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Friday, 23 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 23 Aug 2013
Sub fire: Sabotage not ruled out, says Antony
K V Prasad/TNS

New Delhi, August 22
Admitting that the sinking of submarine INS Sindhurakshak has cast a shadow on the capability of the Indian Navy to provide maritime security, Defence Minister AK Antony today said the Board of Inquiry (BoI) set up will look into all aspects, including ‘sabotage’, behind the August 14 fire and explosion.

Responding to clarifications from Rajya Sabha members on the incident, Antony said terms of reference to the BoI set up by the Navy is to examine all aspects of the likely causes of the incident. To a specific question from members whether it includes sabotage, he said nothing is being ruled out.

While emphasising that nothing conclusive could be said at the moment on the exact cause of the incident, he said the BoI has been asked to complete its task as soon as possible. He said naval divers have so far recovered severn bodies and the remains of one more expressing doubts over the possibility of survivors among the rest 11 personnel who were among the 18 on board when it sunk. The minister said several international and Indian companies are carrying out survey to salvage the vessel and bring it up. The Russian company, where the kilo-class submarine was built and upgrade carried out, will be associated later.

The Indian Navy, he said, has already ordered security audit of the remaining submarines and would ask whether a similar exercise could be carried on all warships in the fleet. The Navy, he said, does not have a system of insuring warships and submarines.

To address the concerns of reducing fleet of submarines, he said while six Scorpene submarines under Project 75 are being built by Mazagon Docks, another six under Project 75 I are in advanced stage with the ministry in the process of preparing a note for approval of the Cabinet Committee of Security.

If required, he said, other existing submarines could be considered for upgrade till adequate force levels are reached to meet demands of emerging security scenario in Indian Ocean and the extended region. The Defence Minister said naval divers are submitting all material, including metals and partially burnt yellow coloured material, found near the jetty that is being inspected by the Naval armament inspectors.
AFT working: HC notice to Law, Defence secys
Vijay Mohan/TNS

contempt of court
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had last year ordered that the AFT would function under the Law Ministry and not the MoD
The MoD moved the SC, but the court neither issued a notice nor stayed the operation of the HC decision
A contempt plea claimed the MoD was interfering with AFT’s functioning and not providing proper status and facilities to its members
The high court on Thursday issued a contempt notice for noncompliance of its orders

Chandigarh, August 22
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a contempt notice to the Secretary (Justice) in the Ministry of Law and the Defence Secretary for noncompliance of its orders directing placement of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) under the Ministry of Law instead of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

A PIL filed by AFT Bar Association former president Navdeep Singh, seeking transfer of control over the AFT to the Law Ministry, grant of proper facilities, security and accommodation to the tribunal members and the institution, and filling of its vacancies, was allowed by the high court late last year and a direction was issued that the AFT would function under the Law Ministry.

It was pointed out in the PIL that all orders of the AFT were to be passed against the MoD but that very ministry had been made the parent controlling administrative ministry for the tribunal, leading to a conflict of interest.

The decision was hailed in legal circles as a landmark decision for the independence of tribunals.

Though the Defence Ministry had filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the decision, the SC neither issued a notice nor stayed the operation of the HC decision.

In the contempt petition, it has also been pointed out how the MoD was interfering with the functioning of the tribunal and not even providing proper status, facilities and accommodation to its members.

Documents have also been placed on record showing insidious interference by the executive in judicial functioning and how in contravention of law, the political executive was “approving” the appointments of judicial and administrative members even after the recommendations by a selection committee led by an SC judge.

It has also been averred that the AFT’s judgments were not being implemented and officers of the MoD had openly made contemptuous statements about the tribunal.

The contempt petition also states that the entire setup of the AFT was contingent on various approvals of the MoD, which is the first party in all litigation that affects the confidence of litigants and which is against Supreme Court rulings.

