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Sunday, 8 February 2009

From Today's Papers - 08 Feb 09

Armed Forces unhappy, demand restoration of Lt Generals status

http://www.zeenews.com/image/spacer.gifNew Delhi, Feb 07: The Armed Forces are unhappy over the dilly dallying tactics of the government with regard to their demands on the Sixth Pay Commission.

http://www.zeenews.com/image/spacer.gifThe demands of men in uniform, which have been met partially after a long delay, suggest that the quest for equal status with the civilian arm has been brushed aside with disdain.

In wake of the Mumbai terror strikes and rising tension with our neighbours, the government needs to be firm in decision-making, and ensure the strength and morale of its armed forces remains intact.

"The self-pride of the Armed Forces is being subverted by narrow minded interests," said a senior Army officer.

The three major demands of the armed forces are -- a hike in pension (70 percent of the last pay drawn) in respect of personnel other than officers; restoration of the status of Lt Colonels in the higher pay band (Pay Band-IV); and restoration in the status of Lt Generals vis-à-vis Director Generals of Police (DGPs).

The first demand has been met, but the other two demands, for restoration in status of Lt Colonels and Lt Generals have either been rejected or have come with certain restrictions, making it ineffective.

A new category of "Higher Administrative Grade Plus" has been created in all services, except the armed forces, under which the Director General level officers have been placed.

These HAG Plus officers have been placed in a Pay Band higher than that of even Lt Generals in the Army and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Forces.

"Sixth Pay Commission did not create the demands, but the bureaucracy has created these anomalies to undermine the status of officers of the Armed Forces," the senior officer said.

"The bureaucrats and the police hierarchy are trying to denigrate the Armed Forces out of sheer complex and to promote their own vested interests."

The officer further said that delaying tactics is going on by the bureaucracy and the government is just setting up one committee after another to buy time and to ward off genuine demands.

If the PMO and the ministerial committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee, and the Group of Ministers that have all powers, can't resolve the pay commission grievances, then no one is going to look after the demands, he added.

The official said that it is sheer unwillingness on the part of the government to meet the grievances of the Armed Forces.

The status of DGPs vis-à-vis Lt Generals till Fourth Pay Commission was of a junior officer and the Fifth Pay Commission granted them parity.

The Sixth Pay Commission rejected the demand of giving DGPs seniority in status in comparison to Lt Generals, but the IPS lobby in collusion with committee of secretaries gained seniority.

During the Fifth Pay Commission, 41 out of 48 demands of the Armed Forces were not met.

Kashmir Insurgency
CRPF may replace Army
Kumar Rakesh
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 7
The government is contemplating to partly replace Army units deployed for counter-insurgency operations with the CRPF. Official sources told The Tribune that the exercise, long supported by the state administration, has received a fillip due to a continual fall in militancy and the CRPF has formed a committee to coordinate with the Army and to find out areas where they could initially come in place of the Army.

Officials said the replacement would occur initially in some parts of the valley and how much to limit Army's role in counter-insurgency operations would depend upon the success of the CRPF in tackling militants and evolving situation.

Security officials said the decision is a part of long-term strategy as the CRPF has been raised for counter-insurgency operations and it is only expected that they do what they are trained to while Army units return to do their primary job - to protect borders.

A senior CRPF official said the proposal was mooted by the Central government last year but had to be put in back burner after violent agitations erupted in Kashmir over Amarnath land row and was fuelled by separatist politicians for secessionist cause. The fear of a rise in militancy had also gained currency but has not been proved to be unfounded.

He said their team had visited some areas in south Kashmir to study the locations where they could initially move in place of Rashtriya Rifles, a special Army formation raised for counter-insurgency purpose. Two divisions, Kilo and Victor, of Rashtriya Rifles are currently deployed in valley and have played a significant role in flushing out militants from the countryside but they have also been at the receiving end from a cross-section of Kashmiri political spectrum, led by Hurriyat and PDP, for their alleged human rights violations.

Their heavy presence has also served as a tool for separatists to counter government's claims of peace and normalcy returning to the valley. Their withdrawal, even partial, would strengthen the government's arguments, especially in the light of successful assembly elections.

