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Friday, 7 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 07 Nov 2014

ISIS terror army recruiting Indians
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
Indian security agencies have reportedly found that 12 local terrorist modules have recruited nearly 70 youths for ISIS activities. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a radical outfit, which had split from the al Qaeda in February, and aims at establishing a Caliphate (Islamic State) in Iraq and Syria. It has taken over large areas of northern and western Iraq.

Security agencies reported that the 12 terrorist modules include those of the Indian Mujahideen, a terror outfit, and the number of Indian youths indoctrinated by them might increase if such modules continued operating in the country.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had urged the Ministry of Home Affairs in September to register an FIR against the ISIS and its activities in India. Sources in the security establishment said the registration of an FIR would start the process of law, investigation, collection of evidence and arrest of people running the terrorist modules.

Fearing that the terrorist outfit may harm the 40 Indian hostages, mostly Punjabis, in its captivity, the Indian Government has not registered any FIR so far.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met families of the 40 hostages on Tuesday and told them that consistent efforts being made to secure their release. Sources said the 12 terrorist modules were mainly located in Mumbai, Kochi and Karnataka, including near a town called Bhatkal. Yasin Bhatkal, India’s most-wanted terrorist before he was apprehended from the India-Nepal border in August, belongs to Bhatkal. The main founders of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), the “Bhatkal brothers”, Riyaz and Iqbal, also belong to Bhatkal.

The terrorist modules near Bhatkal reportedly have links with IM terrorists abroad. Sources said Bada Sajid and Armar are the handlers abroad.

“In a chat between Yasin and Riyaz, the latter had mentioned that Sajid is fighting for the al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Other chats revealed that Riyaz had met a senior al Qaeda leader who was in charge of the outfit’s terror activities in India and some South-Asian countries. Riyaz had also told Yasin that the IM would be under the al Qaeda,” a source said.

“The Indian terrorists fighting abroad are instructed by their leaders to focus on recruiting youths from India. Local modules are set up and recruitment of youths begins. Young men, physically fit and strong, are sent to fight for the ISIS. The other end of the spectrum includes those who are made recruiters to motivate these men to fight. And the third category is of freelancers who fight for any outfit for money,” the source said.

Those recruiting youths are paid money through their handlers to facilitate a recruit’s travel abroad. “Most of the youths who have been recruited are from the lower-middle class. Some ensure that the recruits’ passports are made, while others arrange air tickets for them,” the source said.

Action can only be taken against these men if an FIR is registered. “It’s only after an FIR is registered that investigations begin, evidences are collected, chargesheets are filed and trials begin,” the source said. A youth from Tamil Nadu was recently deported from Singapore due to his alleged links with the ISIS. “The Tamil Nadu Police and the Intelligence Bureau had interrogated him. But they could not take action against him because no FIR was registered,” the source said.
Navy vessel sinks off Vizag coast, one dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
A sailor was killed and four others went missing after a torpedo recovery vessel of the Indian Navy (A 72) sunk 30 miles east of Visakhapatnam in the Bay of Bengal today. Twenty-three others have been rescued, while search is on for those missing.

The Navy said the vessel was on a routine mission to recover practice torpedoes — dummy non-explosive ones — fired by fleet ships during a routine exercise when the incident took place around 8 pm.

During the process, one of the valves in the engine room of the ship developed a problem and caused immediate flooding. Sources in the Navy ruled out explosion of torpedoes saying they are dummy ones.

The sunken ship was 23-metre long and 6.5 metre at the beam, very small by the Naval standards. It was built by Goa Shipyard Limited in 1983 and has served the Indian Navy for the past 31 years.

Major submarine accidents have rocked the Navy in the recent past. INS Sindhurakshak exploded at Mumbai harbour and sank in the naval dockyard on August 14, 2013, killing 18 crewmen on board. In February this year, two officers were killed in a mishap involving INS Sindhuratna when it was sailing 100 miles west of Mumbai. The then Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi resigned after the incident.
 IAF to keep Sukhoi fleet grounded till fault is fixed
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
The Indian Air Force will keep the entire fleet of frontline fighter jet Sukhoi-30MKI grounded till it finds the reason behind automatic ejection of pilot seats that led to the last crash on October 14.

With over 200 aircraft grounded, almost one-third of IAF’s entire fleet of 640 fighter jets is not available for flying. A team of experts from India and Russia is examining the plane’s seat ejection system, but has not been able to find any breakthrough.

A source in the IAF said: “How can we fly the jet till the problem is identified and rectified. As of now, we don’t even know where the problem is and why the seats had ejected on their own.”

Officials said both pilots were ejected automatically on October 14, leaving the plane pilotless mid-air, resulting in the crash 20 km off Pune in an unpopulated area.

