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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

From Today's Papers - 10 Sep 2103




Pak top brass discusses ways to tackle terror

Afzal Khan in Islamabad


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said Pakistan was in the grip of terrorists and his government’s first priority was to initiate dialogue with them for bringing peace to the country.

Opening an all-party conference, attended by the country’s top political and military leadership, the Prime Minister said the nation must unite to combat terrorism and extremism.


“We must not politicise this issue as it affects the entire nation,” he said. The conference has been convened to arrive at a consensus on a counter-terrorism strategy and forge a united position on opening dialogue with militants.


Emphasising the importance of taking a decision in a democratic manner, the Prime Minister said people’s trust in democracy would strengthen if this government succeeded in tackling terrorism through consensus.


Sharif said dialogue would be preferred over the use of force but the final decision would be taken by the national leadership.


Political leaders, Army Chief and heads of security agencies gathered at the Prime Minister’s House for the meet, convened to come up with a solution for terrorism in the country.


Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam briefed the political leadership about the security challenges being faced by the country.


The security situation in Karachi, Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) was the main part of the briefing.


Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan presented a road map to tackle terrorism and sought comments of the national leadership on the issue. He said the government has decided to model the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) after the US Department of Homeland Security which was created in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


A rapid anti-terrorist force would be created for immediate response to any act of terrorism. It would be fully equipped with modern weapons and night-vision helicopters.


A resolution is expected at the conclusion of the conference which would spell out a decision either on dialogue or on the use of force to tackle extremism and militancy.


Prominent among those attending the conference included Syed Khurshid Shah (PPP), Imran Khan (PTI), Maulana Fazlur Rehman (JUI), Syed Munawwar Hasan (JI) and Pir of Pagara.


Sharif’s views


* Prime Minister emphasised the importance of taking a decision in a democratic manner


* Nawaz Sharif said people’s trust in democracy would be strengthened if the government succeeded in tackling terrorism through consensus.


* He said dialogue would be preferred over the use of force


* A final decision, however, would be taken by the national leadership.

Expanding Security Council

Time to make it more representative

by S. Nihal Singh


THE ineffectiveness of the United Nations Security Council to cope with the growing Syrian crisis as the United States and its allies on the one hand and Russia, China and others face off against one another should persuade the powerful nations of an almost forgotten truth. The Council as it exists is unrepresentative of the state of play in the world.


Two kinds of forces have worked against any sensible restructuring of the Council. Some of the 'have' powers are reluctant to see their clout diluted. But a greater hurdle is the envy of those nations that will not make the grade. A third factor is China, which would be loath to see India and Japan as permanent members of the world's most influential UN agency.


Yet in a prevailing crisis in which the American delegate charges Russia with holding the world body hostage, one way to break the logjam would be to take the job of enlarging the key Security Council seriously. The only real change made in recent years has been its unofficial expansion by including Germany in many of the deliberations of the five permanent members, described as 'Five plus one'.


There is wide agreement on the countries the expanded Council should include Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and South Africa representing the African continent. While China's unspoken objections to Japan and India relate to Beijing's desire to revel as the only Asian representative by keeping the other two nations out, there are others in the 'envy' category working as spoilers. In this list are countries such as Pakistan and Italy, the so-called coffee club members.


Clearly, there is no powerful driving force impelling the current permanent members to push through crying reforms over the objections of the usual suspects. And the old order thoroughly unrepresentative of today's world grinds on. Even in the current stalemate over Syria, a more representative Council could have contributed towards a solution. The institution of the Group of 20 countries is a half bow towards a more equitable top table. But the G-20 is no substitute for an expanded Council because it does not have compelling powers in the international architecture.


The Syria crisis does have a past. Russia for one has reacted vigorously against the West's employment of the Council resolution to launch an air attack on Libya to effect a regime change. The West suggests that Moscow knew what the resolution really meant, but Russia maintains its opposition to the interpretation the West placed on the fateful resolution.


The problem, of course, is that power equations in the world are changing. China, for one, is decidedly a rising power and the clout of a number of emerging countries is growing. In the ranks of the emerging powers are Japan, India, Brazil and South Africa although the United States remains the most powerful nation on earth.


American think tanks believe that uniquely in history their country is seeking the 'peaceful rise' of China as it muscles its way to the top of the power structure. But stresses in readjusting to China's rise are plain to see. Even more notably, the old co-super power, the diminished successor of the Soviet Union, is flexing its muscles and one way in which it is compensating for the loss of its former power is though encouraging such ventures as Brics, with South Africa added to the original four, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation although Beijing is seeking to gain more from the latter.


