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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

From Today's Papers - 31 Jul 2013
Climate change bringing heavy rain, landslides to Siachen area: Study
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, July 30
Observing that extreme rainfall events in the Karakorams, which hitherto were not known in this area, have started occurring with alarming frequency, a research paper has stated that this phenomenon was giving rise to the occurrence of land/snow slides in the higher reaches.

The area includes the Siachen glacier and Nubra valley that are of immense strategic importance and where there is significant military presence and movement of troops. For the first time, an earth-flow event of “gigantic proportions” was observed recently over the Siachen glacier.

The paper by the Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE), a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation, states that the Himalayas are a tectonically active region and the changing climate has started impacting the nature of natural hazards in the area.

Climate change in the north-west Himalayas in the past three decades has led to an overall rise in air temperature, uneven distribution of precipitation causing extreme heavy precipitation events, decrease in snow cover and increase in incidence of floods and cloudbursts.

The earth-flow, also called mass wastage that results in large quantities of snow, soil, rocks and debris tumbling down the mountain slopes, occurred about 30 km upstream from the snout of the glacier.

Earthquake catalogues revealed non-occurrence of any local seismic activity during that period, ruling out the possibility that the mass wastage was due to an earthquake.

The precipitation date of the Siachen region showed occurrence of a heavy precipitation event, while the temperature data showed an increasing trend, pointing towards increased snowmelt and also the fact that precipitation occurred in the form of rain. Consequent run-off generated by the heavy rain and increased snowmelt may have seeped in the slopes and causing increased pressure triggering off at least two earth-flows.

Extreme weather

Climate change in the north-west Himalayas in the past three decades has led to an overall rise in air temperature, uneven distribution of precipitation causing extreme heavy precipitation events, decrease in snow cover and increase in incidence of floods and cloudbursts
India Boosts Defense Ties with Myanmar

NEW DELHI — India — hoping to improve ties with Myanmar to counter the growing influence of China in the region — will help its neighbor build offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and train the Myanmar troops at Indian military institutions.

The decision to build OPVs was reached Monday during talks between visiting Myanmar Navy chief Vice Adm. Thura Thet Swe and Indian Navy chief Adm. Devendra Kumar Joshi.

The Myanmar Navy chief also held talks with Indian Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh and Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur.

The OPVs will be built at Indian shipyards and the training will be given to Myanmar Navy officers and sailors at Indian establishments. The Indian Defence Ministry refused to give details on the agreement, including which type of OPVs would be built, by whom and how many.

The Indian Defence Ministry is already considering a proposal by Myanmar to train their soldiers in variety of helicopters, including attack helicopters.

India has already supplied Myanmar with four Islander maritime patrol aircraft and naval gun boats.

India and Myanmar are also working on a road map on border management, a move seen by analysts here as an effort to check China’s entry into the Indian Ocean region.

China already has a military base on the Coco Islands, which are leased from Myanmar. The Coco Islands are close to India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Andaman Sea.
Army foils two infiltration bids in Kashmir, guns down two militants
Srinagar, July 30 (ANI): The Indian Army foiled two separate infiltration bids by militants in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, killing two militants and injuring another.

The two incidents occurred in the early hours of Tuesday in Kupwara and Handwara regions of the Himalayan state.

"Today in the morning there was yet another infiltration attempt and this was in the Machil sector of Kupwara. Attempt was made by approximately five to six terrorists and it is reported that two terrorists have been killed. Operation is in progress at the moment," General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the army's 15 corps, Lieutenant General, Gurmeet Singh told media here today.

The senior army official also confirmed that both operations are still in progress.

"There was contact with a terrorist. The operation is in progress. It will be a little early for me at this juncture to give out the details of the operation," he added.

Both India and Pakistan claim the border region of Kashmir, with India accusing its neighbour of supporting separatist rebels and undermining its rule.

Pakistan denies arming the rebels, saying it only offers them political support.

Militants often attacked security bases in Kashmir during the 1990s, when there was a full-blown insurgency against Indian rule in a region over which India and Pakistan fought two of their three wars.

