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Friday, 25 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 25 Oct 2013

 ITBP to spend Rs 1,260 cr to boost border infrastructure
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
A day after India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) on Wednesday, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) announced that it would enhance its border infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Senior ITBP officers, who didn’t want to go on record, asserted that the BDCA would be beneficial to the force as it would reduce confrontation along the 4000-km-long border.

These developments were shared at the 52nd Raising Day of the ITBP that was held here at which Minister of State (Home) RPN Singh was the chief guest.

The ITBP was conceived on October 24, 1962. The force is deployed at the Sino-India border to prevent border violations. It also provides security to sensitive installations such as the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament House in Delhi. And it is also involved in counter-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh.

To strengthen its border infrastructure, the ITBP will spend Rs 1,260 crore. “We will give solar power plants to 69 border outposts so that the men posted there have continuous power supply. This is one of the biggest projects of the ITBP,” said the minister.

The funds will also be used to construct accommodation for jawans and operational and administrative buildings. The acting Director General of the ITBP, Mahboob Alam, said that the improvement in infrastructure was being carried out to ensure that the jawans posted in the forward areas are ‘comfortable’.

“We will provide electricity and proper medical facilities to our men. If they are comfortable, then their stress levels will be low,” he said.

ITBP troops are manning border outposts at altitudes ranging from 9,000 ft to 18,500 ft along the Sino-India border. Most of these posts remain cut off from the mainland for six months in a year due to snow. To add to it, most of the posts, especially the ones in Leh, do not have electricity. “The whole town of Leh usually survives on generators,” said sources.

The installation of water pipelines at border posts is also part of the border infrastructure enhancement plan.

The force will also set up mobile phone towers along the border. “This will help in two ways. First, a jawan will be able to talk to his family by using his own mobile phone rather than waiting in a queue at a common phone. Secondly, we can also receive real-time coverage of sensitive areas along the border,” said sources.

RPN Singh and Alam refused to comment on the BDCA. ITBP officers, on condition of anonymity, described the BDCA as an agreement which “will cool temperatures along the border”.

“There will be better coordination between the two sides than before. We will hold joint military exercises and have better communication through a hotline that may be set up between the military headquarters of both the countries,” said the officers.

Sources admitted that tensions between the security forces are a common feature along the border. In one such example, Chinese Army personnel had allegedly forced the suspension of the construction of an irrigation canal by the Leh administration in Demchok, which is located south of Aksai Chin. The incident took place on August 25. The construction of the canal resumed within a couple of hours after the Indian Army and the ITBP assured the work force of security. “They went ahead with the construction and the canal was completed,” said sources.

On Agenda

* Solar power plants at border outposts

* Installation of water pipelines

* Setting up of mobile phone towers along the border
 China-Pak nuclear deal
India main factor in influencing Beijing’s policies
by Harsh V. Pant

When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was getting ready to leave for his trip to China, news emerged of China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation. In what will be the first foreign sale of its indigenous 1,100 MW nuclear reactor, ACP 1000, China is all set to sell two more nuclear reactors to Pakistan in direct contravention of its own global commitments as a member of the NPT and the NSG. India has been reduced to protesting ever since the details of a potential Sino-Pak deal came to light some months back. New Delhi, we are told, has made its reservations known to Beijing through diplomatic channels. But should it really come as a surprise that China is trying its best to maintain nuclear parity between India and Pakistan?

After all, this is what China has been doing for the last five decades. Based on their convergent interests vis-à-vis India, China and Pakistan reached a strategic understanding in the mid-1950s, a bond that has only strengthened ever since. Sino-Pakistan ties gained particular momentum in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian war when the two states signed a boundary agreement recognising Chinese control over portions of the disputed Kashmir territory and since then the ties have been so strong that Chinese President Hu Jintao has described the relationship as “higher than mountains and deeper than oceans.”

Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari, has suggested that “No relationship between two sovereign states is as unique and durable as that between Pakistan and China.” Maintaining close ties with China has been a priority for Islamabad and Beijing has provided extensive economic, military and technical assistance to Pakistan over the years. It was Pakistan that in early 1970s enabled China to cultivate its ties with the West and the US in particular, becoming the conduit for Henry Kissinger’s landmark secret visit to China in 1971 and has been instrumental in bringing China closer to the larger Muslim world.

