan.

Asked why India was keen on extending the hand of friendship to Pakistan despite provocations from the other side, Akbaruddin said: “Neighbours are not going to go away...ultimately, we have to resolve our issues with Pakistan bilaterally.”

Earlier, Antony while talking to reporters on the sidelines of defence function, said, "We will take every step to protect our interests and of our soldiers and the prestige of the Indian armed forces”. A source confirmed that Antony was quite clear that the be-heading of an Indian soldier would not to be tolerated.

“It is not an isolated incident, infiltration attempts are increasing from the last one year. Ceasefire violations are also increasing. The tragic, provocative action two days back, was a turning point,” Antony said. The minister has taken a tough posture that relations with Pakistan cannot be at the cost of the prestige of the Indian soldiers, said sources.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130112/main1.htm#2
Pak now slams brakes on cross-LoC travel
Halts Poonch-Rawalkote bus service; trade remains suspended
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Poonch, January 11
Pakistan on Friday stopped the weekly bus service between Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir and Rawalkote in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), escalating tension between the two countries. The development comes a day after Islamabad suspended the trans-LoC trade and refused to open the gates for Indian trucks at Chakkan-da-Bagh crossing in Poonch.

Pakistan, in a hotline message, conveyed to Indian authorities about the suspension of the weekly cross-LoC bus service ‘Rahen Milan’ in the wake of mounting tension along the LoC.

“Pakistan officials have conveyed us that there would be no cross-LoC bus service on Monday. They have said there would be no trade and travel between the two sides till the situation normalises along the LoC,” said Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO), Poonch.

He said no trade was carried out between two sides for the second consecutive day on Friday and some truckers, who were stranded at Chakkan-da-Bagh crossing point, had returned to Poonch. “As many as 21 trucks were still stranded. We have told traders about the Pakistan Government’s decision,” he said, adding that no time frame had been fixed by Islamabad for resumption of trade and travel between the two sides. The cross-LoC bus service between Chakan-Da-Bagh (J&K) and Rawalakote (PoK) was started in June 2006 as a major CBMs.

Pakistani troops, meanwhile, violated the ceasefire agreement again by firing indiscriminately on forward Indian posts in the Krishna Ghati sector late last night. They targeted Dogra and Chhajaman posts in the Krishna Ghati sector late last evening and the firing continued till 4 am.

Pak summons Indian envoy

India and Pakistan on Friday continued to trade accusations over ceasefire violations with the Pakistan Government summoning the Indian envoy to serve a demarche over Thursday’s incident. Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani summoned High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal to lodge "a strong protest on the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian Army" and sought "thorough investigation" by the Indian Government.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130112/edit.htm#4
Circle of LoC violence
India must respond to Pak dastardly act
by Maj-Gen JS Kataria (retd)

The recent inhuman and provocative killing of two Indian soldiers in the Mendhar sector of J&K by Pakistani soldiers has brought back the circle of violence across the LoC. The ceasefire that had come into force on November 28, 2003, was already on the ventilator, with numerous violations in 2012 and more than 10 in the last one month alone.

Despite these acts of aggression, the Indian community continues to give peace a chance. We had the Pakistani cricket team visiting India after five years. There were TV programmes like ‘Sur Kshetra and Foodistan’ and a host of other cross-border people-to-people contacts. The issues that merit analysis are the reasons for the recent act of aggression by the Pakistan Army defying the Geneva Convention and its propensity to keep the LoC burning. Does India need to continue with its big brotherly act and forgive Pakistan for its transgressions?

J&K is an integral part of India which Pakistan’s establishment and the military in particular have refused to recognise. J&K is a valued weapon with the Pakistan Army that it has used time and again to keep its position cemented or impose military rule since the very creation of Pakistan. Of late, terrorism in J&K has been on the decline. The assembly elections held in 2008 witnessed a 17% rise in the voter turnout despite the boycott call by terrorist organisations and the Hurriyat.

The period from 2008 onwards also witnessed an unprecedented tourist flow to the valley that seems to have set alarm bells in Pakistan’s military establishment. Should J&K become peaceful, the most potent weapon of Pakistan’s military with which it has been able to maintain a vice-like grip on its people would be lost. The first covert attempt came in the form of street violence of 2010 in Srinagar and the surrounding areas, unleashed through the Pakistan-backed Hurriyat. Lack of people’s support to this meaningless act led to its early demise. This forced Pakistan and the Hurriyat to look for an alternative option. With the people in J&K clearly displaying their yearning for peace, stepping up of infiltration from across the border was a foregone conclusion. Effective infiltration stood little chance till the ongoing ceasefire and the border fence remained in place. It was easier for Pakistan to breach the former that was already on the ventilator.

