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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

From Today's Papers - 18 Feb 09

DG NSG post to continue with IPS

If top MHA sources are to be believed the post of DG NSG will not go to the army. It is going to continue with the IPS. The army is keen to have this post and three names of the rank of Lt Gen have already been sent to the MHA.

Pak-Taliban deal has India worried

Ashok Tuteja

Tribune News Service

Pak should not hide involvement of its citizens: Mush

Pakistan should not try to “hide” the involvement of its nationals in the Mumbai terror attacks, former President Pervez Musharraf has said, insisting, “we can’t deceive the world”. “The issue is that the nation and the people should oppose terrorism,” he was quoted as saying. — PTI

New Delhi, February 17

India has shown concern over the deal worked out by the Pakistan government with the Taliban to allow strict Sharia law in parts of the restive North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) with senior officials viewing the development as another indication of the Zardari regime capitulating to Islamic militants.

Though there was no official reaction to it, an official, on condition of anonymity, said the development clearly indicated what New Delhi had been saying for quite sometime — that large parts of Pakistan have been completely “Talibanised” and the government in Islamabad is not in a position to do anything but watch the deteriorating situation helplessly.

“The implications of the development are very clear… this is something which may engulf the entire state of Pakistan. We know what happened at the Lal Masjid in Islamabad just about two years back…we are concerned over the winds of ‘Talibanisation’ blowing in the region,’’ the official added.

Under the agreement, that marks a major concession by Pakistan to hold off the Taliban who have terrorised the people of the region, the government would recognise Sharia for the entire Malakand region, including Swat valley, which is just two hours drive from Islamabad.

And only yesterday, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke had pointed out to the Indian leadership the gravity of the threat from the Taliban to India, Pakistan and the US.

There is a strong feeling in the Indian establishment that the Taliban still enjoys the support of large sections of the Pakistan army, which consider it a lethal weapon that could be used against India, when required. In Pakistan itself, legal experts and other analysts warned that the decision by the authorities would embolden militants in other parts of the country.

The accord came less than a week before the first official visit to Washington by the Pakistani army chief, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, to meet Obama administration officials and discuss how Pakistan could improve its tactics against what the American military is now calling an industrial-strength insurgency there of Al-Qaida and the Taliban. But the truce offered by the Taliban, and accepted by the authorities, rebuffed American demands for the Pakistani civilian and military authorities to stick with the fight against the militants, not make deals with them.

India to have a home-made aircraft carrier soon
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 17
In what may be considered as a technological and strategic leap for the country, India would soon boast of an indigenously-built aircraft-carrier warship, capable of carrying fighter aircrafts, armed choppers and an array of weaponry. The keel of the warship is to be formally laid at the end of this month, well-placed sources in the Ministry of Defence said.

The 40,000 tonne displacement vessel would mark India’s foray into building naval warships of this scale and magnitude. This would be several times the capacity of naval warships that India has built so far. And with this, India will join a select band of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) countries and Russia, which possess the capability to build aircraft carriers. It would also reduce dependence on other nations.

The keel-laying of the warship would take place at the Cochin shipyard and the top brass of the forces are expected to remain present. The keel is the principal structure of a ship, running lengthwise along the centre-line from bow to stern, to which the frames are attached. Originally the construction of the warship was to start in 2003, it was delayed due to material procurement.

Now, special steel needed for the warship would be supplied by the Defence Research and Development Organisation in collaboration with the Steel Authority of India Limited. Having a length of 252 metres, the ship would have a maximum speed of 28 knots and a range of 7,500 nautical miles.

It would have a crew of 1,400 officers and sailors and carry 30 aircraft in a mix of the MiG-29K, the Dhruv advanced light helicopter and the Kamov-31 Helix anti-submarine warfare helicopter. The naval version of the light combat aircraft is also likely to be inducted on this ship.

Nepal Army suggests referendum on key issues

Press Trust of India

Tuesday, February 17, 2009, (Kathmandu)

Nepal Army has advised the Constituent Assembly to include the provision of holding referendum to decide on key issues, including those relating to secularism, state structure, citizenship and other matters of national importance.

