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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 23 Jun 09

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US firm to provide maintenance for weapons on board Navy ship

Press Trust of India / Paris June 22, 2009, 12:30 IST

US Defence firm Raytheon has signed an agreement with India's Elcom Marine Company to provide spare support for the maintenance of Phalanx close-in weapon system on board Indian Navy's INS Jalashwa amphibious warship.

"We have signed an agreement with Elcom Marine to provide them the spares and other systems with which they can support the two Phalanx systems on the INS Jalashwa," Raytheon Vice President Denny Carroll said during the Paris Air show.

India had procured the INS Jalashwa (formerly known as USS Trenton) from the US in 2007 for around $50 million and the ship has two Phalanx systems on it along with six helicopters.

Raytheon is also close to signing another agreement with Elcom which will help the company to do the annual maintenance of the close-in weapon system for the Indian Navy.

Carroll said that Raytheon has also offered to upgrade the two systems of the Navy with the latest configuration.

"We have already offered to upgrade the systems on board the Jalashwa to Phalanx 1B configuration, which is the latest version of the system," he informed.

He added that Raytheon is ready to offer the system for other ships of Indian Navy also. The weapon system on board the ship protects it against the threat from incoming missiles and other airborne threats.

Raytheon has signed 13 different MoUs with various Indian companies, including Tata Advance Systems Ltd, to expand its presence in the country's defence market.

Militants may lose

Talibanisation of Pakistan will go on

by Sushant Sareen

The devastating suicide bombing of the Pearl Continental hotel in Peshawar, the attack on the Lahore headquarters of the ISI and the assassination of a prominent anti-Taliban cleric in Lahore are rude reminders that Pakistan’s war against the Taliban and sundry Islamists is far from coming to an end. If anything, the security situation is likely to become much worse before it gets any better, if at all. Even as the Pakistan Army opens new fronts to oust the militant Islamists from the areas they control, they are widening the arena of conflict by striking at high-value and high-visibility targets in urban centres like Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Not only have the militants demonstrated their reach and their ability to hit the Pakistani state where it hurts the most, they have also dealt a body blow to the confidence of the people in the ability of the state and its security services to protect them from these elements.

Clearly, Pakistan is in the throes of a conflict that it cannot afford to lose and perhaps lacks the material resources, ideological and strategic commitment and clarity, social cohesion, political will and consensus, and, most of all, the military single-mindedness required to win. Not only is there not enough understanding, let alone preparation, of all the political measures and administrative and social reforms that need to be undertaken to win this war, there is persisting confusion as to who the bad guys are or why this war is being fought.

What, after all, is the “big idea” behind the war? Is it a war to define what is or is not Islam? Is it a war for a liberal, modern, progressive Pakistan or is it merely a war for the survival of the state as it exists? Is the war against both the methods adopted by the Taliban as well as their version of Islam? Or, is it the case that while the Taliban version of Islam is acceptable (with a few tweaks here and there), the opposition is only to their methods? Is this a war which is being fought only to keep the dollars flowing into the Pakistan economy? Or is this war being fought purely because of the immense US military and economic pressure, but for which the Pakistanis would have handled the Taliban in a very different way?

The answers to these questions become unavoidable every time anyone in Pakistan talks of restoring the “writ of the state”. Surely, the phrase “writ of the state” must mean more than just reacquiring the control of a particular place by the police and the army after forcing millions of people out of their homes and then flattening entire towns and villages. No doubt, retaining the monopoly over coercion by using all the necessary means constitutes an essential element in enforcing the “writ of the state”. But what use is it to establish the authority and majesty of the state if the social contract that operates is not that of the state but of the Taliban.

Indeed, matters are fast reaching a stage where even if the Taliban groups are decimated, their ideas and indeed the social and cultural mores that have been mandated by them will survive. In other words, the Islamisation, rather Salafi-isation or Arabisation, of Pakistan is not likely to end with the defeat of the Taliban. While the Pakistani society has for some time now been spiralling headlong into religious, social and cultural obscurantism, the instruments that the Pakistani state is forging to mobilise public opinion and also to fight the Taliban are going to further push society in this direction.

After all, the tribal lashkars, the pro-establishment clerics and the “reconcilable” Taliban commanders who have come out in support of the state are not exactly poster-boys for a more liberal and progressive Pakistan. Perhaps, in the short term the state has no choice but to use this lot against the “irreconcilable” Taliban. However, if the state becomes too dependent on them, these people could become a law unto themselves, making the task of restoring the state’s writ close to impossible.

