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Thursday, 18 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 18 Jun 09

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US aid to Pak in final lap
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

A US Senate committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a Bill to triple non-military aid to Pakistan.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 16-0 to increase aid to $7.5 billion over five years. The Bill now proceeds to the Senate for a vote. Once it is cleared by the Senate, it must be reconciled with a House version that imposes stricter conditions to verify that Pakistan is cooperating in the fight against terrorism. The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed its version of the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act (PEACE) last week.

The Senate Bill is named for its cosponsors - Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Richard Lugar of Indiana. Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed satisfaction with the unanimous vote in the panel. “This is a critical moment for Pakistan,” he said. “This was a strong, bipartisan effort that matches the urgency of the situation in Pakistan with real commitment by the United States.”

“A stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is vital for Pakistan’s 170 million citizens and it’s vital to America’s national security,” Kerry said. The senator contended the Bill would help empower Pakistanis “fighting to turn their country toward a path of moderation and stability”. He added: “It offers us a chance to begin a new chapter in our relations based upon accountability and a broad-based, durable commitment to Pakistan and its people.”

Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate panel, said the legislation marked an important step toward “sustained economic and political cooperation with Pakistan, while establishing mechanisms to help ensure that funds were spent efficiently.”

“The Bill subjects our security assistance to a certification that the Pakistani government is using the money for its intended purpose, namely, to combat the Taliban and the al-Qaida,” he said.

Bengal Violence
Army to set up new unit in Naxal belt
War of words between PC and Left
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 17
In what is an important change in the country’s anti-Naxal policy, the Indian Army will provide logistical support in tackling the menace of Naxalism, which was annually claiming more lives than insurgency in the North-East or J&K. The latest is the fresh bout of violence that has rocked Lalgarh in West Bengal where the writ of the state has ceased to run.

First, the Army has been asked to make an on-the-spot assessment of the affected areas in the Naxal belt to suggest measures like inducting men and the tactics that need to be deployed. The assessment will be carried out in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Secondly, the Army will set up its “sub-area” unit at Raipur in Chhattisgarh. This will be for a logistical purpose for stationing men and equipment that can be used at short notice.

The anti-Naxal “war” will continue to be fought by the para-military forces. However, the Army will provide its acumen, a top source confirmed, while clarifying that the area was not being “handed over” to the Army.

Sources in the government said this would be in addition to the existing duties of the Army under which it provided specialised training to the paramilitary forces. A senior retired officer has been given the task to lead a team. So far some 18,000 of the paramilitary men have been trained in neutralising Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), in handling casualties in an encounter besides training in Armoury. The Army teams are also training a specialised group within the paramilitary forces

Such is the Naxal violence that in the past five years, 4,405 persons — civilians, security men and terrorists —have been killed in the belt. In comparison 4,324 and 4,136 is the figure for the North-East and J&K, respectively. In these figures, the number of civilians and security men killed in the Naxal belt are also the highest when compared with NE or J&K.

Meanwhile, today a war of words ensued between the Congress-led UPA regime at the Centre and the Left parties that rule in the eastern state. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram lashed out at the Left Front government in the state for not acting in a timely manner, saying, “We are getting an impression that a section of the government wants to act while the rest doesn’t, fearing the consequences.”

The law and order situation in West Bengal is deteriorating fast because of the Maoist violence. He said the Central Government had despatched enough central forces. He said the state police should also commit its police force. “I do not know how many men have been sent, what is their mandate and what are the instructions for them,” he said. The West Bengal CM has been asked to give clear instructions to the state police.

Member of the CPM Politburo Brinda Karat claimed violence had been stepped up against the CPM cadres with ruthlessness as the perpetrators have the confidence that they will be protected by the representatives of WB in the central government (the obvious reference is to the Trinamool Congress and the Congress). The Maoists are said to be coming in from Jharkhand where the President’s rule is in force. The state government has sought cooperation from the Centre, Karat added.

Ukraine to modernise AN-32 fleet for India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 17
India will modernise the 100-odd Anatov-32 transport planes flown by the IAF. A complete overhaul of on-board communications and navigation systems to meet the latest requirements is to be carried out. Crucially, a company of the Ukraine Government will upgrade these IAF cargo aircraft at a cost of US $ 400 million.

