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Friday, 2 October 2015

From Today's Papers - 02 Oct 2015

Shun terror & we’ll talk, India tells Pak
United Nations, October 1
Rubbishing Pakistan's four-point formula for peace, India on Thursday asserted that it is ready to discuss all issues if the neighbouring country addresses "just one" point of ending terrorism emanating from there as she proposed the NSA-level talks to address the problem.

 Addressing the UN General Assembly, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj referred to the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks who continue to roam freely in Pakistan and pressed the world community to ensure that countries which provide finances, safe havens and arms to terrorists "pay a heavy price".

A day after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raked up Kashmir, Swaraj used the same forum to raise the issue of "illegal occupation of parts of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir" by Pakistan and said terror attacks from there were engineered to legitimise it.

She made it clear that terrorism emanating from Pakistan was hampering normalisation of bilateral relations as she underlined that "talks and terror cannot go together".

"Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Pakistan proposed what he termed as a four-point new peace initiative. I would like to respond. We do not need four points, we need just one — give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk," Swaraj said while addressing the 193-member body.

She said this was precisely what was discussed and decided by the two Prime Ministers at Ufa this July. "Let me use this occasion to spell out our approach clearly. India remains open to dialogue," Swaraj said in her 25-minute speech in Hindi. Sharing the challenges that India faces in its ties with Pakistan, the External Affairs Minister said "None of us can accept that terrorism is a legitimate instrument of statecraft." — PTI

Sushmaspeak at UNGA
"Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Pakistan proposed what he termed as a four-point new peace initiative. I would like to respond. We do not need four points, we need just one — give up terrorism and let us sit down and talk."

"Let me use this occasion to spell out our approach clearly. India remains open to dialogue. Let us hold talks at the NSA level on all issues connected to terror and an early meeting to address the border situation."
India hits back at Sharif; says vacate PoK, de-terrorise Pakistan for peace
United Nations, October 1
India on Thursday rejected Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's demand for demilitarising Kashmir and instead said it is Pakistan that should be “deterrorised”.

India's strong reaction came shortly after Sharif proposed demilitarisation of Kashmir as part of his four-point "peace initiative" with India.

Raking up the Kashmir issue while addressing the UN General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday, Sharif termed its non-resolution as a failure of the world body.

"To demilitarise Kashmir is not the answer, to deterrorise Pakistan is. Pakistan is not primary victim of terrorism but of its own policies. It is in fact the prime sponsor of terrorism," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in sharp retorts through a series of tweets.

Another Indian official called Pakistan a "prime sponsor of terrorism" as it used terror as a "legitimate instrument" of its statecraft after Sharif said Pakistan was the "primary victim" of terrorism.

"In truth, it (Pakistan) is actually a victim of its own policies of breeding and sponsoring terrorists. The heart of the matter is a state that regards the use of terrorism as a legitimate instrument of statecraft. The world watches with concern as its consequences have spread beyond its immediate neighbourhood," First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Abhishek Singh said in a sharp retort exercising India's Right of Reply during the General Debate of 70th session of UNGA.

In more tweets, Swarup said Pakistan's "instability arises from its breeding of terrorists. Blaming neighbours is not a solution."

Reacting to Sharif's remarks that "Palestinians and Kashmiris (are) oppressed by foreign occupation", Swarup said the "Pak PM gets foreign occupation right, occupier wrong. We urge early vacation of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK)." — PTI
Chill in Indo-Pak ties not good for S Asia: Ex-PM
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today held strained relations between India and Pakistan as the major factor in preventing regional development in South Asia. He said Pakistan’s current internal state of affairs and the future situation in Afghanistan would pose challenges to economic diplomacy in the region.

Delivering the valedictory address at the two-day Conference on Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South and Central Asia at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) today, the former Prime Minister said uncertain political and economic developments in the Af-Pak region had impeded connectivity between energy-deficient South Asia and energy-surplus Central Asia, and left few options for increasing trade linkages between the two regions. Against this backdrop, cooperation between India and Iran in developing the Chahbahar port in southern Iran must be fast tracked, he said.

Pointing out that geopolitics of the Indian Ocean region would be the fulcrum of India’s foreign policy, Dr Singh said geopolitical risks had increased with turmoil in Ukraine and several other countries in West Asia and North Africa. Competing and conflicting interests among western and regional powers had led these countries to support rebel groups which had joined hands with jihadists, resulting in chaos, civil war and human suffering, he said. The impact of these developments on a weak European economy would only add doubts about sustained economic recovery, he said.

Stating that the 21st Century would be the era of the rise of India and China, where cooperation and competition would go hand in hand, Dr Singh pointed out that as the second largest economy, India had the resources to modernise, upgrade its military machine and provide growing capabilities for projecting power. The challenge before the world, he said, was to create a global environment conducive to China’s peaceful rise.

The former Prime Minister said domestic reforms were the key to putting India on a higher growth path and giving it the economic heft to conduct a pro-active foreign policy, for which engaging South and Central Asian countries must be the core of economic diplomacy.

Several technical sessions were held during the conference in which experts from India and neighbouring countries deliberated upon issues pertaining to security, energy, border area development, trans-regional connectivity and food productivity.