There is, however, no substitute for a truly empowered and representative Security Council with its brief of seeking peace and tranquillity in an increasingly troubled world. This brings us back to the urgency of reconfiguring the Security Council. Will the Syria stalemate give a leisurely, largely moribund process the needed push to get going?


Perhaps countries that are widely believed to be deserving of permanent membership of the Council can become more active in promoting their cause. It is indeed ironic that apart from Russia, Europe occupies two permanent slots and the only addition to the list unofficially should have been another European nation, Germany much as it deserves to be entitled to its European dominance. Asia, on the other hand, remains represented by only one country, with the world's second most populous nation, India, unrepresented. The question many outside Europe are asking is whether the European Union should be collectively represented by one country.


The composition of the Council represents a pre-World War II order. It is never easy to make adjustments to reflect new realities until long after the event. But the anachronism of a Security Council reflecting yesterday's world is too glaring to stand unchallenged.


Indeed, it is time the likely new permanent members of the Security Council committed themselves to a new blitzkrieg to make the world aware of a gaping hole in the United Nations structure. If the main UN organ to keep the peace and police the world continues to reflect yesterday's world, we are being parties to an institution that has lost its legitimacy. As recent events have demonstrated, the United States is no longer in a position in the post-Cold War world to enforce its edicts all on its own or in league with a few staunch allies.


Although Germany might be tempted to coast along, given its privileged unofficial status, it would be to Berlin's advantage to secure a permanent slot as a right. There is thus far no indication that any of the other likely permanent members are bestirring themselves to fight for a legitimate cause. After all, the very process of forming the G-20 involved a process of selection. Admittedly, selecting 20 is easier than selecting four or five new permanent members. But it is time the leaders of the new brigade got their act together.


It promises to be a tough fight, but few worthwhile causes are won easily and those seeking places at the high table have right and justice on their side. They have to summon the will power to fight for what is their right.

Truth about ACRs

by Sukhdarshan Likhi


Incredible, ridiculuous, shameful. I had no reasons not to react like that when a middle-level official of one of the leading oil corporations told me in confidence about the clandestine practice of calling for bids from prospective aspirants for outstanding annual confidential reports. He said the bitter truth was that this wily practice had been in vogue in the organisation for quite some time in the recent past. He further revealed how an end-of-the-career director crafted a scheme to make a fast buck before laying reins of office. First, he roped in a public relations official of the corporation who went about picking men of his confidence like they select agents for the secret service. Thereafter, he and his cronies would go about collecting bids followed by realisation of 20 per cent of the bid as earnest money. Once the ACRs were written, categorised and filed, the remaining 80 per cent money was taken from the officials concerned. In this manner the retiring director had a handsome booty in his kitty. In one case, however, the non-refund of the earnest money stirred considerable resentment but in the absence of any proof the "cat could not be out of the bag" and the matter ended there.


Generally, writing ACRs is a serious matter. One senior officer who had served the colonial administration in pre-independent India had, however, made this task easy for himself. He had kept a record of ACRs under classification A, B, C written by British officers. With minor changes he would simply lift these reports to describe and assess the working of his subordinate officials. Some reporting officers have a penchant for brevity, lacing their remarks with a touch of humour. In one case, he summed up the report with the remark, "the year has passed 365 days but the officer has not changed". In another case, the comment was "here is an autocrat answerable to none" (including the reporting officer himself). Yet in another case the "chicken-obsessed" lower-rank field official, earned the remark "he takes chicken in the field with both hands".


In another case one General of the Indian Army called on Field Marshal Montgomery in England under whom he had served and told him that despite the adverse remarks recorded by him in his ACR, he had earned promotion, to which the Field Marshal replied, "You might commit a similar mistake".


It is doubtful if politicians who hold high public offices have any interest or fascination for the ACRs of the bureaucrats who work directly under them. It is left to your imagination to surmise how some of them who have no formal education, can discharge this responsibility of writing ACRs. More than often it is learnt that they ask the officer to write his own report. In such self-prepared appraisals the words in the report would obliviously glow like "an incandescent lamp"'.


April is said to be a cruel month for a variety of reasons, including the hope/fear of good/bad ACRs. However, to minimise the chances of an adverse report, the recipe for a possible remedy may lie in remaining on the right side of the bosses and also keeping them in good humour. This strategy may work equally well for obtaining an outstanding report.


