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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

From Today's Papers - 12 Aug

US soldiers amazed at Indian anti-terror training

11 Aug 2008, 1749 hrs IST,IANS

VAIRENGTE (MIZORAM): Last week when Captain Greg Adams and Staff Sergeant Cote along with 28 US Special Forces commandos arrived at this hilltop village in India's northeastern state of Mizoram, they were far from thrilled.

But after a week at the Counter Insurgency Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) here, the 30 US soldiers of the Special Forces or Green Berets were simply stunned.

Upon their arrival at Vairengte, a small tribal hamlet wedged on the border between Mizoram and Assam, they were not amused. "Where on earth have we landed?" they seemed to ask each other.

On Monday, Captain Adams said: "This is the most amazing military education facility anywhere."

Adams made the remarks as he led his troops to a dangerous slithering operation - coming down an MI-17 helicopter by clinging on to a rope and landing safely.

The school at Vairengte is today considered one of the world's most prestigious anti-terrorist institutions with troops from several countries getting training there.

The US soldiers are being trained on sub-conventional guerrilla warfare, especially in dealing with urban terrorism. The exercise would end Aug 24.

So far, more than 156,000 soldiers have been trained at CIJWS, including about 1,500 foreign soldiers from 26 countries since the school was set up in 1970.

"We have trained soldiers from the US, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia and other countries while we are expecting soldiers from China and other parts of the world soon," the commandant said.

"The troops are taught to live in difficult and hostile terrains, eat and sleep like the guerrilla and strike as silently as the guerrilla," said Colonel B. Mukherjee, an instructor at the school.

Spurred by the successes in combating militancy to a great extent, New Delhi in 2001 opened the school at Vairengte for soldiers from abroad with three US army officers being the first overseas batch to be trained.

But it was only after the 9/11 that the jungle warfare school at Vairengte began attracting military cadets from across the world.

"The training we are currently being imparted here would go a long way in tackling terror. We have also shared our experiences with our Indian counterparts... the entire exercise is simply great," Captain Adams said.

In 2003, a group of about 100 elite US commandos completed a three-week anti-insurgency combat training at the institute.

The reputation of the CIJWS lies in the fact that the training module is framed in a highly scientific manner - soldiers receive training in identifying improvised explosive devices (IEDs), jungle survival, counter terrorism, and interrogation techniques.

Soldiers were also trained in jungle reflexive shooting, and a fast roping technique called 'slithering', used by the Indian Army.

Pakistan's activities might derail talks with India

India and Pakistan have always shared a hostile relationship. Recently, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire at LoC. Though they have denied the report, there are evidences, which give a clear picture of violation of ceasefire by Pakistan..

INDO PAK relations were at its lowest ebb in the last few years. If the situation is not taken care of, then we might see tensions between the two neighbours very soon. The activities that Pakistan is supporting are denting the relations between the two countries.

Pakistan has violated the ceasefire at Line of Control (LoC) more than 19 times since January this year. We recently had a fierce battle at the Indian post in Naria in Nowgam sector of Kashmir. Though Pakistan military officials have denied the report, the bodies of Pakistani soldiers killed in the gun battle gives a clear evidence of violation of ceasefire. If Pakistani army have denied this then we need to worry more, as it might be the case of infiltrations by terrorists. We must respond to them like we had in the past, else there might be another Kargil like situation in the Valley. The government should react strongly, mere flag meetings will have no impact or else we might again end up losing our soldiers.

During the recent South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meeting held in Colombo, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai asserted that suicide car bombing outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul had ’the hallmarks of the Pakistani intelligence’. He also added, "Clearly there (is) very, very strong evidence suggesting that Pakistan soil once again has been used to inflict pain upon our nation." As always, Pakistani officials denied the claim, but now America has also released a report, which has mentioned the nexus between officials in Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and militants. The study, funded by American defence department alleged that members of the two agencies often tipped off militants to the location and movement of coalition forces trying to rout them. It also said that personnel within the agencies trained fighters at camps in Pakistan, financed them and helped them cross the border into Afghanistan. Karzai was in an aggressive mood and even threatened to send troops across the border to take on the militants.

