Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites

Loading

Thursday, 24 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 24 Oct 2013
























US-China Naval Interactions: Breaking New Grounds?
-          Kamlesh K Agnihotri*
-          October 21, 2013
A Chinese Naval task Force comprising the guided missile destroyer ‘Qingdao’, guided missile frigate ‘Linyi’ and ‘Hongzehu’ replenishment ship, led by the Chief of Staff of the PLA Navy’s North China Sea Fleet made a rare port call at the Pearl Harbour, Hawaii in early September 2013. The crew of the PLA Navy ships interacted with their hosts and counterparts from the US Navy during their three days stay in the Port. These included reciprocal visits to each other’s ships – ‘Qingdao’ destroyer from the PLA Navy and ‘USS Lake Erie’ cruiser from the US Navy.
The high-point of this visit involved a joint maritime search-and-rescue (SAR) exercise involving two each naval ships from both the navies and their helicopters, while the Chinese ships were departing Pearl Harbour. The SAR drill comprised formation flying by helicopters and establishment of joint damage control team, amongst other related evolutions. The significance of this exercise was aptly summed up by the Chinese Naval task Force Commander when he stated that “…the two sides explored methods for organizing, commanding and conducting joint search-and-rescue, improving PLAN’s capability for conducting search-and-rescue missions jointly with foreign militaries and also improving two navies’ capability for jointly responding to non-traditional security issues.”
Significantly, just as the PLA Navy ships were leaving Hawaii, the PLA Navy Commander, Admiral Wu Shengli, commenced his formal visit to the US. He met his US Counterpart, Admiral Jonathan Greenert and other senior defense officials in Washington. He along with his delegation was also taken on a guided tour of Aircraft Carrier ‘Carl Vinson’ and the Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine ‘Jefferson City’, at the topmost US Navy facility in San Diego. Further, he sailed aboard the littoral combat ship ‘Fort Worth’ and finally culminated his visit by meeting the US Marines at Camp Pendleton.
Breaking New Grounds?
The unprecedented extent to which the US Navy went during the PLA Navy Chief’s visit leads one to believe that the Sino-US naval relations are indeed breaking new grounds. A broad survey of other naval interactive activities during the year 2013, and those planned in near future reveals that the above two interactions are not isolated ‘flashes in the pan’. Some of the notable ones in reverse chronological order are mentioned below:-
-        The US Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller, co-chaired a defense dialogue with the Chinese Deputy Chief of General Staff on September 9, 2013, wherein they discussed the establishment of a ‘code of conduct on naval and air military security’ amongst other defense related matters.
-        US and PLA Navy ships and helicopters conducted counter-piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on August 25 2013, wherein exercises relating to joint operations by special task forces and helicopter surveillance on maritime targets during the night were carried out. The first ever joint exercise of this kind was conducted in September 2012.
-        Plans for the above exercise and the SAR drill off Hawaii were finalised during the visit of Chinese Minister of National Defense, Chang Wanquan to the US in August 2013. After meeting with the US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, he reportedly stated that the US and China had agreed to expand military relations despite differing positions on the East and South China Seas situation.
-        In July 2013, the Chinese State Counselor, Yang Jiechi, during the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue at Washington, again highlighted the ongoing discussions with regard to ‘exploring the rules of conduct on maritime and air safety’ in the regions where the two forces maintain presence.
While the above activities in the latter half of 2013 point to a ‘more than routine’ bilateral naval interaction, the two countries’ navies have interacted in multilateral settings as well. The most prominent of these are as follows:-
-        The Chinese hospital ship ‘Peace Ark’ operated with the US led CTF-151 in the Gulf of Aden in July 2013 and provided medical support to the coalition ships’ crew.
-        One Chinese LPD, hospital ship ‘Peace Ark’ and naval medical personnel participated in a ‘Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief and Military Medicine (HADR & MM) Exercise’, conducted under the auspices of the ‘ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus’ (ADMM+) from June 17-20, 2013 in Brunei. The US Navy was represented by a dry cargo and fuel replenishment ship ‘USNS Mathew Perry’ from its Sealift command and the naval medicine experts. Both countries’ maritime assets and personnel interacted actively, along with naval participants from 16 other nations, including India. They observed each others’ best practices and learnt from them.
-        One US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS William P Lawrence and three PLA Navy ships – one each destroyer, frigate and replenishment vessel – were part of the Pakistan-hosted multilateral maritime exercise ‘Aman 2013’. The exercise saw the participation of 24 ships and integral helicopters from 13 countries over four days in March 2013.
However, the mother of all multilateral maritime events to which the PLA Navy has been invited, is the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise to be hosted by the US in June 2014. Considering the vast scale, month-long duration, comprehensive exercise content and participation by about 40 ships from 22 international navies, it would not be incorrect to posit that the three multilateral exercises mentioned above will stand dwarfed, when compared with RIMPAC. There is no gainsaying as to how much the PLA Navy would benefit from the first-ever exposure to such a wide-ranging maritime setting.  Some specific benefits that could accrue, apart from the usual gamut of open-source data and information gathering intrinsic to  joint endeavours, are mentioned here:-
-        Enable observation of standard operating procedures and best practices followed by advanced navies particularly those from the western countries at close quarters with a view to facilitate their adoption with due innovations.
-        Provide opportunity to showcase the capabilities of modern PLA Navy ships and equipment at global stage and test/compare their relative performance under benign multilateral environment.
-        Impart much needed and rarely available experience in maritime jointmanship to its personnel in readymade surroundings, towards creation of which the PLA Navy did not have to make any effort.
In sum, these benefits would exactly fit in with what the PLA Navy seeks to achieve by comprehensive interaction with the other countries’ naval forces, particularly so with the US Navy – “…improving PLAN’s capability for conducting … missions jointly with foreign militaries…” articulated by a PLA Navy task force Commander as quoted above.
‘Caution’ is the Key
New-found warmth and willingness of both, Washington and Beijing, to carry forward their maritime engagement as part of the greater military-to-military relationship-building has indeed been projected as a very welcome development. The successful conduct of interactive activities, with more to follow in future as mentioned above, clearly indicates positive intent towards long term sustenance from both sides. However, it should be prudent to carry out a review of factors that could be instrumental in checking this momentum.