If Nuclear Wars were to break again!

Two atom bombs caused phenomenal destruction. Humans and animals died, plants and trees were burnt, and everything came to a standstill. Even if there were survivors they were to be generally handicapped. Do we want another Nuclear War?.

'GOD FORBID!' would be the general cry of the common hoi polloi. But how can god save us, when we are destined to suffer destruction? In ancient India, once, there lived a demon that did years of penance; ultimately his prayers were answered, when the all in all, Lord Shiva appeared before him. The hideous monster, Bhasmasura, asked for a boon, "Oh, my Lord whatever I touch with my hand should at once turn to ashes." The omnipotent not aware of the devilish intentions of Bhasmasura and granted his wish. The demon then immediately tried to put his hands on the Almighty's head. At this a question arises as to "Why did the monster want to eliminate Lord Shiva?" The main reason behind the demon doing such an act was the urge to save himself from the Almighty, as he knew that it would be the power of the Almighty that would ultimately destroy him. This urge to save and protect oneself is inherent in everyone, be it the common human being or the beasts.

The Second World War ended with powers like Germany and Italy subdued. On the contrary, the Japanese not dissuaded went ahead and attacked the Pearl Harbour. The Americans, however, did not give up. They could have easily won laurels using conventional arms. But Harry S. Truman thought otherwise and wanted to give it the Bhasmasura's touch. Therefore, the ultimate devastation took place, when two atom bombs were dropped on Japan, one on Hiroshima and the other on Nagasaki. This was a victory to be remembered for the Americans. However, it is heard that the two pilots who were flying the aircrafts, which contained the atom bombs felt so guilty about their deeds that one ended up in a forest hermitage and the other in an asylum.

These two atom bombs caused destruction which had a phenomenal effect on the population. Humans and animals died, plants and trees were burnt, and almost everything came to a standstill. Even if there were survivors they were to be generally handicapped and were to suffer from various hazardous diseases. Was not Harry S Truman aware of these devastating circumstances?

For decades, the main powers of the world have been conducting experiments after experiments, to find out the power of different elements not for the good of mankind but for its destruction. Devices like hydrogen bombs, uranium bombs, short range missiles, planes with Mach Rumbo 2 that move faster than torpedoes and so on and so forth, the list is certainly endless. Devices like the ones mentioned above know no love or hatred.

If war breaks, it will make sure that the devastation is complete; it will leave no corners of the world untouched. The common people may not know about he hellish effects of a nuclear war, but the scientists and the politicians are certainly well informed. The scientist is a victim of his own creation whereas the politicians of his own greed.

Fear of death is universal, man and beast is equally afraid. Violence is the driving force of today's world and humans today kill and have become enemies of each other for no obvious reasons. For which the future of our world is under constant threat of a nuclear war. Humanity, would ultimately, vanish from the face of the earth. These devices of mass destruction as mentioned would destroy our beautiful mother earth, which would at the end look like a ball of hot gases and fire. Therefore, we must take an initiative now, before it is too late and strive towards the benefit of mankind and use science and technology for the welfare of humans; as the saying goes "who shall live if the world dies and who shall die if the world lives."

Constitution of Armed Forces Tribunal challenged
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Delhi High Court Bar Association has challenged the constitution of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). The body has contended that the functioning of the AFT would violate statutory provisions of law and would by-pass the jurisdiction of the high courts.

A division bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising Justice Madan Lokul and Justice S. Mridul has issued notices to the Union of India for March 20 on the matter.

The association has contended that the AFT Tribunal would take away the statutory power to hear the first appeal of cases pertaining to armed forces personnel. According to a Supreme Court ruling, the high court is the first court of appeal and any aggrieved party cannot by-pass the high court.

"Further, the AFT would also compromise the independence of judiciary as members of the AFT would not have the same level of safety and security as that of a HC judge," Manoj Goel, association's counsel told The Tribune.

He said the association was also of the view that the executive could exercise indirect control over the AFT as the service conditions, salaries etc of AFT members are to be decided by the government, whereas in the case of HC judges these are decided by Parliament.

