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Thursday, August 27, 2009

No CTBT, India needs more nuclear tests: Pokhran II coordinator

A former top official who coordinated India's nuclear weapons programme has cautioned that India should not be "railroaded" into signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as the 1998 Pokhran tests were not sufficient from the security point of view.
"We can't get into a stampede to sign CTBT. We should conduct more nuclear tests which are necessary from the point of view of security," K Santhanam told IANS in New Delhi.
"We should not get railroaded into signing the CTBT," Santhanam said when asked about reports of the US pressuring India to sign the CTBT and fresh efforts by the Obama administration to revive non-proliferation activism.
Santhanam, a former official with the Defence Research and Development Organisation, said that the thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb tests, the first and most powerful of the three tests conducted on May 11, 1998 - did not produce the desired yield.
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) chief R Chidambaram is on record as saying that the bombs yield was 45 kilotons (45,000 tonnes of conventional explosive).
Santhanam's remarks are set to create a flutter in the non-proliferation establishment in the US and may raise doubts about the future of the India-US nuclear deal which will unravel if New Delhi were to test again.
Santhanam's assessment is set to bolster India's opposition to signing the CTBT - an issue that may figure in the discussions when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh goes to the US in November. India has opposed CTBT on grounds that it is discriminatory and tends to divide the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots.

PROMOTION : LT GENS

Promotion orders of 15 Major Generals to the rank of Lt Generals are expected to be issued next month.

pay rules amended ; IPS & IFS

The Central Government has decided to replace Pay Band-4: Rs.37400-67000 plus Grade Pay Rs.12000 applicable to Super Time Scale of Additional Director General of Police by the HAG scale of Rs.67000 (annual increment @ 3%)-79000. The Indian Police Service (Pay) Rules, 2007 are being amended accordingly with effect from the 1st January, 2006. No member of the Indian Police Service is likely to be adversely affected by giving retrospective effect to these rules, the government has claimed.

The Central Govemment has decided to replace Above Super Time Scale of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests - Pay Band-4: Rs.37400-67000 plus Grade Pay Rs.12000/-' applicable to Indian Forest Service by the HAG scale of Rs.67000-(annual increment @ 3%)-79000. The Indian Forest Service (Pay) Rules, 2007 are being amended accordingly with effect from the 1st January, 2006. It is certified that no member of the Indian Forest Service is likely to be adversely affected by giving retrospective effect to these rules.

Former navy chief hits back at govt with RTI

New Delhi: Former navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar, who was named by the CBI in the Barak scam, has shown using the Right to Information Act (RTI) that the indigenous Trishul anti-missile system was not ready in 1999, when the Kargil War broke out. This, the admiral said, was the reason why the navy during his tenure had pushed for the Israeli Barak anti-missile system.

The CBI in 2006 named Admiral Kumar, along with Samata Party leaders George Fernandes (who was defence minister in the NDA government in 1999), Jaya Jaitley and RK Jain, and arms dealer Suresh Nanda, as a suspect in the Barak kickbacks case. In naming the five, the CBI had relied on the Tehelka tapes and claims by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) that the indigenous Trishul project was in advance stages of development in 1999.

Through RTI, the admiral has shown that the CBI's FIR in the case might have had elementary mistakes. This raises the question whether the agency went overboard against a military chief, naming him a suspect without any tangible evidence other than a misleading claim by the DRDO which was developing Trishul.

The CBI implied that the navy ignored the Trishul and pushed for Barak in exchange for bribes. The reference to the Tehelka tapes pertained to RK Jain, a close political ally of Fernandes, admitting that he was paid Rs1 crore for pushing the Barak deal.

Admiral Kumar and the navy have been at pains to explain that the CBI's claims about Trishul were humbug and the decision to buy the Israeli anti-missile system was first taken in 1993-94.

Admiral Kumar made the point that during the Kargil conflict, Indian naval ships were sitting ducks against missile attacks. He had appealed to the prime minister, defence minister and others, saying that by naming a military chief in a CBI case for a decision that was taken as part of operational requirements, they were politicising the military.For months, the ministry of defence and the DRDO stalled Admiral Kumar's RTI queries, citing national security. An appeal with the Central Information Commission forced the DRDO to come clean. The DRDO has now finally admitted that the "Trishul project (naval version) was sanctioned as a staff project in July 1983" and that it was converted "to technology demonstrator" in 2001. A staff project is meant for operational requirements of users, while a technology demonstrator is a mere lab experiment. The DRDO admitted that the project was given several fresh deadlines.

India behind Lanka's victory over LTTE: Book

NEW DELHI: Even as it publicly refused to give Sri Lanka any offensive weapons for the war against LTTE, India had a "hidden hand" in the success of the island nation's campaign over the terrorist outfit, says a new book.

Although in the initial days he was advised to seek a negotiated settlement with the Tamil Tigers, New Delhi saw merit in Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's argument that the LTTE was only biding its time to regroup and rearm itself and that war was inevitable sooner than later, says 'Sri Lanka, From War to Peace', by journalist Nitin Gokhale.

Defence and Strategic Affairs Editor with NDTV, Gokhale covered the 33-month Eelam War in Sri Lanka.

The Mi-17s that India 'quietly gifted' to Lanka were in addition to a Sukanya class offshore patrol vessel also gifted by the Indian Coast Guard to the Sri Lankan Navy in 2002. The choppers played a major role in several daring missions launched by the Sri Lankan Air Force to rescue the army's deep penetration units and injured soldiers from deep inside LTTE-held territory, the book says.

"Hampered by domestic compulsion, New Delhi could not go beyond such meagre and clandestine transfer of military hardware. Publicly all India was willing to acknowledge was the supply of low-flying detection "Indra" radars to the Sri Lankan Air Force since this equipment was considered a defensive apparatus," the author says.

