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Monday, 23 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 22 Jun

Ranchi, June 22: The state police will raise two battalions of ex-army personnel to protect ongoing development projects from Naxalite disruptions in Jharkhand.
“Two auxiliary battalions of retired but able-bodied and fit-to-work personnel from the armed forces would be raised within two-three months to provide security to projects going on in the state, including construction of roads, particularly in rural and remote areas,” said V.D. Ram, director-general of police (DGP).
The state government was also mulling a proposal, on the lines of northeastern states, to provide for “security budget” along with estimates for roads construction in extremist areas of Jharkhand.

This means the cost of raising security would have to be included in the estimate for roads construction. For example, if the cost of construction of a road was Rs 10 crore, another Rs 10-15 lakh would have to be provided in the estimate to provide security to the project. The amount fixed for security could vary on the degree of Naxalite threat perceived for the concerned project site at a particular area, said a senior official of the roads construction department.
At least 1,500km of road would have to be built in Naxalite areas of the state, but, as the senior official said, workers and key staff of the contractors have often been abducted when they failed to pay levy to the Maoists and burnt down equipment.
In fact, the situation has been so grim that even the Border Roads Organisation has withdrawn from constructing roads in the Maoist areas. Ranchi-west, Palamau, Hazaribagh, Chatra, Koderma, Garhwa, Daltongunj, Lohardaga, Simdega, Gumla and others have been worst affected.
Of the total 17,056km surfaced and kuchcha roads in Jharkhand, 6,323km run through villages, while 4991.75km are PWD roads and the rest national and state highways.
Roads connected only 26 per cent of the villages and there was need to construct bridges and more roads in the hilly terrain that criss-cross valleys and major trenches.

Four Militants, Trooper Killed in Jammu and Kashmir

Four separatist militants and a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper were killed Sunday in two separate gun battles in Jammu and Kashmir. Police said a fierce gunfight between two militants, holed up in a house in Shupribagh on the outskirts of Srinagar, and security forces ended late Sunday afternoon. "The two militants were killed by the CRPF and SOG (special operations group)) of the state police in a joint operation launched early today on a specific information," a senior police officer said. He said the house in which the guerrillas were holed up was destroyed in the gunfight.
While one CRPF trooper was killed on the spot, four others, including three policemen, were injured during the raid on the house. Meanwhile, two militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed in another gun battle at Narwan Sadhav forest area in south Kashmir's Shopian district Sunday morning. The gun battle started after troops of 31 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and SOG jointly launched a search operation in the forest.

