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Friday, 12 June 2015

From Today's Papers - 12 Jun 2015

Pak sees red over India’s ‘new posture’
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi/Islamabad, June 11
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today attacked the “irresponsible and imprudent” statements from the Indian leadership and vowed to protect his country’s “vital interests at all costs”. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said those who “fear India’s new posture” have started reacting.

An alert was sounded in the North-East today after intelligence inputs suggested 20 Naga insurgents had entered India for “revenge attacks” following Army’s strike at their camps in Myanmar.

Reacting to remarks made by Indian leaders, Sharif said such statements vitiated the atmosphere and took the two countries away from goals of regional peace and stability. “The entire nation is dismayed by the recent irresponsible and imprudent statements from the Indian political leadership. This vitiates the atmosphere and takes us further away from our goal of regional peace and stability. We will protect our vital interests at all costs,” he said.

The Pakistan Senate also passed a resolution condemning recent “provocative and hostile” statements by Indian leaders, including threatening attacks on its territory. The resolution said its armed forces were fully capable of giving a befitting response to any incursion.

 In Delhi, Parrikar said: “If the thinking pattern changes, a lot of things change. You have seen in the past 2-3 days, a simple action against insurgents has changed the mindset of the full security scenario in the country so much so that those who fear India’s new posture have started reacting.” This was in reference to Pakistan Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan’s statement yesterday that “Pakistan is not like Myanmar”.

Khan’s statement came in response to Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s remarks that the June 9 military action in Myanmar to hit back at rebels who killed 18 soldiers in Manipur on June 4 was a message to other countries. Rathore’s comments were interpreted as a warning to Pakistan.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh met Parrikar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Vice Chief of Army Lieutenant Genearl Philip Campose today and decided to put N-E on alert.

Intelligence reports suggested around 20 militants belonging to the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and the United Liberation Front Asom (Paresh Baruah faction) under the newly-formed umbrella organisation United National Liberation Front of West South East Asia had entered India from Myanmar for revenge attacks. The top security establishment took stock of the security situation in the North-East and the fallout of the Army strike.

The government may order a similar strike in the future if situation demands, sources said adding insurgents had taken refuge in 20 such camps in Myanmar. At least five incidents of attempts to target security forces have taken place since the June 4 incident, sources said.

A set of defensive and offensive steps have to be taken in wake of intelligence inputs that militants were desperate to carry out some spectacular attacks in the northeast. There is possibility of these being suicide bombers.
The enemy is not the insurgent
Discreteness has its own advantages
Once the euphoria over `Operation Myanmar’ subsides, hard questions will still remain to be answered: has India turned the clock back on its longest running insurgency after army commandoes hot-pursued Naga underground fighters belonging to the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K)? Can a raid of this quantum be replicated when militants transgress the Line of Control to attack civilians and army personnel in Jammu & Kashmir?

These are difficult and complex questions and need a sober and studied response. But regrettably the hotheads are already running away with the rhetorical ball. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State in the Modi Government, for example, answers both the questions in the affirmative.

The army strike against the NSCN (Khaplang) and other militant organisations that had lost their lease in Bangladesh after Dhaka accepted New Delhi's overtures, did demonstrate India's maturing capacity to conduct counter-insurgency operations. But the Myanmar operation was not exactly out-of-ordinary. Such operations have taken place for the past 20 years along the border with Myanmar and similar choices have been made by all previous governments.

Four types of insurgency plague South Asia - ethnic discrimination, institutional legacy of colonisation, redistribution of resources and superpower initiated wars. India has its share of all four. 

Over the years democratic India has finessed ways and means of dealing with insurgencies. Once a measure of domination has been established, India has employed a three-stage process. First, dialogue and, second, suspension of ``operations' by both sides. The third phase - maintenance of the ceasefire agreement -- has been problematic. Any disgruntled faction can disrupt the peace process.

Armed wings of militant groups such as those headed by Paresh Barua in case of ULFA and I S Songbijit of the NDFB have been disruptive because peace means loss of income with the withering away of the conflict economy of extortion, siphoning off development funds and trade in contraband. These economic realities hamper the third stage of enforcing the ceasefire agreement, especially in the North-East.

It was New Delhi's compulsion to strike hard at the NSCN (Khaplang) as it was acting as a spoiler in the stabilising of the second-stage peace process with the dominant faction of the Nagas headed by Isac Swu and T Muivah (NSCN - IM). After walking out of the peace process earlier this year, Khaplang had started rallying around smaller Naga tribes and armed factions elsewhere in the North-East which had reasons to disassociate from conflict resolution.

