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Thursday, 28 May 2009

From Today's Papers - 28 May 09

Indian Express

Asian Age

Asian Age

Telegraph India

Telegraph India

Telegraph India

Asian Age

Indian Express

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Asian Age

Asian Age

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Indian Express

Asian Age

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Asian Age

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Indian Express

DNA India

THE NORTH KOREAN NUCLEAR TEST AND GEOPOLITICAL REALITY

By Nathan Hughes

North Korea tested a nuclear device for the second time in two and a half years May 25. Although North Korea's nuclear weapons program continues to be a work in progress, the event is inherently significant. North Korea has carried out the only two nuclear detonations the world has seen in the 21st century. (The most recent tests prior to that were the spate of tests by India and Pakistan in 1998.)

Details continue to emerge through the analysis of seismographic and other data, and speculation about the precise nature of the atomic device that Pyongyang may now posses carries on, making this a good moment to examine the underlying reality of nuclear weapons. Examining their history, and the lessons that can be drawn from that history, will help us understand what it will really mean if North Korea does indeed join the nuclear club.

Nuclear Weapons in the 20th Century

Even before an atomic bomb was first detonated on July 16, 1945, both the scientists and engineers of the Manhattan Project and the U.S. military struggled with the implications of the science that they pursued. But ultimately, they were driven by a profound sense of urgency to complete the program in time to affect the outcome of the war, meaning understanding the implications of the atomic bomb was largely a luxury that would have to wait. Even after World War II ended, the frantic pace of the Cold War kept pushing weapons development forward at a break-neck pace. This meant that in their early days, atomic weapons were probably more advanced than the understanding of their moral and practical utility.

But the promise of nuclear weapons was immense. If appropriate delivery systems could be designed and built, and armed with more powerful nuclear warheads, a nation could continually threaten another country's very means of existence: its people, industry, military installations and governmental institutions. Battlefield or tactical nuclear weapons would make the massing of military formations suicidal -- or so military planners once thought. What seemed clear early on was that nuclear weapons had fundamentally changed everything. War was thought to have been made obsolete, simply too dangerous and too destructive to contemplate. Some of the most brilliant minds of the Manhattan Project talked of how atomic weapons made world government necessary.

But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the advent of the nuclear age is how little actually changed. Great power competition continued apace (despite a new, bilateral dynamic). The Soviets blockaded Berlin for nearly a year starting in 1948, in defiance of what was then the world's sole nuclear power: the United States. Likewise, the United States refused to use nuclear weapons in the Korean War (despite the pleas of Gen. Douglas MacArthur) even as Chinese divisions surged across the Yalu River, overwhelming U.S., South Korean and allied forces and driving them back south, reversing the rapid gains of late 1950.

Again and again, the situations nuclear weapons were supposed to deter occurred. The military realities they would supposedly shift simply persisted. Thus, the United States lost in Vietnam. The Syrians and the Egyptians invaded Israel in 1973 (despite knowing that the Israelis had acquired nuclear weapons by that point). The Soviet Union lost in Afghanistan. India and Pakistan went to war in 1999 -- and nearly went to war twice after that. In none of these cases was it judged appropriate to risk employing nuclear weapons -- nor was it clear what utility they might have.

Enduring Geopolitical Stability

Wars of immense risk are born of desperation. In World War II, both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan took immense geostrategic gambles -- and lost -- but knowingly took the risk because of untenable geopolitical circumstances. By comparison, the postwar United States and Soviet Union were geopolitically secure. Washington had come into its own as a global power secured by the buffer of two oceans, while Moscow enjoyed the greatest strategic depth it had ever known.

The U.S.-Soviet competition was, of course, intense, from the nuclear arms race to the space race to countless proxy wars. Yet underlying it was a fear that the other side would engage in a war that was on its face irrational. Western Europe promised the Soviet Union immense material wealth but would likely have been impossible to subdue. (Why should a Soviet leader expect to succeed where Napoleon and Hitler had failed?) Even without nuclear weapons in the calculus, the cost to the Soviets was too great, and fears of the Soviet invasion of Europe along the North European Plain were overblown. The desperation that caused Germany to seek control over Europe twice in the first half of the 20th century simply did not characterize either the Soviet or U.S. geopolitical position even without nuclear weapons in play. It was within this context that the concept of mutually assured destruction emerged -- the idea that each side would possess sufficient retaliatory capability to inflict a devastating "second strike" in the event of even a surprise nuclear attack.