They also assessed research, development publication and networking in South and Central Asian countries and discussed issues which merit in depth research. The presentations made during the sessions were summed by the respective chairpersons.

Dr Singh also honoured Prof RP Bambah, vice-president of CRRID and former Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, who was his contemporary during his university teaching days here.
Pak PM’s speech encouraging, say separatists
Geelani, Mirwaiz call for withdrawal of troops from both sides of LoC in Kashmir
Ishfaq Tantry

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 1
Separatist leaders in Kashmir today termed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session as “positive and encouraging”.

Sharif in his speech from the floor of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday presented a four-point peace initiative, which included taking steps to demilitarise Kashmir.

Both the factions of Hurriyat, the one headed by moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the other by hardliner Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, said what they “infer and understand” by demilitrisation was withdrawal of troops from both sides of the Line of Control.

Sharif, in his “four-point peace initiative”, also proposed Pakistan and India to formalise and respect the 2003 understanding of a complete ceasefire in Kashmir and on LoC, and called for its monitoring by the UN observers.

He further said Pakistan and India should reaffirm that they would not resort to the threat of force under any circumstances.

While calling for “taking steps” to demilitarise Kashmir, Sharif suggested Pakistan’s agreement to “mutually” withdraw troops from the Siachen glacier.

Appreciating Sharif for “advocating the cause of Kashmiri people” at the United Nations, senior separatist leader and chairman of hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Geelani said he supported the demand for removal of troops and called for “complete withdrawal of Indian troops” from Jammu and Kashmir.

Geelani said in his UNGA speech Nawaz Sharif “represented emotions, sentiments and thoughts” of Kashmiris.

The separatist leader, however, criticised the world body, saying that even though 18 resolutions have been passed by the UNO on Kashmir, it has failed to implement them.

Asked whether the party would call for withdrawal of troops from the other side of the LoC as well, hardline Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said: “PM Nawaz was talking in terms of the UN resolutions on Kashmir and it is understood what we mean from withdrawal of troops from J&K.”

The UN resolutions on Kashmir call for withdrawal of troops by both Pakistan and India, followed by a plebiscite.

Nawaz Sharif’s “four-point peace imitative” appears a modified version of General Pervez Musharraf’s four-point Kashmir formula, which Geelani had openly opposed.

Meanwhile, terming Sharif’s speech as “encouraging”, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq urged India to respond positively to the “four-point peace initiative” proposed by the Pakistan PM.

Mirwaiz, who has been a strong votary of the Musharaf’s four-point formula on Kashmir, also called for “withdrawal of troops” from Kashmir and termed it as a “longstanding demand of the Hurriyat”.

He said withdrawal of troops was in fact part of the suggestions the amalgam had proposed a few years ago to build an atmosphere of confidence and pave the way for dialogue on Kashmir.

“The speech by Sharif is encouraging in a sense that it calls for withdrawal of troops from J&K, which is akin to our longstanding demand of withdrawal of troops from both sides of the Line of Control,” Mirwaiz told the Tribune, when asked if he supported withdrawal of troops from the other side of the fence.
Nawaz’s peace initiative: A well-laid trap for India
Arun Joshi

Tribune News Service
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly marking its 70th anniversary would be remembered for its superb diplomatic diction and shortchanging the history of Kashmir as part of his obligation to the army, ISI and anti-India hawks back home.

Refocusing on the Kashmir issue, the bizarre distortion of historical facts by Nawaz proved that he was under pressure to unload his political, diplomatic and geo-strategic sagacity that he had displayed in Ufa, Russia, on July 10 when Pakistan and India had promised to discuss terrorism and sort it out.

The outstanding issues – Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek - were more than implicitly expressed and included in the joint draft in Ufa. That became his undoing in Pakistan where army chief Raheel Sharif and others literally challenged his authority and made him reverse the sagacious course resulting in the collapse of the National Security Advisers-level talks on August 23-24.

Nawaz attempted to pull wool over the eyes of the world on Kashmir. The tool he used was the distortion of history.

Jammu and Kashmir has acceded to India. Therefore, the nation born out of India, Pakistan, which sponsored tribal invasion with the active support of regulars and illegally occupied the Indian territory was a “foreign occupier”.

There is no denying the fact that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. It is also a global knowledge that terror factories of the state and state-patronised non-state actors are producing terrorists. Pakistan used terrorists to increase its “strategic depth” in Afghanistan and “bleed India”. Now, they have come to haunt Pakistan itself. Pakistan itself is to be blamed for the misfortune that has befallen it.

Nawaz’s four-point peace initiative with India is a trap. An imaginary backdrop is drawn in which he asks India “to refrain from fomenting instability in Pakistan”.

He also went on to say: “The two countries should address and resolve the causes of tension and take all possible measures that are the simplest to implement.

“We propose Pakistan and India formalise and respect the 2003 understanding for a complete ceasefire on the Line of Control in Kashmir.”