Incidents where instrumentalities of the MoD have tried to overreach the AFT have also been mentioned along with instances on how the Defence Accounts Department superimposes objections to hamper the smooth functioning of the institution.

It has been contended that the MoD treats the tribunal as one of its departments, and its members as its employees.

The petition points out how an inter-ministerial group has been constituted by the government to look into the issue of transfer of control of tribunals to the Law Ministry and contends that the implementation of judgments of the Constitutional courts cannot be made dependent upon opinions expressed by such groups.

“The shockingly open defiance of judicial authority and an open attack on the functioning of some Benches of the AFT is daring and contemptuous, and shall continue till the time control of the AFT remains with the MoD,” the petition states.

“An environment of free and encumbrance-less functioning has not been created for the tribunal, adjudicating members or litigants. While the MoD washes its hands of by issuing letters to various agencies for security and accommodation, it has done nothing on the ground to ensure the very basic facilities to AFT members, some of whom have been judges of Constitutional courts,” it further averred.
26/11: Pak ready to send judicial panel to Mumbai next month

New Delhi, August 22
Pakistan is ready to send for the second time a judicial commission to India next month to cross examine the witnesses of Mumbai terror attack to take the case forward in a Rawalpindi court.

Islamabad has conveyed to New Delhi that the Pakistani judicial commission is ready to come early September for a visit to Mumbai and suggested two dates for it, official sources said.

Seven terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, were charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 that killed 166 people and their trial was going on in a Rawalpindi court. India has sought an early conclusion of the trial, which, it feels, is going on at a very slow pace in Pakistan.

The witnesses are metropolitan magistrate Rama Vijay Sawant-Waghule, who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, chief investigating officer Ramesh Mahale and two doctors from the state-run Nair and JJ Hospitals who had conducted the autopsies of the nine terrorists.

The Home Ministry will soon approach the Bombay High Court for permission to allow the Pakistani judicial commission to travel to Mumbai to question the four witnesses. India has already given a written assurance to Pakistan that the legal panel of that country will be allowed to cross examine the witnesses when it visits Mumbai. — PTI
Indian Army patrols in China
Annually, Indian Army doing more patrols than
Chinese along LAC
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 22
A day after it was known that Chinese troops were patrolling in Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh, it now emerges that an Indian Army patrol is presently in what Chinese calls its own territory.

The Indian Army has been doing its patrolling in the same area at periodic intervals over the past several years. China has been lodging protests against what it feels are Indian Army incursions into its territory. Sources told the Tribune that the perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) — the name of the de facto border between India and China — in the eastern-most part of Arunachal Pradesh is disputed at Asafila, Dichu, Yangtse and East Dibang. All in the eastern-most part of the state and patrolling is carried out as a matter of routine.

Yesterday, it was reported that Chinese troops, on August 11, had intruded some 30 kilometres into what India claims is its territory in Anjaw District in Arunachal Pradesh and had left two days later after Indian troops asked them to withdraw. A source confirmed that an Indian Army long-range patrol is in the area for the past two weeks. A company strength — some 80 men — of the Indian Army is at present in an area which China claims as its own in the eastern-most edge in Anjaw district. The sparse local population in the area is being used to supply the team with information. The locals from the Meshmi tribe speak a dialect of Tibetan that is used on either side of the acrimonious divide and they also act as interpreters.

A senior official explained that annually, Indian Army patrols are far greater in number than the ones undertaken by Chinese Army in the Himalayas along the 4057 km of disputed LAC. Since the LAC is un-demarcated and there are no markings of boundary on the ground, troops on either side patrol in areas perceived as their own territory. The claims of India and China overlap and in some cases by up to 40 km. The dispute is 167 years old and the British had tried to sort out the matter five times but failed — the last one being in 1914. At present, the two sides have been conducting boundary talks but there has been no settlement. Explaining the sudden rise in the number of Chinese intrusions being reported, sources gave the example of the latest flare-up in Arunachal Pradesh, saying Chinese troops have been patrolling in this area since 1990 as per Indian Army records. They have returned each time and not camped ever so there is no similarity with the April-May incident in Depsang Plains in eastern Ladakh.
US-Pakistan nuclear deal
An attempt to catch up with India
by D. Suba Chandran

