Friday, August 21, 2009

6th CPC : IIT & IIMs whats the matter..






New Delhi, Aug. 18: The Centre has snipped the annual increments recommended for teachers at the IITs and IIMs under a new pay regime, shuffling existing hierarchies in a move that could trigger a protracted protest from faculty members.

The revised annual increments approved by the cabinet on August 7 for faculty at India’s apex technical education institutions are lower than those proposed by a central review panel, The Telegraph has learnt.

The new salaries proposed by the central review team headed by former Indian Institute of Science director Goverdhan Mehta were already lower than what the institutes had demanded to tackle a crippling faculty shortage.

But the pay regime approved by the cabinet — based on finetuning of the Goverdhan Mehta report by an inter-ministerial committee — further reduced the financial benefits proposed for teachers.

In absolute terms, the new pay regime hikes starting salaries at each teaching post for the IITs and IIMs by around 150 per cent. But the salaries were last set in 1999 and teachers are unlikely to accept the new hierarchies the new regime creates.

As a sense of the new pay regime started drifting in on IIT and IIM campuses today, faculty associations met to prepare strategies to protest what they argue is “disrespect” to their service.

Senior faculty members told this newspaper that they may try to meet HRD minister Kapil Sibal in a bid to convince him to take a fresh look at the pay structure before it is notified. The ministry is likely to issue the notification of the new pay regime around August 20.

“If this is what the cabinet has approved, the government is effectively saying that they do not care about retaining the best faculty at the IITs and IIMs,” the head of the faculty association of one of the IITs said.

The new regime hits the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Information Technology and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad ever harder.

The NITs had demanded pay parity with the IITs, IIITs and ISM — where salaries are already higher than those of university teachers because of the greater market demand for teachers of technical courses. Instead, the NITs will receive the pay prescribed by the University Grants Commission for varsity teachers.

Existing faculty at IIITs and the ISM Dhanbad will continue to receive salaries on a par with the IITs and IIMs under the new regime. New teachers at these institutions will, however, receive salaries similar to UGC scales.

The Telegraph had reported on August 8 that the IIITs and ISM Dhanbad were to lose their current pay parity with the IITs and IIMs under the new regime.

But the new regime also alters existing pay hierarchies within the IITs and IIMs. At present, assistant professors receive salaries on a par with deputy registrars at these institutes while associate professors receive salaries on a par with registrars.

But under the new regime, assistant professors will receive lower pay than deputy registrars and associate professors less than registrars in a shuffle that one IIM professor described as “outrageously unfair”.

“Assistant professors and associate professors need to hold PhDs with first class scores in their research evaluation, apart from teaching experience. These are significantly higher qualifications than those required for administrative jobs,” the professor complained.

The IIMs had demanded that their directors receive a fixed salary of Rs 90,000 a month. The new regime doles out Rs 80,000 a month for directors at the IITs, IIMs, the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, IISc in Bangalore and the National Institute of Industrial Engineering.

Directors at the NITs, IIITs and ISM Dhanbad will receive Rs 75,000 a month, along with a special allowance of Rs 5,000 -- a salary on a par with university vice-chancellors. The special allowance is not considered while calculating benefits like the dearness allowance.

Source : Telegraph

Rafael agrees huge deal with Indian Army

The Indian press reports that Rafael Armament Development Authority has agreed a huge deal with the Indian Army to supply advanced anti-aircraft systems with a range of up to 45 kilometers. The deal, worth $1 billion, was reportedly approved by the Indian cabinet yesterday.

Rafael will supply the Indian army with its Spyder low-level quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones and precision-guided munitions.

The Indian Army acquired Spyder systems worth $270 million a year ago. The system incorporates a pilot's helmet (display head-up HVD) manufactured by Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE:ESLT), which automatically locks onto targets.

In the latest deal, Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) will serve as a sub-contractor of Rafael. In another recent contract with the Indian army for the supply of Barak ship defense missiles, Rafael is acting as a subcontractor for IAI.

Israel's defense exports to India have now reached $3 billion, making it the largest arms supplier to India, even surpassing Russia.

Army gears up for new terror threats

Increasing incidents of militants taking civilians as hostage or using them as human shields has led the Indian Army in Jammu Kashmir to provide specialised training to troops to avoid collateral damage before carrying out seek and destroy operation.

TIMES NOW Times correspondent Pradeep Dutta brings you a report from Corps Battle School in Rajouri, where the TV crew witnesses a mock anti-terror drill by the Army that included laying a cordon around a jungle and a ‘hideout’ of militants.

Keeping in view the changing tactics of the militants, specialised training is being provided to the troops where the soldiers are being sensitised to different requirements which aim at minimum casuality, avoiding collateral damage.

"We have a very well trained troop, which operates with maturity and they ensure that the civilian life is protected during the operation,” said Col Anil Rana of the Army Corps School in Rajouri.

Militants have been known to take hostages to use them as human shields during encounters with security forces. The civilian hostages act as fail safe measure to help the militants escape to safety. But now the army is training to manage any hostage situation.

Biggest Difference between SIP and NON-SIP Investment

While SIP investors are bound by the commitment to invest on a particular day, a non-SIP investor can invest any time when the market is down so that he gets more units.

