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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

From Today's Papers - 20 May 2014

Pak seeks early dialogue without precondition
Tribune News Service

 New Delhi/Islamabad, May 19
Underlining that the Pakistani leadership was committed to a result-oriented dialogue with India, Islamabad today hoped that a comprehensive bilateral engagement between the two countries would resume sooner rather than later without any precondition.

At a lunch he hosted for members of the Press Club of India, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit expressed confidence that the decisive mandate received by the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections would help push forward the agenda of peace and development between two countries.

He emphasised that India and Pakistan were neighbours and had no option but to talk to each other and normalise relations to their mutual benefit. “People in both countries desire peace. It is, therefore, mutually incumbent to spare no effort towards resolving all bilateral differences and disputes,” the Pakistani envoy added.

Basit stated, “Our Prime Minister has already extended an invitation to India’s PM-elect Narendra Modi. It was for the two countries to decide whether they should bury the hatchet or continue to be at daggers drawn. The two nations and the people could ill afford to move in the wrong direction and to be on the wrong side of the history.”

He said the new government in Pakistan strongly believed that for realising the national and regional potential, peace was absolutely essential. “In the vision of our foreign policy, it is the top-most priority. Peace is in our mutual interest and peace can be achieved only through peaceful process that is through dialogue. In the past, we have seen preconditions did not work, nor they can work in future.”

He was of the view that South Asia faced many challenges, including poverty, disease and illiteracy. As two major countries in the region, India and Pakistan should work together to overcome these challenges.

Insiders disclosed that the Pakistani diplomat delivered a message on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government that it was ready for a ‘new beginning’ with the BJP administration.

Sources said the Foreign Office in Islamabad was optimistic of a positive development after initial contacts with the BJP. It was because of the ongoing backdoor diplomacy that Prime Minister Nawaz promptly telephoned Modi to congratulate him over his election victory.

The BJP’s unprecedented win has led to fears that the new government in India may take a tough stance towards Pakistan.

However, Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the BJP’s clear majority could help New Delhi in taking ‘decisive and positive’ decisions.

Aziz said the government was optimistic about the relationship with India as the BJP’s manifesto was economy driven and sought good relations with neighbours. “We also have the same policy, so there is a point of convergence on this issue at least,” the adviser told a private TV channel.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, another Foreign Office official said a “package” was ready and Pakistan would approach New Delhi as soon the new administration was installed there.
With Modi at helm, US hopes to take ties with India forward
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 19
Soon after the BJP’s unprecedented win in the Lok Sabha elections on Friday, US President Barack Obama called up the party’s PM nominee and invited him to America, virtually ending the decade-old visa ban on Narendra Modi.

The US President also made it a point to telephone outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to tell the Indian leader that he would miss working with the latter on a day-to-day basis.

It goes to the credit of Manmohan Singh that he took the Indo-US relations to new heights during his 10-year tenure at the helm. It was only towards the end of the last year that the relationship turned sour somewhat due to the arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade in an alleged visa fraud case in New York. The US apparently did not realise that it was deeply hurting the psyche of the Indian people by strip-searching an Indian diplomat.

It is against this backdrop that Modi, who remains untested in the diplomatic arena, will have to chart out the country’s policy vis-a-vis the US, setting aside his own resentment of the American attitude towards him over the past decade. India and the US are scheduled to hold a strategic dialogue soon after the new government assumes office in India with several contentious issues likely to be taken up during the meeting. The much talked about civil nuclear deal between the two countries has not made much headway with US nuclear companies expressing serious reservations about India’s civil nuclear liability law. The Modi regime will have to see how it could address American concerns about the Indian law so that there could be progress on taking the pact forward.

Indian officials are hopeful that Modi’s victory in the elections would improve trade ties between the two countries with Washington eventually lifting exports in industries ranging from pharmaceutical products to heavy infrastructure. However, one can’t predict whether the defence relationship would also get a boost, given the NDA’s emphasis on indigenisation.

Even in the US, experts are debating why Obama took so long in opening channels of communication with Modi despite the fact that the EU and other major powers had already started wooing him much before the BJP declared him its PM nominee.
Safety measures in place to avoid naval mishaps: Dhowan

 Mumbai, May 19
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan today said all recent incidents involving assets of the Navy had been thoroughly analysed and all standard operating procedures were being followed.

