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Friday, 14 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 14 Jun 2013
Need for security reforms in Pakistan
Moonis Ahmar

THE new government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will face a daunting task in dealing with the critical issues of governance and the rule of law.

For years, Pakistani society has not just been facing the challenge of militancy and terrorism; the hard task which the PML-N government will have to tackle in the coming days is to introduce meaningful security sector reforms.

The focus of Nawaz Sharif during his election campaign was good governance, rule of law and a better quality of life. But without taking bold and courageous steps to establish a culture of accountability, efficiency and responsibility in areas which are supposed to provide basic security to the people, the situation on the ground may not change for the better.

The concept of security sector reforms aims to pursue a non-traditional approach in dealing with issues which augment a sense of insecurity in different segments of society. In February 2007, the UN Security Council came up with an innovative definition of security sector reforms when it stated that “security sector reforms are critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law, good governance, extending legitimate state authority and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict. The Security Council encourages states to formulate their security sector reform programmes in a holistic way that encompasses strategic planning, institutional structures, resource management, operational capacity, civilian oversight and good governance.”

Strategically speaking, security sector reforms cover both the military and civilian components of state and non-state institutions which are carried out in a democratic set-up with proper transparency, accountability and vision. Security sector reforms are badly needed in post-colonial and fragile states where dysfunctional state organs cause the threat of instability, chaos and disorder.

In order to prevent a conflict and its escalation, state actors in collaboration with civil society can formulate a strategy to use police, intelligence agencies and military and paramilitary forces in a planned manner so that the situation is controlled peacefully and without the loss of innocent lives.

Without reforming institutions which are responsible for maintaining law and order and ensuring good governance, the state cannot maintain peace, stability and provide basic security to its citizens.

In 2004, the British government issued a policy document on security sector reforms specifically dealing with conflict prevention, management and resolution. Following a comprehensive approach on security sector reforms, the policy document argued that the “main purpose of the security sector reforms’ strategy is to support governments of developing and transitional countries so that they can fulfil their legitimate security functions through reforms that will make the delivery of security more effective and democratic, thereby reducing the potential for both internal and external conflict.”

Human security is considered pivotal as far as security sector reforms are concerned because extremism, militancy, violence and terrorism deepen their roots if unemployment, illiteracy, poverty, and social and economic backwardness are not eradicated. It is the internal rather than external security dynamics of a state which are a cause of widespread popular discontent and instability.

By enhancing capacity building of educational, judicial and administrative institutions through security sector reforms, one can expect better management of conflicts and unresolved issues.

Why are security sector reforms needed in Pakistan and how can the PML-N government deal with the issues of human security, good governance and the rule of law? What are the major challenges in reforming security sector institutions which are either not performing properly or are reaching the stage of total collapse?

Although Pakistan cannot be termed a failed state, it certainly comes under the category of a fragile state. Failure of security agencies to prevent large-scale acts of terrorism and violence means there exists an absence of viable security architecture in the country.

According to a report entitled “Election 2013: Violence against political parties, candidates and voters” released by the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies recently, “a total of 148 terrorist attacks were reported across Pakistan between January 1 and May 15 killing as many as 170 people (while) 743 (were) injured in these attacks.”

Furthermore, around 50,000 people, both civilian and in uniform, have been killed in Pakistan since 9/11 in terrorist and other violent acts. On Sept 6 last year, then federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the National Assembly that “a total of 1,363 people lost their lives at the hands of target killers in Karachi during the past five years.”

These facts reveal the failure of the state to protect its people despite spending billions of rupees on the law enforcement agencies.
Turmoil in tribal areas
Najmuddin A Shaikh

Pakistan's armed forces are engaged in fierce battles in the Khyber and Kurram agencies and on a somewhat smaller scale in the other tribal agencies to re-establish the writ of the state.