Pakistani journalist Ahmed Rashid said that the recent allegations have made clear that among the three terrorist elements – the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, and al-Qaida – Pakistan only had an interest in supporting the Afghan Taliban. But he agrees with experts who contend that the three groups cannot be considered separately, adding that if Pakistan supports one of them, it is probably supporting all of them.

Now Pakistan has tried to meddle with internal affairs of India. The Pakistan senate statement expressed, "…concern over the continuing economic blockade of the Kashmir Valley and attacks on Muslims and their properties by Hindu extremists. The House reaffirmed the political and diplomatic support of the government and people of Pakistan in their struggle to achieve their rights and called for an early settlement of Kashmir dispute as per United Nations resolution and aspirations of the people.

The talk of UN resolution is a step backward in the process of resolving Kashmir issue. Moreover, the present situation in Kashmir is totally India’s domestic problem and Pakistan should refrain from such absurd comments. New Delhi has responded strongly on this very statement of Pakistan senate.

The trust over Pakistan is shrinking very fast. Back-to-back exchanges of fire on LoC, low-intensity violence in Kashmir and the series of blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad have hit the Indo-Pak peace process hard. This way we cannot move forward on the peace talks. Pakistan needs to do something substantial to prove that it believes in what it says.

Ceasefire-violation again; tension grows in valley

Pak Army violated the ceasefire agreement again and started indiscriminate firing across the LoC. The Indian Army also boldly responded through canon and mortars. Panic and tension loomed large over the valley.

VIOLATING THE ceasefire agreement once more, Pakistani troops again started indiscriminate firing and lobbed mortars at an Indian post, located in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir across the Line of Control (LoC) today (August 11). Including today’s event, Pakistani military forces profaned the ceasefire agreement for 23rd times in this year only. There were no reports of casualties from the Indian side till now.

Regarding this event, Lt. Col A K Mathur told to media, "Pakistani troops lobbed 60-mm mortars and continued with small arms fire at the Poonch Indian post from 12.30 hours to 13.30 hours this afternoon." It was assumed that Pak army fired from the Rawalkot post and the gun-battle continued between both sides for at least one hour.

The ceasefire agreement came into force on November 2003, after a peaceful negotiation had taken place between the supreme leaders of both countries across the 198-km stretched international border located in Jammu and Kashmir, the 778-km long Line of Control (LoC) and the 110-km long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in the Siachen-Saltoro Ridge region. But promises were found to be kept within the limitation of official papers only. Very recent, Pakistan showed its extreme audacity through the transgression of agreement. Though the concerned Indian officials repeatedly lodged complaints at the DGMO level, but no fruitful results appeared.

Just few days ago, the Pakistani army fired towards Indian borders just to cover the infiltration of some militants inside the Indian territory. But that attempt was completely failed after the Indian Army heavily retaliated back. Such instances of breaching also took place earlier after some militants had fired small arms at Indian troops in Nowgam sector of Jammu and Kashmir. On July 28, 2008; a gang of 12 militants somehow managed to infringe the LoC at Nowgam and involved in a firing with Indian security forces at Khayam, which claimed the life of one Indian soldier. It was noticed by the Indian Army that mainly the ceasefire agreement’s violation took place in Rajouri, Tanghdhar and Poonch sectors from where Kashmiri militants tried their best to infiltrate.

Even on the last May13 and May 19, two violations of ceasefire agreement by the Pak Army in the Tangdhar and Mendhar sectors of Jammu and Kashmir were reported by top brass officials of the Indian Army. In that incident, one Indian soldier was also killed.

After being reported by the authorities, Indian Defence Minister - A K Antony, voiced a vehement protest for such profanation and also warned the concerned Pakistani authority to take necessary steps to follow the stated guidelines of the ceasefire agreement. The Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army also protested for such transgression.

