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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 22 Oct 2013

Pak says India can’t overlook UN resolutions on Kashmir
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Amid increasing tension between India and Pakistan, Islamabad today yet again sought to put the Kashmir issue on the front-burner, saying a resolution of the issue was vital for maintaining peace and security in the region.

Reacting to yesterday’s statement by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid that Kashmir was an integral part of India, a Pakistan foreign office spokesman asserted that the Kashmir ‘dispute’ was the core issue that remained unresolved between the two countries.

“It is unfortunate that Indian leadership continues to refer to the state of Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India, when the reality is clearly otherwise.”

The strongly-worded statement from Islamabad came less than two days before Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets US President Barack Obama in Washington. Sharif has again sought America's intervention on the Kashmir issue but Washington has turned down the request.

The Pakistani spokesman said as a member of the United Nations, India should not overlook or undermine the numerous UN Security Council resolutions on this issue.

In an obvious reference to the Shimla Agreement, he said while bilateral agreements might exist, the sanctity of the UN resolutions could not be understated.

“The Kashmir dispute remains a fundamental component of the bilateral dialogue process and resolution of this dispute is vital for maintaining peace and security in the region. India's continued intransigence over this issue is counterproductive and is unhelpful in the efforts to resolve this dispute.”

He said Pakistan remained committed to a purposeful, constructive and result-oriented dialogue with India and believed that serious efforts need to be made in maintaining a positive atmosphere and avoid negative propaganda
Army’s technical arm to automate its operations
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, October 21
The Army’s technical arm, Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), is envisaging a fully automated online system to control and manage its day to day operations across the country.

Currently, it is totally dependent on manual paper based transactional processes and procedures.

Termed as Project EMERALD (EME Reliability Availability Logistics Delivery), it will establish an integrated information environment for the entire organisation by interconnecting the relevant engineering and business processes that heretofore were operating in a stand-alone mode.

Executing EMERALD, sources said, is a mammoth task as it would require interlinking EME establishments from the Directorate General of EME at Army Headquarters and base repair depots down to light repair workshops at the unit level located at over 600 locations across India.

Data support, control process and accounting procedures would have to be developed to cater to over 1,500 types of equipment consisting of more than 25 lakh items and over a million spare parts.

Headed by a Lieutenant General, EME provides maintenance, repair and overhaul support to the army for the entire range of equipment, including weapons, vehicles, tanks, artillery, missiles, radars helicopters, UAV’s, communication and surveillance equipment and electronic gadgets, through its network of workshops and where required, through outsourcing, both in peace and during war.

EMERALD would be able to provide the necessary realtime information to decision-makers at all levels and also integrate the corps with other arms and services of the Army as well as agencies with which it is functionally associated.

The system would be able to operate in an operational environment in forward areas as well as in field exercises where connectivity with the primary data centers could be limited. EME is also undertaking a total revamp of its eight base repair workshops that form the backbone of its technical support capability and are also engaged in technology development, upgrade of weapon systems and indigenisation and manufacture of spare parts.
China playing for high stakes
China has been consistent in its policy of 'picking on India'. For 50 years the Western powers used Pakistan as the surrogate to counter India during the cold war years. Now, China is determined to take advantage of surrogate Pakistan to unsettle India
D. N. Panigrahi
CHINA is a nation with a grand vision and has a mission to fulfil. Conceptualising China's worldview and perspective in the modern age no doubt may be a daunting task but a close look at its history and culture as a civilisation of the past and the present political, economic, military and cultural scenario reveals that its grand design and mission would be one of expansion of its power, influence, dominance and hegemony wherever and whenever possible.

China's new formulation of building 'a harmonious world' through 'peaceful development' as declared by former President Hu Jintao that China is a 'spiritual civilisation'; that the peaceful rise does not endanger other societies; that they would accommodate 'diversity' and not work for 'uniformity' in the world etc are much welcome. Also, the present President of China, Xi Jinping, spoke on March 13, 2013, of his ambition to fulfil 'the dream of Renaissance' for the Chinese people, assuring the world at the same time that they did not contemplate 'hegemony' over other people seemed quite mind-boggling. The journey from Revolution, Repression to Renaissance is by itself a matter of great pride and is worthy of attention.

