Tuesday, September 8, 2009

LTC rules relaxed...

Good news for Govt employees........

1. Government has relaxed leave travel concession (LTC) rules for its officers & employees.

2. Now they will also be able to claim taxi bills while availing LTC incase they use taxi for travel. Till now only travel by air, train or bus was allowed while using LTC.

3. The physically challenged family members will be benefitted by this move and henceforth will be able to go along on LTC.

armed forces round us

RNK is the ranking of each nation within its region

COMBAT POWER LAND is the total combat capability of the nation's armed forces except for their navies. Certain nations like Israel and Switzerland have a rapid mobilization capability which achieves the combat value shown within three days of mobilization. Their normal, unmobilized, combat value is less than one third of the value shown. As explained elsewhere, combat value is modified by geographical, climate and political factors. The value given here is a combination of the quantity and quality of manpower, equipment and weapons. This raw combat value is then multiplied by the force multiplier (see below) to combat value shown in this column.

TOT QUAL (total force quality) is a fraction by which raw (theoretical) combat power should be multiplied to account for imperfect leadership, component of force quality, support, training and other "soft" factors. Think of it as an efficiency rating, with "100" being perfect and "55" being a more common 55 percent efficiency.

TOT POP (population in millions) indicates the nation's relative military manpower resources. Population is also a more meaningful indicator of a nation's size than territory. By our count, the world population is 6.6 billion.

GDP (Gross Domestic Product, in billions of dollars) is a rough gage of the nation's economic power. This does not translate immediately into military power because of the time needed to convert industry from civilian to military production. Mobilization of some types of military equipment takes years. Other types of weapons, especially those using electronics, can be brought to bear in months. By our count, the world GDP is $57.7 trillion (thousand billion).

ACT MEN (active military manpower in thousands) is the total uniformed, paid manpower organized into combat and support units. Because of the widely varying systems of organizing military manpower, this figure is at best a good indicator of the personnel devoted to the military. Industrialized nations hire many civilians to perform support duties, while other nations flesh out skeleton units with ill-prepared reserves, uncertain effect on wartime strength. The use of reserve troops varies considerably. By our count, the world total of active troops is 20.6 million.

MIL BUD (Military Budget in millions of dollars) is the current annual armed forces spending of that nation. All nations use somewhat different accounting systems for defense spending. Efforts are made to eliminate some of the more gross attempts at hiding arms expenditures. Some of the figures, particularly for smaller nations, may be off by 10 percent either way. By our count, the world defense spending is $1.35 trillion (2.34 percent of GDP).

BUD MAN is the annual cost per man for armed forces in thousands of dollars. This is an excellent indicator of the quantity and, to a lesser extent, the quality of weapons and equipment. Some adjustments should be made for different levels of personnel costs, research and development, strategic weapons and waste. The United States, in particular, is prone to all four afflictions. The precise adjustments for these factors are highly debatable. One possible adjustment would be to cut the US cost per man by at least one third. Other nations with strategic programs and large R&D establishments (Russia, Britain, France, China, etc.) should be adjusted with deductions of no more than 15 percent. Britain could also take another 5 or 10 percent cut because of its all-volunteer forces higher payroll. Most nations are willing to pay for a volunteer force, if they can afford it. That’s because volunteers tend to be more effective. At the other extreme, many nations produce a credible defense force using far less wealth. Low paid conscripts, good leadership and the sheer need to improvise enables many of these poorer nations to overcome their low budgets. However, most nations end up getting what they pay for.

AFV (Armored Fighting Vehicles) These include tanks, armored personnel carriers and most other armored combat and support vehicles. AFV are the primary components of a ground offensive, and greatly enhance chances of success.

AIRCRAFT CMBT are the number of combat aircraft available, including helicopter gunships and armed maritime patrol aircraft. This, like AFV, is a good indicator of raw power. The quality of the aircraft, their pilots, ground crew and leadership, air force are the most important factors in the air power's overall value.

