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Monday, 16 November 2015

From Today's Papers - 16 Nov 2015

Agents in defence deals okay but no scope for mischief: Parrikar
To ensure transparency, government will soon allow foreign defence firms to appoint agents but the companies will have to upfront mention the “reasonable” renumeration to be paid and won’t be allowed to dole out any bonus or success fees, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said.

Drawing a distinction between agents and middlemen, he said the government will not leave room for any “hanky-panky”.

“Agents do not mean middlemen. There will be scope for a company to appoint an agent to represent it or to get over technical difficulties by paying him or her reasonable fee which will have to be mentioned upfront,” Parrikar told PTI in an interview.

He said that the new Defence Procurement Procedure, which is in final stages of completion, will clearly define the role of agents.

He agreed that there is already a provision for agents legally but said, “In short, agent word was there but without clearly defining what his role would be. It was not very well defined. That is being defined properly.”

The Defence Minister said appointment of agents does not mean that defence firms are allowed to give commissions or something like that.

“Sometimes you cannot open office because the quantum of business does not justify an office. So how do you deal here? You can’t send a person from foreign country here all the time. So hence this is a provision but it does not allow any hanky-panky,” Parrikar said.

He said agents’ fees will have to be mentioned upfront and success fee, bonus or any such payments will not be allowed.

“Not even penalty for failure. Sometimes, you give upfront and then get it back through penalty if work is not done,” he said.

The government’s move will bring in much-needed transparency, even if limited, in the murky world of multi- billion dollars defence contracts where middlemen have had a field day, defence experts said.

Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said on Sunday that Goa should naturally host an event like the Defence Expo, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the son of this soil. — PTI
IS most searched on Net in Kashmir, Assam
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 15
In September this year, an intelligence agency conducting technical surveillance submitted a report to the government on growing interest among the youth in India to search the Internet for the Islamic State (IS).

The highest Internet traffic watching the IS or its other nomenclature the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) was originating from the Kashmir valley while people of Assam followed second.

Till last count, 18 youth were known to have joined the IS. Six of whom are known to have already been killed in various operations and another four have returned. The alarming part is that more than 60 youths, including engineers, chartered accounts and medical professionals, were stopped at various Indian airports following suspicion that they were going to join the IS in Syria. The Centre is now looking at technology and the Internet to keep an eye on how youth are being radicalised.

The other fear is that of “hacking”, just 10-days ago, the ISIS hacked tens of thousands of Twitter accounts and posted phone numbers of CIA and FBI chiefs online.

Details of more than 54,000 Twitter accounts, including passwords, were hacked by a group calling itself “Cyber Caliphate”. Victims were helpless as ISIS propaganda appeared under their names.
Army’s ‘Tornadoes’ ride their way to glory
Tribune News Service

Bengaluru, November 15
“Tornadoes”, the motor cycle display team of Army Service Corps, led by Lieutenant Colonel KK Nair today created a Guinness world record by covering a distance of 1 km in 56.23 seconds in human pyramid formation comprising 32 men.

The previous record for similar feat was held by the Corps of Signal who had covered the distance in 60 seconds. On the previous occasion, 30 personnel atop three motorcycles had taken part in the display.

The “Tornadoes” established another world record when a human pyramid consisting 12 members on two motorcycles covered a distance of 1 km in 49 seconds bettering the previous record of 54 seconds held by the Corps of Signals.

The Tornadoes also set up new records in hand-free riding of the motorcycle while sitting on front mudguard (mudguard ride) nonstop on zig-zag 19 km of road, riding motorcycle nonstop standing on zig-zag 19 km of road, riding motorcycle nonstop while lying on the seat and riding motorcycle kneeling down on the seat.

The performances took place at the NICE Road here in the presence of Lieutenant General SPS Katewa Commandant, ASC Centre and College, BK Dixit, Addl Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Evaluation Officer, Karnataka Evaluation Authority, Brigadier Rajeev Minocha, Commandant, ASC Centre (South) and a large number of civil and military dignitaries.

The display team was raised in 1982 after having given a stupendous display of daredevilry during the 1982 Asian Games.