One Senior US Navy Admiral, while discussing the nuances of US-China military relationship provided a unique insight. He said that the first casualty whenever differences arise between them, has invariably been the military-to-military relations.  Even a slightest hint of progress on the supply of long-stalled, but much-needed military equipment to Taiwan as per previously committed agreement, is a trigger for China to halt military relations. Other fault-lines possibly lie around under-mentioned contentious issues:-
-        US pitch for maintaining status-quo in the China-Japan stand-off in the East China Sea and its actions in pursuance of this position.
-        Vehement Chinese objections against ‘intrusive’ American surveillance activities  by US  military ships and aircraft in its maritime zones and associated airspace, occasionally manifesting in incidents like the ‘EP-3 incident’ of 2001 or the ‘Impeccable and Victorious incidents’ of 2009 in the South China Sea.

The potential for the above fault-lines to erupt into crisis situations, resulting in adverse impact on military relations appears to be quite real when viewed in terms of their differing perceptions and approaches towards events such as ‘unalerted and chance naval encounters at sea’. Though the two countries are working to address this issue through annual ‘Military maritime consultative agreement’ (MMCA) mechanism, there has apparently not been any notable progress. With the age-old Chinese adage of “crossing the mountainous river by feeling the stones” implying extreme thoughtfulness while proceeding with contentious issues with no precedent, this negotiation is not likely see a quick solution.
 Against this tenuous backdrop, both Washington and Beijing would no doubt, be cognizant of the fact that it takes a long time and sustained effort to build military-to-military relations; and their abrupt suspension for whatever reason, invariably results in all previous effort going in vain, forcing both the sides to  start afresh. It can, therefore, be reasonably expected that the recent US-China naval engagements which have seen a definite upswing in the year 2013, would continue to be steered with a lot of caution; lest the gathering momentum be checked by mostly visible and certain not-so-visible pitfalls.




