Friday, August 14, 2009

Before I Sleep.. Wishing You all a Happy Janamashtmi and Independence Day

The Last One Conveys a Message To All of us ......LOL

US Air Force Launches New Global Strike Command

The U.S. Air Force is set to formally stand up its new nuclear weapons command today at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, Agence France-Presse reported .

The Global Strike Command would assume control of the nation's ICBM fleet as well as its B-52 and B-2 bomber aircraft, which are capable of delivering nuclear weapons. The new organization, led by Gen. Frank Klotz, would encompass 23,000 Air Force personnel.

The service established the command in response to a series of nuclear-weapon mishaps in recent years years, including the accidental transfer of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles across the country in 2007 and last year's discovery that the Pentagon had mistakenly shipped ICBM fuses to Taiwan. The errors led to the 2008 sacking of the Air Force's top military and civilian leadership.

"We needed to refocus on the nuclear mission and not lose sight of that," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told journalists. The service has learned some "painful lessons," but today's change will "reinvigorate our nuclear enterprise," he said.

The 20th Air Force is expected to turn over control of the country's ICBMs to the new command in early December, according to officials. Next February, the command would take charge of the country's nuclear-capable bombers, a responsibility now held by the 8th Air Force, they said.

The command would also be capable of deploying some conventional weapons , including a massive bunker-buster bomb slated to be commissioned in 2010, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz .

The new command intends to carry out tough inspections of the service's nuclear operations, which would also be subject to independent scrutiny, Schwartz added.

"We have made a special effort to make the inspections more demanding, more invasive, more challenging," he said. "My judgment was that perhaps the inspections had not been as rigorous as we needed in the past. So we adjusted that."

The new command also raises the profile of the Air Force's nuclear work, placing it on par with the service's other responsibilities. Nuclear weapons played a more central role in the Air Force prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to AFP.

"The key thing here is we ended up focusing on other things and understandably perhaps, but we are now wiser," he said

(Agence France-Presse/Google News, Aug. 7).

Five Medals to NSG.....

I WONDER : Is any Fauji from NSG also getting award on 15th Aug 09? ANYBODY ANY INFO...

MANESAR - Five officers of the National Security Guard (NSG) have been awarded Police Medal for Meritorious Service on the occasion of the country’s 62nd Independence Day.

The officers who have received the medals are Group Commanders Ajai Singh and S.L.C. Khup and Assistant Commanders C.T. Ravi, Om Prakash and S. Chongloi, an NSG press release said.

Ajay Singh has led a number of successful operations against militants in Punjab/Kashmir valley and seized arms and ammunition. He was selected to join the NSG last year.

S.L.C. Khup has contributed significantly to operational matters in Manipur where insurgency was on its peak. He has taken part in counter-terrorist operations and joined the NSG in April,2007.

C.T. Ravi has rendered 33 years of unblemished service.

Om Prakash of the BSF joined the NSG in January,2004.

Seichon Chongloi of the Assam Rifles joined the NSG in June 2004. He is presently handling VIP security duties. (ANI)

Soldiers words of Wisdom......

Dear Readers,

1. I intend to compile and publish a post containing " Short quotes of Wisdom" based on our service experience in Armed Forces.

2. It can be anything for example:-

" I ve learnt that if you want to do something then you must tell your Commanding Officer that you hate that work."


"I ve learnt that if you want to go EAST then you must ask MS Br to post you to WEST".

3. Above I ve given some examples to pulse your mind.

4. I am confident, We all will contribute to make it an excellent collection.

5. Ones again may I request you all to kindly contribute a few:-

"Words of Wisdom"

6. You are requested to contribute your valuable "Words of Wisdom" on the Comment Box placed on the right side of the Blog namely " Soldiers Words of Wisdom".


