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Thursday, 3 July 2008

From Today's Papers - 03 Jul

New scales, 15 pc additional pay for armed forces
Implementation from Jan ’07
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The Pay Revision Committee has suggested an additional pay of 15 per cent for the armed and paramilitary forces, over and above the revised basic pay scales. The committee has also proposed to upwardly revise the basic pay scales recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission (SPC) and an increase in grade pay at all levels.
The SPC had recommended a maximum grade pay of Rs 13,000, while the committee has suggested Rs 18,000 as the highest grade pay. The grade pay fixed by the SPC for the junior most Group A officer was Rs 5,400, which the committee has increased to Rs 7,000. The committee has also suggested annual increments of four per cent instead of the 2.5/3.5 per cent recommended by the SPC. The suggestions drafted by the committee, headed by the Cabinet Secretary, are subject to final approval and sanction of the Cabinet.
However, the committee has also suggested that new pay scales be implemented with effect from January 1, 2007, instead of January 1, 2006, that was recommended by the SPC. If approved, this would imply that Central government employees would not get arrears equivalent to one year’s revised salary as was being expected. The recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission were implemented with effect from January 1996. Since a pay commission is set up once it 10 years, it was believed that the recommendations of the SPC would be implemented from January 2006.
According to documents available with The Tribune, the 15 per cent additional pay worked out by the committee ranges from Rs 1,248 per month at the lowest level to a maximum of Rs 9,048 at the highest.
In addition, the committee has suggested 15 pay scales instead of the 22 recommended by the SPC. It has that also suggested 10 pay bands instead of the four recommended by the latter.
The lowest pay scale (1-S) recommended by the SPC was 4440-7440 1300. The corresponding pay scale (PB-1) suggested by the committee is 5,500-16,500 with grade pay of Rs 2,500. The basic pay works out to be Rs 8,000 and with the inclusion of annual increment (4 pc), dearness allowance (15 pc) and the 15 per cent additional pay, the lowest gross pay works out to be Rs 10,816.
The highest pay scale recommended by the SPC was 39,200-67,000 13,000. The corresponding scale suggested by the committee is 40,000-60,000 along with a grade pay of Rs 18,000. In this scale, the basic pay works out to be Rs 58,000 and with the inclusion of increment, DA and additional pay the gross pay at the highest level (PB-10) works out to be Rs 78,416.
Applicable allowances and benefits depending upon the service and place of posting are separate.
Prior to the SPC recommendations, the Central government had pay scales running from S-1 to S-32. The SPC recommendations placed the existing scales from S-1 to S-3 in the pay band 1-S, from S-4 to S-8 in the pay band PB-1, from S-9 to S-15 in the pay band PB-2, from S-16 to S-27 in the pay band PB-3 and from S-28 to S-32 in the pay band PB-4. The committee has divided these into 10 pay bands.

DRDO tests multi-functional displays
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 2
Multi functional displays (MFD) in combat jets will now be indigenously manufactured. Defence Research Development Organisation and Samtel, an Indian company in avionics, had got clearance for flight testing of indigenously manufactured MFD from RCMA (Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness), and has subsequently tested the equipment.
Prior to flying, extensive ground tests were undertaken on Sukhoi-30 integration platform. The tests were conducted both during daylight hours and in the night to evaluate the display characteristics of MFD under varying light conditions. Four test sorties were undertaken at an altitude of about 40,000 ft with MFD for its evaluation, and no failure of the MFDs was observed, said a spokesperson for Samtel.
MFD is a device that puts all aircraft systems monitoring and flight planning functions at the pilot's fingertips. MFD paints a composite view of the aircraft’s environment, providing the pilot with all necessary information to make safe decisions during every phase of the flight. Engine performance and situational data such as location, terrain, traffic, weather and airport information are all digitally depicted and can be quickly interpreted at a glance on the large format display.
Samtel has a joint venture with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to produce indigenous next generation MFDs, head-up displays and helmet mounted displays for HALs.

Time to protect the Thunder Dragon

General JFR Jacob

Though he is above 80, Lt Gen. Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob, a hero of the 1971 war with Pakistan, remains a keen student of strategic warfare. "I've learned from every campaign since Alexander the Great and Napoleon," he explains. Jacob, who also served as the Governor of Goa and Punjab, recently lectured in nine US cities, (including one at Capitol Hill in Washington DC) which were attended by several senior US administration officials and military officers. The lectures — broadcast live on some US television and radio channels — have been critically acclaimed by many, and parts of it have been also incorporated in the curricula of some universities. In this exclusive article for, he warns that unless India is ready to defend Bhutan, China has an upper hand in strategic terms.