* Commander Kamlesh K Agnihotri is a Research Fellow with the China Cell of the National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi. The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Indian Navy or the National Maritime Foundation. The author can be reached at kkumaragni@gmail.com
 




http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131024/nation.htm#1
 SC fumes at Gen VK Singh’s remarks
AGE ROW: Says his comments on SC order were sinister, scandalous
R Sedhurman/TNS

New Delhi, October 23
Taking strong exception to retired Army Chief Gen VK Singh casting aspersions on the Supreme Court, the SC and Attorney General GE Vahanvati today said his remarks were “scandalous and sinister and just can’t be accepted.” A Bench comprising Justices RM Lodha and HL Gokhale made the observations while hearing a suo motu contempt of court case against Gen Singh, who was present in the court.

“We don’t mind the judgments of this court being criticised. But we can’t allow motives to be attributed,” the Bench remarked while referring to Gen Singh’s recent interview to a news agency questioning the logic behind the SC’s order on his age controversy.

His comments against the highest court of the country amounted to “striking at the very root of the judiciary” and indicated that “we are heading for bad days,.” the judges said. Agreeing with the Bench, the AG said Gen Singh’s “suggestion is very sinister and disruptive of the rule of law and administration of law.”

While taking cognisance of the interview, the Bench had, on October 1, issued notice to Gen Singh and a newspaper, which had published the former army chief’s comments, asking them to show cause as to why they could not be proceeded against for committing contempt of court.

Responding to the notice, Gen Singh had come to the court but his senior counsel Ram Jethmalani was not present as he was busy arguing another case before a different SC Bench. When the Bench asked as to whether the “contemnor” was present, Gen Singh stood up from his seat but did not say anything.

On the other hand, senior counsel Fali S Nariman, who appeared for the newspaper, said his client had tendered an unconditional apology for publishing Gen Singh’s comments circulated by the news agency. However, he said he would argue on the larger issue of enjoying the right to freedom of speech without committing contempt.

The Bench said both the news agency and newspaper had correctly reported Gen Singh’s comments without any embellishment, but it was not proper on their part to carry such statements which scandalised the judiciary.

The SC took on record the CD containing Gen Singh’s interview and the transcripts, both in English and in Hindi, which were produced by the AG.

The Bench asked the AG to have the transcripts translated officially within 10 days and give copies to Gen Singh and the newspaper to enable them to file their response by November 15. The Bench asked Gen Singh to be present in the court for the next hearing on November 20.

On October 1, the Bench had clarified that it had merely allowed Singh to withdraw his petition on the age controversy on February 10, 2012 as he did not want to pursue the case. The SC had not given any ruling on his date of birth (DOB). In the petition, Singh had sought a directive to the government to treat his DOB as May 10, 1951 as recorded in his school leaving certificate and not as May 10, 1950 as maintained in the records of the Army and the Defence Ministry.

Taking strong exception

    We don't mind the judgments of this court being criticised, but we can't allow motives to be attributed, the Bench remarked while referring to General Singh's recent interview to a news agency questioning the logic behind the SC's order on his age controversy
    His comments against the highest court of the country amounted to "striking at the very root of the judiciary," the judges said
    Agreeing with the Bench, Attorney General GE Vahanvati said the former Army Chief's "suggestion is very sinister and disruptive of the rule of law and administration of law


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131024/nation.htm#5
Sino-India border defence pact to ensure peace along LAC
KV Prasad in Beijing
October 23
Seeking to put behind instances of stand-offs across the border, India and China today entered into a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) establishing a new mechanism to deal with emergent and regular situations, including setting up a hotline between military headquarters.

The Indian Army commands include one at Udhampur (Northern) and Calcutta (Eastern), while China is covered by the regions of Chengdu and Lanzhou across the border.

The pact was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang by Defence Secretary RK Mathur and Lt Gen Sun Jianguo, Deputy Chief of General Staff of Peoples’ Liberation Army, at the Great Hall here.

The agreement has a component of information exchange on military and non-military activities near the border without any restriction on building of infrastructure in the areas.

Information exchange will be about military exercises, aircraft, demolition operations and unmarked mines besides joint combat of smuggling of arms, wildlife, and other contrabands.