The much-awaited AFT, set up on the lines of the Central Administrative Tribunal, would take up issues related to armed forces personnel, including review of court martial verdicts, promotion and posting matters.

The AFT was established to lower the pendency of armed forces related cases in various high courts. Aggrieved service personnel would not have to approach high courts, but file their cases in the AFT.

Indian Army looses battle against Arjun Tank, but, will there be Arjun Mark-2?

Written on February 7, 2009 � 8:09 pm | by P. Chacko Joseph |

Indian Army lost its battle and Arjun Tank will ride into the Indian Army regiments defeating its most hostile evaluators. This is a strange case in which Indian Army the creator of Arjun Tank turned into Frankenstein. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley take note.

Indian Army developed cold feet (again) on the T-90 versus Arjun Tank comparative trials after witnessing the accelerated usage cum reliability trial (AUCRT) of Main Battle Tank Arjun that began in December 2007. Then we saw parliamentary reports by Indian Army on the failure of Arjun Tanks in AUCRT, that was thrashed in media as well as in parliament. To run salt of Indian army ego, DRDO will hand it over in a formal function we may witness in february end or march, when 17 - 18 tanks will be handed over to Indian Army. Atleast 50 Arjun Tanks is expected to be inducted this year.

There might not be Arjun Tank mark - 2 tanks rolling and production may cease after the current order unless there is a miracle. Indian Army had given some observations to DRDO after the AUCRT. Some points were valid on the metallurgy and life of certain parts (it was prepared by the actual evaluators unlike the parliamentary report). DRDO addressed it.

The future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) GSQR and research is shaping up. The new policy of user (Indian Army in this case) has to put its own money in the project, will put some responsibility on the user. In addition we will witness user and the research agency sharing responsibility. There will be involvement of private sector. The question is how many private sector companies will want to work with Indian Army on its projects. Some companies like MRF had lost money on the Arjun Tank Project due to Indian Army attitude. The Pinaka project may be an indicator if Indian Army is worth being associated with.

After 26/11, Defence Ministry puts purchase of hi-tech weapons for Army on fast track

Shishir Gupta Posted online: Feb 08, 2009 at 0204 hrs

New Delhi : Jolted by 26/11, the Defence Ministry has directed the Indian Army to fast-track its hardware acquisition on the pattern of US land forces in Afghanistan and has projected more than 30 per cent hike in the capital outlay (Rs 42,000-43,000 crore) for the armed forces in the defence budget for the coming fiscal to maintain its conventional edge in the region.

The Ministry took up the delay in military hardware acquisition with the Army as it has not been able to spend its budgetary capital outlay this year though it is less than that of the Air Force and the Navy. While the budgetary capital outlay for 2008-09 for the 1.1 million-strong Army was Rs 7,607 crore, its revised estimates are pegged at Rs 5,740 crore. Both the Navy and the Air Force are expected to spend their respective capital outlays of Rs 16,108 crore and Rs 8,564 crore.

Government sources told The Sunday Express that the Army has been told to expedite the purchase of the latest generation Harop loitering weapon system aka missile firing drone, Heron long-duration unmanned aerial vehicles, armoured vehicles and Tangushka air defence systems. A classic example of delay in the Army is field guns or howitzers to replace the ageing Bofors 155 mm gun. Despite the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) giving an in-principle approval to the Army's proposal way back in 2001, the force is still to get back to the CCS with the finalised gun.

The fact is that Army Deputy Chief of Staff (Systems) Lt General Manbir Singh Dadwal was sent by the government to Israel after the Mumbai attack to explore hardware options to tackle asymmetric threats posed by non-state players in the region. With the US land forces in Afghanistan in mind, the Army is all set to acquire the Harop weapon system that has the capability to loiter in the enemy territory and pick up targets through its electro-optical sensors and destroy them with its 23-kg warhead.

