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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 02 Jun 09

Times of India (He is a retired IAF Cardiologist)

Indian Express

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Telegraph India

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

Pilot Training
HAL, Canadian firm joins hands
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, June 1
The foundation stone for a new helicopter pilot training centre - Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (Hatsoff for short), was laid in Bangalore on Monday. A 50:50 joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Canadian-based simulation leader CAE, the centre is scheduled to be operational by the middle of next year.

Speaking on the occasion, HAL human resources director Sanjeev Sahi said the facility would be the first of its kind in India. “Hatsoff will offer level D simulator training to helicopter pilots as well as maintainers. By partnering with CAE we are ensuring leading edge simulation technology in order to play a key role in training and producing skilled and mission-ready helicopter crews. HAL is committed to enhancing the safety of helicopter operators in India and to provide comprehensive service to military and civil clients of the Dhruv copter”.

Martin Gagne, chairman of the Hatsoff board and CAE group president (military simulation products, training & services), said the facility would cater to the critical need of enhancing safety and mission readiness of helicopter crew.

“We are proud to partner with HAL to create a training centre of excellence offering high-quality simulation-based helicopter training programmes to pilots and technicians in India and the neighbouring region. The centre will provide customised training in locations convenient to our customers”, he said.

The centre will be equipped with a CAE-built full-mission simulator featuring the Canadian firm’s revolutionary rollon/rolloff cockpit design (simulation of cockpits representing various helicopter types). When fully operational, Hatsoff will be able to train up to 400 chopper pilots each year. The centre will offer training to civil and military customers operating four helicopter types - the military variant of the HAL-built Dhruv, the latter’s civil variant, Bell 412 and the Eurocopter Dauphin.

'China assisting Pakistan's plutonium nuke programme'

Press Trust of India / Washington June 1, 2009, 9:32 IST

China is providing assistance to Pakistan in developing its plutonium-based nuclear weapons programme, a Congressional report has told US lawmakers.

Besides the conventional uranium-based nuclear weapons, Pakistan has also pursued plutonium-based warheads since the 1990s and continues to produce plutonium for weapons, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said in latest its report on the country's nuclear programme.

"Pakistan has received Chinese assistance for its plutonium programme," said the report by CRS, the research wing of the Congress that regularly prepares reports in issues of interest by the US lawmakers.

The 40-50 megawatt heavy water Khushab plutonium production reactor has been operating since 1998.

"It appears that Islamabad is constructing two additional heavy water reactors, which will expand considerably Pakistan's plutonium production capacity, at the same site," the report said.

"The continued expansion of the complex and production of weapons materials could indicate plans to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal in the near future," CRS said.

The committee had last week confirmed reports that Pakistan, with about 60 nuclear warheads primarily targeted towards India, was continuing production of fissile material for weapons and adding to its weapons production facilities and delivery vehicles.

Pakistan army still calls the shots

Former diplomat M K Bhadrakumar recently presented a paper on Pakistan and Terrorism at the Asia Centre, a Bangalore-based think-tank.

  • There is little or no evidence that the return to representative rule in Pakistan last year means the supremacy of civilian government. The so-called permanent establishment remains in place -- the military, top echelons of bureaucracy and the intelligence agencies. The army continues to be in the driving seat with regard to foreign and defence policy, internal security and nuclear policy.
  • It is a fallacy to look for 'rogue elements' within the Inter Services Intelligence or assume that ISI is a 'state within a state.' The ISI is under military control and it serves as the military's instrument. The ISI may have operational freedom but cannot conceivably act against the military interests. The military operates as a coherent organisation. There are no 'factions' within it.
  • The polarisation between the Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan People's Party remains acute. Worse, religious parties act as hand-maidens of the establishment. The influence of civil society should not be exaggerated.
  • Finally, the military's corporate interests lie in preserving its political (and growingly economic) prerogatives and the power and privileges it accumulated by claiming to be the custodians of the Pakistani State

India-US: Hazardous days ahead

T P Sreenivasan | May 28, 2009 | 15:13 IST

A strange polarisation is taking place in India. Whenever President Obama says or does something prejudicial to India's interests, the anti-US lobby attacks the UPA government for misreading the Americans.

Instead of giving Prime Minister Manmohan Singh credit for gaining ground for India by skillful diplomacy during the Bush administration, they blame him for not anticipating the reversal of trends during the next presidency.