The restive region has witnessed numerous militant attacks, insurgency, and infiltration attempts from across the border in the last two decades. (ANI)
US keen on military ties with India in re-balanced Asia-Pacific
WASHINGTON: Describing the Indian Army as the "most influential" in Asia Pacific, a top US general wants to work with regional partners such as India and Egypt to help shape a prosperous and stable global order.

"Military to military relationships are very important especially in times of crisis," US Chief of Army Staff General Raymond T Odierno said Monday in a talk on "Squaring the circle: American military strategy in a time of declining resources."

"Going over there and establishing personal relationships with (military) leaders of India help us when if a crisis occurs, we then know each other. We can have a conversation. We can talk about issues and for me that is worth a lot," he said.

Noting that a large majority of Indian military leaders were educated in the US, Odierno, who has just returned from a visit to India, said: "So that helps us to understand each other as we go forward."

"So for me that's the kind of thing we have to do as we tackle some of the tough problems," he said addressing the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington-based think tank on US policy of re-balance towards the Asia-Pacific region.

"As you look at the Asia Pacific, it's about competition for resources, limited resources," Odierno said. "It's about making sure that everyone is able to sustain their own sovereignty and their interests."

Turning to his India visit, he said "the conversation we had was about how we are going to help each other as we look ahead and we try to ensure that some of these issues don't get blown out much bigger than something needs to be."

"As is in many of the Asia-Pacific countries, the Army is the dominant service in those countries. India is a prime example. It is by far the largest service. It is by far the most influential," he said.

"It is important for us to build army-to-army relations as we continue to re-balance the Asia- Pacific region," said Odierno, who had a wide range of discussions with the top Indian military leadership, including his counterpart Gen Bikram Singh.

"One of things we have to remember is, we have to make sure they maintain their own strategic autonomy. And we do things in line with them to help build capacity, help learn from each other," he said.

"So I think that will be the basis of the continued relationship, is the sharing of information about what they face on a day-to-day basis up in the Kashmir area, with Pakistan, as well with China," he said in response to a question.
Pak soldier ‘killed by India army’ along LoC
Afp, Islamabad

Indian firing yesterday killed one Pakistani soldier and wounded another in the disputed Kashmir region, Pakistan’s army said, as the nuclear-armed nations traded blame for provoking the clash.
The Pakistani army accused Indian troops of staging an “unprovoked” attack across the countries’ disputed border in Kashmir while the Indian army said it had fired in a “calibrated manner” in response to Pakistani firing.
“A soldier embraced martyrdom while another was seriously injured due to unprovoked firing by Indian troops in Rawala Kot area at the Line of Control (LoC),” the Pakistani army said in a statement.
India says Pakistani troops started firing unprovoked in the morning.
India and Pakistan regularly accuse each other of violating a ceasefire along the LoC, which has largely held since 2003.
The Indian army said intermittent firing was continuing along the heavily militarised border late yesterday.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority territory, is divided into Indian and Pakistani-administered sectors but is claimed in full by both sides.
Tensions spiked between New Delhi and Islamabad in January and February as six soldiers were killed in exchanges along the de facto border in Kashmir.
Pakistan’s new prime minister Nawaz Sharif promised last month to “progressively pursue” good relations with India while actively seeking solutions to issues with India like disputed Kashmir.
Defence Analyst Bharat Verma feels ceasefire violations by Pakistan will increase
According to Verma, the multiple cease-fire violations indicate the effort by Pakistan to destabilize tranquility in Jammu and Kashmir in order to find a target for the 'jihad factory'.
After Pakistan violated the cease-fire for the fifth time this month along the Line of Control (LoC), defence analyst Capt. (Retd.) Bharat Verma feels that the cease- fire violations are likely to increase and the Indian Army has to be highly alert.

Speaking to the Asian News International here today, Bharat Verma pointed out that with the projected withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan, the ‘jihad factory’ products will be unemployed and Pakistan will have to find new targets.