EVER since the negotiations started between India and the US on a civilian nuclear deal, there has been an expectation within Pakistan that Islamabad should also receive a similar one. This expectation has now become a primary demand from the Pakistani side as the US has started its Afghan countdown towards December 2014. There is a general belief within Pakistan that the time is ripe to squeeze as much as they could from Washington.

What reasons are being projected for such a demand within Pakistan vis-a-vis the US, and what are the real intentions behind?

After opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal in the initial years, ironically, Pakistan is making use of the same reasons that New Delhi projected — a civilian nuclear deal to push the “nuclear” component of energy production within. Undoubtedly, Pakistan is reeling under a huge energy crisis, and needs substantial inputs and investments to its energy sector.

But the crucial question in this context is: Will a civilian nuclear deal with the US help Pakistan achieve the same? Hardly, as the “nuclear component” of energy in Pakistan and India has always been miniscule. Even after the nuclear deal with the US, nuclear energy in India is unlikely to touch two digits in the overall energy contribution. For Pakistan also, it will be the case.

Pakistan is well aware of this. Why then would Pakistan insist on a civilian nuclear deal with the US?

The real reasons are political and strategic, rather than economic or energy related. In fact, the case is the same vis-a-vis Indo-US nuclear deal. How much has the nuclear deal with the US contributed in augmenting India's energy supply so far? How much is it likely to contribute in the next two decades? The real effect of the nuclear deal will always remain marginal in terms of energy production.

However, the Indo-US nuclear deal politically has been a success story for India for it has shown how far the US was willing to go in bending the rules of the international nuclear regime. The nuclear deal was seen by Manmohan Singh’s government as India’s entry into the big club. It was seen as an expression of growing India’s stature and the strategic partnership with the US. Politically, Pakistan is also looking for the same.

The second reason is nuclear commerce. Pakistan also wants to be recognised in the international nuclear regime the same way that India is being recognised now, and the follow-up nuclear commerce. More than a civilian deal with the US, it is the follow-up nuclear commerce at the international level which Pakistan is keen. A civilian nuclear deal with the US will provide a passport into it.

The third reason is to erase the bad reputation that Pakistan has today, thanks to the illegal network led by AQ Khan. Though the State has distanced itself from AQ Khan's network, there have not been many takers at the international level who would give a clean chit to the State in Pakistan. The international nuclear regime, much to the dismay of Pakistan and its scholars, is suspicious of Pakistan's role in the nuclear black market. Pakistan perhaps hopes that a civilian nuclear deal with the US will somehow obliterate AQ Khan's dealings and give a clean chit to its establishment.

Finally, the most important reason, the strategic one, is to sustain a nuclear race with India. Ever since the debate on a nuclear deal between India and the US started during the last decade, one of the primary fears within Pakistan has always been in terms of what such a deal would to the number of weapons and more importantly the fissile material stockpile of India.

The primary apprehension within Pakistan over the Indo-US nuclear deal was that it would reduce the gap between the two countries over the number of nuclear weapons. By the end of the last decade, the widespread belief in the strategic communities of India and Pakistan placed the latter marginally ahead of the former in terms of the number of nuclear warheads, and also the fissile material stockpile. Today, the same community believes that there is a parity with, or places India slightly ahead of, Pakistan in terms of both the number of weapons and the fissile material stockpile. The greatest Pakistani fear is: What will happen five years down the lane?

