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Thursday, 13 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 13 Jun 2013





http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130613/main2.htm
Services moot cyber, aerospace & special forces commands
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, June 12
The Chief of Staff Committee (CoSC), a body comprising the Chiefs of the three Services, met yesterday to fine-tune an upcoming policy on having three additional tri-Services commands with each of the Services heading one of it.

However, unlike the existing tri-Services commands or staff formations in India, which have Commanders appointed by rotation from each of the three Services, the new Commands will be entrusted with one service making it the overall in charge with officers and staff coming in from all three services.

The CoSC, headed by Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne, at its meeting yesterday fine-tuned the policy for having three new tri-Services commands, the aerospace command, the cyber command and the special forces operations command.

According to the existing suggestions made at the CoSC meeting yesterday, the IAF is likely to get the aerospace command, the Navy will get the cyber command and the Army will be responsible for the special forces operations command, sources said. The logic for each has been assessed. The number of special forces with the IAF - called the Garuds - and the under the Navy - called the Marcos, are too small in number to be sustainable on their own.

These will be brought under the control of the Indian Army which has some 10,000 troops trained and kept ready for any ‘commando style’ operation.

Also, the Army provides the National Security Guards with some its best trained men. This will be fitted within the newly increased capacities by way of specialised planes like the just-inducted C-130-J and the soon-to-be-inducted heavy lifter - the C-17. Both can land on mud-strips. The C-130-J demonstrated it at a recent exercise called Livewire in the desert. The proposal is to base the aerospace command with the IAF that will draw forces from the Army and Navy besides getting some component of the DRDO. In the future, the specialised ‘X-band’ radars, which can spot a 6-inch object some 4,600 km away and can provide live imagery, can be aid to this command.

The need to have one Service in-charge of one command stems from the ‘not-so-smooth’ experience of India's only operational theatre command at Andaman and Nicobar Islands which has a Lt-General, Vice-Admiral or Air Marshal heading it by rotation. This model had not been successful according to the feedback and assessment of the CoSC, hence the need to have one Service responsible for the command and draw the mandated resources from the other two.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130613/nation.htm#4
India’s elite anti-terror force NSG plans to go hi-tech
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 12
India's elite anti-terror force, the National Security Guard (NSG), is planning to acquire the technology and equipment used by the United States Navy Seals in the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, the most wanted man in the world.

The technology had enabled US President Barack Obama to watch the live footage of the Al-Qaida leader being shot in the head. The footage was taken from a camera attached to the helmet of a Navy Seal. The Seals are Special Operations Force of the US.

Taking a cue from the operation, codenamed "Neptune Spear", that took place in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 1, 2011, the NSG has now planned to use the same technology for their Special Force operations as well. The state-of-the-art equipment includes voice-data-video transfer, "mesh variety" communication devices, health-monitoring system, and body and head armour that is capable of protecting a man from the bullets fired from an AK-47 rifle. All these technologies have been integrated to form the "Future Black Cat Commando System".

The system is presently under consideration by the government. The NSG will soon have a "test bed" to check the functioning of the system, which will be done by a "hit" (a squad of six to seven commandos) right up to the highest level of the top-level commanders.

In a "hit," each troop will be equipped with a computer. The helmets have night vision goggles, which also have a night-vision camera that can be switched on or off. "The computer will send the live camera footage to the command centre via a commercial satellite. The commanders, who are monitoring the "hit," can change the plans of an operation in real time," said an official.

This will also allow commanders sitting at the command centre to pass orders directly to the "hit" as well as receive requests from the commandos through the latest communication system called the "mesh or gridded variety".

"The mesh variety allows the commandos of different "hits" to communicate simultaneously with each other and their commanders sitting thousands of miles away. They all are on the same radio channel. It is like a conference call over a telephone that will enable coordination of effort in case there are more than one "hit" operating. The radio devices that are presently with the NSG allows only one person to communicate at a time," explained the official.