In pace, ut sapiens, aptarit idonea bello –
(In peace, like a wise man, he appropriately prepares for war)
The tiny (4,700 sq km) landlocked Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan (or Druk Yul, or Land of the Thunder Dragon) has borders of some 470 km with Tibet and 650 km with India.
It's estimated population in 2007 was around 2.300,000, although different agencies have widely different numbers. The government's estimates vary with those of the CIA World Factbook (2,005,222 in the year 2000) and the World Bank (782,000 for the same year) simply because a huge chunk of residents of Nepalese origin are not recognized as citizens by the Bhutanese government. Some 100,000 Nepalese have been driven out of the country so far. The country is predominantly Buddhist, and is ruled by the Wangchuk Dynasty.

In 1772, Bhutan invaded Cooch Behar and annexed the Duars. It was only in 1864/65, that the British drove the Bhutanese out and annexed the Duars [Treaty of Sinchu La, 1865]

India has a special relationship with the Bhutan, having signed a friendship treaty with the kingdom way back in 1949. The treaty was updated in 2007. India supported Bhutan's application for membership of the United Nations, and it was made a member of the UN in 1971.
India has guaranteed the defence of Bhutan by an unilateral declaration. China claims to have ‘suzerainty’ over Bhutan and also claims some 300 sq miles of Bhutanese territory mainly in the Chumbi valley, the Torsa Nala , and some areas opposite Ha. The Chinese also claim some grazing areas in the north.
Sino-Bhutan relations have been strained. Bhutan does not have diplomatic relations with China. Bhutan and China reached an agreement in 1998 to maintain tranquility on their border, and since then there have been some 16 rounds of talks on border issues. In 2001, the Chinese ambassador to India led a delegation to Thimpu.

By the same author: Sino-Indian ties: What the dragon won’t forget | The 1971 war Izzat and lessons unlearnt

The economy of Bhutan is very small, mainly hydroelectric power, agriculture, forestry and minerals. Road communications are meagre. Some 5,000 km of metalled roads were built by the Indian Border Roads Organisation.

The armed forces of Bhutan number some 8,000.Their equipment is basic. The Indian Military Training Team, or IMTRAT, located at Ha is responsible for advice and training. Despite these limitations, the Bhutanese army in December 2003 drove out, on India's request, the ULFA insurgents from their part of the terai.

Indo-US ties: From pendulum to the North Star

Lord Curzon , when Viceroy, based his foreign policy on creating buffers. Later, at the Simla Conference of 1914, Sir Henry McMahon wanted to create an inner Tibet as a buffer. This was rejected by the Chinese representative Ivan Chen. McMahon and his surveyors drew the boundary along what he considered to be the highest crest lines. [not watershed].

McMahon felt that mountain ranges make good borders. Bhutan therefore is extremely important to India as it forms a barrier and buffer to Chinese desires of expansion south of the Himalayan range. It is absolutely imperative for our security that we have a friendly and independent Bhutan. Chinese designs in Bhutan poses a threat in being to Indian security.

Tibet is not China's 'internal affair'

China is rapidly developing roads in Tibet , particularly in the Chumbi Valley. They propose to extend their railroad from Lhasa to this area. They are also building many airfields, and proposing to dam and divert rivers in Tibet. They have already built a dam across the Sutlej. This will have disastrous consequences for both India and Bangladesh. We have to take note and watch this developing situation.
In the event of [hopefully unlikely] hostilities between China and India , China is unlikely to respect Bhutanese neutrality. The defence of Bhutan therefore is irrevocably linked with the defence of India.

Chinks in the Bamboo Curtain

In 1971, one Indian division was earmarked for the defence of Bhutan. This quantum of force is totally inadequate. The defence of Bhutan and the Tawang tract are interlinked. China is reported to be insisting that we transfer the Tawang tract [ upto Senge] to them. Possession of the Tawang tract, will, in the event of hostilities, give the Chinese two more approaches into the plains of Assam, one via Tashigong in Bhutan and the other parallel to it via Se La and Senge. [Senge is south of our main defences at Se La ].

'Dump the Dalai Lama, or else…'

Our other concern is the Chumbi valley. The Chinese are right up to the Torsa Nala east of Dhoka La in Sikkim. From there they can have access to the Jaldakha barrage into North Bengal and thence to Siliguri. With the improved rail, road and air communications in Tibet, the Chinese can build up to 30 divisions in Tibet in a matter of weeks.
We propose to raise two more Mountain Divisions in the next five years. In order to counter these emerging threats, we need to accelerate our efforts to develop the infrastructure, build roads, airfields, enhance rail capacity and throw more bridges across the Brahmaputra.

