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Monday, 12 January 2015

From Today's Papers - 12 Jan 2015

India, US push for joint fight against terrorism
Kerry says no act of terror will stop ‘march of freedom’
Manas Dasgupta

Gandhinagar, January 11
India and the US on Sunday expressed their solidarity with the people of France and said the countries should come forward to fight terrorism together.
Kicking off the seventh edition of the “Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit” in Gandhinagar, Modi condemned the Paris terror attack and said India firmly stood behind the European nation in its fight against terror. Modi said India had been a victim of terrorism and there was a need for countries to fight terrorism jointly. “We will win over terrorism,” he said.
Before Modi, US Secretary of State John Kerry also called upon the nations to launch a united fight against terrorism.     Referring to the terror attack in Paris last week, Kerry said no act of terror will ever stop "the march of freedom" and the entire world is with the people of France, not just in "anger and outrage" but in "solidarity and commitment" to the cause of confronting extremism.
Kerry said the US and India particularly share greater responsibility when it comes to fight against terror as the two largest democracies in the world were committed to freedom of the people. “We will together fight against all acts of extremism and will never allow it to succeed in any part of the world,” he said.
Kerry also drew a parallel between Modi and US President Barack Obama saying both leaders come from very simple and ordinary families and have succeeded in making to the top of their respective countries. “Coming from an ordinary family,  Obama went on to become the US India, a boy selling tea at the railway platform and bus station has made it to the Prime Minister’s house — 7 Race Course Road, Delhi,” he said.
The US Secretary of State said Obama was "very excited" to be the first US President to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations later this month. "And he will the first sitting US President to visit India twice while in office," Kerry said. “He (Obama) is looking forward to his impending visit to further strengthen the ties between the two countries,” said Kerry.
Terming it as a perfect time to tap "incredible possibilities" between India and the US, Kerry said programmes like 'Make in India' can be a win-win situation for the entire planet.
"The moment has never been more right to tap the incredible possibilities between India and the US." He added that the economic partnership is already getting stronger by the day. Lauding Modi’s pet slogan “Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas”, Kerry said the slogan needs to be adopted at the global level.
India-Japan strategic talks this week
K V Prasad

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 11
India and Japan bilateral relations will come under extensive review at the 8th strategic dialogue to be held here this week with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj co-chairing the meeting with her Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida who will be paying an official visit from January 16 to 18.

Kishida, who embarks on a four-nation trip, will reach here en route France, Belgium and Britain, for the January 17 dialogue, the first such engagement after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe retained power in a snap poll late last year.

Ahead of the visit, the minister was quoted by domestic Kyodo news agency as saying that during his trip to France, Kishida plans to discuss the fight against terrorism with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Paris.

Condemning the incident in Paris, he said: “We must never tolerate vicious terrorism and challenges against the freedom of speech and the press. Sharing this view with the international community, we must face up to the fight against terrorism.”

Referring to the purpose of the four-nation tour starting Thursday, Kishida said: “I would like to take this opportunity to send a message to the world as to how our country will contribute to the stability and prosperity of the international community and the region, and how we will try to address global challenges” in partnership with the four countries plus the European Union.

“Both sides will review all aspects of the bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest,” a spokesperson for the MEA said.
30 ITBP dog teams deputed for Obama’s security
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Amidst intelligence inputs indicating “concerted attempts” by international terror groups to target the political leadership of world’s two largest democracies, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) has deployed 30 explosive detection dog teams along with strike commandos to provide anti-sabotage cover to US President Barrack Obama during his visit to New Delhi later this month.

“The threat is of placing sophisticated remotely operated improvised explosive devices at sensitive locations of the Republic Day celebrations and in hotels where the US President and his entourage would stay, by either radicalised ‘lone-wolf’ operatives under orders from across the border or sleeper cells, that have activated their wireless chatter which has been intercepted by our intelligence agencies and corroborated by the US intelligence,” a statement issued by the ITBP has claimed.

