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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 16 Jan 2013
Army presents rare gift to Mahakumbh pilgrims
Aditi Tandon/TNS

Allahabad, January 15
The Army used the occasion of the 65th Army Day today to present a rare gift to Hindu pilgrims who are thronging Prayag on the occasion of Mahakumbh.

For the first time in the history of independent India, two rare historical treasures of Hindu heritage -- the Akshay Vat Tree and Paataalpuri Temple -- under Army control in the city have been opened for visitors.

Located inside the precincts of the Qila, the magnificent fort Mughal Emperor Akbar got built in 1538, the two symbols of Hindu religious aspiration were hitherto opened only during Magh fairs and Kumbhs ever since a British Army officer shut them down for people post the First War of Independence in 1857. The closure was on account of security reasons for the Army which has some presence inside the fort.

But from today, these sites will be open throughout the year and a huge gathering is expected tomorrow.

Sub Area commander of the Indian Army Maj General Bishambar Dayal said the decision had been taken to honour the spirit of Mahakumbh and also the wishes of devotees. The Army has spent six months to renovate the ancient architecture marvels and has procured tiles to match the interior finesse of the ancient temple, where 43 idols of Lord Ganesha, Narsimha and Gorakhnath are installed. The idol area is interspersed with several Shiv Lingams. The temple housing 100 pillars is said to be the abode of Lord Vishnu.

The Akhsyay Vat tree has a greater historical value. This huge banyan tree inside the fort, which stands along the banks of the Ganga, is the salvation-granting tree for Kumbh visitors. Belief goes that the prayers of pilgrims who bathe during Kumbhs are not answered until they visit the Akshay Vat tree.
Gen Singh talks tough, says ready to face all challenges
Siachen is our area, we will continue to hold it, says Chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 15
A day after Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh warned Pakistan, he told an Army Day parade that the Army was prepared to face all challenges to national security and foil the designs of the enemy.

The Army Chief, who had yesterday told Pakistan that India would retaliate at the ‘time and place’ of its choosing to the beheading of Indian soldiers on January 8, today made his opinions even more clear saying: “The Indian Army has kept its operational preparedness at the highest level in view of various challenges.”

Possibly not wanting to join the jingoism originating over the public outcry for having a ‘head-for-a-head’, the Army Chief made it clear that “Indian Army’s record is the best in the world as far as human rights is concerned.”.

The Indian Army works in tough terrain like Siachen and discharge their duties in those areas while “following the principles of war and human rights”. “I want to assure the nation that the Indian Army is prepared to face all challenges to the national security....Every solider of the Indian Army is ready to face any challenge and we are ready to make any sacrifice for the security of the nation.

The Army is always prepared for securing boundaries of the nation and foil the designs of the enemy. It deals with all challenges in a professional manner, he said as he went on to discuss modernisation of forces and their parity with civil administration. The Army Chief expressed confidence that the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, central paramilitary forces and the police will together provide a strong safety shield to the country.

The Army Chief all released the ‘Unit Commander’s Manual’ on the occasion. The manual provides a comprehensive framework in creating a culture of quiet efficiency in unit functioning and dynamism and excellence in unit ethos. This will lay down all aspects relating to unit routine, training, motivation, leadership development, administration, regimental institutes and social activities.

The Army Chief has also made his stance clear on demilitarising the Siachen Glacier. At his press conference on Monday, General Singh said: “It is strategically important to us. It is our area and we need to continue to hold it. Any thought of demililtarisation has to be in the backdrop of the conduct of the Pakistani Army. It has to be very cautious pragmatic decision, lets us not lose the advantage”.
Pak mines in KG sector killing our soldiers: GOC-in-C
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria/TNS

Tanda (Akhnoor), January 15
After constantly describing “accidental” mine blasts, which had been injuring and killing Indian soldiers along the Line of Control (LoC) in Krishna Ghati (KG) sector of Poonch district, the Indian Army today eventually admitted that they were actually mines planted by the Pakistan Army.

‘Accidental’ mine blasts

Nov 17, 2012: A porter Shakeel Ahmed, a resident of Karmara village was injured in a "mine blast"

Nov 30: BSF border guard constable Harinder Singh of 135 Battalion sustained injuries near Kirpan post

Dec 1: A BSF sub-inspector Kalu Ram of 135 Battalion, who had gone to investigate the mine blast involving constable Harinder Singh, was also injured in a similar explosion

Dec 6: Naik Sanjeev Singh of 3 Grenadiers was injured in the same sector

Dec 8: Naik Rajeev Kumar of 3 Grenadiers injured in similar explosion near Upper Ridge Salotri post

The Tribune had been regularly reporting about mines planted by terrorists with the help of Pakistani troops inside Indian territory in KG sector. The last such report had appeared in The Tribune on December 9 last year.

None other than the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen KT Parnaik today said that the Indian Army showed photographs of Pakistani mines to their counterparts at the flag meeting in Chakan-da-Bagh yesterday.

“After we lodged a very strong protest against the barbaric act of Pakistani troops (killing of two Indian soldiers), we also protested against flagrant truce violations along the LoC, including KG and Uri sectors. We also told them that they’ve planted mines in our area during firings and also showed them the photographs of Pakistani mines,” said Lt Gen Parnaik.

Pakistani Army officers were given all the evidences of mines, killing of Indian soldiers and mutilation of their bodies but as usual they remained in a denial mode, he added.

Their body language was of reluctance and rigidity, said Lt Gen Parnaik. “They even refused that they ever killed any Indian troops in Mendhar but I am confident that our point of view will be understood. If they mend their ways, good, and if not then we have the right to respond,” he added.

From November 17 to December 8 last year, the KG sector had witnessed five “accidental” mine blasts injuring two soldiers, two border guards and a porter.

The Tribune in August last year had also reported about Pakistan’s SSG commandos indulging in sniper fire to kill Indian soldiers in the KG sector. A border guard PK Mishra and a soldier Harvinder Singh were killed in such sniper fire while four troopers were injured in the KG sector in June last year.

The situation had escalated to such an extent that the Indian Army had to move an artillery battalion from Mendhar to KG sector.
Army has a ‘definite plan’ to strike back
Lt Gen Parnaik says 5 truce violations after flag meet
Tribune News Service

Tanda (Akhnoor), January 15
Amidst escalating tension between India and Pakistan along the 776-km Line of Control (LoC) following brutal killings of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops on January 8 in Mendhar sector of Poonch district, the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen KT Parnaik today said the Indian Army has a “definite plan” to strike back but not in haste.

“We have definite plans to retaliate but not in haste and anger. We will retaliate at the time and place of our own choice,” Lt Gen Parnaik told the media after an investiture ceremony here this afternoon.

There is a lot of anger and resentment among troops because of the barbaric act of Pakistan troops, who killed two of our soldiers, mutilated their bodies and decapitated one of them, he added.

“There is no war-like situation on the LoC and war is in nobody’s interest. Only tactical arrangements have been put in place but we will certainly retaliate at the time and place of our own choice,” he replied to a query.

Gen Parnaik said even after the Brigadier-level flag meeting at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district yesterday, Pakistan violated truce deal five times — once in Uri sector and thrice in Mendhar sector and once in KG sector — prompting a “calibrated and measured” response by the Indian Army. He said the Indian troops did not cross the border in Uri sector on January 6 as claimed by Pakistan.

“The LoC is sacrosanct for us. There are no orders to my men to cross the LoC despite the gravest provocation by Pak troops in Mendhar. It’s another bluff by Pakistan”, he said.

The Northern Army Commander attributed truce violations and the killing two soldiers in Mendhar to sheer frustration on the part of Pakistan, which in the past couple of years has failed to fuel insurgency in the state.

He ruled out the possibilities of People’s Liberation Army helping Pak Army with weapons in PoK.

Gen Parnaik said that Indian Army has noticed some movement of Pak troops and weapons on other side of the LoC in Mendhar sector.

“They are not reinforcements but adjustments and we have sufficient troops there to meet any situation,” he said.

Parnaik put the number of terror camps in PoK at 43 and terrorists in these camps over 2,500. “The ISI has moved 400 to 500 of them in various launch pads close to the border to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Forces short of medical reserves for war, disaster relief
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The armed forces are short of reserves in medical supplies for war as well as for disaster management and international missions, with the deficiency in certain items being as much as 100 per cent. This may hinder quick response during emergencies.