“Can we have crashes of such nature, imagine a pilotless plane over a thickly populated city. It will be catastrophic besides losing a plane that costs a couple of hundred crores,” said a senior functionary in the IAF.

A Court of Inquiry is in progress in Pune and specific checks are being conducted on the aircraft. The plane that crashed was from a batch imported from Russia and not one assembled by Defence Ministry’s public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bangalore.

The makers of the pilot seat — NPP Zvezda K-36DM — in Russia and the IAF are part of the probe.

The October 14 incident in which both pilots ejected was the third such incident.

In the first incident in 2008, an airman carrying out a pre-flight test at the Bareilly Sukhoi base had died. The seat ejected on its own when he was sitting in the cockpit making checks. The airman, who was thrown 50 feet up in the air, hit the roof of the hangar, killing him instantly.

The second incident occurred in Jodhpur this year when one of the fighter jets was taxing to take-off. The seats ejected and the pilots were thrown 100 feet in the air.

Automatic seat ejection: No clue so far
A team of experts from India and Russia is examining the plane’s seat ejection system but hasn't made any breakthrough so far
The Russian makers of the pilot seats are part of the probe
With over 200 aircraft grounded, almost one-third of IAF’s entire fleet of 640 fighter jets is not available for flying
 Won’t accept conditions for talks: Pak

Islamabad, November 6
Pakistan today reacted sharply to Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s remark that it should decide whether to talk to India or to separatist Kashmiri leaders, saying it does not accept “any conditionality” in the dialogue process.

“As we have been stating the dialogue between Pakistan and India is not a favour that one country does to the other. Dialogue between Pakistan and India is a necessity for peace in this region so that South Asia also focuses on economic development and welfare of the people,” Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said, reacting to Jaitley’s remarks at the India Economic Summit in New Delhi.

“We do not accept any conditionality. Kashmiris are not Indian separatists they are people in occupied territory struggling for their right to self-determination that has been recognised by the United Nations resolutions. Pakistan is a party to the dispute. So this contention is not acceptable,” she said. — PTI
 PM urged to list soldiers killed in anti-Sikh riots
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 6
Campaigners seeking justice for victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and ask the Ministry of Defence to communicate the names of the armed forces personnel who died in the riots to enable payment of compensation to their families.

HS Phoolka, who is has contested cases of several victims, yesterday wrote to the PM saying the MoD is yet to officially release a list of Sikh officers and men who lost their lives in the carnage that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

The list of the dead must be conveyed to either the state governments or to the Ministry of Home Affairs to help families receive compensation under the scheme of rehabilitation of riot victims, Phoolka said in his letter which carries the names of 50 such officers and men who died in the riots.

All 50 soldiers were serving officers and jawans in Defence forces — Army, Navy and Air Force. The Government of India has not compiled any official list on the subject so far.

Most names do not even find mention on the list compiled by the Home Ministry. The widows and family members of many of these serving personnel have not received compensation paid to those killed during the riots.

Phoolka asked the PM to direct the Ministry of Defence to verify the list and compile a list of all such soldiers who went missing during riots. He further requested the Ministry of Home Affairs to compensate these soldiers’ families on a par with the others killed.

Letter to Modi
Advocate HS Phoolka, who has contested cases of several victims, has written to the PM saying the Ministry of Defence is yet to officially release a list of Sikh officers and men who lost their lives in the riots
The letter with names of 50 such victims says many families have not received compensation paid to those killed in the riots
Phoolka has urged the PM to direct the MoD to compile a list of all such soldiers so that relief can be given to the kin
Bhutan: The Indian Army’s Front Line

Strategically located, the tiny Himalayan country is at the center of growing tensions between two great powers.

In late October, on the dirt road that winds north from the Bhutanese town of Paro in the direction of the border with Chinese-controlled Tibet, I pass an Indian army base of more than 600 soldiers. They are packing up to return to India for the duration of Bhutan’s harsh winter months. On the same road just after sunrise, I encounter an Indian Army squad of special forces soldiers with Himalayan features running in formation, sandbags roped to their backs, with the squad’s commander shouting “No photos, sir!”

Adjoining the Indian Army base is a camp for approximately 120 Bhutanese soldiers who train with the Indians on joint exercises in the rugged mountains that rise up from the Paro Valley. Just another kilometer or so further up the road is a Bhutanese army camp of 24 soldiers and their families. The camp’s sole purpose is to maintain 80 horses to cart supplies to military units higher still on the trail to the Bhutan-Tibet border region.
One of the horses’ former destinations, the Bhutanese army base at Gunitsawa, 14 kilometers further up the valley, was accessible only by mountain trail until a crude road was carved out in 2012, the year the base first received reliable electric power. Gunitsawa’s regiment of approximately 90 soldiers sends 15-man units on one-month rotations to three checkpoint huts higher in the mountains; supplying these forward checkpoints gives continuing employment to the army’s stable of horses.

