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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 24 Jun

Changing role of the tank in modern warfare
by Abhijit Bhattacharyya

Today the Indian Army is categorically demanding the Russian T-90 Main Battle Tank (MBT) and not the indigenously developed Arjun MBT. The Defence Minister, however, is reported to be in favour of the latter. Whatever may be the ultimate outcome, and the choice of an MBT, it would be pertinent to examine the spectrum of the MBT today.
Introduced 91 years ago in the battle of Ypres in 1917 at the fag end of the first World War, the tank continues to adorn the inventory of all major armies of the world and is produced by 32 countries at present. The main suppliers of MBTs to the contemporary arms bazaar are only five; France, Germany, Russia, UK and the USA.
In the second rung of tank production and distribution stand Italy and China. In the third category are Argentina, India, Iran, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan and South Africa who have managed, or at least are trying to manage, to induct their home grown machines into their armed forces.
In this venture, however, India regretfully lags behind owing to divided opinion within the establishment itself. Often referred to as a “state of the art” MBT, a limited number of Arjuns have been inducted into the tank regiments, but import of more Russian T-90 tanks is high on the agenda of the Indian Army.
Although for most armies of the world the tanks constitute the backbone of their combat preparedness, in many cases, nations are struggling to keep and maintain their fleet owing to shrinking budgets, along with prohibitive production, procurement and modernisation costs.
On top of all these is the distinctly reduced possibility of tank warfare in the global arena. Even in the Indian context the use of the tank in war has been limited to the 1965 Indo-Pak conflict at Punjab’s Khem Karan sector.
A paradigm shift appears to be taking place in the tactics and use of the tank in 21st century warfare. Whereas previously the main role of the tank was to carry out offensive and defensive operations during high-intensity military engagement, recent battlefield experiences of British and US tank regiments and Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated that the MBT is equally effective in urban operations in the direct-fire, support role of dismounted infantry.
The Iraq/Afghanistan conflict apart, the Israeli Army too, in recent times, deployed its heavy weight Merkava tanks to deal with Palestinian and other insurgents in urban areas around Gaza and Ramallah.
Tank manufacturers have now started developing, often with the active assistance and advise of the user, customised upgradation to enable tanks to be more effective and lethal during urban conflict.
However, as urban violence is proving to be a totally different ball game owing to its being in the midst of non-military and civilian population, conventional lethal weapons are often being substituted by improvised explosive devices, to cripple and restrict the use of a fifty ton steel plated armoured fighting vehicle, the most vulnerable part of which is its caterpillar.
Hence the British, Germans and Americans are constantly trying to improve the defensive protection device of the tank. Thus, despite the post-Cold War downsizing of the tank fleet, most European countries are still producing and procuring tanks with new systems.
The fundamental requirement of the tank nevertheless continues to be mobility, fire power and armour protection, which keep on changing in accordance with the user’s priority. Thus, the Israeli experience makes its jumbo-sized Merkava one of the heaviest and slowest of all the tanks owing to the peculiar need of enhanced protection and increased fire power in limited urban spaces.
Arjun’s power-to-weight ratio is considered inferior to the Pakistan built Al-Khalid because of Indian emphasis on fire power and armour protection, thereby making it heavier and slower to operate. Pakistan, however, seems to prefer quicker tank movements to change position and resort to fire, forget and fall-back tactics.Nevertheless, the tank today certainly is much more vulnerable and easier to hit by unconventional enemy fire than ever before. Thus the tanks can be immobilised by land mines, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers. It can also be assaulted from the helicopter gunship, and by surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missiles. Nations are still building, operating and selling tanks no doubt. But for how long? That is the question. Perhaps the hey days of conventional tank warfare are now over.

