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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

From Today's Papers - 03 Jul 2013
Maoists kill SP, 5 cops in Jharkhand
Subhrangshu Gupta/TNS
Kolkata/Ranchi, July 2
Armed Maoists today ambushed a police convoy killing a superintendent of police and five others near the West Bengal-Jharkhand border. The attack took place in a jungle stretch between Kathikund and Gopikanar in Dumka, around 350 km from Ranchi.

The SP, known for his tough stance against the Red rebels, was returning to Pakur from Dumka after attending a meeting when the attack took place. "Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar and five policemen were killed in an ambush by Maoist guerrillas," said Jharkhand Director General of Police Rajiv Kumar.
The guerrillas first triggered a landmine blast and later fired indiscriminately on the convoy. The Maoists fired over 150 bullets at the policemen, who did not get a chance to retaliate, DIG (Dumka) Priya Dubey said, adding the rebels also looted the weapons of the policemen. Two other policemen who were injured have been admitted to a hospital, Dumka Deputy Commissioner Harsh Mangala said. Their condition is stated to be critical.

Balihar, an IPS officer of 2003 batch, had been the commandant of the Jharkhand Armed Police. He was a target of the Maoists due to his tough stand against them ever since his posting at Pakur, sources said. He is the second SP to fall to the rebels' bullets in the region. On October 4, 2000, the ultras of the People's War Group, now merged with the CPI (Maoist), had killed Lohardaga SP Ajay Kumar Singh in undivided Bihar. Lohardaga later became part of Jharkhand. At least 200 Central paramilitary personnel have been rushed to the spot to nab the extremists who were involved in the attack.
Police sources said the Maoists were trying to execute a big strike like the May 25 deadly attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh's Bastar district. Many Congress leaders, including former Union Minister VC Shukla, were killed in the attack.

After Tuesday's attack, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee held meeting with senior police officials and reviewed the situation. Security has been beefed up in vulnerable areas of the state. Bengal DGP N Mukherjee spoke to his Jharkhand counterpart and discussed a strategy for combating the Maoist menace.

He stressed on the need for launching massive joint operations in the border areas. (With agency inputs)

Deadly strike
Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar was returning after attending a meeting on anti-Naxal strategy when the attack took place in a jungle stretch between Kathikund and Gopikanar, near Dumka, around 350 km from Ranchi
The guerrillas first triggered a landmine blast and later fired indiscriminately on the convoy
The Maoists fired over 150 bullets at the policemen, who did not get a chance to retaliate, DIG (Dumka) Priya Dubey said
The rebels also looted the cops’ weapons
Three Indians among 9 killed in Kabul

New Delhi, July 2
Three Indians were killed in a Taliban suicide attack on a NATO supply company’s compound in Kabul today.

The three were working in a housing compound, when the Taliban attack began with a suicide bomb in a large truck. Two or three insurgents fought guards for around 30 minutes before all attackers were killed.

"The Indian Mission is providing assistance in the completion of legal formalities for the repatriation of bodies of the Indians killed in the Kabul attack," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

The Taliban truck bomb and gun attack left at least nine dead. The entrance to the NATO supply company compound was destroyed in the assault. The group provides NATO bases with food, water, fuel and other supplies.

A British national was among the dead. Media reports said some other foreigners were also killed.

The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack. — PTI
Khurshid meets Chinese counterpart in Brunei
Discusses Manmohan-Sharif meeting with Pak PM’s Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, July 2
India and China are poised to take their defence cooperation to a higher level, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said today after a cordial meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the margins of ASEAN-related meetings in Brunei.

Earlier in the day, Khurshid also held a meeting with Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs, and discussed the possibility of putting the dialogue process back on the track at an early date. They also considered if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in September.

In a brief interaction with the media after his talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Khurshid said Defence Minister AK Antony would be in Beijing on Thursday for taking bilateral defence cooperation to a higher level.

Asked if India and China had made any progress at the 16th round of boundary talks held in Beijing last week, the Chinese minister said it was a very successful meeting and good progress was made. Khurshid shared the view expressed by Wang.

The Chinese minister observed that India and China were natural strategic partners and they should engage in all-round cooperation in a wide range of areas. The two countries must shoulder the common responsibility to regional and global peace and stability, he added.

