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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

From Today's Papers - 01 Oct 2014

Bridge over a troubled border
Incursions show that China does not want to accomodate India on the border issue
Kuldip Nayar

MY hunch is that Gujarat's map of India showing Arunachal Pradesh with dotted lines, suggesting a disputed territory, was at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Gujarat is his backyard and he can have anything done there. Even the contradiction was half-hearted and left to further “investigation.”
What Modi probably tried to convey to the visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping was that he was willing to keep Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed territory provided there was an indication by Beijing that it was willing to settle the border dispute keeping New Delhi's sensibility as well as sensitivity in view. The standoff in Ladakh holds no such hope.

President Xi’s response was not helpful and he sustained the incursions in the Indian territories during his entire visit. And after returning to Beijing, the Chinese President has reportedly told his top military officials that they should be ready for regional wars which he contended must be won. It was all directed towards New Delhi which, for reasons best known to it, did not say a word to register its annoyance. It was a stance which the subject nations take against their masters.

What surprises me is why we invited the Chinese President when Beijing has made no amends for the betrayal in 1962 when it attacked the unprepared India. Nor has it vacated the territory which it forcibly captured since then. The Ministry of External Affairs should have tested waters before Xi's visit.

The various steps China has taken since, from the stapling of visa on passport to amassing PLA soldiers in Gilgit-Baltistan, should make things clear for New Delhi that it is a plethora of irritations. However, it would be naïve to play into the hands of China as India did in 1962. A sense of growing strength has given Beijing a measure of superiority. It is crudely exhibiting it, particularly when India looks disorderly and divided.

More disconcerting for New Delhi is the fact that Beijing is an emerging power in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal, the countries surrounding India. New Delhi should also reach out to Taiwan, Vietnam and other South-Asian countries which are feeling the assertiveness of China. And Beijing should be made to realise that India has accepted China's suzerainty over Tibet but not the demographic change or the ruthless repression in that territory. The Dalai Lama is already feeling restive and edgy.

Jawaharlal Nehru warned India as back as in 1962 thus: “It is a little naïve to think that the trouble with China was essentially due to a dispute over some territory. It had deeper reasons. Two of the largest countries in Asia confronted each other over a vast border. They differed in many ways. And the test was as to whether anyone of them would have a more dominating position than the other on the border and in Asia itself.”

I mean no disrespect to the Chinese President. But his visit was doomed to be a failure. Investment is at best palliative to the hurt caused on the border. I have not been able to understand, much less appreciate, the purpose of the visit from our point of view.

In fact, China's incursions in Ladakh when the President and Prime Minister were talking in Delhi, underlined the intractable stance on the border. That China would invest $20 billion (the initial figure was $100 billion) in India suits Beijing because it wants to increase trade with New Delhi. India offers a vast market and other opportunities. But what about trust: The basic requirement? Nehru introduced Chinese leader Zhou Enlai to the world. He looked up to Nehru but that was until he got known in the international arena. Zhou Enlai betrayed Nehru when China took advantage of our trust —and unpreparedness.

I do not think that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would ever have as much an equation with the Chinese President as Nehru had with Zhou Enlai. Still, the latter carried out the task he had in mind, capturing in Ladakh the area which China claimed to be its own. In fact, the incursions in our territory that took place during the talks between Modi and Jinping underlined that China does not want to accommodate India on the border issue.

I do not find the determination at the highest level. There is a lot of wishful thinking. What purpose does it serve in discussing whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi had got the better of China or President Jinping on the border issue when the reality of our society is caste and class? The Dalits are still treated as untouchables as they were in times of our forefathers. Today's youth is indifferent to everything else but not to the feeling of superiority which he seems to feel as his birthright. Eleven children, all cousins belonging to a Dalit family, were ousted from a government primary school in a village in Bikaner, Rajasthan, after two of them drank water from an earthen pot meant for an upper-caste teacher. He reportedly humiliated the two students and even beat them up. True, the teacher, Mangal Singh, was arrested after the family lodged a police complaint against him. But the society on the whole remains unreceptive. Prime Minister Modi talks of development. What kind of development does he have in mind where caste bias still exists?