Through it all, the metrics of nuclear warfare became more intricate. Throw weights and penetration rates were calculated and recalculated. Targets were assigned and reassigned. A single city would begin to have multiple target points, each with multiple strategic warheads allocated to its destruction. Theorists and strategists would talk of successful scenarios for first strikes. But only in the Cuban Missile Crisis did the two sides really threaten one another's fundamental national interests. There were certainly other moments when the world inched toward the nuclear brink. But each time, the global system found its balance, and there was little cause or incentive for political leaders on either side of the Iron Curtain to so fundamentally alter the status quo as to risk direct military confrontation -- much less nuclear war.

So through it all, the world carried on, its fundamental dynamics unchanged by the ever-present threat of nuclear war. Indeed, history has shown that once a country has acquired nuclear weapons, the weapons fail to have any real impact on the country's regional standing or pursuit of power in the international system.

Thus, not only were nuclear weapons never used in even desperate combat situations, their acquisition failed to entail any meaningful shift in geopolitical position. Even as the United Kingdom acquired nuclear weapons in the 1950s, its colonial empire crumbled. The Soviet Union was behaving aggressively all along its periphery before it acquired nuclear weapons. And the Soviet Union had the largest nuclear arsenal in the world when it collapsed -- not only despite its arsenal, but in part because the economic burden of creating and maintaining it was unsustainable. Today, nuclear-armed France and non-nuclear armed Germany vie for dominance on the Continent with no regard for France's small nuclear arsenal.

The Intersection of Weapons, Strategy and Politics

This August will mark 64 years since any nation used a nuclear weapon in combat. What was supposed to be the ultimate weapon has proved too risky and too inappropriate as a weapon ever to see the light of day again. Though nuclear weapons certainly played a role in the strategic calculus of the Cold War, they had no relation to a military strategy that anyone could seriously contemplate. Militaries, of course, had war plans and scenarios and target sets. But outside this world of role-play Armageddon, neither side was about to precipitate a global nuclear war.

Clausewitz long ago detailed the inescapable connection between national political objectives and military force and strategy. Under this thinking, if nuclear weapons had no relation to practical military strategy, then they were necessarily disconnected (at least in the Clausewitzian sense) from -- and could not be integrated with -- national and political objectives in a coherent fashion. True to the theory, despite ebbs and flows in the nuclear arms race, for 64 years, no one has found a good reason to detonate a nuclear bomb.

By this line of reasoning, STRATFOR is not suggesting that complete nuclear disarmament -- or "getting to zero" -- is either possible or likely. The nuclear genie can never be put back in the bottle. The idea that the world could ever remain nuclear-free is untenable. The potential for clandestine and crash nuclear programs will remain a reality of the international system, and the world's nuclear powers are unlikely ever to trust the rest of the system enough to completely surrender their own strategic deterrents.

Legacy, Peer and Bargaining Programs

The countries in the world today with nuclear weapons programs can be divided into three main categories.

Legacy Programs: This category comprises countries like the United Kingdom and France that maintain small arsenals even after the end of the threat they acquired them for; in this case, to stave off a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. In the last few years, both London and Paris have decided to sustain their small arsenals in some form for the foreseeable future. This category is also important for highlighting the unlikelihood that a country will surrender its weapons after it has acquired them (the only exceptions being South Africa and several Soviet Republics that repatriated their weapons back to Russia after the Soviet collapse).

Peer Programs: The original peer program belonged to the Soviet Union, which aggressively and ruthlessly pursued a nuclear weapons capacity following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 because its peer competitor, the United States, had them. The Pakistani and Indian nuclear programs also can be understood as peer programs.

Bargaining Programs: These programs are about the threat of developing nuclear weapons, a strategy that involves quite a bit of tightrope walking to make the threat of acquiring nuclear weapons appear real and credible while at the same time not making it appear so urgent as to require military intervention. Pyongyang pioneered this strategy, and has wielded it deftly over the years. As North Korea continues to progress with its efforts, however, it will shift from a bargaining chip to an actual program -- one it will be unlikely to surrender once it acquires weapons, like London and Paris. Iran also falls into this category, though it could also progress to a more substantial program if it gets far enough along. Though parts of its program are indeed clandestine, other parts are actually highly publicized and celebrated as milestones, both to continue to highlight progress internationally and for purposes of domestic consumption. Indeed, manipulating the international community with a nuclear weapon -- or even a civilian nuclear program -- has proved to be a rare instance of the utility of nuclear weapons beyond simple deterrence.

The Challenges of a Nuclear Weapons Program

Pursuing a nuclear weapons program is not without its risks. Another important distinction is that between a crude nuclear device and an actual weapon. The former requires only that a country demonstrate the capability to initiate an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction, creating a rather large hole in the ground. That device may be crude, fragile or otherwise temperamental. But this does not automatically imply the capability to mount a rugged and reliable nuclear warhead on a delivery vehicle and send it flying to the other side of the earth. In other words, it does not immediately translate into a meaningful deterrent.

For that, a ruggedized, reliable nuclear weapon must be mated with some manner of reliable delivery vehicle to have real military meaning. After the end of World War II, the B-29's limited range and the few nuclear weapons the United States had on hand meant that its vaunted nuclear arsenal was initially extremely difficult to bring to bear against the Soviet heartland. The United States would spend untold resources to overcome this obstacle in the decade that followed.

The modern nuclear weapon is not just a product of physics, but of decades of design work and full-scale nuclear testing. It combines expertise not just in nuclear physics, but materials science, rocketry, missile guidance and the like. A nuclear device does not come easy. A nuclear weapon is one of the most advanced syntheses of complex technologies ever achieved by man.

Many dangers exist for an aspiring nuclear power. Many of the facilities associated with a clandestine nuclear weapons program are large, fixed and complex. They are vulnerable to airstrikes -- as Syria found in 2007. (And though history shows that nuclear weapons are unlikely to be employed, it is still in the interests of other powers to deny that capability to a potential adversary.)

The history of proliferation shows that few countries actually ever decide to pursue nuclear weapons. Obtaining them requires immense investment (and the more clandestine the attempt, the more costly the program becomes), and the ability to focus and coordinate a major national undertaking over time. It is not something a leader like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez could decide to pursue on a whim. A national government must have cohesion over the long span of time necessary to go from the foundations of a weapons program to a meaningful deterrent capability.

The Exceptions

In addition to this sustained commitment must be the willingness to be suspected by the international community and endure pariah status and isolation -- in and of themselves significant risks for even moderately integrated economies. One must also have reasonable means of deterring a pre-emptive strike by a competing power. A Venezuelan weapons program is therefore unlikely because the United States would act decisively the moment one was discovered, and there is little Venezuela could do to deter such action.

North Korea, on the other hand, has held downtown Seoul (just across the demilitarized zone) at risk for generations with one of the highest concentrations of deployed artillery, artillery rockets and short-range ballistic missiles on the planet. From the outside, Pyongyang is perceived as unpredictable enough that any potential pre-emptive strike on its nuclear facilities is too risky not because of some newfound nuclear capability, but because of Pyongyang's capability to turn the South Korean capital city into a proverbial "sea of fire" via conventional means. A nuclear North Korea, the world has now seen, is not sufficient alone to risk renewed war on the Korean Peninsula.

Iran is similarly defended. It can threaten to close the Strait of Hormuz, to launch a barrage of medium-range ballistic missiles at Israel, and to use its proxies in Lebanon and elsewhere to respond with a new campaign of artillery rocket fire, guerrilla warfare and terrorism. But the biggest deterrent to a strike on Iran is Tehran's ability to seriously interfere in ongoing U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan -- efforts already tenuous enough without direct Iranian opposition.

In other words, some other deterrent (be it conventional or unconventional) against attack is a prerequisite for a nuclear program, since powerful potential adversaries can otherwise move to halt such efforts. North Korea and Iran have such deterrents. Most other countries widely considered major proliferation dangers -- Iraq before 2003, Syria or Venezuela, for example -- do not. And that fundamental deterrent remains in place after the country acquires nuclear weapons.

In short, no one was going to invade North Korea -- or even launch limited military strikes against it -- before its first nuclear test in 2006. And no one will do so now, nor will they do so after its next test. So North Korea – with or without nuclear weapons – remains secure from invasion. With or without nuclear weapons, North Korea remains a pariah state, isolated from the international community. And with or without them, the world will go on.

The Global Nuclear Dynamic

Despite how frantic the pace of nuclear proliferation may seem at the moment, the true pace of the global nuclear dynamic is slowing profoundly. With the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty already effectively in place (though it has not been ratified), the pace of nuclear weapons development has already slowed and stabilized dramatically. The world's current nuclear powers are reliant to some degree on the generation of weapons that were validated and certified before testing was banned. They are currently working toward weapons and force structures that will provide them with a stable, sustainable deterrent for the foreseeable future rooted largely in this pre-existing weapons architecture.

New additions to the nuclear club are always cause for concern. But though North Korea's nuclear program continues apace, it hardly threatens to shift underlying geopolitical realities. It may encourage the United States to retain a slightly larger arsenal to reassure Japan and South Korea about the credibility of its nuclear umbrella. It also could encourage Tokyo and Seoul to pursue their own weapons. But none of these shifts, though significant, is likely to alter the defining military, economic and political dynamics of the region fundamentally.

Nuclear arms are better understood as an insurance policy, one that no potential aggressor has any intention of steering afoul of. Without practical military or political use, they remain held in reserve -- where in all likelihood they will remain for the foreseeable future.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com.