A mesh variety radio is attached to a commando's uniform. The radio is connected by a wire to the headphones and a mouthpiece close to the jaw. The communication device uses the bone conduction technology, which is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the skull bones. "They will allow hands-free operations enabling the commando to fire his weapon even while communicating," said the official.

The video transfer and the communication devices have been approved by the government for digital secrecy, implying that a conversation cannot be monitored or the system penetrated. "Messages being passed on the present radio handsets with the NSG can be intercepted easily. So radio silence or restricted conversation has to be maintained when the enemy is nearby," said sources.

The future commando system will also use the state-of-the-art "level-3 alpha" helmet and body armour, capable of taking the hits from the 7.62 mm bullets of the AK-47 assault rifle. The Glock pistols and MP5s, the two primary weapons of the NSG, will also be equipped with the latest sights.

The commandos will also have a health-monitoring system in the form of a wrist band. "It monitors the vital organs such as the heart and the brain. The commanders will have a monitoring system, which will show if a commando has been killed or is still alive," said the sources.

Bharat Electronics Limited has been tasked to procure the equipment. "The system is in a good stage of development. Until now, we have tested individual pieces. After the "test bed," there will be further trials. Once the trials are complete, the entire NSG force will be equipped with it," informed the official.

Future Commandos

    The state-of-the-art equipment includes voice-data-video transfer, “mesh variety” communication devices, health-monitoring system, and body and head armour that is capable of protecting a man from the bullets fired from an AK-47 rifle
    The NSG will soon have a “test bed” to check the functioning of the system, which will be done by a “hit” (a squad of six to seven commandos)
    In a “hit”, each troop will be equipped with a computer. The helmets have night vision goggles, which also have a night-vision camera that can be switched on or off


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130613/nation.htm#6
AFT seeks details of action taken against Army’s legal chief
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, July 12
Less than two months before he is scheduled to retire, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today sought details on the implementation of its earlier order directing “suitable action” against the Army’s top law officer for illegally transferring an officer belonging to his department.

While observing that the transfer of a Lieutenant Colonel from the Army’s legal branch to another branch was “illegal’, the AFT had, in December 2012, pointed out bias and prejudice on part of the Major General heading the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Department, the Army’s legal wing, and suggested that the Ministry of Defence may take suitable action against him and other responsible after holding proper investigation.

In January this year, the affected officer, Lt Col Mukul Dev had moved a contempt application for non-compliance of the AFT’s order. The Army had repeatedly been seeking time for implementing the order.

“Today, the AFT directed that the entire case file along with details of the action taken in the matter be produced by the Defence Ministry before it on June 25,” the officer’s counsel, Col Rajiv Manglik (retd) told The Tribune. The Army’s legal head, Maj Gen PS Rathore, who is the respondent in the case, is scheduled to retire on July 31.

The AFT had earlier ruled that Lt Col Dev’s transfer from the JAG branch to a branch dealing with land records, which had adversely affected his career, was made through an illegal order from within the Command Headquarters which had no authority to do so as the transfer was the prerogative of Army Headquarters.

Consequently, two of the officer’s annual confidential reports (ACRs) pertaining to the aforementioned period have been set aside, with directions to the Army to hold a selection board to consider his promotion to the rank of Colonel as a fresh case. The two ACRs were initiated after the Lieutenant Colonel had moved court against his transfer.

In his petition, Lt Col Dev had challenged the legality and validity of the ACRs which had been initiated by Maj Gen PS Rathore, when he was heading the JAG Branch at Command Headquarters as a Brigadier.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130613/nation.htm#8
Army’s top-secret letter leaks, six indicted

New Delhi, June 12
Army's top-secret details about operational plans and deployment along the sensitive India-China border could have been compromised and around six military personnel have been indicted by a Court of Inquiry (CoI) in this regard.

Sources said the indicted personnel are in the process of facing disciplinary action on various counts in the incident which happened around a couple of years ago.