Evolutionary Defense Strategies,
Pakistan and China
by Gaurang Bhatt, MD

Evolution has many lessons to teach us about defense strategy and international relations. Nehru in his ignorance of biology and general naïveté went ga ga about Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai (Asian universal brotherhood) as did Gandhi in his dealings with Pakistan. The three India Pakistan wars and the India China war of 1962 confirmed their foolishness.
The evolutionary parallel is the height of trees in a forest. All trees need sunlight to use their chlorophyll to generate nutrients from carbon dioxide and water. It would make sense for any tree to restrain the waste in energy consumption by restricting its height and spend its resources on its leaves, roots, flowers or seeds as they will ensure a long healthy life and improved chances of fruitful progeny. Growing tall is energy costly because of longer trunks that have to be sturdy enough to withstand winds that will snap them if they are not thick enough. Trees do not exceed 350 feet in height, as the thickest trunks they can muster would snap by fast wind shear forces produced by the swaying of the trunks. If the trees in a new forest could only come to a friendly non-rivalry understanding to keep their heights modest (say 25 feet) they would save a lot of energy and channel it more usefully and productively.
The problem in nature and evolution is that every creature tries to maximize its own survival except in limited cases of kin (best example are social insects) and reciprocal altruism (vampire bats regurgitating a blood meal). That is why each tree not trusting others to follow restraint, grows taller and competing trees follow.
It is like the increasing defense expenditures of the US, Russia, Japan, China, India and Pakistan, all running to get ahead but staying in the same relative place irrespective of increased effort and expenditure. When push comes to shove, selfish individuals and nations neglect even children, spouses and relatives or citizens respectively, (individuals) as in trophy younger second wives, Clinton oval office liaisons and nations starting wars (US in Iraq, Panama, Granada etc.), so powerful is sexual libido and hunger for power. There is no international court of justice with genuine punishing power and no accepted code of ethical international behavior, so international relations are a Hobbesian hell with rules of the jungle. That is why the European nations indulged in slave trading, genocide and colonial exploitation in the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. Russia and the US for centuries have expanded their empires and even today America preemptively attacks other nations militarily without cause or justification just as the Persians, Alexander, Romans, Arab Muslims, Mongols and the Europeans did before. Thus unilateral neglect of national military in Nehruvian style led to China’s successful and Pakistan’s unsuccessful attacks.
The possession of nuclear weapons despite their cost and terrible effects tend to prevent full scale wars. It led to the Mutually Assured Destruction of detente between the US and USSR and may do the same between India, China and Pakistan. That is why none of the original nuclear five UN Security Council permanent members will ever give up nuclear weapons in spite of their avowed promise to do so according to the NPT that they have signed. That is why Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons and the US and Israel threaten it and even India voted against it at the IAEA. That is why North Korea has acquired them. Nuclear weapons lead aggressor or hostile nations to seek other means for destroying their adversaries.
The strangler fig, a common Indian tree uses another subterfuge. It begins life as a climbing vine which winds round the trunk of a tall tree to seek sunlight. These vines literally form a scaffolding around the host tree and its major branches and then gradually thicken and send downward projections to the ground and beneath it as thickening roots. Eventually the strangler actually strangles the host tree, killing it and replacing it from the canopy to the ground.
This is what the US tries to do with Cuba and other disobedient countries in Latin America, Syria and North Korea by embargoes. Another technique is the Salami tactic in which pieces of a country are sliced off to reduce its power and geography. The US did this with Mexico by taking the US southwest, separating Panama from Colombia, permanently occupying Guantanamo in Cuba and presently bases in Iraq.
India did the same with Bangladesh when opportunity arose due to Pakistan military atrocities on its east wing and Mujibur Rahman.
Britain has played the divide and rule strategy in the partition of India, separating Kuwait from Iraq, the Biafran war in Nigeria and other cases.
Apartheid South Africa tried it with Bantustans and Israel plays the same game in the occupied West Bank.
In nature predators attack the weakest of the herd to isolate, kill and consume them and rivals for sex do this by killing the infants of another power to get the mother back to fertility to sire a new brood.
US and European tactics of supporting obedient client governments the world over (Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Pakistan etc.) while killing or exiling the opposition is similar.
Currently, the occupation of Kargil, the terrorist attacks in various Indian cities and the Chinese incursions in Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal are a form of war by other means. The mighty US military machine mired down in the swamps of Afghanistan and Iraq in a losing situation, should teach India that newest planes, ships, tanks, missiles, guns etc. will not solve the problem. That is not to say that we should not get Phalcon AWACS, C-130Js, newest self propelled howitzers, T-90 tanks, Vikramaditya, new aircraft and an ABM defense. Cruise missiles and submarines make our ships and aircraft carriers highly vulnerable to becoming expensive losses.
Another evolutionary strategy is advertisement as deterrent. The fanning of a cobra’s ribs into a menacing hood, pilo-motor erection to look more formidable and bright iridescent coloring to warn predators that the animal is poisonous as done by poisonous frogs and butterflies or porcupine spines are warning signs. We use home and car burglar alarms for the same purpose.
India is doing these things by having airbases in Ladakh, northeast and possibly Tajikistan, but we need a ring of airbases along the Chinese, Pakistan and Bangladesh border with adequate high tech multi-role combat aircraft. These bases must have air reconnaissance assets as well as artillery and armor where logistically feasible. India is finally buying substantial numbers of attack helicopters. We need to improve road and rail logistics for supply of these high altitude bases. A joint air and naval base in the Andaman and Nicobar islands is a good step to cover the Straits of Malacca but more are needed at the Laccadive islands and strung along at 500 mile intervals along the entire coastline of the west and east. There should be submarines based at each of those bases. India needs to have at least 25 modern attack submarines and half a dozen nuclear ones with nuclear MRBMs.
A sea based nuclear missile complement is the surest deterrence by having a devastating retaliatory capability. India is finally acquiring indigenous technology capability. In the past it bought assembled equipment and foolishly let its submarine building expertise lapse after the German HDW submarine deal. The expenditure on anti-ballistic missiles is of uncertain and questionable value. Not even advanced countries like the US, Russia or Israel have a reliable anti-missile missile defense. India with limited resources should concentrate on neutralizing the salami tactics of Pakistan by preventing terrorist infiltration and repeated probing by the Chinese. We need better UAVs, sensors and radars to nip these in the bud by prompt detection of border encroachment with effective rapid response by adequately armed teams.
China’s string of pearls strategy has brought it ports on the coast of Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which can be used for monitoring and if necessary disrupting Indian air and naval communications and effectiveness. Thus Indian air and naval assets have to be buttressed to counter that with strong and diffuse ASW anti-ship warfare assets by logistically adequate submarines, helicopters and fixed wing planes like the latest ones ordered from Boeing (double or triple the eight ordered are needed). It is highly unlikely that a full scale land battle with ground attack aircraft, tanks, artillery, rockets and infantry will be undertaken by China, Pakistan or Bangladesh, so excessive beefing up of the army at the cost of depriving the air-force and navy is not a good idea.
The Muslim citizens of India in Kargil alerted the Indian army whose intelligence gatherers and scouts were asleep at the job during winter. That is totally unacceptable. Repeal of article 370 and following China’s population demographics in Tibet and Sinkiang is necessary not because of religious bigotry but in a country like India with fissiparous tendencies based on language, ethnicity and religion, we need mixed populations to prevent ignorant unthinking bigots like Thackeray and Khalistanis from having a captive, overwhelming majority susceptible audience to exploit. Look what the Kashmiri separatist terrorists did to the Kashmiri Hindu pandits.
June 21, 2008