Hardcore Soldier

New Commendation Medals for Army

The Indian Army has decided that from now on, only two types of Commendation Badges will beworn on the uniform -- a) COAS Commendation Badges and (b) Army Commendation (the term “Army” encompasses all GOsC-in-C, ARTRAC and VCOAS with respect to award of Commendation Badges). Commendation Badge awarded more than once will be denoted by a star (eg second occasion will be denoted by a single star, third by two stars and so on) A maximum of three stars will be permitted in each of the Commendation Badge (viz COAS Commendation Badge and Army Commendation Badge) Only one each of the above, when awarded, will be worn immediately above and on either side of the button of the flap of the left breast pocket. Individuals awarded the CNS/CAS Commendation cards can continue to wear the CNS/CAS Commendation badge as long as they are posted to Navy/Air Force/Tri Service organizations. On reversion to Army they will wear the COAS commendation badge. Service Chief’s Commendation Card awarded more than once will be depicted by a star. Individuals posted to Navy/Air Force/tri service organizations can wear the Commendation Badge of that service/establishment only for the duration of their tenure. On reversion to Army, they will wear the Army Commendation Badge. In case these individuals have already been awarded or are awarded later an Army Commendation Badge then the tri service Commendation Badge will be represented by a star on the Army Commendation Badge.

SOURCE : Livefist

Ashok Chakra : Major Mohit Sharma and Major D.Srikumar

NEW DELHI - The Government on Thursday decided to honour Major Mohit Sharma and Major D.Srikumar with the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award the Ashok Chakra.
Both Major Sharma and Major Kumar will receive the honour posthumously.
Major Sharma, 31 belonged to the Para regiment and lost his life along with four others while fighting terrorists in the Hafrada forest of Kupwara District in March this year.
According to sources, the government also announced four Shaurya Chakra and 131 Kirti Chakra awards.
President Pratibha Patil will present the gallantry awards on ndependence Day. (ANI)

As informed earlier the INDIAN VERSION OF GOOGLE EARTH IS "ON" NOW....


Bhuvan gives you an easy way to experience, explore and visualize IRS images over Indian region.

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Free NCERT Book Solution from class 6th to 12th..

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We all ve our kids studying and it is a known fact that we are mostly commented upon by our ladies and children that we don't spend enough time in supervising education of our kids.

Here is a link which may help some of us ...

We can register here and download NCERT related contents.

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Tribunal for cases of armed forces gets on with shooting practice

The Armed Forces Tribunal takes up its first case; declines to stay the proceedings of an Army Promotion Board for senior officers on the plea of a major general

The Indian soldiers will now get justice delivered their own way fast and pointed.

The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), a special tribunal to clear 10,000 cases related to the three Services that are pending in various High Courts across the country, took up its first case in which it declined to stay the proceedings of an Army Promotion Board for senior officers on the plea of a Major General.

Filing a writ petition before the Tribunal on Tuesday, Major General S P Sinha had sought to either stay the proceedings of the Special Selection Board for promotion of officers from Maj Gen to Lieutenant Gen or exclude his Annual Confidential Report (ACR) from being reviewed by the Board till the time discrepancies in it were cleared by the Army.

In his two complaints filed earlier in the Delhi High Court, Maj Gen Sinha had stated there were discrepancies in the gradings given to him in his present and previous ACRs. "Maj Gen Sinha said the Army should be asked to reserve a vacancy in the rank of Lt Gen till the time his complaint of discrepancy in ACR was sorted out by the Army, which was opposed by us," Army's Counsel Jyoti Singh said.

During the hearing of the case before the Bench of Justice S S Kulshrestha and Lt Gen S S Dhillon (retd), Singh argued that the Army has provision of organising a Special Review Board for such officers and there was no need to stay the Board or reserve any vacancy in the rank of Lt Gen.

After hearing the submission from both sides, the court decided not to stay the Promotion Board and has given 10 days to the Army to dispose off Maj Gen Sinha's statutory complaint and come back on August 24 to update the court on the progress made in the issue.

Maj Gen Sinha, an Ordnance Corps officer, had first filed the petition in the Delhi High Court, which transferred it to the AFT.

Over 10,000 cases related to the three Services are pending in various High Courts across the country and most of them are expected to be transferred to the Tribunal, which is headed by Justice A K Mathur.The Tribunal will also act as the appellate forum for the Armed Forces personnel against verdicts of court-martial, thus meeting a major demand of the tri-services.

The Principal bench of the AFT is located in Delhi and has three courts in it. The tribunal was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil on Saturday.

For Speedy Justice
President Pratibha Patil on August 8 inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), an exclusive court for nearly 2.5 million serving and retired defence personnel.

Over 10,000 cases related to the servicemen are pending in various High Courts across the country and most of them are expected to be transferred to the AFT, which is headed by Justice A K Mathur.