Coming back to the disputed part of India-China border, the matter has got more complicated after the visit of President Jinping. For example, the Chinese troops which entered the Indian territory not only stayed there but also increased their strength. They have reportedly now withdrawn from the place. But Beijing has made it loud and clear that India should stay away from the disputed territory.
India, US to fight terrorism together
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have agreed to collaborate on dismantling the safe havens and disrupting financial networks of terrorist groups Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Haqqani Network, D-Company and al-Qaida.

This new collaboration, however, will not include joint military operations against these groups, which are mostly based in Pakistan.

Modi and Obama agreed to set a new agenda in the India-US relationship. This included a wide range of initiatives in diverse areas, including infrastructure, economics, trade, energy, security, nuclear cooperation, education, health, environment and space.

The two sides agreed to take steps to speed up the deployment of US nuclear reactors in India and build three smart cities in India.

It was the collaboration against terrorist networks that stood out. "Modi and Obama stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorists and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as al Qaeda, LeT, JeM, the D Company and the Haqqani Network," Vikram Doraiswami, Joint Secretary (Americas) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters.

The Obama administration has been focusing on the threat posed by another militant group - the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria. While the IS came up in the two leaders' conversation, India has not joined the international coalition currently fighting the group.

Earlier, Obama and Modi declared their intention to set a new agenda in the bilateral relationship in an editorial for The Washington Post, which some analysts say has run out of steam.

At the White House, Modi said he and Obama had spoken about common economic priorities. He also acknowledged the President's support for continued openness and ease of access for Indian services companies in the US market.

"We are serious about resolution of issues on both sides to enable civil nuclear energy cooperation to take off. It is important for India's energy security," Modi said.

He said the two sides also had a candid discussion on the Bali ministerial of the WTO and was confident that a solution could be reached at to address India's concern on food security.

Obama said the two leaders had agreed that one of their primary goals was to improve education and job training so that young people in their countries could compete in the global marketplace.

Obama said he was impressed with Modi's interest in not only addressing poverty in India and revitalising the economy there, but his determination that India help bring about peace and security in the world.

The agreements reached on Tuesday include

Infrastructure, economics and trade: US firms to be lead partners in developing 3 smart cities: Allahabad, Ajmer and Vishakapatnam; a platform for US business and civil society to help bring water, sanitation and health solutions to 500 Indian cities

Strategic cooperation: US says India meets requirements of Missile Technology Control Regime and is ready for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group; an inter-agency working group to speed up civilian nuclear partnership; renewal of a defence framework agreement by 10 years; defence trade & technology initiative to identify unique and transformative technologies and products. US will also be a tech partner for Indian Navy.

Multilateral: The US reaffirms its support for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council, and to enhance India's "voice and vote" in international financial bodies. Expansion of trilateral partnerships in Afghanistan and Africa in areas such as food security, women's empowerment, health and disaster preparedness.

Security: Both sides agree to enhance cooperation against counterfeit currency, on cyberspace, will exchange terrorist suspect watchlists and details of fighters returning from conflict zones.

Education: Partnership to bring global standards in skills development to India through a nationwide certification system. Establishment of a new Indian Institute of Technology and a Global Initiative for Academic Networks (GIAN) to create greater flow of academics.

Health: Agreed to cooperate in the fight against Ebola. New program to develop affordable vaccines, including for dengue, malaria and TB.

Space and technology: Both to set up a new joint group on Mars exploration with the intention of partnering on a Mars mission within the next decade.

Environment: Expansion of solar energy projects in India, partnership to upgrade Indian national parks to world standards.

Digital: Partnership to bring U.S. companies to help roll out digital infrastructure for e-governance and e-services.
India, China pull back troops from Chumar

New Delhi, September 30
Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China have carried out ‘disengagement and redeployment’ of troops in Chumar and Demchok areas in Ladakh.