The two sides will also assist each other in the location of personnel, livestock and work towards combating natural disasters or infectious diseases that may affect the other side.

Besides having meetings on an incremental scale, the pact has elements to formalise social and sports activities and small-scale tactical exercises along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to enhance understanding and cooperation between the defence forces on the border.

It also has an agreed format detailing how the border troops will react by not following or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the border, seek clarification from the other side in case a doubtful situation arises.

In case of coming face-to-face, both sides will exercise “maximum restraint, refrain from any provocative actions, not use force or threaten to use force against the other side, treat each other with courtesy and prevent exchange of fire or armed conflict”.

The additional confidence building measure is to ensure peace and tranquility, stability and predictability on the border that was stressed both by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Li.

The pact reinforces that both sides will conduct joint military training exercises at army level in each other’s country on a regular basis. On his part, Premier Li said a joint counter-terrorism exercise would be held in South West China and hold a maritime dialogue at an early date.

India and China have held “hand-in-hand” exercises in the past that got disrupted in one cycle following differences over the visit of an Indian Army Commander to China.

India and China have three existing agreements to maintain peace and tranquility, one each in 1993, 1996 and 2005 to deal with issue arising out of situations that develop across the border that has remained peaceful for over four decades.

What it entails

    The BDCA seeks to maintain peace, tranquility and stability along the 4,000-km LAC
    Reiterates that neither side shall use its military capability against the other
    Will consider establishing a hotline between military headquarters of the two countries for better communication
    Will conduct joint military training exercises at the army level in each other's country on a regular basis



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131024/nation.htm#6
 Will build trust, says Army
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, October 23
The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed between India and China promises to bring key changes along the contentious Line of Actual Control (LAC). It could be an aid in sorting out incidents like the face-off at Depsang plains in April-May this year. However, it cannot be seen as a panacea in preventing such incidents. Chinese troops had squatted on Indian territory for 21 days near the Karokaram pass in northern Jammu and Kashmir before they had withdrawn. Later, Beijing admitted its stand was wrong.

Within the Indian Army, the BDCA is seen as a refined version of the two earlier agreements signed in 1993 and 1996 and also the 2005 signed protocol. “The BDCA will build trust,” top sources in the Army have told The Tribune. The 1993 agreement was on ‘maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC and 1996 agreement was confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC’.

As per the BDCA, troops of either side will not tail each other’s patrolling parties in disputed areas along the LAC. The 2005 protocol mandates that troops on coming face-to-face will unfurl a banner asking the other to go back. This will remain and it now includes the words ‘show courtesy’ to either side.

Sources said the biggest move will be the specified stress on military-to-military contact in the BDCA which will enable both sides to understand each other better. As of now only Brigadier-level officers meet at three designated spots - Spanggur gap in eastern Ladakh, NathuLa in Sikkim and Bumla near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Now, two more meetings points are to be added — one at Kibithoo in eastern-most part of Arunachal and another point, either ShipkiLa in Himachal Pradesh or Lipu Lekh pass in Uttarakhand.

For the first time the Director General of Military Operation (DGMO), India, will have a hotline with his Chinese counterpart. Also for the first time the Northern Army Commander will be interacting with his counterpart across in China’s Military Area Command (MAC) Langzhau. Similarly, the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander will interact with the MAC Chengdu, China.

Another first will be small-scale tactical exercises along the LAC. These will be in addition to the military training exercises, at Army level, in each other’s country on a regular basis.

Also the BDCA has refined the process of sorting out any dispute or claim along the LAC and also mandated for information-exchange about military exercises, aircrafts and consequent measures conducive to the maintenance of peace, stability and tranquility along the LAC.

The alignment of the LAC is disputed and there is no formal border between India and China. The British had first tried to resolve it in 1846 and made five more attempts, the last one in 1913, but failed. Latter attempts by Jawaharlal Nehru and Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai in late 1950s and early 1960s had failed. In the past decade, the two countries have tasked high-ranking special representatives who have been conducting meetings.