Gokhale quotes senior Sri Lankan army officers saying that thanks to the Mi-17s, the soldiers operating behind enemy lines functioned with a greater degree of confidence since they knew these choppers were always at hand to come to their rescue whenever necessary. This surely was the key factor in our Special Forces delivering spectacular results.

Not wanting to annoy its Tamil Nadu allies like the DMK unnecessarily, New Delhi had a 'politically most important message' conveyed to Colombo to try and conclude the war against the LTTE (called Eelam War IV) before the summer of 2009 when India was expected to hold the general elections, Gokhale says.

"The Rajapakse regime was nothing if not shrewd". Aware of dynamics that determined India's Lankan policies, it was also conscious of India's anxiety in losing strategic space in Sri Lanka. The Rajapakse brothers were pragmatic enough to realize that Lanka needed India's support in war against the LTTE, total support from China and Pakistan notwithstanding".

Colombo could ignore India but only upto a point, the author says.

So Mahinda Rajapakse hit upon an idea of an informal exchange mechanism between New Delhi and Colombo. He nominated both his brothers - Basil (MP and Presidential advisor) and Gotabaya, the Defence Secretary along with his own secretary Lalith Weeratunga.

India too reciprocated immediately. The Indian team comprised National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh.

Colombo may have been ambivalent about meeting Indian requests to end the operations before the general elections but the Sri Lankan leadership once again gratefully acknowledged the Indian Navy's contribution in locating and destroying at least 10 'floating warehouses' owned by the LTTE that were used by the Tigers to store arms, ammunition and even armoured personnel carriers.

Well-coordinated operations by the two navies between 2006 and 2009 actually broke the backbone of the Sea Tigers, Gokhale says.

Also, under an agreement between the two countries, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard frequently sent out ships to patrol the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar. Presence of warships and Indian patrol vessels acted as firm deterrence against the Sea Tigers, the book says.

The book also notes the transformation of the Sri Lankan Air Force and Navy into lethal forces that played vital roles in victory over the LTTE. "The Sri Lankan Air Force had indeed come a long way from its inglorious days in the 1990s when it lost three aircraft to the LTTE's ground fire in the assault on Jaffna".

"What is not so well known is that the Sri Lankan Air Force jets almost killed Prabhakaran in one of the air raids on his hideout in Puththukudirippu. But as luck would have it, Prabhakaran had left the base minutes before the bombs rained on the target," the book says.

Gokhale also says that if the Indians quietly helped the Sri Lankan Navy transform itself, the Lankan Air Force got a big boost from the Chinese and the Pakistanis. Pakistani personnel helped the Lankans in training and maintenance while the Chinese supplied them with vital equipment at a critical time. The Chinese gifted four F7 GS fighter planes which are the most sophisticated jets in Sri Lanka's arsenal today with in-built air interception radar and carry four heat seeking missiles, he says.

After a successful campaign against the LTTE, President Rajapakse's biggest challenge would be to win the peace by sparking reconciliation between its majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil ethnic populations, healing a rift that looks unbridgeable, Gokhale says. Rajapakse will have to restore to their homes and livelihoods some 300,000 Tamils in the North who fled the fighting only to be housed in camps.

"President Rajapakse and his team must avoid triumphalism to spoil the enormous goodwill that they have earned by winning the war. They must ensure that the death of one Prabhakaran does not lead to birth of another. Therein lies Mahinda Rajapakse's test," the book says.

Cabinet nod for 7 new IIMs likely today

NEW DELHI: The Union cabinet on Thursday is likely to approve the setting up of seven new IIMs as well as interest subsidy on educational loans for students belonging to economically weaker sections.

The seven IIMs, already announced two years ago with even locations of a few of them having been finalized are coming up in Tamil Nadu. J&K, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

In Jharkhand, the IIM will be situated in Ranchi and in the initial years will function out of a government training institute. The IIM in Chhattisgarh will be in Raipur, the one in Tamil Nadu in Tiruchirapalli, while Haryana’s will be in Rohtak. The location of IIMs in Uttarakhand, J&K and Rajasthan has not been decided yet.

Each IIM would need Rs 250 crore for it to be fully functional.

The interest subsidy scheme was announced by the finance minister in his budget speech. It will roughly benefit five lakh students and provide a big boost to poor students to pursue higher education.

The scheme will cover loans taken by students from scheduled banks to pursue any approved course in technical and professional streams in recognised institutes in the country.

Students whose family income is less than Rs 4.5 lakh per annum will be eligible under the scheme.

These students will avail the benefit for a moratorium period which is one year from completion of the course or six months from joining a job, whichever is earlier.

Cabinet to consider setting up Nuclear Fuel Recycle Board

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet will on Thursday take up a proposal to set up a Nuclear Fuel Recycle Board with the objective to facilitate production of plutonium on a large scale.

So far, the country has produced plutonium only for R&D purposes.

The setting up of the board is among many steps India has taken as it prepares to derive benefits from its new-found eligibility to engage in nuclear commerce with countries that have technology and fuel.

The task of the proposed board will include overseeing spent fuel reprocessing and management operations.

The board will be headed by the director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Top nuclear scientists like director of Indira Gandhi Centre of Atomic Research, chairman of the Heavy Water Board and those with BARC with specialised knowledge of nuclear fuel and nuclear recycling will also be on the board.

