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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Key internal meeting on China postponed

New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) A meeting of top officials convened by National Security Adviser M K Narayanan today to discuss the situation along the Sino-Indian border has been postponed.

The meeting was of the China Study Group that comprises senior officials including Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar and Secretaries of Defence, Home and Foreign Ministries.

The meeting was understood to have been postponed in the wake of "media hype" on the Chinese incursions along the Sino-Indian border and fresh dates are yet to be worked out.

There was intense media focus on the meeting in the wake of recent reports of incursion by the Chinese army in Ladakh, including air dropping of expired food cans, painting of rocks red besides others.

"We will hold the meeting quietly," a senior official said.

Top officials of the three armed forces and the Intelligence Bureau were also to attend today's meeting.(PTI)

RESULTS OF LAST POLL...

THE QUESTION WAS:

"Do you feel comfortable and respected when you interact with your counterparts in civil services."

The summary of poll result is as below:-

YES : 00 (0%)

NO  : 14 (100%)

CAN'T SAY : 00 (0%)

Next Poll question is on line for your votes please...


 

95 new posts in Indian Army recommended

The Ajai Vikram Singh Committee (AVSC) report has recommended creating new posts of 75 Major Generals and 20 Lieutenant Generals in the Army.(WHISPERS)

SWINE FLU STATUS IN INDIA AS ON 16 SEPT 2009

The SWINE FLU update for cases in INDIA:-
Lab confirmed cases reported on 16 Sept 2009 = 212

Total Lab confirmed cases till date                   = 6800
Death of Lab confirmed cases on 16 Sept 2009 = 05

Total Death of Lab confirmed cases                 = 208
SOURCE : PIB

Productivity Linked Bonus for Railway Employees

Cabinet Decision

   The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal of the Ministry of Railways for payment of Productivity Linked Bonus (PLB) equivalent to 75 days’ wages for the financial year 2008-2009 for all eligible non-gazetted Railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel).
            The salient features of the PLB scheme evolved as a result of review of the scheme and approval of the Cabinet on 23.09.2000 and applied for making payment for the financial years 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01 and 2001-02 are as under :-
a)       The output for a year is reckoned by the  equated net  tonne kilometres by adding together:-
(i)                   Total goods revenue net tonne kilometres.
(ii)                 Non-suburban passenger kilometres converted by a factor of 0.076.
(iii)                Suburban passenger kilometres converted by a factor of 0.053.
b)       The input is taken as the non-gazetted staff strength (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel), increased by the incremental increase/decrease in capital during the year.  Incremental capital is confined to Rolling Stock utilised for movement of trains.  The measurement of capital is in terms of  tractive effort (Diesel Electric & Electric) for Locomotives, carrying  capacity for  Wagons and seating  capacity for Coaches.  The tractive effort of  locomotives and carrying capacity of Wagons/Coaches together are given equal weight.  The relative weight of wagons and coaches is determined on the basis of ratio of goods  train kilometres and passenger train kilometres  in the total  train  kilometres.  Based on this principal, the relative weights are 0.50 for Tractive Effort, 0.20 for Wagon Capacity and 0.30 for Seating Capacity.  Thus, the  percentage  increase in  Tractive Effort  over the  base year is multiplied by 0.50; similarly the  percentage increase in Wagon Capacity and Seating Capacity is multiplied by 0.20 and 0.30 respectively and added up to arrive at the total percentage increase in capital.  The labour input i.e. non-gazetted staff strength is then increased to the extent of this percentage increase in the incremental capital.
c)       The ratio of the output to the input is the productivity index for the year.
Background :
            Railways were the first departmental undertaking of the Government of India wherein the concept of PLB was introduced.  The main consideration at that time was the important role of the Railways as an infrastructural support in the performance of the economy as a whole.  In the  overall context of Railway working, it was considered desirable to introduce the concept of PLB as against the concept of Bonus on the lines of ‘The Payment of Bonus Act – 1965’.  Even though the Payment of Bonus Act does not apply to the Railways, yet the broad principles contained in that Act were kept in view for the purpose of determining the “Wage/Pay Ceiling:, definition of  ‘Salary’/’Wage’, etc.  The PLB Scheme for the Railways came into force from the year 1979-80 onwards and was evolved in consultation with the two  recognised federations viz.  All India Railwaymen’s Federation and National Federation of Indian Railwaymen and with the approval of the Cabinet.  The scheme envisages  a review  every three years.
Implementation Strategy and targets:
            Sixth Central Pay Commission in para 4.4.5 of their report had recommended that all Departments should ultimately replace the existing productivity linked bonus schemes with Performance Related Incentive Scheme (PRIS) and also that in places where PLB is applicable and it is not found feasible to implement PRIS immediately, the existing productivity linked bonus schemes may be continued in a modified manner where the formula for computing the bonus has a direct nexus with the increased profitability/productivity under well-defined financial parameters.  In respect of the  Railway’s PLB scheme, the VIth CPC in Para 4.412 of their report have opined that a new formula for computing PLB that is based on financial parameters and where profit is computed  as per the established principles of commercial accounting, wages with appropriate adjustments for increases, the impact of the capital investment, element of subsidy, etc. needs to be devised in case the PRIS is not implemented immediately in Ministry of Railways.
            The Government on the said recommendations of the Sixth CPC relating to the PLB schemes has decided to examine the same  separately.  However, the recommendation regarding PRIS has been accepted by the Government.  Thus individual Ministries/Departments are required to devise PRIS in accordance with their own organizational structure and need as per guidelines to be issued by the nodal Ministry.  Since no guidelines on PRIS have been received so far and as such PLB scheme is to continue till introduction of PRIS.
Major Impact
            This will be the highest PLB payment ever to be made by Railways.  PLB is based on the productivity indices reflecting the performance of the Railways.
Expenditure involved:
            The financial implication of payment of 75 days’ PLB to  railway employees has been estimated to be Rs.889 crores.  The wage calculation ceiling prescribed for payment of PLB to the  eligible non-gazetted railway employees (excluding RPF/RPSF personnel) is Rs.3500/- p.m.
Number of  beneficiaries:
About 13.05 lakh non-gazetted  Railway employees are likely to benefit from the decision.(PIB)

Implementation of Government Decision on Recommendations of Sixth Central Pay commission regarding pensionary benefits for Armed Forces Personnel below Officers Rank (PBOR) retiring or dying in harness on or after 01.01.2006./ Option for commutation of pension.

REGISTERED
OFFICE OF THE PR. CONTROLLER OF DEFENCE ACCOUNTS
(PENSION), DRAUPADI GHAT, ALLAHABAD - 211014

Dated:- 15th September, 2009
Circular No.418. 
To
The OI/C,
Records/
PAO (ORs)
------------------
------------------

Subject:- Implementation of Government Decision on Recommendations of Sixth Central Pay commission regarding pensionary benefits for Armed Forces Personnel below Officers Rank (PBOR) retiring or dying in harness on or after 01.01.2006./ Option for commutation of pension.