The Principal bench of the AFT is located in Delhi and is has three courts in it. The Tribunal will also act as the appellate forum for the Armed Forces personnel against verdicts of court-martial


Aaj Ke Pramukh Samachar

NAGPUR (KORADI): A large part of the country narrowly escaped a blackout on Wednesday evening, state energy minister Sunil Tatkare said on

Thursday. He blamed three northern states—Punjab, Haryana and UP—for drawing extra power from the national grid on Wednesday, bringing it perilously close to tripping.

Maharashtra on Thursday formally lodged its protest with the centre against the three states. Tatkare said a blackout was imminent and would have occurred if Maharashtra too had drawn power from the grid. “It would have resulted in a nationwide blackout. But we held back in the national interest,’’ he added.

The northern states drew an extra 1,000 MW from the grid 25 times on August 12, he alleged. “We managed the situation by buying 400 MW from outside the state,’’ he said

PM-CMs meet will focus on security

New Delhi Aug. 13: The meeting of chief ministers convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday will take stock of the progress made in augmenting the coastal security set-up in states as well as strengthening of Central and state security forces. Activities of Pakistan-based terror outfits, situation in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Northeast besides the increasing threat from Left wing extremism in eight states will also come up for review at the day-long conference which is being organised by the Union home ministry. Home Ministry sources said that states will be asked to speed up the process of setting up of coastal police stations, filling up of vacancies and setting up of quick reaction teams to foil any terror bids. States like Maharashtra have already set up the Quick Reaction Teams while coastal states like Kerala are lagging behind in setting up of coastal police stations. Threadbare discussions will be held with the chief ministers on the security situation and measures to be adopted to maintain law and order, coastal security, strengthening of intelligence wing, augmenting police forces and preparedness of Quick Reaction Teams, the sources said. The delay in procurement of interceptor boats in states will also be looked at in the wake of Gujarat procuring three boats recently utilising state funds. The meeting of CMs held in January had decided to tighten security along the 7,200 km-long coastline, increase the number of police stations, check posts and interceptor boats. The issue of delay in delivery of identity cards to fishermen in coastal states will also be discussed in the meeting. A separate meeting of chief ministers of seven Naxal affected states will be held later in the day While Tamil Nadu will be represented by deputy chief minister M.K. Stalin, UP chief minister Mayawati is yet to confirm her participation.


Pakistan close to 7,000-km ICBM

Shafqat Ali
Aug. 13: Pakistan has started preparing an intercontinental missile with a range of 7,000 km, defence sources said.
"The aim is to increase our defence capabilities. The work on the project has started. It will soon be test-fired", the sources said, adding, "The intercontinental missile has a range of 7,000 km and is capable of hitting targets falling within its range. The missile can contain nuclear as well as traditional warheads," the source said.
He said the missile will be a significant milestone for the defence of the country.
On Wednesday, Air Chief Marshal Qamar Suleman said that the Pakistan Air Force plans to induct four Chinese airborne refuellers next year, in a move to counter IAF’s enhanced capabilities after New Delhi acquired six similar aircraft.
Air Chief Marshal Qamar Suleman underlined that the airborne refuellers were necessary to match IAF’s capabilities. "This is an absolutely new capability which we are inducting. We never had this capability in the PAF," he said.
He said in order to match IAF’s acquisition of the first of three airborne warning and control systems, PAF will receive four Chinese systems between 2011 and 2012.


