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Thursday, 19 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 19 Jun













Army chief to visit Russia next week
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 18
With Moscow delaying the transfer of technology to India for the T-90 tanks, Chief of Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor is leaving on June 23 on a five-day visit to Russia to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.General Kapoor will meet Russian defence officials and senior military officials. He will visit Russian Land Forces Tank Division, Mikhailovskaya Artillery Academy and North Caucasus Military District.During his interaction with senior defence and military officials of Russia, General Kapoor will discuss issues related to military cooperation.
An Army spokesman said the visit would further the defence cooperation between the two nations and cement India’s ties with Russia that are time-tested and based on continuity, trust and mutual understanding.

Kargil happened because of lack of visualisation: General Malik

New Delhi, June 18
Gen V.P Malik, who headed the Army during the Kargil war, has blamed the lack of visualisation of security threats by the then government as one of the main reasons for the 1999 conflict.
Referring to the assumption in military strategy that despite all efforts to prevent it, there may be a war, he said those who found it "irritating or doubtful, I would like to remind them of the Kargil war that broke out within two months of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan signing the Lahore Declaration with much fanfare." This assumption, he said, was, therefore, "a reminder to the strategists to visualise security threats, the possibility and nature of conflict and to always remain prepared for such an eventuality." In a foreword to a book, 'Indian Army Vision - 2020' authored by Brig Gurmeet Kanwal( retd), Malik also said that military history showed that "nations who neglect this historical determinism make themselves vulnerable to military surprise, defeat and ignominy."
Without referring to the Kargil conflict, he also pointed out that it had seldom been possible to forecast the time, place, scope, intensity and the tenor of a conflict and stressed that security plans should cater to the "complete spectrum of conflict." Defending the Indo-US nuclear deal, the former Army chief blamed "lack of ability to generate hard power" and the tendency among politicians to "fixing each other than fixing outsiders" for the "hullabaloo" over the India-US Civil Nuclear deal. —

Editorial: Defence Budget back in parliament

Daily Times, Pakistan

The defence budget of Pakistan has been presented in parliament, which should please those who thought it odd and unfair that the details of what the army spent on itself were hidden from public view. The defence budget went into hiding in 1965 when Pakistan fought its big war with India, and has ever since mystified economists who saw its ratio to GDP climb to 6 percent in times when the GDP of the country took a nosedive. Because the defence budget remained inelastic in contrast to government spending in the rest of the country — which paid its salaries out of new loans and shouldered a mountain of debts in consequence — most Pakistanis called their country a “security state” that took care of itself at the expense of its people.

As the budget was read out in the Senate, many members protested at the high figures appearing before them. This resentment has developed over a long period of time in which the wisdom of living with weapons took a consistent beating as ruling generals fought their wars with India and lost them. Thus the defence budget increasingly began to look like a punishment to people whom it pretended to defend. Indeed, as the people lost their rights, and provinces were treated brutally for the sake of “national security”, commitment to national defence wavered and almost dried up outside of the Punjab province. Even today, as people line up for flour and spend time protesting load-shedding, the front page news about the testing of an expensive “delivery system” for our nuclear devices leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

But if Pakistan has to survive it must maintain an efficient army in congruence with the size of its economy. If the GDP increases, as it did during the Musharraf years, the defence budget came down from 6 percent of the GDP to 4.5 percent; but if the GDP goes down, spending on defence will begin to hurt. This is true not only of Pakistan but of economies all over the world. The economists say defence expenditure pegged at 3 percent of the GDP will be tolerable as it will not affect the rest of the civilian outlays. Any defence budget that crosses this line will affect the civilian budget and thus impact the standard of living of the population. Today Pakistan is supposed to be spending 4.5 percent of the GDP on defence. This is still too high. Even Americans began to feel unhappy when the US defence budget, traditionally less than 3 percent, shot across the threshold of 4 percent during the Iraq war.