It is an uphill task. The Khyber Agency operation was launched several weeks ago and it is only now that the Inter-Services Public Relations can claim that a substantial area has been cleared of militants. In their operations the armed forces have used artillery and air attacks with F-16s and helicopter gunships. One can assume that no matter how carefully these weapons have been used and no matter how many civilians have fled the conflict area, there has been substantial collateral damage. In the meanwhile, havoc continues to be wreaked in the settled districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It is natural for the new government to believe that this seemingly unending conflict will only add to the over 40,000 persons who have already been killed, increase the number of internally displaced persons and jeopardise plans for an economy recovery.

A desire to seek a negotiated settlement is therefore understandable. But is it possible? Would a better course be to abandon the ambivalence of the past, recognise that no elusive external gain outweighs the costs that the support of extremist groups brings to our internal security situation and set about assuring the multitude of anti-Taliban forces in the region that they can safely join the government in fighting and eliminating the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its allies?

The armed forces, possibly with the collaboration of the civil administration, are seeking the assistance of local anti-TTP forces to break the hold the insurgents have established in Khyber, Kurram and other tribal areas. How successful and durable the results of these efforts will be will depend on the degree of credibility the locals attach to the determination of the new government to pursue this present course. They may take heart from President Zardari's address to parliament in which he said, presumably with the approval of the new government, "Militancy, extremism and terrorism pose the greatest threat to our national security … We are ready to make peace with those willing to give up violence, but should be ready to use force against those who challenge the writ of the state." The other statements that are being made by responsible officials about the willingness of the new government to find ways and means to woo the TTP into entering into talks will, however, give them pause.

A front of various groups, including the Afghan Taliban and anti-TTP forces, in Afghanistan's Kunar province - the source of an enormous lumber and narcotics smuggling network - are massing to confront the TTP. Ehsanullah Ehsan, the TTP spokesman, confirmed that such an attack was anticipated and attributed it to an old enmity with the Ansar-ul Islam and other militant groups.

What was most interesting, however, was Ehsan's statement to another newspaper that he hoped the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" would realise the conspiracy and not join these rival groups. He apparently found nothing wrong in stating as a Pakistani that "We have shown allegiance to the Islamic Emirate and accept their leadership and if they have any complaint we are ready to satisfy them". When an authoritative spokesman for the TTP acknowledges pledging allegiance to the "Islamic Emirate" it means that when the Taliban become dominant in the areas of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan, after the NATO withdrawal, the TTP will join them in establishing the writ of the "Islamic Emirate" in Pakistan's tribal areas and make these areas the "strategic depth" of the "Islamic Emirate" (as they had been during the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan).

Is this the end result we want from the negotiations with the TTP? Is there any other end that can be reasonably expected?

Even while we debate this issue we must, therefore, seek a weakening of the TTP. In Kunar, the fight is for control of the extremely lucrative lumber and narcotics trade rather than any ideological conflict. The Afghan Taliban may join the anti-TTP front to protect their economic interests. Our authorities must encourage such moves to weaken the TTP as also to stop the use of this area by Mullah Fazlullah and his cohorts to attack Pakistan. One issue, which bedevils Pak-Afghan relations and impedes Afghan reconciliation, is the Pakistani military's response to Fazlullah's attacks and the fuel this provides for anti-Pakistan forces in Afghanistan.

The new government's opposition to drone strikes has been articulated at the highest level. Yet the two strikes carried out after our elections have been aimed at TTP leaders, albeit leaders who were also attacking or planning to attack forces in Afghanistan, and by all accounts have caused minimal collateral damage. The violation of our sovereignty is clear, but so is the fact that we exercise no sovereignty in the affected areas and cannot prevent the use of this area by insurgents for attacking Afghan territory - rendering meaningless President Zardari's reiteration in parliament of the Pakistani pledge to not allow the use of its territory for attacks on other countries.
China yet to respond to India’s proposals
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 13
India is still waiting for a response from Beijing on the draft proposals it had sent to China for a border defence cooperation agreement (BDCA) between the two countries, top government sources said today.

China had sent its proposals to India on March 4. In return, India had submitted its own draft to Beijing on May 10, days after the tense border stand-off between the two countries in the Ladakh sector ended.

