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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Courts can't substitute medical opinion: SC

New Delhi, Aug 23 (PTI) The Supreme Court has held that courts cannot substitute the opinion of the medical board and decide that a person had developed "schizophrenia" on account of his service condition.

The apex court made the observation while upholding an appeal filed by the Union government challenging a decision of the Kerala High Court to grant pensionary benefits to family of A V Damodaran who died of schizophrenia in 1984 while working in the Indian Army as a "Sapper".

"The Medical Board had opined that the disability of A V Damodaran was not attributable to the military service nor has it been aggravated thereby and it is not connected with the service, as schizophrenia is a constitutional disease," a bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Mukundakam Sharma observed.

LIST OF PERSONNEL CONFERRED GALLANTRY AWARDS ON THE OCCASION OF INDEPENDENCE DAY - 2009














Ashok Chakra

1. IC-59066 MAJ MOHIT SHARMA, SM, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
2. SS-40576 MAJ D SREERAM KUMAR, ASSAM RIF



Kirti Chakra

1. IC-59630 MAJ AMIT OSCAR FERNANDES, MLI
2. IC-61379 MAJ DEEPAK TEWARI, EME
3. 2994546 NK RISHIKESH GURJAR, RAJPUT
4. 9113063 PTR SHABIR AHMAD MALIK, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)



Shaurya Chakra

1. IC-57104 MAJ DINESH SINGH PARMAR, SIKH LI
2. IC-61857 MAJ MANU SHUKLA, ARTY
3. IC-62248 MAJ SAURABH DUTT KHOLIA, ARMD
4. IC-62272 MAJ RATNESH KUMAR SINGH, RAJPUT
5. IC-63089 MAJ SUBRAMANIAM ANAND, SIKH LI
6. IC-64795 MAJ ANKUR GARG, ENGRS
7. SS-42427 LT CHUNDAWAT PRASHANT SINGH, JAT
8. JC-74651 NB SUB GANESH NATH, ASSAM RIF
9. 9101356 HAV RAKESH KUMAR, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
10. 13622147 HAV VIPAN THAKUR, PARA (SF) (POSTHUMOUS)
11. 2599664 L/HAV LUIS PERIYERA NAYAGAM, MADRAS
12. 2792266 NK PAWAR CHANDRABHAN BHIKAN, MLI (POSTHUMOUS)
13. 13625790 NK MANOJ SINGH, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
14. 9098809 L/NK SUBASH CHANDER, JAK LI (POSTHUMOUS)
15. 15330627 L/NK SUJITH BABU V, ENGRS (POSTHUMOUS)
16. 2795178 SEP HANMANT MAHADEO YEVALE, MLI
17. 4427599 SEP RUPOM GOGOI, ASSAM, (POSTHUMOUS)
18. 9107449 RFN MOHAMMAD AMIEEN BHAT, JAK LI (POSTHUMOUS)



Bar to Sena Medal
(Gallantary)

1. IC-55235 LT COL CHECURI SRINIVAS VARDHAN, SM, PARA
2. G/75320 HAV JATIN CHANDRA PHUKAN, SM, ASSAM RIF



Sena Medal
(Gallantary)

1. IC-49137 COL DEEPAK SHARMA, SIKH, ASSAM RIF
2. IC-56123 MAJ SAURABH SHAH, DOGRA, NSG
3. IC-57120 MAJ NINAD RAMESH KULKARNI, JAK LI
4. IC-58523 MAJ MUKUL CHAUHAN,INF BN (TA) SIKH LI
5. IC-58612 MAJ VIRENDER SINGH SALARIA, SC, PARA
6. IC-59700 MAJ MANAS SADANAND DIXIT, MADRAS
7. IC-60148 MAJ PUNAR PREET SINGH MANN, GUARDS
8. IC-60744 MAJ CHANDRAMOULI SINGH PARMAR, PARA
9. IC-60910 MAJ RAJESH KUMAR SINGH, GUARDS
10. IC-61360 MAJ NAVIN RAJAN, PUNJAB
11. IC-61802 MAJ VIJAY RAWAT, ASSAM RIF
12. IC-61915 MAJ NAGESH DHOUNDIYAL, ARMD
13. IC-62150 MAJ KAMAL THAPA, KUMAON
14. IC-62797 MAJ ARUN PANDEY, DOGRA
15. IC-62922 MAJ AKSHAY SINGH, GUARDS
16. IC-63439 MAJ AMIT MAHAJAN, ARTY
17. IC-63558 MAJ TUSHAR SHARMA, ASSAM
18. IC-64194 MAJ AJAY PATIAL, JAK RIF
19. IC-64304 MAJ MOHAMED ZABIULLA, SIGS
20. IC-64754 MAJ AMOL MONE, SIGS
21. IC-64896 MAJ KRISHNA KANTH P, PUNJAB
22. IC-64919 MAJ SIDDHARTH SINGH VIRDI, RAJPUT
23. IC-65351 MAJ ASHWANI KUMAR RAINA, ARMD
24. IC-65434 MAJ KUMAR ABHIJIT BANERJEE, ARMD
25. IC-65440 MAJ NAVDIP SIDHU, RAJPUT
26. SS-39094 MAJ SUMEDH KUMAR, PUNJAB
27. SS-40579 MAJ DEEPAK KUMAR TIWARI, SIKH
28. SC-00137 MAJ RAJINDER KUMAR SHARMA, KC, SC, GDRS
29. SC-00364 MAJ RAJINDER KUMAR SAINI, ARTY
30. IC-64526 CAPT ARUN TOM SEBASTIAN, GDRS
31. IC-66817 CAPT RAVIRAJ BALKRISHNA NALAWADE, PARA
32. IC-67628 CAPT ABHIMAAN PATTAR, 12 MLI
33. IC-67754 CAPT PREMNATH OTHAYOTH, EME, BIHAR
34. SS-40584 CAPT KAMAL GAUTAM, AAD
35. SS-40630 CAPT MANISH KULHARI, JAT
36. IC-69925 LT MAYANK BISHT, JAK LI
37. IC-70145 LT SATBIR SINGH, AEC
38. JC-439260 SUB MANJUNATHA CS, MADRAS
39. JC-479563 SUB SATVIR SINGH, RAJPUT
40. JC-528982 SUB BALDEV SINGH, GARH RIF
41. JC-548948 SUB CHINIO LOTHA, ASSAM
42. JC-579894 SUB HANS RAJ THIAL, JAK RIF
43. JC-83212 NB SUB KESHAR SINGH NEGI, ASSAM RIF
44. JC-83267 NB SUB MOHAN SINGH MEHAR, ASSAM RIF
45. JC-299931 NB SUB AUGUSTY PD, AAD
46. JC-520623 NB SUB NIRMAL SINGH, DOGRA
47. JC-530413 NB SUB MAN MOHAN SINGH, GARH RIF
48. 2594316 HAV PUNIBOR DIHINGIA, ASSAM
49. 2681392 HAV AHSAN ALI, GDRS
50. 2783530 HAV KALE NETAJI GOPALRAO, MLI
51. 2991822 HAV SANTER PAL, RAJPUT, RR
52. 2993180 HAV SAMANDAR SINGH, RAJPUT, RR
53. 3186467 HAV SURENDRA KUMAR, JAT
54. 3189212 HAV RAM NIWAS, PARA, SAG
55. 3993208 HAV SANJAY SINGH, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
56. 4071383 HAV DINESH CHANDRA, GARH RIF
57. 13618768 HAV VIKRAM SINGH MEHTA, PARA
58. 13757436 HAV MUKESH KUMAR, PARA
59. 14401292 HAV RAJBIR SINGH BHADOURIA, AAD
60. 15134004 HAV BHAKARE SANJAY ANNASAHEB, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
61. G/75633 L/HAV DIGAMBER SINGH, ASSAM RIF
62. 2494024 NK ANIL KUMAR, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
63. 2686773 NK VINOD SINGH, GDRS
64. 2688833 NK KISHORI LAL, GDRS (POSTHUMOUS)
65. 3187422 NK VIRENDER SINGH, JAT
66. 3188074 NK KIRAN DEV RAWAT, JAT
67. 3993056 NK BHAGWAN DASS, DOGRA
68. 4188305 NK GANGA SINGH, KUMAON
69. 4364183 NK HMAR LALSANGLURA, PARA
70. 4474297 NK JAGDIP SINGH, SIKH LI
71. 13626926 NK KARAMJIT SINGH, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
72. 14432318 NK BAPI DAFADAR, JAK RIF
73. 2894634 L/NK RAJEEV KUMAR, RAJ RIF
74. 3997541 L/NK RATTAN LAL, DOGRA
75. 4192469 L/NK BIRENDRA SINGH, PARA
76. 4192505 L/NK PRAKASH CHANDRA PANDEY, PARA
77. 4368129 L/NK NALEE AGAN, ASSAM
78. 12944331 L/NK DEV RAJ, INF BN (TA) DOGRA
79. 12944704 L/NK VIJAY KUMAR SHAN, INF BN TA DOGRA
80. 13761930 L/NK SUKDEN LEPCHA, JAK RIF
81. 15616369 L/NK SADANAND HAZARIKA, GUARDS
82. 3002638 SEP SUNIL KUMAR, RAJPUT
83. 3199182 SEP RANBIR SINGH, JAT
84. 4002337 SEP CHATAR SINGH, DOGRA
85. 4196047 SEP CHHATTAR PAL YADAV, KUMAON
86. 4369760 SEP DUSAKHO NYEKHA, ASSAM
87. 4484097 SEP GURCHARAN SINGH, SIKH LI
88. 4574321 SEP SUKHVINDER SINGH, MAHAR
89. 5250782 RFN BASANT KUMAR THAPA, GR
90. 5758316 RFN PANKAJ GURUNG,GR (POSTHUMOUS)
91. 9109920 RFN VIJAY KUMAR, JAK LI
92. 13767602 RFN SOHAN LAL SHARMA, JAK RIF (POSTHUMOUS)
93. G/164101 RFN RAM BAHADUR BHANDARI, ASSAM RIF
94. G/5002227 RFN MUGHAKHE ROCHILL, ASSAM RIF
95. G/5002947 RFN THOUNAOJAM SURJIT SINGH, ASSAM RIF
96. 9113179 PTR NATER SINGH, PARA (POSTHUMOUS)
97. 13623559 PTR MAGHRAJ JANGIR, PARA
98. 13625774 PTR JITENDER SINGH, PARA
99. 2693964 GDRS PRADEEP KUMAR, GDRS
100. 15617991 GDMN SANJAY NIMBALKAR, GUARDS