In recent months, the Khaplang faction was testing New Delhi's patience. The killing of Dogra Regiment soldiers this month had many commonalities with two previous attacks. All three took place in three different states - Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh in April, Mon in Nagaland in May and, finally the last straw, the Tamenglong ambush in Manipur -- with a dry run two months earlier. Tellingly, each location was within a fleeing distance from Myanmar. These were aimed at appropriating the legacy of the NSCN (IM) which had gone back on the struggle for Nagalim (Greater Nagaland) beyond the borders of the present Nagaland.

Our security forces had all the advantages. Apart from the modern accoutrements such as UAVs and latest hand-held weapons, they also had available to them certain amount of political capital garnered during New Delhi's two decades long outreach to the NSCN (IM). This outreach, patient and painstaking, yielded handsome dividends. The demand for independence was dropped as was their insistence for Nagalim by merging Naga majority areas of Manipur, Arunachal and Mizoram into Nagaland. How toxic this demand could get was evident over a decade ago when non-Nagas gutted the Manipur Assembly after the then Home Minister, L K Advani, proposed an extension of the ceasefire in Nagaland to the Naga-dominated areas of other states.

The concessions negotiated with the NSCN (IM) appeared to be leading to a Mizoram type solution under which Chief Minister P Lalthanhawla vacated his chair for insurgent leader Pu Laldenga after the Mizoram Peace Accord in 1986. The possibility of NSCN (IM) leader Isak Chu replacing the current Nagaland Chief Minister generated an apprehension among the smaller Naga clans leading to Khaplang's annulment of the ceasefire with the army. 

On a tactical level, the ambush of Dogra Regiment was ill-chosen. Kuki militias have dominated the area till Khaplang aligned with another militant group to displace them. With loyalties fractured by ethnic divisions, there was a superior flow of intelligence enabling the operation. Also, the NSCN (IM), the larger Naga group, was unwilling to stand by Khaplang as it feared he might occupy the radical space.

But Naga insurgency has seen this phenomenon earlier. Angami Phizo, the political mentor of all three Naga militant leaders — Isak Swu, T. Muivah and Khaplang — had taken control of the Naga movement after eliminating the moderates inclined for a political settlement with India.

History was repeated after the Shillong Accord of 1975, when moderates were clubbed to death in market places leading to the emergence of the NSCN (IM). To avoid the re-emergence of a more vicious hydra, the Centre must work to change the political economy of conflict in the North-East. The states must be enlisted as whole-hearted partners who discourage its youth from dabbling in the shadow business of extortions, kidnappings, siphoning off funds and smuggling.

This is admittedly more difficult and a long haul. Rathore's patchwork solution of the Indian Army sallying forth on cross-border commando raids in Myanmar and Pakistan has understandably set the cat among the pigeons.

While Myanmar's protestations have been mild due to India's handholding during the years of its isolation from the West, Pakistan had no reasons to be restrained. With the most well trained army to the west of India, Pakistan's ministers have already warned New Delhi against drawing parallels. Ministers in the Modi Government seem incapable of learning that discretion has its own use.

Despite the attempts at machismo after the successful raid, India's political leadership must exert just enough coercion to force rebels into becoming active participants in greater stability and above-board economic life.

The Myanmar raid was not the first cross-border operation. The earlier ones in Bhutan and Myanmar helped accomplish larger political goals; the grievance about redistribution of resources or representation in institutions of political power was credibly addressed.

Many areas have resisted a full integration with India since 1947. The challenge is to convince people about the advantages of integrating with India’s democratic political processes,  though through less coercion and more accommodation. Our enemy is not the insurgent but insurgency.
No one gains from this mutually destructive rhetoric
Now Mr Narendra Modi has provided grist to the confrontationists’ mill in both countries by recalling India’s role in the making of Bangladesh. Pakistan’s leaders and media should ponder the thinking behind the obviously calculated oratory
THE escalating war of words between India and Pakistan will do good to neither side; on the contrary it could cause incalculable harm to people of both countries. Pakistan was too easily provoked by the disclosures/confessions of the Modi sarkar. Each time New Delhi has recalled an episode from the history of confrontation between the two closest neighbours, the hawks on this side have welcomed the opportunity to revive their confrontational narrative. A better response could have been a dispassionate analysis of the Indian strategy.

Take Mr Manohar Parrikar's statement regarding meeting terrorism with terrorism. The Indian Defence Minister did not disclose anything that was not known to the world. Instead of getting hysterical over what was considered as confirmation of India's incurable perfidy, Pakistan's leaders and the media managers should have dismissed the affair as part of the BJP’s drive to broaden its popular backing by unfurling its ultra-nationalist standard.