India-China: Imperfect harmony

There is a pressing requirement for raising and deploying more Mountain Divisions , armoured brigades and air force squadrons. The existing Mountain Divisions lack firepower and mobility. We also need to induct effective artillery [155mm], helicopters (both lift and attack), and surveillance instruments, both ground and UAV.
China has a large nuclear arsenal and the appropriate delivery means. The Chinese are reported to have some 600 nuclear warheads.. We must have a credible nuclear deterrent. We need, as a matter of urgency, to deploy the Agni 2 and the Agni 3 when it comes off the production lines .
Finally, we must take all measures to keep the Chinese on the other side of the great Himalayas. The defence of Bhutan is thus integral and interlinked to the defence of India.
Because India must, As Oliver Cromwell is said to have remarked before the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, " Trust in God but keep your powder dry. "

A Fragile Friendship
Musharraf Has Asked His Military To Help The U.S. Hunt Al Qaeda. Will It Listen?

Many Pakistani men joined the Army to defend their homeland from India. They are ready and willing to fight and die, if necessary. The problem is, for many of these men, they are fighting the wrong enemy. Young officers, ranging in rank from captain to colonel, are not convinced they should be risking their lives on Pakistan's new, western front to hunt down Taliban and Qaeda remnants. These missions in support of the U.S.-led war on terror require patrolling rugged areas, where troops could face threats from local tribes as much as from Qaeda holdouts. "America forced these guys in here," grouses one colonel, "and now we are being asked to clean up their mess." Late last month a Pakistani Army major, captain and eight infantrymen, operating on U.S.-supplied intelligence, were killed in a Qaeda ambush near the Afghan border. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf continues to promise the risks are worth the rewards. But the rank and file are not so sure. Now, in mess halls and officer barracks throughout the country, soldiers are asking, "What's in it for us?" Old grudges and new concerns may be giving rise to an anti-American feeling within the Pakistani officer corps, blunting the effectiveness of the U.S. war on terror. "The Americans always want our support, but then they don't reciprocate on Kashmir or with long-term military or economic aid," says one Army major. "We've been burned before." Indeed they have. In the 1980s, when Pakistan was a key American ally against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, bright young captains and colonels could study at West Point. Islamabad received impressive packages of U.S. military hardware from its Washington wish list, including F-16 fighters, M-48 tanks and vintage American warships. American training opened officers' minds, while arms transfers put the best weapons in their hands. But Pakistan's headlong pursuit of its nuclear-weapons program ended the courtship. In 1990, soon after the Soviets left Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress passed the Pressler amendment, prohibiting Pakistan from receiving any U.S. military training, arms or even spare parts because of its surreptitious nuclear ambitions. Almost overnight, Pakistan and its proud military went from being a favored American ally to a pariah. The American about-face stung Pakistan's corps of young officers. "Many younger officers became anti-American, not for ideological reasons but because they thought Pakistan was being unfairly discriminated against," says Rifaat Hussain, a Pakistani defense analyst who is now a visiting scholar at Stanford University. "The sanctions hurt the younger officers the most, resulting in feelings of anger, resentment and betrayal against the U.S."

America's abandonment of Pakistan changed the military's mind-set, and left a void to be filled. "To make up for the lack of new technology, senior officers placed a greater emphasis on ideological motivation and orientation," says retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood. The lieutenants, captains and majors who were deprived of U.S. training in the 1990s are described today as being "more nationalistic, xenophobic, conservative" than their predecessors, according to retired Pakistani generals. "Lacking contact with the West, the officers' world view began to change," says Masood. "Their vision became more narrow and parochial and they became isolated and alienated from the West." So when America dropped Pakistan cold in 1990, officers were more prone to listen to the shrill anti-American rhetoric coming from the religious right and the country's Urdu-language press. Musharraf's call to aid America's antiterror war last year only increased the volume and fervor of anti-Americanism being delivered from pulpits and in the papers. "This anti-American line influences and shapes younger Army officers as well as the society as a whole," says Husain Haqqani, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "That does not mean that the officers are on the same wavelength as the religious groups, but many agree with the basic anti-American and anti-Indian tenets of the Islamists."
Musharraf has made a gallant effort to sell the concept that cooperation with America is in Pakistan's national interest. He says that Pakistan has no alternative but to stop the perils of terrorism at home, and that the Americans can be crucial allies in that fight. He also tells his officers that the United States has promised to assist him in bringing India to the negotiating table over Kashmir, and that significant military aid will be forthcoming from Washington. So far most officers seem to be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. But officers differ in their definitions of a terrorist. Some, especially those who served a tour of duty in the military's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence branch and who helped train many of the militants for the Kashmir "jihad," tend to sympathize with their former charges. And some younger officers worry that a blanket crackdown on militants comes dangerously close to the suppression of Islam.