Copyright 2009 Stratfor.

No dirty deals, Antony warns arms suppliers
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 27
Mild-mannered Indian Defence Minister AK Antony was in a different mood today as he sent across the toughest ever message to stem corruption in much-maligned multi-crore defence procurement deals.

Antony, who looks more confident in his second term as the Defence minister, said the government would not hesitate to ruthlessly cancel contracts, if malpractices are found in any acquisition. He was talking to reporters after addressing a defence industry meet organised by the CII and FICCI.

“I can tell my industry friends, who have close contact with suppliers and are collaborating with foreign firms and manufacturers that they should not try and bribe our people…. They will face the consequences, also the officers and manufacturers will face action,” said Antony, who in the past has made radical changes in the defence procurement system.

Earlier, the Defence Minister deviated from the prepared text at the inauguration of DEFCOM India - 2009 saying the government has consciously taken a decision to minimise the country’s dependence on import of defence systems. He also agreed that more products should be sourced on the basis of ‘buy and make’ rather than ‘buy’ category alone.

He lamented that nearly 70 per cent of the defence weaponry is still being imported. The Indian defence industry is picking up as the ministry has made it mandatory for foreign companies to plough back a certain degree of investment by transferring technology within India.

During Antony's previous tenure as Defence Minister, the government had cancelled at least two defence deals, including the Eurocopter --- light utility helicopter deal last year after some malpractices were detected by the manufacturer.

Antony said the turbulence in our immediate neighbourhood makes the political stability in our country even more important. He said the need to modernise the forces in the face of asymmetric and unconventional means of warfare cannot be overemphasised.

Referring to the new challenges before the armed forces, the Minister said it is neither possible nor feasible to have equipment and systems on stand-by for all conceivable variants of modern military conflicts.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090528/main5.htm

We Know Little about China's Combat Capability:
IAF Chief


New Delhi
Little is known about China's "actual capability" in the defence sector, Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said Wednesday, as he clarified his previous remarks that Beijing was the biggest threat to India.

"I meant to say that we know very little about the actual capability of the country... You do not want to be threat-centric, you want to be capability-based," Major told a press conference here.

While asserting that IAF was placed "very well" vis-à-vis China, the IAF chief said: "We need to improve our combat edge.

"We certainly have plans to improve infrastructure

http://kona.kontera.com/javascript/lib/imgs/grey_loader.gif

in the northeastern region. We are in the process of developing four-five airfields and advance landing grounds and put our assets there. Soon we will be moving our one squadron of Sukhois (combat jets) to the northeast," Major added.

In an interview to a newspaper, the IAF chief had said earlier this week that in the wake of its military expansion, China is a "bigger threat" than Pakistan.

A.K. Antony, immediately after taking charge as defence minister Monday, said his ministry had taken note of the rapid development of infrastructure by China on its side of the border.

"Infrastructure development in the northeast and other border areas (and) modern equipment in coastal areas is more important and will require fast track procurement," he had said.

"India wants to have friendly relations with all its neighbors. We have to not only maintain but improve relations with China. At the same time, we have to be eternally prepared for any challenges to our security," he had said.

http://news.boloji.com/2009/05/30422.htm

India Floats Tender for Combat, Heavy Lift Helicopters
By Gulshan Luthra

New Delhi
To replace its ageing helicopter fleet, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has released the much-awaited tenders for 22 combat and 15 heavy lift choppers to US, European and Russian manufacturers.

The tenders, or Request for Proposals (RfPs), had been pending for some time and needed clearance from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which actually acquires any weapon and systems on behalf of the services. But due to the elections, political clearance was on hold till now.

One of the first things which Defence Minister A.K. Antony did after taking over the office Monday was to clear some of the already pending files on his table and release the RfPs to manufacturers of combat helicopters. On Tuesday, the RfP for the heavy lift helicopters was released.

The three services have been pressing the government for several years to speed up the process to replace and augment their mostly Soviet-vintage inventory. Times have changed since these systems were acquired and some of the essential items on board any aircraft or ship today, or even for an army tank and artillery gun, are sophisticated electronic surveillance and engagement systems towards real time neutralization of any threat.

Precision and real time engagement is the key demand, and requirement, for the three services now.

IAF Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major told IANS that the services expected the government to clear many files which had been pending for long.

Antony has expressed that he shares the concern of the armed forces for lack of modern equipment and initiated action on day one of his second innings in the ministry.

After the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that the Indian forces must have the capability to monitor the borders and coastline, as also to check any intrusion or aggression. The proposal to acquire Boeing P8-I long-endurance Maritime Multi Mission Aircraft (MMA) was cleared immediately.

