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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

From Today's Papers - 27 May 09

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The Pioneer

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Telegraph India

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North Korea Fires Two Missiles after Nuclear Test

North Korea fired two short-range missiles Tuesday, a day after conducting an internationally condemned nuclear test, South Korean media reported.

The launches were carried out on North Korea's east coast, the national news agency Yonhap said, citing a government official in Seoul.

"The North is continuing its sabre rattling," the official told Yonhap while refusing to be identified or say whether Tuesday's launches were designed as tests.

On Monday, the Stalinist state fired three short-range ballistic missiles with a range of 130 km from its east coast shortly after an underground test of a nuclear device.

Monday's missile launch site was believed to be close to the location of the nuclear test, North Korea's second since October 2006.

The news agency also said, quoting informed sources, that North Korea was believed to be preparing to test more short-range ballistic missiles, believed to be anti-ship missiles, from its west coast.

Pyongyang banned shipping in the waters off its west coast until Wednesday.

India ups vigil on China border

Nitin Gokhale, Tuesday May 26, 2009, New Delhi

It now seems clear that India is slowly but surely being surrounded by China with the growing influence that the Chinese have in each of India's neighbours -- Pakistan, Nepal, Burma and now even Sri Lanka.

Clearly concerned about being encircled NDTV has exclusive information that India is to send another 40,000 troops to the India-China border.

After downplaying the China threat for years, the government is now decided to raise additional fighting formations to meet any eventuality and to improve the infrastructure in the areas bordering China.

India increases troops:

* Two new divisions (40,000 troops)

* Artillery brigade, 9 airstrips

* Military's assessment: China is India's greatest threat

* India wants to match China's forces

* Cost: Rs 5,000 crores

India is increasing the number of troops on the border with China in Arunachal Pradesh. NDTV has learnt that two mountain divisions, that is, 40,000 troops will be recruited over the next two years.

It's a huge step that New Delhi has taken and reflects the military's view that China is India's greatest threat.

Deploying more troops is being seen as an assertion by India that Arunachal Pradesh is not a part of China as Beijing claims.

So, why has this been done?

India wants to match China's forces. Sources say there's an urgency to match China's massive military presence across the border estimated at 3 lakh troops. After this, in Arunachal alone India will have about 1 lakh soldiers. This plan implementation will cost the government Rs 5,000 crore.

Israel Army doubt US talks with Iran; may take any 'measure'

Press Trust of India, Tuesday May 26, 2009, Jerusalem

Israel Army said it will take "every possible measure" to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, even as its chief on Tuesday termed US rendezvous with Tehran may not yield any result.

A day after Premier Benjamin Netanyahu said that if Israel does not eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat, "no one will", Israel Defence Forces Chief Gabi Ashkenazi told lawmakers that he was preparing "every possible measure" to check Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"As chief of staff, my position is to prepare all the alternatives for dealing with the Iranian nuclear problem, which is what I am doing," Ashkenazi told the Knesset's influential Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on Tuesday.

"Iran is continuing with its programme," Ashkenazi said adding, "Nuclear weapons in Iran's hands could undermine the stability of the entire Middle East."

However, Israel's top commander also said thatJerusalem prefers sanctions alongside ongoing dialogue to resolve the issue, though he said, "A dialogue between Iran and the US is currently taking place, and I doubt it will yield results, but as far as the IDF is also concerned, this is the desirable way to stop the Iranian nuclear project."

The option of talks alongside sanctions is preferable to us, Ashkenazi said. Israel's hawkish Prime Minister yesterday told his Likud faction members said that if Israel doesn't take out Iranian threat, no one will.

"These are not regular times. The danger is hurtling toward us. The real danger in underestimating the threat," Netanyahu said addressing the threat of a nuclear armed Iran.

"My job is first and foremost to ensure the future of the state of Israel ... the leadership's job is to eliminate the danger. Who will eliminate it? It is us or no one," the hardliner asserted.