The defence budget today should be pegged to our defence and not offence needs. The “calculation of sufficiency” must be made very carefully as the economy is about to enter another troubled transition. In the past, the budget was blindly pegged to India’s, and the nation was asked to take the pain because the country’s defence was paramount. This year too Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called on India to agree to freeze its defence budget together with Pakistan. The answer from India was predictable. Defence minister AK Antony said: “India’s defence budget — with an annual allocation of less than 2 per cent of the GDP — is amongst the lowest in the world. Despite our economic boom, our expenditure is less than 2 per cent of the GDP”. India’s defence spending, in terms of percentage of GDP, has seen a persistent decline — from 3.38 per cent in 1987-88 to 1.98 per cent in 2007-08.

One must reason here that Pakistan’s defence budget should no longer be pegged to India’s but to the conditions of threat inside the country. This argument is relevant because, given conditions of hostility — which defence budgets actually encourage — India will find itself in a position to destroy Pakistan economically through the “compellance” of imitative and competitive military spending. As for Pakistan’s equation with India, Islamabad must lean on the current trend towards normalisation and use diplomacy for avoidance of conflict. This must be done because of the new threat inside the state.

The Pakistan army is in a state of mobilisation inside Pakistan because of the challenge of the warlords in occupation of territories that Pakistan must win back. But such are the conditions of military logistics — with each asset consuming colossal amounts of petrol and diesel — that the proposed 294 billion rupees ($4.39 billion) expenditure in the defence budget would be squeezed as the “peace deals” with the warlords break down and the army is compelled to move out and confront them. Therefore our parliamentarians must keep this aspect of the challenge in mind. They must also keep in mind the significance of Pakistan’s participation in the global war against terrorism, because the current mobilisation against terrorists is financed by this global effort. *

Second Editorial: Taliban back on warpath

The Taliban warlord Maulana Fazlullah has said he has “temporarily” broken off contact with the NWFP government because it has not released all the Taliban prisoners as promised in the “peace deal”. The NWFP has set 18 of them free, but the Taliban say 50 more must be released. The NWFP government says it is not aware of any agreement on the prisoners. When the federal government wanted the peace deal with Fazlullah ended, Peshawar didn’t go along and insisted on holding on to it. Now it must make the decision whether it is any use flirting with a dangerous man.

The fig-leaf of “talking only to peaceful elders” is off and it is clear that Islamabad was talking to the terrorists from a position of weakness. Six suicide-bombers were arrested when they were readying to blast the Long March in Islamabad with full confidence that the massacre of the lawyers would be blamed on the government. In Hangu, four Shias have been shot to death, and in Kohat the Taliban have imposed veil on all the school-going girls. That’s just the cat’s paw. Soon Peshawar itself could come under pressure because the warlords’ writ runs inside Hayatabad. Pakistan has to fight the battle that is worth fighting to survive. And that means political support to the army as it stands eyeball-to-eyeball with the warlords. *


Eurosatory 2008: Nexter reveals new vehicle and remote turret
By Peter Felstead
France's Nexter unveiled two new systems at Eurosatory: the Aravis multimission protected vehicle and a new 20 mm-armed remote-controlled weapon station called the ARX 20.

Nexter claims that the Aravis, which is based on a Unimog U5000 chassis, is the most protected multimission vehicle of its category. The programme manager for the Aravis, Emmanuel Fron, told Jane's that the vehicle had been designed from the start to protect against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against the backdrop of international peacekeeping operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The protection is four, four, four, four," said Fron, referring to the protection levels of the Aravis: the vehicle conforms to NATO STANAG 4569 Level 4 for ballistic protection (resistance to attack by 14.5 mm machine gun fire), mine protection (able to withstand attack by a 10 kg mine under the belly or wheel) and artillery protection (able to protect against fragments from 155 mm artillery bursts).
The ARX 20 remote-controlled weapon station has been designed to increase an armoured vehicle's deterrent or actual firepower. "We noticed that forces wanted something more powerful than a .50 cal [machine gun]," explained Pierre Clouvel, Nexter's executive vice-president for equipment. "For example, we received orders recently for the P20 [a Nexter 20 mm-armed manned weapon mount] to be mounted on the Otokar Cobra [armoured personnel carrier]."