The RfP for the 22 combat helicopters had actually been released just before the Berlin Air Show in May 2008 to six contenders, Sikorsky for Black Hawk, Boeing for Apache AH 64D, Bell for Super Cobra (all three from US), Eurocopter for Tiger, Russian Mil for Mi 35, and Augusta Westland for Mangusta.

The US companies could not compete due to what they said were time constraints and procedural bottlenecks within their country. IAF felt that some of the best technologies in combat machines were not on the platter, and accordingly a re-tender was requested.

IAF and army helicopters are often called during natural disasters, but most of their helicopters are old, and not capable of the demanding tasks. A heavy lift helicopter like the Chinook for instance, which is used in the rough terrains of Afghanistan, can carry under-slung trucks and artillery guns as well as jeeps within its cargo bay.

The IAF had acquired a few Mi 26 in the mid-1980s. They are old, short of spares, and need replacement.

Both the IAF and the Indian Army want heavy lift capability.

Vivek Lall, Boeing's Integrated Defence Systems (IDS) country head for India, said: "Boeing has received the RfPs for the attack and heavy lift helicopters and will review the requirements. Boeing's Apache and Chinook can provide the Indian Air Force with the most capable, proven and versatile platforms in their respective class."

Air Vice Marshal (retired) A.J.S. Walia, Sikorsky's India vice president, said his company will pit "the world famous Black Hawk" in the competition.

http://news.boloji.com/2009/05/30414.htm

Lahore again
Time to tackle all jihadi outfits

The terrorists based in Pakistan, it seems, remain unaffected by the anti-Taliban Army operation in the Swat valley. They struck in Lahore on Wednesday for the third time this year, killing over 35 persons in a car bomb blast. Their success in triggering the powerful blast in an elite locality — near Civil Lines, Mall Road — which has the Punjab Assembly building, the Punjab High Court and the ISI’s provincial headquarters, shows that the militant jihadis continue to have the capacity to strike anywhere, anytime in Pakistan. On March 30 they targeted the Police Academy at Manawan, close to Lahore, gunning down 10 persons, and on March 3 they attacked the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team, leading to the death of eight persons.

Reports indicate that the latest incident appears to be the handiwork of the Taliban or a terrorist network aligned with it in retaliation for the anti-Taliban Army action in the Swat region. The Pakistan Army claims to have cleared most parts of Malakand division, including Swat, of the Taliban presence. It is now preparing to move to the Bajaur Agency, where residents have been asked to vacate their houses immediately. Pakistan, which created the Taliban in the nineties as part of its larger goal of acquiring strategic depth in Afghanistan, in under pressure from the international community, particularly the US, to continue the anti-Taliban drive till the scourge is wiped out.

However, a large number of Taliban activists have escaped from Malakand division, melting into the fleeing civilians. These elements cannot keep quiet. Their bases in different parts of Pakistan remain in tact. Perhaps, they have targeted a city like Lahore to gain maximum publicity. Pakistan will have to uproot the militant jihadi culture, wind up the training camps and habitats of the off-shoots of the Taliban and other extremist groups if it is serious about fighting terrorism to the finish. It will have to destroy all the terrorist networks to win the battle against the enemies of peace. Focusing only on the Taliban in the North-West will not be enough.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090528/edit.htm#1

'China's Pak policy driven to counter India's growing power'

Lalit K Jha / PTI / Washington May 27, 2009, 9:45 IST

China's policy towards Pakistan is driven primarily by its interest in countering India in the region and diverting its military and strategic attention away from Beijing, an influential US South Asian expert has said.

"Chinese officials view certain degree of Indo-Pakistan tension as advancing their own strategic interests, as such friction bogs India down in South Asia and interferes with New Delhi's ability to assert its global ambitions and compete with China at the international level," said Lisa Curtis.

Curtis, a senior Research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said this in her testimony before the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission last week, the copy of which was released to the press yesterday.

Curtis, who is regularly invited to the Congress for giving her expert opinion on South Asian issues, said in recent years Beijing has demonstrated that it favours bilateral Indo-Pakistan negotiations to resolve differences.

It has played a helpful role in preventing the outbreak of full-scale war between the two countries, especially during the 1999 Kargil conflict, she noted.

"Despite the evolution in Chinese position on Kashmir, it continues to maintain a robust defense relationship with Pakistan, and to view a strong partnership with Pakistan as a useful way to contain Indian power," she said.

On China's attempt to scuttle the Indo-US civil nuclear deal at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in September 2008, Curtis said this was evidence for many Indians that Beijing does not willingly accept New Delhi's rise on world stage.

"The Chinese, buoyed by the unexpected opposition from NSG nations like New Zealand, Austria, and Ireland threatened the agreement with delaying tactics and last-minute concerns signaled through an article in the Chinese Communist Party's English-language paper, The People's Daily.