The Total Quality is calculated by assigning 0 (lowest) to 9 (highest) values for the following components of combat capability.

Ldrs is leadership. The quality of officers and NCOs.
Eqp is equipment. The quantity and quality of military equipment.
Exp is experience. Not just combat experience, but the quality of training.
Spt is support. This is logistics, the ability to get military supplies to the troops.
Mob is mobilization. The ability to mobilize the national resources for combat.
Trad is tradition. Military tradition, good military habits, based on practical experience.

Bhatia was in dock for faults


Sept. 7: Group Captain S.K. Bhatia, who flew Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy on the fateful day, was facing charges of poor professional performance, dereliction of duty and violation of civil aviation requirements issued by the DGCA.
It has been revealed that the deputation period of the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot had ended on June 3, 2009, and the IAF had categorically said that Capt. Bhatia should report to the parent department by June 4. However, he continued working with the state government without an approval from the IAF.
A probe revealed that the AP Aviation Corporation had written to the government to repatriate Capt. Bhatia and submitted a detailed letter quoting the charges against him. Ironically, Dr Reddy had given an approval for Capt. Bhatia’s extension.
The Corporation in its letter said the officer had been consistently exceeding operating limits.
The Corporation referred to a memo issued to Capt. Bhatia on specific instructions from the CMO seeking an explanation on his poor professional performance.
The note also said Capt. Bhatia refused to undergo mandatory pre-flight medical examination which is a clear violation of Civil Aviation Requirements by the DGCA.

Centre to cut spending by 10%

New Delhi, Sept. 7: With the economic downturn and severe drought putting pressure on its finances, the government on Monday ordered a 10 per cent cut in non-plan expenditure, slashing foreign and domestic travel, publicity expenses and a ban on conferences in five star hotels.
The mandatory 10 per cent cut in non-plan expenditure will include spending on publications, professional services, advertising and publicity, office expenses, petrol, oil, lubricants except for security related requirements and other administrative expenses.
The order issued by the department of expenditure comes into immediate effect. It said there was further need for economy and rationalisation of expenditure in view of the current fiscal situation and that arising out of insufficient rains in large parts of the country.
The order, however, does not say how much the

Pak plans plutonium push

Sept. 7: Pakistan is poised to expand its nuclear bomb-making facilities by producing an additional 20 kg of plutonium each year from the two plutonium-producing reactors nearing completion at Khushab, situated on the border of Punjab and the North West Frontier Province.
In an article titled "Uranium Constraints on Pakistan’s Fissile Material Production", to be published in Routledge’s prestigious magazine Science & Global Security, a group of scientists monitoring Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme believe this will push Pakistan’s capacity to produce an additional four atomic weapons every year.
Dr Rajaraman, co-chair, International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), pointed our that as of 2007 Pakistan was likely to have accumulated a stock of over 1.4 tons of highly enriched uranium, which would enable them to make between 50 to 60 nuclear bombs. "This is based on the assumption that 25 kg of enriched uranium is used for every warhead," said Dr Rajaraman in the course of an exclusive interview. "This is in addition to it possessing 90 kg of weapon-grade plutonium from its existing Khushab reactor, which produces 10 kg per year, which means they are in a position to increase their stock (atomic bombs) by six weapons worth ever year," said Dr Rajaraman.
Commercial satellite photos published in Fissile Materials in South Asia, with inputs from leading scientists, including Dr Zia Mian working with the IPFM, Dr A.H. Nayyar who retired from Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University, and Dr M.V. Ramana from Bengaluru’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development, show images of the new Khushab reactors under construction and also stress that Pakistan is working on a new reprocessing plant at Chashma to reprocess spent fuel from these new reactors.
"The spent fuel from Pakistan’s Khushab reactor is believed to be reprocessed at the new labs facility near Islamabad, which has a capacity of 10-20 tons per year of heavy metal," the article states. "In comparison, India’s weapon-grade plutonium is coming from its Cirus and Dhruva reactors, which have produced a cumulative 234 kg and 414 kg of weapon-grade plutonium up to 2006 from the time they were commissioned," added Dr Rajaraman.
These scientists have calculated that some of this weapon-grade plutonium has already been consumed in India’s nuclear tests. "We estimate about six kg was used in India’s 1974 nuclear test and another 25 kg in the five more advanced tests in 1998. As for reactor fuel, 20 kg was used for the core of the Purnima-1 research reactor and 60 kg for the first Mark-1 core of the Fast Breeder Test Reactor, while 20 kg was lost in processing," the article states. "In all, 131 kg of weapon-grade plutonium has been consumed, leaving India with a current stockpile of 500 kg of weapon-grade plutonium, sufficient for around 100 nuclear bombs," the article adds.
These experts point out that the six nuclear tests Pakistan conducted in 1998 used around 120 kg of enriched uranium, leaving them with a stockpile of 1,300 kg, sufficient for 65 weapons.
They also believe that the enrichment capacity of the existing Kahuta reactor was increased and that it was able to produce a stockpile of 1,100 kg of highly enriched uranium by 2003. "This would have produced about 1,400 kg of weapon-grade uranium by 2006-end," Dr Rajaraman said.