The sensitive information could have been compromised because of leakage of a top secret letter written by the Tezpur-based 4 Corps to the Rangia-based 21 Mountain Division which is learned to have details about operational plans and other such crucial information relating to the sensitive China border, they said.

Sources said at that point of time, the 21 Mountain Division was being commanded by Maj Gen NS Ghei, who was later promoted to the rank of Lt Gen and is presently commanding the Bathinda-based 10 Corps along Pakistan border.

The letter went missing within a week of its receipt by the 21 Mountain Division and it is still untraceable. It is not yet clear whether defence ministry was informed by the top Army brass about the loss of such a sensitive letter at a time when Gen VK Singh was the Army Chief. — PTI

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-09/pune/39848919_1_defence-authorities-pune-cantonment-board-army-road
Closure of road by defence authorities irks Wanowrie residents
PUNE: Residents of Pune Cantonment area are up in arms against the defence authorities over the closure of the Right Flank Lines road linking Wanowrie Bazaar to the surrounding areas.

The defence authorities constructed a wall across the road next to the Military Intelligence School and depot four days ago, claiming that the land belongs to them.

However, local residents said the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) maintains it and the defence authorities have no right to close the road as it was used by them before the cantonment limits came into existence. The residents also complained that the defence authorities did not issue a public notice before closing the road, nor did they take political leaders into confidence.

Senior authorities at the Southern Command headquarters as well as the Pune Sub Area (PSA), which is the local military authority, have denied the charge that there was no advance notice prior to the closure of the road.

"The PSA had taken adequate steps to warn people one month in advance about the move by putting up boards at either ends," an officer from the Southern Command headquarters told TOI on Saturday. "The purpose is not to block anybody or create problems for motorists, but to ensure safety of the patients at the Command Hospital (CH)," the officer he said, adding, "There are at least three diversion routes which people can use."

"The construction of wall is primarily aimed at avoiding accidents and secure a safer movement for scores of Army patients at the CH, which has facilities located on either sides of the road," he said.

CH is one of the bigger hospitals of the Indian Army with a sizeable number of beds and capacity to handle patients from armed forces units across the country. "The existing road is quite narrow and the frequency of vehicles moving on either side has increased in recent times. People often speed past in the early morning or evening hours. Even the speed breakers are of little help in controlling rashly driven vehicles that pose accident hazard to patients," the officer said.

"The construction of a new multi-storied complex for various CH wards, which have been operating so far from the old barracks, will begin soon. The foundation stone laying ceremony for this complex will be held on June 18 in presence of top defence authorities," he said.

K V Nagireddy, PCB chief executive officer, said, "The Right Flank Lines road is an Army road and they need not take permission from the PCB to construct the wall."

Vishwas Pandhare, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said, "The defence authorities have informed us on their decision to close an internal road in Pune Cantonment permanently as they were facing certain problems."

He said they had pointed out that the road is used by the public, but the defence authorities were of the view that it is not used much by the public and hence, a decision to construct a wall was taken by them. "The closure of the road is not causing inconvenience and the public have a choice to use alternative roads," he said.

Motorists and residents from surrounding areas, however, have a different view. They feel that the diversion suggested by the defence authorities via Tanga stand, if one is coming from Napier Road, has increased traffic congestion in Wanowrie Bazaar area. Coming from Wanowrie, the road is linked to Mahatma Gandhi bus depot, Pulgate, Golibar Maidan, Swargate, Salisbury Park, Market Yard, Lullanagar and others areas.

From Camp, the road is connected to Napier road, Wanowrie, Netajinagar, Shinde Chatri, Azadnagar, Kedarinagar, Shantinagar, state reserve police force, Salunkhe Vihar road, Kondhwa, Fatimangar and other areas.

Deepak Mathurawala, a resident of Wanowrie bazaar, said the traffic congestion in the area suddenly increased after the defence authorities started diverting traffic via the bazaar area. He said the residents of the area were using the road before the British started the cantonment. "We have requested Vinod Mathurawala, former vice-president of PCB, to take up the matter with the higher authorities and resolve the issue as soon as possible," he added.

