Friday, October 16, 2009

MajGen : Implementation of Supreme Court Orders by CDA

Dear Readers

The link giving out details of implementation of Supreme Court Orders is here

Indian Air Force to meet future needs indigenously

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will fully back indigenous enterprises to develop critical technologies to not only meet its future needs but also to reduce dependency on external sources, its top commander said Thursday.

"There are many critical technologies for which we still remain dependent on external sources. These are obviously very zealously guarded and their denial often impedes our indigenisation plans. We, as a nation, must concentrate on developing local expertise in these critical technologies," IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik said.

"It is time for all to take some bold decisions and I assure you that the Indian Air Force will back indigenous enterprise fully. We have to emerge out of this dependence on foreign technology and develop self reliance," he added while inaugurating a seminar on aerospace technologies here.

"At the moment, we are highly dependent on foreign vendors for a large proportion of our equipment, and changing this situation is the challenge before the Indian industry."

"Our country spends a very large amount of money on defence equipment procurements. If we could tap into a percentage of that outflow, it would greatly benefit our economy and of course, our overall technological infrastructure," Naik maintained.

He said this could be achieved by entering into partnerships and joint ventures involving the domestic industry, which would plough back its profits into the country.

About the future needs of the IAF, Naik said: "The future will see very localised forms of conflict with limited objectives, conducted at a very high intensity. The IAF would seek to dominate the realms of aerospace, information and cyberspace to create a transparent and pliant battle space with a high degree of situational awareness."

"I visualize that the IAF would become a responsive, net-centric force, proactive and capable of harnessing the enormous capabilities of space. I seek real-time control of satellites and greater synergy in joint operations," he added.

At the tactical level, Naik said networking of all assets on a secure data-link in near future would enable the commanders execute campaigns with quicker decision cycles.