Press Release from Chinese Delegation: The 13th Meeting Between the Chinese and Indian Special Representative on Boundary Question
The 13th Meeting Between the Chinese and Indian Special Representative on Boundary Question
(August 8 2009)
From August 7 to 8, the 13th Meeting between the Chinese and Indian Special Representative on Boundary Question was held in New Delhi, India. Chinese Special Representative, State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with his counterpart, Mr. Narayanan, India’s National Security Advisor. During his stay in India, State Councilor Dai also met with Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the Indian Congress Party and Prime Minister Singh.
In a friendly and candid atmosphere, the two Special Representatives had an in-depth exchange of views on resolving the boundary question. Both agreed to press ahead with the framework negotiations in accordance with the agreed political parameters and guiding principle so as to seek for a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both. Prior to that, both should work together to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.
During the talks, the two sides exchaned in-depth views on the further development of China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership, as well as regional, international and global issues of mutual interest.
The Chinese side pointed out that the Chinese Government and people value the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and India, the largest two developing nations with a combined population accounting for 40 percent of the world’s total. Friendly coexistence, mutual beneficial cooperation and shared progress between the two neighbours will contribute not only to the people of the two countries but also Asia and the whole world. China and India have no other option than living in peace and developing side by side. China stands firmly committed to working with India to press ahead with the bilateral ties.
The Chinese side believes that both countries need to promote the relationship with a higher and strategic perspective and continue to uphold the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China and India should endeavor to build the strategic mutual trust. Both need to expand the common interests and cooperation bilaterally and on regional and global affairs. Both should take concrete steps to enhance people-to-people and cultural interactions so as to nurture the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. For the questions left over from history,the two countries should work to seek for a fair and reasonable mutually acceptable solution through peaceful and friendly negotiations.
For the future development of the bilateral ties, the Chinese side made the following suggestions. The two countries need to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, well celebrate the 60th anniversary marking the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, especially the China Festival and India Festival in each other’s country in 2010. Both countries should strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the economic field and trade, fully tap the potential for cooperation and properly handle frictions and questions thereof and stand side by side against trade protectionism so as to ensure the sustained and healthy development of bilateral economic ties. The two neighbours should enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, those between the youth, academic institutions, media and localities in particular, and deepen defence cooperation and continue the defence and security talks. China and India should also intensify the coordination and cooperation on major international issues, especially the global efforts in response to world financial crisis, climate change, energy and food security so as to promote evolution of international system that is in favor of developing nations.
The two sides also exchange views on the situation in South and Northeast Asia.


Big Army drills with US in Oct. in Jhansi

Sridhar Kumaraswami
New Delhi
Aug. 13: A mammoth joint Army counter-terrorism exercise between India and the United States — one of the biggest ever — will take place in Jhansi in the first week of October, where 300 American military personnel are expected to participate. The modalities will be decided in New Delhi next week by senior Indian and US Army officers, sources said.
The Indian Army has an armoured division headquartered in Jhansi. Sources said Singapore Army officers had also received training in Jhansi in the past. The October exercises are a further indication of the growing defence ties between India and the US, which have held over 30 such exercises in the last seven years. Efforts at counter-terrorism measures on land have been an important part of IndoUS Army ties in recent years. Indian and American troops have previously carried out counter-terrorism exercises at venues such as the Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Warangte in Mizoram and at Belgaum in Karnataka. Indian troops also took part in exercises with American troops in the US last year. With US soldiers fighting insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, the immense experience gained in joint exercises with Indian troops, who have been fighting insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast for decades, have benefited US troops immensely.
The Indian and US navies have also been holding their annual "Malabar" exercises while the Indian Air Force participated in the American air exercise "Red Flag" organised by the US Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in the US last year.

Tough times for UPA
Kalyani Shankar
The Government finds itself confronted by a looming drought across the country, galloping rise in prices of essential commodities and, to top it all, a deadly swine flu pandemic. The Congress may be trying to put up a brave face, but it knows that there are no easy solutions to any of these problems
The Congress has identified three issues — drought, price rise and swine flu — for the UPA Government to tackle in the next few months. The party is aware that Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are round the corner and the Opposition can take advantage by making these poll issues. Ironically, the party is also trying to distance itself from the Government, expecting it to handle these issues on a war-footing.
When the UPA began its second term, the Congress was upbeat after a creditable victory in the Lok Sabha election. Riding to power on the slogan of ‘aam admi’ , the party and the Government are now in a quandary as how to deal with price rise and drought which directly affect the common man. Adding to the Government’s woes is the recent observation of the Supreme Court which has described the situation as “terrible” and wanted the Government to tackle it effectively. While the wholesale price index remains negative, prices of essential commodities have shot up in the past few months. The Reserve Bank of India, while updating the monetary policy for the fiscal year, has warned that the inflation could even slip further due to lower monsoon.
Rising prices of food items dominated the just concluded Parliament session when the Opposition gheraoed the Government over the issue. The proverbial ‘dal, roti’ is no more within the reach of the common man as prices of pulse, sugar and other commodities and vegetables are touching sky. No Government can afford to ignore this situation.
The Government should not only think of short-term measures to contain price rise but also chalk out a long-term strategy. In spite of high gross domestic product growth, the production of essential commodities have not gone up. Pulses and sugarcane have showed severe shortage of supply. The production of vegetable oil and paddy are also causing concern.
What should the Government do? First of all, If only the Government had begun importing food grains in June itself when it was known that there could be a gap, things would not have been so bad. Now the international prices have also gone up and the country will have to shell out more for importing food grains. Measures like a selective ban has already been imposed on exports and future trading on food grains. Besides that, permitting import of lentils and sugar by state-run firms at zero import duty may ease the situation.
Second, the Government should use its stick to punish the unscrupulous hoarders. Third, market intervention where necessary could help. Fourth, the public distribution system should be strengthened and proper channelised to better help the poor.
Drought is the next worrisome issue. A total of 141 districts has already been declared drought-affected. Official figures reveal that a deficit of more than six million hectares had been reported in paddy cultivation. The kharif crop cannot be salvaged on account of the failure of the monsoon but the Government can concentrate on the rabi season. An assessment by the Morgan Stanley shows that 48 per cent of the cropped area has already been hit by the deficit in rain.
Although Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that “there is no point in pressing the panic button,” panic has already spread. Putting on a brave face, Mr Mukherjee is optimistic about the RBI’s figure of six per cent economic growth rate.
The Government is slowly gearing up to face the challenge by offering subsidised diesel and additional power to farmers, yet much more needs to be done. Farmers need smooth loans. The contingency plans for crops, drinking water, human and animal health and fodder should be launched immediately. Alongside, long-term measures to increase the production of pulses and oil seeds should also be taken. In addition to the buffer stock, the Government will do well to deal with the needs of small and marginal farmers.
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured that there is enough cushion on account of bumper food grain production in the last two years, he has also cautioned that the reduced kharif crop may have an inflationary impact on prices of many commodities.
Swine flu is going to be the third chronic problem for the UPA Government. Already 18 deaths have been reported in the country and the panic is spreading fast with the media blowing it up. The Government has to ensure that there is no panic and that the country is fully prepared not to let this menace go out of control.