The draft proposals are expected to be discussed between the two sides at length when Defence Minister AK Antony visits Beijing in the near future. Antony’s visit was earlier planned for June or July. But as his Chinese counterpart has engagements during these two months, the two countries are discussing possible dates for the visit in August.

Asked when the Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China were expected to hold their 16th round of talks, sources said the dates for this meeting too were being worked out through diplomatic channels.

National Security Adviser Shivshanker Menon is the SR on the Indian side while China will have a new SR at the next round of talks — its former Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi who has replaced Dai Bingguo.

The sources pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, during their talks in New Delhi last month, had asked the two SRs to discuss the reasons for the border face-off in Ladakh in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector at their next meeting.

Chinese troops had pitched tents there triggering tension between the two neighbours at a time when their relationship was looking up.

New Delhi is still not clear why the Chinese troops carried out the incursion in Ladakh and what was their ultimate objective. China has so far not offered any convincing explanation.

On China’s proposal for a Bangladesh-Myanmar-India-China economic corridor, the sources said that India had told Beijing that it was a good idea to build up linkages but the views of both Bangladesh and Myanmar in the matter would have to be ascertained.

Border talks

    China had sent its proposals to India on March 4
    India had submitted its own draft to Beijing on May 10, days after the border stand-off between the two nations in the Ladakh sector ended
    The draft proposals are expected to be discussed at length when Defence Minister AK Antony visits Beijing in the near future
Boundless snooping
NSA surveillance is extensive & intrusive

Largely because of recent reports prompted by hitherto secret information leaked by   Edward Snowden in western newspapers, the world is aware of the US National Security Agency’s Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronisation, and Management (PRISM) and the extent to which the top US intelligence agency has data-mined electronic communications like emails, chat logs and other data worldwide. PRISM, a data tool, collects and processes foreign intelligence that passes through American servers. While many in the US are concerned about the domestic surveillance of US citizens, we in India too have found out that we are targets.

In fact, a programme called Boundless Informant organises and categorises data on the basis of where it comes from, and one of the slides leaked by the whistleblower Snowden shows that India is the fifth on the surveillance list. The chilling fact comes as a footnote to the discourse about the NSA’s role in the western media. It seems that India is of interest to the US, perhaps more than has often been realised. It is also vulnerable. The absence of a strong culture of encryption in the nation, a lack of organized security protocol for transmitting data securely as well as a cavalier attitude towards privacy of individuals, all contribute to a culture in which foreign agencies, especially well-equipped ones, can snoop at will. The lack of privacy laws like those that protect the data of EU citizens even if it is sent abroad, makes Indian citizens and companies weak against such invasions of privacy.

The credibility of the US companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple, which have apparently given access to the NSA, too, has taken a knock in the wake of the recent disclosures. When trust is violated, it takes a long time and earnest effort to regain it. The US intelligence community has some hard questions to answer at home, even as US diplomats try to limit the damage abroad. The Indian government, while strengthening its security and closing loopholes in its laws, must also protest the US espionage. Strong displeasure of the government must be conveyed through diplomatic channels.
India’s first navigation satellite set for July 1 launch

Bangalore, June 13
Indian Space Research Organisation has now scheduled the launch of the country's first navigation satellite for July one after rectifying an anomaly. “Review is on. It's scheduled to be launched at 11.43 PM on July one", ISRO sources told PTI here today.

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-1A (IRNSS-1A) was scheduled for launch on board Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C22) on June 12, 2013 at 01:01 hours from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

The spacecraft had gone through all electrical checks and was ready for propellant filling. The PSLV-C22 was fully integrated and was undergoing electrical checks.

But during the electrical checks of the launch vehicle early this month, an anomaly was observed in one of the electro-hydraulic control actuators in the second stage, forcing the space agency to postpone the launch.

Bangalore headquartered ISRO has since replaced this actuator.

The 1,425 kg IRNSS-1, which will have a life span of about 10 years, will provide satellite-based terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation services and also help in disaster and fleet management and vehicle tracking, an ISRO official said.

ISRO has planned to have a constellation of seven satellites under IRNSS by 2014-15.

