Jan 17, 2003
India, Myanmar Discuss Defense Cooperation
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI
Myanmar and India will discuss closer military ties during the Jan. 19 visit of Myanmar’s Foreign Minister U Win Aung to New Delhi, the first such visit in 15 years. Aung will meet with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha, said an official of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has cleared some of the military requests of Myanmar, but the final nod will be needed by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
The Indian MoD is favorably inclined to allow India’s defense industry to accept a contract from Myanmar to overhaul, maintain and upgrade 10 MiG-29 aircraft bought from Russia for $130 million between 1998 and 2001, a ministry official said. But ties with Myanmar’s military junta must improve before military-to-military relations do, the official said.
Indo-Myanmar military ties have been chilled by the latter’s purchase of Chinese weapons and its reported establishment of a naval and intelligence base. The Indian government has said in private that the Myanmar government has been supporting some insurgent groups operating in India’s northeast.
Jan 10, 2003
Indian Navy Prefers Rafales To Equip Carrier
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI
The Indian Navy has stated its preference for the French Rafale M fighter aircraft over the MiG-29K to equip the aircraft carrier it is negotiating for with Russia.
But some observers say the Navy’s move could be a negotiating tactic in the carrier talks, which have been stalled for than a year, and that such a deal would take years to conclude.
The Navy needs a fighter to equip the Adm. Gorshkov aircraft carrier it plans to acquire. Moscow and New Delhi continue to wrangle over the price tag to refit the carrier to Indian Navy specifications, and the deal has been stalled for more than a year.
The Navy said it preferred the more expensive Rafale M, made by Dassault Aviation, Saint Cloud, France, the week of Jan. 6 because it better fits the service’s requirements and does not need to be reconfigured for air combat operations, a senior Indian Navy official said Jan. 7. A Defence Ministry official said Jan. 7 the service would initially buy eight Rafale Ms.
Lyubov Pronina in Moscow and Pierre Tran in Paris contributed to this report. See full story in the Jan. 13, 2003, issue of Defense News.
Jan 03, 2003
New Centrifuge Simulators To Ease Indian Pilot-Error Crashes
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI
The Indian government has approved funds for its Air Force’s purchase of a simulator that will allow fighter pilots to train under conditions mimicking nine times the normal force of gravity.
The allocation of funds for a human centrifuge simulator was finalized during the Nov. 10 defense finance midyear review meeting, a Defence Ministry official said Dec. 20. The simulator will be purchased immediately after the 2003 defense budget is released in March.
The Air Force dispatched a team of simulator experts to the United States in mid-September to evaluate the system. The service is negotiating with two U.S. companies to purchase a human centrifuge simulator for about $25 million, added the official, who declined to disclose the names of the U.S. firms.
Acquisition of a human centrifuge simulator will help Indian pilots attain full control of adverse conditions caused by excessive gravitational forces and counter them while flying combat aircraft, said Air Vice Marshal Satish Kumar Dham, the Air Force’s director-general of medical services. Dham said in an interview Dec. 20 that the need for such a simulator is urgent be-cause the service will be acquiring more complex aircraft.
Contact Vivek Raghuvanshi at firstname.lastname@example.org. See the full story in the Jan. 6-12, 2003, issue of Defense News.
President Signs National Defense Authorization Act
Vice President's Remarks at Air National Guard Conference
2:30 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. (Applause.) Thank you, all. Please be seated. (Applause.) Please be seated.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your candor. Thank you -- you're doing a fabulous job on behalf of the American people. It's an honor for me to be here today with the leaders of our military, the good folks who are serving our country, to sign the 2003 Defense Authorization bill.
We're a nation at war. America must understand we're at war. But those who wear the uniform must understand how proud all of America is for your service to our great country. On behalf of a grateful nation, I'm here to thank you.
Our military is making good progress in this war. We've liberated an oppressed and friendless people. We're hunting down the terrorists all across the globe. We're performing our missions with speed and skill. You have the strong, united support of this great land. And this bill should reflect the strong and united support of the United States Congress.
And I want to thank the members of the Congress who are here on stage, Senator Warner and Congressman Duncan Hunter. And members of the Senate and the Congress who are with us, I want to thank you for your good work on this important legislation.
I appreciate so very much all those who work in the Secretary's office who worked hard on this bill. I want to thank the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs who are here, and the Vice Chairmen are with us, and those who represent the enlisted personnel of our military.
Most of all, I want to say a word about Bob Stump. Chairman Stump, who couldn't be with us today, distinguished Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who has served our nation well. He's a dedicated public servant who has decided to retire. And as the Secretary said, this bill is appropriately named for this fine American. We will miss him, and we wish Bob and his family all the very best.
I want to thank the service secretaries who are here with us. And I want to thank you all for coming.
The legislation I sign this afternoon was passed by Congress in a remarkable spirit of unity. It sets priorities of our Defense Department in a critical, critical period for our country. Our country has unprecedented challenges, and we're facing them with unmatched technology, careful planning and the finest traditions of valor.
We're rewarding the service and sacrifice of our military families with higher pay, improved facilities and better housing. We're procuring the best weapons we possibly can and the best equipment, while adding funds for operations and maintenance, as well. We're investing in missile defenses and all new technologies we need to gain every advantage -- every advantage -- in the battlefields of the future.
And since intelligence is playing a critical role in our ability to achieve military victory, this new law creates a new high-level position within the Department of Defense called the Under Secretary for Intelligence.
This generation of Armed Forces has been given two difficult tasks, fighting and winning a war; and at the same time, transforming our military to win the new kind of war. In the first stages of our fight against terror, we've already seen the future face of warfare, forces that are more agile and mobile and lethal -- along with weapons that are smarter and tactics that are more inventive. These priorities are reflected in this year's budget. You'll see them reflected in every military budget I submit and sign as your President.
America's military is strong. And that's the way it should be. Our nation and the world are safer that way. Now and in the future, we will maintain a military that is second to none. And the greatest strength of America's military is the cause we all serve. That cause is freedom in a world at peace. Today that cause is being challenged by determined enemies. And we will not rest and we will not relent until our freedom is secure.
Our troops in Afghanistan remain engaged in a difficult and dangerous mission. We're hunting down trained killers. And that's all they are -- nothing but a bunch of cold-blooded killers. We're destroying their weapons. The Secretary reports to me in the White House that day after day, we're finding giant caches of weapons which we're destroying. And while we hunt them down -- hunt the killers down, we'll continue to help the Afghan people, as they work to build lives of dignity and lives of security. Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for hijackers and bomb-makers and assassins. Thanks to the United States military, the terrorist training camps are closed. Many terrorists have met their fate in the caves and mountains of Afghanistan. Others are now in custody.
Yet we know that many terrorists are still at large. They hide and they plot in over 60 different countries. We face an enemy that's attacked cities in America, embassies and airplanes in Africa, ships in the Gulf, tourists in Bali. This enemy lives like a parasite. They plot in shadows. They prey on failed states. And they ally themselves with outlawed regimes.
Defeating this enemy requires fighting a different kind of war, what we call the first war of the 21st century. We're pursuing the terrorists wherever they dwell. It doesn't matter where they -- where they hide, we're after them, one by one. We follow them wherever they run. They think they can run; they can't run far enough from the long arm of justice of the United States. We're freezing their finances. We're disrupting their plots. We're killing them or capturing them, one person at a time. That's how you win the first war of the 21st century -- a war we are going to win. (Applause.)
Some of the successes in this war will make headlines, and sometimes you won't even know about it. But all the terrorists can be certain of this: Their hour of justice will come. And that hour has already arrived for an increasing number of field generals of the terrorist army. Recently, we took a guy named al Nashiri into custody. Until last month he was the top al Qaeda operative, the top al Qaeda leader in the Gulf region. He was plotting and planning. But today this much is certain -- he won't be executing any more attacks against the United States and our friends like the attack he mastermind against the USS Cole.