The Defence Ministry is giving a hard look at the delays in weapon systems acquisitions as the capital outlay budget of Rs 32,826 crore was revised to Rs 28,110 crore but only Rs 27903 crore could be spent due to limited absorption capacities of the armed forces and the delays in due diligence particularly in the Army in 2007-08. In 2008-09, the budget capital outlay of Rs 37,482 crore was revised to Rs 30,614 crore as payouts earmarked for Admiral Gorshkov ($250-300 million), Brahmos missiles (Rs 2000 crore) and Eurocopter (Rs 3200 Cr) for the Indian Army were not made.

The Defence Ministry is now rushing to spend the revised capital outlay of Rs 30, 614 crore even though it will not be able to pay the initial amount for the $ 2 billion acquisition of long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from Boeing until the US Congress approves the deal. Also, the Finance Ministry has objected to any decision to park the advances with the defence PSUs. The South Block is now projecting a capital outlay of Rs 42,000-43,000 crore for 2009-10 keeping in mind the initial payouts (Rs 50,000 crore) for multi-role medium range combat aircraft acquisition for the Indian Air Force.

Up to 50 terror camps active in Pakistan: Army chief

Press Trust of India

Saturday, February 07, 2009 (New Delhi)

Terror infrastructure in Pakistan is "existing and active", according to Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, who puts the number of terror camps there in between 30 and 50.

Even as Pakistan seeks to convey an impression that it is taking action against terrorists and their infrastructure, General Kapoor said that the infrastructure was still active.

The number of camps "on the other side" can "safely" be placed at between 30 and 50, he said, adding that there had been a significant increase in such camps from 32 in 2005 to 53 last year.

Kapoor, who has served as chief of the northern command which includes Jammu and Kashmir, said by and large most of these camps are located along the Line of Control (LoC) and between 10 to 50 km away from the LoC. The numbers of these camps have been varying at times.

"I would rather put it that the infrastructure is active. Yes I would put it that way. I would not talk about the numbers specifically right now because of the fact that some of these are closed. But infrastructure is existing and active."

Army veterans to return medals

8 Feb 2009, 0305 hrs IST, Rajat Pandit, TNN

NEW DELHI: Soldiers wear their medals with great pride. But a "large number" of ex-servicemen will return their gallantry awards and distinguished service medals to the President after a protest rally at Jantar Mantar here on Sunday to protest the non-implementation of the "one-rank, one-pay (OROP)" principle and the "raw deal" given to armed forces by the 6th Pay Commission.

Among them will be Col (retd) Kanwar Bhardwaj and his wife Shiksha, who will surrender the Shaurya Chakra awarded posthumously to their son, Capt Umang Bhardwaj, who died fighting terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir in 2002.

While the protest may revolve around pension, it has melded with the demands of the serving military personnel over their new revised payscales - an issue yet to be fully resolved by the government.

The ex-jawans and havaldars who plan to join the protest march have the support of their former bosses. "The country is not recognizing the pillar which supports it," said former Navy chief Adm Sushil Kumar.

Added Col Bhardwaj, "The status of armed forces, which are keeping the country safe, has been systematically downgraded by bureaucrats and politicians. We love India but we have been pushed to the walls. My wife will return my son's Shaurya Chakra, while I will surrender my Sena Medal, awarded for gallantry in 1971."

Former Army deputy chief, Lt-Gen (retd) Raj Kadyan, in turn, said, "My medals are my proudest possession but I will hand them over to the President, the supreme commander of the armed forces, for safe-custody till our demands are met."

The ex-servicemen feel they have been taken for a ride by successive governments on OROP despite virtually all political parties promising its implementation in their manifestos, election after election. The governments, in fact, have even brushed aside recommendations by parliamentary committees to swiftly resolve "the disparity of pensionary benefits between pensioners of the same rank" without much ado.

The UPA government, on its part, has rejected the OROP demand, holding that it will entail huge financial costs - well over Rs 3,500 crore, with annual liabilities of around Rs 700 crore.

This estimate takes into account payment of arrears with effect from January 1, 1996, the date from which the recommendations of the 5th Pay Commission were effective.

"It's also not possible to implement OROP due to administrative reasons and possible repercussions from the civil side, public sector and autonomous bodies," said a defence ministry official.