Revolt in RAW

The Government is in tizzy after a revolt by the senior officer of the external Intelligence gathering agency RAW. Seven Additional Secretaries of RAW have gone on protest leave after they were superseded by an IPS officer junior to them from the Intelligence Bureau.

Rattled by the mass protest leave by such high-ranking officials, the Cabinet Secretariat to issue an urgent order to hold a Departmental Promotional Committee (DPC) process by next week itself to review the case of the seven officials, sources in the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agency said on Monday.

In the genesis of the trouble is promotion accorded to A B Mathur, a 1975 batch IPS officer from Manipur cadre, as Special Director General and his subsequent posting as Special Secretary. He superseded among others P M Hablikar and Chakru Sinha, who were from the 1973 batch of the RAW Allied Services (RAS) cadre.

The officers approached RAW Chief K C Verma who briefed the Cabinet Secretariat prompting it to hold a DPC meeting by next week, the sources said.

RAS cadre officials traditionally have an upper hand over officials from the IPS and IAS joining their service. Any official joining the RAW is usually placed at the bottom of the service with no seniority benefits. The issue of outsiders has been a problem with the RAW ever since A S Dulat joined the agency as its Chief. He was Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau.

The UPA government brought Director General of Kerala Police P K Hormese Tharakan as new chief of RAW in 2005 superseding Special Secretary J K Sinha, who had resigned. This was followed by an ugly episode of fleeing of a RAW Director, Rabinder Singh, during the same time which prompted the government to examine the rules of the external intelligence agency.

After Tharakan, it was an insider Ashok Chaturvedi, a 1970 bacth IAS officer, was appointed as next chief of RAW. His appointment sidelined Amber Sen, who had been made Special Director in RAW months ahead of him.