New Delhi’s reported decision to celebrate the 1965 war also should have been taken as part of a design to play up its military power and its capacity to defend nationalist ideals. Now Mr Modi has provided grist to the confrontationists' mill in both countries by recalling his country's role in the making of Bangladesh. Again, he has not revealed any secret. The story of India's part in raising the Mukti Bahini and the use of regular troops inside East Bengal much before their open involvement and the 1971 conflict has been told in numerous books. Again, instead of issuing statements that can only whip up anti-India sentiment Pakistan's political and other leaders as well as the media should have pondered the thinking behind the Indian premier's obviously calculated oratory. It is obvious that the Modi government has adopted a revanchist agenda. The populist slogan-mongering is designed to convince the Indian people that their country is a great power and that it has the means to change the geography of the region. A second and a more important plank of this strategy is wooing the neighbours except Pakistan.

The most important part of Mr Modi's mission to Dhaka was not to remind his hosts of the midwife who had helped the birth of her state but to drive home his qualities as a peacemaker as confirmed by agreement on the transfer of over 150 enclaves along the common border. Pakistan and India had haggled over some of these enclaves for years and when agreement had been reached over Beru Bari, Jawaharlal Nehru pleaded his inability to get the accord through Parliament. Without saying this in so many words, Modi wants the world to realise that he has succeeded where Nehru had failed. By mending fences with Bangladesh he has taken another step towards isolating Pakistan in the region. It is this aspect of the matter that should cause anxiety in Islamabad.

Since the Modi regime is using history to meet domestic compulsions, Pakistan must refuse to be provoked and leave this matter to the people of India. They are the guardians of democracy, secularism and peace. One hopes democratic values have sunk deep enough in the psyche of the Indian citizens that they can prevent their state from following the path of European strongmen.

Pakistan must not forget the 1971 events because it has yet to draw the correct lessons from them. First, it is necessary to purge the Pakistani mind of all that has been said and done to justify the violence used to quell what essentially was a political uprising. Secondly, while India did play a critical role in the 1971 conflict, Pakistan lost as a result of its isolation in the world and for having lost the moral argument much earlier than Indian intervention.

The foremost lesson is that Pakistan must not allow itself to be isolated. Pakistan's image as a hotbed of terrorism is being exploited by a large number of countries to turn it into a pariah state. Pakistan has to protect its standing in regional and world councils through positive diplomacy and by putting its own house in order.

In order to promote a constructive policy towards the South Asian neighbours, especially India, Pakistan will have to stop blaming the Indian spy agency for all its political and law and order problems. In the favourite narrative from the killing of Ismailis in Karachi to the unrest in Balochistan — everything is laid at RAW's doorstep and nobody is worried about loss of face when the perpetrators of a ghastly crime are arrested and are found to be Pakistanis.

That RAW is active in Pakistan need not be denied. Considering the kind of games secret services in India and Pakistan play against one another, the accusations New Delhi and Islamabad hurl at each other cannot be ignored. However, a simplistic denunciation of a foreign agency for all of the country's ills leads to extremely dangerous consequences. You start believing, contrary to evidence, that a Muslim cannot kill a Muslim inside a mosque or imambargah. You start believing that foreign agents alone are responsible for all the problems in Balochistan. As a result, little attempt is made to trace the roots of dissent and disorder in Balochistan or the forces of religious extremism.

All efforts at playing up India's hostility towards Pakistan unavoidably lead to jingoism, rule out any peaceful solution of mutual issues and reduce the elected government's options to settle matters. By continuously harping on the RAW factor, Pakistani leaders are not only falling into the trap of a tit-for-tat policy, they are also making the country's domestic troubles more and more intractable. What Pakistan needs is to evolve an India policy that is rational, positive and in the best interest of the people.
There was no 'hot pursuit' in Myanmar: MOS Defence
New Delhi: There was no "hot pursuit" in the military operation against militants along the India-Myanmar border and it was done with the consent of Myanmar authorities, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said on Wednesday.

"We did not use hot pursuit. We contacted Burma (Myanmar) authorities before the attack," Rao Inderjit said here.

The comment comes a day after his colleague Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the "hot pursuit".

Rathore on Tuesday said: "Our prime minister ordered hot pursuit in which two camps were completely annihilated. While the army carried out the strike, helicopters were on stand by."