A trust deficit

Yet, in spite of these assurances, the neighbouring countries have openly demonstrated considerable scepticism and overall there has been 'a trust deficit' in their relationship with China. China's diplomatic and military posture on issues of vital interest has been somewhat intimidating and aggressive. Even with powerful neighbours like Japan and the Soviet Union, China had displayed military offensive which has baffled the world.

All South East Asian countries have contested China's sovereignty bid over the South China Sea. Each of them protested when China sent a naval vessel while the Phnom Penh Conference was being held in July 2012. The conference reiterated by a resolution to follow the UN convention of 1982 regarding navigation in international waters. Yet, China insisted that the South China Sea, along with its islands, belonged to China only.

Incidentally, India was also involved in the South China Sea region owing to the offshore oil exploration that has been carried out in association with Vietnam ever since 1988. China had warned India not to be associated with these ventures. It is generally believed that the disputed blocks lie in the economic zone of Vietnam. Meanwhile, according to recent reports, China had been engaged in maritime mining activity deep into the Indian Ocean declaring that they were legally tenable being in the midst of the international waters.

Personality clashes

The Sino-Soviet animosity and eventual split were the result of several factors, most important being ideological, personality clashes and the border dispute. The Soviet leaders, led by Joseph Stalin, felt that they had successfully established a kind of paradise of proletariat dictatorship and were not prepared to accept any paradigm shift in this dogma.

Mao believed that the Chinese experience in the Chinese revolution was equally important in building the Marxist Communist revolutionary world. Nikita Khruschev in his memoirs "Khruschev Remembers" edited by Strobe Talbott describes the rationale and depth of discord and split in this regard.

Mao Tsetung in his discussion on Marxism-Leninism with P.F.Yudin, the Soviet philosopher who was the Soviet ambassador in China in order to study Mao's thoughts, felt 'vexed' and wondered: 'Did philosophy reach its limit with Marx and Lenin? He would sometimes wonder out loud… 'Can't the inclusion of Chinese revolutionary experience produce new philosophical thought?' Mao used to say aloud.

When Khruschev visited China to meet Mao, he was literally insulted by Mao. He was to stay for a week but he left only after three days. The chairman was deliberately playing the role of an emperor treating Khruschev as a barbarian who came to pay tribute. Russian designs, according to Mao, were not acceptable. 'Their real purpose is to control us. They're trying to tie our hands and feet' said Mao.

Unbelievable it may seem but the China-Soviet border conflict had the ingredients of a large-scale war. According to historians, 'the clashes at the disputed Zhenbao island on an isolated stretch of the Ussuri river' was of prime concern in 1969. The conflict opened the door to the possibility of a Sino-American re-approachment and the USA seized the opportunity. President Nixon assisted by his adviser Henry Kissinger planned the historic visit to China in 1971-72 through the good offices of Pakistan. That brought about Sino-American reapproachment for a while. On February 21, 1972 President Nixon along with Henry Kissinger met Chairman Mao and Prime Minister Zhou Enlai at Chairman Mao's residence. President Nixon asked, 'why have the Soviets more forces on the border facing you (China) than on the border facing western Europe?' (The Kissinger Transcripts -- top-secret memo of conversation p.62). Also Kissinger in his "On China" observed that 'Soviet troops along the Chinese border grew to some 42 divisions -over a million men'. Towards the end of 1969 in anticipation of a Soviet attack on China's National Day i.e. on 1 October, PLA had ordered full alert in China on 30 September, 1969. But the Soviets did not attack China, which surprised the Chinese leaders.

Henry Kissinger also informs that the Soviet Union had stepped up their armed strength all along the frontier resulting in the wiping out of a Chinese battalion at the Xinjiang border.

China and neighbours

Why did the Chinese build up such an atmosphere of conflict and ill-will with their neighbour and erstwhile benefactor, the Soviet Union? The main reason it seems, as stated by Kissinger was that 'China inevitably found it impossible to play the role of a junior partner'. Elsewhere, he had observed about the attitude of Chinese towards their neighbours.