First joint internal maritime drill with eye on Pakistan

New Delhi, Sept. 7: India’s first joint internal exercise for coastal security is scheduled to take off after the monsoon, in a move sources said was aimed at tackling future threats from the sea.
The navy, coast guard, state marine police forces and customs personnel will be involved in the exercise on the western coast as the country girds up after the Mumbai attacks last November when militants sneaked in from the sea and wreaked havoc.
The decision to hold the internal exercise was taken at a meeting on coastal security on Friday. The government had amalgamated all coastal security agencies headed by the navy on March 1 this year and the maritime doctrine expanded to include maritime terrorism, piracy and coastal security.
“We have concluded one conceptual exercise on the eastern seafront commanded by the Indian Navy, which will be commanding this one as well,” a top home ministry official said.
A conceptual exercise — carried out to firm up a plan for a full-scale exercise — had also been conducted on the western seafront, according to a source.
During the post-monsoon exercise, the coast guard and maritime police in western states will be taken beyond their 12-nautical-mile area of domination in the high seas in a bid to increase co-ordination.
According to the plan, the navy will accompany them back into “shallow waters” after the expedition in the high seas. The exercise is expected to improve the agencies’ capability to co-ordinate effectively during a crisis.
Home ministry sources said marine police forces had 24 interceptor boats and 215 more of these high-speed vessels were expected to be delivered in the next two years. “Marine police will come to know what their responses would be on the coast when there is an intrusion,” the home ministry official said.
Another area of focus will be radar coverage. Overlapping radar coverage, a concept that will enable the navy and the coast guard to cover small areas left out earlier, will also be tried out during the exercise.
During the conceptual exercise on the eastern seafront, an assessment of vulnerable areas was carried out, sources said. However, the planned full-scale western exercise carries more importance because of the continuing threat perception from Pakistan. It will help the forces lay down standard operating procedures and arrive at a realistic assessment of preparation for men, material and time schedules in a crisis.
During the 26/11 attacks, 10 terrorists had sailed by MV Kuber, a fishing vessel, and switched to rubber dinghies before landing at Colaba in Mumbai. The attacks and the following threat perception necessitated the review of the maritime doctrine for the first time since 2004.
The lessons from the recent exercise on the eastern coast will be used to make the western exercise more effective.
The navy’s analysis shows that the entire coast needs to be divided into smaller sectors to assess the vulnerability and use an under-staffed marine police force better.
Maharashtra and Gujarat, the two key states for the exercise, will be divided into several sectors. The division will be done taking into consideration the needs of different areas.
For example, the Konkan coast has several sea forts, built by kings who once ruled the region, while the Saurashtra or Kutch coastline of Gujarat doesn’t have any.
Marine police forces will procure automatic identification system (AIS) transponders before the exercise begins, the sources said. AIS transponders transmit information about a ship to another ship and to coastal authorities automatically.

Indian Navy crew to take part in Russian N-sub sea trials

Vladivostok: For the first time, Indian Navy submarine crew will take part in the ongoing sea trials of the Russian Schuka-B class (NATO: Akula-II) nuclear attack submarine, Nerpa. The next round of sea trials are scheduled to commence in mid-September, according to Russian media sources.
The current round of sea trials of the Nerpa commenced on 10 July this year after repairing damage to the Nerpa resulting from a fatal accident suffered during tests last November in the Sea of Japan. The accident resulted in the death of three crew members and 17 shipyard workers.
Repairs have cost an estimated 1.9 billion rubles ($60 million), according to Russian sources.
Indian submariners will undergo a training course conducted by Russian specialists and servicemen in order to familiarise themselves with the operation of the submarine.

India has reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine, which is considered to be one of the quietest and deadliest of all nuclear-powered attack submarines.
The submarine is to be leased to the Indian Navy by the end of 2009 under the name INS Chakra.

FROM PAKISTAN WITH LOVE : Indian army to deploy prostitutes as women battalion in Held Kashmir

