Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Sunday, 15 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 15 May 2016

US backs India’s entry into NSG
Move despite opposition from China, Pak
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14
A day after India met opposition from China, the US today supported New Delhi’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), saying it conformed to the “missile technology control regime requirements” that were a must for the membership.

China had issued a statement yesterday saying several NSG members felt that signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was a “cornerstone for gaining the NSG membership”.

Before Beijing, Islamabad had tried to block India’s entry into the exclusive club. Last month, Sartaj Aziz, foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, went to the extent

of saying that “China had helped Pakistan stall India’s bid to get NSG membership”.

India has not signed the NPT as it claims the treaty is discriminatory but given its super-clean record in non-proliferation, it is eager to join the NSG.

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said last night: “I’d point you back to what the President said during his visit to India in 2015, where he reaffirmed that the US view was that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for NSG membership.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that not only China, several other NSG members too were of the view that “NPT was the cornerstone for safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime”.

 The US support is welcome news but since the NSG membership is based on consensus, India still may have a long way to go before it finally enters the group.
Cabinet to vet defence logistics pact with US
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14
More than a month after India and the US agreed in principle on a proposal to share military logistics, the Union Cabinet will now consider the draft of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).

Sources said the draft had been sent for comments to the ministries concerned.

While the US has been pressing for a quicker decision, India has clarified its stand that the system mandates an inter-ministerial consultation and even addressing suggestions made by other ministries before inking LEMOA, the sources said.

The agreement to conclude LEMOA was announced on April 12 when Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter met in New Delhi.

In the Rajya Sabha on May 10, Parrikar said: “The proposed agreement envisages a framework for logistic support for activities such as joint exercises, training or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, on a case-by-case basis, on mutual consent of both countries.” On April 12, Parrikar had said: “It would take a few weeks for the draft to be ready. We have agreed on the finer points. Let’s wait for the draft.”

Though Parrikar had clarified that LEMOA, “does not entail positioning of US troops in its soil”, India has further clarified to the US that the “rest and recuperation” facilities may not be available for the US troops whose ships may come to seek fuel, spares or supplies at Indian ports.

India is also not comfortable at branding any India-US agreement as “foundational”. In the past, US ships have re-fuelled and re-stocked at Indian ports, but the matter used to be put on a case-to-case basis, LEMOA would make certain facilities automatic. India will have the discretion of withdrawing in case it feels the US had gone to war with a country which it sees as a “friend”.
Rs 50 lakh fine on Centre, Army Chief
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 14
Taking a serious view of concealment of facts in a case of promotion of a Brigadier, the Regional Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on the Central government, Chief of Army Staff and the military secretary.

The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justice Devi Prasad Singh (judicial member) and Air Marshal Anil Chopra (administrative member) yesterday.

A fine of Rs 5 lakh has also been imposed on the original applicant, NK Mehta, for concealment of facts. It has asked the respondents and the applicant to deposit the amount to the Tribunal within two months, which shall be remitted to the Army Centre Welfare Fund.

The order adds that after due inquiry, fine should be recovered from the salary or pension of the people who are held accountable for the entire episode.

Brig Mehta had filed an application challenging the result of the selection process for the rank of Major General held on October 13-14, 2011, which had recommended the name of Major General RS Rathore.

The result was then declassified and declared on June 20, 2012, which was challenged by the applicant.

The Tribunal’s order observed that the applicant was not entitled to any relief as he had concealed facts in connivance with the respondents, owing to which the probity of system and standard of selection process could not be maintained.
Army men prepare for battle in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan
Dearth of firing ranges in J&K forcing movement since Jan 2015
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 14
The Army continues to send its men and cannons to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in a bid to keep its men ready for battle after the Defence Ministry flagging the issue of dearth of field firing ranges in Jammu and Kashmir due to non-renewal of lease by the state government.

“The cumbersome process of sending troops and artillery to Bobina and Mahajan field firing ranges in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, respectively, is still on,” said Army sources.

The sources said the practice of moving troops and arms and ammunition, including cannons, to field firing ranges in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan has not only put an avoidable burden on the state exchequer, but hampered operational preparedness and counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir as well.

“After the state government refused to renew lease of field firing ranges, the Army has been sending troops and canons via train to Bobina and Mahajan ranges since January 2015,” they added.

Under such circumstances, the Army had no option but to send men and machinery outside the state for perfecting artillery fire and other warfare tactics, the sources said.

Jammu and Kashmir shares its borders with China and Pakistan, the two countries which have fought wars with India. “Firing ranges are an indispensable requirement of the Army to keep its men ready. The Northern Command has been time and again flagging the issue before the Defence Ministry,” said a defence source.

“Even the Defence Ministry has said restrictions imposed by successive state governments vis-à-vis firing ranges have compounded problems of the Army. There are no such restrictions for our adversary on the other side of the western border,” the source added.

