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Wednesday, 27 March 2013

From Today's Papers - 27 Mar 2013
India asserts freedom of navigation in S China Sea
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, March 26
A day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets new Chinese President Xi Jinping in South Africa, India today reached out to Japan with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid asserting individual nations’ right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

With China continuing to assert its sovereignty over the entire South China Sea in recent years, Khurshid said, “There can be little doubt that countries like India and Japan must cooperate in ensuring the security of the global commons, including freedom of navigation on the high seas that is critical to both our countries which import large amounts of oil and gas.”

India stood with Japan and other like-minded countries in pursuing and implementing these goals and objectives, he said addressing students of Rikkyo University in Tokyo.

Khurshid’s three-day visit to Japan for the India-Japan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue coincides with the PM’s visit to Durban for the BRICS Summit. On the sidelines of the summit, Manmohan Singh will hold a bilateral meeting with the new leader of China tomorrow.

The situation in the South China Sea is expected to figure prominently during Khurshid’s talks with his Japanese interlocutors. He is also expected to discuss with them the progress in talks on a civil nuclear energy deal.

The two countries had started talks on the proposed nuclear deal in June 2010, within a year of India getting nuclear waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG). Three rounds of talks have already been held but the two sides have failed to resolve their differences. The talks have virtually been stalled since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. The talks on a nuclear deal with India had triggered an outcry in Japan from survivors of the 1945 US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They had expressed fears that the deal would hamper global efforts to realise a world without atomic weapons. In the event of an India-Japan nuclear deal not fructifying, American and French nuclear majors too would find it difficult to enter the Indian nuclear market.

Official sources said India was ready to give Japan time to cope with its problems in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. “We are ready for concluding the deal...but we are in no hurry. Let the Japanese take their own time.” Meanwhile, the two sides are also discussing the dates for the PM’s visit later this year. The PM was to go to Tokyo in November last year for the India-Japan annual summit but the trip had to be postponed due to the sudden announcement of elections in that country.
Indian Army has vested interests in AFSPA: Kamal
Srinagar, March 26, Current News Service (CNS): National Conference Additional General Secretary, Dr Shiekh Mutafa Kamal Tuesday claimed that (Indian) Army deployed in Jammu and Kashmir are misusing Armed Forces Special Powers Act and they by hook or crook want the continuation of this draconian Act. “Once this Act will be revoked they will face the music. All the ‘killer’ Army officers will be compelled to plead before the court and that’s why they are misleading Centre on this Act and claiming that once this Act will be over, Army will be crippled to deal with militancy,” Kamal told Srinagar based news agency CNS adding that under the garb of AFSPS, Army is ruling the state at its will.

Kamal said that Army has done a lot of damage in Kashmir and they are frustrated now the way state government is opposing this contentious Act. “Whey Defence Ministry is opposing the revocation of this law? It is just because the Army brass in Jammu and Kashmir is misleading the Defense Ministry of India. They (Army) knows that once this Act will be over, they will no longer be in position to rule the state at their will,” he said.

He said that Army has vested interests and the speech delivered by Chief Minister in the Assembly clearly indicates that Army in no way is in the favour of revocation of AFSPA. “We all know that all Army officers are not involved in the civilian killings. Let the Army identify those killers and they will get punishment as per law. Why Army is hesitating and why they want to save the killers who are involved in the killing of civilians?” he said.

National Conference leader said that Army is opposing the revocation of AFSPA and misleading Ministry of Defense. “The reality is that AFSPA can’t stop attacks on Army and CRPF. They must understand that AFSPA is draconian and it needs to be revoked,” Kamal said.

He criticized Congress Minister Sham Lal for always being vocal about the discontent being found in Coalition Government.

“Shame Lal Sharma can’t decide about the fate of coalition as it is up to Congress High Command where Sharma doesn’t have any say,” Kamal said adding that the killing of Saidapora, Idgah youth was not a revenge killing. “Man is emotional. CRPF personnel were emotional as the militants had gunned down their five comrades. When they were cornered, they fired upon protestors,” Kamal said. (CNS)
Dire need for better officer-jawan rapport

In an action that has no parallel, an army court of inquiry has recently recommended court martial of 168 officers and other ranks for clashes in an artillery regiment in eastern Ladakh in May, 2012. The personnel, who have been found prima facie guilty, have been attached to different formations around Jammu. Such a failure of command and control structure calls for a serious review of training and operation of an institution that is known for its apolitical, secular and disciplined ethos. One major factor, as a recent study of suicides in army by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research has found, is that “aspirational” jawans are now no longer willing “to suffer nonsense and humiliation” at the hands of their officers. According to the study, around 1,100 soldiers have committed suicide since 2003 and the annual toll regularly crosses the 100-mark.

