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Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Viraat Steams Naked Into The World

August 28, 2009: India's sole operational aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat recently returned to service, after 18 months in a shipyard for upgrades and refurbishment. But now it's primary aircraft, AV-8 Harriers have been grounded because of a recent crash that destroyed one of the aircraft. That leaves it with a dozen or so helicopters.
The AV-8 is a STOVL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft that first entered service in 1969. That early version was used mainly by the British Royal Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. It was a 11 ton aircraft (7 tons when taking off vertically) that carried about two tons of weapons. In the 1980s, a more powerful 14 ton version was developed, which could carry three tons of weapons.
The Harrier has the highest accident rate of any jet fighter. This is largely because of its vertical flight capabilities, which give it an accident rate similar to that of helicopters. The U.S. Marine Corps has lost a third of its 397 Harriers to such accidents in 32 years. In the last twenty years, India has lost most of its 30 Harrier vertical takeoff fighters to accidents, and now only has eleven left.
The U.S. is replacing its AV-8s with the new F-35B. The Indians plan to buy eight retired AV-8s from Britain, and refurbish their current ones, to keep the Viraat armed with jet aircraft for the last ten years of its service life.

The Great Global Officer Shortage

August 29, 2009: Despite having only one soldier (sailor or airman) for every 866 people, India has a chronic officer shortage. The United States, with one soldier for every 187 Americans, has no shortage . China, with one soldier for every 591, has no shortage either. What is going on here? What is happening is a global officers shortage. Until the last few decades, it was considered prestigious, and career enhancing, to serve at least a few years as a military officer. These days, no more. Shortages are often filled by lowering standards, which can have disastrous results in combat.
The Indian Army is short 24 percent of its officer strength, while China has the numbers, it is seriously concerned with the quality. Meanwhile, the Indian army has had a shortage of officers for decades. The air force and navy are also short, but only by 12-15 percent. In China, the problem is growing as the economy continues to boom (despite the global recession.)
 But it's not just officers that are hard for the Indians to recruit and keep. Technical specialists are in short supply, which is a growing problem as the army adds more high tech gear. The basic problem is that the army must compete with the civilian economy for highly trained or educated personnel.
 The Indian army maintains high standards for officers, and has tried to eliminate the shortages by more aggressively recruiting young NCOs for officer candidate school. But  that doesn't always work, because too many of the NCOs cannot pass the entrance exam. The source of that problem is the corruption in the Indian primary school system. Teaching jobs in many parts of the country are considered political patronage. These teaching assignments are handed out to political activists, with the understanding that they are no-show jobs. So, despite a lot of money being put into primary education over the last half century, the illiteracy rate is still 39 percent. The Chinese rate is 9.1 percent.
 The Indian military has long been an all-volunteer force, and had no trouble filling the ranks. But over the last decade, as the government dismantled controls on business, and privatized many government owned companies, the economy has boomed. There are not enough qualified technical and management people to fill all the skilled jobs. India has been looking at how other nations solve these problems. They have noted American success (over the last four decades) in outsourcing a lot of support jobs. This is almost a necessity with some high tech specialties, where even civilian firms face shortages. Another American technique, cash bonuses for jobs with shortages, is more difficult for India, which much less money to spend on defense. India also has some unique cultural problems. While the caste system is, in theory outlawed and not functioning, it is still there. Which caste you belong to not only influences who you can marry, but, to a lesser extent, where you can work. And when the word gets around that the "wrong kind of people" are becoming army officers, many (a large minority) potential officers suddenly show no interest in a military career. Coupled with the high illiteracy rate, small number of college grads, and huge competition from the booming economy, it's a wonder the shortfall is only 24 percent.
 China has similar problems, although there are differences. The Chinese education system is more efficient, or at least less corrupt. Although China still has conscription, the armed forces are basically staffed with volunteers. But the three decade economic boom has made it difficult for the military to get the quality people it wants. Thus many Chinese officers are, for want of a better word, losers. The same could be said for many Indian officers, but India, or at least many parts of India, have a military tradition. There, bright young lads will forgo higher pay to serve as officers. But that is not as fashionable as it used to be, and the Indian army wants to double the pay of junior officers to make it competitive with what civilian employers are offering new college grads. China recently gave its junior officers a raise.
 Moreover, India has a problem that China does not have. India is at war, with troops getting killed and injured in Kashmir, the northeastern tribal areas, and fighting Maoist rebels in eastern India. The casualty rate is actually quite low, but just serving in a combat zone is hard on the nerves, and not attractive to many educated young Indians. Overall, bright young Indian men are competing to get into business and technical schools, while the military academy cannot fill vacancies. On the other hand, Indian officers are getting invaluable combat experience, much more than their Chinese peers.
 Indian military leaders want officer conscription, via mandatory officer training and service for university graduates. But the majority of citizens and politicians oppose this. China has a system similar to the American ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps), where the costs of college are picked up by the government for those who study military subjects in college, and then serve as officers for a few years after they graduate. China also has more military academies than India, and is also having a hard time getting young men to attend them. China still gets a lot of officers via NCOs taking officer training. This provides good military leaders, but ones lacking the technical skills that are increasingly important.
 Neither India nor China have found a solution for their junior officer shortage, and until there is a solution, the quality of their armed forces will suffer.

