Jan 29, 2007

Cartoon Speak: Roadmap to Peace or Piece

Courtesy: Greater Kashmir

In the Killing Fields of Vidarbha

....Contract Farming Comes to the Rescue

Where the government fails the NGOs and the private Cos shine.

Ganesh Jadhav, a farmer from Wadgaon-Tanda in Yavatmal in Vidarbha district, now infamous for suicides by indebted farmers, tills 3 acres of rain-fed land. He has escaped the horrors of the local moneylender because this year, he turned to contract farming.

Thanks to a good castor crop that he sold to Gujarat-based Jayant Oil Mills, which accounts for 38 per cent of the world’s castor oil production, he has already seen a more than 60 per cent jump in his annual income to Rs 25,000.

Now sowing tur (a pulse) and soyabean, Jadhav’s annual income will increase once he sells these remunerative inter-crops and markets the seeds from his first castor crop. “Had I stuck to cotton, I would have barely earned Rs 15,000 in the whole year,” Jadhav said.

Like Jadhav, a growing number of farmers in the region have turned to contract farming in the past year and a half to pull themselves out of poverty and indebtedness.

....the region could soon play a critical role in the supply chains of mega-retailers like Reliance and Big Bazaar for lentils and soyabean.

Already, 967 farmers and nearly 2,000 acres of land in Yavatmal district have been brought under castor cultivation and contract farming. By this year-end, the figure will reach 6,500 farmers and nearly 20,000 acres.

This mass switch to contract farming has been driven by Yavatmal-based NGO Bharatiya Dyananpeeth Multipurpose Rural Development Organisation (BDMRDO).

Said Shailesh Pisalkar, secretary, BDMRDO, “When we started searching for a crop that has low input cost, can be easily grown in rain-fed areas and fetch remunerative prices, we came across castor.”

Under the scheme, Jayant Oil Mills offer farmers a guaranteed price of Rs 1,200 a quintal or the market rate, whichever is higher. This is a major improvement over cotton marketing, where prices are driven by middlemen who earn huge margins by forcing farmers to sell at low prices.

Castor has several advantages over cotton. Says Pisalkar, “The average income per hectare for castor is around Rs 30,000 and input costs vary between Rs 3,500 and Rs 6,000 per hectare, depending on the quality of soil.”

By contrast Yavatmal district’s average gross income per hectare from cotton is around Rs 22,000. “If you deduct input costs, the farmer earns only around Rs 5,000 an entire year,” Pisalkar says.

Castor has the additional advantage of allowing a wider variety of remunerative inter-cropping such as soyabean and pulses. Cotton only allows tur to be sown as an inter-crop.

In the longer term, the district might even emerge as a sericulture centre. BDMRDO is helping farmers cultivate silkworms on castor leaves with assistance from various government schemes. [

On His Majesty's Service

After the 7/11 terror outrage Mumbai is supposed to be on a high security alert. The intelligence bureau has warned of an impending terror attack in Mumbai and the police department is supposed to be on the look out for the terrorists. But look what the Special Branch, which is a critical component of the security apparatus of the Mumbai Police, is doing.

.....the Special Branch has been busy during this period preparing poll reports for the Home Ministry, headed by deputy chief minister and NCP leader RR Patil.

The Special Branch’s poll report — which was supposed to be an indicator of the trends in the forthcoming civic election — pointed to a Congress victory. According to a police source, the Home Ministry, which is controlled by the NCP, wanted a report that showed it in a better position than the fourth-place finish that the report predicted.

The Home Ministry then got the Branch to rework the report, says the source. “As if other intelligence efforts were not keeping us occupied, a more exhaustive exercise on the civic poll outcome was sought,” he said.

A Home Ministry official denied that two reports had been sought. “Let us be very clear; the Special Branch conducts such studies and submits reports as part and parcel of its regular job,” he clarified.

According to the first poll report submitted by the Special Branch, the Congress and the Shiv Sena were expected to get 75 seats each, the BJP 30 and the NCP 20. Ten were to go to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and 17 to independents.

The second report prepared by the Branch showed the Congress winning an overwhelming 85 seats, the Shiv Sena 70, the BJP 25 and the NCP just 10.