Success in the war on terror will only come by taking every measure to protect innocent people from sudden and catastrophic violence. And we must oppose the threat of such violence from any source. We oppose the terror network and all who harbor and support the terrorists. And we oppose a uniquely dangerous regime that possesses the weapons of mass murder, has used those weapons, and could supply those weapons to terrorist networks.
Saddam Hussein's regime has a long history of aggression against his neighbors and hostility towards America. It has a long history of ties to terrorists. The dictator has a long history of seeking biological and chemical and nuclear weapons -- even while U.N. inspectors were present in his country. Now the world has told him the game is over. The U.N. Security Council, the NATO Alliance and the United States are united -- Saddam Hussein will fully disarm himself of weapons of mass destruction. And if he does not, the United States will lead a coalition to disarm him.
As the U.N. weapons inspections process gets underway, we must remember that inspections will not -- will only work -- will only work if Iraq fully complies. You see, the inspectors are not in Iraq to play hide and seek with Mr. Saddam Hussein. Inspectors do not have the duty or the ability to uncover terrible weapons hidden in a vast country. The responsibility of inspectors is simply to confirm the evidence of voluntary and total disarmament. It is Saddam Hussein who has the responsibility to provide that evidence as directed, and in full. Any act of delay, deception, or defiance will prove that Saddam Hussein has not adopted the path of compliance and has rejected the path of peace.
In the inspections process, the United States will be making one judgment: Has Saddam Hussein changed his behavior of the last 11 years? Has he decided to cooperate willingly and comply completely, or has he not? So far the signs are not encouraging. A regime that fires upon American and British pilots is not taking the path of compliance. A regime that sends letters filled with protests and falsehoods is not taking the path of compliance.
On or before the 8th of December, Iraq must provide a full and accurate declaration of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. That declaration must be credible and complete, or the Iraqi dictator will have demonstrated to the world once again that he has chosen not to change his behavior.
Americans seek peace in this world. We're a peaceful nation. War is the last option for confronting threats. Yet the temporary peace of denial and looking away from danger would only be a prelude to broader war and greater horror. America will confront gathering dangers early, before our options become limited and desperate. By showing our resolve today, we are building a future of peace.
In the decisions and missions to come, our military will carry the values of America and the hopes of the world. The people of Iraq, like all human beings, deserve their freedom. And the people of Afghanistan -- with the help of the United States Armed Forces -- have gained their freedom.
One guardsman from Florida tells of meeting a member of the new Afghan national army. This Afghan soldier said he enlisted to honor the memory of this brother who was killed by the Taliban, and to ensure that his own son would live in freedom. The Florida guardsman wrote home that "being here makes me realize that people are giving up their lives to have a fraction of the freedoms we take for granted." He said taking -- "talking to one soldier made me realize how lucky I am to have been born in the United States of America."
"I'm honored to have met an Afghan patriot," he wrote. Every time I visit this building or any American base around the world, I'm honored to meet American patriots. The men and women of our military bring credit to our flag and security to our country. On behalf of the American people I thank you for all you've done, for all you will do in the cause of freedom and the cause of peace.
And now I'm pleased to sign the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003. (Applause.)
(The bill is signed.) (Applause.)
END 2:55 P.M. EST
Medium-range anti-aircraft missile Akash tested successfully
Press Trust of India
Balasore (Orissa), January 18: The medium-range surface-to-air missile Akash was successfully test-fired from the interim test range at Chandipur-on-Sea, about 15 km from here. Defence sources said the indigenously built sophisticated multi-target missile was test fired from a mobile launcher at 3.25pm.
The missile, which has a range of 25 km, is one of the five missiles under various stages of development by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Akash, a sleek 650 kg missile, has the capability of carrying a 50 kg payload and uses the integrated two-stage Ramjet propulsion technology.
The missile, which has undergone several flight trials earlier, could be put on "user's trial" soon, the sources said.
The DRDO was developing the Rajendra radar and the anti-aircraft missile Akash to build a reliable air defence shield, a defence scientist said.
Express India 18 Jan03
Insurgencies build to a pitch, until liberal constitutionalism absorbs them
Rebellion’s learning curve
Express India 18Jan03
Last Saturday’s National Interest (‘India’s most important NRIs’) has evoked a sizeable response. As an honorary Northeasterner (I had a three-year tour of duty there with this newspaper at the height of the trouble from 1981 to 1983), I am pleasantly surprised people still care.
A whole generation of Indians has now come up without having seen the names of Phizo and Laldenga in their headlines. How many would even remember that the anti-foreigner movement in Assam had successfully blockaded the flow of its oil to the rest of India?
Many readers have also raised an interesting question about my argument that separatist movements follow a predictable curve in India. Rebellions rise to a peak but meanwhile the state power is found equal to the challenge.
At some point on this curve, the rebels realise that no matter what the score on the ground in terms of bodies, what the collateral damage, the dream of separatism is not going to be achieved. It is at this point that they are willing to settle. This is where the flexibility of our politics, the accommodation of our liberal constitutionalism, comes so handy.
The answer, first of all, is that this theory has stood the test of time and diversity. It worked, for example, in Assam first. The movement peaked, not when the oil blockade and public protests were at their peak in 1980, but in 1983 when Indira Gandhi rammed through an election which the movement led by Prafulla Mahanta and Bhrigu Phukan opposed.
People’s boycott of the election in the Brahamaputra valley was total. In some constituencies not even 10 votes were cast despite an electoral bandobast the kind of which this country had never seen — neither in the past nor subsequently, except in the 2002 Kashmir elections.
Seven thousand people were killed in a fortnight of massacres, as Hiteswar Saikia’s Congress government was installed with voting percentages lower than any seen in the Kashmir Valley.
Yet it was here that the rebel leaders, instead of smelling victory, came to realise that there was no way New Delhi was going to concede anything under pressure. This was the critical point on the curve.
Negotiations began and it was a matter of time before constitutional liberalism and political flexibility enabled Rajiv Gandhi to make perfectly acceptable concessions. Mahanta and Phukan won power in a 1985 election where the slogan was ‘Congress murdabad, Rajiv zindabad’. The Assamese were back in the mainstream.
The Northeast gives us two more clear cases of how well this theory works. Mere military might or state power can’t solve the problem. But it convinces everybody of the need for give-and-take. The politics and the Constitution step in. Subhash Ghising’s Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) movement was seen as a threat to the nation next only to the Khalistan movement. What happened to it? After two years of unrelenting violence and counter-operation by security forces, the issue was settled with a minor constitutional stratagem — offer of an autonomous district to the Gorkhas. All very clean and correct and without diminishing not merely India’s but even West Bengal’s territorial integrity.
The other example is even more telling. Our children’s history books will never tell you how close Mizoram came to secession. But ask retired Lt. Gen. V.K. Nayar, who wrote a touching piece on Nagaland on this page this week. As a young major he led the first army column — paratroopers, who else? — to liberate Aizawl where the rebels had nearly over-run the Assam Rifles garrison in early 1966 and unfurled the Mizo National Front (MNF) flag on the treasury. It took in waves of IAF bombing sorties and the paras to retrieve the situation. But Lt. Gen. Nayar who escaped did as many tours of duty in the Northeast as today’s infantry officers have done in post-1989 Kashmir, and he will tell you the insurgency’s high point came more than a decade later. MNF assassins were able to sneak into the IGP’s office and the head of the Special Branch, besides ambushing the Lt. Governor’s convoy. But this is where the state flexed its muscles even more, rather than buckle in.
This is when the first batches of the underground began to get second thoughts and return to normal life. There was a series of amnesties and surfacing MNF guerrillas quickly merged into mainstream life, some as contractors, some as politicians and many joined the newly-raised Mizoram Armed Police battalions that proved more effective than any elite army regiment in subduing insurgency.