Understanding Shopian Tragedy in a context

Home Minister of India P Chidambaram gave a clean chit to army and the paramilitary in the Shopian rape and murder case even while his own agencies are still carrying out the “investigations” over it. As reported in Greater Kashmir, while speaking in the Parliament on Wednesday, July 21, Chidambaram accused the “divisive elements” of launching a vilification campaign against the paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir and said, “Such attempts would not demoralize the forces…. These forces are not involved in rape and murder and violation of human rights”.

One wonders as to why the Home Minister of India is so anxious that he resorts to the extraordinary measure of nervously prejudging the outcome of the investigations still going on? Isn’t he indirectly directing the investigating agencies working under him to expedite the outcome of the investigations in a manner that the question of the involvement of the Indian forces is ruled out? This despite the fact that they are the prime suspects in the collective pubic knowledge with strong circumstantial reasons in Shopian case and even more compelling reason of their continual involvement in numerous well documented cases of rape and murder across the length and breadth of Kashmir. No wonder the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) working under the Home Minister has complied with the direction and probably changed the slides so that the identification of the criminals by DNA testing becomes impossible.

The reputation and conduct of the armed forces in Kashmir in general coupled with the circumstances of the crime in Shopian establish beyond doubt that this crime could not have happened without the participation, connivance and knowledge of CRPF. The battalion was moved to south India after the crime. Nor could it happen without the participation, connivance and knowledge of the notorious counter-insurgency force of India the Rashtriya Rifles (RR).

These Indian forces enjoy the immunity of draconian Indian laws, like AFSPA, such that even an investigation into their conduct becomes impossible. But why did the Government of India (GoI) go to such extreme lengths to cover up the involvement of CRPF and the RR in this crime even though public rage and anger on day one was clearly directed towards these Indian forces? The public could not have been directed by any possible vested elements at that early stage. In fact, the District Administration was mulling to propose shifting of the CRPF camp near which Neelofer’s body was recovered.

How did the Jan Commission qualify conduct of CRPF as “full cooperation” even though the redeployment and movement of CRPF personnel, to facilitate a cover-up, was witnessed by the locals of Shopian in the dead of night just one week after the rape and murder? Was Justice Jan under pressure to end the scope of CRPF involvement in the crime?  Or was this retired judge chosen for the cover-up? Otherwise how could a level-headed person qualify CRPF behavior as “full cooperation” and say this in the same report: “It does not appeal to reason that an individual civilian would, on his own, take a grave risk of detection, by carrying the dead bodies in the early hours of the morning of 30th May, 2009 between 2.30am to 5.30am, with full knowledge that his suspicious movements at odd hours would attract the attention of security guards posted in the area, unless the person would be sure of connivance from the watchful vision of the guards.”

In the words of noted legal luminary and writer, A G Noorani, a cruel and monumental fraud was played on the people of Kashmir. Is it a natural sequel to a series of constitutional frauds perpetrated on the people?

This anxiety by the Indian Home Minister and the systematic attempts by all the state institutions including labs and courts falls in a context as the news of five thousand (5000) kanals of forest land being grabbed by the army in the vicinity of Shopian town for a fresh army  camp there surfaces.

If involvement of Indian forces in the Shopian crime remains in the realm of prosecution would that make bringing up this “important” and huge army camp difficult? This camp is to cater to the forward positions of Poonch and Rajouri sectors, where new advancements in weapons and tactics have made Indian army positions more vulnerable to Pakistan, particularly in Noushera and Chhamb-Jurian sectors. It was because of this that Army was taking a special interest in early completion of the Mughal road project as can be confirmed from the engineering wing executing the project.

Had this public anger not been managed and controlled by the various state institutions in a certain direction away from the criminals, it would be difficult to establish another camp over 5000 kanals of land in the same area where their counterparts had committed such a heinous crime.

Public anger would have discouraged this hyper militarization of an already highly militarized area. The crime in Shopian is a result of militarization which fosters forced contact between the subdued local population and the military forces. This quantum jump in militarizing a small place like Shopian means that every girl of this area is a potential Aasia and a Neelofer with very little scope for even the kind of protest that followed their rape and murder.

The fresh military presence of this scale will subdue people even further and promote un-reported and un-protested crime by the army as in the areas bordering Line of Actual Control (LoC) with all other attendant consequences. Will then entire Kashmir be transformed into a suffocated border zone?

It was this objective of keeping the forces of army and the paramilitary out of the focus of the public rage and anger. It is for this purpose that some apologetic ‘senior citizens’ were activated as crisis managers to ensure that public anger does not  articulate and address itself to the global conscience and expose the designs and highlight the hyper-militarization of this highest militarized area of the world.

People of Kashmir and particularly Shopian, under the guidance of Majlis-Mashawarat, have shown tremendous courage and a will to sacrifice to defend their honor and dignity. Although there have been sustained efforts to de-contextualize their struggle for uncovering the criminals and seeking justice, it seems the Majlis has begun to realize more fully that an administration like this can not be expected to uncover truth or deliver justice.

