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Friday, 3 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 03 May 2013






http://newindianexpress.com/nation/Army-to-examine-PLAs-complaints/2013/05/02/article1570833.ece
Army to examine PLA's complaints


The Indian Army has agreed to examine the “complaint” from the People’s Liberation Army against some of the Indian military structures that they want removed in the Ladakh region.

The minor concession to China comes after three rounds of flag meetings between the two sides since April 15 in which the PLA commanders raised the issue of Indian military structures and sought that these be brought down. This, India hopes, will ease tension that has been building up in Ladakh, where the two sides have been indulging in a ‘drill’ by putting up banners that ask the other side to move away from the location and making a strong claim over that territory.

At the three flag meetings since the standoff began, the Chinese side had raised the red flag on both major and minor Indian military infrastructure and asked for these to be dismantled before they moved back from the standoff point at Raki Nullah on Debsang bulge in northern Ladakh. “However, we have not given any firm assurance on removal of any infrastructure along LAC,” an officer in the flag meeting discussions said here.

Among the objections that the Chinese have included the reopening of the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) airstrip about 30 km northwest of the Raki Nullah where the PLA troopers intruded on April 15 to pitch tents and have stayed put for the past 15 days now. DBO is key infrastructure in northern Ladakh that the Indian Air Force (IAF) revived in the Ladakh region, after it remained unused for nearly 40 years. India had last used the DBO in the 1962 Sino-Indian war and is a key infrastructure to help airlift and land Indian troopers close to the LAC.

IAF had in May 2008 reactivated the DBO airstrip, from where Ukrainian-made AN-32 transport aircraft can land and take off, but cannot be based due to lack of other infrastructure such as a hanger. Since then, IAF reactivated two more airstrips, or Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) as they are called in defence parlance, at Fuk Che in eastern Ladakh and at Nyoma in southern Ladakh in November 2008 and September 2009 respectively.

While Nyoma, due to its strategic location, is being developed into a full-fledged air base that will be capable of fighter aircraft operations in the future. Fuk Che, which is just 23 km away from the LAC, will be remain a temporary airstrip, as its location is quite easily visible from the Chinese side.

Other structures that the Chinese wanted removed include a few bunkers along the LAC and temporary shelters for patrolling soldiers. Sources said, the Chinese side asked the Indian troopers to tone down “aggressive patrolling” in the area.

Meanwhile, the two armies held their Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) was held on the Chinese side of the LAC in the Chushul sector. An annual meeting on May 1, soldiers from the two sides have a friendly interaction with food and gaming every year.  The current standoff was not raised or discussed at the BPM, sources said.


http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/WOR-TOP-indian-army-can-cut-chinese-supply-lines-army-chief-bikram-singh-4252413-NOR.html
Indian Army can cut Chinese Supply lines: Army Chief Bikram Singh
In the wake of Chinese incursion inside the Indian Territory, Indian Army Chief General Vikram Singh offered various military offensive alternatives available with India.

According to Singh, Indian forces can attack the Chinese troops from behind. He said that Indian troops could patrol the Chinese camps through Aksai Chin region. 

In a meeting with the Chinese Study Group, Singh gave a briefing about the situation in Daulat Beg Oldi. China Study Group, being presided by Shiv Shankar Menon, is prodding for a possible solution to the problem.
All possible solutions to the problem, military and non-military have been discussed.
A group of 50 People's Liberation Army (China) intruded 19 km inside the Indian Territory on 15 April. The group of soldiers is receiving supplies from Chip Chap base, located 25 km away from the Indian Line of Control.
An entire defence regiment has been posted in the Chip Chap region.
On the Indian side, Indio-Tibetans Border Police (ITBP) has perched its own tents 90 km away. They are being provided supplies by the Indian Army. India has dispatched troops from 5 Ladakh Scouts battalion to the DBO area. Option of dispatching additional troops on the border is also on the anvil.
In the second flag meeting, India also made its stand clear that there should be an unconditional withdrawal of Chinese troops from the Indian Territory as per the agreements signed between the two sides on earlier occasions.
India has also rejected the Chinese proposal to increase the gap between the tents of the two countries saying this would take off the pressure from the Chinese troops.
The two sides are at a distance of 90 metres at the face-off site with around 30 troops present in the Chinese camp.
Singh met the PM at his official residence 7 Race Course Road in the national capital.
Gen Singh had last week visited Jammu and Kashmir and the Ladakh area and discussed the situation with military commanders in the Northern Command.
Earlier, Army chief General Bikram Singh met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/12241
Indian Army lists counters to Chinese incursion
The army on Wednesday briefed the UPA government on the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, giving it a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The army’s inputs to the government came after the third brigadier-level “flag meeting” between the two sides on Tuesday failed to find a solution to the flare-up on the disputed border.

