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Thursday, 25 June 2009

From Today's Papers - 25 Jun 09

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DRDO registers jump in filing patents

Ramnath Shenoy/ PTI / Bangalore June 24, 2009, 12:12 IST

Boosted by an aggressive awareness campaign, the Defence Research and Development Organisation has registered a substantial jump in filing patents and set a 10 per cent growth target for the current year.

"Last year, we filed 100 patents. Just two years back, it was a very low figure. DRDO has set a 10 per cent growth target on the patent filing front for the current year and is confident of beating its own expectations," DRDO's Director in the Directorate of Extramural Research and Intellectual Property Rights, S Sankaran, told PTI.

Bulk of the patents filed is in the area of life sciences, followed by medical chemistry, drugs and biology.

DRDO would like to put more stress on engineering products, an area where patent-filing has been comparatively less, Sankaran said.

DRDO's thrust on patent-filing comes at a time when they are redoubling efforts to get on board high quality talent to fuel its projects, which are in plenty.

"We proactively go to our labs and try to have a lot of workshops in which we sensitise on how one can do, what sort of support one should give," Sankaran said.

"And we have patent clinics, we take patent attorneys....(to advise) people who got ideas which are in the elementary stage. They may have done something but don't know whether it's patentable or not," he said.

DRDO is also taking steps to attract science and engineering talent to shore up its resource base.

"When we go to colleges, many engineering students are not aware of what is DRDO. Some believe DRDO is doing some secret defence projects...We are taking steps to get more and more younger people," DRDO's Chief Controller R & D (Services Interaction), Dr Prahlada said.

Joining DRDO was generally not the top choice of young graduates, but the scenario is changing. "The economic downturn that has led to slowdown in the job market and hefty pay packages in DRDO following pay commission recommendations are attracting youngsters towards the organisation," he said.

Attrition among DRDO scientists and engineers is almost zero this year, as against 17 per cent three years ago, Prahlada said, adding that this year 20 IIT graduates have joined the organisation.

Army chief visits LAC
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, June 24
The chief of the Army Staff, Gen Deepak Kapoor, today visited the 4 Corps (Gajraj Corps) headquarters at Tezpur in north Assam to take stock of the overall activities across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along the Chinese Frontier in Arunachal Pradesh as well as the security scenario in Assam, where the Army is engaged in prolonged counter-insurgency operations.

Defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the Army Chief was accompanied by Lt Gen VK Singh, GoC-in-C Eastern Command during a day-long visit. Gen Kapoor held discussion with the GoC 4 Corps Lt Gen KT Parnaik and other defence officers.

The Army Chief hailed the high standard of professionalism and dedication to duty shown by all ranks of Gajraj Corps braving difficult and challenging conditions which had lead to near stability, normalcy and peace in Assam. He further exhorted all ranks to be prepared to meet any internal or external challenge.

The Gen also appreciated that all operations in the Corps Zone were being carried out in a befitting manner to create an environment for peace, stability and progress in insurgency-hit Assam.

The Army Chief visit to take stock of activities along the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh assumes significance in view of Defence Ministry’s latest overtures to improve its infrastructure and resources in bases close to Chinese Frontier.

The Congress MP from Arunachal West constituency, Takam Sanjay said Defence Minister AK Anthony had agreed to position two more divisions of the Army in Arunachal Pradesh to augment security in the bordering state.

China, US agree to avoid naval confrontations

Press Trust of India, Wednesday June 24, 2009, Beijing

In a major step to de-escalate tensions, China and the United States on Wednesday agreed to avoid military confrontations in high seas that have the potential to spark an international crisis, a top Chinese army official said.

The spate of confrontations in the volatile South China Sea over the past year, was the centre of the first high-level military dialogue between the two countries held after a break of 18 months, Xinhua quoted a Chinese military official as saying.

Chinese and American naval warships have had a series of near encounters in the South China Sea, which had the potential of sparking a major crisis between them. Recently, a Chinese sub-marine was in near collision with a Sonar detection device deployed by an American warship.

The military leaders from the two sides also took up the issue of North Korea's recent testing of nuclear devices and firing of long-range missiles.