Pokhran II not fully successful: Scientist

NEW DELHI: The 1998 Pokhran II nuclear tests might have been far from the success they have been claimed to be. The yield of the thermonuclear explosions was actually much below expectations and the tests were perhaps more a fizzle rather than a big bang.
The controversy over the yield of the tests, previously questioned by foreign agencies, has been given a fresh lease of life with K Santhanam, senior scientist and DRDO representative at Pokhran II, admitting for the first time that the only thermonuclear device tested was a "fizzle". In nuclear parlance, a test is described as a fizzle when it fails to meet the desired yield.

Santhanam, who was director for 1998 test site preparations, told TOI on Monday that the yield for the thermonuclear test, or hydrogen bomb in popular usage, was much lower than what was claimed. Santhanam, who was DRDO's chief advisor, could well have opened up the debate on whether or not India should sign CTBT as claims that India has all the data required and can manage with simulations is bound to be called into question.

``Based upon the seismic measurements and expert opinion from world over, it is clear that the yield in the thermonuclear device test was much lower than what was claimed. I think it is well documented and that is why I assert that India should not rush into signing the CTBT,'' Santhanam told TOI on Wednesday.

He emphasised the need for India to conduct more tests to improve its nuclear weapon programme.

The test was said to have yielded 45 kilotons (KT) but was challenged by western experts who said it was not more than 20 KT.

The exact yield of the thermonuclear explosion is important as during the heated debate on the India-

US nuclear deal, it was strenuously argued by the government's top scientists that no more tests were required for the weapons programme. It was said the disincentives the nuclear deal imposed on testing would not really matter as further tests were not required.

According to security expert Bharat Karnad, Santhanam's admission is remarkable because this is the first time a nuclear scientist and one closely associated with the 1998 tests has disavowed the government line. ``He is not just saying that India should not sign the CTBT, which I believe is completely against India's interests, but also that the 1998 thermonuclear device test was inadequate.

His saying this means that the government has to do something. Either you don't have a thermonuclear deterrent or prove that you have it, if you claim to have it,'' said Karnad.

Sources said that Santhanam had admitted that the test was a fizzle during a discussion on CTBT organised by IDSA. Karnad also participated in the seminar. He told TOI that no country has succeeded in achieving targets with only its first test of a thermonuclear device.

``Two things are clear; that India should not sign CTBT and that it needs more thermonuclear device tests,'' said Santhanam.

The yield of the thermonuclear device test in 1998 has led to much debate and while western experts have stated that it was not as claimed, BARC has maintained that it stands by its assessment. Indian scientists had claimed after the test that the thermonuclear device gave a total yield of 45 KT, 15 KT from the fission trigger and 30 KT from the fusion process and that the theoretical yield of the device (200 KT) was reduced to 45 KT in order to minimise seismic damage to villages near the test range.
British experts, however, later challenged the claims saying that the actual combined yield for the fission device and thermonuclear bomb was not more than 20 KT.

Key Pokharan scientist R Chidambaram had described these reports as incorrect. He has also argued that computer simulations would be enough in future design.

Govt’s firm line on Pak welcome

Augest.27 : It is just as well that the Prime Minister chose the forum of the ongoing conference in New Delhi of India's ambassadors and high commissioners overseas to underscore that this country had been a victim of terrorism, and that it was essential to tackle global terrorism with vigour and resolve in order to ensure national progress. After the fiasco of the Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement with Pakistan, which sought to "de-bracket" terrorist acts against this country and talks with Pakistan, it was important to reassure India's top diplomatic representatives that the official position in respect of terrorism emanating from Pakistan was not in any way being sought to be played down for a short-term or expedient reason. It was evident after Sharm el-Sheikh that there was not a little unease with the formulation among our top diplomats overseas and senior officials of the external affairs ministry. There was the distinct impression abroad that among those uncertain about the perceived change were particularly those who have dealt with Pakistan and India's neighbourhood. Dr Manmohan Singh's extempore address on Tuesday is likely to assuage any professional anxieties our diplomats may have entertained. What is more, the issuing of a Red Corner Notice by Interpol against Hafiz Saeed, Pakistan's principal ideologue of jihad against India who is officially described here as the "mastermind" of the Mumbai outrage last November, materialised on the day the Prime Minister addressed the diplomats on a matter of existential concern.

The Red Corner Notice against Saeed follows the request recently made by the CBI to Interpol buttressed with suitable evidence. The international police organisation clearly saw merit in the case made out by the CBI, although the authorities in Pakistan have consistently dismissed the material produced by Indian investigators as being inadequate for the purposes of prosecution. Saeed had been placed under house arrest initially in the light of a UN Security Council resolution naming him as a terrorist to be restrained, but the Lahore high court set him free a few months ago as the Pakistan government did not press the case against him. Apparently, he is now being tried in camera in Rawalpindi. Since the trial is being held in secret, it can be made to take a turn that the authorities choose. Given Saeed's deep-going relationship with Pakistan's spy agencies in the light of that country's covert war against India, it is a given that only that aspect of the trial will be permitted to be made public as suits Islamabad. The Red Corner Notice is not an international arrest warrant. Nevertheless, after the Interpol's move, the Pakistan government will be under some pressure to at least give the impression that it is not taking the matter lightly. India, however, cannot afford to let up pressure in respect of Saeed and other dramatis personae in the Mumbai terror attack. The Prime Minister had spoken of credible information on terrorist threats from Pakistan at a conference on internal security a week ago. This had been the first intimation of a pull-back from Sharm el-Sheikh. Dr Singh's address to the diplomats is in the nature of confirming that trend. A day earlier, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna had been quite blunt in telling the heads of our missions that meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can begin only when it takes serious steps in the Mumbai case. A consistent line thus looks to be emerging. But to signal that there can be no ambiguity about this, the discussions at the foreign secretary-level - proposed at Sharm el-Sheikh - need to be kept in abeyance until the circumstances are apposite.