Over the years China emerged Pakistan’s largest defence supplier. Military cooperation between the two has deepened with joint projects producing armaments ranging from fighter jets to guided missile frigates. China is a steady source of military hardware to the resource-deficient Pakistani Army. It has not only given technology assistance to Pakistan but has also helped Pakistan to set up mass weapons production factories. Pakistan’s military modernisation process remains dependent on Chinese largesse. In the last two decades, the two states have been actively involved in a range of joint ventures, including JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft, K-8 Karakorum advance training aircraft, and Babur cruise missile the dimensions of which exactly replicate the Hong Niao Chinese cruise missile. The JF-17 venture is particularly significant, given its utility in delivering nuclear weapons. In a major move for China’s indigenous defence industry, China is also supplying its most advanced home-made combat aircraft, the third-generation J-10 fighter jets to Pakistan, in a deal worth around $6 billion. Beijing is helping Pakistan build and launch satellites for remote sensing and communication even as Pakistan is reportedly already hosting a Chinese space communication facility at Karachi.

China has played a major role in the development of Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure and emerged Pakistan’s benefactor at a time when increasingly stringent export controls in Western countries made it difficult for Pakistan to acquire materials and technology from elsewhere. The Pakistani nuclear weapons programme is essentially an extension of the Chinese one. Despite being a member of the NPT, China has supplied Pakistan with nuclear materials and expertise and has provided critical assistance in the construction of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. It has been aptly noted by non-proliferation expert Gary Milhollin, “If you subtract China’s help from Pakistan’s nuclear programme, there is no nuclear programme.”

Although China has long denied helping any nation attain a nuclear capability, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, Abdul Qadeer Khan, himself has acknowledged the crucial role China has played in his nation’s nuclear weaponisation by gifting 50 kg of weapon-grade enriched uranium, drawing of the nuclear weapons and tonnes of uranium hexafluoride for Pakistan’s centrifuges. This is perhaps the only case where a nuclear weapon state has actually passed on weapons grade fissile material as well as a bomb design to a non-nuclear weapon state.

India has been the main factor that has influenced China’s and Pakistan’s policies vis-à-vis each other. Whereas Pakistan wants to gain access to civilian and military resources from China to balance the Indian might in the subcontinent, China, viewing India as potential challenger in the strategic landscape of Asia, views Pakistan as it central instrument to counter Indian power in the region. The China-Pakistan partnership serves the interests of both by presenting India with a potential two-front theatre in the event of war with either country. In its own way each is using the other to balance India as India’s disputes with Pakistan keep India preoccupied, failing to attain its potential as a major regional and global player.

China, meanwhile, guarantees the security of Pakistan when it comes to its conflicts with India, thus preventing India from using its much superior conventional military strength against Pakistan. Not surprisingly, one of the central pillars of Pakistan’s strategic policies for the last more than four decades has been its steady and ever-growing military relationship with China. And preventing India’s dominance of South Asia by strengthening Pakistan has been a strategic priority for China.

But with India’s ascent in global hierarchy and American attempts to carve out a strong partnership with India, China’s need for Pakistan is only likely to grow. A rising India makes Pakistan all the more important for the Chinese strategy for the subcontinent. It’s highly unlikely that China will give up playing the Pakistan card vis-à-vis India anytime soon. Indian policymakers would be well advised to disabuse themselves of the notion of a Sino-Indian ‘strategic partnership.’ China doesn’t do sentimentality in foreign policy, India should follow suit.

The writer teaches at King’s College, London.
 India needs to deal firmly with Pak on Kashmir
Resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir problem between India and Pakistan has defied most theories and approaches of conflict resolution. India needs to safeguard its interests and keep in mind that strength respects strength while the weak get pushed around
Dinesh Kumar

Exactly 67 years ago on 25th October 1947, an Army Airlift Committee headed by the Air Marshal heading what was then known as the Royal Indian Air Force (RIAF) was formed to initially discuss ways and means of sending supplies and arms to Kashmir which was under the invasion of tribesmen from Pakistan. Muzzaffarabad, Domel, Chinari and Uri had fallen and the invaders or razakars, as they were known, were closing in on Baramulla. That very morning the Defence Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten met to discuss the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Hari Singh's request for troops that had been received the previous night (24th October).
On 26th October Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession and a decision was taken to airlift troops to the Valley. That same day, the razakars went about brutally massacring about 11,000 of the 14,000 residents of Baramulla and wantonly raping and abducting women, including European nuns, while destroying the Mohra power station which supplied electricity to Srinagar. It was in fact this savage orgy of sordid killings, rape (the local theatre was converted into a rape centre), loot, plunder, vandalism and desecration that slowed the movement of the razakars or else they would surely have run over Srinagar and prevented the landing of Indian Army soldiers at Srinagar airfield thereby possibly changing the course of history.