All is fair in love and war

Chants of Allah-o-Akbar by Col Ajit Singh Shekhawat's unit fooled the Pak insurgents on Khalubar hill

It was a stormy night on June 30, 1999, on the Khalubar hill in Kargil. The Pakistani insurgents were sitting easy in their bunkers. Apart from the steep hill, torrential rains ensured that nobody dared to venture there. Or so, they thought.

Chants of Allah-o-Akbar suddenly woke them from their slumber. They thought reinforcements from the Pakistani army had arrived. They pulled many of the climbers up the hill. It was their last mistake.

Fooled by the chanting, the Pakistani insurgents indeed helped the Muslim Company of 22 Grenadiers led by Colonel Ajit Singh Shekhawat climb the hill to eliminate them.

Country first: Colonel Ajit Singh Shekhawat

In fact, it was only a handful of jawans who had managed to reach the top due to hostile weather. But the mission was to be completed before daybreak and it was decided to launch the attack immediately. Taken by surprise, the Pakistani insurgents were either killed under heavy fire by the Grenadiers or fled the scene.

For Col Shekhawat, fighting Pakistani ultras was almost a daily business. During his six-year stint in Jammu and Kashmir, he had commanded many such operations. Kargil was just another level of his engagement with the insurgents.

"Col Shekhawat's unit was posted at Hyderabad when intrusion was detected in Kargil. The 22 Grenadiers was awarded as 'Bravest of the Brave' during their stint in counter-insurgency operations and they were considered best suited for operations in mountainous terrain," said honorary lieutenant (retd) Chhagan Singh, a 1971-war veteran, as he recalled his son's role in Operation Vijay.

Landmark victory

The win on Khalubar hill became a landmark event in the Kargil war where the Indian soldiers defeated Pakistanis in most adverse conditions.

"Soldiers by nature are very religious and when it comes to the Indian army, every soldier's first religion is his country. The determination of the men can be assessed from the fact that more than ten men from the same company laid down their lives during the operation," said a senior army officer.

However, the battle was not over and the 22 Grenadiers kept fighting the Pakistani reinforcements, and there came a time when Col Shekhawat asked for artillery shelling on the incoming Pakistanis.

Heavy shelling

"The company knew that the artillery shelling could kill them also, but they were ready to lay down their lives.

Col Shekhawat himself got injured during the operation," said another senior officer.

A pure infantry man, Col Shekhawat is known as an expert shooter and mountaineer and he loves to spend time with his soldiers.

"He is a pure soldier, who is very much admired by his men. He used to observe fast during Ramadan along with his soldiers," he added.

Inspired from his father Col Shekhawat wanted to join the Navy, but now he feels lucky to have joined the infantry.

Hon Lieutenant Chhagan Singh is a proud man, as both of his sons made their career in the armed forces.

Col Shekhawat's younger brother, Ranjit Singh, joined Indian Navy and is posted at Vishakhapatnam as a Commander.

Grenadiers all the way
Grenadiers have the unique distinction of receiving the highest number of Param Vir Chakra (PVC) the highest gallantry medal in the Indian army. 18 Grenadiers infantry unit of the Indian Army won the Tiger Hill in the Kargil war and Grenadier Yogendra Singh Yadav was awarded PVC in the operation. Yadav received 14 bullets while killing Pakistanis on the Tiger Hill top, but he did not stop there, and in fact, climbed down the steep hill to inform his company about Pakistani reinforcement.

The concept of Grenadiers evolved from the practice of selecting the bravest and strongest men for the most dangerous tasks in combat.

MUST READ : When the shoe pinches the other fellow

During my tenure at Indian Army Headquarters as an Officer in early eighties, employees of Army HQ used to visit me for their official work. The more people I met, the more I learned about life and also about difficulties faced by others.

One thing I was sure of, that everyone was in need of money i.e. their own payments, as early as possible. And one day tears rolled down the cheeks of one gentleman.

I distinctly remember that on a bright sunny day in March 1981, one very well dressed elderly person entered my office.

“May I come in?”

“Yes,”- I said, adding, “Please sit down, what can I do for you?”

“I am Suri, Staff Officer at MS branch. One of my traveling allowance claims is pending in your Section and I request that the same may be cleared.”

“OK – do you have the details?” I inquired.

He gave me the details and I asked a clerk to give his claim form to me. On seeing the form I realized that the total claim was for Rs 158/-(then around Six dollars) and out of this sum he had already drawn an advance of Rs. 100/-.(Three and a half dollars) I was thunderstruck, and I kept glancing at this well to do gentleman sitting next to me wearing an immaculate suit with a gold plated watch and a gold ring in his left hand, and tought about his claim form – the small sum he had come to claim.

And wondering how much money he would have spent on fuel alone to come to me for this paltry sum.However, he got the cheque for Rs.58/- after 20 minutes.

He then thanked me for the work which I used to do everyday. I never deserved the accolades he showered for this little work I had done. And then, inadvertently, the question roaming in my mind popped out of my mouth.

“Mr Suri, why did you take the trouble to come personally for this paltry payment? You could have called me on phone.”

“It is not about this small payment. It is the advance of Rs. 100/- that was pending against my name and was creating problems. See, I have retired and my retirement benefits have been withheld because there is one advance pending against me.”

