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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 05 Nov 2014





























http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141105/main6.htm
Finally, Pentagon admits Pak using militants to counter Indian Army

Washington, November 4
In a blunt assessment of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, the Pentagon has told the US Congress that the country is using militant groups as proxies to counter superior Indian military.
“Afghan-and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India's superior military," the Pentagon told the Congress in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan.

“These relationships run counter to Pakistan's public commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation. Such groups continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations," the Pentagon said in the report running into more than 100 pages.

Referring to the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, the Pentagon said this was done just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India.

“In May of this reporting period, the Indian consulate in Herat Province was attacked by a group of four heavily armed militants.

The attack came three days prior to the swearing-in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack," it said.

“In June, the US Department of State announced that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attack. Following the attack, former Afghan President Karzai denounced the attack and made strong statements supporting relations with India," the report said.

The Pentagon informed the Congress that India continues to support Afghanistan, believing that a secure and stable Afghanistan will benefit the region and facilitate economic corridors into Central Asia. — PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141105/nation.htm#1
BSF returns with high-voltage retreat
Ceremony performed amid tight security and jam-packed spectators’ gallery
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Attari, November 4
A day after Pakistan’s flip-flop over the retreat ceremony at the border, the Attari-Wagah joint check post today witnessed a high-voltage ceremony by the BSF amid tight security arrangements and a jam-packed spectators’ gallery.

The festive spirit returned to the Indian side as the gallery was packed to the capacity by 4 pm. The crowd clapped and danced to the patriotic numbers being played on the loudspeaker. The patriotic fervor for which the retreat ceremony is famous for was palpable.

The gestures of BSF men seemed more aggressive than that of Pakistan Rangers’. Spectators cheered the two women BSF constables as they kicked off the parade at 5 pm. Slogans of “Hindustan Zindabad” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” reverberated in the gallery. BSF jawans and Rangers resorted to “aggressive posturing” like thumping of boots with full force, stomping on ground and making gestures like folding arms.

While there was hardly any space left in India's spectators' gallery, a sizable number of seats were vacant in the gallery on the Pakistani side. The tourists returned in a jubilant mood. Ankita Lokhande from Mumbai said it was a thrilling experience to watch the high-decibel parade at the border. Even foreign tourists too attended the ceremony.

Tight security arrangements were in place for the ceremony in view of the suicide bomb attack at Wagah. The BSF had deployed sniffer dogs, mounted force, metal detectors and other gadgets to ensure security of the spectators. Besides, armed BSF jawans stood guard around the retreat area.

People were also frisked twice — first, just before the Customs' gate and then prior to entering into the spectators' gallery area. The Amritsar rural SSP also visited the border. The road leading to the border was totally cleared to avoid congestion in case of any emergency.

BSF Punjab Frontier IG Ashok Kumar said they were focusing on crowd management measures. "We are streamlining the entire system in coordination with the state administration and the police department."

The bilateral trade between India and Pakistan remained suspended for the second consecutive day today. The officials at the Integrated Check Post in Attari expressed hope that the trade may resume tomorrow.

Blast probe team told to submit report in 3 days

Islamabad: Pakistan has formed a joint investigation team to probe the deadly terror attack at the Wagah border crossing. The team has been asked to submit a report within three days. The team comprising representatives of the Chenab Rangers, Inter-Services Intelligence, counter terrorism department, special branch and Punjab police would look into possible security lapse that allowed the suicide bomber to reach the venue. Punjab Home Minister Shuja Khanzada said that team would submit its report within three days.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141105/nation.htm#4
 Rangers on toes at Wagah
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

Sikh pilgrims from India and other parts of the world arrived in Lahore on Tuesday. While many arrived on a a special train from Amritsar, some crossed over on foot from the Wagah border.

Special security arrangements have been made at the Wagah border for the smooth transfer and entry of the pilgrims.Pakistan Rangers commandoes are also deputed to protect the visiting pilgrims, who will be taken to Nankana Sahib by a special train from Lahore.