For the present, however, while the Pakistan Army claims to have wrested the physical control of many areas from the Taliban, psychologically the Taliban fighters remain pretty much on the ascendant, not only in the areas where they held a sway, but also in areas where their presence was supposed to be negligible. The signs of this are everywhere: one letter and shopkeepers in Lahore make a public bonfire of all pornographic CDs in their shops; in Muzaffarabad, people are scared of hiring women workers and are considering firing women employees after receiving a threat from the militant Islamists; doctors in Peshawar have started wearing Shalwar Kameez instead of trousers and shirts which have been declared un-Islamic; music and CD shops and barbers have been forced to change their line of business; there are markets in the NWFP and Quetta where women are forbidden - the list is endless.

Obviously, people take the diktat of the Taliban far more seriously than they respect the laws made by the Pakistani state, which they flout with impunity. What is more, while those behind the Taliban enforce their laws even on the pain of death, the state appears incapable of ensuring compliance of its laws. If this be the state of affairs in places where the Taliban influence is more notional than real, it is hardly surprising then that in places where the Taliban has held sway, not many people are willing to defy its diktat. So much so that despite the army’s claims of having cleared many areas of the Taliban, the fear and terror of the militants lingers on, more so after incidents of renewed Taliban activity in some of the areas from where they were supposed to have been thrown out.

The failure of the army to so far kill or capture even a single top-ranking Taliban commander has added to the sense of disquiet among the people, many of whom are still not entirely convinced or continue to doubt that the army is no longer patronising the Taliban or that the army is not playing favourites among the Taliban leadership or even that the army has finally decided to give up the use of the Taliban as strategic assets once and for all. The sheer magnitude of distrust in the state and its security forces, coupled with the growing anger over the ineffective and inefficient handling of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) is going to severely compromise the moral writ and legitimacy of the Pakistani state in the eyes of these people.

Unlike Punjab where there is a tendency to romanticise the Taliban, many of the people from the NWFP, having suffered the Taliban, have no love lost for them. And yet, the treatment these people have received at the hands of the Pakistani state is in some ways worse than what was inflicted upon them by the Taliban. Indeed, the danger to the writ of the Pakistani state comes not only from the Taliban but also from the disaffection, disillusionment and disenchantment of the people in whose name the war is being fought.

The Pakistani state must provide succour (and not merely lip-service) to the people affected by the war. At the same time, it must plunge head-on into reforms that firmly put Pakistan on a liberal, progressive path. Unless this happens, regardless of who wins the war, the Talibanisation of Pakistan will be unavoidable.

Bar Council rules debar Army men from law course
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Rules framed by the Bar Council of India (BCI), specifying 30 years as the upper age limit for admission to the three-year Bachelor of Laws degree course, has adversely affected armed forces personnel. The matter has been taken up with the BCI by the Directorate of Sainik welfare, Punjab.

Serving as well as retired armed forces officers would not be able to take admission to law course either while in service or after post-retirement. Law is perused by military personnel to enhance their professional skills or for switching over the services’ legal departments or as a post-retirement rehabilitation avenue wherein they can practice in courts or get re-employment as legal officers.

“We received a copy of the Rules for Legal Education, 2008, through the state’s Education Department on June 15, following which we took up the issue with the BCI,” Brig IS Gakhal, Director, Sainik Welfare Board, said.

In a letter written to the chairman and secretary of the BCI, the directorate, while stating that education was a fundamental right, has strongly recommended that the age criterion be amended in a manner to make it eligible for ex-servicemen to undergo three-year degree course in law irrespective of age.

“The stipulated age criterion would debar all ex-servicemen from updating their knowledge skills or starting a second career,” the letter states. “The government spends considerable time effort and money in rehabilitating ex-servicemen, but in one stroke of the rules, ex-servicemen who have sacrificed their youth, have been eliminated from a possible rehabilitation as respectable citizens,” the letter adds.

A large number of retired armed forces personnel practice as advocates in lower courts, high courts and the Supreme Court. Owing to their background, many of them specialise in service matters related to the military, like courts martial, promotions, postings, statutory complaints, etc.

26/11: Army report slams 'lack of coordination'

June 22, 2009 17:26 IST

The army has proposed setting up of a centralised command and control centre to coordinate actions of all agencies during anti-terror operations post Mumbai [Images] attacks.

The proposal came amid the army noting that the lack of synergy among forces resulted in the delay in eliminating terrorists who struck the financial capital of the country on November 26.

"Most of the agencies were working in isolation, in the absence of a nominated overall commander of all forces, resulting in under-utilisation of available capability," the army said in an analysis of the anti-terror operation on November 26.

"While the operations were being conducted by the NSG (National Security Guards), its Inspector General (Operations) arrived later on November 27 while its Director General reached much later," the army said in its report.

It said, "Centralised command and control at national and state level needs to be established for coordinating actions of all agencies during such attacks."

The official report, prepared by the army's Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa [Images] area headquarters, also suggested that such command and control centre should be under either the state police or the NSG and the army columns could be committed to special roles during the operations.

The control of operations, it said, was basically restricted to actual operations of Team Leader being supported by the higher commanders, as they reached Mumbai.

"The army operations were coordinated through its control room activated at Mumbai Sub-Area Headquarters. This control room is basically established during aid to civilian authorities," the army's analysis said.

A sub-text to the "lessons learned" during the operations stressed the need for a mobile control room, which needed to be established and it would be incorporated soon, it added.

The report also slammed the lack of synergy among intelligence gathering and disseminating agencies while the anti-terrorist operations were in progress in Mumbai.

"Collection and dissemination of actionable intelligence from captured terrorists, hostages released or escaped from the targeted buildings need to be ensured," the report said.

The operations, the report said, was handicapped by the lack of detailed construction layout of the buildings targeted by the terrorists on November 26.

"Details and construction layouts of each value targets needs to be readily available to avoid delay in finalisation and execution of anti-terror operation plans. Municipal authorities should be made responsible for providing the layouts to the police, special forces and army units during such operations," it added.

RPT-ANALYSIS-Can Pakistan take on the Lashkar-e-Taiba?

Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:13am EDT

By Myra MacDonald

LONDON, June 21 (Reuters) - If Pakistan's battle against the Taliban seems difficult, a much tougher challenge lies ahead: deciding what to do about the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group it once nurtured to fight India in Kashmir.

Security experts from the United States and India believe the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency could shut down the group blamed for last year's attacks on Mumbai -- if they choose to do so.

"The Pakistan Army could do it and the ISI could tell them where to find those guys in a heartbeat," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who led a review of strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan for President Barack Obama.

"If they wanted to shut them down they could," said B. Raman, a former Additional Secretary at India's Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) intelligence agency. "They can do it, but they don't want to do it because they look upon it as a strategic asset."

But Samina Yasmeen, a professor at the University of Western Australia who is researching a book on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), said the reality on the ground may be more complicated.

Over the years, she said, the LeT had given birth to splinter groups which had broken free both of the Pakistan Army and ISI, and even from the LeT leadership.

"There are elements within the Lashkar that are not under the control of the army anymore. They really moved on a trajectory that people did not expect," she said. "After 9/11 there was a section that emerged within the Lashkar that may not be under the control of the Lashkar leadership."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pushed the LeT to the top of the agenda last week by effectively telling President Asif Ali Zardari that India would not re-open peace talks until Pakistan acted against the organisation and its leaders.

He seems to have won support in the West, where the LeT is seen as potentially as big a danger as al Qaeda. "I think we have to regard the Lashkar-e-Taiba as much a threat to us as any other part of the al Qaeda system," said Riedel.

But finding a consensus on what Pakistan can, should and will do about the LeT is like asking people to agree on how to label many different shades of grey.

Like many militant groups, the LeT was born out of the CIA-backed jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan and then began operations in Kashmir in 1993, Indian analysts say.

According to Raman, the LeT is the biggest militant group in Pakistan, with a larger presence even than the Taliban, and a charitable wing, the Jamaat ud-Dawa, which rather like Hamas in Gaza also carries out humanitarian work.

With land, property and madrasas all over Pakistan, it collaborated with al Qaeda while also offering its training infrastructure to Pakistanis from the diaspora, he said.

But unlike other militant groups it has been scrupulous in avoiding attacks inside Pakistan, thereby avoiding the wrath of the army that has now been turned on the Pakistani Taliban.


For security analysts, the two questions are whether the army and ISI can close down the LeT, and if they want to do so -- the assumption being that this would have to be done by the country's powerful military rather than the civilian government.

Riedel said he believed the capability was there.

He acknowledged that taking on the LeT -- which is based in Punjab province, the main recruiting ground for the army -- would be hard. "They are Punjabis. You are taking on the same constituencies from which the Pakistan Army and the ISI draw their own core supporters," he said, adding that you could probably find officers with cousins in the LeT.

"It's become more and more difficult but I would not underestimate the ISI's knowledge base. They would be able to bring people in," he said.

But Yasmeen said more problems could be created by targeting the leadership. "You limit their ability to have some possibility of controlling those below. The risk of splintering increases," she said.

November's Mumbai attacks, which killed 166 people, offered hints about splits either within the ISI or the LeT -- for the first time Jews and westerners were targeted, risking an American backlash.

Raman said for this reason he was not convinced the ISI as an institution -- as opposed to individual officers -- had ordered the attacks.

"I've not seen any convincing evidence to show that the ISI as an institution gave the order," he said. "They would have seen to it that they did not attack westerners."

The distinction is important since the ISI as an institution would be unlikely to take action without backing from the army -- whose chief General Ashfaq Kayani was formerly the ISI head.

Yasmeen said another possible explanation for Mumbai was splintering within the LeT, since its leader Hafiz Saeed, who was released from house arrest this month, had always been clear the group's focus was on India, rather than on a global agenda.

