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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 24 Apr 2013
China has reneged on 2005 pact: India
Second flag meet inconclusive; Beijing says Indian troops doing aggressive patrolling along LAC
Ajay Banerjee & Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 23
A second flag meeting between India and China to sort out the issue of intrusion by Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in northern Ladakh remained inconclusive even as the two countries traded charges against each other.

Delhi reminded Beijing that the act of its troops of not moving back was a violation of an 'operational' agreement signed between the two nations in April 2005. The flag meeting was held between Brigadier-level officers at Chushul in eastern Ladakh along the LAC.
 Sources said the Indian side proposed that troops of either sides withdraw to the pre-incursion location which was not agreed upon by the Chinese, who, in turn, accused India of getting aggressive in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector in northern Ladakh. "Indian troops are doing aggressive patrolling along the LAC," the Chinese reportedly said. However, it was agreed not to further escalate the situation. An intervention at a higher level was possible to resolve the stand-off.

Chinese troops had on April 15 pitched a tent around 8 km inside the LAC at Raki Nallah in northern Ladakh. They have not moved back despite Indian troops asking them to do so.

Reports said two Chinese copters intruded Indian air space in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector on the night of April 15 and 16 and supervised the intrusion by the People Liberation Army (PLA) troops.

The troop level on either side has been static since April 18. The Chinese have 37 personnel and two sniffer dogs in their tent while the Indian tent some 500 metres away has 60 men.

Miles away from the flag meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing: "The two parties should work together to solve the issue through peaceful negotiations so as to create good relations."

In Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said: "We see this as a face-to-face situation between border personnel of the two sides due to differences on their alignment of LAC." New Delhi told Beijing that PLA troops have reneged on a laid down and accepted agreement called the "protocol on modalities for implementation of CBMs in the military field along the LAC in the India-China border areas". Sources said troops on the either side have cited this protocol in the past five days while facing each other. "As per the protocol, soldiers on either side have to show a banner to the other side asking to withdraw," said sources.

Showing of a banner is a standard operating procedure and is called the 'banner drill.' It is done when troops of the two sides come face-to-face due to differences on the alignment of the LAC or any other reason. Whenever either side perceives that a transgression has been made across the LAC, soldiers show a banner with a slogan painted across. The banner primarily cites the 2005 agreement and says there is a need to back off from the present positions of patrolling.

Before this incident, the system was working well. The mandate of the 2005 agreement is: "Throughout the face-to-face situation, neither side shall use force or threaten to use force against the other".
 Beijing's old ways

The current incursion, wherein a tent has been pitched in Indian territory, is the first such incident in Ladakh after 1962

In 1987, Chinese troops had resorted to a similar exercise at Sum Dorong Chu, north of Tawang in Arunachal. India had ramped up its forces and then withdrawn. China still holds that territory

The stand-off led to the first ever border peace agreement in 1993. Military experts are terming the latest incident along the LAC as serious

border face-off

The Indian side proposed that troops on either side withdraw to the pre-incursion location at the second flag meet

This was not agreeable to China, who, in turn, accused India of getting aggressive in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector in northern Ladakh

Chinese troops had on April 15 pitched a tent around 8 km inside the LAC in the Raki Nallah area in northern Ladakh

They have not moved back despite Indian troops having asked them to do so. The Chinese have 37 personnel plus two sniffer dogs in their tent while the Indian Army tent some 500 metres away, has 60 men
CBI freezes bank account of IAF ex-chief
New Delhi, April 23
The CBI has frozen bank accounts of former Indian Air Force Chief SP Tyagi and other Indians named as accused for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the Rs 3,600-crore VVIP helicopter deal.

Agency sources said here today that "certain bank accounts of all Indian accused" named in the FIR have been frozen by the CBI.

The bank accounts of Indian companies named in the alleged scam-Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Limited and IDS Infotech-had already been frozen by the agency, they said. The bank accounts of Tyagi's cousins-Sanjeev, alias Julie; Rajeev, alias Docsa; and Sandeep-had also been frozen as part of the investigation, they added.

Other Indians named in the FIR whose accounts have been frozen by the agency include former Union Minister Santosh Bagrodia's brother Satish Bagrodia, who is also the IDS Infotech chairman, company's managing director Pratap Aggarwal, Aeromatrix CEO Praveen Bakshi and legal adviser Gautam Khaitan.

In its FIR, the CBI has booked all the accused under various provisions of the IPC relating to cheating and criminal conspiracy and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Tyagi is the first chief of the Indian Air Force to be named in a corruption or criminal case by the CBI.