Reference: -
This Office Important Circular No. 400 Dated 05.12.2008 bearing File No. Gts/Tech/0165-VI dated 05.12.2008

A copy of Government of India, Ministry of Defence letter No.17(4) / 2008 (2)/ D (Pen / Policy) dated 11.09.2009 regarding option for commutation of pension, which is self explanatory is forwarded herewith for further necessary action at your end.

2. The following vital points are as under:-
LAST DATE OF EXERCISING OPTION FOR COMMUTATION OF ADDITIONAL PENSION
The option for commutation of additional pension shall be exercised by the affected Armed Forces Pensioners with in one month of issue of Government of India Ministry of Defence letter No. 17(4)/2008 D(Pen/Policy) dated 11.09.2009 i.e. up to 10.10.2009 (under transmission)
DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN OPTED FOR OPTION 1
In case on option is exercised till 10.10.2009, the pensioners shall be deemed to have option for option 1 of the Ministry of Defence letter dated 27.11.2008, Annexure-II and his case will be processed accordingly.
Option 1 reads as under:-
"I...............Service...................No................./....................................Regimental No....................Rank...........................Name..................................granted pension in becoming due to retrospective revision of my Pay/Pension."
ACTION IN CASE NO OPTION RECEIVED UP TO 10.10.2009.
The claim for revision of pension/gratuity will be initiated by CDA(O), Pune in the case of Army Officers, Naval Pay Office in the case of Naval Officers and AFRO in the case of Air Force Officers and concerned Record Office in the case of PBOR.
OPTION / REQUEST RECEIVED AFTER THE CUT OFF DATE i.e. AFTER 10.10.2009.
Any option / request received from the pensioners after the above cut off date shall be treated as fresh application to commutation of additional pension. In such cases, a fresh commutation medical board if applicable would be required as per extant rules on the subject and age as on next birthday would be reckoned and accordingly to calculate commuted value of pension.
3. This circular has been uploaded on PCDA(P) website www.pcdapension.nic.in for disseminated across the Defence pensioners and PDAs.(PCDA SITE & 90PAISA BLOG)



http://pcdapension.nic.in/6cpc/Circular-418.pdf

India designs new reactor for thorium utilisation

India today announced it had designed a new version of advanced heavy water atomic reactor that would use lesser low enriched uranium along with thorium as fuel and possess next generation safety requirements.
“A new version of AHWR named Advanced Heavy Water Reactor-Low Enriched Uranium (AHWR-LEU) that uses low enriched uranium along with thorium as fuel has been designed recently,” chairman of Atomic Energy Commission Anil Kakodkar said at the International Atomic Energy Agency's general conference.
The reactor has a lower requirement of mined uranium per unit energy produced as compared to most of the current generation thermal reactors, Kakodkar said. India, which has large thorium reserves, has chalked out a nuclear power programme based on its domestic resource position of uranium and thorium. “This version can also meet the requirement of medium sized reactors in countries with small grids while meeting the requirements of next generation systems,” Kakodkar said, indicating India was ready for export of such reactors in near future. — PTI (TRIBUNE)

India wakes up to Chinese threat

New Delhi, September 16
Better late than never! The government has finally woken up to the China threat and its incursions into the Indian territory. Even as National Security Adviser MK Narayanan holds a high-level meeting here tomorrow to take stock of the situation on the Indo-China border, the Indian armed forces claim to be handicapped due to paucity of the latest weaponry needed in the event of any skirmish.
Shockingly, as the country’s top most strategic planners finalise India’s response, the forces are saddled with weapons that are of 1970s and 1980s vintage. Hardly, the ones needed to ensure military domination.
The NSA’s meeting is likely to be attended by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrashekhar, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Home Secretary GK Pillai, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, services chiefs and top officials of intelligence agencies. At least Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor may not be able to make it since he is not in the capital, sources here said.
Narayanan is India’s point man for ties with China in his capacity as India’s special representative for talks on the lingering boundary dispute. The External Affairs ministry has sought to play down the latest incursions by China, saying there was a difference in perception between the two countries on the delineation of the line of actual control (LAC). The strategic establishment, however, is worried over the frequency with which these violations have been taking place.
Sources said the armed forces will plead in the meeting for taking urgent steps to replace the weapons. Take a look: One variety of the Air defence guns placed along the Sino-Indian border are of 1974 vintage and can fire only till 5000 feet. Another variety was inducted in the 1980s.
The surface-to-air missiles, considered a deadly weapon in the mountains, were bought in the 1980s while another purchase was made in 1990s. The major purchase of self propelled guns, though not deployed in high mountains, were carried out the last time in 1975 while another small quantity was purchased in 1995.
In the case of the big guns of the artillery, the last purchase was in 1985 when the Bofors was procured. Since then India has started the process a few times but did not finalise anything. The project to purchase the ultra light howitzer, that can be slung under a chopper and dropped anywhere in the high mountains, has been put in cold storage.
Meanwhile, amidst mounting tensions, the annual Indo-China military exercise between the two countries is not likely to be conducted this year. As per the agreed rotation policy, it was China’s turn to host it this year. However, no dates have been conveyed so far. Normally, by this time the dates are decided and all logistics are in place. (TRIBUNE)

Chinese aggression indicates Beijing’s nervousness over India’s rise


New Delhi, Sep. 16 (ANI): A US think-tank has said that China’s recent aggression on Indian border is direct result of Beijing’s “nervousness over India’s rise.”
“Well, I think China is becoming increasingly nervous about India’s rise. It’s something that they have to deal with that perhaps 10-15 years ago they didn’t believe was something that was necessary to focus on.
We saw this when they to tried scuttle at the last minute, the civil nuclear deal at the Nuclear Supplier Group meeting last year and so that was sort of an indication that China is not completely comfortable with India’s rise on the world stage,” said Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation, US.
Recently, two soldiers of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were reportedly injured in firing from across the border on the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh.
New Delhi, however, denied that two of its border guards were injured in firing by Chinese forces.
Curtis said both the sides were mutually mistrustful of each other on the border issue.
“The border issue has lingered for a long time and I think both sides created mistrust on both sides. Perhaps since China is dealing with its internal issue, it has not been interested in completely resolving the border issue but that said. I do not think so either side is interested in any kind of conflict. But I do not see the negotiation moving forward either,” Curtis said.
India and China fought a short war in 1962 and, despite burgeoning trade in recent years, mistrust remains.
The two countries have faced off at multi-lateral forums, including Chinese objections to a 60 million dollar Asian Development Bank loan for a project in Arunachal Pradesh.
Reports of Chinese “incursions” have become more frequent of late.
India has begun modernising its border roads and moved a squadron of strike aircraft close to the China border. (ANI) (THAINDIAN NEWS)

CDA NEWS

1. The handbooks on Pay and Allowances and TA/DA & LTC (2009 Edition) will be available shortly. The cost of one set of the Handbooks on Pay & Allowances and TA/DA and LTC is Rs. 250/- (Exclusive of postal charges) .

2.Officers intending to purchase one set of Handbooks (2009 Edition) by post mayforward Demand Draft for Rs. 302/- (inclusive of Regd. Parcel charges) in favour of 'Secretary,Publication Commttee, CDA(O), Pune' payable at Pune.

1991 IPS PROMOTION

1991 batch IPS officers in Tripura have been promoted to the rank of IG ( GP 10000).