"The public rebuke of the deal followed several earlier assurances from Chinese leaders that Beijing would not block consensus at the NSG," she said.

Given that China, Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed states and that border disputes continue to bedevil Indo-Pak and Indo-China relations, Curtis said the US must pay close attention to security dynamics of the region and seek ways to reduce military tensions and discourage nuclear proliferation.

"China's apparent growing concern over Islamist extremism in Pakistan may provide opportunities for Washington to work more closely with Beijing in encouraging more effective Pakistani counterterrorism policies," she said.

Pakistan's reliance on both the US and China for aid and diplomatic support means coordinated approaches from Beijing and Washington provide best chance for impacting Pakistani policies to encourage regional stability, Curtis said.

The more Pakistan believes it can play US and China off one another, the less likely it will be to take economic and political reforms and to rein in extremists, she said.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/%5Cchina%5Cs-pak-policy-driven-to-counter-india%5Cs-growing-power%5C/62900/on

'China aims to contain Indian power through ties with Pak'

Lalit K Jha in Washington | May 27, 2009 | 11:10 IST

China's policy towards Pakistan is driven primarily by its interest in countering India in the region and diverting its military and strategic attention away from Beijing, an influential South Asian expert has said.

"Chinese officials view certain degree of Indo-Pakistan tension as advancing their own strategic interests, as such friction bogs India down in South Asia and interferes with New Delhi's ability to assert its global ambitions and compete with China at the international level," said Lisa Curtis.

Curtis, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said this in her testimony before the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission last week, the copy of which was released to the press on Tuesday.

Curtis, who is regularly invited to the Congress for giving her expert opinion on South Asian issues, said in recent years Beijing has demonstrated that it favours bilateral Indo-Pakistan negotiations to resolve differences. It has played a helpful role in preventing the outbreak of full-scale war between the two countries, especially during the 1999 Kargil conflict, she noted.

"Despite the evolution in Chinese position on Kashmir, it continues to maintain a robust defence relationship with Pakistan, and to view a strong partnership with Pakistan as a useful way to contain Indian power," she said.

On China's attempt to scuttle the Indo-United States civil nuclear agreement at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in September 2008, Curtis said this was evidence for many Indians that Beijing will not willingly accept New Delhi's rise on the world stage.

"The Chinese, buoyed by the unexpected opposition from NSG nations like New Zealand, Austria, and Ireland, threatened the agreement with delaying tactics and last-minute concerns signaled through an article in the Chinese Communist Party's English-language paper, The People's Daily."

"The public rebuke of the deal followed several earlier assurances from Chinese leaders that Beijing would not block consensus at the NSG," she pointed out.

Given that China, Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed states and that border disputes continue to affect Indo-Pak and Indo-China relations, Curtis said the US must pay close attention to the security dynamics of the region and seek ways to reduce military tensions and discourage nuclear proliferation.

"China's apparent growing concern over Islamist extremism in Pakistan may provide opportunities for Washington to work more closely with Beijing in encouraging more effective Pakistani counter-terrorism policies," she said.

Pakistan's reliance on both the US and China for aid and diplomatic support means coordinated approaches from Beijing and Washington provide best chance for impacting Pakistani policies to encourage regional stability, Curtis said.

The more Pakistan believes it can play US and China off one another, the less likely it will be to take economic and political reforms and to rein in extremists, she said.

http://news.rediff.com/report/2009/may/27/china-aims-to-contain-indian-power-through-ties-with-pak.htm

No tolerance for corruption in defence deals: Antony

New Delhi (IANS): Sending out a stern message against corruption in defence equipment procurement, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday said contracts will be “ruthlessly” cancelled if any malpractices were found.

Deviating from his prepared text for the inauguration speech at the DEFCOM India-2009 seminar here, Mr. Antony asked industry organisations such as Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to help the government in this regard.

“We would not hesitate to ruthlessly cancel contracts,” Mr. Antony told reporters in reply to a question on stemming corruption in defence deals.

Addressing the seminar, Mr. Antony said the government had consciously taken a decision to minimise the country’s dependence on import of defence systems and platforms.

He also agreed that more products should be sourced on the basis of ‘buy and make’ rather than ‘buy’ category alone. He lamented that nearly 70 percent of defence weapons and systems are still being imported and only 30 percent are being indigenously produced.

The two-day seminar on Informatics for Defence Force Transformation and Technology Development in the Information Age — DEFCOM India-2009 — has been organised by the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army in collaboration with CII.