Briefing the cabinet committee on security, Army chief General Bikram Singh is learnt to have listed steps India could take in case the Chinese refuse to pull out of Indian territory.

Indian soldiers have been eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chinese in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector since April 15, after Chinese soldiers pitched tents 19km inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.

Army sources have maintained that it is possible to cut off the supply lines of Chinese troops, but some in the military establishment believe it could escalate tensions along the disputed border.

The army is believed to have conveyed to the government that force levels at the DBO airstrip could be increased to demonstrate that India could deploy troops swiftly.

The 2.1-km airstrip was reactivated in 2008 after 43 years to provide logistics support to troops in the Ladakh sector.

Army sources said Leh-based 14 Corps could deploy additional troops in eastern Ladakh if required.

While the government has maintained that the Chinese intrusion is localised in nature, the sources said the possibility of China increasing troop levels could not be ruled out.

Three flag meetings to defuse the border tension have flopped, with China objecting to increased military activity, ‘aggressive patrolling’ by the army and ramping up of infrastructure on the Indian side of the LAC.

The Chinese contention is that some of the military and infrastructure buildup is in violation of protocols that govern borders, which have not been mutually delineated.

http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&table=&id=142945&heading=India
PM downplays China incursion as localised problem
NEW DELHI Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday termed the incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh as a “localised problem” and said India does not want to accentuate the situation.

India has called on the Chinese soldiers to withdraw while China has denied any wrongdoing.

Answering questions on the sidelines of an event, the prime minister said the government has a plan to defuse the stand-off over the Chinese troop incursion.

“We do have a plan. We do not want to accentuate the situation. We do believe that it is possible to resolve this problem. It is a localised problem. Talks are going on with China.”

The prime minister’s comments, his first on the dispute, echoed statements of other government ministers playing down the alleged incursion in Kashmir’s Ladakh region and insisting it can be settled amicably.

The prime minister’s reaction comes a day after a parliamentary panel was told that Chinese troops had intruded 19km deep inside Indian territory in Depsang in Ladakh region and pitched tents.

Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and senior defence ministry officials had told a parliamentary panel that India and China were trying to resolve through existing mechanisms.

Later in the day, federal Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the stand-off would be resolved through talks between the armies of the two countries.

The area was “no-man’s land” and disputed between the two countries, Shinde said adding troops of both the countries keep coming and going there.

“The issue will be resolved by talks between two armies,” he said.

Indian Army patrols had reported the presence of Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops in Depsang on April 16. Indian and Chinese military commanders have held two inconclusive flag meetings to resolve the stand-off.

India has asked China to maintain status quo on the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border between the two countries, that existed before the intrusion.

The Chinese government had on Friday said it believed both sides had the “capacity and wisdom” to defuse the row.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in Beijing: “I want stress once again two countries maintained close communication on border issues and both countries had the willingness to properly resolve the relevant issue through dialogue and negotiation.”

“We also believe that the two countries had the capacity and wisdom to solve the issue through friendly consultation so as to maintain peace and stability in the border areas,” she said.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is to visit Beijing on May 9, has said that both countries have a working mechanism to deal with such issues and expressed confidence that New Delhi and Beijing would be able to resolve the row.

Khurshid’s trip comes ahead Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in the third week of May.

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.

Small incursions are not uncommon across the LAC but it is rare for either country to set up camps in disputed territory.

In recent years, the two neighbours have increased their military presence on each side of the border and hold frequent meetings to defuse tensions.

Despite the border tensions, trade between the Asian giants has soared in recent years.


http://newindianexpress.com/nation/Army-chief-wants-troops-to-stay-put-till-PLA-blinks/2013/05/02/article1570799.ece
Army chief wants troops to stay put till PLA blinks


The Indian Army on Wednesday told the UPA government that the forces should stand their ground in the face-to-face standoff with Chinese troopers in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and wait for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to blink first.

This assessment and option was part of a presentation that Army chief General Bikram Singh gave the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the government’s highest decision-making body on defence matters, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources said here.

At the meeting, General Singh gave an actual account of the standoff between the Indian and Chinese troopers along the 650-km Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, which has witnessed heightened tension since April 15 after about 30 Chinese soldiers intruded into Indian territory and pitched tents.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid are also members of the CCS, which has the power to summon the chiefs of the armed forces to give them a perspective on national security issues.

