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Saturday, 4 October 2014

From Today's Papers - 04 Oct 2014

 Dawood’s Qaida links worry India, US
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 3
The US has been looking for India’s most-wanted terror mastermind Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar for more than a decade, tightening a noose around his empire of terror financing and ill-gotten wealth that includes cricket betting rackets.

It is Dawood’s link with the Al-Qaida that makes him an important cog in the global terror machine and a vital catch, not just for India but for the US which leads the global war on terror. At the recent meeting between US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ‘D-company’, euphuism for Dawood’s gang, was specially mentioned along with other global terror groups.

The Indo-US joint statement issued on September 30 had said: “The leaders (Modi-Obama) reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by terrorism, the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al-Qaida, Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company and the Haqqanis”.

The US, in 2003, named Dawood as a “specially designated global terrorist” having links with Al-Qaida and for financing activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba and other terrorist organisations. The US Treasury Department froze his assets within that country. His long-time aide Chotta Shakeel was listed in 2012 as a “specially designated narcotics trafficker” by the Treasury Department.

India’s National Investigation Agency in 2012 put Dawood on a global “most wanted” list while in May 2005, the United Nations named Dawood on its most wanted list of individuals having links with the Al-Qaida.
Modi and Netanyahu meeting signals more interaction

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, has recognised how important Tel Aviv is to New Delhi. Modi and Netanyahu met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. The two countries have an old association. And as Modi pointed out, Jews, who settled here, were never persecuted. Although Israel had come to India's aid in the past, New Delhi had close relations with the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and it was only in 1992 that diplomatic contact was formally established. Thereafter, Israel has established itself as a major trade partner, providing vital defence equipment to India, as well as cooperating on other security matters.

The BJP's reluctance to condemn Israel in Parliament for the assault on Gaza has shown the new government's inclination towards improving ties with Israel. During the meeting Modi sought more Israeli investments, especially of the kind that would be a part of the "Make in India" programme. India is also keen to get cyber security expertise, agriculture, water management and solid waste treatment in urban areas.

While Israel and India both seek to thwart terrorists, they have a different approach and focus. Battling with the ISIS is the main concern of both the US and Israel right now, whereas India is more focused on Pakistan-based terror groups. Such differences are natural and the two countries have their own priorities in West Asia. In fact, India has a longstanding relationship with many countries that are inimical to Israel, including Iran. Indo-Israeli relations have never been showy, but they have deepened as both counties have demonstrated mutual respect and increased cooperation. Even as the increase in economic ties is on the card, New Delhi will need to tread cautiously in the diplomatic minefield that West Asia is. South Block will need to keep a firm focus on maintaining its traditional ties with Arab nations, even as it improves newer alliances.
Indian Army arrests two Pakistani intruders along Line of Control
Two Pakistani intruders have been arrested along LoC in Pallanwala and Sabjian forward areas of Jammu and Poonch districts respectively, a senior Army officer said on Friday.

Troops guarding the Line of Control (LoC) in Pallanwala forward area observed the movement of an infiltrating person yesterday, who was challenged by them, the official said.

He tried to run away but was shot in his leg and later captured, he said adding, the 50-year-old man has not revealed his identity yet.

Pakistani currency and a key has been recovered from his possession. In another such incident, Army arrested infiltrating Pak youth Shafeeq-ul-Rehman from forward belt of Sabjian along LoC in Poonch last night, he said adding Pak currency and other items were recovered from the 20-year-old youth.

"He seems to very suspicious so we have recommended interrogation at the Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC) at Jammu. We are handing him over to Police in this regard", he said.
Crashed Army chopper was returning from China border: Reports

New Delhi, Oct 3: Two days after the crash of Army's helicopter in Bareilly, in which three personnel were killed, it has now come to light that the ill-fated copter was returning from China border after surveillance. An army helicopter on Wednesday crashed moments after taking off from an airbase here, killing the two pilots and an engineer. As per a TOI report, the Indian Army's Cheetah chopper was returning from a reconnaissance mission at the Indo-China border in Munsiyari, Pithoragarh. According to informed sources, the chopper had taken off on surveillance after top brass at the Army headquarters in Bareilly received an alert about the build-up of Chinese troops near the border. Intelligence reports indicate that there was also apprehension of firing from both sides, says the report. Instead of taking off at its previously stated time at 7.49 am, the chopper took off from Bareilly at 6:30 am on Wednesday. Reports have also claimed that the Army chopper remained in air for more than an hour and the reconnaissance mission was reportedly mentioned in a report by the authorities here to top army brass, including the Defence headquarters. The incident occurred on Wednesday morning when three Army officers including, Major Abhijai Thapa, Major Vikas Varyani and Captain Avinash Yashwant Somvanshi, belonging to 39 R&O Flight unit, were killed. According to sources, the helicopter was on a routine flight. Eyewitnesses claimed that the chopper appeared to be in trouble moments after taking off. It soon caught fire and crashed at the airbase.
Three Killed in Suicide Attack on Afghan Army Bus

A Taliban suicide attacker killed three people on an Afghan army bus in Kabul today, the latest deadly strike against such vehicles since the new government signed a deal for US troops to stay in the country.