“The incidents have been analysed thoroughly at every level. We have put a safety audit organisation in place. We have reiterated to the organisation to see that all standing operating procedures are followed because the Navy is a highly professional service,” Dhowan told reporters here. On the state of probe into the incidents, he said, “We have ensured that the measures that need to be taken to ensure the safety standards are in place even before the board of inquiry has been completed.”

“It will be our endeavour to see that whatever lessons are learnt from the board of inquiry, we put those measures in place throughout the Navy” he added. The Western Naval Command had taken all measures after these incidents so that the operational efficiency of submarines, ships and aircraft remains intact, said Dhowan.

The Navy had a spate of mishaps involving naval warships in the recent past. Last year, 18 Navy men were killed in an explosion on INS Sindhurakshak. In February this year, two Navy officers were killed and seven sailors injured in a major fire in submarine INS Sindhuratna following which the then Naval Chief Admiral D K Joshi had resigned.

“The Western Naval Command is the most important command of the Navy. Our officers are capable and responsible to take care of the assets of this command and also to face all the requirements and challenges,” he said. Asked to comment on the appointment of the Chief of Naval Staff, Dhowan said it was the government’s decision.

“I am a professional and will carry out my duties, as far as the office of the Chief of Naval Staff is concerned, with professional integrity and pride that I have had the credibility of the last 40 years. The decision is that of the government,” he said. — PTI
 Patel vs Nehru: Clash of titans on China policy
Critics have condemned Nehru for failing to heed Patel’s advice. It has been alleged that he failed to perceive the new security challenges across the Himalayas and that the origins of the 1962 debacle lie in the blunders committed by Nehru in 1950. A dispassionate examination of the facts does not substantiate these charges
Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

FEW historical documents have generated as many myths as Sardar Patel’s famous letter to Jawaharlal Nehru on the Chinese threat. On November 7, 1950, Patel drew the Prime Minister’s attention to the implications of the PLA’s entry into Tibet. He warned that “for the first time, after centuries, India’s defence has to concentrate itself on two fronts simultaneously.” Patel called for a comprehensive policy response covering both border security and foreign policy. This included a military and intelligence assessment of the Chinese threat; re-deployment of Indian forces to guard access routes and “areas that are likely to be the subject of disputes”; improvement of communications in border areas; and an appraisal of required force levels and long-term defence needs.
Review of India’s advocacy

Turning to foreign policy, he proposed a review of India’s advocacy of Beijing’s entry into the United Nations in light of developments in Tibet and Korea. He concluded with the terse comment that “it is possible that a consideration of these matters may lead us into (the) wider question of our relationship with China, Russia, America, Britain and Burma”, hinting that his reservations regarding Nehru’s foreign policy were not confined narrowly to China but extended to wider questions of relations with the major power blocs.

Critics have condemned Nehru for failing to heed Patel’s advice. It has been alleged that he failed to perceive the new security challenges across the Himalayas and that the origins of the 1962 debacle lie in the blunders committed by Nehru in 1950.

A dispassionate examination of the facts does not substantiate these charges. It is not true that the prime minister failed to anticipate the PLA’s entry into Tibet and the resulting security challenges. More than a year before the event, Nehru wrote to finance minister John Mathai, alerting him that “recent developments in China and Tibet indicate that Chinese Communists are likely to invade Tibet sometime or other…it may well take place within a year…it seems to me essential from every point of view that these areas should have good communications.” Nehru asked the finance minister to provide funds for this purpose to the extent possible. It is another matter that actual implementation was – and continues to be – tardy. Nehru bears no greater responsibility for this failure than any of his successors.

Widely held belief disproved

Facts also disprove the widely held belief that Nehru failed to act on Patel’s proposals to strengthen border security. In fact, action was taken on these proposals with great speed. Within a week, the government set up the Himmatsinghji Committee to recommend measures for improving administration, defence and communications in the frontier areas. Another committee was tasked to examine locations for new Assam Rifles posts. Orders were issued to strengthen border check posts and equip these with wireless communications. Urgent steps were taken to extend administrative control in the North-East and in less than three months a firm presence was established in Tawang. There was no disagreement between the two leaders on these issues.