Why US-Israel-India Axis is Welcome
Ignore Comrade Karat’s craftiness
by Rajinder Puri

Comrade Karat perhaps believes he is being very crafty. He is being in fact too clever by half. To justify his party’s opposition to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal he has spoken of the danger arising from any strategic alliance with the US. He has done this by invoking the cause of the Palestinian people. He said: “The strategic alliances with the US and Israel are interconnected. To support Palestinian cause it is important to disentangle India from this matrix.”
It is a popular line of argument. It is very clever as theory. It is quite stupid in practice. Theoretically what could be better than India unfettered by international alliances, morally strong, strategically weak, independent and totally non-aligned? Alas, in practice nothing could be worse. Pandit Nehru learnt this the hard way. After the humiliation suffered in 1962 at the hands of the Chinese he confessed in a tremulous voice over radio: “We had been living in an artificial world of our own creation”. That’s right. Now Comrade Karat wants us to live in a cuckoo land of his own perception.
Why is a US-Israel-India axis desirable? Because in the real world there is a US-Israel-China axis. It has dominated global affairs for the past three decades. This scribe has repeatedly described this trilateral alliance as the real axis of evil. Pakistan was the midwife that gave birth to this axis. US-China collaboration over Pakistan blocked the Soviet advance to the Indian Ocean. A nuclear Pakistan became the impregnable sanctuary for anti-Indian insurgents to bleed India and perpetuate Chinese hegemony in Asia. And a US-China alliance broke the Sino-Soviet alliance to change the world balance of power. At that time it made great strategic sense for America.
All round it was a sweet deal. But with the passage of time it began to sour. For decades it appeared so sweet to the US that it overlooked a continuing five to one trade deficit with China. US big business made quick profits by manufacture in China which offered cheap, virtually slave, labor. Now things have changed. Never mind if eighty per cent of China’s industry is owned by foreign capital. It is located on Chinese soil. On the ground it is at the mercy of iron fisted Chinese dictatorship. And never mind if most Chinese exports to the US were low tech goods. The bulk of the exporting industry was owned by the People’s Liberation Army which used the profits to build and sustain the world’s largest army. After three decades of bleeding India through proxy nations now China can afford to flex its muscles against America. So at last the Americans are getting worried. President Bush in his second term, egged on by US security interests, sought to undo the covert damage wrought on democratic India -- the world’s only billion strong nation apart from China. As China and Pakistan clandestinely spread nuclear weapons and fomented terrorism, India received a thousand cuts. To all this, America turned a blind eye. Now if powerful sections in America and Israel are beginning to chafe over the results of their past misconceived policies, should India continue to sulk or enhance its own national interest?
Has the US decided to dump China? No way! US investment in China is too big. The potential of China’s economy is too great. The US simply wants to redress the balance of power in Asia. It seeks closer ties with India without weakening ties with China. What the Indian government must be very cautious about is the exact opposite of what worries Comrade Karat. The government must remain alert that closer Indo-US ties will not be at the cost of India’s interests to the benefit of China. It is entirely possible that there would be elements in the Chinese leadership reconciled to the emergence of India as an equally close ally of the US as China. But the preponderant view in China up till now is to deny India its legitimate space. An Indo-US-Israel axis could help dampen this hegemonic Chinese view.
And finally, there is the question of Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel is an artificially created nation state. Palestine was partitioned by colonial Britain a few months after the partition of India. It is possible that British Zionists welcomed India’s partition for creating a precedent that facilitated the partition of Palestine and the creation of Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel’s policies during the last six decades are open to serious criticism. Israel has been too heavy handed with the Palestinians. Pakistan has resorted to insurgency and terrorism in Kashmir. On any objective assessment there was no provocation by India against Pakistan similar to what the wronged Palestinians offered to Israel. Like Pakistan, Israel seems obsessed with acquiring more land to ensure stability. In fact both nations will achieve stability only through friendly relations with immediate neighbors. Perhaps both nations are paranoid because of their test tube births. But both Israel and Pakistan have survived through three generations passionately committed to their nations. To contemplate the destruction of either nation in a fast changing world where national sovereignty is rapidly diminishing would be nothing less than insane.
So, does this mean that India should avoid relations with Israel? No. Does it mean that India should abandon the cause of an independent Palestine state? No. It means that India must bend its efforts to defuse crisis situations both in Israel and in Pakistan through just and principled diplomacy. America has deep emotional ties with Israel. Today if the emerging scenario persuades both nations to change their attitude towards India, it should be welcomed. As far as Comrade Karat’s objections are concerned, he appeared quite mute while China built its strength with Israeli help. For years Israel with US blessing was the biggest arms supplier to China. Only in recent years has the US started to pressure Israel to curtail military supplies to China. Responsible quarters have identified Israel as the crucial source for China’s nuclear breakthrough. Israel’s richest businessman, Shaul Eisenberg, a refugee given sanctuary in Shanghai during World War II, is thought to have been the conduit for passing nuclear know-how to China.
All things considered, if America and Israel change attitude to get closer to India, why should that be opposed? It would strengthen India. It would make China amenable to friendly relations with India on the basis of equality. Those who oppose an Indo-US-Israel strategic relationship are either ignorant of the total picture or are subverted. Comrade Karat can best decide in which category his party should be placed.