Shortly before midnight the same day, a signal was flashed to 1 Sikh battalion, the nearest located Infantry unit to Delhi (stationed in Gurgaon), to reach Palam airport by 4 am the following morning (27th October). The battalion was not up to full strength and so in order to make up for the shortfall, Sikh personnel from 13 Field Regiment, an artillery regiment then stationed at the Red Fort in Delhi, were hastily organised into an Infantry company and temporarily placed under the 1 Sikh battalion.

An extraordinary operation

Thus on 27th October 1947, barely two months after Independence, 28 vintage Dakota aircraft carrying 474 Army soldiers took off for Srinagar. Six of these Dakotas were civilian and carried 15 soldiers each while the remaining 22 RIAF Dakotas carried 22 soldiers each. So uncertain was the situation in the Valley that the battalion's commanding officer, Lt Col Dewan Ranjit Rai, was instructed to first circle Srinagar airfield and carefully scan the countryside to check whether the raiders had already occupied it. If so, he was to fly back and land in Jammu.

"Such a rider to an operational intrusion", observes the official history of the 1947-48 war, "must surely be unique in modern military history, and was an indication of the uncertainty, hazards and difficulties facing the Indian troops when they went to Kashmir. Even the details and locations of friendly troops in the state on that date were not known to the Indian Army headquarters", states the history. Indeed, saving Srinagar and securing its airfield was of paramount importance since Srinagar was located 480 km from Pathankot, the northernmost Indian railhead at that time.

The first aircraft, piloted by Group Capt. Karori Lal Bhatia (later awarded the Vir Chakra), then commanding 12 Squadron, landed at Srinagar airfield at 8.20 am. Since then, 27th October is observed as Infantry Day.

During the 14 month and five day war which followed, the Army lost 1,103 soldiers including 76 officers and 31 junior commissioned officers (JCOs). Another 3,152 soldiers including 81 officers and 107 JCOs were wounded. The RIAF lost 31 men including nine officers. That the war was full of heroic deeds and valour by the Army is evident from the long list of gallantry awardees that include five Param Vir Chakras (three posthumous), the highest wartime gallantry medal, 53 Maha Vir Chakras (18 posthumous which included Lt Col Rai), and 313 Vir Chakras (57 posthumous).

However, instead of regaining the entire state, the political leadership of that time chose to pull its punches and stop. This was notwithstanding the death of Mahomedali Jinnahbhai (better known as Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in September 1948), the availability of more Army troops following the successful 'Police Action' against the Nizam and his troops in Hyderabad (September 1948), and the Army's successfully freeing Poonch of its year-long siege by the Pakstanis (December 1948). The latter was, however, made possible following a major diversion of troops which resulted in the Army being unable to retake Muffafarabad, Domel and the vital Haji Pir Pass that has subsequently proven to be a strategic blunder in Jammu and Kashmir.

A complicated problem

For decades now, the J&K issue has become badly complicated, mired as it is in ideological and territorial dispute. For, J&K is divided among three countries - India (48 per cent), Pakistan (33 per cent) and China (19 per cent) and has five types of borders — the International Boundary or IB (about 200 km) with Pakkstani Punjab; the Line of Control or LoC (740 km) with Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or POK; the Actual Ground Position Line or AGPL (110 km) ahead of the Siachen glacier starting from a point known as NJ 9842 to Indra Col; the Unnamed Boundary or UB (40 km) with Chinese occupied Shaksam Valley; and the Line of Actual Control or LAC with Chinese occupied Aksai Chin region of Ladakh. India has deployed three different forces along these five 'borders' — the Border Security Force along the IB, the Indo Tibetan Border Police along portions of the 'border' with China in Ladakh and the Army along the LoC, AGPL, UB and the LAC This is the only region where the Indian Army simultaneously faces armies of two different countries - Pakistan and China.

The J&K problem both started of as and primarily remains an Indo-Pak issue. It is the difference in approach that remains palpitating and will continue to come in the way of a solution. For Pakistan, J&K is a Muslim majority state that should logically form part of their country in keeping with their belief in the Two-Nation theory and remains an unfinished agenda of partition. J&K consistently figures at the centre of Pakistan's foreign policy and its national psyche vis-à-vis India. In India, J&K is viewed as a geographical region that Pakistan (and China) has illegally and forcibly occupied and therefore must vacate. India rejects the notion that division should be on religious lines considering that India has chosen to be a secular country comprising a society that is the most diverse, complex and pluralistic in the world in terms of its multi-regional, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-class segments.

