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Friday, 29 April 2016

From Today's Papers - 29 Apr 2016





















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/india-denies-visa-to-two-more-chinese-dissidents/229329.html
India denies visa to two more Chinese dissidents
New Delhi, April 28
Even as India today defended its decision to cancel the visa issued to Uyghur activist Dolkun Isa, saying he had been given a tourist visa that did not permit him to attend a conference in Dharamsala, it emerged that the visas to two other Chinese dissidents were also not granted. The duo was supposed to attend the Dharamsala conference.

Lu Jinghua, who was active in the 1989 Tiananmen square protests and figures on a Chinese list of “major criminals”, learnt of the development as she was about to board a New Delhi-bound flight from New York on April 25.

Sources said since Lu Jinghua and Roy Wong both had inconsistency in their documents, visas were not issued to them. — TNS


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/talking-with-pakistan/229132.html
Talking with Pakistan
Jadhav’s arrest levels the playing field
The government’s almost-impulsive about turns have made its Pakistan policy unpredictable and prone to gaffes. But there is some serious work happening underneath the surface of cultivated indifference and caution. As the India-Pakistan relationship is prone to many missteps, both governments have replicated the technique of springing a meeting from the closing years of the UPA-Zardari governments. This denies spoilers time to activate their standard technique of arranging bomb blasts just before a high-level Indo-Pak meet. The Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s sudden visit to Delhi and his prolonged conversation with his counterpart may be part of this piece just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met their counterparts virtually unannounced.

Then Pathankot happened and the pace slowed down. But it was the result of the continuing conversation that India convinced Pakistan to send a probe team to Pathankot, although the outcome wasn’t what it had wished for. And the arrest of a former Indian Navy officer has diminished India’s moral high horsing. In the eyes of the international community, both seem to be fomenting violent discontent in each other’s land. The separate statements issued at the end of the talk between the Foreign Secretaries reflect this realism in Indo-Pak affairs. India called the talks “frank and constructive”, meaning both sides pulled no punches, and Pakistan highlighted the “cordial environment” which stands for courteous allowance to the other side’s views. What is noteworthy is neither side has criticised the other.

From available indications, the talks might have paved the way for a structured meeting between the Foreign Secretaries. Provided there is no Pathankot or Dinanagar, this could herald the beginning of the composite dialogue, a format that discusses each and every issue of discord. Continued dialogue among officials with adequate political oversight should set the stage for the meeting between the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers, respectively, on the sidelines of two international conferences late this year. The Modi government has shown the gumption to take a leap in the dark. The coming days will test its talent to land on its feet.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/dealings-with-agusta-on-hold-since-july-2014-mod/229321.html
Dealings with Agusta on hold since July 2014: MoD
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 28
The Ministry of Defence today issued a statement saying all procurement from tainted Anglo-Italian helicopter maker AgustaWestland has been put on hold since July 2014 and that the contract to supply 12 VVIP helicopters was terminated in January 2014.

In simple words, the MoD has indicated that the company is facing a ban.

Arun Jaitley of the BJP was the Defence Minister in July 2014 and AK Antony of the Congress was the incumbent in January 2014.

The MoD today said the “publicly available information on the procurement of AgustaWestland helicopters clearly shows that the core issue in the matter is corruption”.

“The present government has taken effective action to bring out the truth and will leave no stone unturned in pursuing all means to bring to justice the corrupt and the wrong-doers in the case. The time taken is largely because some of the key perpetrators of this misdeed are outside the country,” the statement said.

The MoD said questions have been raised on certain trivial technicalities, which appear to be intended to distract attention from the core issue of corruption.

The government, through its order dated July 3, 2014, put on hold all procurement/acquisition cases in the pipeline as regards six companies figuring in the FIR registered by the CBI. The said companies are AgustaWestland International Limited, UK; Finmeccanica, Italy, and its group companies, including subsidiaries and affiliates; IDS, Tunisia; Infotech Design System (IDS), Mauritius; IDS Infotech Limited, Mohali; and Aeromatrix Info Solution Private Limited, Chandigarh. No new capital procurement has been made thereafter from these companies.

The MoD said a joint venture involving AgustaWestland was cleared by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board. The proposal was approved on September 2, 2011, based on an application by Indian Rotorcraft Ltd, a joint venture of Tata Sons with AgustaWestland NV, Netherlands. This was later changed to AgustaWestland SpA, Italy, due to re-organisation within the group.

