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Thursday, 19 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 19 Dec 2013
















http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131219/nation.htm#4
 DGMOs’ meet: India to counter Pak with data
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 18
At the forthcoming meeting of Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan, the Indian side will be armed with facts and figures to show that the firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir was a direct proactive action by the Pakistani forces.

New Delhi will counter Pakistan with figures of increased ceasefire violations. There will be specifics with dates to show increased activity along the LoC and the international boundary ahead of any major event in India, be it a sporting event, a political development or a cultural event in Jammu and Kashmir. The two countries had agreed on ceasefire in 2003, but it is followed more in breach, with either side accusing the other of unprovoked firing on villages and civilians along the 749-km-long LoC and the 198-km-long section of the settled international border in Jammu and Kashmir.

Either country talks about a few hundred violations by the other every year.

New Delhi alleges Pakistani troops fire from across the border in violation of the ceasefire whenever terrorists are to enter India. Firing is done to keep the Indian troops engaged so that terrorists can sneak in. The LoC is actually the 1949 ceasefire line between two forces that was renamed as the LoC following the 1972 Simla Agreement. Indian DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia will meet his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Amir Riaz on December 24 and both sides are expected to present their viewpoints on the issue.

With international forces scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan, India is apprehensive that “jihadis” will try to enter Kashmir. “We foresee a repeat of 1989 when the Soviet Union exited Afghanistan and trained fighters started entering Kashmir,” the Indian side maintains.

The DGMOs are meeting for the first time since July 11, 1999, though both talk to each other over a special telephonic hotline every Tuesday. An understanding on DGMOs’ meeting was reached when PM Manmohan Singh met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York in September.

On agenda

    The Indian side will try to show that the firing from across the Line of Control was a direct proactive action by the Pakistani forces
    There will be specifics with dates to show increased activity along the LoC and the international boundary ahead of any major event in India



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131219/nation.htm#11
Remembering the war hero
On December 16, 42 years ago, a newly commissioned officer 2nd Lt Arun Khetarpal had etched a tale of valour in blood, blunting a Pakistani armoured assault in the Shakargarh sector on the western frontier, for which he was decorated posthumously with the Param Vir Chakra, the nation’s highest gallantry award.
Muhammad Nasir, who was then a major and whose armoured column had been decimated, had stood like an insurmountable rock, refusing to yield even an inch and was solely responsible for the Pakistani defeat in that battle. To mark this day, a special remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony was held at Chandimandir with full military honours on December 16, where tributes were paid to 2/Lt Khetarpal by his course mates, who are anointed as the ‘Born to Battle’ course, commissioned as they were on June 13, 1971. A large gathering of his course mates from all the three services accompanied by ladies laid wreaths at the statue of the war hero. Officers recalled Khetarpal as a Good Samaritan who was always at hand to help anyone in distress.
Handing over of Sikh Regiment baton

The serving and retired fraternity of the Sikh Regiment homed on to the lawns of the officers’ mess of 124 Infantry battalion (Sikh) Territorial Army adjacent to the India Gate in the Capital on December 14. The occasion was special, as not only was it time for the annual Saragarhi lunch, but it also marked the handing over of the Regimental Baton to the new Colonel of the Sikh Regiment, Lt Gen GS Shergill by incumbent Lt Gen Sumer Singh, amid the sounding of the regimental war cry of “Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal”. At a solemn ceremony, the baton was handed over to Lt Gen GS Shergill by Lt Gen Sumer Singh. The gathering included most of the serving senior officers of the regiment and a galaxy of veteran officers and ladies. Among them were the indomitable 94-year-old Col KC Manchanda, Vir Chakra recipient Brig Shamsher Singh and four former Colonels of the Sikh Regiment, Lt Gen PS Vadehra, Lt Gen SS Chahal, Lt Gen Devraj Singh and Lt Gen RS Sujlana. Saragarhi lunch is held in the honour of 21 soldiers from the 36th Sikh (now 4th Sikh), who held their post in North-West Frontier Province (now Pakistan) to the last man against an overwhelming force of 10,000 Afghan tribesmen in September 1897. All 21 soldiers were decorated posthumously with the Indian Order or Merit, then the highest gallantry award applicable to Indian soldiers.