Senior citizen Jagdish Gopaldas Mathurawala said the bazaar area is over 150 years old and that he has been using the road for over 73 years now. He said the Army authorities have not given reasons for the closure of the road. In fact, it was the jawans posted on the road who informed that the wall has been erected, following an order issued by the sub area commander, he added.

Jagdish Mathurawala explained that the commuters coming from Napier Road and Kondhwa, passing via Right Flank Lines, used to turn left to go to places like Bhairobanala and Wanowriegaon. However, now they go via bazaar area which is adding to the congestion in the area, particularly during the peak hours between 5 pm and 8 pm, as the road is narrow, he said.
"We will also ask MP Suresh Kalmadi to take up the issue at the highest level. If they are ready to demolish the wall, we will request the defence authorities to issue photo identity cards to local residents, if entry of outsiders is to be restricted in the Army area," she added.

Activist Shashi Puram said, "We will take up the matter with the PCB to demolish the wall as the Army cannot harass the civilians in the name of security by closing the road, which had remained open for the public for generations." Puram demanded that the civil area in the cantonment be merged in the limits of the Pune Municipal Corporation.

"In the past, the Army had closed the road where General Arunkumar Vaidya was shot dead and closed Ghorpadi road linking Kalyaninagar. Besides, the road where Swami Vivekanand High School in Ghorpadi links Empress Garden is closed daily for two hours in the morning. The Army has now occupied an open ground near the school for construction purpose. It has implemented the helmet rule and now it has erected a wall on the Right Flank Lines road to harass the residents of the cantonment area", Puram added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-to-plug-operational-gaps-in-modernization-plan/articleshow/20565570.cms
Army to plug operational gaps in modernization plan
NEW DELHI: The Army is finally cranking up its modernization drive, with around 680 procurement projects worth over Rs 2 lakhcrore for the 12th Plan (2012-17) period, to plug operational gaps as well as ensure "capability development" along both the western and eastern fronts.

With the 1.13-million Army lagging far behind the much smaller IAF and Navy in terms of modernization, General Bikram Singh has pressed the throttle hard to usher in several systemic procurement changes to ensure the force manages to overcome "operational hollowness" within strict deadlines.

The steps range from "in-house refinements", "streamlining of the procurement process" and high-powered monitoring to detailed action plans, "prioritization and periodic re-casting of acquisition plans", say officers.

The Army certainly has a lot of catching up to do. It has been grappling with ill-equipped infantry battalions, tanks running out of ammunition, lack of modern 155mm howitzers, night-blindness, obsolete air defence weapons, aging helicopters and the like for several years now.

The Army's inept management of projects, the defence ministry's cumbersome defence procurement policy and last Army chief Gen V K Singh's messy battle with the government, all had combined to stall the modernization drive.

"But with streamlining of capital procurement procedures over the last one year, things are moving now. In the 2012-2013 fiscal, 29 contracts worth about Rs 7,000 crore were inked. We will do even better this year...four contracts have already been concluded," said a senior officer.

Gen Bikram Singh has identified 31 of the 680 projects as "Priority-I", which include assault rifles, howitzers, bullet-proof jackets, tank/artillery ammunition and missiles. The around Rs 10,000 crore project for induction of 1,78,000 new-generation assault rifles, with interchangeable barrels for conventional warfare and counter-insurgency operations, for instance, is being finalized.

The first 65,000 rifles will be imported from the selected foreign vendor, with the rest being manufactured by Ordnance Factory Board. In the backdrop of almost 50% of the global tenders or RFPs (request for proposals) being recalled earlier for "faulty" technical parameters, the Army is trying to ensure "realistic, unambiguous and implementable" GSQRs (general staff qualitative requirements) for new weapon systems are drawn up. An important reform is the establishment of "trial cells" in the six operational commands to ensure field trials of weapons can be conducted in "a swift, coordinated and transparent manner".