The decision comes within days after The Tribune first reported that Russia, India’s oldest defence ally, was seeing red over India and Ukraine --- a former part of Soviet Union --- getting close to each other and forging defence ties.

Anatov (AN-32) is a twin-engine turboprop plane operated by the IAF in the rugged Himalayas to send supplies and ferry troops and equipment in the far-flung areas in J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. The existing lot provides for very basic electronics and cannot be linked to various ground-based radars or sensors to have real-time data.

After the break of the Soviet Union, the Anatov factory, located in Kiev, became part of Ukriane’s military industry.

The upgrade is to be done at Ukraine and the planes will be sent in bathces. Just five days ago, an AN-32 plane crashed in northern Arunachal Pradesh, killing all 13 persons on board. Possible causes of the accident included a technical failure, or poor weather. About 360 AN-32 planes were manufactured by Antonov during the latter years of the Soviet Union. The only country operating more AN-32s than India is the Ukrainian air force with some 150 such planes.


The Navy Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta's office has written to NDTV clarifying that his remarks made about NDTV and Barkha Dutt's coverage during the Kargil conflict were "certainly not intended to malign" NDTV or to "cause any anguish to Ms. Dutt."

At a press conference in December 2008, the Navy Chief had implied that the coverage may have contributed to casualties. In a series of exchanges between NDTV and the Navy, NDTV had taken strong objection to the statement and asked for a retraction of the comments on the grounds that the allegations were entirely defamatory and incorrect.

The Office of the Navy Chief has now officially clarified that Admiral Mehta's comments on Kargil had been "influenced" by statements posted on the internet. In a letter addressed to NDTV, Admiral Mehta's office has written that since these remarks were subsequently withdrawn as the authors had confessed that their Internet posts were "untrue and malicious," and in the absence of any records, the Naval Chief's remarks should be regarded as "unverifiable."

In an earlier letter, the Navy Chief had also appreciated the "good work being done by NDTV in presenting a mature view of defence affairs," and said that "Your channel, including Ms. Barkha Dutt have indeed been a friend of the armed forces." NDTV holds the Navy in high esteem and is confident that future interactions with the Navy will be conducted in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

Brigadier advises ‘creeping’ recapture


A man hoicks his bicycle over a road dug up by Maoists in Lalgarh on Wednesday. (Sanat Kumar Sinha)

New Delhi, June 17: Bengal can adopt tactics for a “creeping re-occupation of territory” in Lalgarh despite its administration’s late response and its police’s poor training, says the army’s counter-Naxalite expert who trains security forces from states where Left-wing militancy is intense.

“Sending the CRPF into places like Lalgarh will be of no consequence unless you have trained troops,” Brigadier Basant Kumar Ponwar told The Telegraph. The specialised Cobra force is also being sent to Bengal but the units are still under training.

He said Bengal would have to evolve unconventional policing tactics in Lalgarh to take on the Maoists.

Ponwar said “grid deployment” and “constant dynamic deployment” by security forces in and around Lalgarh after they have built up an asymmetry — sufficient strength — should drive the operations in West Midnapore.

“These are things that the army can do but that is a different issue,” he said, meaning that there is no call from the government to deploy the army in counter-Naxalite operations. The army monitors and studies the Maoist movement and even gives advice — to which the brigadier contributes in a big way. But the defence establishment has not yet viewed the Maoist insurgency as a big enough threat to deploy the army in the interiors in addition to the border regions in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast.

Ponwar is the director of the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College (CTJWC) in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, the only institution that runs courses on counter-Naxalite operations for police forces. The college is supported by the army that has deputed instructors to it.

Ponwar set up the college after retiring as the commandant of the army’s Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Vairangte, Mizoram.

Three teams from Bengal police were to have been sent to the college last year, Brigadier Ponwar said. But they were not. There is no team from Bengal even for the six-week course that begins on June 22.

“They (the Maoists) have beaten us to the draw and now we are faced with such a situation. So we will have to do what we can to retrieve it with capable leadership,” said Ponwar as he spelt out tactics of “constant dynamic deployment”.