Army chief Rukmangad Katuwal has forwarded the recommendation to the Constituent Assembly in response to the CA's call seeking suggestions for drafting new constitution.

The army has also suggested to make the recruitment process in the armed forces more inclusive to provide equal opportunities to Madhesi, tribal groups, women, dalit and backward class.

Apart from the formation of National Security Council headed by the Prime Minister, the army has advocated for setting up of Defence Council led by the army chief to give advice to the President.

The head of the state will be the supreme commander of the Nepal Army, and the chief of the army staff shall be appointed by the head of the state from among the qualified army personnel on seniority basis at the recommendation of the Council of Ministers, the recommendation said.

Foil The Terror War

18 Feb 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Brahma Chellaney

If, as the famous soldier and military historian Carl von Clausewitz theorised, war is the continuation of politics by other means, terrorism is

the continuation of war by other means. Since the 1980s, Pakistan has waged such war unremittingly. Yet India has been unable to shed its blinkers, let alone initiate concrete counteraction. Even as the Pakistani asymmetric warfare has escalated qualitatively, leaving no part of India unscathed, the Indian republic continues to debate endlessly on how to respond to that war.

Islamabad's grudging admission about the role of some Pakistani "non-state actors" in the Mumbai attacks notwithstanding, there is little hope that Pakistan will reform itself and kick its terrorism-fomenting addiction. President Asif Ali Zardari is right that the Taliban wants to take over Pakistan. Those who play with fire will be consumed by fire. By fathering the Taliban, Pakistan set in motion an inexorable political reconfiguration of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region (or Af-Pak in Washingtonese). Indeed, the political border between these two countries has already ceased to exist in practice.

But even as the writ of the Pakistani state no longer extends to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and much of Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province (NWFP) that is, to nearly half the country the alliance between its jihadist-infiltrated military and Islamists remains firm. Pakistan's pattern of "prevarication, denial, diversionary tactics and misplaced sense of victimhood", as the Indian foreign minister has called it, is best illustrated by a Pakistani think tank's widely circulated report which, reflecting the security establishment's mindset, portrays the Mumbai attacks and the Indian dossier as a Hindu-Jewish-American plot to dismember Pakistan and divest it of its nuclear crown jewels by provoking a dual Indian and US invasion from opposite flanks.

Still, the evidence tracing the unparalleled Mumbai strikes to Pakistan became simply too overwhelming for Islamabad to continue to stonewall. But its epiphanic, partial admission is not designed to bring the real planners to justice but to shield them by making a few jihadists the fall guys and to drag out the investigations indefinitely, knowing that the Mumbai attacks would be eclipsed by newer terror strikes in India. In essence, it is a political ploy to deflect international pressure, contain Indian anger and lower bilateral tensions the diplomatic equivalent of throwing a bone at a dog.

Let's face it: Pakistan's ability to wage a war of terror with impunity owes a lot to India's own failings. While Pakistan is a quasi-failed state, India is a state that has yet to come of age a young republic still learning statecraft. Pakistan is disingenuous about wanting to end its state-nurtured terrorism, but India has been no less insincere in pledging to defeat such warfare. "When will India start defending itself?" That was the blunt question someone asked this writer at a recent conference overseas. The state that suffers the most terrorist blows in the world has, oddly, no counterterrorism doctrine and no defined defence policy.

Failure to move from sound bites to action has turned India into such a veritable target for daring, innovative attacks that American analyst Ashley Tellis told Congress that, "India has become the sponge that protects us all". Take Mumbai. The synaptic gap between New Delhi's shrill rhetoric and lack of meaningful response has been glaring. It has continued to water down its demands. Gone is its insistence that the accused be tried in India. It has also fallen into the Pakistan trap by focusing on the inquiry into an act of terror than on the infrastructure of terror that permits such acts to be carried out. Amateurishly, topmost officials contradict each other in public and call attention to a litany of mistakes.