According to Verma, the multiple cease-fire violations indicate the effort by Pakistan to destabilize tranquility in Jammu and Kashmir in order to find a target for the ‘jihad factory’.

Bharat Verma said: “ Pakistan wants to infiltrate maximum number of people inside Kashmir. Kashmir has been very stable for last few years but now with unemployment of jihad factory in Afghanistan due to the withdrawal of Western forces their energies will be redirected. This firing is going to increase to unsettle Kashmir and it will be at multiple places to infiltrate people. ” Verma said.

Verma said that India is making a mistake in allowing people from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, in fact people who had left Kashmir, to come back via Nepal or directly ---because they are the jihad factory. “They are going to be the sleeping agents inside Kashmir. Therefore, India needs to be very alert and security agencies have to neutralize such formula being adopted by the Pakistan army and Nawaz Sharif.

Commenting on recent statements of the Pakistan Prime Minister, Verma said “Nawaz Sharif will be a big player because he cannot overlook the Pakistan army and ISI agenda; neither can he overlook where his connectivity is—the jihad factory.

According to army sources, there has been no loss of life along the Line of Control. Top army officials are monitoring the situation along the LoC and troops have been asked in other forward areas to intensify their vigilance.

Today’s ceasefire violation comes five days after the Pakistani troops opened small arms firing at Indian posts in forward area along the LoC in Poonch district on Monday night.

On July 3, Pakistani troops fired at policemen, who had gone to the LoC at Sabzian in Poonch to collect the body of a Pakistani intruder killed by an IED blast.

The Pakistani troops again fired at Indian soldiers on July 8 while they were trying to evacuate injured porters along LoC in Poonch.

On July 12, Pakistani Rangers opened fire at Indian forward posts in the Pindi belt along the international border in Jammu district.
Give armed forces their due status

While India observed the 14th anniversary of the Kargil war through pro forma rituals last week, the political leadership and the government’s defence establishment seem to have forgotten that the war left us with some unfinished business. In its report submitted in December 1999, the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) had clearly spelled out that unfinished business. “An objective assessment of the last 52 years will show that the country is lucky to have escaped through various national security threats without too much damage, except in 1962. The country can no longer afford such ad hoc functioning,” it said. The KRC recommended a revamp of the national security structure to ensure greater interface between the ministry of defence and the armed forces.

While the NDA government did initiate some action towards integrating the army, navy and air force into a joint defence force by establishing the integrated defence staff (IDS) headquarters, the UPA government has demonstrated little enthusiasm in this direction for most of its two terms. In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Committee appointed to review action taken on KRC found that the professional heads of the three services, responsible for national defence as well as conduct of war, “have neither been accorded a status nor granted any powers in the edifice of the government”.

The Indian bureaucracy has used the concept of “civil supremacy” with self-serving pretentiousness to keep the armed forces away from decision making on strategic policy issues. It is time this pernicious doctrine is laid to rest. While the political decision should no doubt remain with the civil authority, a greater say in formulation of India’s defence policy should be given to the heads of the armed forces, who are responsible for the defence of the nation. Inputs should be invited from all branches of the government, but the final decision on all operational, personnel and weapons procurement issues must rest with the service chiefs.
Army housing body comes under RTI Act, rules CIC
NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that the Army Welfare Housing Organization is an extension of the Army and comes under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

"We hold that the AWHO, though on paper a separate entity, is nothing but an extension of the Army by virtue of being under the all pervasive control of senior serving Army officers, including the AG. We, therefore, hold that the AWHO is public authority under... the RTI Act," the commission said.

The full bench of the commission comprising chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra and information commissioners M L Sharma and Vijay Sharma said regular deputation of Army officers to AWHO on the terms and conditions determined by the defence ministry also reinforced the impression that in quintessence the AWHO was an Army organization.

