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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 23 Jan 2013
India, Pak clash over UN Military Group in Kashmir
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 22
Days after it talked about bilateralism in India-Pakistan ties, Islamabad again sought to internationalise the Kashmir issue by highlighting the role of the UN Military Observers’ Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) along the LoC, provoking New Delhi to question the very relevance and need for the mission in times of austerity.

Participating in a debate on ‘UN Peacekeeping’ at the Security Council, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri rejected Pakistan’s observation about the role of the UNMOGIP in monitoring peace along the LoC. The group was set up in 1949 to supervise the ceasefire at the LoC.

Responding to a reference about UNMOGIP by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani while presiding over the meeting, Puri pointed out that UNMOGIP’s role had been overtaken by the Simla Agreement of 1972 between the countries that was subsequently ratified by their Parliaments. “In times of austerity, we need to address the question, whether the resources being spent on UNMOGIP would not be better utilised elsewhere,” he added.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid also asserted that the countries settle their issues bilaterally. “We have a history of settling issues bilaterally and we retain that (alternative).”

Indian officials said it was quite clear that Pakistan was misusing its rotational month-long presidency of the Security Council to raise the pitch on the Kashmir issue, which was essentially a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.

Jilani, in his speech, said: “Pakistan is host to one of the oldest UN peacekeeping missions, the UNMOGIP. This mission has played an important role in monitoring peace along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.”

After Puri’s angry reaction, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Masood Khan took the floor towards the end of the debate and said no bilateral agreement between the two countries has overtaken or affected the role or legality of UNMOGIP. It continued to monitor the ceasefire in accordance with the Security Council resolution and, therefore, its mandate was fully valid, relevant and operative.

India’s Counsellor Manish Gupta then took on the Pakistani representative, emphasising that the UNMOGIP’s role was to supervise the ceasefire line which was established in Jammu and Kashmir as a result of the Karachi Agreement of 1949. That ceasefire line no longer existed and a new ceasefire line came into existence on December 17, 1971.

Following the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan, signed by the Heads of the two governments and ratified by their respective Parliaments, the two countries resolved to settle their differences by peaceful means though bilateral negotiations, he said.

Gupta said the agreement also stipulated that the LoC resulting from the ceasefire would be respected by both sides. Subsequently, the LoC was delineated in J&K in pursuance of that agreement with approval of both the governments. “Thus, UNMOGIP’s role has been overtaken by these developments.”


Pakistan is host to one of the oldest UN peacekeeping missions, the UN Military Observers’ Group in India and Pakistan. This mission has played an important role in monitoring peace along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

what India says

The role of the UN Military Observers’ Group in India and Pakistan has been overtaken by the Simla Agreement of 1972 between the two countries, which was subsequently ratified by their respective parliaments
UN has failed to ensure sanctity of LoC: Omar
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 22
While India has upped the ante for winding up of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the UN office here had failed to ensure the sanctity of the Line of Control.

“The intent behind placing the observer group was to ensure the sanctity of the Line of Control. Unfortunately, in the last two and a half decades this organisation has done nothing to maintain the sanctity of the LoC. For more than 22 years, J&K has been a victim of cross-border, LoC terror. In spite of the presence of the UN, I am yet to see any notice being taken of this repeated violation of the LoC,” Omar told reporters here on the sidelines of a function.

He said this when asked about India’s suggestion to wind up the UNMOGIP during a debate on UN peacekeeping operations.

Stating that the Kargil conflict too had taken place as a result of the violation of LoC, Omar said the UN had been “singularly unsuccessful” in either avoiding or resolving the conflict.

The Chief Minister underscored the need for not confusing India's suggestion to wind up the UNMOGIP with the resolution of the Kashmir issue. “I understand some people will confuse this move with the ultimate resolution of the problem of Jammu and Kashmir. I think it is important to understand that this observer group was placed here not because of Partition in 1947 but because of tension along the LoC, and that this group has failed to resolve or sort it out,” he said.

The UNMOGIP office is located at the Sonwar area of the summer capital.

Omar said the tension along the LoC would have no bearing on the Kashmir’s tourism industry.

On Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s allegation wherein he linked the BJP and RSS with terror, Omar said: “I can only talk about Jammu and Kashmir. What he said must be based on some inputs… he is not so irresponsible that he would say something like this without any information.”
Significance of military advice
Political leadership must give serious thought to it
by Gen V P Malik (retd)

The government’s reaction after the recent violation of a ceasefire agreement and barbaric behaviour of Pakistan Army personnel in the Mendhar sector has highlighted two inter-related issues: lack of security inputs in India’s Pakistan policy and the delayed reaction in handling sensitive incidents on the Line of Control or borders.

India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control on November 26, 2003. A month and a half later, on January 6, 2004, Pakistan pledged that it will not allow its territory, including Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to be used by terrorists to carry out activities against India. The ceasefire held without major incidents and there were not many violations till 2010. However, ceasefire violations since then have increased substantially. As compared to 57 in 2010, there were 117 violations in 2012.