US for smaller India role in Kabul

- Pakistan pressure to prune consulate footprint in Afghanistan


New Delhi, May 26: The US administration is nudging India to scale down its presence in Afghanistan — including pruning or closing down its consulates — in line with Islamabad’s demands, sources said.

This stand goes against US policy of the past eight years, when Washington wanted India to send troops to Afghanistan.

The US is now hunting new allies to “stabilise” Pakistan and Afghanistan, such as China, Saudi Arabia and Iran that have leverage with Islamabad, as President Obama’s Afpak policy takes off.

Delhi’s role in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, including infrastructure projects and integrated development projects, has not gone down well with Pakistan, which sees India’s strategic interest in its presence.

Islamabad, which is the epicentre of America’s fight against terror in the region, is pressuring Washington to prevail upon New Delhi to reduce its presence in Afghanistan.

The matter was hinted at in talks with India when Richard Holbrooke, the US administration’s special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, was in Delhi recently. The sources said the US would like India to prune or shut down consulates in Herat and Jalalabad.

Other than the embassy in Kabul, India has four missions in Afghanistan — in Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat and Jalalabad.

Herat and Jalalabad are in regions where the Taliban are active, and Islamabad accuses India of using its consulates there to whip up anti-Pakistan sentiments. While Herat borders Iran, Jalalabad is close to Pakistan.

The Obama administration is leaning towards Pakistan’s friends China and Saudi Arabia as the fight against the Taliban in the country becomes increasingly tenuous. Holbrooke visited China on April 16 and the US has sounded out Beijing on helping Pakistan fight the insurgents, the sources added.

China has an immediate interest in this, having made huge investments in Pakistan, where some 10,000 of its engineers and technicians work. Besides, Pakistani training camps are blamed for the insurgency in the Xinjiang region of China. With Iran too coming into the picture in US policy on Afghanistan, Washington would be keener on shifting its focus on countries that have greater influence on Islamabad than New Delhi.

The Pakistan question
India, US should work together
by K. Subrahmanyam

Though there will be continuity of perceptions and policies between the first tenure of Dr Manmohan Singh and his second tenure, now beginning, there are valid grounds to start with a fresh assessment of the challenges to Indian security arising out of developments of the last few months when the country and the leadership were preoccupied with the election campaign. There have been new developments to be taken note of.

The sharp deterioration in the security situation in our neighbourhood, Pakistan and Nepal, the stepping of the involvement of the US in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, the Pakistani Army’s campaign against the Taliban, the increasing mutual accommodation between the US and China in terms of economic imperatives arising out of recession are major factors that need to be taken into account.Except for the G-20 summit and visits of Ambassador Holbrooke to India, there has not been an opportunity for India to interact with the new Obama administration at the political level.

While we have been able to conduct our gigantic elections in peace thanks mostly to our security services, the country continues to face the challenge of terrorism. There are mixed signals from Pakistan. It is not clear whether the military campaign by the Pakistani Army against the Taliban also involves a beginning of a change in the Pakistani Army’s relationships with and policies towards other jihadi organisations which have been active in India.

This country’s security is challenged by the following factors.Terrorist attacks by groups based in Pakistan penetrating our land and sea frontiers or sleeper cells already introduced in this country by those jihadi outfits or by elements in this country motivated and often financed by them.Such activities are further facilitated by narcotics trade passing from the Af-Pak region through India to the rest of the world, besides smuggling and hawala transactions.

As is now recognised by President Obama and his NATO allies, Pakistan is, in a misguided manner, obsessed with India and launched aggressions against this country on four occasions in the last 62 years since its birth — 1947,1965,1971 and 1999. The Pakistani Army considers itself as the guardian of the two-nation theory, the ideology in which Pakistan, instead of defining its nationhood in positive terms, has done it in negative terms as an anti-Indian state with Islam as the sole binding factor. Many scholars, not only Indians but also Westerners, consider this as the basic vulnerability of that country and reason to worry about its ability to hold together under pressure from Pashtuns across the Durand Line uniting together as the Punjabi-dominated Army fights the Pashtun Taliban.