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system, and once all the spacecraft become operational, it would provide position accuracy, similar to Global Positioning System (GPS), of better than 10 metres over India and the region extending about 1,500 km around the country. "It is designed to provide an accurate real time Position, Navigation and Time (PNT) services to users on a variety of platforms with 24x7 service availability under all weather conditions", the official said.

IRNSS provides two basic services -- standard positioning service for common civilian users and restricted service for special authorised users, ISRO said. — PTI

10-year life

    The 1,425-kg satellite will have a life span of 10 years
    It will provide satellite-based terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation services and also help in disaster and fleet management and vehicle tracking
    ISRO has planned to have a constellation of seven satellites under IRNSS by 2014-15
Pak lone female fighter pilot ready for combat

Sargodha (Pakistan), June 13
With an olive green headscarf poking out from her helmet, Ayesha Farooq flashes a cheeky grin when asked if it is lonely being the only war-ready female fighter pilot in the Islamic republic of Pakistan.

Farooq (26), from Bahawalpur in Punjab province, is one of 19 women who have become pilots in the Pakistan Air Force over the past decade - there are five other female fighter pilots but they have yet to take the final tests to qualify for combat.

“I don’t feel any different. We do the same activities, the same precision bombing,” the soft-spoken 26-year-old said of her male colleagues at Mushaf base in north Pakistan, where neatly piled warheads sit in sweltering 50 °C heat. A growing number of women have joined Pakistan’s defence forces in recent years as attitudes towards women change.

“Because of terrorism and our geographical location it’s very important that we stay on our toes,” says Farooq, referring to Taliban militancy and a sharp rise in sectarian violence.

Deteriorating security in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led troops are preparing to leave by the end of next year, and an uneasy relationship with arch rival India to the east add to the mix.

Farooq, whose slim frame offers a study in contrast with her burly male colleagues, was at loggerheads with her widowed and uneducated mother seven years ago when she said she wanted to join the air force.

“In our society most girls don’t even think about doing such a thing as flying an aircraft,” she said. Family pressure against the traditionally male domain of the armed forces dissuaded other women from taking the next step to become combat ready, air force officials said.

“They fly slower aircraft instead, ferrying troops and equipment around the nuclear-armed country of 180 million.

Women are becoming more aware of their rights and signing up with the air force is about as empowering as it gets.

“More and more women are joining now,” says Nasim Abbas, Wing Commander of Squadron 20, made up of 25 pilots, including Farooq, who fly Chinese-made F-7PG fighter jets.

“It’s seen as less of a taboo. There’s been a shift in the nation’s way of thinking,” Abbas says. There are now around 4,000 women in Pakistan’s armed forces, largely confined to desk jobs and medical work. But over the past decade, women have became sky marshals, defending Pakistan’s commercial liners against insurgent attacks, and a select few are serving in the elite anti-terrorist force. — Reuters
Indian Army for heavy recovery vehicle
The Indian Army is looking to procure an unspecified number of heavy recovery vehicles to recover stalled, overturned or broken down heavy or armored vehicles of the forces. The Army is looking for a vehicle capable of providing recovery cover for vehicles over 15 tonnes in all terrain (desert, plains, marshy ground, rocky ground and to a limited extent in mountains upto 4,500 meters above sea level).

It needs to be capable of un-ditching, up-righting, extricating and pulling wheeled vehicles upto 26 tonnes. It needs to have a lifespan of over 1,00,000 km. With a great deal of inductions ahead of heavy and armored vehicles, the Army requires a great deal of back-up crash support in all theaters. BEML’s HRV AV-15 (see photo) will be a contender in any competition that is announced. As reported earlier by SP’s, the Army is in the process of inducting over 7,000 new vehicles: 3,500 light bullet proof vehicles (LBPV), 2,500 infantry mobility vehicles, an unspecified number of light-armored multipurpose vehicles, 500-600 light specialty strike specialist vehicles and 228 light strike vehicles, in addition to tanks and utility trucks.
Ex-Defence secretary Vijay Singh may join Tata Sons
MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: The Tata group has held talks with former defence secretary Vijay Singh on joining the board of the holding company Tata Sons, a person with direct knowledge of the development said.