Around 3,000 pilgrims from India, another 1,000 from across the world, will converge on Nankana Sahib near Lahore on November 7.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141105/nation.htm#14
 Terror threat: Two warships moved out of Kolkata port
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 4
Warned of a possible terror strike, the Indian Navy today moved out two of its warships from a port in Kolkata. The two warships — INS Khukri, a frigate, and INS Sumitra, an off-shore patrol vessel — had docked in the Eastern port city for Indian Navy Week celebrations yesterday.

The two ships have been sent back to sea. A statement said they were “withdrawn for undisclosed operational reasons”. Sources said the ships were withdrawn following threat of a possible terror strike.

The warships are equipped with trained men and weapons to tackle any kind of threat and were docked in the Kolkata Port Trust, Kidderpore, which is surrounded by residential areas. The port is not a naval facility and does not have the kind of perimeter security or round-the-clock patrolling that such a facility should have.

The recall of the two warships has come after Central intelligence agencies warned the Kolkata Police of a possible terror strike in the city, especially in the Kolkata Port Trust area.

The ships had docked at Kidderpore yesterday and were slated to be there till November 6. This morning, the media was also shown around the warships.

Central security agencies probably had in mind the rencent attempt by Pakistan-based terrorists to take control a navy warship off Karachi.

Meanwhile, after some intercepts suggested a terror threat to the port, the West Bengal Government held a meeting and decided to sanitise the port. The coast guard and other agencies have been alerted, sources said.


http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/pentagon-assessment-pakistan-using-militants-as-proxies-to-counter-india-s-superior-military-615965?utm_source=ndtv&utm_medium=top-stories-widget&utm_campaign=story-3-http%3a%2f%2fwww.ndtv.com%2farticle%2findia%2fpentagon-assessment-pakistan-using-militants-as-proxies-to-counter-india-s-superior-military-615965
Pentagon Assessment: 'Pakistan Using Militants as Proxies to Counter India's Superior Military'
Washington:  In a blunt assessment of terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, the Pentagon has told the US Congress that the country is using militant groups as proxies to counter the superior Indian military.

"Afghan-and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India's superior military," the Pentagon told the Congress in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan.

"These relationships run counter to Pakistan's public commitment to support Afghan-led reconciliation. Such groups continue to act as the primary irritant in Afghan-Pakistan bilateral relations," the Pentagon said in the report running into more than 100 pages.

Referring to the attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat, the Pentagon said this was done just ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India.

"In May of this reporting period, the Indian consulate in Herat Province was attacked by a group of four heavily armed militants. The attack came three days prior to the swearing-in of the new Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Modi is perceived as being close to Hindu nationalist groups, a fact that may have played into the timing of the attack," it said.

"In June, the US Department of State announced that the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible for the attack. Following the attack, former Afghan President Karzai denounced the attack and made strong statements supporting relations with India," the report said.

The Pentagon informed the Congress that India continues to support Afghanistan, believing a secure and stable Afghanistan will benefit the region and facilitate economic corridors into Central Asia.

"India and Afghanistan signed a strategic partnership declaration in 2011, which formalised cooperation on governance, economics, commerce, education, public administration, and security and law enforcement," it said.

Subsequent engagements are reinforcing the positive relationship between Afghanistan and India, the report said.

"India supports a variety of high-visibility projects and initiatives in Afghanistan. These ventures are focused primarily on major infrastructure projects, including electricity generation and transmission, road construction, and mining," it said.

"India has shown increased interest in Afghan security assistance, though activities in this area remain limited. India currently offers country-based training to ANSF personnel across a number of specialties. The Indian government is committed to expand this programme. India does not provide direct military support or training in Afghanistan," the Pentagon said.


http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-zealand-defence-team-in-india-for-deepening-ties/article6564306.ece
New Zealand defence team in India for deepening ties
 A 65-member delegation from the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College in Wellington is on a study tour in India to enhance its military and strategic understanding of the region.

