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Monday, 15 September 2008

From Today's Papers - 15 Sep




















Firing on Indian troops from across LoC
Press Trust of India
Sunday, September 14, 2008 (Jammu)

Indian troops were fired at from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, leaving a jawan injured, defence sources said.

"There was firing from cross the LoC in Balnoi area of Poonch district. One jawan was hit by a bullet," they said adding the soldier was hospitalised.

One to two rounds of rocket projectile grenades were also fired in the area, they said, adding the militants may have fired the rounds.

Colonel S Jaswal, PRO of 16 Corps, said it was not a ceasefire violation and that no militants had infiltrated during the firing.

"There is no ceasefire violation and matter is being blown out of proportion," he said referring to a media report about infiltration of militants.

China envoy criticises US raids inside Pak


ANI

Lahore

Sun, 14 Sep 2008:

Lahore, Sept 14 (ANI): Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Luo Zhaohui has reportedly criticsied the cross-border raids in the Pakistani Tribal Areas by the US forces, saying that Pakistan and the US must resolve their differences through constructive and peaceful dialogue.

"The United Nations Charter requirestates to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the Daily Times quoted Zhaohui as telling reporters here last evening.

He also urged the Pakistani authorities to ensure a safe release of the two kidnapped Chinese engineers. (ANI)


Pak security forces gun down 19 more militants in Bajaur Agency


ANI

Peshawar

Sun, 14 Sep 2008:

Peshawar, Sept 14 (ANI): After eliminating more than 70 terrorists yesterday in the Bajaur Agency, the Pakistani security forces today claimed to have killed 19 more militants in the tribal area.

According to The News, security forces conducted air attacks on militant hideouts in various parts of the Agey.

Jet planes and gun-ship helicopters were used in the attacks that inflicted heavy casualties on the militants in Tang Khatta, Shakai and Lowi Sam areas of the Agency, added the paper.

After having consolidated their positions in Lowi Sam, the security forces were now advancing towards the strongholds of Taliban in the mountainous areas of Charmang, Nawagai, Mamond and Tehsils.

Many terrorist hideouts were also destroyed in the air attacks.

Moreover, curfew is still in place in Inayat Kalay area of Bajaur Agency as shelling from gun-ship helicopters continued.

Due to the curfew, markets and business centers remained closed and people were facing difficulties in buying food and other essential commodities. (ANI)


US arms supplies to Pak under fire from Democrat Berman
Press Trust Of India / New York September 14, 2008, 14:16 IST

With the US pushing through a broad array of foreign weapons deals, a leading Democrat has slammed the Bush Administration's arms sale policy arguing that military supplies to Pakistan were doing more to stoke tension with India than combat terrorism, a media report said.

As part of its policy, the administration seeks to re-arm Iraq and Afghanistan, contain North Korea and Iran and solidify ties with onetime Russian allies, 'The New York Times' reported today.

Howard L Berman of California, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who sponsored a bill passed in May to overhaul the arms export process, was quoted as saying that American military sales, while often well-intended, were sometimes misguided.

He cited military sales to Pakistan, which he said he feared were doing more to stoke tension with India than combat terrorism in the region.

Recently, Berman along with Nita Lowey, Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programmes Representatives, moved to suspend the release of nearly $230 million in counter-terrorism funds by the Bush Administration for upgrades to Pakistan's ageing F-16 fighter-jet fleet.

They reportedly asked the Bush administration not to shift $226.5 million in anti-terrorism aid to the Pakistan military as they feared the plan would impede efforts to stop terrorism and that they needed more time to study it.

Berman was quoted as saying by the Times today that he supported many of the individual weapons sales, like helping Iraq build the capacity to defend itself, but he worried that the sales blitz could have some negative effects.

"This could turn into a spiralling arms race that in the end could decrease stability," he said.



Nagaland’s ‘original’ boundary map goes missing

New Delhi, September 14
As the Centre and the NSCN(IM) are negotiating hard over the redrawing of Nagaland's geography, vital documents comprising details of boundaries of the northeastern state have gone "missing" due to the callous handling by public servants.

The "original" documents, which include valid map of Nagaland, were kept with the ministry of home affairs first and then the Assam Government but could not be traced during the crucial meeting of the Local Commission, hearing the decades-old Assam-Nagaland border dispute.

The Nagaland government held the Assam Government responsible for carelessness leading to the missing of the documents while the Assam Government claims that these were not "original" but photocopies.