Their disagreement lay elsewhere – on defence priorities and on basic foreign policy issues. On November 19, Nehru circulated a note to his cabinet colleagues explaining his views on Tibet and defence priorities. Without directly referring to Patel’s letter, Nehru contested the view that India must concentrate on “two fronts simultaneously” and that the Army should be redeployed accordingly. He concurred on the need to take all necessary measures to prevent Chinese infiltration and occupation of areas across the McMahon line but pointed out that “our major possible enemy is Pakistan…If we begin to think and prepare for China’s aggression in the same way, we would weaken considerably on the Pakistan side… spreading out of our armies in distant frontiers would be bad from every military or strategic point of view.” Nehru did not ignore the China problem. He only called for establishing clear priorities at a time when, “at least for some years”, India could not afford to bear the financial burden of a full-fledged two-front strategy.

Fundamental differences

Nehru and Patel had fundamental differences on foreign policy. These arose from diverging assessments of the threat posed by international communism in the wake of the Telangana uprising. Unlike Nehru, Patel viewed the Communist powers as a permanently monolithic and expansionist bloc. This was evident in his attitude to China even before its takeover of Tibet. In 1949, he was in favour of delaying recognition of the new Communist regime in Beijing. After the Chinese moved into Tibet, Patel felt that India had “let down” the Tibetans but, as a realist, he did not propose military intervention.

Going beyond Patel’s position, some of Nehru’s present-day critics blame him for failing to physically intervene in support of the Tibetans. No responsible Indian leader advocated military intervention in 1950. In the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief, General (later Field Marshal) Cariappa, the Indian Army could at most spare a battalion for Tibet and even this modest force could proceed no further than Yatung. Nehru’s position combined principle with realism. “We cannot save Tibet as we would have liked to do and our very attempt to save it might well bring greater trouble to it”, he explained in his note of November 19. He knew that China would react to foreign interference in Tibet with a stronger military occupation and by further degrading Tibet’s autonomy.

When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, India supported a UN resolution condemning communist North Korea as an aggressor but abstained on a second US-sponsored resolution recommending assistance to South Korea to repel the aggressor. India later explained its position in a statement accepting the recommendation, while reiterating India’s policy of staying aloof from the East-West confrontation. Patel was not pleased with the statement. “I feel we need not have reiterated our foreign policy. Such reiteration implies that this step could be construed as a departure from that policy and we are being apologetic or defensive about it”, he complained to Nehru. Patel was supported by K.M. Munshi, who complained, “U.S.S.R. never has been a friend of India and never will be. Why should we lose the goodwill of friends without whom we cannot face Russian expansion? If they fall, we go under.”

Patel’s letter

As we noted earlier, Patel’s famous letter of November 1950 concluded with the enigmatic comment that consideration of the issues he had raised “may lead us to (the) wider question of our relationship with China, Russia, America, Britain and Burma”. Was he seeking a fundamental review of India’s foreign policy? Patel did not spell out his views in his letters or speeches but his stand on early recognition of the Beijing regime and the Korean War provide important clues to his thinking.

A declassified American document appears to provide another important clue. On November 10, 1950 — just three days after Patel’s letter — Ambassador Henderson informed Washington, “Patel has been stating privately that within next few days he will insist in cabinet meeting that India not only change policy in direction of closer cooperation with western powers, particularly US, but that it make announcement to that effect… Patel and others advocating change in India’s policies are arguing that India must strengthen its military establishment if it is effectively to face its Communist neighbor, and that it cannot properly strengthen its military establishment without aid from US unless it makes clear before (the) whole world that it stands with (the) West against aggressiveness of international Communism”.

Opposition to Nehru

Patel was, of course, the last person to contemplate any compromise of India’s strategic autonomy but he was convinced that it was in India’s own national interest to join hands with the western powers in confronting the Communist bloc in Asia. Nor was he alone in the cabinet in opposing Nehru’s foreign policy. Rajaji and Munshi, too, voiced their criticism in cabinet meetings. We learn from the diary of Patel’s daughter, Maniben, that he expected support from Baldev Singh, Jagjivan Ram and Sri Prakasa, in addition to Rajaji and Munshi, in the event of a showdown in cabinet with Nehru’s China policy.

In the event, there was no showdown. The Deputy Prime Minister was terminally ill and his health deteriorated rapidly even as he prepared to join battle. He was unable to attend the cabinet meeting on November 21, in which Tibet policy came up for discussion. The Sardar breathed his last on December 15. None of the other Indian leaders had sufficient stature to mount a serious challenge to Nehru’s foreign policy.