MENTION-IN-DESPATCHES
1. IC-50322 COL RAM CHANDRA YADAV, INT
2. TA-42101 LT COL HARI SINGH, INF BN TA SIKH LI
3. IC-54475 MAJ SAMIR KASHINATH PALANDE, MLI
4. IC-59256 MAJ AJAY THAKUR, JAK LI
5. IC-60445 MAJ ABHIJIT KUSHWAHA, GUARDS
6. IC-60584 MAJ SANDEEP RAWAT, MAHAR
7. IC-61402 MAJ SAMARJIT RAY, GARH RIF
8. IC-61427 MAJ TATHAGATA DUTTA, ARMD
9. IC-62699 MAJ VIPIN KUMAR SINGH, SM**, GDRS
10. IC-64011 MAJ R VIJAI ANAND, MECH INF
11. IC-65381 MAJ BRIJESH KUMAR NAGAYACH, PUNJAB
12. IC-65383 MAJ KARTHIKESH KASINATH, SIKH LI, ASSAM RIF
13. SS-39008 MAJ GAURAV NEGI, MAHAR
14. IC-63111 CAPT RYAN CHAKRAVARTY, LADAKH SCOUTS
15. IC-64013 CAPT KARAMJEET SINGH YADAV, ARTY
16. SS-40532 CAPT BIRENDER PATHANIA, JAT
17. SS-41215 CAPT RAHUL GOYAL, ARTY
18. JC-308200 SUB S ANTHONY SAMY, ENGRS
19. JC-429710 SUB JEET KUMAR, PUNJAB
20. JC-413091 NB SUB MANJIT SINGH, PARA
21. JC-459809 NB SUB WAGHAMODE ABASAHEB JANOBA, MLI
22. 3990427 HAV SHAMSHER SINGH, PARA
23. 4072034 HAV PRADEEP SINGH, GARH RIF
24. G/2102757 HAV SURINDER KUMAR, ASSAM RIF
25. G/2900395 HAV BISUD CHANDRA, ASSAM RIF
26. 2487561 NK SARWAN SINGH, PUNJAB
27. 2487790 NK MAN MOHAN SINGH, PUNJAB
28. 2791753 NK SHRI OM, PARA
29. 15131842 NK MUTHU CHANDRAN SOLAIYAPPAN, ARTY
30. 12944195 L/NK MUSHTAQ AHMED KHAN, INF BN (TA)(H&H) DOGRA
31. 3006485 SEP KAILASH CHAND, RAJPUT
32. 4372678 SEP MAYENGBAM NAOBI SINGH, ASSAM
33. 4373681 SEP ANANTO LONGKENG, ASSAM
34. 12914550 SEP MOHD SHAFFI, INF BN TA (H&H) PUNJAB
35. 9112061 RFN MUKHTAR AHMAD ITOO, JAK LI
36. G/3400960 RFN TH IBOCHA SINGH, ASSAM RIF
37. 15768050 GNR INDER SINGH RAO, AAD

Showdown with Russia and China: U.S. Advances First Strike Global Missile Shield System



On August 13th the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and Chicago-based Boeing International announced a test of their joint Airborne Laser (ABL) missile defense system, which "successfully tracked and hit the mark earlier this month during its first in-flight test against an instrumented target missile." [1]

Employing a modified Boeing 747-400F prototype airplane, on August 10 the Missile Defense Agency had the adapted commercial airliner use infrared sensors against a missile launched from San Nicolas Island, California and "found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an 'instrumented' missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile...." [2]

A newspaper from Alabama, the state where the MDA headquarters is based, mentioned that "The news came today [August 13], just a few days before the 12th annual Space and Missile Defense Conference opens next week in Huntsville." [3]

The Wall Street Journal waxed enthusiastic about the advanced missile interceptor test, stating that "Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the 'boost phase,' before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory....The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests.

"Never has Ronald Reagan's dream of layered missile defenses - Star Wars, for short - been as....close, at least technologically, to becoming realized." [4]

The Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet was launched as a civilian airliner in 1970 and versions of the plane are in use throughout the world, especially in the Middle East. There is no technical reason why 747 commercial airliners cannot be similarly configured to carry Airborne Laser weapons and track and destroy ballistic missiles while camouflaged as strictly civilian passenger planes.

The MDA has revealed that it plans to upgrade Airborne Laser weapons for use against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during their boost phase, thereby giving them a strategic character.

As an increasingly vital component of U.S. and allied worldwide, integrated missile interceptor systems, which as will be seen may advance to more than intercepting other nation's missiles and be capable of destroying them in their silos and launching pads before being fired, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said of its latest Airborne Laser operation that "this test marks the third successful ABL missile engagement in just over two months and the first time laser performance data was collected at the target missile. Plans call for ABL to engage progressively more difficult targets in coming months, culminating with a lethal demonstration against a boosting threat-representative ballistic missile target later this year." [5]

The ABL is slated to play a progressively more important role in an expanding network of international 21st Century Star Wars and space war projects and deployments which includes short- to medium-range, theater missile defense of the Patriot variety, with the latter recently upgraded to the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile.