The violent brawl in the 226 Field Artillery Regiment at the Mahe field firing ranges near Nyoma on May 10 was the worst of the lot. The free-for-all took place after jawans became furious over a fellow soldier being mercilessly thrashed by young officers for daring to complain about the behaviour of a major’s wife. It left the unit commanding officer Colonel Prasad Kadam, two majors and two jawans hospitalised with limb fractures and other injuries. The Army on Monday said the court of inquiry report has recommended “disciplinary action” against Col Kadam and three other officers, 17 JCOs and 147 jawans. The charges range from assault and gross indiscipline to breach of conduct and “total command and control failure”.

Clearly there is an urgent need to initiate measures to establish better rapport and cohesion among different levels of the armed forces. It is time the Indian army abandoned the colonial-era institution of the sahayak, or valet, which has been long abandoned in the British Army. It should also recast its training regime to reflect changing values and rising career aspirations and expectations of the members of a modern army.
India, China discuss preparations for joint army exercise
NEW DELHI: India and China on Friday discussed preparations for the third joint army exercise to be held this year and also agreed to finalise the plan for bilateral exchanges between the armed forces of the two countries.

Deputy Chief of General Staff of People's Liberation Army Lt Gen Qi Jianguo met Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma here.

Lt Gen Qi, accompanied by an eight-member delegation, also called on Defence Minister AK Antony.

According to an official release, Lt Gen Qi conveyed to Antony that the new leadership in China attached "high priority to cooperative relations with India in all spheres".

The general's two-day visit is a follow-up of the meeting between him and Sharma in January during the annual defence dialogue between the two countries.

During the meeting, both sides agreed to finalise the plan of bilateral exchanges between the armed forces of India and China.

"It has been decided that exchanges will be conducted between the armies, navies and air forces on both sides. Both sides also discussed preparations for the third joint army exercise, scheduled in China this year," the release said.

It said implementation of measures to ensure continued peace along the Line of Actual Control was also discussed.

"It was agreed that the strengthening of exchanges between the armed forces should be carried out as a way of building mutual trust and confidence and consistent with the overall bilateral relationship between both countries," it said.
China proposes border defence pact, India to go slow
New Delhi: China today proposed a border defence cooperation agreement to avoid any misunderstanding or flare up along the boundary but India is not rushing into it as wants to study the proposal thoroughly.

During a Secretary-level meeting here, the two sides decided to hold Army-to-Army counter-terrorism exercise in China this year. The dates would be finalised during the visit of an Indian Army delegation to China next month. The Indian delegation was led by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

At the meeting, the Chinese delegation led by its Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Qi Jianguo proposed an agreement under which troops of the two countries will not tail each other if noticed during patrolling along the disputed Line of Actual Control, sources said.

The proposal also has a clause which suggests that troops of either side will not fire at each other under each other under any condition, they said.

However, the Indian side gave no commitment, the sources said. India wants to study the proposal thoroughly and do due diligence before taking any decision.

This was the second meeting between Qi, who is in-charge for Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence in the People's Liberation Army, and Sharma in the last three months after they met at the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) in January.

The Chinese side had discussed these proposals informally during the ADD also but India had then asked it to submit these points in a formal manner at a later stage.

The Army-to-Army exercise would be held after a gap of around five years. The first one was held in 2007 in Kunming in China while the second edition was held in Belgaum in Karnataka in December 2008.

The exercises were stopped after tensions between the two sides over denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal in 2010 and issuing of stapled visa to residents of Jammu and Kashmir by China.

During the meeting, both sides agreed to finalise the plan of bilateral exchanges between the armed forces of India and China. It has been decided that exchanges will be conducted between the Armies, Navies and Air Forces on both sides, the Defence Ministry said in a release.

It was agreed that strengthening of exchanges between the armed forces should be carried out as a way of building mutual trust and confidence and consistent with the overall bilateral relationship between both countries, the release said.