This was, according to the police source, even more unacceptable to the Home Ministry and its NCP controllers.[

Jan 25, 2007

Russia's Generous Offer

One of the agreements signed by India with Russia during the Russian Defence Minister’s visit to New Delhi is on the manufacturing of the Russian RD-33MK thrust-vectoring engines for the MIG-35 (a highly maneuverable air-superiority fighter) in India. This is highly significant when China and Pakistan are hoping to get Russian sanction to use Russia’s Klimov RD-93 engines on the fighter aircraft JF-17 jointly developed by them.

Modern jet engines are among the most technically challenging military technologies. Operationally useful thrust vectoring -- the ability to angle the thrust of the jet engine, substantially increasing the maneuverability of the aircraft -- is one of military technology's crowning achievements. Russia was the first to master real thrust vectoring and build it into a serving combat aircraft design: the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, which uses single-axis or up-and-down vectoring. The technology has only now made its appearance in the U.S. military in the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory -- the F-22 Raptor, and then only in single-axis form. The RD-33, on the other hand, can vector the thrust in all directions, adding even more maneuverability.

Trouble with jet engine design set back the Indian indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) by years. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. had to use General Electric F404 engines in the LCA after the Indian-designed Kaveri engine development stalled. The LCA, now dubbed Tejas ("radiance"), is set to replace the Indian air force's MiG-21 fleet.

The close, hands-on experience in manufacturing the RD-33 will set India on the course of avoiding these troubles in the future. Having a manufacturing facility on its own soil will give the Indian military industrial complex a new -- although far from complete -- independence. India has often cultivated multiple defense suppliers in order to avoid shortages or sanctions by any one partner. Such design expertise is a further step away from reliance on foreign sources.

Although Russia will continue to sell parts to India's air force for some time, in the long run, this deal is better for India than it is for Russia because it helps India take important steps toward independence. Any further shared design experience on a new fifth-generation fighter -- even if it goes no further than a handful of Indian engineers spending a few cold winters at the Sukhoi Design Bureau -- will be enormously significant for India's indigenous design capability.[Stratfor]

Jan 24, 2007

A Malaysian Prince and India's Republic Day

Two years back a Malaysian Prince after passing out of the Indian Military Academy was commissioned into the Indian Army’s 61st Calvary and on the 26th of January this year he will lead the mounted column of the Jaipur-based 61st Cavalry in the Republic day parade.

Captain Tunku, who is the crown prince of Johor, one of the southernmost states in Peninsular Malaysia, today interacting with the media, said that the Indian Government had cleared him for commanding the contingent, "I am very happy to be part of the 61st Cavalry contingent. My father will also be here to see me."

Sultan Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin ibni Al Marhum, the king of Johor, is also expected to be witness to the spectacle. Prince Tunku, a polo player was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 2004 for a two-year attachment with the 61st Cavalry. His attachment has been extended for one more year.

The Jaipur based 61st Cavalry will participate in the 58th Republic Day parade along with eight marching contingents and one contingent of the Special Forces Para Commandos on-the-double.

The parade commander, Major General P C Bharadwaj, said that it was a matter of pride to have the Malaysian prince to command the mounted contingent as he is part of the Indian Army.[DailyIndia.com]

Jan 23, 2007

Mullah Omar's Possible Location

After a flurry of recent statements like the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is in Pakistan, that Pakistan supports the jihad to maintain its influence over Afghanistan and after U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte recently told a Senate committee hearing that Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are seeking refuge in Pakistan's frontier areas, namely Quetta, Stratfor came out with this on Mullah Omar's possible location.

Though Mullah Omar's location is not known for certain, he likely is in an area that affords him security as well as the ability to lead the insurgency. This means he can probably cross the Afghan-Pakistani border when needed. However, he is probably more secure on the Pakistani side of the border since it offers some protection from the Afghan and NATO forces searching for him.

However, Mullah Omar's likely location must also let him directly communicate with his commanders -- whose base of operations is in southeastern Afghanistan in the provinces of Zabul, Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan. Mullah Omar's hideout in Pakistan is likely near these areas -- he is not hiding in the North-West Frontier Province, and is unlikely to be in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas since it is the focus of global attention and the target of U.S. airstrikes and Pakistani operations. Mullah Omar also must be in a tribal and religiously conservative Pashtun region.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, only one area is left -- the Pashtun belt in the northwestern part of Pakistan's Balochistan province, as it is directly located opposite the Taliban stronghold areas in Afghanistan.[Stratfor]

Stratfor's 2007 Annual Forecast for South Asia

In a two-part series Stratfor recently came out with their annual forecast for the world. Here is their forecast for South Asia with Pakistan hogging the limelight.