Osama bin Laden’s killing by the US Army’s SEALs in Abbottabad in 2011, under the very nose of Pakistan’s military establishment, had a direct impact on its currency. The situation became worse with the jihadis in Pakistan attacking the Army, the very organisation that was responsible for raising these terrorist organisations and giving them teeth. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the killing of pro-Pakistan Taliban leader Maulvi Nazir in a US drone attack which further devalued the Pakistan Army’s stocks. It forced the Pakistan’s military leadership to escalate violence in J&K to woo the jihadis back on board. They do not expect India to retaliate strongly which has time and again proved to be a soft state.

Every soldier has a family and most of us want peace but at the same time no army worth its salt would like to sit back without retaliation when its soldiers are decapitated by the adversary. India and Pakistan having nuclear weapons is a reality and Pakistan has committed this act fully aware of this fact. This is an indirect blackmail to which India and its soldiers cannot be taken hostage. There is adequate space available in the conventional zone to respond to Pakistan’s dastardly act. The Indian Army has the will and the ability to send a loud and clear message with the concurrence of the democratically elected government. It would be of interest to recall that the ceasefire of 2003 had actually come into effect when the Indian Army had made the life of Pakistani troops difficult on the LoC. We need to give it back to them in their own coin. Let them not live in cuckoo land!

The peace initiative could also continue simultaneously, despite the dichotomy in the Indian establishment wherein some feel that a lot is already invested in this arena and the others are of the opinion that nothing is going to come out of it till Pakistan accepts the reality of J&K being an integral part of India. The Indian economy is strong and vibrant whereas the economy of Pakistan is a shambles. We need to seriously re-consider the requirement of offering an olive branch to Pakistan and its people. Do Bollywood and its kind need to woo artists from Pakistan when our soldiers are decapitated? What is the purpose of cultural exchanges and sports fixtures when the basic norms of civilized society are not respected by the establishment from across the border? There is a crying need to put an end to this till we see a positive turnaround.

The rise of the hardliners and jihadis in Pakistan, and the simmering discontent in Balochistan, the Northern Areas and Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa (earlier called the North-West Frontier Province) have resulted in an unprecedented attack on Pakistan’s military establishment. It is indicative of the fact that Pakistan is imploding from within. Many of the strategic thinkers have been of the opinion that a strong Pakistan is good for India. Clearly the time has come to review this philosophy and redefine the contours of Indo-Pak relations. India should leave Pakistan to its fate. The need of the hour is to send a clear-cut message that we are peace-loving people, capable of defending ourselves. India does not need Pakistan economically or culturally till it mends its ways and behaves like a good neighbour.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130112/nation.htm#5
India, China reaffirm commitment to peace
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 11
The Sino-Indian boundary dispute and the new initiatives to further enhance bilateral ties are understood to have figured prominently during talks this morning between National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

This was the last meeting between Menon and Dai, the designated Special Representatives of the two countries, to find an amicable settlement of the vexed border dispute.

The two officials are learnt to have reviewed progress made by the two countries over the last few years to resolve the boundary dispute. They were of the view that peace and tranquillity must be maintained at all costs along the border. Dai told Menon that the new leadership in China was committed to promote ties with India in all fields.

Sources said the two officials expressed satisfaction over the progress so far in border talks, but emphasised the need to expedite a solution. Dai is set to be replaced in March in the once-in-a-decade change in leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Dai, who headed the Chinese delegation at the BRICS High Representatives meeting yesterday, also paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He has been the longest-serving Chinese negotiator on border talks with India and had held talks with Menon’s predecessors Brajesh Mishra, J N Dixit and M K Narayanan.

His meeting with Menon today took place just a month after the Indian official visited Beijing and the two sides reached a “common understanding” on the negotiations over framework for a boundary settlement.

Following Dai's visit, India’s Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma will travel to Beijing for the annual defence dialogue on January 14-15. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) V Narayanasamy is also scheduled to visit Beijing in the coming days.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/army-air-defence-marks-20th-raising-day/1058312/
Army Air Defence marks 20th Raising Day
The corps of Army Air Defence celebrated its 20th Raising Day on Thursday. As part of the celebrations, different functions were organised across the Western Command.

Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, army commander, Western Army, called upon the air defence gunners to continue the “good work with devotion and strive for excellence in all fields’’, during his interaction with all serving and veteran air defence gunners of the tricity.

The Corps is the youngest arm of the Indian Army and was carved out of the Indian field artillery on 10 Jan 1994.

Commemorating the history of air defence in India, officials said that it began as early as 1939 when the Britishers decided to raise AA (Ack Ack) units to counter the Japanese air threat. Since then, air defence gunners have participated in all wars and operations of the Indian Army and were involved in the liberation of Goa, the Sino-India war (1962), Indo-Pak Wars (1965 and 1971) and Operation Pawan. “In Punjab, Haryana and the Jammu and Kashmir sectors the air defence gunners valiantly defended important airfields in area of responsibility (AOR), fought gallantly and received battle honours for Amritsar, Chhamb, Samba and Basantar during the 1971 operations,” said officials.

“Army air defence units have actively participated in nation-building and disaster management activities. Their role in rescue operations during the Gujarat earthquake, Mumbai floods, super cyclone in Orissa, Tsunami in Tamil Nadu and unprecedented floods in Haryana is laudable,” said officials.

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_high-level-meet-in-pmo-briefed-about-loc-situation_1788029
High-level meet in PMO briefed about LoC situation
The tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan were discussed at a high-level meeting in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) where Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma briefed about the situation there.

The Indian Army has asked the Pakistan Army for a local-level flag meeting in Poonch sector where two Indian soldiers were killed and their bodies mutilated by the Pakistan Army.

Shashikant Sharma briefed the PMO about the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector which has seen several ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army in the last few days, sources said here.

The meeting was attended by top officials from the PMO and the National Security Advisor (NSA) who were briefed about the steps taken by the forces and the Defence Ministry after the incidents.

Defence Minister A K Antony and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon are keeping Prime Minister Manmohan Singh abreast of the developments in the situation.

The Army has sought a Brigadier-level meeting between the two Armies in Poonch sector where ceasefire violations are taking place but the Pakistani side is yet to respond, Army sources said here.

In that area, there are four local hotlines between the two sides including Chakkan da Bagh, Uri, Balnoi and Tangdhar.

The flag meeting is most likely to be called at Balnoi which is closest to the site of the incident, they said.

The Army headquarters said the last ceasefire violation incident was reported by local formations yesterday evening and the firing had ceased at 2130 hours.

After that, no fresh incident of firing or ceasefire violation has been reported from that side, it said.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/304478/army-flag-meet-defuse-tension.html
Army for flag meet to defuse tension
The Indian Army has proposed to hold a flag meeting soon, to discuss ways to restore normalcy along the 740-km Line of Control, where ceasefire has been maintained since November, 2003.

“A flag meeting at the brigade level may be convened for the resolution of issues leading to ceasefire violation, killing and mutilation of one soldier’s body. The date and location will be finalised after receiving Pakistan's response,” an Army officer said on Thursday.

Two days after the killing of two Indian soldiers of the 13 Rajputana Rifles, there was no let up in cross-border firing, with both sides blaming each other for the mortar and grenade attacks. On Thursday afternoon, the Pakistan army shelled Battal in Poonch sector for nearly two hours, inviting retaliatory action from India.

In Islamabad, the Pakistani army claimed that one of its soldiers was killed in the firing, a charge refuted by the Indian Army.

Defence Minister A K Antony briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on the tense border situation, an upshot of the “unprovoked” display of brutality by the Pakistani soldiers.

Once in three days

Though the events that gave shape to Tuesday’s skirmish leading to the death of Lance Naiks Sudhakar Singh and Hem Raj remain unclear, officials said incidences of ceasefire violation have surged in the last one year. The ceasefire was violated almost once in every three days in 2012. “There has been an increase in ceasefire violations. There has been an increase in infiltration attempts. And that is something we are dealing with, both ourselves and with the Pakistani authorities,” said National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon.

As many as 117 instances of ceasefire violations were recorded in 2012, bulk of which occurred in the last five months. Between February and July, only 26 cases were recorded. In 2011, 30 instances of ceasefire violations were recorded, as against 44 in 2010. “Pakistan had carried out ceasefire violation on the night of January 5-6 and controlled retaliation was carried out by the Indian side on January 6,” the Army said in a statement.