Whatever the truth about Mumbai, the question of whether the army actually wants to shut down the LeT is quite separate.

India has long complained that Pakistan selectively targets militants who threaten domestic stability, like the Pakistani Taliban in the Swat valley, while leaving alone those who can be used against India or to extend its influence in Afghanistan. It is an argument that appears to be gaining currency in the west.

"Pakistan sort of compartmentalises the various militant threats," a U.S. defence official said, adding the offensive underway against the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas was designed to stop a threat to Pakistan.

"And so we haven't seen anything to indicate a strategic re-orientation in Pakistan at this time," he said.

Analysts say the army may be rethinking its attitude to militants after it lost control of the Pakistani Taliban, which then overran the Swat valley and began encroaching on Punjab.

But giving up the LeT, seen as a "force multiplier" in the event of an invasion by India -- rather like citizens trained in civil defence -- would be another step altogether.

Would the army chief turn against the LeT?

"My sense of Kayani is that he is very pragmatic. He hasn't accepted that India is not a threat to Pakistan," said Yasmeen. "From Kayani's point of view, does he want to deny himself the possibility of using all trained and semi-trained people?"

That question returns to the Catch 22 of India-Pakistan relations. Without peace, Pakistan may never fully turn against the LeT. And India will not offer peace talks until it does so. (Additional reporting by Paul Eckert in Washington; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Pak Army more professional than India’s

Monday, 22 June 2009 00:57

The Pakistan Army is more professional and advanced in its capabilities and spirit to fight despite less salaries, as compared to the armed forces of other neighbouring countries. President Asif Zardari is the second head of the state after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who raised salaries of the armed forces by 100 percent.

President Zardari took the decision with the consultation of Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani after receiving summary from Defence Minister Ch Ahmad Mukhtar seeking increase in the salaries.

The president was taken aback after he knew that a lieutenant in the Indian Army is getting Rs 27000 basic salary, while the same officer in the Pakistan Army is receiving Rs 14936 as basic pay.

Similarly, the salaries of captain, major, lieutenant colonel, colonel, brigadier, major general and lieutenant general of the Indian and the Sri Lankan armies are more than that of the Pakistan Army. Among the non-junior commissioned officers, Sri Lanka comes first, India second and Pakistan on third, while among commissioned officers, India comes first, Sri Lanka second and Pakistan on third.

However, the salaries of the lieutenant colonel and the colonel of the Pakistan Army are same. According to official document available with this news service, the basic salary of the army soldier is Rs 4579, while that of the Indian and the Sri Lankan are Rs 9200 and Rs 14720 respectively. The naik in the army is getting Rs 4756 as compared to Indian and Sri Lankan, who are receiving Rs 9600 and Rs 15170 respectively.

Raytheon's Munitions Control Unit to be Integrated on Jaguar Aircraft

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) has started integrating its Munitions Control Unit on the Jaguar fighter aircraft.

The MCU is a plug-and-play system that enables integration of modern weapons on legacy aircraft with minimal modifications to aircraft wiring and no changes to the flight and stores management software.

"Once MCU is integrated on an aircraft, aircrews can employ the Joint Standoff Weapon, Maverick missile, Paveway precision-guided munition and AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missile using the aircraft's existing weapon management system," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems. "Warfighters can have this capability for a fraction of what it costs to integrate one weapon by traditional means."

Raytheon began integrating MCU on the Jaguar in the second quarter of 2009 and plans to finish the work in less than 24 months. MCU is currently integrated on the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Russia to Purchase 12 Israeli UAVs for USD 53 million

Russia has bought 12 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel in a recent deal worth $53 million, a Russian government official said on Monday to the national news agency.

"The contract envisions the purchase of 12 UAV, including two heavy vehicles and 10 small vehicles. The delivery has not yet been made because the contract was signed only recently," Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said in an exclusive interview with RIA Novosti.

Dzirkaln said the main goal of the purchase was to study the Israeli achievements in the development of spy drones in order to build reliable UAVs domestically.

"We must take their know-how and put it to practical use [in developing our own craft]," the official said.

The Russian military stressed the need to provide its Armed Forces with advanced means of battlefield reconnaissance in the wake of a brief military conflict with Georgia last August, when the effectiveness of Russian military operations was severely hampered by the lack of reliable intelligence.

The Russian Air Force has launched a number of UAV development programs for various purposes. Air Force Commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin said last year that Russia would deploy advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with a flight range of up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) and a flight duration capability of up to 12 hours by 2011.

However, Russian defense companies, including the Irkut aircraft maker and the Vega Radio Engineering Corp., have failed so far to provide the military with effective spy drones.

According to various estimates, the Russian military needs up to 100 UAVs and at least 10 guidance systems to ensure effective battlefield reconnaissance in case of any military conflict.

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