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Friday, 5 September 2008

From Today's Papers - 05 Sep

IAF was not in favour of 1965 ceasefire: Marshal Arjan Singh
Ritu Sharma

New Delhi, September 4
On the 43rd anniversary of the war with Pakistan, Arjan Singh, the only Marshal of the Air Force, who led the Indian Air Force (IAF) during that conflict, rues that the war was too “short” and the IAF was not in favour of a ceasefire.

Singh, one of the first few pilots in independent India, is the first and the only IAF chief to be adorned with the rank of ‘Marshal of the Air Force’, currently, the only ‘five-star’ officer in India.

“When the ceasefire came, the IAF was not in its favour as it had consumed only 8-9 per cent of its resources. The war was too short,” Singh reminisced in an exclusive interview. Singh became the IAF chief in 1964 at the age of 44 years.

The 91-year-old Singh, who was awarded the rank in 2002, says "I feel in the hindsight that had the IAF known that the war was going to be short it could have used the resources in a bigger way."

The Pakistan Army's incursions in India culminated on September 1, 1965, in a massive attack in the Chhamb sector (Jammu and Kashmir) by the Pakistan forces.

The Pakistani incursions in Jammu and Kashmir continued for about a month till the ceasefire was effected on September 23, 1965.

Singh, his memory still razor sharp for his age, said the IAF, after starting off at a disadvantage, soon gained advantage over the Pakistan Air Force.

“We had an impression that the Pakistan Air Force was better equipped as it had air-to-air missiles, Sabre fighter aircraft and better radars than us. On the other hand, our Gnat aircraft had short reach and were smaller,” Singh said.

He added that Gnat was not famous before and nobody liked to fly it. “But as the war progressed the Gnat shot down two Sabre aircraft, boosting our morale. Its small size was also a good advantage because it could not be seen properly on radar,” Singh said proudly.

The IAF was used for the first time in independent India in the 1965 India-Pakistan war. This gave important war lessons that came handy to secure a victory in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, which was won on the strategic use of the IAF. Close air support missions of the IAF in the Gujranwala sector, in the Sialkot-Lahore-Ferozepur axis and in the Khemkaran Kasur sector in Pakistan, contributed to the destruction of 300 Patton tanks of Pakistan.

“We had planned for a three-month war. Our strategy was to attack Pakistan's rail and communications and at the same time stopping the Pakistan Air Force from attacking our bases and operation areas. We wanted to surround Lahore and not capture it as it would have been difficult to sustain,” Singh said. Eventually it was the “failure of communication links” that forced the Pakistan Army to retreat.

Pak power structure & India
30 ceasefire breaches convey a message
by Inder Malhotra

MORE than 30 violations of an across-the-board ceasefire that had miraculously endured for nearly five years by the Pakistan Army, not by non-state actors, in a matter of weeks cannot be a mere accident. Ominously, the latest, though by no means the last, breach took place not across the Line of Control (LoC) but across the international border in the Jammu sector. The relentless firing enabled infiltrating terrorists to get in and immediately perpetrate the chilling outrage on the outskirts of Jammu City.

Remarkably, all this has happened amidst deep turmoil within Pakistan itself of which Wednesday’s attack on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s motorcade is an alarming symbol. Quick on the heels of the ouster of the former military dictator, General (retired) Pervez Musharraf the fragile coalition between the Pakistan People’s Party, led by Asif Zardari, who also runs the government while Gillani is the nominal Prime Minister, and Nawaz Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (N), broke down without threatening the government’s continuance for the present, Zardari’s announcement of his candidature for the presidency without consulting anyone has annoyed friends and foes alike even if his election is all but assured. Pakistan’s Thereek-e-Taliban is threatening large-scale suicide bombings if military action in the tribal areas does not stop. The beleaguered government has used the advent of the holy month of Ramzan to declare a complete cessation of military operations in the region.

This is by no means all. The country’s economy is a shambles. The inflation rate is 25 per cent or twice as high as in India. Foreign Exchage reserves have plummeted. Above all, atta, the most essential requirement of the average Pakistani, is often not available because of huge smuggling to Afghanistan to feed NATO troops and the Afghan Army..

All this, however, is for the civilian government leaders to sort out as best it can. India policy, America policy and nuclear policy are the exclusive preserve of the Army. So, in relation to ceasefire with India, it is literally calling the shots. It would be wrong to assume that in reversing the past policy General Ashfaq Kiyani and his Corps Commanders have acted casually or in a fit of absent-mindedness. They have thought things through and concluded that as long as they do not allow things to go too far, they need not expect any major military riposte from India.

Another crucial calculation of the Pakistani military evidently is that it would be remiss if it does not exploit to the full the horrendous mess India itself has created in Jammu and Kashmir Communally surcharged regional rivalries do provide Pakistan with an opportunity, even if the situation slowly simmers down, as it seems to be. The water would remain troubled enough thanks to the free run of the valley the separatists and secessionists have had, for others to fish in.