The Directorate General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) had issued instructions on “war maintenance reserves” in January 2004, which were to be maintained by medical stores depots at various echelons on behalf of the respective commands as per a defined scale of items for issue on short notice.

The depots were required to maintain the requisite scales of expendable and non-expendable items with the provision of periodic turnover of the stocks to avoid loss due to expiry of the life of drugs.

Audit scrutiny of a major Armed Forces Medical Stores Depot (AFMSD) revealed that there was a deficiency of 100 per cent of non-expendable items and 46 per cent of expendable items stocked against war maintenance reserves.

Further, to ensure quick response for disaster relief operations and preparedness for international missions, the DGAFMS had, in August 2006, decided to stockpile certain medical and surgical items. The stockpiling system was referred to as “Brick”.

Details available about the holdings under Brick at two AFMSDs located in different theatres revealed shortfalls in international, basic medical and surgical bricks ranging up to 73 per cent.

There are 94 items earmarked for an international brick, while basic medical and surgical bricks require 119 and 219 items, respectively. Details revealed that at one depot, out of the 219 items for a surgical brick, 141 items were out of stock. Similarly, 69 items out of the 94 for an international brick were unavailable. These examples, sources said, could be indicative of the state of affairs at all medical stores depots.
No business as usual with Pak: PM
LoC KILLINGS New visa facility put on hold Hockey players to be sent back
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 15
Clearly drawing a line for pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said there can’t be “business as usual” with the neighbour after a clash last week at the Line of Control (LoC) in which two jawans were killed and their bodies mutilated. New Delhi backed it up by putting on hold the new visa-on-arrival facility for senior citizens of Pakistan and decided to send back all its nine players here to take part in the Hockey India League.

In his first public reaction to the gruesome beheading of an Indian soldier along the LoC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: “After this barbaric act, there cannot be business as usual with Pakistan. Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book.''

The PM chose to articulate the government's stance at the Army Day reception hosted by General Bikram Singh. The Prime Minister hoped Pakistan realised the message and insisted New Delhi would keep trying to make its point in the wake of Islamabad being in denial mode.

Immediately after the reception, the Prime Minister called on the President and the two met for an hour, Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesman Venu Rajamony said. Though no details were shared, the exchange is understood to be about the situation at the LoC.

Intending to demonstrate that its deeds match the tough talk, India put on hold visa-on-arrival for senior citizens fro Pakistan, one of the goodwill measures under the recently agreed liberalised regime. The facility was to start today at the Attari-Wagah border post.

While Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said the decision was made on technical grounds, the swift manner in which it was taken clearly underscored the government's intent of sending a clear message across the border.

Separately, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India was exerting pressure on Pakistan to bring those responsible for the “barbaric mutilation” of the bodies of the two Indian soldiers to book.

The government, he said, “deplored this grave provocation and repugnant act of the Pakistan Army” and called upon the Government of Pakistan to carry out a proper investigation... It should not be felt that the brazen denial and the lack of proper response from the Government of Pakistan to our repeated demarches on this incident will be ignored and that bilateral relations could be unaffected or that there will be business as usual,” Khurshid said later at a briefing.

The External Affairs Minister emphasised that such actions by the Pakistan Army were in contravention of all norms of international conduct and not only constitute a grave provocation, but lead New Delhi to draw appropriate conclusions about Islamabad's seriousness in pursuing normalisation of relations.

Asked as to how the no-business-as-usual attitude will translate, the minister said it was meant to convey New Delhi's single point view reflecting a large section of public opinion and the government resorted to “all such instruments and all such methods that are available to us at this time”.

In a related move, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon briefed the Leaders of Opposition in Parliament, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely, about the situation and the steps taken by the government. The meeting followed the Prime Minister's assurance yesterday and aimed at keeping the principal Opposition party abreast of the latest.
Second ceasefire violation by Pakistan in one hour
New Delhi:  Another round of firing by Pakistani troops has been reported near the Line of Control (LoC), the second within an hour this evening. The fresh round of firing happened in the Krishnaghati sector in Jammu and Kashmir, making it the fifth ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops since a brigadier-level flag meeting took place between both sides yesterday.
Here are the top 10 developments on this big story:

    Earlier in the evening, Pakistani troops had targeted two Indian army posts along the LoC in the Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The firing lasted for a brief period and Indian troops did not retaliate, Army spokesperson RK Palta said, adding there was no loss of life or injury to anyone.