South Asia: Pakistani Politics in the Spotlight

As we expected, India and Pakistan made little progress in normalizing relations in 2006. Though the Kashmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba carried out a deadly railway attack in Mumbai in July, relations between the rival countries remained in the usual state of distrust, preventing any major breakthroughs. We noted that Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf would face a galvanized opposition and would be forced to decide whether to stay on as the country's military chief. Musharraf successfully staved off opposition attempts to unseat him, allowing him to keep his dual portfolio as president and head of the military. In line with our 2006 forecast, the Baloch nationalist insurgency added to Musharraf's list of worries. He dealt with the insurgents through a combination of military and negotiation tactics.

Our forecast that India's leftist parties would develop a stronger presence in the government and further hamper Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's privatization efforts was correct. India also worked to expand its global influence by signing a landmark civilian nuclear deal with the United States. The insurgencies in Nepal and Sri Lanka remained significant in 2006, though we failed to predict in the annual forecast that the Maoist rebels and the political alliance in Kathmandu would be able to forge a power-sharing agreement and strip Nepal's King Gyanendra of his powers.

In 2007, the main focus in South Asia will be on the Pakistani political scene, as the country gears up for general elections slated for Jan. 15, 2008. Musharraf battled a heavy wave of domestic criticism this past year, exacerbated by continued U.S. pressure on Pakistan to cooperate on the counterterrorism front -- and by U.S. airstrikes against Taliban and al Qaeda targets on Pakistani soil that resulted in a high number of civilian casualties. Accusations have been flying that Musharraf has spent too much time hobnobbing with U.S. officials in Washington rather than defending Pakistan's territorial integrity; but the general has developed a solid strategy to secure his re-election and outmaneuver the main opposition forces in the country -- namely the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), led by exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), led by ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Mutahiddah Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) coalition of Islamist parties.

Musharraf has a comfortable majority in the sitting parliament to help him win a re-election bid, but his standing cannot be assured after the general elections are held and a new parliament comes to power. To consolidate his hold over the government, Musharraf will bend the rules and schedule a legislative vote ahead of the general election to get re-elected to another five-year term. Musharraf could even attempt to bypass this step by calling snap elections in the spring of 2007 if he feels confident enough in his ability to win. Snap elections or no, the legislative election results will be rigged as needed to allow Musharraf's parliamentary allies to hold onto their seats. The opposition forces will then use the allegations of a rigged election to hold street demonstrations, but are unlikely to muster enough support to change the election results significantly. Musharraf will continue with a careful strategy to prevent the PPP, the PML-N and the MMA from uniting in a potent opposition force, fueling distrust among the already severely divided parties by hinting at making deals with the various opposition leaders. Musharraf will also be able to hold onto his position as military chief this year.

The biggest threat to Musharraf's election plan is the potential for large-scale U.S. military activity on Pakistani soil that would undermine the military's confidence in the general and turn public support against him. To enhance his domestic image, Musharraf will distance himself from Washington in the coming year and become even more restrained in cooperating with U.S. forces on the counterterrorism front.

Pakistan's relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government will further deteriorate this year as the Taliban insurgency strengthens. The Taliban will continue opposing NATO forces in Afghanistan and launch a spring offensive. NATO is not likely to have the capacity to surge troop levels and redouble reconstruction efforts. Nevertheless, Afghanistan will remain -- at least for this year -- a priority for the alliance. Because the Taliban lacks the strength to take the country from NATO forces -- and NATO forces are not willing to let things slip that far -- 2007 in Afghanistan will look much like 2006. Security operations will continue, and Taliban forces will improve their tactics and build on operational successes.

India will keep a close watch on political developments in Pakistan, privately preferring the continuation of Musharraf's relatively stable regime. India and Pakistan will go through the motions of continuing peace talks, but those talks will only be for show. Primarily to boost his credibility at home, Musharraf will try to push India into resolving the long-standing Kashmir dispute, and New Delhi will politely rebuff Musharraf's proposals. For India, Pakistan's continued support for Kashmiri militant groups remains the block to any meaningful progress in the Kashmir negotiations.