The Army has already presented five options to the China Study Group that has Defence, Home and External Affairs secretaries and the Army vice-chief as members. The Study Group is headed by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, a China expert and a former Ambassador to Beijing.

The proposal to stand ground at Raki Nullah, where 20 troopers from each side are on confrontation just about 80 metres apart, comes even as an adamant Chinese PLA refuses to vacate its tents and go back from Ladakh.

General Bikram Singh also gave his opinion on four other options that the Army presented to the political leadership, although the details were not shared with the media.

Meanwhile, as China mounted pressure by refusing to call back its troopers to its base 25 km away, the Indian Army has agreed to examine the “complaint” from the PLA against some of the Indian military structures that they want removed from the Indian side in Ladakh.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Army-Increasing-troop-presence-on-LAC-an-option/Article1-1053174.aspx
Army: Increasing troop presence on LAC an option
The army on Wednesday briefed the UPA government on the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, giving it a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The army's inputs to the government came after the third brigadier-level "flag meeting" between the two sides on Tuesday failed to find a solution to the flare-up on the disputed border.

Briefing the cabinet committee on security, Army chief General Bikram Singh is learnt to have listed steps India could take in case the Chinese refuse to pull out of Indian territory.
Indian soldiers have been eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chinese in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector since April 15, after Chinese soldiers pitched tents 19km inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.

Army sources have maintained that it is possible to cut off the supply lines of Chinese troops, but some in the military establishment believe it could escalate tensions along the disputed border.

The army is believed to have conveyed to the government that force levels at the DBO airstrip could be increased to demonstrate that India could deploy troops swiftly.

The 2.1-km airstrip was reactivated in 2008 after 43 years to provide logistics support to troops in the Ladakh sector.

Army sources said Leh-based 14 Corps could deploy additional troops in eastern Ladakh if required.

While the government has maintained that the Chinese intrusion is localised in nature, the sources said the possibility of China increasing troop levels could not be ruled out.

Three flag meetings to defuse the border tension have flopped, with China objecting to increased military activity, 'aggressive patrolling' by the army and ramping up of infrastructure on the Indian side of the LAC.

The Chinese contention is that some of the military and infrastructure buildup is in violation of protocols that govern borders, which have not been mutually delineated.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2318554/Army-snipers-danger-ill-fitting-helmets-make-near-impossible-target-Taliban-fighters.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
Army snipers put in danger by ill fitting helmets that make it 'near impossible' to target Taliban fighters


British Army snipers’ lives are being put at risk because they are forced to remove ill-fitting protective helmets before they shoot at the enemy.

Crack marksmen have complained that it is ‘near impossible’ to adopt a correct firing position when targeting Taliban fighters in Afghanistan because of unsuitable kit.

Problems have arisen on the frontline when the back of the standard-issue helmets rub against the top of the ballistic plates in the cutting-edge Osprey body armour.

The friction means elite UK sharpshooters are struggling to get ‘beads on’ insurgents laying deadly IEDs or planning ambushes because they cannot properly line up the target in their rifle’s cross-hairs.

To overcome the issue, some troops have taken the drastic step of removing their helmets before taking a shot – running the risk that they themselves could receive a fatal bullet to the head.

A senior officer has admitted that the ‘problem’ is affecting specialist soldiers in the warzone.

He confirmed a major review of helmets was now underway after safety fears were highlighted.

The latest controversy involving Armed Forces kit has been laid bare in a letter in the latest issue of Soldier magazine.

The situation will reignite concerns that defence chiefs are again cutting corners on equipment before sending British troops to put their lives on the line in Helmand.

A serviceman has written anonymously to the magazine, which is published with MoD approval, flagging up concerns.

He said: ‘Snipers throughout the Army are struggling to adopt a correct fire position whilst wearing a Mark 6, 6A or 7 helmet – especially when combined with the Osprey.

‘Firing from low-profile positions such as the prone are near impossible.

‘Most service personnel go as far as to remove their helmets, especially when a more difficult shot is required, causing obvious safety concerns.


‘Why is it near impossible to be issued with the potentially life saving equipment required for us to carry out our jobs properly and safely?’

He said some units - including the 4th Battalion The Rifles - had been issued with other types of helmets which ‘isn’t perfect but considerably better than our current line of issued headwear.’

Major Alex Mills, of the MoD’s Capability Directorate Combat section, responsible for procuring personal kit for soldiers on the frontline, said the problems had sparked an urgent investigation.

Maj Mills said: ‘The specific issues you refer to are concerned with integration between the helmet and Osprey ballistic plates. We are aware that friction between the two can affect your specific role as a sniper.

