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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.

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