Kashmiri militant groups operating in India are stepping up their efforts to stage attacks designed to incite communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims and revitalize the Kashmir cause among Indian Muslims. However, such attacks have become routinized enough in India that incidents like the July 2006 Mumbai railway bombings prompt no notable shift in Indian society and policy. Kashmiri militant groups could attempt to vary their target set from the usual crowded market and transportation sites in major cities to the country's much-valued information technology (IT) sector. Such an attack would force an Indian response and threaten the country's ability to sustain a healthy inflow of foreign investment. But the Pakistani government and intelligence service have largely maintained their hold over these militant groups to prevent them from altering their tactics in India. Particularly while in the heat of the election season, the Pakistani regime will be uninterested in provoking a major conflict with India.

That said, Kashmiri militant groups will likely succeed in carrying out another large attack in a major Indian city this year that would fall in line with their usual target selection of markets, transportation hubs and religious and tourist sites. Such an attack will increase tensions on both sides of the border and lead India to implicate the Pakistani regime, but the Indian government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unlikely to respond with a major military confrontation against Pakistan.

India's attention will primarily be absorbed by domestic political and social issues. No major shift in the Indian political landscape is expected in the coming year; the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is suffering from internal divisions and is unable to threaten seriously the ruling Congress party's hold on power. The Congress party's main headache will come from its allies in the Left Front, who will continue to link up with powerful trade unions to resist Singh's privatization efforts and labor policies. As a result, Singh's government will need to turn more toward populist politics in an attempt to quell domestic unrest.

Barring a significant attack by Kashmiri militants on India's IT sector in 2007, the country should experience sustained economic growth in the range of 8 percent, similar to the past year. India's economic focus will be on expanding its automotive, steel, aviation and IT sectors, though substantial growth will be hampered by political considerations and slow infrastructural growth.

The Left Front will also make noise over the Singh government's growing alliance with Washington. India and the United States will cement their landmark civilian nuclear deal this year through a bilateral treaty; however, Singh will maintain a multilateral foreign policy agenda to tame the opposition and avoid getting caught in any binding agreements with the United States that would require it to place a moratorium on nuclear testing or impose punitive measures against Iran.

India will also keep a watchful eye on its porous northeastern border, where a political crisis in Bangladesh spells a likely increase in militant traffic into India. General elections in Bangladesh were scheduled for Jan. 22, but have been delayed following the resignation of the caretaker government. The main opposition, led by Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League, likely has the numbers to win a majority against the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP), led by Hasina's bitter rival, Khaleda Zia; however, the Awami League has damaged its secular credentials by allying with one of Bangladesh's most notable radical Islamist parties -- a politically opportunistic move that has dismayed a large number of voters. The Awami League has announced a boycott of the polls until changes are made to the pro-BNP caretaker government in charge of conducting the elections, and until the BNP makes assurances that the elections will be free and fair. The polls are guaranteed to be rigged under the caretaker government, but the Awami League is trying to level the playing field before it takes part. After a series of negotiations and violent demonstrations, the BNP will likely give in to some of the Awami League's demands in order to allow the elections to take place. Nonetheless, the results are bound to be disputed, and Bangladesh will continue to be wracked by political violence for much of the year.

Whether the Awami League or BNP emerges victorious means little in the larger strategic view of Bangladesh; the instability caused by the warring parties is unlikely to wane regardless of which party is in charge. But the political developments in Bangladesh will be a cause for concern for India, as the rival political factions turn increasingly toward radical Islamist parties for coalition support. The growing Islamist influence in Bangladesh will give rise to radical groups that will play host to jihadist and Kashmiri militant operatives with an interest in launching attacks in India. The Indian government will attempt to secure its northeastern border, but is unlikely to intervene directly in Bangladesh.

To India's south, the undeclared civil war in Sri Lanka between the Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan armed forces will escalate this year in heavy tit-for-tat fighting as the Sri Lankan army attempts to divide the northern and eastern Tamil strongholds in the country. Neither the Tamil Tigers nor the Sri Lankan army has a clear enough advantage to launch a sustained offensive that would result in a decisive victory. India will be concerned with the Tamil refugees flowing into the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but cannot afford to throw its support fully behind the Sri Lankan government for fear of alienating India's sizable Tamil population. The ongoing instability in Sri Lanka will give India's regional adversaries -- namely Pakistan, and to a lesser extent China -- the opportunity to meddle in India's backyard and escalate the conflict by providing arms and support for the Sri Lankan government. These parties are not as interested in helping the Sri Lankan army wipe out the Tamil Tiger rebels as they are in prolonging Sri Lanka's crisis to keep India preoccupied. External involvement, however, could lead the Tigers to target foreign diplomatic personnel in Sri Lanka.