The retired brigadier said the withdrawal of the Bengal police from their positions around Lalgarh “indicated that the Maoists are trying to convert their territory into a liberated zone though they are not there yet”. He said the Maoists have been successful in creating a “liberated zone” in Abujmarh in Chhattisgarh spread over about 10,000sqkm. The security forces should operate in a way to prevent the Maoists from creating more “liberated zones”.

To contain the Maoists, the administration in Bengal and the security forces should make an effort to have five companies (of 100 to 120 troops each) for every 400sqkm “in highly-intense Naxalite areas”.

The troops should be instructed to set up “counter-Naxalite bases” in dominating heights. Each company should be assigned to a base with an area of responsibility of about 15km around it. The bases should be between 10 and 15km apart, said Ponwar.

He called this “grid deployment”. The security forces should be tasked with multi-directional patrolling. The counter-Naxalite bases should be the launching pads for small targeted operations against the Maoists, he added.

The logistical back-up for the forces should be ensured by the administration. Small teams from the bases should be able to operate independently for three or four days.

Ponwar’s college teaches police forces “to fight the guerrilla like a guerrilla”. What he is prescribing is a combination of conventional and unconventional tactics. A ring of security forces — state police and the CRPF — around and, wherever possible, inside Lalgarh, and bases from which small outfits such as the Cobra force will launch attacks.

Focus on terrorism
Pak must prove its bona fides for talks
by K. Subrahmanyam

PRIME Minister Manmohan Singh was loud and clear in his message to Presdent Zardari at his meeting with him on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit at Yekaterinburgh. He chose his words deliberately and carefully. “My mandate is to tell you that Pakistani soil should not be used for terrorist acts against India”. He said this in the presence of the world media so that there will be no obfuscation of the sorts Pakistan Foreign Minister is famous for.

Pakistani refrain is that both countries are victims of terrorism. The issue is whether Pakistan is sincere in its efforts to put an end to terrorist violence emanating from its soil against India. The Hafiz Saeed case was a litmus test for Pakistani sincerity.

According to Daily Times of Pakistan of June 7, the Lahore High Court Bench in its judgement on the Hafiz Saeed case held that the security laws and anti-terrorist laws of Pakistan were silent on Al-Qaeda being a terrorist organisation.

President Obama in his speech on the Af-Pak strategy said, “I want American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan”. It is quite clear that Pakistan has not bothered to ban Al-Qaeda for the last seven years. They have neither been sincere in their promises to the US nor to India.

One would have expected a major reaction from the US to this disclosure in the Lahore High Court judgement. But Ambassador Holebrook merely talked of his being disturbed and the US Congress has passed the aid legislation to extend aid to Pakistan. There were testimonies before the Congress, but the basic fact that Al-Qaeda has not been banned appeared to have escaped notice of the entire Washington bureaucracy and the Congress.

The US officials were taken in by the Pakistani Army action against certain sections of the Pakistani Taliban which challenged the Pakistani state. But the Army has not acted against Al-Qaeda or the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. Though two weeks have passed since the Lahore High Court judgement, there has been no move on the part of the Pakistan government to rectify its seven-year-old omission, if at all it was one and issue a notification to ban Al-Qaeda as a terrorist organisation.

Pakistani officials talk of going on appeal in the Hafiz Saeed case. But the success of the appeal will to a large extent depend on their declaring Al-Qaeda a terrorist organisation and proving the links between Al-Qaeda and Hafiz Saeed.

Surely the Pakistani lapse to notify Al-Qaeda a terrorist organisation should feature in the forthcoming discussions between the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries.

How Pakistan reacts to the Lahore High Court judgement and whether it bans Al-Qaeda as a terrorist organisation even at this late stage is likely to be a crucial determinant for India to assess whether Pakistan, in Dr Manmohan Singh’s words, would show the courage and statesmanship to prevent its territory from being used for acts of terror against India and bring the Mumbai attack perpetrators to justice.

When Dr Manmohan Singh said this he was not laying any precondition to resume talks with Pakistan. He was asking Islamabad to prove merely its basic bonafides to demonstrate that a resumption of talks will be worthwhile.