Sharma and Qi also discussed issues relating to the regional security situation. The Chinese Lt Gen also called on Defence Minister A K Antony and conveyed that the new leadership in China attaches high priority to consolidate cooperative relations with India in all spheres.

Antony is also planning to visit China by middle of the year after which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is also expected to visit Beijing.

It's Army vs vested interests in the city

By Ramu Patil | ENS - BANGALORE

26th March 2013 10:26 AM

The Army seems to be fighting a constant battle against alleged vested interests in the city to save its land and trying to get back its properties.

Saturday night’s skirmish between personnel from the 515 Army Base Workshop and the police supported by locals, who were trying to make a road in defence land, is a manifestation of the bigger problem that Army authorities face in Bangalore.

“Over 95 acres of land belonging to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have been encroached. We have brought it to the notice of the State government and we have also been fighting legal battle to get back those lands,” a senior army officer told Express.

A chunk of the encroached land is in three localities -  Domlur, ISRO Layout and Maya Bazar (close to ASC Centre). Slums have come up on those sites and clearing them would a Herculean task for the military officials.

“Though the Army faces similar problems in many cities, recovering the Defence Ministry’s lands in Bangalore is more difficult. Here, land mafia and local politicians support encroachments for their own interests,” said an Army officer.

What makes the Army’s job more difficult is lackadaisical attitude of the State government.

The issue of encroachments was brought to its notice during Civil- Military Liaison meetings held regularly. These meetings are attended by senior officers from the Army and the State government.

One such meeting was held on March 13 to discuss encroachment of 16 acres of land in Maya Bazar. During the meeting, the government offered to give 16 acres of land in lieu of MoD land that has been encroached. “They showed nine acres of land in Kengeri, which is rocky and not usable. Other five acres in Yelahanka that the government offered has already been encroached by a builder. That shows the government’s attitude towards addressing the issue raised by army,” a source said.

Deputy CM, Home and Bangalore Urban In-Charge Minister R Ashok  said the government is willing to look into the issues raised by the Army.
Indian army up in arms against new power project on Satluj River
Shimla: Outstation post of the army on the north-western India-China border have objected to setting up an upstream hydropower project on Satluj River and obtained a stay from the High Court for development of the 450 MW capacity Shanghton Karcham project as part of it was in the vicinity of an ammunition dump yard.

Division bench of Acting Chief Justice RB Mishra and Justice VK Sharma today restrained HP Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL) from carrying out any excavation, digging and blasting activity at the project site. HPPCL is a state promoted public enterprise for tapping available hydropower potential.
Petitioners Western Command of the Indian army and central government have alleged that the HPPCL went ahead with the tendering process and allotted the project execution to a company, which commenced work on the same despite several objections raised by the army between year 2007 to 2013.

The proposed Shanghton – Karcham hydropower project is to come up upstream of the operating 1000 MW Karcham – Wangtoo project on Satluj River in Kinnaur district and is located close to the Indo-Tibet border

The army authorities in the petition state the project is in vicinity of the Ammunition Point of 36 Sector Ordnance maintenance platoon and explosives being detonated to construct a road next to the ammunition dump could seriously undermine safety of the stock.
The petitioners also contended that a notification was issued in 2005 restricting construction activities in the clearance zone, which was defined as 1200 yards area around the ammunition point.

The army authorities objected and did write to Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur in September 2007, advising that HPPCL should not acquire land for the project near the ammo dump as no construction was permitted in the area.

The army in February 2011 also took up the matter with chief secretary, who was asked to issue suitable directions so as to change the project tunnel route so that it did not pass through the clearance zone and to relocate part of the project outside notified area.

The petition states that despite several objections from the army, construction work was going on and substantial work had been carried out.

Before posting the matter for 11 April, the court bench directed that only such activities be allowed at the project site, which do not directly or indirectly affect the security measures. The project general manager has been asked to give an undertaking to the effect.
North Korea orders military alert; missiles target South, U.S. military installations
North Korea’s military said it placed all its missile and artillery units on “the highest alert” on Tuesday, ordering them to be ready to hit South Korea, as well as the United States and its military installations in the Pacific.