Generally, ACRs lay the foundation of a person's career. They are the key to future promotions as well. However, "super merit" reports, barring a few genuine exceptions, without validated back-up data of performance may be as harmful to the overall personnel management system as downgrading of honest, upright, diligent members of the service who discharge their duties and responsibilities strictly according to the law and rules without any fear and favour.

DBO: Whose perfidy is the border  imbroglio?

History is witness to the fact that until the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, there simply was no presence of the Chinese south of the Karakoram-Kunlun Ranges, nor any objections by any nation-state to the frequent Indian presence in the Daulat Beg Oldie region

Lt Gen Baljit Singh (Retd)


Their aim was to explore and map the passes leading from the Russian frontier southwards into Kashmir and gauge whether a modern army could enter India by them — Sir Douglas Forsyth, Leh, 1864.

THERE are perhaps more tales about the origin of the place-name — Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) — than are the number of alphabets in it! Be that as it may, DBO was never a human habitation, nor indeed a place-name in any recognised map-almanac. Nevertheless, DBO per se figures prominently in the vast body of literature related to explorations of the Western Himalayas, including intrigue and murders of a few prominent explorers in the vicinity of DBO and upon the Karakoram Pass. And of course Indian government documents of the nineteenth century maintained exhaustive reports purporting to frenzied shadow-boxing between the then super powers, Russia and Great Britain, for ousting Chinese presence from and establishing their own political hegemony over the emirates and khanates of Central Asia.


To begin with, Whitehall opted for Afghanistan as the convenient launch pad for facilitating British entry in to Central Asia. And willy-nilly, the adventure-inclined subalterns of the Indian Army led by Lieutenant Arthur Conolly of the 6th Bengal Native Infantry were inducted in to Central Asia via Mazar-i-Sharif in north-west Afghanistan, ostensibly on a “trek” to Bokhara or Khiva but in essence to check on Russian presence in the region. The Emir did receive Conolly affably in his Bokhara Palace but a few days later the news of sighting of the Czar’s cossacks in the vicinity of Khiva so unnerved the potentate that Conolly was at once thrown inside a vermin infested dungeon and later summarily beheaded. The world learnt of that murder two years later when Alexander Burns, another subaltern, chanced upon Conolly’s copy of the Bible, scribbled inside which was the message from him to his sister which made “Great Game” a part of the English lexicon. “We of the Game are beyond protection. If we die, we die. That is all,” Conolly had written. Much to the dismay of the Rudyard Kipling fans, this exciting new idiom was not of Kipling’s making!


The Russians were by no means sitting idle. Exploiting the advantage of terrain, they easily neutralised the meager gains made by Connolly and Burns in the north-western Central Asian States. So the British next decided to shift focus east of Bokhara by circumventing the Karakorams Range from its eastern-most flank and made Leh the pivot, for furthering their Central Asian policy. Over the next two decades, dozens of British operatives crossed the Karakorams and traversed the region from Khotan in the east, to Kashgar in the west, totally unhindered by any other nation. Both to encourage this ongoing effort and to collate the intelligence so gathered, the then Governor General of India appointed and stationed Sir Douglas Forsyth at Leh in 1862 as the first British representative.


Forsythe at once led three forays to Khotan and Yarkand, each time via DBO but bypassing the Karakoram Pass from farther East, over the Kunlun Range. He learnt that Yakub Beg, the Khan of Kashgar had decisively defeated and driven the Chinese out of western parts of Central Asia as also totally prohibited barter trade with them in this entire region. So in his report to the Governor General, Forsyth emphasised that “…great untapped market lies in Central Asia, especially for Indian tea now that supplies from China had been prohibited.”


It was logical that Forsyth, at that stage, would invite Robert Shaw, who had monopoly of tea plantations in the Kangra Valley, to accompany him to Yarkand in 1867. Shaw returned convinced that the Kashgar-Yarkand-Khotan khanates had at least sixty thousand potential tea-consumers and that he had the capacity to fully meet that demand. So, in September 1873, Shaw once again set out from Leh for Kashgar but this time at the head of a cavalcade comprising 6,474 porters (rather an improbable figure but appears as such in Shaw’s text), 1,621 horses and ponies and 550 yaks carrying bales of Kangra Valley tea and assorted gifts both for Yakub Beg and his hosts en-route at Yarkand and Khotan.