There is also an American dimension to the matter. Of late, the United States has intensified its pressure on Pakistan to either take firm military action in its tribal areas against hose who offer the Taliban of Afghanistan sanctuaries and support for attacks across the Pak-Afghan border or risk direct American military action in these areas. Only the other day General Kiyani was called to a secret mid-Ocean meeting, aboard a US naval ship, with the US Chairman Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

According to Ayesha Siddiqa, one of Pakistan’s best informed and most respected analysts, in Gen. Kiyani’s view unilateral American action in the borderlands is turning from “possible” into “probable”. Yet the high-level meeting of civilian and military leaders, held before the breakdown of the ruling coalition, at which the General gave his assessment, decided to follow in the tribal areas “a mixture of both political negotiations and military operations”. This is a measure of the contrary pressures on the civilian leaders. If some are asking for stringent action, others argue that peaceful negotiations with tribal leaders are “not merely the best but also the only way forward”.

In the intense US-Pakistan interaction - Gen. Kiyanai has also been on a secret visit to Kabul to talk with American and NATO commanders - Afghanistan occupies a key position, This has given Pakistan room to press home its objections to India’s growing presence and influence in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s “enemy”, India, Islamabad says, “is squeezing us from both eastern and western borders”. Pakistan wants the US to “do something about it”. .

It is in this context that National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan’s two recent statements about Musharraf should be viewed. Some days before the retired General’s inevitable departure, Narayanan drew flak for saying that Musharraf’s exit would create a “vacuum” in Pakistan. Continuing faith in, and support to, the discredited military ruler who had outlived his utility jars. In any case, the people of Pakistan who had welcomed his coup in 1999 had turned against him by last year. The February 18 general election was a clear verdict against him.

Yet the NSA’s latest statement in a TV interview, though elliptical, is more to the point. He has stated that since Musharraf’s departure, the notorious Pakistani Intelligence agency, ISI, has become “hyperactive”. The increase in ceasefire violations and in attempts of ISI-backed Pakistani terrorist groups to infiltrate into India, especially J & K supports his point. Without saying so, Narayanan is drawing attention to this country’s dilemma in dealing with Pakistan.

Unquestionably, a democratic, strong and stable Pakistan would be in the best interest of India and conducive to peace in the subcontinent. But the trouble is that all attempts to bring back democracy or civilian government to Pakistan so far have been at best spurious. aThe reality in Pakistan since at least 1958 has been that the man with the gun either directly rules the country or stands behind the throne when it is expedient to have a civilian president or prime minister or both. Benazir Bhutto took the lid off when she told the Americans after her dismissal as prime minister that the Army, and the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, had kept her in the dark. She told Shyam Bhatia, her biographer, that when she asked General Aslam Beg for a briefing on the nuclear programme he referred her to President Khan who tersely told her that there was no need for her to know. Basically that situation hasn’t changed and will not change even after Zardari becomes president. To have any illusions would be dangerous.

China's defense report to UN shows openness

By Xiao Yang and Li Xiang (China Daily)

Updated: 2008-09-05 06:43

China has submitted a report on last year's defense expenditure to the UN to make its military spending more transparent and to build greater trust with other countries.

This is China's second report to the UN since it joined the world body's military budget transparency mechanism, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Thursday.

It gives an account of how the money was spent, and provides more information than last year, Jiang said.

This once again shows China is committed to enhancing mutual trust in the military field with other countries, she said.

Among the other steps taken by China to increase transparency are more military-to-military exchanges, a biennial defense white paper and joining the UN defense budget transparency mechanism last year.

The 2007 defense budget report is in accordance with a 1980 UN resolution, which recommends that member countries submit them every year.

This year's defense budget has risen 17.6 percent to $57.2 billion. But the increase, Chinese officials say, is moderate compared to the US, the world's top military spender, which last year had a defense budget of about $700 billion.

China's defense budget accounted for 1.4 percent of its GDP and 7.2 percent of its overall fiscal budget last year, compared to 4.6 percent and 16.6 percent in the US.

China has always followed a defensive strategy, officials say, and it will never pose a threat to other countries.

At this year's National People's Congress (NPC) session, General Liao Xilong, chief of the General Logistics Department of the People's Liberation Army, said a big chunk of this year's defense budget will go into improving military personnel's living conditions.

This is important because troops in some remote areas and islands still live in poor conditions, he said.

"China's military is solely to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity it will never threaten any other country," Liao said.

In remembrance of September 6, 1965

Jawayria Malik

Every one of you has an important role to play in strengthening the defense of the country and your watch words should be unity, faith and discipline. You will have to make up for the smallness of your size by your courage and selfless devotion to duty for it is not life that matters but the courage, fortitude and determination you bring to it. ‘(Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah) The Pakistani nation will be celebrating 43rd Defence Day of Pakistan on 6 September with enthusiasm.

The defence day marks the September 1965 War and the valiant defence put up by the armed forces against Indian aggression. It was during 1965 war with India when Pakistan armed forces and its people proved that it’s not the size that matters but the courage and devotion to duty and cause. Forty-three years ago on September 6, Indian army crossed the Wagah border at 4.a.m. and moved towards Lahore, despite assurances at international forums that it would not cross international borders.