Previous agreements

    The BDCA is seen as a refined version of the two earlier agreements signed in 1993 and 1996 and also the 2005 signed protocol. "
    The 1993 agreement was on 'maintenance of peace and tranquility along the LAC and 1996 agreement was confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC'
    The 2005 protocol mandates that troops on coming face-to-face will unfurl a banner asking the other to go back. This will remain and it now includes the words 'show courtesy' to either side
    For the first time the Director General of Military Operation (DGMO), India, will have a hotline with his Chinese counterpart
    The biggest move will be stress on military-to-military contact in the BDCA which will enable both sides to understand each other better



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131024/main2.htm
BSF man killed as Pak shells 52 posts
Border fire 7 personnel injured
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 23
Barely few hours after Union Home Minister Sushikumar Shinde left for New Delhi, the Pakistan Rangers pounded 52 Indian forward posts and several villages along the 191.5-km International Border through the night, killing one BSF personnel and injuring eight others, including a civilian.

“During the intervening night of October 22 and 23, Pakistan resorted to heavy shelling on 52 border outposts manned by the BSF in the Arnia, RS Pura and Akhnoor sectors,” BSF spokesperson Vinod Yadav said.

BSF Head Constable Mukesh Lal Meena, a resident of Nipajipura village in Rajasthan, sacrificed his life for the nation, he added. Meena was posted at the Chinaj post. Seven BSF personnel, Inspector Rampal, Sub-Inspector Surender Singh, Constables Pradeep Singh, Ashok Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Srinivas Naik and Sandip Kumar, sustained splinter injuries during the exchange of fire. Condition of all injured is stable, Yadav said.

Krishan Lal of Pindi Charakan Kalan village on the Zero Line in Arnia sub-sector also sustained shrapnel injuries around 6.30 am today when a mortar fired by the Rangers exploded outside his shop. He was shifted to Bishnah sub-district hospital where his condition was stated to be out of danger. With this, the total number of injured in the past two weeks has reached 19.

The BSF reportedly gave befitting reply to the Rangers at all places. The damage on the Pakistani side was still to be ascertained. BSF sources said the Rangers also opened heavy fire in RS Pura, Ramgarh, Pargwal, Akhnoor and Kanachak sectors.

In Arnia town, three 82 mm mortars exploded around 9 pm, triggering panic in the area.

No let-up

    The Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy shelling on Indian posts and several villages along the 191.5-km International Border
    One BSF personnel was killed in the firing at the Chinaj post, while seven others suffered splinter injuries
    A civilian was injured when a mortar fired by the Rangers exploded outside his shop in the Arnia sub-sector



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131024/main4.htm
Copter deal: Agusta gets show-cause notice
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued a show-cause notice to AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italian major Finmeccanica, seeking the cancellation of the contract for the purchase of 12 helicopters at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore.

The notice was issued on October 21 and the company has been given three weeks to respond. “Documents available with the MoD had lead to the show-cause notice,” official sources said.

The MoD has cited the ‘pre-contract integrity pact’ in issuing the notice. The pact says that no bribes had been paid to win the contract while Italian prosecutors have claimed in the court to have traced payments of Rs 350 crore made as kickbacks to Indian as well as Europeans. Among those facing charges is former IAF Air Chief Marshall SP Tyagi (retd).

The first cancellation notice was issued on February 15 and it had come just three days after Giuseppe Orsi, CEO, Finmeccanica was arrested in Italy. The notice was based on media reports and reports from the Indian Embassy in Rome. The notice issued now is final and is based on documents the CBI has collected from Italian prosecutors and provided to the MoD, officials explained. The payments to the company were put on hold in February. AgustaWestland had issued a press statement on October 4, saying it would invoke the arbitration clause.

If the contract is cancelled, India can recover the entire cost and damages from AgustaWestland and could also ban its operations in the country. Under provisions of the contract and the integrity pact, India can cancel the contract and recover the money. AgustaWestland did not declare its agents and is under contract to have not paid any amount to any individual or firm for securing the deal.

The cancellation could also mean the helicopter-maker will not be entitled to compensation and will be liable to refund payments made by India in terms of the contract with interest. The MoD will also forfeit the bank guarantee running into millions of Euros. So far, the MoD has reportedly paid about Rs 1,000 crore to AgustaWestland for the delivery of the first three helicopters.