'The Russians they hate and fear now. The Japanese they fear but do not hate. For the Indians they feel contempt but they are there backed by the USSR.' (The Kissinger Transcripts : The Top-Secret Talks with Beijing and Moscow ed. William Burr, New York 1998, p.42).

Lorenz M. Luthi asked the question who was responsible for the border dispute with the USSR? Henry Kissinger asserted that the USSR started the clashes, while Philip Short, according to Luthi, argued that 'Chairman Mao Tsetung instigated them to seek re-approachment with the United States and to balance the Soviet Union'. Also Lyle Goldstein M.Taylor Fravel held the view that 'the evidence points towards Chinese aggressiveness on March 2 as a Soviet counter-attack on the 15th.'

The Chinese feared a Russian attack. Observes Kissinger: "there were underground shelters in Peking and other cities. They were not against us. They had shown some of the tunnels and they were 35 km. long. The Chinese were far more exercised by the million Soviet troops along the borders then they were by our forces in Japan".

In China's strategic architecture, the supreme place of honour was given to the USA. Despite their acute differences, in terms of ideology, system of governance, concept of international relations, in fact in most public domain, China never wanted to follow a policy of confrontation with them, although once a while Mao Tsetung described the US as nothing but a 'a paper tiger'. In fact China was quite cautious and placed the powerful countries in high pedestal and went out of its way to placate them despite antagonistic aims and objectives on world affairs. President Ziang Zemin, for instance, stressed the point, during his meeting with Kissinger in September 1990. He said: 'Your friend Zhou Enlai used to talk about our five principles of peaceful co-existence. Well, they are still in existence today. It won't do that there should be only a single social system in the world. We don't want to impose our system on others, and we don't want others to impose theirs on us'.

It is quite instructive to note that in relation to Taiwan, Mao and Chou declared that they would not fight a war to liberate it but wait for a peaceful transfer of the country even if it meant a century of waiting. On the east coast of Chinese mainland lies Taiwan, 'with substantial American military presence', as stated by the Chinese representative during the meeting between President Nixon, Kissinger and Premier Chou Enlie. Zhou told the guest of honour: 'Beijing had no intention to liberate Taiwan by armed forces.' Zhou also agreed to the suggestion of Kissinger that they should 'strive for a peaceful liberation.' However, Premier Zhou reminded that John Foster Dulles had suggested at the Warsaw Talks to resolve the Taiwan issue in the next 20 years. 'Since already more than 20 years have passed, it would be good if the liberation of Taiwan could be realised in your next term of office', implored Zhou in a friendly way to Henry Kissinger.

US is exceptional

Nearly hundred years have passed and the Chinese have waited for a solution with the United States of America, without taking 'unilateral action to liberate' Taiwan. Similarly, more than a century has passed but China has not dared ask for the return of Vladivastok from the Soviet Union.

Although the US has declined economically while China has achieved an economic miracle, the fact remains the 'US is still an exceptional country and the leader of the world.' With regard to India, the story is different because comparatively India is both economically and militarily weaker. Khruschev's reminder on China, as he understood is worthy of note: 'Chinese don't recognise any law except the law of power and force. If you don't obey, they would tear your head off.' Nevertheless, whatever may be India's profile, 'India is a major Asian power, a potential rival both nationally and ideologically and a State to which even the hazy traditions of vassalage could not be attached,' observed Francis Watson in "The Frontiers of China". China is fully conscious of this. It would nevertheless continue to unsettle, marginalise, encircle and overwhelm India. India will have to face the inevitable with fortitude, diplomatic skill, wisdom and with strength.

The writer is a former Professor of History, Delhi University
Omar warns Pak on ceasefire violations
Asks Delhi to explore other options if firing goes on
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 21
With Pakistan ratcheting up tension along the border, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today asked New Delhi to explore options other than dialogue with Islamabad if its forces continue to target Indian villages. There have been 175 ceasefire violations so far this year, the highest in the past decade, ever since the ceasefire agreement in 2003.

