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Sunday, 6 July 2008

From Today's Papers - 06 Jul









Enough of Arjun, says Army

New Delhi, July 5
Even as doubts over the viability of the three-decade-old Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) are being raised, the Army has indicated that it will place no more orders than the 124 already made to Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi, sounding the death knell of the DRDO project.
“ The Army will no more place orders for Arjun beyond 124 that were already contracted. That is because the Army is now looking 20 years ahead and wants a futuristic MBT,” Lt-Gen Dalip Bharadwaj,Director-General (Mechanised Infantry), said here today.
Though he discounted suggestions that it would mean the end of DRDO’s Arjun project that began in 1972, he did point out that the induction of more Arjun MBTs at this stage would only mean India lagging behind in the technological race in armoured fighting vehicles.
“Arjun is a contemporary tank and may be used in the next decade or so, but not fora technologically advanced, next generation warfare some two decades hence,” Bhardwaj said on the sidelines of an interactive session with the defence private industry at CII.After 36 years into its design and development, Arjun had as recently as in December 2007 failed winter trials, as stated in a parliamentary report. It is yet to go through crucial comparative trials with Russian tanks, a mandatory process before induction into the Army. — PTI


Defence budget lowest since 1962 war: Army chief
By Indo-Asian News Service on Thursday, July 3, 2008
New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) Even as the Indian armed forces are undertaking a modernisation drive to maintain their deterrent capability, this year’s defence budget has slumped to below two percent of the GDP - the first time this has happened since the 1962 India-China war.
“Though the defence budget for 2008-2009 is 10 percent higher than the previous year’s allocation, an analysis reveals that for the first time, since the India-China War of 1962, it has fallen below two percent of the GDP,” said Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor here on the sidelines of an event at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses.
According to Kapoor, there has been a persistent decline over the years from 3.38 percent of the GDP in 1987-88 to 1.98 percent this year - much below the global average.
The allocation for India’s defence budget has been raised by exactly 10 percent this year - from Rs.960 billion to Rs.1,056 billion.
This has raised a dilemma among military planners, who have to balance rightsizing of the defence forces along with inducting state-of-the-art weapons and equipment.
Kapoor also said that the budgetary allocation for the modernisation drive is very small.
“Sometimes it so happens that by the time a deal (for arms and equipment) fructifies, the financial year is over and the allocated amount lapses,” he pointed out.
Budget papers presented in parliament show that Rs.42.17 billion of the amount allocated for equipment purchases was unspent. Cumulatively, Rs.225.17 billion has been left unspent since 2002.
“There should be some provision of carrying over the amount to the next year or at least a percentage of it,” Kapoor maintained.

Paying a salute to Sam Bahadur
6 Jul 2008, 0225 hrs IST,TNN



NEW DELHI: In a world of cynics, it takes a child to immortalize a hero. The condolence book that lay open at India Gate from Monday to Friday for Sam Manekshaw, was full of heartfelt messages from school children, who had never met him, but had heard of or read about the Indian Army's moment of glory in 1971.
Their simple messages perhaps belied the awe they felt for the country's first Field Marshal, responsible for mowing down enemy lines when they were mere toddlers: 'You will continue to inspire us forever,' wrote the students of Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehra Dun. Students of Sainik School, Purulia (West Bengal), in a brief message expressed a profundity beyond their years: 'You have been a great leader, warrior, and above all, a great human being.'
The grown-ups were there too, ex-army men, curious onlookers, tourists. Vice Admiral D K Dewan described him as the epitome of courage, sacrifice and devotion, worth emulating by all soldiers. Brigadier K J Singh, wrote with a raw sincerity: 'Sam Bahadur you were truly a Marshal, a soldier's general, one who could transcend the barriers of red tape.'
Amongst the messages was one written by Maniksha Bakshi from Daryaganj, who expressed his pride in being named after the great warrior: 'I was unaware of the grandeur I was being attached to.' Like him, there were others who were unaware - who stood around and watched, and sometimes questioned a guard: " Yahan kya ho raha hai? (What is going on here?)"
General J J Singh, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and former Chief of Army Staff, arrived to add his name to the list of mourners. His tribute applauded the late hero's achievements and described him as 'an officer and a gentleman' who was and will always remain a role model for the armed forces. Each tribute reinforced a verse from the Upanishad that stood next to a framed photograph of the late Sam Bahadur, and reminded those present there: Not by action, nor by progeny, not by wealth. But by sacrifice alone can an immortal goal be achieved.