The records by Tornadoes include forming a moving human pyramid consisting of 181 men on 11 pyramids.
Focus military power on radicals, Russia told
Paris attacks overshadow world summit | Obama says will work with France to hunt down the culprits
Belek, November 15
US President Barack Obama vowed on Sunday to step up efforts to eliminate Islamic State in Syria and prevent it from carrying out attacks like those in Paris, while European leaders urged Russia to focus its military efforts on the radical Islamists.

Speaking at a G20 leaders summit in Turkey, Obama described the killings in Paris claimed by Islamic State as an attack on the civilised world and said the United States would work with France to hunt down those responsible.

The two-day summit brings Obama and fellow world leaders just 500 km from Syria, where a 4-1/2-year conflict has transformed Islamic State into a global security threat and spawned Europe's largest migration flows since World War Two.

"Traditionally the G20 has been a forum primarily to discuss economic issues facing the globe ... (but) the sky has been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago," Obama said in a statement after meeting Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

"The US and its allies will redouble efforts to find a peaceful solution in Syria and prevent Islamic State militants from perpetrating attacks like those in Paris." Obama and his Western allies now face the question of how the West should respond after Islamic State again demonstrated it posed a threat far beyond its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Washington already expects France to retaliate by taking on a larger role in the U.S.-led coalition's bombing campaign against Islamic State.

But European Council President Donald Tusk said Russia too should focus its military operations on Islamic State, rather than on the Syrian opposition battling President Bashar al-Assad, urging cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

"It should be our common aim to coordinate our actions against Daesh (IS) and for sure the cooperation between the United States and Russia is a crucial one," he said.

Russia joined the conflict a month and a half ago with air strikes in Syria, but has been targeting mainly areas controlled by the moderate Syrian opposition fighting Assad, its ally, rather than Islamic State, its critics say.

Turkey and Western allies, by contrast, want Assad out.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomed the renewed sense of urgency to find a solution to the war in Syria after the Paris attacks, adding the world had a "rare moment" of diplomatic opportunity to end the violence.

Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have no formal bilateral meeting planned. As the leaders moved into place for a group photo on Sunday, Putin approached Obama and they shook hands, exchanging words for only a few brief moments.

Obama is also seeking to coax other European and Middle Eastern countries into more tangible steps to show their military commitment and will hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, US officials said. In a call late last month, the two leaders affirmed the need to cooperate in fighting Islamic State.

Obama said he had also discussed in his meeting with Erdogan the progress made by foreign ministers in Vienna, who on Saturday outlined a plan for a political process in Syria leading to elections within two years, although differences over Assad's fate still remained. — Reuters
AFSPA made dirtier by the judiciary
The situation in Garo Hills might indeed be a fit case for the imposition of AFSPA but it is simply not for the judges to take a call. The recent order by the Meghalaya High Court is a transgression by the judiciary into the domain of the executive.
The full bench of the Meghalaya High Court, comprising Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice TNK Singh and Justice SR Sen, in an order dated November 2, 2015, while hearing a case relating to bandhs called by the insurgents in the Garo Hills, directed “the Central Government to consider the use of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the Garo Hills area and deployment of Armed and Para-military forces to control the situation in the aid of but certainly not under the command of civil and police authorities till life becomes normal and the incidents of rampant kidnapping and killing are totally stopped”.

The court also directed the Union Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary to ensure compliance with the order and report to the Court during the next hearing. It further directed the Principal Secretary in the office of the Prime Minister to place the order before the Prime Minister for perusal and consideration. The court sought to justify its order, inter alia, on the ground that insurgents had abducted 87 people in the past 10 months and further stated that “even under the ideal federal system of United States of America, whereas ours is only quasi federal, under the Insurrection Act, the President can deploy Armed Forces under certain circumstances including terrorist activities in the states”. The order is bad in law, grounds are fallacious, and it is nothing but an illegal transgression into the domain of the executive by the judiciary. Under Section 3 of the AFSPA, it is only the Governor of the state or the Administrator of the Union Territory or the Central Government who can declare the whole or such part of such state or Union Territory to be a disturbed area, but the Meghalaya High Court took up the task of the Governor upon itself. There is only one Government of India and the law and order falls under the domain of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Therefore, the direction to place the order before the Prime Minister is an overzealous act, indicting the MHA and the Ministry of Defence.