The first response to the Mumbai attacks was to ingenuously invite the ISI chief to come and "assist in the investigations", akin to the police inviting the mafia to join a criminal probe. Now the world has been told that in both the Mumbai and Kabul embassy attacks, "the organisers were and remain clients and creations of the ISI". Take another example: Twitchily defensive on Kashmir, New Delhi argues that issue can be dealt with only at the bilateral level with Pakistan. Yet India seeks to respond to Pakistan's terror war not bilaterally but internationally. It is as if New Delhi has irredeemably lost its diplomatic script.

It is a sorry spectacle when Indians appear better at quoting statistics than in dealing with realities. The defence minister affirms that "more than 30 terrorist camps are still operating in Pakistan", while the army chief specifies that most such camps are located "10 to 50 kilometres" from the Indian frontier. But, unembarrassed, they have nothing to report on what they have done in response. It is as if those tasked with defending India are supposed to merely collect data and record it in files for posterity.

Terror orchestrators across the border know that India's present tough talk will last only up to our national elections. Once India returns to business as usual, they will seek to stump its defences again through synchronised swarm attacks on novel targets. War by terror is seriously undermining India's security and rising strength. If India is to avert nightmare scenarios and not remain a sponge that absorbs attacks so that other states are spared, it better defend itself through a concerted counterterrorist strategy with near and far term components.

The writer is professor, Centre for Policy Research.

IAF busts job racket

Bhopal, February 17
Air Force officers today blew the lid off an inter-state racket vis-à-vis recruitment of airmen. IAF sources said suspicion was aroused after four candidates, who appeared for a written test conducted here yesterday and secured more than 90 per cent marks, could not even provide accurate responses to spellings of words during interviews today.

Vipin Kumar Wankhede, his brother Nitin, Naresh Rathore, all from MP’s Betul district, and Bhopal district-resident Amardeep Singh confessed during interrogation that they paid Rs 3 lakh each to Gwalior-resident coaching class instructor Suraj Singh Sikarwar, who has been arrested. Fake mark-sheets and other papers were seized.

Sikarwar pleaded that he was merely a middleman working for Bihar-residents Jawahar and Ojha whose tentacles extended even to Delhi and to recruitment drives in the Army, Navy and Central Industrial Security Force. Jawahar and Ojha were putting up at a local hotel but escaped. — UNI

Indian Navy to Commission INS Carnicobar, INS Chetlat

Daily News & Updates

India Defence Premium

Dated 16/2/2009

Today the Indian Navy will commission two ships, INS Carnicobar and INS Chetlat. These would be the first two in a series of ten Water Jet fast attack ships being built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata.

The ships are being commissioned at Chennai by the Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri Surjit Singh Barnala and are the first ever water jet propelled ships of the Indian Navy. The commissioning marks another step in the direction of indigenisation of the Navy's ship building efforts.

These fast attack crafts are named after pristine islands located in the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep respectively and will be based at Chennai thereby strengthening coastal security of the region. These fast attack crafts are most suited for interception of fast moving surface crafts apart from performing anti smuggling, fisheries protection, as well as search and rescue operations where time is of paramount importance.

These are the two ships of a new generation of ten Water Jet Fast Attack Crafts, designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata. They are an improvement upon the earlier version of the Fast Attack Crafts, with a more efficient hull form developed indigenously. The Fast Attack Crafts can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots.

The Water Jets of these ships are coupled with latest generation MTU 16V 4000 M90 engines with a combined propulsion power of 8160KW. The modified Aluminium superstructure of the vessels, reduces their Radar Cross Sections (RCS) and also provides improved habitability. A Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants allow for fresh water generation increasing vessel endurance while the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) complies with the latest International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regulations on sea pollution. The armament includes the 30mm CRN-91 Gun along with sensors manufactured by Ordnance Factory, Medak. The ships are equipped with IGLA missiles, SLRs, HMGs and LMG/MMG in their armament fit. These features are an up-dation over ships of the previous class and the current version of design is comparable with similar ships, built across the world.