Ex-servicemen, however, beg to disagree. Tenets of justice demand defence personnel of same rank and length of service should get the same pension, irrespective of the retirement date, says vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), Maj-Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who will also return his Sena Medal on Sunday.

"But after the 6th Pay Commission, the government has created four classes within a class - pre-1996, post-1996 to December 2005, post-January 2006 to September 2008 and post-October 2008," he said.

"For instance, a havaldar who retired before 1996 draws less pension than a sepoy who retired after 2006, and a Lt-Gen draws less pension than a Lt-Col. Ex-servicemen have been on a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar since December 16 but nobody listens to us since we are not a votebank," he added.

But their votes do matter. Defence pensioners alone notch up a tally of around 20 lakh, with another 55,000 being added to it every year. If one adds family members, over one crore people in India are directly connected with defence personnel or ex-servicemen.

Maj-Gen Singh said four former chiefs - Gen V P Malik and Admirals Sushil Kumar, Madhvendra Singh and Arun Prakash - "had promised their support" to the rally on Sunday.

"Not only have serving and retired personnel of armed forces been given less than their due by the pay commission, but their status and respect has also been eroded. The sense of anguish and hurt is so deep that we are compelled to return our medals," he added.

The rally comes at a time when the principal personnel officers' committee of the armed forces has once again written to the government to seek clarifications on their demands for equating all Lt-Generals and their equivalents in the IAF (Air Marshal) and Navy (Vice-Admiral) with director-generals of police as well as grade pay parity of military officers with their civilian counterparts.

Army Base Hospital organizes blood donation camp

New Delhi, Feb.7, (ANI): Army Base Hospital on Saturday organized a blood donation camp at Delhi Cantt.

The camp was conducted by team of one Officer, one Junior Commissioned Officer and 12 Blood Transfusion Agency's from the Armed forces Transfusion Centre, Delhi Cantt.

This is the largest blood bank of the Indian Army and a premier institute in the field of Transfusion Medicine, catering to the blood requirement of entitled service and ex-service personnel and their families admitted at Army Hospitals and Base Hospital Delhi Cantt along with a team of Doctors and technicians from Rotary Blood Bank, New Delhi.

Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) President Vandana Oberoi inaugurated the camp.

The response at the blood donation camp was overwhelming and 16 Officers and 274 Jawans from the various units of Delhi donated blood, resulting in a total collection of 290 units of blood.

The blood donated during the camp will be used for ailing members of the Armed Forces and their families after component separation. (ANI)

India Lags Behind Pakistan In Missiles

February 7, 2009

This is an Indian report, reproduced without editing. It disregards any Pakistani indigenous contribution to its strategic programs and gives China and North Korea the entire credit. This might be a good way for the Indians not to feel too sorry for themselves. But the fact is that Pakistan has made tremendous progress in its domestic scientific research capabilities and indigenous industrial manufacture. India cannot simply dismiss the Pakistani progress in missile technology over India to foreign help. After all, the Indians have more access to foreign help than Pakistan and yet their program lags behind Pakistan.

By RAJAT PANDIT, TNN

NEW Delhi, India―With active help from China and North Korea, Pakistan has surged well ahead of India in the missile arena. The only nuclear-capable ballistic missile in India's arsenal which can be said to be 100% operational as of now is the short-range Prithvi missile.

Though the 700-km Agni-I and 2,000-km-plus Agni-II ballistic missiles are being "inducted" into the armed forces, it will take "some time" for them to become "fully-operational in the numbers required".

Defence sources said the armed forces were still in the process of undertaking the "training trials" of Agni-I and Agni-II to give them the requisite capabilities to fire them on their own.

Of the two, the progress report of Agni-I, tested for the first time in January 2002 to plug the operational gap between Prithvi (150-350 km) and Agni-II missiles, is much better. The Army has already conducted two "user training trials", one in October 2007 and other in March 2008, of the Pakistan-specific Agni-I missile.

The fourth test of 3,500-km Agni-III, which will give India the strategic capability to hit targets deep inside China, is also on the anvil now. But Agni-III, tested successfully only twice in April 2007 and May 2008, will not be ready for induction before 2012.

