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Friday, 6 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 06 Dec 2013

A day after war-talk, Pak bats for dialogue

Islamabad, December 5
A day after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s reported remarks on Kashmir created a furore, Pakistan today said the issue should be resolved peacefully and through "meaningful and substantive" talks.

Speaking at a press conference, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry also said the Siachen glacier should be demilitarised and there should be disengagement of forces.

"We believe the Kashmir issue should be resolved peacefully through talks for which we have always urged the Indian government to engage with us in meaningful and substantive talks. We also believe that Kashmiri leadership should be associated with that resolution," Chaudhry said. Both sides should work on addressing the mistrust that exists and divides them, he said.

A leading Pakistani daily reported on Wednesday that Sharif had contended that the Kashmir issue was a flashpoint that "can trigger a fourth war" with India. His office later denied the statement. However, the daily today said it was part of the statement issued by the Information Department at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Asked about Prime Minister's statement that he would like to see "held-Kashmir free from the Indian occupation", Chaudhry said, "Our position has been very clear. Pakistan has always extended moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people and this is nothing new. At the same time, the Prime Minister has also voiced his desire for peaceful and good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan. I think resolution of Kashmir issue would actually help that broader objective."

On the proposed ‘great wall’ along the LoC, Chaudhry said there was an understanding that there should be no construction within 500 metres of the LoC which should be respected. — PTI
 Permanent COSC chief: The possibilities
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
A proposal to have a four-star general to be the single-point contact for tri-services issues has led to a flurry of activity in military circles.

At present, these issues are handled by the Chairman of the Chief’s of Staff Committee (COSC). The senior most among the three chief’s is appointed the COSC boss and has no fixed tenure. The tenure is co-terminus with the retirement of the senior most chief.

While deciding on the issue, the government will have to decide on the retirement age of the permanent COSC chief. All three chiefs retire at the age of 62. To appoint a soon-to-be-retiring chief would mean hiking the retirement age to 64 years to allow him a substantial tenure.

In case NAK Browne is appointed to the post, no seniority issue will crop up in the IAF. Air Marshal Arup Raha has been designated as the next Air Chief. But in case General Bikram Singh is appointed as the permanent COSC chief between January 1 and June 30, Lt General Anil Chait-the senior most Army Commander-may become the Chief of Army Staff.

Rarely has the government overlooked seniority while appointing chiefs of the three services. Lt General Chait retires on June 30, 2014, and General Bikram Singh retires a month later on July 31.

In case Gen Chait becomes the Army Chief, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, the Eastern Army Commander-now inline to succeed General Bikram Singh-will lose out.

His appointment as the Vice-Chief of the Army, replacing Lt Gen SK Singh-retiring on December 31, 2013-awaits government clearance.

Another possibility is that of appointing the current Vice-Chief of Army Staff General SK Singh to the post. He superannuates on December 31. Alternatively, Lt General Chait can also be the COSC chief.
 Court martial cases become a casualty to AFT workload
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Heavy workload due to a large number of service and pension-related matters as well as increasing litigation arising out of non-implementation of judicial orders has resulted in the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) being unable to give due attention to the review of verdicts passed by courts martial.

“We have been able to dispose of only 10-20 per cent of cases relating to courts martial and over 400 such cases are still pending,” said Lt Gen HS Panag, who completed his tenure as the administrative member of the AFT’s Chandigarh Bench yesterday. “Given the enhanced powers of the AFT to review evidence, court martial proceedings have to be looked at in totality, but given the volume of other cases, and at times non-availability of a judicial member, this arena has suffered,” he added.

Courts martial are an essential feature of military law and remain the bedrock for enforcing discipline in the forces. Akin to a sessions court, there are several types of courts martial, which have the power to award punishments ranging up to death sentence.

At present, there are about 9,000 cases pending before the Chandigarh Bench out of which about 3,000 alone are for seeking the execution by the Defence Ministry of earlier orders passed by the AFT.

“Execution of orders is an attitudinal problem in the bureaucracy. Not only is there functional lethargy and a shortage of staff vis-à-vis the increasing litigation, but the ministry needs to revise and update procedures and revamp policies to ensure that the ends of natural justice are met,” he said.

While the formation of the AFT has been a boon to ex-servicemen and a number of far-reaching verdicts have been passed, General Panag said there were still some grey areas in the AFT’s functioning and other related grievances that needed to be redressed.