Dilution of AFSPA
Home, Defence Ministries at loggerheads
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 13

A plan of the Union Home Ministry to curtail the special powers given to security forces in insurgency-hit areas like the North-East and J&K has hit a rough patch. The Defence Ministry has made it clear that no powers can be curtailed without the armed forces agreeing to it.
The armed forces have reportedly conveyed that the deployment of forces in the disturbed areas will be hazardous unless they are backed by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The armed forces have elucidated that the Act does not give any blanket permission to the forces, as it was being made out to be. The forces still come under the rule of the law like the IPC or the CrPC. It is just that the state government cannot prosecute the forces, only the Central Government has that power once the Act is imposed in an area. If the power to prosecute is given to the state government, then the armed forces will be like the local police, facing the same pulls and pressures at the hands of the local administration.
In the N-E and J&K, there have been periodic protests against the imposition of the AFSPA. If Irom Sharmila is sitting on a hunger strike in Manipur, all political parties in J&K want the AFSPA removed. In other N-E states, demands to remove the Act have been accompanied by violent protests, the latest one being against the killing of a student, Sanjit, who was allegedly killed in a fake encounter.
Sources in the Defence Ministry confirmed that a discussion with the Home Ministry will be held to discuss the concerns of the forces. Comments have been sought from the Army. The Home Ministry has sought to amend certain clauses of the Act that include identifying adequate suspicion before taking any action. The armed forces are not keen on it.
Just 10 days ago, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had told mediapersons that the AFSPA would be amended and its application would be restricted. “The Congress had made a pre-poll promise that it would re-visit the AFSPA and now we are considering amendments to that,” the Home Minister has said.
Its application will also be limited, the Home Minister had said, while replying to a specific query.

Cabinet’s bitter dose for Azad over H1N1
n Ministers concerned over flu management
n Govt warns of cluster formation in Pune
n First fatality in Bangalore; toll reaches 20
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 13
As the nationwide toll of swine flu climbed to 20 with Karnataka witnessing its first fatality today, the Union cabinet is, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, learnt to have voiced serious concerns over the current level of H1N1 management and preparedness in the country.