India, France to make surface-to-air missiles

Sandeep Dikshit
“Decision to field the MBDL-BDL-DRDO Maitri missile was not easy”DRDO is seeking outside expertise for seeker and guidance systems

PARIS: India and France plan to co-produce surface-to-air missiles (SAM) on the lines of the Indo-Russian ‘Brahmos’ missile.Termed Maitri (Friendship), the Indo-French short-range missile will be offered to the Army for replacing the near-obsolete Russian SAMs, said Antoine Bouvier, chief executive officer of MBDA, one of the world’s largest missile manufacturers. “We have been assured of support at the highest political level by French President Nicolas Sarkozy after he discussed the project with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the former’s visit to New Delhi in January this year,” he told visiting journalists here. “We initiated discussions with the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in November 2005 on a completely new missile version. The next step is joint development with the DRDO and production by the BDL some of which can also be earmarked for export,” said Mr. Bouvier.
The proposal is in line with the views expressed by Defence Minister A. K. Antony and DRDO chief M. Natarajan. They have expressed preference for taking on board an experienced foreign company instead of Indian defence research and production companies trying to strike out a lonely and time-consuming path of their own. Termed the Brahmos model in Indian defence circles, the government had attempted a partnership with an Israeli company for a different class of missiles. But the project was put on hold as the Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the company for alleged malfeasance.
The missile will be on its first test when the MBDA and the BDL respond to a multi-billion dollar Army tender for 1,000 quick-reaction SAMs (QR-SAM). These mobile missile units are generally placed near army units and their tactical headquarters for protection against aerial threats. The missile can strike at hostile aircraft nine km away and could also be used for protection of sensitive government and economic complexes. Therefore, company officials see a sales potential beyond the Army tender and are confident of its use by the other two armed forces as well.
“The decision to field the MBDL-BDL-DRDO Maitri missile was not easy. We could have responded with products here. But want to give priority to our long-term vision. The intention is to offer systems produced entirely in India rather than those that are partly made,” said Mr. Bouvier. As is well known, the DRDO is seeking outside expertise for seeker and guidance systems, an area in which India is weak, while offering its indigenously developed launch and platform integration abilities to the project. “We are in discussions at the highest level on seeker and guidance systems. This would be the most significant component of the project,” acknowledged Mr. Bouvier.
The MBDA has had a two-decade-old relationship with the Indian defence sector. The company will also be involved in upgrading the French origin Mirage-2000 fighter fleet by supplying new missiles. Its missiles are also likely to be the preferred option for the French Rafael, the Swedish Grippen and the European Aeronautics Defence Space (EADS) company, all of which are bidding for the lucrative $10 billion Indian tender for 126 fighter aircraft. “We follow a different approach. It is not our intention to keep the expertise within the company. We have Indian partners with autonomy of operations and that has developed their expertise,” Mr. Bouvier pointed out. Other company officials claimed that the MBDA is the only company in the world to make an entire suite of missiles. “Even Lockheed Martin and Raytheon do not have the range we possess,” they said.