This administration sustains itself on heavy militarization which creates the conditions for such crime, thus necessitating special laws to protect its armed forces from investigation and prosecution against all canons of international and human rights law and norms of civilized behavior. The Majlis pronouncement about a people’s probe is an indicator of this understanding. In Greater Kashmir of Sunday, the 23rd of August the spokesperson of Majlis Mr M Shafi Khan is quoted: “we have certain reservations about the investigation by CBI as the agency’s track record is not good when it comes to Kashmir. Since the police and the Paramilitary personnel are involved in the gruesome act of double rape and murder the central investigating agency might adopt a different approach here…. We will let the whole nation know about the ground realities and how the government and its investigating agencies have been trying to shield the real culprits and hush up the case”.

While investigations have emphasized the procedural conduct of the police in their handling of the investigation, they failed to focus on the actual crimes that were committed, the identification and prosecution of perpetrators, or the conduct of the state institutions. The investigations concentrated on locating collaborators and manufacturing scapegoats to subdue public outcry.

‘Control’ rather than ‘justice’ is the aim of the state apparatus. Through the conduct of inquiry into the deliberate mismanagement of the criminal investigations, the police were selectively implicated while the actions of CRPF personnel were not placed under diligent scrutiny. The police, it must be noted are understood as local, while the CRPF is understood as an Indian force.

The CRPF has been increasingly trained to function in corresponding capacity to the military. Its increased authority and use of force has been well documented. While the state government might seek to prosecute police personnel, its authority does not extend to the Army and Paramilitary forces. This, coupled with the immunity provided by various draconian laws, and powers to interfere and intrude into the daily lives of people are causal to the crimes committed by these Indian forces.

This state of immunity and exemption accorded to and expected by these forces encourages perpetration of crime over the weak and vulnerable native population perceived as hostile by the perpetrator. In the sex scandal case of March 2006, according to reports published in newspapers, thirteen out of the fifteen persons arrested, filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court of India, arguing that these personnel had previously served in counter-insurgency operations and that such service must bear on the case at hand and serve to neutralize the decision.

It was asked that violence perpetrated by the security apparatus be overlooked in lieu of services rendered in suppression of people. Such reasoning is admissible only if the task of security personnel is the suppression of civil society in Kashmir. Such logic automatically culminates in rewarding Indian forces for the acts of violence and reveals the fluid boundaries between fair and unfair in context of militarization in Kashmir.

The investigation has already fallen into a very familiar pattern of such probes and commissions of enquiry into rape and murder cases, including that of Badasgam Kokernag, Chanapora and Pazipora(1990),  Bahie Kokernag and Kunan Poshpora (1991), Chak Saidpora (1992), Haran (1992), Theno BudaPathri kangan (1994), Wawoosa (1997), etc. All of these were neither officially acknowledged nor investigated. Official acknowledgement of the sexual offensive against Kashmiri women would not only dismantle India’s grand narratives of national security; it would also thoroughly undermine state authority and the legitimacy of India in Kashmir. Asia Watch and Human Rights Watch noted in their report on rape in Kashmir: “rape by state forces is not a privately-motivated form of …abuse…but an abuse of power that implicates public responsibility”.

The system that works to control an entire people and their resources, preventing them to choose their own future, can not be expected to deliver justice. Demilitarization is the only way forward in ensuring justice to the victims of Shopian in particular and the people of Kashmir in general.

Shopian is not a simple case of rape and murder in a human rights sense alone, but a case of war crime so often used as a weapon by the Indian forces in Kashmir. Since Kashmir is an acknowledged international dispute, all cases of human rights abuse (war crimes) including Shopian should be heard by the international justice system rather than by the courts of the authorities. In an illegal military control like Kashmir the top police, CRPF, army and executive authorities should be made parties in cases like Shopian double rape and murder.

Justice can not be done in a heinous crime of this sort in the sense that nothing can be done to rehabilitate families of Aasia, Neelofer and the deeply bruised psyche of public in general. What is possible is to uncover the truth to end conditions that foster such crimes against humanity, particularly against women.

A Station House Officer or SHO, a local level police officer, can crack this crime and identify criminals provided he has the freedom and jurisdiction to investigate the Indian Paramilitary and Military forces stationed in Shopian.

Here the story is different. The criminals are still at large. The witnesses are also there. Only the long arm required to reach them is missing. This hoopla about all the evidence having been destroyed is being repeatedly played up deliberately as if there is no other way of establishing the identity of the criminals; as if all such crimes committed are cracked only after DNA investigations. Just think about how the crimes committed by civilians are cracked within few days by routine officers when they have the will and freedom to investigate.

ISRO has lost radio contact with Chandrayaan

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has lost contact with Chandrayaan-I, its first lunar mission.

ISRO has said that radio contact with Chandrayaan-I was abruptly lost at 01:30 am (Indian Time) earlytoday morning (29 August 2009). Data was received at Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore during its previous orbit upto 00:25 am.

ISRO is carrying out a detailed review of the telemetry data received from the spacecraft and health of the spacecraft subsystems is being analysed.

Chandrayaan-I, India's first moon-mission, was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on 22 October 2008. The spacecraft has completed 312 days in orbit and made more than 3400 orbits around Earth's natural satellite.