Infiltration up, admits Army

Aug. 26: GOC-in-C Northern Command Lieutenant-General P.C. Bhardwaj on Wednesday claimed that although the rate of infiltration bids from across the border has gone up, the general security situation has considerably improved in the state.

Lt. Gen. Bhardwaj said the threat from across the border still exists and it is evident from the upswing in infiltration this year. "Logistic support to militants, too, is intact from across the border. Yet no major incident of violence has occurred in the state, which is suggestive of dipping level of violence. Peaceful conduct of elections and a smooth Amarnath Yatra this year — these factors suggest that the security situation has improved," he asserted.

It was maintained that the terrorists were using latest technology, satellite phones and GPS system but the Army was well-prepared to tackle all threats posed to the security of nation.

On the question as which was the hot border, the reply was: "The borders, both with Pakistan and China, were hot. Yet with China all the disputes could be resolved amicably during flag meetings."

A senior Northern Command officer said claimed, "Around 26 infiltration attempts were foiled by the Army this year till date in the area of state under command yet the majority of attempts (25) were made in the Valley. So far 59 terrorists (majority in the Valley) were killed. Around 72 terrorists managed to infiltrate."

He stated that as a new deceptive ploy, they (terrorists) try to sneak in five to six groups from different places at a time.

13 Chhattisgarh cops face music for staying away from Maoist area

Thirteen policemen have been dismissed in Chhattisgarh for disobeying the official order and not joining the Mandanwada police outpost in insurgency-hit Rajnandgaon.

“Thirteen policemen were suspended on the charges of insubordination, indiscipline and cowardice,” Inspector General of Police RK Vij told The Pioneer on Wednesday.

Earlier, this month, these policemen were transferred to Madanwada police outpost on temporary postings. They were put under suspension after they failed to join their duties. Their reluctance to join the duty even after suspension was followed by their dismissal.

Sources say, the reluctance of policemen to join duty was felt to demoralise the spirit of other cops, who are fighting a crucial battle against the Leftwing insurgents in the State.

Earlier, on July 12, 29 policemen including a Superintendent of Police were killed by the Maoists in Madanwada area of Rajnandgaon disrict in four consecutive attacks. The police have opened an outpost in the area said to be badly infested by the Maoists.

Dhumal Govt proposes to hike salaries of Speaker, Ministers

The Himachal Chief Minister PK Dhumal introduced on Wednesday four amendment Bills, seeking to hike the salaries and allowances of Ministers, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, CPS and MLAs.

Salary of MLAs is proposed to be raised from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000 per month while the Constituency allowance would be almost doubled to Rs 20,000. The basic pension of ex-MLAs for one term is also proposed to be doubled from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 while the hike for every additional would be Rs 400 instead of Rs 200 at present.

Salary of the Chief Minister would be raised from Rs 18,000 to Rs 34,000; the Ministers would get an increased salary of Rs 31,000, up from current Rs 15,000, while the State Ministers’ salary would go up from Rs 11,000 to Rs 28,000 and that of Deputy Ministers from Rs 10,000 to Rs 27,000.

The salary of the Speaker would be Rs 31,000 at par with the Cabinet Ministers and the Deputy Speaker would draw a salary of Rs 28,000, equivalent to the Ministers of State.

Martyr’s father exposes Govt irregularities

A decade after conflict, father of a Kargil martyr has transformed himself into an accountability activist through sustained use of the Right to Information Act.

HL Attri, who retired as director from the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2002 has exposed through RTI Act how his fellow colleague in the Ministry was given out of turn increments in a single financial year in contravention of the existing rules.

Another director in the MoEF, Rajendra Mishra was given two increments at one go in 1996 causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the exchequer.

“Now that the wrongdoings of Rajendra Mishra have been exposed, the Government should either recover the illegal increments given to him or accord similar increments to other officials of the Ministry in the grade of director,” Attri told The Pioneer.

The reply by MoEF to Attri’s RTI application read, “…grant of annual increment to Shri Rajendra Mishra on 1.1.96 appears to be erroneous as no normal increment was due to Shri Mishra as he was stagnating at the maximum of his scale. He was… entitled to stagnation increment on 1.1.96 and his pay ought to have been fixed at Rs 13,875.”

Instead, Mishra’s monthly pay was fixed at Rs 14,250 and accordingly he has been receiving pay scales in contravention of the rules, Attri added.

Attri has in the past exposed how a V-C of the Delhi-based Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University exploited the emergency powers for taking even routine decisions, including appointments bypassing the procedures laid out for administration.

Attri’s son Captain Ayush Attri was killed during an operation in Kargil and was decorated for his bravery by the Government.

India-US joint transport aircraft exercise on Oct 19

A five-day joint exercise Cope India-09, involving IAF and USAF transport aircraft, will be held in Agra from October 19 onwards. The participating IAF aircraft will include IL-76, AN-32 and Mi-17 helicopters, while USAF contingent will comprise C-17 Globemaster, C-130J (Super Herclues) and C-130H transport aircraft.

The exercise is aimed at evaluating the efficacy of joint operations in the realm of tactics, aero-medical aspects and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions involving medium and heavy lift transport aircraft, an IAF spokesman said here on Wednesday.

Nearly 160 USAF personnel and about 200 IAF air-warriors will participate in the exercise, he added.

The Indian and US Air Force have regularly conducted joint exercises in India and US over the last ten years. Moreover, the SU-30 fighter jets of IAF last year took participated in the 'Red Flag' exercise in the US where five other countries took part. This exercise is rated as the most demanding and sophisticated and the IAF gave a very good account of itself.

The two countries over the years have also increased military to military relations including joint exercises of the Army and the Navy. Besides this, the defence relations between India and the US have also seen an upswing in the last decade and the US defence industry now has a sizable presence here. These companies are keen to have a share of the nearly $30 billion proposed procurement by India in the next five to seven years.