If crime statistics are to be the yardstick, there is no doubt that the situation in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, afflicted by the Naxalites, is worse than the Garo Hills. Does that mean that the Chhattisgarh High Court or the Supreme Court should direct imposition of emergency under Article 356 of the Constitution in Chhattisgarh? The assertion that the United States is the “ideal federal system” is a debatable issue. The Swiss consider their federal system, under which each Canton/province has the power to seek referendum before imposition of any law or policy, as the most ideal. Under the United States' Insurrection Act, the President of the US is authorised to deploy the armed forces under certain circumstances, including terrorist activities in the states, but the Supreme Court of the United States is not authorised to direct the President of the United States in which situations he/she should deploy the armed forces. The AFSPA authorises the Government of India to deploy armed forces but unlike the Supreme Court of the United States, the Meghalaya High Court went to direct the Government of India to impose AFSPA in the Garo Hills.

That the AFSPA has no place in a country governed by the rule of law requires little introduction. The judiciary has made it dirtier. The Supreme Court in its judgement dated November 27, 1997, in the case of the Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights vs Union of India, while upholding the constitutional validity of the AFSPA sanctified provisions which are in clear violation of the Constitution. First, it was with respect to the powers of the Governor vis-a-vis the council of ministers with respect to imposition of the AFSPA under Section 3 of the Act. Even though the Governor under the Constitution discharges duties on the aid and advice of the council of ministers, the Supreme Court held that the Governor is empowered to impose the AFSPA without the aid and advice of the council of ministers. The special law was allowed to prevail over the Constitution. This has created a piquant situation. In many states, the AFSPA was imposed by the Governors against and/or without the advice of the council of ministers of the concerned state. With respect to Arunachal Pradesh, the Union Home Ministry was forced to withdraw the imposition of the AFSPA in all the districts in May, 2015. During the same month, the AFSPA was withdrawn from Tripura on the advice of the council of ministers. Second, in the areas declared disturbed under the AFSPA, the Supreme Court held that the central armed forces are not required to operate under the control of the state security forces while performing duties in aid of civil power of the state.

The Supreme Court relied upon the Entry 2A of the Union List of the Constitution, that is, “deployment of any armed force of the Union or any other force subject to the control of the Union or any contingent or unit thereof in any state in aid of the civil power, powers, jurisdiction, privileges and liabilities of the members of such forces while on such deployment”. However, Entry 2A of the Union List makes no distinction between states covered under the AFSPA and those not covered.

The Meghalaya High Court went a step further: It took over the power of the executive to impose the AFSPA in the Garo Hills and assaulted the basic tenets of the Constitution on separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive.  The task of the judiciary is to assess whether the legality of the action of the executive on imposition of the AFSPA or any other law, and not to perform the task of the executive, including analysis of the inputs of intelligence agencies on law and order situation, to declare certain areas as disturbed. Unless the state government of Meghalaya or the Ministry of Home Affairs challenges the order of the Meghalaya High Court, the courts in India may as well direct imposition of emergency under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, a common refrain of the opposition political parties in most states.
Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh to visit Japan
New Delhi, Nov 15: Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh will visit Japan from November 16 to 19 where he is expected to discuss a range of bilateral issues including enhancement of military cooperation. A defence ministry release here on Sunday said defence relations between the two countries have been characterised by cooperation in disaster relief, exchange of training courses and cooperation in United Nations peacekeeping operations. (read:VHP leader Ashok Singhal’s condition remains critical )

During the “goodwill visit”, Gen. Dalbir Singh will interact with officials of the Japanese Self Defense Forces and the defence ministry over a wide range of issues to enhance military cooperation.He will also visit training establishments and formation headquarters.”The visit will further cement the longstanding ties between India and Japan, which are based on a shared commitment towards world peace and regional security,” the release said.

It said India’s relations with Japan have undergone a significant transformation since the establishment of the India-Japan Global partnership for the 21st century in August 2000 and the enhancement of its status to a ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in September last year.

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