Notably, even a week after the Prime Minister himself called up Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to constitute an expert group to create H1N1 awareness in public and take other required measures, the ministry has not moved much in the direction.
Though the PM did not say much at the meeting, UPA sources said the Minister was left to field many hard queries from other colleagues, with discussions centering around the severity of the flu in poll-bound Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, Karnataka witnessed the first swine flu fatality on Thursday as a 26-year-old school teacher, Rupa, succumbed to the virus at a Bangalore hospital.
Two more deaths, including nine-month-old Swabhiman Kamble (country’s youngest victim) and Archana Kolhe, 37, were reported from Pune, thereby taking the nationwide toll to 20. So far, Pune has witnessed 12 deaths, Mumbai 2, Ahemadabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Vadodra, Nashik and Trivandrum one each.
Maharashtra, with its shutters down, came in for deep focus at the meet, with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar deeply concerned over the political fallout of the swine flu that had caused schools and theatres to close down.
Azad also faced queries on how equipped were the central teams to advise states on flu management, considering bureaucrats were no experts of public health. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is said to have made that point in the wake of additional secretaries being sent to states to identify additional testing and treatment facilities.
The issue of masks also came up, with Azad saying that “only those people who have symptoms need to wear a mask. They have to wear the mask not to protect themselves but to protect others”. Some cabinet members also suggested that India should try the Mexico model to contain infection. The same, apparently, had no buyers.
Meanwhile, the government, for the first time since the swine flu outbreak, admitted that the virus had established itself firmly in the community and could lead to cluster formation in Pune, which continues to sit at the heart of the pandemic.
“There is no cluster yet, but there’s a strong possibility of detecting one in Pune,” warned Director General Health Services (DHHS) RK Srivastava.
He said the city was acquiring the level of an infection needed for cluster formation where health authorities would have to go in not just for patient but community and area isolation.
That being the fact, the government today spelt major changes in H1N1 testing and treatment strategy, saying high-risk populations including children, elderly, and those with associated illnesses like diabetes, broncho-asthma and cardiac problems would get top testing and treatment priorities.
(With inputs from Shubhadeep Choudhury in Bangalore and Shiv Kumar in Mumbai)

MEA: Pak response on 26/11 probe disappointing Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 13
Islamabad is yet to respond to the evidence presented to it, linking elements in Pakistan to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, notwithstanding the high-level statements promising cooperation in investigations, according to the External Affairs Ministry.

In its annual report, the ministry said Pakistan’s response, in terms of actual action taken, to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai mayhem has been disappointing.
The voluminous report talks at length about India’s relations with its neighbours in South Asia as well as the country’s ties with other countries, including major world powers like the US, Britain, Russia, China and France.
The report also attacks Pakistan for not responding to its concerns on terrorism and information shared with Islamabad with reference to the July 7, 2008, deadly attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, for which New Delhi had blamed the ISI. Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had promised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Colombo in August last year that he would conduct an independent investigation into the Kabul mission attack but nothing was done in the matter.
On the composite dialogue process with Pakistan, the 212-page report said the issue of terrorism continued to strain the composite dialogue process with Pakistan, which came to a pause after the Mumbai attacks.
About economic and commercial relations between the two countries, it noted that while India has accorded the MFN status to Pakistan, Islamabad continued to restrict items of import from India to a positive list. On SAFTA, Pakistan has refused to extend the negotiated tariff concessions to items outside the positive list to India thereby negating the letter and spirit of SAFTA as exports are limited to items on the positive list.
Coming to China, the report has avoided reference to any contentious issues and concentrated on various positive developments in bilateral ties. While reviewing the overall relationship, the report said the defence cooperation between the two countries had contributed to the enhancement of mutual trust and cooperation with the chief of PLA visiting India in November 2008 and the Indian Air chief visiting Zhuhai for an air show.
About relations with the US, the report spoke extensively about the signing of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement in Washington on October 10, 2008. The deal has been a symbol of the transformed nature of the bilateral dialogue and has added strategic content to the relationship between the world’s oldest and the largest democracies. It has opened up vast opportunities for bilateral economic and high technology engagement.
While economic and commercial ties, defence cooperation and people-to-people contacts were other priority areas of focus in the bilateral agenda, Indo-US consultations on global issues of common concern and the dialogue, work plans and implementation groups for bilateral initiatives in energy, education, science and technology, health, space, agriculture, among others, continued to add depth and strengthen the Indo-US linkages.
On Afghanistan, the report said India remained at the forefront of the international effort in the war-ravaged nation to aid and assist its government and people in the process of national reconstruction, and establishing a stable, democratic and pluralistic polity.

Forces may get longer Lalgarh stint
MIDNAPORE: The central paramilitary forces will stay in Lalgarh till September 4, but the Bengal government will request the Centre to further extend their stay if the situation does not improve.

State home secretary Ardhendu Sen said this in Midnapore on Thursday after chairing a meeting of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officials to chalk out a strategy for the second phase of operations.

Director-general of police Bhupinder Singh and CRPF inspector-general P M Naiyer attended the meeting.

It may be recalled that chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, on a trip to Midnapore earlier this week, had expressed reservations about the success of police operations in Lalgarh and had advised that the security forces change their strategy.

"The operation will continue by day and also by night," Sen told newspersons after the meeting. "At the same time, the administration will try to execute development programmes with a given priority, as recommended by a committee of secretaries that had visited the troubled area. It is sad that Maoists are creating disturbances in our efforts to speed up development projects. We have identified several public health engineering projects that the Maoists have not allowed to progress. Now, the administration will lay emphasis on these projects. Local BDOs and SDOs are trying their best to keep in touch with common people."

The home secretary claimed that police had arrested 67 people from the entire area of operations. Of them, about 25 were hardcore Maoists. "It's a success of the operation of the joint forces. We have changed our strategy in this phase, but we cannot reveal it as that will compromise the success of the operation." During the day, Maoists tried to stall police operations in Bhulageria, Chandabila and Tarki by opening fire and exploding IEDs.

Sen promised that the administration would vacatewithin a week's timeseven schools that have been occupied by police and CRPF personnel. Police forces had set up camps in 12 schools of the district, but now some barracks could be constructed.

Bikash, CPI (Maoist) leader in charge of Lalgarh, denied that any hardcore Maoists had been arrested. "We had said earlier also that the joint forces could not arrest even a single active CPI (Maoist) leader or any member of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army. All they could do was arrest some leaders of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA), who had led the movement against police atrocities,, and members of a few other organizations."

Bikash also challenged the home secretary to give examples of cases where Maoists stood in the way of development projects.

"On the other hand, the joint forces stopped the construction of our health centre at Chakadoba in Belpahari," the Maoist leader said. "How dare police and jawans threaten common people who voluntarily joined construction projects? They were threatened that they would be booked as Maoists if they did not continue to work. Police are also trying to create problems at Bhulageria and Gohamidanga, where people have started temporary schools and are trying to build an irrigation dam."
Source : TOI

Pak must bring Saeed to justice: US envoy
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 12
A day after presenting his credentials to President Pratibha Patil, US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer today began his new assignment by making positive noises about the future of Indo-US relations and declaring Washington’s firm resolve to back India against terrorism.

“FBI officials are testifying this week in Mumbai in the 26/11 trial. We cannot forget that six Americans were killed along with dozens of Indians and many others in that brutal attack,” he said at a crowded press conference here.
Underlining that President Barack Obama views the Indo-US relationship as one of the most important partnerships for America’s future, Roemer quoted Mark Twain to say “India is the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition.”
Roemer, a former member of the House of Representatives, who served on the 9/11 commission investigating the 2001 terror attacks in the US, asked Pakistan to act against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, including Jamat-ud-Dawaa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.
“People held in Pakistan in connection with the Mumbai attacks should be brought to justice. We are pressing Pakistan hard on the Mumbai suspects,” said the 52-year-old envoy, while responding to questions.
He promised to work with India in broadening and deepening counter-terror cooperation, saying, “We share a common understanding of the enemy,” while referring to the Lashkar-e-Toiba and other terrorist outfits operating in the region.
Roemer asserted that the Obama administration’s position was resolute and bold. It was committed to shutting down terrorists’ networks and financing of those networks to bring the perpetrators of the “bloodthirsty” attacks to justice.
He said the Home Minister P Chidambaram had been invited to the US for additional discussions with the US authorities on precisely how the two countries could cooperate in the fight against terrorism.
Paying rich tributes to the multi-faceted relationship between the two countries, Roemer said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be going to Washington in November on an official visit. The PM, he noted, had also invited Obama to visit India.
Roemer said the American President had asked him to extend his heartfelt wishes to the Prime Minister and his health. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he said, would be a frequent visitor to India to consult New Delhi on shared concerns of both countries. “We announced at the end of Secretary Clinton’s (recent) visit (to India), a robust agenda that we intend to advance: strategic cooperation; energy and climate change; education and development; economics; trade and agriculture; and science, technology, health and innovation,” he added.

Cong dismisses Chinese comment
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 12
The Congress today dismissed comments posted on the website of a Chinese think-tank about fragmenting India as “paranoid hallucination” of an individual that does not deserve the seriousness of a resurgent India.