Last October the German Air Force conducted a PAC-3 Missile test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and a news report at the time contained this description of the low-end range of U.S. and allied nations' layered interceptor missile plans: "The Patriot air defence system is a long-range, high to medium altitude missile system and Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade. The PAC-3 Missile will increase the Patriot’s firepower from an output of four to 16." [6]

This February U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Washington's plans to deploy a Patriot missile battery in Poland, not far from Russia's Kaliningrad enclave, with a garrison of at least 100 troops to man it in addition to plans to base 10 interceptor missiles in the country.

On August 17 Japan announced that it was going to station American Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air interceptor missiles at all six of its anti-aircraft facilities. Patriots were deployed to Israel on the eve of the Operation Desert Storm war against Iraq in 1991 and again, with NATO invoking its Article 5 military assistance provision, to Turkey in 2003 before the Operation Iraqi Freedom invasion. They are intended to prevent retaliation against aggressive military operations.

The global and more than global - exoatmospheric, space - system also includes Ground Based Interceptor (GBI), Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), Aegis combat system (destroyers carrying interceptor radar and missiles) and Forward Based X-Band Radars (FBXB) components.

Disarmament advocates and top Russian officials alike have warned for years that the missile interceptor and related space war programs are not, as claimed by the Pentagon and its military allies in Europe and the Asia Pacific, aimed at so-called rogue states but have a far more dangerous purpose.

In June Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that their two nations were drafting a joint treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space and to present it to the United Nations General Assembly.

Regarding the true intent of missile interceptor plans both on earth and in space, a recent news item detailed that "The White House says the plan is aimed at countering what it terms as 'threats' from countries such as Iran, which has no existing or planned missiles which can reach the US. The Kremlin, meanwhile, believes that the real aim of the system is to neutralize Russia's nuclear deterrent and therefore sees it as a threat to Russia's national security." [7]

An influential Russian news source stated: "[T]he strategic importance of these interceptor missiles would increase were the U.S. to deliver a
first nuclear strike against Russia.

"In this scenario, interceptor missiles would have to take on the limited number of missiles surviving the first strike, which would allow the U.S. to hope for success and, for the first time since the 1950s, for a victory in a nuclear war." [8]

Lest this perspective be seen as a uniquely Russia concern, in the March/April 2006 edition of Foreign Affairs, a publication of the American Council on Foreign Relations, authors Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press contributed a study called "The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy" which stated, inter alia, that "It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike.

"The U.S. Air Force has finished equipping its B-52 bombers with nuclear-armed cruise missiles, which are probably invisible to Russian and Chinese air-defense radar. And the air force has also enhanced the avionics on its B-2 stealth bombers to permit them to fly at extremely low altitudes in order to avoid even the most sophisticated radar." [9]

Deploying short-, medium- and long-range interceptor missile batteries, sophisticated and mobile missile radar stations, long-range super-stealth nuclear bombers, Aegis-class destroyers equipped to sail the world's seas to hunt down and neutralize conventional and nuclear missiles, and surveillance satellites and weapons in space is hardly designed to target non-existent intercontinental ballistic missile threats from Iran or Syria, or even from North Korea, but to blackmail Russia and China and prepare the groundwork for surviving and "triumphing" in a first strike nuclear war.

On August 11 the commander of the Russian Air Force, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, warned that "By 2030...foreign countries, particularly the United States, will be able to deliver coordinated high-precision strikes from air and space against any target on the whole territory of Russia," adding "That is why the main goal of the development of the Russian Air Force until 2020 is to create a new branch of the Armed Forces, which would form the core of the country's air and space defenses to provide a reliable deterrent during peacetime, and repel any military aggression with the use of conventional and nuclear arsenals in a time of war" [10] and "We are building new missiles that will be capable of defending not only against air-defense systems but space-based systems." [11]

The following day Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva "Outer space is now facing the looming danger of weaponization. Credible and effective multilateral measures must be taken to forestall the weaponization and arms race in outer space."

Yang demanded that "Countries should neither develop missile defense systems that undermine global strategic stability nor deploy weapons in outer space." [12]

The Western news report in which the quotes appeared added "China and Russia have been vocal advocates of a global treaty against space-based weapons and argue for this to be included in future Conference of Disarmament negotiations," but that "United States has dismissed the criticism as designed to block its plans for a missile interceptor system...." [13]

Undeterred by Chinese and Russian concerns, the U. S. is forging ahead with expanding its Star Wars and space wars dyad in both depth and breadth.

Two days ago the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency commenced its 12th annual Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville, Alabama where its headquarters is situated, and which includes a new Von Braun Center named after the father of Nazi Germany's missile project and one of the creators of the US ICBM program who with several German colleagues was sent to Huntsville in 1950 (Operation Paperclip) to work on the first live nuclear ballistic missile tests conducted by the Pentagon.

This year the Von Braun Center hosts over 2,000 participants and 230 exhibitors and speakers including Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr., Army Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell, commanding general of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, and Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly.

"The conference also includes receptions and special events sponsored by a number of the exhibitors, which include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman...." [14]

As was seen earlier, the Pentagon's most advanced Airborne Laser missile interception test to date was conducted in advance of the conference.

The MDA is also accelerating the pace of full spectrum air, sea, land, cyber and space missile shield developments in addition to laser weapons.

On August 1 it announced it had completed a successful sea-based missile interception from Hawaii. A ballistic missile was fired from the island of Kauai and "shot down by a three-stage interceptor missile from the USS Hopper." [15]

A report that appeared before the interception quoted the MDA as saying that "The test, conducted by the Navy and the Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency, will mark the 23rd firing by ships equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system. There have been 18 successes, including the shooting down of a dead U.S. spy satellite from space last year.

"While the Hopper fires and guides an SM-3 Block IA missile to intercept the target missile in the upper atmosphere, the USS O'Kane will simulate engagement and the USS Lake Erie will detect and track the target...." [16]

"USS Lake Erie's recently installed Aegis upgrade will enable it to engage increasingly longer range, more sophisticated ballistic missiles, according to the Missile Defense Agency." [17]

The disabled satellite mentioned above, the USA-193 spy satellite, was shot down in space in February of 2008 by the same USS Lake Erie, an Aegis-class Guided Missile Cruiser, that participated in the above-described test.

At the time of the satellite's destruction China registered a complaint and "Russia's Defense Ministry said the U.S. plan could be used as a cover to test a new space weapon." [18]

In fact Russian State Duma deputy Andrei Kokoshin, former Secretary of the Russian Security Council, said at the time that "The US-193 spy satellite shooting by a U.S. missile may result in a new stage in space
militarization."

"[T]he satellite was shot down as an act of political demonstration of America's capacities and confirmation of the American 'free hand' policy of the use of force in outer-space and the development of anti-satellite weaponry." [19]

Last month the Pentagon announced plans to integrate its latest generation drone, the Reaper - "one of several projects aimed at monitoring enemy missiles just after launch" [20] - into the global missile shield system.

In the words of a Defense Department official, "It gives you a great capability from hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away to be able to view a missile launch and actually track it and provide data to our shooters to intercept."

According to the new head of the Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, "By studying the missile in its early stage of flight, the drones could provide data that would allow the incoming weapon to be destroyed." [21]

Also in July it was reported in a news story called "Tomahawk Being Re-tooled as Ship-killer" that "Raytheon Missile Systems wants to turn its land-attack Tomahawk missile into a ship killer that can do something never done before: Hit a cruising warship from a thousand miles away," with one of the intended targets being China.

