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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

From Today's Papers - 19 Aug

Indo-Russian meeting for next-gen aircraft
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 18
A crucial meeting with a team of Russian Defence officials started today in the capital to secure technology for the next- generation fighter aircraft, more number indigenous tanks and joint ship building.

The meeting, that commenced today, will discuss the possibility of Russians transferring design data for the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), said a defence official who did not wish to be quoted.

India like other countries is looking to acquire next-generation fighters. In October 2007, the two countries had signed an agreement to co-develop the FGFA.

It will be on an entirely new platform, with many additional features, stealth being an important one. India will be pressing that the aircraft is manufactured in India so that technology is transferred.

The Russian and Indian teams will be discussing the modalities of carrying out licensed production of T-90 tanks. One of the issues is transfer of technology and some understanding is expected to be arrived at, said the official.

This was the meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission's working group. Additional secretary (defence production) Ajay Acharya chaired the meeting, which was attended by his Russian counterpart, Igor Karavaev of the department of defence industries.

Another aspect to be discussed will be the licensed manufacturing of Sukhoi-30 MKI by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The countries have already signed an agreement for the transfer of technology and licensed production of 140 SU-30 MKI fighter aircraft, engines and airborne equipment by HAL.

The agreement also provides for setting up repair and overhaul facilities. The Russian team will also be asked to address the problems that have cropped up during the indigenous production of the Konkur-M anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM).

What Musharraf's Exit Means for India
By Manish Chand

New Delhi
With the resignation of Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan, there is a growing feeling here that Islamabad is likely to be more hawkish on the Kashmir issue and its preoccupations with internal politics may affect the pace of the peace process between the two countries.

Although Musharraf is widely seen as the architect of the 1999 armed engagement in Kargil that led to a suspension of the peace process before its resumption in 2004, his tenure as the de facto ruler of the country for eight years and later as civilian president of the country saw perceptible improvement in the content and tone of dialogue not just over the Kashmir issue but in other areas also.

Nearly two years ago, it was Musharraf who floated a trial balloon in the form of a four-point formula for resolving the Kashmir issue that revolved around self-governance, demilitarization and a joint supervisory mechanism and making the Line of Control irrelevant through more cross-border trade and travel.

Musharraf was the first Pakistani leader to suggest that Pakistan was ready to give up its demand for an independent Kashmir and assured that Islamabad would no longer insist on plebiscite and the UN resolutions on Kashmir if India accepted his four-point proposal.

Although India rejected the proposal, it underlined a significant shift from Islamabad's ideological rigidity to a more pragmatic approach, specially Pakistan's increasing acceptance of promoting a soft border, to resolve a dispute over which the two countries have fought two wars.

"Musharraf was a little more pragmatic than his predecessors. If we look at his exit purely from viewpoint of its bearing on the Kashmir issue, it's bad news for India," K. Subrahmanyam, eminent strategic expert and a keen Pakistan-watcher, told IANS.

"Moreover, we don't know how long will the unity between Asif Zardari, co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party, and Nawaz Sharif, head of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), last. It also remains to be seen how stable this coalition will be," Subrahmanyam said.

"In such a situation, there is every chance that Kashmir will become an issue in party politics, with each side trying to outdo the other by more hawkish postures on Kashmir," he said.

"Musharraf was a little more reasonable on Kashmir. But his formulations were something India could not accept," said Kuldip Nayar, veteran journalist who has written extensively on Pakistan.

"The peace process is also likely to slow down due to domestic political preoccupations in Pakistan," he said.

Although India has made it clear that its ties with Pakistan are not individual-specific, there are concerns here that a weak civilian government in Islamabad may not be in a position to wield control over the powerful military establishment and the ISI who are seen to be driving the foreign policy of that country.

"We don't really know who is in control and whether they can rein in forces inimical to Indian interests," a government source, who did not wish to be named, said.

Last week, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan had voiced these anxieties when he said that Musharraf's exit would leave "a big vacuum" in Pakistan's politics.

The last few weeks have seen a straining of ties due to India's suspicion about the ISI's involvement in the July 7 bombing of its embassy in Kabul, a spike in infiltration and firing across the LoC.

After last four years of realistic diplomacy on Kashmir, Pakistan is now reverting to hawkish posturing and is threatening to internationalize the Kashmir issue.