IAF Joins Four-Nation Red Flag Exercises
for First Time

New Delhi
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is showcasing its skill and prowess at the prestigious four-nation Red Flag-08 military exercise that has begun at the Nellis Air Force Base in the US, an official said Monday.
Tough India has participated in many US-led war games, this is the first time it is taking part in the Red Flag, considered one of the toughest military exercises. India has spent around Rs.1 billion ($25 million) for the exercise. The exercise began Aug 10 and India will participate till Aug 24.
"The tough and prestigious Red Flag exercise formally started Aug 10 with a briefing and mission planning by the participating air forces," Wing Commander Mahesh Upasini said from Nellis.
"We have trained long and hard for this day. It is time to showcase our professionalism," IAF contingent commander Group Capt. D. Choudhury told the air warriors as the exercise formally commenced. "I have total faith and confidence in you. The world is watching us, so gentlemen lets show them what we are made up of."
The Red Flag will feature air force contingents from France, South Korea, India and the US.
The IAF has fielded eight Sukhoi-30s, two IL-78 tankers, and IL-76; the French Air Force its Rafale fighter jets, South Korean Air Force its F-15s and the US Air Force has its F-15 and F-16 combat jets.
"The IAF and other visiting air forces along with a large US Air Force element would be part of the friendly 'Blue Forces' that would engage in combat with the aggressors - the 'Red Forces'," Upasini said.
The Red Forces comprise F-15 and F-16 fighter jets of the 64th and 65th Aggressor squadrons of US Air Force based at Air Force Base Nellis.

"Exercise Red Flag provides a realistic war situation in which the Blue Force pilots will have all possible odds thrown at them... Availability of a large air-to-air range with threat replication contributes to the tremendous training value of the exercise," Upasini said.
"The replication of the air war would see the IAF's Sukhoi-30 aircraft participating in suppression of enemy air defence (SEAD) in air-to-air and air-to-ground missions," Upasini added.
The IL-78 tankers and US Air Force AWACS would be in active support role. The IL-76 would undertake tactical transport operations and large force engagement operations.
During the exercise, a set of Red Flag team forms the `White Force' and uses high tech instrumentation and mission debrief tools to evaluate the performance of the participants in a clinical and detached manner.
"During the exercise the Blue Force are made to change their plans often to put them under pressure. The White Force watches the entire exercise in real time on monitor screens on ground. Kill removal (removal of the pilots and aircraft assumed shot by the enemy) makes the exercise more realistic," he explained.

IANS | August 11, 2008

Pakistan intensifies Cyber War propaganda against India

Washington, Aug.11 (ANI): Pakistan is taking steps to intensify its cyber war propaganda against India with the help of its intelligence outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by carrying reports of alleged communal fissures taking place on the Indian side of Kashmir.

Since the Amarnath land transr controversy began, Pakistan Television's (PTV) focus has been on the alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

On an average, PTV is beaming two hours of daily anti-India propaganda as compared to an hour a day that was the norm earlier. It is apparent that PTV is heavily focusing on promoting the communal divide between Hindu-dominant Jammu and the Muslim-dominant Kashmir Valley with the objective of pushing forward the two-nation theory.

The ISI is also setting up a TV channel in Bangladesh as a part of its war over airwaves in the region, says the US based Global Geopolitics Network.

According to the network, Bangladesh's envoy to Pakistan, Yasmeen Murshed, has been roped in as the 'face' of the venture after it faced political, security and regulatory hurdles, according to James Crickton, who authored the five-page report titled 'War over air waves in Bangladesh'.

The channel, CSB (Chrono Satellite Broadcast) News, had a short run last year itself but was 'closed down' after the authorities felt the channel was trying to give a 'fillip' to the student unrest in the Dhaka and Rajshahi University campuses, the author said based on communications he had been 'privileged to access and study'

The ISI through its Dubai links roped in a Bangladesh businessman-politician Salauddin Qader Chowdhury to start the channel way back in 2006 but he was jailed after the army backed caretaker government came to office and started a massive anti-corruption drive.

Salauddin was a key minister in the Khaleda Zia's BNP led government. His son, Fayyaz, who has business interests in Dhaka, Hong Kong and Dubai stepped in to run the show but found the going tough, forcing the ISI to bring in the Bangladesh envoy in Islamabad as a partner in the venture, James Crickton writes.

The very structure of the company created to run the channel is also a give away, says the report.