Pak military threatens to postpone US training programme'

New York, Jun 18 (PTI) Enraged by the recent US air strikes in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, Pakistani military has threatened to postpone or cancel an American programme to train a paramilitary force for combating Islamic militants, a media report said today.
Some Pakistani officials are convinced that the Americans deliberately fired on their military, killing 11 men from the very paramilitary force the Americans want to train, an accusation the Americans deny, it said.
The uncertainty over the programme reflects how deeply scarred the US' alliance with Pakistan, already strained, has been since the June 10 air strikes, Pakistani officials and Western diplomats were quoted by the New York Times as saying.
The USD 400 million training programme is intended to combat militancy by fielding a paramilitary force, called the Frontier Corps, from among the tribes that live in the border areas. It was a compromise between American and Pakistani officials looking for the least intrusive way to fortify security in an area where Pakistani government has rejected the idea of American soldiers and where even the regular Pakistani Army is often not welcome, the Times noted.
Ending or delaying the programme, which is already under way, would deny the US what little leverage it has in the tribal areas to combat a rising number of cross-border attacks from Pakistan into Afghanistan against American and NATO forces this year.
The United States military said the air strikes had been carried out in self-defence against militants who had attacked American forces in Afghanistan and then fled into Pakistan. But the paper says the Pakistanis continue to dispute important parts of the American account. PTI

Indian Defence Minister Favours Hot Pursuit in Kashmir By Fayaz Wani
Continuing the hot pursuit policy against the militants, the Indian defence minister, A K Antony on Tuesday called on troops to continue killing militants in the violence-hit Kashmir.
The Indian defence minister arrived here on a two-day visit to review the security scenario in Kashmir. Immediately, after his arrival in the summer capital, the Indian defence minister chaired a high level meeting, which was attended among others by Indian army Chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, Indian Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Chief Secretary S S Kapoor, Special Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, ML Kumawat and senior security and state government officials.
The Indian defence minister lauded the role of troops in restoring peace to Kashmir. He said that the pressure on militants have to be maintained at all costs.
"The sacrifice and determined efforts of soldiers has helped in bringing down the level of militancy related violence in Kashmir," he said.
The Indian defence minister called on the troops deployed in Kashmir to continue the hot pursuit against the militants. "The troops should achieve the objective of neutralizing the militants with a minimum inconvenience to the people," he said.
Antony said the coming months are going to be crucial as there are forces within and outside Kashmir, which will make efforts to thwart the process of holding the assembly elections in the violence-hit Kashmir. The elections are scheduled to be held in October this year.
He said the Government of India was committed to holding the elections in the Kashmir in a free, fair and transparent manner. He also reiterated the prime Minister's commitment to zero tolerance on human right violations and said there would be no compromise on that.
Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.
Copyright © 2008, NewsBlaze, Daily News

Punjab to prepare more youth for Army
18 Jun 2008, 0311 hrs IST, Anand Bodh,TNN

CHANDIGARH: Punjab has always contributed towards the country’s might. In every war India has fought, officers and jawans from the state have contributed in a big way. And this has inspired others to follow suit. But this trend has changed over a period of time. Last year only 17 officers from Punjab passed out from the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehra Dun. With the number of people joining the defence services dwindling, the state government has chalked out a programme to check this trend. A training programme to prepare 240 youths for the entrance examination of various defence academies is on these days.
According to sources, earlier around 40-60 youths from Sainik School, Kapurthala, used to join the NDA, but since the past five years the number had gone down to just five or six.
To rejuvenate interest among youths in this regard, especially from rural areas, the Punjab government in April this year launched special centres to train youths for various competitive tests for defence services. Education at these centres was being imparted on no-profit, no-loss basis, sources said.
The director, Directorate of Sainik Welfare (Punjab), Brig Inderjit Singh Gakhal (retd), said at present five centres for pre-commission training are being run in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda and Patiala, which cover all four regions of the state. He said the best faculities are being made available at these centres, which are focusing more on rural youth.

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