A country which has posed as a frontline state in the war against terror for seven years and has drawn billions of dollars of American tax payers’ money without taking the very first step of banning Al-Qaeda as a terrorist organisation cannot claim even a modicum of credibility as a negotiating partner. While it is for the US administration to explain to the American taxpayers why billions of their dollars are being handed over to a country which gives a safe haven to Al-Qaeda and does not ban it as a terrorist organisation, for Indians it will be difficult to stomach the resumption of talks with Pakistan when it does not display its bonafides as a negotiating partner.

It must also make us in India to evaluate US competence in managing the Pak-Af situation. General Musharraf with prior planning provided Al-Qaeda a safe haven in Pakistan in December 2001 and thereafter enabled them to continue their activities for the safety of Pakistan. While thanks to the security measures adopted by Washington the US has been able to protect itself from the Al-Qaeda attacks, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown complained that 75 per cent of terrorist plots in the UK led their trails back to Pakistan.

General Musharraf and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) should be amazed at their own success in taking the Americans for a ride for seven long years and milking the American aid. No doubt the ISI was trained by the CIA and has proved to be a case of the pupil outsmarting the teacher. The Pakistani confidence in dealing with US on their own terms goes back to a quarter century of their successes in outwitting the US bureaucracy, which have been chronicled in Bob Woodward’s “Veil” and Steve Coll’s “Ghost Wars.” They could even conduct a nuclear test with Chinese help May 26, 1990, defying US warnings.The ISI chief arranged for the money to be sent to the 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and be in Washington as the Pentagon was struck.

Pakistanis have even boasted about their being able to get some of the 9/11 commission findings watered down through their successful lobbying efforts in Washington. There is a long history of US helplessness in dealing with Pakistan.

When Secretary Clinton visits Delhi it will be useful to apprise her of some of these perspectives since she seems to have been a victim of successful Pakistani propaganda that poor Pakistan after its valiant support for the anti-Soviet campaign was abandoned by the US invoking the Pressler amendment. Her colleague, Defence Secretary Bill Gates, who led the 1990 unsuccessful mission to Pakistan to dissuade them from nuclear tests at LopNor, will be able to enlighten her on the truth.Thomas Reed and Danny Stillman, two US nuclear scientists, in their book, “The Nuclear Express”, have dealt with the Chinese test in 1990 for Pakistan.

Pakistan has so far succeeded in avoiding dealing with terrorism nurtured by it as an instrument of policy. However, terrorism, which has grown as a parasite, is threatening it. If it is still hoping to distinguish between its own terrorism and the other one threatening it and hope to succeed in putting down its adversarial terrorism while saving its own creation at American expense, Dr Manmohan Singh’s warning should be clear.

After crash, India inks $400 million deal for AN-32 fleet upgrade

18 Jun 2009, 0133 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Soon after an Antonov-32 crashed in Arunachal Pradesh, killing 13 military personnel on board, India has inked a $400 million deal with Ukraine to upgrade IAF's aging transport fleet of 104 such aircraft.

Though the contract was in the pipeline for a long time, with the AN-32s fast approaching the end of their "total technical life'' of 25 years by this year-end, the June 9 crash seems to have propelled the government to finally close the deal.

Russia, of course, remains miffed with India for moving towards signing a defence cooperation pact with Ukraine. Russia sees Ukraine, which inherited a robust defence industry after the Soviet Union breakup two decades ago, as a rival to its thriving arms exports business with India.

Under the contract, all the 104 AN-32s will get an upgrade and life extension overhaul over a period of five years, with an initial lot being sent to Ukraine and the rest undergoing it at Kanpur BRD (base repair depot).

"The project will be executed between 2009 and 2013. It will include life extension of both the engines and airframe, improved avionics suite, communication equipment and landing aids,'' said an official.

The medium-tactical transport AN-32s have had a relatively good flight safety record in IAF as compared to the MiG fighters, with the last major crash being recorded in Delhi in 1999, which killed 21 people. Of the 118 AN-32s inducted in 1984 to replace the then aging Dakota, Caribu and Packet planes, 14 have been lost in crashes till now.