Antonov presents a new version of AN-74 in India

Daily News & Updates

India Defence Premium

Dated 16/2/2009

For the first time the programme of AN-74 new multi-role maritime patrol aircraft will be represented to a wide aviation community.

At present, this version of the aircraft is being studied by experts of MoD of India within the frame of tender on delivery of 6 aircraft of such a class for Navy and Coast Guard of the country. The new AN-74 is prepared to fulfill with a high efficiency a wide spectrum of military tasks including: aerial and maritime patrolling, support of military ships with the possibility to counteract to an enemy, carrying out search and rescue operations; electronic and radio reconnaissance; determination of pollution of the sea surface.

If necessary it may be re-equipped easily for transportation people, evacuation of sick and wounded persons. Cargo cabin with volume of 26 m³, highly-mechanized hatch-ramp and airborne loading/unloading equipment allow to perform autonomous loading-unloading and transportation of wide spectrum of cargoes as well as its paradropping. Due to its unique design AN-74 can be operated from poor equipped runways (including ground, pebble, snowy and icy ones). In STOL mode it can transport up to 6 t of cargoes. Simplicity in service, availability of airborne loading equipment provide long-term operation of the airplane far from airdromes. It took the best characteristics of the previous airplanes of the family, which are operated successfully in military divisions of different countries. They were actively used in military operations, carried soldiers, troops of special services, various cargoes, including spacecraft and auxiliary equipment for them, evacuated ill and wounded persons, struggled with pirates, stopped poachers, guarded maritime boundaries, detected and participated in detention of trespasser-ships.

A new version of AN-74 differs from its predecessors with a number of considerable improvements. It made possible realization of conception of a radical modernization of the AN-74, developed by ANTONOV specialists in cooperation with the partners including those from France, Germany and Sweden. It includes mounting the glass cockpit, the newest instruments of piloting, navigation and communication. Besides, power plant and APU, aircraft and engine control systems, fuel, hydraulic systems and many others. The most modern technologies will be used for aftersale support of the airplane, its maintenance and repair.

Within the exhibition negotiations concerning other perspective directions of cooperation will be conducted. ANTONOV is sure that AEROINDIA-2009 will become a starting point of the new joint programmes joining efforts of aviation enterprises of India and Ukraine.

Defence Budget hike to go in pay, little left for arms

Vishal Thapar


New Delhi: The 23 per cent hike proposed in Defence spending in the Interim Budget seems to send a political signal that national security is high on the United Progressive Alliance Government's agenda.

But a closer look reveals that much of the Rs 27,000 crore hike will not buy weapons but merely fund an inflated salary bill for the military.

The Mumbai terror attack was cited as the provocation for the Rs 27,000-crore hike in the budgetary allocation for Defence.

"Our security environment has deteriorated considerably. In this context, I propose to increase the allocation for Defence, which is part of non-plan expenditure, to 1,41,703 crore. This will include 54,824 crore for capital expenditure," said acting Finance Minster Pranab Mukherjee while presenting the Interim budget in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

A fattened war chest seems to be just what the doctor ordered for beefing up India's military readiness in challenging times.

So it seems. But the devil is in the detail.

A closer look reveals that 41 per cent of this increase will not buy desperately-needed weapon systems but merely fund the salary increase for the military.

Following the Sixth Pay Commission Report, salaries will consume over Rs 46,100 crore, which is a third of the Defence Budget.

The 1.2 million strong Indian Army alone accounts for 80 per cent of this salary bill.

Also, the continuing inability to fully utilise the Defence Budget for the ninth year in a row makes the Rs 54,000 crore set aside for buying new weapons look less impressive.

Over Rs 7,000 crores from the capital outlay for Defence for 2008-09 have been surrendered.

It means that budgetary allocations do not fully translate into military capability.

So, while the government can claim that it is giving due priority to national security, the profile of Defence spending to prepare for military challenges will not change dramatically.

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