At the meeting with Aziz, a former Finance Minister of Pakistan, Khurshid discussed with him the steps that could be taken by the two countries for restoring trust in bilateral ties and ensuring peace and security in the region. This was the first high-level contact between the two countries after Sharif assumed charge as Pakistan Prime Minister following his party’s handsome win in the elections.

Khurshid and Aziz also discussed trade and economic relations between the two countries and Pakistan’s request for purchasing electricity and gas from India. They also agreed that that the India-Pakistan Joint Business Council, which had just concluded its session in Islamabad, was another important mechanism that would help in taking the economic relationship forward.
Antony’s China vists begins tomorrow

New Delhi, July 2
Senior Army, Navy and Defence Ministry officials will accompany Defence Minister AK Antony on his four-day visit to China from July 4. This will be the first visit by any Indian Defence Minister to China since May 2006 when Pranab Mukherjee visited the northern neighbour.

Antony will be accompanied by Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, Southern Naval Commander Vice-Admiral Satish Soni and Defence Secretary RK Mathur.

The delegation will land at Shanghai and travel to Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong before returning home. The visit will be reciprocated by his Chinese counterpart later. Chinese former Defence Minister Liang Guanglie and Antony had earlier held talks on cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, among other issues. — TNS
Indian army kills intruder carrying explosives near Kashmir LoC
Indian army has killed an intruder carrying explosives on LoC dividing Kashmir, officials said Tuesday.

An Indian army spokesman said the intruder was killed Monday in the Saujiyan sector of frontier Poonch district, around 190 km southwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian- controlled Kashmir, while trying to move deep inside their part.

"Our alert troops yesterday in Saujiyan sector observed suspicious movement in the vicinity of a post and challenged the intruder, following which a gunfight broke out and the intruder was killed," said R K Palta, Indian army spokesman.

According to the spokesman, the intruder was carrying some explosives which were detonated after troopers fired at him.

"As a result of firing by the troops, the explosive detonated leading to severe mutilation of the intruder," said Palta.

However officials said it was not clear whether the intruder coming from other side of LoC was planning to plant explosives or carrying out a suicide attack.

Indian and Pakistani troopers intermittently exchange fire on LoC in Kashmir, a de facto border that divides the region into Indian and Pakistani controlled parts.
Pakistan ups ante with big military boost
Pakistan has revealed a massive increase in its military budget, the third nuclear power in Asia to unveil a significant increase this year, adding credence to fears of a growing arms race on the continent.

China, Pakistan and India were the only countries to increase their nuclear weapons stockpile last year, as the rest of the world reduced its warhead numbers.

In its budget this week, Pakistan announced it would increase defence spending by 15.7 per cent to $6.3 billion for 2013-14.

The army, ostensibly fighting a Taliban-led insurgency in the tribal north-west, but regularly accused of harbouring and supporting terrorists, was allocated the most, a little more than $3 billion for the coming financial year.

Underlining its political influence in Pakistan, the military appears immune from a severe government austerity drive. In the same week as the army got hundreds of millions more, Pakistan's Prime Minister told his cabinet ministers their budgets would be cut by at least 30 per cent.

But globally, the new military money adds to a climate of rising arms spending by the region's three nuclear powers.

Pakistan's announcement follows India's budget, in which military spending rose by 21 per cent to $42.7 billion, and China's, which increased military spending 10.7 per cent to $115.7 billion.

India has a lengthy arms shopping list. It is close to signing a deal to buy 126 French Rafale fighter jets for $12 billion, and is in the market for more than 400 combat helicopters. It is building, with Russia, 250 stealth fighter jets, and its own nuclear-powered submarine.

China is building two new classes of missile submarines, new stealth jet fighters and an aircraft carrier-killing ballistic missile as it continues to develop its cyber warfare capabilities. China is the second largest military spender in the world, though well behind the US, whose astronomical defence budget - $682 billion - still surpasses all of the other top 10 military budgets in the world combined.

But the sharp rises in Asia counter an easing of military spending across the world.

Last year worldwide military spending fell for the first time since 1998, by 0.5 per cent to $1.75 trillion. Asia surpassed Europe for military spending for the first time.

US, British and Japanese military budgets all shrank last year. The Australian Defence Force cut its military spending from $26.6 billion to $25.5 billion, according to figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. China, India and Pakistan were the only nuclear-armed countries to increase their nuclear stockpiles last year, a SIPRI report said this month.

