Sanjha Morcha

Cantonment to have mobile tower on wheels soon

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 26

Winning a year-long battle with the Ministry of Defence, the Jalandhar Cantonment Board has finally got the permission to install mobile towers on wheels in the area on Thursday.Residents of the cantonment area had been facing harassment for years due to the absence of mobile towers in their area. Following this, Jalandhar Cantonment Board vice- president Sneh Gupta and social worker Mahesh Gupta, general secretary of the International Vaish Federation, took up the matter with the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and urged him to intervene.On Thursday, Gupta received a mail from Parrikar informing her about the approval of the mobile tower policy. “The policy of mobile communication tower has been approved. You may follow the procedure to get the mobile communication tower installed,” the Defence Minister had written in a mail sent to Sneh Gupta.Mahesh Gupta said, “The move will provide respite to all the area residents, including businessmen. Besides, the board can earn huge revenue as monthly fee from the mobile operators.” said recently, the board has managed to earn Rs 7.5 lakh as penalty from a mobile phone operator who had installed a tower without a valid permission from the authorities.

US Senate okays Bill to block $300 m aid to Pak

Washington, May 24

A Senate panel has approved a legislation that blocks $300 million military aid to Pakistan unless the Defence Secretary certifies to the Congress that Islamabad is taking “demonstrable” steps against the Haqqani terror network.The Senate Armed Services Committee — which renewed blockage of $300 million coalition support fund to Pakistan subject to action against the Haqqani network like previous year when it passed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-2017 last week — has, however, argued in favour of continuing security assistance to Pakistan.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)“In recognition of the critical importance of the bilateral US-Pakistan relationship and the need for enhanced security and stability in Pakistan, the committee recommends a provision that would provide the Secretary of Defence the authority to reimburse Pakistan up to $800 million in fiscal year 2017 for certain activities that enhance the security situation in the northwest regions of Pakistan and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,” it said in a report.“The provision would also make $300 million of this amount contingent upon a certification from the Secretary of Defence that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistan,” the report said.The NDAA-2017 is scheduled to come up before the Senate for voting, during which several Senators are expected to bring in amendments to this Bill. Senate version of the NDAA differed from that of the House on many issues, including Pakistan. While the House version of the Bill, which was passed last week, calls for blocking $450 million of the $900 million US aid to Pakistan in coalition support fund, the Senate version has reduced both figures to $300 million and $800 million, respectively.“The Defence Secretary has not taken a decision yet,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Devis told reporters when asked if Ashton Carter has issued the Congress- mandated certification.

‘Certify Pak is acting against Haqqani’

  • The National Defence Authorisation Act, 2016, which ends on September 30, makes it mandatory for the Defence Secretary to certify that Islamabad is taking action against the Haqqani network for the release of last $300 million of the coalition support fund to Pakistan

Modi’s Iran Soujourn: One Of The Most Important Visits Abroad :::Syed Ata Hasnain


With 7.5 million Indian expatriates, $30 billion annual remittances and major supply of India’s energy needs, the Gulf is a crucial region for pro-activeness of India’s foreign policy, economic and strategic initiatives.

Isolated for long from the mainstream international community, Iran’s geostrategic and geopolitical importance is fully recognized by India.

Now that the 14 July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is in place and Iran is emerging from isolation, albeit it’s not a blitzkrieg breakout, it is time to view India’s lost opportunities in relation to Iran.

The Persian civilisational connect with India’s past exists but is insufficient by itself to take forward a relationship.


Everyone in India understands the importance of the Gulf region. With 7.5 million Indian expatriates, $30 billion annual remittances and major supply of India’s energy needs, it is a crucial region for pro-activeness of India’s foreign policy, economic and strategic initiatives. However, classically the Persian Gulf isn’t only about the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); its other shoreline lies in Iran.

Isolated for long from the mainstream international community, Iran’s geostrategic and geopolitical importance is fully recognized by India. However, this recognition has never been successfully transformed into even a modicum of a strategic relationship. Iran’s strained relationship with the international community at large, right through the pre and post-Cold War period was a major contributor to the lack of movement in India-Iran relations.  The world order was in turbulence and Iran’s unpredictability, especially during the stewardship of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prevented any clarity on its international position.

In addition, India was itself undergoing a transition in its strategic orientation and positioning.  Its strategic independence has been mostly intact but influence of the US and the West, improved relationship with Israel, strengthened involvement with the GCC countries (especially Saudi Arabia) and a level of understandable uncertainty on Iran’s nuclear issue all contributed to the challenges of developing a stronger relationship.

Now that the 14 July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is in place and Iran is emerging from isolation, albeit it’s not a blitzkrieg breakout, it is time to view India’s lost opportunities in relation to Iran. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on what could be one of his most important foreign visits, it is for the public to fully appreciate why this is so.

There will be enough detractors to remind us of the negative aspects of the India–Iran relationship of the past, the passing support to Pakistan during the India Pakistan conflicts and the slightly bitter bent during the period of the sanctions and Iran’s nuclear standoff with the international community.

The emerging opportunity for both India and Iran was best summed up by Gholamreza Ansari, Iran’s Ambassador to India, in a seminar at New Delhi. He stated “In my three years as the Ambassador of Iran, I have often been advised to be patient on big India-Iran projects. Does India want to wait for centuries before capturing the right opportunities?”

Thus Prime Minister Modi’s visit comes not a day too soon and is one under intense scrutiny by different players for what it is expected to deliver. It is being virtually treated as barometer visit in the post sanctions period.

Iran’s geo-strategic importance for India stems from the viability it offers for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, something denied to it by Pakistan for obvious reasons. A warm India–Iran relationship would deny the possibility of any exploitation by Pakistan in its enduring search for ‘strategic depth’, a flawed idea as it is. India, however, now has the clout and position as an international player where its relationship would no longer be viewed through the Pakistan prism.

PM Modi’s visit should apparently be focused on three areas. First and foremost is the re-establishment of politico-diplomatic warmth missing for so long despite the potential always having been there.

Second is the economic payoffs, particularly related to energy. Third is the accessibility aspects and the potential that they offer. Chabahar port and a deal for its development and accessibility through it is likely to be the flagship deal of the visit. There is a fourth issue which needs careful meandering and that relates to Israel.

The Persian civilisational connect with India’s past exists but is insufficient by itself to take forward a relationship. Both nations are rich in history and culture but have been unable to translate that into a relationship. Iran has watched from the sidelines as India developed its relationship with the Arab world.

It always perceived India being close to Iraq under Saddam Hussain. As India’s economic stakes developed in the Gulf, the influx there of a huge Indian diaspora helped expand the mutuality of the relationship with the Arabs. Energy remained one of the clinching issues of the links with the Middle East.

While a similar relationship on the basis of energy related interests also existed with Iran, the employment opportunities offered by the GCC countries and the role of soft power ensured a more enduring and lucrative relationship with these countries.

There is no doubt that the tentativeness of India-Iran relations and the lack of Indian initiatives too was partially due to the emerging Indo-US relationship in the post-Cold war period. India, while maintaining its strategic independence was drawing closer to the US due to its need of technology, development of its economy and other strategic reasons.

The same applied to Israel with whom a very strong relationship developed. The US-Israel equation was largely responsible for applying controls on Iran. Today, India has a developing strategic relationship with the US and is an important pole in the US strategy for containing China. With Israel, the relationship remains strong. But the position of Iran is changing after the signing of JCPOA allowing a window for India to realize the intent of a warmer relationship.

Energy and economics remains one of the major drivers. India’s voracious appetite for energy after the opening of its economy in 1991 forced it to increase the intake of oil from Iran. Although it went up to 16-18 percent of the total oil imports, the full potential was not exploited despite obvious advantages. These advantages were the short distance for transportation, and the quality of crude being suited to Indian refineries. The uncertainty of flow during the Iran-Iraq war of the Eighties and the post revolution period placed dampeners on the reliability of supplies thus also contributing to the low volumes.

Indian companies have invested in the exploration of undeveloped areas in the energy sector. Close to $5 billion is likely to be spent in the future on the development of the Farzad B gas fields and other stakes. This process which slowed down due to sanctions, negotiations of the nuclear deal and the processing problems of payments is likely to receive a major impetus with PM Modi’s visit. The $6 billion oil bill which is still to be paid by India due to processing constraints will hopefully also be resolved faster than the thaw in Iran’s overall relationship with the international community.

It is geopolitics which need quicker results. A visit at the level of the Prime Minister goes beyond just specifics. Its success does not lie in the number of MoUs that are signed but also the establishment of a process of improving trust in the relationship. It is in this area that the challenge lies.

As much as its own strategic relationship with the US which attempts to place restraints on India it is the very strong relationship in the area of military and technology exchanges between India and Israel which may also be a limiting factor. This is where the tight rope walk will be for Mr Modi.

India definitely needs Israel for the unencumbered and limitation free supply of crucial military hardware and technology for its military modernization program and other advancements. No doubt, Mr Modi will demonstrate India’s strategic independence to pursue relationships on the basis of its national interests but will he also go a few steps beyond to act as a mediator? The relationship between Iran and Israel is dangerous but no effort at mediation has ever been made.

Iran in the post Ahmadinejad period is much more amenable and restrained. No doubt, it is pursuing a line of pegging its own strategic interests in the Levant and is often accused of promoting the ‘Shia Crescent’. However, this is a legacy of the past.

Iran does not wish to be hemmed in by the strange alliance or cooperative equation established between Israel and Saudi Arabia. This approach arises from its past fears which need to be played upon for it to adopt a more conciliatory approach towards Israel. It is clear that there is hardly another important country with which Iran can have a warmer relationship than with India.

If India can promote a ‘Sadat Moment’ for Iran and Israel it can change the dynamics of the Middle East which will also help in the defeat of the Islamic State (Daesh) The ‘Sadat Moment’ referred here alludes to the sudden change of heart that President Anwar Sadat had in 1978 which led to the Camp David peace process and ultimate rapprochement between Egypt and Israel; it altered equations for the better in the Middle East.

Coming to the geostrategic element, the most important is obviously the entire gamut of Chabahar. Lying in the southern coastline in the underdeveloped desert region of Iran is this port about which there are grandiose visions in India. A few things about it will establish the right strategic picture.

First, it is in competition with the bigger and richer Bandar Abbas. It is closer by geographic proximity to Afghanistan for India’s dream access to West Afghanistan and to Central Asia. However, the port is virtually undeveloped and needs a huge investment besides the fact that it has virtually no connectivity to the overland areas of India’s interest. For all its strategic importance, it will require a huge investment by India but money, for the moment, seems to have dried up, both in the private and public sector.

Iran itself does not have the immediate interest or the money to feel excited by any development prospects. It is learned that China is also playing spoil sport just as it is on a host of other issues such as India’s entry into the Nuclear Supplier’s Group. Iran will not be easy to negotiate with and it will extract its advantage from any such deal. The presence of Afghanistan as a part of this upcoming deal will throw up greater interest in international circles. It will be an initiative in favor of the Afghan Government and its quest for improvement of its economy and overall stability.

PM Modi’s inking of a deal on Chabahar will of course be a huge positive but the implementation is not going to be easy. Financially, the project which could be a game changer, requires a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and more consortiums to develop the infrastructure inland.

Iran may not be in a position to financially invest in this, notwithstanding the $100 billion which was frozen in the US banks and will be released in due course. Its other two ports Bandar Abbas and Bandar Khomeini are apparently sufficient for its current needs. Chabahar has some other constraints such as the ongoing low level insurgency initiated by the Baluchs who also inhabit the Sistan Baluchistan region of Iran. The Iranian Republican Guard has been deployed there for long.

It is not known whether India is pursuing anything in the field of acquiring Potash which the Iranians have in abundance; this could help India in its fertilizer production. Pursuance of the $7 billion Iran-Pakistan-India oil pipeline project is unlikely. Besides that India has now displayed its reluctance to continue with this, knowing fully well that Pakistan’s role in this will be always suspect.

If there is anything in which a strong bond is evident it is the enduring Shia Islamic culture and faith in India. India’s Shias subscribe both to the Qum and Najaf schools of Islamic learning, the latter being in Iraq and the former in Iran. There is a great sense of pride in the Shia culture of Awadh with which Iran has historic ties. Hopefully, the PM’s delegation will factor this and have in it a representative of the Awadh Shias who epitomize like Iran a far greater level of tolerance in today’s radical Islamic world.

Terror hasn’t been a problem on the India-Iran horizon except briefly when an Israeli team was targeted in New Delhi five years ago by an alleged Iran sponsored hit squad. Today, it is Daesh which is a source of worry. Iran will sit content that India will back all anti Daesh moves but it needs to convince India that it will work towards finding greater stability in Afghanistan and support India’s presence there. An India-Iran-Russia congruence will effectively block the Pakistan-Saudi axis, with China preferring to remain outside.

So, all eyes are on PM Modi’s visit which comes after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran and President Rouhani’s to Islamabad. The Iranian leadership and people are clearly in need of initiatives to bring them back as players within the international community. Iran can perhaps find no other country better suited for this than India and its people.


Lt. Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd) is the former Corps Commander of the Srinagar based 15 Corps, and is currently associated with Vivekanand International Foundation and the Delhi Policy Group, two major strategic think tanks of Delhi

Scholar Warriors- Media & Information: Unexceptional Elements for the Indian Armed Forces by: Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Retd)

Examining various events that the Armed Forces have been involved in over the last two years my continuing belief is reinforced. This belief revolves around the fact that for years the Armed Forces have been discussing and attempting to teach and evolve policies on media and information but somehow have not risen above the basics in resolving the issue. The information revolution hit India just around the turn of the millennium and the Kargil War (Op Vijay) gave us the first clues of how important the media was going to be. Surprisingly, the understanding of media, its force multiplication effect and pitfalls were well understood in 1999. In fact most Pakistani military officials and strategic analysts ascribe India’s success in 1999 to its ability to take the media along and use information subtly to turn the tables of world opinion against Pakistan. However, ever since then it’s only been downhill. The Pathankot air base terrorist attack and the response followed a trajectory which usually takes the course in all such incidents; there were temporary moments with mistakes and loss of initiative. The latter was regained early and the terrorists limited to a segment of the air base. Yet the media and public information continued to be critical. The deliberate nature of the operation could not be easily understood by the public. Why ‘only’ six terrorists could hold off a sizeable strength of the Army and NSG could not be perceived, resulting in exceptional pressure of public opinion on the operating forces and the leadership at different levels. Mercifully veterans went on air to explain this in detail and took away some of these misperceptions.

All the above is due to lack of a coherent doctrine on operating in a media and information heavy environment. The realization is all there and it has been so for long.  However, operationalizing that is another story. As an example the Pathankot incident called for full activation of media interface at operational and strategic levels; that meant a media center type of set up at a facility at Pathankot where there could be continuous flow of authentic information and regular media briefs by an authorized representative; a similar one at New Delhi to handle the subtleties of information for international media and issues at strategic level. In the absence of both we had media all over the place outside the air base, wild guessing, dramatizing, looking for leaks, breaking news and all that goes with media.

‘Media cannot be managed’ is an age old adage and media persons hate to be told that they have to adhere to certain norms of information sharing. Yet, there are subtleties in this game in which no black and white rules exist. These subtleties are understood once it is accepted that media will be there and there is no gain in trying to deny information. Knowing how much to share and at what stage comes from experience once there is authorization.

Our rules change with personalities and with bad experience and there are media gags issued every other day. Why does this happen? Primarily because of lack of confidence and the inability to comprehend that if we do not go to the media and satiate its hunger for information, it will get it anyway using means fair or otherwise. My own experience revealed to me that the more I was in outreach mode to the media the less it questioned the information that I was parting with. The more time I spent in media briefs the lesser was the interest to hunt for information. There will be bad media days and good media days but if we stick to some norms and do not pull back after bad experience perhaps we will make greater strides.

I have no doubt that the change can only change with directions and monitoring right from the top. The MoD’s PR system still remains archaic, while the army maintains its own Additional Directorate of Public Information. Of late it has made some brave attempts at changing image with some good presence in social media, proactive feed of generic information about the Army, important Regimental and Battle Honor days, exceptional feats during disasters and gallantry award winners. However, when it comes to the crunch in a situation such as Pathankot it could not raise its level. Not enough advisories seem to have gone down to the field formations involved in operations. One should be asking how exactly the Defence PR organization deal with such situations. If it is not mandated to manage information during crises then shouldn’t the archaic norm/rule be reviewed to give it an operational charter? Who exactly will control it? Not the civilian bureaucracy in the MoD, not the Raksha Mantri himself. The task of operational PR falls automatically to respective Public Information Directorates or equivalent in the other services. Yet, they are not actually authorised to handle it. It cannot afford to languish without someone pegging it down. A whole scale review of information handling needs to be executed early under the personal watch of the Raksha Mantri, who has displayed enough drive and will to change things wherever needed.

The model in existence in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) which has evolved over time seems to be working well. Rarely do you find the Minister of External Affairs having to appear in person before media. A MEA spokesperson is authorized and does the honors in terms of all information sharing. During Operation Vijay 1999 it may be recalled that General (then Colonel) Bikram Singh became the Army spokesperson which led to excellent media handling. The media persons in the field were given balanced access and the run of authentic information reaching the public kept it enthused and the Army received its share of accolades. At the end of the day the purpose of information sharing and media involvement remains two fold; first, the necessity of the right information reaching the public; second, the motivation of your own forces. There is a third dimension which I will not discuss here and that is the disinformation and information control with regard to the adversary. No media person would like to be officially involved with this.

Whatever transformational changes may occur in terms of organization and doctrine, unless the culture of interaction and confidence in media handling increase all this will come a cropper. That is where irreversible training procedures must be set up and continuous trial and error should be the norm in all functional areas where the media makes a difference. J&K and the North East are ideal grounds for this. J&K has a lively media presence and outreach should be encouraged to build a culture of comfort level while dealing with it. Mistakes will have to be condoned if any progress is to be made.

The Armed Forces have to invest long term if there is to be any success in this quest. The Air Force is seen to be better at this. Therefore, all three Services need to pool resources and HQ IDS should take the responsibility on conceptualization of an Information Culture. There is already much concern about proliferating social media and the dangers that it portends. How can this be garnered for positive gain instead of allowing it to make negative inroads; this should be form the second intent of the project.

Lastly, our adversaries are well ahead in the field of information management with Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations having understood and operationalised the information domain. Psychological warfare has become a part of its operational culture. This has been possible only because of the seriousness that Pakistan has accorded to the entire domain of Information Warfare. It is about time we set aside reservations on this all important domain and stopped looking at media as an adversary. Closing our eyes to it is not going to make the problem of proliferating needs of information management go away.

Hemkund yatra from May 25, registration begins

Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, May 20

Sri Hemkund Sahib, one of the most revered Sikh pilgrimage centres situated at a height of over 15,000 feet above the sea level in Chamoli district, will begin on May 25. The Hemkund Trust has begun the registration exercise at Rishikesh for pilgrims who are interested to visit the Hemkund Sahib Gurdwara.The selection process of volunteers or sewadars is nearing completion. They have been assigned tasks at various gurdwaras en route to Hemkund Sahib.Janak Singh, secretary of the trust, said the staff of the trust along with government employees had made adequate arrangements for the pilgrims to ensure that the yatra to Hemkund Sahib is a success.He said the yatra would begin from Rishikesh. Pilgrims would be registered biometrically so that their records were available with the trust in case of any emergency, he added.Lucky Singh, manager of a gurdwara at Srinagar, said they were ready to provide facilities to pilgrims. Arrangements had been made for the stay of 600 pilgrims every day during the yatra season at Srinagar, he added. Sewa Singh, manager of the gurdwara at Govind Ghat, said the stay and food arrangements for around 4,500 pilgrims had been completed. The gurdwara constructed this year would also serve pilgrims. Medical arrangements had been made and the routes had been upgraded for the benefit of pilgrims, he said.“Vehicles can now go till four km reducing the trek to Hemkund Sahib considerably. A foundation stone for a new 140-m bridge will be laid on May 25. A hanging bridge and electric trolley has been installed for the convenience of pilgrims,” said Sewa Singh.He appealed to the pilgrims to bring their medicines and warm clothes as the weather could change any moment.

HC raps state for denying job to jawan’s widow

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18

Manjit Kaur’s battle for justice began after her husband died while serving the armed forces in its mission to crack down on “revolutionary” ULFA militants during Operation Rhino. The state government granted her pecuniary benefits, but denied compassionate appointment, claiming the death was an accident.Nearly 16 years after the incident, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has rapped the State of Punjab for denying appointment to L/Nk Harinder Singh’s wife. Justice Rajiv Narain Raina directed the passing of a fresh reasoned order within two months, setting aside the impugned order dated August 14, 2008, vide which she was denied appointment to a post in the civil service.Manjit Kaur’s counsel Rajesh Sehgal contended that L/Nk Harinder Singh had died when his rifle went of accidentally during exchange of duty with another guard. On investigations, the Indian Army classified the accident as a “battle casualty”.Manji Kaur’s case was treated by the Punjab Government under the”battle casualty” category for financial benefits. She was given pecuniary benefits in terms of the “Rules for Administration of Punjab War Heroes Families Relief Fund” but denied appointment on compassionate grounds.Taking up the matter, Justice Raina asserted the State of Punjab was bound by the interpretation of the term “battle casualty.” It was not open to the state government to dissect the expression and break it up in two parts, one in the petitioner’s favour so far as pecuniary benefits were concerned, and the other diametrically opposite to deny her appointment.Mere payment of money would not foreclose her right to claim compassionate appointment. “I would accept the petitioner’s prayer for issuance of a writ to the respondent-State to consider her case for appointment by treating the death of her husband as battle casualty and not just battle accident.”The impugned order has been passed on bad reasoning and on an irrelevant consideration…,” Justice Raina concluded.

US navy to take charge of largest destroyer – the $4bn USS Zumwalt

Ship, designed to be 50 times more difficult to detect on radar, is powered by electricity and has guns which can hit targets 100 miles away

The US navy is ready to take ownership of the Zumwalt, its largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer.

The first Zumwalt-class destroyer heads down the Kennebec River after leaving Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.

Sailors’ uniforms and personal effects, supplies and spare parts are being moved aboard the 610-foot (186m) warship in anticipation of crew members taking on their new charge, said Capt James Kirk, the destroyer’s skipper.

The Zumwalt is the first new class of warship built at Bath Iron Works since the Arleigh Burke slid into the Kennebec river in 1989. The shipyard is expected to turn the destroyer over to the navy this week.

“We’ve overcome lots of obstacles to get to this point,” said electrician John Upham, of Litchfield. “I think everybody in the shipyard is proud of the work we’ve done.”



The ship features an angular shape that makes it 50 times more difficult to detect on radar; it’s powered by electricity produced by turbines similar to those in a Boeing 777; new guns are designed to pummel targets from nearly 100 miles away (160kms). Advanced automation will allow the big ship to operate with a much smaller crew than on current generation of destroyers.

The final cost of the Zumwalt is expected to be at least $4.4bn.

The original concept for the land-attack destroyer was floated more than 15 years ago then underwent several permutations. The final design called for a destroyer with a stealthy shape and advanced gun system that can fire rocket-propelled projectiles with pinpoint accuracy.

But the growing cost forced the navy to reduce what was originally envisioned as a 32-ship program to just three ships. The loss of economies of scale drove up the cost of the individual ships.

The USS Zumwalt passes Fort Popham at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Phippsburg, Maine.

The slow-going and rising costs were little surprise after the General Accounting Office warned that the navy was trying to incorporate too many new technologies into the ship.“Zumwalt was a challenge to assemble because of all the new technologies, but sea trials show it is a world-class warship with unique capabilities,” said Loren Thompson, senior defence analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute.

Some of the ship’s 143 crew members have been in Bath for more than two years to prepare for the day they take control of it. The sailors will continue training to prepare the ship to be formally commissioned into service as USS Zumwalt at a ceremony in October in Baltimore, Kirk said. From there, the ship will travel to its homeport in San Diego for further tests and trials.

Shipbuilders in Bath are busy on the second ship in the class, the Michael Monsoor, which will be christened next month. Work also is under way on the third and final ship, the Lyndon B Johnson.

Jay Wadleigh, president of the largest union at the shipyard, said Bath Iron Works was selected for the job because the navy knew it would be done right.

“I think the way the Zumwalt performed on the three different sea trials was better than anybody expected – us, the navy and the company,” he said.

Why Pakistan spy not held, AFT asks home secy, DGP


CHANDIGARH: The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) bench here has asked the Punjab home secretary and director general of police (DGP) to reply what action is being taken to arrest Pakistani spy Kuldeep Singh, who is on the run for more than two years.

The bench headed by justice Surinder Singh Thakur observed that even on February 3, the DGP had been to assign an officer not below the rank of an SP (superintendent of police) to monitor the arrest of Kuldeep Singh but “nothing, so far, has been heard from his side”.

The AFT had then also sent non-bailable warrants for execution to the Batala senior superintendent of police but neither a compliance report nor any intimation was sent to the bench.

The AFT now has ordered: “We require the Batala SSP or the executing officer concerned to whom the warrants may have been assigned for execution to show cause and be present before this tribunal to explain the reasons on the next date of hearing, failing which, we may be compelled to take appropriate action for contempt.”

The bench also observed that even the chief judicial magistrate concerned of Gurdaspur had not dispatched the spy’s bail bonds that the AFT had asked for. The next hearing is on July 1.


Kuldeep Singh was dismissed from the army for spying and stealing army property in 2006. He had crossed over to Pakistan along with his service weapon and absented himself for almost five years from 196 Field Regiment until the troops of 25 Punjab caught him.

Between December 1999 and August 2004, he had passed on secrets to a Pakistani army officer.

In 2010, the Punjab and Haryana high court granted him bail till the pendency of his appeal.

After the AFT was formed and the case transferred to it, the appeal was dismissed in January 2014, and Kuldeep Singh (then out on bail) ordered to surrender to the military. But he absconded.

Several non-bailable warrants against him have been issued.

India may have given up Kashmir had Pak helped it in Indo-China war: Nayar

By :: Sheikh Saleem

India may have acceded to Pakistan’s demand for Kashmir had it helped New Delhi in the Indo-Sino war, according to veteran journalist, Kuldeep Nayar as he quoted his conversation with former Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri.

He added that if Pakistan would have waited in 1947, it would have got Kashmir “but sending troops to Kashmir spoiled everything”.

Speaking at a function held to commemorate the completion of first year of monthly Urdu magazine ‘Belaag Sahafat’, Nayar said: “Jawahar Lal Nehru adopted Sheikh (Abdullah) and made him Prime Minister and put a seal on accession.”

He suggested that Kashmiris should demand the pre-1953 position wherein India has jurisdiction over Defence, Communication and Foreign Affairs only.

Nayar said gun is no solution to Kashmir issue “because India has more guns than Kashmir and it would be again suppressed”.

“Instead Kashmir should demand more rights,” he added.

Nayar said accession cannot be changed. “Now let us go back to 1947 and talk about it. When Sheikh Abdullah was made Prime Minister he was given everything except Defence, Communication and Foreign Policy. Let’s demand back everything except these three things,” he said.

Nayar said before 1947, founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah came to Lahore Law College where he was studying law and told him that partition will lead to bloodshed. “But Jinnah said both countries will live like friends. I was right and Jinnah was wrong,” he added.

He said Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in sub-continent where secularism is alive. “I think from here we can send a message to whole sub-continent that even if 96 percent Muslims live here still Hindus and Muslims can live together,” the noted journalist added.

He said Kashmiri youth should not think that they will get freedom if they take up arms. “Gandhi won freedom without guns.”

Nayar said Urdu language was dying as it was no more lucrative in terms of career opportunities.

He said English has overshadowed Urdu though the former was a “natural bond of communication” between India and Pakistan.

Nayar, who had migrated to India at the time of partition, said he started his journalistic career with an Urdu daily but subsequently switched to English as there were little career opportunities in the other languages.

He, however, said given his love for Urdu he continues to write columns in the language.

In his address, Justice (Retd) Bashir Ahmed Kirmani said there was need to keep Urdu alive and that it was government’s responsibility to take measures for its promotion.

“If language wise anything binds people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, who have their own regional languages like Dogri, Kashmiri and Ladakhi respectively, its Urdu which is the medium of communication. Otherwise these three regions are Greek to each other,” Justice Bashir said.

Hurriyat (M) chief, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said it was the duty of Muslims of the sub-continent to conserve Urdu and work for its promotion.

“The ruling rightwing forces were hell bent to erode the fabric of Urdu which happens to be among sweetest in the world and has contributed a lot in the spread of Islam,” he said.

Mirwaiz hailed the ‘Belaag Sahafat’ team for producing a quality monthly magazine “which upholds the significance and sensitivity in its literary manifestation”.

He said the young team deserves accolades for their endeavour of taking up a challenging job.

In his telephonic address, Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani said journalism was a challenging job in conflict zones like Kashmir and providing readers news with insight in Urdu was equally challenging given its fading commercial markets.

Noted writer GN Khayal said there was a need for collective efforts for the promotion of Urdu language.

Noted journalist, Syed Shujaat Bukhari said Urdu journalism had become more challenging as people are switching over to English.

He said while newspapers are closing down in the West, new newspapers are coming up in valley. He also appreciated the role of ‘Belaag Sahafat’ team in the field of Urdu journalism.

Complimenting ‘Belaag Sahafat’ editors, Tariq Ali Mir and Haroon Reshi, Bukhari said the duo have taken up a challenging task and the magazine has lived upto its name which means ‘unblemished journalism’.

MLA Engineer Rashid, columnist Ajaz Ul Haque and Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar also spoke on the occasion.

Noted writer and broadcaster Muhammad Amin Bhat compeered the proceedings of the event attended by academicians, businessmen and other civil society members.

Those linked to chopper deal got good positions, says Parrikar

New Delhi, May 8

In a bid to buttress the allegations of Congress’ involvement in AgustaWestland scam, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said all those who were linked to the tainted VVIP chopper deal were given “good positions” following their retirement.”Many people who had some links with Agusta, I am not saying illegitimate links, but some links with Agusta procurement and supply, were given good positions,” Parrikar said. Asserting that they were good to the powers at that time, he said, “They were close to the powers at that time. They were favourites. So obviously, they were placed there to ensure this deal goes through. It is an indirect evidence.” However, he said it was for the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate to decide whether to question the people concerned or not.”If you see, many people from there (Agusta days) are sitting in good positions. Someone became governor, someone became an ambassador, I am not questioning them but one has become constitutional authority… (These) people are at good positions,” he had told a TV channe