"The overall effort is fast-track files and projects. Organizational re-structuring of the Perspective Planning and Weapons & Equipment directorates is also being done. A Higher Forum headed by the vice-chief monitors all modernization proposals every month," said an officer.

Gen Bikram Singh is also pushing hard for the early approval of the proposed mountain strike corps (around 40,000 troops), which will be headquartered at Panagarh in West Bengal, to plug gaps as well as get some ground offensive capabilities against China. The project will cost around Rs 81,000 crore spread primarily over the 12th Plan period, with some spillover into the 13th Plan if necessary, as reported earlier.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/telecom/DoT-denies-defence-ministry-900-MHz-band/articleshow/20555139.cms
DoT denies defence ministry 900-MHz band
KOLKATA: The telecom department (DoT) has dismissed an armed forces demand for pan-India allocation of airwaves in the efficient 900 MHz band, since the spectrum has already been allotted to state-run telecom operator MTNL and Railways. The defence ministry had sought a pan-India allocation of 2.4 units or MHz in the 900-MHz frequency band and another 1.2 units in Delhi for the army's signaling requirements.

The defence was already given 15 MHz in the 700-800 band, 20 MHz in 2,300-2,400 band and 150 MHz in 1,700-2,000 band. However, since the 900-MHz band by definition is commercial frequency the world over, the defence was asked to submit justification for its use.

In its response, DoT's Wireless Planning Cell (WPC) pointed out in an internal note, a copy of which was reviewed by ET, that pan-India allocation in the 900-MHz GSM band cannot be considered for the army due to existing assignments to MTNL and Railways.
It has also added that "GSM airwaves in the 900-MHz have been earmarked for commercial telecom service providers". In a separate note to signal officer-in chief SP Kochar, telecom secretary M Farooqui has claimed that "since the armed forces had not projected its requirement of the 900-MHz band in the past, airwaves in that efficient band have not been identified for the defence band, but for commercial telecom services".

The WPC, however, is exploring ways to release 1.2 units of 900 MHz spectrum for the army's requirement in Delhi on a case-to-case basis, the note said. The latest defence ministry demand comes at a time when the telecom department plans to refarm or redistribute airwaves in the 900-MHz frequency band after permits of incumbent mobile carriers come up for renewal beginning 2014.
The telcos, however, have opposed this move and initiated legal action to thwart DoT from implementing the proposal. The DoT has, subsequently, sought sector regulator Trai's suggestions on refarming 900 MHz band airwaves held by incumbent mobile operators.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130612/DEFREG03/306120026/India-Speed-BMP-2-Upgrades-FICV-Stalls
India To Speed BMP-2 Upgrades; FICV Stalls


NEW DELHI — Keeping its US $10 billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program on the shelf, the Indian Ministry of Defense instead will accelerate the upgrade of its Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles and will issue tenders to buy 2,000 engines for the program, Defense Ministry sources said.

The Indian Army’s more than 1,500 BMP-2s will be upgraded at a cost of more than $1.2 billion in the next three to five years, and the program last month received formal MoD clearance, the sources said. Though this move doesn’t necessarily shut down the homegrown FICV project, it is less likely to see the light of day because the decision has already been delayed, said an Army official.

The tender for the purchase of 2,000 engines to power the upgraded BMP-2 has been sent to domestic auto majors Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Force Motors, Ashok Leyland, Maruti Udyog and Crompton Greaves, and to MTU of Germany, Thales of France and Rosoboronexport of Russia.

The Army requires engines able to generate 350 to 380 horsepower and are easy to maintain and operate in extreme weather conditions. The existing engine of the BMP-2 has 285 horsepower and is not suited for cross-country mobility.

The upgrade will improve observation and surveillance, night-fighting capability and fire control, and will provide an improved anti-tank guided missile system and 30mm automatic grenade launcher.