Such potential instability logically raises fears about the future safety of Pakistani nuclear weapons, though there are assurances of their safety. Pakistan nuclear weapons and missiles are largely the result of Chinese proliferation to that country.That proliferation in terms of plutonium production capability continues.The US was permissive of this proliferation in the eighties and has been paying a high price for its permissiveness. Pakistan could not have become the epicentre of Al-Qaeda and other jihadi terrorism without its being shielded from international punitive action by its nuclear capability. To that extent China has assisted Pakistan to become the most dangerous nation posing a threat not only to India but also to the West as well.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown pointed out that 75 per cent of terrorist cases in the UK lead back to Pakistan

Therefore, the threat from Pakistan has to be dealt by India in cooperation with all other countries which have now an interest in eliminating the jihadi ideology from Pakistan.To achieve this objective effectively, Pakistan has to be helped to go through a de-jihadification process on the lines Germany got deNazified. In Daily News of Pakistan of May 11, 2009, Nazir Abbas Mirza has detailed how hundreds of thousands of young children from age seven are being robotised in madarsas by mullahs to be suicide bombers and cannon fodder for jihadis. This threat is to the entire international community and has to be dealt with as such. In doing so, one cannot but differentiate the role of China in enhancing the threat to the international community and India in particular in its continuing support to Pakistani proliferation. This factor, more than anything else, justifies India’s efforts for closer strategic cooperation with the US, the West and Russia.

But such a change of the mindset covering hundreds of madarsas in Pakistan cannot come about unless the present armed campaign against the Taliban is accompanied by a country-wide reform programme of madarsas and an acceptance of nationhood of Pakistan on the basis of its territoriality, history, its heritage comprising of diversity of cultures, diversity of sectarian faiths and linguistic identities. This in turn calls for India and the world engaging Pakistan and persuading its institutions and civil society to choose democracy and reject the cults that proclaim that Islam is incompatible with democracy.

President Zardari has drawn attention to the fact that democracies do not fight each other. If Pakistan were to espouse democracy genuinely, it has to fight the cults which preach that democracy is incompatible with Islam and also redefine its nationhood in positive terms. The Pakistani Army cannot define for itself a role of its own independent of the State. If Pakistan redefines itself as a democracy on the basis of its territoriality and heritage, the various divisive issues between India and Pakistan will find solutions outside the framework of two-nation theory.

The earlier peace process was with a military-dominated dictatorial regime which was not willing to fight the Taliban and jihadis. Now Pakistan is a democracy and is fighting the Taliban and jihadis. The peace process, while taking into account the earlier understandings reached, must have a new framework that should be defined by the democratic leaderships of the two countries. It will be logical to have a summit meeting for the purpose. But such a summit meeting is not possible unless Pakistan acts decisively in the 26/11 case.

Simultaneously, with the new government formation, India will have to develop a comprehensive understanding with the US and the West. The envisaged visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should provide that opportunity.n

Our country needs more soldiers, says 26/11 martyr's father

Vicky Nanjappa

May 26, 2009 15:19 IST

Six months have passed since the dastardly attack on Mumbai [Images] by ten terrorists from Pakistan that killed over 170 people and sent shockwaves across the world.

The National Security Guards, which fought valiantly to rescue the hostages held by the terrorists during the three-day terror siege, lost two of its valiant men during the operation -- Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan and hawaldar Gajendra Singh

While the rest of India remembers the 26/11 victims and martyrs today, for Major Unnikrishnan's [Images] parents life will never be the same again.

"Not a single day passes when we don't think about him," says K Unnikrishnan, father of Major Unnikrishnan.

He added on an emotional note, "Just this morning, I heard my wife crying. When I went up to her, I saw her holding a comb in her hand. That was my son's comb and his hair was stuck on it. We don't want to clean that comb since that hair is the only physical remnant we have of him. His thoughts never leave us, even for a single second. Everyday we go through Sandeep's belongings. We will preserve everything. We have formed a trust in his name and hope that it will help a lot of people."