Scores of shuttle buses take government and military personnel to work every morning in the capital, and they have often been targeted by insurgents despite efforts by security forces to provide better protection.

Yesterday, Taliban suicide bombers killed at least seven people in twin attacks on two buses.

The militant group, which claimed responsibility for all three blasts, strongly oppose the US troop agreement that was signed on Tuesday.

"I can confirm a suicide attack on a bus carrying Afghan army staff," Dawlat Waziri, deputy spokesman for the ministry of defence, told AFP. "We have three killed and eight wounded.

"The wounded were immediately taken to the hospital, and they are in a stable condition."

A police statement confirmed the death toll and injured.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a text message: "Around 7:00 am, a suicide attacker targeted a bus carrying Afghan security forces, as a result, a number of officers were killed and wounded."

Afghanistan and the United States on Tuesday signed the long-delayed bilateral security agreement (BSA) to allow about 10,000 US troops to stay in the country next year.

The signing took place on newly-inaugurated President Ashraf Ghani's first day in office and represented a major step towards mending frayed ties between Kabul and Washington.

After yesterday's blasts, the Taliban said they were sending "a clear message to the stooge government that signed the slave pact, and we will step up our attacks after this".

The BSA was signed by Afghanistan's new "national unity government", which was formed under a US-brokered agreement to solve months of disputes over who won the fraud-tainted presidential election.

Ghani, who was declared the election winner, agreed to a power-sharing deal with his poll rival Abdullah Abdullah, who has taken up the new role of chief executive.

Yesterday, the elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar released his traditional Eid message to his followers.

It dismissed the elections as "a publicity stunt" and said that the US had "lost all possibilities to win" the war, but made no direct mention of the BSA or the new government.

Hamid Karzai, who stood down as president on Monday, had refused to sign the BSA, underlining rocky Afghan-US relations over recent years.
Joint info-bangla army rafting expedition
Imphal, October 03 2014 : The Indian and Bangladesh Armies got a major boost when adventure enthusiasts specially selected and led by Maj Mohd Nazmus Sadat from Bangladesh Army and Maj Sachin Nikam from the Indian Army came together to participate in a White Water Rafting Expedition being conducted on river Siyom in Arunachal Pradesh.

The expedition was flagged off by Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, GOC Spear Corps on October 1 last at Thumbin and flagged in by the Maj Gen Sunil Srivastava, GOC 56 Infantry Division on October 3 at Pangin.

According to a release of PRO(Defence), Imphal, the Indian Army has been one of the pioneers in the field of White Water Rafting in India.

The expedition showcases the everlasting friendship between India and Bangladesh, presenting yet another occasion for the two armies to join hands in the spirit of adventure.

The Bangladesh team arrived from Kolkata on 18 September and has been trained by the Indian White Water Rafting node at Aalo.

The joint expedition has further strengthened the ties between the nations, apart from promoting adventure, team spirit and mutual cooperation, added the release.
Defence Forces Join Cleanliness Drive

NEW DELHI: Heeding to the clarion call by  PM Narendra Modi of a Swachh Bharat, the Ministry of Defence joined the cleanliness drive here on Thursday.

The ambitious drive started with the Swachhta pledge by officers of the Army, Navy, IAF and top babus of the MoD in the south block.

In the absence of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who is undergoing treatment, G Mohan Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, addressed the gathering of ministry officials, who were ordered to be present for the function on the Gandhi Jayanti day, a traditional holiday. While, all three service chiefs --  Army chief General Dalbir Singh, Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan and IAF chief Arup Raha -- carried out functions at their respective headquarters in the national capital.

On the occasion, Admiral Dhowan said the Navy is committed to preserve environment. The Navy has adopted several green initiatives in all its wings including operations, administration, maintenance, infrastructure and community living, for maintenance and upkeep of all office spaces, residential and community areas. Efforts of the naval community in this regard are manifested in the clean surrounding of naval areas, he said.

An exhaustive Indian Navy ‘Environment Conservation Roadmap’ has also been prepared to be implemented across all operational platforms (ships, submarines and aircraft) and shore establishments.

Some of these include transition to a ‘Green Fleet’, usage of energy from alternate sources, recycling of waste and adoption of bio-fuels. To begin with, some of the naval ferries operating between Naval Dockyard in Mumbai to Karanja will operate on bio-fuels.  

Army chief General Dalbir Singh urged all the Armymen to participate in the cleanliness drive. He expressed hope that all the Army personnel and civilians would keep their houses, offices and neighbouring areas clean and hygienic.

On the similar lines, Air Force units and establishments all over the country have embarked upon a cleanliness drive in and around the technical and residential areas, inviting enthusiastic participation by the Air Force schools as well as families of air warriors.

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