The MOU that had stitched the deal in Islamabad in June 2006, puts the Dubai end under the aegis of an off-shore shell company (started with UK pounds 1900). It gives a 50 per cent share to Phoenix floated by Dubai based Pakistani, who coordinated with the Fayyaz family, and offers 33.33 per cent equity to Quintina Holdings, a Hong Kong based enterprise of Fayyaz. It fixes authorized capital at 50 million Arab Emirate Dirhams and paid up capital at 29 million Arab Emirate Dirhams.

After Yasmeen Murshed became a partner, her son was given the front end of channel while Fayyaz retained control over backend operations, "With her (ambassador Yasmeen) involvement, they (Salauddin and son Fayyaz) hoped to have the decks cleared as their sources winked at their new plan even when it was on the drawing board", according to the report which profusely quotes from various sources on the complex web Pakistan agency has put in place to hoodwink the Bangladeshi regime.. It adds that Yasmeen Murshed role is an 'internal' arrangement and is 'absolutely confidential'.

"When we sign over share transfer forms to Yasmeen, she signs over share transfer forms to us at the same time. Whenever we want we can submit the share transfer forms signed by her to take back the shares", Fayyaz told his Pakistani interlocutors, and went on to say, "A final agreement with her is that because she is not actually owning the company (since she is already signing away her share transfers to us), she is not investing any funds to run the company. Funds will be arranged by us and will be invested through her. Further more, she will be paid yearly sum of $ 50,000 for her services of being our face and maintaining a basic management on our behalf".

The Crickton write up on the Global Geopolitics Network leaves no doubt whatsoever that it is all an ISI sponsored and managed operation. When Salauddin was jailed, he decided to spite at the army chief Gen Moen.

And so he had sent a message through his son to his 'handlers' and it read: "Please do not allow the Chief Moen to visit your side. The message must be given loud and clear to the chief".

It is not clear to what extent the message influenced Islamabad but the fact of the matter is B'Desh army chief has not visited Pakistan so far though he had visited Delhi and Kolkata. (ANI)

Ajai Shukla: Western doctrine, Russian arms


Ajai Shukla / New Delhi August 12, 2008, 4:47 IST

India’s new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2008), unveiled by Defence Minister AK Antony on August 1, is remarkable only for its lack of movement beyond an equally insipid predecessor, DPP-2006. Typically, Mr Antony pronounced the new policy a perfectly timed triumph, which would go a long way towards removing the exercise of all judgement from decisions related towards defence. Mr Antony genuinely believes that national security decision-making can be reduced to a series of checklists, which can be followed blindly to avoid controversy and debate.

True, DPP-2008 makes changes in the offset policy, notably the permission for offset banking, which will be welcomed by foreign vendors. But the really far-reaching changes that were hoped for, to vitalise India’s indigenous defence capability, simply did not happen.

DPP-2008, like its predecessor, lays down procedures for the capital procurement of defence equipment (Rs 48,000 crore in 2008-09) under three broad heads. The “Buy” procedure, on which most attention is focused, lays down rules for off-the-shelf purchases of defence items from foreign arms vendors. A variation of this, the “Buy and Make” procedure, stipulates rules for buying equipment as well as the blueprints for manufacturing it in India. The third heading, called the “Make” procedure, lays down how India’s domestic defence production establishments — the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO), eight defence PSUs, 40 ordnance factories, some 12 major private industrial houses and 500-odd SMEs — will produce arms and equipment for India’s defence. The new policy glosses over this section.

It is not difficult to see why. Media reports centre almost exclusively on big-ticket purchases of fighters, submarines and aircraft carriers from foreign vendors. Political mud slinging centres on kickbacks supposedly paid by foreign vendors. And almost every significant foreign purchase gets scrutinised by the CVC. Unsurprisingly, the MoD too focuses entirely on sailing through this “Buy” minefield without blowing a hole in its side.

This unwarranted focus on “Buy” procedures is superficially reinforced by an axiom of defence economics, which is: the cheapest way to obtain defence equipment is to buy it off the shelf, a slightly more expensive way is to buy the technology and build it, while the most expensive and risky method is to go in for development.