Behind the complicated nature of the problem lies an unsuccessful history of what is seen in India as biased and manipulative mediations by the West starting with post-colonial Britain immediately after the sub continent's partition. This, in fact, set the foundation of a festering problem that does not seem anywhere near resolution.

No place for third party mediation

India never saw itself being rewarded by mediation except during the time of the Kargil War when a stern President William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton persuaded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to vacate Pakistani Army incursions across the LoC in Drass, Mushkoh Valley, Kargil and Batalik portions of Ladakh in July 1999. Pakistan, on the other hand, always stood to gain territorially, except during the Kargil War.

Malignancies are best cured if detected and treated early. Alternatively, as conflict resolution theorists would argue, a ‘ripening’ of the problem leading to a mutually hurting stalemate (plateau) or a crisis bound by a deadline or precipice may offer the best way out. But evidently the opportunity of an early resolution was lost owing to the circumstances in which partition took place and the subsequent role played by Britain and the United Nations. And yet, despite a long and intense history of conflict, hostility and discord comprising four wars (1947-48, 1965, 1971 and 1999), at least three major stand offs, numerous skirmishes along the LoC, AGPL and the IB, sponsorship of insurgency and terrorism, an unending loss of human lives and unpleasant exchanges at the diplomatic, political and public level, the situation has not reached a 'mutually' hurting stalemate either. At the best of times, the J&K stretch of the borders with POK has been marked by no war no peace or, at best, negative peace.

The problem has similarly defied other models and approaches such as 'ripe moment', 'precipice', offensive goals' and 'defensive goals' that form part of third party mediation. At best, international mediation and bilateralism has helped in preventing or ending wars, but not in resolving the dispute. Some thinkers in India would argue that this is because the 'hurt' has mostly been one sided with India being at the receiving end of Pakistan's policy of inflicting death by a thousand cuts to which India's response has been that of applying a thousand bandages.

Nawaz Sharif, like his predecessors, will continue to talk about talks and engage in a charm offensive with Indian journalists and other opinion makers. Yet the Pakistani establishment is not expected to desist from both raising the Kashmir issue and seeking international mediation at every international forum that it finds convenient, even if it is for the sake of simply embarrassing India. Neither is the Pakistani Army or the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, which would lose its raison d'etre in case a resolution on Jammu and Kashmir is reached, desist from playing hawk against India. The rising jihadism in Pakistan has added to Islamabad's domestic 'compulsions' thereby impeding any serious detente let alone early resolution to the problem.

Need for new thinking and resolve

India needs to seriously rethink its 'thousand bandage' policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. The only time India succeeded in negotiating a bilateral treaty on its terms (although many argue that the opportunity was not optimised) was the Simla Agreement signed in 1972. That was possible because India had defeated Pakistan in December 1971 and dismembered the country. The taking of 93,000 prisoners at that time was the largest in post-World War-II history and remained so until the 'mother of all surrenders' by Saddam Hussain's Army to US forces in Iraq and then Iraqi occupied Kuwait in 1991. This bilaterally negotiated treaty continues to be cited by India as the basis on which all future discussions on J&K are to be held.

While diplomacy must continue, policy makers on Raisina Hill must always keep in mind the maxim 'strength respects respect and the weak only get pushed around'. Does India's political executive have the will and resolve at the national level? Are both the military and the intelligence agencies sufficiently equipped? Is India's soft power being optimised? Thousands of lives and an expenditure of lakhs of crores of rupees over 67 years (and still counting) later, is there not a need for the Indian leadership to come up with new thinking and approach to handling Pakistan on the J&K problem which does not seem likely to be resolved for a long time ahead?
Payoff remarks: J&K House gives VK Singh 20 days to file reply
Ehsan Fazili/TNS
Srinagar, October 24
Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul has issued a notice to former Army Chief Gen VK Singh (retd), asking him to explain in 20 days “his position regarding certain revelations” made by him during an interview about the payments made to ministers in the state.

More than two weeks after the Assembly was adjourned, a spokesperson of the Legislative Assembly said the Assembly Secretariat, under the orders of the Speaker, had issued a notice to General VK Singh (retd).

The former Army Chief, after a report in the print media on the use of secret funds, had, in an interview to a Delhi-based channel on September 23, made certain revelations about payments being made to ministers of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947.

The notice has been issued in response to a Breach of Privilege notice given by 15 ministers and members during the recent brief session of the state legislature.