New Delhi—The Indian Army is deploying around 200 prostitutes under the cover of Border Security Force’s constables in the Indian occupied Kashmir along with the Line of Control., The Daily Mail has learnt through authoritative sources.
According to the sources, the decision of recruiting prostitutes for deployment in the held valley was taken some six months back and Indian Army Chief General Kapoor finally approved it. The Daily Mail has learnt that this decision was taken as result of discussions and consultancies regarding the alarmingly increasing incidents of suicides and killing colleagues by soldiers of Indian army that are deployed in the Indian Occupied Kashmir to fight insurgency. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that the factor of suicides and random shoot outs on colleagues by Indian soldiers in the held valley had become a big dilemma for the Indian army top brass. When this exercise gained momentum earlier this year, the army leadership approached different consultants and analysts. The consultants and analysts reached to the conclusion that Indian soldiers, deployed in the valley were committing suicides and killing colleagues out of acute frustration and depression. Medical and psychological consultants and analysts were of the view that since majority of the soldiers, deployed in the valley were married and were away from their wives for very long time, they were gripped by sexual frustrations which ultimately transformed into mental frustration. These consultants suggested that the soldier posted in the valley should be sent on leaves to be with their wives once a month. This came as another dilemma for the Indian Army’s top brass as it was not possible at all to send such huge number of soldiers on leaves with regular intervals. The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that upon this a Major General was sent to Moscow to get some solution to the problems as Russians have been having some sort of similar problems around 2 decades back. This General, identified as General Kumar, returned with a very strange solution. The Russian consultants told the Indian army that the since the soldiers in the valley were women starving, they should be provided with women to meet their genuine and natural needs.
The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that at this stage, the Indian Army Chief constituted a committee under the command of Lt.General. Raj Kumar Karwal who currently posted as Director General of a training facility of the Indian army while Major General. Sanjeev Loomba, Brigadier. Anil Sharma, Colonel.. N K Khunduri and Colonel. Sanjay Rai were members of the committee. The committee finally came up with the solution that since it was not possible to provide street whores directly to the soldier thus professional prostitutes should be recruited with title of sex workers and than they should be given basic military training and should be posted in Kashmir sector as soldiers so that the male soldiers can establish relations with them. It was also decided that the recruitment should not be made publicly but RAW’s help should be sought as RAW was having a huge network of prostitutes in different cities of India. The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that RAW completed the assignment successfully and provided a batch of some 300, semi educated prostitutes to the General Raj Kumar committee after proper medical checkup of every individual. The committee then approached the Army Chief and it was decided that these new recruit should not be made part of mainstream army but should be adjusted in Border Security Force (BSF) and from there their services would be made available for Northern Command. The project was completed by the end of August when the new recruited batch of 300 completed a basic military training and Army Chief was informed that recruits were ready for deployment in the valley.
When contacted by this correspondent, Inspector General of BSF Himmat Singh confirmed that a batch of 178 female soldiers was being sent to Northern Command where they would be deployed along with Indo-Pak border to check the border violations by women, working in the field. Mr. Singh further stated that these women were not fully trained for operational military duties however in the next phase, after further training, they would be given the duties of operational Border security. Mr. Singh refused to admit that these female soldiers were actually prostitutes and were being dispatched to the valley as undercover sex workers. When contacted, Rohit Sharma, a senior defense analyst here in New Delhi, said that the move was a wonderful step by Indian army leadership as it would boost the medical and mental health of the soldiers, posted in the valley and they would come up with better results.

Chinese army a serial offender: Ex-MP

As the Army plays down the reports of the incursion by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into Indian territory, former Ladakh MP P Namgyalhad made a startling revelation, saying the Chinese Army in the past too had helped settle their nomads on Indian territory.
“There is a place in Ladakh called Dumtsele, a few years ago there were clashes between the PLA and the Indian Army and the PLA captured our post there, since then the post is with them,” Namgyal said, adding, “Our nomads who migrate to Skagzung, a grazing land near the LAC, had reported that Chinese Army had helped settle their nomads in that place. In the past, they were pushed back by the police, but this time too there are reports that they (PLA) have again settled their nomads in the area.”
Namgyal said the latest incursion by Chinese troops in Skagzung where they settled their nomads took place in January this year.
After the reports of incursion by the PLA on the Indian territory into the Ladakh region, the Army has said there was nothing new as armies on both sides keep on doing such things.
When asked what measures have been taken after the reports of recent incursion by the PLA into the Indian territory in which they had entered 1.5 km inside and painted the rocks and boulders red, a senior Army officer of the Udhampur-based Northern Command said, “Routine border management activities are going on, regular patrol of the area is being conducted and there is nothing to worry about.”
Commenting on the reports that Leh Deputy Commissioner AK Sahu had written a letter to the Centre, saying the Chinese troops had occupied some of the areas in the region and had also threatened the tribes in the area to vacate the land, the officer said, “It is the matter that the state government can comment upon.”
Meanwhile, reports said the GoC-in-C of the Northern Command would visit Ladakh soon to assess the situation there.