“Have your pension documents arrived here?”

“Yes , a month ago,” he said.

I picked up the phone and told the pension payment section to help him quickly and informed him that the advance has been adjusted..

I told him not to worry; it shall be done within the week. And then tears rolled down his cheek and he said: -

“I was planning all along that whenever we got the retirement benefits, we would go places for sight-seeing. But now this money has no value. I lost my wife three months ago.”

I was dumb struck – my heart stopped beating for a second and I controlled myself with great difficulty, all I could mutter and mumble was – “I am very sorry.”

And then he left.

That day I learnt a major lesson.

You can never know where the shoe is pinching the other fellow. How aptly said: “One day you will meet someone who will tell you what you don’t know, but should know”.

- Ravi Matah writes for Vancouverite from New Delhi, India. His short stories and features have been published in several Indian magazines. Ravi will write a weekly column here and more often if necessary. He is a great story teller, he writes beautifully about life’s little happenings. And he’ll cover other aspects of life in India too, ranging from politics to cricket.

City institute ready with new gun for Army

City-based Armaments Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) is giving the final touches to a modern sub-machine carbine (MSMC) for the Indian Army. The final trials for this 5.56 mm calibre MSMC will be conducted in December this year.

A carbine is a lightweight compact automatic gun with a small barrel; unlike a rifle it fires rapidly and is suitable for close quarter combats.

At present, the Indian Army, paramilitary forces, commandos and the police use a Russian origin 9 mm calibre carbine, which is fairly ancient.

“We are in the process of proving 99.7 per cent reliability for the MSMC. The user will be able to fire up to 200 metres using the MSMC,” said ARDE director Anil M Datar.

The MSMC programme has its origins in the Indian Small Arms System family, which was started in 1982 in a bid to build an indigenous small arms weapons system for India. By 1987, the ARDE had designed the Rifle, the Light Machine Gun (LMG) and the carbine — all part of the INSAS family.

The Army had inducted the INSAS rifle and LMG in 1993; DRDO scientists say it met with a fair amount of success but there were some defects as well, which came to light after the Kargil war.

“The rifle and the LMG was first put to test during Kargil. After that, based on the battlefield experiences, we developed a new version — the INSAS 1B1” said R S Rao, joint director, INSAS, ARDE.

But it was the INSAS carbine that fell through, right from the start. “For the carbine, the ammunition was very powerful. It had higher sound, flash, and recoil effect,” said S V Gade, joint director, INSAS, ARDE. “With the MSMC, we have now changed the length of the ammunition. It is still a 5.6 mm calibre bullet, but it is slightly shorter in length, thereby eliminating the drawbacks of the earlier carbine.”

Finally, the INSAS carbine plan was shelved and in 2002, the Army devised a new set of General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) for the new MSMC, he said.

“Since 2006, when the first prototype was devised, the MSMC has been put through every possible scenario that the Army could conceive of.”

The first trial of the prototype was held in 2006, then 2007-end and the last one was in January 2009.

10 Bns of BSF, CRPF sent to Naxal-hit areas from IHK

SRINAGAR (SANA): At least 10 battalions of [Indian] paramilitary CRPF and BSF have been shifted out from the occupied Jammu & Kashmir State to tackle Naxal violence in different Indian states.

“Three battalions would be shifted out from Jammu region while two would be taken out from Kashmir,” CRPF spokesman Prabhakar Tripathi told Rising Kashmir.

Stating that the de-induction process started since August 17, he said, “We were waiting for the completion of Amarnath Yatra. Now that the yatra has ended peacefully, the CRPF battalions deployed for security of the pilgrimage would be shifted out and deployed in the Naxal hit areas”.

He said the void created by the de-induction would be compensated by the personnel deployed in the nearby battalions located at a certain place.

The CRPF spokesman said due to the soft decline in militancy in the State, it has been decided to move out five battalions to fight Naxal violence. “The de-induction was carried out after receiving nod from Home Ministry,” he said.

About 77 CRPF battalions are deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, on the instructions of home ministry, 16 battalions of para military forces were moved out in phased manner from the State and deployed in Naxal affected area.

DIG BSF Kashmir Frontiers, S K Singh told Rising Kashmir that five battalions of the border guards deployed on Amarnath route have been de-inducted. “These battalions would be sent to border areas like Rajasthan and Punjab. The battalions relieved at these two places would be deployed in Naxal hit region of Chattisgarh”.

Another BSF official, pleading anonymity said of the five battalions, three would be moved out from Kupwara while two others would be pulled back from Bandipore.

“There is immense pressure on Union home ministry to tackle the naxalite violence spread over more than eight states. The problem is increasing with each passing day,” he said, adding, “The situation in Naxal-hit areas have become more serious than Kashmir”.

The clamor is growing in Indian camp to deploy its forces in naxal infested states like West Bengal, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh to new guerilla zones in other states like Orissa, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to tackle the unexpected rising insurgency.

The paramilitary officials said earlier centre has carved out a ‘Cobra force’ to start an anti-naxalite movement. “It was grossly insufficient. The force comprised 10 bns of CRPF. They were specially trained and equipped. Now they are raising more ten battalions of cobra force to fight the Naxalites,” a paramilitary official said.

