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Thursday, 26 September 2013

From Today's Papers - 26 Sep 2013
Omar to approach Centre on General’s claim
 Srinagar, September 25
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today broke his silence over former Army Chief VK Singh’s claims saying he would formally take up the matter with the Centre.

Omar said the accusations had created “untold problems” for the mainstream parties of the state and asked New Delhi to come out with the truth.

“I believe these accusations cannot be dismissed out of hand… they require further investigation. This matter is being taken up formally with the Government of India for further action,” Omar told mediapersons at a function here.

On allegations of political parties being funded since 1947, he said the Centre should conduct a “threadbare inquiry” and share the findings, if any, with the state government.

“A majority of mainstream politicians have no financial dealing with the Army. Therefore, this accusation of his (General Singh) that all ministers since 1947 have taken money from the Army, I think it is important that the Government of India conducts a threadbare inquiry and the findings, whatever they may be, should be shared with us,” he told reporters here.

General Singh had claimed that certain state ministers were given money by the Army to ensure “stability” and that the practice had been going on since Independence.

Omar said the efforts made to “vilify” all mainstream political parties were extremely unfortunate and that the former Army Chief’s statement had created “untold problems”, especially for the image of the mainstream state politicians.

“One of his (General Singh’s) statements has created untold problems…. Most of us have no financial dealings with the Army… such statements only cause us great difficulty here,” he said.

Omar urged the Centre to “come clean” over the charges levelled by General Singh failing which the mainstream politicians would be looked at with suspicion.

Regarding General Singh’s claim that Omar was in the know of things and that his phone had been tapped by Army’s intelligence unit, the Chief Minister said: “I won’t say anything that is not appropriate for me to say and will take up the matter with the Centre.”
Hero of Battle of Dograi, Brig Hayde, passes away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In September 1965, in one of the most hard-fought battles of the Indo-Pakistan war, Indian troops captured the towns of Batapore and Dograi on the western frontier near Lahore. While the famous Battle of Dograi remains etched in the annals of military history, its protagonist, Brig Desmond Hayde, who was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), died at Nainital today.

Brig Hyde, who was 87, is survived by three sons, one of whom had served in the Army.

Brig (then Lt Col) Hayde was the commanding officer of 3 Jat, when the unit crossed the Ichogil canal and captured the town of Batapore. A Pakistani counter offensive by an armoured and infantry division supported by its air force resulted in Indian troops withdrawing to their starting point.

According to some historical excerpts the Indian commanders had no information of 3 Jat capturing Batapore and misleading information Indian withdrawal from Batapore and Dograi, which was eventually recaptured by 3 Jat on September 21, 1965, for the second time but after a much harder battle due to Pakistani reinforcements.

“On September 6, 1965, when the initial attack on the lchhogil Canal in Pakistan was launched, LT Col Hayde, officer commanding of a battalion of Jat Regiment, captured the western bank of the canal against very stiff enemy opposition. It was primarily due to his leadership that not only did his battalion not fall back from the positions which it had occupied, but in fact moved forward in spite of continuous and heavy shelling and frequent air and ground attacks. On September 9, when the enemy launched an attack with Patton and Sherman tanks, his battalion accounted for five enemy tanks. The performance of this battalion throughout the operations was excellent and this was largely due to the great personal courage and exceptional qualities of leadership shown by Lt Col Hayde,” his MVC citation states.
VK Singh jeopardising national security: Cong
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, September 25
The Congress today launched a scathing attack on General VK Singh, accusing him of jeopardising national security interests with his recent statements on Jammu and Kashmir.
“A retired General is damaging the Army’s glorious tradition of sacrifice, courage and honour. His statements are creating a strange environment in the country. He has forgotten that there are some sensitive states and some sensitive borders,” party spokesperson Raj Babbar said at a Congress briefing. General Singh had recently said there was an established practice in the Army of paying money to ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir Government for getting various kinds of works done in the state.

The National Conference government has dared the General to reveal the names of ministers who have been paid money.

The Congress officially came out for the first time today to question General Singh’s intent behind the statements, which it described as “highly irresponsible”.

The party recalled some old controversies that surfaced during General Singh’s tenure as the Army Chief. “How is it that this retired Army Chief courted all controversies - be it the date of birth row or the bribery accusation in the Tatra truck deal or the leak of his letter to the Prime Minister in respect of India’s alleged lack of Defence preparedness. Why do all controversies relate to him?” Babbar asked.