But this is true only from the shallowest perspective. The real cost of military equipment adds up in far deeper and long-lived ways than the price paid at the time of purchase.

Perhaps the most crippling cost of buying, rather than developing, arms is the doctrinal cost. Every major military power first considers its own reality — its geography, its likely enemies and their capabilities, its allies, and the capabilities of its own soldiers — and then frames a doctrine for how it will fight. This is even more important for a country like India, which has multiple geographies, several potential enemies, no local allies, a relatively poorly educated peasant-based soldiery, a high tolerance for casualties, and a very short time window in which to impose a military solution. India’s military equipment must be tailored to those realities.

But it is not. Instead of a well-considered analysis of India’s geography, strategic environment and psyche, the foundation of our planning rests on an unviable hybrid. Our defence doctrine is born of western experience; we are equipped with Russian bloc equipment. Neither of them suits our circumstances.

Take our doctrine first. India’s defensive formations in the plains from southern J&K to northern Rajasthan are based on a discredited World War II Maginot Line-type concept of linear defence based on ditch-cum-bunds (DCBs) constructed along the border. Our desert defences use the western concept of strong points, interlinked with minefields. The plan for our strike corps to take the battle into Pakistan is supposedly the brain-child of General K Sundarji; in fact its intellectual genesis is the 1982 concept of AirLand Battle, spelled out in the US Army’s Field Manual FM 100-5.

To implement this alien doctrine, India has an equally alien military machine. Much of our heavy equipment (tanks, combat aircraft, battleships) comes from Russia. These were carefully designed for a specific operation: a quick sweep across Western Europe, with superiority in numbers making up for relative inferiority in equipment quality. Russian tanks, guns and radars are designed to function in that battlefield; cold weather, little dust, no need for extensive repair and operating with immense superiority of force. None of these conditions apply to India.

Untangling this dangerous knot must start with designing our own equipment. No international vendor will do this for India. The first step must be the laying down of targets for indigenous design and production. It is nobody’s case that the services be forced into accepting equipment that does not meet standards. But, over the last half century, the military has become used to buying products off the shelf, while judging indigenous products far more stringently.

All this requires a different kind of discipline; the discipline of development. The military must clearly frame its equipment needs to suit our actual operational environment. It must fund R&D at least partly from its ample budget and specify a minimum order quantity that will allow the developer, whether in the public sector or private, to recover his costs. And finally, when a product is delivered, it must be evaluated with a sense of ownership and the confidence that the developer will provide continuous improvements to suit the actual conditions in which the equipment is deployed.

Indian MRCA bidders submit offset proposals

By Siva Govindasamy

Bidders for India's $12 billion multi-role combat aircraft competition have submitted their offsets proposals, with the companies keen to stress the level of participation offered to Indian industry and the uniqueness of their proposals.

The Boeing F/A-18E/F, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16, the RSK MiG-35 and Saab Gripen in the fray for the deal, one of the most anticipated tenders in recent years. Under India's stringent offset rules, the bidders must reinvest 50% of the contract's value in the country.

That has resulted in all of the companies signing agreements with prospective Indian partners, pointing to these as evidence of their commitment to helping the country's industry. Boeing, for example, boasts that it has 37 local partners as part of its industrial participation programme and adds that India will play a key role in helping the company to enhance its global competitiveness.

"We are already establishing the groundwork that will lead us to success in this large undertaking through early engagement of Indian industry, both public and private," says Vivek Lall, Boeing Integrated Defence Systems vice-president in India.

EADS restated its invitation for India to formally become a partner in the Eurofighter programme, and insists that its plans for "industrial collaboration can decisively contribute to further shaping the future of the Indian defence industry". Bernhard Gerwert, chief executive of Military Air Systems at the European conglomerate, adds: "India is our partner of choice and we are interested in long lasting and mutually beneficial political, industrial and military relations."

Lockheed, pointing to the four F-16 production lines outside the USA, says that it "has a long history of delivering on commitments" on industrial co-operation and offsets programmes. Some analysts suggest that the F-16 could be disadvantaged as it is also operated by India's rival Pakistan. But the company adds: "The F-16IN will be a unique configuration of the F-16, designed to address every requirement specified in India's RFP. The F-16 is already the most reliable, maintainable, affordable and safest multirole fighter in the world. The F-16IN will be even better."