This happened when a State Department official restated the position that India should sign the NPT and when President Obama opposed outsourcing. Why did India reach agreements with the US when it was possible that a future government in the US would disown them?

If this is indeed the case, no agreements should be reached with any country. In the case of the US, the new administration is now constrained to work around the existing agreements even if it has to distance itself from the commitments made by President Bush.

The fact is that President Obama himself was taken by surprise by the kind of issues he faced in his first hundred days. 'Keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough!' President Obama would never have thought that he would have to utter these words at his press conference to mark his first hundred days in office.

Nothing would surprise him any more as he has seen many issues he had not thought of coming to him all at once. He has also learnt not only that change in Washington comes slowly, but also that posturing is par for the course there. He has not taken long to know that the state is an ocean liner and not a speed boat and it cannot change course in a desperate hurry. His responses in this bewildering situation has to be necessarily tentative and subject to adjustments in the future.

The world misunderstood President Obama when he promised change. He has begun to say since his inauguration that many things that he wants to change cannot be done in a single term, a single presidency or in a single lifetime.

The time horizon he has in mind is much longer than the rest of the world had imagined. He can only start the journey and it may end only with a different president or a different generation. Continuity is part of the change.

The global economic crisis played a role in Obama's election, but he had not anticipated it when he initially offered his candidature. Iraq was the issue then and the economy had appeared robust. But he found that the economy was built on shifting sand. He lost no time in taking the bull by the horns, but the surprise was that he did not get bipartisan support, which was expected at a time of national and global crisis.

The world was aghast that business was as usual on the Hill when the stimulus package was being piloted there. President Obama is proud of his accomplishments in the economy, but not content.

In foreign policy, the shift from Iraq to Afghanistan and then to Pakistan was warranted by the threat from Taliban, which diminished even the importance of capturing Osama bin Laden. The war on terror returned to the theatre of terror, but a weakened and resource starved civilian government in Pakistan did not seem willing even to provide a front line for the war.

President Zardari had no qualms about signing an agreement with the Taliban to introduce Shariat law in Swat. Though the Taliban was nothing but a foreign force, the Pakistan army had to be forced into action by the United States. The very creation of an Afpak region for special attention and the designation of Richard Holbrooke as the special representative signaled the importance in US policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The likelihood of a takeover by the Taliban and fall of Pakistan nuclear weapons in the hands of the militants was used as a cover to enhance assistance to Pakistan.

President Obama has, at the same time, allayed fears about Pakistan's nuclear assets by saying that the military to military cooperation between the two countries will guarantee the protection of nuclear command and control mechanism. He has indirectly confirmed that the United States has a say in the management of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

This was instituted when the A Q Khan scandal broke out and it came to be known that Khan had hurt non-proliferation more than Saddam Hussein had done. If A Q Khan and Pakistan had to be let off, they had to pay a price.

President Obama has not been very innovative in his Afpak policy. The three way summit in Washington was an instant success in the sense that Prime Minister Gilani declared an all out war on the Taliban even before the summit ended. President Zardari was handsomely rewarded with an aid package, which should convey a message that he still has the support of the Americans.

India was an unseen presence at the summit as Pakistan's world view could not be divorced from its paranoia with India.

Depending on Pakistani rulers and the army and pandering to their military and financial needs is an old American habit. If Pakistan has to fight the Taliban, it needs training in guerrilla warfare, not F-16s and warships. But the US Congress is again on the old track of handing over cash to Pakistan.

President Obama has thrown in an assertion that Pakistans obsession with India as the mortal threat to Pakistan is misguided. But there is no insistence that no assistance that could be used against India would be supplied to Pakistan.

Even excluding India from Holbrooke's mandate was only to accommodate Indian sensitivity. Holbrooke routinely halts in Delhi and gives gentle hints to India. India was conspicuously absent from Hillary Clinton's Asian itinerary. President Obama thinks that India can be satisfied by pious warm words about India and its prime minister.

The Prague speech outlined President Obama's new vision on nuclear disarmament, but there was hardly any change there. The commitment to move towards nuclear disarmament is nothing but a reaffirmation of the grand bargain in the NPT and the further steps he has suggested are old wine in new bottle.

He has no quarrel with the India-US nuclear deal, but he is in no mood to make it a part of the new dispensation. By treating the deal as a one time exception will not guarantee its faithful implementation. The appointment of the new czar of nonproliferation in the State Department does not augur well for the deal.

As far as India is concerned, the nuclear deal has already had its benefits in terms of the NSG exemption, leading to the agreements with France and Russia.