The Congress’ move appears to be an attempt to separate the Army from the General by drawing comparisons between his old controversies and the latest allegations against him that he raised a secret service within the Army’s Military Intelligence and misused it to topple the state government.

“The General should mind what he says. He ought to be serious as his statements are causing anguish to all of us and the Congress, which bows to the Army’s tradition of glory and courage. General Singh’s irresponsible statements are not good. He should guard the Army’s traditions,” Babbar said.

On why the Congress was attacking General Singh for defending his position against serious allegations, Congress leaders privately said the General should not have made the statements he did.

“What good would such a leak do to the Government?” a Congress leader asked, dismissing apprehensions that the castigation of the General had anything to do with his recent visible proximity to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Centre constitutes 7th Pay Commission
* To be implemented from Jan 1, 2016 * No separate panel for forces
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, September 25
The Central Government today set up the Seventh Pay Commission for its employees. However, the promised separate pay commission for the armed forces has not been declared, so far, possibly following inputs from the services against having such a provision.

Sources said a large section of top officers in the Army, the Navy and the IAF were not keen on having a separate pay commission for forces as de-linking the forces from the main pay commission would cause more anomalies and there would be no relevant benchmarks to follow.

“In the end, the recommendations of a separate pay commission will also have to go through the Finance Ministry,” sources said. IAF Chief Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne, after consultations with the chiefs of the Navy and the Army, wrote to Defence Minister AK Antony saying the forces should from part of the main central pay commission, sources confirmed.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in a statement today that the Prime Minister had approved the constitution of the Seventh Central Pay Commission. The fourth, fifth and sixth Central Pay Commissions’ recommendations were implemented in 1986, 1996 and 2006, respectively.

However, there was no mention of a separate pay commission for the forces in the statement of the Finance Minister. Sources in the Ministry of Defence said there was no instruction, so far, to have a separate pay commission for the forces.
Terror, LoC tension, trade to dominate PM-Sharif talks
Pak likely to offer full normalisation of trade ties with India as PM confirms meeting
Raj Chengappa
on-board the pm’s special flight
Ending weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed he would be meeting his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on September 29 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.

In a statement issued prior to his departure to the US on Wednesday morning, the Prime Minister said he “looked forward to bilateral meetings” with leaders of neighbouring countries “including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan”.

The low-key announcement was indicative of the extreme caution with which the Indian side is approaching the first meeting of the two Prime Ministers, with an official source stating that it would help the two countries review “where we are and what we need to do”.

On Pakistan’s part, The Tribune learns that when the two Prime Ministers meet, Nawaz Sharif is likely to offer “full normalisation” of trade relations with India, which — apart from granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status — would push for a bilateral free-trade agreement that will enhance investment flow between the nations. The Pakistan Prime Minister will also push for a resumption of the stalled dialogue process.

On India’s approach, sources told The Tribune that India will ask Pakistan to take concrete steps to restore the “tranquillity of the LoC” before agreeing to restart the dialogue process. Manmohan Singh will also ask Sharif to speed up the trial of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Meanwhile, Pakistan this week sent a judicial commission to Mumbai to collect evidence and cross-examine witnesses who had deposed in the 26/11 trial in India.

Apart from these issues, India is keen that Pakistan moves forward on what an official source termed “the unfinished agenda” on economic and trade affairs, including MFN status, which the previous Pakistan Government had agreed to grant last September but failed to implement. That concern would be more than met if Nawaz Sharif makes the offer of comprehensive normalisation of trade relations with India.

Relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated considerably after the Indian Government blamed the Pakistan Army for killing five Indian soldiers on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) on August 5. Since then the two armies have exchanged fire along the LoC almost on a daily basis shattering the 2003 ceasefire agreement. Earlier, tensions had risen between the two countries in January over the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistan Army forces on the LoC.

Asked why the Prime Minister decided to meet Nawaz Sharif in New York when he said India didn’t want to do business as usual with it after the beheading incident, an official source explained, “You don’t have to make peace with friends - you make peace with your enemies. Pakistan has a new Prime Minister who has made positive statements about relations with India. We have to give him a chance.”