Then, of course, design work on India's most ambitious strategic missile with near ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capabilities, the 5,000-km range Agni-V, which incorporates a third composite stage in the two-stage Agni-III, is also in progress. "We should be ready to test Agni-V by 2010-2011," said an official.

So, in effect, the missile report card is rather dismal at present. "Unlike Pakistan, our programme is indigenous. But a strategic missile needs to be tested 10 to 15 times, over a variety of flight envelopes and targets, before it can be said to be fully-operational. A missile cannot be dubbed ready just after three to four tests," said an expert.

Keeping this benchmark in mind, only Prithvi can be dubbed to be fully ready. Defence PSUs like Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd, in fact, are stepping up production of the different Prithvi variants.

Army, for instance, has orders worth Rs 1,500 crore for 75 Prithvi-I and 62 Prithvi-II missiles, while IAF has gone in for 63 Prithvi-II missiles for over Rs 900 crore.

Navy, in turn, has ordered Dhanush missiles, the naval version of Prithvi, with a 350 km strike range, for its "dual-tasked" warships, INS Subhadra and INS Suvarna.

India wants to gatecrash into the very exclusive club of `Big-Five' countries like Russia, US and China, which have both ICBMs (missiles with strike ranges over 5,500-km) and SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), before 2015.

The SLBM quest is specifically crucial since it's the most effective and secure leg of the "nuclear weapon triad", with land-based missiles and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs constituting the first two components.

The initial range of K-15 SLBM being developed by DRDO will, however, be limited to 750-km, far less than the over 5,000-km range SLBMs brandished by the `Big-5 countries.

The plan is to go for higher strike ranges after the initial K-15 missiles are integrated into the indigenous nuclear-powered submarines being built under the secretive ATV (advanced technology vessel) programme.

Mystery of an Indian Missile Test Flop

by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

The Indian Army's BrahMos missiles on display during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India. (Photo: Gurinder Osan / AP)

On January 20, 2009, a cruise missile test, which India's security establishment had billed as crucial, failed. It did so in a curious manner, though the cause of the failure is yet to be officially announced.

The questions raised by the failure may appear to be only technical at first glance. They, however, can serve to highlight a military trade war between far-off powers fueling a missile race in South Asia.

The $2.7 million BrahMos missile had been tested several times before, but the last month's exercise was supposed to be a considerable leap forward. It tested a nuclear-capable version of the missile performing an advanced mission - hitting a predetermined, hidden target. The flight was a success, but the missile missed the target.

The missile, with a range of 290 kilometers, was to hit "an insignificant target" hidden among "obstructions" in the Pokharan test range (the arid desert site in the poverty-stricken State of Rajasthan, where the nuclear-weapon tests of May 1998 were conducted). The missile, a product of Russian-Indian collaboration, failed the test because of not any flaw in the trajectory but an inexplicable non-functioning of US satellites.

Interestingly, India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) first declared the test a success. The claim was hastily withdrawn when Gen. Deepak Kapoor, chief of army staff of the Indian Army, insisted on visiting the target site in person. His finding was that the missile had overshot the target by a kilometer, and the failure was formally announced.

General Kapoor went on to let the media know that the army might call off the BrahMos deal. The proposal for purchase of 240 of the missiles for two regiments of the army, he indicated, was to be shelved until the missile's capability was proven.

The BrahMos has been developed as a joint venture between the DRDO of India and the Federal State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) of Russia under BrahMos Aerospace. The missile is named after two major rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia. Tests have continued for over four years now, but the missile has never won unreserved acceptance despite being peddled as an important component of an ambitious missile program.

The surface-hugging, supersonic cruise missile can, unlike a ballistic missile, evade radar detection and avoids the dangers of soaring into space and reentering the atmosphere. Though it can hit land-based targets, it is designed primarily as an anti-ship missile. Flying at a speed of Mach 2.8 (roughly that many times the speed of sound), carrying a warhead of up to 300 kg, it meets a long-felt need in long-distance warfare.

