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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

From Today's Papers - 01 Jul 2014

 Rajnath talks tough on internal security
Says national register to identify illegal Bangla residents
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, June 30
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said internal security was non-negotiable, be it on tackling Naxalism or anything else. He was addressing the media at his Kalidas road residence during his first trip to the city after assuming charge of the Home portfolio. He is on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency Lucknow.

He said the Central Government was committed to tackling internal security in a balanced way according to the law.

On the Chinese aggression at the border, Singh said the Indian Foreign Office spokesperson had already registered the government’s protest effectively. On identification of Bangladeshi citizens, he said the National Register of Citizens would be used as the basis for identity.

He alleged that the previous UPA government had been lax in updating the National Register of Citizens in Assam. “Now, the officials have been given three years to identify all Indians and give them identity cards,” he said.

On black money, he said there was no difference of opinion in the government. An SIT had already been set up to start work in this regard, he said.
France confident of Rafale jet deal fructifying soon
Paris says it has no problem with India’s civil nuclear law
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 30
France today expressed confident that its multi-billion dollar Rafale combat aircraft deal with India would fructify soon and offered to jointly develop with this country defence equipment like missile, helicopters and submarines.

Addressing a press conference here after holding talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was hopeful that the new government in Delhi, which was keen about efficiency in decision-making, would not delay the implementation of the deal further.

“India wants to have the best technology, continuity and complete independence ...the Rafale proposal meets all these legitimate demands. Stemming from this contract, we can develop defence equipment like missiles, helicopters and submarines. We can have a complete partnership between the Indian industry and the French industry,” he said.

The minister also met Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and pushed for ‘swift development’ on the Rafale agreement. India had selected the French Rafale aircraft two years ago but the negotiations are still continuing between the Defence Ministry and the French firm Dassault Aviation as there are differences over pricing and work-sharing between the two sides.

Fabius said he would be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow and deliver him a letter from French President Francois Hollande inviting him to visit Paris. Modi, he said, could visit his country while returning from the US in September for the UN General Assembly.

In response to a question, he said France did not have any particular concern with regard to with India’s controversial Civil Nuclear Liability Law and was keen to move ahead with implementing its civil nuclear deal with New Delhi. Techno-commercial issues relating to the French nuclear plant at Jaitapur were being discussed between the French company Areva and the Nuclear Power Corporation of Indian limited (NPCIL).

Emphasising that there was a lot of potential for promoting tourism between India and France, Fabius announced that from January 1, next year, Paris would issue visa to Indian nationals in less than 48 hours. He also stated that France proposed to extend a credit line of 1 billion Euros for sustainable infrastructure and urban development in India by the French development Agency. The French minister also talked about enhancing trade between the two countries which, according to him, was far below its true potential at present.
 Army men to don combat T-shirts in hotter areas
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
To cater operational deployment in hot weather, the Army is bringing about a change in its combat dress. It is introducing T-shirts in disruptive camouflage pattern that would replace the standard combat shirt in specified areas.

The T-shirts would be much comfortable in field conditions than the shirts that are made of thick material with a blend of polyester, especially in dessert areas and plains where summer temperature soars to over 45 degrees Celsius and troops also have to wear additional webbing for carrying their gear.

The Army has projected an initial requirement of 24 lakh T-shirts, with the recurring requirement of 12 lakh pieces every 18 months. The camouflage pattern would be the same as that of the regular Army’s combat dress and the round-necked T-shirts would carry the Indian Army’s crossed sword and capital lion insignia on the upper left side.

According to specifications laid out by the Ordnance Branch, the T-shirts are required to be of cotton fabric with adequate wicking properties and should conform to easy maintainability even during prolonged use. There are some instances of troops wearing such T-shirts, though they are yet to be standardised as a combat dress item.

About a decade ago, the Army had introduced a new four-colour solid patch camouflage pattern comprising a khakhi base, dark green, brown and black, interspread with the Army insignia, for its combat dress, replacing the earlier three-tone “grassland” pattern.

The new pattern had also led to standardising the design and colours of the combat dress.

Earlier, in addition to the stipulated grassland pattern, troops had resorted to purchasing dresses of unauthorised patterns from the open market of the king used by foreign market. It was only in the 1980s that the Army went in for camouflage battle dress for troops. Prior to this the olive green service uniform was used in the field.