The records were considered to be vital as the two northeastern states have been involved in several violent border clashes during the last two decades and the NSCN(IM) has been demanding carving out of "Greater Nagaland" by extending the existing boundary.

"We have submitted the documents to the ministry of home Affairs during the course of our submission on the border dispute.But the MHA has passed on the documents to the Assam Government during whose custody the documents went missing," Nagaland's secretary (Border Affairs) H K Khullo told PTI.

The fact came to light when the Nagaland government told the Local Commission on Assam-Nagaland Border last week, in response to the direction of submitting the "original" documents, that it was not in a position to give the written statement unless its "original" documents which were purportedly lost by the Assam Government were returned. — PTI


Terror Attacks

Isn't it a matter of introspection for the Indian authorities that while the US homeland has been free of terror attacks ever since 9/11, India has been suffering them with alarming regularity. Hardly a month passes without a major terrorist incident in one of India's major cities. What are the lessons that we need to take from the US ability to keep terror at bay? What are the factors that make India so much more vulnerable? Following are possibly some.

Although America is a much more open society in terms of freedom from restrictions on civil liberties and imposing on citizens through intrusive checks and balances, the law enforcement and intelligence agencies appear to be doing a better job of preventing any incidents. One aspect is sheer competence, which needs a drastic improvement in our case. The second, I suppose is techincal support available to the US agencies, which is not unachievable for us. The third aspect is the sheer size of our population and the unorganised or disorganised nature of our society at large. Fourth, I suspect is the fact that in the largely anglo saxon population of a country like the US, the perpetrators of such incidencts who would by and large be asian, would stand out, affording better monitoring ability.

Besides, there are some more serious issues in our case. The politician - criminal - police nexus on one hand, and the policy of vote bank politics leading to minority appeasement, or at least exaggerated sensitivity to minority sentiments in dealing with terrorist suspects, on the other, are other factors that facilitate the perpetrators of such hideous acts in India. US, on the other hand, apparently is free from such encumberances when it comes to dealing with terrorism, which it very rightly treats with the severity that it deserves.

It is high time that our political class wakes up, takes a reality check and putting national interest over and above any other considerations, personal or political ambitions notwithstanding. They must strengthen the hands of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies in every way possible. The country must have effective legislation to deal with terrorism, which is nothing short of war on the nation and humanity. The issue of terrorism must be tackled with complete political consensus, rather than playing petty politics on the issue to score brownie points.

The time has come for our country to stand up as one and face the menace of terror in a concerted and decisive manner.


Fighting insurgency
Human rights violations by troops avoidable
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

HE who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster,” wrote Nietzsche. Equally if you gaze for long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes back at you. Therefore, those who are caught up in extreme violence over prolonged periods of time are likely to become attuned to insensitivity and brutality.

Often it is the laxity in the application of law, assumed power over others and the assurance of protection from repercussions of unlawful acts, which propel security forces to resort to fake encounters, custodial killings and nurturing the so-called ‘encounter specialists.’ Often it is a case of contract killing by the police in inter-gang wars.

The Indian Army’s engagement in counter-insurgency operations for more than 50 years in the North East and for nearly two decades in J and K has sometimes made it deviate from its civilised ways and its conduct has not been completely free of blemish. This prolonged and relentless fight has not left the Army untouched by insensitivity and brutality.

In the last 10 years the Army has lost 569 officers and over 7,500 in personnel below officer rank (PBOR.) Heavy casualties, travails of hard and arduous life in difficult and hostile environments with constant danger to life play on troops psyche and can lead to destabilising of the mind.

Seeing innocent men, women, children and their own comrades and officers being blown apart and gunned down does lead to revulsion and desensitising with a strong desire to avenge. In this, the reaction at Parthribal stands out as its darkest act; no matter what the background (deliberate false intelligence inputs from the police!).

There have been allegations of human rights violations against the Army almost all along this long period. In counter-insurgency environments, allegations against troops are invariably motivated to discredit them and create alienation amongst the populace and sympathy for insurgents. Often the media in an attempt at ‘breaking news’ comes up with unverified accounts and tries to make these sensational. This is the most common feature in such operations.

The alleged rape of Manorama Devi in Manipur by Assam Regiment personnel before she was killed while escaping is the better known story thrown up by miscreants and the press. The reports of two autopsies carried out on her (copies available with me) rule out rape, yet her alleged rape was widely publicised.

It is not to contend that there are no excesses, but fortunately the Indian army continues to be led by good leaders, baring a miniscule number, who are first gentlemen and then officers. Every case of alleged human rights violation is fully investigated and those found at fault are severely punished.