Shaw took the longer but easier route, up north from Pangong Tso Lake on to the now disputed Lingze Thang Plain and had the first pause at DBO, after about five weeks journey, so as to reorganise loads and to dismiss porters, horses, yaks and connected staff, rendered surplus. That was probably the occasion when DBO first emerged both as a place-name and as the most strategically located staging post for entry and exit between India and the Central Asian khanates which some seventy five years later in the 1950s, gained recognition as part of China’s Sinkiang Province. There is little evidence in the Western Himalayan explorations literature of any Chinese presence south of the Karakoam-Kunlun mountain ranges, whatsoever. In fact the accepted southern boundary of Sinkiang lay notionally to the north of the line of passes on the Karakoram Himalayas, always.


Here a question might legitimately arise as to why such boundary alignments were not marked out by way of pillars or verifiable, written mutual protocols etc. The answer perhaps lay in the fact that the very creation of and the forever steady expansion of the British Empire in Asia hinged upon the factor that frontiers and boundaries between Asian nations and countries were ill defined or not delineated at all, and were ripe for grabs as it were, either through diplomatic subterfuge and/or accompanied with show of armed force. But in certain areas such as northern and eastern Ladakh and also Arunachal Pradesh, till the mid twentieth century hazards of climate coupled with primitive connectivity had fostered the policy of acceptance of frontiers as determined by past usage, practice and custom.


Be that as it may, the British seized the politico-diplomatic vacuum in the region and installed His Majesty’s Consul to the Khan of Kashgar, Yakub Beg, as a mutually agreed arrangement. Surprisingly, despite all such on-goings across India’s trans-Himalayan frontiers, there was simply no turmoil in this tract, until 1950. The last HM’s consul to reach Kashgar in 1946 was Eric Shipton who was not a career diplomat but had the aura of the man of the Himalayas, among the most distinguished mountaineer of his generation and also the pioneer of the South Col route through the Khumbu icefall to Mount Everest.


That sizeable cross-frontier trafficking of men and merchandise from Ladakh to Central Asia saw no let up between 1840 and 1950 even though it levied a mind boggling penalty on those daring human beings, animals and commodities who happily plunged head first in to the Great Game. The magnitude of adversity and its ramifications is best gleaned from a passing observation of Wing Commander Abdul Haneef of the Indian Air Force, who “would look down from his chopper cockpit as he flew over the Pass (Saser La, 17,753 feet) still littered with bones of camels, ponies and human way-farers…the detritus of a by-gone era when arbitrary frontiers had not disrupted centuries old patterns of trade and connectivity.”


Usually, nations do memorialise the sacrifices made by their citizens for national causes and in the instant case too, there does exist one granite Obelisk inside the compound of the Moravia Mission, at Leh — the lone timeless witness to the hundreds of nameless and faceless Indians who perished in the DBO region. That Obelisk is to the memory of Dr Ferdinand Stoliczka, Ph.D, an Austrian by birth but in the employ of the Government of India, who had passed away and was buried at DBO on June 19, 1874, as a member of Shaw’s second mission to Kashgar. The inscription on the memorial plaque makes poignant reading — “Though young when he fell, a sacrifice to duty he had already achieved eminence by his researches into the ecology and natural history of India. And his early death is deeply regretted by the world of science and by the Government of India, who in recognition of his able and honorable services, have caused this monument to be erected, 1876.”


So, history is witness to the fact that until the fateful proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, there simply was no presence of the Chinese south of the Karakoram-Kunlun Ranges, nor any objections by any nation-state to the frequent Indian presence in the DBO region. The southern alignment of Sinkiang Province was ipso facto always north of the chain of the Karakoram Passes and thence eastwards over the crest of Kunlun mountain range. So, whose perfidy is the DBO imbroglio?


Strategic significance of Daulat Beg Oldie


Located in north-eastern Ladakh on an ancient trade route connecting what is now India’s largest district to Uyghuristan in western China, Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) is a historic camp site for caravans and is now an Indian military post with an airfield. Also known as an advance landing ground in air force parlence it is at an altitude of about 16,600, making is the world's highest landing ground for fixed-wing aircraft.