Thus, in November 1950, India briefly found itself at a crossroad in foreign and defence policy. Sardar Patel headed a group of ministers who sought a major policy revision involving close cooperation with the Western powers in Asia in confronting the Communist bloc. We need not go into the semantic question of whether such a policy would have amounted to a departure from non-alignment; the answer to that question depends on how we define non-alignment. It is important to note, however, that Patel’s policy prescription would inevitably have made India a frontline state in the Cold War in Asia.

Panchsheel treaty

Jawaharlal Nehru believed in a moral approach to international politics. He was an exponent of a peaceful approach and devoted to techniques of negotiation and co-operative understanding. Nehru had been an exponent of panchasheel or the five cardinal tenets of international amity and concord. In June 1954, the fundamental concepts of pancha sila were laid down in the course of a joint declaration by Nehru and Chou-en-Lai. They are:

* Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty:

* Non-aggression

* Non interference in each other’s internal affarirs

* Equality and mutual advantage and

* Peaceful co-existence and economic cooperation.

These principles were meant to enhance the sense of security, trust and confidence.

Chinese checkers

* India’s relations with China until 1960-62 rested on an age-long friendship and contact. The contact developed in the form of Chinese pilgrims coming to India from 221 B.C. to about 10th c. A.D. Diplomatic as well as commercial relations prevailed through the coast of Arakan and to the Pagan.

* The sea routes were also significant for maritime trade between China and India. These routes became points of numerous contacts — religious, trade, diplomatic and cultural. Buddhism was ardently followed in India. Trade contacts between regions of the Far-East and South India developed amicably during the early Christian centuries.

* The Government of India in 1947 inherited certain extra-territorial rights in Tibet. Delhi now expressed concern to Peking over the unsettled Sino-Tibetan relations that were to be adjusted through peaceful negotiations in 1950.

* Even when the Chinese troops entered Tibet on October 1950, Delhi followed a policy characterised by forbearance and patient negotiations. Thereafter, even in the UN General Assembly India supported the cause of China in the Korean War and condemned US aggression of Indo-China.

* The attempt to cross into Barahoti by the Chinese troops was also protested by India. But on July 26, 1956, Peking for the first time claimed that Barahoti was Chinese territory and denied that Tunjun La was a border pass.

* Towards the end of November, Chou-en-Lai paid a visit to India. Nehru and Chou discussed the border question in their meeting and Chou assured his Indian counterpart that the Tibet border dispute would be solved through negotiations. The border with Burma was also recognised.

* On July 28, 1955, China occupied the Barahoti area in south of Ladakh and in September they had intruded 10 miles inside India’s territory. Gradually, they crossed the Shipki pass into India.

* In April 1958, talks were held on the question of Barahoti. While China agreed to withdraw military personnel their civilian personnel continued to stay in the area. In April 1960, the talks between Chou-en-Lai Nehru ended in failure amidst violations on the border as well as air space of India.

* The relations of China and India were further strained on the question of giving asylum to Dalai Lama. Right from 1959, owing to large-scale demolition of Buddhist monasteries and confiscation of lands, the Chinese had caused discontent among the Tibetans. In the revolt of the Tibetans, certain insurgents together with Dalai Lama fled in the direction of India.

* By October 10, 1962 a massive Chinese attack was launched on Indian posts and the next day the Chinese captured the Thagla Ridge, the traditional Indo-Tibetan border. The Chinese refused to recognise the McMahon line or the accepted eastern border.

* It took a lot of deliberations before cease-fire was declared and the Chinese agreed to withdraw to the line as it was on September 8, 1962 .
India Should Not Shy Away From 'Contentious' Issues: Pak Envoy
Pakistan today said India should not shy away from dealing with "contentious" issues like Jammu and Kashmir which need to be resolved for the two countries to move on.

Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit also said that first four-five months of the new government will be important and will determine how the bilateral ties will go forward.

"It (J&K) is an important issue and government of India has to fulfil its commitment given to the world. It is part of the composite dialogue. We should not shy away from contentious issues. When we will deal with each of the issues, we will be able to move forward," he said in an interaction with members of the Press Club of India.

Mr Basit said there was a consensus in Pakistan to have normal and friendly relations with India and Islamabad was willing to engage with the new government in New Delhi.

"But there cannot be pre-condition for any talks," he said, adding Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the new government in India have come to power with decisive mandate and they were in a position to take "decisive decisions".

"The next 4-5 months are important... how things move forward," he said.