Major Unnikrishnan died like a hero, while he was trying to save some of his colleagues from the terrorists' bullets, during the operation in the Taj Mahal Hotel [Images].

Speaking about coming to terms with the loss of their only son, K Unnikrishnan says, "The last six months have been tough on us. Life crawls and there is not a single day when we don't think of our brave son. Nothing much has really changed in the last six months. If you ask me whether the country has become any safer, then I really don't know. There is a stable government at the Centre and I feel that a sense of security comes with stability. So let us hope for the best."

But he is proud of his son, who laid down his life for the country. "I feel so proud of Sandeep. The other day, we met his first chief executive officer in the 16th Bihar Regiment. I was beaming with pride when he told me that from day one itself, he knew that my son had potential," recalls K Unnikrishnan.

And he has decided to pay tribute to his son's life in a unique way. "My wife and I are traveling to a lot of places. We will visit every place where my son has served. It is a tribute to my brave son," he added.

On a more assertive note, K Unnikrishnan said, "It is a must that people join the armed forces, because our country needs it. Just because I lost my son, I would not discourage anyone from joining the armed forces. If it had not been my son, then it would have been someone else's son. In June, I am traveling to the National Defence Academy, where I will felicitate some of the new recruits."

Speaking on the unpleasant run-in with Kerala [Images] Chief Minister V Achutanandan, who had famously said that even a dog wouldn't have visited the Unnikrishnans' residence had it not been for his martyr son, the grieving father says that he has put those incidents behind him.

"The incident with the Kerala chief minister was an unpleasant one and it had occurred due to some misunderstanding. I am an apolitical man and I don't want to indulge in any sort of politics," he clarified.

But he struggled to complete the rest of his statement. "I have only nationalism and patriotism within me and you know what; Sandeep is the one who has instilled these feelings of nationalism and patriotism within me," he said tearfully.

World powerless to stop North Korea

By Santaro Rey

North Korea's decision to carry out its second nuclear test on Monday could have far-reaching consequences, if South Korea and Japan conclude that nothing can be done to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearize. Under such circumstances, developing their own nuclear weapons might become increasingly desirable for Seoul and Tokyo.

North Korea shook the world - literally - in the early hours of May 25, carrying out its second nuclear test, at a site in the northeast of the country. Significantly, the latest detonation was much more powerful than its first nuclear test, carried out on October 9, 2006, which was widely believed to have fizzled. The Russian military and the South's Defense Ministry estimated Monday's blast to have yielded 20 kilotons, or roughly the same as the American

atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Nagasaki at the end of World War II in 1945.

That North Korea decided to conduct a second nuclear test was not surprising. Pyongyang's official media had been warning since April 29 that it might conduct a test, as an expression of its displeasure at the United Nations Security Council's criticism of its failed satellite launch (in reality a test of its long-range Taepodong 2 missile) on April 5. Nonetheless, the test came sooner than expected, and unlike its predecessor, Pyongyang did not provide official advance notice in its state-controlled media.

Factors driving the test

North Korea's decision to test the bomb likely had several motivations. Firstly, given that the October 2006 test was widely considered to have fizzled, yielding less than 1 kiloton, Pyongyang needed its own reassurances that it had a fully functioning nuclear weapon. The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) confirmed as much, when it stated, "The test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons."

In the absence of such confirmation, the regime of Kim Jong-il could not be certain that it had sufficient deterrent to repel any external aggression. In addition, the North also needed to make a credible demonstration of its nuclear arsenal to the major powers in the region that it considers hostile, namely the United States, South Korea and Japan. Just to reinforce the message, Pyongyang also test-fired several short-range missiles off its east coast, facing Japan. Nonetheless, international observers still doubt that North Korea has the means to attach nuclear warheads to its array of missiles.