    The fresh ceasefire violations come hours after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his first response since two Indian soldiers were brutally killed by Pakistani troops last week, said that it "cannot be business as usual" with Islamabad given the current situation. Speaking to NDTV, the Prime Minister said, "Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book" and hoped "Pakistan realises this". Dr Singh was referring to the mutilation of the bodies of the two Indian jawans, Lance Naik Hemraj Singh and Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh - the latter was decapitated. The PM also met President Pranab Mukherjee and apprised him of the situation at the LoC.

    Soon after the PM's strong remarks, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, "The government has deplored this grave provocation...and called on the government of Pakistan to (order) a proper investigation into this unacceptable action." (Read full statement)

    The tough talk by New Delhi came even as the process of issuance of visa-on-arrival to senior Pakistani citizens at the Wagah-Attari border was put on hold. (Read) Mr Khurshid, though, said that the process - part of the much-hyped liberalised visa regime between the two nations - has not been "called off", but has just been "deferred".

    Earlier, a decision was taken to send back nine Pakistani players who were in India to play in the inaugural Hockey India League tournament.

    This decision was closely followed by reports that the Pakistani women's cricket team is also unlikely to travel to India for the World Cup later this month. (Read)

    There is uncertainty, too, over the fate of the meeting of Commerce Ministers of India and Pakistan, scheduled later this month. Government sources say that New Delhi is closely watching the situation and will decide on its next step, depending on Islamabad's response. The internal political turmoil in Pakistan is also likely to be a factor, sources have added.

    Reacting to the Prime Minister's statement, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, "From the Prime Minister's statement, it seems we were able to convey the nation's mood to the government during the meet with the National Security Advisor." She added that the statement indicated the government's "tough stand. (Read: Tension at LoC - who said what) Her comments came after the Prime Minister sent National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon to brief Ms Swaraj and her colleague and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley on the prevailing situation vis-a-vis Pakistan.

    The BJP has asked the government to take a tough stand against Pakistan, even calling for an immediate review of engagement with the neighbour at all levels. (Read: BJP asks government to act tough with Pak)

    Meanwhile, New Delhi has expressed unhappiness with the outcome of a flag meeting that was held between Indian and Pakistani army commanders in the Poonch sector of Kashmir yesterday. At the meeting, India lodged a strong protest against the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) and also expressed concern at the barbaric way Pakistani troops treated the bodies of the Indian soldiers. But the Pakistani side, the Army said, denied all charges and was "adamant and arrogant" in its attitude, despite India giving them photographic evidence of mines placed by Pakistani troops in Indian territory.
Visa on arrival for Pakistani senior citizens put on hold
The process of issuing visas on arrival to Pakistani senior citizens at Wagah, which was to begin today, has been delayed. There is immediate speculation on whether the sudden move is linked with tension with Pakistan along the Line of Control in Kashmir.
The government has so far resolutely said that the recent tension will not derail the liberalised visa agreement signed between India and Pakistan last year. Visa on arrival for Pakistanis over the age of 65 at the Attari-Wagah border joint check post is part of that agreement and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said last week, "We are not rethinking the agreement. Whatever agreement we entered into, we will honour that." 

Government officials said today that this was a technical delay caused by last-minute clarifications sought by some agencies on whether Pakistani senior citizens who get this visa need to have a sponsor in India.   

Wagah, 30 km from Amritsar, the capital of Punjab, was all ready to issue its first batch of visas this morning, but no Pakistani had sought one till about 2 pm, when the delay was suddenly announced. One Indian had crossed over to Pakistan and had not returned and officials said they presumed he had been issued a visa on arrival in Pakistan, which too was to have begun a similar process today.   