Shortage of officer-level personnel in the army and signals from the border
By V. Shanmuganathan

India wants to maintain good relations with her neighbours. Our armed forces are not provocative. India never tried to enter into any confrontation with any country. We always try to develop friendly relations with our neighbours. Of late, certain tensions are mounting on the borders. We cannot ignore our neighbouring country’s army personnel crossing our border and making incursions. We have to be alert, ever vigilant and our armed forces must be fully prepared to face any eventuality at any time. We share a border of thousands of kilometers with China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. World knows that Pakistan is encouraging the cross border terrorism to create tension on day-to-day basis.
In spite of our long history of continuous friendship with the people of Nepal, developments during and after elections draw our attention. The track record of the Maiosts who have staked their claim to power in Nepal is not positive. Attacks in the past by them on Indians and Indian interests in Nepal, their leader’s open warning to India after the elections, the violation of Indian borders by their cadres give cause for concern.
The border between India and China is currently defined by a 4,056 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) which is neither marked on the ground nor on mutually acceptable maps. Efforts to have a recognised LAC since the mid 1980s through a Joint Working Group (JWG) of officials and experts have made little headway.
China is still holding a large chunk of territory in Kashmir, 38000 (14,670 sq. miles) of Aksai Chin, which it seized after the 1962 blatant invasion, and claims more.
Another 5,180 (2000 sq. miles) of northern Kashmir was given by Pakistan to Beijing as price for an all weather friendship pact signed in 1963. China had already built a road through Aksai Chin linking Tibet with its Zinjiang province before it laid an aggressive claim on it. Now it seeks a political solution, not a technical one, to the border problem.
Chinese soldiers were coming deeper into our territory, inside Arunachal Pradesh. There had been 270 incursions last year alone. The Chinese troops were preventing locals from going up to regions where they had been taking their animals for grazing.
There was a statue of the Buddha well inside Indian territory. Local inhabitants used to go upto it and make their prayers and offerings. The commander of the Chinese troops had asked Indian soldiers to remove the statue. Our soldiers had pointed out that the statue was well within Indian territory. And so there was no question of removing it. The Chinese troops came and blown off the statue. China has developed several launching pads by Land Sea and air to strike at the enemy country’s targets. In this background we must be truly prepared to deal with Chinese incursions, simultaneously we have to counter Pakistan’s proxy war. We need to develop a strong and modern armed force to protect our border. Our armed forces must be ever ready to face any eventuality. We have approximately 11,00,000 Army personnel. 140 Sukhoi aircrafts are getting added to the Indian Air Force presently. INS Jalashwa has been purchased. Moderanisation of the Army, the Navy and Air Force must be the top most priorities.
Along the border states’ infrastructure must be developed on an emergency basis. Most modern roads, railway lines and air fields are necessay to be built along the border areas of J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and the states bordering Myanmar.
Our defence forces are facing several problems. There is a shortage of officers in all the three services. The Army is still holding obsolete Air Defence Equipment and needs to make its deficiencies to manageable levels. The Air Force is much below its minimum holding of 39.5 squadron of combat aircraft. The Navy is at a low of 131 ships against a minimum holding of 140.
We still have neither a clearly enunciated National Security Policy nor a defence policy document. There should be a comprehensive defence review based on “Thereat Perception”. The perspective plan should be based on an analysis likely to be reviewed in future with evaluation of options and alternatives. The ‘Tehalka episode’ and accusation of kickbacks have created caution and reluctance of taking any deep interest in defence deals. The problem is our faulty acquisition plans and system where a lot of reforms are necessary.
Defence material is generally not available on the shelf. Moreover, technological advances are quite rapid and by the time an equipment or weapon system gets outdated when it actually arrives after purchase deal. Thus its effectiveness or usage gets marginalised. Defence actuations have to be planned in advance, taking into consideration our planned capabilities and modernisation plans ahead. Our R&D constitutes a mere 6.1 per cent of the defence budget. But of this, a mere 7 to 10 per cent is spent on fundamental research whereas the bulk goes for the import of foreign technologies. We need to provide sophisticated weaponry to our infantry battalions. This is possible only when we make sufficient allocation for defence.
While making allocations to our defence forces, we need to consider the amount that our potential adversaries are spending on defence and their state of preparedness and capabilities.
A quick look of Pakistan and China defence spending for the year 2008-09 would show that their enhancement of capabilities is much higher than ours. Pakistan allocated 3.5 per cent of the GDP on defence by the year 2008-09, whereas China has allocated 4.3 per cent of GDP foe defence.
In terms of GDP allocation, there has been a downward trend in the last five years, that is, from 2.14 per cent in 2004-05 to 1.99 per cent in 2008-09. In our country, Rs 1,05,600 crore was allocated for defence during 2008-09. Apart from the allocation of funds, and availability of modern weapons, the support the countrymen gives more encouragement and increases the morale of the armed forces. Our Indian Army is known for its ‘will to succeed’ with discipline, dedication and determination. Kargil was the first war victory of Indian Army in the full glare of television. The battle of Monte Casino fought during the Second World War, said to be one of the toughest of mountain warfare. That success appears to be dwarfed before Kargil victory. The war at the peak of Kargil displayed the most conspicuous bravery of the Indian Army personnel.