For example, the AFT is the only tribunal in the country without powers of civil contempt. Consequently no action is taken by the executive on detailed or unprecedented orders, leading to another round of litigation.

General Panag also came down hard on the military system of dispensing justice. “The existing system, that is cumbersome and duplicitous, needs to be reformed. Investigations are not carried out properly and officers tend to give short slip to procedures or ignore prescribed rules,” he said.

Stating that the Judge Advocate General’s Department and the Military Police should be revamped as its members lack legal experience and investigative skills, he said though the military justice system needs to be tough to ensure discipline, it should be judicious and transparent.

“At present, it does not meet the standards of the law of the land,” he added.
 War of words
Sharif must show restraint

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says: “Kashmir is a flashpoint and it can trigger a fourth war with India.” The statement is published and the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office disavows it. In the meanwhile, there is a reaction all over the world to this ill-considered comment. In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says there is no scope of Pakistan winning a war against India in his lifetime. There is a sneaking suspicion that the statements are for domestic consumption, yet they have immediate cross-border reactions.

You could well be pardoned if you felt a sense of déjà vu. Didn't something similar happen in New York? The infamous “dehati aurat” comment, allegedly made by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, was later disowned. The heated diplomatic damage control efforts were a good enough indication of the harm the loose comment had caused. Senior leaders, especially heads of government, need to be extremely careful about what they say and do. Nawaz Sharif has always maintained that he wants to have good relations with India, something that his counterpart in India reciprocates. It is creditable that both the leaders met in New York, especially in the backdrop of the incursions and killings that had occurred in Kashmir. However, much was lost with a single loose comment.

It is simply not fruitful to talk of another war when both India and Pakistan are attempting to initiate peaceful interaction with each other, be it in business, cultural exchanges or on the sports fields. Trade ties are an important aspect of improving relations. Overland trade between the two countries, while miniscule, is continuing and has an enormous potential. Peace would benefit both nations, yet there are groups within them that oppose the normalisation of relations between the two. They benefit the most when rhetoric is ratcheted up. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif must keep that in mind. While it might be understandable, if disappointing, that he has not been able to walk the talk about improving relations with India, it is difficult to understand why he can't even talk the talk.
India must engage Pakistan's new army chief directly since he will have the last word on foreign policy
While General Raheel Sharif has been appointed Pakistan's chief of army staff (COAS) on November 29 by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he is not dependent on him because he will draw his strength from three different sources: his relations with nine corps commanders, his firm hold over Pakistan's nuclear weapons and how well he manages to retain friendly terrorist groups co-opted in his war plans against India.

Terrorists groups like Laskhar, Jaish and Hizbul are what General Musharraf had once called the Pakistan army's first line of defence (read, offence). Thus, the prime minister and his COAS will not necessarily be on the same page regarding Pakistan's national security and foreign policy.

Sharif's maturity will lie in how he handles the newly created 'cabinet committee on national security' (CCNS) which he heads with the COAS as a member. A lesson that he would have learnt is that having a majority in parliament does not impress his country's army.

Had he listened to General Jehangir Karamat in 1998 and formed the CCNS then to accord a formal role to the army in governance, he would not have been overthrown by General Musharraf.

Therefore, while Sharif will at best be a notional chair of the CCNS, it is his COAS who will have the last word on Pakistan's relations with India, the US and China. So, the Kashmir issue will continue to get higher priority over bilateral trade that Sharif desires. This is what New Delhi needs to grasp.

Like the US and China, India should attempt to open a direct and parallel channel of talks, whether Nawaz Sharif likes it or not, with General Sharif. The subject to begin with could be Afghanistan where India, much to the Pakistan army's discomfiture, is seeking a foothold post-2014 when American and Nato forces are scheduled to leave the country.

India could ask the US to arrange these bilateral talks specific to Afghanistan with the Pakistan COAS. Meanwhile, talks between the director generals of military operations for peace on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, which have been agreed by the two countries, should commence at the earliest.

For these reasons, New Delhi should have asked General Bikram Singh to send a congratulatory letter to General Sharif on his appointment as the COAS, something which has unfortunately not been done. A thank-you note from General Sharif hopefully would have set a positive tone between the two armies.

This is not all. India needs to take two additional actions domestically to signal to General Sharif that the sought rapprochement is not from a position of weakness. One, there is the need to de-link ceasefire violations from both infiltration across the LoC and bilateral talks between the civilian governments of the two countries.