INDIAN FOREST SERVICE GETS UPGRADATION OF POSTS

Government of India (GOI) has given its nod for upgradation of 53 posts meant for Indian Forest Service (IFS) in the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

China Turns Unix Into A Weapon


I WONDER : THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I TOO VE BEING RECOMMENDING TO ALL SENIOR FAUJI's OF INDIAN ARMY EVERYTIME . BUT NOBODY SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND IT.  INCOMPETENCY TO HANDLE LINUX/UNIX OS AS COMPARED TO  MICROSOFT AND RESULTING UNWILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES IS A MAJOR REASON.   ITS GOOD TO KNOW THAT AT LEAST CHINESE VE DONE IT. WHAT IS EVEN MORE SURPRISING IS THAT IN EARLY 80s INDIAN ARMY WAS INFACT USING UNIX BASED SYSTEM EXCLUSIVELY...!!!!!!


For nearly a decade now, China has been trying to get business and government users to adopt Unix (and later Linux) as their operating system. Most Chinese businesses, and many government departments, continue to use Microsoft operating systems. They do this because Microsoft Windows is widely pirated in China, and there's a large amount of pirated software you can use only on Windows systems. Windows is very vulnerable to hacker attack, and Unix is not. But more games run on Windows machines, and that is important even in China.
While the Chinese government continues to push the adoption of Linux, they are now mandating that government servers use a Unix variant operating system, developed in China, called Kylin. After that, the government will try and force all Chinese businesses to adopt a Chinese version of Linux or Unix for their desktop and laptop PCs. All this is nothing new, but there is a sense of urgency to it.
Five years ago, the Chinese found that, while their own Cyber War forces were capable of launching attacks over the Internet, their own computers are already overrun with viruses and worms. A government survey found that, in 2003, 87.9 percent of Chinese PCs connected to the Internet were infected, and most were still infected in 2004. While the United States is regarded as the one nation most dependant on the Internet, it is also the country with the largest amount of effort dedicated to protecting it’s PCs from infection by “malware” (viruses, worms, Trojans and the like.) China, on the other hand, had developed an outlaw mentality when it came to software. So most users have pirated operating systems and applications on their machines. While there are pirated versions of anti-virus software available, using this kind of protection is not popular. China is trying to get around this by using Linux, a free operating system that is far less vulnerable to attack via the Internet. But Linux does not have as much software available for it, and users are reluctant to abandon Windows, and all the neat games and other software that only runs on Windows powered computers. The Windows based games, it turns out, are a major obstacle in getting many users, even business users, to switch. It seems that playing games on company computers after hours is a valuable fringe benefit for workers, and costs the company little. No one likes to talk about this form of compensation, but there it is.
The most serious aspect of all this is the number of government computers that are using Windows, and are infected. The government has found that switching to Linux is difficult, as there are not enough computer experts to carry this out. Microsoft Windows is much easier to install, and maintain, than Linux. Many more Chinese computer manufacturers are shipping PCs with Linux installed. But Microsoft has a huge head start, and only about two percent of the PCs shipped in China in 2003 had Linux on them.
China got around this by subsidizing Linux training for Chinese engineers and computer technicians. The government also subsidized the development of the Kylin Unix based server software.  Kylin is shareware, and anyone can download it. But Kylin is also designed to be very secure, much more secure than Microsoft server software, and most other similar products.
Chinese hackers (mainly the Internet gangsters the government tolerates) are the source of many of the viruses and worms that rapidly spread worldwide. But these nasty little concoctions have, in the past, done more damage, proportionately, in China than they do in the United States. With software like Kylin, China hopes to develop defenses, and rid the country of much of the pirated software that still runs most of the economy. With Chinese servers protected by Kylin, foreign servers will still be vulnerable because they use a Microsoft operating system.

China And The Big Parade

China is having an official "coming out" ceremony for several  of its "secret" missiles, during the October 1 parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the communist takeover of China. The most notable "new" (but known to the intel agencies) missiles are;
DF-41. This is a solid fuel ICBM with a range of 12,000 kilometers. Similar to the Russian Topol-M.
The Julang 2 is a SLBM that uses solid fuel and has a range of 8,000 kilometers.
The DH-10, which is similar to early U.S. cruise missiles, and has a range of 1,500 kilometers and uses GPS, along with terrain mapping.
In addition there will be some shorter range battlefield ballistic missiles. These include the DF-11, a solid fuel missile similar to the SCUD, with a 300 kilometers range. The ones appearing in the parade have a new type of warhead (apparently a penetrating one, to get at bunkers.) Another new model, of an existing missile, is the DF-15, which is a solid fuel ballistic missile with a 600 kilometers range. Finally, the Chinese "aircraft carrier killer" is apparently in the parade as well. This is the DF-21C, a solid fuel ballistic missile with a 2,500 kilometer range and a warhead with targeting sensors able to find and hit something as small (to an incoming ballistic missile) as a thousand foot (320 meter) long carrier.

Bureaucrats’ forum calls for war on monies stashed abroad

NEW DELHI - India Rejuvenation Initiative (IRI), a non-political forum of top former bureaucrats and social activists, Monday called for launching a public movement to recover India’s black money parked in foreign banks and financial institutions.
The issue was discussed at a day-long workshop on ‘Forging a Public Movement for Recovery of India’s Stolen Assets from foreign countries’ held at the India International Centre (IIC) here.
Delivering the keynote address, former chief election commissioner J.M.Lyndoh flayed the policy of secrecy of foreign banks and nations in divulging the names of those who have parked their ill-gotten wealth with them.
Terming it as a “conspiracy of secrecy”, he said: “It was high time pressure was exercised on such nations to give up such policies and for suitable amendment in criminal laws to book such persons.”
Expressing deep concern over such money being used against the interest of the nations to which it actually belonged, Lyndoh sought to point out: “I am convinced that a large chunk of black money siphoned off to tax havens finds its way surreptitiously back into the nation of its origin.”
“What was even more serious that such money was often used in nefarious activities, including terrorism,” he said.
Former prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh’s secretary Bhure Lal, who had long experience in combating money laundering when he worked as India’s enforcement director, was of the view that “money laundering was not possible without connivance between the beneficiaries and the underworld.”
He said: “While earlier it was not easy to retrieve such money from foreign countries, an amendment in the Swiss banking laws has made it possible, provided it could be proved that the money was being used for criminal activity.”
Bhure Lal said: “If the Indian government were to take the initiative to amend our own laws, the task would not be difficult as black money was inseparable from criminal activity today.”
Highlighting how such money was adversely affecting the nation’s economy, former Union revenue secretary Javed Chaudhary observed: “The extent of India’s black money stashed in foreign countries is of the order of at least Rs.10 lakh crore, that is just about 10 percent of our GDP.”
Blaming India’s trade policy as a major source for money-laundering, he alleged, “over-invoicing of exports is one of the most commonly used means to transfer black money through ‘hawala’ to foreign lands.”
Chaudhary opined: “Replacement of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) by Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) was a blatant dilution of the law that was meant to check money laundering.”
Prof. R.Vaidyanathan of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, said: “Over a trillion dollars out of the total 2.8 trillion dollars deposited in Swiss banks belongs to Indians.”
He added that “a large chunk of the money belongs to Indian politicians and bureaucrats, besides business houses.”
Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy emphasised the need to make public servants “accountable and responsible”, in order to curb the prevailing corruption levels.
Prominent Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said the appointment of a Lokpal (ombudsman) was the best means to wage a battle against black money abroad.
The workshop was conducted by V.K.Shunglu, former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

India Mobilizes Troops Along China Border



09:41 GMT, September 16, 2009 With the threat perception from China looming large, as India Defence Online reports, India has taken steps to ensure safety on the disputed Indo-Chinese border by undertaking the upgradation of military capabilities and beefing up the infrastructure in the North-east region of India.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also been notified to maintain their helicopter-lifting capabilities and boost up the security in the Chabua airbase in the north-eastern region. India is also reviving several airstrips which were not being used since the 1962 Indo-Chinese war. India has already achieved the feat of creating the world’s highest airstrip Ladakh region of north India in May this year and it can land transport aircraft as well.