Torch rally in martyr’s memory

A torch rally to mark the martyrdom of Maj Amiy Kumar Tripathi of 19 Sikh has now become an annual feature. This year, the rally was flagged off in Lucknow on December 18 by Lt Gen GS Shergill, Chief of the Staff Central Command and Colonel of the Sikh Regiment. It will cover a distance of 400 km and culminate at Kushinagar, the officer’s native village on December 21. Maj Tripathi had died fighting terrorists in 2004 at Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir and was decorated with the Shaurya Chakra. He was then serving with the Rashtriya Rifles. Son of a former MLA in Uttar Pradesh, he was commissioned into the army in 1990. After his death, his family and well-wishers formed “SMAT” an acronym for Shaheed Major Amiy Tripathi, which organises a host of outdoor and cultural events, ensuring participation of maximum youth, with an ultimate aim of drawing inspiration from Maj Tripathi. The rally was flagged off from Sainik School, Lucknow, of which the slain officer is an alumnus.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131219/edit.htm#5
China flexes its muscles
Its claims beyond its borders violate a UN convention
G Parthasarathy
The symbolism of Emperor Akihito’s visit to Delhi and India's extraordinary gesture of the Monarch being personally received on arrival by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not have passed unnoticed in Beijing and other Asian capitals. The visit coincided with Beijing taking unprecedented steps to declare large areas beyond its land borders as an “Air Defence Identification Zone” (ADIZ), challenging the sovereign rights of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan over islands and reefs controlled by them. Under its new notification, China required all foreign powers to give prior notification of their aircraft — civilian and military — flying over the ADIZ, reinforced by the threat to scramble fighter aircraft to challenge any violations. These extraordinary measures by China, which are known to have followed years of internal discussions, were undertaken almost immediately after the Third Plenum of the Communist Party’s 18th Congress.

The Communist Party Plenum put the seal of President Xi Jinping’s virtually unchallenged leadership. Apart from populist measures like doing away with the one-child policy, eliminating repressive labour camps and providing relief to migrant labour, strong anti-corruption measures were promised together with removing government control over the allocation of resources. But perhaps the most significant announcement was the establishment of an apex national security committee under President Xi, which gives him powers on national security issues akin to those exercised by Deng Xiao Ping. Deng wielded these powers when China was relatively weak economically and militarily and had to follow his wise advice: “Hide your strength and bide you time”.

The Deng era has been followed by an economically vibrant and militarily robust China flexing its muscles across its entire neighbourhood. Having added an aircraft carrier to its fleet to project power, China clearly intends to expand its reach across the Pacific and Indian oceans, defining its maritime frontiers unilaterally in the South China Sea under its “Nine Dotted Line”. It has militarily seized the Paracel islands from Vietnam and asserted claims of sovereignty on the Spratly islands, overriding objections from the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. It has used force to seize the Mischief Reef, located barely 51 km from the Philippines and 590 km from its Hainan island. China’s extraordinary claims on its maritime borders do not conform to the provisions of the UN Convention of the Laws of the Seas.

China’s assertion of its ADIZ has been challenged by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The US has challenged the legality of the ADIZ by sending unarmed B 52 bombers into the zone. But US commercial aircraft have been advised to observe China’s requirements. Japan and South Korea have, however, refused to comply with the Chinese demands. The Chinese threats of overflying the disputed Senkaku islands have been have been met by Japan scrambling F15 fighters. The South Koreans proclaimed: “We expressed deep regret and reaffirmed our jurisdictional rights to the waters surrounding the (submerged rock) Leodo, which would not be affected by the neighbouring State’s air defence zones”. The Chinese announcement of its ADIZ has exacerbated the existing dispute with South Korea over fishing rights in the Yellow Sea.