Move to bring traffic police under Delhi Govt

In a major decision, the Delhi Government has proposed to bring traffic police under its jurisdiction through Delhi Urban Mass Transit Authority Act (DUMTA) 2009.

Under the Act, an authority would be created and all the agencies involved in road maintenance, engineering, traffic and transport would come under its purview.

A presentation to this effect was made by the Transport department and Delhi Integrated Multi-Model Transit System before the CM on Wednesday.

Sources said the CM has asked the officials to prepare a proposal in this regard as they needed approval of the Union Home Ministry.

Supreme Court judges to disclose assets

Under mounting public pressure, the judges of the Supreme Court today decided to make public their assets, an issue that had been haunting higher judiciary for quite some time.
“A decision in principle has been taken on the issue at a meeting convened by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan and the details of the assets to be declared by the judges would be put on the Supreme Court website,” a top apex court source said after the two-hour deliberations.
The decision comes after months of public debate over making public the details of higher judiciary, especially the apex court judges and their families, ever since the Right to Information law triggered a clamour on the issue.
The source said the decision, adopted in the form of a resolution, would be effective only after the minutes are signed by all the judges.
“Once the minutes are recorded the assets would be made public and would be posted on the Supreme Court website,” the source said.
The decision was immediately welcomed by senior advocates Soli Sorabjee and Prashant Bhushan, who has been campaigning on the subject.
Sorabjee said it was a decision in the right direction. He said it was not much about judicial corruption and that they had something to hide but it was due to some misgivings.
The issue of declaration of assets had also led to a spat with Karnataka High Court judge Justice DV Shylendra Kumar, who questioned Balakrishnan’s authority to speak on behalf of all judges. The CJI hit back saying the judge was “publicity crazy”.
A couple of days ago, the CJI, however, had maintained that judges were free to disclose their assets and nothing prevented them from doing so. Only there was a lack of consensus, which he said was being worked out.
In between, Justice MK Kannan, a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and Justice Kumar declared their assets while Justice K Chandru of the Madras High Court expressed his inclination to do so. — PTI

Maoists attack CRPF camp in Ranchi village, 1 killed

RANCHI: A group of about 100 armed cadres of CPI(Maoist) attacked a CRPF camp at Nawadih village under Bundu police station in Ranchi district on Tuesday night leaving a villager dead and a CRPF personnel injured. Two companies of 133-Delta battalion of CRPF are stationed in the village which is located in a Naxal stronghold.

Bundu SDPO Anand Joseph Tigga said the CRPF personnel were returning to their base camp at Bundu at around 10.30 pm when the Maoists launched the attack.

Tigga said the Maoists encircled the temporary CRPF camp at Nawadih and opened indiscriminate fire on the personnel. "The CRPF men opened retaliation fire. However, a jawan Shiv Shankar Yadav suffered a bullet injury in his neck," he said.

The encounter continued for nearly two-and-a-half hours in which the CRPF fired three mortar rounds, six high explosives bombs. The two sides also exchanged about 2000 rounds of small arm fire. By the time reinforcement arrived, the rebels retreated into the jungles.

The body of a villager, identified as Sukhdeo Munda, was recovered at the encounter site on Wednesday morning with bullet marks on his back and leg. It is believed that Munda was killed in the crossfire.

Tigga said the Maoists squad was led by "zonal commander" Kundan Pahan. "It seems they were on a look out to carry out attacks on NH-33 but got into an encounter with the CRPF personnel quite by chance," he said.

Sources said the Kundan Pahan-led Maoist squad were on the lookout to carry out a major strike on the security personnel following the arrest of seven hardcore rebels, including Maoist "sub-zonal commander" David by ranchi police on August 24.

'Nerpa' to be handed over to India after trials: Russia

Moscow, Aug 26 Russia will hand over the Akula-II class nuclear submarine&aposNerpa&aposto India after the completion of its sea trials, the country&aposs top general said, without specifying any time-frame for it.
"The trials are underway according to schedule, after which the submarine will be handed over to the Indian Navy," Chief of Russia&aposs General Staff, General Nikolai Makarov was quoted as saying by newsru.Com website Addressing a news conference in Ulan Bator, Gen. Makarov, accompanying President Medvedev on Mongolia tour, however, did not specify the time-frame for the delivery of the much- awaited submarine." There is no fixed schedule (of delivery), but there are no reasons for delay,"he said. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had earlier ordered to hand over the&aposNerpa&aposto Indian Navy on 10-year lease by the end of this year. Built by the Amur Shipyard in the far-eastern Khabarovsk region bordering China,&aposNerpa&aposwas hit by a deadly accident on November 8 last year in the Sea of Japan, when 21 sailors and civilian technical staff were killed due to abrupt release of lethal Freon gas from its fire-suppression system as a result of&aposhuman error&apos.