Asia's rising powers thrive on maritime capabilities

New Delhi, India — The 21st century is witness to the rise of the economies of India, Japan and China. A fourth economy could be added if the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is considered as a bloc. Although globalization has been the growth engine behind these economies, a large part of their success in this decade has been due to the rise of their maritime capabilities.
Heavy sealift capabilities have enabled these countries to import and export goods globally across the seas using bulk carriers, very large and ultra large crude carriers. The large volume of trade carried on the seas by countries like India, China and Japan required naval protection, which prompted them to invest in building their navies.
Presently, east of the Suez and west of the Pacific, the Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy are naval powers to reckon with. Their respective areas of operations start with the Sea of Japan, which then traverses the South China Sea and then moves into the Indian Ocean.
Also, the sea areas east of Japan up to the international date line, which represents the West Pacific Ocean are of interest to the three naval powers especially considering resources invested in submarine acquisitions.
The U.S. Navy also remains a potent power in these waters but with a rapidly weakening economy and withering interest in overseas deployments, especially after the tumultuous former President George Bush’s term, it is likely to slowly withdraw from the Indian Ocean. The low number of combat ships in its fleet is affecting its abilities worldwide.
In April, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy’s international fleet parade in the eastern port of Qingdao to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding was impressive. A critical analysis of ships, submarines and naval aircraft capabilities reveal that PLAN is capable of defending China’s interests in their littoral waters. However, their SSBN nuclear-powered strategic ballistic missile submarines and SSN attack submarines commissioned into service have not yet been deployed overseas. The SSBN represents the “bastion” strategy while the SSN focuses on the “sea denial” strategy learnt from the War College in Leningrad of the former Soviet Union.
China’s naval missiles on display at the fleet review in April and more recently during the Oct 1, National Day parade in Beijing were new variants. The showpiece DongFeng 21C medium range ballistic naval missile, billed as an anti aircraft carrier missile, was displayed prominently. An analysis of these types of missiles from Soviet times indicates, “Target acquisition will be technically challenging.”
PLAN’s sea denial strategy and the focus on Taiwan were evident in the missiles paraded. But its poor capability in strategic anti-submarine warfare was also noticed. That and the lack of aircraft carrier capability puts PLAN behind China’s land based warfare. The PLAN, in effect, is similar to the former Soviet navy of the 1960s and needs drastic enhancements over the next 50 years to evolve into a sea control strategy.
The Japanese navy euphemistically called the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force due to its constitution adopted after the second world war is actually a very capable conventional service and is a builder’s navy today.
Lately, there has been much though in political circles about enhancing JMSDF’s capabilities, which remain severely hampered. While they provide logistical support to coalition forces, the current rules of engagement preclude developing offensive capabilities.
The new political leadership in Tokyo has to rethink strategy to counter the threat of missile launches by North Korea. As an island nation they perhaps need to study the United Kingdom’s defense debate more closely. As the second largest economy in the world with reserves of US$1.2 trillion, Japan can afford to refashion its maritime strategy.
The Indian Navy is also undergoing a renaissance with strong political support, which has been evident across the political divide since 1980. The change from an overseas acquisition model to indigenous production has been markedly evident. The game changers have been the nuclear submarine program, the aircraft carrier program, indigenous naval missile programs, indigenously launched satellites with naval capabilities and the focus on C4ISR concept -- command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- in service.
The pace of induction however remains an area of concern and improvements in naval diplomacy in the Indian Ocean littoral are sluggish. The change in the rules of engagement has however brought recognition to the service internationally.
A more proactive Indian navy is visible today that provides disaster relief to tsunami-hit areas like Indonesia and conducts anti piracy patrols in the Horn of Africa, Somalia and Kenya. It was also commended for launching its largest-ever civilian evacuation operation overseas, when it rescued over 700 Indians and nationals of other countries from trouble-torn Lebanon in July 2006.
With rising requests for naval assistance by countries in the Indian Ocean region, the Indian navy has placed orders for frigates and offshore patrol vessels. With a strong history of operating in the Indian Ocean since the 1960s, it has a strong reservoir of human talent and tradition, which is an essential ingredient for the rigors of extended naval service.
India’s former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru carefully enunciated the sea control strategy of the navy in the 1950s when he said “To be invincible on land we must be supreme at sea.”
The induction of nuclear tipped K15 missile that can be launched from submarines has stirred a debate. Open source material indicates that the maneuvering ballistic missile has a 45-kiloton fusion-boosted-fission warhead with a circular error probability of 16 meters with a launch radius of around 1,000 kilometers in its present avatar. Most analysts state that this capability makes a mockery of India’s no first use of nuclear weapons status as it can demolish any hardened missile site on land.
The genius of India’s former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is evident in this program, amongst others, as he carefully listened to the user naval service requirements when presented to him. As this program is into its next phase, the range of this missile is reportedly being more than doubled and fitted with Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle capability.
The Indian Navy would be operating three aircraft carriers by 2015 and Sea Harriers, MIG 29KUB and Naval Light Combat Aircrafts will operate from the ships. The land based Long Range Maritime Patrol Anti Submarine Warfare aircraft of the navy will soon be on the Boeing 737 platform. Eight such aircrafts built to U.S. naval standards will arrive in the Indian navy’s arsenal. More intelligent systems are under the anvil.
The new Asian century has commenced with the three largest economies building maritime capabilities in both civil and military spheres. This has been possible due to the shift of economic gravity to Asia. An area of concern for China and Japan is the ageing population vis-à-vis India’s under 30 profiles.
Truly, the wheel of time has brought Asia back into the reckoning at a time when hard-core colonialists, communists and now capitalists have been rendered “hors de combat.” Interesting times are afoot.
(Captain Devindra Sethi is an alumnus of India's National Defense Academy, the College of Defense Management, the College of Naval Warfare, and the War College in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is a successful entrepreneur in the maritime industry and fluent in English, Russian and Hindi. ©Copyright Devindra Sethi.) 

India takes off against 'Red Taliban'

BANGALORE - India's Maoists have signaled they are not intimidated by the government's tough new attempt to tackle them. In a series of attacks on government infrastructure and police personnel over the past week, they have indicated that they intend to push on with their violent campaign against the Indian state.

The Maoists went on a rampage early this week in the northern states of Bihar and Jharkhand, setting ablaze a railway office after taking eight officials hostage, blowing up railway tracks, digging up roads and destroying telecom towers. They also set alight buses and trucks, blew up a school and blockaded highways.

The violence was part of their aim to impose a two-day shutdown in the two states to protest the federal government's campaign to put them down by force.

And in Maharashtra, which went to the polls to elect a new assembly on Tuesday, Maoists disrupted voting in Gadchiroli district. Earlier they abducted and beheaded a Jharkhand police inspector and followed that up with an ambush that left 17 policemen dead in the dense forests of Gadchiroli.