"The Chinese...began producing a lot of mobile ballistic missile launchers about a decade ago....[T]hese tactical missiles are deployed in bunkers close enough to the coast to be destroyed by a longer-range, more powerful Tomahawk. U.S. Navy missile that cruises hundreds of miles over land to blow up buildings is being redesigned in Tucson to chase down moving targets." [22]

On July 22 Israel tested its Arrow II interceptor missile, jointly developed with the U.S., off the coast of California and "In a test involving three U.S. missile interceptors, Arrow tracked a target missile dropped from a C-17 aircraft." [23]

The various stages of the layered interceptor missile system depend upon radar and surveillance facilities and satellites on earth and in space. Missile shield deployments - missiles and radar - already exist in Alaska and its Aleutian Islands, Greenland, Britain, Norway, Japan, South Korea and Australia and are planned for Poland (missiles) and the Czech republic (radar).

But those sites only represent the beginning phases of a far most ambitious grid around the world as well as in space.

Last September the U.S. Senate allocated $89 million for "the activation and deployment of the AN/TPY-2 forward-based X-band radar [the same type to be deployed in the Czech Republic] to a classified location."

A Russian news source commented on this move:

"The 'classified location' is not a complete secret.

"Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, [then] director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), has said more than once that Turkey, Georgia and even Ukraine could be future locations for ballistic missile defense systems.

"[T]he Pentagon will most likely choose Turkey or, some Western analysts say, Israel or Japan.

"Russia has told Washington more than once that no fence of antimissiles near its border would save the United States from a retaliatory strike by missiles capable of evading ABM as well as by air and naval systems." [24]

Washington has in fact chosen all of the above-named nations and others as well.

Last March Pentagon chief Robert Gates visited Turkey to hold consultations on missile shield plans. A Turkish report on the meeting stated "A powerful, 'forward based' X-band radar station could go in southeastern Europe, possibly in Turkey, the Caucasus or the Caspian Sea region, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, head of Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, told a defense conference in Washington on Feb. 12." [25]

Two months later it was revealed that "the United States may deploy a high-frequency X-band radar in Georgia." [26]

In 2008 the U.S. also substantially boosted its interceptor plans for Japan and it was announced that "Japan and the United States are erecting the world's most complex ballistic missile defense shield, a project that is changing the security balance in Asia and has deep implications for Washington's efforts to pursue a similar strategy in Europe...." [27]

The Pentagon and the Japanese military are working on an early warning system "of the kind provided by the Joint Tactical Ground Station, or JTAG [which the U.S. also operates in Germany, Qatar and South Korea], and another state-of-the-art X-band radar station recently deployed" to Japan. [28]

The preceding month, December of 2007, Japan became the first nation after the U.S. to shoot a missile out of the air with an Aegis-linked Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) in a test off Hawaii.

In June of 2008 the U.S. Strategic Command completed a study on the deployment of Forward-Based X-band Radars.

A U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command spokesman said of the study that it would “coordinate and recommend to [Office of the Secretary of Defense-policy] a strategy for AN/TPY-2 radar employment, supporting worldwide ballistic missile defense capabilities in the period 2008-2012.” [29]

In 2006 the U.S. deployed Forward-Based X-band [FBX] radar to a Japanese Air Self-Defense Force base northeast of Tokyo and as of last year additionally planned to "deploy an FBX radar to Europe" and Juneau, Alaska and is "working to integrate tracks from the FBX radar into the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system...."

"All Ballistic Missile Defense System radars - including the upgraded early warning radars at Beale Air Force Base, CA, Fylingdales Royal Air Base in the United Kingdom, Thule Air Base in Greenland and the Cobra Dane radars in Alaska - the Sea-Based X-band radar, and all AN/TPY-2 radars (both forward-based and THAAD Fire Units) will now be managed under one program office." [30]

The Pentagon is also still planning to modify its X-band radar on the
Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific and relocate it to the Czech Republic in conjunction with the deployment of ten interceptor missiles in Poland.

An Israeli daily newspaper recently reported that the U.S. and the Israeli Defense Forces will hold a joint missile defense exercise in October, Juniper Cobra, "during which the American-made Aegis and THAAD defense systems will deploy in Israel for the first time." [31]

Earlier exercises were held at the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.

"Israel received the advanced X-Band radar in October as a farewell gift from the Bush administration to beef up Israeli defenses....The radar is deployed in southern Israel near the Nevatim Air Force Base and is reportedly capable of tracking small targets from thousands of kilometers away." [32]

Thousands of kilometers away means surveillance of not only Syria and Iran but a large swathe of southern Russia.

This January the U.S. Air Force established a provisional Global Strike Command which was fully activated on August 7. It has subsumed the Air Combat Command and the Air Force Space Command and in the words of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz it will "organize, train and equip America's ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers...."

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said the new command will "bring together the Air Force bomber force and intercontinental ballistic missiles under a single commander." [33]

Reacting to this consolidation, streamlining and upgrading of American global nuclear strike potential, on August 11 the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, the same Alexander Zelin cited earlier on the threat of U.S. strikes from space on all of his nation, said that the "Russian Air Force is preparing to meet the threats resulting from the creation of the Global Strike Command in the U.S. Air Force" and that Russia is developing "appropriate systems to meet the threats that may arise." [34]

A change in the American White House, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s and the mounting costs in both dollars and lives of the war in Afghanistan have not slowed down the U.S.'s plans for military domination of the planet and in outer space; nor have they lessened the threat of an unprecedented catastrophe resulting from the designs by the United States and its allies in Europe and Asia to establish an impenetrable international missile shield that would leave two of the world's nuclear powers, Russia and China, targets for coercion and first strike conventional and nuclear attacks.

Notes

1) Alabama.com, August 13, 2009
2) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
3) Alabama.com, August 13, 2009
4) Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2009
5) Ibid
6) The Engineer (Britain), October 17, 2008
7) Press TV, August 15, 2009
8) Russian Information Agency Novosti, November 10, 2008
9) Foreign Affairs, March/April 2006
10) Russian Information Agency Novosti, August 11, 2009
11) Agence France-Presse, August 11, 2009
12) Associated Press, August 12, 2009
13) Ibid
14) Huntsville Times, August 17, 2009
15) Associated Press, July 30, 2009
16) Ibid
17) Honolulu Advertiser, July 29, 2009
18) Reuters, February 17, 2008
19) Interfax, February 21, 2008
20) Global Security Network, July 17, 2009
21) Ibid
22) Arizona Daily Star, July 17, 2009
23) Reuters, July 22, 2009
24) Russian Information Agency Novosti, September 12, 2008
25) Turkish Daily News, March 12, 2008
26) Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 14, 2008
27) Associated Press, January 28, 2008
28) Ibid
29) Inside Defense, June 18, 2008
30) Ibid
31) Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2009
32) Ibid
33) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service,
August 7, 2009
34) Interfax-Military, August 11, 2009

Militarization of Swine Flu Preparations

The increasing militarization of preparations for an outbreak of swine flu is proceeding rapidly and without very much public debate, despite the relatively mild nature of the disease so far and the fact that many experts believe the panic has been overblown.

Earlier this week, Republican Representative Paul Broun of Georgia warned a town hall meeting that a “socialistic elite” may be preparing to declare martial law in the United States using a pandemic disease as the pretext. “They’re trying to develop an environment where they can take over,” he told attendees according to an article in the Athens Banner-Herald. “We’ve seen that historically.”

In another alarming development this week, National Guard troops are involved in a drill to take over a high school in Maine to deal with potential riots and panic over distribution of treatment for the H1N1 virus, the Maine Sun Journal reported Thursday. “The National Guardsmen will take on the roles of panicked citizens and military police and practice what they would do, such as using tear gas, in the case of a riot,” said the newspaper article entitled “National Guard Drill at High School to Prepare for Possible H1N1 Riot.” The story also noted that local law enforcement would be involved.