They started out by killing all those involved in the police headquarters massacre. This process finally convinced Laldenga he had no choice but to settle. And when that happened New Delhi was ready. There was plenty of room in the Constitution to answer the Mizo concerns on culture, identity and its resources. And politics was able to offer Laldenga and his boys perfectly legitimate power — through elections.
Then why did Punjab follow a different curve? And is Kashmir going to conform to this theory? Punjab was unique in that it refused to settle even after a peace accord because of some crucial differences. First of all, Rajiv settled not with the leaders of rebels but with a sidelined moderate, Sant Longowal.
Second, Sikh anger at Operation Bluestar and the massacres following Mrs Gandhi’s assassination was still very fresh. Third, the rebellion there was never rooted in total popular support, as in Mizoram or Nagaland. And fourth, the might of the state was still not able to convince the rebels they were not going to win.
It is, however, primarily because of the lack of a larger popular base and the resilience of conventional politics that the so-called Khalistan campaign got criminalised and was so completely put down by K.P.S. Gill and his police. It is because of these unique features that Punjab followed a curve of its own.
If Punjab’s case was sui generis, what is Kashmir? As far as popular support to the separatist cause is concerned, the Kashmir Valley conforms to the Nagaland-Mizoram scale. The rebellion has been intense, has inflicted heavy damage and the state has hit back with greater might than ever employed in an internal situation to this extent. Kashmir should, therefore, be of a piece with other rebellions that finally unravelled, following my theory to perfection. But the big difference is the foreign dimension. While Pakistan and China supported the Mizos and Nagas, they were never so openly involved. Nor did they share borders with this state.
The 2002 election and the army mobilisation have given Kashmir an interesting twist. Combined with growing disenchantment with cruel and overbearing imported jehadis, this has made at least the people reach a state of mind on the same violence-to-peace curve where they want to settle. The fourth is, even the leaders of Hurriyat share that mindset.
The equation is poised tantalisingly at that decisive point on the curve where a push from political accommodation and liberal, constitutional commitments can settle the issue. The Pakistani militarists know this as well and their desperation will show in the moves they make April onwards. Yet, the circumstances have never been more favourable for the strategy of using international pressures to keep Pakistan in check.
If we hold our nerve then, instead of politicising every move Mufti makes or reacting in anger to every jehadi provocation, you might find that the theory that worked in Mizoram, Nagaland and Darjeeling but failed in Punjab may be reaffirmed in Kashmir. It will not be so simple, but it has never been more possible.
I put forth this theory, in the same loose, anecdotal and journalistic way, at a seminar in New York a decade ago. Among the audience was the redoubtable Princeton professor, Atul Kohli.
He asked me several times to expand this into a more cogent, academic argument. And when I was too lazy to do it, he did it instead and published a paper entitled, ‘Can Democracies Accommodate Ethnic Nationalism? Rise and Decline of Self-Determination Movements in India’.
Of course, he was generous enough to say prominently where his theory had come from and that he was expanding on it because I had failed to do so despite his many urgings. So if you want to see it explained more intelligently, please read Atul’s paper. Or, just watch the front pages as months go by in this make-or-break year.
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Gorshkov deal by March-end: George
PTI[ SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2003 10:07:49 AM ]
MOSCOW: The much awaited deal on the acquisition of 44.5 thousand tonne Kiev class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov would be ready by the end of March, Defence Minister George Fernandes said here on Friday.
Russia will also lease Tu-22M3 (Backfire-C) long-range strategic bombers and Akula class nuclear submarines along with Gorshkov, he said.
Talking to the Indian media on Saturday at the end of the Moscow leg of his six-day visit to Russia, Fernandes said that in the Indo-Russian Defence Protocol signed earlier in the day by him with Russia’s Industries, Science and Technology Minister Ilya Klebanov provides for the completion of negotiations by the end of March.
"Gorshkov is part of the package agreed in the inter-governmental agreement, and all the three deals would be signed together," Fernandes said.
"For obvious reasons the inter-governmental agreement was kept under the wrap. We have a mischievous neighbour and there are some countries which do not want to see us strong, but we need these weapons for our security," Fernandes said, explaining why the main media focus was on Gorshkov.
In the Indo-Russian protocol on defence cooperation signed in Moscow, both sides have agreed to do 'utmost' to prepare the package by March, Fernandes said.
"There is a sense of urgency on both sides. The negotiations are on for almost a decade now. We need Gorshkov, it is not a secret. All the technical aspects have been agreed, only the issue of price remains to be settled," he said.
Fernandes denied media reports about Russia pressing India on the inclusion of MiG-AT advanced trainer jet in the package.
"MiG-AT AJT was not found acceptable by the Air Force," he said.
Regarding the delivery schedule of three Krivak-III class stealth frigates under construction in St Petersburg, Fernandes hoped that all the three warships Talwar, Trishul and Tabar would be handed over to the Indian Navy by the end of April.
He also did not rule out that India could place orders for more such frigates with Russia.
Times of India 18 Jan03
National Security Advisory Board reconstituted
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2003 02:46:02 AM ]
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has reconstituted the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) for the year 2003-2004. Former ambassador to China C V Ranganathan has been re-nominated as the convener of the board.
Four of the 15 members of last year's NSAB do not find a place in the new board. They are BJP economic cell chief Jagdish Shettigar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses director K Santhanan, former RAW official B Raman and scientist Kalyan Banerjee.
The four new NSAB members are Leena Srivastava, Amitav Mallik, B K R Rao and JNU professor K M Warikoo. Established in December 1998 as an expert group of non-officials, the 15-member NSAB gives advice to the government on various facets of national security.
Apart from Ranganathan, the 10 who have been retained as members of the board are: former secretary (economic relations) in the external affairs ministry S T Devare, General (retd) V P Malik, Air Marshal (retd) Vinod Patney, Vice-Admiral (retd) K K Nayyar, former Delhi Police commissioners Arun Bhagat and Nikhil Kumar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission M R Srinivasan, academician Amitabh Mattoo, Centre for Policy Research chief Charan Wadhwa and R K Ahooja.
"As in the past, the term of the NSAB will be for a period of one year from the date of its first meeting," said a PMO statement.
The earlier NSAB, in a report presented to the government on December 20, had recommended that the country's "no-first use" of nuclear weapons policy should be reviewed because other nuclear weapon states, including Pakistan, had not accepted this policy.
The Cabinet Committee on Security had, however, announced that India would stick to the posture of "no-first use". At the same time, the CCS had declared that India would retain the option to retaliate with nuclear weapons if attacked by even chemical or biological weapons by an adversary.
TOI 18 Jan03
Why the Bangladesh Army Must be Kept Away from Power
By Jisnu Akhter
BANGLADESH'S Chief Election Commissioner's (CEC) new bid to prove himself as a clean and neutral man, only dedicated to democracy, also highly faithful to the Constitution of the land, as of late, has attracted the attention of many.
But the CEC vs. Haris Chowdhury's bout in the "BNP cum Jamaat Ring" is nothing but a special show of fondness of CEC for Bangladesh Army.
On the other hand, Haris Chowdhury wants to give a respite to the Army, as it has become highly controversial these days. The CEC has taken, as it seems, a firm stand for the deployment of 'the heroes of our Clean Heart Operation' and the 'Champion of tackling the 'Shantrashis' with heavy and ironclad hand'. The CEC is so impressed by their recent activities and success that he wants them to handle the anti-election men or the terrorists/the dushtus with their help during the Union Parishad (U.P) Election.
When the Army and its 'Operation Clean Heart' (OCH) is facing bitter criticism at home and abroad for its gross violation of fundamental, constructional, human rights and killing over 40 men and crippling about 5,000 other, at this critical juncture, support and dependence of CEC on them for holding a 'fair and free' election would help boost the moral courage of his beloved Army.