Hours after the ambush at Gadchiroli, the federal cabinet gave its nod to a plan for a coordinated offensive against Maoists in an arc extending from Andhra Pradesh through the states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa.

Some 75,000 federal paramilitary forces along with personnel drawn from the state police will carry out the offensive against the Maoists. Six districts in the worst hit states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Maharashtra will be the focus of the operations initially. The offensive is likely to be launched in November, according to Home Ministry officials.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly described the threat posed by the Maoists as India's "greatest internal security threat". The Maoists wield influence in 20 of India's 28 states. "Over 2,000 police station areas in 223 districts in these states are partially or substantially affected by the [Maoist] menace," Home Minister P Chidambaram declared recently. In June this year, the main Maoist party in the country, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) (CPI-M) was declared a terrorist group.

While the government has ruled out deployment of the Indian army in operations against the Maoists, it is likely that elite special forces will be deployed here. More importantly, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to find itself drawn into a new role.

IAF choppers are currently used to drop security personnel and to evacuate the injured. They are used in surveillance and search and rescue operations. But soon they could be engaged in fighting, albeit only in "self-defense".

Ruling out "Rambo-style offensives against the Maoists", Air Chief Marshal P V Naik said that he has requested the government grant the IAF permission to fire "in self-defense" if its choppers or crew operating in Maoist areas come under attack. It does seem that the request will be granted.

The request for opening retaliatory fire on the Maoists comes in the wake of the Maoists firing at an Mi-8 helicopter in November last year in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region killing an IAF sergeant and an Mi-17 chopper coming under fire in April in Gadchiroli.

If the IAF is permitted to fire at Maoists even if only in "self-defense", it will mark a significant change in India's counter-insurgency strategy.

India has used significant military force to quell insurgencies. But it has refrained from using aerial bombing or heavy artillery in fighting insurgencies, with the aerial bombing of Mizo rebel camps in the late 1960s to combat the Mizo insurgency being the only exception.

That is now poised to change.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will provide the IAF and the ground forces with technical support. According to a report in Indian Express, ISRO's radar-imaging satellite (RISAT-2), which the space agency launched in April this year, will "provide images even in the thick jungles, enabling them to carry out surgical strikes on the ground".

While some have welcomed the action plan as long overdue, others are pointing to the dangers ahead. Aerial operations, even defensive ones, will result in civilian deaths. "When ground forces are unable to distinguish between rebels and civilians, it is unlikely that IAF personnel high in the skies, even with the aid of satellite images, will be able to do so," points out a retired officer of the Greyhounds, an elite anti-Maoist police force in Andhra Pradesh.

"The Maoists will carry out attacks to provoke the IAF into engaging in increasingly heavy firing," he warned. Not only will the air operations take the bloodletting in India's "Red Corridor" to a new level, but also "the use of conventional war tactics against the guerrillas does not work", he told Asia Times Online. "It will only deepen civilian anger with the Indian state and increase support for the Maoists."

India has no one to blame but itself for the rise and growth of the Maoists. Unlike violence by groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, both tagged with the terrorist label and whose attacks the government can attribute to Pakistan's support, the roots of the Maoists lie squarely in India, in the failure of the Indian state to address extreme poverty in vast stretches of rural India.

Maoist violence is no doubt brutal. It has laid bare the callousness of the Indian state, its failure to deliver good governance and to respond to the plight of the poorest and most marginalized sections of its population.

Analysts are cautioning the government against excessive focus on military methods to deal with a problem that is primarily political.

Recently, Chidambaram said he wanted Maoist-controlled areas to be liberated before any development programs could be launched there. There is concern that this "crackdown first, development later" is wrongly sequenced given the fact that it is the absence of development that has resulted in the emergence and growth of Maoism in the first place. "Development efforts should be an important part of the strategy to defeat them [Maoists]," points out an editorial in Deccan Herald. "To think that they can follow the campaign is to put the cart before the horse."

Mahendra Kumavat, a retired director-general of the Border Security Force who had over a decade's experience in fighting Maoists in the Andhra-Orissa-Chhattisgarh, area says that "the government is going to lose more hearts and minds to the Maoists if it forges ahead with a strike policy that brings nothing but bloodshed and disruption to people in the affected zones". It is "going to multiply our problems, not solve them", he warned.