This is all despite the fact that the Maine Center for Disease Control has reported just one death tied to the swine flu, and the man actually died from “underlying conditions complicated by H1N1,” according to Dr. Dora Mills, the center’s director.

“This is just a component of moving the stuff from point A to B,” assured the director of Oxford County’s emergency management agency, Scott Parker. He told the Sun Journal that the plan would only be put in place “if needed.”

Apparently concerns about panic and disorder were raised during a conference in April, so the governor and the adjutant General of the Maine National Guard decided to formulate a plan to bring in military police.

But if state military police preparations weren’t bad enough, the federal government now wants to usurp state forces for domestic use under the Pentagon’s command. Though at least the states are fighting back on this issue.

The National Governors Association wrote a letter to the Department of Defense last week criticizing the proposals to take control of their National Guard units for domestic disasters. “Strong potential exists for confusion in mission execution and the dilution of governors' control over situations with which they are more familiar and better capable of handling than a federal military commander," the letter stated.

But no matter who retains control of the National Guard troops preparing to deal with swine flu, the federal government’s increasingly militarized “emergency preparations” for the virus are developing quickly and mostly under the radar. Just last month CNN and Fox News reported online that the U.S. military was drawing up plans to deal with a spread of the swine flu. “The Pentagon is preparing to make troops available if necessary to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency tackle a potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus,” according to a July 29 Fox News article entitled "Military Poised to Help FEMA Battle Swine Flu Outbreak."

And as early as last year, reports also began to surface that federal troops were preparing for “homeland defense” missions and would be operating on American soil — in what would appear to be a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of military forces in domestic law enforcement.

“They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control,” noted the Army Times in a 2008 article entitled "Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1." The soldiers will also be responsible for things like knowing how to set up road blocks and the use of “nonlethal” weapons normally reserved for war-zones to subdue Americans.

Additionally, the Obama administration has recently resurrected the heavily criticized Bush-era proposal to “update” quarantine regulations, while the U.S. Army advertises jobs for “internment/resettlement specialists” on its website.

The federal government’s health authorities operate quarantine centers from Anchorage to Miami, and in 2005 George W. Bush used an executive order to add flu that has the “potential” to create a pandemic to a list of quarantinable diseases. Will the military be used to enforce the quarantines? It is appearing increasingly possible, if it comes to that.

This is all happening at a time when countless experts are warning that fears about the swine-flu virus have been blown out of proportion. In many places the disease even seems to be dissipating. “We'll probably see something that won't be that bad,” said Ontario’s former chief medical officer, Dr. Richard Schabas. “We would not expect it to be as bad as the flu year was in 2003 with the Fujian strain.”

He noted that a pandemic would be expected to kill thousands just in Canada, but so far the swine flu has claimed 66 lives there. “You tell me how overblown that is.… Our preparations always have to be advised not just by the sense of possibilities, but by a sense of probabilities.”

England’s chief medical officer, Liam Donaldson, recently announced plans to scale back the National Pandemic Flu Service from about 1,600 call-center workers to less than 600 as the number of cases there continues to fall. He warned of the potential for a “second wave,” but so far the disease has been less deadly than even the regular seasonal flu.

Australian National University microbiologist Peter Collignon told ABC News the H1N1 virus was no worse than annual influenza strains. “My major concern about what's happening is the fear is out of proportion to what the data shows," he said, adding that the use of the word “pandemic” was creating unnecessary concern.

But here in the United States, the emergency preparations continue to expand along with the power of the federal government. There has already been discussion of forced vaccinations. And an inspection of so-called “executive orders” issued by past presidents and continuing under Obama reveals that the executive branch already claims sweeping “emergency” powers to deal with health concerns.

Unless Americans start demanding some transparency and accountability, the trend towards bigger and more aggressive government will likely continue. This time the excuse happens to be swine flu, but there will always be some “crisis” not to be “wasted,” as Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel put it.

The preparations currently under way to deal with swine flu are not only unconstitutional, they are probably more dangerous than the virus itself. It is time for Americans to take personal responsibility for their health and their government and to say enough is enough.

GANESH AARTI

MAKS 2009: Russia to deliver 26 RD-33 series-3 engines to India news

Zhukovsky: Russian state-owned arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, and Indian state-owned aerospace giant, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) have signed a contract at the MAKS-2009 air show for the delivery of 26 RD-33 series-3 engines to India.
The RD-33 series-3 is an upgraded version of the baseline RD-33 turbofan engine and is aimed primarily at providing a longer service life. The model is essentially used as an upgrade on older variants of the MiG-29, such as the MiG-29M and MiG-29SMT. On an ad-hoc basis it can even be equipped with thrust vectoring nozzle (TVN).
"These engines are installed on MiG aircraft, including the MiG-35 fighters, which are participating in the announced tender on the delivery of 126 fighters to the Indian air force," a Rosoboronexport official said.
This may be slightly off the mark as the variant of the RD-33 that is being used as the engine for the 4++ generation MiG-35 is actually the RD-33MK (Sea Wasp), an improved version of RD-33.
This is the version that is designated for new MiG-35 jet fighters, currently in contention for the Indian Air Force's MMRCA contract, and also for MiG29K ship-borne fighters already contracted for as the air complement for the Indian acquired INS Vikramaditya\Adm Gorshkov carrier.
The new RD-33MK engine features a 7% higher power in comparison to the baseline model due to the usage of modern materials on the cooled blades. It retains the length and maximum diameter while increasing afterburner thrust and dry weight to 9,000 kgf and 1,145 kg respectively. Service life has been increased to 4,000 hours.
It also contains systems that reduce its infrared and optical visibility.
In 2005, Russia and India signed a $250 million deal aimed at modernizing engines for the MiG-29 fighters of the Indian Air Force. Under the terms of the deal, HAL is to produce 120 RD-33 series-3 jet engines at its Koraput plant as part of an overall upgrade of MiG-29 fighters.
This contract is expected to help HAL master not just the assembly of the RD-33 jet engines but also use the experience in the assembly of next generation jet engines.
Russia has said that it will deliver the first two MiG-35 aircraft to India in August for flight trials as part of the selection process for the MMRCA tender. Later on in the year it will conduct live firing tests for an Indian air force delegation at a testing ground in Russia.
Moscow has stressed that it is ready to transfer all key technology to India's Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd if the MiG-35 should win the tender.

1982 batch IPS : ADG Jharkhand

Ms Asha Sinha is being promoted to the rank of ADG in Jharkhand in a week or two. She is 1982 batch IPS officer.

GOC 3 Corps

Lt. Gen. N. K. Singh AVSM,VSM has taken over as GOC 3 Corps on August 21 from Lt.Gen. R. K. Loomba AVSM.

Indo-US air, army exercises are message to the Dragon

New York: China's high-profile war games, launched last week by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), with 50,000 troops, have alarmed India and made the US nervous.

The US is taking great pains to ensure the joint India-US army and air exercises scheduled to start in October send a message to the Dragon through their sophistication.

A military official told DNA the US will move a convoy of eight-wheeled armoured Strykers from its Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii to Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh for the October war games, billed as the largest exercise between the two countries. Armoured Strykers, which can withstand rocket-propelled grenades, will demonstrate their agility in a series of drills in Babina near Jhansi called "Yudh Abhyas" that will focus on counter-insurgency.

"Strykers with extra armour in Iraq and Afghanistan have helped safeguard them -- they are the best machines in the world for patrols on roads that are laced with bombs," said a US military official.

Menacing and massive armoured Strykers will rumble alongside Russian T-72 tanks belonging to the Indian army's 31 Armoured Division which patrols India's scorching western desert border with Pakistan. At least 500 American soldiers, mostly drawn from the 2nd Stryker Brigade, will converge on Babina to participate in the Yudh Abhyas drills in October, which will coincide with aerial exercises in Agra.