But the twin-turboprop fleet, the IAF workhorse to ferry troops and supplies to forward areas, has suffered from poor serviceability, tardy maintenance, delays in overhauls and shortage of spares, resulting in a high AOG (aircraft on ground) percentage.

The parliamentary public accounts committee had recently, in fact, blasted the defence ministry and IAF for "slackness and ineptitude'' in the contract management and procurement of critical spares.

The IAF move to modify six AN-32s during 2001-2003 for VIP use had also come in for scathing criticism since it diverted them from their primary task of transporting troops and cargo.

Army personnel asked not to post information on Facebook, Orkut news June 2009

Indian army servicemen have been advised by the Army command not to post their service details on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Some social networking sites like Facebook that have gained popularity recently allow users to upload their details for online viewing by friends and relatives.

The Indian Army is the largest wing of the armed forces and is responsible for land-based military operations with its primary objectives being the defense of the nation against external aggression, maintenance peace and security within the country, patrolling the borders and conducting counter-terrorist operations.

A recently issued army circular ordered armed forces personnel to immediately remove all such information related to their service from the sites on which these may have been posted like Orkut and Facebook.

The army fears that such information might lead to army personnel being befriended to gain access to information including place of posting, unit and rank by enemy agents and others.

The move has been initiated as a security measure to prevent inadvertent divulgence of sensitive information through the such sites, according to army sources.

The circular reportedly goes on to say that violation of the orders and continued use of such sites to share content would attract disciplinary action against personnel found in breach of the order. Under 'good order and discipline' rules under the Army Act, violation of the order could result in imprisonment for up to seven years.

According to the same circular nearly 35,000 of its 1.1 million personnel are active internet users.

Army eases e-mail, networking rules


The U.S. Army will allow soldiers at bases in the United States to access Web-based personal e-mail and some social media and networking Internet sites -- including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr -- from military computers.

Army officials hope the new policy will bring consistency to an often-conflicting patchwork of regulations, orders and rules for users of Army computers.

The orders were issued last month "to address inconsistent Web-filtering standards" on different Army computer systems, Stephen Bullock, spokesman for the Armys 7th Signal Command, told The Washington Times.

Previously, network managers at different Army installations effectively set their own policies about access to the networking sites.

"These are sites that soldiers are encouraged to use to get the Army message out. The Army has a presence on these sites. ... There is no reason to block them," Mr. Bullock said.

The order covers systems under the operational control of the 7th Signal Command, Mr. Bullock said. Systems run by the Army National Guard, for instance, would not be covered.

In addition to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, the bookmarking site Delicious and the video-sharing site Vimeo are also covered. The Army has a Twitter feed, a Facebook page and its own channel on Vimeo.

Mr. Bullock said other social-networking and media sites, including MySpace, PhotoBucket and YouTube, will remain off-limits under a Department of Defense order issued two years ago.

The May 2007 order blocked access on all U.S. military computers to 12 social-networking and media sites.

Timothy Madden, spokesman for a task force involved in Pentagon computer policy, said the earlier order was issued "to maximize the availability of [computer network] resources to support Department of Defense missions."

"You can pick up a newspaper any day and read about the negative consequences of social media sites," Mr. Madden said, adding that issues for the military included operational security and the possible transmission of malicious software.

"The Global Information Grid is a war-fighting platform," said Mr. Madden, referring to the Pentagon's worldwide computer network. "We have a responsibility to make sure it is available."

Some observers see the policies as inconsistent, if not incoherent.

The military is "schizophrenic" in its attitude toward the Internet, said defense technology writer Noah Schachtman, who first reported the Armys new policy on his blog for

"There are elements in the military that are really warming up to social media," he said. "Several senior officers are dipping a toe into the blogging business."

Some in the military are concerned about the possible use of interactive Web sites by hostile intelligence agencies.

At a Department of Defense conference last month in Florida, two representatives from the Defense Intelligence Agency made a presentation showing how information from LinkedIn, a professional-networking site, and other Web sites could be used to help a foreign intelligence service build up a target list for its spies.