The Russians last year offered their BMP-3 vehicles to replace the FICV, but no decision was made.

The proposed FICV project would be the first built in the “Make India” category, which means only Indian companies would be allowed to participate.

The project would involve participation by the Indian government and Indian companies. Two short-listed companies would be asked to make an FICV prototype, and after field trials of the prototype, the winning company would produce up to 2,600 FICVs.

After nearly two years of discussions, no final decision has been made about which companies will participate.

The Defense Ministry had selected state-owned Bharat Earth Movers and a consortium of Larsen & Toubro, Mahindra Defense and Tata Power, but former Indian Army chief general, V.K. Singh, questioned the ability of the Indian companies to take on such a big project, MoD sources said.


http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pm-nawaz-sharif-raises-pakistans-defence-budget-15-per-cent/1128276/
PM Nawaz Sharif raises Pakistan's defence budget 15 per cent
Pakistan's cash-strapped new government announced a hefty 15 per cent hike in its defence budget to Rs 627 billion, with the powerful army getting the lion's share of the outlay.

Pakistan has traditionally made defence allocations with the objective of maintaining conventional parity with India.

The government increased the allocation for defence in its budget for fiscal 2013-14 to Rs 627 billion (about USD 6.32 billion), marking an increase of little more than 15 per cent over the outlay for the current fiscal.

The allocation for the three defence services amounted to 15.73 per cent of the federal budget of Rs 3.985 trillion for fiscal 2013-14.

The army got the biggest share of the outlay with Rs 301.54 billion. The air force was allocated Rs 131.18 billion while the outlay for the navy was Rs 62.80 billion.

Further details, including allocations for weapons acquisition programmes, were not immediately available.

Official budget documents presented in parliament said a sum of Rs 627 billion had been allocated for the defence services for 2013-14, compared with Rs 545 billion (about 5.82 billion dollars) provided in the fiscal year ending on June 30.

The budget documents further showed that the new PML-N government led by Nawaz Sharif had allocated Rs 2300 million for the Defence Production Division in the Public Sector Development Programme for 2013-14.

Of this amount, Rs 2246.300 million has been allocated for installing a ship lift, transfer system and associated machinery and equipment to provide docking and repair facilities for surface ships, submarines and commercial vessels at Karachi port.

Pakistan's new government led by Nawaz Sharif took office last week and faces big challenges like reducing budget deficit and crippling energy crisis.

The government also earmarked Rs 3545.457 million for the projects of the Defence Division in the Public Sector Development Programme for 2013-14.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Revoke-AFSPA-gradually/articleshow/20560397.cms
Revoke AFSPA gradually
Faced with continuing pressure from states to repeal the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde's assurance Tuesday that all stakeholders will be consulted before a decision on withdrawing the legislation is taken should sound sympathetic to several embattled chief ministers.

During the recent internal security meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah yet again called for gradually revoking AFSPA from his state. He has done this consistently since assuming office in 2009, citing a progressively improved security situation in J&K. What has prevented this from happening is an unexplained relationship bet-ween the army and defence minister A K Antony. The minister, who should take the call on this critical issue, has thrust the ball into the army's court, with the latter blithely saying that it would abide by the government decision.

There are three important reasons why revocation of the AFSPA is necessary from J&K. First and foremost, the army should return to its primary task on the disputed borders, especially when the Line of Actual Control too has become active and there are confirmed reports of a nexus between Chinese and Pakistani troops in the northern areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). By joining hands with Chinese troops in PoK, the Pakistan army has finally nullified the numbers advantage of the Indian army in J&K.

Since 1990, when Indian soldiers moved in large numbers in J&K, the Rawalpindi-based General Headquarters worried about a surprise attack across the military-held Line of Control. Today, despite 80,000 additional troops doing counter-insurgency operations (CI ops) in the state, the Indian army's large number, which is the war-winning factor in the mountains, stands neutralised. A third of the 13-lakh-strong army is involved in CI and counter-infiltration operations in the state, with an equal number waiting to relieve the fighting force, and the rest bracing itself for a posting to the CI environment.