During this period it has collected an sent large volumes of data from the sophisticated equipment it had on board, including the Terrain Mapping Camera, Hyper-spectral Imager, Moon Mineralogy Mapper etc., meeting most of the scientific objectives of the mission.

94th DEFENCE PENSION ADALAT at YOL

As per the Annual Action Plan of Controller General of Defence Accounts, New Delhi in consultation with the Ministry of Defence, the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts(Pensions) Allahabad will be organising the 94th DEFENCE PENSION ADALAT at YOL on 11th&12th September 2009 for redressal of grievances of Defence Pensioners / Defence Family Pensioners / Defence Civilian Pensioners drawing pension through PUBLIC SECTOR BANKS, DPDOs and Treasuries in the State of Himanchal Pradesh.

THE MAN BEHIND INS ARIHANT

India entered the prestigious and exclusive club of nations having nuclear submarine capability with the launch of INS ARIHANT(destroyer of enemies) on July 26,2009. This was an extremely spectacular feat by all standards. Now, India has become only the sixth nation in the world and the only country in the Indian Ocean region to have this advanced capability. It has been hailed a milestone in India’s defence preparedness and behind this historic accomplishment, the Director General of Advanced Technology vehicle ( ATV) programme, Vice Admiral ( retd) DSP Varma played a crucial role.
Vice admiral Varma is a post graduate in Radars&Communication from IIT-Delhi. He is also an alumni of the prestigious National Defence Acadamy. He field of specialization is Weapons and Electronics. He has had an outstanding carrer in the Indian Navy spanning more than 40 years, with varied experience both at sea and ashore. During his distingushied carrer with the Navy,Vice Admiral Varma has held high positions atall levels of management. Currently, he holds the senior most technical position in the Navy in the capacity of the Chief of Material and Prinicpal Staff Officer. Also, he is functioning as the technical advisor to the chief of Naval staff on all matters concerning development, induction, maintainance and upgradation of naval forces. Vice Admiral Varma has conceptulaised, guided and supported a lafge number of research programmes in the country. The institutionalisation of the Underwater Reasearch Advisory committee, signing of MoU between the IIT Delhi and Bharat Electronics Ltd, are some of his pioneering initiatives. Moreover, it is on his intiative that the Defence Minister of India has approved a high level committee to formalize the plan for establishment of a Centre for Fundamental Research in cryptography at some reputed academic institute in India.
For his distinguished services of exceptionally high order, Vice admiral Varma has been conferred honours like PARAM VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL, ATI VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL AND VISHISHT SEVA MEDAL. The people of India will always remember him in his great service to the nation.

VICE ADMIRAL TAKES CHARGE

Vice-admiral Anup Singh has taken as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, from Vice-admiral Nirmal Verma.

DIRECTOR DEFENCE

D K Gupta is now Director Defence. He is 1995 batch IA&AS officer.

Ex-servicemen to return medals to President seeking OROP

New Delhi, Aug 28 Sticking to their 'One Rank-One Pension' demand, the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) today said the armed forces' veterans will return their gallantry medals to the President on September 13.

"We will deposit our medals with the President on September 13 and continue to demand for the implementation of the OROP in totality," IESM Chairman Lieutenant General Raj Kadyan (retd) told reporters here.

"Till now, we have deposited 15,000 medals with the President in three instalments and will continue to do so in future also," Kadyan claimed.

Under the OROP demand, the ex-servicemen personnel have been seeking that personnel retiring from a same rank after having served for equal number of years should get same pension irrespective of the date and time of retirement. With the implementation of each pay commission, the gap between the pension amount increases.

IESM claimed that the government had created an impression that the OROP demand was accepted but its recent steps in this regard had just helped in equating pre-1997 and post-1997 pensioners and the difference in pensions still existed.

There are nearly 20 lakh ex-servicemen in the country.

lanka thanx india

 


Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday thanked the Indian government for facilitating the acquisition of an off shore patrol vessel for the Sri Lanka Navy and said the goodwill gesture would strengthen bilateral relations and better cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.
SLNS ‘Sayurala’ was commissioned at the Sri Lanka Navy Dockyard in Trincomalee yesterday.
The former Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Vigraha’ joined the Sri Lanka Navy fleet on August 23 last year and was assigned Pennant Number P 623. The OPV was built by Mazagon Dockyard Ltd, of Mumbai in India in 1990. With a length of 74.10m and a width of 11.40m, it has the maximum speed of 21.5 knots and a maximum draught of 3.58. The net registered tonnage is 750 tonnes and Gross registered tonnage is 1247 tonnes. The vessel is equipped with Marine Surveillance Radar and Communication equipment for the assigned role in Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The Defence Secretary handed over the Commissioning Warrant to the Commanding Officer of the Vessel Captain SA Weerasinghe and in his message praised the effort and dedication shown by the Sri Lanka Navy in protecting the territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of the motherland.
Meanwhile, addressing a meeting of sailors and officers at the Trincomalee base, Mr. Rajapaksa said action had been taken to set up a series of new navy camps around the coastal belt to protect the coastal belt of Sri Lanka.
“We are an island nation, so we have to consider tightening sea security to prevent any outside threat, mainly the smuggling of arms and ammunition into the country,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.
He said although the war was over, the Navy had a key role to play to protect the country and it did so valiantly during last phase of the war.
“The Arrow boats of the navy were the main reason the LTTE couldn’t do anything at the time. The arrested LTTE leaders have revealed that because of this blockade they were unable to smuggle arms to the LTTE or even escape from the country,” he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa revealed there were several requests from powerful nations to share with them our naval officers’ experience.