The second reason for North Korea's nuclear test was to put the country at the top of the US's international agenda, at a time when the global economic recession and the war in Afghanistan have emerged as its most pressing challenges. Pyongyang had sought to do this with its April 5 Taepodong 2 missile test, but the world's reaction was somewhat muted. As to why the North craves the US's attention, the main reason is to extract economic and diplomatic concessions. Ultimately, there are reasons to believe that Pyongyang seeks a grand bargain with Washington in which it would be granted diplomatic relations and economic assistance while receiving official acceptance of its nuclear status.

However unrealistic that may sound, North Korea has seen how nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in 1998, initially condemned by the international community, were later overlooked as the West came to see those two countries as too important to ignore. Pakistan became the West's frontline ally in the "war on terror" after September 11, 2001, and received billions of dollars in aid, while India's rising economic power made it unrealistic to marginalize it. Unfortunately for Pyongyang, it has nothing to offer the rest of the world. Thus, its brinkmanship if anything makes it harder for the US to offer North Korea meaningful rewards.

The third reason for the nuclear test - albeit somewhat more speculative - is that Kim Jong-il is seeking to reassert his authority after months of illness since last summer. This may also have been a motivation for the Taepodong 2 test in April. Kim's illness has raised heightened uncertainty about his succession, with most observers anticipating his third son, Kim Jong-un, will eventually succeed him.

However, it is more likely that a military-dominated collective leadership centered around the National Defense Commission (NDC) - the highest decision-making body in North Korea - would fill the vacuum if Kim senior exited the scene. The NDC was expanded to 13 members in early April at the first session of the North's new parliament, and all its members' photos were published in the North's official media, underscoring their rising prominence. In light of this, Pyongyang may well be signaling that there will be no let-up in its hardline policy in the event of a leadership transition.

US and allies have no levers

Rhetoric aside, the US and its allies have no realistic means with which to punish North Korea. Military action is widely considered unthinkable. This is not merely because the US is militarily stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor is it because the North could retaliate using its nuclear weapons. It is also because Pyongyang has massive conventional weaponry, including a 1.1 million-strong army (the world's fifth-largest), 180,000-strong special forces (the world's largest such force), and thousands of artillery pieces and short- and medium-range missiles capable of raining destruction on South Korea and Japan.

Moreover, North Korea has always insisted that its nuclear arsenal is for deterrence purposes. Unless Pyongyang is caught red-handed selling nuclear weapons to terrorists groups or anti-Western states such as Iran, the US, South Korea and Japan would struggle to find a casus belli against the North.

Tighter sanctions are often cited as a potential lever against North Korea. Yet the truth is that the communist state is already subject to so many sanctions that any new ones would largely be meaningless. In any case, Pyongyang has chosen a course of isolation for itself and has willingly moved to cut off joint projects with South Korea, such as the Kaesong Industrial Park, where southern companies manufacture goods using low-cost northern labor.

With the US, South Korea and Japan largely powerless, attention has naturally turned to China to punish the North. Since Beijing is Pyongyang's biggest source of aid and investment, it has the ability to strangle its neighbor into submission. Yet China would never do this, since doing so would risk triggering the very collapse of the North which it so fears.

A putative collapse there would result in millions of North Koreans fleeing into China, thus boosting the strength of the ethnic Korean population already there, and adding to local unemployment problems. Furthermore, Beijing does not wish to see instability in the North that could lead to US military intervention so close to its border.

Thus, despite China's official criticism of North Korea's nuclear test, and its apparent desire to play a more responsible role in the international arena, punitive measures are unlikely. Indeed, there were unconfirmed rumors on May 25 that Pyongyang had given Beijing advance notice of the nuclear test. If true, this means at best that China was unable to stop North Korea. At worst, China might have secretly welcomed the test, for it makes the US and its allies look powerless.

While the major powers may have run out of options for dealing with North Korea, the same is also true for Pyongyang. Its policy of testing missiles and/or nuclear weapons is now becoming familiar fare to international policymakers. A nuclear test is arguably the regime's strongest card, and it has already been played twice.