Former spies can bare and tell no more
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 23
Facing embarrassment after several former spymasters from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) authored books exposing the shortcomings of various governments in the past, the Government of India has now issued a notification to muzzle the former spies.
The formal notification bans officers from sharing their experiences through writings or through the electronic media. The terse notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) lists out around a dozen organisations about which books cannot be written in future. The notification was circulated in the South Block and the North Block last week and has sent ripples across the corridors of power.
Now, the officers cannot write about the functioning of these organisations, their character and the role played by them in various operations over the years. An officer, before retiring or on being repatriated to his parent cadre, will have to given a written undertaking that he/she will not reveal anything known during the course of his job.
In the past few years, books by the former spy operatives - all senior officers - exposed the political classes and pointed out at glaring errors in handling various crisis faced by the government in the past. Some of these books are regularly quoted and are accepted as an authentic view of the happenings in India’s recent history.
For example, the books by former Director IB, Ajit Doval, are considered the most authentic view on the Kandhar hijack in 1999 and also the operation Black Thunder conducted at the Golden temple, Amritsar, in 1988. The book “Open Secrets” by former Joint Director IB M.K. Dhar blames the Congress for terrorism in Punjab and reveals the intrigues of the Indira Gandhi government.
Maj Gen V.K. Singh (retd), who served in the RAW during the Kargil war, is behind bars for violating the Official Secrets Act. He questioned the NDA government’s sagacity behind making public the telephonic conversation between then Pakistan Army chief General Pervez Musharraf and his Chief of Staff, intercepted by the RAW during the 1999 Kargil war. Another joint director of RAW, B Raman, penned a telling account in his book “The Kaoboys of RAW”, so did RAW chief K. Shankaran Nair who also raised uncomfortable questions in his book.

Supersonic cruise missile BrahMos gets airborne variant news
21 June 2008
New Delhi: The Indo-Russian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture has completed the development of the airborne version of an advanced supersonic missile, according to a statement by the company's managing director, Dr Sivathanu Pillai.
BrahMos Aerospace designs, produces, and markets the BrahMos, which is a unique missile, the world's only supersonic cruise missile. The project was started in 1998, and its sea-based and land-based versions have been tested and successfully deployed into service with the Indian Army and the Indian Navy.
The airborne version, primarily for use by the Air Force, was the only pending variant to complete the deployment suite of the supersonic cruise missile.
According to Dr Pillai, the mass of the missile had to be reduced to maintain the requisite aerodynamic stability post launch from an aircraft. On launch from an aircraft, the missile is already in motion and has some initial speed, which necessitates reducing the booster size.
''Now the missile is ready," Dr Pillai told Russian media.
Pillai added that the Indian Air Force had picked the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI (Nato : Flanker – H) fighter as the trial platform for the airborne version of the missile. The missile has a range of 180 miles (290 kilometres) and is named after the Indian and Russian rivers Brahmaputra and the Moskva.
The BrahMos is capable of delivering a conventional warhead, weighing in at a maximum of 660 pounds, against targets on land and sea while flying at a surface-hugging altitude of as low as 10 meters (30 feet), that too at a speed of Mach 2.8. That speed is around three times faster than that of the US-made Tomahawk cruise missile.
Pillai said that progress on the scheduled flight trials has been slow on account of Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau according priority for the fifth generation aircraft. India intends to manufacture around 140 Su-30 MKI multi-role fighters by 2014, under a Russian license and with full technology transfer.
Defence analysts estimate that India could buy around 1,000 BrahMos missiles for deployment in its armed forces over the next 10 years, and could also export around 2,000 units of the missile to third countries in the same period.
Russian agency RIA Novosti also reported that a new class of Russian frigates, currently under construction at a shipyard in St. Petersburg, could be fitted with the naval version of the BrahMos.
According to the report, the only Russian combat ship that could feature the BrahMos missiles is the new Project 22350 Admiral Sergei Gorshkov class frigate, currently under construction at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg. The Admiral Sergei Gorshkov is a new class of warships that the Russian Navy is building for itself.
The first unit is scheduled for launch in 2009, and the Russian Navy could eventually acquire around 20 of these vessels. The frigate has a displacement of around 4,500 tons, a length of over 130 meters (430 feet), a maximum width of 16 meters (51 feet). It has a range of over 4,000 miles. Additionally, the three Project 11356 Krivak IV-class guided missile frigates, a follow-on order that is being made by Russia for the Indian Navy, will also carry the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missile system.