MoD seeks cancellation of contract

    The Ministry of Defence has sought the cancellation of the contract for the purchase of 12 helicopters at a cost of `3,500 crore
    The notice was issued on October 21 and the company has been given three weeks to respond
    The MoD has cited the ‘pre-contract integrity pact’ while issuing the notice
    The pact says that no bribes had been paid to win the contract while Italian prosecutors have claimed in the court to have traced payments of `350 crore made as kickbacks to Indians



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131024/main1.htm
India, China ink landmark border pact
To ease LAC tension 8 more agreements signed PM takes up stapled visa issue with Li
KV Prasad in Beijing

October 23
India and China today took a leap towards reducing recurring tensions across the border and promised to strengthen cooperation on trans-border rivers, even as New Delhi delayed a pact for a liberalised visa regime.

The Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) was among the nine pacts the two countries signed here at the conclusion of talks between the two sides led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Li Keqiang.

The BDCA envisages having incremental interaction across levels starting with border personnel meetings at designated places along the 4,000-km border; periodic meetings between officers of the Military Regions of China and Army Commands of India, and similar meetings between representatives of Defence Ministry on either side; meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination; and the regular Sino-India annual defence dialogue.

The Prime Minister also met President Xi Jingping, who underscored the need for the two countries to charter a course for the future need to stand tall and look far.

The Prime Minister invited Xi to visit India, while the Chinese President promised to take New Delhi’s concern on river water into account from a human angle. China’s assistance to Pakistan was also brought up during the meetings with the two Chinese leaders.

Underscoring the significance of Prime Minister Singh’s visit, Premier Li noted that this was the first time since 1954 that exchange visits of Prime Minister of India and Chinese Premier took place within the same calendar year.

Premier Li came to India in May, the first overseas country he chose to start international engagement after assuming the office. Both India and China held wide ranging talks on bilateral, regional and international issues and arrived at a broad consensus and reaffirmed their commitment to take forward the “Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity” for its 2.5 billion people.

As Prime Minister Singh characterised the development at the joint press conference: “When India and China shake hands, the world takes notice.” He noted that both India and China had agreed that as large neighbours, the relationship pursued with other countries following independent foreign policy should not become a cause for concern for each other. “This will be our strategic reassurance.”

Prime Minister Singh and Premier Li mentioned that both sides had agreed to strengthen strategic communication at all levels, including on shared neighbourhood in order to build mutual trust.

The liberalised visa regime that would have enhanced extended period of stay for business visitors was put on the hold by India to convey its unease over the decision to give stapled visas to two archers from Arunachal Pradesh recently.

India did not allow the sportspersons to take part in the event in China and raised the issue during the talks today. But having placed the issue on the table, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said it would remain in discussion.

Asserting Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country, India felt the state cannot be discriminated against by such a policy which China felt was a practice followed by countries in some cases.

Through the Memorandum of Understanding on trans-border rivers pertaining to Brahmaputra or Yaluzangbu, as the Chinese call it, both agreed to extend the hydrological data provision period during flood season in China from May 15 to October 15, instead of existing start period of June 1 each year.

The two will further strengthen cooperation and cooperate through existing Expert Level Mechanism on provision of flood-season hydrological data and emergency management. India has expressed concerns over China’s plans to construct a series of dams across the river as an upper riparian state.

Manmohan Singh said Premier Li was receptive when he expressed concern about the unsustainable trade imbalance and explore avenues to bridge the gap.

India agreed to take forward the suggestion by Premier Li for setting up an industrial park to attract investment from China to India.

India faces an adverse trade balance of up to 42 per cent while bilateral trade touched $ 62 billion last year as against the 2015 target of $100 billion.

Around the time the two leaders were meeting, CEOs Forum of India and China were engaged in a discussion in an adjoining room of the Great Hall of the People. Besides, both countries envisage further discussion on concept of alignment of the ambitious BMIC (Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and China) economic corridor.

Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Ahluwalia said besides understanding on water efficiency, railway modernisation was being looked at as an idea including technology for heavy haul of freight and increasing speed of trains.

