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Saturday, 2 April 2016

From Today's Papers - 02 Apr 2016

India, Pakistan have managed the spy affair well
If at the height of the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union were able to manage the issue of spies captured, surely there is a way for Pakistan and India to do the same.
IT was an astonishing news conference in every way. With protesters gathered outside Parliament, controversy over counter-terrorism operations in Punjab raging and a joint investigation team in India to probe the Pathankot air base attack, ISPR chief Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa and Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid held a joint media briefing to discuss the anti-Pakistan activities of captured Indian spy Kul Bhushan Jadhav.

While questions remain about the exact nature of Jadhav's activities in Balochistan and the circumstances of his arrest, it is obvious that India has a great deal to answer for. Moreover, the weak and confused denials of Indian officials so far has added to a sense that the Pakistani version of events surrounding Jadhav is far closer to the truth than the Indian version. After years of unproven allegations, the Pakistani state has rather dramatically produced evidence of Indian interest and interference in Balochistan. Perhaps what is most impressive is that the capture of an Indian national by Pakistan has not led to a meltdown in relations altogether. Had Jadhav been captured a year ago, it is more than likely that the already tense bilateral relationship would have plummeted to yet another low. But on March 29, neither Lt-Gen Bajwa nor Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid tried to whip up a frenzy. Instead, both men spoke in calm, measured tones and the thrust of the news conference was to ask India to cease its anti-Pakistan activities. In India too there has been a relatively muted reaction given that an Indian national has been shown confessing on national TV in Pakistan. Yet, it is in the continuing work of the Pathankot JIT that a real sense of perspective has been maintained. In Pakistan allowing the investigators to go to India and the latter receiving them and permitting them to work as planned, both states have shown that the Jadhav affair is not going to overrule and cancel all other crucial issues. While Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi will now not meet in Washington after the former cancelled his trip in the wake of the Lahore park attack, it is hoped that a meeting elsewhere will be possible soon. On the spy issue, the state here must resist any pressure to turn it into a Raymond Davis-type fiasco. Instead of a public trial leading to all manner of nationalist and anti-Indian sentiment being unleashed, the fate of Jadhav and the broader issue of spying between Pakistan and India should be worked out between the two states. If at the height of the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union were able to manage the issue of spies captured, surely there is a way for Pakistan and India to do the same. More troubling, though, is the allegation of going beyond mere spying and actively stirring unrest inside Pakistan. A new set of rules needs to be drawn up on that front.
JIT given proof against Azhar, NIA team may visit Pak next
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has promised the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take action against anyone linked to the Pathankot IAF base attack if evidence is provided. After the assurance, the Indian agency has given “credible” inputs to the JIT on the involvement of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar.

The NIA sleuths also told the JIT they would like to visit Pakistan to carry forward the investigation. “The dates will be worked out later,” said NIA Director General Sharad Kumar at the end of five days of discussions with JIT, which returned to Pakistan today.

He said the agency had presented the JIT with “concrete evidence” against the JeM bosses who conspired in the attack and the handlers of the terrorists.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the result of the JIT visit was “positive” and it had “not contradicted our findings”. He, however, said no date had been fixed for an Indian team’s visit. On March 28, when the talks began, NIA had shown the JIT intercepts of conversations between the slain terrorists and Azhar, his brother Rauf Asgar and their handler.
Army Chief visits Siachen with words of praise for soldiers
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 1
Chief of the Army Staff General Dalbir Singh Suhag today visited Siachen to review the situation following recent avalanches in which 12 soldiers and a porter were killed.

“The Army Chief visited the sites where soldiers lost their lives at Siachen in the recent avalanches. He interacted with the soldiers serving at Siachen and commended them for their outstanding work in difficult conditions. He exhorted them to be careful of the threats of avalanches,” said defence spokesperson Col SD Goswami.

The Army Chief also met the porters who maintain the posts in difficult conditions at Siachen.

General Dalbir Singh was accompanied by Northern Command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda and 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen SK Patyal.

On March 25, two soldiers on patrol duty were buried under an avalanche in the Turtuk area of western Siachen.

A porter died on February 27 when he fell into a 200-foot-deep crevasse in Siachen’s northern glacier.

His body was found 130-foot-deep after the rescue teams cut through frozen snow and ice.