Sixty-five-year old Singh is a well-regarded former bureaucrat who quit as member of the Union Public Service Commission in January this year, even though his tenure did not end till July. He served as defence secretary between 2007 and 2009, and as secretary, ministry of road, transport and highways, and chief secretary to the government of Madhya Pradesh.

Singh, a 1970-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, declined commen
"We have no comments to offer,'' Tata Sons external agency partner Rediffusion said. Singh may well become the first major appointment of Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry if the talks are successful though Mistry is also believed to be considering other names.

In recent months, Mistry has inducted fresh blood into the group's senior executive ranks and he is poised to do so at the senior board level as well. Mistry has already revamped the group executive council (GEC) by inducting NS Rajan (group's head of human resources), Dr Mukund Govind Rajan, head of brands, communication, ethics and corporate responsibility and Madhu Kannan, who heads business development and public affairs.

GEC provides strategic and operations support to Cyrus Mistry. Singh's appointment could signal the group's strong interest in the defence sector as India pushes ahead with a massive arms purchase to modernise its armed forces. Tata Power's strategic engineering division has been involved with a number of defence ministry projects, including the nuclear-powered Arihant submarine and the launchers for the Pinaka rockets.

While Tata Motors supplies trucks to the Indian army, TASL has joint ventures with a number of overseas equipment manufacturers, such as helicopter maker Sikorsky, Lockheed Martin and Israel's ELTA Systems. Through Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL), Tata Power and Tata Motors, the group has a substantial interest in the defence sector. It has also bid for a number of defence ministry projects such as the one for future infantry combat vehicles and high-performance trucks.

''The organisation's ability to control its environment could provide perspective to this kind of an appointment," says Professor R K Premarajan, who teaches human resources at management institute XLRI, Jamshedpur. He added that his comments are not specific to the Tata group. The Tata Sons board now comprises chairman Cyrus Mistry, veteran group executives Farrokh K Kavarana, R Gopalakrishnan, Ishaat Hussain and RK Krishna Kumar.

Deal maker Arun Gandhi retired from the board but is serving as a consultant to the group. Former bureaucrats have served on the boards of Tata Sons and its group companies in the past. Former cabinet secretary BG Deshmukh served on Tata Sons while Vijay Kelkar, former finance secretary on the board of Tata Consultancy Services, the group's software arm and India's most valuable company.

Large conglomerates have started examining opportunities in the defence sector seriously. L&T, Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej and Bharat Forge are among the leading groups that either have a serious presence in defence or shown an interest in the sector through investments or joint ventures.
Ammunition bursts in T-72 tanks barrels cause concern for Army
T-72 tanks are facing problems with its ammunition as it sometimes bursts in the barrel and 200 such cases have been reported making the Army wonder whether its troops will be "afraid" to fire even after seeing the enemy.

"It (the T-72 ammunition) used to burst in the barrel. If it bursts in the barrel, then the firer is afraid to fire his own gun, which is not a correct thing. If he is afraid to fire his own gun, then even if he sees the enemy he will not fire," the Army has told a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.

The Army informed the Government and the Parliamentary Committee that over a period of time, there have been 200 such accidents involving the ammunition and "it brings down the confidence of the firer, especially, with regard to tank ammunition."

In terms of the numbers, the T-72 tanks are the backbone of the Indian armoured fleet and have undergone several upgrades since their induction to be able to fight effectively in the battlefield.

The Army is also "concerned" over the ammunition used by its artillery called Krashnapov, which has been imported from Russia, and has failed to hit targets in high altitude ranges such as Kargil.

"They were supposed to meet certain height and temperature requirement, and they said that it is not meant for such high altitude areas. Now, this ammunition has been shifted in the plain areas because it was not working there satisfactorily," it said.

The Army said several meetings have been held with the vendors to resolve the issue but progress in this direction has been relatively slow.

Last year, former Army Chief Gen V K Singh had written a letter to the Prime Minister explaining to him the shortages of tank ammunition being faced by the force.

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