The CBI has alleged that during his tenure as the Air Force Chief, Tyagi and "with his approval" the Air Force "conceded to reduce the service ceiling for VVIP helicopters from 6,000 m to 4,500 m to which it was opposing vehemently on the grounds of security constraints and other related reasons".

According to the FIR, "Haschke Guido and Gerosa Carlo (middlemen) managed to send Euro 5.6 million through Mohali-based IDS Infotech and Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Limited to India and kept the remaining amount out of about Euro 24.30 million received from AgustaWestland with themselves in the account of IDS Tunisia". — PTI
A disturbing incursion
Transgressions by China not new

For over a week now, about 50 soldiers belonging to China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) continue to position themselves 10 km into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector of eastern Ladakh at a height of about 17,000 feet following a surprise incursion. This intrusion is a matter of grave concern and serves as a grim reminder on the tenuousness of the situation along the LAC with China even after half a century of the Sino-Indian War. It also reinforces the belief among some in India's strategic community that the Chinese are untrustworthy and will seek to take advantage of any Indian shortcomings or softness along the 4,000 km disputed LAC.

Transgressions such as these have not been new on the part of the Chinese. In the past, Chinese troops have intruded into the Indian side of the LAC but always returned soon after. What is different is that it is for the first time in recent years that Chinese troops have entrenched themselves so far into Indian territory while simultaneously claiming that they have not committed any transgression. What makes the situation complicated is that unlike the Line of Control along Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, which is clearly delineated in maps, there is no such delineation along the Sino-Indian border. Efforts in this direction have been slow and without progress. The absence of a clear-cut delineation has resulted in differing perceptions and claims. It, therefore, becomes even more important that both sides exercise restraint and maintain the status quo, especially since they had two decades ago in September 1993 signed an Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border, which incidentally was reiterated in a joint communiqué issued during the Chinese Defence Minister's visit to India in September last year.

The last such intrusion that had led to a stand-off was in Somdorung Chu in Arunachal Pradesh in 1986 when the PLA intruded into the Indian side which had led to a stand-off and consequent military posturing by India. While rushing troops to the area should send a strong message to China, eventually New Delhi will need to resolve the PLA's incursion through diplomatic channels. India must stay persistent and perseverant in ensuring that the Chinese troops withdraw from the DBO sector.
War crime trials in B'desh
Violence against minorities will defeat the purpose
by Anand Kumar

The trial of war criminals was a long-pending issue in Bangladesh after it won its liberation war from Pakistan in 1971. This issue re-emerged on the eve of December 2008 elections when it was prominently raised by the civil society, especially the freedom fighters of Bangladesh. Seeing popular sentiment in favour of trial of war criminals, one of the main political parties in Bangladesh, the Awami League, adopted the issue on its own agenda. The issue was also adopted because it was felt that radical elements have grown stronger in Bangladesh as they were not punished for their war crimes. But as the war crime trials near their completion and verdicts start coming, an unprecedented wave of violence has been unleashed by the radical elements represented by the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, the Islami Chhatra Shibir. They are now openly supported by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The most important target of this violence has been the minority Hindu community and the law-enforcement agencies of Bangladesh.

The Jamaat-e-Islami along with other Islamist parties grew stronger in post-liberation Bangladesh after it was rehabilitated by General Zia-ur-Rahman. Zia came to power after the father of the Bangladeshi nation, Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman, was murdered by radical elements in the army on August 15, 1975. They were subsequently also supported by General Ershad. Ershad declared Islam as state religion of Bangladesh.

Even after military regime of Ershad was overthrown by a pro-democracy movement leading to the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh in 1990, Islamists continued to increase their influence in Bangladeshi politics through their astute moves. They had participated in the movement for the restoration of democracy, though the reason for their participation was very different. They were dissatisfied with the Ershad regime that had declared Islam as state religion but did not declare it as an Islamic state. After the democratic elections that brought a BNP-led government in power, the Jamaat kept supporting this which further increased its acceptability in the politics of Bangladesh.

The Jamaat during the four-party alliance rule from 2001-06 was part of the government. Two important ministries were handled by it. During this period, it started the process of Islamisation in Bangladesh. It also gave tacit support to all extremist groups but denied its linkages when their cadres were arrested.  These extremist groups targeted secular leaders. Sheikh Hasina herself narrowly escaped in August 2004 when an attack was carried out against her in Dhaka while she was addressing a rally. Twentyeight of her party cadres were killed, including Ivy Rahman, Women's Affairs Secretary of the Awami League (AL).