As India prepares to unleash a war against its own citizens, a campaign is underway to discredit the Maoists. And what better way than to draw parallels with the Taliban? Media reports have described the beheading of the Jharkhand cop as a "Taliban-style killing", while the Maoists were referred to as the "Red Taliban".

Interestingly, this is not the first time that Maoists have decapitated their victims. Ajay Sahni, executive director of the New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management argues "it was common for Naxalites [as Maoists are often called in India] of various hues to 'shorten' a man by a foot, 'from the top'. Over the past years, after the formation of the CPI (Maoist), there have been several such incidents [of beheading]."

None of these beheadings were described as "Taliban-style beheadings". It is only after the government decided to take on the Maoists head-on that such analogies have emerged in the media.

Home Ministry officials seem excessively optimistic about the new offensive. "We hope that within 30 days of security forces moving in and dominating the area, we should be able to restore civil administration there," Home Secretary G K Pillai said last week.

Many in India do not think so.

The Maoists might melt away when confronted by the might of the Indian state but they will return to strike back. The Maoists in an earlier avatar were brutally crushed by the Indian state in the early 1960s. They regrouped in subsequent years.

They have indicated that they intend to inflict heavy losses. Describing themselves as "respectable citizens and patriots", they have appealed to the IAF to "not strike at sons and daughters of the soil".

Should the IAF do so, they would "teach the center [the federal government] a lesson that no other revolutionary force has taught them".

"Be prepared for a befitting retribution," the Maoists have warned.

Indian and U.S. Soldiers Find Similarity in the Classroom

CAMP BUNDELA, India – Similarities and a common effort became apparent to participants of Yudh Abhyas 09 once the U.S. and Indian armies began their training for the annual bilateral field training exercise – both on and off the field.

Tactics, Techniques and Procedures were the focus of a series of informational exchanges, in the form of classes and demonstrations, from both armies, which will occur daily during the two-week exercise.

"It's great to get to learn different ways to do things because we all have to be agile leaders in this Army, and it gives us more tools to conduct our jobs," said U.S. Army Maj. Paul Armstrong, squadron operations officer, 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, "Strykehorse," 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "Despite the fact each army may have a different approach to the same problem; we always end up with a solution that works."

Armstrong coordinated the training between the Indian army's 7th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 31st Armored Division, 94th Armored Brigade, and the Strykehorse battalion.

According to Armstrong, the classes, which included subjects as varied as medical, logistics and intelligence, were collaboration between both armies, with various Subject Matter Experts brought in from both forces.

"The Indian army had an expert come in from (New) Delhi to give a (United Nations) Peace Keeping class, among many others," said Armstrong.

The U.S. Army is also bringing in three experts to teach as well, Armstrong added.

In addition, Soldiers from both participating units were able to demonstrate their individual methods for similar challenges, such as cordon and search and evacuating a casualty.

"Watching the Indian (Casualty Evacuation) training, they had a different number of people with each casualty than we would for casualty evacuation training, but otherwise, it was almost the same," said Pvt. 1st Class James Durand, medic, Troop B, Strykehorse battalion.

Durand also noted a significant difference in the level of education between the US and Indian Army medics.

"They actually have a degree in pharmacology, so they're definitely far more trained in medicine than we are, but the actions taken for casualty evacuation didn't seem much different."

Armstrong expressed satisfaction with the informational exchange. "This is a good method to exchange in professional learning with our Indian partners," he said. "Through this program, we've realized the high level of professionalism the Indian army's enlisted soldiers and officers have, and we've also gained a high degree of respect for Indian army."

Associated Images

BNHS book salutes army's role in nature conservation

The Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor released a book titled Natural History and the Indian Army, published by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) on October 5 at New Delhi.

This 260-page coffee table book (the 4th book by BNHS in this category) has been co-edited by Lieut General Baljit Singh (Retd) and JC Daniel. The book has BNHS journals from the British era and the post-independence period.

Speaking at the function, General Kapoor thanked the BNHS for bringing out such a wonderful compilation of articles and photographs depicting the army's contribution to conservation and research in natural history over the past 225 years.

BNHS director, Asad Rahmani lauded the efforts of the army over the years in documenting and preserving the natural heritage of India across the length and breadth of the country.

Every house in this village boasts of an armyman

MADURAI: If the thought of an armyman typically ratchets up the image of a burly north Indian, a trip down south might take you by surprise.