Military commanders of the two sides met this afternoon at Spanggur Gap to confirm that the stand-off between the border troops of two sides in Chumar and Demchok areas was finally over, Ministry of External Affairs said. The Indian side was represented by Maj Gen AS Bedi, commander of Karu-based 3 Division. — TNS
Pentagon upbeat on U.S.-India bid to deepen defense ties
 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Pentagon official said on Tuesday he had "high expectations" for a joint U.S.-Indian effort to deepen defense ties, but it could take a while to reach agreement on specific weapons to develop or produce together.

"Prime Minister Modi is very aware of the initiative. His staff is clearly motivated at every level to make it a success and move forward," Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's chief weapons buyer, told Reuters after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

"I don't think people should expect instantaneous major announcements. It's going take a little ... while to work out exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it."

Kendall is the top U.S. official working on the joint Defense Trade and Technology Initiative with India that has identified 17 specific defense projects.

He said India and the United States were still discussing one of those ideas: a joint program for significant upgrades to the Javelin "fire and forget" anti-tank missile built by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co .

He said Washington was also open to a broader agreement on missile development with India, which could benefit both sides at a time when U.S. military spending is declining.

"If we pool our resources, we may be able to do more than the U.S. currently has planned," he said.

India's defense ministry is drafting a framework agreement after what he called a "very constructive" meeting with his counterpart in Washington several days ago, and the two sides agreed to alternate visits every six months.

In addition to several more traditional direct arms sales suggested by the defense industry, Kendall had asked the U.S. military services to put together a list of new smaller-scale weapons programs that India could join from the start.

Kendall gave no details, but said several U.S. Army programs might be good candidates and he planned to take the list of possibilities to India when he travels there in November.

India's military needed to assess its requirements and funding before any specific agreements could be reached.

"There are plenty of grounds for us to get together," he said. "What we do have to find are products that we both want, that we’re going to commit some resources to."
Defence exposition thrills students
CHANDIGARH: The western command launched a two-day defence exposition, "Youth Outreach Programme - Know Your Armed Forces", at Zirakpur on Tuesday.

Army commander Lt Gen KJ Singh highlighted the glorious past of valour and sacrifice of the army. Maj Gen BS Grewal (retd), director, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institution (AFPI) was the guest of honour.

The event - organized as part of youth outreach programme of the Army and aimed at apprising the contemporary youth of the numerous aspects of the Army and to enhance their awareness - was witnessed by over 2,000 students from various schools of the Tricity. The students were shown various infantry, artillery, armoured weapons, army aviation helicopters and engineer equipment.

Various stalls showcasing weapons and equipment of different arms and services were displayed and children took keen interest in knowing about them. Other activities including show jumping, horse riding, obstacle course and air-pistol firing.
Report: India’s PM Eyes Joint Dev’t of High-Tech Weapons With the US - See more at:
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi intends to push for a potential joint weapons development project with the U.S. that will be supported directly by defense companies from the respective countries, Defense News reported Sunday.

Vivek Raghuvanshi reports that Indian defense analysts expect Modi to set aside government-to-government orders on high-tech weaponry for collaborative work between the U.S. and Indian defense industries.

“By and large, the US has been a supplier, but this is something that will undergo a change,” said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, senior fellow in security studies at the Observer Research Foundation.

“There is interest on both sides to change the nature of transactions from a mere supplier to jointly develop systems and platforms.”

An official from India’s external affairs ministry told the publication that Modi will discuss the country’s Defense Trade and Technology Initiative with U.S. officials during his visit to the White House on Tuesday, the report said.

Raghuvanshi writes that the initiative is aided by the current domestic political climate.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is better inclined to increase defense cooperation with the United States, thus attempts to intensify the same are likely to be enhanced particularly in terms of joint training exercises with possibility of a logistics support agreement in some form in the future,” said Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Indian army officer.