A large number of court-martials held in the last 10 years, including those of officers, bear witness to this point. Perhaps, a very small percentage do manage to escape notice and wrath of the military law. Where officer-man relationship is weak, unconcern for the troops well-being prevalent, the moral fiber of officers weak, discipline lax, some manner of abnormal conduct by troops can manifest.

The shooting of seniors, comrades, surrendered terrorists, innocent civilians and suicides occur. Whatever side-effects there are, under the current situation, can be moderated by good leadership, treating men as valued and respected individuals, sound discipline and value of human life.

However, notwithstanding all the stress and pressures, the Indian soldier, by and large, remains steadfast, disciplined, God-fearing and civilised. Though the Indian Army has been engaged in insurgency operations for a very long time, more than any other army in the world, at any time, yet no systemic methodology, set strategy and techniques have been evolved, and where evolved, are not articulated well enough or rigidly observed.

Unboubtedly no two situations can ever be precisely alike, yet general principles, techniques and methods of coping with these extraordinary situations, in all their varied forms, more or less, remain constant. It is lack of set rules or guidelines which often result in faulty actions by troops such as where the possibility of collateral damage in way of casualties of innocents is manifestly obvious, engagement with the insurgents should be avoided, unless the demands of the situation are contrary to this rule.

Often pressure from the top to deliver (dead bodies and weapons etc), desperation to earn credit in way of gallantry awards and the like, by hook or by crook, leads to excesses and faking. Equally it is well for military commanders to remember that the Army alone cannot eliminate insurgency because its causes lie in the social, economic and political domain.

The military can only keep it at levels where the political and administrative organs can fruitfully work towards finding a solution to end the alienation and draw the people concerned into the national mainstream. Somehow this seems to elude the nation, essentially due to the politics of self-interest and corrupt administration.

The officer-man relationship, setting of good examples through personal conduct, high moral values and probity have been the guiding star of leadership in the Indian Army and that alone can ensure civilised behaviour of troops towards civil population in insurgency-infested areas. However, here we are concerned with the applicability of the postulation of “gazing into the abyss and the abyss gazing back”.

It can be argued that the roots of abnormal conduct amongst troops during
counter-insurgency operations lie elsewhere. Therefore, on balance, this “gaze
into the abyss” theory in counter-insurgency environments does not scale up to
what happens in prolonged operations conducted with “no holds barred” against
a ruthless enemy.



Need for energy security in central Asia
by Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd)

THE break up of diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia aptly showcases the perennial issues of territorial and economic interest conflict that Premier Vladimir Putin has to periodically face up with from many of the former Republics, as he steers to keep on track the erstwhile Soviet empire, now mired in fiscal decline and a cold war that is beginning to, once again, raise its head.

As Russia tries to assert its military supremacy over one former region or the other, a few like the United States are not far behind as they propel their agenda of an eastward roll of NATO, which one day they hope will include within its fold the former territories of the USSR or in the very least help neutralise some of them from ever again taking an exclusive Russia Club membership.

And whereas maintaining some kind of a morale-boosting link over its former territories is one definite strategic objective, it goes without saying that ensuring a stranglehold over the central-south Asian oilfields and natural gas reserves is of paramount importance to a Premier, who is proud and determined enough to ever forget that once his country was the other great super power of the world.

The dependency on oil in today’s energy-hungry world affects this vast Siberian swathe of land as it would sorely affect the fortunes of the Americas or a highly industrialised Europe. A war in Georgia creates major rumblings in the flow of the oil and gas pipelines that run across the Caspian and the Black Sea,and worse prompt the owners and their subsidiaries into temporary or even permanent closure of all their infrastructure as witnessed recently in Georgia, courtesy BP.

And as America furthers its interests around the former territories of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Georgia, Russia is left with little choice but to keep in location as long as it can its nuclear tipped Black Sea fleet that has for over 200 years been always based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Nearer home, the issues of oil dependence and pipeline security take on an even more worrying colour as the added factor of Islamic fundamentalism manifesting itself in some poorly run states in the neighbourhood begins to raise its head.

The physical security of any gas and oil reserves transiting from the former Republics through Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a question mark, considering the hold, durability and consistency in foreign policy of both these governments.

The projected Iran-Pakistan-India oil and gas pipeline similarly traverses a disruptive link in Pakistan and a possible United States policy change after the elections when pressure is likely to be built up on the Iranian government to refrain from enhancing its nuclear capability any further.