On February 7, 2012, an industrial licence for the manufacture of helicopters was granted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to Indian Rotorcraft Ltd. However, the validity of the licence has since expired.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/india-gets-its-own-gps/229318.html
India gets _its own GPS
India on Thursday completed its mission for a regional navigational system on a par with US-based GPS with successful launch of IRNSS-1G, the seventh and last in constellation of satellites that make up the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

When it becomes operational in a month’s time, IRNSS, or ‘desi GPS, would aid terrestrial, aerial, marine navigation, fleet tracking and disaster management. The service can also be integrated with mobile phones in the country

The new GPS will benefit the defence forces, which cannot count on foreign service providers on a long-term basis. The military can use IRNSS to find targets even in the dark or in unknown areas. The US had denied GPS information to India during the Kargil war in 1999


http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/
US wants a stronger Indian military to deter, not provoke, conflict with China
If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so
- See more at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/#sthash.EECmhQ1R.dpuf
If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so. The US has other interests as well, such as maintaining its military edge and ensuring that its “crown jewel” defence technology doesn’t find its way into the hands of adversaries like Russia. But for the foreseeable future, the US has interest in a stronger Indian military. This was not always true. Indeed, this was not the case about 20 years ago. The most significant difference between now and then is the growing capability and assertiveness of the Chinese military. Now, it is very important to be very clear about the very big difference between an interest in a stronger Indian military and an interest in an Indian military that is in conflict with China. America has no interest in the latter. In public, Americans often skirt around the topic of China in discussions of the US-Indian defence partnership. There are a number of good reasons for this, including the fact that this partnership is important for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with China. But one reason that mention of China is avoided is because of concern that public discussion will feed into a false perception that the US is trying to push India into a conflict with China. Unfortunately, ambiguity seems to have fed the Indian public’s anxiety.

So it is important to highlight the widespread consensus among thought leaders in Washington DC that no one seeks a military conflict with China. And we don’t want to see India in a conflict either. In fact, this is precisely the reason why a stronger Indian military is in America’s interest. Relative military weakness is provocative. The trajectory of China’s growing military capabilities threatens to widen the gap between China’s military capabilities and those of India. This is the kind of gap that increases the chance of conflict. And the US and India have an undeniable common interest in trying to prevent it from growing further.

Unfortunately, this common interest is often overshadowed and, instead, there is focus on the “foundational defence agreements”. As someone who worked on these issues while serving in the US government, it’s difficult to understand why this is the case because as Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently noted in this newspaper, these are “prosaic agreements” (‘The American hug’, April 2). They are basic arrangements that facilitate rather than compel military-to-military cooperation and certainly do not “prematurely foreclose” India’s options. They are a far cry from anything approaching a treaty or alliance, which suggests they are widely misunderstood or being criticised for political purposes. I hope that they are signed because they do help facilitate military cooperation, but they will not lead to some kind of military alliance.

Yet, Mehta raises an important topic in his article that warrants a substantive response. He suggests that signing these agreements portends “momentous shifts” in Indian foreign policy and positions India as a “frontline state” on a faultline between the US and China. With all due respect to Mehta, whose scholarship is quite impressive, this is an anachronistic assessment. Today, India is a global power. Even if the US sought to push India into becoming a “frontline state”, America does not and will not have the power to do so. It bears repeating that conflict between India and China isn’t in America’s interest, but even if it was, neither the “foundational agreements” nor anything else can compel India to take actions vis-a-vis China that aren’t in India’s national interest.

Indians should be more confident in the independence of their own government. The Indian government is fully capable of bolstering its defence relationship with the US while maintaining its complete sovereignty. India is a strong country, and the great irony in this debate is that it’s in America’s interest to see it become even stronger.

If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so. The US has other interests as well, such as maintaining its military edge and ensuring that its “crown jewel” defence technology doesn’t find its way into the hands of adversaries like Russia. But for the foreseeable future, the US has interest in a stronger Indian military. This was not always true. Indeed, this was not the case about 20 years ago. The most significant difference between now and then is the growing capability and assertiveness of the Chinese military. Now, it is very important to be very clear about the very big difference between an interest in a stronger Indian military and an interest in an Indian military that is in conflict with China. America has no interest in the latter. In public, Americans often skirt around the topic of China in discussions of the US-Indian defence partnership. There are a number of good reasons for this, including the fact that this partnership is important for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with China. But one reason that mention of China is avoided is because of concern that public discussion will feed into a false perception that the US is trying to push India into a conflict with China. Unfortunately, ambiguity seems to have fed the Indian public’s anxiety.

So it is important to highlight the widespread consensus among thought leaders in Washington DC that no one seeks a military conflict with China. And we don’t want to see India in a conflict either. In fact, this is precisely the reason why a stronger Indian military is in America’s interest. Relative military weakness is provocative. The trajectory of China’s growing military capabilities threatens to widen the gap between China’s military capabilities and those of India. This is the kind of gap that increases the chance of conflict. And the US and India have an undeniable common interest in trying to prevent it from growing further.