BSF likely to deploy ATVs, hovercraft for vigil along Harami Nala by year-end

The Border Security Force (BSF) is likely to deploy by the year-end two All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and as many hovercraft to keep vigil on the Pakistani activities in the Harami Nala creek, which has not been accessible for the Indian security forces so far.

Though this stretch of water measuring 25 kms in length and 1.5 kms in breadth falls within the territorial boundaries of India, the Indian security forces have not been able to keep check on the activities here, as it is accessible from the Pakistani side through Sir Creek, which is easily negotiable with boats.

According to BSF officials, Pakistanis have been using Harami Nala for fishing as well as helping infiltration in India through the Rann of Kutch. And the Indian security forces have not been able to keep full vigil on alien activities in the stretch owing to lack of access.

The only method of accessing the area and keeping vigil on this stretch at present is the aerial surveillance. But officials say that aerial surveillance alone was not very effective because aircraft or helicopters can’t hover over the area round the clock.

About a year ago, the BSF entered into a deal with an Italian firm for ATVs to negotiate the marshylands of the Rann to reach Harami Nala.

However, before buying them, the Home Ministry wanted to test the vehicles if these could operate successfully in the difficult terrains of the Rann.

Sources in the BSF said that after certain modifications, ATVs as well as hovercraft were found successful and were likely to be put into operation in the Harami Nala area in the next few months after other formalities like payments with the firm were completed.

Cops at work to clear Maoist road blocks

KORAPUT: The district administration on Thursday set about clearing roads blocked by Maoists by felling trees. For the past four days,Narayanpatna remained cut off from the rest of the state owing to the blockade of Red rebels.

"We have started clearing the roads. We hope that vehicles will roll into Narayanpatna cut off since August 17 on Friday. At first, the Narayanpatna-Laxmipur Road will be cleared," said collector (Koraput) Gadadhar Parida.

The administration has pressed two teams from the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), a bomb disposal squad and a large number of securitymen, including CRPF and SOG jawans into service, to clear the Laxmipur-Narayanpanta Road.

Maoists have blocked the 20-km road at three places by felling big trees. The ODRAF team is equipped with large tree-purner machines and vehicle-mounter power generators.

The Maoists began their offensive on August 14 to make their presence felt in the area. They first blocked the Narayanpatna-Bandhugaon Road and than the one connecting Laxmipur on August 17. On August 19, the Red rebels blocked the Narayanpatna-Damanjodi Road near Bijaghat, denying all access to the area by the administration.

The block is facing an acute crisis of essential commodities inconveniencing people. People have to trek for 20 km to reach either Laxmipur or Bandhugaon to buy things.

"When a place remains cut-off for so many days, it is evident that there will be a shortage of essential commodities. Nothing can be done till the roads are not cleared," the collector said.

In June, Narayanpatna remained cut off for over two weeks after Maoists blocked all connecting roads by felling trees. On June 18, as many as nine security personnel were killed in a landmine blast triggered by Red rebels while they were travelling in a jeep to provide security to an ODRAF team.

Pakistan Can't Dictate Terms

All indications from Islamabad suggest that it wants to dictate the terms for resumption of talks with India with a view to pressing for an early ‘resolution’ of the Kashmir ‘dispute.’ This may well be the result of a blank cheque that Islamabad has received from the Obama administration, promising huge flow of both cash and sophisticated arms into the land of the pure, no matter what.

The foreign ministers of India and Pakistan are slated to meet on the sidelines of the UN general assembly meeting in New York in September. It will be preceded by a meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries. But neither meeting can be expected to yield anything positive. Many Indians will be hoping and praying that taking a cue from the fiasco at the NAM summit at Sharm el-Shaikh, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had allowed Pakistan to link India with unrest in Balochistan, the external affairs minister, S. M. Krishna, will be smart enough to save himself from falling into another trap when he meets his Pakistani counterpart in New York.

It is said in defence of Manmohan Singh that he does not think the Balochistan reference was a faux pas as India has nothing to hide, unlike Pakistan. Indians may think that Pakistan has no ‘solid’ proof of India’s active involvement in Balochistan, but it will manufacture something that has the tacit backing of the US. Some American leaders and ‘experts’ have always been supportive of any wild allegation that Islamabad may choose to hurl at India.

America is again swearing eternal friendship to Pakistan. Influential US politicians and think tank scholars have converted praise for Pakistan into a standard ritual. As a result Pakistanis of all hues—so-called peaceniks, intellectuals, strategists and politicians, all of whom suffer from paranoia about India, are now becoming almost hysterical.

They want the Americans to quickly give them something like the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. Islamabad can hardly wait to have its own nuclear submarine since India has already made one indigenously to ‘threaten’ South Asia! No delay can be brooked in either case because India is ready to devour Pakistan, a country that has been telling its people from 1947 that India is no match for it militarily or even financially.

The nightmare for the Pakistanis gets worse by the day because they think India’s defence preparedness is Pak-centric. Every Pakistani is convinced that India faces no danger from Pakistan’s all-weather friend, China. That is hardly surprising. Given the amnesia that overtakes them frequently when dealing with India, the Pakistanis have chosen to be unaware of the troubled history between India and China going back to the 1962 Chinese invasion of India.