The three checkpoint camps, Gyatsa, Soi Thangthangkha and Lingshi, are Bhutan’s only means of keeping an eye on its northwest border with China’s Tibet region. (Bhutan, a Switzerland-sized country of 740,000 inhabitants, famous for its emphasis on “Gross National Happiness,” has no air force; it relies on neighboring India and Nepal even for helicopter support in the event of emergencies in remote districts). The checkpoints are near a region of Bhutan that Beijing says is its territory, in addition to the claims it has made on Bhutan’s northern border. Bhutanese soldiers report that their usual task on the frontier is to intercept smugglers, but that the Chinese military sometimes crosses into Bhutanese territory via roads China has recently built all the way to the western Bhutanese border. “When they come in, it’s with 15 trucks or nothing,” says one Royal Bhutan Army officer.
Bhutan shares a China problem with its neighbor and ally, India. The first foreign state visit by India’s newly elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was to Bhutan, underscoring the importance of Bhutan’s frontier with China, and the strategic vulnerability it represents if China and India were to go to war. From the disputed western China-Bhutan border, China could easily strike India’s geographic “chicken neck” – a narrow band of land, the Siliguri Corridor, that connects the main body of India with its northeastern states, home to 45 million people.

Modi’s June visit to Bhutan came one month before scheduled China-Bhutan border talks, an annual ritual for the past 22 years that has signally failed to resolve the territorial disputes. In the face of increasing Chinese pressure on Bhutan to open relations with Beijing, Modi announced a 50 percent increase in Indian aid to Bhutan, to approximately $970 million annually.

Bhutan was also the first international destination for India’s new army chief. From November 1 to 3, General Dalbir Singh Suhag visited senior officials in Bhutan on what was billed a “routine” visit. But coming on the heels of September’s large military incursion by China into the Ladakh border region controlled by India, even as Chinese President Xi Jinping was on a state visit to India, Singh’s Bhutan meetings are unlikely to have been routine, especially since he brings unusually relevant experience to the Himalayan brinksmanship that China is displaying: he has previously headed India’s Special Frontier Force, a covert “China-centric” unit of highly trained ethnic Tibetan soldiers.

Delhi’s full-court press for Bhutan’s allegiance will continue on November 7, with a two-day state visit to Bhutan by India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, accompanied by a large delegation – the first trip to Bhutan by an Indian president in 26 years.
China, with its increasingly aggressive moves along its Himalayan borders, seems to be employing the same methodology it has used in its ongoing takeover of the near-entirety of the South China Sea. This gives the Indian government good reason to worry that Beijing might also muscle its way into its lands, just as it has annexed territory over the objections of South China Sea claimants Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and, most recently, Indonesia.

This probably explains why the road leading up from the Indian and Bhutanese military bases in the picturesque Paro Valley is rapidly being widened and paved, almost entirely by imported Indian laborers, often working by hand. Residents say the Indian government, for decades a protector of sorts for a deeply Buddhist Bhutan that sympathizes with Tibet, is paying for the road-building out of its worries about China. Locals expect that the road will soon be paved all the way to the rudimentary base at Gunitsawa, far up the valley. It is conceivable that next year the Indian army will also provide heavy-lift helicopters to supply the Bhutanese checkpoints high in the Himalayas, allowing the Bhutanese army to put its hard-working horses out to pasture, while increasing its vigilance on the border with China.
New Zealand defence officials meet Indian Navy in Mumbai today
 MUMBAI: The New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College will be meeting the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy on Thursday as part of the two countries' defence cooperation programme to strengthen their ties. The 65-members delegation is on an overseas study tour to India to enhance their military and strategic understanding of the region. Apart from the relation building between the two countries, the delegation core idea is to share the defence education platform where in highly ranked officers each from 12 countries are selected and are provided with nine month advance defence education in New Zealand.

They landed in India on November 2 and after completing their Delhi visit reached Mumbai on Tuesday night. In India, they will travel to five Indian cities (Delhi, Agra, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru) where they will visit some of India's leading defence-related institutions, industries and think tanks. "This visit will deepen India-New Zealand defence ties with members of this delegation having a privileged perspective on India's military and strategic priorities," leader of the delegation, Commodore Wayne Burroughs of the Royal New Zealand Navy told TOI on Wednesday.