Unfortunately, this common interest is often overshadowed and, instead, there is focus on the “foundational defence agreements”. As someone who worked on these issues while serving in the US government, it’s difficult to understand why this is the case because as Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently noted in this newspaper, these are “prosaic agreements” (‘The American hug’, April 2). They are basic arrangements that facilitate rather than compel military-to-military cooperation and certainly do not “prematurely foreclose” India’s options. They are a far cry from anything approaching a treaty or alliance, which suggests they are widely misunderstood or being criticised for political purposes. I hope that they are signed because they do help facilitate military cooperation, but they will not lead to some kind of military alliance.

Yet, Mehta raises an important topic in his article that warrants a substantive response. He suggests that signing these agreements portends “momentous shifts” in Indian foreign policy and positions India as a “frontline state” on a faultline between the US and China. With all due respect to Mehta, whose scholarship is quite impressive, this is an anachronistic assessment. Today, India is a global power. Even if the US sought to push India into becoming a “frontline state”, America does not and will not have the power to do so. It bears repeating that conflict between India and China isn’t in America’s interest, but even if it was, neither the “foundational agreements” nor anything else can compel India to take actions vis-a-vis China that aren’t in India’s national interest.

Indians should be more confident in the independence of their own government. The Indian government is fully capable of bolstering its defence relationship with the US while maintaining its complete sovereignty. India is a strong country, and the great irony in this debate is that it’s in America’s interest to see it become even stronger.
- See more at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/#sthash.EECmhQ1R.dpuf


http://indianexpress.com/article/india/army-officers-get-fake-messages-advisory-issued-pcdao-2773809/
Army officers get fake messages; advisory issued by PCDA(O)
Several officers of the Indian Army have received fake messages through phone messaging applications informing them that the PCDA(O), has developed an app and the officers could access their accounts through the link in the messages.
- See more at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/army-officers-get-fake-messages-advisory-issued-pcdao-2773809/#sthash.LSXyeF1V.dpuf
In a suspected case of cyber security threat, several officers of the Indian Army have received fake messages through phone messaging applications informing them that the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Officers), PCDA(O), has developed an app and the officers could access their accounts through the link in the messages.

The PCDA(O) has now issued an advisory to the officers not to open these links and clarified that no such app has been developed by the office.

The office of PCDA(O), which is located in Pune, caters to over 46,000 serving Army officers, right from the Chief of Army Staff to officers of the rank of a lieutenant, which is the first rank for the commissioned officers. According to its own website, the office looks after the pre-audit and payment of pay and allowances and all claims of officers of Indian Army.
- See more at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/army-officers-get-fake-messages-advisory-issued-pcdao-2773809/#sthash.LSXyeF1V.dpuf
Incidentally, the website of PCDA (O) was hacked in April last year.

Defence sources said that since over a month till 15 days ago, several Army officers, including seniors, received messages through the phone messaging services like WhatsApp and also through messaging services of social networking sites and mails that the PCDA (O) had developed an app through which they could access information about their pay and allowance.

“When these links were checked, it came to light that the browser was redirecting the user to a suspicious link. This was a potential cyber security threat, which could have led to stealing of personal data of the officers, including their usernames and passwords for the PCDA (O) website,” said an officer on the condition of anonymity.

“Such intrusions can potentially be a threat to the data on the server of the website. The PCDA (O) has not just the information about salaries but also of the allowances. The information on these allowances can reveal where the officer is currently posted and what exactly is the profile, and even his personal details about home and loans,” the officer said.

The PCDA (O) website has now posted advisory messages which read, “PCDA(O) has not developed any APP or application for any service or communication. Hence, do not respond to any unauthorised e-mail communication and do not download any such application. PCDA(O) is not forwarding any link either to officer’s email IDs or to mobile phones. Hence, officers are advised not to respond to or click any such link even if it is received in the name of PCDA(O).”

Principal Control of Defence Accounts, Dr G D Pungle, said, “These advisory messages have been posted because we are very cautious about the security of the data. It is a continuous effort to take all the care so that information of our clients is safe.”

In April last year, the website of PCDA(O) had come under cyber attack by alleged hackers from Pakistan, who had posted obscene photos on the website. The website was shut down for a while before it was restored with advanced cyber security checks.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has, in the past, stated that cyber security was one of the key concerns for Indian defence forces.
- See more at:


http://indianexpress.com/article/india/army-officers-get-fake-messages-advisory-issued-pcdao-2773809/#sthash.LSXyeF1V.dpuf

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