Moreover, since its nuclear arsenal is limited, Pyongyang cannot test nuclear weapons too often without exhausting its supply. Furthermore, while detonating nuclear bombs clearly ups the ante, the world has long learned to live with a nuclear North Korea. This works in Pyongyang's favor in that it represents de facto acceptance of its nuclear arsenal. But it also means that Pyongyang is less able to orchestrate a crisis by threatening nuclear tests, or even by carrying them out.

The bigger issue: Nuclear dominoes

The bigger question is whether North Korea's nuclear test will lead to growing calls for South Korea and Japan to develop their own nuclear weapons. South Korea had a nuclear weapons program in the 1970s, during the administration of military strongman Park Chung-hee, but was forced to abandon it under US pressure.

However, in the early 2000s, South Korea admitted that its scientists had carried out experiments with nuclear materials. For its part, Japan recently reaffirmed its long-held three non-nuclear principles of not producing, possessing or allowing the introduction to its territory of nuclear weapons, after former finance minister Shoichi Nakagawa stated that Japan should at least debate whether to go nuclear.

Nonetheless, in recent years it has become less taboo for Japanese politicians to raise the nuclear debate, with figures as high-ranking as former opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) leader Ichiro Ozawa warning in April 2002 that Japan could build thousands of nuclear weapons.

Significantly, Ozawa was speaking in reference to counterbalancing China, not North Korea. Moreover, although Ozawa was recently forced to resign as head of the DPJ owing to a corruption scandal, his influence in the party will linger. Ozawa is an advocate of a more independent and assertive Japan, and if the DPJ wins general elections that must be held by October, it could introduce subtle changes to Japan's defense policy. Although a nuclear Japan is not imminent, it has the nuclear technology and a space program, which could be combined into a long-range nuclear arsenal.

For more than 60 years, South Korea and Japan have been protected from either the Soviet Union, China or North Korea by a US nuclear umbrella. However, if Seoul or Tokyo were to ever experience doubts about the reliability of this deterrent, they could eventually embark on a nuclear weapons build-up. Although US presidents have warned North Korea that using nuclear weapons would lead to their own destruction, Seoul and Tokyo cannot guarantee that Washington would be willing to use nuclear weapons to avenge the loss of any Korean or Japanese cities if the North had the means to attempt a nuclear strike on the US itself.

Ultimately, a nuclear South Korea and Japan could transform the geostrategic landscape of East Asia, and possibly the world. It could hasten the end of US hegemony in Asia, since the two would become less dependent on the US to guarantee their security.

There would be less need for US bases in the region, and Seoul and Tokyo might become a lot more assertive. Meanwhile, China would at the very least be uncomfortable with a nuclear South Korea. One reason is that Seoul could become more assertive about future territorial disputes concerning the ancient kingdom of Koguryo (Goguryeo), which incorporated large tracts of China and Korea.

But the bigger reason is that a nuclear South Korea might encourage Taiwan to develop nuclear weapons for fear of being left behind in the nuclear race. For China, a nuclear Taiwan would be intolerable, for it would make it easier for the island to declare independence from the mainland without fear of retribution if the Taiwanese people's desire arose. Finally, China would be especially concerned about a nuclear Japan, since Tokyo is Beijing's most formidable geopolitical rival in East Asia and a potential check on its self-proclaimed peaceful rise.

79 more Arjuns to join Army by next year

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Indian Army’s 43rd regiment’s arsenal will be boosted by indigenously built 79 more main battle tanks by 2010.

Handing over the 16 MBT Arjun to the 43rd regiment, Dr A Sivathanu Pillai, Chief Controller, Research & Development, DRDO, Ministry of Defence, told reporters that the armed forces will have nearly 124 tanks by March next year.

Currently, the regiment has 45 tanks, including the 16 that were handed over to the regiment authorities on Monday. Each tank costs over Rs 16 crore, official sources said.