Gorshkov deal strains India-Russia ties
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 22
Even as the political stalemate over the Indo-US nuclear deal continues, the time-tested defence relationship between India and Russia has come under strain. India has publicly expressed its unhappiness with Russia over a host of issues, particularly the inordinate delay in refurbishing the Gorshkov aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy.Amid the two countries' attempts to repair their defence partnership, Russian Ambassador to India Vyacheslav Trubnikov gave ample indications that Moscow would not budge an inch from its position that the deal for Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier (renamed INS Vikrmaditya) must be renegotiated, keeping in view of the current global financial situation.The deal for the aircraft carrier was signed in 2004 when Russia was going through difficult times and was badly in need of money to support its industry.
However, Moscow now wants India to pay another $1.2 billion over and above the $1.5 billion that was agreed upon when the deal was struck for refurbishing the aircraft carrier but New Delhi is reluctant.“When the Gorshkov deal was signed, the financial situation was entirely different. The Indian side got the deal at such a cheap price. However, the global financial scenario has changed dramatically. The price for the deal has to be renegotiated. Negotiations are on between the two sides and we will be find a mutually agreeable solution,” the Russian envoy said.
Experts say the two sides will have to do a tightrope walk in rescuing the deal. Russia is trying to do hard-bargaining as it knows fully well that the Indian Navy desperately needs the aircraft carrier because its sole functional carrier, INS Viraat, is on its last legs.An indigenous but smaller carrier than Gorshkov is still in the docks and might take a few more years to complete.High-level delegations from the Defence Ministry and Indian Navy have visited Russia in February and May to inspect the refit work on the 44,570-ton Kiev Class aircraft carrier and to discuss the escalation in the price.
Sources here said that Russia will be prepared to take a second look at the cost estimates presented but India does not want to pay more for a task that has already suffered extensive time overruns.Meanwhile, on the delay in the supply of T-90 tanks to India, Trubnikov said the two sides have to reach a mutually acceptable timetable on the subject.“There has been no delay in the supply of tanks. India should not be in such a hurry as we have a lot of orders from other countries also for these tanks," he said.

Army warns ultras-in-truce against flaunting arms
Bijay Sankar Bora Tribune News Service Guwahati, June 22
The Army has decided to get tough with militant groups, that are in a ceasefire with it in Assam, for violation of truce ground rules. To start with, it has warned all insurgent groups in ceasefire in the state to desist from flaunting arms in public and stay confined to truce-time designated camps.
The warning is primarily aimed at the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) given that the group is involved in extortion and clashes with a rival Bodo faction of late.
Major-Gen Chandra Prakash of the GOC 21 Mountain Division of Indian Army said, “Insurgents in ceasefire, particularly those from the NDFB, should not expect for any mercy from the Army if they are found moving about with weapons outside their designated camps.”
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also said earlier that insurgents in ceasefire must abide by the ground rules. He said the state government had become wiser after witnessing blatant violations by the NDFB militants.
The last meeting of the strategy group of the three-tier unified command (UC) that fights insurgent groups in Assam, took a firm decision that all militants in truce must stay in designated camps. It had also prohibited collection of any sort of donations by the militants to prevent extortion bids by these elements.

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