Indian Air Force Looks at Boeing C-17 Globemaster III to Replace Ilyushin IL-76

Dated 16/6/2009

Keen on replacing its ageing Russian IL-76 transport aircraft fleet, the Indian Air Force has shortlisted US major Boeing's C-17 Globemaster III for its heavylift aircraft.

"The C-17s have been shortlisted after IAF carried out a thorough study on its capability to take-off and land on short runways with heavy loads," IAF sources said here today. IAF would place an initial order for 10 of the C-17s through the US government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, and may later go in for a follow-on order, sources said.

"The Defence Ministry is at present considering the proposal. If accepted, the aircraft should be inducted in about three years after signing of the contract," sources added. In fact, most of IAF's transport aircraft were acquired in the 1980s and the air force is keen to acquire new generation aircraft to replace and augment its fleet.

There are about 100 mediumlift AN-32 aircraft and around 20 heavylift IL-76 aircraft in the IAF fleet at present. An IL-76 has a six-member crew and can carry a cargo of 45 tonnes. But the C-17, which is powered by four Pratt & Whitney F-117-PW-100 turbofan engines, can carry 70 tonnes and has only a three-member crew, industry sources said.

The coming war between India and China

by Moin Ansari
Rupee News

India has been buying weapons and trying to build them for decades. It has been buying junk from Moscow (Flying Coffins) and has been unable to produce weapons on its own. The list of Indian failures is long. Kevari Engine, Tejas LCA, Trishul, Nag, Agni Arjun and Brahmos are a few examples of the total failure of the Delhi arms. Indian missile failures

Despite spending humongous amounts of money the bureaucrats of the Ganges have been unable to make Bharat self-sufficient in arms production. It is the only country of any sizable size which cannot produce arms that it can export. This colossal failure of the Bharati arms industry has filtered down to the total lack of any credible manufacturing from Goa to Gurdaspur.

Of course the Tatas and the Birlas have pulled rabbits out of their hats with huge smoke and mirrors that make the average Bharati think that the paradise of the shantytowns in Mumbai that encompass half of the population of the city are part of Shining India. Bharatis are incapable of looking at the extreme penury around them and blind to the ***** right outside the Delhi airport. They cannot smell the stench of human excrement right outside the Mumbai airport and oblivious to the fact that 80% of the population takes a dump every morning on the railway lines. A nation that does not have working toilets for 80% of its population is proud of the fact that it can turn on a switch on a Russian launcher and a Soviet era engine designed and made in Moscow. It is disgusting that the country which has the lowest PER CAPITA GNP in South Asia and has most of the world poor declare itself a Space power. A society full of untouchable, Sati, widow incarceration, and caste in incapable of any shine. The Slumdog power has 89 insurgencies with 40% of its territory under rebel control–this is “Incredible India”. Nothing incredible about the IT power whose revenues from the Call Centers are half that of IBM. There is no shine in the country where 450 Dalits and Untouchables eek out a living as slaves and 150 million Muslims simply survive.

The Slumdog power mesmerized by Bollywood (filmed outside Bharat) cannot come to terms with the simple fact that 80% of its population lives below $2 per day with the hunger index placing it below Burkino Faso. Why doesn’t Russia transfer plane technology to India?

One out of every 200 Indians is already employed by the Indian Armed Forces. Three out of every four Indians already live at or less than $2 a day. Bharat Sarkar (the Government of India) has, however, now jacked up the defence budget by a massive 55 percent. Who is India going to fight with?

India has 3,773,300 troops, plus 1,089,700 paramilitary forces (NationMaster - World Statistics, Country Comparisons). India’s army is second only to China in size. The Indian Air Force, with a total aircraft strength of 1,700, is the world’s 4th largest. The Indian Navy already operates some 13 dozen vessels with INS Viraat as its flagship, the only “full-deck aircraft carrier operated by a country in Asia or the Western Pacific, along with operational jet fighters.” Who is India going to fight with?

India has six neighbours; Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Nepal and China. India now spends a colossal $32.35 billion on defence, Pakistan $4.8 billion, Bangladesh $830 million, Nepal $100 million and Burma $30 million (according to Business Standard, India’s second-largest financial daily, “There is no apparent reason for India to understate its defence budget. No IMF conditions constrain defence spending…. But India continues to camouflage what other comparable liberal democracies transparently show as defence spending). Collectively, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma and Nepal spend $5.7 billion a year on defence. Who is India going to fight with?