AWHO was opposing bringing it under the ambit of the RTI Act arguing that it was a society registered with the Registrar of Societies with the objective of providing dwelling units to serving and retired Army personnel and their widows on 'no profit no loss' basis.
4 militants killed in Machil: Army
GOC Says Infiltration On Rise
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Srinagar, July 30: General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15 Corps, Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh Tuesday said militant infrastructure across the Line of Control (LoC) is intact and there has been rise in infiltration.
Gen Singh was addressing a press conference in the backdrop of what he termed the foiling of two infiltration bids since Monday in the frontier district of Kupwara. So far five militants have been killed in these two operations, “which are still on.”
Giving the details about the infiltration bids, the Army General said that on Monday three militants tried to infiltrate in Kupwara but soldiers foiled the bid. “One of the militant was killed on our side of the LOC. Another died on the other side of the LOC while the third militant was injured," he said.
Gen Singh said on Tuesday morning, five to six heavy armed militants tried to infiltrate in Machil sector of Kupwara district. “Two of them have been killed and the rest ran back across the LoC," he said and added that Machil infiltration bid was second in the last 24 hours.
Later in the evening, an Army official said two more militants were killed in the Machil encounter, taking the toll of militants killed to four. Corps Commander informed that a third operation was on in Hafruda forests in Handwara Tehsil of Kupwara district.
“The launching pads are intact across LoC. Other infrastructure is intact there,” GOC said adding that militants are making desperate attempts to sneak in. “To foil their plans we have a very effective intelligence network. Information sharing and joint assessment of the intelligence information is very effective," he added.
“Army is now better placed to analyze and assess the capabilities of the militants,” he said.
GOC said that the number of militants active in the camps and waiting to sneak into the Kashmir is not important, “What is important is their intention. Infiltration attempts are still continuing, but we have excellent support from the people in fighting militancy," he said.
The General however said that overall security situation in Kashmir was under control.  He said that they learnt a lesson from Hyderpora convoy attack in which eight soldiers were killed and more than a dozen were injured. “We have modified certain Standard Operating Procedures (SOP),” he said.
PTI ADDS FROM JAMMU: An army soldier was killed after a bullet from his own rifle hit him while he was on patrol duty along the Line of Control (LOC) in the Rajouri sector Jammu and Kashmir.
Havaldar Sodhan Singh was patrolling along the forward belt along the LoC in heavy rains when he slipped, resulting to accidental firing from his service rifle, as he fell down late last night, a senior army officer said today.
The critically wounded soldier who belonged to Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

From Today's Papers - 30 Jul 2013
Tri-Services delegation to visit China in August
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
As a follow-up to the visit by Defence Minister AK Antony to China, the Ministry of Defence has okayed a five-day visit by a joint tri-Services delegation to that nation.

The delegation will have 27 officers drawn from the Indian Air Force, Navy and Army. It will largely include junior-level officers and the attempt is to build trust among the men who actually face action and will possibly go on to become future military leaders. The delegation will be in China between August 19 and 23.

On July 6, Defence Minister AK Antony and his counterpart General Chang Wanquan had met at Beijing. A joint statement had followed that said: “Defence exchanges are an important facet of the India-China strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity. (They also agreed) on additional exchanges and visits between India and China”.

The visit will be just one among the many bilateral exchanges scheduled between the two Asian giants. A series of measures have been initiated to bring about trust since September last year when the then Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie had come to India for talks.

From then on, the focus has been on building trust between the militaries on either side. During the last interaction at the Defence Minister-level, the ministers had decided to “focus on building trust. Peace on the border is an important guarantor for the growth of bilateral cooperation. Mutual understanding between the two militaries is important”.

Besides this visit, a joint exercise of the two armies is scheduled in October. This will be on counter-terrorism and will be hosted by China. Two such exercises have already been conducted.

A delegation of the Indian Navy met the Chinese authorities last week to work out modalities of having more exercises. This is part of the decision between the two countries to have the navies increase ship visits, consider conducting joint maritime search and rescue exercises and continued cooperation in counter-piracy operations.

Military training institutions will also strengthen their exchanges at the faculty and student levels, the two countries have decided.

Yesterday, Antony had announced that talks to maintain peace along the boundary with China are in ‘final stages’.