China's cyber warfare against India
Monday, 06.23.2008, 03:47am (GMT-7)
China's intensified cyber warfare against India is becoming a serious threat to national security. The desire to possess 'electronic dominance' over India has compelled Chinese hackers to attack many crucial Indian websites and over the past one and a half years, they have mounted almost daily attacks on Indian computer networks - both government and private.
In October 2007, for example, Chinese hackers defaced over 143 Indian websites. Phishing is a term derived from fishing, and is a fraudulent activity on the Internet to acquire personal information. In phishing, the hackers use spoofed e-mails to lure innocent Internet users and get their personal information like bank account number, credit card details, and password and so on. In April 2008, Indian intelligence agencies detected Chinese hackers breaking into the computer network of the Ministry of External Affairs forcing the government to think about devising a new strategy to fortify the system. Though the intelligence agencies failed to get the identity of the hackers, the IP addresses left behind suggested Chinese hands.
While hacking is a normal practice around the world, the cyber warfare threat from China has serious implications. At the core of the assault is the fact that the Chinese are constantly scanning and mapping India's official networks. According to India's CERT-In, in the year 2006, a total of 5,211 Indian websites were defaced, on an average of about 14 websites per day. Of the total number of sites that were hacked and defaced, an overwhelming majority were in the .com domain (90 cases) followed by 26 in the .in domain. As many as 11 defacement incidents were also recorded in the .org domain.
Of all hacking incidents in October, about 61 per cent related to phishing, 27 per cent to unauthorized scanning and 8 per cent to viruses/worms under the malicious code category. India, like the western countries, has been witnessing a massive rise in phishing attacks with incidents in 2006 180 per cent higher than in 2005, and the trend carrying through into 2007.
Though the maximum defacements have been recorded during August, in 2007, February and March recorded the highest such cases with 858 and 738 websites defaced respectively. August, by contrast, saw only 345 websites defaced. While other countries treat Chinese cyber attacks as security breaches, India considers these intrusions as the equivalent of Internet-based terrorist attacks.
An Indian Army commanders' conference held in New Delhi on 26 April, voiced concern over mounting attacks on the country's networks. In the US, in June 2007, the Pentagon's computers were shut down for a week as a result of hacking. At the frequency and aggressiveness of cyber attacks President Bush, without referring directly to Beijing, had said last year that "a lot of our systems are vulnerable to attack." The Chinese military hacked into the US Defence Secretary's computer system in June 2007 and regularly penetrated computers in at least ten of the UK's Whitehall departments, accessing also military files. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, too has complained to Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, over suspected hacks of its government systems.
Although Beijing vehemently denies all allegations of state-controlled cyber snooping and hacking, the Chinese government as well as its society hails the practice of hacking for the national cause. The formation of Honker Union in China in 1999, in retaliation to the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, was aimed at widespread hacking under the guise of patriotism and nationalism, mostly of government-related websites around the world.
Unless India takes adequate steps to protect itself from external cyber threats, the world famous IT giant could be facing a grim situation. Cyber attacks are dangerous for India because of the growing reliance on networks and technology to control critical systems that run power plants and transportation systems. Cyber attacks on banks, stock markets and other financial institutions could likewise have a devastating effect on a nation's economy.
As a countermeasure, the Indian armed forces are trying to enhance their C4ISR capabilities, so that the country can launch its own cyber offensive if the need arises. Given Chinese cyber attacks, there is need for the army to fight digital battles as well.
According to Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, the army has already ramped up the security of its information networks right down to the division level, while the Army Cyber Security Establishment has started conducting periodic cyber-security audits as well. However, the question remains: is this enough to stop Chinese cyber attacks?
M Shamsur Rabb Khan

