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Monday, 2 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 2 Jun

BrahMos Aerospace absent at Berlin Air Show

Berlin: BrahMos Aerospace, responsible for manufacturing the supersonic cruise missile considered the pride of India’s defence might, was surprisingly missing at the Berlin Air Show, where the country had showcased its military prowess.

Though the Indian pavilion here on the outskirts of the city had displayed its advancement in defence and aerospace technologies, it was intriguing to find that BrahMos missile, which India is interested in marketing to other countries, was nowhere in the huge Indian pavilion.

Even the foreign delegates, who visited the Indian pavilion, asked the organisers about the absence of BrahMos missile to which there was a standard reply that they did not get the time to set up their stall.

BrahMos attained 100 per cent success rate in all flight trials proving the adequacy of the missile system to a maximum range of 290 km with high accuracy and lethality establishing the reliability of the system in all weather conditions.

“Indian navy and army have started the induction of the weapon system. The system will also be exported to a few friendly countries,” read the introduction about the missile in the brochures of India that were circulated at the Air Show.

India being a partner country in this year’s Berlin show, which has happened for the first time in the 99-year history of the event, had mentioned inclusion of BrahMos in their presentation and brochures.

Inside the huge pavilion, where even the Russians had also displayed their military might, an Indian Air Force band — Air Warriors — was seen performing in a large portion which, according to the sources, was to be used by BrahMos that backed off at the last moment. A dummy of the missile, was, however, placed there.

No justified reason was given by the BrahMos team about their non-participation in the mega event.

None of the Defence Ministry officials present at the airshow was willing to say anything on record. — PTI

India, Russia in fresh price row over copters

New Delhi, June 1
Still to resolve their deadlock over the cost escalation of aircraft carrier Gorshkov, India and Russia are in a fresh price row over a deal to purchase 80 medium-lift helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Though the ministry of defence finalised the proposal to purchase 80 upgraded MI-17IV helicopters at a cost of over $ 650 million in March last year, the deal is yet to be finalised as Russian company Rosoboroexport has hiked the price of the choppers to $ 1 billion, sources said.

The defence ministry went ahead with the proposal to acquire the MI-17IV helicopters as the IAF expressed its preference for the copters.

The helicopters are being bought by the IAF to bolster its strategic airlift capability on the Sino-Indian and Indo-Pak borders. At present, the IAF operates a 12-squadron- strong fleet of MI-17 and MI-8 helicopters.

The upgraded MI-17IV helicopters are powered by 2 Kilmov Tv-3 engines, giving them capability of landing at over 18,000 feet.

No global tenders were floated and the purchase was marked as a follow-on order, but the demand for more than 50 per cent price hike has irked the ministry of defence. — PTI

China: military ties with India improving P. S. Suryanarayana

SINGAPORE: A high-ranking Chinese defence official on Saturday affirmed that “the military-to-military relations between China and India have been moving towards a good direction.”

Beijing also appreciated New Delhi’s “cooperative spirit” in the political domain on the Tibet issue.

Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian told The Hindu here, on the sidelines of the seventh Asia Security Summit, that the two countries had already struck a “positive” note about their recent defence exercise.

Joint training exercises

Lt. Gen. Ma, who earlier outlined “the future of East Asian security” at the summit, being organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “In recent years, the mil-to-mil relations between China and India have been improving. The two defence chiefs have already exchanged visits, and senior leaders from the military forces also exchanged visits. Also, a good example is that last year we had a joint training exercise between the two Armies. I was then the head of the Chinese observation team, present during a large part of the exercise, and the deputy chief of the Indian Army also was there. We, both sides, gave a very positive comment on the recent development of the mil-to-mil defence relations between the two countries. It is our common, shared, aspiration to step up this type of interaction and engagement to improve our relations in the military field.”

“Active support”

On the politically sensitive “issue of Tibet,” he said: “We have received positive, active, support from the Indian Government, either it is about ‘the Tibetan exile government’s march movement’ or the Olympic torch relay.”

In an emphatic tone, Lt. Gen. Ma said: “We appreciate very much the cooperative spirit demonstrated by the Indian government. We hope that starting and proceeding from the overall interests of the bilateral relations between China and India, the Indian government could do more in restricting the violent activities of those Tibetan exiles or ‘independent forces’ in India.”

Printed from

Divide & Misrule
1 Jun, 2008, 0014 hrs IST,

The one photograph which illustrates the abysmal failure of the Indian political establishment is that of 10,000 Gujjars sitting on the Mumbai-Delhi railway line in Rajasthan and preventing the movement of trains.

In the good old days before our politicians discovered quotas, the Indian Railways described itself as “a nation on the move.” If trains cannot connect India’s political and commercial capitals, that, surely, represents the extent to which the country has been derailed. The British operated on the policy of impera et dupera — Latin for divide and rule. This generation of India’s politicians excels in divide and misrule!

That the Gujjars are also paralysing road-traffic between Delhi and Jaipur makes it even more ironical. Even in mediaeval India, Jaipur could be accessed from Delhi and vice versa. “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom,” Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said in Parliament in a speech which inspired people throughout the world in 1947. The tragedy of today’s India is that freedom at midnight has been followed by darkness at noon.

And, yet, the situation symbolised by the photograph of train and road-traffic being paralysed need never have occurred if today’s generation of politicians had remembered the words of caution expressed by Nehru in a letter to India’s CMs, some 47 years ago.

An indefinite policy of reservation could, Nehru warned, lead to the country becoming second-rate. “If we go in for any kind of reservations on communal and caste basis, we will swamp the bright and able people and remain second-rate or third- rate. The moment we encourage the second-rate, we are lost. This way lies not only folly but also disaster.”

Since then, the reservation policy has not just been frozen but doubled from 22.5 to 49.5%, with the 27% OBC quota now being extended to India’s premier institutes of higher education. What would Nehru have said if he had been around today when merit no longer matters for every one out of two government jobs or half the admissions to the IITs he started!

The saddest part of it all is that this 49.5% reservation has been institutionalised by a Congress headed by his grandson’s widow. And among those supporting the reservation policy is Nehru’s great-grandson.

That the retired Colonel Bainsla is leading the agitation to paralyse rail and road traffic shows the extent to which the politics of reservation has warped the thinking of even those who served in the forces defending our country.

The National Defence Academy at Khadakvasla has a Khetarpal Parade Ground. The Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun has a Khetarpal Auditorium. Lt Arun Khetarpal was just 21 when he died in action on the western front on December 16, 1971, in the Battle of Basantar and was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for courage beyond the call of duty. Surely, a country where road and rail traffic is paralysed in the name of reservation is not the India Khetarpal and so many others died for.

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