It is, therefore, no surprise that China, which always keeps its ear close to the
ground and reads the security picture in central Asia better than anyone else,
has moved away to cover fresh ground in its reported US $ 3-billion oil service
deal with Iraq for the development of the Ahdab oilfield located southeast of the
capital Baghdad.

India’s oil and gas interests will be better served if we do not put all our eggs in one basket and move out of Russian influence( it has always dominated India because of its arms supplies) to Iraq and other oil-producing nations where supply can be assured more regularly and efficiently.

Though the ONGC-Mittal consortium is negotiating with PetroKazakh,it needs to be remembered that this entire region will face troubled times next year when the dispensation in the United States mounts with renewed vigour the war on international terrorism.

It also has to be remembered that even if the army in Pakistan remains apolitical, the dice is loaded heavily against the Asif Zardari combine, which has to balance the twin requirements of keeping the radicals happy and at the same time show results in the war against the Taliban and remnants of the al Qaida on the common border with Afghanistan.

And as Pakistan dithers on this mission or is unwilling to act,the task of Hamid Karzai in keeping the Taliban from across the border at bay could be magnified to unmanageable proportions. India’s security interests are always intertwined with what goes on in its immediate neighbourhood.

We have already witnessed how much resistance we are faced with from the fundamentalists when our engineers are assisting in as simple a project as the road construction in Afghanistan.

Another small matter in passing needs mention here. Central Asia is of great strategic and commercial import for India and it is time the MEA creates a separate department dealing exclusively with this region.


Analysis: European military budgets still far surpass China and India
The growth military might of China and India has undoubtedly been rapid in the last decade, but their defence budgets still fall short of the combined total of Europe's leading military powers.


By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 6:26PM BST 14 Sep 2008

Europe's top five defence spenders have an annual budget of £120 billion, compared to China's £35 billion and India's £15 billion.

Although Britain's defence budget is probably £2 billion short for what the Government wants the Armed Forces to achieve, it is still the one of the biggest in the world, with £34 billion being spent this year.

This means that Britain remains a heavyweight player. It will have what will arguably be the world's most potent hunter-killer submarine in the Astute, the best air defence warship in the Type 45 destroyer, and one of the most effective combat aircraft in the Eurofighter-Typhoon.

There is also nothing like continuous warfare to hone an army into an efficient fighting unit.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the military has come a tremendous distance in co-ordinating all arms into an effective force, making all three Services largely think for each other rather than reverting to petty inter-Service rivalries.

While we may criticise our European allies for not showing enough teeth in Afghanistan, they do make up a significant portion of troops there, with 22,000 out of the 52,000 foreign troops coming from Europe.

The Dutch, French and Italians are all gaining valuable combat experience that will trim the fat out of some cumbersome forces.

Russia's invasion of Georgia showed that the former superpower is still at least a generation behind in technology terms compared to the highly advanced Western armies. In spite of Russia's huge increase in defence spending, now estimated at £35 billion, it cannot match the sophistication of Europe and America's forces from vehicles to jets and missiles.

World military expenditure has doubled in the last 10 years to an astonishing £670 billion. While America accounts for 45 per cent of the total, the increases in China and India have also contributed.

It is predicted that within a decade China will be exporting defence goods on a substantial scale. China's research and development, part based on industrial espionage and reproducing Russian technology, has surged forward, with spending increasing threefold in the last decade.

It will soon have nuclear ballistic missile submarines and possibly aircraft carriers that will at least challenge US authority in the Pacific region and perhaps beyond to secure its vital shipping lanes.

India has opted for largely buying-in technology rather than developing its own indigenous defence manufacturing.

But what is often missed in examining the two countries' fast-growing armies is that they are starting from a very low base where forces were measured in numbers rather than sophistication.

If the Nato and European alliances are not broken in Afghanistan then, united, their armies should not be eclipsed by the growing giants in the East, at least for another decade.

But if the Asian countries continue to develop at the current pace after that - which will take a considerable amount of money once their forces become more technologically sophisticated - there will certainly be two power blocks to challenge the West's hegemony.


With White House Push, U.S. Arms Sales Jump

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration is pushing through a broad array of foreign weapons deals as it seeks to rearm Iraq and Afghanistan, contain North Korea and Iran, and solidify ties with onetime Russian allies.

From tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to missiles, remotely piloted aircraft and even warships, the Department of Defense has agreed so far this fiscal year to sell or transfer more than $32 billion in weapons and other military equipment to foreign governments, compared with $12 billion in 2005.