military farms under lens

Military farms in Jammu and Kashmir are under the scanner for alleged large-scale irregularities. Acting upon official reports, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, is learnt to have ordered a court of inquiry (COI) into the matter.
Irregularities in the supply of fresh milk for troops, fraudulent hiring of civilian vehicles, lapses in procurement of fodder for animals, recruitment of permanent employees in violation of government policies and some controversy pertaining to construction of buildings are issues to be investigated by the COI.
Sources in Northern Command reveal that given the scale of procurement and the time-frame over which the alleged irregularities were taking place, the financial misappropriation could run into crores of rupees. There are at present five military farms in J&K. Different irregularities were found at different farms.
The COI will be presided over by the Chief of Staff of the Nagrota-based 16 Corps and has a brigadier each from the Signals and the Army Service Corps as members. The COI is expected to commence its proceedings shortly.
Based upon official inspection reports and scrutiny of documents, a COI had been ordered into the aforesaid irregularities last year. The proceedings of the COI were submitted to Headquarters (Northern Command), but they were, for some reason, not finalised and no directions were passed upon it. Last month, the Northern Army Commander ordered a fresh COI to investigate the findings and contents of the official reports.
Sources said government orders state that troops have to be supplied only fresh milk. In J&K, milk is either procured from military farms or from state cooperatives. It was found that owing to heavy deficiency in availability of fresh milk, “re-constituted” milk, that is milk mixed with water and milk powder, was being produced to make up the shortfall. Milk powder can be used as a short-term interim measure in an emergent situation and not as a regular supply.
In the records, however, it was being reflected that the entire quantity procured and supplied was fresh milk even though large quantities of re-constituted milk was being used. There is a large difference in the price of both, with re-constituted milk being 40-50 per cent cheaper.
In fact, the Comptroller and Auditor General had in its report in 2006 revealed that military farms produced only 30 per cent of the Army’s requirement of milk while 23 per cent was purchased and supplied to the Army at prices higher than the market rate. Though they have a secondary role for producing fodder for animals, 81 per cent of the requirement was purchased from the market at a price three times higher than the market rate.

PDP objects to CM’s remarks on troops cut

Rejecting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s contention that the withdrawal of troops from civilian areas will have to wait till an unspecified date in future, the PDP has described the government stance as being against the interests of normalcy in the state.
Addressing a workers’ convention at Kupwara today, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the situation in the state was now almost normal except for incidents triggered by the government and the security forces.
She added that people having reposed a renewed trust in the democratic system needed to be responded to with a matching trust from the state.
“The men in uniform after having completed their duty in civilian areas will have to go back to barracks like any disciplined force and the time for that is now,” she said.
The PDP president alleged that the government was now using political dissent as an alibi for continuing with overwhelming militarisation of the state. This coupled with indiscriminate invocation of laws like the AFPSA and the PSA could only breed cynicism once again that was primarily responsible for the trouble in Kashmir, she said.
Mehbooba said the state government was indulging in double speak on all matters of concern for the common man.
It had been unable to push forward the legislation on the inter district recruitment even though it had promised so and a majority of members would have supported it. Instead of protecting the interests of people, the government opted to protect itself as had always been the preference of the NC, she added.
She said the government turned a blind eye to protests, particularly from Kupwara, and shelved the legislation even after it had been approved by the joint select committee.
Referring to the mounting problems faced by the people, Mehbooba said food crisis had hit everybody hard and the poor were the worst hit. The government had mismanaged the public distribution system to the extent that the department concerned was now identified with scandal, scarcity and crisis more than being a utility service, which is in sharp contrast to its traditional and assigned role, she added.