China, rather than India is President Obama's focus in Asia. The old Bush view of India as a balancing factor in Asia is a thing of the past. The talk of a G-2 to run the world is getting more frequent in the light of the economic crisis. This is a gigantic mistake the US is making.

The US and China cannot partition the world between themselves as the victors of the World War II did in 1945. President Obama appears oblivious of Chinese perfidy and ambition to dominate the world. Walking into a Chinese embrace will endanger the US itself in the long term.

Say no to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo is the new slogan President Obama has coined in the context of outsourcing. He must know that business will go wherever there is profit and there is little that the government can do except in terms of denying tax benefits.

The president has to create jobs in Buffalo, but to suggest that Bangalore is taboo is to hurt globalisation, which has brought immense benefits to the United States.

President Obama has reappointed veteran negotiator, George Mitchell, for the Middle East, but he is yet to make his agenda clear. If he allows domestic politics and Israeli influence determine his Middle East policy, justice will be denied to Palestine again.

Getting close to Turkey may be a great idea, but the key to winning the hearts of the Muslim world lies in establishing the Palestine state and insisting that Israel should abide by international law.

In the rest of his foreign policy postures and pronouncements, President Obama has demonstrated candour and vision. Gestures to Iran and Cuba, new signals to Russia and Europe and a smile and hand shake for Venezuelas Hugo Chavez mark a change in style, if not substance.

He has neither overreacted nor made concessions to DPRK's nuclear and missile antics. It may be true that he has not yet moved from campaign mode to governing mode, but the directions are clear and consistent with his promise of change.

India has much to be apprehensive about President Obama's Afpak policy, nuclear agenda and outsourcing. Part of the reason for this could be the feeling in the new Administration that India got away with too many diplomatic victories during the Bush era.

India's diplomatic efforts should be directed towards getting those victories consolidated in the days to come. We should build on our accomplishments rather than undermine the gains of the last five years. The hazards ahead are formidable, but not insurmountable.

Ambassador T P Sreenivasan served as deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Washington, DC, during his distinguished career in the Indian Foreign Service.

Friends, or foes?
Strange way of fighting the Taliban

Many in the Pakistan establishment occupying key positions are doing all they can to save the Taliban from getting decimated. Their efforts may not be as visible as the military action in the Swat region. But what is going on behind the scene can be understood from the fact that top Taliban commanders were in the good books of a former Commissioner of Malakand division, Syed Muhammad Javed, before the army launched its operations against the Taliban under US pressure. He reportedly feted the Taliban’s key functionaries at his official residence on April 12. These elements were responsible for wreaking havoc in Pakistan’s tribal areas, particularly in Swat and Buner, but that was not the concern of the highest Pakistan authority in the area. It could be that he was trying to strike a deal with the Taliban.

A strong desire to safeguard the interests of the Taliban could be seen in all the so-called deals reached between the extremist outfit and the government. The last agreement with the jihadis that led to the virtual surrender of the administration of Malakand division, including the Swat valley, to the Taliban thoroughly exposed Pakistan’s non-seriousness in fighting terrorism. The deal was cancelled not because of its violation by the Taliban but owing to intense US pressure. It is possible that the on-going fight against the Taliban may be quietly called off or diluted soon after the external pressure on Islamabad eases.

Irrespective of what Pakistani officials say for international consumption, Islamabad cannot win the war against the Taliban because it does not want to do so. The reason is the enormous clout the Taliban and other militant outfits enjoy in the Pakistan establishment, including the army and the ISI. It may be possible that the pro-Taliban elements in the establishment have used their links in China and the UK to prevent the inclusion of the names of Masood Azhar, Azam Cheema and Abdur Rehman Makki of the Jaish-e-Mohammad in the UN’s sanctions list as they unsuccessfully did earlier in the case of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Pakistan, it seems, is yet to come to terms with the view that these militant elements pose as grave a danger to Pakistan as they do to the region.

The Kashmir story
Roles major powers have played
by S. Nihal Singh

Kashmir has again gained salience with President Barack Obama’s preference for tackling it in order to concentrate Pakistani minds on fighting the Al-Qaeda menace. It is, therefore, appropriate that a new study of Kashmir in the perspective of the Cold War and the West by an Indian academic, D.N. Panigrahi*, in adding to the considerable literature on the subject, reveals how external factors came to dominate a problem rooted in the subcontinent’s partition.