Islamabad has accused New Delhi of excessive use of force and human rights violations in India-controlled Kashmir after protests over transfer of land to a Hindu shrine turned violent.

Compared to this, Musharraf's reign saw marked improvement in ties, after a brief interlude of Kargil misadventure and near-war situation in 2002, and resulted in a slew of ambitious initiatives, including the launch of more cross-border bus services, the restoration of a train link and cross-border confidence building measures like the setting up of an anti-terror mechanism.

Terrorism, however, continued to be a serious issue that shadowed their ties, specially after the 2006 bombings in Mumbai's commuter trains in which India suspected Pakistan's involvement - a charge that was denied by Islamabad.

Old commando habits die hard for Musharraf
Islamabad, Aug 16 (ANI): By refusing to go down without a fight, demanding immunity to any future prosecution and determined to continue living in his home country, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is displaying his commando style of functioning, a member of the ruling coalition government has said.
"'re hitting a wall now and we're so close [to impeachment proceedings].
It's this commando thing of his. His living here would be like a red rag to a bull. He wants to be photographed playing golf and taking it easy," The Globe and Mail quoted the coalition leader as saying.
According to the paper, negotiations aimed at pushing Musharraf from office are stalling for only a few days before impeachment hearings are to begin in Pakistan's parliament early next week.
While an exit deal is still the most likely outcome, the President is holding out for a better agreement and the talks are going down to the wire. His spokesman has consistently insisted that Musharraf has no intention of resigning, added the paper.
The coalition wants Musharraf to leave Pakistan for at least a year or two, until emotions cool down, according to sources close to the negotiations.
The President's private home, a mansion that is still under construction, is located in an upscale neighbourhood just outside Islamabad, so he would be a constant presence. He hopes initially to live in Karachi while it is completed.
"Basically Musharraf is being stubborn, the two sides are playing brinkmanship. Nawaz Sharif is sitting there, sharpening his knife," the paper quoted a prominent Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi as saying.
Musharraf has offered to leave Pakistan for some time, but only after three to six months. He is adamant that, unlike Sharif and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, politicians he despises, he not be seen to be fleeing the country as soon as he is out of office, said a friend of the President.
The President's legal adviser, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada went on national television to suggest that the impeachment proceedings would drag on for months. Musharraf is entitled to defend himself, use lawyers to represent him and call witnesses, he said. "The President has all the options, constitutional and political. All institutions will be seriously damaged [by impeachment], perhaps beyond repair," said Pirzada. (ANI)

Indo-US officials to seek ways to boost defence partnership
New Delhi, Aug 18: With the Indo-US nuclear agreement firmly on track, the two countries are to open talks soon at the highest level to further boost up security and defence partnership.
As India's military hardware purchases are expected to touch a staggering USD 50 billion in the next five years and to almost USD 100 billion by the next decade after New Delhi's Russian- and Soviet-era arsenal reaches obsolescence, the two countries are looking at starting joint collaborations and research in advanced weapon systems.
Towards this end, the two countries, officials said, were looking at concluding key agreements to open doors for transfer of advanced American technology to India.
These issues would be in sharp focus when Defence Minister A K Antony undertakes his maiden visit to US from September 7 to 10.
Antony would be leading a high-level delegation comprising Defence Secretary Vijay Singh, Lt-Gen V K Singh, currently General-Officer-Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Army Command, who is probably slated to take over as the next Army chief.
The delegation would also include Air Marshal S Mukherjee, currently the Air Officer Personnel at Air Headquarters, who has served a stint in Washington as a Defence Attache, and S K Sharma, Director General Acquisitions in Ministry of Defence.
The US, which has been comparatively a new entrant to the Indian defence market, is hoping to lay groundwork for far wider cooperation between the two nations in arms building and setting up strategic security related partnerships.
US defence majors Lockheed Martin and Boeing are vying for India's largest ever defence contract worth USD 10 billion to sell 126 fighter jets.
Lockheed Martin, earlier this year, made a start by inking a deal worth USD 962 million for sale of six C130-J Hercules military transport aircraft for Indian special forces. The company is hoping to sell four more aircraft and missile-approach warning systems to India by 2010.
Antony's agenda during his talks with his US counterpart Robert Gates would be to substantially increase the complex range of naval, air force and army war games jointly being conducted by the armed forces of the two countries.
With the Left parties in India opting out of supporting the Congress-led UPA government, Washington and New Delhi are also expected to give final touches to key defence protocols between the two countries such as end-user verification agreement and sewing up the logistics support agreement.
During his visit, Antony and his entourage would also also visit key US armed forces' complexes including viewing the missile defence shield and other advanced armament systems.