The US will deploy Lockheed Martin's C-130J Hercules aircraft for the "Cope India" air drills. India which has already inked a $2.1-billion deal with Boeing for eight P-8i long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft has signalled interest in buying 15 Chinook helicopters.

India also plans to buy six Hercules transport planes from Lockheed Martin for $962 million and will get delivery in 2011. The Indian Air Force may also be shopping around for a transport aircraft like the giant Globemaster.

China was the world's second biggest defence spender after the US last year.

A window of opportunity for Pakistan

Political analyst Imtiaz Gul was among those enjoying a quiet dinner at the Marriot in Islamabad when a suicide bomber rammed a dumper truck loaded with explosives into the hotel. He escaped and recalls looking back at the raging fire: "Hell had arrived in Islamabad."

That hell had been in the making since the aftermath of 9/11 in the distant, rugged tribal terrain that marks the
border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The US war on terror had pushed thousands of militants, Africans, Arabs, Uzbeks and Uighurs into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) where the legendary and unquestioning hospitality of the tribals allowed these 'foreign guests' to set up strong local networks. In his recently released book The Al Qaeda Connection: Terror in Pakistan's Tribal Areas, Gul documents the complex factors that allowed militancy to grow unfettered there.

Given the fact that there are new developments almost every day in the region, what drove you to write this book at this juncture?

What compelled me to write this book were the events of March 2004 when the Pakistan army launched its operation in South Waziristan. The Pakistani government for the first time realised the beehive that was in the making in the region. Till then it had been in a state of denial about the growth of militancy on its soil.

The terrorists had been beaten out of Afghanistan and had gathered in North and South Waziristan. The entire story had been evolving since 1988 starting with the Mujahideen, then the rise of the Taliban and finally the growth of smaller terror groups inspired by the Al Qaeda.

I wanted to document the circumstances that turned the region into a zone where various conflicting foreign and domestic forces played out a battle of interests. There was NATO, the Uzbeks, the Arabs and several other elements who used the tribal territory for their own ends. Between them they created a space where non-state actors could grow and flourish.

Wasn't Pakistan aware that the area had turned into a fertile breeding ground for these militants much before the 2004 operation?

Oh yes, Pakistan was aware of the fact. But it was the first time the establishment realised that the people they
thought they controlled could bite back. We saw it again in Swat this year when the government tried to hammer a deal with the insurgents who were simply not interested in peace.

It was only then that the Pak establishment reacted by militarily fixing the situation. And this effort has been
recognised and appreciated internationally. It paid a big price for this -- nearly two million people were
displaced in the operations.

Do you think the operation launched by the Pakistan government this time around will be strong and persistent enough to reach a happy ending?

The vibes this time I think are strong enough to conclude that we are finally moving in the right direction.
Pakistan has concluded that ignorant people with tunnel vision cannot be partners in any kind of future that it
wants for itself. There is now a close alliance between the US and Pakistan.

Baitullah Mehsud is dead and two of his closest aides have been caught. This presents a big window of opportunity for us. These insurgent groups are not structured -- they are rag-tag armies of men who assembled under the TTP. They ignored their regional differences because Mehsud connected them -- through his tremendous network -- to the Al Qaeda. This connection now is in disarray.

In a chapter on who funds terror in FATA you have listed several suspects. Given the kind of games that nations and agencies played in the region and the many conspiracy theories afloat how can anyone get to the truth?

There have always been suspicions about the roles played by various nations in the area. Iran had an axe to grind so did Russia. Look at the facts and see what they indicate. Helmund in Afghanistan produces 65-70 per cent of the poppy grown in the country. Who is stationed in Helmumd?

More than 5,000 UK troops. Next door in Kandahar there are 3,000 Canadian troops. How are they all missing what is happening in Helmund -- where poppy is being used to fund terror? Between all these players they have turned Afghanistan into a narco state.

Consider abductions for ransom. I have myself collected these figures. In Peshawar, during the first week of July and the first week of August, one person was abducted every single day! Who is behind this crime?

They are criminal gangs that pretend they have the Taliban backing. Ransom money is a huge source of funding for terror. In entire remote tribal stretches there is total lawlessness presenting criminals with space to operate in the name of insurgency. We have had 42 suicide attacks in Pakistan this year. All this is the result of our earlier policies hammered out along with the CIA and the Taliban. The tribal area is open to exploitation because of the nature of the people there, the terrain and poor governance.

There was talk of distinguising between good Taliban and bad Taliban. How well could that strategy work?

Hamid Karzai has been saying the same thing for a long time: let us talk to the sane elements. Richard Holbrooke said so recently. If you look at the history of such long conflicts around the world, these dialogues become necessary for the move to peace and normalcy. It happened in the case of Arafat and it happened in the case of the African National Congress.

But the Swat deal turned out to be a disaster...
That deal was a wrong call. It was made with Maulana Sufi Muhammad the father-in-law of Maulana Fazlulla. But then he is not behind the trouble. The real trouble makers used the deal to stand behind him and pushed their own agenda of creating more disturbances in other parts of Pakistan.

But the Swat disaster turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It brought home the fact that these groups were not looking for peace. They were not even looking to implement the Sharia! It discredited the Taliban beyond repair.

For the first time it became clear that these men were not protectors of Islam and that their real agenda was
purely political and driven by outside factors.

It's clear from your book that the leaders of allied Taliban groups lie to mislead their questioners. How can you bank on anything they say to put together your research?

I never relied on a single source during my research. Besides, I am a Pashtun and I speak Pashto. I sit with these guys and talk to them, stay with them. I don't go for cursory visits or seek interpretors who will always translate words the way you want to hear them.

What is your one abiding impression of the common people of these affected tribal territories?

Once you are a guest in their homes they will protect you with their lives. They will die to save your life, they
will starve to feed you. I have stayed in homes where on the other side of the wall I knew a family was hosting a foreign insurgent. They protect both equally. I was in Wana in South Waziristan during the 2004 operations. In the night when there were gun battles all around me, the people I stayed with told me: "You just sleep. We are guarding this house." And I never once felt unsafe.

Have the events of these last few years taught the locals the need for greater caution in harbouring foreign 'guests''?

The government needs to provide these areas better governance, offer source of livelihood and security. Make them realise that they belong to the state and integrate them with the mainstream so that they accept the law of the land. The Pakistan President recently announced plans to integrate FATA politically with the rest of the country.

People who have been dealing largely with mullah, madrassa and mosque will have a fourth force to deal with -- political parties which will lobby for their own manifestos and that means an offer of alternative thought and
leadership.

Chargesheet filed in Kargil coffin scam

New Delhi, August 22
The CBI has filed its charge sheet in the infamous 2002 “coffin scam” of the Kargil war against four persons, including two retired Army officials and one serving officer. Official sources said the charge sheet was filed on August 19 in a CBI Special Court here.

The CBI has not named the then Defence Minister George Fernandes, who had come under the scanner, following allegations that poor quality aluminium caskets were bought from USA at “exorbitant rates” after the Kargil war. Sources said Fernandes during the questioning by the CBI could not remember anything that happened during the particular period. — PTI

Pak will get more proof on 26/11: Krishna

New Delhi, August 22
Despite Islamabad’s defiant attitude, India is no mood to relent the pressure on Pakistan to bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks.