People's Liberation Army deputy chief of staff Lt Gen Ma Xiaotian said Beijing had opposed US surveillance patrols in the South China Sea during his two-day talks with a US delegation led by undersecretary for defence Michele Flournoy.

"Our two sides agreed to work together to avoid such incidents as these will have negative impact on our bilateral relations," the Chinese official told a news conference after the talks.

Whose demise is inevitable?

Sajjad Shaukat

On the one hand, Pakistan’s defence forces and people have been showing a strong sense of unity against the Taliban in wake of the ongoing military operations, but on the other, various anti-Pakistan articles have still been appearing in the media. It can be judged from the wishful thinking of an Indian writer, Kapil Komireddi whose article, titled: The Demise of Pakistan is Inevitable, published in the Guardian on June 14, 2009. It has left no stone unturned in maligning our country through self-fabricated stories.

Kapil Komireddi wrote, “Pakistan’s fight against the Taliban is an illusion. The world may view it as a battle for Pakistan’s soul, but the generals in Rawalpindi are not so sure for victory. While indicating old Indian self-created rhetoric that Pakistan’s army and its intelligence agency, ISI have links with the Taliban, Kapil blamed: “Nothing seems to deter Islamabad from continuing with its policy of patronising Islamic extremists–so long as they are devoted to destroying India…Hafiz Saeed, Jamat-ud-Dawah’s leader who had been detained after last November’s Mumbai attacks, was freed.”

The prejudice of the writer can be assessed from his some other illogical approach. In this connection, while propagating that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are unsafe, he revealed that hatred of India had been essential for Pakistan’s survival. Surprisingly, misinterpreting the two-nation theory as the basis of Pakistan and distorting historical facts about Kashmir and East Pakistan, Kapil elaborated that Pakistan that was created in 1947 ceased to exist in 1971 with the creation of Bangladesh.” He blamed that seven million East Pakistanis were slaughtered by West Pakistani soldiers in 1971. It was secular India, its forces led by non-Hindus, which intervened to liberate Pakistanis from the madness of Pakistan. Indicating division among Pakistan’s provinces from Karachi to Peshawar, Kapil concluded, “Within the next 20 years, Pakistan will probably not exist.” Let us now analyse the article of Kapil Komireddi in light of the ground realites. In this regard, Pakistan’s successful military operations verify that by sacrificing their own lives, our forces ejected the Taliban militants out of Buner, Dir and Swat—breaking their backbone by eliminating their control and command structure. Our armed forces which are now targeting South Waziristan have allayed west’s misperceptions that the militants can capture Islamabad and can take control over country’s nuclear weapons. Morover, it is owing to the clear succesess in these operations that the US-led western world have been highly praising the performance of our armed forces, giving milllion of dollars to the Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs). The tough military operations have also proved that Pak Army and ISI have no connections with the Taliban. Public support behind Pak army and rejection of Taliban-style of Sharia all over the country as expressed by the leaders of various political and civil societies—especially religious scholars give ample proof that majority of Pakistanis are moderate, who want to promote liberalism in the country instead of extremism. It was due to the anti-social activities of the Taliban such as beheadings, kidnappings, burning of girl’s schools etc. that even tribal people have come to know that these militants wanted to impose rule of terror under the cover of Sharia. In this context, more than 4 million IDPs refused to accept Talibans’ rule and preferred to live in camps. No doubt, from Lahore to Karachi and Peshawar to Queta, people of Pakistan have more unity backing the ongoing military operations.

It is mentionable that the banned Jamat-ud-Dawah’s leader Hifiz Saeed was set free by the order of Lahore High Court as his involvment was not proved in connection with Novemeber 26 incident of Mumbai. In the recent past, Ajmal kasab, the only gunmen who was arrested during Mumbai mayhem, disclosed in an Indian court that Indian police had forced him to give statement against Pakistan and involvement of ISI. As regards the partition and the two-nation theory, it is known to every intellectual that political injustices, social discrimination and religious bigotry by the Hindus had compelled the Muslims to struggle for an independent state. Hindus and their subsequent governments which did not recognise the existence of Pakistan wholeheartedly have been making overt and covert efforts in destablising this country since 1945. In this respect, four wars against Pakistan, suspension of rivers’ water to our country in violation of Indus Basin Treaty of 1967, illegitimate annexation of Kashmir, non-implementation of the UN resolutions in relation to the plebiscite in the Valley, continuous denial of the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris and their genocide might be cited as some examples.