Soldier killed in Kashmir ceasefire violation
By Indo-Asian News Service on Monday, August 18, 2008
An Indian Army soldier was killed when Pakistani troops once again violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday, an official said.
Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing in the Uri sector of the LoC in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, a defence spokesperson said here.
“The Pakistani troops fired at the Khamosh post in the Uri sector of the LoC Saturday morning, injuring one soldier of 10 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI). Naresh Kumar was immediately evacuated for treatment to the army’s hospital in the Badami Bagh cantonment area of Srinagar where he succumbed to his injuries,” the spokesperson told IANS.
In the second instance of ceasefire violation Saturday, the Pakistani troops also shelled Indian positions in the Keran sector of the LoC in Kupwara district of north Kashmir. There was, however, no loss of life or property.

India, Malaysia Strengthen Defense Relations
By vivek raghuvanshi
NEW DELHI - India and Malaysia are discussing boosting defense ties during the Aug. 18 visit of Air Chief Marshal Fali Major, Indian chief of the Air Staff, to Malaysia, Indian Defence Ministry sources said.
The Indian Air Force already is training Malaysian pilots and technicians on the Russian-made Su-30 MKM aircraft.
Major also will visit the Malaysian air base at Gong Kedak, where the Malaysiansare learning to fly and maintain the Su-30 MKM. India is training 15 Malaysian officers and 40 technicians on the aircraft, 18 of which were bought by Malaysia from Russia in 2003.
Indian Air Force personnel also provided training to more than 100 Malaysian personnel on the MiG-29 aircraft.
"The team of IAF pilots and technicians are in Malaysia for two years, on their invitation, to train their pilots, weapon system operators and maintenance staff for the smooth induction and operation of their newly acquired Su-30 MKM fighter aircraft," a senior Indian Air Force official said.
Malaysia is also keen to get training in submarine operations, and has evinced interest in the procurement of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, said Indian Defence Ministry sources.
India and Malaysia first signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation in 1992.
Currently, Indian-Malaysian defense ties largely are confined to training of Malaysian defense personnel, but this will expand in the near future to sales of weaponry and equipment from India, the Defence Ministry sources said.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony is likely to ink three pacts during his maiden US visit Sept 7-10, an official said in New Delhi on Monday.Under one of these pacts, the Indian and US militaries can refuel ships and aircraft in cashless transactions that are balanced at the end of the year.Apart from the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), the other pacts are the Communication Inter-operability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) that will enable the two militaries communicate on a common platform, and an end-user agreement governing the sale of US military hardware to India.These pacts have been on the backburner for long due to the objections of the Left parties over the warming India-US military ties. With the communists having withdrawn their outside support to the government, which subsequently won a trust vote in parliament, the way is now clear for inking the agreements, a defence ministry official said."The LSA would require both countries to provide their bases, fuel and other kind of logistics support to each others' fighter jets and naval warships," the official told IANS, speaking on condition of anonymity.Explaining the advantages of the agreement, the official said: "India is spending close to Rs.100 crore (Rs.1 billion) for participating in the ongoing Red Flag exercise with the US Air Force.""Had an LSA been in place, India would not have had to physically pay the money but would have provided reciprocal facilities in this country whenever the US defence forces required them," the official added.India's ambassador to the US Ronen Sen had met Antony here July 24 to discuss the three India-US pacts.The US has agreements similar to the LSA in place with some 65 countries.

In most cases, it is called the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) that was formerly known as the NATO Mutual Support Act. It was enacted to simplify exchanges of logistic support, supplies, and services between the US and NATO forces. It was amended in 1986, 1992 and 1994 to permit ACSAs with non-NATO countries.
With the Indian and US militaries increasing their engagement in war games on land, in the air and at sea, CISMOA has become a necessity to ensure there are no communication glitches.
"With the increasing number of military exercises between the countries, the pact is set to be given the green signal soon," the official said.
As for the end-user agreement, India has so far refused to sign it in its present form and has asked for modifications.
"It's like this: we purchase, say, night vision goggles from the US and deploy these on the LoC (Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir). Obviously, we cannot allow US inspectors to physically verify this," the official said.
"Therefore, we'll work out a system where we will certify where the equipment is located and the US will take our word for it," the official added.