Army chief General Deepak Kapoor was also present during its inaugural session.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/002200905271713.htm

New head of U.S. Pacific Command named

Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - by Janis L. Magin

Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet since 2007, was named commander of the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii on Wednesday by President Barack Obama.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Willard, who took command of the Pacific Fleet in May 2007, will replace Adm. Timothy Keating, who has been commander of the Pacific Command since March 2007. Keating’s plans are unknown, according to a military spokeswoman.

Before taking over the Pacific Fleet, based at Pearl Harbor, Willard was previously vice chief of naval operations, and was deputy and chief of staff of the Pacific Fleet and was commander of Carrier Group 5 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk and the U.S. 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, according to his official Navy biography.

He is also an F-14 pilot and served as operations officer and executive officer of the Navy Fighter Weapons School and commanded the Screaming Eagles of Fighter Squadron 51.

Willard, a Los Angeles native, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1973 and holds a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University.

The U.S. Pacific Command, based at Camp H.M. Smith on Oahu, is the largest of the nation’s military commands, with 250,000 personnel and a geographic area stretching from the West Coast of the United States to the western boarder of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole. The commander also oversees the four component commands — the Pacific Fleet, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, the U.S. Army Pacific and the U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, all headquartered in Hawaii.

http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2009/05/25/daily23.html?t=printable

Army opens school in Chennai

Chennai (PTI): The Indian Army has opened its first school in the metropolis to cater to the educational needs of children of its serving and retired officers.

The Golden Palm Army School at Nandambakkam, built at a cost of about Rs 12 crore, is run under the aegis of Headquarters, Andhra Tamil Nadu Karnataka and Kerala (ATNKK) area, and is expected to metamorphose into an Army Public School by next year, a Defence release said here on Wednesday.

The school caters to students from all strata of society with priority given towards serving and retired army personnel, Central and State Government employees.

At present, the school has classes up to seventh standard, which would be increased up to 12th standard in the academic session.

The school, expected to be opened by June this year, was inaugurated by Maj Gen E J Kochekkan yesterday, the release said.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/004200905271531.htm

How many ‘bombs’ will deter?

By Zubeida Mustafa

Wednesday, 27 May, 2009 | 01:16 PM PST |

AS Pakistan plods on with its war in Malakand against the Taliban and struggles to cope with the hundreds of thousands who are being displaced, controversy over its nuclear arsenal would be the last thing it would ask for.

But paradoxically, the war and Pakistan’s nuclear arms appear to be closely interlocked. A major concern that has been widely expressed concerns the security of our nuclear weapons and the danger of their falling into terrorist hands.

As if this were not enough, we are now confronted by a report co-authored by David Albright, a former UN arms inspector, and published by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security saying that satellite images indicate that Pakistan has expanded its nuclear site near Dera Ghazi Khan and has ‘the fastest-growing nuclear weapons programme in the world’. Mr Albright attributes this expansion ‘to Pakistani decisions to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, currently estimated to contain roughly between 60 and 100 nuclear weapons’.

Significantly a Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman appears to have tacitly confirmed this report. ‘It is being done to maintain credible nuclear deterrence in view of the changing security environment in the region,’ he explained.

This raises many questions especially in the minds of those who believe that nuclear arsenals do not buy peace for a country. When Pakistan took the road to nuclearisation in May 1998, the official explanation offered was that nuclear weapons were needed as deterrence. Since Islamabad cannot match New Delhi’s conventional weapons capacity, acquiring even a small nuclear stockpile would prevent a war.

Even if this logic were to be accepted, one can well ask how many nuclear bombs act as deterrence. Aren’t 60 bombs sufficient for that purpose? Does the conventional arms race have to be substituted by a nuclear race?

This was not defined as our goal in 1998. A programme of expansion also goes against the current international trend (North Korea has always been a maverick). Since his inauguration, President Obama has declared nuclear arms reduction to be on top of his agenda and when he met the Russian president the two agreed to cut their stockpiles below the level specified by their 2002 arms cut treaty.

The fact is that the nuclearisation of Pakistan’s defence has not fetched the kind of security it was supposed to. In the fateful fortnight following India’s nuclear explosions in May 1998 when Mr Nawaz Sharif’s government was debating the pros and cons of detonating a nuclear device, the hawks in our establishment were calling the shots. They were so focused on India’s bomb, our adversarial relationship with New Delhi and the ‘compulsion’ to match India’s nuclear capability with a similar one of our own, that no thought was given to the negative repercussions of possessing an A-bomb.

Now that we have had the ‘bomb’ for 11 years what is the balance sheet? We are told that a nuclear-armed power is safe from an attack by foreign powers because of the danger of the nuclear conflagration it poses. Mr Shamshad Ahmed, foreign secretary in 1998, who has been a staunch supporter of the bomb, observed recently, ‘If we were not a nuclear power, our fate would have been worse than that of Afghanistan’s.’