The two countries are trying to open at least two more points to have meetings between border personnel. These will augment the existing three at Spanggur gap in eastern Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim and Bum La in Arunachal Pradesh.

Military cooperation

* The delegation, with 27 officers from the Indian Air Force, Navy and Army, will be in China from August 19 to 23

* A joint exercise of the two armies is scheduled in October

* Military training institutions will strengthen their exchanges at the faculty and student levels

* The two countries are trying to open at least two more points to have meetings between border personnel
  Rs 3,510 cr to build SSB infrastructure
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, July 29
The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which is among the smallest of the border guarding forces, has been sanctioned an outlay of Rs 3,510 crore under the 12th Plan for building infrastructure.

The money is meant for construction of new border outposts, office buildings, technical facilities and barracks so as to boost its border management capabilities besides providing more amenities to its personnel.

The SSB is responsible for the peacetime management of the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan international borders, and is also increasingly engaged in countering the movement of Maoists through these borders.

The outlay for infrastructure was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs a few days ago. The committee also approved the construction of 2,000 residential units and 10 barracks at 12 different sites at an estimated expenditure of Rs 414 crore.

As with other central armed police forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the SSB is also in the process of raising additional battalions, sector headquarters and restructuring its operational hierarchy, for which additional infrastructure and accommodation is mandated.

Against a sanctioned strength of about 81,000 personnel, the posted strength of the force is 67,000, making up 61 battalions and associated formations. Out of these, 25 battalions that man 450 border outposts are deployed on the Indo-Nepal border, while 13 battalions manning 130 outposts are deployed along the border with Bhutan.
Defence Minister AK Antony will not depose in Italian court in Finmeccanica trial: sources
After an Italian judge today included Defence Minister AK Antony as a possible witness in a trial of former bosses of Italy's Finmeccanica over corruption in the Rs. 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, sources say India has ruled out his appearance in court.

A judge in the Italian city of Busto Arsizio had cleared the names of Mr Antony, former British Defence Minister Geoff Hoon and former Chairman of Tata Group, Ratan Tata, among 80 possible witnesses in the trial of former CEO of Finmeccanica, which had secured a deal with the Indian government for the supply of 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs. Three of the helicopters had been delivered before corruption was reported in the deal.

Although reports said all the witnesses cleared by the judge may not be called to testify, high-level sources in the Defence Ministry said there was no question of Mr Antony giving evidence or appearing in any court outside India.
The trial has raised the prospect that Finmeccanica could be blacklisted in India, the world's largest arms importer and an important growth market for the state-owned aerospace and defence group.

Prosecutors have accused ex-Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi of paying bribes to intermediaries to secure the deal in 2010 when he was head of AgustaWestland, the Finmeccanica unit that sold the helicopters.

Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland, is being tried alongside Mr Orsi on the same charges. Both deny wrongdoing.

Defence lawyers requested Mr Hoon and Mr Tata to be admitted as witnesses to provide evidence on the defence industry in India. Mr Antony was being called to give testimony on the tendering process in India.

Mr Antony, who has a corruption-free image that sets him apart from many Indian politicians, was defence minister when the Indian Air Force awarded the contract to AgustaWestland.

He is believed to favour blacklisting the firm but could be outvoted by cabinet colleagues who worry it could hamper defence purchases in the future, several government sources said.

The next hearing in the trial will be on September 17.

At the very beginning of the trial, India had told the Italian court that its orders would not be binding on it and it will have the right to exercise all legal options available to it.
Indian Army most influential in Asia Pacific region: US General
WASHINGTON: The Indian Army is by far the most influential in the Asia Pacific region, a top American General today said as he stressed on the importance of building military-to-military relationship between the two countries.

"As is in many of the Asia-Pacific countries, the Army is the dominant service in those countries. India is a prime example. It is by far the largest service. It is by far the most influential," US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T Odierno said.

"It is important for us to build army-to-army relations as we continue to re-balance the Asia- Pacific region," he told a Washington audience.

Odierno recently returned from a trip to India during which he met his Indian counterpart and held a wide range of discussions with the top Indian military leadership. He also travelled to the Northern Command.