Arjun tanks to be history for Army
Press Trust of India
Saturday, July 5, 2008 (New Delhi)
As doubts over viability of the three-decade-old Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT) are being raised, the Army has indicated it would place no more orders than 124 already made to Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi, sounding the death knell of the DRDO project.
''Army will no more place orders for Arjun beyond 124 that was already contracted. That is because Army is now looking 20 years ahead and wants a futuristic MBT,'' Lt Gen Dalip Bharadwaj, Army Director General (Mechanised Infantry), said.
Though Bharadwaj discounted suggestions that it would mean the end of DRDO's Arjun project that began in 1972, he did point out that induction of more 'Arjun' MBTs at this stage would only mean India lagging behind in the technological race in armoured fighting vehicles.
''Arjun is a contemporary tank and may be used in the next decade or so, but not for a technologically advanced, next generation warfare some two decades hence,'' Bhardwaj said on the sidelines of an interactive session with defence private industry at CII.
After 36 years into its design and development, Arjun had as recently as in December 2007 failed winter trials, as stated in a Parliamentary report. It is yet to go through crucial comparative trials with Russian tanks, a mandatory process before induction into Army.
With uncertainty looming over Arjun tanks, Army had already increased its orders for Russian T-90 tanks by another 330 in 2007, over and above the 1000 it had ordered, clearly indicating T-90s would be the MBT of Indian Army for the next decade.
Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) had in 2007 handed over 14 Arjun tanks to the Army for trials, but they were returned with a list of defects in its fire control systems, inaccuracy of guns, low speeds in tactical areas such as deserts and inability to operate in temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius.
This summer too, Army and the DRDO took out Arjun MBT for trials, but the results were yet to be made public. Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry claimed it suspected an effort at ''sabotaging'' Arjun tanks, though reasons for the suspicion were not spelt out by Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh.
The DRDO's new project 'Tank-X' too did not find favour with the Army. ''Tank-X is a hybrid of T-90 and T-72, which are both contemporary technology tanks. There is no point in having technologically obsolete tanks for warfare two decades hence,'' the DG (Mechanised Forces) said.
Bharadwaj also announced that the Army, along with CII, would organise a two-day international technology seminar on Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) and Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) on July 22 and 23 to discuss global challenges in designing, developing and producing FMBT and FICV.
To be inaugurated by Defence Minister A K Antony and Rao Inderjit Singh, Bhardwaj said the seminar would debate the kind of MBT Army needed, considering that might of the military was judged by both deterrent and offensive capabilities of Mechanised Forces and on the quality and quantity of equipment.
''Time has come to reassess our requirements. We are at the threshold of formulating qualitative requirements of FMBT and FICV. This is the future, as it takes about a decade for completing the process of designing and being ready with a prototype of FMBT and FICV. It could take another 5 to 10 years to finally induct futuristic MBTs and ICVs into the forces,'' he said.
The meeting would also provide defence planners, end-users, scientists and both private and public defence manufacturers a holistic view of applicability of tanks, be they heavy, medium or light, and wheeled or tracked in modern warfare.
''Considering India's expanding strategic reach and widening global standing as a military power, future armoured vehicles should be capable of performing roles during out-of-area contingencies beyond its territorial boundaries,'' Bharadwaj said.
The meet would also try to provide defence industry an insight into Mechanised Forces' aspirations and try to gauge their capability to meet Army's future requirements.
Apart from looking at varying global perceptions on use of armoured vehicles, the seminar would identify critical emerging technologies in the field to meet Army's requirements of FMBT and FICV.
Already, seven foreign countries have confirmed their participation in the seminar including US, Israel, Russia, Germany, UK and France.