24 lakh T-shirts needed

* The T-shirts would be much comfortable in field conditions than the shirts that are made of thick material with a blend of polyester

* The Army has projected an initial requirement of 24 lakh T-shirts, with the recurring requirement of 12 lakh pieces every 18 months

* The round-necked T-shirts would carry the Indian Army's crossed sword and capital lion insignia on the upper left side
Warrior State, Pakistan
A country at war with itself, and a menace to others
B.G. Verghese
While India has been invaded from the Northwest, the Northeast and from the coast, it is the Northwest passage that has historically been the main strategic gateway through which conquerors and caravans have entered. Alexander was an early visitor. It is perhaps easy to see why this should have been so. India was long a source of pepper, spices and fine calicoes for Greek, Roman and Arab traders and regarded as a fabled land of wealth and wisdom lying athwart both the silk and spice routes. Hsuen Tsang, Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta and other travellers wrote of its wonders. To those living in the arid or cold deserts of West and Central Asia, the well-watered plains of India seemed most inviting.

While the British conquered India from the sea and fought off the Portuguese, Dutch and French for supremacy, it was Russian penetration from the Northwest that it most feared. The Great Game was played out along the wild, tribal marches of the Northwest Frontier and the High Karakoram. The nature of the Great Game changed after the Second World War, when containing communism became the prime Western agenda.

As the Second World War wound down, Britain wondered how it might dispose of India should irrevocable differences between the Muslim League and the Congress force Partition. The British “breakdown plan” favoured the creation of two Muslim-dominated Anglo-US allies in the Northwest and Northeast of the sub-continent to halt the march of communism. Both would have preferred to partner the larger and more resourceful India; but Nehru’s non-alignment and the seeming Soviet-Chinese tilt was suspect. Pakistan, staunchly Islamic and in need of support against what it saw as a larger, permanent and ideological Indian enemy, readily fitted the bill. It was also strategically placed, especially as a guardian of the passes to Afghanistan and beyond.

No surprise then that Pakistan soon became a staunch ally, a “frontline state”, a strategic partner and a base of operations for the West in containing communism and controlling the emerging oil wealth of Iran and the Arab lands beyond. Ideology, rooted in faith and geography, endowed Pakistan with a strategic value on which its leaders traded. TV Paul, (“The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World”, Random House) sums up this geo-political asset as a “strategic curse”. A feudal, emigre-led people divorced from its historical, geographical and cultural roots to embrace a wholly negative non-Indian, non-Hindu identity became a rentier state, trading its strategic utility for military and economic assistance.

Jinnah’s very first address to the new Pakistan constituent assembly totally repudiated the two-nation theory as false and untenable. But the twist in the tale is that it was Jinnah who was repudiated by his people and died embracing the two-nation ideological curse.

Pakistan, an “Islamic State”, was born to defend Islam and the “ideological frontiers of Islam”. But it is even today unable to define the true Muslim: not Ahmediyas (banned), Shias, Sufis, Aga Khanis, Nurbakshis; not even Sunni Barelivis but Wahabis, Deobandis, jihadis, the Taliban and such medieval fanatics whose goal is to establish a new Caliphate. The defence of Islam and its borders and integrity against a malign India, the permanent enemy, has reduced Pakistan to a garrison state where a military-mullah nexus has assumed control. The Army, aided by the Inter-Service Intelligence or ISI, together constitute a state within a state with vast, agrarian, corporate, financial, administrative, diplomatic and security tentacles.

Between 1960 and 2012, Pakistan received some $73 bn in economic and military assistance, $30 bn of this from the US alone. An over-militarised, garrison state can find itself developmentally debilitated. In a population fast approaching 200 million, there are only 2.5 mn registered taxpayers. Defence appropriates the largest slice of the budget, with unaccounted amounts going into developing and augmenting nuclear arms, including tactical weapons.

Paul notes that the peoples' critical faculties have been dulled by tendentious and poisonous textbooks and ideologically-oriented madarasas whose products preach from pulpits. Jinnah, Bhutto and Zia led Pakistan down the slippery slope of Islamisation and militarisation, unabashedly aided by the United States that has been totally unmindful of the tremendous collateral damage to world peace and stability caused by its devious policies and the War on Terror. Paul estimates that around 35,000 jihadis from 45 countries trained in Pakistan to unleash mayhem prior to 9/11. It is today a country at war with itself, and a menace to others.

Paul’s conclusion: Pakistan's transformation will only take place if both its strategic circumstances and the ideas and assumptions that the leading elite hold change fundamentally.

Paul’s is only one of a whole series of refreshingly critical books on Pakistan being published by domestic and foreign authors about what they describe but do not quite name as a failed state. “The Pakistan Military in Politics: Origins, Evolution. Consequences” by Ishtiaq Ahmed (Amaryllis) is an example. Few are sparing of Jinnah who spoke of Pakistan as a Sharia State as far back as in November 1945.