ITBP dog teams, including “strategic-depth reserves” based at an undisclosed location, would sanitise the Rajpath, India Gate lawns and the entire route of Obama, right from the time he lands in Air Force One at the Delhi Airport and travels to his hotel and then to Rajpath in an armoured limousine. The entire area has been cordoned off by ITBP commandos. The nodal agency for raising and training dogs for security duties, ITBP is the largest single contributor of dogs for this highly sensitive security deployment in New Delhi, using more canines than the combined number deployed by the Army, BSF, SPG, NSG and CISF.

ITBP dogs and those provided to other forces are trained at its National Dog Training Center co-located with its Basic Training Center at Bhanu near Chandigarh. It has recently been upgraded with additional kennels and training infrastructure.
Rs 600-cr plant for Army tanks’ overhaul to come up in Gujarat
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Private sector conglomerate Kalyani Group will set up a Rs 600 crore plant in Gujarat for overhaul and upgrade of the Army’s armoured fighting _vehicles (AFVs).

In addition, its proposal to manufacture radars and defence electronics indigenously have also been approved.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up the plant was signed between the Kalyani Group and the Government of Gujarat at the ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Summit today, said a statement issued by the group.

The plant for the AFV will be set up at the port city of Dholera at the head of the Gulf of Khambhat, which has been earmarked as a special investment region. _It would commence operations in 2016 and generate 2,500 jobs.

AFVs with the _Army include tanks, infantry combat vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, recce vehicles, engineer and recovery vehicles as well as specialist battlefield support and command vehicles.

The locations and modalities of setting up plants for manufacture of radars and defence _electronics are yet to be decided.

“This is in line with the vision of the Prime Minister towards ‘Make in India’. We are confident that given an opportunity we can become the manufacturing hub for the World,” Amit B Kalyani, Executive Director of the Kalyani Group said.
Bipartisan National Security Policy is vital
NN Vohra
To bring clarity on the imperatives and challenges faced by India with regards to its security, a Roundtable of experts was held recently. Starting today, we bring you excerpts of the key presentations and recommendations
In the obtaining global security environment, our country’s foremost concern is to protect and safeguard our territorial integrity and ensure the safety and security of all our citizens. Sustained development and progress are possible only if there is peace and normalcy within the realm.
We are a large country, with land boundaries of over 15,000 km, maritime frontiers of over 7,500 km, open skies all around and multiple threats from various quarters. I shall reflect briefly on certain aspects of internal security.
The maintenance of national security faces serious challenges on many fronts, among which are:

    Pakistan’s continuing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir.
    Activities of the Pakistan-based jihadi terrorist groups which have established their networks in various parts of India, particularly in the hinterland.
    Activities of the Naxal groups which have established “liberated” zones in large areas, where their writ runs.
    Organised crime and mafia groups, drug cartels, and fake currency networks whose unlawful activities are causing enormous damage.

Considering the serious security challenges faced by the country, it is urgently necessary that we must have a reliable security management apparatus which safeguards all important arenas of activity which would, inter alia, include food security, water security, economic security, energy security, science and technology security, environmental security and so on.
It is relevant to note that in the management of matters relating to internal and external security, a rather clear line has developed in the past decades. Thus, the Ministry of Defence is responsible for the defence of India and the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for internal security. And then there are a number of central agencies like the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Joint Intelligence Centre, and several other institutions which provide important information and support to the Home and Defence Ministries and other authorities involved in security management at the central level.