What India wants

India will ask Pakistan to take concrete steps to restore the “tranquillity of the LoC” before agreeing to restart the dialogue process
Manmohan will ask Sharif to speed up the trial of the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks
New Delhi is keen Pakistan moves forward on what an official source termed “the unfinished agenda” on economic and trade affairs, including MFN status

on Pak’s agenda

Nawaz Sharif is likely to offer “full normalisation” of trade relations with India
This, apart from granting Most Favoured Nation status to India, would push for a bilateral free-trade agreement that will enhance investment flow between the nations
He will also push for a resumption of the stalled dialogue process
7th Pay Commission for central govt employees announced
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today approved the constitution of the 7th Pay Commission, which is likely to impact at least 85 lakh central government employees and pensioners.

"Its (7th Pay Commission's) recommendations are likely to be implemented with effect from January 1, 2016," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in a statement.

The setting up of the Commission comes ahead of the Assembly elections in five states this year and the general elections next year.

The government constitutes Pay Commission every 10 years to revise the pay scales of its employees and often these are adopted by states after some modification.

The names of the chairperson and members, as well as the terms of reference, of the Pay Commission will be finalised and announced shortly, the Finance Minister added.

The recommendations of the sixth Pay Commission were implemented from January 1, 2006; fifth from January 1, 1996, and fourth from January 1, 1986.

There are at present around 50 lakh central government employees and 35 lakh pensioners, who stand to benefit from the recommendations from the Pay Commission.
Seventh pay commission announced, no decision yet on separate panel for Army
The government today announced the seventh central pay panel to decide on salary hikes for over 80 lakh government employees and pensioners, a move seen by many as a major sop ahead of five state elections later this year and national polls due by May.

Around 50 lakh government employees and 35 lakh pensioners stand to benefit when the seventh pay commission's recommendations are implemented, most likely from January 2016.

Sources suggest that India's armed forces are likely to have their own pay panel for the first time since independence, but no decision has been taken yet.

The armed forces, however, reportedly favour their own representative on the central panel instead of a separate panel.

All three military chiefs had written to the Defence Minister last year, asking for pay parity with civilian employees. The armed forces have also been demanding that servicemen of the same rank and same period of service should get the same pension.

In a three-page letter to Defence Minister AK Antony written on Sept 13, Air Chief NAK Browne had said, "The services have always felt the need for having representation in the pay panel as a Central Pay Commission may not be expected to fully grasp the unique challenges of military service."

In June last year, Mr Antony had reportedly written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on "growing discontent among the services personnel due to the anomalies in payment and salaries." He suggested that corrective action be taken or "things may take a bad turn."

Government salaries had been substantially hiked under the sixth pay commission, which cost the taxpayer some Rs. 12,561 crore in 2008-2009. The revised pays fixed the salary of the senior-most official, the Cabinet Secretary, at Rs. 90,000 a month and the minimum entry level salary at Rs. 6,660.

The government constitutes a Pay Commission almost every ten years to revise the pay scales of its employees.
V.K. Singh’s claims damaged India’s interests, officials say
Accusing the former Army chief, General (retd.) V.K. Singh, of causing “enormous damage” to the country through some of his recent statements on Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said the government was investigating his claim that military officers had made illegal payments to politicians, and would decide on what action to take once the facts were established.

Fielding questions from journalists on board Manmohan Singh’s flight to Frankfurt — the Prime Minister stops in Germany overnight before proceeding to Washington D.C. for his September 27 meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama — a senior official said, “If anyone did anything wrong, which [General V.K. Singh] is admitting he did, action needs to be taken. But we’d first have to check it’s been done or not. We can’t take his word and act on it.”

The official said the Army’s enquiry board had recorded similar claims from soldiers who were part of the Technical Services Division (TSD) set up by the former Army chief but that the one politician identified had denied receiving any pay-off. “The enquiry recorded these claims but has not proved them. This has to be probed and we are looking into this.”

Pressed to comment on the propriety of the military making such payments, the official said: “If it’s true, it’s completely wrong. The Army has no business paying politicians. But let’s not jump to that stage yet.”

The official underlined the importance of the recent statement released by the Ministry of Defence last week when news of the Army’s probe into the TSD’s activities first emerged. “As far as the systemic part is concerned, the MoD has said we have put in place systems to deal with this problem.”