‘The issue has been looked into by the ballistics project team in Defence Equipment and Support. The problem relates to form, fit and function of the headwear.’


The MoD is distributing DVDs to units which explain how soldiers can make sure they receive a correctly-fitting helmet.

Equipment experts are also set to carry out one -to one fittings with individual soldiers in 1 Mechanized Brigade, which is deploying to Afghanistan this spring.

The MoD is also planning to introduce new fully-integrated personal protection equipment from March 2015.

Maj Mills said: ‘It will specifically focus on head and torso sub-system integration for all troops, including snipers.’

The Ministry of Defence said the current helmet was the best available, offering better protection than commercially-available alternatives.

The MoD said: 'The Mk 7 helmet gives our troops the best protection available. Trials show that other products are not as effective against blasts or blunt impacts.

'Training ensures snipers correctly fit their helmets to integrate with their body armour which reduces the risk of any impact on their ability to fire.'


http://dawn.com/2013/05/02/refreshing-comments-army-chiefs-speech/
Refreshing comments: Army chief’s speech
TEN days after Gen Kayani stoked controversy with his ‘Pakistan is Islam and Islam is Pakistan’ speech in Kakul, the army chief has taken on the critics of the war against terrorism with some straight-talk. “However, despite all this bloodshed, certain quarters still want to remain embroiled in the debate concerning the causes of this war and who imposed it on us…. [D]oes the fight against this enemy of the state constitute someone else’s war?” Wrong as he was 10 days ago in his ill-advised comments, Gen Kayani’s speech on Monday is precisely the kind of direct rebuttal that is needed for those advocating a policy of appeasement when it comes to the Taliban. For over a year now, the army chief has underlined just how much the war against terrorism is Pakistan’s own war — not one imposed on the country by the outside world nor one that we can avoid fighting in any circumstances — and coming from the chief architect of Pakistan’s national security policy, Gen Kayani’s words carry great meaning.

But, and unhappily there is always a but when dissecting the army-led security establishment’s policy against militancy and extremism, the army chief and his high command are not able to carry their words to the logical conclusion. Yes, those advocating the appeasement of the Taliban fighting the Pakistan state are doing a disservice to state and society by making it that much more difficult to develop a much-needed consensus on why the anti-Pakistan Taliban need to be taken on directly and decisively. And yes, by using his significant megaphone to shout down the critics, Gen Kayani is helping dismantle the argument against taking on the Taliban militarily. But why does the argument for appeasing the Taliban gain such traction among the public in the first place?

The answer has much to do with the army’s own dual policy. The Afghan Taliban are ‘good’; the Pakistani Taliban ‘bad’ — that tends to perpetuate the confusion first sown by the state and the army wrapping its arms around the jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s. If sponsoring jihad against Afghanistan’s invaders in the 1980s was a legitimate policy, then so it must be against the Americans and the outside world in the 2000s — and because the Pakistani state is half-supporting the US-led effort in Afghanistan, then it too must be considered a legitimate target. Until and unless there is clarity about why armed jihad anywhere is bad policy, there will always be confusion inside Pakistan — no matter what Gen Kayani or anyone else says.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Army-takes-a-step-back-in-Ladakh/Article1-1053993.aspx
Army takes a step back in Ladakh
The army has stopped patrolling the eastern Ladakh areas beyond the site where Chinese troops have taken up positions — 19km into Indian territory — to avoid escalating the stand-off.
Prior to the Chinese incursion of April 15 soldiers would carry out weekly surveillance on foot, according to army sources.

It is not clear when Indian troops last patrolled the area before Chinese pitched tents and set up a base in the Daulat Beg Oldie sector, bringing matters to a head between the two countries.
It is understood that the government may have advised the army not to comb the sector so that diplomatic efforts are not hampered.
“As of now, there are no plans to launch patrols behind the Chinese positions. Patrolling right up to our perception of the line of actual control may be seen as provocative,” a source said.

Launching armed patrols from other directions beyond the faceoff site is likely to send out a message that the Indian Army plans to cut off the supply lines of the Chinese troops  — one of the options that army has suggested to the government to counter the Chinese aggression.

Army chief General Bikram Singh had on Wednesday briefed the government on the ground situation.

The chief gave the government a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels.

Three brigadier-level flag meetings between the two sides have failed to find a solution to the end the 17-day impasse.

There's growing suspicion within the military establishment that the intruding Chinese soldiers will hold on to the Indian territory for quite some time, if not permanently.

China has a tendency to ratchet up the border dispute at frequent intervals, especially before important high-level visits. The latest incursion is timed weeks ahead of Chinese premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to India.

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