In recent days, hospitable Indian newspaper columns given to Pakistanis have dwelt on India’s alleged history of meddling in Pakistani affairs, particularly Balochistan. The learned Pakistani scholars have painted a horrible security scenario for their country because of a multilateral nexus—India, Iran, Israel, Russia and US. UK is a surprise omission.

Quite apart from the absurdity of such theories these Pakistani ‘scholars’ and ‘experts’ have not been able to site a single ‘concrete’ evidence to prove their outlandish theories of ‘conspiracies’ being hatched against their country, especially to disturb Balochistan. Many Baloch leaders have emphatically debunked the Pakistani officials’ claims that they were being backed by India or any other foreign country.

For a country that maintains a heavily oversized and armed military but sees acquisition of even an extra gun by India as a plot to ‘destabilise’ it, it is ridiculous to claim that India’s attempts to modernise its defence forces pose a threat to Pakistan. Criticism of defence expenditure by India is a perennial refrain in Pakistan when the fact is that in terms of GDP Pakistan spends much more on defence than India. In addition Pakistan also receives massive US defence assistance—more than the total of military assistance provided by the US to all the countries!

China’s ‘official’ defence expenditure is said to be around $40 billion a year. But the actual budget is widely believed to be many times more —estimates vary from $70 billion to $200 billion. In recent months, China has started to mouth its more aggressive designs on India—maybe in consonance with Pakistan which is in no mood to settle with India for anything less than Kashmir. A section of Chinese establishment talks about ‘breaking’ India into 30 parts or something. Undoubtedly, some of these ‘broken’ portions will be handed over to the Pakistanis just as they had handed over a part of Kashmir to China during the Bhutto era.

Pakistan’s alleged ‘peace’ offer to India has many ‘hidden’ caveats. Apart from Kashmir, it has prepared a list of ‘issues’ that it wants sorted out with India in its favour as a price for ‘peace’ with India. Let no one in India be fooled. Pakistan is already revving up the Indus water issue while its military as well civilian leaders have made it very clear that they have no intention of dismantling the jihadi-terror network that operates from the Pakistani territories against India.

The Pakistanis will only get ‘bolder’ as they find that their roguish behaviour, be it in regard to nuclear proliferation or terror, goes unpunished or un-reprimanded. Only the most na├»ve in India will see any good coming out of resumed ‘dialogue’ with Pakistan in New York or any other place on this planet.

Concern Over a Pernicious Agreement : EUMA

A critical agreement finalised during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to India last month was the Indo-US End-Use Monitoring Agreement, or EUMA. It involves US Government inspectors continuously monitoring all hi-tech weapons and advanced electronic systems and equipment across a broad front imported by India from the US, to ensure that they are used by the Indian defence services and the Department of Atomic Energy and the Department of Space only for the purpose—”end use”—for which they are imported.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, in a statement in Parliament on July 21, said that signing such an EUMA was essential under US law for India to undertake such imports. He gave the impression that all that the EUMA does is to bring under one umbrella the case-by-case permissions for such imports India had been seeking and securing from the US Government from as far back as the 1990s. Therefore this was largely procedural in nature, he implied.

Simultaneously, the Minister indicated that thanks to two years of intense negotiations, the EUMA was uniquely to New Delhi’s advantage: the periodic inspections in India of all US origin hi-tech and defence equipment would be undertaken by US inspectors only at places and times “mutually agreed” upon, places and times specified by the Indian Government. But that is not what “mutually agreed” means. He emphasised that such a provision did not exist in any of the 82 earlier EUMAs concluded by the US and so this was a great victory for the Indian Government. What he did not say was that those 82 countries were those of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and US military allies.

Despite the Minister’s statement, followed by the Prime Minister’s defence of the EUMA with the US Government there are serious concerns about it among parliamentarians, the media and the military and scientific leadership on several counts.

First, no other country from which India has imported and is importing hi-tech defence and other equipment—be it France or other West European countries, South Africa, Israel or Russia—has ever asked for an EUMA, even when India imported state-of-the-art weapon systems. Here are some examples:

—The Sukhoi-30 MKI supersonic fighter bomber from Russia (especially tailor-made for Indian needs) which, apart from carrying a wide range of lethal conventional weapons in a tactical role, can carry nuclear weapons over a 5000-mile range, that is, to Beijing and Shanghai, (with mid-air refuelling) and is accepted even by the US Government as the best such weapon system in the world;

—The 90-mile beyond visual range air-to-air missile, also from Russia, which three former Chiefs of Air Staff have characterised as “the best such missile in the world”. They also acknowledged that it was India’s possession of the missile that “deterred Pakistan from using its Air Force in the Kargil War”.

—Then there is India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, which would have just been impossible to realise without the Soviet Union’s/Russia’s massive allround consultancy, technology transfer, technical services and training, technical “knowhow” and “show how” design of the submarine as a whole, and above all numerous operational “tips” based on 50 years of experience in designing, building and operating nuclear submarines. Although Soviet and Russian assistance was extended throughout the 25-year designing and building of Arihant, at no time did anyone in the Russian Government even mention any end-use restriction. And yet, if India were to import some incomparably low-tech electronic warfare equipment from the US, the US Government will demand the application of the EUMA.