Exact figures are hard to ascertain, but it is believed all three countries added about 10 working warheads to their stockpiles. China now has about 250 warheads, Pakistan between 100 and 120, and India between 90 and 110.

Russia and the US reduced their stockpiles. Russia now has about 8500 warheads, the US, 7700. France maintained its warheads at 300, Britain at 225 and Israel at 80.

SIPRI does not regard North Korea and Iran as nuclear powers yet. Their weapons programs are still in their infancy. Rising military spending in Asia was a troubling trend, Britain's secretary of state for defence, Philip Hammond, told the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore this month, especially given the continuing mistrust between countries now armed with rapidly modernised militaries.

"Worryingly, this expansion is taking place within the context of unresolved historic territorial disputes and competition for resources which, without greater mutual understanding and trust, have the potential to escalate and become, at best, a prolonged source of instability and, at worst, a driver of conflict."

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said secrecy around military build-ups created suspicion. He urged countries in the region to be open with their defence plans. "Military modernisation, coupled with longstanding maritime and territorial disputes and continuing potential flashpoints, raise the risk of strategic misjudgment or miscalculation. This underlines the need for strategic transparency," he said.

The SIPRI report described the peace that now held in Asia as "fragile", drawing attention to tensions between China, India and Pakistan. All three make claims on the disputed province of Kashmir, with Chinese and Indian troops caught in a tense stand-off during a border dispute earlier this year.
Defence University to come up in 3 years

The long awaited Indian National Defence University (INDU) will come up in three years at Binola village in Gurgaon. The university is a first in the country and the third of its kind globally -- the other two being in the US and China.

The fully autonomous varsity will be instituted by an Act of Parliament with the President as the Visitor and Defence Minister as the Chancellor.

It will be governed by its own norms and promote coordination between the Armed Forces and non-armed forces institutions in the country.

The university shall focus on higher education in defence studies, defence management and, defence science and technology.

“The university will offer post-graduate studies, doctoral research, post-doctoral research and provide opportunities for higher studies through distance learning to military and civilians. A large number of students from our Indian and foreign security forces would undergo various training programmes and courses at the INDU every year. One-third of the students in this university would be civilians,” said an official.

The courses will be offered not only for officers of the Armed Forces, but also for those in civil services and paramilitary organizations.

It was in 2000 that the university got  clearance from the empowered Group of Ministers, who reviewed the report of a committee set up to examine the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan, and the entire spectrum of defence and security management.

The Union Cabinet gave its final go-ahead to the proposal in 2010 when Haryana bagged the prestigious project beating big contenders like Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.  Prime Minister Manmhan Singh had laid the foundation stone of the university in May this year.

The university will help in scripting strategic policies to promote policy-oriented research on all aspects of national security and strategic future planning.

Besides promoting co-ordination and interaction among the Army, Navy andIndian Air Force, the university will help promote and spread awareness about national security issues among students.

It will also bring together existing institutes such as the National Defence College (Delhi), College of Defence Management (Secunderabad), Defence Services Staff College (Wellington) and National Defence Academy (Khadakwasla), which are currently affiliated to different universities, under its umbrella.

It may also include new institutes like the National Institute of Strategic Studies, College of National Security Policy and Institute for Advanced Technology Studies, apart from a war gaming and simulation centre, in its ambit.
IAF's new C-17 flies non-stop to Andamans to supply Army equipment
NEW DELHI: The big bird has taken to the skies. In its first operational deployment since it touched down in India on June 18, IAF's new gigantic C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft has transported equipment for an entire infantry battalion to the country's last military outpost in the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.

"Climbing to an altitude of 28,000-feet, with an unrefueled range of 2,400 nautical miles, the aircraft flew from the Hindon airbase, on the outskirts of New Delhi, to Port Blair with support equipment towards rotational movement of infantry battalions at the A&I Islands," said an IAF officer.

India had ordered 10 C-17 aircraft for $4.1 billion in mid-2011 under the largest defence deal inked with the US till now. While the first one arrived on June 18, two more are slated to land at Hindon this month. All 10 will be in place by June 2015.

The aircraft will give India genuine strategic airlift capabilities for the first time since they can transport heavy armoured vehicles, howitzers and combat troops to distant battlefronts or hotspots at the double. With a cargo weight of 70 tonne, the C-17s can take off, fly a distance of 4,200-km and land in a runway of just about 3,500-feet in length. With half the load, they can go more than double the distance.