Beyond this confident spin, however, it is obvious that the government is in a bind over how to deal with the fallout from General V.K. Singh’s public statements on payoffs and panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials say any Pakistani query on the army’s involvement in politics will be met by a “we are looking into the General’s allegations” response; but they also acknowledge the claims of a former army chief are likely to damage India’s standing internationally regardless of their veracity.

If the credibility of the Indian state’s positions on Kashmir requires General Singh’s allegations to be disproved, the possibility of the military making payoffs that the government is unaware of raises serious questions about civilian oversight, and cannot easily be brushed under the carpet.

At the same time, escalating the confrontation with General Singh means running the risk of other real or imaginary official secrets tumbling out. That is why senior officials are bristling with anger at the situation that has been created.

The only silver lining for the government may well lie in the Opposition’s apparent change of heart on the retired officer.

Although the BJP quickly rose to the former Army chief’s defence, accusing the Congress of targeting him because he shared a dais with Narendra Modi, senior party leader Arun Jaitley has now said the secrets General Singh is disclosing should never have been made public. But it is not yet clear if the BJP will now put some distance between itself and the controversial general.
Carter promises India joint development on Javelin and EMALs
US Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter pitched the joint development of defence equipment during a two-day visit to India that ended on 18 September.

Carter, who was wrapping up a three-nation tour of South Asia, told reporters in New Delhi that the US wanted to work with India to co-develop a next-generation Raytheon-Lockheed Martin FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) and the Electro Magnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) for the Indian Navy's (INs) future aircraft carriers.

Carter said the nascent Defense Trade and Technology Initiative (DTI) would exploit the "enormous untapped potential between our private sectors in the defence field" and "clarify a lot of old misperceptions about US willingness to share high level technology with India."

The DTI was agreed during a 2012 visit to New Delhi by the then defence secretary Leon Panetta. Carter said it is intended to "streamline our bureaucratic processes and make our defence trade more simple, responsive and effective. In particular, to move from a vendor/buyer relationship to one of partnership in co-developing and co-producing defence systems."

Carter said the DTI would see India and the US "move to more co-production projects in which defence products are made not just in the US and sold to India but manufactured in both countries."

"And not just manufactured but with the research and development occurring co-operatively between the two countries. That's a much deeper form of partnership" he added.

Admitting that such a relationship was "a new wave for US and India," Carter pointed to the Indo-Russian BrahMos cruise missile programme as a model. "[BrahMos is] a very good analogy," he said. "It is intended to be exactly the same kind of thing where the two industry teams are involved in the whole product life cycle."

India has worked with Russia on joint defence equipment production and development programmes across all domains for decades. "We do not have the history [of defence collaboration] Russia does," Carter admitted. "We are trying to replicate it."

Meanwhile, Carter said that India not having signed two protocols that ensure client compliance with sensitive military technology control transfers was not a hindrance.

Under US law the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation need bilateral confirmation before Washington approves materiel exports.

"We have decided to work around that even though India hasn't signed those agreements. We'd like them to sign them but we're not allowing that to remain an obstacle," he said.

Military officials in Delhi told IHS Jane's that realising Carter's offer of joint development and production would require an amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2013, which has no such provisions for such deals with a foreign vendor.

"In previous negotiations over the Javelin system, the US has steadfastly refused to part with critical technology relating to its components in relation to building it locally especially with regard to the ATGM's seeker and IR flight tracker systems," an Indian Army officer associated with the programme said.

Official sources said the revised US offer for the Javelin envisages India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) working jointly with Raytheon-Lockheed Martin to "refine" the capability of the man-portable ATGM to operate in extreme climates. Under the deal, the state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited would eventually manufacture the system.

Carter's visit to New Delhi and the ambition shown in his comments on future joint defence industrial development come as the US has begun to challenge Russia's traditional position as India's arms supplier of choice.

US systems have scored recent successes over Russian competition in heavy lift and attack helicopters, while Washington is also supplying Delhi with Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifters, an extra six Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 tactical transports and a fleet of Boeing P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft. In land systems the US is still hoping to seal a contract to sell BAE Systems M777 lightweight howitzers to the Army, while US small arms manufacturers are competing in a number of Army and special forces assault rifle contests.

Carter's choice of the Javelin as a potential vanguard programme for joint Indo-US cooperation follows repeated delays in the Indian Army's attempts to fulfil its requirement for 44,000 ATGMs.