Ahmed dispels the myth that Mountbatten conspired with Radcliffe to gift India some Muslim-majority tehsils of Gurdaspur to justify its award to India. In fact, he notes, this was part of the Wavell breakdown plan so as to ensure that Amritsar, at least, though not Nankana Sahib, both Sikh holy places, remained with India. He equally astutely describes sharing the Indus waters as a geo-political issue linked to Kashmir. Like others, he cites Major-Gen Akbar Khan and Air Chief Marshal Nur Khan respectively for affirming that the 1947 and 1965 invasions of J&K were staged by Pakistan. He too cites Prof. K.K. Aziz’s “Murder of History” and then quotes Brig. S.K. Malik on “The Quranic Concept of War”, with an approving preface by Zia-ul-Haq. According to Malik, “The Quranic military strategy thus enjoins us to prepare ourselves for war to the utmost in order to strike terror into the hearts of enemies ..., (This) is not only a means, it is an end in itself... It is the point where the means and the end meet and merge.....”. This is chilling. No surprise then that terrorist cells have penetrated Pakistan's military and carried out attacks on its GHQ, the Mehran naval base and similar targets.

Finally, the fairy tale spun by Islamabad about Osama bin Laden's long and comfortable sojourn in Pakistan over many years, latterly, in the garrison town of Abbottabad, from where he was finally taken out by the US Naval Seals in 2011. This showed up the Pakistani establishment as a bunch of complete fools or liars, probably both. The New York Times reporter, Carlotta Gall, comes closest to confirming that the US had information that the ISI knew the whereabouts of bin Laden. (“The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-14”. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

The official story is far too naive to believe. In blaming everybody, the Commission of Inquiry blamed nobody. The truth has once more been quietly buried. Pakistan remains steadfastly in denial. It has once again gloriously lied to itself. Its real enemy is truly within. Truth hurts. But it is the ultimate balm.
Thai Defence Forces head meets Indian Army chief

New Delhi, June 30: Thai Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn on Monday met Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh as the two sides discussed the ways of further strengthening their military ties. "The CDF is an extremely important position not only in the Thai Army but also in the overall power structure in Thailand. Important strategic facets of common concern and issues of convergence on security were discussed," an Army press release said. He had arrived in India on a four-day visit on June 28 and is accompanied by a nine-member delegation. The visit by the Thailand Chief of Defence Force assumes special significance in the light of enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries and India's growing relationship with Thailand. The general discussion with Indian authorities covered a wide range of issues including overall security situation, regional issues and steps to further the defence engagement between the two nations. "The visit by the high-powered delegation led by Gen Tanasak is bound to cement our bilateral relations as Thailand constitutes the strategic bridge between South and South East Asia and is vital in the development of peace and prosperity in the region," the release said.
How Modi govt can power up India's defence sector

Nitin Seth, Executive Director (LCV & Defence) at Ashok Leyland expects foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence to be raised to above 51 percent in the upcoming Union Budget. Currently, India restricts FDI in defence to 26 percent, beyond which, it is allowed on a case-to-case basis. India is the largest importer of arms and defence equipment in the world. It has the third largest army and the ninth largest defence expenditure. Despite that, almost half of its equipment is obsolete. One of the reasons for the poor state of affairs has been the inability of the local industry to keep up pace with modern requirements . According to SP Shukla of Mahindra Defence, the government must look to strengthen the local manufactures. He says three thing need to addressed quickly: 1) licencing, 2) defence procurement and 3) exports. International companies like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin Corp, Airbus Group feel if the cap is raised and Indian companies are allowed to form JVs, where they have more management control, it will be easier for them to develop a larger industrial base here. When global majors set up their R&D, manufacturing, training and maintenance establishments in India, India's bargaining position improves. In case of policy disagreements with western countries, companies that have invested in India provide the country with strategic advantage. Analysts believe the increase in FDI in defense should be done only in stages. Amber Dubey Partner & Head of Aerospace & Defense at KPMG believes the government needs to introduce a single slab of 74 percent for meaningful FDI investments. This would require global OEMs to have an Indian partner, who in time will get access to world class technologies and management best practices. A 100 percent stake should be allowed only in special cases that involve the manufacturing of equipment like aircraft engines, or advances missile guidance systems, for which large investments would be required. Dubey is looking at USD 200-300 billion investment inflows over the next 15 years.

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