One approach to security
In the years past, the Centre-State relations in the arena of security management have been largely based on periodic consultations. Such arrangements are inadequate in the obtaining security environment in which terrorists strike at will, with total surprise and lightning speed.  If our response has to be prompt and effective, there is no scope whatsoever for any time being lost in consultations. On the contrary, it is of vital importance that we lose no more time in building the capacity to prevent, pre-empt and, whenever a situation arises, to effectively respond without any loss of time.
And this leads me to the next question — do we have a national policy and a supporting security management apparatus which can deliver an immediate response to a sudden terrorist strike anywhere in the country? The answer is that, so far, we do not have a cohesive National Security Policy which is fully agreed to between the Centre and the States. We also do not have a countrywide logistical framework, manned by thorough professionals, which has the capacity of speedily responding to any arising emergency.
After the Centre has finalised a bipartisan National Security Policy, in agreement with the States, it would be essential to lose no time in critically reviewing the efficacy of the extant security management apparatus, whether run by the Centre or the States, and to particularly assess the training, experience and professionalism of the personnel who are operating the system.
In the past years, the States have generally taken the position that the Centre must not do anything which interferes with their constitutional jurisdiction to maintain public order within their realms. In taking such a posture, the States have erred in failing to recognise the crucial difference between dealing with law and order situations within their territories and the pan-India management of serious security threats. The States have perhaps also not recognised that terrorists are no respecters of territorial boundaries. As the attacks on Parliament and in Mumbai have shown, a terrorist strike anywhere in the country is an attack on the unity and integrity of India.
It also needs to be noted that varied serious problems relate to the functioning of the State police forces which, for want of resources and prolonged neglect, suffer from significant professional and logistical inadequacies and are, therefore, not invariably capable of effectively handling the more serious internal disturbances which may arise in the States. As experience in the past more than half a century has shown, whenever a serious disorder is arising in any part of the country, the affected State promptly seeks help from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. And the latter has been traditionally responding by deploying Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to assist the States in dealing with arising insurgencies. It is relevant to also note that whenever situations have arisen which cannot be handled by the CAPF, the Centre has been invariably deploying the Army in aid of the civil authority.
It is a matter for concern that whenever a serious disorder is emerging in any State, the Union Home Ministry has hardly ever been in a position to question the State government concerned about the root causes of the problem and why these were neglected to allow a serious situation to develop. Another worrying aspect is that, as has been seen in the North–East region, Army deployments for extended periods have invariably led to complaints about human rights violations and other serious problems.
This brings me to the next question: What is the Centre’s role and responsibility in regard to the management of internal security which is now inextricably intermeshed with external security? The Constitution prescribes that it is duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance. Thus, there is no doubt about the Centre’s constitutional obligation to ensure that internal security is effectively managed in the States. However, in actual practice, the Centre-State relations in the arena of internal security management have been largely defined by “requests” and “persuasions” to elicit the “cooperation” of the States. The pursuit of a persuasive approach has led to many avoidable failures, particularly as cooperative arrangements do not invariably enable prompt and effective handling of security situations.

Engaging, involving States
The Centre is constitutionally empowered to issue directives to the States to take preventive action in regard to arising situations. Instead, the Union Home Ministry has traditionally resorted to merely sending “advisories” to the States about likely developments on the security front. This approach has not invariably proved effective.
To arrive at reliable Central–State understanding in the arena of security management, it is extremely important to establish the requisite mutual trust and reliability. In this context, the Government of India may do well to reconsider whether the central security apparatus should continue to be run only by its own cadres. Instead, for progressively establishing the desired levels of mutual trust, it may be beneficial to follow a joint Central-State management approach which will, over time, eradicate the strong doubts and suspicions which are recurringly voiced by the States.
The Inter-State Council, which is headed by the Prime Minister, is a very good forum for arriving at the required Centre-State understanding in the arena of national security management. Another approach could be to also set up Empowered Committees comprising Home Ministers of States to deal with various complex security management issues, e.g. the powers and jurisdiction of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). I refer to the NIA as despite the fact that issues relating to this agency have been endlessly debated in the past years, it still does not have even the powers enjoyed by the CBI viz powers of search, seizure, deputing its functionaries abroad for investigations, etc. Debates about the structure and functioning of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) have also been continuing for the past over a decade now. Such important matters could be quickly resolved by involving the States in meaningful discussions. After 9/11, the joint-management approach has worked extremely well in the USA where Joint Terrorism Task Forces have been working effectively from the highest federal level to the municipal levels in the States of America. I would reiterate the vital importance of ensuring that our National Security Policy must be founded in very strong Centre-State understanding.
Besides time-bound steps being taken to finalise the National Security Policy and establishing a cohesive security management apparatus all over the country, it is necessary to also critically review the professional worthiness of those who will man and run the machinery. The traditional approach, even in filling top posts in the Home and Defence Ministries, has been to appoint the best available officer, notwithstanding that such a functionary may not have had any past experience at all of working in the security administration arena. The result of such an ad-hoc approach has been that officials of varied different backgrounds with no past experience get deployed in the various security administration departments and agencies. Needless to say, the best among such randomly picked up officers, with no past training and limited tenures, cannot deal meaningfully with the growingly complex security related issues which our country faces.