Besides activation of the IAF capabilities, India is also enhancing its military strength along the border.

In the north-east, the Indian Army is raising two divisions with 15,000 to 30,000 soldiers. The Indian Army is regrouping officers and troops from across the country to form the two divisions quickly. They would add strength to the defence of the sensitive Arunachal Pradesh border which is being hawk-eyed by China. The Chinese claim on Arunachal Pradesh and repeated incursions into border villages and reports of a Chinese military exercise involving 50,000 troops in Tibet is also worrying India. A highway built by China parallel to the border, with approach roads intruding into Arunachal Pradesh, is also a matter of concern as it can be used by the Chinese Army to move quickly with artillery into the state.

Meanwhile, India has undertaken building of a network of roads with over 30 major new road links. An all-weather connectivity right up to the command post is also being worked upon.Indian experts feel that the border dispute which has been carrying on for decades will not be sorted easily and threat perception will arise. In the case of a possible confrontation, Indian forces are prepared and capable of overcoming their enemies. Although China has better infrastructure, India is technologically advanced on several fronts which will give it the decisive edge over China. (DEFPRO)

Rahul Gandhi’s flying visit to Tamil Nadu cost over Rs.1 crore

Tamil Nadu Bureau
His movement by road was restricted due to threat perception
— Photo: T. Singaravelou

All India Congress Committee General Secretary Rahul Gandhi at the helipad in Puducherry where he had come for a brief meeting with members of the Youth Congress on September 9.
CHENNAI: “As a politician, you have a duty to be austere,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters here last week during his tour of Tamil Nadu. But the travel bill the Congress general secretary toted up during his three-day visit down south ran to seven figures, not exactly a sum the word “austerity” conjures up. At about Rs.1.5 lakh an hour for a helicopter, and Rs. 1.1 lakh an hour for the Beechcraft aircraft that Mr. Gandhi used for most of the long haul, his Tamil Nadu darshan would have cost the Indian National Youth Congress over Rs. 1 crore in helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft hire charges, The Hindu has established.
The 2006 Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft, operated by the New Delhi-based Air Charter Services Private Limited, has a 10 per cent plus service charge too. The crew in both instances need to be looked after by the persons hiring the aircraft. Added to this is the expense of the SPG, which tailed the Pawan Hans helicopter in an Army helicopter.
Mr. Gandhi, who was on a day-long whirlwind tour to southern districts on September 8, used a Pawan Hans helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram after arriving there in the Beechcraft (VT-ACD).
On his way back from Coimbatore, Mr. Gandhi took an eight-seater Falcon 2000 aircraft to New Delhi. It belonged to the Mumbai-based TajAir. According to the Taj website ( http://www.tajaironline.com), a New Delhi-Coimbatore one-way trip costs Rs. 20,31,250. “All flights originate from Mumbai. Thus, the fare is calculated ex-Mumbai and back,” the website explains.
The Congress leader hopped from Thiruvananthapuram to Nagercoil to Tirunelveli to Virudhunagar and to the Madurai Kamaraj University on the first day. After an overnight halt at the Circuit House in Madurai, he left for Thanjavur by the Beechcraft on day two. According to back-of-the-envelope calculations by airport sources, with the Thiruvananthapuram-Madurai trip and the overnight halt of the helicopter, the total cost incurred would be close to Rs. 15 lakh.
On day two, he landed at the Indian Air Force strip in Thanjavur. After meeting people and Youth Congress workers, he left by the same aircraft for Puducherry where he met PCC office-bearers. He hopped on to a helicopter for Villupuram and Vellore. Later in the day, after his engagements at Vellore, he flew into the nearby Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, INS Rajali, in a helicopter, before taking the B-350 to Chennai.
From Chennai to Hosur, Mr. Gandhi travelled by the same B-350. A TNCC source said the party paid Rs. 7,500 for landing and parking to Taneja Aerospace for the use of a private airstrip at Hosur. Mr. Gandhi took the same aircraft to Salem and from there to Coimbatore.
Foolproof security
Salem airport authorities said all charges for the landing and ground handling at Salem were paid in Chennai itself, as the Salem airport did not have normal operations. The same aircraft was used to reach Coimbatore. For landing, parking, and route navigation, the Coimbatore airport collected a total of Rs. 6,800 from both the operators. Besides, Rs. 1,500 was paid to a private firm for ground handling.
A senior police official, when contacted, said Mr. Gandhi’s movement by road was restricted to the extent possible in Tamil Nadu. Foolproof security arrangements were imperative in the backdrop of heightened threat to the VVIP perceived by Central and State intelligence agencies.
Besides having in place a three-tier security shield for Rahul Gandhi, who is also protected by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG), the State police chalked out an elaborate scheme for his protection based on specific inputs.
Citing reports of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the police official said a handful of top Sikh militants and cadres of the Lashkar-e-Taiba met at an undisclosed destination in Pakistan recently and allegedly decided to target Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani, and Mr. Gandhi.
Further, reports of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) indicated the movement of a suspected Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadre and a sympathiser along the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu.
The last communication was intercepted in the last week of March 2009 and it appeared the suspects were organising the movement of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. “Reports in a section of the media that appeared in the United Kingdom alleged that India had extended military support to Sri Lanka in the war against the LTTE. The resentment has surfaced as hostility to Rahul Gandhi,” the official added.