“At best, it could be described as the paranoid hallucination of an individual...India is an inclusive democracy, a confident democracy which has got its rightful place in the comity of nations. It does not deserve the seriousness of a resurgent India. It dies not behove of us as a country to take notice of what can best be termed as paranoid hallucinations,” party spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons.
Tewari said it was the opinion of an individual pointing to what western thinkers had postulated as the theory of Balkanisation of India in 1950s and 1960s. “Over the years, India’s democracy has strengthened,” he said. Importance should not be given to the opinion of an individual, he added.
Asked if the party was dismissing the threat perception lightly as it had done in years preceding the 1962 war with China when the party was in power, the Congress spokesman said Indian state had a proper threat assessment and it continued to assess it.

CJs to discuss ways to streamline judiciary
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, August 12
The Manmohan Singh government, preparing the roadmap for judicial reforms, and the judiciary, grappling with pending cases that have mounted to staggering 30 million, will jointly seek to find ways and means this week-end to streamline the justice delivery system in the country.

The annual conference of Chief Justices of the High Courts will be held in the Supreme Court on August 14 and 15 to discuss a 21-point agenda. This will be immediately followed by a joint conference of chief ministers and the HC CJs at Vigyan Bhavan on Sunday that will have 16 issues on its agenda.
The PM will inaugurate the joint conference of CMs and CJs, the apex court announced yesterday. Top on the agenda for the CJs' meet as well as for the joint conference are the steps required for bringing down or elimination of arrears and ensuring speedy trial within a "reasonable period." This is in consonance with Law Minister M Veerappa Moily's announcement at the time of assuming office on May 29 that he would make his five-year tenure as "an era of holistic reforms" that would ensure speedy justice "even to the last man in the queue."
Other issues on the agenda are the need for setting up more fast track courts, strengthening of legal aid systems and granting financial autonomy to HCs

Sibal signals babudom end in education
New Delhi, Aug. 13: Kapil Sibal has indicated to his officials that he doesn’t want a career bureaucrat or police officer to head any educational body, signalling a shift towards academicians alone governing education.
The human resource development minister has indicated, verbally and through office notes, that he does not want IAS or IPS officers to be appointed head of any educational authority under the ministry, The Telegraph has learnt.
The move represents a decisive shift from the earlier practice under successive ministers of allowing bureaucrats to run key authorities regulating different sectors of education.
Sibal’s predecessor Arjun Singh had even approved the name of IPS officer Pragya Srivastava for the post of CBSE board chief before the department of personnel and training raised objections.
But Sibal’s new plan faces its first challenge in the appointment of a new vice- chancellor for Jamia Millia Islamia. The minister is keen to appoint an academician in charge of the university in line with his policy, sources said.
But three of the five people shortlisted — through a process started before Sibal took over — by a search panel are bureaucrats, including one who is retired.
The remaining two are academicians — incumbent vice-chancellor Mushirul Hasan and Faizan Ahmed, director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Basic Sciences at Jamia.
Hasan’s qualifications as a scholar are considered superior by most in the ministry, but large sections of the Muslim community, including several MPs, have opposed a second term for him. Congress leaders, keen not to alienate powerful sections of the community, are also learnt to have expressed concerns over a possible reappointment of Hasan.
The vice-chancellor’s appointment, however, only represents the first of similar challenges that Sibal may face in implementing the policy of keeping top educational posts for academicians.
The acting chairman of CBSE, Vineet Joshi, is an IAS officer and is rated highly for his administrative skills by several veterans in the HRD ministry.
Joshi was asked to take over a year back after Ashok Ganguly, also a bureaucrat, completed eight years in charge of the country’s largest school board. Ganguly was first appointed when Murli Manohar Joshi was HRD minister during the NDA’s rule.
A series of extensions given to Joshi, while the ministry searched for a CBSE chief, ended on July 31. The department of personnel and training has now given him a fresh extension as the ministry invites new applications for the chairman’s post. But the circular advertising the latest round of selections clearly states that the ministry will prefer someone from an education background.
The previous circular, for the last round of selections, had stated as the “essential” criterion three years as a senior educational administrator. This circular, in line with Sibal’s policy, adds that five years’ experience in “education or educational administration or both” are “desirable”.
“Ever since Ganguly’s term ended, we have failed to find, in our numerous selection attempts, someone who meets the standards we are looking for, forcing us to continue with Joshi. Now, his prospects appear to have dimmed,” a source said.