The playground in Perumalthevanpatti, a hamlet about eight km from Srivilliputtur in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, doesn’t have swings, slides and see-saws; instead boys work out on ropes and bars to build up their bodies, get fit and enter the army. For, most youths in the village dream of entering the Indian army as jawans and working their way up the ranks. Every family in this village has at least one son in the army, and young girls only wish to marry men from the armed forces.

It is said the seeds of patriotism were sown in this little village with just 750 houses by a young man, Perumal, who left home to join the army in 1952. He rose to the rank of a Major and when he came back home in 1962, stories about his travels and experiences spread among his friends, relatives and neighbours, most of whom practised agriculture and reared cattle. The joy of serving the country soon spread. Since then, say villagers, at least four young men have been joining the army every year.

Perumal’s son, Major P Thirumal, too, is now serving on the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir. Men from here have served in various regiments in the Kargil war and were part of the peace-keeping force sent to Sri Lanka, says ex-serviceman Parasuram, who lost his left leg and hand when he stepped on a mine in Sri Lanka. At present, 375 people from this village are serving in the army. And there are 522 ex-servicemen, who are working as watchmen and drivers in the government transport service.

Most youngsters have just one aim—to enroll in the army after class X. "It’s not that we don’t want to become scholars, doctors and engineers, but the thought that we should serve the nation from the front is engraved in our minds and that is what we want to do," says B Gokulkannan (37), who has a brother and an uncle in the army and dreams of joining up himself.

Young girls too regard men serving in the armed forces as the most eligible for marriage. "That is the only condition we lay down before marriage," says 22-year-old Lakshmi Meenal. Kavitha (32) who married R Balaji three months ago is awaiting his return from the J&K border.

As soon as aggression or hostilities break out in any part of the country, the women queue up outside the Arulmigu Mariamman temple in the village and offer prayers. "We place holy ash in a small piece of cloth and tie it up. The knot is undone when the men return home," says Rajammal (70).

Many of the elderly are war veterans who have harrowing, hair-raising stories to tell. Like 71-year-old R Gopal who fought in the Indo-China and the Pakistan and Bangladesh wars. "Towards the end of the Chinese war, we were told to try and escape, so 19 of us trekked up and down the Himalayas for 10 days surviving only on tea," he says. Only seven finally reached the military camp in Ladakh, and three of them had to have their legs amputated due to extreme cold weather. He is a recipient of the long service award as he served in the military for 21 years from 1956 to 1977.

But despite the courage and patriotism, the government has turned a blind eye on these villagers. "Children have to go to till Srivilliputtur or Rajapalayam for school and pensioners make a 10-km journey for their pension. If we had a good school, our children could go for higher education," says Gokulkannan.

India, Russia to launch fifth generation fighter jets

: India and Russia will launch the joint fifth generation fighters by year end and have agreed to collaborate to develop heavy lift cargo helicopters and futuristic infantry combat vehicles.

The path for more hi-tech defence collaboration between Moscow and New Delhi was paved with the signing of the joint defence protocol by Defence Minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov.

The protocol extends military interaction between the two countries till 2020 and this is expected to make the path clear for inking more major defence joint ventures during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in early December.

The protocol was signed here at the end of 9th session of India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on military-technical cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) after assurances from Moscow that all pending issues like the delivery of aircraft carrier Gorshkov and nuclear submarine Nerpa would be resolved at the earliest.

The protocol provides for completion of formalities by the year end to launch the joint designing, development and production of fifth generation fighter aircraft project.

Besides the development of a state-of-the-art multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) through a joint venture along the lines of highly successful BrahMos JV, India and Russia have also agreed to jointly develop a heavy lift cargo helicopter and futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV).

A joint statement released after the meeting said that India and Russia will collaborate in up-gradation of IAF's main strike fighter Su-30MKI, the older Mig-27 and T-72M1 battle tanks.

It said that the two sides had also worked out the production in India of Main Battle Tanks (MBT) T-90S with full technology transfer.

In his closing statement at the 9th session of IRIGC-MTC - the apex body for coordination of defence cooperation, Antony announced that both sides have agreed to extend their military interaction programme till 2020 and the concrete projects would be identified shortly for signing during Singh's Moscow visit in December.

"On many other issues, including the Admiral Gorshkov project, we have agreed to continue discussions to find mutually acceptable solutions," Antony said expressing confidence that all the pending issues would be resolved at the earliest.