A day after India presented a fresh dossier to Islamabad on the Mumbai mayhem, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said more evidence would be given to Pakistan to carry out its own investigations into the 26/11 incidents.
“We are in continuous touch with the government of Pakistan. It is an ongoing exercise between Pakistan and India,” Krishna told reporters here.
“So as and when we collect more evidence, we will keep sending it across to Pakistan and that’s what the foreign secretary did yesterday.”
Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had handed over to Pakistani High Commissioner Shahid Malik the latest dossier on the November 2008 terror attacks, which specifically includes “additional information” on Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.
However, Pakistan has said that the latest Indian dossier pointing to the involvement of Hafiz Saeed in the Mumbai attacks did not contain anything substantial. Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was quoted as saying that if India has explicit evidence regarding Saeed’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks, this should be handed over to Pakistan.
In a separate statement related to elections in Afghanistan, Krishna said: “It is gratifying to see the democratic process taking strong root in Afghanistan.”
“Despite the complex security environment and threats from terrorist groups, candidates have campaigned fearlessly and new voters registered themselves in large numbers. As a fellow developing country and a democracy, we remain strongly supportive of the election process and democratic institutions of Afghanistan,” he said.

Nepal to check anti-India elements

Both countries okay revised treaty of trade
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Even as the increasing activities of Pakistan’s ISI in the Himalayan nation has remained a cause of worry for New Delhi, Nepal has sought to reassure India that it would not allow the misuse of its territory for anti-India activities.

The two countries, meanwhile, completed negotiations and initialled the revised treaty of trade and an agreement on cooperation to control unauthorised trade from a third country. Both the trade treaty and the agreement to control unauthorised trade would be formally signed later. The two agreements have been under discussion for over two years and would be replacing agreements inked in 1991 and 1996.
India and Nepal agreed to consider steps to further facilitate cross-border arrangements in order to resolve border-related issues and to assist local populations in the border areas on both sides. The two sides also stressed on the need for strengthening the legal framework in order to counter their common cross-border security challenges.
These announcements were made in a joint statement issued by the two countries at the end of a five-day visit to India by Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
The joint statement said the two Prime Ministers directed their Foreign Secretaries to discuss and review the 1950 Friendship Treaty and other bilateral agreements to further strengthen ties between the two countries.
To accelerate implementation of Pancheshwar Multi-purpose Project, the two Prime Ministers also directed the Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources and Joint Committee on Water Resources to expedite the finalisation of terms of reference for Pancheshwar Development Authority and the detailed project report of the Pancheshwar Project.
The two sides agreed that enhancing bilateral trade was a priority and that the Inter Governmental Committee (IGC) at the level of Commerce Secretaries should look into the relevant issues for promoting trade, investments and industrialisation in Nepal, expanding bilateral trade on a sustainable basis and further removing barriers to trade and investment. The two Prime Ministers directed that the IGC should meet within the next two months. To facilitate Nepal’s foreign trade, India agreed to the utilisation of its port at Vishakhapatnam for movement of transit traffic to and from Nepal.

The enemy within

For the CRPF and state police personnel posted in the heart of Maoist-infested
Jharkhand, it is nothing less than a border posting; only that here the enemy
is not from another country, writes Uttam Sengupta

THE sarcasm was barely concealed. "Unless you visit the Jhumra hilltop, you will never be able to write about the Maoists," said the voice at the other end of the telephone. It was the Commandant of a CRPF battalion stationed at Bokaro, who was irked at media reports floated by "ill-informed" journalists. And he was daring journalists to visit the Maoist territory to see things for themselves.
The sarcasm in his voice was so stinging that the only possible response was to accept the challenge. But the Commandant was still skeptical. "It will take you three hours to reach the hilltop. So bring your sneakers, and be ready for blisters on your feet," he said before hanging up.
But luck sometimes does favour those who dare. When we reached the foothills of Jhumra, approximately 100 km from Bokaro Steel City, we were stopped by armed CRPF jawans, who had set up a camp there. Monthly ration for the jawans holding the hill, they informed, had arrived at the base camp, and a ROP had set out to sanitise the route. Unless the ROP gave a clearance, no movement would be allowed.
The CRPF base camp at Jhumra foothills
The CRPF base camp at Jhumra foothills
ROP, we learnt, was the abbreviation for "road opening party", and in this instance it comprised around 70 machine gun-wielding jawans, who had set out for the hilltop, looking for landmines, mortars, rockets and Maoists hiding in the jungle. "They improvise all the time, and you cannot take chances," explained the Deputy Commandant accompanying us. "Sometimes rockets are fired from tree-tops and sometimes these are fired from below, with the rocket launchers tucked between boulders or even below rocks," he said.
The delay, however, turned out to be a blessing because the CRPF offered to accommodate us in the supply caravan comprising a few trekkers, a jeep and two tractor-trailers. Thus, we were spared the walk up the hill.
But our relief was shortlived. As soon as the caravan began climbing, we realised there was no road, just a path strewn with stones and boulders. It was going to be a rough ride. There were steep inclines and occupants of the vehicles had to get down and give a push to jeeps being driven in the first gear. At places the path was far too narrow, and as the vehicles groaned their way up, branches of trees lashed against the occupants, lacerating cheeks of some before we all learnt to duck.
Even more disconcerting was the sight of heavily armed CRPF jawans standing guard all the way up. Some of them had their backs turned towards the path as they watched out for suspicious movement. Others watched laconically, their menacing machine guns peering out of their raincoats. These members of the ROP, we were told, would man the posts till we returned safely to the base camp.
After the treacherous climb, the scene at the top of Jhumra turned out to be breathtaking — a flat land extending up to several hundred acres. On the fringes were dense forests and beyond could be seen the higher peaks of the hill-range. There were small villages inside the forest. Villagers living there usually survive on rabbits, birds and forest produce. They also cultivate small plots of land, rear goats, hens and even cows, especially since the CRPF had wrested control of the hilltop from the Maoists.
"They now sell their eggs and milk to us and receive a much higher price than what the Maoists used to pay them," said a CRPF officer wryly.
The Maoists apparently used the hilltop as a training camp. It was ideally placed for training their cadre in shooting, hurling grenades, using explosives and landmines etc. It was remote, and though the sound of landmines and grenades reverberated in the hills and could be heard several kilometers away and in the foothills, the hilltop was virtually inaccessible. Any movement from below could be detected from the top and foiled. The Maoists could escape at a short notice into the forests, and with the hill-range extending to four different districts in Jharkhand, they could disperse quickly and re-group for a counter-offensive. If CRPF and IB sources are to be believed, the hilltop was used to train even Pushpa Kamal Dahal, alias Prachanda, the Nepali Maoist leader who, later, became the Prime Minister of Nepal.
Getting control of this strategic hill was not an easy task though. It required several battalions of the CRPF and the armed police to wrest control of the hilltop about four years ago. And since then a contingent of the CRPF and another contingent of the Jharkhand Armed Police are permanently stationed there. There is a change of guard every two to three months. It wasn’t very difficult to see why.
The CRPF camp was almost a replica of a border area Army camp, meant to check infiltration and enemy attacks from across the border. Trenches had been dug all around the camp, and machine guns peered menacingly out of the sand bags. There were watchtowers on all corners to maintain a thorough vigil. Some of the tents in the camp had bullet holes in them, signs of Maoists’ attempts to regain control of the hilltop. Uniform trousers of a few jawans, too, had holes. "The trousers had been put on the clothesline for drying when the bullets began to fly", the Deputy Commandant explained amidst general laughter.
Next to the better laid-out CRPF camp was the camp set up by the state armed police. And the difference was stark. Compared to the resources at the disposal of the Central forces, the state policemen were clearly the poor cousins.
The force, comprising mostly of Gorkha boys barely out of their teens, appeared to be low on confidence as well as experience. The tension of watching out for an invisible and unpredictable enemy 24x7 had clearly taken a toll on the Jharkhand Armed Police personnel in Jhumra camp. They looked tense and grim as they reluctantly replied to questions posed by the visiting journalists. Their commander, a veteran Gorkha DSP, made an unconvincing attempt to claim that their morale was high.
With nothing to do except manning the bunkers, watchtowers and sleep, and nowhere to go, the youngsters looked sullen at best. The dark, cramped and leaking tent that served as living quarters provided them with just enough space to lie down on a wooden plank. I remember thinking how difficult it would be to live in a tent like that for three months.
The CRPF Deputy Commandant’s tent was right in the middle of the camp. It was a little more spacious than other tents, and by way of luxury, had a table and a few chairs. We had barely taken our seats when tea and biscuits were served. But before any one of us could take a sip, there were three deafening explosions in quick succession. We involuntarily closed our eyes and flinched. But seconds later when we recovered and stood up, there was no sign of our hosts, all of whom had grabbed their firearms and dived into the trenches inside the tent, that led to the periphery of the camp.
No further explosions followed, and sometime later, the Deputy Commandant and his men returned, trying to make light of the situation. "They just offered you a gun salute," said one of them wryly. But the edge in his voice was unmistakable. There was no time for tea, they stressed grimly. Visiting journalists had to reach the base camp safely before dusk, they said, while herding us back to the trekker.
The return journey, much of it a trek downhill, was equally adventurous. But that is another story. What I remember are the questions that swirled in my mind. Living in the cities, we are scarcely aware of the war of attrition being waged in the forests and hills of the country. What is this war all about? Who is the enemy and who are being defended by the young men on this lonely hilltop?
Whenever I read about American and British troops in Afghanistan, my thoughts return to those I met on the Jhumra hill. Their boys are fighting terror on foreign soil while our boys are fighting a war within. In both places, they are paying the price for the follies and failures of politicians and the political systems. Is there an escape at all?