"The first comments about India, specifically, is, one of things we have to remember is, we have to make sure they maintain their own strategic autonomy. And we do things in line with them to help build capacity, help learn from each other," he said.

"One thing we realised we have so much in common, the two largest democracies in the world, we are two very professional armies, and there is much we can do to learn from each other," Odierno said in response to a question at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) -- a Washington-based think tank.

"We talked a lot about the way ahead in the region, the importance of operations in the region. They took me up to their northern command, which is their most important command, which is responsible for the borders of Pakistan and China," he said.

"I had the chance to meet with their staff and their commanders, and what really caught me was the fact that, what they have been doing for the past 20 years, is what we have been doing for the past 12, counter-insurgency, protecting their space, there's a lot of lessons learned that they have that we have. And so, there is a lot of knowledge that we can share," the US General said.

"So I think that will be the basis of the continued relationship, is the sharing of information about what they face on a day-to-day basis up in the Kashmir area, with Pakistan, as well with China, as you just talked about with a minor incursion not too long ago...," he said.

He added that the two countries have a lot in common, in sharing lessons, in professional development, a lot in developing future leaders, a lot in understanding techniques on what they see will be potentially prominent as they deal with future problems, not only around the world, whether it be there or the Middle East, there's some commonality.
Indian Army Warriors who Define Courage
Bangalore: Every man and woman in uniforms is the true hero of the nation. They put their life at stake day-in and day-out to safe guard the sovereignty of our country and are even prepared to sacrifice their lives so that their fellow countrymen can lead a happy and peaceful life.

Let us remember the acts of a few courageous men in uniforms who made their country and countrymen proud by their bravery, as listed by Amr of and other sources.

Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran

Born on 13 September 1946, Ramaswamy Parameswaran, was a major in the Mahar Regiment of the Indian Army. He took part in a numerous operations carried out by the Indian Army and was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry medal, for his bravery.

On 25 November 1987, while participating in the operation Pawan, which was intended to take control of Jaffna from LTTE in Sri Lanka, Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran and his men were ambushed by a group of militants. Unfazed by the incident, he kept his cool and encircled the militants from the rear and finally charged into them, taking the militants by complete surprise. During the hand-to-hand combat, a militant took his gun and shot the Major in the chest. But with an undaunting sprit, Parameswaran carried on fighting and managed to snatch the rifle from the militant and shot him dead. Fatally wounded, the brave Major continued to give orders to his men and inspired them till his last breath.
Indian Army Spots Chinese ‘Drones,’ Realizes ‘Drones’ are Actually Planets
Today in things a third-grader probably could have figured out, it reportedly took the Indian Army six months to realize that the “Chinese aerial drones” they believed were surveilling them were actually a couple of planets.

Between August 2012 and February 2013, the Indian Army’s forces stationed on the heavily disputed India-China border recorded 329 sightings of “unidentified flying intruders,” which defense analysts feared were “unmanned aerial vehicles [used] by the Chinese to look into Indian territory.” Yes, the Himalayan Border’s been rife with territorial turmoil for over fifty years, but come on: did nobody think it was glaringly un-strategic on the part of China that the objects appeared daily at completely regular intervals, and were easily the brightest objects in the night sky?

Astronomers were called in to investigate the situation, and probably sighed with relief (or lolz-ed extensively) at their findings: the objects were just Jupiter and Venus. The “objects” had appeared to be “flying” because the Earth was just, you know, rotating—as it’s known to do from time to time. Good work, team.

“Our task was to determine whether these unidentified objects were celestial or terrestrial,” said senior astronomer Tushar Prabhu.

Who knows what might have happened if astronomers hadn’t cleared up the confusion? Perhaps G.S. Mudur of Calcutta’s The Telegraph puts it best:

    “Phew! Science has saved a Roman god and a goddess from possible Armageddon launched from the Earth by the mighty Indian Army, egged on by TV studio patriots always keeping a gimlet eye open for Chinese intruders.”


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