Indo-Pak talks set to gain momentum
Joint anti-terror mechanism meets today

Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 23
The India-Pakistan peace process is set to gain momentum with a series of high-level meetings scheduled between the two countries in the coming days.
The external affairs ministry today announced that Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi would be on a three-day visit to India from June 27. Apart from meeting top Indian leaders in New Delhi, he will visit Jaipur, Ajmer and Chandigarh.
The visit follows the invitation extended to Qureshi by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Islamabad in May to review the progress made by the two countries in four rounds of talks under the composite dialogue process.
Meanwhile, the joint anti-terrorism mechanism between India and Pakistan is scheduled to meet in Islamabad tomorrow for the third time after it was set up following a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Havana on the margins of the NAM Summit in September 2006.
“The two sides will discuss various counter-terrorism measures and exchange information to assist in investigations related to terrorist acts,” Indian officials said on the eve of the crucial talks.
The Indian team will be headed by Vivek Katju, additional secretary (political and international organisations) while the Pakistani delegation will be led by Masood Khalid, additional secretary (Asia and Pacific).Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir will visit India in mid-July to launch the fifth round of the composite dialogue with foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon, a Pakistan High Commission official said.

After Special Forces, infantry to get Israeli rifles
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 23
With Special Forces being equipped with the new Israeli Tavor 21 (TAR-21) automatic assault rifles, it is now the turn of select infantry outfits to induct the compact contemporary weapon.
Earlier this year, a team from Israel Weapon Industries finished training Indian Special Forces (SF) troops in the use of the TAR-21. The Army had procured about 3,000 such rifles for the SF to replace the earlier mix of AK-47, M-16s and INSAS rifles being used by the elite troops.
Over the past couple of months, the TAR-21 has been spotted during operations in Jammu and Kashmir and also during training exercises in this region.
"Conversion of SF units to the Israeli weapon is complete," an officer revealed. "Currently it is being inducted into the parachute battalions and there after it would be supplied to Ghatak platoons in infantry battalions," he added. Sources said the TAR-21 would also replace the obsolete 9mm carbine issued to officers and JCOs in combat arms.
The Indian Army has seven SF battalions that specialise in deep penetration an covert operations behind enemy lines and three parachute battalions that can be airdropped for employment in an offensive action. In addition, all infantry battalions have a Ghatak platoon consisting highly trained commandos belonging to the same unit. The Ghatak platoons provide the cutting edge to a battalion's surveillance, reconnaissance and offensive capability.
India had signed a deal with Israel for the rifles over six year ago, but technical glitches held up the procurement process. It was only towards the second half of last years that the Rifles began arriving in India.The TAR-21 is a 5.56 mm "bull-pup" weapon, where the magazine is housed behind the trigger mechanism. These are equipped with a 40 mm under-barrel grenade launcher and advanced sights.
In 2005, Israel had reportedly about 400 TAR-21s without the grenade launchers to the Special Frontier Force (SFF), These were, however, declared to be "operationally unsatisfactory" following technical problems. According to reports, even the Israeli defence forces had complained about the TAR-21's unsatisfactory performance with the first batch of rifles that were delivered in 2003.
A 9 mm version of the TAR-21, christened ZTAR, for use by Special Forces and para-military outfits, will be manufactured by the ordnance Factory Board under licence.