According to the report, previous efforts to establish a joint technology development program has been limited to explosive detection and C4I systems.
Tags: collaboration, defense industry, Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, featured, government-to-government, high-tech weaponry, India, industry participation, joint weapons development, Narendra Modi, Observer Research Foundation, Rahul Bhonsle, Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
Eastern Army asks formations to adopt villages as part of ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign
KOLKATA: Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to turn "Swachh Bharat" into a mass movement, HQ Eastern Command has issued guidelines and directions to all its lower formations to adopt a village each in their vicinity to extol the virtues of cleanliness, and also lead by example in mobilising the residents to keep their surroundings clean.

"The Army is also planning to sustain the movement by encouraging family members of its personnel also to join the ongoing efforts at cleanliness. For many, it is already a way of life. With the added impetus now, others who also believe in the virtues of the dictum 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' are expected to follow," an official said.

Armed forces personnel in the region, which include HQ Eastern Command and its lower formations, Advance HQ of the Eastern Air Command and other IAF units in West Bengal, and naval units under Naval Officer-in-Charge, West Bengal will also take oath on October 2, to realize Gandhiji's dream of a clean India by his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.

While army cantonments and other defence campuses are known for their cleanliness, the Indian Army, which is the custodian of large tracts of land in the Maidan and other adjoining areas in the heart of Kolkata, ensures that cleanliness and plantation drives take place. Such initiatives have mobilised a vast number of conscientious citizens encouraging their regular participation.

Apart from the armed forces, tri-services organisations in the city including the Public Relations Unit, Ministry of Defence among others will also be participating in the nationwide campaign, which is only gathering momentum by the day since its launch last week. Although schools run by the Army are currently closed for Puja vacations, a concerted drive after schools reopen will be undertaken for the students to take to cleanliness.
Armed forces fight IGNOU's decision to scrap courses for personnel
NEW DELHI: Around 3,00,000 military personnel have been left in the lurch by Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) after it scrapped its Community College Scheme (CCS) for the armed forces. The soldiers, airmen and sailors, who had enrolled under the scheme to get diplomas and certificates, are also yet to get their money back, which totals up to over Rs 30 crore.

The armed forces, through the defence ministry, have taken up the issue with the HRD ministry to demand that IGNOU should either confer the servicemen with the educational certification promised to them or expeditiously refund their money, say sources.

The Army, IAF and Navy had inked MoUs with IGNOU from 2009-2010 onwards to ensure in-house training of their personnel below officer rank (PBOR) was "recognized" with diplomas/certificates issued by the varsity under the CCS. The military personnel would then have to undergo just one year's open programme with IGNOU to get a graduation degree, which would enhance their prospects of a second career after their retirement from military service in their 30s and 40s.

Around Rs 750 each was collected from the military personnel for the IGNOU educational certification programme under the joint venture projects named Gyandeep (Army), Akashdeep (IAF) and Sagardeep (Navy).

On being contacted, IGNOU vice-chancellor Md. Aslam told TOI, "We discontinued all face-to-face courses after a (Delhi High Court) order." Senior faculty members, however, said the IGNOU review committee in 2012 had recommended discontinuance of all community colleges. But crucially, the committee had also said that the one for armed forces should be continued since it falls under IGNOU's objective of bringing those educated under non-formal systems into the formal system.

Another suggestion was that 50% credit should be assigned to in-house training of the armed forces personnel and 50% from IGNOU.

The HRD ministry recently summoned IGNOU officials but no decision has yet been taken. The review committee report came when Aslam was the officiating VC of IGNOU but the decision to scrap the course was taken after he formally took over.

IGNOU then said the CCS for the armed forces was "untenable" and not within the ambit of the varsity's charter. The armed forces, however, are unhappy. "IGNOU has gone back on its word ... it's highly irresponsible," said a source.

In the Army alone, around 4,00,000 soldiers had enrolled for the CCS programme with around Rs 28 crore being paid to IGNOU. Similarly, around Rs 3.5 crore were collected from the airmen in IAF. But while 1,00,000 soldiers in the Army did get their diplomas from IGNOU, around 3,00,000 lakh were left high and dry when the scheme was scrapped.

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