Vice President Biden expressed his solidarity with allies Japan and South Korea over China’s border claims during his visits to Tokyo and Seoul. The US has also sent P 8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol aircraft to Japan. China’s aim is clearly to get Japan to accept that the Senkaku islands are disputed territories. According to the well-informed Hong Kong-based Asia Weekly, China sees its maritime boundary in the East China Sea as stretching from the southernmost Japanese island towards the East Coast of Taiwan and joining the South China Sea. China is now clearly seeking unchallenged access to the Pacific Ocean. In 2009 the Commander of the US Pacific Fleet, Admiral Timothy Keating, told Indian interlocutors that one of his Chinese counterparts had suggested to him that when China acquired aircraft carriers, the US should leave maritime security responsibilities in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans to be handled by the Chinese navy, with the US confining itself to security of the Eastern Pacific.

Even as Japan and others facing security challenges from China are upgrading their defence, India’s defence spending this year has reached an estimated all-time low of 1.79 per cent of the GDP. Even as the Chinese build their communication networks across their borders with India and across Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan, our armed forces take days to reach the outer periphery of our borders. Our Army is woefully short of mountain artillery, the under-strength Air Force desperately needs Multi Role Combat Aircraft and the Navy is equipped with an aging and obsolescent submarine fleet. Essential reforms to our archaic defence structures recommended by the Naresh Chandra Task Force around 18 months ago remain unimplemented. Sadly, South Block has no dearth of apologists for China's policies who have even sought to downplay Chinese transgressions in Chumar in the Ladakh sector. These continuing intrusions have crossed the Karakoram Range, the great watershed that separates China from the subcontinent. They have been accompanied by Chinese claims to the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, reiterated recently to protest the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to the state.

P Stopdan, who hails from Ladakh, recently voiced serious concerns about the Chinese ingress into the region. After explaining how the Ladakh-Tibetan border was defined in the Ladakh-Tibet Treaty of Tingmosgang in 1684, Stopdan has dwelt on how Chinese territorial claims have grown in Ladakh ever since 1956. He has drawn attention to how China dealt with its borders with its Central Asian neighbours. He notes that China purports to give “concessions” without actually giving an inch of territory. He adds: “The Chinese will have a maximum claim and then they will settle for (what purports to be) the minimum territory. They will present it as a win-win situation to all parties, but in essence usurp what is far more than their legitimate claim”. Referring to negotiations with Kazakhstan Stopden notes: “After the Soviet Union collapsed, China settled for a third of the territories it claimed, the claim itself being maximalist with little basis”. Overawed by the Chinese, the Kazakhs were forced to give assurances of non-interference from their soil and part with 60 per cent of their vast oil resources to the Chinese. China follows the advice of its Chanakya, Sun Tzu, who proclaimed: “To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence”. Our brilliant negotiators, forever apologetic about Chinese intrusions and claims, would be well advised to study Chanakya’s Arthashastra on statecraft.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20131219/main5.htm
India, Pak hold flag meet in Poonch
Battalion commanders discuss ceasefire violations along LoC
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 18
Ahead of the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) meeting scheduled for December 24, India and Pakistan today held a flag meeting at battalion commanders’ level at Chakkan-Da-Bagh crossing in Poonch district and discussed ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

Officiating Public Relations Officer, Defence, Jammu, SN Acharya said the flag meeting was held at 11.30 am and the delegations of both sides were led by colonel-level officers.

“The meeting discussed ceasefire violations and the need to abide by the tenets of existing ceasefire agreement between the two countries. The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere and both sides agreed to give due consideration to the issues raised by the other side,” the Defence PRO said in a statement.

He claimed the meeting was proposed by the Indian side with an aim to restore peace along the LoC.

The DGMOs of both countries would meet on December 24 to scale down tension along the LoC. The meeting will be held at Wagah after a gap of 14 years.

Although the DGMOs of both countries talk almost every week on hotline, the last meeting between them took place in 1999 after the Kargil war. The upcoming meeting is expected to discuss ways in which the ceasefire agreement can be upheld.



Nawaz Sharif, China welcome move

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday welcomed the scheduled meeting between DGMOs of the two countries. “Pakistan’s intentions towards its neighbours are positive and it expects similar reciprocity from them,” he said. Welcoming the recent developments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said: “We welcome the efforts made by Pakistan and India for ceasefire in the area around Kashmir.