The threat from the North’s Korean People’s Army Supreme Command came only hours after President Park Geun-hye of South Korea warned that the North Korean leadership could ensure its survival only when it abandons its nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, provocations and threats.
More Related to this Story

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In its latest threat, North Korea said on Tuesday that all its strategic rocket and long-range artillery units “are assigned to strike bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor troops in the U.S. mainland and on Hawaii and Guam and other operational zones in the Pacific as well as all the enemy targets in South Korea and its vicinity.”

“They should be mindful that everything will be reduced to ashes and flames the moment the first attack is unleashed,” the North Korean command said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen following North Korea’s launching of a three-stage rocket in December and its third nuclear test last month. In response, Washington and Seoul spearheaded a UN Security Council resolution imposing more sanctions on North Korea. Earlier this month, they began their annual joint military drills aimed at warning North Korea against attacking the South.

North Korea has since issued a torrent of threats to turn Washington and Seoul into a “sea of fire.” Its leader, Kim Jong-un, who has inherited the “military-first” policy of his late father, Kim Jong-il, has made a round of visits to military units in the last week. He inspected live-fire artillery and amphibious landing exercises, ordering his soldiers to send the enemies “to the bottom of the sea as they run wild like wolves threatened with fire,” according to North Korean media.

In South Korea, Ms. Park, the country’s first female president, showed her own resolve Tuesday, visiting a national cemetery to pay respect to the 46 sailors killed in 2010 when a South Korean navy corvette sank in an explosion the South said was caused by a North Korean torpedo attack.

“I strongly urge North Korea to change,” she said in a nationally televised speech marking the three-year anniversary of the incident. “North Korea must immediately abandon its thought that nuclear weapons will protect its regime.”

Although North Korea denied responsibility for the sinking and some South Koreans questioned the credibility of their government’s investigation, which assigned blame on the North, the 2010 incident has become for many South Koreans an emotional symbol of North Korean hostility. On Monday, the South’s conservative daily Chosun Ilbo cited unnamed government officials as saying that if North Korea launched a provocation like the Cheonan sinking, the South Korean military would retaliate by launching missiles at gigantic statues of Mr. Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and his father, which are objects of worship in the North.

The South Korean Defence Ministry would not comment on the report, but vowed a “thousandfold, ten-thousandfold retaliation” against a Cheonan-like provocation from the North.

Calling the monuments “symbols of the dignity of the supreme leadership” of North Korea, the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, an agency in charge of relations with Seoul, said Tuesday that the North “will destroy the den of confrontation including Chongwadae, hotbed of all evils.” Chongwadae, or “the Blue House,” is the South Korean presidential office. North Korea warned that Ms. Park should not repeat the “treacherous acts” of her predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, whose hard-line policy, coupled with North Korean provocations, had resulted in a prolonged chill on the peninsula.

Many South Koreans fear that North Korea might attempt localized military attacks on the South to try to raise tensions and force Washington and Seoul to return to the negotiating table with concessions.

On Tuesday, three Internet sites run by North Korean defectors and anti-Pyongyang activists reported hacking attacks that disrupted or paralyzed their operations. These websites, including Daily NK, often carry articles criticizing the North Korean leadership.

The attacks came just a week after synchronized virus attacks paralyzed the computer networks of three broadcasters and three banks in South Korea. Officials here were investigating the possibility of North Korean involvement. Separately, they said they were also investigating what caused temporary disruptions in the Internet access for seven provincial governments on Tuesday. South Korea and the United States say that North Korea has trained hackers for cyberspace warfare.
Three probes into Army-civilian stand-off
BANGALORE: The standoff between the Army and the public over a piece of land on which a service road runs next to the 515 Army Base Workshop in Gowthampura, is turning into a nasty blame game, replete with claims and counter-claims.

On Saturday night, Gowthampura, located near Ulsoor, was on the boil after an unruly mob resisted the Army's effort to build walls to cordon off the service road. Police who sought to intervene between the mob and Army personnel ended up being allegedly caned by the soldiers.

Army vs Civilians

Three days after the incident, ownership of the land remained a bone of contention. With the Army filing a case against local corporator Sarala Mohan and police officers, and vice-versa, the situation became murkier.

"Currently, three investigations are on," said TG Krishna Bhat, deputy commissioner of police (East). "Our priority is to sort out the land dispute. At the same time, the criminal charges filed against the Army officers and corporator and a police officer will be investigated. We require a few days for the collection of evidence in all three cases," he said.