Army vehicle crushes girl to death


An Army vehicle ran over a six-year-old child in Sumbal, about 25 km from here, and angry residents torched two Army vehicles in retaliation. The Army vehicles were on their way to Bandipora from Sumbal when the accident took place
At least eight persons were injured as angry protesters demanding action against the Army personnel clashed with the police. Cops fired tear gas shells and baton-charged the crowd to bring the situation under control.
Sources said Insha Javaid, a girl, was crushed to death when she was crossing the Srinagar-Bandipora road, prompting protests from locals. Immediately after the accident, Hundreds of people of Sumbal and adjoining villages took to the streets and blocked the main road demanding action against the erring driver. They surrounded two vehicles and burnt these down.
Bandipora SSP Sheikh Junaid Ahmad rushed to the scene along with senior administrative officers to deal with the situation.
Reinforcements have also been rushed to the area to restore law and order as the situation was “tense”, official sources said. The police said it had registered an FIR in this regard while the Army was also probing the incident.

India intensifies patrolling along LAC

Even as External Affairs Minister S M Krishna sought to play down fresh reports of Chinese incursions, the armed forces have intensified patrolling along the line of actual control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh and the entire area is expected to be brought under radar surveillance.
Though New Delhi is not perturbed over the reports of Chinese incursions, official sources said there was no question of India lowering its guard. In a brief interaction with the media outside his ministry, Krishna said there was an inbuilt mechanism between the two sides to deal with any border violations.
It is learnt that the two sides had held a border meeting in Ladakh in August at which the Indian officials took up this matter with the China while drawing up India’s own strategy to deal with any future violations. In the defence establishment, recent acts of China are being seen as attempts to provoke India.
Krishna’s statement this morning came as a surprise to the defence establishment, indicating differences between the Defence Ministry and the Foreign office over the Chinese incursions.
‘’Let me go on record to say that (border with China) has been one of the most peaceful boundaries that we have as compared to boundary lines with other countries,’’ Krishna said when his reaction was sought to incidents of China violating the Indian airspace and the LAC. Krishna did not agree with a suggestion that these incursions were a cause of concern.
Home Minister P Chidambaram had also told a television news channel that reports of Chinese incursions should not be overplayed and that talks were on between the two sides to resolve the boundary issue. Cross-border violation would continue until the boundary issue was settled for good.
Defence sources, however, pointed out that while Indian soldiers have been detained by China in the past for violation of LAC, the Indian stand in the matter is ambiguous. China has been applying intense pressure not only in Ladakh but also at the tri-junction of the India-China-Bhutan border near Bumla in Arunachal Pradesh.
Last year, there were as many as 223 Chinese incursions while nearly 75 border violations from the Chinese side have already taken place in the past three months.
However, officials say many of these incursions could be the result of difference in perceptions between the two sides on LAC. “India has proposed an early clarification and confirmation of the LAC…that, however, is awaited,’’ the officials said.
They pointed out that the two countries have put in place a mechanism to deal with any border transgression that comes to the notice of either side. The issue is settled either through meetings between border personnel of the two countries or at the level of diplomats.
The Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries had met in New Delhi last month and decided to resolve the boundary dispute peacefully. Pending the settlement of the boundary issue, it was decided that the two sides would maintain peace and tranquility in border areas.
The officials pointed out that in fact the SRs for the first time went beyond their brief and discussed expansion of bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, defence, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges. They noted that India had issued nearly 58,000 business visas to Chinese nationals last year.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who was until recently India’s envoy to Beijing, meanwhile, is said to be getting a regular update on the situation from Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar. The envoy is also reported to have brushed aside reports of conflict along the border as “sensational” and “alarmist”.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry also today said the reports of yet another Chinese incursion into India were groundless. “Reports of any incursion into India are groundless and based on incidents which never happened.” Beijing said China sought a fair and mutually understandable solution through peaceful and friendly negotiations between the two sides. Attempts to get a response from the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on the development, however, did not yield result.