Sukhoi to be armed with BrahMos
Tribune News Service Mumbai, June 23
The Indian Air Force will deploy the airborne version of the BrahMos supersonic missile aboard the new generation Sukhoi aircraft, according to defence sources here. The BrahMos missile is thrice as fast as the US-made Tomahawk Cruise missiles with a speed of Mach 2.8 range with a full payload weighing 660 pounds, according to officials. These missiles will be deployed on board the Su-30MKI fighters by 2014. In all about 140 such aircraft are due to be built in India.
According to a report appearing in a Russian news agency, the designers had to rework the entire missile for the version to be mounted onboard the fighter aircraft. The missile’s weight had to be reduced and design changes on its booster had to be undertaken, the agency report said.
The Indian Army and Navy have deployed BrahMos so far.

BSF denies sexual harassment charges
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 23
The Border Security Force today rejected allegations of alleged sexual harassment by one of its instructor in Jammu and Kashmir as claimed by 136 recruits of the Bihar Military Police (BMP), who deserted the training centre.Prima facie, it does not look like as the case is made out to be. There is more than what meets the eye, said BSF director-general A.K. Mitra.
He said there could be other angles to the incident. The force, which filed a missing report with the police in this regard, had earlier denied the allegation and maintained that the recruits, part of a 370-strong group, had left as they were unable to sustain the tough training course at Udhampur.
The BMP trainees had alleged that one of the recruits was called by an instructor to his room on June 20 and attempted to sexually harass him. When the recruit raised an alarm, his colleagues rushed there and rescued him, the police said, quoting the trainees. Acting on the complaint by the trainee police personnel, the Bihar government has ordered a probe.

Thales to double India-related business to $750 million over five years
Paris: French defence and electronics major, Thales, has said it hopes to double its India-related business, from euro 250 million to 500 million, over the next five years through increased sales in the military and civilian sectors.
"We have a long involvement with India and hope to increase our sales to double in next five years both in defence and civilian areas," Francois Dupont, Thales managing director and country corporate director, informed visiting Indian journalists.
"Every year we are registering a growth of five per cent to eight per cent in business in India," he added. "In 2000, our sales were 90 per cent in the defence sector and 10 per cent in civilian area. In 2006, our sales were 80 percent in the civilian sector due to the boom in the Indian aviation market. Now we are at 50 per cent in both the sectors," Dupont explained. Thales is a niche supplier of electronics and also supples radars and other modern equipment to the Indian armed forces. In the civilian sector it has clients such as Delhi Metro, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines. "We are currently working very actively for an air defence project of the Indian Army that entails the purchase of 1,000 short range missiles," said Bachu Murthi, vice president (strategy), air systems division. "According to the proposal, the initial 200 would be supplied from here and the rest would be manufactured in India under transfer of technology agreement," he added.
Thales and MBDA have a joint development programme for active seekers - 4A (Active Anti-Air Seeker) family of seekers - that equip the MICA-EM and ASTER missiles. Thales contributes its experience and capabilities to MBDA-led definition studies and produces four sub-assemblies representing approximately 35 per cent of the seeker. Murthi said Thales would also be bidding for the "half-a-dozen other tenders to be floated by the Indian armed forces". Francois Quentin, Thales' senior vice president (aerospace division) said the company would also be submitting proposals for the upgrade of the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Mirage 2000 fighter that will keep them flying for another 25-odd years. The IAF operates two squadrons (40-plus aircraft) of the fighter that were purchased in the 1980s. Thales has recently signed a contract to upgrade six of the Indian Navy's Soviet-era minesweepers into state-of the-art mine hunters. arc Coulaud, Asia regional director for land and joint systems, said the company was looking for more joint ventures with Indian companies both in the private and public sectors. "We will bring in the technology and our Indian partners will bring in the markets," Couland pointed out.Thales already has a joint venture with Indian company Rolta, a developer of IT-based geospatial information systems (GIS), engineering design automation solutions and eSecurity services worldwide.Thales employs some 120 people in Delhi and Mumbai and plans to increase the number to 300 in 2008, and to 500 by 2010. It's revenues in 2007 were in excess of 12 billion euros.

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