New Delhi and Moscow have also agreed to ink an inter-government pact on after sales and product support, so far the weakest link in defence cooperation with Moscow.

"This agreement should also be signed during the forthcoming summit," Antony said.

Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who is the co-chairman of the inter-governmental commission said, "some extra measures," have been taken to eliminate problems, in an apparent reference to delay in delivery of the Gorshkov and nuclear powered Nerpa submarine.

The Russian Minster said, unlike ties with other countries, Indo-Russian defence ties related to hi-technology.

"Our cooperation has confidently moved from buyer-seller relationship to joint research, development and production of hi-tech weapon systems and platforms," he said.

Describing his discussions and meetings with Kremlin top brass as "constructive, free and frank," Antony said that the two countries now had better appreciation of each others position on various issues.

"Both sides have identified a wide range of areas for future cooperation, including joint research, development and production of defence equipment and systems," the Indian Defence Minister said.

Amendments to Armed Forces Act are ready, says Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram
SRINAGAR: The amendments to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) are ready and they will be submitted to the Cabinet soon, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said on Wednesday.
He was addressing the All-India Editors’ Conference on Social and Infrastructure Issues, which concluded here.
However, he clarified that the amendments would be applicable to the entire country and not to Jammu and Kashmir alone.
Blaming Pakistan for continuing its support to militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Chidambaram said: “They [Pakistan] are training and brainwashing the youth to create mayhem in India, and there is no let-up in their support to militancy.” However, thanks to the tremendous work done by security forces, there was a marked change in the security scenario, he said. The number of violent incidents in the first nine months this year stood at 395, the lowest during the period in the past 8-9 years, he said.
He attributed the violence in the State to infiltration from across the international border and the Line of Control. Better systems to check infiltration had been put in place, and consequently there was a dip in the violence.
Mr. Chidambaram denied that there was any agreement with Pakistan on real-time information.
On the developmental front, he said mechanisms had been created to expedite the execution of projects under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan. A Group of Secretaries, led by the Cabinet Secretary, recently visited the State and reviewed the progress of the works. The Secretaries of individual departments would visit the State next month to hold discussions with the State government and to make field visits. This would be followed by another visit by the Cabinet Secretary in February next year. “More and more Ministers should be encouraged to visit Jammu and Kashmir regularly.”
Mirwaiz’s stand Welcoming Mr. Chidambaram’s statement that the government recognised there were different shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir and that it would hold consultations with all sections, Hurriyat Conference (moderate) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that besides talks between Srinagar and New Delhi, dialogue between India and Pakistan was a must. Mr. Chidambaram’s statement was a welcome change in the mindset of Delhi as he maintained that Kashmir was a political problem and needed an honourable solution, the Mirwaiz told The Hindu over the phone.
The Mirwaiz said the Hurriyat was for a meaningful dialogue and not a photo opportunity. “While we will also work for building a consensus, the government of India should also do so in the country to give credence to such a process,” he said.
The Mirwaiz welcomed the amendments proposed in the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, saying it would pave the way for relief to the people in State and it should be followed by reducing the troops in Jammu and Kashmir.
Expressing scepticism over Mr. Chidambaram’s statement on resuming talks, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said there was nothing new in it. He said a solution to the Kashmir issue lay in tripartite talks aimed at giving the right of self-determination to the people of the State.
Reaching out Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has reached out to the media and civil society in a big way.
The initiative coincided with the All-India Editors’ Conference. The conference, opened by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday, was addressed by Mr. Chidambaram, Farooq Abdullah, Salman Khurshid and Ambika Soni.
Ms. Soni met representatives of the media and civil society to find out their difficulties. She held a meeting with representatives of the Kashmir Press Association. Ms. Soni said she would look into the issues facing the media.
KPA president Ghulam Hassan Kaloo termed the meeting fruitful. “She was very positive, and we are happy that the Minister gave us a room to put forth our problems,” he told The Hindu.
“This is for the first time the government of India has reached out to us through an institutionalised mechanism, and we hope to see good results,” he said.
“She gave us a patient hearing, and whatever we projected before her she assured that her Ministry will look at those issues,” said Aziz Hajini, president of Adbee Markaz Kamraz, the oldest and biggest federation of cultural and literary organisations.
Javaid Rahi, national secretary of the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, too, hopes to get a better deal from the Ministry for the Gojri language.
The conference also seemed a huge success, as there was a large participation by the local media. “We are keen on expanding our activities in the State and will help the media in the State,” Neelam Kapoor, Principal Director-General of the Press Information Bureau, said.