These incidents made clear that if secular politics has to survive in Bangladesh then the war criminals personified by the top leadership of the Jamaat-e-Islami must be punished. The demand became strong when the issue was raised by the civil society in the run-up to the 2008 elections. The Awami League agreed to prosecute war criminals if it came to power.

After taking over power in January 2009 Sheikh Hasina repeated her intention to prosecute war criminals. But the process was delayed as the Jamaat with the help of Pakistan's ISI managed to incite a mutiny in the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) which nearly uprooted the Hasina government. Despite all these hurdles, the Awami League government managed to start war crime trials. It was expected that the Jamaat will resist it in the international crimes tribunals as well as outside on the streets of Dhaka and other cities.

The Jamaat had tried to question the validity of the International Crimes Tribunals created to prosecute war criminals. It is now also resorting to violence after the verdicts have started coming. The violence was little muted when the first verdict came in the case of Abul Kalam Azad, as he had already fled the country to Pakistan, where there is no danger of him being prosecuted.

The second verdict was a little surprising which led to only life sentence to Abdul Quader Mollah, a war criminal and leader of the Jamaat. It created a different kind of reaction among the Bangladeshi population who were secular and progressive. They came out in large numbers on Shahbagh Square on February 5, demanding capital punishment to the war criminals. This has also revived 'the spirit of liberation war' in Bangladesh. The unprecedented sit-in demonstration led to Parliament amending the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, with a provision that allowed the state to file an appeal with the Supreme Court against any inadequate sentencing of the tribunals.

However, this spontaneous movement has also created worries for anti-liberation forces like the Jamaat and some sections of the BNP. The Jamaat and the BNP have tried to denounce the Shahbagh movement for not taking up the issue of restoration of the caretaker government and corruption cases. Their opposition to Shahbagh protestors became more strident once these protestors started demanding a ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami and seizure of the various businesses owned by it.

The BNP, which for a while was careful not to openly support the Jamaat, has given up all such inhibitions. Now the party has come out in open support of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Possibly to express solidarity with the Jamaa, BNP leader Khaleda Zia had cancelled meeting with the visiting Indian president in Dhaka – a meeting her party had itself sought.

Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed in his book "State, Nation and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia" points out that Hindu population that was 18 per cent in 1971 came down to 13 per cent after the liberation war. Presently, it is 8 per cent. This situation is because of the continuous violence Hindus have faced in Bangladesh on one pretext or the other.

The minority community is facing once again similar violence at the hands of extremists in a large measure represented by the Jamaat and a section of the BNP. The violence against them has intensified after the death sentence that was awarded by the International Crimes Tribunal-1 to Jamaat Nayeb Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee for war crimes. The Jamaat cadres allege that Sayedee was sentenced to death because of the deposition of Hindu witnesses. The minority community has been targeted in Noakhali, Munshiganj, Dinajpur, Barisal, Gaibandha, Chittagong, Rangpur, Sylhet, Chapainawabganj, Ghazipur and elsewhere in the country.

The magnitude of violence has forced the High Court in Bangladesh to direct the government to protect the minority communities and its places of worships, allegedly attacked by activists of the Jamaat and the BNP. The international community has also expressed its concern over this violence.

The Jamaat and the BNP cadres want to create a law and order problem in the country by unleashing unprecedented violence which could threaten the pluralistic character of the Bangladeshi society. It is high time the government in Bangladesh came down heavily on these extremist elements. The most important objective behind the prosecution and punishment of war criminals is to restore a secular, progressive and pluralistic Bangladesh which is a model for other Muslim majority nations. But if this process leads to ethnic cleansing or persecution of minorities then it will defeat the very purpose of the whole exercise. The government of Bangladesh must take suitable steps to restore the confidence of the minorities while taking the war crime trials to their logical conclusion.n

The writer is Associate Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses, New Delhi
Chinese army helicopters violated Indian airspace: sources
Leh:  India today said that it hopes to use agreements with China to "resolve peacefully" the stand-off in Ladakh, where New Delhi says soldiers from the People's Liberation Army have set up camp in Indian territory. "We have asked the Chinese side to maintain the status quo in this sector" said Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. "By this I mean the status quo prior to this incident," he said.
    India and China held a second flag meeting today to discuss a stand-off over nearly a dozen Chinese soldiers who have set up a remote camp some 10 km (6 miles) inside territory claimed by India in Ladakh. Details of what transpired at the meeting are awaited.