During the week-long defence diplomatic exercise, the delegation will visit five cities and interact with government officials, military commanders and industrialists to develop a better understanding of the Asia-Pacific region, which is strategically important to both countries.“This visit will deepen India-New Zealand defence ties with members of this delegation having a privileged perspective of India’s military and strategic priorities,” says Commodore Wayne Burroughs of the Royal New Zealand Navy, leader of the delegation.

The delegation will visit some of the India’s cultural and religious sites to take in some of the country’s heritage and diversity, an important element of the tour.

Such exchanges are part of the broadening defence cooperation between the two countries. Reflecting this trend, the delegation includes Major Malay Mishra of the Indian Army, who is studying at the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College.

As a new initiative, a New Zealand Army Officer will attend the year-long National Defence College course in New Delhi in 2015.

“Interactions during this visit will impart more than the theoretical lessons in class about strategy, culture and strategic-culture and will also provide a different perspective of dynamics within Asia-Pacific,” Major Mishra says.

During the visit of New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to India in 2011, both countries agreed to strengthen defence cooperation and as a follow-up, New Zealand appointed a Defence Adviser in India.


http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/defence-ministry-issues-rfi-for-helicopters/article6565068.ece
Defence Ministry issues RFI for helicopters
 The Defence Ministry has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to domestic manufacturers for reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters for the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) and the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The RFI states that “The Indian Army and Indian Air Force are holding Chetak and Cheetah helicopters. The Ministry of Defence intends to urgently replace the fleet of existing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters with suitable helicopters of modern design (hereinafter called Reconnaissance & Surveillance/ RSH Helicopters).”

This follows the decision by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in August to scrap the deal for 197 helicopters and go for a fresh contract under the ‘Make and Buy’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). This is the third time the RFI has been reissued for the Light Utility Helicopters (LUH). The RFI, issued on October 31, has sought responses from interested Indian vendors by November 11.

The contract is open for both single and twin engine variants. The RFI has not stated the number of helicopters which the government intends to procure.

It said: “This Request for Information (RFI) is being issued with the aim of identifying probable Indian vendors (including an Indian company forming joint venture/establishing production arrangement with OEM) who can provide the helicopters followed by licensed production/indigenous manufacture in the country.” The initial batch of helicopters will come in flyaway condition from the OEM, while the remaining will be built in India by an Indian partner through transfer of technology.

This approach is in line with the Modi government’s policy of indigenously developing military hardware and reduce dependency on imports.


http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/India-Special-Forces-Kick-off-Anti-terror-Exercises-in-Lanka/2014/11/04/article2507286.ece
India Special Forces Kick off Anti-terror Exercises in Lanka


NEW DELHI: Ignoring resistance from the political leadership in Tamil Nadu, a contingent of elite special forces of the Indian Army landed in Colombo on Monday to share their expertise in handling counter-insurgency operations.

According to a Defence Ministry official, a contingent of 42 special forces troops landed in Lanka to launch the military training exercise ‘Mitra Shakti’ to be held at Uva-Kudaoyo Commando Regiment training school. In the three-week session, the Army will share military warfare expertise with its Lankan counterparts.

“The special forces troops will participate in a training programme on November 3-23 and carry out counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism training under the UN mandate,” said an official.

Sources claim that a similar military training exercise was deferred three times on earlier occasions, in the last three months, partly due to pressure from regional political parties and partly due to mutually consented availability of dates.

Mitra Shakti, an initiative designed largely by the Army, is the successful outcome of the ‘Annual Defence Dialogue’ that was co-chaired in Colombo earlier in October.

As many as 168 personnel from the Lankan Army special forces and Commando regiment and 32 from Lankan Navy and Air Force will take part.

Though the schedule for this joint exercise was fixed earlier, it coincides with the docking of two conventional submarines of the Chinese Navy in Colombo port three days ago, much to the consternation of the Indian establishment.

The modalities for the three-week long exercise were covered in a Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier.

Meanwhile, in view of the increasing influence of China and Pakistan in Sri Lanka,  New Delhi is beefing up its military presence at its High Commission in Colombo.

For the first time, an Army officer has been recently appointed in the Indian High Commission in Lanka.

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