Hats off to Army for good job
Alya Alvi Islamabad
Please refer to a story in a section of the English press on August 17 on war against militants is restoring Pakistan Army’s image. This is a matter of great satisfaction for the people of Pakistan that this time the ongoing operations in Swat, Bajaur and other troubled areas seem to be heavy, decisive and result-oriented. The former chief of army staff, Gen Musharraf, might have his own strategies in his mind, but unsuccessful operations under his command had badly tarnished the image of the Pakistan Armed Forces and put a question mark on its capability, professionalism and willingness to fight against terrorist elements. Defence analysts, Indian and other foreign observers had started saying that the Pakistan Army was not capable enough to fight such a non-conventional war as it was only trained to fight against India and not for the terrorists and militants present in the rugged terrains of FATA. This impression also helped blemish the image of the armed forces. Ever since Gen Kayani has taken over the command, he has not only taken a number of steps leading to restoring the image of the army –-- such as detaching the military from politics, calling back military personnel holding civilian posts, etc, --- he has taken concrete and practical steps towards swiftly taking the operations to its logical ends, providing the people relief, peace and sense of security and giving the military sense of victory and pride against the handful militants. According to the survey the people across the country are 100% happy over the military getting gains in the operations. “To be true, Pakistan Army, led by Gen Parvez Kayani, has fought so bravely and so swiftly against the militants’ in a few weeks that the previous government could not do in almost a decade under its predecessor Gen (retd) Musharraf.” Hats off to army for the good job they have done and are doing. Nation would be relieved when the menace of terror and militancy would be eliminated from our soil, once and for all.

The Indian Army's growth as the nation's anchor(Article)
From ANI

New Delhi, Aug.13: August 15 is an occasion for stock taking. The nation looks back at its achievements, mistakes and looks forward to the tasks ahead on Independence Day.
It is an appropriate occasion to look at the country's Armed Forces, how they have grown and looked after the defence of the country, and how they are preparing themselves for the challenges ahead. The Army, in particular, has a long history.
Very few in the country are aware of the origin and growth of the Indian Army It has grown from a force of sepoys that served the East India Company from 1600. The traders of the Company employed them to protect their establishments. By the end of the Century they acquired the island of Bombay, Fort St. George at Madras and Fort William at Calcutta.

The forces were reconstituted as the Presidency Armies of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. In 1748, they were amalgamated under Major Stringer Lawrence who became the commander-in-chief of all the Company's forces in India. Soon the Presidency Armies were reorganized with the induction of British Officers. The sepoys continued to help their masters to extend their territory in different regions of India.
The major challenge that the East India Company faced was in 1857, during the first War of Independence or the 'Sepoy Mutiny'. For the first time the sepoys became conscious that they belonged to one country. The British succeeded in putting down the rebellion. Those who rebelled were disbanded and the rest were brought under the British Crown.

The East India Company was abolished and Queen Victoria took over the rule of territories in India. A Viceroy was appointed in India. British officers were given the Queen's Commission, and the Indians the Viceroy's Commission, later known as Junior Commissioned Officers. .
The Army participated in various campaigns in Africa, the Middle East, Tibet and other parts of the world. A major challenge presented itself during the First World War. The British Indian Army fought in various theatres of war in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
According to official figures, 36,596 Indian soldiers died during World War I and 70,000 were wounded. They won 16 Victoria Crosses and 90 Military Crosses. The fighting qualities of the Indian Army was accepted the world over.

More important, the soldiers from different parts of India fought together as 'Indians".
Following demands from Indian leaders, the British agreed to Indianise selected units of the Indian Army and also induct Indians in the officer ranks. To start with 20 seats were reserved for Indians at the Military College in Sandhurst. Those who passed out became King's Commissioned Indian Officers.
The demand for Indianisation of the officer cadre Army was taken up by Indian leaders, particularly, Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Motilal Nehru It was agreed to establish the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1932 and in 1934 the first batch of Indians was commissioned.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, national leaders were not in favour of Indians participating, but the British went ahead. Army units were inducted in all theatres of war. The number of Indians enrolled in the Army in September 1945 was 2, 647, 017 and they fought in different theatres in Libya, Tunisia, Italy, Iraq and in the jungles of Burma, Malaya and the Far East.