India's `hegemony' is a threat, says China daily

India's "hegemony" poses a threat to its neighbours, says a premier Chinese daily, citing India's "recent provocation on border issues with China" as proof.
In an opinion piece, the People's Daily says, "In recent years, Indians have become more narrow minded and intolerable of outside criticism as nationalism sentiment rises, with some of them even turning to hegemony. "It can be proved by India's recent provocation on border issues with China.''
The newspaper, which is the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, says that India's hegemony "is a hundred percent result of British colonialism. Dating back to the era of British India, the country covered a vast territory including present-day India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh as well as Nepal.''
A previous victim of colonialism and hegemony, it said, India started dreaming about developing its own hegemony after the British left.
"Obsessed with such mentality, India turned a blind eye to the concessions China had repeatedly made over the disputed border issues, and refused to drop the pretentious airs when dealing with neighbours like Pakistan.''
To bolster its argument, the newspaper says that even Jawaharlal Nehru had once said that "India could not play an inferior role in the world, and it should either be a superpower or disappear.'
Calling the dream of being a superpower held by Indians "impetuous", the daily says, "The dream of superpower is mingled with the thought of hegemony, which places the South Asian giant in an awkward situation and results in repeated failure.
Since India has constantly been under foreign rule, the newspaper said, "the essence for the rise of India lies in how to be an independent country, to learn to solve the complicated ethnic and religious issues, to protect the country from terrorist attacks, to boost economic development as well as to put more efforts on poverty alleviation.''
But India's hegemonic designs face geopolitical limitation. "It has the Himalaya mountain to its north, a natural barrier for northward expansion; it has Pakistan to the west, a neighbour it is always at odds over the disputed border issues,'' the article says.
Blaming India for pursuing a foreign policy of "befriend the far and attack the near", it said, "It engaged in the war separately with China and Pakistan and the resentment still simmers. If India really wants to be a superpower, such a policy is shortsighted and immature.''
If India wants to be a superpower, the daily said, it needs to have "its eyes on relations with neighbours and abandon the recklessness and arrogance as the world is undergoing earthshaking changes.
"For India, the ease of tension with China and Pakistan is the only way to become a superpower.''
It said China is "proactively engaging in negotiations with India for the early settlement of border dispute and India should give a positive response".


It is an accepted norm that when bilateral negotiations are on, the conflicting parties do maintain the status quo. Two decades after the
Shameem Faizee
Shameem Faizee, Secretary, National Council, CPI
Sino-Indian border clashes, during Rajiv Gandhi’s premiership, India and China agreed to make a new beginning to resolve all disputes between the two countries.

The basic principle of restarting the negotiations was that the two sides will concentrate on confidence-building measures and will not rake up the more complicated issues like the border dispute. It worked well for over two decades and the two sides built an atmosphere of mutual confidence. In a much better situation, the two countries appointed high-ranking representatives to resolve the border dispute. The 13th round of talks resulted in considerable progress.

Unfortunately, during this period China did not strictly adhere to the norm of maintaining status quo. On several occasions, it issued statements that did threaten the shattering of confidence. The latest is the statement on the PM’s visit to election-bound Arunachal Pradesh. In the interest of retaining mutual confidence, China should have avoided its belated statement.

But that does not justify the China-bashing campaign conducted by a certain section of the Indian media. During the last two-three months, certain sections of the media, both electronic and print, have attempted to create an anti-China hysteria. Cooked-up stories of border violations were flashed up. The campaign reached absurd levels. It was so ferocious that the government had to threaten the journalists indulging in it of legal action.

After the government’s threat the campaign subsided for a while. Now the statement of the Chinese foreign ministry on Arunachal Pradesh has provided a fresh weapon to these China baiters. There seems to be a certain lobby, most probably the arms manufacturers of the developed countries, who are interested in promoting hostilities between India and China.

The two countries are incidentally the most promising ones in economic development. That is another aspect that needs to be kept in mind while taking a position on the present controversy. It will be in the larger interest of the two countries to avoid such controversies and concentrate on confidence building measures.