History has been taken for a ride here. It overlooks the fact that the Id-ul-Fitr ceasefire agreement of November 26, 2003, was a sequel to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee “extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan” from Srinagar on April 18, 2003. The ceasefire agreement was for all borders, including the international border, Line of Control and Siachen Glacier, and not the LoC alone.

The ceasefire agreement had certain fundamentals: neither of the two armies nor border guards was to fire at each other. But Pakistan started violating it from January 2005 onwards to facilitate infiltration. The Indian side had reserved the right to retaliate if provoked. India’s restraint was read as its weakness. It was only after the Pakistani army launched a mini war on the LoC and international border and started targeting and killing innocent civilians that the Indian Army retaliated. There were unfortunate deaths on the other side as well.

Nawaz absolved the Pakistani army of blame for the border hostility and injected an element of mischievousness. He sought the expansion of the role of the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan. It was a part of Pakistan’s machinations to pressurise India into accepting the third party role in Kashmir.

“Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances.” Here Pakistan wants to have its cake and eat it too. It was Pakistan’s national security adviser Sartaj Aziz who brought the Armageddon scenario by threatening to use the nuclear weapons. “We are nuclear power,” Sartaj had said. What did he imply?

Nawaz has also demanded “demilitarisation of Kashmir”. That, in simple terms, means that Pakistan wants to have a clear field for its terror machine in the Valley. It is a known fact that the only force that can counter terrorism effectively is the Indian Army. He also talked about “unconditional withdrawal from Siachen Glacier”. Here, it would be worthwhile for the Pakistan premier to look at what had happened in the early 1980s and how the glacier became the “highest battlefield in the world.”

Nawaz could not stop the Kargil intrusions. Was that his payback to the Lahore declaration? What should be made of this “peace initiative” it may be asked.
Russian jets target Qaida men in Syria but not IS
Beirut/Moscow, October 1
Russian jets launched a second day of air strikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting areas held by an insurgent alliance that includes a group linked to Al-Qaida, but not the Islamic State militants Moscow said it had hit.

Reacting to criticism that it is targeting opponents of the Syrian government, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted today that Russia’s airstrikes in Syria were targeting not only Islamic State militants but also other groups.

Twenty airstrikes had destroyed a command center of Islamic State militants as well as ammunition depots, the defense ministry said. Moscow insisted that it was targeting IS militants while US officials and other cast doubt on the claim, saying the Russians appeared to be attacking opposition groups fighting Syrian government forces.

Al-Mayadeen, a pro-Damascus television channel, said jets carried out at least 30 strikes against an insurgent alliance known as the Army of Conquest. The alliance includes the Nusra Front, Al-Qaida’s Syrian branch, but not Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate on swathes of Syria and Iraq. — Agencies
Army DGMO retires; no regular appointment
New Delhi, October 1
The Director General of Military Operations of the Army retired yesterday and so did the Military Secretary. The two handle the operations and personnel issues, respectively, in the 1.3-million strong Army.

Regular appointments to replace the two important functionaries have not been made. Both are Lieutenant General rank posts. Major General rank - one rank lower than Lt Gen -officers have been given officiating charge till regular appointments are made. The appointments have to be made by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet.

Not just these two posts, at least three other senior posts have no regular appointees. The Engineer-in-Chief of the Military Engineering Services Lt Gen J Sikand retired yesterday and so did the Director General of Rashtriya Rifles Lt Gen Sandeep Singh. No replacements had been announced. — TNS
Key Army Post Vacant, No Replacement Soon, Indicate Sources
New Delhi:  One of the most critical operational positions in the Indian Army - the Director General of Military Operations or DGMO - has been vacant for around 24 hours now. The last DGMO, Lieutenant General PR Kumar, retired on Wednesday.

"I cannot recall the position being kept vacant ever," a former holder of the position told NDTV. Each time, a successor is chosen days ahead.

Sources in the Army Headquarters indicted that the post is not likely to be filled soon.

The DGMO is a senior commander tasked to plan, supervise and control operations across India including Jammu and Kashmir, North East, the India-Pakistan and India-China borders.

Besides, the DGMO also advises the government on operational issues both during peace and war.

Five other positions are vacant too -- the Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency, Director General of Rastriya Rifles, Director General of Mechanized Forces, Director General of Military Engineering Services and the crucial post of Military Secretary.

The Defence Intelligence Agency is a tri-services organisation drawing expertise from the Army, Air Force and the Navy. Its task is to collect, collate and analyse intelligence concerning the military. It also advises the National Security Council.

Its last DG, Lieutenant General Anil Bhalla, retired a month ago. There has been no replacement.

The Directorate General of Rashtriya Rifles oversees logistics and overall management of RR battalions deployed in counter-insurgency operations. Over 60 battalions of the RR is deployed in Jammu and Kashmir alone.

The commander of the Mechanized Forces deals with logistics, procurement and overall management of about around 60 Tank regiments and 40 Mechanized Infantry Units. The Military Engineering Service services all three forces.

The Military Secretary deals with all the transfer and promotions and is one of Principal Staff officer to the Chief of Army staff.

The government, however, played down the gaps. A senior official of the defence ministry said, "There is no reason for alarm, issues in each area are being addressed satisfactorily."

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