The Second World War also proved the ability of the Indian Officers to lead in operations and forged a link between them and their soldiers. A strong sense of patriotism gathered momentum with the formation of the Indian National Army, led by Subash Chandra Bose.
When the British decided to leave India after the country was partitioned, the Army too was divided between India and Pakistan. The Indian Army had to face challenges in maintaining law and order and evacuate refugees.

The tasks mostly fell on the Indian Officers. The British officers were keen on returning to England and the Indian officers were given the option of going to Pakistan if they chose. The first batch of British Officers left for England on August 7, 1947 and the last batch in February 1948.
The role played by the Indian Army during the difficult days of Partition earned the confidence, even the gratitude of the nation.

In the midst of managing the refugee evacuation, the India Army had to rush to Jammu and Kashmir following the invasion of the State by Pakistan, ostensibly by tribals. The Jammu and Kashmir state forces were unable to fight the invaders and asked for Indian assistance. On the State acceding to India, the first contingent of the Indian Army was flown to Srinagar on October 27.
The Indian Officers led by the then Lieutenant General K.M. Cariappa, who took over as the GOC-n-C, Western Command on January 26, 1948, were able to frustrate the attempt of Pakistan to annex Jammu and Kashmir. They even had to confront obstacles put in their way by the remnants of British officers in the Indian Army. By the end of 1948, the Srinagar Division led by Maj.-Gen. K.S. Thimayya and the Jammu Division led by Maj. Gen. Atma Singh were in a position to clear the State of invaders both in the Muzaffarabad and Poonch- Rajouri sectors
General Thimayya also had the unique distinction of taking tanks atop the Zoji-la where Pakistani forces had established themselves. After clearing the area, the Army was in a position to move to Dras and Kargil. The Indian Air Force flew the Army contingent to Leh, which led to the securing of Ladakh

The story would have been different if a cease-fire had not come into force - and that too as per the complaint lodged in the United Nations by India.
The Indian Army also played a notable role in the consolidation of the country. The challenge posed by the Nizam of Hyderabad was cleared by police action in September 1949. The Indian Army entered the State on September 13, and in a matter of four days the Razakars had melted away and the State joined the Indian Union. The liberation of Goa had to wait for over a decade. .
During the six decades after Independence, the Indian Army has had to face many challenges. The first major challenge was the Chinese invasion in 1962. The Government of India had brushed aside the view of the Army headed by General K.S. Thimayya, that the Chinese posed a threat to India. The reverses suffered during the war demoralized the Army.
The northern border continues to be sensitive, the border dispute with China has not been resolved, and India is continuing its talks with China.

Pakistan invaded India in 1965 first by carrying out a trial run in Kutch, following it up with another version of 'tribal infiltration' in 1965. The war that followed saw the Indian Army in occupation of parts of Pakistan, but India vacated them following a peace agreement concluded in Tashkent.

Another war with Pakistan followed after the crackdown by the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan in 1971 and arrival in India of over a million refugees. India won a decisive victory and 93,000 soldiers of the Pakistan Army surrendered after a brief 12-day war.
Pakistan has continued to maintain an adversarial relationship with India. It promoted a low-intensity conflict in Punjab in the eighties but failed. The next target was Jammu and Kashmir where it promoted insurgency in the late eighties. The Army had to fight the proxy war, which commenced in 1989. Jammu and Kashmir has not yet recovered fully even to this day.

Having failed in the proxy-war, an attempt was made by Pakistan to cut off Kargil and Ladakh in 1999 by occupying the heights in Dras along the Srinagar -Leh highway, ostensibly by Jehadis. In the operations that followed it was proved that units of the Northern Light Infantry were deployed. Pakistan Army had to vacate the posts.
The Army continues to maintain vigil both along the Line of Control and in sensitive areas of Jammu and Kashmir. The expectation is that it will have to continue to shoulder this responsibility for the foreseeable future.

India's adversaries are using terrorism as a weapon to weaken the country. Will the Army be involved in fighting terrorism?
Over the years the character of the Army has changed. Today, the officers belong to all parts of the country and not from chosen families alone. The Army cantonments, which used to be isolated areas, as the colonial power wanted those in uniform to be away from the civilian population, are now virtually integrated with the rest of the country.