China bashing' in the Indian media


Indian and Chinese traders cross the China-India border at the Nathu La Pass in India's state of Sikkim on 06 July 2006
China is India's largest trading partner

By Amit Baruah
Editor, BBC Hindi

It's the silly season in India-China relations. If you've tuned into one of the more hawkish Indian television channels or are reading the views of the many experts on India and China, it might seem like the two countries are at each other's throats.
There has been a spate of denials from the Indian foreign ministry, the border guards and even the Indian air force. All insist that there have been no clashes and no violations of Indian air space.
"A media report about two ITBP [Indo-Tibetan Border Police] jawans [soldiers] having been injured due to firing from across the Line of Actual Control has come to notice. It is factually incorrect," the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
And here is what the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman had to say about the same incident: "I have not heard of the scenario you mentioned... I have noticed, however, that Indian media has been releasing some groundless information recently. I wonder what their intention is."
'Without pause'
But China's concerns about accuracy do not seem to bother a large chunk of the Indian media, which is engaged in a rather serious bout of "China-bashing" these days.
Such China "stories" continue without pause.
Facts do not seem to matter as some Indian media organisations believe that this is the best way to grab a larger market share.
"Nothing has changed on the ground between the two countries," a senior Indian official, who preferred anonymity, told the BBC.
Chinese soldiers at a drill ahead of a military parade in Beijing, China, on 19 Sept 2009
The Indian media has been reporting alleged incursions by Chinese soldiers
"I just can't understand the reasons for this hysteria," the official said.
China is India's largest trading partner, with two-way trade volumes crossing $50bn in 2008.
The two countries have been trying to negotiate a solution to their decades-old boundary dispute, a process which shows few signs of reaching fruition anytime soon.
There hasn't been a single fatality in skirmishes along the undefined India-China boundary since 1967, but the memories of the crushing defeat inflicted by the Chinese on India in the 1962 war have not faded from the minds of some Indians.
In a sense, the ghost of 1962 also has not been exorcised from the memories of a certain narrow, but influential, category of retired generals and diplomats, who still harbour ambitions of "giving it back to the Chinese".
Media war
In the last two decades - ever since a path-breaking visit by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing in 1988 - there has been a visible effort on the part of the two governments to try to narrow their differences.
A code was agreed on how patrol parties were to act in case they encountered each other.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited China in 2006
These encounters do take place and the two sides have a specified drill in such cases, which appears to have worked well over the years.
But now, the threat to a stable India-China relationship is coming not from the governments, but from sections within the media.
If the largely private Indian media is belligerent about China, a response is beginning to emerge from the Chinese side as well.
"India likes to brag about its sustainable development, but worries that it is being left behind by China. China is seen in India as both a potential threat and a competitor to surpass," the state-run Global Times wrote in June this year.
In essence, a media war, initiated by a few Indian television channels and newspapers, has now been joined from the Chinese side as the Global Times opinion piece indicates.
Briefing editors of national dailies, a senior Indian official suggested that there was no point in the press showing any "hysteria".
Not many journalists, it would appear, want to listen to such suggestions.

Is the Red Dragon snarling again?

The India-China theatre is a hotbed of activity. Chinese intrusions on the border are on the rise, leading to protests by India. As China intensifies its military buildup, India is huffing and puffing to catch up.

Separately, China is building strategic stakes in India’s neighbourhood, while India appears to be watching helplessly. Globally, the economic crisis is catapulting China to the high table faster than India can say ‘George Bush’ — see how China only has to say ‘boo’ for Barack Obama to keep Dalai Lama out of the White House.

Meanwhile, the boundary dispute remains unresolved because China has been repeatedly intransigent. On the other hand, India and China are on the same page on global issues, and on trade they are dancing their way to the bank.

Through all this, India maintains a strange policy of appeasing the dragon. India allows the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal in the teeth of Chinese howls, but pretends that intrusions by China have happened for years and the definition of peace and tranquillity is the absence of violence.

It all boils down to a failure to resolve the boundary dispute. While officials say they are moving ‘slowly but surely’, strategists across the board say China’s policy of low-level intrusions serves to keep India offguard. It’s also a signal to India’s other neighbours that India continues to fall short in being a ‘balancing power’.

Ultimately, it has to do with Tibet, Tawang and the Dalai Lama. Tawang was always sacred for Tibetans, but China has only recently upped its claims for the state as it works through the Tibetan question, particularly giving itself the power to appoint the next Dalai Lama. Earlier, China wanted to do a swap of Aksai Chin and Tawang, but that’s off the table now.

But India is slowly learning to deal with a superior strategic competitor, its skills rusted by years of Pakistan-centric foreign policy. Speaking Punjabi works wonders in Pakistan, but knowing Mandarin doesn’t always help in Beijing. It’s the hard-nosed approach that does, and India is only now swallowing this unpalatable fact.

For the first time, the Indian envoy in Beijing was chosen for his professional skills rather than his language proficiency. During the most recent round of border talks, India told China it would insist on Chinese commitment to the 2005 Guiding Principles where it agreed that while demarcating the boundary, interests of settled populations would be taken into account.

Extrapolated, it meant that Arunachal would stay with India. The Chinese subsequently went back on that commitment, and India’s let them. Until now. In the Indian Ocean, India is putting strategic stakes in Maldives and Mauritius to assert its maritime power and is reasonably hopeful of courting the Sri Lankans away from the Chinese.

There also appears to be some fresh thinking on developing the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a strategic post, as indicated by PM’s special envoy Shyam Saran, which would take care of the Chinese ‘threat’ in Myanmar.

On the Himalayan heights, however, the reality is very different. While some of the ‘incursions’ on LAC are exaggerated by hyper-reporting, it’s undeniable that PLA has been guilty of intrusions and aggressive patrolling for at least a year now. ‘Violations’ by Chinese forces resulted in 2,285 instances in 2008 as compared to 778 instances in 2007. While Arunachal has been repeatedly hit in the eastern sector, China has even opened up the resolved Sikkim border and the middle sector.

Militarily, China is streets ahead of India, with some 13 border defence regiments and many brigades along the border, so if, in these heated days, a conflict does indeed break out, India will be toast. China is certainly a challenge, but India has to learn to face it openly rather than ducking behind diplomatic platitudes. There needs to be a multi-hued China engagement policy. For instance, unlike Pakistan, more engagement is always better with China, because frankly, Indians don’t ‘understand” the Chinese. Can India start a ‘peace process’ with China?

Brothers in Arms: Flip-flop in Relationship


- Dec 30, 1949: India recognizes China after communist take over and lobbies hard for Beijing's UN membership. Soon Beijing adopts `hard-policy on non-communist countries and views India as "appendage of Western imperialism''

- Oct 30, 1950: China's Tibet invasion shocks India. New Delhi issues strongly-worded statement in protest

- Nov 1950: India refuses to vote in favour of UN resolution branding China as an aggressor in Korea

- Jan 26, 1951: Chairman Mao Tse-tung participates in Republic Day celebration at Indian embassy in Beijing

- Sep 1952: India designates its mission in Lhasa as Consulate-General

- Dec 10, 1952: PM Jawaharlal Nehru instructs Indian Ambassador to China that India's attitude to Chinese should be a combination of friendliness and firmness

- Apr 29, 1954: India-China (Panchsheel) Agreement signed

- May 12, 1954: Nehru orders establishment of check-posts at all disputed areas

- Jun 25-27, 1954: PM Zhou En-lai visits New Delhi; reaffirms commitment to Panchsheel

- Oct 1954: Nehru visits China and discusses situation in South-East Asia; doesn't raise the boundary issue

- April 1955: India supports China over Taiwan

- 1959: India grants political asylum to the Dalia Lama

- April 1960: Premier Zhou Enlai visits New Delhi to hold talks with Nehru, no agreements reached due to India's insistence on its stand