Strategically vital, it is situated near the easternmost point of the Karakoram Range in a cold desert region, just 8 km south of the Chinese border and 9 km northwest of the Line of Actual Control between India and China. A few miles north-west of the airstrip is the Karokoram Pass that links Pakistan with China via a highway. The Karakoram highway and an upcoming rail link would eventually link China with the Pakistani port of Gwadar, giving China at alternate link into western Tibet and there on further into the hinterland for bulk movement of energy supplies from the Gulf.


The nearest inhabited town is Murgo to the south, which has a small population of Baltis who primarily depend on apricot farming and yak rearing. Murgo in local dialect means “gateway to death”. Temperature at DBO plummets as low as minus 30 degree Celsius in the winters and the weather deteriorates frequently with strong icy winds lashing the area.


The airstrip, which is still unpaved, was build during the 1962 Sino-Indian conflict and three-engined Packets operated from DBO from 1962 to 1965. In 2008, the airstrip was reactivated by the IAF when an AN-32 twin-engined aircraft touched down. During the interim period of 43 years, helicopters used to operate there. In August this year, the IAF landed its recently inducted four-engined C-130J Super Hercules at DBO, which has a payload capability of five times that of the AN-32. The reactivation of DBO, along with two other advance landing grounds at Fukche and Nyoma in Ladakh, for transport aircraft has considerably boosted the logistic support to army formations deployed in the area as well as enhanced the ability for rapid induction and deinduction of troops.


The DBO sector also came into focus in April 2013, when a platoon-sized contingent of the People's Liberation Army established a campsite in Depsang Valley 30 km southeast of the airfield, about 19 kms on the Indian side of the LAC. The three-week stand-off continued till early May, when both sides withdrew their units further back. Chinese incursions into Indian Territory in Ladakh are said to be frequent. — Vijay Mohan

Indian Defence Minister to clarify on Chinese incursion

DHARAMSALA, September 6: The opposition in the Indian parliament is looking forward to a clarification from Indian Defence Minister AK Antony over the alleged occupation of about 640 square kilometres of Indian territory by Chinese army.


According to Indian media reports, the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) chairperson Shyam Saran was commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), to study the situation on the ground and submit a report. Indian media say that the report submitted by Saran indicate that China had occupied 640 kilometres of Indian territory in April in Daulat Beg Oldie and other sectors in Ladakh.


The NSAB report on the Indo-China border revealed that Chinese troops are not letting their Indian counterparts patrol the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), media reports claim. The Prime Minister had instructed Saran to visit eastern Ladakh and Siachen sectors in the first week of August for reviewing infrastructure development and security situation.


The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha on Thursday by BJP leader Yashwant Sinha who said media reports have quoted the Committee as having concluded that 640 square km of Indian territory has been occupied by China.


"The Parliament is unaware of this... The Defence Minister should be called immediately to the House and he should clarify on the issue. There should be a debate in the House," Sinha said.


Some media reports have alleged that Saran concluded from his visit to Ladakh that Indian troops are cut off from the border and are being prevented by the Chinese army from patrolling near Daulat Beg, where India has built one of the world's highest landing strips. The National Security Advisory Board or NSAB has, however, denied reporting that India has ceded territory to China.


It may be noted that the border between India and China is not demarcated at several places and is described as LAC, which is based on perception.


In response to the alarming development, the government has set up an inter-ministerial panel to monitor the LAC situation. It has also instructed concerned officials to remove the bureaucratic hurdles in Ladakh to speed up infrastructure development.


The Indo-Tibetan Border Police or ITBP, which patrols the border with China had told the government that 640 square kilometres in Rakinala in north-eastern Ladakh had been inaccessible to Indian troops due to incursion by the Chinese army. Several dozen Chinese soldiers had set up a remote camp 18-19 kilometres inside Indian territory at Daulat Beg.


Small incursions are common across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border that runs 3488 kilometres across the Himalayas, but it is rare for either country to set up camp so deep within disputed territory.


Three weeks after the incursion was reported in April, China withdrew and Indian troops were reportedly able to resume normal patrol following talks between army commanders from both sides supplemented by diplomatic negotiations.


The Indian government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has come under strong criticism earlier this year from the opposition over the frequent Chinese incursions and its 'soft response'.


China had conducted at least three military exercises on the Tibetan plateau last year alone. In July 2012, the People’s Liberation Army test fired three new surface-to-air missiles in Tibet, tailor-made for operations in the plateau’s high altitude terrain and rarefied atmosphere. PLA had said that the exercise was targeted at enemy aircrafts from the “south-east” direction - an obvious reference to India.