This morning, the Army said Pakistan had violated ceasefire along the LoC thrice since a brigadier-level flag meeting held yesterday. At the meeting, India had lodged a strong protest against ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) and also expressed concern at the barbaric way Pakistani troops treated the bodies of Indian soldiers killed after an ambush last week.
The main opposition party, the BJP, has demanded a tough stand against Pakistan over the ceasefire violations and the barbaric treatment of the bodies of the two Indian soldiers, and it wants an immediate review of engagement with Pakistan at all levels.
India and Pakistan had signed the agreement for a liberalised visa regime in September last year. Visa on arrival for Pakistani senior citizens and children under 12, will allow a single entry on foot across Wagah-Attari and will be valid for 45 days. Pakistanis issued this visa will not be allowed to visit Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and other restricted areas.
The facility, once operational, will be offered for the first time since Independence; it can be availed twice a year and people issued this visa will not have to report to local police stations. According to a statement issued by the Indian High Commission, the visa on arrival facility can be availed only "to visit India to meet friends or relatives" and it cannot be used for business, medical, conference, employment, pilgrimage or any other purpose. For these categories, applicants will have to approach the Indian High Commission and apply for regular visas.
Those who avail the visa on arrival at Wagah will have to return to Pakistan the same way - across the border checkpost on foot. They cannot change their mode of travel by, say, taking the Samjhauta Express train or a bus on their way back.
The Wagah border integrated check post was inaugurated last year. It houses a huge complex, an immigration office and also a special counter for visas on arrival. The counter opened for the first time this morning.
Comments by Indian Army chief hostile, Pak foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar
WASHINGTON: The disconnect between Pakistan's adrift and enfeebled civilian government and its out-of-control military was on show in the US last night when the country's foreign minister HinaRabbaniKhar insisted Islamabad wanted resolve issues through dialogue rather than military actions despite the alleged depredations of its army resulting in the beheading of an Indian soldier.

The Indian leadership had to "catch up" with Pakistan in the matter of striving for peace with, Khar gratuitously told the Charlie Rose show, while presenting her country's version of what transpired at the LoC and denying the Indian account the soldier's beheading.

Khar arrived in the US to attend a special session of the UN Security Council of which Pakistan is the Chairman for the month of January even as her toxic country was imploding from a shadowy confrontation involving the judiciary, military, and clerical-political forces. But she presented the voice of sweet reason before American TV audience, maintaining that Islamabad was striving for peace and describing the Indian Army Chief's warning to Pakistan as "very hostile."

"After the comments by the army chief I am taken back by 20 years," Khar said on show aired on PBS.

Charlie Rose: What did he say?

Khar: Just very hostile comments.

The Indian Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh had warned Pakistan that India reserves the right to retaliate at the "time and place" of its choosing, suggesting that the border spat is not going to be buried anytime soon. India's political leadership too appeared to be responding with spine after initial timidity, following popular anger and media outcry.

Khar said Pakistan was "not very pleasantly surprised" by the comments it heard from India and gratuitously added "I think this is what has changed in Pakistan where India needs to catch up." Pakistan, she said, today presents a country "which is very clear in its head as to how it wants to operate with its neighbors."

"And the way we want to operate with our neighbors is to try and build on the trust to take care of and then build that trust enough to be able to build an environment in which we can take care of the disputes that we have on the dialogue table rather than through military statements and through military actions," she added.

While the Pakistan foreign minister's statements were mainly meant for western consumption, it is no great secret among analysts here that the country's civilian government has little control or leverage over the military, which plays by its own jihadi rule book both in its eastern and western front. There has been speculation in expert circles that the Pakistani military or sections of it could be turning up the heat on its eastern front with India to rein in and redirect some of the jihadi forces which are attacking the military.

On Tuesday, the regionalists were also riveted to the new power struggle in Islamabad with little attention paid to India's fulminations on the border incident.

In Khar's version of the border incident, it was Indian forces which came 400 meters inside Pakistani territory for an attack which resulted in the death of a Pakistani soldier. "Now just two days after that or three days after that, we had an allegation which was made that two Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani fighting which we looked into and we could find no evidence that Pakistani troops had done that. And then of course, there were extremely conflicting statements that the heads were decapitated," Khar narrated, capitalizing on the initial mixed messages that came from India.