India announced its intention to buy Javelin in August 2010, but the proposed sale was blocked by US regulations preventing the transfer of technology to local manufacturers, a fact admitted by Panetta in 2012 when he visited New Delhi and alluded to by Carter, who admitted that the Javelin had an "unhappy history" in India, "in part because it in the past didn't reflect our desire, and especially the desire on the Indian side, to have co-development and co-production projects."

In response to the delays the Indian Ministry of Defence ran a series of trials of the Rafael Spike NLOS system. However, eager to avoid a single vendor tender and stung by the scandal surrounding the acquisition of 12 AgustaWestland VIP helicopters, in April 2013 the MoD's Defence Acquisition Council delayed a INR150 billion (USD2.3 billion) purchase of 321 Spike launchers, 8,356 missiles, and 15 training simulators and ordered a 'technology scan' to seek alternate ATGM suppliers.

Beyond specific projects, Carter played up the strategic importance of the DTI and the importance of the "US-Indian partnership ... in a geopolitical sense". He emphasised that that searching for "partners in key areas of science and technology collaboration ... [is] something we've only ever done before with the United Kingdom and Australia" and while keen to avoid suggestions that the US sees India as a key partner in balancing Chinese expansion, was emphatic in stating that "the Asia Pacific Indian Ocean region is the part of the world where much of humanity's future will be written."
In a first, Indian Armed Forces to have separate pay commission
New Delhi: In a first, Indian Armed Forces will have a separate pay commission that will deal with the pay revision and benefits granted to the defence personnel only.

Giving in to the demands of the three services chiefs, who had written to the Defence Minister AK Antony last year complaining about the anomalies in the sixth pay commission, the Central government has agreed to delink the pay revision of defence personnel from the civilian employees and constitute a separate pay commission for the military personnel this year.

The reports of a first exclusive pay commission for the military comes as the government has today announced the Seventh Pay Commission for 80 lakh central government employees and pensioners. Its recommendations are likely to be implemented with effect from January 1, 2016.

Though the government had agreed to cater to the demands of Armed Forces, the three services chiefs registered strong objection to the fact that there was no military representative on the panel set up by the Prime Minister to look into demands of the forces for pay parity with civil servants.

The panel set up by the PM in July had four IAS officers as its members and was headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

The main demand of the Armed Forces is granting of Non-functional upgrade in the pay to the armed forces on the lines of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the fact that it would be decided only by the IAS officers did not go down well with the military chiefs.

“Unlike IAS where all civil servants retire as Additional Secretaries, the hierarchy structure in the armed forces is very steep. Not more than 20 percent of the people make it beyond the rank of Brigadiers,” reports quoted a Army personnel as saying.

The military personnel’s other demands are granting of One Rank One Pension for retired personnel and One Rank One Pay for those still serving.

The Armed Forces also clamoured for fixing rank pay and fixing pay structure for Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR) and junior commissioned officers (JCOs).

Reacting to the complaint, the Defence Minister had written to the Prime Minister saying there was "growing discontentment among the services personnel due to the anomalies in fixation of payment and salaries."

Antony conveyed to the PM that the defence personne, ex-servicemen and the pensioners were “agitated” over the pay anomalies and “corrective measures” must be taken soon.

The government has so far constituted six pay commissions but it will be the first time since independence that a separate pay commission will be created to look into the pay revisions of defence personnel.

The government constitutes Pay Commission almost every ten years to revise the pay scales of its employees and often these are adopted by states after some modification.
Sainik school gave India an Army of titans: President
Saluting the soldiers who fought to protect the country, President Pranab Mukherji on Tuesday heaped praise on the sainik schools that produced such personnel for the armed forces.

“Today we have 24 sanik schools across the country, but of them the sainik school of Bijapur is the best, '' he said participating in the school's golden jubilee celebrations here.

“Many visionaries have contributed individually to the establishment of this great institute. Today, more than 500 brilliant officers serving across the country are the outcome of this institute,”  he said, adding,  “Being one of the most advanced countries of the world, we shall have to strengthen the foundation of our education. The role of sainik schools in this matter is very important.”

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recalled that the school had produced many exemplary military leaders. “The school occupies a pride of place among all schools in the state, contributing the largest number of officers to the armed forces. It has become a launching pad for Kannadigas to join the defence forces,'' he said.