GOC visits Sainik School

Imphal, August 28 2009: Major general Shakti Gurung who is also the chairman of the local board of administration of Sainik School, Imphal visited the school today and reviewed its functioning.

In a statement issued of the PIB (Defence Wing), it was stated that on his arrival the Major General accompanied by Madhu Gurung, President Army Wives Welfare Association was given an impressive guard of honour by the school NCC Cadets before review the functioning of the school.



President AWWA, Madhu Gurung cutting ribbon to inaugurate Sainik School guest house


He expressed his satisfaction over the performance of cadets in academics and Co-curricular activities.

Shakti Gurung also inaugurated the MiG-21 aircraft shell given by Indian Air Force to motivate the cadets to the field of activation and Cadets Dormitory constructed under the Special Project Assistance funded by the Manipur government to the tune of Rs 2 crore.

He appreciated state government for paying due attention to improve the living conditions of cadets and staff of the school.

Madhu Gurung also inaugurated the newly built School Guest House which was also constructed under the SPA.

During interation with the cadets and staff of the school, the GOC advised the cadets to strive to join the National Defence Academy which is the main aim of the school and become young and smart officers of Indian Armed Forces.

He also gave away prizes to the winners of under-17 and under-14 years Football teams which participated in the All India Sainik Schools Championship, winner team of English debate in the East Zone Co-curricular Activities Championship and winners of Regional Level Science Exhibition organised at Guwahati by CBSE.

Madhu Gurung gave away prizes to the winners of Essay Writing and Painting Competition held to mark the Independence Day celebrations in the school.

The GOC has been a motivating force ever since he took over as Chairman of Sainik School Imphal.

It serves to compete, not clash, with China

Augest.21 : Indian public discourse is going through a bout of anxiety about China. An article written by a Chinese strategic expert and hosted by a prominent think tank has advocated dismembering India. Although the Chinese government has distanced itself from the article, it has caused much disquiet in India. More so, since it followed another article in the People’s Daily, which disparaged India’s political system and its trajectory of development. Further, the Indian Navy Chief’s remarks about the relative power of China and India has led to much speculation about whether we are at all capable of dealing with China.
At one level, we are certainly reading too much into the recent article. Ironically, our understanding of the Chinese political system mirrors China’s fallacious grasp of the Indian politics.
In 1959, after the Dalai Lama sought refuge in India, Sino-Indian relations sharply deteriorated. This was precipitated, among other things, by the support extended to the Tibetan cause by Indian leaders like Jayaprakash Narayan. The Chinese were unwilling to believe that these individuals were not acting at the behest of the Indian government. China’s foreign minister told the Indian vice-president that "there are many people like J.P. Narayan in China but the Chinese democracy controlled them". China’s mistaken assessment of India’s stance on Tibet eventually led to the war of 1962.
Perceptions matter. And it is time we revised our simplistic notion of a monolithic Chinese public sphere.
At another level, however, public discourse in both countries is taking its cue from the political climate. From 2003, when negotiations for settling the boundary dispute began, India-China ties seemed to improve steadily. Now there is an unmistakable feeling, particularly in India, that the relationship is gridlocked. But the problem is not simply China’s intransigence on the boundary issue. The fact is that the negotiations have progressed to a stage where both sides need to confront truly difficult choices — choices that will be influenced by wider considerations.
The Indian government is in no hurry to push ahead with the negotiations. For one thing, India wants China to make certain territorial concessions in its favour, especially in the Ladakh sector. For another, the government will have to contend with the difficult domestic politics of any settlement. The boundary agreement will require a constitutional amendment, which will have to be approved by a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament and by at least half the state legislatures. Not an easy task.
China, for its part, continues to claim the Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh. Twice in the past, in 1960 and in 1980, Beijing offered to drop all its claims in this area if India accepted Chinese claims in Ladakh. India’s refusal to consider the proposal led the Chinese to press their claims on Tawang, for this was an area that had close religious ties with Tibet.
China’s current stance reflects its desire to extract important concessions from India vis-a-vis Tibet. As part of a settlement where China drops its claim to Tawang, it seems to seek some move by India to curb the Tibetan emigres — perhaps by dissolving the Tibetan parliament-in-exile operating in India. The Indian government does not recognise the government-in-exile and has insisted that it does not allow the organisation to conduct political activities. But the Chinese are looking for stronger and more tangible action by India.
We should also note that China’s hardening stance on Tawang has followed its mounting concern about Tibet. These were considerably increased by the protests ahead of the Olympics last year. Indeed, the Defence White Paper published last year noted that Tibetan separatism is a major challenge for China. The Chinese also believe that the problem will be conclusively resolved only after the Dalai Lama passes on. This seems another reason why the Chinese are moving slowly on the boundary negotiations.
The polemics emanating from China also indicate that Beijing’s concerns about India go beyond the boundary and Tibet. The potential competition from India is seen not so much in the military or economic spheres as in the exercise of international influence. The Maoist state could at least claim leadership of the third world by offering a contrast to the first and second. China today provides no ideological leadership to any segment of the international system.
In the three decades following Mao Zedong’s death, the Chinese state could afford to ignore this and focus solely on its own development. Now that it has arrived as a major player, the issue needs to be addressed. Closely related to this is the question of what might be an alternative global system led by China. After all, great powers not only possess large economic and military resources, but can set the agenda of international politics. Here, a rising India, for all its problems, may have an edge.
Beyond analysing attitudes and intentions is the key task of managing our relations with China. As China and India rise in the international system, they will find themselves in a competitive relationship. Power, as Lord Acton observed, corrupts. When a state’s power increases, its conception of its interests also expands. Adm. Sureesh Mehta correctly noted that the Indian Ocean region will be an area where both sides will jostle for pre-eminence and that we need to adopt niche capabilities to preserve our interests. The Indian Army’s efforts to scale up its forces and logistical bases along the borders are steps in the right direction too.
But competition does not imply conflict. The challenge for India will be to keep its powder dry without getting pulled into a spiral of suspicion and misperception. For rising powers tend to view their own preparations as defensive and those of others as offensive. In such a context, the line between deterrence and provocation is rather a fine one. Unless we are conscious of this, we may be caught up in an avoidable conflict. And then we may have to agree with the cartoon character Pogo, who famously said: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