This attack touched off the second Indo-Pakistan war. It was the moment when Pakistan Armed Forces and the people of Pakistan stood united in defence of the country. It would not be wrong to say that 1965 war was our ‘finest hour’ in our history. The war of 1965 was a display of chivalry, courage and gallantry of Pakistani forces and public as a nation against their enemy. Our brave and fearless Armed Forces displayed exemplary discipline and spirit of sacrifice in defending their homeland, making their nation proud. The valiant sons of Pakistan Army took hold of the grounds and showed extraordinary tales of heroism. A fierce tank battle the biggest after the World War II was fought at Chawinda in Sialkot sector. The Navy took an offensive and silenced the Indian Navy by an attack on their port at Dwareka. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was exceptionally prompt and of exemplary help to the ground forces. In ’65 war, PAF inflicted a humiliating defeat on the enemy and struck hard its rival and kept it reeling under tactics of shock and unpredictability. Thus, the outnumbered PAF emerged triumphant over a four times larger force, its air defence controllers, engineers, logisticians hands just as much the heroes as its pilots. The Times of India has acquired a copy of the official history of the 1965 war, finalized by Indian defence Ministry in 1992 after years of research, but suppressed ever since.

Contemporary accounts, generated by a jingoistic press, saw the war as a spectacular victory on almost every front. But the truth that could not be hidden despite the best efforts of the official historians is that the war was, in the words of one of its most distinguished commanders, Lt. Gen Harbakhsh Singh, “A catalogue of lost victories”. The 1965 presented a true picture of Napoleon’s famous saying that there are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. During the war foreign journalists’ observations given below are also a proof of this awesome combination of sword and spirit of the Pakistani nation. On September 15, 1965 American broadcasting Corporation’s Roy Malone reported that ‘I have been a journalist now for twenty years and want to go on record that I have never seen a more confident and victorious group of soldiers than those fighting for Pakistan, right now’.

On September 17, Time Magazine reported that, “Pakistan’s small highly trained army is more than a match for the Indians”. According to the London Daily Mirror of September 1965 “India is being soundly beaten by a nation which is outnumbered by four and a half to one in population and three to one in size of armed forces”. This day is important to us as a nation because India’s imposed war on Pakistan was fought by us as a nation united in its resolve and determination to halt and beat-back Indian multi-dimensional attacks.

During the war every citizen of the country was united behind the government. The national priorities were clear and unambiguous in those days, any danger to the country called for unity and unstinted support to the government and the armed forces. There was no question of any political party or leader taking advantage of the war to rebuke the government for political or personal gains. Lahore- the heart of Pakistan- had earned a place of distinction the moment the war started in 1965. At one hand it became the target of enemy attacks, boasts and propaganda claims and on the other hand its citizens became participants in Pakistan’s counter-offensive in that theatre. At that time all that mattered was, there is an enemy out there at the borders and it has to be checked not only by the soldiers at the battlefront but also by a fully supportive population. With the nation’s support the armed forces of Pakistan repulsed India’s naked aggression across the international border and made her pay a price for it by capturing four times more territory than India and forcing her to accept a cease fire, return to the negotiating table and to vacate each others’ territory. After September 1965 war with India, Pakistan emerged as a strong and self-confident nation, proud of itself and its armed forces.

It was certainly a day to be remembered by future generations of soldiers and civilians. Our soldiers laid their lives for a better future of our country. A better future is achieved by a better nation, and a better nation never forgets its history. Many of our brave sons of soil gave up their lives so that we could live and hold our heads high whenever we speak of our country! The whole Pakistani nation is proud of them. On this Defence day, we salute our national heroes of 1965 and promise to exhibit the spirit of September 6, 1965 and make the country a tolerant, developed, progressive, enlightened and democratic Islamic welfare state, as envisaged by its founding fathers.

BAE Systems awaits govt nod to pick 49% stake in Mahindras
4 Sep, 2008, 1602 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: UK's largest military systems manufacturer BAE Systems today said it is awaiting the government's approval for picking up a 49 per cent stake in a defence joint venture with Mahindra group.
India has restricted foreign participation in domestic defence production in the private sector to about 26 per cent and the government is already debating the possibility of allowing foreign companies to pick up 49 per cent stake.
"We are picking up a 49 per cent shareholding in M&M's defence venture, for which we have sought clearance from the Indian government," BAE Systems India's newly-appointed president Julian Scopes said here today.
BAE Systems' proposal needs to be cleared by the government's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Due to the restrictions, BAE Systems has sought an exception to the rule from the government, as it has done in the case of some Defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
"Rules say exceptions can be made. We have made the request through the FIPB in May-June this year and are in discussions with the government. The Indian Defence Ministry has an important say in this regard and we are waiting to hear from the government on our request," Scopes said.
Under the arrangement with automotive-to-technology conglomerate Mahindras, BAE Systems would bring in global intellectual capabilities in land vehicles systems, particularly in the area of mine protected vehicles for which the British major has done advanced technology development work in South Africa.
With India's need for mine-resistant vehicles on the rise, BAE Systems sees greater scope for their business to expand in the Indian defence market, he said.

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