The CM said, Bijapur was not merely a city of historical monuments but grew as an educational hub in north-Karnataka with many noted educational institutions catering to the needs of students. He also congratulated the school for its academic performance.
Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Rajouri
Jammu: In a fresh ceasefire violation, the Pakistani Army on Wednesday night resorted to unprovoked firing on Indian forward posts, along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, drawing effective retaliation.

Pakistan troops opened fire from small and automatic weapons on Indian forward posts along the LoC in Bhimbhergali, sub-sector of Poonch district at around 2040 hours, Defence spokesman SN Acharya said.

The Indian troops hit back, triggering an exchange of fire which went on till late in the night, the spokesman said adding there were no reports of loss of life or injury to anyone.

This is the 19th ceasefire violation along the LoC in September this year, the spokesman said.

"There are over 120 ceasefire violations by Pakistan this year upto September 25", he added. On September 22, the Pakistan troops fired from small and automatic weapons on Indian forward posts along the LoC in Mendhar-Balakote sub-sector of Poonch district.

On September 17, two persons, including a BSF jawan, were injured, when the Pakistani Army violated ceasefire and resorted to unprovoked and heavy firing and launched rocket attacks on 7 Indian forward posts along the LoC in Poonch district.

A 40-year old civilian Taj Mohmmad was injured in Pakistan firing in Dera Basi in Mendhar in Poonch sub-sector.

Ceasefire violations were higher this year compared to the last five year.
VK sets stage for game of spy vs spy
New Delhi, Sept. 24: The spat over General V.K. Singh’s activities while in service is threatening to unravel a security architecture nearly a year-and-a-half after he retired as army chief.

Discussions in newspapers, on television and on Twitter on the functioning of a shady unit under the military intelligence wing of the army, including calls for a probe by another investigative agency of the government, is setting the stage for a spy versus spy game.

Only, in the present instance, the actors are functionaries in the same government operating in co-ordination with agents outside the administration. This is a nightmare scenario for intelligence operatives whose credo is secrecy and avoidance of limelight.

It was left to BJP leader Arun Jaitley to articulate the discomfiture of the operatives in the security establishment.

“Disclosures in relation to certain activities of the Indian army now raise a larger question — should covert operations be leaked out by the government and made a subject matter of public debate?” he wrote on his website this evening.

Among the army top brass is the fear that the CBI could be asked to probe a military intelligence wing — spy versus spy. Apart from setting two security agencies of the same government against each other, this could also usurp the layered network of contacts built by the outfits.

It is again Jaitley who has warned of the danger from this. He wrote: “The CBI cannot invoke its investigative jurisdiction to start investigating whether secret funds have been properly spent by the Intelligence Bureau, the R&AW or the military intelligence or by any other agency. All these activities are neither accountable to Parliament nor judicially justiciable. These are a part of the covert operations….

“Should such an information have been leaked out by the political establishment which had a problem with the former army chief? Pushed to a corner, should the army chief at all have admitted that such payments were indeed undertaken?”

The leak of part of the contents of a report that studied the intelligence unit — called the technical support division (TSD) — to a newspaper and the confirmation by the ministry of defence that it had indulged in “undesirable activities” is in itself a shocker.

Gen. Singh has filed a request under the Right to Information Act for a copy of the report. Defence ministry sources have said the report was “Top Secret”.

Intelligence and spy agencies the world over use cash to pay off informants and/or agent provocateurs. These agents could be spies or politicians or, indeed, agents of an enemy intelligence wing who turn double-crossers.

Gen. Singh is aware of the dangerous game his latest bout is leading to. “I did not commit any mistake. When I said some politicians were given money, it was not… for lining their pockets or for bribe….

“It was meant solely for stability.… to wean people away from separatist activities under the overall umbrella of sadbhavna (harmony),” he said at a news conference.

The Indian Express newspaper, quoting the report of the army’s board of officers, alleged that Gen. Singh prompted the TSD to bribe a Jammu and Kashmir minister to topple the state government. There is no independent verification of this.

Gen. Singh says the funds were used to sponsor and organise events to engage the Kashmiri youth who had come out on the streets in large numbers in 2010 to stone security forces. The funds were routed through an NGO and a politician to create events that would keep the youth off the streets.

The Congress today said Gen. Singh’s statements were unbecoming of a former army chief. “The good name of the army is being sullied…. A person of his stature should not speak like that.”

The Omar Abdullah government has decided to approach the Centre for a probe.

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