The spokesperson said General VK Singh had been given 20 days to explain his position on the issue so that further course of action could be decided under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the J&K Legislative Assembly.

The revelations made by Gen VK Singh rocked both Houses of the state legislature on the very first day of the brief session on September 30. NC ministers and members of the Assembly moved a privilege motion in the House against the former Army Chief. His remarks dominated the brief session of the state legislature, with different political parties, including the Congress, the National Conference, the PDP and the BJP, speaking on similar lines. Two days before the conclusion of the session, the Assembly adopted a resolution demanding a time-bound inquiry into the revelations made by the former Army Chief.
Shooting on Navy property in US; one in custody
Millington, Tennessee: US Navy officials say a suspect is in custody after a shooting on Navy property at a facility in Tennessee.

A tweet on the Navy's official Twitter page says Naval Support Activity Midsouth is on lockdown.

A Navy recruiter who had been relieved of duty shot two people at a Navy base and was quickly taken into custody, according to a law enforcement official who had been briefed on the developments.

The injuries were not life-threatening, said that official and another official. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
Accession in duress
That is how it all happened
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 “ sometimes people lose their right to remain silent when pressured to remain silent ” 
(Christopher J. Gilbert) 

It was on 26th of Oct 1947 the jubilant  Shri V P Menon, a civil servant and the Sardar  Patel’s envoy returned to Delhi with Kashmir Accession in his pocket, the document, that decided the fate of the then four million people of Kashmir. To click the deal in favour of India, circumstances were created for Maharaja and tribal raid was engineered. Interestingly Army Chief of both the countries of Pakistan and India were British officers, close confidantes of Lord Mountbatten. There seems to have been some understanding between two chiefs. As mentioned by Devi Dass in his book  “Kashmir in search of future”,  the Indian army Chief knew three days in advance about tribal raid. A clandestine plot was hatched in the Frontier Province of Pakistan by one Khurshid Anwar a retired Major of Indian Army with the consent of Chief Minister NWFO, Khan Abdul Qayoom Khan. On 20th October the tribal war Lords of Frontier Province began to march for Kashmir. The Governor of NWFP was ignorant and on receiving the information he Immediately informed Liaqat Ali Khan who was taken by a surprise and is said to have stated that Pakistan had no intention to indulge into such an adventure.
On 22nd October, tribal forces comprising 2000 troops entered into Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh ordered his Army Chief R.S. Jamwal to fight back the raiders to the last men and last bullet.  Dogra army could not resist them. On 26th October they captured Baramulla. Maharaja had already sent his Prime Minister Mehar Chand Mahajan to Delhi with a request to Government of India for military help. On 25th October,1947 a meeting of Defence Committee was held under chairmanship of Lord Mountbatten. There was a hot debate on the question of request of Maharaja Hari Singh. Lord Mountbatten held that sending troops to a neutral State would be a great folly in the eyes of international community. Mehar Chand told Nehru that “ he had orders to go to Pakistan in case the immediate aid was not given ”.On this Nehru lost his temper and shouted at him, “to get out”.  As mentioned by Tarif Naaz in his book “Sheikh Abdullah, A victim of betrayal”,  Sheikh Abdullah was also present and was listening all the debate from the adjacent room. He sent a note to Nehru and requested him to agree to the request of Maharaja for sending military troops to Kashmir, so that raiders could be pushed back. Nehru cooled down and a decision was taken to send three men to Srinagar, V P Menon, Col. Manikshaw and an Air force officer to assess the ground situation and also to know whether Hari Singh is interested in acceding to India. Menon reported to Nehru from Srinagar that Maharaja is nervous because of tribal war and he was eager to escape from Srinagar.
Nehru captured the moment and asked V P Menon to urge Maharaja to sign the accession, a document which was already prepared by him in consultation with Sheikh Abdullah. Menon succeeded in his mission and got the document of accession signed by Maharaja on 26th October, 1947. Same day V P Menon returned Delhi with a letter of Maharaja and instrument of accession addressed to Lord Mountbatten. Lord Mountbatten wrote a letter back to Maharaja Hari Singh stating that the question of State’s accession is provisional and shall be finally settled by reference to the people. As promised to Sheikh Abdullah, Nehru had got the instrument of accession drafted with care so as to respect his dream of autonomy for his State. This is how Jammu & Kashmir is now being claimed to be the integral part of India.
(The writer is IFS (Rtd) and Member  All India Muslim Majlis - e- Mushawarat. New Delhi.

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