Till date, Pakistan has taken no action to remove Kashmiri militants’ training camps and launch pads that exist across the Line of Control, alongside its regular army deployment. Generally, these violations are initiated by the Pakistani forces to facilitate terrorists’ infiltration across the Line of Control or the International Border. While Indian troops do retaliate in such situations to stop and deter intrusions, the rules of engagement do not allow them to cross the Line of Control. Despite a multi-pronged approach to contain infiltration, which included strengthening of border management and multi-tiered and multi-modal deployment along the Line of Control/International Border and infiltration routes, construction of border fencing, improved surveillance technology and weapons and equipment for deployed troops, over 235 Pakistan-based terrorists attempted to infiltrate in 2011. According to intelligence reports, 121 terrorists managed to infiltrate in 2012 as compared to 52 in 2011. This should also be linked to the recent increase in the terrorists’ activities and assassination of panches and sarpanches in J&K.

It is also well known that Pakistan has resiled from taking action against 26/11 perpetrators. The mastermind, Hafiz Sayeed, and his organisation, though banned by the UN and the US, continue to spew anti-India venom.

Beheading and mutilation of dead bodies of soldiers are extremely sensitive issues, particularly during peace time. These are not only barbaric but also extremely provocative when troops are in an eyeball-to-eyeball deployment. The anger and humiliation among the troops can easily spill over: it has to be handled sensitively and tactfully by military leaders. As revealed by the Army Chief, this is the second incident in the past two years. With more details now available, it is clear that the last incident was planned and executed by regular Pakistan Army personnel. Indian troops deployed on the Line of Control can be expected to respond suitably at a time and place of their choosing.

In recent months, Pakistanis have also begun to lay landmines on the foot tracks between Indian posts. It shows that the situation along the LoC is definitely not ‘as usual’. Pakistan wants progress on talks but has not changed its agenda on terrorism or violence and destabilisation in Kashmir. It has backtracked from promises made earlier. Apparently, in our efforts to improve political, social and economic relations with Pakistan, security issues have taken a back seat.

Let us now see how we reacted to the last incident wherein Pakistani soldiers violated the LoC ambushed an Indian patrol, beheaded a dead soldier and mutilated another.

As details of this incident got known through the media, there was visible anger and resentment in public and within the Army. None of our political leaders or district officials went to see the shocked and distressed families of the jawans till they learnt that some members had stopped taking food. That is when tragedy-driven rhetoric overtook rational decision-making and responses.

We went through a bureaucratic routine initially. The Defence and External Affairs Ministers made feeble statements to the media. Pakistan’s High Commissioner was given a demarche. The National Security Adviser and the Defence Secretary — not the Army Chief who would know the situation on the ground and its impact on the morale of his personnel better than anyone else — briefed the Prime Minister. Two Service Chiefs, however, made known their response in a straightforward style. To many, it appeared that the government and the armed forces were not on the same page. The electronic and social media, meanwhile, intensified public agitation.

Some attempts were made to diffuse the situation through defence journalists who wrote in the newspapers that such ‘beheadings’ had been common and done in the past also — a specious argument. The public feelings among the young Indian generation on such matters today cannot be compared with that of the past. We seem to have drawn no lessons from Nirbhaya’s tragic rape and murder case. Nor did we consider the feelings within the Army, ex servicemen and all the villages, towns and cities who send their children to the Army.

I am not suggesting that we should escalate the military situation, or even make a U-turn in the course of our grand strategy. The point I wish to make is that in the current fast-moving strategic and security environment, it is essential to keep the military leadership in the security and strategic decision-making loop. We must have a direct politico-military interface for quick appraisal of the situations and military advice as it exists in all democratic nations. We must institutionalise the attendance of Service Chiefs in all meetings of the Prime Minister or the Cabinet Committee on Security pertaining to such defence issues.

The writer is a former Chief of Army Staff|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
India, Myanmar Seek Closer Ties With an Eye on China

NEW DELHI — India and neighboring Myanmar are working on a roadmap of border management, a move seen by analysts here as an effort to check China’s entry into the Indian Ocean Region.

“China already has a military base on leased land of Coco islands by Myanmar, but New Delhi wants to better military and diplomatic ties with Myanmar,” says Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst here.

The matter was discussed during the Jan. 21-22 visit of Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony to Myanmar, said an Indian Defence Ministry official. Antony was accompanied by a high-level delegation, comprising Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma; Lt. Gen D Suhag, general officer in charge of Indian Eastern Army Command; and Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. R. Dhowan.

“Both sides [India and Myanmar] will discuss modalities for improving mechanisms for patrolling by their own forces along land and maritime boundaries in order to curb activities of insurgent groups and other illegal and criminal activities in these areas. Both sides are agreed that neither should allow their territory to be used for activities detrimental to the security of the other. Both countries have agreed to conduct periodic coordinated land and maritime patrols,” says the Indian Defence Ministry statement.

India and Myanmar are also discussing ways to hold joint patrols along their border to check infiltration of insurgents into the northeastern states of India.

