Tokyo scrambles fighter jets against China military planes

Updated 11 January 2013
0

Tokyo scrambles fighter jets against China military planes

TOKYO: Japan scrambled fighter jets yesterday to head off a number of Chinese military planes near islands at the center of a territorial dispute, Japanese media said.
The Chinese planes were spotted on Japanese military radar north of the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, known as the Diaoyus in China, a television network reported, quoting Japanese government officials.
They did not violate territorial airspace over the islands but flew inside Japan's so-called air defense identification zone, the report said.
The Japanese Defense Ministry press office did not confirm the report. The Chinese planes were gone when F-15 jet fighters from an airbase on Japan's main Okinawan island reached the area, the report said, adding the Chinese flights continued until about 5 p.m.
Chinese government ships and planes have been seen off the disputed islands numerous times since Japan nationalized them in September, sometimes within the 12 nautical-mile territorial zone.
The coastguard said yesterday they were not aware of any Chinese military aircraft in the area.
Japan is expected today to approve a huge stimulus package aimed at breathing life into its flagging economy.
Around 180 billion yen ($ 2.1 billion) of the total 20 trillion yen is expected to be allocated to military spending.
A Defence Ministry spokesman told AFP the cash would be used to buy missiles, helicopters and to refurbish fighter jets to cope with the changing security environment in the region.


Indian diplomat spied for Pakistan in ‘reverse honey trap’

Madhuri Gupta, right, after making an appearance at the Tis Hazari Court in New Delhi. Files/AFP
Updated 3 min 16 sec ago
0

Indian diplomat spied for Pakistan in ‘reverse honey trap’

  • Gupta was allegedly in a relationship with a Pakistani man to whom she passed on classified information
  • Money, sexual favors or loneliness can drive people to reveal their country’s secrets to an enemy nation

NEW DELHI: Security experts in India say it is a common tactic for countries to tap the employees of foreign governments to get access to confidential information, but catching a double agent is a work of vigilance.

The most recent of such cases is that of Madhuri Gupta, an Indian diplomat who was sentenced to three years by an Indian court on Sunday for spying for Pakistan.
On Friday a court found Gupta guilty of “spying and wrongful communication of information” while posted to the Indian embassy in Islamabad, according to news reports. Gupta, 61, is out on bail and plans to appeal the sentence.
Gupta, a low-ranking diplomat, was stationed at the Indian High Commission in Pakistan as second secretary (press and information). She was arrested in 2010 for allegedly passing information to Pakistan’s intelligence unit, ISI or the Inter-Services Intelligence, a charge that she has admitted.
According to security experts, Gupta was allegedly in a relationship with a Pakistani man to whom she passed on classified information.
“It was a reverse honey trap,” said V. Balachandran, a former special secretary in the cabinet secretariat. “This is an old Stasi tactic and she was caught in that.”

Confidential information
The Stasi was East Germany’s official security service when that country was divided in two. It was common practice for the Stasi to have young, handsome East German officers pretend to be West German to meet single West German women posted at embassies and woo them to access confidential information, Balachandran said.
“The good thing is our counterintelligence caught on to it,” he said. “Keeping a watch on your own people is a difficult thing, especially in hostile countries like Islamabad. Despite that they’ve been able to do this and shows that they are quite alert.”
While spying or espionage is common in all countries, it is not common to be caught, experts agree.
“Sometimes these things come to light and there are times that they don’t,” said A.S. Dulat, former special director of India’s Intelligence Bureau who also headed the research and analysis wing. “Not everything gets known. If it does, espionage will come to an end. It’s the luck of the draw.”
Money, sexual favors or loneliness can drive people to reveal their country’s secrets to an enemy nation, Balachandran said.
“That’s why as a security precaution we always say that single people shouldn’t be posted to such embassies, as without a family support network they can get very lonely” and be easy prey, he said.
The extent of the damage, experts agree, depends on what information is leaked.
In the so-called Naval War Room leak, officers of the Indian Navy allegedly stole more than 7,000 pages of documents on India’s maritime preparedness and plans for the next 20 years and leaked them to armsdealers and middlemen.
“That was a very damaging case,” Balachandran said. “And these things happen because of our own failure to notice” the warning signs, he said.
Nuclear-armed arch-rivals India and Pakistan frequently accuse each other of sending spies to their countries and have on several occasions expelled diplomats after allegations of espionage.