"The northern commander spokesperson who is the person on the ground said they weren't (beheaded). Others said they were," she added, suggesting that the issue had become embroiled in domestic politics.
Cooperation Between Indian and Myanmar Armed Forces: Need to Move Away from a Weapons & Equipment Supply-Based Relationship
India and Myanmar have been maintaining relations at an adequately high level between their Defence forces and particularly between the Indian Army and the Myanmar Army (Tatmadaw). Relations between the two armies have been substantive especially since the early 1990s. This was but natural considering geographical contiguity, the 1463 km long land boundary, the sensitivity of the security situation in India’s northern eastern states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur that border Myanmar, and China’s expanding economic and military links with Myanmar.

India has also had an arms-equipment supply-based relationship with the Myanmar armed forces. After 1992, a radical change in this respect was discernible when India started supplying weaponry and equipment including 105 mm guns, T-55 tanks, light helicopters, transport planes, artillery ammunition and some naval craft. However, during the NDA regime in India, counter-espionage authorities at the behest of the Defence Minister George Fernandes had ham-handedly and without suitable precautions supplied some quantity of infantry and artillery weapons to the Tatmadaw. The outcome was evident recently, when, some of these weapons having `batch numbers` from the lot exported by Sweden to India, fell into the hands of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), leading to adverse international publicity and consequent embarrassment for New Delhi.

Ewa Bjorling, Sweden’s Trade Minister, has confirmed to the Swedish Parliament that Swedish Carl Gustaf M-3 anti-tank rifles and related ammunition originally exported to India have ended up in the hands of the Myanmar Army, which is using them in its operations against the KIA. Consequent to the above and related media coverage, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has had to respond to this revelation during his recent visit to Myanmar. He indicated that a suitable enquiry would be carried out on the matter. A more cautious and supervised military assistance process to the Myanmar Army during the NDA regime could have averted this embarrassing incident.

India’s political relations with the Tatmadaw-dominated regime in the post-Ne Win period had a logic of its own. The northern tribal region of Myanmar has been neglected and been in ferment for more than two decades. The Nagas of India have some of their ethnic stock in north-western Myanmar. In this milieu, insurgents from India’s north-east had tried to exploit the ferment in north-western Myanmar. Even now, the NSCN (Khaplang) maintains regrouping areas and rear bases in this region. India justifiably had to build up a relationship with the Myanmar junta to neutralise the operational facilities Indian insurgents have tried to develop in Myanmar’s territory. The Myanmar Army did place some curbs on hostile Indian insurgents in its territory, but could do so only up to a degree keeping in view its own political priorities as well as material limitations.

India’s posture in the matter of defence cooperation with Myanmar now needs to be tempered, keeping in view the realities of ethnic turmoil in that country, the breaking down of the 17-year ceasefire between the Tatmadaw and the KIA (which had held till September 2011), periodic violence between the majority Buddhist Burmans and the minority Muslim Rohingyas in the south-western Rohingya province and a manifestly negative human rights record of the Myanmar Army. While India has supplied arms and equipment quite selectively, the outcome, which was expected to serve India’s interests, has not been commensurate. India has now, perforce, to be extra cautious while supplying material resources including warlike items to the Myanmar Army when more than 260 of its own 340 Army battalions are de facto deployed in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorist operations.

While India may maintain a measured relationship with the Tatmadaw, it should work towards facilitating a rapprochement among the Burmans and the other ethnic groups. Such an approach will also harmonise with Myanmar’s national consolidation and progress towards further democratisation. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had stated in the recent past that China supports Myanmar’s efforts in maintaining its national stability while promoting ethnic groups. India’s message may be similarly nuanced and should not be viewed as being on the wrong side of either the ethnic population or of democratic political forces like the National League for Democracy and their allies.

India’s cooperation with the Tatmadaw may be more in the realm of training military personnel in Indian establishments and training facilities in as broad-based a manner as possible, i.e. including some minor component of non-Burman personnel but without causing diplomatic or political irritations. Joint operations between the Assam Rifles who are responsible for the first-level security of the India-Myanmar frontier and their Myanmarese counterparts are a necessity apropos India’s interests and may also be organised more effectively with adequate political supervision. These approaches may be attempted rather than direct arms and equipment supplies to the Myanmar armed forces, where end-use may not always be assured in tandem with New Delhi’s interests.