Pakstani officers, young and old, see themselves as leaders of a "pro-people force," says Rifaat Hussain. Consequently, the Pakistani Army is unlikely to launch assaults on right-wing religious parties as its counterparts in Algeria and Egypt have done, say retired officers. "The Army is very reluctant to be put into a situation in which they are in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with a popular demonstration, whether the protesters are Punjabi or tribesmen," adds Hussain.
For that reason Musharraf was slow to deploy the Army in the tribal areas into which Taliban and Qaeda fighters fled to escape the heavy U.S. bombing campaigns. Many of the tribes are ethnic Pashtun and therefore have deep sympathies for the largely Pashtun Taliban and its Qaeda allies. The military is still haunted by the specter of a bloody, 18-month-long, anti-government tribal insurgency that broke out along the Afghan border in 1973. The Army was called in to crush the separatist revolt and has never divulged the extent of the carnage that led to the insurrection's collapse. Now for the first time since the uprising, the Army has dispatched infantry regulars in large numbers--some 40,000--into the tribal areas to hunt the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But the troops are moving gingerly. "The Army is reluctant to disturb the status quo in the tribal belt in a manner that could provoke an unnecessary backlash and perhaps re-ignite anti-government activity," says Hussain.
Musharraf has stonewalled Washington's requests to allow U.S. troops into the tribal territories. He has also refused repeated American requests to increase the number of U.S. intelligence personnel operating there. Musharraf is intent on keeping their numbers in the dozens, not the hundreds. Those restrictions on the Americans sit well with most officers. "I don't like working with Americans," offers one senior Pakistani officer who says his views reflect those of younger officers. "Their demands keep increasing." Not only are the number of FBI, CIA and U.S. Army personnel working with the Pakistani Army strictly limited, so are their size and color. Pakistan is refusing to allow "blacks, blonds and six-footers" to accompany the troops, according to the senior officer. They have to wear Pakistani Army uniforms, speak local languages and be able to pass as locals.
The Bush administration never tires of praising Musharraf and his military for their flawless cooperation with U.S. forces. But young Pakistani officers may not be doing all they could. "I don't think there is going to be any deliberate disobedience because of the anti-Americanism," says Haqqani. "But a lot of decisions taken at the top can be diluted by the time they reach the bottom." If so, such anti-Western attitudes could significantly slow down, if not sabotage, operations.
While there is no evidence that younger, anti-American officers have disobeyed or watered down orders, Musharraf is eager to show some tangible benefits of the Army's cooperation with the United States. "If Musharraf is willing to let the Pakistan Army continue to do the dirty work for the U.S. in the tribal areas, then he will have to show that the U.S. is delivering the goods," says Hussain. Lately the Americans are trying to come up with some carrots, no matter how small. U.S. officials say that the military-training programs that were canceled in 1990 will resume shortly. The selection process is already underway to choose younger officers for training in the United States. Next month a small joint U.S.-Pakistani naval exercise is scheduled to begin, the first in years. Negotiations are also underway for Washington to supply Pakistan with "some pretty basic military stuff," not planes or tanks but workaday weapons, say American officials. That's a far cry from the military-aid packages of old, but it's a start. The danger for the United States and Musharraf is that it may be too little, too late.


Guns and roses
by Maj-Gen Pushpendra Singh (retd)