'India can't be indifferent on any global issue'


We often hear that our rise to global prominence is inevitable. It is an incontestable fact that the significance of India as a rising power is being widely acknowledged, as has been witnessed by several events in the recent past, the most defining of which has perhaps been the inking of the agreement on civil nuclear cooperation with the United States.
Our growing economic status fuelled by a 300 million strong middle class, the demographic advantage of a burgeoning 'young population', our increasing ventures into high technology areas such as space, and future projections of national growth peg us amongst the world's top five economies by 2020. That is just 11 years away.
The professionalism and military might of the armed forces of India are respected the world over. The very recent launch of our very own nuclear submarine 'Arihant' has also sent out a strong signal of our desire to acquire the appropriate strategic military technology and capability.
Despite our several internal challenges and diversities, we are 'rock solid' as a democratic country, surrounded by an extended periphery of varying instability.
It is therefore not surprising that the role of a 'natural' regional power is expected of us. Our aspirations for inclusion as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and for a greater voice in international diplomacy are a result of these developments.
However, there is a sense that we may not have done adequately rigorous thinking on how to 'manage' our pre-ordained rise to global prominence. With the realisation of our aspirations and greater international recognition will come many more additional responsibilities.
The country cannot afford to be indifferent and non-committal on any regional or global issue -- we must have an objective 'national interest assessment' on all questions of importance.
As military forces of India, we would be expected to function as instruments of peace and stability in this rather fragile environment of the Indian Ocean region. We have to get our 'hands dirty' in addressing common concerns in our respective domains. This will call for increased participation in peace operations, efforts such as anti-piracy as also capacity-building and capability-enhancement of smaller and economically weaker nations which look up to us, for support and security.
We must also be seen far away from our shores, working with friendly nations and shaping perceptions, in furtherance of India's foreign policy. Quite evidently, the navy would lead efforts of military diplomacy, given the medium in which it operates and the distinctive characteristics of its platforms. If we pursue a meaningful foreign policy to advance national objectives -- as we do -- then the military instrument can complement this collective endeavour.

Why we should heed navy chief's warning on China

Outgoing Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, drew a lot of criticism recently when he suggested that India neither has the 'capability nor the intention' to match China's military strength 'force for force.'
But he was merely stating the obvious ground reality given that China's GDP is more than thrice that of India and India's annual defence expenditure is less than half of China's. Much of the criticism was unwarranted as Admiral Mehta was probably trying to wake the Indian political class out of its slumber by forcing it to think more clearly about the implications of China's rise for India.
His was a warning about China which is rapidly moving towards the consolidation of its national power and if India does not move proactively it will find it almost impossible to catch up with China.
Towards this end, he suggested that India not only has to achieve higher rates of economic growth but it also needs to build ties with other major global powers and undertake significant reforms in the defence sector.
These steps are necessary as it is clear that if India has to protect its national interests, it will have to challenge China's growing might in its vicinity.
One should look at the euphoria in India surrounding the launch of INS Arihant [ Images ] in this context. Though that euphoria is not entirely unwarranted as decades of investment, India finally has the ability to indigenously build and operate a nuclear-powered submarine, a feat accomplished by only five other countries, it should not blind India to the fact that it has miles to go before it can catch up with China, which has made some significant advances in the waters surrounding India.
Just a few months back China's growing naval capability was on full display when it paraded its nuclear powered submarines for the first time as part of the celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army.
Gone is the reticence of the yore when China was not ready to even admit that it had such capabilities. Chinese commanders are now openly talking about the need for nuclear submarines to safeguard the nation's interests and the Chinese navy, once the weakest of the three services, is now the focus of attention of the military modernisation programme that is being pursued with utmost seriousness.
China's navy is now considered the third-largest in the world behind only the US and Russia [ Images ] and superior to the Indian Navy in both qualitative and quantitative terms. China's navy has traditionally been a coastal force and China has had a continental outlook to security. But with a rise in its economic might since the 1980s, Chinese interests have expanded and have acquired a maritime orientation with an intent to project power into the Indian Ocean.
China is investing far greater resources in the modernisation of its armed forces in general and its navy in particular than India seems either willing to undertake or capable of sustaining at present.
China's increasingly sophisticated submarine fleet could eventually be one of the world's largest and with a rapid accretion in its capabilities, including submarines, ballistic missiles and GPS-blocking technology, some are suggesting that China will increasingly have the capacity to challenge America.
Senior Chinese officials have indicated that China would be ready to build an aircraft carrier by the end of the decade as it is seen as being indispensable to protecting Chinese interests in the oceans. Such an intent to develop carrier capability marks a shift away from devoting the bulk of PLA's modernisation drive to the goal of capturing Taiwan.
With a rise in China's economic and political prowess, there has also been a commensurate growth in its profile in the Indian Ocean region. China is acquiring naval bases along the crucial choke-points in the Indian Ocean not only to serve its economic interests but also to enhance its strategic presence in the region.
China realises that its maritime strength will give it the strategic leverage that it needs to emerge as the regional hegemon and a potential superpower and there is enough evidence to suggest that China is comprehensively building up its maritime power in all dimensions.
It is China's growing dependence on maritime space and resources that is reflected in the Chinese aspiration to expand its influence and to ultimately dominate the strategic environment of the Indian Ocean region. China's growing reliance on bases across the Indian Ocean region is a response to its perceived vulnerability, given the logistical constraints that it faces due to the distance of the Indian Ocean waters from its own area of operation.
Yet, China is consolidating power over the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean with an eye on India, something that comes out clearly in a secret memorandum issued by the director of the general logistic department of the PLA: 'We can no longer accept the Indian Ocean as only an ocean of the Indians... We are taking armed conflicts in the region into account.'
China has deployed its Jin class submarines at a submarine base near Sanya in the southern tip of Hainan island in the South China Sea, raising alarm in India as the base is merely 1,200 nautical miles from the Malacca Strait and will be its closest access point to the Indian Ocean. The base also has an underground facility that can hide the movement of submarines, making them difficult to detect.
The concentration of strategic naval forces at Sanya will further propel China towards a consolidation of its control over the surrounding Indian Ocean region. The presence of access tunnels on the mouth of the deep water base is particularly troubling for India as it will have strategic implications in the Indian Ocean region, allowing China to interdict shipping at the three crucial chokepoints in the Indian Ocean.
As the ability of China's navy to project power in the Indian Ocean region grows, India is likely to feel even more vulnerable despite enjoying distinct geographical advantages in the region.
China's growing naval presence in and around the Indian Ocean region is troubling for India as it restricts India's freedom to manoeuvre in the region. Of particular note is what has been termed as China's 'string of pearls' strategy that has significantly expanded China's strategic depth in India's backyard.
This 'string of pearls' strategy of bases and diplomatic ties include the Gwadar port in Pakistan, naval bases in Myanmar, electronic intelligence gathering facilities on islands in the Bay of Bengal, funding construction of a canal across the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, a military agreement with Cambodia and building up of forces in the South China Sea.
Given that almost 80 per cent of China's oil passes through the Strait of Malacca, it is reluctant to rely on US naval power for unhindered access to energy and so has decided to build up its naval power at 'choke points' along the sea routes from the Persian Gulf to the South China Sea.
China is also courting other states in South Asia by building container ports in Bangladesh at Chittagong and in Sri Lanka [ Images ] at Hambantota as well as helping to build a naval base at Marao in the Maldives [ Images ].
Given the immense geographical advantages that Indian enjoys in the Indian Ocean, China will have great difficulty in exerting as much sway in the Indian Ocean as India can. But all the steps that China will take to protect and enhance its interests in the Indian Ocean region will generate apprehensions in India about her real intentions, thereby engendering a classic security dilemma between the two Asian giants.
Tensions are inherent in such an evolving strategic relationship as was underlined in an incident earlier this year when an Indian Kilo class submarine and Chinese warships, on their way to the Gulf of Aden to patrol the pirate-infested waters, reportedly engaged in rounds of manoeuvring as they tried to test for weaknesses in others' sonar system.
The Chinese media reported that its warships forced the Indian submarine to the surface which was strongly denied by the Indian Navy.
Unless managed carefully, the potential for such incidents turning serious in the future remains high, especially as Sino-Indian naval competition is likely to intensify with the Indian and Chinese navies operating far from their shores.
If Admiral Mehta's warning that India is long way off from catching up to China can generate the requisite debate in the Indian political establishment about the rise of China and its implications for Indian strategy, he would have done his bit for the nation.