- Oct 20, 1962: Chinese attack India

- Oct 24, 1962: India rejects Chinese offer to negotiate

- Nov 13, 1962: India counterattacks and capture northwest town of Walong

- Nov 21, 1962: Chinese dont advance farther; declare cease-fire

- Dec 19-23, 1988: In the first visit by an Indian PM to China in 34 years, Rajiv Gandhi visits Beijing on Premier Li Peng's invitation. The two sides agree to settle the boundary issue

- Dec 11, 1991: Peng visits Delhi and issues joint press communiqui with PM P V Narasimha Roa

- May 18, 1992: President R Venkataraman visits China

- Sep 6, 1993: Rao visits China and concludes a historic agreement for peace and tranquility on the borders

- Nov-Dec 1996: Chinese President Jiang Zemin visits India

- May-June 2000: President K R Narayanan visits China

- Jan 13, 2002: Premier Zhu Rongji visits India, meets PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee

- June 22, 2003: Vajpayee visits China, signs a declaration

- April 9, 2005: Premier Wen Jaibao visits India, issues joint statement

- Jan 15, 2008: PM Manmohan Singh visits China and signs a joint document to "promote the building of a harmonious world'' with Jiabao (TOI)

Congress fumes over Tharoor's austerity 'taunt'

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Wednesday said minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor's remarks that he would travel in "cattle class
Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor (TOI Photo)
out of solidarity with all our holy cows" were not acceptable and the party high command may also decide if any disciplinary action is to be taken against him.

"The party strongly disapproves the statement of the minister. It is unacceptable, not respecting political or any other sensibilities," said Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan.

On his page on the micro-blogging site Twitter, Tharoor was asked, "Tell us minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?" His reply: "Absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows."

Asked whether any disciplinary action would be taken against the former UN diplomat, the spokesperson said: "This is something that the high command will decide."

The Congress and the government it leads have launched an austerity drive against the backdrop of drought in some parts of the country and rising prices of essential commodities.

Tharoor as well as external affairs minister S M Krishna were asked earlier this month to move out of five-star hotels where they had been staying for over three months - though at their own expense.

Tharoor, who was staying at the Hotel Taj Mahal on Man Singh Road, is now staying at an Indian Navy guesthouse.

Four Indian Kilo-class subs to get new cruise missiles new

Moscow: Russian shipyard Zvezdochka said Wednesday it has been offered a contract to install Klub-S cruise missile systems on four Indian Navy Kilo class diesel submarines over the next five years.
Currently, two Indian Kilo-class submarines - the INS Sindhugosh and INS Sindhuvijay - carry the Klub-S (SS-N-27) cruise missiles. Russia has supplied a total of ten Kilo class submarines to India.
"The new missile system will be installed on the INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhuraj, INS Sindhushastra, and INS Sindhuvir. The retrofit will be carried out at Indian shipyards," the shipyard said in a statement.
"Zvezdochka will finish this work in the next five years," it further said.

Zvezdochka is located in northern Russia.
The Klub-S subsonic cruise missile, with a range of 160 nautical miles (about 300 km), is designed for launch from a 533 mm torpedo tube, or a vertical launch tube. It uses an ARGS-54 active radar seeker and Glonass satellite and inertial guidance.
In addition, Zvezdochka will overhaul another Indian Kilo class submarine, the INS Sindhurakshak, under a deal expected to be signed in spring 2010. "The submarine will be delivered to Severodvinsk in June 2010," the shipyard said.
The submarines are being overhauled under an agreement signed in 2001 which involve upgrades of all the 10 Indian Kilo class submarines. The upgrades of the previous four have all taken place at the Zvezdochka shipyard.
The upgrade programme involves a complete overhaul of the submarines, including their hull structures, and installation of improved control systems, sonar, electronic warfare systems, and an integrated weapon control system.
Russia's Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines have earned a reputation for being extremely quiet subs.(DOMAIN B)

Navy to induct stealth destroyer INS Kochi on Sep.18

NEW DELHI - The Indian Navy will induct a stealth destroyer of Delhi class on September 18 to boost its maritime capabilities and safeguard India’s interests.
Madhulika Verma wife of Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, will launch the second of the three Project 15-A stealth destroyers on September 18.
The 6500-ton ship, to be named INS Kochi, is being built by Mazagon Docks Ltd in Mumbai. The Directorate of Naval Design has designed the destroyer indigenously. The existing Delhi Class destroyers are INS Delhi, INS Mysore and INS Mumbai.
The ship has advanced stealth features, which make it less vulnerable to detection by enemy radar and will be fitted with state-of-the-art weapon systems which include the supersonic BrahMos surface-to-surface missile, the LRSAM Long Range Surface-to-Air Missiles and the MFStar multi-function radar system providing accurate data on surface and air targets.
In addition, four AK-630 rapid-fire guns and a medium range gun will boost the ship’s close-range defence capability.
The ships will also be fitted with indigenously developed twin-tube torpedo launchers and anti-submarine rocket launchers.
The NPOL developed Humsa-NG hull-mounted sonar, and two multi-role helicopters adding punch to the ship’s anti-submarine capability. The maximum speed of the ship is above 30 Knots.
The destroyer will be launched using the pontoon-assisted launch technique, to be employed for the first time in the history of indigenous warship building.
This technique helps in overcoming slipway/ draft constraints and permits launching of heavier vessels. (ANI)

Chief of Naval Staff visiting Kochi

KOCHI: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma will arrive in Kochi on Wednesday on his first official visit to the Southern Naval Command after assuming office. Admiral Verma, the former Vice-Chief of Naval Staff, assumed office on August 31.The 20th Chief of the Indian Navy, Admiral Verma is a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare. During his Navy service, he has commanded the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, the Leander Class frigate INS Udaygiri and the Kashin Class destroyer INS Ranvir.Admiral Verma’s 40-year-long career is an amalgamation of Indian and global experience. He commanded the Indian Naval Academy, Goa and was Head of Naval Training Team at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and Senior Directing Staff (Navy) at the National Defence College, New Delhi. He was inducted into the Indian Navy as part of the first Kashin Class Destroyer and was trained in former Soviet Union. He has also completed courses at the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich, UK, and the Naval Command Course at the US Naval War College, Rhode Island.On promotion to Vice-Admiral in November 2005, Admiral Verma led the human resource development programmes of the Navy. In his capacity as the Vice-Chief of Naval Staff, he structured the framework for the transformation of the Navy’s combat capabilities and infrastructure development.Prior to taking over as the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Verma, as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, provided impetus to strengthen the coastal security infrastructure. The Admiral is a recipient of PVSM and AVSM and is also the Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the President of India.On his visit to Kochi, Admiral Verma is accompanied by his wife Madhulika Verma. A host of events have been arranged at the Southern Naval Command as part of the first visit of the CNS. He will inspect a ceremonial parade, address officers, meet sailors and civilians and make a visit to the Joint Operations Centre for Coastal Defence. The CNS will leave Kochi on Thursday. (EXPRESS BUZZ)

AMRCL beats Indian Navy in polo

Hyderabad, Sep 16 AMRCL defeated Indian Navy 7-6 in polo to win the Prince of Berar Cup here today.

Manupal Godara of AMRCL pumped in five crucial goals for his team at the Bision Polo Ground here.