Secondly, it is a matter of concern that under the EUMA India has to turn over to US inspectors not only the hardware and software of all US-origin systems and equipment purchased by India for their scrutiny, but also all data and information logs containing the entire history of the equipment as used by India.

Thirdly, for the computer software (so much of which is used nowadays in hi-tech defence and other equipment) in the US-origin equipment, Indian military and civilian computer scientists have often been able to develop modified software known only to India and so secure. However, when such equipment is tested and analysed using US simulators, the software becomes evident to the US inspectors. This will seriously compromise the security of the equipment and of the overall weapon system of which it is often “the brain”.

Fourthly, and extremely seriously, India is now fully aware that the end-use it is putting the US-origin weapon systems to and all the technical and operational data relating to it, particularly modifications and improvements India has made as collected by US inspectors, are passed on by the US Government to Pakistan.

When any “inspection” of a US-origin equipment at any Indian air/sea/army bases—which the EUMA provides for at the discretion of the US—takes place, the inspection team will consist usually of specialised technical and intelligence personnel from the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the US National Security Agency and, of course, the weapon-system supplier. Such teams come with sophisticated simulators to test the US-origin weapon systems and equipment under simulated battlefield conditions.

THEN, there is a much larger issue. The situation discussed above is with regard to various US-origin equipment incorporated into Indian aircraft, surface ships, submarines, tanks, artillery guns and so on. What will happen when the weapon system as a whole is of US-origin? India has already had a taste of that from its experience with the old troop and helicopter-carrying vessel USS Trenton, which was imported and inducted into the Navy as INS Jalashar. The US undertakes surprise inspections of any part of the vessel; studies all ship logs, requires a US Navy officer to be on board when India makes any modifications or improvements or even repairs to keep the old vessel going... And this for a 30-year-old helicopter-and-troop carrier.

Again such a background, what kind of EUMA will the US apply should India decide to purchase one or other of the two US-origin multi-role combat aircraft—the F-16 offered by Lockheed and the F-18 offered by Boeing—against the Rs 42,000 crores global tender floated by the Defence Ministry for 126 such aircraft last year? The conditions will obviously be far more stringent than the inspection methodology and coverage which apply to the EUM for individual weapons such as artillery and radar. What will the government do then?

It is important to also note that all the three defence service chiefs have vehemently and repeatedly, verbally and in writing, individually and collectively, conveyed to New Delhi at the highest levels their strong and total opposition to India entering into an EUMA with the US because of its serious national security-compromising character. But the Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by the Prime Minister, brushed aside these acute concerns and went ahead and approved the EUMA.

Then there is the issue of the penetration and suborning of India’s armed forces and civil services by US agencies at the operational level. The Indian Express (July 26, 2009) reported how the External Affairs Ministry had expressed concern over a recent senior-level inter-ministerial meeting convened by the Defence Ministry at which some Defence Ministry officials agreed to a purchase contract for US-origin arms in which, at the insistence of the US representatives, the end-use clauses were made extremely intrusive and stringent, and hence more objectionable than those framed under the joint EUMA itself. The Prime Minister stated in Parliament on July 29 that “there was no provision in the EUMA to allow US inspectors access to Indian military sites and other sensitive installations.” But in the very next sentence he said: “Inspections if necessary (as decided by the US Government) would happen at a mutually agreed time and venue after a request.” The United States Government’s “request” [for inspection] is put forward by the US—and the Indian Government has got to comply.

With these numerous, wide-ranging and highly deleterious implications for India’s national security of the EUMA, it is imperative that the Government of India terminate the EUMA. If the Indian Government does not have the will to do so, it should at least announce in Parliament that the purchase of US-origin hi-tech equipment would be “purchases of very last resort”.

'AFSPA to continue'