Myths Of Five

The oldest & largest insurgent organization in the North East - the National Socialist Council of Nagalim led by Thuingaleng Muviah and Isac Chisi Swu, NSCN (IM) has been engaging in peace negotiations with the govt since 1997. However, despite a long drawn negotiating process involving several rounds of intense negotiations, the two sides are not clearly on the same page. The government's stand is that it can not compromise the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India : undo the territorial state boundaries without antagonizing the states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh vis-?is territories claimed by the Nagas and involved in any unification of all Naga claimed areas.
Recent incidents (Standoff between Security Forces and NSCN (IM) at Shirui and Pfutsero) and the statement given by Union Home Minister Mr P Chidambaram : "Future arrangement would be possible only within the contours of the Indian Constitutions". It has lead both parties to clarify their stands and strict adherence to the CFGRs. The recent episode have also forced Th Muviah to react during his interview to Frans Welham (Published in local daily on 19th Mar) to say that : "Mr P Chidambaram does not know anything about the Nagas and about the talks. So, the Govt of India would have to correct him". He further said that, if they go on like that then it will go derailed.
Government of India, NSCN and Other State and Non State Actors are now a days exhibiting their Agendas, Demands, SOPs, Revised version of CFGR and other documentary evidences for the consumption of local people of both Manipur and Nagaland. Every party is trying to put forward its point. Recently, 'Revised Text of Agreed Ground Rules for Ceasefire finalized between GOI and NSCN on 13th January 2001' was published by local daily on06 Mar 09. In the agreed text of Ceasefire Ground Rules 'FIVE POINTS' were highlighted: (i) Ground Rules will be valid only for State of Nagaland. (ii) Responsibility to enforce this is of GOI. (iii) No offensive operations, No blockade of roads, No extension of support to any other militant organizations. (iv) No movement of NSCN cadres from designated camps without informing CFSB. No forcible collection of money, extortion, recruitment of armed cadres. (v) Protection of convoys and patrolling for roads would continue to be undertaken by Indian Army, PMFs and Police.
Security Forces will retain the right to enforce measures necessary to uphold the laws of the land. Was this published to enlighten locals, Security Forces, Para Military Forces or Police is not known? On the similar line, gist of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for SFs (including State Police) for enforcement of ceasefire in Nagaland was also published on 07 Mar 09 (Nagaland Page). The SOP once again, highlighted mainly 'FIVE POINTS'.
(i) Ceasefire Ground Rules Violation. (ii) Principle to be adopted for handling CFGR. Unbiased actions by SFs, PMFs and Police. Use of force for self defence only and actions against the violators of CFGR by CFMG/CFSB. (iii) Defusing Inter-Factional Clashes. Frisking and checking by Assam Rifles & CPMF. Police forces available in the area to stop unlawful activities. (iv) Verification of Identity Cards. Formation of Quick Reaction Teams in sensitive areas. (v) Effective Interstate border management to stop movement and mutual coordination of various militant groups of neighbouring states.
Also the involvement of NGOs to smoothen the tempers of the factions. This was published for consumption of security forces, factions and people of Manipur & Nagaland. But what needs to be understood is that situation differ from place to place and each one of them have to be dealt with according to prevailing conditions.
Another "FIVE POINTS" suggestions towards reconciliation of Nagas (Published on 17th Mar 09) has been given by Bhartiya Janata Party, Nagaland. The BJP Nagaland while reiterating support and commitment towards. Indo - Naga Peace Talks, expressed their views as followings:
(i) Ceasefire Without Boundary Limits. (ii) Bringing together of all leaders.
(iii) Financial package/support by GON/GOI. (iv) Lifting of all forms of taxes.
(v) BJP's commitment towards Nagas Issue in the event of BJP and NDA assuming power at the centre.
Last but not the least is the, much hyped self appointed 'Fact Finding Team' consisting of few NGOs, Lawyers and Human Right's Activists. Incidentally they have also come out with a recommendations of FIVE POINTS for Ceasefire Monitoring Mechanism in Nagaland and Manipur :
(i) Ceasefire monitoring mechanism should be made more transparent and records of decisions of the CFMG should be kept. All guidelines, rules and regulations must be signed by parties concerned and be made available in the public domain. (ii) Ceasefire be officially extended without territorial limits purely a administrative measure with no political connotations or implications.
(iii) Declaration of ceasefire between different UGs groups "so that the IFCs are not used as justification for either further militarization of the region or for a tool for divide and rule policy". (iv) CFMG has to decide better ways for effective enforcement of CFGR. (v) The media is advised to evolve guidelines for itself so that it is not used as an instrument for counter insurgency or for spreading disinformation.
While every organization or party have propagated a 'Five Point Agenda/Recommendations' and not to be left behind in the race. I, as a conscientious citizen of this Region would like to appeal to fellow citizens and governments of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur and enunciated coincidentally 'Five Golden Point' which if acted upon will override the 'Myths of Five' propagated above: (i) Good Governence (ii) Employment (iii) Peace (iv) Tranquility (v) Infrastructural Development. If at all we want to live in peace and harmony and also to keep a pace with fast developing society then, we will have to really adhere to above golden points and not to get perturbed by 'Myths Of Five'.