Nevertheless, Pakistan has become a perennial target of Indian secret agency RAW. In 1971, Indira Gandhi gave RAW a green signal to mobilise all its resources by exploiting political turmoil of East Pakistan, which RAW had created through its agents who provided Bengalis arms and ammunition for conducting guerrilla acts against the Pakistani defence forces. However, this agency played a key role in the dismemberment of Pakistan India has been perennially supporting insurgency in Pakistan’s Frontier Province and Balochistan from Afghanistan where RAW has established a number of terrorist training camps from where armed insurgents are being sent to our country in order to create lawlessness. In the past few months, terror-incidents have occurred at rapid succession in Pakistan as noted in Lahore—Rescue 15 building whose actual target was ISI, raid on the Manawa Police Training Center, assault on Sri Lankan cricket team and martyring of top religious scholar, Allama Dr Sarfraz Naeemi Al-Azhari. Besides, suicide attacks at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, a new terror-wave continues in various cities of Pakistan. In fact, Indian secret agency is behind all these terror-events. Last year, solid evidence has been witnessed regarding Hindu terrorism when Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra arrested a serving Lt. Col. Srikant Purohit who had close ties with fundamentalist leaders of BJP, VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal. ATS, while revealing the confession of Lt. Col. Purohit for bombing of Samjhota express, which burnt alive 69 Pakistani passengers in 2007, further disclosed that Indian army officials helped train the Hindu terrorists, supplying them explosives, used in the various terrorist attacks of Indian cities including September 29, 2008 bombings of Malegaon. During Mumbai attack, the death of ATS Chief Hemant Karkare proved that Indian intelligence agencies had themselves planned the scheme to intimidate Pakistan and to take political advantage over the latter especially on Kashmir issue as the US President Obama seemed to resolve this dispute.

In fact, there is a co-relationship of the Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) and Hindu fundamentalism which are genesis of Hindu terrorism. This ideology has been encouraged by the subsequent governments officially, manifesting itself in various forms such as dominance of Hindu culture, religious fervour and violence against Muslims and other religious communities. Some drastic developments like demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, and recent violence in Assam including intermittent killing of Sikhs and Christians might be noted as instance. Silence of New Delhi over vandalism of Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other extremist parties has clearly displayed Hindu terrorism by defeating Indian so-called secularism. Here, Indian risky proliferation is of particular attention. Recently, Indian famous nuke scientist, Lokanathan Mahalingam whose dead body has been recovered was mysteriously disappeared from the Kaiga Atomic Power Station on June 8, 2009. Reports suggest that he was in possession of highly sensitive information regarding the Indian nukes. Notably, since 1984, 200 cases of uranium-theft and smuggling have been reported by the Indian police. Indian renowned companies were found engaged in illegal import and export of nuclear equipments. On June 12, 2004, Berkeley Nucleonics Corporation (BNC), an American company was fined US $ 300,000 for exporting a nuclear component to the Bhaba Atomic Research Center in India. In December, 2006, a container packed with radioactive material had been stolen from an Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai.

While weakening Pakistan as part of its unfinished agenda, New Delhi has been acting upon a self-destructive path. Such a negative strategy will badly affect India where more than six states are facing separatist movements, while non-state actors, popularly called militants have connections with each other from Kabul to New Delhi and from the Indian-held Kashmir to Central Asian Republics. So demise of Pakistan as ill-conceived by Kapil Komireddi will, in fact, culminate in demise of the Indian artificial union itself.