The trend, which started in 2006, is most pronounced in the Middle East, but it reaches into northern Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and even Canada, through dozens of deals that senior Bush administration officials say they are confident will both tighten military alliances and combat terrorism.

“This is not about being gunrunners,” said Bruce S. Lemkin, the Air Force deputy under secretary who is helping to coordinate many of the biggest sales. “This is about building a more secure world.”

The surging American arms sales reflect the foreign policy tides, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the broader campaign against international terrorism, that have dominated the Bush administration. Deliveries on orders now being placed will continue for several years, perhaps as one of President Bush’s most lasting legacies.

The United States is far from the only country pushing sophisticated weapons systems: it is facing intense competition from Russia and elsewhere in Europe, including continuing contests for multibillion-dollar deals to sell fighter jets to India and Brazil.

In that booming market, American military contractors are working closely with the Pentagon, which acts as a broker and procures arms for foreign customers through its Foreign Military Sales program.

Less sophisticated weapons, and services to maintain these weapons systems, are often bought directly by foreign governments. That category of direct commercial sales has seen an enormous surge as well, as measured by export licenses issued this fiscal year covering an estimated $96 billion, up from $58 billion in 2005, according to the State Department, which must approve the licenses.

About 60 countries get annual military aid from the United States, $4.5 billion a year, to help them buy American weapons. Israel and Egypt receive more than 80 percent of that aid. The United States has also recently given Iraq and Afghanistan large amounts of weapons and other equipment and has begun to train fledgling military units at no charge; this assistance is included in the tally of foreign sales. But most arms exports are paid for by the purchasers without United States financing.

The growing tally of international weapon deals, which started to surge in 2006, is now provoking questions among some advocates of arms control and some members of Congress.

“Sure, this is a quick and easy way to cement alliances,” said William D. Hartung, an arms control specialist at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute. “But this is getting out of hand.”

Congress is notified before major arms sales deals are completed between foreign governments and the Pentagon. While lawmakers have the power to object formally and block any individual sale, they rarely use it.

Representative Howard L. Berman of California, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said he supported many of the individual weapons sales, like helping Iraq build the capacity to defend itself, but he worried that the sales blitz could have some negative effects. “This could turn into a spiraling arms race that in the end could decrease stability,” he said.

The United States has long been the top arms supplier to the world. In the past several years, however, the list of nations that rely on the United States as a primary source of major weapons systems has greatly expanded. Among the recent additions are Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Georgia, India, Iraq, Morocco and Pakistan, according to sales data through the end of last month provided by the Department of Defense. Cumulatively, these countries signed $870 million worth of arms deals with the United States from 2001 to 2004. For the past four fiscal years, that total has been $13.8 billion.

In many cases, these sales represent a cultural shift, as nations like Romania, Poland and Morocco, which have long relied on Russian-made MIG-17 fighter jets, are now buying new F-16s, built by Lockheed Martin.

At Lockheed Martin, one of the largest American military contractors, international sales last year brought in about $6.3 billion, or 15 percent of the company’s total sales, up from $4.8 billion in 2001. The foreign sales by Lockheed and other American military contractors are credited with helping keep alive some production lines, like those of the F-16 fighter jet and Boeing’s C-17 transport plane.

Fighter jets made in America will now be flying in other countries for years to come, meaning continued profits for American contractors that maintain them, and in many cases regular interaction between the United States military and foreign air forces, Mr. Lemkin, the Air Force official, said.

Sales are also being driven by the push by many foreign nations to join the once-exclusive club of countries whose arsenals include precise, laser-guided missiles, high-priced American technology that the United States displayed during its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the Persian Gulf region, much of the rearmament is driven by fears of Iran.

The United Arab Emirates, for example, are considering spending as much as $16 billion on American-made missile defense systems, according to recent notifications sent to Congress by the Department of Defense.

The Emirates also have announced an intention to order offensive weapons, including up to 26 Black Hawk helicopters and 900 Longbow Hellfire II missiles, which can knock out enemy tanks.

Saudi Arabia, this fiscal year alone, has signed at least $6 billion worth of agreements to buy weapons from the United States government — the highest figure for that country since 1993, which was another peak year in American weapons sales, after the first Persian Gulf war.

Israel, long a major buyer of United States military equipment, is also increasing its orders, including planned purchases of perhaps as many as four American-made coastal warships, worth $1.9 billion.

In Asia, as North Korea has conducted tests of a long-range missile, American allies have been buying more United States equipment. One ally, South Korea, has signed sales agreements with the Pentagon this year worth $1.1 billion.