In an admirably concise account, Mr Panigrahi has had access to the now declassified papers of a succession of British rulers to prove his point on how British and US interests trumped the merits of the dispute to convert a complaint made by India against Pakistan sending in armed tribes and disguised Army men into Kashmir to try to wrest it by force into a dispute by two equal parties. There also seemed to be a Western bias for the argument that since India was partitioned to give Muslims a homeland, the Muslim-majority princely state should go to it.

Mr Panigrahi’s story ends with Sheikh Abdullah’s trip to Pakistan in 1964, which came to an abrupt end with Jawaharlal Nehru’s death. While much of the ground covered in the new study goes over familiar territory, it is the new perspective that shines a light on Kashmir’s tempestuous journey through a variety of international forums leading to many mediators and reports yielding much sound and fury.

It is, of course, well established that a reluctant Nehru was persuaded by Lord Mountbatten to refer Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council while halting the advance of Indian troops midway. And India has had decades to rue the fateful decision because it was, in fact, converted into an albatross around its neck. What is less well known is how clear British and American objectives were in favouring Pakistan.

Prime Minister Clement Attlee wrote in a Personal Minute of May 4, 1949, “Broadly speaking, I think, that we should be well advised particularly having regard to the importance of Middle East, to do everything we can to assist Pakistan.” The UK High Commissioner in India had informed the India Office in London on February 11, 1948, that Nehru thought the United States was guided by its pro-Pakistan policy by power politics alone, volunteering his opinion that this could be so only if Nehru accepted Communist propaganda.

Among the papers mined by Mr Panigrahi is a fascinating conversation Nehru had with the then Belgian ambassador of substance, Prince Eugene de Ligne. As Nehru detailed it, the Ambassador let it be known that the approach to Kashmir in the UN and elsewhere would be influenced less by intrinsic merit than by broad considerations of American world strategy in the prevailing tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. In the ambassador’s view, the US was following a policy of supporting Middle-Eastern states from Greece to Iran to secure bases and otherwise ask them to help America in the event of hostilities with Moscow. If Pakistan cooperated with the US, Washington would try to befriend it by resolving the Kashmir dispute.

On the other side of the fence, the Soviet representative to the UN, Yakov Malik, looked at American moves through his Cold War prism: “Eventually the purpose of these (American and British) plans in connection with Kashmir is to secure the introduction of Anglo-American troops into the territory of Kashmir into an Anglo-American colony and military and strategic base”. Indo-British waters were considerably muddied by the British invasion of Egypt and India’s strong criticism, the proposal to station UN troops in Kashmir being interpreted as teaching India a lesson.

Indeed, Kashmir was soon destined to become truly a pawn in Cold War politics by the grant of US military aid to Pakistan. Even as Nehru wrestled with ideas on resolving the Kashmir issue, including a partition of the state through a plebiscite, he was veering towards the view that the status quo, with minor modifications, was the only solution.

India’s debacle in the Sino-Indian border war gave Britain and the United States an opportunity to try to force India’s hand on Kashmir. The series of marathon discussions with Pakistan under the shadow of India’s humiliation at the hands of the Chinese is now part of political folklore. Among the score of proposals then doing the rounds was a joint air defence policy, vetoed by President Kennedy. But US Ambassador J.K. Galbraith turned down the idea of consulting the British and the Commonwealth with the comment that “there were only two and half cities in the world where the Commonwealth was taken seriously, namely, London, Washington and Canberra”.

Papers now in the public domain make it clear that Britain’s policy around the time of the subcontinent’s division was tilted towards Pakistan. Attlee made no secret of his interest in the “Muslim world”, particularly Middle -East oil essential in the “air age”. The US thought Pakistan could take the leadership of Muslim countries “being the most progressive and capable”. Although Britain was more sceptical, “they did agree that Pakistan might set an example and its leaders exercise a useful influence”.

The one deficiency in this volume is that Mr Panigrahi hews close to the official Indian line. It is well recognised that Nehru’s agreement, reluctant though it was, to go to the United Nations was a grave error. Western orientation on India’s Independence was markedly in favour of Pakistan and against India, and once Pakistan decided to join America’s Cold War against the Soviet Union, Kashmir inevitably became a plaything of grander schemes. When Sheikh Abdullah flirted with independence, it undermined an Indian pillar and the Indian case was not enhanced by the political manoeuvres that underlined the political processes that were then put in place.