Yes, there’s China and the People’s Republic spends $80 billion a year on defence. According to a report by Stratfor, the Texas-based private intelligence agency, “China has been seen as a threat to India, and simplistic models show them to be potential rivals. In fact, however, China and India might as well be on different planets. Their entire frontier runs through the highest elevations of the Himalayas. It would be impossible for a substantial army to fight its way through the few passes that exist, and it would be utterly impossible for either country to sustain an army there in the long term. The two countries are irrevocably walled off from each otherl…. Ideally, New Delhi wants to see a Pakistan that is fragmented, or at least able to be controlled. Towards this end, it will work with any power that has a common interest and has no interest in invading India.”

To be certain, India and China are not military rivals. Who is India then going to fight with? Bharatiya Sthalsena (the Indian Army) has a total of 13 corps, of which six are strike corps. Of the 13 corps at least seven have their guns pointed towards Pakistan. The 3rd Armoured Division, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 4 RAPID (Reorganised Army Plains Infantry Divisions), Jaisalmer AFS, Utarlai AFS and Bhuj AFS are all aiming at splitting Pakistan into two (by capturing the Kashmore/Guddu Barrage-Reti-Rahimyar Khan triangle). The News. Bharatiya Sthalsena Sunday, March 01, 2009 Dr Farrukh Saleem. The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). Email:

In the latter part of the 19th century the Chinese fought with the British and lost the first and the second Opium war. Dr. Sun Yet Sen and others tried to throw off the yolk of colonialism but were not very successful. It was Mao Ze Dung that was finally able to mold the country into a united country and expel the Japanese, the British and the other colonial powers that wanted to divide the country.

China has built it manufacturing sector from the ground up. It is very cognizant of the fact that the wealth of a nation is dependent on the manufacturing sector of a country. China bought equipment from Russia but only to build its own arms. It has now reached technological independence. Why did Pakistan buy fewer F-16s?

On Jan 21, 2009, India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) tested BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile (from Brahmaputra and the Moskva of Russia). According to India Today, the “test failure was due to a software error (unit cost $2.73 million).”

On July 9, 2006, DRDO test fired Agni III (unit cost $8 million). The missile remained airborne for a mere five minutes and then fell into the sea off the coast of Orissa. The following day, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) failed to launch a satellite when its rocket veered off course (destroying an Insat-4C satellite). The combined value of the satellite and the rocket was Rs2.5 billion. Agni III was test fired again on April 12, 2007, and then once again on May 7, 2008.

In 1974, DRDO began developing Arjun tank. It took DRDO 30 years–with billions wasted–to deliver the first five units. In July 2008, the Indian Army said it was “capping Arjun’s induction at 124 units.” DRDO now plans to deliver the remaining units sometime in 2009.

In November 2008, Lt Col Shrikant Purohit was arrested by the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism squad for his involvement in the Samjhauta Express bombings. Sudha Ramachandran, writing for Asia Time Online, said, “The arrests have triggered a heated debate…. The probes point to the possibility of the hitherto secular and apolitical Indian Army being infected by the communal virus.”

Some nine years ago, India committed to achieve goals established at the Millennium Summit 2000. With so much money going into defence India is staring into a whole matrix of failures: failure in eradicating “extreme poverty and hunger”; failure in reducing the number of underweight children; failure in reducing child mortality; failure in reducing maternal mortality and failure in combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Why a country 75 percent of whose population is at or below $2 a day is bent upon spending $32.35 billion for the acquisition of more killing machines? Who is India then going to fight with? The News. Bharatiya Sthalsena Sunday, March 01, 2009 Dr Farrukh Saleem. The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). Email:

According to Parag Khanna, the world is witnessing the rise of China as a Superpower in the next few decades. India has missed the boat.