Security management
In 2000, I was asked to chair a Task Force to examine issues relating to internal security. In the report, one of my recommendations was to draw from all the services, in the Centre and the States, including the armed forces, and establish a dedicated cadre whose members would undergo relevant training before being deployed in the arena of national security administration. Consequently, an officer of this specialised cadre may spend his entire career working in the Home or Defence Ministries or in any other security management organisation. After extensive consideration by a Group of Ministers, chaired by the then Deputy Prime Minister, this recommendation was accepted. The fact that this decision has not been implemented in the past 14 years reflects the importance which is devoted to security management in our country.
I recommend that no further time should be lost in setting up a National Security Administrative Service and firm Centre-State understanding arrived at for members of this cadre to be deployed for manning the nationwide security management apparatus.
There are many other concerns about National Security Management. I shall very briefly comment on a few issues.
Criminal cases, even those which relate to the most heinous offences, take years to be concluded and, furthermore, only a small percentage result in convictions and deterrent punishments because of the prolonged delays and serious deficiencies in the investigative, prosecution and trial procedures. As reported, several million criminal cases continue to be pending all over the country, every year. It is also a matter for serious concern that, progressively, corruption has firmly enveloped the cutting edge of the judicial system. And an inefficient and corrupt judicial system cannot be expected to timely punish offenders to generate the kind of deterrence which is essential for effective National Security Management.
Another arena of serious concern relates to the continuing failure of the States to implement vital police reforms. Regrettably, police forces in many States of the country are still being run on the basis of the 1861 Police Act! Needless to say, if national security is to be effectively managed, the States must seriously discharge their constitutional responsibility and maintain adequately trained, equipped and highly professional civil and armed police forces in adequate strength. Also, the management of the police organisations must be totally free from political interference of any kind.
Corruption erodes the very foundations of the rule of law and the Constitution and cuts at the roots of National Security Management. The common man’s loss of faith and trust in the functioning of the governmental apparatus generates anger, disgust, helplessness and, finally, a species of despair which leads to alienation and adoption of the gun culture.
Corruption also leads to the subversion of the governance apparatus. Many years ago, in 1993, I chaired a committee whose report, later referred to as the Criminal Nexus Report or the Vohra Committee Report, had concluded that the nexus between corrupt politicians, dishonest public servants and the mafia networks was subverting the constitutional framework and displacing the duly established authority in several parts of India. Over two decades have since elapsed and, undoubtedly, the criminal nexus has enlarged its network and become far stronger.
I would conclude by stressing that there is no more time to be lost. We must establish a clearly bipartisan approach urgently to:

    Finalise and promulgate a National Security Policy which is based on deep-rooted understanding between New Delhi and the States.
    Enact relevant laws, for effective all-India enforcement, to enhance national security objectives.
    Establish a National Security Administrative Service (NSAS), comprising an intensively trained cadre of specialised personnel, to man the security apparatus.
    Operate a countrywide security management apparatus which is manned by highly trained NSAS professionals.

These are excerpts of the Special Address delivered by NN Vohra at The Tribune-ICWA Roundtable on National Security. The J&K Governor spoke extempore

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