A brisk summer breeze wafted our Cheetah chopper over the 18,000-feet Khardung La, remnants of ice still clinging onto its shaded areas. Below us, a convoy of heavily-laden olive-green lorries crawled up the world’s highest motorable road traversing the Ladhakh range en route the Base Camp of the loftiest battlefield. Behind us, the snow-clad Zanskar mountains sparkled against the deep indigo of the southern sky, so typical of the trans-Himalayan sky-scape.
Back in those days this area had witnessed fierce artillery battles and battery-to-battery duels. Hence, I had made numerous visits to the Gunners, all of which had been deliberately scheduled during the harsh winter months. Now as the Cheetah floated down over the pass, I couldn’t help but remark the lush green slopes – such a contrast from all my previous visits. Soon we were over the point where the south-flowing Nubra river makes a U-bend and turns north again. This marked our entry into the Siachen Sector between the Karakoram mountains and the Saltoro Ridge – the latter being the actual scene of confrontation. I was amazed to see the lower slopes swathed in masses of flowers and ablaze with colours – peach, pink and bright yellow. Such a contrast with the icy white and grey stone of the higher peaks! The entire vista was an impressionist water colour of breath-taking beauty.
The Cheetah began its descent to the snout of the Siachen Glacier when suddenly the grey distance was pierced by rapid flashes of flame. Wisps of pale blue smoke curled skywards from the long barrels of the 130 mm guns, which had been so well camouflaged till they fired. Then the boom of the guns was heard above the roar of the chopper’s rotors. I could almost smell the cordite as the guns hurled their 80-lb shells of destruction well over the 20,000-feet Saltoro peaks and onto their hapless targets more than 20 kilometres away. The chopper made a short detour, then sank towards the helipad. I could now clearly see the blooms covering the hill-sides. They were roses — millions and millions of blooms!
Pammi, the Gunner Commander of that area, met me near the grey-white-grey monument to the unmatched valour of the Siachen formation. I remarked about the roses draping the hills in colourful blooms. Pammi responded, “Sir, Siachen actually means the Valley of Roses!” I drove in thoughtful silence towards 130 mm-Battery, which was belching flames as it answered another call for fire.

Are you aware the defence services regard politicians with contempt? In Daddy’s time they used to refer to them as ‘dhoti-kurtawallahs’. Since then the Sandhurst accents might have disappeared but the sentiment remains unchanged. The army, the navy and the air force are equally convinced that politicians enjoy cutting the services down and, worse, they’re reluctant to defend them.
Jaswant Singh’s treatment of the Army Chief is a telling illustration of this. Not only was Singh wrong but he’s also guilty of dragging General Kapoor into an unseemly and unnecessary controversy. As a former defence minister — and an armoured corp major — he should have known better.
In an interview to me last month, the Army Chief said there was “a degree of misperception” behind the recent press concern with Chinese incursions. Explaining that China and India have “different perceptions of the Line of Actual Control”, he added that when China patrols up to the full limit of its perception India considers that an incursion and vice-versa. “We would be as much blameworthy for that kind of incursion,” he stated.
This, of course, is the truth. More than that, it’s time someone allayed the growing concern before it turns to anxiety. And what could be better than the Army Chief, the man ultimately responsible for the nation’s security, doing this?
Alas, ‘Major’ Jaswant Singh disagrees. Describing the General’s comments as “unwanted, unwise and …. irresponsible,” he added they were “unbecoming”. Singh’s case, as far as I can tell, is that borders aren’t a matter of perception but determination. But the problem is that large chunks of the India-China border are not undisputedly determined. That’s why there is a dispute. And at the core of that dispute are different claims of where the line lies. Now, if I’m not mistaken, that’s another way of saying perceptions differ!
Of course, the Major’s criticisms of the General did not stop at this. He accused him of “engaging in … (a) free-for-all on television about Pakistan, China and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir”. However, the one thing you cannot accuse General Kapoor of is a “free-for-all”, whatever that silly phrase might mean. Not only was it a tightly scripted interview — which a free-for-all would not be — but the General (unlike the Major) spoke in very precise and carefully chosen terms. Of course, the Major would have realised this had he seen the interview. But as he himself admits: “I did not witness it because I am not (an) avid viewer of television.” If only he had, he might have reconsidered his criticism.
Unfortunately that did not stop the Major going yet further. He also claimed General Kapoor’s statements were “harmful for the dignity not just of the high office that he holds but also for the total responsibility that he carries and for the security of the country”. That’s rubbish. But what is true is that the Major’s public attack is “harmful” to the “dignity” of the Army Chief’s office. Major Singh, it would seem, is guilty of degrading the Army Chief’s dignity, not General Kapoor!
But then the Major is a politician and the General is not. Perhaps that distinction also explains the response of the Defence Minister and the rest of the government. Rather than defend his Army Chief, Mr. Antony has taken recourse to silence. Worse, unnamed colleagues in the Cabinet Committee on Security have expressed criticism, thus adding to the Major’s ill-considered comments. So, are you surprised the services look upon politicians as a rum lot?
And if you think I’ve picked a poor example — or I’m exaggerating — ask yourselves why it’s never occurred to any of our politicians to award Field Marshal Manekshaw the Bharat Ratna? Forty people have got it but is there even one amongst them who deserves it more? Certainly there are several who should never have got it at all.
If the Major wishes to atone for his lapse, I suggest he take up this cause instead. If he does, all three services will thank him. At the moment they have very different things to say.

1 comment:

  1. a good site for those interested in SECURITY related newspaper collage daily. well done.



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