So far, the value of foreign arms deliveries completed by the United States has increased only modestly, reaching $13 billion last year compared with an average of $12 billion over the previous three years. Because complex weapons systems take a long time to produce, it is expected that the increase in sales agreements will result in much greater arms deliveries in the coming years. (All dollar amounts for previous years cited in this article have been adjusted to reflect the impact of inflation.)

The flood of sophisticated American military equipment pouring into the Middle East has evoked concern among some members of Congress, who fear that the Bush administration may be compromising the military edge Israel has long maintained in the region.

Not surprisingly, two of the biggest new American arms customers are Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just in the past two years, Iraq has signed more than $3 billion of sales agreements — and announced plans to buy perhaps as much as $7 billion more in American equipment, financed by its rising oil revenues.

Lt. Col. Almarah Belk, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said that making these sales served the interests of both Iraq and the United States because “it reduces the risk of corruption and assists the Iraqis in getting around bottlenecks in their acquisition processes.”

Over the past three years, the United States government, separately, has agreed to buy more than $10 billion in military equipment and weapons on behalf of Afghanistan, according to Defense Department records, including M-16 rifles and C-27 military transport aircraft.

Even tiny countries like Estonia and Latvia are getting into the mix, playing a part in a collaborative effort by 15 countries, mostly in Europe, to buy two C-17 Boeing transport planes, which are used in moving military supplies as well as conducting relief missions.

Boeing has delivered 176 of these $200 million planes to the United States. But until 2006, Britain was the only foreign country that flew them. Now, in addition to the European consortium, Canada, Australia and Qatar have put in orders, and Boeing is competing to sell the plane to six other countries, said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing’s C-17 international sales manager.

In the last year, foreign sales have made up nearly half of the production at the California plant where C-17s are made. “It has been filling up the factory in the last couple of years,” Mr. Dunehew said.

Even before this new round of sales got under way, the United States’ share of the world arms trade was rising, from 40 percent of arms deliveries in 2000 to nearly 52 percent in 2006, the latest year for which the Congressional Research Service has compiled data. The next-largest seller was Russia, which in 2006 accounted for 21 percent of global deliveries.

Representative Berman, who sponsored a bill passed in May to overhaul the arms export process, said American military sales, while often well intended, were sometimes misguided. He cited military sales to Pakistan, which he said he feared were doing more to stoke tensions with India than combat terrorism in the region.

Travis Sharp, a military policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, a Washington research group, said one of his biggest worries was that if alliances shifted, the United States might eventually be in combat against an enemy equipped with American-made weapons. Arms sales have had unintended consequences before, as when the United States armed militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, only to eventually confront hostile Taliban fighters armed with the same weapons there.

“Once you sell arms to another country, you lose control over how they are used,” Mr. Sharp said. “And the weapons, unfortunately, don’t have an expiration date.”

But Mr. Lemkin, of the Pentagon, said that with so many nations now willing to sell advanced weapons systems, the United States could not afford to be too restrictive in its own sales.

“Would you rather they bought the weapons and aircraft from other countries?” he said. “Because they will.”


India paid high price for 3 AWACS planes from Israel: Expert
New Delhi, Sept 14: Finding fault with the existing acquisition system for the armed forces, a former senior Army officer has said these drawbacks have led India to pay much more for purchases as in the deal to acquire three AWACS aircraft from Israel in 2004.

"India has failed to negotiate full-proof agreements with clearly defined provisions...In almost all contracts, imprecise and flawed provisions led to multiple interpretations during the implementation stage," Maj Gen (Retd) Mrinal Suman, who was associated with procurement procedures and offsets while in service, said.

He quoted reports in the Israeli press as saying that "India paid more than double the amount for the purchase of three AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft from Israel in March 2004."

These aircraft, he said, were earlier being sold to China for USD 358 million but the deal had to be aborted under US pressure.

"Subsequently, India agreed to buy them for USD 1.1 billion, a whopping USD 742 million more than the price agreed to by the Chinese," Suman said in an article in the latest issue of 'Indian Defence Review'.

Noting that there were "numerous" instances where India paid "exorbitant amounts" for defence equipment, he referred to the coffin scam and said "inability to negotiate contracts astutely has been the biggest weakness of the entire defence procurement regime."

Invariably, it was India that suffered "as the vendors exploit ambiguities in the contract language, especially with respect to delivery schedules, warranties, after sales support and penalties for default," Suman, who retired as Technical Manager (Land Systems) in the Defence Ministry's acquisition wing, said.

Bureau Report

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