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‘Shiv Menon Ceded To Chidambaram On Intelligence Issues’

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'Shiv Menon Ceded To Chidambaram On Intelligence Issues'New Delhi: National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon had capitulated to Home Minister P. Chidambaram on intelligence issues soon after taking over his post, a diplomatic cable leaked by whistleblower site WikiLeaks says
In the cable dated Feb 1, 2010, then US envoy Timothy J. Roemer observed: “While Menon is battling to preserve much of the territory and power of the NSA, he may well have capitulated to Chidambaram on some intelligence issues.” Menon had taken over as the NSA on Jan 23, 2010 and Roemer had met him just five days later.
The cable confirms reports that Chidambaram had prevailed in the power tussle between the office of the NSA and home ministry on the issue of intelligence. Roemer, in the cable, said he broached the reports that indicated a reformed and more narrow NSA structure was accurate. Menon, the then ambassador said, was blunt in asserting that his portfolio as NSA would remain “the same” as that of his predecessor M.K. Narayanan.
Narayanan had been shunted out as NSA to West Bengal as governor only a few days earlier in the same month that year after major differences of opinion between him and Chidambaram.
Roemer, in his comments on Menon’s blunt remarks, said his message and demeanour contrasted with that of two weeks ago when he told the ambassador “change is going to happen” and that he would focus more on strategic issues. Menon appeared to be in the midst of an effort to consolidate his position and maximise his value to the prime minister, Roemer added in the cable. Menon was critical of the media assumption that he would “be foreign secretary again”.
He clarified that as NSA he will “not be doing foreign policy,” but as the prime minister’s principal security adviser, he planned to take a more strategic view and advise the prime minister on whatever security issues the prime minister involved himself in, including regional security, nuclear issues, and defence.
He claimed the media has “overblown” the implications of Chidambaram’s proposed “structural reform” to set up an Indian version of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
Menon suggested he would not busy himself with the day-to-day management of India’s intelligence services. Roemer attempted to target several specific questions at his intelligence and nuclear roles, but he would not be drawn out on what this would mean for his role on these issues, the cable noted.
-IANS

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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