Emphasising the need for being self-reliant on manufacturing defence equipments, Sivathanu said, the country is producing only 30 per cent of it.

“Henceforth, the government has to come up with Component Design Execution Programme (CODE) for increasing the ratio to 70 per cent. This could be achieved in about seven years from now,” he said.

“The DRDO has also joined hands with Indian firms for making software for the defence sector. We are working with L&T and BHEL to develop technologies for components necessary to the defence,” he added.

“Arjun proved that the might of India in the field of research and development and the potential of public and private companies cannot be ignored by other countries,” Lt Gen D Bhardwaj, Director General of Mechanised Force, said.

S Chandrasekar, Additional Director General Ordinance Factory, observed that the Arjun tanks are one of the best in the world. MBT Arjun has undergone rigorous extensive evaluation, he said.

“However, these tanks have crossed several hindrances, with denial of equipment and technology by foreign nations,” he pointed out.

He also said that the army carried out the Accelerated Usage Cum Reliability Trails (AUCRT) in five phases on two tanks between November 2007 and June 2008, covering about 8,000 km.

Later, Sivathanu flagged off the tanks.

Tank you lemon!

As scientists, researchers, defence personnel and media personnel gathered for the handing over of 16 Main Battle Tank Arjun, one was awestruck when some lemons popped up at the ceremony.

These tiny little yellow things were placed beneath the wheels to ward off evil spirits.

They were placed on both sides of the giant wheels, which attracted the attention of many people.

As the tanks were flagged off, people who were witnessing the event clapped to cheer the regiment and other people as the lemons were crushed by the giant war machines.

It made many wonder, do we require a tank to ward off our enemies or just a lemon. The authorities could not be contacted for their comment.|6QYp3kQ=&SEO=

The Navy does it


P Chacko Joseph is the Publisher of Frontier India Strategic and Defence, an online publication which specializes in International Strategic and Defence Affairs

The Kargil episode showed the will of young Indian soldiers to fight and win a war.

But it also exposed the paralysis of the military leadership. An estimated 700,000 Indian Army personnel were deployed in mountainous Kashmir, and they did not have enough high altitude clothing.

The army leadership has of late been complaining about almost everything around it, including the intelligence agencies, the Defence Research & Development Organisation, the ordinance factories, the lack of skilled manpower.

Yet when it comes to indigenisation of critical weapons and equipment, the army leadership drags its feet. The import of this high value equipment puts considerable strain on our foreign exchange reserves. It also involves the lucrative arms market, where abnormal influences exist.

* India to have own N-submarine ready in two years

* Indian defence and the Abominable No Men

The neglect of the Indian Defence forces throughout 1980`s and early 1990`s has taken its toll on the equipment needs of armed forces in general. The Cinderella sister, the Indian Navy (IN) took this opportunity to develop, design and build Indian warships with as much indigenous content as possible.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we saw the Navy scrambling to build indigenous and ingenious capacities to keep their Soviet ship content afloat. In fact the Indian Navy design house was so ambitious that it wanted to build an aircraft carrier, but this was not backed up by the weak governments which rule the nation. .

The Indian Army, on the other hand, made a mess of most of their indigenous projects. Unlike the Navy, the huge engineering manpower of the Army failed to innovate. Which is why today, while the Indian Navy flaunts its homegrown ships, the Army proudly displays imported weaponry for the parade on Rajpath.

Army rafting team to represent India in R6 World Cup 2009 in Serbia


May 26th, 2009

NEW DELHI - In the recent years emphasis on river rafting has gained prominence in India and the Army rafting team, which has been dominating the national scene for the past six years, has been invited by International Rafting Federation to represent the country in R6 World Cup 2009, being held in Serbia on May 30-31.

Army rafting team comprising of seven members led by Captain Sachin Nikam will represent India in this prestigious event.

The R6 World Cup is a prestigious event wherein 37 teams from all over the world participate.

In past, Army Rafting team also represented India in World Rafting Championship 2005 at Equador and World Rafting Championship 2007 at South Korea.