Pakistan wants to engage in a nuclear race with India, and more importantly wants to be ahead of the curve. Obviously, that is the only way that Pakistan could neutralise India's conventional superiority. If Islamabad has to lag behind New Delhi on the nuclear weapons as well, and with India's well-calculated projection of a “massive retaliation” the military leadership and the strategic community within Pakistan believe its nuclear assets would not provide deterrence. For a huge nuclear arsenal and a doctrine of massive retaliation is likely to deter Pakistan's smaller nuclear force.

For Pakistan, it is important to stay ahead on the nuclear curve for another reason as well: to continue its support to sub-conventional warfare, especially through its jihadi army led by the Lashkar. One could see a trend since the 1998 nuclear tests in pushing more jihadis into India, and also expanding the areas. During the last decade, the jihadi violence led by the Lashkar and backed by Pakistan has covered entire India: the attacks on Ayodhya, Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad would underline this trend. The nuclear deterrence perhaps provides a rash confidence to Pakistan, or perhaps inhibits India from taking a punitive step. If the deterrence gets tilted in India’s favour — instead of being equal (as has been the case so far) — Pakistan might not be able to wage a sub-conventional warfare.

Now, the most important question is: will the US yield to Pakistani pressure?

Undoubtedly, the US is under pressure to finalise an early exit, leaving a semblance of stability in Afghanistan. And today a majority within the establishment is convinced that this cannot take place without Pakistan's active support. Pakistan has to be either coerced or cajoled. A nuclear deal could be one of those cajoling strategies.

However, a section within the US establishment will remain vehement and opposed to any such deal. This section also opposed the Indo-US nuclear deal. However, it did not go all out against New Delhi, given India's track record. This may not be the case vis-a-vis Pakistan; AQ Khan has done enough damage to the credibility of Pakistan's record. Secondly, another section within the US is extremely sceptical and afraid of nuclear assets falling into the wrong hands. Hence, it will oppose any such deal. As a result, the pro-deal lobby favouring Pakistan will find the going tough.

Should India be worried about a Pakistan-US nuclear deal? Given the Indo-US example, complications, domestic opposition and the track record, the real issue for India will not be a US-Pakistan nuclear deal. Even if Obama agrees in principle, the actual negotiation and its eventual outcome will not be easy. Rather, the real worry for India should be the ongoing Sino-Pakistan nuclear collusion, which is totally under wraps.n

The writer is the Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi
Pakistan army says India kills 2 soldiers, envoy summoned
(Reuters) - The Pakistani army said two of its soldiers were killed on Thursday in "unprovoked" Indian fire along the border dividing Kashmir, and Islamabad summoned the Indian envoy to protest at the second such incident in two days.

A series of clashes that began this month has undermined a push by Pakistan's new civilian government to improve ties with old rival India. Lodging a protest with the Indian envoy appeared to mark a diplomatic escalation, but Pakistani officials say they still hope to hold talks.

A security official said one soldier was killed near Rawalakot in the Poonch district, about 130 kms from the capital, Islamabad, "due to unprovoked Indian firing".

A second soldier was killed later in the day and two others were wounded 45 kms away in Hotspring in the Tatta Pani area further south. India said it came under automatic weapons fire in roughly the same area in the evening and reported "effective retaliation" by its own soldiers, but made no mention of casualties.

Another Pakistani soldier had been killed on Wednesday.

The violence came two weeks after the killing of five Indian soldiers along the so-called Line of Control (LoC) that separates the two sides in the Himalayan region.

India said the five were killed by Pakistani forces and said it had given its army a free hand to respond. Pakistan denied involvement and the government has issued a series of conciliatory statements despite constant tit-for-tat firing since.

"Pakistan will also continue to seek dialogue and resolution of all outstanding issues with India peacefully," the Pakistani government said in a statement on Thursday.

"The ceasefire should be maintained in letter and spirit. All military and diplomatic channels should be used to prevent ceasefire violations," it added.

A later statement said Pakistan's Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani called the Indian High Commissioner T.C.A Raghavan to the foreign office in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad to express "serious concern over the continued and unwarranted ceasefire violations." Previous complaints by both sides have been made at a lower level in the diplomatic hierarchy.

The nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir. Both control a part of the Muslim-majority region but claim it in full.

A truce along their Kashmir border has held for nearly a decade, even though it has been broken every now and then by tit-for-tat artillery fire and an occasional cross-border ambush.

India has faced an insurgency in its part of Kashmir since 1989 and has long accused Pakistan of supporting the militants fighting Indian rule.

Pakistan denies arming the militants, saying it only offers moral support to the Muslim people of Kashmir, who are living under what Pakistan characterizes as harsh Indian rule.

Nevertheless, despite Pakistan's denials that it helps the militants, fighters have for years slipped from the Pakistani side of Kashmir into the Indian side to battle Indian forces.

India says this year it has seen a spike in attempts by militants to infiltrate into its part of Kashmir.

Many analysts expect the trend to continue as the two countries jostle for influence in Afghanistan, from which a NATO force is preparing to withdraw by the end of 2014.

Each nation fears the other is trying to install a proxy government in Kabul.
US Army will not allow Bradley Manning to become a woman
Bradley Manning announced today he wanted to live the rest of his life as a woman called Chelsea but the US Army said he could not start hormone therapy while serving his 35-year prison term.
 A day after he was sentenced for handing thousands of secret files to WikiLeaks, the soldier said he wanted to live as a female and be known as "Chelsea Manning".

The 25-year-old was diagnosed with a gender identity disorder while serving in Iraq and sent his superiors an email of himself dressed as a woman with a blonde wig and make up.

"As I transition into the next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning said in a statement released through his lawyer. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.

"Given the way I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible."

Manning requested that his supporters refer to him as "she" and signed the statement "Chelsea E. Manning".
 The soldier is expected to serve out his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, a major base in Kansas, and officials there said he would not be allowed to have hormone treatment while in prison.

"The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery for gender identity disorder," said Jeff Wingo, a spokesman for the base.

In theory, the Secretary of the Army could allow Manning to transfer to a civilian prison to undergo treatment but it is more likely he will have to wait until his release to begin therapy.

Although a military judge sentenced him to 35 years he will be eligible for parole in around seven years and could emerge from prison as young as 32.

David Coombs, Manning's lawyer, told NBC he hoped "Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide [hormone therapy].

"If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure that they're forced to do so," he said.

Fort Leavenworth is a male-only prison but Mr Coombs said he would not try to get his client moved to a female facility.

"The ultimate goal is to be comfortable in her skin and be the person she never had an opportunity to be," Mr Coombs said. He said Manning did not indicate that he wanted to under go sex reassignment surgery.

During Manning's 20-month court martial his defence team occasionally raised the issue of his struggle with his gender identity.

The court heard about an email titled "My Problem", which Manning sent to superiors along with a photograph of himself as a woman. He created a female alter-ego named "Breanna" but yesterday was the first time he announced his desire to be called Chelsea.

Mr Coombs said Manning kept his desire secret during the trial because "Chelsea didn't to have want this to be something that overshadowed the case, wanted to wait to wait until the case was done to move on to the next stage of her life."

A military psychologist diagnosed Manning with the disorder, also known as gender dysphoria, while he was deployed to Iraq in early 2010.

Manning was also forced to hide his homosexuality as the US military prohibited troops from being openly gay. President Barack Obama scrapped the policy, referred to as "Don't Ask Don't Tell", in 2011.

A spokesman for Fort Leavenworth said that while prisoners would not be allowed hormone treatment they would be "treated equally regardless of race, rank, ethnicity, or sexual orientation".

The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights group, said Manning's "transition deserves to be treated with dignity and respect".

"As she requested in her letter, journalists and other officials should use her chosen name of Chelsea and refer to her with female pronouns. Using the name Bradley or male pronouns is nothing short of an insult," the group said in a statement.

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