Omar’s tough words came on a day when Army Chief General Bikram Singh met Defence Minister AK Antony in Delhi and briefed him on the preparedness along the LoC besides recent incidents. General Bikram Singh also met top commanders and discussed the latest LoC situation.
“The Centre should explore other options if Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire,” Omar said while addressing police personnel on Police Martyrs' Commemoration Day at Zewan, on the outskirts of Srinagar. “We appeal to the Central government to strongly take up the issue with Pakistan and convey that continuous ceasefire violations will not be tolerated,” he said.

Omar, who has been a strong votary of Indo-Pak dialogue, said India should also think of other options. “We will not respond to ceasefire violation by talks, we know we can also use some other ways. We can give a befitting reply if they target us. If our people living near the border are being targeted, we also know how to respond,” he said.

Hundreds of villagers living in the border areas have fled their homes in the past few days as their homes and cattle have borne the brunt of firing from across the border.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the function, Omar said that the ceasefire violations “obviously cannot be a one-sided affair.”

“It cannot be a situation where we are at the receiving end and no response is given,” the Chief Minister said. He referred to the recent meeting of two Prime Ministers in which it was decided to ensure the sanctity of the ceasefire. “Our Prime Minister was very forthright in putting across India's concerns in New York recently. A mechanism had been worked out whereby the DGMOs (Director Generals Military Observations) of both countries would meet to discuss cooling off at the LoC and the international Border. That has not happened so far. I believe that is an option that needs to be exercised, failing which obviously, Government of India will have to look at responding in kind,” he said.

The Chief Minister also ruled out any third part mediation on resolving the Kashmir issue. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought US intervention ahead of his meeting with President Barak Obama.

“I think the Pakistani PM is guilty of playing to his home audience. Clearly, he knows from experience that India will not accept any sort of foreign intervention in the matter of Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar said. Referring to Tashkent pact reached between India and Pakistan, the Chief Minister said Pakistan wanted to forget many aspects of the agreement that do not suit it.
Now, Pak army shifts focus to border
Army Chief briefs Antony about situation along LoC
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Even as top Army commanders began their five-day conference to discuss developments along the Line of Control (LoC), Army Chief General Bikram Singh briefed Defence Minister AK Antony separately on the situation on the LoC and the International Border (IB).

In a meeting which lasted 15 minutes, the Army Chief briefed the Defence Minister on the preparedness along the LoC and the recent truce violations. The meeting took place after General Bikram Singh had spent a day with top commanders, discussing the issues along the LoC.

Antony was also informed about the possible change in the tactics of the Pakistan army, which in the past few days has opened a new front for firing on the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources said not a single shot had been fired across the 749-km-long LoC since October 18. The ceasefire violations from Pakistan had started tapering off from October 13 and stopped on October 18. The focus of Pakistan seems to have shifted to the IB, where firing has been reported 32 times in the past 72 hours, injuring BSF personnel and causing a scare among villagers on the Indian side.

The firing along the IB was discussed in the conference and also with the Defence Minister. India and Pakistan had signed a ceasefire agreement in 2003. This year alone, there have been more than 200 ceasefire violations. Since August 1, there have been 125 violations. In 2012, there were 117 truce violations, while in 2011 there were 61 violations.

While the IB is manned by the BSF that is equipped with latest gadgetry, the LoC is with the Army. The LoC is the outcome of the 1972 Simla Agreement, which was earlier known as the United Nations brokered 1949 ceasefire line.

Meanwhile, in the five-day Army commanders’ conference, the Army Chief, Vice-Chief Lt Gen SK Singh and Army Commanders of all operational commands and Army training command are participating. Besides, eight senior heads of various wings of the Army are attending it.

The Army Chief during his opening address today emphasised on internal and external issues. The conference is focusing on various macro-level issues pertaining to operational preparedness, equipment sustainment for mission readiness and maximising combat power generation capability of the Army, enhancing professional military education, logistics and other administrative aspects.