India to counter Pak with facts

At the forthcoming meeting of DGMOs of India and Pakistan, the Indian side will be armed with facts and figures to show that the firing from across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir was a direct proactive action by the Pakistani forces. There will be specifics with dates to show increased activity along the LoC and the international boundary ahead of any major event in India, be it a sporting event, a political development or a cultural event in J-K. P8


http://minivannews.com/politics/defense-minister-returns-from-india-with-gifts-and-reassurances-73542
Defense minister returns from India with gifts and reassurances
Minister of Defence and National Security Mohamed Nazim has returned from his five day official visit to India bearing gifts and reassurances of better defense cooperation and hope for improved bilateral relations.

A major highlight of the trip was India’s gift to Maldives military, a locally manufactured ‘Dhruv’ Advanced Lightweight Helicopter (ALH). The Helicopter the second India has gifted – will reach Maldives in two months.

India also assured the delivery of a landing craft within this period – promised during Nazim’s previous visit to India as President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s Defence minister. During that visit, nine months ago, India promised seven new radar systems, in addition to three radar systems India had already gifted to the Maldives.

Nazim also addressed specific issues of concern that had emerged during the previous administration’s period of weakened ties with India.

The shortage of construction material imported from India following a special quota for Maldives being revoked in February 2013, and the difficulties in acquiring medical Visa for Maldivians traveling to India were discussed.

Both issues will be discussed further during President Yameen’s official visit to India early next year.

Nazim’s visit – from 11-15 December – was prompted by an invitation from his counterpart AK Anthony. During the visit, Nazim met many senior government officials, amongst them Minister of Home Affairs Sushilkumar Shinde, Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne.

Nazim requested Indian assistance to acquire equipment and training for disaster management and fire and rescue services – a coast guard vessel for patrolling the Maldives’ EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) and an auxiliary vessel to improve logistical support across the country.

Training opportunities were also sought in other areas such as aviation security, pilot training, air traffic control training, MBBS and specialist medical training.

During the visit, the Maldives defense minister informed Indian officials of the progress of the Composite Training Center being constructed at Maafilaafushi (Lhaviyani Atoll) with Indian financial assistance.  A ten-story building for the Coast Guard and the Ministry of Defense and National Security also is all set to be built at the current Coast Guard Building’s location with Indian grant aid.

Apart from improving the military, Nazim’s main focus during the visit was on health security, especially regarding the development of MNDF’s ‘Senahiya’ military hospital – officially inaugurated by Indian Defense minister in September 2012.

Nazim sought Indian assistance in getting medical equipment such as CT scan and MRI machines for the hospital. India also agreed to deputise Indian Armed Forces medical specialists to Senahiya and other regions of Maldives in a near future.

Training of MNDF medical specialists was also discussed, while the Indian defense minister announced the opportunity for MNDF personnel to be treated for major surgeries and serious illnesses at India’s armed forces medical institutions


http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-13/india/45160720_1_defence-ministry-indian-army-gen-bikram-singh
Why did you accept US award without clearance? Govt asks Army chief
NEW DELHI: The acceptance of a US military award by Army chief Gen Bikram Singh has not gone down well with the defence ministry which has sent a poser to him asking why he received it without government clearance.

The Army chief was conferred with the 'Legion of Merit', the sixth highest American military honour, during his visit to the US from December 2 to 5.

The defence ministry has claimed that it came to know about it only through media reports after the conferment as it was not part of Gen Singh's itinerary provided prior to the visit, sources said.

Unhappy over it, the defence ministry has sought to know from the Army chief why he accepted the award without clearance from the government, the sources said.

The defence ministry has argued that services chiefs have to have clearance from the government to receive foreign honours.

When contacted for a reaction, Army headquarters here said they were not aware of the issue.

By receiving the honour, Gen Bikram Singh joined the ranks of legendary figures of the Indian Army including Field Marshal KM Kariappa.

The award is given to services chiefs and officers for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

Gen Singh is the fifth Indian armed forces officer to have received the award after Field Marshal Kariappa and first Indian Chief of Army Staff Gen Rajendra Singhji.

The 'Legion of Merit' decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments.

The Army chief visited the US at a time when the force is planning to procure M-777 ultra light howitzers and Javelin anti-tank missiles from there and the issues are expected to have come up for discussion there.

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