A device called the seeker helps the missile detect "insignificant" targets through heat or radiation. The seeker had functioned successfully during the earlier tests of BrahMos. Flummoxed experts could not explain the failure, until they discovered that "US satellites (on which the missile depended totally) blinked during the test window, thereby denying the missile the crucial inputs needed for its guidance," as one report put it. With the space guides strangely allowing themselves a shut-eye, the global positioning system (GPS) of the eight-meter, 3,000-kilogram missile could not steer it to the target.

An inquiry was immediately ordered into why satellites went on an instant strike. The probe report was to be submitted to Defense Minister A. K. Antony on Wednesday, February 4, but it has not been made public so far. The test, the country was told, would be repeated on February 20, but no official confidence has been expressed about its outcome.

Conspiracy theories may be unwarranted but, in such matters, corporate warfare can hardly be ruled out.

Russia has been a major seller of military equipment to India, inheriting the role from the Soviet Union. In recent years, however, its reliability as a supplier has been questioned, especially in sections of media that staunchly support a "strategic partnership" with the US. The BrahMos deal has come in for particularly bitter criticism.

Cruise missiles, on the other hand, are supposed to have become more popular with the militarists of India after their wide use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US forces, recall these backers of George Bush's "war on terror," fired nearly 1,000 such missiles when they first entered Iraq for its lethal "liberation."

The missile offers to India from the US military-industrial complex in the recent period have been many, and they have been received well in the corporate-controlled media and military-linked think-tanks.

In April 2007, India was offered one of the most advanced, shipboard US missile defense systems, capable of tracking and neutralizing up to 100 attacking missiles. At that time, the sales pitch was that the Aegis system could be integrated with the BrahMos as well as other Indian missiles. The lobbying firm was unofficially identified as Lockheed Martin.

In September 2008, India was offered a $170 million deal for two dozen Harpoon air-to-ground, anti-ship missiles. The next month brought the proposal for a bigger deal - for an unspecified number of "smart missiles" or sensor fused weapons (SFWs) for $375 million. The missile was sought to be marketed as one "designed to accurately detect and defeat a wide range of moving and stationary land and maritime target threats with minimal collateral damage" - a claim that victims and witnesses of the war on Iraq may not vouch for. The Texton Systems Corporation of Massachusetts was mentioned as the main contractor.

All this talk of profitable corporate contributions to the "strategic partnership" could not but have caused concern in India's neighborhood, and Pakistan did not take long to respond in kind. On January 8, 2009, the Pakistan Navy announced its purchase of 120 C-602 long-range. anti-ship cruise missiles (with active seekers) from China to counter the threat from India. The missile race in South Asia can be expected to heat up further in the foreseeable future.

The astronomical costs of the accelerated race are not stopping the buyers and sellers of BrahMos and mass-murder weapons of other brands. They may evince no interest in another piece of statistics about India and Pakistan: in neither country does per-capita income exceed three dollars a day, even according to fudged official figures.

Over 1450 Pakistan Army officers, men have embraced shahadat during anti-militancy operations

ISLAMABAD: In a time where unrest is bountiful and peace is being fought for in militancy prone regions of FATA and parts of NWFP, the stalwarts of Pakistan Army are making significant sacrifices in the discharge of the assigned operational tasks to maintain writ of the state. So far, more than 1450 officers and men have embraced shahadat and over 3,500 have been seriously wounded in various encounters with the militants. This is an unprecedented contribution.

Pakistan Army has suffered more casualties than combined casualties of 37 nations operating in Afghanistan. To restore peace, tranquility and writ of the government, Pakistan Army is endeavoring its utmost, embracing the challenges of militancy in an audacious manner.

Imbued with the spirit of sacrifice and commitment to the cause, the men of Pakistan Army are committed in war against terror and militancy and establishing the writ of the state, bravely facing the hazards and discomforts of harsh weather and inhospitable terrain.

The military operations conducted by Pakistan Army in FATA are replete with the exceptional accounts of bravery, determination, selflessness and sense of supreme sacrifice. All ranks of Pakistan Army have risen to the occasion whenever involved in active operations to flush out the militants from the area and establish peace in the area. South Waziristan Agency has traditionally been a hot troubled spot, being native land of the militant leaders Bait Ullah Mesud and late commander Naik Mohammad. In January 2008, a major military operation was undertaken to shatter the strength of militants, both of local and foreign origin, to establish writ of state and ensure security and peace in the area.