It was a neck-to-neck fight between both the teams till the winning goals was scored. Cdr AP Singh scored three goals for Indian Navy.

Chetiniya Kumar and Balinder Singh Dhillon scored one goal each for AMRCL.

Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Anil Ramesh Dave presented the trophy to AMRCL.(SAMAYLIVE)

ISI agent's judicial remand extended

Kanpur, Sep 16 (PTI) Judicial custody of a suspected ISI agent, arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police on September 11, was extended by a day by a local court today.

Imtiyaz Ali Siddiqui alias Imati Babu, an agent of the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, was produced before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rajesh Rai who further remanded him to judicial custody till tomorrow.

Classified documents pertaining to the Army, a diary containing telephone numbers of ISI officers, 15 sim cards and e-mail IDs were seized from Imtiyaz when he was arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad near a PCO on Kanpur-Jhansi highway.

During questioning, Imtiyaz, hailing from Jhansi, had told his interrogators that he came in contact with the ISI in Karachi last year where he had gone to meet his sister.(PTI)

He was imparted training there and was given information about the Indian army, he had told ATS officials.

Army partially opens old cemetery road; Christians relieved

BELGAUM, Karnataka : In a major relief to the Christian community of Belgaum, the Indian Army authorities partially re-opened the old cemetery road here, September 14.

The road, along with the Race Course/Point Road and the Gymkhana Road, was closed by the Army in March this year, supposedly on environmental and security grounds. The Army also planned to use the open ground next to the cemetery as a golf course for its trainees.

However, the Christians of Belgaum and a large number of citizens strongly objected to the Army’s move. The defence authorities had opened an alternative road with a gate on the periphery as the access point to the cemetery, which the Christians felt was circuitous and inconvenient.

What had shocked the Christians was that the army had decided to close some of the roads, including the old cemetery road, in the Cantonment area of the city despite a Supreme Court ruling of 1998 that they should not be closed.

The Christians constantly pleaded with the Army authorities to open the road, but to no avail. Finally, early this year, the community representatives, Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum, Rev. John William of St. Mary Church, and Rev. Dr. Prabhakar Shadrack, District Superintendent of Methodist Churches, Belgaum, filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka High Court.

According to the sources, the PIL was heard on August 29, 2009, by the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, P.D. Dinakaran, and Justice V.G. Sabahit, who issued an interim injunction directing the Army Station Commandant of Belgaum not to erect any fence posts across these roads and “not to alter the character and nature of these roads” leading to the cemetery.

The Christian community has expressed satisfaction over the partial opening of the road and hoped it would be opened fully for funeral services.

Christians have been burying their dead in this cemetery since the time of the British. The closure of the cemetery gates had also put visitors from India and abroad to inconvenience.

Courtesy : SarNews

Six army men injured in grenade blast

Srinagar: Six Indian Army men, one among them critically were injured in a blast in Jammu & Kashmir near LoC. The incident occurred at Balakote area in Mendhar sector of Poonch district on Wednesday.

Sources told Press Bureau of India that an explosive device went off today early morning when the troopers of 11 Kumoun Regiment were cutting bushes around their post Balakote of the Mendhar sector.

Six troopers, one among them suffered serious injuries in the blast. The injured were rushed to at Military Hospital, Rajouri for treatment. However, Lance Naik Kumar, who suffered serious injuries, was removed to Command Hospital Udhampur.

Jammu based, Army PRO, Lt Col Biplab Nath told Press Bureau of India that six troopers were injured in the accidental blast in Balakote area of Mendhar. One among them, he said was shifted to Udhampur hospital for treatment.

“The explosive device went off today morning. Six of our men, sustained injuries in the blast,” Nath added. (PBI) (KASHMIR WATCH).

Indian officials meet today to deal with Chinese incursions

NEW DELHI: After dismissing media reports of Chinese incursions along their disputed border, India’s National Security Adviser MK Narayanan has convened a meeting of senior officials today (Thursday) to formulate an appropriate response to what is widely considered hostile posturing by Beijing.

The meeting, to be chaired by Narayanan, is likely to be attended by Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Home Secretary GK Pillai and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao. Sources said the meeting would scrutinise nature of the Chinese incursions and its wider ramifications for bilateral relations. The meeting comes after reports of a large-scale war game, involving 50,000 troops, launched by the Chinese Army, that is aimed at improving Beijing’s ability to deploy troops in Tibet whenever reinforcements are required. In response, the Indian Army has mobilised its troops to forward posts in Jammu and Kashmir and along the northeast border with China in an exercise named Operation Alert, a senior defence official confirmed on Wednesday. iftikhar gilani (DAILY TIMES)

BHUJ: In a historical development, Indian Army has handed over the possession of historic Bhujio fort, which has been an army base for over 200 years, to the state government. The decision was taken after the fort had become dilapidated with several of its ramparts falling apart post-2001 earthquake in Kutch. Bhujio, which served as army base under British Raj since 1819, was retained by Indian Army as ammunition depot post-independence. Given the damage caused by the quake, the army decided to shift the depot elsewhere and decided to hand over the possession of the fort along with the hill to the government. The formal hand over took place on Monday. "It also marked a historical day in the life of thousands of devotees who were deprived of religious ritual performed at Bhujangdev temple, situated atop the hill. Though army would allow pilgrims to climb the hill during the festival of Nagpanchami once in a year, pilgrims stopped visiting the area after the fort was damaged in the quake," said district collector R R Vasani. "The administration willing to undertake the restoration of fort couldn't do so as the area fell under army's domain. We made a representation before the army in 2001 after the quake, urging it to hand it over to the administration. However, it couldn't materialize, as there was a two-year-long procedure on the proposal. Eventually, the army has handed over the fort to us," Vasani said. Meanwhile, senior officers from Indian Army and district administration carried out the demarcation of area on the hill, painting it with white line from the fort to its entrance on Monday. According to district administration officials, the fort will be thrown open to the public in a day or two. According to history books, Bhuj derives its name from the hill Bhujiyo Dungar. The city was established by Rao Khengarji I, first Rajput rulers of Kutch believed to have come to Bhuj from Sind or northern India. Khengarji I chose the strategic location at the base of the hill Bhujiyo Dungar and named the city as Bhuj in 1548 AD. The city served as the capital of the princely state till 1947 AD. The rulers of Bhuj enjoyed great support from Mughal rulers also. But, after the decline of Mughals, rulers felt the need of security. As a result, the city of Bhuj was fortified. In 1819, the British overtook the fort.

BHUJ: In a historical development, Indian Army has handed over the possession of historic Bhujio fort, which has been an army base for over 200 years, to the state government. The decision was taken after the fort had become dilapidated with several of its ramparts falling apart post-2001 earthquake in Kutch.

Bhujio, which served as army base under British Raj since 1819, was retained by Indian Army as ammunition depot post-independence. Given the damage caused by the quake, the army decided to shift the depot elsewhere and decided to hand over the possession of the fort along with the hill to the government. The formal hand over took place on Monday.