Source: The coming war between India and China Pak Alert Press

Military upgradation plan along China border finally takes wing

Jyoti Malhotra / New Delhi June 17, 2009, 0:37 IST

New airbases, troops, infrastructure, development initiatives are all part of a longer strategy

Exactly a year after the Indian Air Force landed an An-32 transport plane at Daulat Begh Oldhi, a mere 8 km from the Sino-Indian border in Ladakh, the IAF on Monday operationalised four nuclear-capable Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets at a newly refurbished airbase, some 3,000 km away in Tezpur, Assam.

Two weeks earlier, J J Singh, former army chief and now Arunachal Pradesh governor, had announced that the Centre would soon add two divisions (about 50,000 troops) to the 10 mountain divisions that already exist for defence against China. The heightened deployment, said Singh, was intended to meet “future security challenges” posed by China. The two additional army divisions, along with artillery, medical, signals and engineering support, will be placed along the disputed Line of Actual Control between India and China, he said.

Soon after, a defence ministry team from Delhi was in the state capital of Itanagar to sign an agreement with the state government for the transfer of eight airfields in Arunachal to the IAF.

The IAF’s sweep, from Ladakh in the north-west to Arunachal Pradesh in the north-east, combined with the additional mountain divisions, form the core of New Delhi’s response to the realisation that defence preparedness against China has to be upgraded.

Last November, the IAF landed aircraft in Chushul and Fukche, two airfields in Ladakh just off the Aksai Chin, which last saw action during the 1962 border war with China. Defence sources also say the first of three AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) planes will also soon be in the region, to act as a “potent force-multiplier” that will monitor the movement of Chinese aircraft and troops across the LAC.

Meanwhile, there is increased activity on the border. India’s heightened patrolling has detected 270 “intrusions” by the Chinese over the past year, compared to 60 the year before.

So, even as Delhi and Beijing prepare to celebrate 60 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2010 — with a visit by President Pratibha Patil to China and a return visit by Xi Jinping, China’s vice-president and the man expected to succeed President Hu Jintao – Manmohan Singh’s government intends to complete the upgradation of the defence and civilian infrastructure that it embarked upon in 2005 along what had been a neglected border.

In April 2008, defence minister A K Antony traveled to the north-east, noted with surprise the superior infrastructure on the Chinese side of the LAC, and promised troops would be armed with the latest equipment “so that our armed forces can be among the best in the world.”

While the decision to build a motorable road to Daulat Begh Oldhi was taken during the Vajpayee government’s tenure, in 2001, it was UPA-I which decided to build a network of roads in Arunachal Pradesh, to accompany the upgradation of the military infrastructure.

Shyam Saran, foreign secretary at the time, proposed that the Centre change the colonial manner in which it treated border areas, with its “buffer zones and Inner Lines”, and better integrate them with the rest of the country. Saran told Business Standard this week the need existed to “multiply opportunities across the border as well”. So Nathu La in Sikkim was opened to border trade in 2006, while permits to visit border areas in Ladakh (e.g Chushul) were relaxed. It was also decided to add 1,000 km of roads in Arunachal, including 13 strategic roads that connected the entire trans-Himalayan region, with feeder roads right up to the LAC.

China has been even busier than India, upgrading its own infrastructure by building 22,000 km of roads in the Tibet region (including more than 6,000 km of roads in Nagari prefecture that adjoins Ladakh), as many as 15 airfields in Tibet, Yunan and Sichuan provinces, and a network of roads and railway lines connecting Lhasa, including a highway from Kunming (in Yunan province adjoining Arunachal), its feeder roads almost touching the LAC or the British-era McMahon Line.

Meanwhile, unlike the defence brass (like the just-retired IAF chief Fali Major), who have spoken of the Chinese threat, Indian diplomats decline to talk on the subject. In fact, the defence brass has been reprimanded by Antony for speaking out of turn.

“India has to speak softly, but remain focused on its priorities,” a diplomat said, pointing out that despite 12 rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese representatives, the resolution of the border dispute is very much a “long haul” issue. Refering to the June 11 editorial in China’s People’s Daily (“India can’t actually compete with China in a number of areas, like international influence, overall national power and economic scale…India has not realised this…”), the diplomat pointed out that Beijing was signalling its intent to keep the border issue alive.

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