“India has extended itself to having good relations with neighboring Myanmar to curb the growing influence of China in the region. Despite a military government in Myanmar for the last two decades, New Delhi has built diplomatic relations with Myanmar mainly with an eye on China,” says defense analyst Mahindra Singh, a retired Indian Army major general.

Last year, days before a visit to New Delhi, Myanmar President Thein Sein announced the halting of a $3.6 billion proposed hydroelectric project in Kachin State to be jointly built with China, a move that irked Beijing.

India and Myanmar, meanwhile, have also agreed to undertake a project to meet the energy requirements of Myanmar, a move seen as compensation for the loss of the proposed Chinese hydroelectric project, said an Indian Ministry of External Affairs source.
Parliamentary panel calls Defence Secretaryy, Army Vice Chief on LoC situation
NEW DELHI: In the wake of the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops, a Parliamentary panel today decided to call the Defence Secretary and the Vice Chief of Army Staff to brief it on the latest situation along the Line of Control.

Sources said the Standing Committee on Defence decided that Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Army Vice Chief Lt Gen S K Singh should appear before the panel in its next meeting to provide in-depth detail on the situation along the LoC following the January 8 incident.

During the meeting, members raised concern over the incident in which another Indian soldier was also killed.

The two soldiers -- Lance Naiks Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh -- were killed by Pakistani soldiers in Mendhar sector. Hemraj was later beheaded.

Following the incident, there had been several ceasefire violations. After the talks between the two Director Generals of Military Operations last week, the situation has calmed down.

Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has asserted that India reserves the right to retaliate at the time and place of its choosing.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asserted that the recent beheading incident has cast a "negative impact" on bilateral ties with Pakistan.

"We take a consistent review of our ties with Pakistan. The incident has cast a negative impact on our ties. We will take steps with care and due consideration," he said while addressing a meeting of AICC in Jaipur on Sunday.

"We want friendship with Pakistan. They should also make efforts in this regard. It is not possible only with our efforts," the Prime Minister had said.
‘Rolta’s devices can cure army’s night blindness’
Rolta’s CMD Kamal K Singh, 63, is overseeing the IT services company’s renewed push into engineering services and government-related projects (like defence modernisation and homeland security). In an interviewwith Beryl Menezes, Singh delineates Rolta’s vision for the future. Excerpts:

Rolta is known to be an intellectual property-driven (or IP-driven) company. How many IPs (patents, trademarks, so on) do you have till date? Which vertical has the maximum number of IPs?
We’ve the largest number of IPs in India in the geospatial industry. However, since 2007, our main focus has been to build the mainstream IT space to deliver solutions there. Thus, most of our acquisitions post-2007 have aided in acquiring such IPs.

Within the IT space, where are you seeing the most traction in terms of your business?
We’ve a solid consulting business in the US, thanks to acquisitions. The US consulting business alone gives us about $300 million worth of business. And it’s just 4-5 years since we’ve ventured into this vertical. Without necessary acquisitions, it would have taken us a good 20 years to build such a strong consulting business.

The consulting business, however, has been seeing some furloughs lately. Has Rolta been experiencing a slowdown, too?
No. Our consulting business, like all other areas of the company, has been doing as well as always. But this is because of three main differentiators. First, since the last five years, we’ve changed the face of the company, with a stronger IP-oriented approach – unlike a lot of our competitors. Second, we’re a multi-faceted company with domain expertise in all areas. And third, our small base ensures more focus, translating into better revenues. Consulting today makes up 20-25% of our revenues.

What about another important vertical — homeland security?
Defence and homeland security will grow very well in the next 4-5 years, and we believe it can bring about another face-changing exercise for the company. Defence modernisation is expected to have a market size of Rs40-50,000 crore in the next 8-10 years. We’ll be at the forefront of this growth. Already, we’re part of several ‘Make-India’ (Indian made) projects like ‘better field management’ (BFM), for instance, which is a Rs10-15 crore programme of the Indian government.

Tell me more about BFM programme.
We’re currently working on night-vision devices which are manufactured in India for homeland security. We’re looking for JVs (joint ventures) in this area, and are in advanced talks for the same. These devices will help cure the night blindness of the Indian army.

How’s the progress in nuclear power solutions?
We’re providing engineering services to government-run nuclear companies. However, a bigger share of revenues was expected to come from public-private nuclear plants – which have not taken off. In fact, in the last 3-4 years, even large government plants have been halted. The government was to put up at least 40,000 mw plants in the next 7-8 years, as per its announcement two years ago. This would have meant a $60 billion investment – and 1-2% of that amount would have gone to engineering services companies like us.

So why has there been a delay?
We think the delay has been on account of the 2011 Japan tsunami that affected that country’s nuclear power plants. Thus, we need to alleviate the fear from the minds of the people and the opposition, so as to move forward with these plans for nuclear expansion in India.

Some people say you are close to retirement. Who will likely succeed you?
We’re a professional organisation with no dearth of talented individuals and competent leaders in our offices around the world. Thus, I’m sure when the time comes, the company will take the right decision in this regard. However, I’m not contemplating retirement any time soon.

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