It should be clear that dynamics on the LoC have little to do with relations with Pakistan; the first is controlled by Rawalpindi and the second by Islamabad. And, infiltration is a war-fighting strategy of the Pakistan army much in the same way as counter-insurgency is of the Indian army.

Two, the Indian army has to build a conventional deterrent capability at the LoC. This requires an institutional change of mind-set, something that a defensively oriented army is reluctant to do.

There are a few interesting takeaways for India from General Sharif's professional profile. His command and staff appointments against the Indian front have been exceptional, he has done courses in the UK and Canada, and by the time he retires in October 2017, he will have a four-year tenure as COAS.

The general appears more in the mould of his predecessor, the brainy General Karamat, rather than the brawny General Abdul Waheed. It is hoped that he would be less brash and opportunistic than General Musharraf, more balanced in developing Pakistan's civil-military relations and open to level-headed negotiations.

India for him, however, will remain the existential threat and Kashmir the prize to be won with credit going mostly to his army. Therefore, his foremost priority would be to negate Indian military's advantages, something General Kayani did with close military ties with China and the induction of tactical nuclear weapons in the inventory.

Another significant marker in General Sharif's profile is his last tenure as head of Pakistan army's doctrine and training evaluation. This would have given him a good insight into the making and execution of irregular warfare against India.

Thus, India will do well not to blame Islamabad for the excruciatingly slow progress on the 26/11 case for justice. There is little gainsaying that the 26/11 terrorist attacks were the handiwork of ISI with full support and knowledge of Rawalpindi.

To expect Nawaz Sharif to deliver Hafiz Saeed or Dawood Ibrahim to India is akin to the US asking Islamabad to hand over Mullah Omar to them. India should learn to differentiate between Islamabad and Rawalpindi and not see the two Sharifs as one.
Profile: Achievements and failures of retiring Pak Army chief Kayani
Pakistan's hawkish Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who did little to change the force's India-centric stance, will leave the world's sixth-largest army grappling with a host of security challenges when he steps down on Friday.

The 61-year-old Kayani, the first spy master (he served as Director-General of ISI) to become the army chief, will retire after an extended tenure that saw the Pakistani military launch operations against some militant factions while leaving other groups like the anti-India Lashkar-e-Taiba free to operate on the country's soil.

It was during an interaction with the Pakistani media in February 2010 that Kayani said his force would remain an "India-centric" force till the Kashmir issue and water disputes are resolved.

Though the army did not block the previous Pakistan People's Party-led government's efforts to normalise trade with India, many believe the force had a hand in scuttling the move to give India Most Favoured Nation-status in December 2012.

Kayani is retiring after heading the Pakistan Army for six years at a time when the country is trying to cope with several security challenge, including a raging Taliban insurgency and the impending drawdown of US and foreign troops from neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan.

Known as a chain-smoking man of few words, Kayani was once described by CIA officials in a 2008 New York Times article as a "master manipulator". His India policy too has been difficult to comprehend, analysts say.

Though it was under Kayani's watch that the Pakistani military made a paradigm shift and described home-grown militancy as the "biggest threat" to national security rather than India, critics say the jihadi tap was never shut off.

Pakistani soil continued to be used for planning and staging terror attacks on India, including the brazen Mumbai 2008 attacks that involved some serving and retired officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence, which Kayani headed before becoming army chief.

The latest tensions on the Line of Control too were blamed on the Pakistani military's efforts to give a push to the militancy in Jammu and Kashmir by backing infiltration bids by militant groups like the LeT.

However, some in Islamabad argue that Kayani, the son of a non-commissioned officer, was interested in building ties with India and cite the example of his call for demilitarising the Siachen glacier.

Last year, after an avalanche on the world's highest battlefield buried 124 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians, Kayani advocated peaceful coexistence with India and said both countries should pull back their troops from the glacier.

With the Kargil fiasco in mind, the Indian Army insisted on authentication of positions on the Actual Ground Position Line on Siachen before any talk of demilitarisation or withdrawal. People connected with the security establishment and analysts say Kayani was 'hurt' when his proposal on Siachen was not actively pursued by India.

Kayani's policy for fighting the home-grown militants that he declared as the biggest threat to Pakistan's security too has been slammed by his detractors.