Although concepts such as a plebiscite are long forgotten, except when Pakistanis want to score propaganda points, was India justified in repudiating it on Pakistan joining the Western military camp? There are, indeed, many lessons to be learnt from the turbulent story of Kashmir and the role major powers’ interests play in looking at disputes once they are internationalised.

«Jammu and Kashmir, the Cold War and the West by D.N. Panigrahi; Routledge; pp 265; Rs 595

AEC celebrates 62nd anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1
The Army Education Corps (AEC) celebrated the 62nd anniversary of its raising at Headquarters Western Command in Chandimandir today. A large number of serving and retired AEC officers and their families personnel attended a social get-to-together organised on the occasion.

AEC has made significant contribution to the cause of education of Army personnel and have made dedicated efforts in the field of information technology, map craft, English and foreign languages and military music, besides imparting education to the Army personnel by enhancing their civilian qualifications through the IGNOU--Army education project.

Problems for U.S. Russian Helicopter Order

Jun 1, 2009

By Sharon Weinberger

The U.S. Army signed off on an unusual procurement contract in December 2007: A $322-million order for 22 Russian helicopters bought through a U.S. defense company for Iraq. The contract was a rush order, designed to deliver Mi-17 helicopters in a bid to quickly reequip the Iraqi air force and allow it to perform counterinsurgency operations. But 18 months after signing, not a single helicopter has been delivered, despite full payment. The Army now concedes the contract is over budget and nearly a year behind schedule.

Such are the perils of buying Russian equipment through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system, a unique requirement that is rapidly escalating into the billions of dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Buying Mi-17s, and other Russian equipment, for the Iraqi military seems logical. The Iraqis flew and maintained Soviet (now Russian) aircraft in the Saddam Hussein era. Another important feature: Russian rotorcraft are significantly cheaper than U.S. helicopters, at least in theory.

The Mi-17 is the export designation for the Mi-8 airframe (NATO designation “Hip”), and after 40 years the aircraft still has brisk sales, with new orders from India, China, Pakistan and Colombia, among others. That has been good news for the factories that produce Mi-17s: Ulan Ude and Kazan. Just a few years ago, work at the plants had slowed to a crawl, but now even getting a slot in the production line can be a challenge.

The U.S. Defense Dept. dubs the aircraft destined for Iraq as counterterrorism helicopters. They are designed to insert and extract special forces “and provide limited air assault capability to clear and hold a landing zone, [and] provide self-protection . . . against insurgent small arms fire and SAM defenses.” The helicopters will have Western-style cockpits and modifications that include Flir Systems’ AN/AAQ-22 Star Safire electro-optical sensor and monitor; identification-friend-or-foe system with encryption; AN/AAR-60 Milds (missile-launch detection system) from EADS; and VHF/UHF/HF radios.

When the helicopter contract was awarded to Arinc of Annapolis, Md., a communications and engineering company, it was, by everyone’s admission, an unusual sale. While the Army has bought Russian helicopters in the past—and modified them with Western cockpits—it never bought anything in the quantity seen for the Iraqi FMS case.

In a controversial move, the Army’s Threat Systems Management Office in Huntsville, Ala., sole-sourced the contract to Arinc, rather than soliciting multiple bids. That raised questions about procurement cost. In 2001, the price of a newly refurbished Mi-17 was between $1.2 and 1.7 million, while a helicopter fresh off the production line went for around $3 million. The cost has since more than doubled, with vendors quoting new Mi-17s at around $7.5 million. But the Mi-17s for Iraq are sold for more than twice that price—between $13 and $16 million per helicopter (cost varies depending on the batch and whether spare parts and other equipment are included).

Part of what drove up costs is the unusual way the contract was structured: Although Arinc is the prime contractor, it’s working essentially as an arms broker. And rather than buying the aircraft from the factory, Arinc has a contract with Air Freight Aviation, a Russian company based in the United Arab Emirates. Air Freight Aviation buys the helicopters from the Mi-17 plant at Ulan Ude and modifies them at its UAE facility.

This arrangement has led to cost overruns and delays. The helicopters were supposed to be delivered starting in February, but the Defense Dept. concedes that the date for first delivery has slipped to 2010, and the contract is between 5 and 10% over the original $322-million budget. Officials insist, however, that the plan is to catch up with deliveries, completing the full contract on schedule. As of now, however, none of the helicopters has left Ulan Ude.