Capable as they are of landing on forward makeshift runways with short turnaround times, the rugged C-17s are central to the swift power-projection capabilities being slowly acquired by India to counter China's massive build-up of military infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which includes at least five fully-operational airbases, an extensive rail network and over 58,000-km of roads in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

The giant four-engine C-17s, with a wing span of 170 feet, also dovetail neatly into the Army's endeavour to raise a new mountain strike corps (around 40,000 soldiers), apart from two "independent" infantry brigades and two "independent" armoured brigades, to plug operational gaps as well as to acquire "some ground offensive capabilities" against China.

The C-17s join the six C-130J "Super Hercules" aircraft, much smaller than the former but equally adept at landing at austere airstrips, already based at Hindon for the last couple of years. India is negotiating the acquisition of another six C-130Js, after inducting the first six for $1.2 billion, which will be based at Panagarh in West Bengal. The Army's new mountain strike corps will also have its headquarters in Panagarh.
Remembering Kumaramangalam
It’s easy to forget Paramasiva Prabhakar Kumaramangalam, India’s seventh Army Chief (1966-69), whose birth centenary was observed on Monday. A flamboyant, highly successful and articulate chief succeeded him. The years preceding his elevation are generally not talked about in the Indian Army because of the setbacks in the early 1960s.

A bruised and battered Indian Army was looking inwards after the 1962 debacle at the hands of China. Kumaramangalam’s predecessor, J.N. Chaudhuri, who played a gamechanger role in the 1948-49 battle with Pakistani invaders by deploying battle tanks in never-before-been altitudes, was obsessed with the idea of washing away the stains of loss, and was handicapped for a period after losing some senior officers. From November 1962, Gen. Chaudhuri toiled ceaselessly for about four years, even as the sagging morale of the forces, a demanding Indian establishment, and yet another barely-won war with Pakistan impeded his progress.

It was left to Gen. Kumaramangalam, the last of the King’s Commissioned Indian officers, to pick up the pieces and “fix” the Indian Army. His successor, the colourful, always full-of-life war hero S.H.F.J Manekshaw is the person that India celebrated even in an era without round-the-clock TV news, internet or even the computer.

But it is important to remember Gen. Kumaramangalam — if only to remind ourselves that crumbling structures can be resurrected with hard work, by sticking to principles, and team play.

It is impossible not to at least make a passing mention of the other two celebrated Tamil generals with who Kumaramangalam shared some similarities: the flamboyant K. Sunderji (1985-88) and the reclusive S. Padmanabhan (2000-02). Gen. Sunderji is ridiculed for almost starting yet another India-Pakistan war via Operation Brasstacks — which, with the benefit of the lessons from Kargil — could be argued as a pre-emptive strike for India. But Sunderji has often made it clear that he was merely testing out the operational preparedness of the Indian Army after having put the new defence doctrine into play. Gen. Padmanabhan, who wiped up the mess after Kargil, was again on the ‘rebuild the Army’ path, much in the mould of Gen. Kumaramangalam and Gen. Sunderji. Both Kumaramangalam and Padmanabhan were ‘gunners’.

But Kumaramangalam’s rebuilding of the Indian Army was fundamentally different. While the later-era Generals had a precedent to work with and improve upon, Kumaramangalam had only battle strategies that could be called, charitably, vintage. He visualised the need for double-flank defence/offence capabilities, and built a flexible strategy that could be adapted to changing situations. Some military strategies believe that he foresaw the East Pakistan conflict. His theories were put to the test in the 1971 Bangladesh war.

Gen. Kumaramangalam could have had it easy: his zamindar family was one of the “names” in Tamil Nadu; his father, P. Subbarayan (1889-1962) rose to become Chief Minister of the erstwhile Madras Presidency (1926-1930) and later, a union minister in the Nehru Ministry; and his brother, S. Mohan Kumaramangalam (1916-1973), was a seasoned politician who was a union minister in the government led by Indira Gandhi.

He chose a different path. He was commissioned into the Indian Army on August 31, 1933. As he rose in the hierarchy, he headed the Artillery School in Deolali, and the DSSC, Wellington, apart from commanding an independent para brigade, and later, an Infantry Division. Along the way, he was awarded the MBE, DSO (Distinguished Service Order) and the Padma Vibhushan.

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