“No line of control transgression has been resorted to by the Indian Army in Uri on January 6 as alleged,” the statement added.

Despite Pakistan denying involvement of its soldiers in the incident, both Antony and the Army reiterated that it was a handiwork of men in Pakistani uniform and not infiltrators. On Wednesday, Antony stated: “Pakistani army’s action is highly objectionable and also the way they treated the body of the Indian soldier is inhuman.”

“Sadly, it is not the first time this has happened. I hope it never happens again. But we have also told you exactly what we intend to do,” Menon said, hinting at External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s comments on the government’s plan to scale down tension in the conflict zone. Khurshid had underlined that India did not want to engage Pakistan publicly. “India wants to exhaust all standard procedures first," he had said.

http://www.newsbullet.in/india/34-more/38381-saeed-provoked-pak-army-to-kill-indian-soldiers
LeT chief Hafiz Saeed provoked Pak army to kill Indian soldiers?
New Delhi: The government on Thursday said Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed had visited the border areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) a few days before the killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops. Watch: Saeed provoked Pak army to kill? l Saeed was in PoK before Indian soldiers' killing: Shinde

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the information about the movement of Saeed in PoK was received by intelligence agencies about four to five days back and the government was trying to get details of his visit.

"It has been our information that in PoK area, Hafiz Saeed had entered and talked to some people," he told a press conference here.

Asked whether militants were involved in carrying out the raid on Indian Army soldiers, Shinde said, "I do not have that information. But we are very keen to get such information. We are on the line".

The Home Minister ruled out putting the new India- Pakistan relaxed visa regime on hold, saying the government was not considering that option despite tension along the Indo-Pak border.

"Whatever agreement has been entered into, it will be carried on. There is no rethinking on visa agreement," he said.

Asked when a judicial commission from Pakistan would visit India for cross examination of four persons in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai attack trial, Shinde said no date has been fixed yet but the government wants that the process should be completed soon.

"It (proposed visit of the panel) is a very positive step. The way they would be coming, we would also go...We want this case to be concluded as early as possible," he said.

Defence analyst Bharat Verma feels Saeed, who is a part of Pakistan's 'Ghost Army', again wants to generate focus on Kashmir and wants an anti-India environment to spread. He feels India should stop trade and cricket ties and change its visa policy with Pakistan.

Former Pakistan’s Lieutenant General Talat Masood refuted allegations and denied the role of the army in the killing of Indian soldiers. He also said the Indian army has not accepted yet that one of Pakistan soldiers was killed when Indian troops fired at a post across the disputed Kashmir border.

Masood believes that Pakistan has always been pitching in to improve ties with its neighbour and India as a big country in the region needs to act in a more matured manner to deal in this situation. He says both the countries should propose for a joint probe to unearth the real truth behind the gruesome killings of soldiers on both the sides.

http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2013/1/10/326-No-inadequacy-of-equipment-to-Indian-armed-forces-Chidambaram.html
No inadequacy of equipment to Indian armed forces: Chidambaram
Finance Minister P Chidambaram Thursday ruled out assumptions that there is any inadequacy of equipment with the Indian armed forces.

"I do not agree that there is any inadequacy of equipment. This is an incident of which we take grave notice. Such an incident has happened before too and we took grave notice of those incidents too," said Chidambaram to media.

He also termed the incident at Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch District 'brutal'.

"This is a brutal incident where one of our jawans was killed and his body was mutilated. We have to, therefore, focus on that issue and respond to that issue," he added.

When asked whether there was a discussion on the Cabinet about decreasing the speed of re-engagement with Pakistan, Chidambaram said it is for the Ministry of Defence to give a befitting reply on it.

"Defence Minister and the External Affairs Minister have spoken on the matter. And as I said whatever has to be done, will be done. The CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) was briefed about the incident and the subsequent developments. But there is nothing for me to share in this media conference. If anything has to be stated, it will be said by the Defence Ministry," he said.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir had earlier on Wednesday denied a Pakistan Army attack on Indian soldiers in the Mendhar sector in Poonch district on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, a group of Pakistan Army soldiers raided across the Line of Control in Mendhar sector and killed two Indian soldiers and injured one more. The Pakistani troops attacked an area domination patrol party of the Indian Army.

Lance Naik Hemraj and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh were the two Indian soldiers killed brutally by the Pakistani troops.

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