Though he launched a massive operation against the Taliban in the Swat valley after they advanced to districts located 100 km from Islamabad in 2009, he repeatedly spurned US requests to flush out the Haqqani network and other factions from North Waziristan Agency.

Some have praised Kayani for his efforts to distance the army from politics - soon after he was named army chief by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007, he recalled army officers serving in civilian departments - but others point to his role in confronting the government over issues like the Kerry-Lugar Act.

During Kayani's tenure, the army criticised the Kerry-Lugar Act for attaching stringent conditions for military aid from the US. The army also forced the PPP-led government to drop moves to bring the ISI under civilian control and to send the apy agency's chief to India for helping in the probe into the Mumbai attacks.

Kayani is known to be reclusive and, unlike his predecessor Musharraf, he stayed away from elaborate media interactions. Kayani has been described by many as a soldier with no political aspirations and this was one of the reasons why Musharraf chose him.

He rose to prominence after overseeing an investigation into attempts to assassinate Musharraf in December 2003.

In his book 'In the Line of Fire', Musharraf writes how the investigations initially ran into problems because of inter-agency rivalries. "But these disappeared when I appointed Kayani in charge of investigations," he wrote.

Observers believe it was from this time onwards that Musharraf began to rely on Kayani for crisis management and involved him in secret talks with former premier Benazir Bhutto before her return to Pakistan from self-exile in 2007.

While critics question him over the security situation in Pakistan, especially after the US military raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in 2011, his admirers say he was the man who facilitated the country's first ever democratic transition of government this year.

An infantry man, Kayani got his start in the Baloch Regiment. He has also undergone training in the US which helped him establish a good rapport with the American military leadership.
Israel to Aid India's Future Soldier Effort
Israel will collaborate in producing high-tech systems for Indian soldiers, tapping a potential US $3 billion market.

Israel will team with India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to produce a variety of systems related to command and control, battlefield management, sensors and weapons, according to a proposal that was finalized last month.

An Indian Army official said the Indian Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) program “aims to utilize advanced technologies to enhance capabilities of an individual soldier.” F-INSAS “is based on lessons from conflicts worldwide and intends to make the Indian soldier a self-contained fighting machine,” the official said.

DRDO and Israel have agreed to jointly develop portable command-and-control (C2) systems for Indian soldiers. The system will have an encrypted computer and a monitor able to operate in harsh Indian weather. The system will be connected with the Indian Army’s battlefield management system, a network-centric warfare project under development, said another Indian Army source.

The economic model of the arrangement between DRDO and Israel is unclear, but an Indian Army source said the C2 system must be able to grow over the years to accommodate 1.1 million Indian troops.

In addition, DRDO is teaming up with Israel for joint development of an advanced mobile observation system for infantry soldiers that will operate through a radio frequency sensor, allowing a soldier to remain at a distance while observing and recording a target.

DRDO has also submitted a proposal to the Indian Defence Ministry to develop an advanced personal network radio able to integrate voice; command, control, communications and intelligence applications; and GPS signals. The system will be connected to long-range radio networks to provide unprecedented operational range. This system will be developed with Israeli help.

To meet Army requirements, DRDO is also developing a multi-caliber individual weapon system and an air bursting grenade for individual weapons.