    Indian government officials have confirmed that on the night of April 15, two helicopters gave support to the Chinese as they set up temporary posts on the Indian side of the disputed border.

    China has denied that its troops have crossed into Indian territory. "Our troops are patrolling on the Chinese side of the actual line of control and have never trespassed the line," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying yesterday.

    The de facto border separating China and India is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While it has never been formally demarcated, the countries signed two accords to maintain peace in frontier areas in 1993 and 1996.

    Military commanders at the Brigadier level from the two sides had met last week, but failed to break the deadlock.

    Till yesterday, China had not agreed to India's request for a second flag meeting, citing the non-availability of their senior officers, sources said.

    Yesterday, Defence Minister AK Antony said, "India will take every step to protect its interests." The Indian army has set up its own temporary camp just 500 meters (1600 feet) from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers after the incident on April 15

    Though small incursions across the Line of Actual Control are common, it is rare for either country to set up camp so deep.

    The assessment in the Indian government is that the Chinese will eventually withdraw but could use this "occupation" to lay claims to the area at a later stage of border negotiations.

    The latest incident took place at Daulat Beg Oldie, where India established a landing strip during the 1962 war. At 5,100 meters (16,700 feet), the strip is one of the world's highest. It was reopened in 2008.
India likely to send army contingent to Daulat Beg Oldi sector
New Delhi: With Chinese forces intruding nearly 10 km inside Indian territory in Ladakh, India is likely to send an army contingent to the area to be on guard even though it wants to avoid a confrontation.

Indian Army had earlier sent a team of Ladakh Scouts – an infantry regiment specialising in mountain warfare – to the Daulat Beg Oldi sector, manned by the troops of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)- soon after it was discovered that the Chinese troops had set up a camp there.
Additional troops may be deployed in the area if the situation does not de-escalate and Chinese troops do not go back to their old position, sources said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

A platoon-strength contingent of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) had come 10 km inside the Indian territory in Burthe in DBO sector, located at an altitude of about 17,000 feet, on the night of 15 April and established a tented post there.

A Chinese Army Platoon usually consists of around 50 troops.

India and China on Tuesday conducted second round of flag-meeting in the area since the incursion was reported and asked the Chinese side to revert to the status quo position. The first meeting was held on 18 April.

On earlier occasions, the Indian and Chinese troops had transgressed into each other's territory due to differences in perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Defence Ministry had earlier also maintained that the LAC is not properly demarcated in some areas.

ITBP troops have also established a camp approximately 300 m opposite the Chinese location and is monitoring the development.

DBO, located in northernmost Ladakh, is a historic camp site and located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China.
Kayani On Indian Generals And Islam
Pakistan's army chief confirms India remains biggest threat; puts end to the idle secular-Islam debate.
Pakistan's army chief is a man of few words. And true to his style, he made a few calculated remarks over the weekend that touch on two hotly debated issues in Pakistan and among Pakistan-watchers abroad.

During a speech on the occasion of the graduation of the 127th Long Course of Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, Gen. Kayani sent a direct warning to Indian generals.

For those who don't remember, on January 11 and January 14, India's air and army chiefs threatened military action against Pakistan over alleged violations of the ceasefire line in Kashmir. The crisis began a week before when Indian soldiers crossed the line and killed a Pakistani soldier. [see here and here]

It was quite obvious to observers that Pakistan wouldn't risk an escalation on its eastern front when it is embroiled in the American mess on the Afghan border.

This was not lost on independent-minded Indians. One Indian analyst went as far as accusing the Indian military of creating 'hype' inside India over Pakistan. Another Indian commentator accused the Indian army of mutilating bodies of Pakistani soldiers. [See hereand here]

At the same time, and a few days before this Indian escalation, a news report from Pakistan appeared to indicate that terrorism emanating from the Afghan border into Pakistan has forced the Pakistani army to no longer consider India as the biggest threat.

It appeared as if the Indian army generals concluded that Pakistan armed forces must be too weak now for them to be forced to make an admission they no longer considered India a threat.

As it turns out, the report from Islamabad about a change in the Pakistani military doctrine was based on some journalist's overzealous reading into minor doctrinal modifications that led to a misinterpretation. [Background: a booklet published by the military added a chapter dealing with insurgencies on the Afghan border and described it as a major threat to Pakistani security. This was misinterpreted to mean Pakistan no longer saw threat from India.]