India to tap Namibian uranium reserves

NEW DELHI: India and Namibia will sign an agreement on mineral resources during the five-day visit of Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba that starts on Sunday. Under the pact, India will be able to access the African country’s abundant uranium reserves.
Through this agreement, India will also be looking at Namibia’s healthy reserves of diamond, copper, gold and zinc. The cooperation over uranium will be covered under an umbrella framework for development of mineral resources and promote investments in geology and mines in both countries.
The agreement was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
Nigeria is south African region’s biggest producer of uranium and the sixth largest in the world. India has already signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the civilian nuclear sector with Russia, France and the US. It is negotiating similar pacts with Kazakhstan and Canada.
The Namibian President will be accompanied by a 43-member delegation that includes five Ministers, senior officials, representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, businessmen and media. This is the first visit by a foreign head of state in the second term of the UPA government and is part of the country’s new outreach to Africa. Mr. Pohamba will call on President Pratbiha Patil and hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will call on him.
An official release said several agreements/MoUs for institutionalising bilateral cooperation are expected to be signed during the visit.
The delegation will pay working visits to Bangalore and Mumbai besides touring Agra. In Bangalore, the Namibians will visit the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Infosys and Tata B.P Solar Plant (Electronic City). In Mumbai, the delegation will visit the Tata showroom at Worli and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. Namibia has consistently expressed its support for India’s candidature for permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. .

Ex-servicemen plan stir on ‘One rank one pension’

NEW DELHI: The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement on Friday threatened to re-launch their agitation by returning their medals protesting against the government’s recent decision on ‘One rank one pension” stating it did not meet the demand.
Addressing a press conference, the Movement president Lt. Gen (Retd) Raj Kadiyan and his deputy Major General (Retd) Satbir Singh said here that while announcing it, the government said that in order to improve the pension of retired Lt. Generals, it proposed that a separate pay scale may be created for the officers of the level and this would be extended to Additional Secretaries.
“What a clever way for a Committee tasked solely with looking into the issues of One Rank One Pension that pertains to Defence Forces and for which ex-servicemen have been struggling, to benefit their own class,” the Movement said in its release.
It said while less than one per cent of defence officers rose to the rank of Lt. Generals, more than 70 per cent bureaucrats become additional secretaries. Lt. Gen. Kadiyan said, unlike a bureaucrat who continued to serve till 60 years, in the services, the personnel retired as per their rank.
He said while the bulk of persons below the officers rank retired around 35 years, most officers retired around 54 years, when they became Colonels or equivalent ranks in the Navy and Air Force.
Since, the avenues of promotion were restricted, a Brigadier ranked officer retired around 56 years and so on. “There is no provision in the government to retain the retired personnel till 60.”
He said the demand was that equal pension benefits should be given to the retiring personnel based on the duration of their service irrespective of the time they retired.

Pacific Army chiefs’ meet ends in Tokyo

Disaster relief and co-ordinating international humanitarian effort were the key issues which figured during the three-day conference of Army chiefs of the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Army chief General Deepak Kapoor represented India in the conclave in Tokyo, which ended recently.

Chief of Army Staff equivalents from 26 countries and senior staff officers from 31 countries around the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions participated in Pacific Armies chiefs Conference (PACC) and the Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS). PACC is a biennial, multi-national, executive defense forum and fosters military-to-military cooperation, develops interpersonal relationships and contributes to regional dialogue and stability, an Army spokesman said here on Thursday.

This year’s PACC and PAMS were co-hosted by the Japan Ground Self Defense Force and US Army. The theme was humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in natural and human-induced disasters.

The three-day conferences also facilitated discussion and exchange of ideas to promote peace and stability in the region. Civil-military and interagency cooperation in disaster relief operations, and ways to increase multilateral military cooperation was also discussed, he said.