The operation was conducted in extremely unfriendly weather conditions. Nevertheless, it was a great success by all standards. It forced the militants to flee from the area, bringing them to their knees in a very short time. The miscreants suffered heavy casualties and loss of weapons ammunition and other combat equipment. Major General Javed Sultan Khan, General officer commanding Division in South Waziristan Agency led this operation from the front spread over vast areas in Jandola � Chagmalai and Shakki - Tiarza sectors, alongwith an extremely competent team of professionals and dedicated commanders.

The success of the operation had not yet been celebrated that this winning team of officers, on which Pakistan Army was rightly proud of, embraced shahadat in the tragic helicopter crash on February 6, 2009 near Dargai, located on Wana � Jandola Road. Major General Javed Sultan Khan had gone to the area alongwith the Brigade commanders, (Brigadier Saeed Ahmed Khan and Brigadier Mohammad Afzal Cheema) and other staff officers to visit the troops who had successfully participated in the operation.

It was a colossal loss for Pakistan Army since never before it had lost so many senior officers in one single operation. The shahadat of these high profile officers did not deter the formation from continuing the operations with the same enthusiasm.

The formation, led by a new team of senior officers, instantly recovered from the shock and was optimally prepared to continue waging the war against terror militants as required by Pakistan Army.

The memories of this loss are still fresh not only in the minds of their families but among all ranks of Pakistan Army. They are remembered not only for their sacrifices but also for the high standards of selflessness and professionalism set by them. It is now time for all to ponder that for whom these sons of soil are rendering supreme sacrifices. Are not they trying to defend the mother land? Are their sacrifices being duly acknowledged by civil society? Are they getting the requisite political support which is the key factor for success in this war on terror?

1 comment:

  1. Officers always lament just for their problems and not even talk about PBORs who have got similar problems.Here are some examples which shows that PBORs too have been given less grade pay and placed in lower pay bands as compared with their civilain counterparts:

    1. LAC Group X, old scale 4025-60-4925 Grade pay 2000.
    Corporal Group X, old scale 4150-70-5200 Grade pay 2400.
    Station Officer in Fire fighting staff old scale 4000-100-6000 grade pay 2800.

    2. Sergeant Group X (Diploma Scale), old scale 5000-100-6500 Grade pay 2800.
    Head Clerk/Assistant Gr II/Steno/Primary Teacher Gr III old scale 4500-7000 Grade pay 4200 (PB2).

    3. JWO Group X, old scale 5770-140-8290 Grade pay 4200.
    Primary Teacher Gr II old scale 5500-9000 Grade pay 4600.

    4. Warrant Officer Group X old scale 6750-190-9790 grade pay 4600.
    Primary Teacher Gr I old scale 6500-10500 Grade pay 4800.

    5. MWO Group X old scale 7400-200-10200 Grade pay 4800.
    Section Officer/PS in Secretariat old scale 6500-10500 Grade pay 4800 on completion of 4 years 5400 (upgraded to PB3).

    These are just some examples more can be seen at http://india.gov.in/govt/studies/revised.pdf on page no 44 to 48. I know Grade pay have been determined by taking the higher limit of old scale, but this rule itself is at fault and increases the disparity between soldiers and civilians. In Vth pay CPC increments of PBORs were lesser as compared to civilians, making the higher limit of scale less. The structure old scales of PBORs were different when compared with civilianian counterparts. So they cannot be compared with higer scale of old pay. If some comaprison is to be made it must be on the basis of task they undertake. (A Technician doing the maintenance & servicing on highly sofisticated aircrafts cannot be kept below fire station officer or primary teacher.) SO OFFICERS PLEASE DON’T EXPRESS THE PROBLEM OF GRADE PAY ONLY AS YOURS, BEACAUSE IT IS THE PROBLEM OF WHOLE SERVICE. JUST TRY TO LOOK INTO THE PROBLEMS OF YOUR SUBORDINATES IN TURN YOU WILL GAIN SOMETHING.

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