India will at least have one border that it can worry less about this year. Political developments in Nepal in 2006 reached a point where the Maoist rebels now have a solid opportunity to integrate themselves in the country's political and military apparatuses. Parliamentary elections will be held in April 2007, giving the Maoists a chance to enter the government formally. Though this should be a relatively stable year for Nepal, bursts of instability can be expected as dissident Maoist factions resist the integration effort. A return to a militant insurgency is unlikely, but extortion, kidnappings and economic blockades remain usable options for the Maoists.[Stratfor]

Cartoon Speak: MSM Mocks Web 2.0

Courtesy: The Hindu

Sir Creek Survey: Caution Ahead

Last week Indian and Pakistani officials began their joint survey of Sir Creek, which is expected to end by March 15 and yield a common set of data which will help in how to interpret the boundary line between Kutch and Sind. Rear Admiral KR Srinivasan, (retd) who is a former chief hydrographer to the Government of India cautions India on Pakistan’s sudden change of heart and agreeing to a joint survey of the creek. He writes:

...Indian and Pakistani officials began their joint survey of Sir Creek, a marshy, uninhabitable and even hostile area for any meaningful activity. The dispute they are looking into is about how to interpret the boundary line between Kutch and Sind. This involves interpretation of two maps, of 1914 and 1925, as well as the correspondence between the Commissioner of Sind and the Bombay Presidency...

As the initiator of the proposal for demarcation of maritime boundaries using a seaward approach and the Sir Creek area in 2002, it is heartening to note the momentum on the issue. The real crux lies in the seaward areas with implications on marine wealth, including possible oil and gas reserves.

Though Pakistan had promulgated its baseline under UNCLOS and the Indian government had lodged a formal protest against point ‘K’ on the eastern side of Sir Creek, the Indian baseline system has been waiting to be promulgated since 2002 due to lack of political will. This promulgation would have given us the desired negotiating strength.

Though Pakistan had all along argued the Sir Creek issue from historical status and the maps available, its sudden shift in favour of the joint survey should make the Indian government ponder as to its designs. The real reasons could be claiming a larger chunk of Sir Creek based on the satellite imagery and backed by the joint survey. It is a fact that the Sir Creek area is dynamic and even seasonal changes are common. Hence how are we going to decide on a permanent delimitation based on a joint survey? If the creek indeed has changed its navigable course, application of the ‘Thelwag’ principle of the centre of the navigable channel inside Sir Creek may well work out to India’s disadvantage. In order to avoid further complications, it would be desirable for India to keep the unquestionable historical data as the basis for negotiations (unless the joint survey conforms to the historical data) and decide on the common baseline point (CP) at the mouth of Sir Creek through a give-and-take approach.

Delimitation by the seaward approach, from EEZ (200 NM) to approximately 20 NM from Sir Mouth, using the undisputed baseline points of both countries based on their legally published navigational charts, should be enough to agree on 180 NM of maritime boundary. If both India and Pakistan baselines positions/claims are considered, the disputed area would be approximately 200 SKM. It would be prudent to divide this area into half, with the common baseline point at Sir Mouth (CP), agreed at the centre of the historical navigable channel.

In order to avoid local fishermen from trespassing into each other’s maritime limits, it would be desirable to also agree on construction of a lighthouse on an offshore platform at the agreed common baseline point with adequate range (say 20 NM) and clear arc of visibility along the demarcated maritime boundary line to warn the trespassing fishermen on either side and maintained by the Lighthouse Department. This will considerably ease the tension on both sides and enable the Indian coast guard and MSA (P) to function more effectively.

The general lighthouse under construction by India at the eastern entrance to Pir Sanai Creek based on the Godbole Committee’s recommendations should further help in surveillance of the area. India would also do well to promulgate its finalised baseline system for the entire coast without any delay.[HT]

When Honesty Doesn't Pay

In the eyes of the Indian public the politicians are one of the most reviled persons, as most of them are perceived to be corrupt to the core. Someone in Punjab wanted to disprove this and in his pursuit of this noble endeavour he annoyed certain people close to the high command and now he has paid the price for that indiscretion.