Indian Army sees no threat from Chinese build-up along border

Indian troops are on a high state of vigil along the frontier with China and the infrastructure build-up on the other side does not pose a threat, a top Indian Army commander said on Wednesday.
"The Chinese infrastructure across the LAC (Line of Actual Control) does not pose any threat to us," Lt. Gen PC Bhardwaj, the general officer commanding-in-chief of the strategic Northern Command that guards India's borders with China and Pakistan, told reporters at its headquarters in Udhampur, 70 km from Jammu and Kashmir's winter capital Jammu.
To specific questions about China's emerging strength and its activities across the 646 LAC in Kashmir, Bhardwaj said that these were not causing any undue concern as "our troops are also maintaining maximum vigil all over".

Kashmir violence down, but threat of militancy exists: Indian Army

Udhampur, Aug 26 (IANS) Charging Pakistan with providing logistics support to the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, a top Indian Army commander said Wednesday violence levels in the state had come down but the threat of militancy still existed.
“Logistics support is being given to the militants by Pakistan. We are facing and fighting terrorists on daily basis, which means that threat is there,” Lt. Gen. P.C. Bharadwaj, the general officer commanding-in-chief of the army’s strategic Northern Command that guards India’s borders with Pakistan and China, told reporters at its headquarters here, 70 km from Jammu.
“The level of violence has come down and there are significant signs of normalcy,” but the militants were now “taking to the agitational approach of the people and to crimes linked to human rights violations to further their cause of disturbing the peace”, he maintained.
The army, however, was pursuing a policy of zero tolerance to human rights violations and “this year, there has been only one case of such a violation”, Bharadwaj said. The maximum violations - 1,790 - were reported way back in 1990, he added.
Noting that the “biggest challenge before the army in Jammu and Kashmir is to bring in peace, maintain it and put the state on path of development”, Bharadwaj estimated that 75 terrorists have so far sneaked in across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan against 45 in the corresponding period last year.
Most of the infiltration bids had taken place from across the Kashmir Valley as “the barbed wire fence gets damaged due to heavy snow,” he said. Of the 72 terrorists who had infiltrated this year, 69 had come via that route, he added.
“Till August 9, 26 infiltration bids have been foiled and 57 terrorists killed,” Bharadwaj said.
However, infiltration was being attempted along the LOC and there have been 72 such bids - 69 from the Valley side and three from Jammu region, he said.
“Our troops have been successfully thwarting the infiltration attempts and also terrorist designs within Jammu and Kashmir,” Bhardwaj said, adding that there were some 650 terrorists active in the state.
There had been a change in the “operational efficacy” of the militants and an “upgradation in their quality” Bharadwaj said, adding that the terrorists were now equipped with high-tech gadgets like satellite phones and GPS systems.
He also pointed out that the terrorists have been avoiding direct contact with the security forces “which could be because of various reasons and also to conserve their dipping numbers”.
Instead, the militants were hitting “soft targets and are attempting to carry out high profile attacks”, the general said.

Court issues summon to Army

Srinagar: A Chief Judicial Magistrate court on Wednesday issued summon to Army asking it to produce its two majors and seven troopers [of Indian army] before the court in connection with the murderous assault on a Jammu & Kashmir police official on Tuesday morning.

Reports reaching Press Bureau of India said that Chief Judicial Magistrate, Poonch on Wednesday issued summon to the Army’s 17 Rajput and directed it to produce its two Majors and 7 jawans before the court in connection with the murder assault on SHO, Poonch, Kuldeep Khajuria probing the fake currency racket involving two Territorial Army troopers.

Following the assault on its officer, police had filed attempt to murder case Fir NO 115/2009 under section 307/332/342/382/147/148/249 against two Army majors and seven troopers.

Khajuria told Press Bureau of India that taking strong exception to the Army’s assault on the policemen, the CJM court directed Army to produce its men before the court tomorrow. He said the court also granted ten days police remand to the two TA troopers involved in the fake currency racket.

“The court issued summon to the Army asking it to produce its men tomorrow. The court also granted ten days police remand to the TA men,” Khajuria said, adding “Police will investigate the fake currency and ensure the culprits are put behind the bars.” (PBI)