"It also marked a historical day in the life of thousands of devotees who were deprived of religious ritual performed at Bhujangdev temple, situated atop the hill. Though army would allow pilgrims to climb the hill during the festival of Nagpanchami once in a year, pilgrims stopped visiting the area after the fort was damaged in the quake," said district collector R R Vasani.

"The administration willing to undertake the restoration of fort couldn't do so as the area fell under army's domain. We made a representation before the army in 2001 after the quake, urging it to hand it over to the administration. However, it couldn't materialize, as there was a two-year-long procedure on the proposal. Eventually, the army has handed over the fort to us," Vasani said.

Meanwhile, senior officers from Indian Army and district administration carried out the demarcation of area on the hill, painting it with white line from the fort to its entrance on Monday. According to district administration officials, the fort will be thrown open to the public in a day or two.

According to history books, Bhuj derives its name from the hill Bhujiyo Dungar. The city was established by Rao Khengarji I, first Rajput rulers of Kutch believed to have come to Bhuj from Sind or northern India.

Khengarji I chose the strategic location at the base of the hill Bhujiyo Dungar and named the city as Bhuj in 1548 AD. The city served as the capital of the princely state till 1947 AD. The rulers of Bhuj enjoyed great support from Mughal rulers also. But, after the decline of Mughals, rulers felt the need of security. As a result, the city of Bhuj was fortified. In 1819, the British overtook the fort.(TOI)

Indian Army on 'Operation Alert' along China border

The Indian Army has mobilised its troops to forwards posts in Jammu and Kashmir and along the northeastern border with China in an exercise named Operation Alert, a defence official said on Wednesday.
"About 50 per cent troops on the Line of Actual Control have been mobilised to forward posts. The mobilisation would last for nearly a month," a senior Indian Army official told IANS.
The mobilisation of Indian troops has come close on the heels of a high-profile war game launched by the Chinese army. China had deployed close to 50,000 troops in its biggest cross-country tactical mobilisation exercise that has sent alarm bells ringing in India as it is seen as Beijing's efforts to improve its ability to deploy troops in Tibet whenever reinforcements are required.
However, the Indian Army officially refused to term the mobilisation as a counter to the Chinese army's exercise.
"Operation Alert is an annual exercise conducted during this time of the year to undertake the maintenance of the forward posts," another Indian Army official said.
In the past months, there have been several reports of Chinese troops intruding into Indian territory in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir creating anxiety about Beijing's aggressive designs.
The Indian government has, however, sought to play down the incursions, saying these are routine incidents that occur due to differences in perception about the Line of Actual Control.(HINDUSTAN TIMES)

India snubs China, clears Dalai Lama's Arunachal trip

New Delhi: Snubbing Beijing's diktat, New Delhi has cleared the visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh. The Tibetan leader is also expected to visit Tawang which China covets.
China's dismissal of Indian concerns on border intrusions have left South Block troubled and dissatisfied. But now it's China's turn to face a clear snub from a neighbouring nation.
External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna said, "Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India and Dalai Lama is free to go anywhere in India. The only point is that he is not expected to comment on political developments."
Adding insult to the Dragon's injury, the Tibetans said Arunachal is a part of India, warning that China's border violations were provocative.
"The encroachment and insertion in the border area and not only in the northeast but also in the western borders is seen. It is seen particularly in Ladakh as lot of Ladakhi nomads have been disturbed (and it has been noticed) quite at length inside India, they have entered and they have painted even the rocks," said Tibetan leader Samdong Rinpoche.
Although reports of China firing at Indian border guards in Sikkim have been denied, tensions on the border have left some people in Sikkim uneasy about the future.
A local journalist, Arjun Rai said, "In 1962 there was some friction between India and China. So from then onwards we are feeling insecure. Anytime China can attack India."
Of late, China appears to have woken up to the damage to its image. Indian journalists In Beijing, Indian journalists were given a rare briefing where peaceful intentions were reiterated. But the gap between Beijing's words and ground reality remains unresolved.(IBN LIVE)

How the powers-that-be bungled '62 war

As Chinese troops continue their probing actions along the Sino-Indian boundary, the passive response of the government in New Delhi brings to mind the experience of the 1962 border conflict with China, when slogans of Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai deluded the Indian leadership into allowing the Chinese to roll into the plains of Assam.

Subsequently, the leadership in New Delhi did everything to cover the debacle, but if Neville Maxwell’s (the author of India’s China War) comments are anything to go by, then the responsibility for the disaster of 1962, lies with both the political leadership and the military commanders of 1962. These have been highlighted by the Henderson Brooks Report, which remains a strongly guarded document in the vaults of South Block.

But to dispel the common belief, that the report exposes the blunders of the political leadership, and therefore is a closely guarded secret, it must be made clear that it, in fact, looks only at what went wrong militarily. The government of the day clearly did not wish this inquiry to look into high-level policies and plans.

In fact, Lieutenant General Henderson Brooks was clearly directed not to fix responsibility onto specific individuals but the investigation was to look at mundane tactical issues like training, equipment, physical fitness of troops and the role of military commanders! Even the functioning of Army Headquarters was beyond the purview of this investigation, that Brooks, a second-generation British army officer, domiciled in India, from the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment, was asked to undertake.

The report was an unforgiving analysis about the problems along the frontier, discovering along the way what Lieutenant General B M Kaul, regarded by many as a lackey of then defence minister Krishna Menon and the government of the day, would liked to have kept hidden. It laid the blame on Army Headquarters for its direct interference, by bypassing the established chains of command, with deployment of troops on the frontline against the Chinese. The example of the General Staff in Delhi giving orders to the Dhola Post on the Thagla Ridge in then NEFA and now Arunachal Pradesh, was seen as incredible as the order for the charge of light brigade.

But all in all, the report doesn’t have any surprises and the publication of its 200 pages would only undo the myth that the 1962 conflict was a Chinese aggression. A series of studies have, over the years, clearly shown that Indian soldiers were in fact ordered to challenge the Chinese in a military confrontation which it could only lose. And the culprits were at Army Headquarters who, time and again, ordered troops into a forward policy and gave them no hope for a fighting withdrawal, an operation of war — like Lieutenant General B M Kaul, then Chief of General Staff and Brigadier (later Major General) Monty Palit, VrC, then director of Military Operations.

But the investigation, even if it wanted to, had no access to records of meetings in the ministry of defence, since then defence minister Krishna Menon had categorically disallowed any notes or minutes to be kept of his conferences, saying these were top secret in nature.

While the Indian Army has clearly learned its lessons from 1962 debacle, the muted response of India’s politico-diplomatic establishments to China’s brazen muscle flexing from Aksai Chin to Arunachal Pradesh, clearly leaves a lot to be desired. In 1963, Y B Chavan, who took over from Krishna Menon, made a statement in Parliament ascribing the reasons for the debacle to the leadership failures in the Indian Army and the tactical mishandling of troops. He made no mention of the political fumbling that led to India’s humiliation.

Today, India’s military commanders would do well to answer the question: Are they prepared to take the blame for yet another fiasco if the Chinese walk across our frontline, not just to paint a few stones in Ladakh, but perhaps the walls of monastery in Tawang, which they have always claimed?

(Maroof Raza comments on security issues on Times Now) (TOI)