The study programme is restricted to officers enrolled for a nine-month course at the Staff College. The touring group includes 12 Officers of the equivalent rank of Major or Lieutenant Colonel and four Warrant Officers from international military forces. This includes the first Indian defence officials selected for the programme. Major Malay Mishra of the Indian National Army, who is currently studying at theNew Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College. "Interactions during this visit will impart more than the theoretical lessons in class about strategy, culture and strategic-culture and also will provide a different perspective of dynamics within Asia-Pacific," adds Mishra, who lauds the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College's "competent multinational and intellectual environment".

Air Commodore Shaun Clarke said that the piracy at sea was one of the major problem. But now it has come down and it is due to the effective patrolling carried out by Navies of different countries. He said offering study programmes to defence personnel, the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College shares a great deal in common with India's National Defence College (NDC) in New Delhi (which offers development to full Colonels and General rank officers). As a new initiative, one New Zealand Army Officer will be attending the year-long NDC course in January 2015.

Commander Nigel Edward Philpott said their previous overseas study tours by have been to China, the US, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Visit destinations are chosen by the Chief of Defence Force and show New Zealand's deep interest in the Asia-Pacific region. The last visit by a NZDF Command and Staff College group to India was in 2009.
Will Parrikar, India's first IITian CM, add power to country's defence?
Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is locally at loggerheads with the Indian Navy and the Indian Army units over issues related to land-hogging by the armed forces wings, may just have the last laugh yet. The 58-year-old qualified metallurgist from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is now tipped to the India’s next defence minister, the seniormost ministerial position any Goan politician has ever risen to

Last week Parrikar returned from Delhi, where he met a series of Union cabinet ministers to resolve state related issues. The trip did not raise any eyebrows, but his sudden summoning on Wednesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah, along with the state president Vinay Tendulkar and organising secretary Satish Dhond has set the tongues wagging both in New Delhi as well as Goa.
BJP state vice president Wilfred Mesquita was eloquent in his usage of Shakespeare when asked to respond to reports that Parrikar would have to quit chief ministership and head the country’s defence portfolio.

“Parting is such a sweet sorrow,” Mesquita told Firstpost.

Facebook too has been agog with comments about the development.

"It is a matter of pride for us Goans, irrespective of our political affiliations, that our own has been elevated to the position of defence minister of India. It’s a really big deal," says Victor Savio Braganca on Goa+ a popular group with nearly 60,000 members. Some like Samir Talkar believe that Parrikar’s excellent administrative skills will hold him in good stead.

But others are more skeptical about Parrikar’s abilities especially his penchant for U-Turns on local governance issues, which have cast a shadow of doubt over Parrikar’s much touted abilities. The chief minister’s track record in his most recent stint as chief minister (he has served as chief minister twice before in 2000 and 2002) has been chaotic and marked with almost spectacular and embarrassing reversals on key issues like mining, tourism, casinos, land resource management, etc as a result of which the party has had to face flak both from an aware citizenry as well as the media.

"Parrikar himself was lobbying for a cabinet position because he has made a mess of affairs in Goa. Whether it's his inability to resolve the mining problem, law and order, etc. The defence portfolio is his escape ticket from Goa," Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Goa Shantaram Naik claims.

Parrikar's is the country's first IIT alumnus to become chief minister in 2000. He is now currently in his third stint as chief minister. Goa’s tallest BJP leader, the 58-year-old Parrikar, has always been seen as a promising leader within the party. But it is ambition streak promise as well as his indisciplined and untimely comments which have been his undoing, especially at critical junctures in his career in the recent past.

In 2009, Parrikar was in the running for the party's national president position, when the controversy sparked by his likening of BJP stalwart LK Advani to "rancid pickle" during an interview to a local cable news channel put paid to his dreams. In the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Parrikar appeared to be gentling maneuvering himself into a position of a consensus candidate for prime ministership. Tell-tale signs of this emerged on the social media, where his fans started a group 'Manohar Parrikar for Prime Minister'.

Among other signs of his fatal flaw combo of ambition and a loose tongue and was his interview on The New York Times' online India edition 'India Ink', where he said that he would have done a better job at handling the riots which occurred in Gujarat in 2002, post the train-burning incident at Godhra. In the eventual scheme of things, the Goa chief minister was forced to play bridesmaid to Modi, announcing the Gujarat chief minister as the man to lead the BJP for the 2014 general elections.

However, if and when Parrikar does make it defence minister, the logical question that arises is who will replace the man in Goa, who is almost synonymous with the BJP. Mesquita believes there is plenty of talent and adds: “We will have to go in alphabetical order as far as his replacements go”.

Party sources, however, said that the names of current deputy chief minister Francis D'Souza and Speaker Rajendra Arlekar are in the reckoning for the chief minister's position should Parrikar's elevation to the central cabinet happen.

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