Army officials defend the sale, arguing that the urgency of the requirement and the uniqueness of buying Russian equipment necessitated going with Arinc as a sole source. Arinc, despite its lack of experience buying Mi-17s, was selected as the contractor because the company was already in Iraq performing maintenance work on the nascent Iraqi air force’s skeleton fleet, which included older Mi-17s and Bell helicopters. Arinc also claimed to Army officials it had an exclusive relationship with the Mil helicopter plant—the design bureau. (Iraq’s Mi-17 requirement was, however, known for several years before the contract was signed, and there are over half a dozen U.S. companies with experience buying Russian helicopters and parts for the U.S. government.)

To some extent, the Mi-17s illustrate the problems that have plagued weapon sales to Iraq. Since the FMS process started with Iraq in 2005, approximately $4.5 billion has been spent, but less clear is how much of that equipment has been delivered. Going through FMS—rather than direct commercial sales—was meant to avoid the mistakes and corruption that plague direct sales. In one now-infamous case, Iraq entered into a contract to buy Mi-17s from a Polish company—most of the helicopters ended up being too old or in no condition to fly.

The FMS process is meant to protect Iraq from these problems, says U.S. Air Force Col. Lawrence Avery, deputy director of the security assistance office in the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq. “[They] view FMS as the anticorruption mechanism for their government, because nobody can get their hands on the money, nobody decides who the contracts go to,” he told reporters in a recent conference call. “That’s all done through the U.S. acquisition system.”

But officials in Baghdad cite delays and confusion about the FMS process. The sales become even more convoluted when they involve a U.S. procurement process cross-matched with Russian weapons. In one particularly frustrating case, the Iraqis initiated—then canceled—a large order for BTR-3E1 armored personnel carriers that were to be bought from Ukraine through FMS.

Defense Dept. officials concede that they made mistakes in the Mi-17 case for Iraq, but defend the overall process. While U.S. officials downplay the Russian FMS cases—noting they are the exception, not the rule—the truth is that these sales could prove more common over the next few years as attention moves to Afghanistan. The Pentagon has already approved a “pseudo-FMS” case for the purchase of 10 helicopters for Afghanistan for $177.5 million. That contract also went to Arinc.

While FMS may guard against outright corruption, it has not done much in the case of the Mi-17s to prevent delays, or even guarantee reasonable costs. If there’s a lesson from the Iraqi helicopter case, it may be that the U.S. acquisition system is a poor conduit for Russian weaponry.

“FMS works best when you buy and use what the U.S. military is buying and using, because if we give you a price on that, we’re probably pretty good about it,” says Avery. “If we’re buying equipment from countries and companies that we’ve never worked with, every problem that we run into is a new problem.”

Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor visits Chile

14:3 IST

Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor visiting Chile from 01st to 04th June. India shares a warm and cordial relationship with Chile and it was one of the first few countries in Latin America with whom India established diplomatic relations. The number of Bilateral Agreements signed between the two countries in the recent past in diverse fields including the Defence Cooperation. This visit to Chile by the Army Chief assumes special significance as it coincides with the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Chile.

During four days official visit, the Army Chief will interact with senior Military and civilian defence hierarchy and discuss various contemporary defence related issues. He will also be visiting important training institutions and would be addressing the Chilean Education and Doctrine Command.

Six Dagshai girls commissioned in Army

2 Jun 2009, 0110 hrs IST, Ajay Sura, TNN

DAGSHAI: Shrutika Dutta, who passed out of the Army Public School, Dagshai, in 2003, has secured her alma mater the rare distinction of giving the armed forces as many as six lady officers. Selected to the Officers Training Academy, Chennai, this year, Dutta is the sixth Dagshai girl to enter its portals.

However, she is not the only one from the school to have made it to the defence forces this year. There are five others along with her - all boys. These include three in Indian Military Academy and one each in air force and naval academy.

Going by its name, one would have thought that joining the armed forces would be high on the agenda of its alumni. That, however, doesn’t appear to be case at Dagshai school. In the past four years alone, most of its students have opted for careers in multinational companies and other private sector jobs. The last student to have joined the National Defence Academy in Dehradun was in 2005.

Established in 1986, the school has failed to produce an officer above the rank of Lt Col. However, the school authorities claim the objective is to develop the overall personality of students and not prepare them for life in the armed forces alone.

With a sprawling 40-acre campus, the school is the brainchild of Lt Gen K Sunderji and Lt Gen R S Dayal and counted amongst the well-known residential schools of the country. A recent survey by Indian market research bureau had ranked it 13th in India?s Best Residential Schools League Table.

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