Gautam Sen is former Additional CGDA and presently an Adviser to Government of Nagaland. Views expressed are of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.
Indian Army: Ceasefire Breakdown Unlikely
India’s army chief on Monday condemned Pakistan over the alleged killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers in Kashmir but said he didn’t expect the incident to lead to an overall breakdown in a ceasefire agreement between the two countries.

Speaking during an annual press conference on Monday, General Bikram Singh used strong language against Pakistan, describing the alleged killings as an “unpardonable act.”

His comments came ahead of a meeting Monday between military officers of the two countries on the Line of Control that divides the two countries’ portions of Kashmir. The meeting concluded with both sides agreeing to respect a 2003 cease-fire agreement but without any specific solutions on how to stop a series of cross-border incidents in recent weeks.

India claims Pakistani soldiers last week entered Indian-controlled Kashmir, where they killed two Indian soldiers, and decapitated one of them. Pakistan denies this, saying no soldiers crossed the Line of Control.

Pakistan claims one of its soldiers died last week after Indian soldiers fired across the Line of Control. India says Pakistan forces fired first and its soldiers only responded with moderate fire.

The Hindu reported last week the latest spate of fighting on the Line of Control was sparked by an Indian decision to begin building watchtowers on a portion of the de facto border in October. Pakistan protested this was against the cease-fire agreement and began firing on Indian troops in protest, the newspaper reported.

Since then, tensions have risen, with several episodes of cross-border firing. Gen. Singh made it clear India would respond aggressively in case of attack. “When provoked, when fired upon, we will retaliate,” he said.

But Gen. Singh played down any possibility that the latest round of clashes could lead to an escalation of violence between the two armies. “I do not suppose this will happen,” he said, noting that violations of the cease-fire agreement  have been limited to specific areas.

“What has angered us is how they treated our soldiers,” said Gen. Singh, adding that the alleged action goes against military ethics and the rules of engagement regulating the use of force. He called on Pakistan to return the head of one of the soldiers, who India says was decapitated.

The killing of the two soldiers, and the firefighting that followed, received widespread attention in India, causing a setback in attempts to improve bilateral ties through peace talks.

The episode has inflamed anti-Pakistan sentiment in India, with some commentators on Indian television channels calling for a tough response to Pakistan. In response to this, some commentators in Pakistan have criticized media coverage of the event in India as unnecessarily aggressive.

Senior Congress politician Mani Shankar Aiyer on Thursday slammed what he described as the Indian media’s warmongering, comparing it to Pakistani mullahs. Speaking last week during a debate in Delhi, he argued both “damaged relations” between the two South Asian neighbors.

Shoma Chaudhury, the editor of India’s Tehelka magazine, agreed. Speaking at the same event, she said that if the decision were up to some Indian media anchors “we would be at war right now.”
Army pays homage to martyred soldiers on 65th Indian Army Day
New Delhi: The Indian Army on Tuesday paid homage to its martyred soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate on the occasion of 65th Indian Army Day.

Indian Army, which is one of the finest Army in the world, remembered and paid tributes to its braveheroes who had sacrificed their lives for the motherland.

Addressing the nation, Army chief General Bikram Singh said, "The Indian Army has been able to fulfil the country's expectations and will continue to serve the countrymen. Our country has been facing both internal as well as external challenges and the Indian Army is ready for all the challenges."

Hailing the contribution of his brave soldiers, the Army Chief said, “The Indian Army has stood by all the challenges and faced them bravely. I salute all my armymen who have made supreme sacrifices while upholding the nation’s honour and security.”
"To strengthen the Army in coping with all the situations, we have upheld the standards of the operation preparedness of the Army. With the aim of modernising the Army, we have stressed upon developing the infrastructure and technology,” General Singh said.

Lauding the performance and dedication of the Army, Defence Minister AK Antony said, “The Indian Army has displayed its professionalism in almost every situation. I assure the armed forces that the government is committed to the betterment and welfare of the forces.”

In his message President Pranab Mukherjee said, “Our Army has consistently performed all its duties to keep the national security and integrity intact.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “I join my fellow citizens in honouring the Indian Army for its exceptional service to the country.”

Parade and many military shows, which feature Army's technology and achievements, will be held at the Delhi Cantonment.

Army Day is celebrated on 15th January every year, in recognition of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa’s taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army.

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