The army's argument that it can simultaneously do a range of tasks from CI ops to preparing for a two-front war is untenable. To recall, in the 1999 Kargil war the army was far too focussed on counter-insurgency and combating terrorism to quickly realise that an occupation of Indian land had occurred, necessitating a conventional war.

It requires a different mindset, training and equipping for the two tasks; the army knows this well but is loathe is give up CI ops as it brings in prestige, power, perks and awards. In which other state would a serving lieutenant general openly take on the chief minister on law and order issues?

The army is also reluctant to scale down and finally wound up its CI role in the state because it will lose 80,000 troops. The CI force called Rashtriya Rifles (RR) was raised in 1990 and was labelled a non-field force. This means that it is not a permanent force but will stay as long as is needed, after which it would be disbanded. For the army, this would imply permanent scaling down of additional ranks and perks. It worries that this could lead to dissatisfaction in its higher ranks.

The whole situation is ironic considering that army chief General B C Joshi, who raised the CI force in large numbers in 1992 for the troubled state, was publicly committed to returning the army to the primary task of guarding the borders at the earliest. While doing a splendid job of thwarting Pakistan's proxy war in J&K, the army, unfortunately over the last 23 years, tasted blood when it found itself engaged in an open-ended task. In the absence of substantive political initiatives required to resolve the Kashmir dispute, New Delhi allowed the army to maintain military pressure in the state, a situation anathema to a fair resolution of an essentially political problem.

The second reason why AFSPA should be gradually removed is that the state law and order machinery, comprising the state police and central paramilitary forces, need time to assume responsibility. With the army's permanent presence in the state, the Unified Headquarters - comprising senior officers of all security and intelligence agencies - the paramilitary forces, especially the CRPF in large numbers, has been pushed to the shadows, with little certainty that it will be able to perform under crisis or a war-situation.

For instance, in case of war, there are definitive army plans that 70% of its RR forces would move to the border. They would be replaced by the CRPF for CI ops at a time when the enemy is sure to heighten sabotage of the army's internal lines. Surely, the RR and the CRPF need regular training for such war tasks which, unfortunately, is not happening and may invite disaster. In any case, what good is an army that boasts of doing a better CI job than the CRPF? This must change both for the nation and the army's good.

And lastly, how can a chief minister really claim normalcy in the state where the AFSPA hangs like a Damocles' sword over his head? The figures that Omar Abdullah provided in support of improved security situation are corroborated by increased tourism in the state. The army's argument that its departure will discourage terrorism is spurious. Why cannot the army holding the border be readjusted for CI ops should indeed such a contingency come to pass?

http://kashmirwatch.com/opinions.php/2013/06/12/india-8217-s-anti-china-maneuvering.html
India’s Anti-China Maneuvering
During his recent visit to New Delhi, and after meeting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that the two emerging Asian economies were going to enhance cooperation.

No doubt, Beijing wants cordial relationship with New Delhi. But India which apparently emphasizes mutual cooperation with China, showing lethargic approach in the solution of border dispute, has been increasing military build near the Chinese border, coupled with secret support to the Tibetan insurgents as part of its overt and covert maneuvering.

Recently, tension arose between India and China when Indian army erected a military camp in Chumar Sector of Ladakh at the Line of Actual Control (LAC)-disputed border, situated between the two countries. As Chinese withdrew from Depsang, Indian troops constructed fortifications in there. At the same time, India accused Chinese troops of intrusion into Indian area. But reality was exposed when New Delhi requested for flag meeting to resolve the issue, after Beijing put pressure on Indian Army which dismantled the constructed fortifications and to discontinue round the clock patrolling in Chumar Sector.