Today the Armed Forces of India have been modernized and the process of modernization is continuing. The Army, Navy and the Air Force are functioning in a coordinated manner and an integrated headquarters is in position in the Ministry of Defence. The effort is to ensure that the Armed Forces will have the weapons and equipment necessary to face the tasks ahead of them
The Army has displayed unity in diversity, faced all challenges and come out successful, be it a war or a proxy war. Tomorrow it may have to face the challenge of terrorism. y I.Ramamohan Rao

Armed forces to fund DRDO projects
Army not happy with the decision of it having to fund 10 per cent of the cost.
by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 16th Aug 08
The Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) highest body, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), has handed a significant victory to the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in its long-running quest to get the defence services to fund research and development (R&D) into high-technology military projects. As a result, the services could soon begin contributing 10 per cent of the cost of developing indigenous military systems.
So far, the DRDO has funded such projects — which include successes like the Dhruv helicopter, the Agni ballistic missile and the Arjun tank — entirely from its budget.
“The DAC has agreed in principle that such projects should be funded in a 70-20-10 per cent ratio: 70 per cent by the DRDO, 20 per cent by the industry partner that will manufacture the developed product; and 10 per cent by whichever of the three services the product is being developed for,” senior MoD officials told Business Standard.
That 10 per cent liability for the military will amount to no more than Rs 300 crore a year, which is a small fraction of the Rs 30,000 crore spent annually on foreign arms. But the DRDO hopes that this relatively small amount will transform what it calls an unduly critical approach of the military towards home-grown military products. A 10 per cent ownership, the DRDO believes, will transform the military from a detached and demanding buyer into a stakeholder, which regards the projects as its own.

The military is unhappy with this decision. Sources in the tri-service Integrated Defence Staff say the army argued forcefully against the proposal, when it was discussed in the MoD.
The DRDO chief, M Natarajan, admitted recently the behind-the-scenes battles that preceded this decision. But he underplayed the benefits to the DRDO, telling a gathering of the defence manufacturers that the private sector and defence PSUs would be equal beneficiaries.
Natarajan said, “The DRDO has certainly demanded this, but it is equally applicable to the private sector and the public sector undertakings.”

The defence minister said that while he appreciates the DRDO’s concerns, he would also like to take on board the views of the services. “So the proposal was considered carefully and finally the DAC has given its approval. I think this is a very significant development,” the minister said.
But the new funding pattern has not been included in the new Defence Procurement Policy (DPP-2008), which will come into effect from September 1. The DPP-2008 gives the DRDO responsibility to develop “strategic, complex and security sensitive systems”, which include ballistic missiles and electronic warfare systems that are not normally up for sale. These will continue to be funded entirely by the DRDO.

The new 70-20-10 per cent funding pattern applies to what the DPP-2008 categorises as “High Technology Complex Systems”, which include advanced systems like tanks, fighters and helicopters, which could be bought internationally, but which the MoD wants the domestic industry to develop. The DPP-2008, however, excludes the DRDO from this category, reserving it for “RuRs/Indian industry/DPSUs/OFB/Consortia”.
A similar provision existed in the DPP-2006 but over the last two years only the DRDO has developed “High Technology Complex Systems”, such as the Dhruv helicopter, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), and Arjun tank. Not a single project has been taken up by any private company or DPSU. In addition, under the “Strategic, Complex and Security Sensitive Systems” category, the DRDO has developed several variants of the Agni missile and electronic warfare systems like the Samyukta.

Senior army sources say they intend to fight the DAC decision on joint funding. The military has already pointed out that the DPP-2008 does not mention the DRDO as eligible to develop “High Technology Complex Systems”. The DRDO admits that the new decision could face delays in implementation if the military decides to stonewall it, citing the DPP-2008.

Defence Acquisitions Council Approves Spyder Air Defense Deal With Israel
Dated 18/8/2008

With the government giving the go-ahead for the procurement of Spyder low-level quick-reaction missile systems from Israel, Indian Air Force hopes to plug in crucial gap in the Air Defence Capabilities. Sources said the deal for the 18 SpyDer systems, at a cost over Rs 1,800 crore, should be "inked within a few weeks" after being approved by the Defence Acquisitions Council.