Credentials like 'best parliamentarian' and 'whistleblower' have not helped a Congress legislator in Punjab get a ticket to contest the assembly elections next month.

Vocal and controversial Bir Devinder Singh has been denied a chance to contest from Kharar constituency with the Congress giving the ticket to Mohali district party president Balbir Singh Sidhu, a local liquor distributor.'

The denial of ticket is a conspiracy by the land and liquor mafia in my area. I will talk to my supporters and decide the next course of action,' Bir Devinder said, indicating that he was on the verge of leaving the Congress.

Then legislator, who has been with the party for three decades, had been declared the 'best parliamentarian' in the Punjab assembly only two years ago. He also remained deputy speaker of the state assembly.

He is known for his bold stand on various issues and earned the sobriquet 'whistleblower' in political circles for exposing various scandals, including those that went against his own party's government. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state Congress president Shamsher Singh Dullo were not happy with him.

Bir Devinder had opposed the government's move to bring a private universities bill in the assembly. He was against a 'halwai' businessman from Jalandhar being allowed to set up the state's first private university despite not having any credentials in the education field.

He had raised other issues against the government as well - embarrassing Amarinder Singh on several occasions.

Bir Devinder was always in the news for inspection of various government services like hospitals, schools, colleges and public-dealing offices and exposing absenteeism and lack of work culture by government officials.

He recently got embroiled in controversy after recommending the transfer of a pregnant woman doctor in a government clinic after he heard her taking his name in a manner he felt was disrespectful to a legislator. The issue led to a protest by doctors though it was later resolved.[IANS]

Jan 3, 2007

An Impending Terror Wave

The news channel "Times Now" has put out a report on a top secret advisory sent out by the Intelligence Bureau to the Mumbai Police warning of attacks on the city by LeT cadres that are ready to infiltrate into the country.

The last time the Mumbai Police ignored an IB warning, the entire city had to face the dire consequences in the form of 11/7 blasts that rocked Mumbai.

The advisory specifies :-

--There are about 600 militants, who have been imparted navigational training by ISI & Pakistan Navy. These men are poised to infiltrate our coastlines and island territories.

-- There is also a possibility of attempt by militants to kidnap VVIPs or aircrafts to demand the release of Afzal Guru (Convict of 2003 Parliament Attack case).

The letter specifies that 2 persons from West Asia surveyed Mumbai and Goa for two months. A Sudanese national also stayed illegally in Pune with a fundamentalist organization.

The warning issued by IB via an advisory - a copy of which is acquired by TIMES NOW -- specifies clearly that 'Mumbai' is on the terror radar once again. It is also learnt that 26th January is the day, when Lashkar plans to strike Mumbai.

Main Targets

-- Maharashtra's VVIPs, who are in danger of being kidnapped.

-- Airports are on LeT's hit list. It is likely that planes could be hijacked and flown out of India.

-- LeT militants surveyed terror targets in Mumbai and Goa.

Reportedly, it is learnt that these 600 militants have been trained to handle large boats, lay land mines and explosives and are well equipped with navigational skills, concealment of explosives and surveillance methods.

Allegedly, it is an orchaestrated effort to free -- Afzul Guru -- who faces a death sentence in the Parliament Attack case.

Meanwhile, the IB has alleged that groundwork for this massive attack is already underway. Two Lashkar militants have surveyed possible terror targets in Mumbai and Goa for 2 months. A Sudanese national linked to an international terror outfit has established contact with sleeper cells in Pune.[Times Now]

The Chinese Take Away

The Chinese are doing their very own little Kargil every year and we are pretty cool about it.

First the Chinese ambassador to India Sun Yuxi made a
sensational statement to CNN-IBN claiming that Arunachal Pradesh was a part of China, and now the Chinese seem to be making good their claim.

Reports indicate that the Chinese have actually crossed the border to occupy parts of the state’s territory.

However, it’s not the first time that such an incident has occurred. Every time the snow on the high peaks melts, the Indian side realises that China has intruded deeper into the country.

But the envoy’s outrageous claim and the infiltration don’t seem to be bothering the Indian Government, keen on taking the dialogue process forward.

“There are some inadvertent incursions. Are we going to make them a national issue and make them come in the way of talks that are heading positively towards a resolution – no,” said Home Secretary V K Duggal. [CNN-IBN]

We certainly have a magnanimous heart.