On February 12, the Northern Command chief, Lt Gen DS Hooda, said the Garhi field firing range was notified to the Army and he was hopeful of getting Kalith and Hirangar ranges soon. He had hoped for forward movement on ranges in Ladakh and wished that things moved faster in Kashmir as well.

A rider by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on May 28 last year of a 10-km safety zone around field firing ranges had made things difficult for the Army in re-notification of 10 firing ranges.

A fleet of over 25 multi-axle vehicles of the Army moved from Punjab into the Jammu region on Friday night to relocate tanks in the border state.
China has increased defence capabilities, deployed more troops near Indian border, says Pentagon

China has increased defence capabilities and deployed more troops along the Indian border, the Pentagon has said, as it warned of increasing Chinese military presence including bases in various parts of the world, particularly Pakistan.

"We have noticed an increase in capability and force posture by the Chinese military in areas close to the border with India," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for East Asia Abraham M Denmark told reporters during a news conference here after Pentagon submitted its annual 2016 report to the US Congress on 'Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China'.
Real intentions

However, Denmark said it is difficult to conclude on the real intention behind this.

"It is difficult to say how much of this is driven by internal considerations to maintain internal stability, and how much of it is an external consideration," he said in response to a question on China upgrading its military command in Tibet.

Referring to US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter's recent trip to India, Denmark said he had a very positive and productive visit.

"We're going to continue to enhance our bilateral engagement with India, not in the China context, but because India is an increasingly important player by themselves. And we are going to engage India because of its value," he said.
Increasing military presence

The Defence Department also warned of China's increasing military presence including bases in various parts of the world, in particular Pakistan - with which it has a "longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests".

China's expanding international economic interests are increasing demands for the PLA Navy (PLAN) to operate in more distant seas to protect Chinese citizens, investments, and critical sea lines of communication, it said.

"China most likely will seek to establish additional naval logistics hubs in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and a precedent for hosting foreign militaries," the report said.
Rising Concerns

The Pentagon in its report expressed its concerns about Chinese military buildup near the Indian border.

"Tensions remain along disputed portions of the Sino- Indian border, where both sides patrol with armed forces.

"After a five-day military standoff in September 2015 at Burtse in Northern Ladakh, China and India held a senior-level flag-officer meeting, agreed to maintain peace, and retreated to positions mutually acceptable to both sides," it said.
Shared border

The Pentagon said tensions remain with India along their shared 4,057-km border over Arunachal Pradesh (which China asserts is part of Tibet and, therefore, of China), and over the Askai Chin region at the western end of the Tibetan Plateau, despite increases in China-India political and economic relations.

"China's interests are getting more global as their economy expands and as their economy grows more sophisticated and modern. Their interests are growing more global, which we see as a primary driver for, for instance, in the announcement of establishing a facility in Djibouti," Denmark said.

"And so naturally, it's understandable that they would be operating in new areas. But that does not include a value statement about the intentions behind these actions or the effects of these actions," he aid.
China's growing international interests

The Pentagon said as China's global footprint and international interests grow, its military modernisation programme has become more focussed on investments and infrastructure to support a range of missions beyond its periphery, including power projection, sea lane security, counterpiracy, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance.

People Liberation Army's (PLA) global operations in 2015 included counterpiracy patrols, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, exercises, and sea lane security operations.

China's November 2015 public confirmation of its intention to build its first overseas military support facility in Djibouti likely reflects this more global outlook, as it will be utilised to sustain the PLAN's operations at greater distances from China, it said.

However, China's overseas naval logistics aspiration may be constrained by the willingness of countries to support a PLAN presence in one of their ports.
China and Pakistan

The Pentagon said Pakistan remains China's primary customer for conventional weapons.

China engages in both arms sales and defense industrial cooperation with Pakistan, including LY-80 surface-to-air missile systems, F-22P frigates with helicopters, main battle tank production, air-to-air missiles, and anti-ship cruise missiles. In June 2014, Pakistan started co-producing the first two of 50 Block 2 JF-17s, which is an upgraded version of the Block I JF-17, it said.

In October 2013, Chinese and Indian officials signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement, which supplements existing procedures managing the interaction of forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Frequent incursions and military build-ups

The report said that China and India continue to accuse each other of frequent incursions and military build-ups along the disputed territories, with the most recent incident occurring in September 2015 along the LAC at Burtse in Northern Ladakh. After a five-day standoff, China and India held a senior-level flag meeting and agreed to maintain peace and retreat to positions mutually acceptable to both sides.

Noting that China's use of force in territorial disputes has varied widely throughout its history, it said some disputes led to war, such as China's border conflicts with India in 1962 and Vietnam in 1979.

In more recent cases, China has been willing to compromise with and even offer concessions to its neighbours.

Since 1998, China has settled 11 land-based territorial disputes with six of its neighbours. In recent years, China has adopted a coercive approach that eschews military conflict in order to deal with several disputes continue over exclusive economic zones and ownership of potentially rich, offshore oil and gas deposits, the Pentagon said.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal