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Friday, 10 April 2015

From Today's Papers - 10 Apr 2015

Pak court orders Lakhvi’s release, India sees red
Lahore, April 9
A Pakistani court today ordered the release of 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, a development which India said "eroded" the value of assurances repeatedly conveyed to it by Pakistan on cross-border terrorism.

Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq of Lahore High Court (LHC) suspended the detention of 55-year-old Lakhvi under Maintenance of Public Order after the government failed to present sensitive records against him in court.

The judge ordered Lakhvi to submit two surety bonds worth Rs 1 million each for his release. "The law officer had submitted important information about Lakhvi, but the court did not accept this and declared the evidence unsatisfactory," an official of LHC told PTI. Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq, on the last hearing on April 7, had directed the government's counsel to submit record of secret documents about activities of Lakhvi today. Lakhvi had challenged the March 14 order of Punjab Government's District Coordination Officer, Okara, to detain him for 30 days.

Lakhvi's counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi argued that after the LHC's earlier direction, he had filed a representation before the Punjab home secretary against his "illegal" detention but the home secretary dismissed it and upheld the 30-day detention order issued by District Coordination Officer, Okara.

Abbasi pleaded that a person could not be detained beyond 90 days without obtaining an order from the review board and the detention period of his client had gone beyond 90 days.

A provincial review board comprises judges of the high court. He pointed out that the trial court had released Lakhvi on bail in December 2014, however, the District Magistrate of Islamabad issued a detention order against him.

Later, Islamabad High Court (IHC) set aside Lakhvi's detention and ordered the government to release him. — PTI

Judgment erodes the value of assurances

Our concerns on this issue have been made known to the Government of Pakistan in the past. These shall be reiterated… known terrorists not being effectively prosecuted constitute a real security threat for India and the world. This also erodes the value of assurances repeatedly conveyed to us with regard to cross-border terrorism —An External Affairs Ministry spokesperson
Two Mi-17 V5 copters inducted into BSF
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 9
Two Russian-made Mi-17 V5 military helicopters, capable of withstanding small arms fire and operating in a nuclear disaster, were inducted into the Border Security Force today.

The helicopters will be used in operations in the Maoist-affected areas and along the India-China border, even as there are plans to further strengthen the air wing.

At the induction ceremony of the two helicopters, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said the strength and capabilities of the Central Armed Police Forces deployed along India’s borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh will increase with the induction of new machines.

The two new helicopters are the first batch of the eight Mi-17 V5 helicopters that are being inducted into the BSF Air Wing and procured from Rosoboronexport, Russia. The remaining six helicopters will arrive by this year’s end.
China: Arunachal dispute an undeniable fact

Beijing, April 9
China today said its “huge dispute” with India over Arunachal Pradesh is an “undeniable fact” even as it echoed PM Narendra Modi’s views that the two countries should create favourable conditions for a mutually-acceptable settlement of the vexed boundary issue.

“There is a huge dispute in the eastern border of China-India border. This is undeniable fact,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hu Chunying told media here when asked about Indian Government extending controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Arunachal Pradesh.

“China always holds consistent and clear position on the China-India boundary question. The two sides should create favourable conditions for the negotiation of the boundary question,” she said. — PTI
Former defence personnel call for reforms and early creation of Chief of Defence Staff post
Former personnel of the defence forces on Thursday called for the early creation of the Chief of Defence Staff post, terming it essential for providing advice to the defence minister.

Air Chief Marshal (Retd) S. Krishnaswamy, former Chief of the Air Staff , and other dignitaries of the defence forces were present at the launch of the book 'Core Concerns in Indian Defence and the Imperatives for Reforms' in the national capital, here today.

The book release was followed by a panel discussion on "Strategic Self-Reliance in Defence", in which Dr Sivathanu Pillai, Dr Manoj Joshi, Lt.Gen A. Hasnain (Retd), Dr R.K. Tyagi, and Mr Vinod Misra, participated.

"The dynamics of international relations is changing fast. We cannot change our neighbours but certainly we need our Armed Forces to have operational preparedness. We have to be ready for any eventuality and strike fast at the right core," the editor of the book, Vinod Misra said.

Speaking at the function Air Chief Marshall (retired) Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy said that the Defence Ministry should not delay implementation of the suggested reforms, including creation of chief of defence staff, which would provide one point advice to the defence ministry in the formulation of policies.

Eminent Scientist, Sivathanu Pillai, the father of Brahmos, detailed the various steps taken to implement various projects under the BrahMos aerospace organisation and made suggestions how defence can participate in the 'Make in India"effort.

Dr Manoj Joshi in his address said that the Government of India seems to be 'advice-proof'. Dr Joshi, who was a member of the advisory committee headed by Naresh Chandra, had made many recommendations including the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff, but things have not yet happened for over two years now.

Lieutenant General (retired) Syed Ata Hasnain said that the steps suggested for the transformation of the Indian army structure started around 2004 but it seems to have lost momentum.

Dr R. K. Tyagi, a former Chairman of the Board and Managing Director of Pawan Hans Helicopers Limited suggested association of the private sector organisations at the planning stage in manufacturing defence equipment.

The book, published by the Pentagon Press on its 15th anniversary, contains comprehensive articles on to strengthen India's defence and industrial base providing suggestions on the Arms Trade Offset: Global Trend and Best Practices. It also calls for an oversight in the defence sector and the need to ensure operational preparedness of the Armed Forces together with a comprehensive piece on India's security environment and its impact on India's defence which gives "the country no choice but to build up a robust defence capability with self reliance as our goal" .
Maneka frowns on Army ‘animal’ practices
The Army has a problem on its plate. Union Minister for Women and Child Development and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has objected to two traditions in the forces that, according to her, amount to cruelty to animals.

She has written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that the practice of animal sacrifice in the Gorkha regiment and another of airdropping living animals for regiments posted in inaccessible areas to provide them fresh meat must be stopped. Gandhi had written a similar letter to Parrikar’s predecessor in the ministry, Arun Jaitley, earlier.

The Gorkha regiment has been around since the time of the British, and animal sacrifice has been followed since its inception.
At the same time, the Gurkha brigade in the British Army, a throwback to its Indian days, ended the practice of sacrificing male buffaloes in all its units stationed in Hong Kong and Brunei back in 1973. Similarly, the Gurkha brigade of Nepal allows sacrifice of only one animal for all its men, Army officers said.

In the Indian Army, many top officers, including Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, belong to the Gorkha regiment. Sources said the Army has urged that its age-old traditions not be tampered with.

According to sources, Gandhi’s first letter, sent in July 2014, called the practice “unnecessary”. “The government of Uttarakhand has banned animal sacrifice even for the Army, and the regiments stationed in Uttarakhand have stopped killing animals. Therefore killing animals for sacrifice is not intrinsic to any culture or practice followed by a regiment. Hence it needs to be immediately stopped,” she wrote.

The other practice the minister has sought an end to is officially called ‘meat on hoof’. Started during World War II, it involves dropping live animals from choppers with parachutes strapped on them.

Gandhi has called the practice, followed for border troops, “barbaric”. “It may have had its use during that period when communication and roads were not available, but there is no reason why the animal should be subjected to such cruel practices in present times, especially when pre-packaged meat products are easily available.”

Sources said both Parrikar and Jaitley have sought the Army’s views on the matter.

Neither the Army nor the Ministry of Defence responded to email queries.
Indian Army site hacked: Does India have the right attitude to tackle cyber-crime?
Indian army officers are in a state of panic after their Principal Comptroller of Defence Accounts (Officers) (PCDAO) website was reportedly hacked late last month. Officers are unable to access their salary details on the website and fear that vital and sensitive data related to officers’ service and financial details may have been stolen.

According to a report by Times of India, most officers are very upset as the PCDAO and army brass, along with the defence ministry are aware of the situation, but have taken no measures to restore the website. The report added that, the MoD (Ministry of Defence Government of India) and the Army have started an investigation into the hacking but state that the issue has been kept discreet fearing an uproar among officers.

The PCDAO website includes personal details of the officers, such as their exact areas of posting, the units they belong to, PAN card numbers and bank account details along with many other things. Apart from sensitive information, the website is also a crucial hub for the officer’s finances as he/she can access information on their salary, along with details including leave travel allowance, receipt of claims along with proof of IT returns. The website is also used by officers to apply for PF withdrawals.

This would be just one instance out of the umpteen attacks faced by users in the country. But even after the wide spread, there is very little awareness about how to tackle it. There have been a number of instances in the country when secured websites have been targeted.

In the past, the hacker group Anonymous had targeted MTNL and had taken their site down. Also, unidentified hackers had earlier attempted to break into different websites of the Andhra Pradesh government, even as a security audit was being conducted at the State Data Centre. Back in the day, the BJP website was reportedly hacked for not protesting against their opposition party, Congress, on the topic of Internet censorship.

The rate at which cyber crime is growing worldwide, may countries are beginning to work towards strengthening their online security. Let us take a look at how India deals with this crisis.


Where exactly does India rank in terms of cyber security? Does it have what it takes to tackle cyber crime?

It was not until a few years back that people began to understand the severity of a cyber attack. Today, the Indian Government understands that cyber security is a universal concern and that they will need to work heavily towards curbing this online crime.

Reacting to this situation, a recent report by Business Today states that PM Narendra Modi has red-flagged cyber security as an issue of global concern and strongly urges the IT industry to find innovate solutions to tackle the menace.

Modi added: “The whole world is concerned. Since I have become the Prime Minister, I have met around 50 world and political leaders and out of that, almost 25-30 have said cyber security is a concern.”

The PM also said that if security is not provided, people will be scared of using their mobile phones fearing their privacy and data may be compromised.

Recently, the Government in India had also approved the proposal moved by Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) to ban use of popular email services like Gmail and Yahoo! in official communication to safeguard critical and sensitive government data. A budget of Rs 100 crore has been allocated for the project, which includes expanding infrastructure and ramping up security of servers that will be used to store the mails. The move comes amid concerns about rising cyber crime and hacking incidents.

The above example proves that India, in fact, is making several attempts to save itself from a cyber attack. But will these simple steps stop or prevent these attacks? Do we have enough skilled personnel to ensure that people are at peace and feel secure about their data?


According to a report, despite being an IT super power, India had under 600 cyber security experts till 2013. However, Cisco had issued a report saying that India needed at least 4 lakh cyber security experts. Cyber attacks and threats on government organisations in India saw an increase of 136% in just 2013 itself. Given how cyber warfare has taken off since then, this number will surely be higher now. The report had also pointed out on how the number of cyber attacks have increased exponentially in the last 10 years. From a mere 23 reported cases in 2009 to around 96,383 cases reported till September 2014.

Unfortunately, cyber threats and cyber attacks are on the rise as we speak. It is not only in India, but countries where governments take preventive measures to secure their data, have also had their data violated.

One of the dramatic attacks in cyber history took place late last year when Sony’s network was attacked by hackers as the company prepared to release “The Interview,” a comedy about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The attack was followed by online leaks of unreleased movies and emails that caused embarrassment to executives and Hollywood personalities.

In China, widespread use of unauthorized copies of software downloaded from websites run by pirates, allow hackers to insert malicious code to gain access to company networks. In countries such as India, Thailand or Pakistan, even security-conscious companies may not be able to afford the most advanced software tools.

Perhaps the need of the hour is international co-operation. US President Barack Obama moved cyber security towards the top of his 2015 agenda after the recent breaches. The US government had noted, ‘We are at an inflection point, both domestically and internationally, and now is the time to raise the call for greater collective action.’

And truer words have not been spoken.

According to, Obama alongwith Modi had noted the serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing ‘operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.’

The above statement proves that India is in fact, is working towards tackling cyber crime. But, given how we, as a country, usually tackle such issues with alarmingly laidback mindset — cyber security might raise it’s head far more times than we would like or can afford. The Government will need to work harder and faster to curb ths menace so that the country can rest easy that their vital data remains safe. It won’t be easy but it has to be done.
Indian and Chinese Military Officers Could Soon Train Together
New Delhi:  Weeks before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit's China, the two countries will discuss whether officers from either side could train at military training academies in each other's country.

Indian military training establishments allow mid-level officers from "friendly foreign countries" - like USA, Sri Lanka, Africa, Philippines, Vietnam etc - to train alongside Indian officers in their courses. Indian officers too train at foreign military schools.
The move to have Chinese and Indian officers train with each other is seen as effort to foster better understanding between the two armed forces. It will be keenly watched by Moscow, Japan and even the US.

The modalities will be discussed during the Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) that begins in Beijing today. The Indian side is led by Defence Secretary R. K Mathur.

Besides, the proposal to allow officers to train with each other, officials from the two countries will also finalise setting up four meeting points along the India-China border in Leh to quickly resolve stand-offs. The meeting points identified are - Track Junction, Pangang Tso Lake, Demchock and Chumar.

They are also expected to discuss the expansion of the scope the annual military exercise, Hand in Hand, between India and China.

Their armies have carried out four such exercises in the past, primarily focused on counter-terrorism. "There is a possibility that the two militaries may exercise looking at different scenarios, which could involve the Navy and Air Force," a top Defence Ministry official told NDTV.

Finally, the two sides will also discuss how to better implement the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement or BDCA, which was agreed upon in October 2013 after a series of transgressions by Chinese troops, one of which resulted in a stand-off for over a month leading to heightened tension between the neighbours.

The BDCA aims to defuse border flare-ups. China and India had both agreed to curb aggressive patrolling in disputed border areas and also not to tail each other's patrols.

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