Indian aggressive approach against China cannot be seen in isolation. Similarly, Indian soldiers crossed over the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir on January 6, 2012 and attacked a Pakistani check post, killing one Pakistani soldier. Afterwards, Indian troops shot dead more Pakistani soldiers on the LoC. Then New Delhi concocted a fabricated story blaming Pakistan for killing and beheading its two soldiers.

Notably, in the mid of May, 2013, the first Blue Book, published by a Chinese think tank said, “India’s large increase in troops at the borders near China and Pakistan and upgradation of border forces with new weapons and equipments are part of Indian
strategy which includes the possibility of a two-front war with Pakistan and China.”

It is mentionable that under the Pak-China pretext, Indian ex-Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, revealed on December 29, 2010 that the Indian army “is now revising its five-year old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan.”

In the recent past, New Delhi re-opened its Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) airbase in northern Ladakh, which overlooks the strategic Karakoram Pass and is only 8 km south of the Chinese border-Aksai Chin area. India has also erected more than 10 new helipads between the Sino-Indian border.

In October, 2011, Indian government has given the go-ahead for the deployment of BrahMos cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh located along the Chinese border. With a range of 290 km., these missiles are being deployed to improve India’s military reach into the China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
While exposing India’s ambitious defence policy, Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has disclosed in its report of April 2011 that India has planned “to spend an estimated $80 billion on military modernization programs by 2015 so as to further increase its military build-up against China and disrupt security-balance in South Asia.”

On November 2, 2010, US agreed to sell India the most expensive—the new F-35 fighter jets including F-16 and F-18 fighters, C-17 and C-130 aircraft, radar systems etc. Besides, India has also been getting arms and weapons from other western countries including Russia, and especially Israel including Russia. US signed a deal of civil energy technology with India in 2008, and lifted sanctions on New Delhi to import nuclear technology.

Particularly, US has been helping India in various fields because fast growing economic power of China coupled with her rising strategic relationship with the Third World has irked the eyes of Americans and Indians. Owing to jealousy, America desires to make India a major power to counterbalance China in Asia.

It is also due to the fact that Balochistan’s geo-strategic location with deep Gwadar seaport, connecting rest of the world with Central Asia has further annoyed the US and India because Beijing has already invested billion of dollars to develop this seaport. It is owing to multiple strategic designs that the US and India seeks to dismember both Pakistan and Iran. Notably, by rejecting US growing pressure, on March 11, 2013 Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari inaugurated the gas pipeline project with Iran. Meanwhile, Pakistan has handed over the control of Gwader seaport to China.

During the trip of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Islamabad, Pakistan and China signed several agreements on May 22, this year to strengthen and diversify cooperation in various fields. Beijing would also provide financial aid to Islamabad to complete the Gwader seaport. Premier Li Keqiang supported Pakistan’s proposal of China-Pakistan economic corridor to improve connectivity between Pakistan and China, saying that both sides decided on a long term programme—a strategic idea, He also assured that Beijing was also ready to upgrade Karrakuram Highway and to sign Sino-Pak civilian nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, a day before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Islamabad; Chinese engineers being driven through Clifton Block-1 in Karachi escaped a major bomb attack.

As regards anti-China diplomacy, Afghanistan has become a hub from where external secret agencies like American CIA, Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad have been assisting subversive activities in other parts of Pakistan—especially in Balochistan through their affiliated militant groups at the cost of Pakistan, China and Iran. In the past few years, they abducted and killed many Chinese and Iranian nationals in Pakistan.

It is of particular attention that in May 1998, when India detonated five nuclear tests, the then Defense Minister George Fernandes had declared publicly that “China is India's potential threat No. 1.” New Delhi which successfully tested missile, Agni-111in May 2007, has been extending its range to target all Chinese cities.

Nevertheless, New Delhi’s ambitious defence policy leaves even less for what India needs most to lift millions of its citizens from abject poverty. In fact, India’s anti-China maneuvering is aimed at destroying regional peace and stability, and it gives a wake up call to other Asian powers.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Affairs

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