India is seeking 126 fighters, 18 bought in fly-away condition and 108 licence-produced by Hindustan Aeronautics, under the programme to replace its MiG-21s. It plans to make a decision by 2010, and envisages the first aircraft entering service around 2012.

Army lets women be soldiers for life

Indian women are set to turn career soldiers. Breaking a 300-year-old tradition, the armed forces have agreed “in principle” to secure their careers by granting them permanent commission — but without combat duties.

The move comes after HT carried a series of reports highlighting gender bias in the forces and triggered a debate.

It will finally give women officers their rightful place in a male-dominated military culture, some 15 years after they were allowed into the armed forces.

Air Marshal Sumit Mukerji, Air Officer-in-charge Personnel, said on Tuesday, “The COSC (chiefs of staff committee) is fine-tuning modalities and identifying non-combat arms that women officers could be assigned to.”

Permanent commission will allow lady officers to climb command echelons and assume higher responsibilities, a privilege that did not come with their limited tenure ranging from five to 14 years (outside the Army Medical Corps).

With this, the National Defence Academy and other service-specific training institutions will no longer be the exclusive domain of male cadets. Mukerji did not rule out the possibility of the NDA, the cradle of military leadership, churning out an all-women batch if they outperform the boys in the entrance exam and interviews.

Lieutenant General Punita Arora (retd), the first lady to don the three-star rank in India’s military history, told HT, “The girls have proved their worth in the armed forces. They deserve it.”

However, women will continue to be accepted only in responsibilities more in tune with generally accepted notions of gender. Close combat would essentially imply serving in the infantry, armoured corps, flying a fighter aircraft or sailing on a warship.

A senior army officer said the existing cadre of women officers is unlikely to benefit as permanent commission would come with its own terms and conditions. Defence ministry figures show there are just 945 women out of 35,377 officers in the army, 739 out of 10,563 officers in the air force and 236 out of 7,336 officers in the navy. HT had recently reported that several lady officers were opting for corporate sector with the government dithering on permanent commission.

How others treat them United States: Women are excluded from combat jobs but they are granted permanent commission.

Pakistan: In March 2006, four women pilots received their flying wings, breaking into an all-male bastion.

United Kingdom: 17,900 women serve in all positions where the primary duty is “to close with and kill the enemy”.

Israel: First female combat pilot received her wings in 2001. Combat duty is voluntary for women.

Farmers fight for ex-servicemen
11 Aug 2008, 0534 hrs IST,TNN

BARNALA: 'Jai jawan jai kisan', the age-old slogan, has come in handy for former defence personnels to put forth their long-pending demand of 'one-rank-one-pension'. For one would wonder, what role the 'kisan' might have to play in the ex-soldier fraternity's cause for desired pay scales, former defence personnel have tried to rope in the farming community to stand by them in their fight for attaining higher pensions.
The Indian Ex-servicemen League had organized a state-level rally here at the grain market on Sunday to reassert their resentment at the Sixth pay Commission recommendations and to rehash their demand for its review.
While the UPA government came in for severe criticism in the hands of ex-servicemen on the issue of recommendations for turning a blind eye to their demands, Col (retd) Partap Inder Singh Phulka said "No price is too big for ensuring security of the nation. While soldiers have done their bit always, the Union government has been shying away in reciprocating fairly by meting out step-motherly treatment to the veterans".
Blaming the government's policies for the loss of interest and enthusiasm amongst people to join defence forces, Phulka said presently there was a shortage of 10,000 officers in the Indian Army.
Col (retd) Bhag Singh said "Military veterans are airing their grievances publicly for long, but no government has ever given any heed to them." Bhag said though parties included one-rank-one-pension issue in their manifestos, but nothing materialised.
Col (retd) GS Sohi said, "As soldiers have aligned themselves with farmers, they would be a force to reckon with for the government to concede to their demand."
Assuring the defence personnel of their full support, Punjab marketing board chairman and farmer leader Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said he would urge Punjab CM PS Badal to take up the matter with the Union government.

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