Mr. CEC as a silver-haired and blue-eyed boy has been able to draw the attention of the Army Generals. Some remarked that his name has already been noted down in their diary with green ink as their philosopher friend so that at times of 'national need,' his "sincere, selfless, valued service" could be sought as a timeserver. These people never retire. They are made not to retire. They are indispensable, so to speak! It may be mentioned here that he was a civil servant (an erstwhile CSP, which gives him special pride and privileges!) The Pakistani authorities and their agent Jamaat Islami like him and he likes them. It sort of works both ways!
Though a civil servant holding the present position, he has at last discovered that civil administration cannot deliver goods! He thus felt that it was better to deploy the Army. But why? He might have thought that it would cut both ways. In the name of election and to make it free-and-fair he can easily draw the attention of the "Press Masters-the moulders of public opinion" and those Experts of Round Table Conference who posed the 'million dollar' question, "What next after the Operation Clean Heart"? The most important is that it would help him to draw the attention of Army, the most powerful group, and the DGFI-the kingmakers. It is strongly believed generally that they have a secret say over the Govt. in taking major decisions. So, as a cunning bureaucrat, the CEC has made important investment for himself for the future.
The CEC is holding a constitutional post and on the plea of upholding the constitution he declared, "Without Army, acceptable UP Election is not possible" (ref. Prothom Alo dt.12-1-03). He is trying tooth and nail to deploy Army at the village level. He has written to the government highlighting and justifying his demand. Mr. Haris Chowdhury has demurred to it. Still the CEC is waiting for the reply of the letter. The vernacular newspaper Prothom Alo reports quoting a source of Prime Minister's Office that it would not send any reply to his letter (!!!). This is how the Jote sarker or four-party alliance government is running the show. This is how Jamaat Jote is upholding country's "image."
Now let us see what the CEC's motives could be:
1). Delay the withdrawal of Army and to give a strong support to those who raised (Intellectuals!!) the question "what is next? It means that village, thanas, etc., are infested with criminals and in his language these are the Dushto Lok. So Army is the only answer to tackle them. Some say that by crippling the civil administration totally he wants to pave the way for a Martial Law. Experts of Round Table Conference, the so-called intellectuals, basically, out an out businessmen while posing the billion-dollar question, they give support and hint to Martial Law. Remember how martial Law is not military law? It is a brute force. You are prescribing guns to tackle peace. Don't consider the people to be foolish any more. These people have changed the course of history always and everywhere.
2). Give a good lesson to the leading men in the grassroots level who still fight for just cause or critical to wrong doings of the government through the Army. To ensure "fair election" a new list of 'criminals' would be given to sort out or size them up. Conducting raids and having a military presence would enable the blessed candidate to win without getting a majority of the votes. In the process and in the name of election, he would be able to give some benefit to the government.
3). Would help destroy the opposition political party at the grassroots level further.
4). With the Army's blessings, the so-called Mullah oriented candidates would get upper hand and privilege in the ensuing election. If these men could be given support and brought to power, it would mean an imbalance in the village level and thus weakening Awami League's base to a great extent at the national level.
5). When Khaleda-Nizami say that Jote (Alliance) 'must be saved at any cost' and Awami League will not be allowed to come back to power, the CEC becomes a cunning partner of that secret deal.
6). Why do Shibir, Jamat, the so-called religious fundamentalist have not been touched in the 'Operation Clean Heart' is becoming quite clear now? They are 'pure and true Muslims like their Pakistani masters' so they cannot be touched. No way. The very name of the 'Operation Clean Heart' shows that it was named as such by Maulana Golam Azam and Nizami. Why does the CEC advocate for Army's presence during the UP election? Because he believes that, it would mean registering the blessings of the so-called Eslami people including Maulana Golam Azam.
7). While conducting OCH, the Army clearly sided with the Jamaatis. It was very obvious. Thus, the son of Golam Azam has moulded the character of Bangladesh Army. So to be with Army means to be with Jamaat and Golam Azam.
8). As the Army has not touched the Jamaatis, so it could easily be understood where the power lies. What is the ultimate design of these ex-csps, ex-Chief Justices?
9). Last but not the least, it would create a feeling that the CEC is at daggers drawn with the ruling government and thus make the opposition political parties understand and feel that they can now rely on him. The AL relied on him, made him the CEC but what was the result? It is a million-dollar question like what is next?
Recently, when the CEC demanded the deployment of Army, the Awami League surprisingly also supported him. They failed miserably to read his crooked mind. They thought that Army would be deployed finally; so, it is better to pamper the Army, why lag behind? They just fell in the new trap of the CEC. It shall be borne in mind that the Army has its own stand and that is inherited from the Pakistani master.
The Army never could support or adhere to political leadership. They are trained and told, made to believe that civilians are lousy. They address civilians as bloody fools. Time has come to tell them that their hands are bloodstained. They are killers. They consider themselves above the law of the land. Where from they have come? Why are they immune or should receive impunity? Why have they been given indemnity? Who advocated for their indemnity in so-called Round Table Conference or Seminar? What was their design? What was their past? How are they having benefits from the government? The people must know all these questions and their answers.
Time has come to read things in a more pragmatic way whether it involves the CEC or any one else. Think ten times before a decision is taken but when it is taken, it has to be taken to fulfill the cherished goal.
The Awami leaders always give impetus on short-term benefits. Their vision is not clear. Gone are the days of cheap uttering. National politics is not a 'MOA' or a ball of puffed rice. One will have to study as a serious student the development, progress, past and future, action, reaction of each uttering, each step as because wrong steps may lead to a different result not coveted at all. And it would add to the sufferings of the people-if politics were meant for the betterment of the people. Moreover, highest care should be given to uphold the spirit of the Freedom Fight of 1971.
Today, the Jamaat has emerged as a factor of political balance. We blame them as killers, for their role in 1971 but why the Awami League didn't hesitate to shake hands to fight against BNP in the recent past? Why a Presidential candidate a 'Justice' sought the blessings of even Golam Azam? All these must be discussed for heart searching. Otherwise, men involved in 'Operation Clean Heart' will continue to treat Nation's heart and some more healthy adults will make the journey to the other world. It is not a facetious comment from me.
We are in the midst of a war. Remember it is the most crucial war. It is a decisive war. War against the Pakistani-Jamaat Jote. It is a war against the War criminals of 1971. It is a war against those who did not accept our Bengali identity. We all must try in our own sphere to expose the real face of the killers and all the Fifth Columnists who we call in Bangla the Mir Zafars.
posted by promila 11:26 PM
WE CAN HELP SHAPE A NEW BALANCE OF POWER IN ASIA
India And The War In West Asia
The probability of a military campaign against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq has increased exponentially. The United States of America has massed a hundred and fifty thousand troops in the Persian Gulf region and is poised to strike Iraq. Unlike the Gulf War of 1990-91, the coming war with Iraq is likely to have far reaching consequences for the balance of power in Asia and will end with the re-drawing of borders and replacement of regimes. However, whether the outcome of the military campaign will ensure peace and stability in the region in our lifetime will depend critically on the maturity of the political leadership in three important countries — United States (US), Israel and Iran. India can play a pro-active role shaping thinking in each of these countries. To begin with, we can try our diplomatic hand when the Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, visits New Delhi next week as chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. To understand what role India can play, it is necessary to appreciate what is at stake for us. First and foremost India would like peace and stability in West Asia so that it has dependable access to the region’s energy supplies, its citizens can work there in peace and have assured employment opportunities and the bases of jehadi terrorism are wiped out. For India, friendly relations with stable and stabilising regimes in the region like Iran, the Gulf states, Egypt and Turkey is important. Any US action against Iraq has direct consequences for the Indian economy and its people and therefore the government of India is duty bound to pursue pro-active diplomacy in shaping the course of events. Iran, unlike Iraq, is a civilisational power and a viable national entity with a democratically elected government. It has as much stake in stability and peace in the region as India does. Unlike Saddam’s regime in Iraq, the government of President Khatami is a legitimate entity whose interests must be taken into account by the US. Equally, Israel has a right to expect a stable outcome from the current events in the region. However, the more extremist Zionist segments in Israel, backed by extremist Jewish groups in the US, have an unrealistic agenda for the region that does not respect the national will and legitimate interests of Iran and Palestine. The US administration should not fall prey to these elements and must recognise that even US national interests are not well served by the unacceptable agenda of Zionist extremists. If India can help shape moderation in Israel and Iran and thereby ensure that US policy is more nuanced in the region and ends with the assurance of security and space for the Palestinian people, the campaign against Saddam can have a beneficial impact on the region as a whole. To begin with, it must be recognised by all that there are only three Islamic nation-states in the region between Europe and India with historically legitimate borders and a claim to national sovereignty and integrity. These are Egypt, Turkey and Iran. All other countries are the creation of the power politics of the post Second World War period. If the US decides to re-shape the region, and secures the support of the United Nations Security Council as it may well do given the stance that Russia and China have taken, there is pretty little that many of the regimes in the region can do. If the campaign against Saddam can be conducted with Iran and Turkey being assured that the US will not threaten their legitimate national security interests, and if the Palestinians are assured of an outcome with which Israel is comfortable (the Clinton proposals), the US can confidently move to weaken the power and influence of the regime in Saudi Arabia. This alone will finally hit at the heart of jehadi terrorism worldwide. Once this outcome is ensured, Pakistan will also be tamed and shown its place. At least two very influential US strategic policy thinkers have said during their recent visit to India that they regard Pakistan as the “most dangerous” place today, with Saddam effectively boxed in and the Saudis put on notice. Imagine a world in which Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are no longer able to fund, train and inspire terrorists. It will be a world that not only the US and Europe would like to live in, but will be one in which Russia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Israel and most of the Gulf states would feel more secure. It will also be a world in which many in Pakistan will feel more wanted and secure. However, for this stable and welcome outcome, the US must be more accommodating of the concerns of Iran, India and the Arab and Palestinian people. It will also have to ensure that Israel will fall in line with world opinion. India can help in the related diplomacy in each case. The coming war in West Asia will impose costs on the Indian economy and we must be prepared to bear this burden in the short run. In the long run, however, if the war is fought within a strategic framework acceptable to all the major powers in the region, namely Russia, India, Iran and Turkey, then the outcome should be a positive one for all, especially India. India can help shape thinking in Iran and the US by taking important economic decisions that will increase its influence in these capitals. Accepting President Khatami’s proposals for an Iran-India oil pipeline will help. The risks associated with the pipeline coming through Pakistani territory have been convincingly addressed by Iran. Iran should also be invited to join a wider South Asian Free Trade Association, in a larger Saarc including Iran, Afghanistan and Myanmar. The pursuit of such liberal economic policies, including an India-US free trade agreement, will also help win friends and influence people in the US. For an imaginative Indian government, there is a window of opportunity opening up. Effective economic diplomacy can increase India’s margin for manoeuvre and help shape a new balance of power in Asia that benefits all peace-loving people while contributing to India’s national and economic security.
Financial Express 17 Jan03
Iraq Wants India To Join UN Weapons Team
Our Political Bureau
New Delhi, November 15: Iraq has urged India to persuade the US and other major nations to protect its sovereignty. It has also demanded that for the sake of credibility, Indian inspectors should join the UN weapons inspection team. Iraqi ambassador to India Salah al-Mukhtar told the press here on Friday, “India, a major player in the international community, has established good relations with the US and has traditional linkages with Iraq. India should play its role to ensure that the US and other countries adhere to the UN charter and the international law.” On whether Baghdad was satisfied with New Delhi’s role, he said, “yes, we are satisfied. We hope India will a play a more active role than what it is currently doing”.
Financial Express. 16 Jan03.
French Defence Major Thales Setting Up Shop In India
New Delhi, January 16: The $10 billion global defence equipment major Thales International of France has set its foot on the Indian soil with the government permitting the company to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary. Thales has initiated negotiations with prominent Indian companies (that have been granted licence by the government to manufacture defence equipment) for a joint venture. The six Indian companies which have already received the licence include Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Mahindra and Mahindra and the Tata group. Elaborating on Thales’ India strategy, managing director (Indian Liaison Office) Philippe de Braquilanges told FE: “We have set up a wholly-owned subsidiary, Thales International Services India (TISI), through which the company will invest in future projects in the country.” He confirmed that Thales is holding talks with Indian companies for partnership, but did not disclose names of the potential partners. The company had been given Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s (FIPB) nod to set up TISI and would start functioning from the first week of February, he said. The initial objective of the Indian subsidiary is to provide service and technical support to Thales’ customers. “TISI will provide technical and support services associated with our supply of equipment to Indian defence and civil sectors. The company will give a foot hold for Thales to forge partnership with Indian companies both in public and private sector,” Mr Braquilanges said. Elaborating on the future plan, he said: “The company may outsource certain components from India for its aerospace and defence businesses.” The business line of Thales includes on-board electronics for both civil and military aircraft, radar systems, civil and defence communications, electronic warfare and sonars. The company has also set up automatic fare collection (AFC) systems of both Calcutta and Delhi metros and provides broadcast equipment to All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan. “India is an emerging economy and we have a very strong business relationship with the country. We want to take up this relationship further by joining hands with local partners. The recent policy decision of the government to allow 26 per cent FDI in defence sector provides us an opportunity in this direction,” he said. The government has allowed private participation in defence production with a cap of 26 per cent on the FDI. Firms like L&T and M&M have already been given license to manufacture defense-related equipment. It is likely that the domestic companies will join hands with foreign partners for technological know-how and finances. Currently, out of Rs 15,000 crore defence procurement, over 70 per cent is imported and even the balance 30 per cent sourced locally has import content.
Financial Express. 17 Jan 03.
Indian Express 14 Jan 03
‘It’s easy to say go to war with Pak, but you’ve to think of the consequences’
External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha participated in a BBC Hindi Radio phone-in-programme Aap ki Baat BBC ke Saath, taking questions from BBC World Service listeners the world over on January 12. The interview has been translated as close to the original text as possible, though there may be some minor discrepancies. Excerpts: In today’s unipolar world, when the perception is that Indian foreign policy is heavily pro-US, how difficult is the work of a foreign minister?This perception is not right. Traditionally, India had very close relations with the former Soviet Union and now with the Russian Federation. I would like to say here that we are trying to build close relations with America, but at the same time our bond with Russia has grown stronger. To say that our relations are one-sided, or we are trying to distance ourselves from any nation, is incorrect. Why is our policy towards Pakistan so harsh we do not want talks? There would be no solution like this?It is right that there would be no solution without talks, but can anything be achieved by cross-border terrorism? If you look back, after Prime Minister Vajpayee called Gen Musharraf for talks to Agra and it resulted in a failure, Pakistan launched an undeclared war against India. So many acts of terrorism have been committed that nothing can be achieved by talks in the present circumstances. If a gun’s pointed at your temple and you are asked to talk, would you be in a position to? Pakistan would first have to stop cross-border terrorism in order to build an atmosphere conducive to talks. Only then can the talks be fruitful. You are talking about cross border terrorism, and the Indian govt has repeatedly tried to get Pakistan declared as a terrorist state. But America and other major powers have not accepted the Indian demand.That is incorrect. All powerful nations or groupings in the world, whether it is the US, or European Union or Japan or Russia, have on many occasions during the last year-and-a-half publicly accepted that cross border terrorism is going on, infiltration is on and Pakistan should stop. That it hasn’t is a different matter. But the understanding of the world is clear in this matter. Just a couple of days ago, the US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill spoke on the matter. Recently. the Japanese foreign minister visited India and she accepted this fact. But as far as the US is concerned, Pakistan is an important ally in its war against terror.Yes. As soon as America declared its war, Pakistan immediately came out in support. But this is the same Pakistan which was one of only three countries in the world to have recognised the Taliban regime. After the attack on Parliament, the then foreign minister Jaswant Singh went to US but what was the result ? Cross border terrorism by Pakistan still continues? Why is the Indian foreign policy so flexible?It is natural that every policy should be flexible. Whether it was the attack on Parliament, the Kaluchak incident and similar other incidents, India exerted a lot of pressure on Pakistan and the international community. It was the result of that pressure which forced Gen Musharraf to mention in his January 12 address that Pakistan would not encourage terrorist acts in Kashmir. It was an important development that a Pakistani ruler had to say this. It is correct that Pakistan has not lived up to its promise. Here it is not important what the US or the EU says. It is our battle and we will win it. Support from different parts of the world is a welcome step, but the fight is ours. Traditionally India has been a non-aligned nation. We were once pro-USSR, now we’re tilting towards the US. Isn’t this contradictoryThere is no contradiction. It is correct that India is trying to build close relations with the US, and it’s being done from both sides. When two big countries of the world try to come close, it’s a positive step, not a tilt. About non-alignment: I was recently in South Africa to attend an important meeting on non-alignment. Our point at that meeting was that the issues taken up in the 20th century such as anti-colonialism, anti-racism are not major issues any more, we’ve succeeded in solving them. Now we would have to look at the issues of the 21st century. The issues identified by the Indian side were accepted unanimously. These would be discussed in the next meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur in February. The recent NRI summit in Delhi did not give any importance to NRIs from the Gulf.If an impression has somehow been created that the NRIs from the Gulf have been ignored at the NRI conference, it’s not good. As far as dual citizenship is concerned, it can only be given to NRIs living in countries which allow dual citizenship. You would know that in the Gulf countries there is no provision for dual citizenship; if you opt for Indian citizenship, you will lose the citizenship of the country in which you’re living. If India’s foreign policy is not under pressure from the US, why did the Army return to the barracks without any action,despite having been deployed on the border for nearly a year?The decision to deploy the Army on the borders after the attack on Parliament wasn’t taken under US pressure. We said very clearly when de-escalation was announced that the purpose for which the army was deployed had been served. With the army on the border, Pakistan was pressurised, the international community was pressurised. Terrorism has been going on in Jammu and Kashmir for the past 10-12 years, the pressure which was built up last year hadn’t been seen earlier. Any visible result of the pressure?The visible result was that the President of Pakistan himself said on more than one occasion that he was committed to fight against terrorism, he would not support any terrorist activity in Kashmir — we got this assurance. There has been a decline in insurgency in Kashmir. But there’s been no change in Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir?When we talk of a change in Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir, why talk of one year? Let’s go back five decades, when Pakistan started sending insurgents into Kashmir. India says it won’t talk to Pakistan until cross border terrorism stops, but the US wants both nations to talk.We’ve said several times that India is under no pressure from America to talk to Pakistan. There is no policy which is being made under pressure from the US, whether it is strategic, foreign or economic. The people of America may want India and Pakistan to talk, but then they have a right to form their opinion. Likewise, Indians also want that there should be a peaceful solution to the Iraqi problem — so opinion cannot be equated with pressure. You may deny it but seems that our policy is under severe pressure. Our Parliament was attacked and we couldn’t retaliate.It is very easy to say that there should be a war with Pakistan, but the consequences of war would have to be kept in mind. When the Indian Airlines plane was hijacked in December 1999, what was the general atmosphere in the country? We do talk about bravery and say that attack country A or B, but when the consequences of war are highlighted, those advocating war today would be speaking in a totally different language. And I don’t accept this talk of a ‘soft state’. Was it a sign of a soft state that we deployed our army on the border and achieved what we wanted? Is the Indian policy towards Sri Lanka changing with the appointment of Lt Gen Satish Nambiar as advisor to the Sri Lanka govt?Lt Gen Satish Nambiar has been asked by the Sri Lankan government to study the problems facing one side in the ongoing peace process. This is a matter between Lt Gen Nambiar and the Sri Lankan govt, and India has nothing to do with it. India wants the peace process in Sri Lanka to go on, but talks would have to be between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE. There is no scope for any third party mediation. Returning to Pakistan, Gen Musharraf recently said that had the Indian troops crossed the border, the war would not have been a conventional one?Yes, Gen Musharraf did say this and he also said that he had sent this message to India through friendly nations. America was the first country to deny that any message was put across by it. Then after a couple of days, Gen Musharraf himself clarified that he was not talking about unconventional weapons i.e. the nukes. So India stands firm on its stand that it would not talk to Pakistan till the time it does not stop cross border terrorism, and the Indian foreign policy has not achieved what it was aiming at — isolating Pakistan?We have covered a lot of ground with this policy. By following this policy alone can we succeed in creating an atmosphere conducive for talks. Merely holding talks won’t solve any problem, it’s the outcome of the talks that’s important. And the atmosphere for talks will be created only when cross-border terrorism ends. The world now accepts the fact that cross border terrorism has nothing to do with the people of Kashmir. It is just an act to weaken India. (Courtesy BBC)
Indian Express 14 Jan 03
George rules out second thoughts on ‘no first use’
Express News Service
New Delhi, January 13: Defence Minister George Fernandes today ruled out any review of the no first strike nuclear doctrine. ‘‘We have a nuclear doctrine in place, a nuclear command and control and a strategic forces command in position and we stand by it,’’ Fernandes said at the end of an NCC investiture ceremony. The Minister’s comments on the ‘‘no first use’’ doctrine came amidst reports that the National Security Advisory Board was in favour that India adopt a ‘‘first use’’ policy. Talking to mediapersons on his forthcoming visit to Russia, Fernandes said ruled out a final decision on the acquisition of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Adding that group would focus on the issue of a steady supply of spare parts for Russian military equipment as well as the changing security relationship, the minister left the aircraft carrier deal to the price negotiation committee. ‘‘The price negotiation committee is dealing with it and when they present their report we will take a decision on it,’’ Fernandes said. Significantly, the delegation that leaves early on Tuesday includes members who have been playing a key role negotiating the Gorshkov. The financial advisor to the Navy as well as a senior naval officer involved in negotiations. Other issues that will figure in the talks include the leasing of a nuclear submarine, cooperation on the advanced technology vessel, the Indo-Russian joint venture on the Brahmos missile and the MiG upgradation programme
‘Three Forces to train, deliver and service nukes’
Express News Service
New Delhi, January 16: The command and control of the country’s nuclear assets will move to the newly established Strategic Forces Command (SFC) but the three services will not be transferring their entire nuclear assets, Navy Chief Admiral Madhvendra Singh said in New Delhi today. ‘‘The training in nuclear weapons and their delivery system as well as their servicing would remain the work of individual services,’’ Singh said after reviewing the NCC’s Republic Day camp. The Navy Chief dismissed reports of differences among the three services in transferring of the command and control to the SFC. The Command would decide on the ‘‘utilisation and use’’of the nuclear weapons, he added. Commenting on the delay in delivery of the Krivak class stealth warships, he said the first of these most advanced warships will be delivered in ‘‘two to three months.’’ Defects in the ‘Sthil’ surface-to-air missile had caused the delayed. ‘‘We will carry out user trials prior to taking possession of the stealth warships over the next two months before taking delivery of the first ship,’’ he said. The second warship is likely to be delivered by middle of the year and the third and last one by the year-end, Singh said. Admiral Singh is leaving for Iran on a five-day visit tomorrow. His trip comes a week before the visit to India of a high-level Iranian delegation led by President Khatami. During his stay, Singh will hold extensive talks with his counterpart and pay a visit to the Naval base at Bandar Abbas.
Indian Express 17 Jan2003
Agni: sharpening our N-point
Shishir Gupta analyses the message in the missile launch
With the 3,500-km range Agni-III missile expected to be test-fired this year, New Delhi is in the process of fine-tuning its nuclear posture towards its regional rivals. At the same time, it is planning to fill up its atomic quiver by raising another Prithvi missile as well as induct the 800-km range Agni missile by the end of the next fiscal year. According to highly-placed sources, while India intends to adopt a ‘‘credible deterrence’’ posture towards Pakistan, it has no plans of matching up to the superior Chinese nuclear arsenal. New Delhi, in fact, is in favour of a ‘‘dissuasive posture’’ towards China that would essentially make Beijing think twice before deploying nuclear assets against India. However, the strategic planners are clear that this ‘‘dissuasive’’ posture may not be able to blunt Beijing’s nuclear plans for India. New Delhi’s logic is different when it comes to Pakistan, which has time and again threatened to use nukes against India. Security planners stress on building up delivery systems that would put the fear of India’s retaliatory capability into Islamabad. It is understood that the process of raising the second Prithvi missile group, called 334, has already begun in the military establishment. Just as the 333 Prithvi missile group, the new group will be based in Hyderabad and will have 12 missile launchers. Both the groups will have a mixture of 150 km range and 250 km range Prithvi missiles that will ultimately be integrated into the newly formed Strategic Force Command. The 334 group, which is expected to have a core of 300-400 tech-savvy personnel, is expected to be ready by the 2003-end. The exercise of inducting the Agni-I missile has also begun. This single-stage, solid fuel and highly mobile missile has what’s known as a ‘low ground signature’ — which means that the missile will be difficult to detect since it emits less heat during take-off. This enhances the missile’s shelf life, a factor critical to India’s no first use doctrine. The 15.3-metre long, single-warhead and 12,300-kg heavy weapon has lesser re-entry velocity compared to its adversaries which gives its more room for terminal manoeuvring. During the January 9 test, Agni-I was handled and fired by a core group of 25 personnel from the Indian artillery under the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s supervision. However, according to the plans, all the nuclear assets including those delivered from air and sea will come under the Strategic Force Command. While India is still to develop the sea-based retaliatory capability, the exercise of modifying the Mirage-200H flights and SU-30 MKI for nuclear delivery has already begun. Sources said that Agni-I missile group, which is likely to be based again in Hyderabad, should come up by 2003-2004. V.K. Atre, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, has gone on record to say that the medium range missile was on the verge of induction and there were no plans for any further tests. The intermediate range Agni II and the long range Agni III missiles are scheduled to be inducted by the end of the current 10th five-year plan. Otherwise, as it happened during Operation Parakram, India will have to rely on the air force for its second strike capability.
Indian Express 15 Jan03
Indian Express 15 Jan 03
Cutting through the nuclear fog
The formal constitution of the National Command Authority, including the Strategic Force Command, was announced a few days ago. India also successfully testfired the 700-km Agni missile. At some distance from us, North Korea threatened to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty after unilaterally deciding to start its nuclear reactor. Our print media has been awash with statements, reports and analyses emanating from Pakistan, India and elsewhere on the unfortunate aspects of these happenings. Has the world become a more dangerous place to live in? The North Korean imperative and the US’s stand can be left to a separate discussion. What is of greater import to us is the Indo-Pak scenario. The creation of the National Council, the Executive Council, and the Strategic Force Command hasn’t changed our approach to the build-up or the use of our nuclear capability — the earlier existing broad framework has been formalised and distinct responsibilities delineated. This is a welcome step since it enhances the credibility of our deterrent and actually is a stabilising influence. In no way should it be perceived as a cause for greater concern. It is a historical fact that nuclear weapons have been used or its use threatened only against the ‘‘have nots’’. There are very good reasons for this — primarily, the realisation that a nuclear deterrent is both valid and effective. Hence, as long as there is no serious asymmetry in capability, the probability of a nuclear strike is low, maybe infinitesimally low. Pakistani officials, including their President, have often stated that they would, under given circumstances, exercise the nuclear option. Besides being irresponsible, such statements lack rationality and actually are merely bluff and bluster from a comparatively weak position. We should recognise this. After December 2001, Musharraf often stated that he reserved the right to use the nuclear card and later that India was dissuaded from attacking Pakistan because of Pakistan’s nuclear capability. However, in September 2002, when the chances of any military engagement had receded considerably, Musharraf told the Christian Science Monitor that it was Pakistan’s conventional parity with India that discouraged India from attacking Pakistan. The lack of logic is self evident. To my mind, there never was a threat of a nuclear exchange and such an eventuality is unlikely in the future. On our part, we showed desirable maturity towardsMusharraf and his spokesmen. Media reports in our country have also discussed the aspect of ‘‘no first use’’ of nuclear weapons and the advisability or otherwise of such a policy adopted by us. Given the fact that the use of nuclear weapons with a deterrent in place is highly unlikely, a ‘no first use’ policy is more responsible and logical to adopt. The safety and security of the weapon systems can be better ensured and the chances of inadvertent use are reduced dramatically. More importantly, the ‘no first use’ policy is indicative of strength for the same reason that reserving the option to strike first is a sign of weakness. Again, a ‘no first use’ policy does not reduce our inherent capacity or capability to strike first if so warranted. The option to hit first always remains if the circumstances have so altered as to force a major change in our nuclear policy. The other issue under debate has been the credibility of our deterrent, particularly because of the perceived absence of a statutory chain of command needed in case of the non-availability, for whatever reason, of the authority to sanction use of nuclear weapons. The subject has been debated worldwide. Indeed, no country has a foolproof system that caters to all contingencies. What is important is that patterns and procedures are in place that will ensure more than a fair probability of a riposte. The nature of nuclear weapons is such that even a fair probability is enough to deter. We have the knowledge of the history an the procedures to ensure a second strike followed by other nuclear powers and it stands to reason that we have introduced adequate safeguards and policies to ensure the credibility of our nuclear deterrent. Nobody should have any doubts on this score. In our context, nuclear weapons are both evil and necessary until such time as universal nuclear disarmament becomes a reality. We cannot afford asymmetry with our adversaries, extant or prospective. For this reason, and to reduce the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons, we must, paradoxically, continue to upgrade our weapon systems, qualitatively and quantitatively, and adopt better procedures for their safeguard and release. This is an inescapable necessity intended to ensure that such weapons of mass destruction are not used. Sometimes, it has been mooted that an ‘‘irresponsible ’ Pakistan may launch a nuclear weapon as an act of a madman. To this, the answer can only be that the rational response to this possibility is our stated commitment to a massive retaliation. It is unlikely that Pakistan will ever take such an irrational step; the chances will be even lesser if, as reported in some quarters, the United States is actually exercising control over Pakistan’s nuclear capability. The writer was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command during the Kargil operations
posted by promila 7:07 AM
J&K government to raise anti-terror force
The People's Democratic Party-led coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir will soon raise a special force to deal with terrorism, Additional Director General, police headquarters, Rajan Bakshi, said on Friday.
The Union home ministry has approved a proposal from the state government in this regard, he said in Jammu.
To be called the J&K Voluntary Force, a unit of 500 personnel will be raised in the first phase.
The force will be raised from 22,000 special police officials and Village Defence Committee members, who are best suited for counter-insurgency operations, he said adding recruitment will be voluntary.
The personnel will be trained in jungle warfare for three months and a team of 5 to 10 people will be attached to police stations or district police in terrorism-prone areas during specific operation, Bakshi said.
The force will be under the command of superintendent of police in each district.
Rediff.com 17 Jan03.
posted by promila 6:21 AM
UK, CIA Reports List Pakistan, Iran as Targets after Iraq
By Elissa Sherry
LONDON: Who after Iraq is the biggest question being asked by every think tank round the world. Latest official documents released by the US and UK give some idea of who it could be and Pakistan is one of them, in fact high on their list.
Alongside Iraq and North Korea, NATO and the European Union countries consider Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Syria and Sudan as potential threats to global security with their weapons of mass destruction and missile capabilities, these documents show.
The possible responses suggested in the British government document, among a host of other measures, include disruption of the defense programs including missile and nuclear programs, of countries considered as a cause of concern to the NATO-EU countries.
The US document, a CIA report submitted to the US Congress on January 7, includes damaging ‘speculations and concerns’ that Pakistan, along with India and Iran might be in the group of countries considered as secondary proliferators - a term used to describe countries trading the WMDs.
“…Some traditional recipients of WMD and missile-related technology, particularly maturing state-sponsored programs, are beginning to supply technology and expertise to other proliferators. Such "secondary proliferators" as India, Iran, North Korea and Pakistan are not members of control regimes like the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and Missile Technology Control Regime and do not adhere to their export constraints,” the CIA report says. Click to View Text
The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the document titled “Missile Defence: A Public Discussion paper,” claims that North Korea provided ‘Nodong missile’ technology to Iran and Pakistan, enabling them to acquire their own versions. Click to View Text: PDF Format
The British document, like the US CIA report, examines the growing threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery and considers possible responses to these potential threat.
The claims in the British and the American official documents were preceded by media reports in both the US and the UK that Pakistan was a key supplier to North Korea’s secret nuclear program in exchange for the missile technology. However, the press reports were vehemently denied by Islamabad before its coalition partners in London and Washington gave them official stamp.
“The potential threat of most concern both to national populations and to deployed forces is not from the strategic arsenals of Russia and China but from the increasing proliferation of ballistic missiles, not least owing to the potential for their combination with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction,” the British MoD document said.
Interestingly, apart from North Korea as the supplier for ballistic missiles, the British document mentions only the Muslim countries with missile systems posing a threat to UK, US, NATO or the Allied forces. The British document is silent about the missile programs of a number of non-Muslim countries, including Israel and India.
On the other hand, the US CIA report, while it included India along with the list of Muslim countries mentioned in the British document, remains silent about Israel and it’s WMDs.
Analysts in the Islamic world believe the two reports make the intentions of the US and the UK governments clear about the possible list of target Muslim countries in the unfolding new world (dis)order.
In the CIA report, Iran is mentioned before Iraq with a claim that “despite Iran's status in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the US is “convinced” Teheran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program.”
While the CIA report mentions that the US is “convinced” about Iran pursuing the nuclear weapons program, it expresses only “added concern” about Iraq, which is currently being subjected to UN weapons inspections under US prodding.
As opposed to conviction about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the CIA report in a not so convincing manner said, “Saddam’s repeated publicized exhortations to his "Nuclear Mujahideen" to "defeat the enemy" added to our concerns that since the Gulf War Iraq has continued research and development [R&D] work associated with its nuclear program.”
The CIA report, covering the period from July 1 to December 31, 2001, said that during the reporting period, Pakistan continued to acquire nuclear-related equipment, some of it dual use, and materials from various sources, principally in Western Europe.
“If Pakistan chooses to develop more advanced nuclear weapons, seeking such goods will remain important…We cannot rule out, however, the possibility of continued contacts between Chinese and Pakistani entities on Pakistani nuclear weapons development. Pakistan's ballistic missile program continued to benefit from significant Chinese entity assistance during the reporting period.”
According to the UK MOD document, the British government has in recent years identified a number of countries of concern. Detailing the threat posed specifically by Iraq, Iran, Libya and North Korea, the document claims these countries are working to obtain longer-range ballistic missiles with the potential ability to target the UK, US, NATO or the allied deployed forces.
“It is this combination of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction, coupled with the intent and a demonstrated willingness to use these capabilities, that makes Iraq the most immediate state threat to global security. Elsewhere the most credible potential missile threat comes from North Korea, Iran, and Libya.”
North Korea is the world’s biggest supplier of ballistic missiles and related technology to
countries of concern, the document said, adding, it supplied technology to Pakistan and Iran.
The UK MOD document claimed that North Korea over the past 15 years exported some 400 missiles. Moreover, the document said, North Korea sold SCUD technology to Iran, Syria, Libya, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The document said the British government agrees with the United States and other NATO allies that the proliferation of ballistic missiles must be taken seriously.
“We already have a range of responses for dealing with this, from diplomacy, deterrence and arms control to non-proliferation and counter-proliferation.
The preamble to the UK MOD document said on 22 November, 2002, the 19 Heads of State and government of the NATO nations meeting in Prague agreed on the need to pay increased attention to the issue of missile defense.
The words of the summit communiqué said, “We are determined to deter, disrupt, defend and protect against any attacks on us, in accordance with the Washington Treaty and the Charter of the United Nations… We have therefore decided to… examine options for addressing the increasing missile threat to Alliance territory, forces and population centers in an effective and efficient way through an appropriate mix of political and defense efforts, along with deterrence….”
Both the US and the UK documents have added to the concerns in the Muslim world about Iran being the first possible next target of the NATO-EU alliance after Iraq.
From South Asia Tribune. Web Edition 13 January 03
Postings create ripples in Navy
Fleet commander appointment: C-in-Cs not consulted, officer complains
New Delhi, January 11: The Naval headquarters’ decision to skip the convention of consulting Commanders-in-Chief (C-in-Cs) over the appointment of the commanders of the key Western and Eastern Fleet has created a flutter in South Block. So much so that a Rear Admiral has filed a statutory complaint with the Naval headquarters about not being considered for a Fleet appointment. On January 8, Naval headquarters appointed Rear Admirals Vijay Shankar and R P Suthan as commanders of the Western and Eastern Fleet respectively. The Western Naval Fleet is the most potent arm of the Navy with India’s sole aircraft-carrier INS Viraat leading the armada. The appointment of the commanders of the two fleets have the approval of the Defence Ministry and the Cabinet Committee on Appointments. But the appointments are generating a lot of heat because the top rung of the Navy and the Western, Eastern and Southern commanders were apparently not consulted by headquarters. For the last three-four years, Fleet Commanders’ appointments were being cleared by a committee headed by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). Others on the panel were the Vice Chief of Naval Staff (VCNS) and the three C-in-Cs. But this time, CNS Madhavendra Singh cleared the names on the advice of a Board comprising VCNS Vice Admiral John DeSilva, Deputy CNS Vice Admiral Gopalachari and then Chief of Personnel Vice Admiral Suresh Mehta. Mehta is moving to the Coast Guard as its Director General. Such is the resentment over headquarters’ decision to ignore commanders that Vice Admiral Vinod Pasricha, who retired as Western Naval Commander on December 31, sent a letter to the Chief. Fleet appointments was one of the issues in his missive. The general view among C-in-Cs was that Fleet appointments are operational commands which ensure promotion to next rank and, therefore, HQs should have kept them in the picture. Rear Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, Flag Officer Commanding, Maharashtra Naval Area, has also written to HQs, protesting against being overlooked for the post. With his letter dismissed, Verma has filed a statutory complaint with South Block. Rear Admiral Verma refused to comment but Navy spokesman Commander Rahul Gupta confirmed that Verma’s complaint was being examined before being sent to Ministry of Defence. He said the Chief had set-up an advisory board, comprising senior officers of the rank of vice-admirals to clear senior-level appointments.
Indian Express 12 Jan 03. Web Edition
posted by promila 7:07 AM