Watching Indian generals beat the drums of war across the eastern border, Pakistan remained cautious and refrained from responding in kind. Until this weekend.

"Pakistan is a peace-loving country," Gen. Kayani told the cadets, senior Pakistani military officers and some defense attaches from several nations attending the ceremony at Kakul. "Our quest for peace is essentially based on a genuine desire to improve our lot and that of our future generations. Let no one see it as a weakness."

Without naming India, he had a message for the generals across the eastern border. "We have exercised restraint in the face of some very belligerent statements in recent months. Let it suffice to say that Pakistan is fully capable of responding effectively to any threat."

And if any Indian general was still in doubt over a change in Pakistani preparedness due to internal threats, Kayani ventured out to be more specific in his following words.

"Despite our current focus on internal security," he said, "we remain fully prepared to defeat an external direct threat."

The Indian threat is not limited to the provocative statements in January.

The Indian threat is also not limited to permanent [emphasis on permanent], large-scale Indian military deployments in close proximity to our borders.

There's more. Toward the end of the decade, Indian generals developed a plan to mount quick incursions inside Pakistan and cripple its ability to retaliate. This plan was given the name Cold Start, inspired by Israeli army's quick strikes into Gaza.

The Indian military was developing this plan even as American officials lectured Islamabad on the need to change its military policy because India posed no threat to Pakistan.

The Indian military has once before demonstrated that it will always seize any opportunity to attack Pakistan even without provocation. This happened in 1971 when Indian army exploited chaotic election in Pakistan, and low military preparedness, to launch an invasion in East Pakistan and help proxies break away the territory into what is now Bangladesh.

Gen. Kayani's weekend statement has put the military's India policy into perspective.

It also indicates a new level of confidence inside Pakistan armed forces after a decade of American war in Afghanistan had destabilized Pakistan and put the Pakistani military on the defensive. This is changing now and PakMilitary is apparently on the rebound.

Gen. Kayani apparently alluded to this when he said during the same speech: "In our short history, we have overcome many a challenges that would have overwhelmed lesser nations. I am sure we can do it again."

And then concluded on a positive note, "We are going through difficult times, but so has every other successful nation at some time in their history. Pak Army is fully committed to the cause and as always standing with the nation."


Gen. Kayani's other important carefully-worded statement was on Islam's role in public life in Pakistan.

Here's what the general said:

"Let me remind you that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and Islam can never ever be taken out of Pakistan. However, Islam should always remain a unifying force."

This is a landmark statement. Here's why.

First, a number of politicians and commentators sympathetic to the PPP-MQM-ANP coalition government that just completed five years tried in recent days to make the coming election controversial through an organized attack in the media on the Ideology of Pakistan, and Pakistan's existence as an independent nation.

These parties are perceived to be pro-American. The organized attack focused on Islam and called for adopting European-style secularism where religion is simply withdrawn from public life. But what the advocates of this theory forgot is that Europe's history and its political and social circumstances cannot be replicated and planted in another country far removed from European culture and experiences.

This debate is also dangerous because it wastes a lot of public energy, confuses priorities, and creates unnecessary divisions and suspicions in the society.  Pakistan is quite capable of being a modern Muslim nation, just like Turkey, Jordan, Malaysia, Dubai, Egypt, Indonesia and others without the need to wage war against religion and alienate the religious segments of the population.

Gen. Kayani did well by making an emphatic statement about the centrality of Islam in Pakistan. This should serve to calm the nerves of religious Pakistanis who might see an attempt to attack religion in Pakistan and might be radicalized as a result of that.

So this is a message to the advocates of secularism to stop radicalizing religious-minded Pakistanis by waging this unnecessary war of words against religion in the hope of replicating a European example that does not fit here. And it is also a message to religious Pakistanis to relax, to stop seeing a conspiracy in Pakistan to end Islam's central role in the lives of Pakistanis. It is also a message that all Pakistanis can and should coexist peacefully, those who are religious-minded and those who are not. This is a homeland for all and Pakistanis can and should respect each other.

Second, Kayani's statement sends another message to religious Pakistanis. The message is simple: Islam unifies its followers and does not divide them. Sadly, Pakistani Islam is divided into sects whose names are not even known in the rest of the Muslim world. That's how bad the sect-based divisions are in Pakistan. And extremists have flourished in all sects, leading to violent verbal and physical attacks. So, Gen. Kayani is sending a message: Islam in Pakistan should unify Pakistanis, not divide them.

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