A blind card
CRPF personnel have to maintain a tight vigil whenever a caravan carries essential supplies
CRPF personnel have to maintain a tight vigil whenever a caravan carries essential supplies up the Jhumra hilltop
Maoists target police and security forces for various reasons. Since they are waging a war on the State, it is their avowed aim to weaken the State. Attacks on the security forces’ camps, police stations, outposts, armouries, etc. provide them access to weapons, ammunition and explosives. These are also used for ‘practical’ training so that the guerrillas get first hand experience of engaging conventional security forces. Finally, the attacks serve the psychological purpose of demoralising not just the security forces but also to break the resistance of people who are used to bowing before superior power. Sporadic and sudden ambushes serve the purpose of forcing the security forces into barracks or within the police stations, leaving Maoists to have a free run outside.
The collapse of the intelligence-gathering system on the ground, and the State’s failure to protect the village-level chowkidars — many of whom have been eliminated for being police informers — are further handicaps that the security forces suffer from while coping with the Maoists. The inability to distinguish between Maoists and innocent villagers tends to alienate the security forces from the people.
In Maoist strongholds, anybody can be a Maoist or a Maoist sympathiser — the milkman, the bicycle mechanic or the grocer. Unlike other law and order issues they are called upon to handle, in Maoist strongholds the security forces receive scant support from political parties or even the ruling party. Because all such political parties seem to have abandoned Maoist strongholds, leaving all ‘political’ activities to be conducted by the Maoists.

Was Partition inevitable? Desirable?

History is a great teacher. But it can also be a great tranquiliser. People, especially those societies that do not
nurture a deep historical memory, tend to forget—indeed, want to forget—the tragic and bitter episodes in their collective life. As a result, new generations have only a faint knowledge and understanding of even cataclysmic events in the past that singed the lives of their fathers and forefathers. The natural going of painful happenings into oblivion may be regarded as welcome, if those happenings had no bearing on the present. After all, how can we at all live in peace if our conscious mind is filled with memories of all the wars, holocausts, genocides and injustices that took place in the past? But when events of the past, especially the recent past, have material bearing on a country’s present and its unfolding future, forgetting is not an option. It is a sure way to court more hardships.

The bloody partition of India is one such event that Indians, Hindus and Muslims both, cannot afford to forget. Not just because it was accompanied by the killing of close to a million people in a fratricidal bloodbath, the worst in India’s millennial history. Also, not only because Partition resulted in the largest ever cross-migration in the entire human history—Hindus and Sikhs uprooted from their homes in those territories that constituted Pakistan, and Muslims from UP, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra and elsewhere in India migrating, some in duress and others voluntarily, to the newly created Muslim Nation.  Rather, we need to remember, examine, re-examine and learn from Partition history, principally because it has continued to determine the content and contours of the socio-political life of post-1947 India, also of the two other nations, Pakistan and Bangladesh, that were born out of undivided India. “The unexamined life,” says Socrates, “is not worth living.” He said it in the context of our individual lives.  However, in the context of a nation, the unexamined life is a prescription for inviting peril.  

Sadly, many educated Indians have poor knowledge of what really happened in 1947, why India won freedom but was robbed of its unity, how our motherland got vivisected, why such unspeakable barbaric acts were committed in our sacred land, what role was played by our colonial masters, and why we have not been able so far to lay the ghost of partition to rest.  Some of them ask: Why exhume the past? Why re-open the Partition debate? Why not just get on with life? To know why, it is enough to just look at the number of India’s (and also Pakistan’s) domestic and neighbourhood problems that are still rooted in the tragic saga of Partition—hostile relations between India and Pakistan, far-from-friendly relations between India and Bangladesh, the unresolved Kashmir dispute, religiously inspired cross-border terrorism exported from Pakistan, the turmoil in Pakistan itself, the problems of Muslims and Hindu-Muslim relations in India, and India’s inability, because of all these challenges, to rise to its full potential.

Opening the window of debate on this epochal event in India’s recent history is Jaswant Singh’s newly released book Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence (Rupa & Co; 669 pages). It deserves to be hugely applauded because, apart from being a seminal contribution to the genre of political biography, it has provoked the political class, intelligentsia and the media to revisit 1947 and the tectonic shift it brought about in our subcontinent. It is unfortunate that Jaswant Singh’s unceremonious and unjustifiable expulsion from the BJP, within two days of release of the book, has diverted the focus of the discussion to the troubled situation within the party. However, we must recognise that far more important than the news of the day is the subject matter of the book. 

Our two major national parties are uncomfortable with a thorough debate on the subject, each for its own separate reasons. The Congress does not want it because the role of many of its leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru in particular, would come under scrutiny, facts of history showing that his mistakes (in 1927-28, 1937 and 1947) pushed India towards the abyss of division. The BJP does not want it because the RSS played little organisational role in India’s freedom movement and, although rightly insisting that Bharat should remain akhand (united), it also made no contribution, either as an organisation or through its leading individuals, to the decisive political-constitutional debates on the future of Independent India that raged between 1925 (when the RSS was born) and 1947.

The Congress, with considerable help from the BJP, would like to keep the Partition debate confined to blaming Mohammed Ali Jinnah, his Muslim League, and the British.  The RSS makes the additional point that partition took place because of the policy of appeasement of Muslims adopted by the Congress, Gandhiji in particular. 

However, as Jaswant Singh’s scholarly book describes in great depth and breadth, the story of Partition is far more complex and multi-layered than the simplistic “Jinnah-and-British-are-to-blame” verdict. No doubt, Jinnah and his party, the Muslim League, aided and instigated by the British in violent pursuit of their poisonous and spurious Two Nation theory, played the villain’s role in India’s Partition, and it is impossible to condone his crime. But we are still left with many questions, the chief of them being: Was Partition inevitable? And was it desirable? The last question is significant because, in a curious role reversal, many Muslims in India, whose fathers and grandfathers supported the creation of a separate “Muslim Nation”, today feel that Partition was the greatest calamity to have befallen in the history of Muslims in our subcontinent. On the other side, many Hindus, who outwardly still talk of “Akhand Bharat”, privately concede that the breaking away of the Muslim-majority territories was a good thing —“we don’t want Pakistan and Bangladesh back in our fold”.