Other equipment to be procured includes advanced anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers, bulletproof vehicles, anti-materiel rifles, new generation carbines, battle surveillance radars, thermal imaging sights for ATGM launchers, ground sensors, secured communication systems, precision guided ammunition and laser rangefinders.
Army to prosecute soldiers guilty of rights abuses
Srinagar, Dec 4: Army on Wednesday said it would prosecute all those officials found guilty of human rights violation in J&K and the sanction in this regard would be accorded soon.
“I don’t want any such person in the Indian Army who is found guilty of rights violation and any such official, whosoever he may be, will be prosecuted. I will ensure that no individual in the Army tramples the dignity of a civilian and this is a pledge I am taking before you,” Commander 15 Corps, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh, said while interacting with a group of editors here.
On Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the Corps Commander said he has forwarded the opinion of Army to the Defence Ministry and any decision has to be taken at the political level.
“Army has a role in maintaining peace in Kashmir and it has been doing this at the cost of men and material,” Gen Singh said.
Avoiding a direct reply on Tosa Maidan Firing Range, he termed it a sensitive issue which needs to be looked in a holistic manner.
“I can’t give you answer to this query at this stage since the matter is of sensitive nature and Army is looking at all the issues revolving around it,” he said.
Credited for focusing on Army-civilian synergy, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh, who recently took over as Corps Commander, said he works on the motto of harmonization of relations between soldiers and civilians.
“I have individually met about 30000 soldiers in last four months since I took over as Corps Commander and the motive behind this exercise is to make them understand the sensitivities of Kashmiris- their dignity, honour, self-esteem and the role of soldiers in respecting the rights of civilians,” he disclosed.
Elaborating, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh said by adopting such a synergy on ground, Army is getting tremendous feedback from civilians.
“The kind of information we get at the local level is appreciable as could be envisaged from the inputs from civilians on the militant network anywhere in Kashmir,” he said, adding that the Handwara operation was started on local inputs.
Pakistan army warns of ‘disproportionate response’ in future wars
 Pakistan’s official Army Doctrine calls on the country to “invoke disproportionate responses” in future wars with India, a copy of the document obtained by TheHindu has revealed. “The causes of conflict with the potential to escalate to the use of violence,” the classified internal document states, “emanate from the unresolved issue of Kashmir, the violation of treaty arrangements on sharing of natural resources, and the organised and deliberate support by external powers to militant organisations.”

The December, 2011, Doctrine does not name any country as a threat, but Pakistan has accused India of seeking to block its access to Indus waters, and backing terrorism. The Doctrine describes itself as the “army’s mother document” and “the fountainhead for all subordinate doctrines.”

Indian military sources told TheHindu the study was commissioned in the summer of 2008, soon after former chief of army staff General Pervez Kayani took office. It evolved through intensive discussions of the Kargil war of 1999 and the near-war that followed the December, 2001, terrorist attack on Parliament House

Georgetown University scholar Dr. C. Christine, author of a forthcoming book, Fighting to the End, says the Doctrine confirms what scholars have long known. “It tells us several interesting things,” she says, “among them that the Pakistan army sees Indian military modernisation as a threat, but that they also think nuclear weapons will insulate them from the consequences of pursuing high-risk strategies, like backing jihadist clients.”

Future wars, the Doctrine states, “will be characterised by high-intensity, high-tempo operations under a relatively transparent battle-space environment.” This, it states, is because of the “incremental increase in asymmetry of conventional forces and [the] nuclear overhang” — evident references to the programme of rapid modernisation India put into place after the 2001-2002 crisis, and both countries’ efforts to expand their nuclear weapons capabilities.

In the view of the Doctrine’s authors, de-facto parity between the two countries induced “through a combination of conventional and nuclear deterrence, has obviated the [likelihood of] conventional war.”

However, the Doctrine argues, “a disparity at the conventional plane continues to grow disproportionately, which too disturbs the strategic equilibrium of the region.” This, it states, “depletes peaceful diplomacy and dialogue, replacing it with coercion on the upper planes and violence across the lower-ends of the spectrum.”

“What worries Pakistan’s army,” says the former Indian Army vice-chief, Arvinder Lamba, “is their inability to organise offensive or defensive responses to our growing rapid mobilisation capacity. Their challenge is to deter us from striking by threatening nuclear weapons use in the face of the least provocation.

“India’s government and military must seek perceptual clarity on exactly what we intend to do in the face of such threats,” he said.

The Doctrine states that Pakistan will use nuclear weapons “only as a last resort, given its scale and scope of destruction.” Nuclear parity between India and Pakistan, it argues, “does not accrue any substantial military advantage to either side, other than maintaining the status quo.”

“In a nuclear deterrent environment,” it adds, “war is unlikely to create decisive military or political advantage.” However, it argues that “integration and synergy between conventional and nuclear forces, maintaining both at an appropriate level… [will avoid] an open-ended arms race.”

It does not state what the red lines compelling nuclear weapons use might be, but says future strategic “force development centres around developing and maintaining credible minimum deterrence, based on a [land, sea and air] triad, including an assured second-strike capability [to an Indian nuclear first-strike].”

“Lots of this thinking has been operationalised in Pakistan’s military,” says Rana Banerjee, a New Delhi-based expert on the Pakistan army, and former Research and Analysis Wing official. “Basically, this document signals they intend to react to even limited Indian military operations with disproportionate force, and hope fear of escalation deters New Delhi from reacting to events like 26/11.

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