Change in tactics

    The Pakistan army hasn't fired a single shot across 749-km-long LoC since October 18
    Ceasefire violations started tapering off from October 13 and stopped on October 18 along LoC
    In the past 72 hours, 32 firing incidents have been reported along IB, injuring BSF personnel
India seeking a deeper involvement of Chinese army to resolve boundary dispute
NEW DELHI: A pact with China to maintain peace along the line of actual control will be India's topmost priority when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lands in Beijing on Tuesday.

The landmark Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, aimed at maintaining status quo and stability along the nearly 4,057 km of line of actual control (LAC), mandates no shooting at or even tailing of each other's patrols and provides for setting up of a hotline between Director General of Military Operations of the two countries on the lines of the mechanism that India has with Pakistan. wSingh is also expected to discuss with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang additional confidence building measures for peace along the LAC.

India is seeking a deeper involvement of Chinese army in resolving the boundary dispute, which remains the biggest irritant in bilateral ties, with both sides sticking to their divergent stands.

According to external affairs ministry officials, who did not wish to be named, Chinese troops started transgressing into the Indian territory after the government decided to create a mountain corps of Indian Army, and deploy a Sukhoi squadron and reactive advanced landing grounds in the border states. Earlier this year, there was a threeweek standoff between Indian and Chinese troops 30 km southeast of Daulat Beg Oldi in Ladakh.

Settlement of the boundary dispute remains an uphill task, evident from the efforts required to reach a consensus on the pact. "The two sides exchanged three to four drafts of BDCM before it could be finalised," Jawaharlal Nehru University's Professor Srikanth Kondapalli, a noted China expert told ET. "While India insisted on equal security along the LAC, the Chinese side called for demobilisation of troops by 20 km by both countries along the boundary.

India is already at a disadvantage, with China placed at higher altitude in the Tibetan region ," said Kondapalli . India and China are currently holding negotiations across the three sectors of LAC. The LAC traverses western (Ladakh, Kashmir), middle ( Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal) sectors. The term LAC gained legal recognition in Sino-Indian pacts signed in 1993 and 1996.

The 1996 pact stated, "No activities of either side shall overstep the line of actual control." India alleges that China has illegally occupied 38,000 sq km in J&K (Aksai Chin). At the heart of Sino-Indian boundary dispute is the issue of Arunachal Pradesh (90,000 sq km), which China describes as "Southern Tibet". China is demanding that at least the Tawang tract of Arunachal should be transferred to China before any settlement of dispute.

To bolster disputed status of J&K and Arunachal, China had issued stapled visas to the residents of these two states. China has also emphasised that the Sikkim issue will be resolved with the border dispute, a position very different from the earlier understanding that Beijing had accepted Sikkim as part of India.

A section of the Indian establishment believes that Beijing wants to delay resolution of the dispute by another two decades. These officials say the Chinese believe they will be decisively ahead of India by 2032-35.
Indo-Russian military training begins
Jodhpur, Oct 19 (IBNS) The Exercise INDRA 2013 commenced on Saturday morning at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges, in South Western Command, with an impressive opening ceremony that saw the unfurling of the National Flags of both Countries to the strains of "Jana Gana Mana …….." and "Russia SviashennaiaNashaDerzhava … (Russia is our sacred state, Russia is our beloved land …)".
Indian and Russian soldiers stood side by side, with their tanks and Infantry Combat Vehicles in the background and gave a ceremonial salute to the two senior most officers of both the Russian and Indian Army reviewing the lineup of combat forces.

Brigadier VM Chandran, welcomed the Russian soldiers, and in his inaugural remarks highlighted the historic legacy of shared beliefs, related to democracy, freedom, equality and justice that were precious to both Nations, as also the progressive defence cooperation and mutual understanding between both the Armed Forces.

A Combat Group strength of Russian Army personnel and an equal complement of Indian soldiers from South Western Command taking part in the two week long event, that will witness integration of their tactical and technical skills in a UN peace enforcement scenario involving mechanized forces.

State of the art equipment for surveillance and target acquisition specialist weapons for close quarter battle, explosive and IED detectors, as well as the latest communications equipment is being fielded for the Exercise.