If hypothetical claims have to be made, we should ask: if we had not gone in pursuit of the ‘bomb’ could we not have focused on our human capital and pre-empted the conditions that are now conceded to have led to the birth of the Taliban? Could we not have paid more attention to our foreign policy which is tied inversely to a country’s defence policy?

In any case it is too late to undo what has already been done. But we must take care of the present and the future. Is it sensible to enter into a nuclear arms race with India at a time when the army is fighting a difficult war against insurgency which cannot be fought with nuclear weapons? Ten years ago writing in the prestigious American journal, Foreign Affairs, (July/Aug 1999), Mr Shamshad Ahmad, had correctly observed, ‘A nuclear conflict can have no victor.’

Then why are we now striving for an overkill nuclear capacity? If the aim is to deter India, are we thinking in terms of a war on two fronts? That would be sheer madness. At the moment we should seriously be striving to revive the peace dialogue with New Delhi for which the time is most appropriate now that Mr Manmohan Singh is firmly in the saddle and is inclined to extend the olive branch.

There is also the need to reduce our excessive dependence on the United States which forces us into a position of subservience allowing us little room for manouevre. If a nuclear arms race is to be the new phenomenon in South Asia, we can never hope to detach ourselves economically from the West because our defence expenditure will keep burgeoning. At the moment it would be more advisable to channel the resources that we can mobilise towards the war the army is fighting in the north and for the relief and rehabilitation of the IDPs, rather than towards upgrading nuclear weapons.

It must be remembered that if our dependence on the US keeps growing and we cannot even mobilise our resources for the social sector, Pakistan will be reduced to being a banana republic. We are already paying the wages of our sins of omission (in educating our children and providing the people healthcare, housing and employment) and commission (of building up huge arsenals to fight enemies we created by our foreign policy failures).

The tragedy is that we still do not realise where we went wrong. The days of wars fought on battle fronts are long over. Now wars are fought for the hearts and minds of populations in territories inhabited by our own people. In this scenario to hold the nuclear bomb as a symbol of our national pride is misplaced. Isn’t it an anomaly that we cannot manufacture a paper pin but take pride in declaring ourselves the seventh nuclear power in the world?

A sobering postscript: in 1998 Pakistan had approximately 55 million illiterates (above 10 years of age). By a conservative count, today there are 57 million. zubeidam@gmail.com

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/16-how-many-bombs-will-deter-hs-16

Airbus MRTT Tanker Tipped to Favorites for Indian Air Force USD 1 Billion Deal

Dated 26/5/2009

The Indian Air Force has decided to buy the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) instead of the Russian built Ilyushin-78 air-to-air tanker, the Hindustan Times reported yesterday.

The IAF Air Chief Marshal, Major Fali Homi said in an interview that after finishing evaluations the European A330 MRTT has been selected as the future tanker of the Air Force. Fali Homi also said that a deal is expected to come up for final approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) very soon.

The Ilyushin and Airbus platform were competing for the tender announced by the MoD three years ago consisting of six midair tanker aircraft worth nearly $1 billion. The Air Chief Marshal now said that the Russian aircraft have failed to meet certain requirements. Therefore, the IAF has decided to take the A330 MRTT - a military derivative of the Airbus A330 airliner - offered by European aerospace corporation EADS.

The first A330 MRTT may be delivered to the IAF within three years after signing the deal, while the remaining five would be inducted 15 months after that. The IAF has operated the Il-78 tankers for almost six years but are now braking with Russia as its main defence supplier.

The A330 MRTT has won several tanker competitions with contracts signed by the governments of United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

http://www.india-defence.com/print/4406

DRDO to Develop Laser Warning Systems, Mobile Camoflaging Systems for Arjun MBT

Dated 26/5/2009

With the Arjun Main Battle Tank bound to be compared with Russian T-90 tanks in trials after August, the DRDO is working on development of host of armoured defence systems to provide additional capabilities for the indigenously developed vehicles.

"DRDO is developing a laser warning control system (LWCS) and Mobile Camouflaging System (MCS) to be equipped on the Arjun, which is to expected to be fielded for regimental level trials with T-90s during monsoon," Defence Ministry officials told reporters.

The MCS is being developed by DRDO to help the tank reduce the threat of interference from all types of sensors and smart munitions of the enemy in the tank's systems. "This will help us reduce the signatures of the tank in the battle field and help it improve its survivability," they said.

DRDO is co-developing the technology along with a Gurgaon-based private sector defence manufacturer Baracudda Camouflaging Limited.

The other system LWCS is beind developed in cooperation with Elbit Limited of Israel. "The Laser Warning Suite of the tank will be based on an Israeli system, used by their Army on its tanks," officials said.

http://www.india-defence.com/print/4403

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