On February 3, 10 soldiers were buried under a major avalanche which wiped out an Army post on Siachen Glacier. While nine of the soldiers were found dead, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, buried under 25 feet of snow, was found alive in a critical condition six days after the avalanche had hit the Sonam post.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, however, succumbed to hypothermia among other ailments at Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi on February 11.

Following the death of nine soldiers on February 3, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit had suggested withdrawal of Indian and Pakistani armies from the strategic glacier.
China stalls India’s bid to ban Jaish chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 1
China has once again blocked India’s bid to ban the mastermind of the Pathankot terror attacks and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief, Masood Azhar, at the United Nations. Besides, it once again reiterated its support to Pakistan.

“What China has done (in the UN) was not good. The Ministry of External Affairs will take an appropriate action. Whatever action is required, we will take,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said, responding to China’s actions.

India had written to the UN in February after the attack on the Indian Air Force base on January 2. India also submitted evidence to prove the terror activities of the JeM and its leader and had called for immediate action to list Azhar under the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.

India‘s submission was considered by the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) for technical aspects of the evidence provided. The technical team with the support of the United States, United Kingdom and France had sent the evidence to all members, sources said. All were told that if there are no objections, the designation will be announced after the expiry of the deadline, sources added.
Raytheon to supply Stinger air-to-air missiles to India
Raytheon has secured a contract under the framework of a foreign military sale to supply Stinger air-to-air missiles to the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Awarded as part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the Indian MoD with the US Department of Defence (DoD), the deal will see India acquire 245 Stinger missiles.

The contract also covers provision for launchers and engineering support.

The new weapon system is expected to enhance the firepower to the nation's new combat helicopters.

Raytheon Land Warfare Systems vice-president Duane Gooden said: "India joins nations around the globe who recognise that air-to-air Stinger can be a key component of attack and light attack helicopter mission configurations.

"Stinger significantly improves the ability of the aircraft to successfully perform today's missions while countering existing threats."

The latest acquisition is part of the $3.1bn deal with the US that covers the supply of combat helicopters, weapons, radars and electronic warfare suites.

Stinger is a portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile (SAM), designed to provide higher precision guidance against modern threats, including fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, UAVs and cruise missiles.

The weapon system also has an air-to-air capability that facilitates its integration into most fixed- or rotary-wing platforms.

Having entered into service in 1981, the missile is currently in use with all four US military services and 18 international countries worldwide.
Indian Army, NCC Girl Cadets to scale Everest
KATHMANDU, April 1: Two teams of Indian Army Soldiers and Indian Army National Cadet Corps (NCC) Girl Cadets are climbing Mount Everest this spring.

The Indian Army Soldiers team will leave for the Everest region on Sunday, while the NCC Girl Cadets will depart from Kathmandu to conquer the highest peak on Monday.
Talking to journalists at a function organized by the Embassy of India in Kathmandu on Friday, Colonel Gaurav Karki, leader of NCC Girl Cadets, said that the expedition aim to promote friendly relationship between Nepal and India.

The Indian Army NCC Girl Cadets Team comprises of four officers, two Junior Commissioned officers, seven Other Ranks, two Girls Cadet Instructors and 10 NCC Girl Cadets, according to Colonel Karki.

Similarly, Indian Army Soldiers have formed a 20-member 'The Indian Army Everest Massif Expedition 2016' to climb the tallest mountain on earth. Lieutenant Colonel Ranveer Singh Jamwal, who is leading the team, said that the team expects to complete the expedition by May 24.

According to Jamwal, The Indian Army Everest Massif Expedition had to retreat from the Everest region last year due to the earthquake of April 25. "We could not conquest the Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse last year due to the avalanche triggered by the earthquakes. However, the team involved in the relief operations after the quake and extended relief and rescue for other stranded mountaineers from various countries," Jamwal, who has already climbed Mt Everest two times, said. "We were the last team to return from the Base Camp," he said, vowing to complete the expedition that was halted last year.

Jamwal said this expedition also marks the golden jubilee of the Indian Army team's first Everest summit. A team of Indian Army led by Lieutenant Commander MS Kohli had conquered Everest for the first time fifty years ago.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said that the adventurous and sport events from Nepal and India will help to strengthen relationship between the two countries. "We keep talking about the relationship between two countries. This attempt to summit Everest would be a step ahead in further strengthening the age old relations between our two countries. I hope this will revive trekking and tourism in Nepal and inspire many young people of India, Nepal and the rest of the world," Rae added.
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