Having won numerous national level championships and after securing overall first position in the first Kashmir Cup (5th India Cup) held at Sonamarg (Jammu and Kashmir) in 2008, the Army Rafting team has been invited by International Rafting Federation to represent India. (ANI)

Some questions for India on the Chinese threat

Posted by P. Chacko Joseph

Published in Opinion and Editorials

Of all the threats which India faces, the biggest is China. Other threats like Pakistani Army attitude and terrorists are proxy threats. China represents a threat in itself. India and China are two civilizations and a conflict between these two will be a civilizational conflict. Pakistani Army and terrorism can be controlled by US influence. Will US be able to influence China to stop attacking India like it can influence Pakistan? China will attack India when others are busy and is advantageous for China. Will India ever attack china even when it feels advantageous?

Second question is the location of Chinese threat. Chinese army is deployed on the higher ground and Indian Army is deployed on the lower ground. Chinese disadvantage of moving troops and equipment over the occupied Tibetan is overcome by feats in road construction, railway line and air strips. China also has built up vehicles/ carriers to move around at Tibet border, while Indian Army still depends largely upon mules. Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), other airfields reactivated, current roads building program at Chinese border are meant to “keep and eye” on Chinese and have very less value when it comes to large scale troop movements. Stationing SU-30 MKI at Chinese borders is the only credible defence on Chinese border which we have seen lately. Does India has the border infrastructure at Chinese border?

Third question is Chinese posses long range artillery, which is not yet employed in decisive manner by India. China has deployed missiles in occupied Tibet and it can hit any part of India it wants. Indian on the other hand has just started building up offensive missile systems which can harm Chinese at their main land. While Chinese will have no remorse to hit Indian populated centers, Chinese PLA can use Tibetan cities as shields. It is possible that Tibetans will rise in revolt, but, its anybody’s guess if china has not built it into calculation. There are fresh examples of how equipped are the Chinese to contain Tibetans. Indian ABM systems are quite a while away. Will India hurl missiles at Tibetan cities? Can India strike Chinese main land with as much damage that Chinese can inflict on India?

The fourth question is formidable Chinese production units that can churn the required military wares in numbers in the event of war. Not just this, Chinese forces have been using and upgrading their indigenous equipment. On the other hand Indian Armed forces, especially the Indian Army does not has such foresight and leadership for almost past 3 decades. India will have to import, non suited equipment from overseas. This was demonstrated during kargil war. Will it come in numbers and right time?

The fifth question is that Chinese can use nuclear weapons first and Chinese have the capability to withstand a nuclear strike and counter strike. Can India boast of such capabilities against the Chinese main land?

The sixth question is that India and China has undefined borders and Tawang is hotly contested. Will India fight the border war on the Indian side of the territory or the territory occupied by the Chinese?

The eigth question is the maturity of Chinese cyber warfare. We have allegedly seen them hacking Indian embassy PC’s. Have Indian cyber warfare team ever tested hacking Chinese networks?

The ninth question is that Chinese trade flows via Indian ocean. The Chinese are building Navy ( PLAN ) to operate in Indian Ocean. Will Indian Navy operate on east Chinese sea?

The tenth reason is the Chinese diplomatic clout and they are a permanent 5 nation at UN. They can block any deal in UN which concerns them. India doesn’t. Can India walk out of UN, when Chinese have an upper hand there?

The eleventh question is the Chinese ASAT test. China has tested its anti-satellite weapon, India has not. Will India be able to destroy Chinese assets in space?

The twelfth question is the Chinese economy and economic clout. Chinese economy can sustain a long war with India. Can Indian economy sustain it? Chinese economic clout spans from Latin America to Africa. Even Us and Russia have Chinese as major trading partner. How much can India influence?

The final question was echoed by the Indian Air Force Chief , Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. He told Hindustan Times “We know very little about the actual capabilities of China, their combat edge or how professional their military is.” Does India fully understands the Chinese threat?

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