What they agreed on

    Trans-border rivers, with China sharing hydrological information on the Brahmaputra
    0Independent foreign policies with other countries not to become a source of concern for each other
    Expediting efforts to conclude a framework agreement for setting up industrial zones
    China willing to expand its foray in infrastructure development, including railways, in India



http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/india-china-sign-border-agreement-but-visa-pact-off-over-stapled-visa-row-435958?pfrom=home-otherstories
India, China sign border agreement but visa pact off over stapled visa row
Beijing: India and China have signed an agreement on border defence cooperation and one on transborder rivers among several others this morning, though a key visa agreement has not been clinched.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on a  two-day visit to Beijing, said after talks with Chinese premier Li Keqiang, "When India and China shake hands, the world notices."

He said they had agreed that "peace at border is our strategic benchmark ... the relationship pursued by India and China with other countries must not become a source of concern to each other."

The border pact details measures to ensure "the principle of mutual and equal security", and reaffirms that "neither side shall use its military capability against the other side and that their respective military strengths shall not be used to attack the other side" and "that neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other side by any means nor seek unilateral superiority." (Read full text of the agreement)

A total of nine agreements were signed.

A proposed agreement to liberalise visa has, however, not been signed as India is upset that the Chinese embassy in India issued stapled visas to two Arunachal Pradesh athletes days before Dr Manmohan Singh's visit.

China issues stapled visas to Arunachal residents as it stakes claim to the Indian state, describing it as south Tibet.

India rejects this claim and the Chinese move so close to the PM's Beijing visit put New Delhi in an awkward spot. "The decision (to issue stapled visas) was silly and illogical," an Indian government official said yesterday, adding, "We will not let someone from Arunachal be treated differently. We have therefore decided to defer the decision (to liberalise visa) for a while. Let the Chinese sweat a little."

Under the border pact signed today, the neighbours have agreed that relevant officials from both sides, including military personnel stationed at the border, will meet periodically to ensure that day-to-day disputes or differences at the local level can be sorted out quickly.

Chinese troops had entered 19 km inside what India considers its own territory in the Depsang plains of Ladakh in April this year and camped there for three weeks before withdrawing. But sources say this incident apart, the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC) is one of the most peaceful borders in the world.


http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/vvip-chopper-deal-defence-ministry-issues-final-showcause-notice-to-agustawestland-436266?pfrom=home-otherstories
VVIP chopper deal: Defence Ministry issues final showcause notice to AgustaWestland
The Defence Ministry has issued a final showcause notice to AgustaWestland before the impending cancellation of a controversial 3,600 crore contract for choppers for VVIPs including the Prime Minister.

The UK-based AgustaWestland has been given 21 days to reply to the notice, which accuses the company of violating a "pre-contract Integrity Pact".

The VVIP chopper contract is under investigation by Italian and Indian agencies for alleged kickbacks paid to Indian officials - including former Air Chief SP Tyagi.

The Defence Ministry has stated that because of the integrity pact, it can get back all the money paid by it for the deal.

India has put on hold the further delivery of choppers and payments.

The Defence Ministry's notice comes days after Swiss resident Guido Ralph Haschke, an alleged middleman named by Italian investigators, was arrested on charges of bribery.

The Italian prosecutor who conducted the preliminary inquiry in the case has alleged that Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland, had used the services of middlemen like Haschke to bribe Indian officials.


http://www.firstpost.com/india/full-text-key-india-china-border-defence-pact-signed-1188753.html
Key India-China border defence pact signed

India and China have signed a key border defence pact called the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) to avoid face offs between the two armies along the disputed Line of Actual Control. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that as many as nine pacts had been signed between the two countries, calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh‘s visit a great success. Below is the full text of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China The Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the ‘two sides’),