Srinagar, Aug 20: Taking a tough stand on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Jammu and Kashmir government Thursday said the law would continue to be in force ‘as long as it was needed.”
“We don’t want that people should suffer (but) the act would remain as long as it is needed,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar, said in the Legislative Assembly responding to a cut motion by the Peoples Democratic Party’s Muzaffar Hussain Baig. Baig said the state government was violating the guidelines by the Apex Court that the Act should be reviewed after every six months.
However, the House witnessed a pandemonium when the minister said the Act was extended to the state in 1990 when Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was the Union Home Minister.
“The National Conference led by Dr. Farooq Abdullah left the Government when the Centre didn’t consider our plea not to extend the Act to the state. At that time there were only 72 militants in Kashmir. Dr. Sahab sought Mufti’s intervention but the Act was extended and one by one the districts were declared as disturbed areas,” Sagar said.
On this, the PDP members led by party president, Mehbooba Mufti, stood up saying that it was the National Conference which extended the Act to Jammu and brought the dreadful POTA into the state.
“Mehbboba Ji I appeal you to accept that it was Mufti Sahab who brought AFSPA to Jammu and Kashmir. You created the situation and we are facing the sufferings on its account. When PDP was in power you didn’t work for revoking the Act. I have checked all the official records there is not even a single mention of PDP pressing for revocation of the Act with the centre,” he said. “You brought the Act and now you are demanding its revocation.”
The statement by the state Government has come at a time when it is in constant touch with the Government of India for past several months seeking its revocation. The chief minister, Omar Abdullah, has said on numerous occasions that he has taken up the issue with the Home Minister P Chidambaram and the JK Government was hopeful of its revocation during its tenure. There were reports also that the Government of India might revoke the Act from the districts which have witnessed less militancy related activities in recent past.
Under the Act, the armed forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir enjoy immunity from any legal action for committing human rights violations unless the Centre sanctions prosecution of the accused.
“During the chief ministers’ conference in New Delhi Omar sahib urged the central authorities that keeping in view the improving situation in the state there was a good case for reviewing the continuation of Act,” Sagar said, adding the government would try to come to the expectations of the people but needed support from the House.
Earlier, the former Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister, Baig, said the armed forces could be used in the aid of the civil authorities in “grave situation” but government should look into whether the Disturbed Area act and AFSPA was presently applicable to Jammu and Kashmir as per the Constitution and the guidelines of the Supreme Court.
He said former chief minister of the state, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, had not allowed extension of the 42nd amendment in the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. “If the amendment along with the entry 2 was not applicable then we have to see whether the Act is applicable,” Baig said.
He said the Supreme Court guidelines say that any state could declare any area as disturbed and extend Disturbed Area Act and AFSPA when there would be grave law and order situation.
“But the guidelines make it clear that the Act should be reviewed. Jammu has been declared as disturbed area for past 15 years and Kashmir for past 20 years. The state Government has violated the guidelines by not reviewing the Act. Is there no need to review the Act? Are all districts of the state disturbed? I appeal to the Government to review the Disturbed Area Act,” Baig said.
“It is doubtful that the law is applicable to the state. Perhaps it is not applicable,” he opined.

Lalgarh is set for 1st big Naxal ops

Aug. 20: Not wasting any time, the Centre has decided to use the Lalgarh battleground as its first major operation against Maoists, ruling out the withdrawal of the CRPF from West Bengal till such time as Lalgarh and its surrounding areas are completely cleared of the Maoist presence, leaving no chance of comebacks. The CRPF personnel, who are currently living in school and government buildings, will move into "alternate accommodations" within a fortnight, CRPF DG A.S. Gill said on Thursday. The Centre’s announcement comes amid reports of Maoists staging a comeback in Lalgarh.

While counter-offensive operations are already on in neighbouring Jharkhand and Purulia and Bankura in West Bengal, the CRPF is gearing to move into new areas soon where Naxals are still roaming freely. "The state police has come back. We can’t put a date but the CRPF will stay there as long as necessary," Mr Gill said.

Home secretary G.K. Pillai said, "Neither from the CPI(M) or the Trinamul Congress is there any pressure on the CRPF to withdraw." Asked whether Trinamul Congress chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee was putting pressure to end the operations, Mr Pillai said: "There is no pressure whatsoever."

"Now that we are by and large consolidated, we will try to spread to more areas to ensure that killings by CPI (Maoist) completely cease. And we hope to achieve that," Mr Gill said. He said that the Centre is all set to replicate the Lalgarh operation in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa. "Lalgarh is the laboratory for us and this will be reflected in what we are going to do in other Naxal-infested areas like Chhattisgarh. The operation in Lalgarh was by and large successful, but not complete as we want to arrest all top Maoists leaders," he said.

The home secretary said the Centre will welcome democratic activities of political parties in Lalgarh and the neighbouring districts. "There was a vacuum and the Maoists took advantage of it," he said. Mr Pillai said action is also being taken against Naxal sympathisers and overground frontal organisations of the CPI (Maoist).

‘Strike’ at IITs, IIMs from today

Aug. 20: Faculty members of all Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management have threatened to stop taking classes from Friday and go on mass casual leave indefinitely in protest against the human resources development ministry’s move to curtail enhanced "incentives" proposed by a Central pay panel.

This protest is likely to affect the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, as well.

HRD ministry officials were holding talks with IIT/IIM faculty representatives till late Thursday night to resolve the issue.

The faculty members allege that the new pay structure notified by the HRD ministry earlier this week sets annual increments at scales lower than those set out by the pay panel headed by former Indian Institute of Science director Goverdhan Mehta.

The panel had proposed better incentives for IIT and IIM teachers to counter better salaries offered by industry and foreign universities in an effort to stop the brain drain from these top institutes.

The anomalies include low pay for fresh PhDs and those with less than three years’ experience.

Maoists blow up 2 forest offices

ROURKELA: Maoists blew up two forest offices and took away a bus after asking passengers to get off with their luggage in Sundergarh district on
Thursday. Panic gripped the entire area as the incidents took place in broad daylight and in the presence of hundreds of locals.

According to sources, around 3.30 pm, when a bus was on its way to Gurundia from Rourkela with about 50 passengers, a group of about 30 armed Maoists intercepted it near Karua Bahal village and reportedly asked all passengers to get off with their luggage. Then, they asked the driver to take them to the Tamda forest beat house, about 10 km away.

As it was located on the road, hundreds of locals were present there. Before executing their plan, the Maoists collected the cellphones from the locals. They then entered the beat house and asked the guard to leave. Then, they planted a few landmines and blew up the beat house with a remote. The Maoists also blew up four quarters on the beat house campus. Before leaving, they returned the cellphones.