Now, with the Communist albatross no longer hanging around its neck, the government seems to be quietly moving ahead with procurements and projects with Israel. These include the projects to develop new-generation 'Barak' surface-to-air (SAM) missile systems. The IAF had pushed for the SpyDer systems, which have Python-5 and Derby missiles to take on hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and PGMs (precision-guided munitions), due to persistent delays in the indigenous Akash and Trishul SAM systems. Interestingly, DRDO earlier this year declared that the Akash air defence system, with an interception range of 25-km, was now ready. It promised to deliver an initial two Akash squadrons to IAF, at a cost of Rs 1,081 crore, within three years.

The IAF is in need of advanced air defence systems to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-origin Pechora, IGLA and OSA-AK missile systems. The gigantic Rs 10,000 crore project with Israel to develop an advanced new-generation SAM system, capable of detecting and destroying hostile aircraft, missiles and spy drones at a range of 120-km, will go a long way in boosting IAF's air defence capabilities to protect "vital and strategic assets".

This project, cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security in July 2007, will provide IAF with an initial nine air defence squadrons. It's actually an extension of the ongoing DRDO-IAI project, cleared in January 2006 at a cost of Rs 2,606 crore, to develop a supersonic 70-km-range Barak-2 missile defence system for the Navy. This naval long-range SAM (LR-SAM) system basically has four components: the multi-function surveillance and threat alert radars, with a 350-km range; the weapon control system with data links; the vertical launch units; and the actual two-stage interceptor missiles.

"With most of the design work now over, this LR-SAM project should be completed by 2011. The three Kolkata-class guided-missile destroyers being built at Mazagon Docks will be the first to be equipped with them," said a source. These projects, one again, underline the emergence of Israel as India's second largest defence partner since the 1999 Kargil conflict, with New Delhi sourcing armaments worth a staggering $8 billion from Tel Aviv.

The services got it all wrong with the SCPC

Not everything, except a few things that many failed to take note of…

Unrealistic expectations were build up by the services top brass through selective leaks of their proposals to the government. Remember the powerpoint presentations harping on 4.5 times increase flooding your mailboxes. Favourable media reports, planted by the services, also added to the hype. As that old aphorism goes, “Higher the expectations, greater the disappointment”.
A limited understanding of the service headquarters on basing the arguments to fight the case for better remuneration with the SCPC and the government. “We are special, give us more” is a wrong line to take. For harsh conditions and separations, higher allowances are the key and the paramilitary personnel and civilians in the same situation should get the same allowances.
It seems that the equivalence in status is only a concern, once it gets to the star ranks. The real hit is at junior ranks, Captain to Lt Colonel, where constant degradation has taken place due to the short-sighted policies of the services.
The grave discontentment and disenchantment with the working culture and ethos in the services was linked with the award of the SCPC. Rather than setting the HR policies right, it was believed by many that an adequate compensation from the SCPC will allow them to overcome all the other ills plaguing the services.
The chimera of high salaries flashed by the corporate sector have also downplayed the real benefits received from the government by service personnel. Other than the CTC or CTG, which comprises transactional benefits, the relational benefits of power, job security etc, have not been explained adequately by the services top brass to the rank and file.
A feeling of “trapped in” created among many officers by these acts can only be resolved by a liberal and equitable exit policy. It is not that everyone will leave (and the downward spiral in the economy will be a dampener) but it will take the major grouse away. The message from the services should be, “If you don’t like it, leave it and move on”. Right now, the damaging message is from the serving military members, “I don’t like it here. I am thinking of quitting but the services won’t let me go”. That would be a huge plus for the organisation, weeding the real discontented guys away and shutting the perpetual cribbers up!

Finally, till date the services top brass have been very proficient at directing the ire of the rank and file towards the bureaucrats and politicians. However, the happenings this time have clearly shown that the interests of the junior officers were never close to the heart of the top brass. The discontentment, and mostly unjustified, in the non-commissioned and junior-commissioned ranks is even more stronger - vitriolic and acidic. The impact of all this will be faced by the services in times to come, slowly and surely. If the services choose to tread on the same path of yore, without rightsizing and reforming themselves, the crisis will not be handled even by any larger pay-outs in the seventh pay commission.

Introspect, redefine, reform…

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