The investigation will now depend on a survey report filed two years ago. Sources said that both the Army and the corporator have provided documents to prove their ownership. The issue is complicated as the documents shown by the Army were very old and what the corporator provided indicates a land dispute between the Army and one Gowramma. Thus, once the survey report is obtained, the claims could be settled.

The Army claims it had given the land to lay a pipeline and was only reclaiming it on Saturday night.

Army vs Cops

Apart from the land dispute itself, a serious law and order issue will have to be investigated by senior police officers. Sarala Mohan insisted that when she tried to reason with the jawans, they verbally abused her and even assaulted her. Also, the jawans allegedly charged at the public with lathis, injuring some of them, claim local residents.

Ulsoor police inspector Mahananda, JB Nagar police inspector Ashok and a sub-inspector were injured when they tried to intervene between the charging jawans and the angry public. The two inspectors filed a complaint under IPC sections 332 of IPC for causing voluntary hurt to a public servant in the discharge of duty, and 353 for assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty.

The Army, though, has said that Sarala Mohan, her husband Mohan and police officers instigated the public to pelt stones at them. They also accused local MLA NA Haris of taking the mob's side, instead of defusing the situation.

"Mohan, husband of corporator Sarala Mohan, tried to disrupt the proceedings. He also collected his men and called the SHO, inspector Mahananda, for support. Both of them instigated their men to pelt stones and throw road barriers on the military personnel. Due to this, many military personnel got injured and one of them was evacuated to the Command Hospital as he was profusely bleeding in his face," the Army's official statement said.
The US Army Is Planning For A Failed Nuclear State In North Korea

Don't mind the headlines.

Crippling sanctions, starving soldiers, and an antiquated, rickety military collectively push the idea of a concerted North Korean strike to the fringes of credibility.

Planners in Washington envision a more insidious threat: the untimely collapse of Kim Jong-un's government.

Paul McLeary of Defense News posted today about a classified military wargame that played out the sudden collapse of North Korea and the immediate actions of the U.S. Military.

McLeary writes:

The Unified Quest war game conducted this year by Army planners posited the collapse of a nuclear-armed, xenophobic, criminal family regime that had lorded over a closed society and inconveniently lost control over its nukes as it fell.

Yes, the most terrifying thing about North Korea is actually if it loses positive control of its nuclear technology and any active warheads it has.

The war games didn't go smoothly:

It took 56 days for the U.S. to flow two divisions’ worth of soldiers into the failed nuclear-armed state of “North Brownland” and as many as 90,000 troops to deal with the country’s nuclear stockpiles, a major U.S. Army war game concluded this winter.

There were a few major problems tripping up the military, generals at the event told a handful of reporters, talking only without attribution.

— No "ISR": It's difficult to establish Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance in a hermit kingdom as closed off to the world as North Korea. Essentially, the generals involved agreed that they would move rapidly north of the 38th parallel and be totally blind, without well established information infrastructure.

— What they do know is that nuclear centers are based around civilian hubs. Mitigating, protecting, and defending against droves of civilians takes care, more personnel, and adds to the confusion around securing nuclear technology.

— Well-established logistics hubs feeding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have hamstrung the world's greatest logistics machine: the U.S. Army. Army planners say that they've lost practice at co-opting and setting up initial supply means for a war, like railroads, especially in "austere" conditions.

Brookings released a report in 2009 — prior to all the sanctions — on the very topic of regime change in North Korea. The report concluded that accelerations in North Korea's nuclear program, to include ballistic missiles, "makes the cost of mishandling a possible collapse so high that all contingencies must be planned for."

In terms of the confusion, a collapse in North Korea would make the Pentagon's frenzied scramble looking for Iraq's WMD's look calm and orderly by comparison. Furthermore, their collapse is a very real outcome — as opposed to the lunacy of North Korea actually carrying through on its threats and starting World War III.

Year-old sanctions against the country have starved the lower rungs of North Korean citizenry, and new sanctions target the upper echelons of the DPRK's inner military and government workings.

Those latest sanctions appear to have riled up the hermit regime, which as early as January looked about ready to apologize and shake hands with the ROK.

Recently agreements stipulate that, in order to facilitate the quickest possible response time, if an attack (or presumably a sudden collapse) occurred, the commanding general for U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea would take over the military efforts of both the U.S. and ROK.

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