Both sides will jointly plan and execute a series of well integrated tactical drills for neutralization of visualized threats that may be encountered in UN peace operations.
Ex-Indian Army chief admits sponsoring terrorism in Balochistan
ISLAMABAD: Recently retired Indian Army chief General Vijay Kumar Singh has admitted that India sponsored bomb blasts in Pakistan and doled out money to the separatist elements in Balochistan, a disclosure downplayed by the Indian media so far.

Buying silence of Kashmiri leaders in Indian held Kashmir and phone tapping inside India were also part of the sensitive report.The ex-army chief reveals this in an inquiry report prepared by India’s DG military operations shining light on activities of an army unit raised after the Mumbai attacks.

VK Singh last month announced a political alliance with BJP leader Narendra Modi who was responsible for the massacre of the Muslims in Indian Gujarat.A portion of the explosive report indicting the former army chief of terrorist activities inside Pakistan was downplayed by the Indian media that largely used ‘neighboring country’ as a reference and instead highlighted its parts relating to his activities of phone-tapping inside India and buying silence of politicians in Indian-held Kashmir through loads of cash.

The dirty tricks sanctioned by the top Indian general were carried out by Tactical Support Division (TSD), an Indian army unit raised after Mumbai attacks on the directives of the Defence Minister and National Security Adviser Shev Shankar Menon in order to “perform a particular task to secure borders and internal situation in the country.”

TSD consisted of six officers, five JCOs and 30 men and operated out of an unmarked two-storeyed building within the Delhi Cantonment dubbed the ‘Butchery’, that was a refurbished slaughterhouse of colonial times, The India Today reported.

“The division was headed by Colonel Munishwar Nath Bakshi, a tall, flamboyant intelligence officer in his early 40s, better known by an unusual nickname, ‘Hunny’,” it said.As the inquiry body was set up to investigate, Col Bakshi, a confidante of Gen Singh, got himself admitted in a mental hospital pretending that he was under serious mental stress.

Former Army Chief VK Singh allegedly used TSD, a clandestine collective of handpicked military intelligence personnel, to settle scores on both sides of the contentious Line of Control (LOC) between Pakistan and India, reported The India Today, in its October 7 edition.

Between October and November 2011, India Today reported this month, TSD had claimed money “to try enrolling the secessionist chief in the province of a neighbouring country” and “Rs1.27 crore (Indian currency) to prevent transportation of weapons between neighbouring countries”. In early 2011, TSD claimed an unspecified amount for carrying out “eight low-intensity bomb blasts in a neighboring country”, according to this weekly Indian magazine.

The Hindustan Times earlier reported about the covert operation inside Pakistan by TSD and quoted its former official stating it was assigned to nab Hafiz Saeed of Jamaatud Dawah but didn’t mention TSD’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan as has been revealed through inquiry board.

 Since there was no explicit mention of Pakistan, it didn’t emerge on the radar of Pakistani media. The News spoke to different journalistic sources in India privy to details who confirmed that it was about Pakistan.

 India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, who headed a Board of Officers’ inquiry under the direct orders of Gen Bikram Singh, current army chief, to review the functioning of the TSD submitted the report in March this year to the Indian government. While report is not being publicised, however, TSD was closed in December 2012.

An RTI request filed for the copy of this report was also denied, stating that sharing this information was prejudicial to national security and can harmrelations with the neighbouring countries.

“In so far as your request for supply of order regarding setting up of ‘TSD’ and enquiry etc, is concerned, it is regretted that the same cannot be supplied in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act,” the ministry said in reply to an RTI query as quoted in an Indian paper.

“The section bars disclosure of information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence,” it further stated.

The inquiry report on TSD started leaking after former army chief’s disclosure in a TV interview that the army had “transferred funds to all ministers in Jammu and Kashmir since 1947”. His comments triggered a firestorm of indignant counter-allegations all the way from Delhi to Srinagar. The payouts, he insisted, were not “bribes” or for “political purpose”, but part of the larger initiative to promote stability in the insurgency-ridden state.

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