This was followed by a live missile firing exercise inside Tibet conducted by Chinese air force J-11 aircraft on August 10, last year. China last year also announced the test-firing of a new generation inter-continental ballistic missile called Dongfeng-41, capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear warheads within a strike range of 14,000 kilometers.


India and China occupied Tibet share a 3488 km long disputed border which was the cause of a short but bloody war in 1962. Since then, the two Asian giants have shared uneasy military ties with a series of border talks that have failed to yield much result.

Army pays homage to Indo-Pak War hero Adbul Hamid

AMRITSAR: Army paid floral tributes at the memorial of Param Vir Chakra awardee Havaldar (CQMH) Abdul Hamid on his 48th death anniversary. Major General V K Jain of 7 Golden Arrow Infantry Division and other Army officials, local MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha, MP Rattan Singh Ajnala and others paid tributes to the martyr and also offered 'chaadar' (sacred cloth) at his tomb. Priests of different religions offered prayers during the occasion.


Known as the hero of Asal Uttar (befitting reply) battle during the 1965 India-Pakistan War, Abdul Hamid, who was the commander of a recoilless gun detachment of 4 Grenadiers, had pulverized three Patton tanks of the enemy by showing exemplary courage amidst intense artillery shelling and tank fire from the 1 Armoured Division and 11 Infantry Division of Pakistan from September 7 to 10, 1965. However, while engaging the fourth tank on September 9, 1965, Hamid was fatally injured. Army had destroyed as many as 97 tanks of Pakistan, which had entered into the Indian villages of Valtoha, Bhura Karimpur, Bhura Kona and Cheema with an intention to capture Amritsar.


Civil populace had a major role to play in ensuring victory of the Indian armed forces. Apart from boosting the morale of soldiers, people came out in huge numbers to assist the Indian Army. They offered medical assistance and logistic support. The Asal Uttar Battle was therefore not only a battle of the Indian Army, but of Punjab and the whole nation, said Army officials. A fair was also organized by the Army to mark the occasion. A medical camp and an exhibition of weapons were also held.

Indo-French joint Army exercise Shakti 2013 begins today

New Delhi: In a bid to further strengthen the existing Indo-French relationship, a joint exercise will be conducted between the Indian and the French Army from September 9 to 20 in the French Alps at Grenoble.


This is the second joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena.


The participating troops for this exercise have been drawn from 5th Battalion of the Kumaon Regiment of Jaipur Based South Western Command, while the Alpine troops of 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade will participate from the France Army.


Approximately sixty troops from both the countries will participate in the exercise.


The theme of the exercise is to conduct platoon level joint counter insurgency operations in high altitude mountainous terrain under the UN Charter, thus emphasizing the shared concerns of both countries about global terrorism.


An added aim of the exercise is to qualitatively enhance knowledge of each others' military procedures thus increasing the scope for interoperability and better responsiveness to a common threat.


The Indian troops have undergone extensive training on rock craft, ice craft, advanced mountaineering techniques at High Altitude Warfare School at Sonamarg in Kashmir, in addition to tactical drills of close cordon and house intervention drills in order to fulfil the mandate of the joint exercise.


The twelve day exercise with France Army is scheduled to be conducted in multiple modules in order to achieve complete integration between the two contingents at every stage.


The vast experience and expertise gained by the Indian troops in high altitude areas like Siachen Glacier and in Counter Insurgency operations hold special importance to the France Army.


Conduct of the joint exercise would therefore set the stage for greater defence cooperation between the two nations, thus contributing to enhanced military ties in the years ahead.

Army to enforce govt policy: COAS

ISLAMABAD: The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, on Monday categorically said both the government and armed forces were on the same page on the issue of talks with the militant groups, Geo News reported.


During the question-answer session at the All Parties Conference, General KayaniGeneral Zaheer-ul-Islam openly supported dialogue with militant groups as the first priority.Some people are already announcing that either there would be no negotiations between the government and militants or that these will fail and there must be a war to crush the militants.


General Kayani’s remarks about the role of such people are very crucial, as they are sparing no effort to drag the army into a war against its own citizens in almost all areas of the country.

The Army chief, it is said, told the top political leadership of the country that it is for the politicians and the government to decide the policy. He assured that the army and the military establishment would sincerely implement such a policy. The Army chief also said there is nothing wrong fundamentally but it is extremism that needs to be eliminated.


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