General Deepak Kapoor held bilateral meetings with the Army Chiefs of the Indian Ocean
region namely Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Nepal. He also held talks with chiefs of various countries of strategic interest like Canada, Chile and South Korea.

Elaborating upon PAMS, he said it is a multinational military seminar that provides a forum for senior-level officers from the Asia Pacific’s regional ground forces to exchange views and ideas. It provided an opportunity for the future leaders of the region’s armies to establish and cultivate a set of strong interpersonal relationships. Catastrophic disasters are currently a major security threat in the Asia-Pacific region, where 40 per cent of the world’s disasters have occurred in the last 30 years.

Naval chief unveils maritime security doctrine

Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Friday released the Indian Maritime Doctrine, focusing on the changing strategic environment around India and the omnipresent threat of terrorism and unconventional conflict. The doctrine also takes into account maritime security in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks last year.

The Naval doctrine, which was originally published in 2004, was updated on account of the fast changing geo-strategic environment, evolving operational complexities and transformational changes sweeping the maritime domain, officials said here on Friday.

The original doctrine was brought out to provide a common understanding of universally applicable maritime concepts, not only for the men in uniform but also for the public at large. Since doctrines evolve over time, the latest edition maintains its temporal relevance, addressing the tenets of contemporary maritime thought with emphasis on the Indian maritime environment, they said.

The doctrine focuses on concepts as well as application of maritime power and is the primary document from which other doctrines would flow. With increased emphasis on maritime affairs, the revised doctrine would serve to enhance awareness about India’s maritime environment and interests and provide the fundamentals for readiness and response planning.

India has nearly 7,500-km-long coastline and more than 70 per cent of trade, including export and import, is conducted through the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Given this scenario, the Navy has a major role in protecting the sea lanes and the exclusive economic zone, besides strategic installations like offshore oil platforms. Moreover, the Mumbai terror attacks, where the Pakistani terrorists sneaked into the city through the sea route, forced the Government to evolve a new strategy to secure the coastline.

The Navy is now the nodal agency for co-ordinating with other agencies — like the Coast Guard, State marine police, port and Customs authorities and 16 Ministries (including Fisheries) which have a common maritime domain.

Maoist document reveals plans to thwart offensive

Aiming to thwart the planned offensive against ultra-Left extremism by the Centre, Maoists plan to intensify their violent struggle through tactical counter-offensive against the security forces by expanding the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army and mobilising people politically and militarily for violent mass movements across the country.

A Maoist document reveals how the ultra-Left terrorists plan to unite other insurgent groups and enthuse them with daring counter offensives and prepare them to undertake similar operations. The fight this time, the document says, “will be more long-drawn and bitter than the one against the British imperialist armies.”

The 14-page document of the Politburo of Communist Party of India (Maoist) titled Post-Election Situation — Our Tasks, recovered recently by the CRPF after an operation in Chhattisgarh, reveals their strategy to engage the security forces over a wider area and keep them dispersed.

Under the sub-title ‘Immediate Tasks’, the document reads, “Prepare the people, the party and the PLGA to….take initiative to unite with other struggling organisations and forces to forge strong united fronts on every issue and at every level possible, enthuse them with the daring counter-offensives carried out by our forces in various parts of the country and prepare them to undertake similar operations….”

“We have to further aggravate the situation and create more difficulties to the enemy forces by expanding our guerilla war to new areas on the one hand and intensifying the mass resistance in the existing areas so as to disperse the enemy forces over a sufficiently wider area. Hence, the foremost task in every State is to intensify the war …while in areas of intense enemy repression, there is a need to expand the area of struggle by proper planning…tactical counter-offensives should be stepped up and also taken up in new areas so as to divert a section of the enemy forces from attacking our guerilla bases and organs of political power,” reveals the document.

The Maoists, according to the document, also plan to exploit the situation arising out of the
global economic downturn and oppose the economic reforms and liberalisation policies through propaganda.

The June 12, 2009 Politburo resolution believed to have been passed at a meeting in Abhujmaad jungles of Chhattisgarh exhorts its cadre to “utilise the excellent situation arising out of the ever-deepening crisis in the world economy and overcome the negative factors like the setback in Sri Lanka, lull in Nepal, massive offensive on Islamic Jihadist forces in Pakistan.”

“Immense possibilities are unfolding in front of our eyes to advance the revolution at a rapid pace. The entire world is caught in neck-deep crisis and there seems to be no let up particularly since the past one year after the US was engulfed in the worst-ever economic crisis in its history. Industry after industry is closing down throwing out millions of workers onto the streets. Poverty and homelessness, starvation and destitution have become a global phenomenon providing an excellent condition for advancing people’s struggles and revolutions everywhere,” adds the document.

Night curfew near LoC imposed

Jammu District Magistrate M K Dwivedi has imposed restriction on the movement of any person during night hours (11 pm to 5 am) in the areas within one km distance from the International Border (IB). This has been necessitated in view of the apprehension of smuggling of weapons, subversive and anti-national activities from across the IB. However, under exceptional circumstances, if it is essential for any person to move during the curfew hours in connection with urgent medical aid, undertake agricultural activities, the SHO or Post Commander concerned may issue curfew passes after verification. This order shall remain in force for a period of two months.