Firmly believing that the India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity serves the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, Reiterating that neither side shall use its military capability against the other side and that their respective military strengths shall not be used to attack the other side, Recognizing the importance of materializing the spirit of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquility Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areassigned on 7th September 1993, the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areassigned on 29th November 1996, the Protocol between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in India-China Border Areas signed on 11th April 2005 and the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs signed on 17th January 2012, Have agreed as follows: Article I The two sides shall carry out border defence cooperation on the basis of their respective laws and relevant bilateral agreements. Article II The two sides shall implement border defence cooperation in the following ways: 1. Exchange information-including information about military exercises, aircrafts, demolition operations and unmarked mines-and take consequent measures conducive to the maintenance of peace, stability and tranquility along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas, 2. Jointly combat smuggling of arms, wildlife, wildlife articles and other contrabands, 3. Assist the other side in locating personnel, livestock, means of transport and aerial vehicles that may have crossed or are possibly in the process of crossing the line of actual control in the India-China border areas, 4. Work with the other side in combating natural disasters or infectious diseases that may affect or spread to the other side, 5. Any other way mutually agreed upon by the two sides. Article III Border deference cooperation visualized in this agreement shall be implemented through the following mechanisms: 1. Flag meetings or border personnel meetings at designated places along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas. 2. Periodic meetings between officers of the relevant Military Regions of China and Army Commands of India and between departments responsible for military operations. 3. Periodic meetings of the representatives of the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India and the Ministry of National Defence of the People’s Republic of China. 4. Meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs. 5. Meetings of the India-China Annual Defence Dialogue. Article IV In implementing border defence cooperation and to facilitate contacts and meetings between relevant organizations, the two sides may establish Border Personnel Meeting sites in all sectors, as well as telephone contacts and telecommunication links at mutually agreed locations along the line of actual control. The two sides may also consider establishing a Hotline between the military headquarters of the two countries. Specific arrangements shall be decided upon through mutual consultations between the two sides. Article V In order to enhance understanding and cooperation between the border defence forces of the two sides, each side may invite the other side for joint celebrations on major national or military days or festivals and organize cultural activities, non-contact sports events and small scale tactical exercises along the line of actual control in the India-China border areas. In addition, the two sides may also conduct joint military training exercises, at Army level, in each other’s country on a regular basis. The theme of such joint exercises will be decided through mutual consultations. Article VI The two sides agree that they shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control in the India-China border areas. Article VII In case a doubtful situation arises with reference to any activity by either side in border areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control, either side has the right to seek a clarification from the other side. In such cases, the clarification shall be sought and replies to them shall be conveyed through any of the mechanisms established under Article III of this Agreement. Article VIII The two sides agree that if the border defence forces of the two sides come to a face-to-face situation in areas where there is no common understanding of the line of actual control, both sides shall exercise maximum self-restraint, refrain from any provocative actions, not use force or threaten to use force against the other side, treat each other with courtesy and prevent exchange of fire or armed conflict. Article IX The two sides shall implement this Agreement without prejudice to their respective positions on the alignment of the line of actual control as well as on the boundary question. Article X This Agreement shall come into force on the date of its signature. It may be revised, amended or terminated with the consent of the two sides. Any revision or amendment, mutually agreed by the two sides, shall form an integral part of this Agreement.



http://news.oneindia.in/new-delhi/despite-enemies-breathing-fire-indian-army-lacks-key-capabilities-1328915.html
Despite enemies breathing fire, Indian Army lacks key capabilities

New Delhi, Oct 23: Often we hear authorities reiterating that India has made considerable progress in terms of militarisation. But yet when an army chief writes to the prime minister cautioning him about serious deficiencies in the operational capacities of the armed forces, the government doesn't bother to make necessary rectifications. According to a report published in the Times of India on Wednesday, the Indian Army is still continuing with outdated air defence systems and poor night-combat capabilities despite facing regular threats from two hostile neighbours. The army also lacks the necessary weaponry for its 355 infantry battalions and the new 155mm howitzers, the report said.


None of the major modernisation projects of the army has seen the daylight till now. General Bikram Singh, who took over as the army chief from Gen V K Singh in May last year, tried to overhaul the slow functioning of the project management authorities and ensure that things were better coordinated with the defence ministry, the report said. But the effort has not been successful so far, thanks to slow decision-making and frequent allegations of corruption and other controversies rocking the army ranks. The army has received criticism for failing to modernise itself at par with the air force and navy in the last few years. Things are expected not to improve much ahead of the general elections due in seven months time.

No comments:

Post a Comment

 

Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal