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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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N A T I O N

India lacks wherewithal for modern warfare
New Delhi, December 14
Emphasising that having a “military doctrine is the first need,” the National Security Advisory Board chairman Maharajakrishna Rasgotra said the country, which is growing as a global economic power, was lacking the necessary wherewithal for modern warfare “when Asia is increasingly seeing the interplay of five powers -- the USA, China, Russia, Japan and India.

No fresh troop movement to China border: Army
New Delhi, December 14
The Army today denied that there had been any fresh movement of troops to the Sino-India border, close to the China-India-Bhutan trijunction, saying that the troops were moved along the Line of Actual Control almost a year ago.

Judicial Activism
SC to frame guidelines
New Delhi, December 14
Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan today further cleared the air on the role of judiciary in public interest litigation matters and said that the Supreme Court would lay down guidelines on the scope of judicial activism in all such cases.



EARLIER STORIES


A passenger, fully wrapped up, walks outside the domestic airport where an aircraft stands on the tarmac amid thick fog in New Delhi
A passenger, fully wrapped up, walks outside the domestic airport where an aircraft stands on the tarmac amid thick fog in New Delhi on Friday. — AFP photo

Lakshmi up on her feet
Bangalore, December 14
Once an inert “living” goddess with two pairs of arms and legs, two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma, who shed her extra limbs earlier, has now got up on her two little feet.

Gujarat
Campaigning for phase-II of poll ends
Ahmedabad, December 14
The high-voltage campaign for the second phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat on December 16 covering 95 seats winded down this evening with development issues overshadowed by a war of words on national security which often slided into a slanging match between the BJP and Congress.

BSP leader booked for disrespect to Gandhi
Lucknow, December 14
The police has finally registered an FIR against chairman of the Khadi Gramodyog Board and BSP leader Dayaram Sen for allegedly using derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi at a function at Shikohabad on November 2.

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India lacks wherewithal for modern warfare
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
Emphasising that having a “military doctrine is the first need,” the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) chairman Maharajakrishna Rasgotra said the country, which is growing as a global economic power, was lacking the necessary wherewithal for modern warfare “when Asia is increasingly seeing the interplay of five powers -- the USA, China, Russia, Japan and India.

Observing that there is a radical change in the nature of war, Rasgotra said India did not even have an overall military doctrine and as a result each wing of the armed forces tends to fight its own war.

It is in this context that he felt the necessity for a combined military doctrine, Rasgotra said at the launch of Oberver Research Foundation’s new defence project “Building India’s Defence Capabilities” here last night.

Former Chief of Army Staff Gen V.P. Malik, who is the president of the Institute of Defence Studies of the ORF, said this was one of the most prestigious projects to be undetaken by his institute.

Rasgotra said it was necessary for India to be a major military power with requisite deterrence or sufficient defence capability in the case of aggression. Acquiring hard power was the key to become even a soft power.

He said the budgetary allocations in reality for the armed forces amount to about 2 per cent of the GDP, which is grossly insufficient. “A minimum allocation of 3 per cent of the GDP is necessary.” On its part he disclosed that the NSAB had suggested 3.5 per cent as a more justified allocation for defence expenditure.

The NSAB chairman suggested that the Chiefs of Staff Committee needed to be strengthened by the addition of a Chief of Defence Staff and a Vice-Chief of Defence Staff. “The establishment of the CDS will provide single point military adfice to the government, help exercise administrative control over the country’s strategic forces, enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning process through intra and inter-service prioritising and above all ensure the required “jointness” in the armed forces.”

Rasgotra believed the highest national priority should be accorded to build space capability to deter and defend against all possible hostile threats from space. Besides modern, sophisticated equipment and long range ICBMs, “a strong synergic linkage between ISRO and the defence organisation” is need for building this space capability.

The former foreign secretary said with the Army, Navy and the Air Force largely dependent on the import of platforms as well as weapons, India could not become or be rated a great power in these circumstances. “Domestic manufacturing of weapon system is a vital need”, which called for streamlining domestic defence capabilities.

He said it was important to set up formal processes to educate military and civilian policy makers through teaching and research in matters relating to national security, military and resource strategies and the role of technology.

In this context, Rasgotra said “a National Defence University is long overdue and an Instuitute of Defence Technology Studies as part of the NDU.” The NDU has become a necessity for developing the intellectual support and manpower in the strategic arena consisting of the National Security Council, the armed forces, and the ministries of Defence, External Affairs and Home.

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No fresh troop movement to China border: Army
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
The Army today denied that there had been any fresh movement of troops to the Sino-India border, close to the China-India-Bhutan trijunction, saying that the troops were moved along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) almost a year ago.

Following reports yesterday that there had been fresh movement of troops along the LAC from Jammu and Kashmir following the Chinese intrusion into the Indian territory, the Army said there had been no intrusions into India. A fortification had been destroyed by the Chinese troops in the Bhutan territory, which the Chinese perceived as to be theirs, senior Army officials said here while clarifying on the issue.

There had been reports that the Army had shifted formations north of Nathu La in the wake of reports of Chinese troops coming close to the Siliguri corridor.

The Army said there was a problem of perception along the Sino-India border which had been long standing.

Officials said the troops, forming part of the 27 Mountain Division, had started moving from Jammu and Kashmir almost two years ago following the review of the security requirement in the state. This they said was completed almost a year ago and was a routine movement.

Troops from the Kalimpong-based Army’s 27 Mountain Division had gone for counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir during Operation Parakaram in 2001.

The Army authorities also brushed aside reports of Chinese movement along the Indian border saying that Chinese forces had been coming close to the Dolam Plateau for over two decades as the boundary in the area was still to be defined.

The Army said India had constructed two fortifications which were untouched but one constructed in Bhutan had been destroyed as the Chinese perceived it to be their territory.

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Judicial Activism
SC to frame guidelines
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, December 14
Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan today further cleared the air on the role of judiciary in public interest litigation (PIL) matters and said that the Supreme Court would lay down guidelines on the scope of judicial activism in all such cases.

The CJI, sitting in a three-judge Bench with Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal, sought to put the record straight once again on the judiciary’s role in dealing with the PIL cases, while hearing a petition on sex workers plight, referred to him for direction in the wake of a controversial verdict on judicial “overreach” by a division Bench.

Justices A.K. Mathur and Markandey Katju on Monday had criticised the judiciary for “encroaching upon” the spheres of executive and legislature while entertaining PILs.

The PIL relating to trafficking of women and children and forcing them into sex trade, was filed by NGO, Prajwala, and was referred to the CJI by another division Bench of Justices S.B. Sinha and H.S. Bedi after they refused to hear it on the question of jurisdiction after the controversial judgement and sought to place it before a larger Bench.

“We will consider the question which is referred (by Justice Sinha and Bedi’s Bench). It is better to have some guidelines whether these types of PILs can be entertained,” Justice Balakrishnan observed, while listing Prajwala’s petition for further hearing in February.

Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Centre, also took a positive stand on the issue and said Prajwala’s petition was admitted in 2004 and after the government had received the notice, it was referred to the ministry of home affairs.

Vahanvati said the government would abide by whatever direction was issued by the court.

At the very beginning of the proceedings in the case, Prajwala’s counsel Aparna Bhat explained the circumstances under which the PIL was referred back to the CJI for direction by Justices Sinha and Bedi’s Bench after the “judicial overreach” verdict by Justices Mathur and Katju’s Bench as jurisdictional question had arisen due to both Benches standing on the same footing.

Today’s clarification was given by the CJI after he yesterday had said that a larger Bench was not bound by the judgement of a division Bench, which had even questioned the orders of larger apex court Benches for composite floor tests in UP and Jharkhand Assemblies in 1998 and 2005 when hung Houses had emerged after the elections.

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Lakshmi up on her feet
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, December 14
Once an inert “living” goddess with two pairs of arms and legs, two-year-old Lakshmi Tatma, who shed her extra limbs earlier, has now got up on her two little feet.

This feat signals the end of the two-year-old and her poor parents’ journey from Araria village bordering Nepal in Bihar where the child was virtually heralded as Lakshmi because she was born on Deepawali day.

The little girl will be discharged from Sparsh hospital tomorrow. The institution was responsible for conducting a ground breaking 27 hour surgery to remove the parasitic twin from Lakshmi’s body 40 days back.

Hospital authorities told TNS that Lakshmi stood up for the first time six days back, sooner than the hospital authorities or even her parents Poonam and Shambhu expected her to do so. Poonam said her daughter, who has been recovering fast ever since her surgery, took hold of the ledge of a window to grab her favourite toy. “I had prayed for such a day but the moment was still a miracle for me,” she added.

Lakshmi and her parents will be departing for a charitable organisation in Jodhpur which has come forward to help in her rehabilitation and has also offered work to her parents who were working as casual labourers earlier.

The stay at the institution also means her parents can realise their dreams for Lakshmi - a fine education and a better life than was ever possible in their village back home.

We would want her to become a doctor, said the couple who are clearly in awe of the doctors of the speciality hospital who have given a new lease of life to their child.

According to Sparsh Hospital managing director Dr Sharan Patil, Lakshmi had made significant progress as her wounds had healed and her plaster cast had been removed. Dr Patil said the girl has been presently fitted with custom made splints and had undergone successful rehabilitation in the hospital after her operation.

Though the first road to recovery has been achieved and a ceremonial send off on the cards tomorrow, Lakshmi will have to return to Bangalore for at least two more operations, according to the doctors.

One could involve removing a part of the spine of her parasitic twin which was not removed earlier due to the high nature of the risk involved. Besides that the baby has clubbed feet and a minor operation will ensure she can run easily to her heart’s desire.

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Gujarat
Campaigning for phase-II of poll ends

Ahmedabad, December 14
The high-voltage campaign for the second phase of Assembly elections in Gujarat on December 16 covering 95 seats winded down this evening with development issues overshadowed by a war of words on national security which often slided into a slanging match between the BJP and Congress.

More than 1.87 crore voters are eligible to decide the fate of 599 candidates, including 31 women, contesting for 95 of the total of 182 seats in Central and North Gujarat regions of the state much of which was worst hit by post-Godhra riots.

The discourse for the campaign was dominated by national security with BJP going on the offensive against Congress accusing it of going soft on terror and cited the issue of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a decision on whose petition against death sentence is awaited, as a case in point.

An unfazed Congress launched a counter attack with Sonia Gandhi pointing out that it was the BJP-led NDA government which had released hardcore terrorists to end the hijacking of Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar. — PTI

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BSP leader booked for disrespect to Gandhi
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, December 14
The police has finally registered an FIR against chairman of the Khadi Gramodyog Board and BSP leader Dayaram Sen for allegedly using derogatory words against Mahatma Gandhi at a function at Shikohabad on November 2. SP (Firozabad) V.K. Garg admitted that on the insistence of president of the district Congress Keshav Dev, a complaint had been lodged at the Shikohabad police station last night. Sen had reportedly refused to sit on the dais at a public function organised by a local NGO till the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was removed from there. He reportedly continued a verbal tirade against Gandhi till the poster was removed.

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Maoist poster on Writers’ Bldg

Kolkata, December 14
Maoists demanding “punishment” for CPM leaders over the Nandigram issue, allegedly today pasted a poster, outside the walls of the Writers’ Buildings (the West Bengal secretariat), prompting the authorities to order a probe into the matter. — PTI

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Five die in building collapse
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, December 14
Five people were killed and more than 15 injured when a two-storeyed building collapsed in the suburb of Borivli today.

The incident happened this afternoon in the area of Shimpoli Nagar. According to the police, most of the residents had abandoned the building. Only workers involved in the repair work were living in the building.

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Blast near Indian consulate

New Delhi, December 14
A bomb exploded near the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad in Afghanistan on Thursday night but no one was injured in the incident, official sources said in Delhi on Friday.

An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was thrown near the consulate by some unidentified persons, suspected to be Taliban, the sources said. All the staffers at the Indian Mission were safe. — PTI

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