Asked whether there is possibility of 'third party intervention' to resolve bilateral issues, Mr Basit said that countries like the US always encourage India and Pakistan to have dialogue but "at the end of the day, the two countries have to sit together and discuss".

Asked to flag issues which are doable, the High Commissioner said all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, trade and cultural issue, can be discussed and all issues are doable.

"We have been engaged in composite dialogue process. All can be discussed and everything is doable. Once the process is started, we will progress. One cannot expect progress in each areas but there are many areas where we can move forward.

There are areas where we can move fast while there are areas where longer time will be taken to resolve issues.

Asked about Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi's comment that terror and talks cannot go together, Basit said it was correct to say that both cannot go together and peace has to be there for improving bilateral relations.

He said the issue of lower percentage of polling in just-concluded Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir has to be taken note of.

On the slow progress of trial in the Mumbai terror attacks case in Pakistan, Basit said Islamabad is pursuing the case after receiving documents from India and trying hard as it follows a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism.

"We are not doing anything under pressure. We are doing it in our own interests. Pakistan is the greatest victim of terrorism. The issue is underway. Pakistan is committed to bring the perpetrators of the crime into justice," he said.

The envoy, however, said it was a judicial process and the court takes decision on the basis of evidence and even in India, 26/11 case accused Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed were acquitted of all charges.

Besides, he said, in Pakistan people ask what happened to Samjhauta Express blast case and what happened to the accused.

"We have not heard anything (on Samjhauta case). We have not seen any progress. In the 26/11, case we will do it on our own interest. If it is proved, justice will be done," he said.

Asked why Pakistan is not taking action against India's most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim, the High Commissioner said New Delhi has not provided any specific dossier on him and if anyone has any information about his location in Pakistan, they should share it with Pakistan for action.

"We do not have any information about him. We will take action when we get that," he said.

Questioned about recent exchange of firing along the LoC, Basit said, "I am confident that we will see calm along LoC. Small incidents sometime turn out to be big. It is the desire of both sides to respect ceasefire."

Referring to contrasting news that appear in Indian and Pakistani media, Basit said when Indian newspapers report that there were unprovoked firing from Pakistan side, the media of that country reports that there were unprovoked firing from Indian side.

He claimed once when leaders of both countries almost reached on an agreement on Siachen issue, there were lots of hue and cry in India and that resulted in stalemate.
Army jawan killed, two others injured in firing by Pak troops along LoC
A series of daring, broad daylight attacks by a mixed team of Pakistan-backed terrorists and suspected regular troops has thrown up questions on defences along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Jammu area, even as intelligence inputs suggest that such activities are likely to increase in the coming days and are linked to the change of government at the Centre.

Sepoy Bhikale Uttam Balu of the 2 Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) was killed and two others injured in an attack along the LoC in Akhnoor on Sunday. Sources said the attack is a cause of serious worry and there could be a slip-up in defences at a time when extreme caution is needed.

According to sources, a Border Action Team that is likely to have consisted of Pakistani regulars infiltrated almost a kilometre inside Indian territory and planted a mine to target a patrol party of the MLI. Dismissing speculations that it may have been an old mine, officials said the explosive was planted deliberately to target the patrol.

Besides the mine blast that killed Balu, the patrol reportedly faced small arms fire from a group of unidentified armed personnel who were waiting in ambush. What has come as a surprise is that the attack was carried out in broad daylight, at around 10:30 am, and the infiltrating party could not be identified in advance by the range of sensors and cameras on the LoC.

“A search of the area yielded Pakistan-made mines and other equipment which clearly suggests involvement of Pakistan and terrorists from across the LoC,” said an Army spokesperson. Intelligence inputs suggest the action was carried out by a group similar to the one involved in the January 2013 attack in Mendhar, in which two Indian soldiers were killed, including one who was beheaded.

The Akhnoor attack, said officials, is the latest in a series of daring attacks that have been carried out on the LoC. On Sunday itself, another attack was carried out in the Rajouri sector that was almost identical in approach to the Akhnoor action. At 8:30 am, an intruding party of armed men tried to target an Indian Army patrol with an IED, before unleashing small arms fire. The attack was foiled, but no casualties were inflicted on the intruding team.

On May 10, a Gorkha battalion posted in Poonch was attacked by infiltrating militants, but at least two of them were killed after action by a jawan that ended with hand-to-hand combat. Intelligence inputs suggest that the coming days may see an upswing of attacks on the LoC, not all necessarily planned

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