Ex-servicemen rue govt apathy

While educational qualification of all ex-servicemen retiring after serving 15 years in the armed forces is considered equivalent to graduation in most of the states, the Himachal government is yet to recognise it, leaving a large number of them disappointed.
Many of them do not get re-employed on class III posts as they are not considered qualified for these jobs due to problem of equivalence since minimum qualification for such posts is 10+2 now.
Since the Army recruited even class V or VIII pass as soldiers a few years back, Army regiments issued graduation certificates to armed personnel completing 15 years of service on the basis of experience and qualification improvement.
These graduation-equivalence certificates called regiment certificates are recognised by the personnel department of the Government of India and most of the states, including Punjab.
The central government has issued specific notification treating all armed personnel completing 15 years of service equivalent to graduation.
Though the Himachal Pradesh government has been adopting the Punjab government rules in service matter, it is overlooking this fact.
Since a large number of people from the state are serving the armed forces and are keen to get re-employed after retirement in the state, they find the law disappointing.
Talking about the problem, Col BC Lagwal, chairman, Ex-servicemen department of Congress, said, “Since Army education units take education improvement courses, all Army personnel are issued graduation certificates after 15 years of service. As this is not recognised in the state, many ex-servicemen are deprived of class III government job here.”
Many other ex-servicemen also rued this fact and demanded that the state government should also recognise regiment certificates equivalent to graduation.
Meanwhile, secretary personnel DS Dogra said, “If this certificate is recognised by other states, we would also consider it.”

2 militant hideouts busted, arms seized

Two militant hideouts were busted by the security forces and a huge cache of arms and ammunition were seized by them in Reasi and Poonch districts, an Army spokesman said here today.
On specific information, the Rashtriya Rifles troops and the police launched a joint operation and busted the militant hideout at Purja Pathri in the Mahore area in Reasi district last evening, he said.
One Pika gun along with its 100 rounds and two rocket-propelled guns were seized.
Another militant hideout was yesterday busted in Chhajla in Poonch district and two AK magazines and its 30 rounds were seized from the hideout. — PTI

Navy to have sharper focus on Indian ocean

Just six months after the Indian Navy was given charge of the country’s entire costal security, it announced a revised maritime policy today. The Navy will now have a even more sharper focus on the neighbourhood of the country.
This means securing the trade routes in the Indian Ocean region; extending the reach of the Navy to project India as a major force and also preventing Mumbai-style sea-borne invasions by terrorists.
The 2009 edition of the Indian Maritime doctrine was released here today by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta. The original doctrine was published in 2004 to provide a common understanding of universally applicable maritime concepts, not only for the forces but also for the public at large. This revision was needed, on account of the rapidly changing geo-strategic environment and transformational changes in the maritime domain, Commander PVS Satish, spokesperson of the Indian Navy said tonight.
The earlier doctrine was more generic in nature, this one will provide a sharper focus. The Indian Navy’s role in the Indian ocean has changed in the past 12 months. It has been sent out to patrol the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden area to ensure safety of international sea trade routes. Indian sailors have successfully foiled at least five bids by pirates to take over ships and brought down instances of pirates using choppers stationed on the ships.
After the Mumbai attacks in November last year, the government handed over the entire command and control of the coast to the Indian Navy that has been installing high-tech sensors along the coast. In coordination with the coast guard, it is also buying fast-attack crafts for shallow waters.

Unarmed jawans not on duty: IG

Ranchi, Aug. 28: In an apparent bid to save face, police today tried to explain that Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) jawans were unarmed as “they were not conducting any operation” when Naxalites attacked a convoy near Chormunda village under Netarhat police station area in Latehar yesterday.
The convoy of seven was escorting company commander Balbinder Singh who had arrived at Mahuadand from Shimla to a Netarhat camp.
“Arms are chiefly carried during police operations and usually a district superintendent of police is kept informed about such operations. In yesterday’s case no officers were informed,” said Rezi Dungdung, the inspector-general of Jharkhand Armed Police.
Moreover, police sources said the jawans were travelling in plain clothes, but Maoist intelligence network had the ambush planned well in advance.
A section of senior police officers, requesting anonymity, claimed that the jawans paid a price for lowering their guard in a rebel-hit region. “It is always expected that a jawan would be ready in a war zone. Areas such as Palamau and Bundu-Tamar are no less than a war zone,” he said.
Latehar superintendent of police Kuldeep Diwedy, however, played it safe and said the matter was under investigation.
“We would inform police headquarters about our findings soon,” he added.
SAP jawans are appointed on a contractual basis as a part of the state constabulary from retired armed forces.
In yesterday’s attack, SAP Subedar Chandru Pradhan was shot while two of his colleagues, Jasbir Singh and Darshan Singh, sustained serious injuries after a group of 50 guerrillas ambushed a police jeep late in the evening. All jawans were unarmed.
The attack occurred while the jeep was returning to SAP-1 base camp at Netarhat, also a proposed site for a jungle warfare school, with Balbinder Singh, who had earlier reached Mahuadand after a leave at Shimla. Besides Singh, there were seven SAP personnel, escorting their commander.