India needs to be wary of China's military modernisation
New Delhi, July 3 (PTI) With China rapidly modernising its military, India needs to be wary of likely implications, which will impact the nation's security, Army chief Deepak Kapoor warned today. "We need to take note of likely implications of China's military modernisation, improvement in infrastructure in Tibet Autonomous Region and other related issues, which could impact our security in the long run," Kapoor said here. Delivering the 'National Security Lecture' at the strategic affairs think tank Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Kapoor said China, the largest and the most powerful neighbour, and a rapidly rising power, continued on the path of high economic growth, combined with rapid military modernisation. In his lecture on "Changing Global Security Environment With Specific Reference to Our Region and its Impact on the Indian Army", he said, "We have differences related to the boundary question, which are being resolved by special representatives of both the governments." Pointing out that regular visits at the highest level have further added to the dimensions of constructive engagement and mutual confidence in relationship between the two neighbours, the General said economic engagements and continued efforts to amicably resolve boundary issues had ensured peace along the border. Later, to a query from reporters, Kapoor said Indian Army was not aware of any build up of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Tibet, as some reports suggested, for an adventure inside Indian territory after Beijing Olympics. PTI

'Indian Army's involvement in internal security above normal'
Posted: 1:51p.m IST, July 3, 2008
New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) The Indian Army's involvement in the country's internal security is more than normal, army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor said here Thursday.
Notwithstanding its multi-front obligations, the Indian Army is being called in to tackle many issues ranging from law and order to providing aid during natural or man-made disasters.
Due to external abetment, the Indian Army is involved in internal security functions on a relatively larger scale than is normal, said Kapoor.
Kapoor was delivering a lecture on 'Changing global Security Environment with specific reference to our region and its impact on the Indian Army' at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis here.
The primary obligation of the army is to defend the borders of the country and internal security is the secondary duty, Kapoor added.
The internal engagements of the Indian Army include training police and paramilitary forces to combat the menace of Maoist insurgency.
Currently, the army is proving to be instrumental in strengthening police and paramilitary forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and reserve police battalions in various states.
The army has been providing advice and training in counter-Naxal (Maoist) operations and counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device) operations. We are rendering assistance in the establishment of counter-terrorism schools in the analysis of violent incidents to help the police and the paramilitary forces to formulate an operational framework, Kapoor said.
The army has trained 150 companies of police and paramilitary forces till June this year.

Imported equipment, low morale are problems for army: former chief
July 5th, 2008 - 9:47 pm ICT by IANS -
Kolkata, July 5 (IANS) Dependence on imported equipment and low morale of the officers was posing a serious problem for the Indian Army, its former chief Gen. V.P. Malik said here Saturday. “Even today we are importing 70 percent of our equipment. As long as we have to depend on equipment from outside, we will be inconvenienced by any rise in prices,” he said.
To buttress his argument, Malik referred to how Russia suddenly escalated the cost of an aircraft carrier by $1.2 billion last year.
Malik, the army chief during the 1999 Kargil war, said at that time, Indian troops were low on tangible assets, but high on morale and confidence.
“This asset is almost on the verge of extinction now. There is an acute shortage of officers. Young men and women with great leadership capabilities are not joining. Those in the army want to quit,” he said, while addressing a seminar on “Indian Defence Forces’ preparedness to deal with challenges of the 21st century.”
“The low morale of the forces is becoming visible. I couldn’t dream of such a scenario when I joined the army,” he regretted.
He also criticised the political leadership for ignoring the recommendation to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff.
“That was a right recommendation made years ago. But the government chickened out. This was unfortunate.”
Malik expressed himself against using the army for internal security duties.
“You can’t switch a soldier on and off from external to internal security. These two need completely different orientations,” he said.
Continuing with his hard-hitting speech, Malik said that the government made a mistake by neglecting the border states soon after independence. “Unless we assimilate these people, our defence cannot be strong.”
Replying to a query as to why the strategic roads in border states like Arunachal Pradesh still lay in neglect, Malik said: “In 1986, the government gave us huge resources to build infrastructure like airfields and roads. Work was on at a great pace. Then in 1988, (then prime minister) Rajiv Gandhi went to China. After that, the fund flow dried up.”
Malik highlighted the need for military might to sustain India’s core values.
“Unless you are alert about the need for protecting your independence, how can you evolve as a great nation?” he asked at the seminar held on the eve of Syama Prasad Mookerjee’s 107th birth anniversary and dedicated to the memory of Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw.
“In order to protect your soft power - your cultural ethos - you can’t do without adequate hard power. They need to compliment each other,” he added.

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