From Tamda, the Maoists headed for the Birda forester's office, about five kilometre away. As nobody was present there, they took no time in blowing up the place. After that, the Maoists boarded the bus and left, abandoning it deep inside the forest. They also released the driver of the bus, which was under the control of the Maoists for nearly two hours.

India keeping a close watch on China's moves in Indian Ocean

NEW DELHI: With defence minister A K Antony in Male to finalise military aid to Maldives to counter Chinese inroads, the government on Thursday said it was fully aware of Beijing's strategic moves in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and was doing the needful to protect Indian interests.

"China, being a regional power, will make its moves. If we sense a threat to our internal security we will undertake some counter-measures,'' said minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju, on the sidelines of a seminar on sub-conventional warfare and homeland security.

The minister, however, added China also obviously needs to safeguard its sea lanes of communication in the IOR due to its growing energy needs. "They are taking some steps. We have to make sure that they are not intrusive and do not come into our space. We are

conscious of what China is doing and we are taking adequate measures to make sure that our neighbourhood is not threatened,'' said Raju.

On China acquiring anti-satellite weapon capabilities, Raju was clear that India remained opposed to militarisation of space. "But space assets will increasingly be used in warfare in the years to come. We are also preparing for it to take adequate counter-measures,'' he added.

But pointing at the growing trade between the two Asian giants, Raju was quick to add, "The emphasis and focus is on (bilateral) trade, which is increasing at a rapid rate. Although we share a large border, we have not had any skirmishes.''

"So, I do not see any reason why they should be a problem on that front. As a regional power, they will take steps to increase their military prowess and we will also do so in our case,'' he said.

India, of course, is worried about the rapid modernisation of the 2.5-million strong People's Liberation Army and its expanding strategic transborder and `area-denial' military capabilities, with straight double-digit hikes in its military budget for the last 20 years.

This is reflected in the defence ministry's latest annual report. It says that China's "stated objectives'' of developing strategic missile and space-based assets, rapidly enhance its blue-water Navy and systematically upgrade infrastructure, surveillance and operational capabilities in border areas "will have an effect on the overall military environment'' in India's neighbourhood.

Joint forces to stay

NEW DELHI/MIDNAPORE, 20 AUG: Central paramilitary forces will continue to stay in Lalgarh area to assist the state security forces till the situation improves in the region, the Union home secretary, Mr GK Pillai, said here today.
There would be no change in the CRPF deployment in the region in the near future and the force would continue operations along with the state security forces to flush out and eliminate naxalites. Police have also seized a large number of SLRs (self-loading rifles) and .303 rifles, which were looted from the state police forces, as also a large number of country-made weapons, said the CRPF director-general, Mr AS Gill, who was also present at the briefing.
Mr Pillai said the situation is improving in Lalgarh, adding that the Central government has increased welfare activities in the area to help local residents. Recently, the government has revised the list of BPL families increasing it from 11,837 to 18,915, an increase of over 7000 families. It would enable more people to avail of social welfare schemes. Employment opportunities in the region have also improved due to more enrolment under NREGS, Mr Pillai said. In the past 84 days more than Rs 65 lakh has been distributed under NREGS, he added. The government has also given various incentives to farmers, including 2,000 mini farmers’ kits, distribution of 600 goats and installation of over 300 more water resources, the home secretary said. Meanwhile, the Police Santras Birodhi Public Committee's (PSBPC) rampage in league with Maoists continues at Junglemahal in West Midnapore. After razing the CPI-M office at Dherua in Midnapore Kotwali police station area to the ground the PSBPC dug up roads at several places blocking the movement of joint forces and ransacked the Marxist party office in adjoining Malbandi today and the houses of eight CPI-M activists in the area. All the residents, along with other villagers, have fled. Locals are tightlipped. The PSBPC leaders threatened that they won't allow Marxist comrades to live in peace until their eight supporters, abducted from Gohomidanga in neighbouring Lalgarh by CPI-M cadres yesterday, are released. They threatened to torch the cadres' houses and other belongings.
The joint forces have failed to show any spectacular achievement in their second phase of operation which began last week, except for nabbing a handful of Maoist cadres, as announced by home secretary Mr Ardhendu Sen at a Press conference in Midnapore town on 13 August. He said the forces would frequently change their strategy to befool the Maoists so that they don't get any breathing space.
Maoist cadres fired at the police outpost in Ramgarh early today. Police retaliated and the gun battle lasted an hour. A few hundred PSBPC activists reportedly assembled near a police camp at Kasdasole in Goaltore to launch an attack. The joint forces have been kept ready to meet any eventuality.
The indefinite bandh called by the PSBPC from Tuesday at Junglemahal of Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia will be relaxed for two hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. from tomorrow.
In another development, CPI-M Politburo member Mr Sitaram Yechury accused Central ministers belonging to Trinamul Congress of abetting Maoists in West Bengal. Referring to the Prime Minister's Independence Day speech, Mr Yechury said Dr Singh had expressed “great concern” at the growing Maoist violence and stated that the Centre would redouble its efforts to deal with the menace. But he must explain how he continues to tolerate members of his own Cabinet aiding and abetting Maoist violence in Lalgarh and other parts of West Bengal, he said