Nitin Gadkari, a key minister in the Modi cabinet, refused to comment on the matter at a press conference following a meeting of the union cabinet.

"It is clear we have zero tolerance towards terror and terror groups. The official spokesperson of the military has given detailed information about the action that our military has done," Gadkari said. "I do not have anything to say beyond it."

The army launched two attacks at different points along the Myanmar border and killed several militants. The exact number has not been revealed.

The attack launched on Tuesday was a response to the June 4 militant ambush that killed 18 soldiers of 6 Dogra regiment.

According to informed sources, the militant camps were situated a few kilometres inside Myanmar, something which the Indian Army or the defence ministry has not officially confirmed.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, meanwhile, said the issue should not be discussed in detail.

"We must salute the work the army did... When something is done in national interest, we must support it and not discuss it in detail," he said.
Pakistan violates ceasefire along LoC in Poonch, Kashmir; Indian army retaliates
Jammu: Pakistani troops on Thursday violated border ceasefire as they resorted to "unprovoked" firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu region, which was retaliated to by the Indian forces, the defence ministry said in Jammu.
"Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing across the LoC in Sawjian sector of Poonch district since 9:15 am," Jammu-based defence spokesman Lt Col Manish Mehta told PTI.

The firing lasted for 5-10 minutes, he said, adding casualty or damage was reported on the Indian side.

He said the Pakistani Army has been intermittently firing with small automatic weapons since the morning, prompting the Indian Army to retaliate.

"Our troops have also responded with equal force using equal caliber weapons," he said.
Army photos in media: Defence ministry denies issuing visuals
Two photographs, purportedly of the Indian Army's Special Forces team that conducted an operation against militants along the Myanmar border, stoked controversy on the social media on Thursday, with the defence ministry denying having issued any such images.

The photographs, published by some national dailies, had an army helicopter in the background and were apparently taken in clear daylight.

In one of the photographs, the faces of the army personnel in front of the helicopter were masked. The accompanying captions said it was the photo of the team that carried out the strike against militants.

However, defence ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted that no photograph of the army action was released.

"A Clarification: MoD has NOT issued any photo relating to Indian Army action along Indo-Myanmar border in the North East, so far," he posted.

Many people reacted to Kar's tweet.

"Why media houses showing wrong photo's of Indo-Myanmar army operation??" a tweet asked.

Another said: "MoD has NOT ISSUED any Photos related to Army action along Indo-Myanmar border. So any photo shown are FAKE."

Some online activists claimed the images had appeared on websites earlier too.

IANS had also carried the photographs with its story on Wednesday but these have been withdrawn.
Rebels declare 'unilateral ceasefire' with Myanmar armyAFP | Jun 11, 2015, 08.00 PM IST
YANGON: Rebels who have fought Myanmar's army along a rugged border area with China for four months declared a unilateral ceasefire today, after fighting left scores dead, threatened a nationwide peace pact and spilled over the frontier.

Fighting between government troops and ethnic Chinese rebel fighters has raged in the Kokang region of northern Shan state since early February, causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, many into China.

Myanmar's airforce has also dropped bombs on Chinese territory, killing several civilians and infuriating Beijing which issued a stern rebuke and carried out live-fire military drills near the border as a warning.

"We stopped fighting unilaterally since this morning... but we are still holding (weapons ) for self-defence. If they (Myanmar army) shoots, we have to defend ourselves," Htun Myat Linn, a spokesman for the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), the main insurgent group of the Chinese-speaking Kokang told AFP.

"During four months fighting, about 80 to 90 people were killed from our side. More than 200 people were wounded. We will remain in our positions although the fighting has stopped."

Myanmar's army and government were not immediately reachable for comment on whether they would join the ceasefire in Kokang, a mountainous area which remains cloaked in martial law.

"Fighting has gone on for four months... we worry we are harming the country's general election because of the fighting," Htun Myat Linn added of much-anticipated national polls slated for November.

Myanmar's government is desperate to secure a binding ceasefire with myriad ethnic groups, many of whom have been fighting for decades, ahead of elections later this year.

Kokang rebels were quickly joined by a number of other ethnic insurgent groups and the conflict has threatened to undermine that peace bid.

Kokang has strong bonds with China -- local people speak a Chinese dialect and China's yuan is the common currency -- and tens of thousands of people have crossed the border to flee the fighting.

Beijing was a key backer of Myanmar's military junta while it was under Western sanctions, but President Thein Sein has increased ties with other countries including the United States since launching political reforms in 2011.

The news of the Kokang ceasefire declaration came on the same day as Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

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