Security risks: India lacks clear direction

Unfortunately, the country’s leadership has not lived up to its part

Crosshairs | Raghu Raman

India is a soft state”—is a common refrain that describes our country’s seeming reluctance to hit hard when provoked. Succumbing to hijackers, lack of Israeli-style reprisals, sabre-rattling (but stopping short of war) and not executing terrorists are some of the examples that the critics of “weak-kneed” India parade in support of their theory. “Look at the US, one 9/11 and no terrorist incident after that” is a statement that is supposed to awe us into acknowledging the merits of that strategy. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that. To begin combating terrorism, it is important to understand it. Terrorism is an asymmetric tool of war, used by a numerically disadvantaged side which would otherwise be bludgeoned by a superior enemy in a conventional confrontation.

The US defence budget of $600 billion (around Rs29 trillion) is 40% of the world’s defence expenditure. To put this in context, the US spends more on defence than the next 14 countries put together! The problem with such overwhelming superiority in conventional arsenals is that the enemy moves the battle to unconventional or asymmetric warfare. Terrorist strikes, hit-and-run raids, suicide bombings, ambushes, abductions, improvised explosive devices and hijacking become the tactics of the “weaker” side. Because, they have very effective return on investment.

Terrorism is the pursuit of political ideology using different strategy and tactics. With that perspective, let’s relook the theory lauding the US response after 9/11, suggesting that there was no terrorist incident after that one. The statement may be technically correct, in that no incident has happened on the US mainland. But that is because the US moved the frontlines and carried the battle into Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan. But, the tally of dead and wounded resulting from this extension of frontlines is unabated since the US began its campaigns. The location of these deaths is a technicality that is of scarce comfort to the bereaved families of the nation. The direct cost of war has been pegged at at least $3 trillion and the social collateral damage that will scar the country hasn’t even begun being counted. Add the anti-US sentiment, its long-term repercussions and the tab starts running astronomically high. By that logic, the US response to 9/11 has actually cost far more than even several repeats of that incident.

Secondly, the target of the anti-US groups is not the US population per se. It is the Western way of life. From that perspective, too, 9/11 was a great return on investment. From a nation that epitomized personal liberties, the US psyche has transformed into borderline paranoia. Trillions of dollars burned on homeland security, human rights violations, extraordinary renditions, infringements of basic jurisprudence and continual body count in three different war zones have irreversibly changed the US way of life. A feat which even the erstwhile Soviet Union could not achieve during the Cold War decades.

And lastly, use of excessive force has an annoying habit of further aggravating a bad situation. As George W. Bush’s famous delusion of “mission accomplished” clearly illustrates, the US fell into the trap of confusing “entry” with “victory”.

Now let’s come back to the Indian context. Even disregarding the impossibility of matching a fraction of US resources, it is important to appreciate that our security issues are dramatically different from the US, Israel or, for that matter, any other country. We deal with multiple threats that infiltrate into the Indian mainland through virtually all borders. And this is in addition to home-grown insurgency. Having said that, the Indian defence forces have the unique distinction of using a standing army to fight a rapid 13-day campaign on two different fronts, routing 90,000 enemy troops and helping create Bangladesh out of East Pakistan.

Our forces have battle experience of some of the toughest and diverse terrains on the planet. Despite severe limitations, our defence forces have delivered, each and every time. Siachen, Kargil, Mumbai attacks, natural disasters of national scales or even children falling into borewells—the forces have “accomplished mission” on every occasion.

Unfortunately, the country’s leadership has not lived up to its part. The lethality of an army needs direction and tools. The ambivalence or the utter lack of these two elements has hobbled our forces. Do we negotiate with terrorists or not? Do we engage in reprisals or not? Do we assist foreign “terrorists” or fight them? Will our forces be modernized or are they expected to fight with weapons of Cold War vintage? The absence of clear direction and requisite tools violate basic tenets of warfare that troops must have clarity of the commander’s intent and the wherewithal to deliver it. In the fog of uncertainty and deprivation, troops are left to fend for themselves on a situational basis with hands tied behind their backs.

The clear mandate that the current government has is an opportunity to take steps and rebuild an apparatus to equip this extraordinary fighting force and provide the stability and security which is vital for the economic opportunity that beckons India.

Raghu Raman is chief executive of corporate risk consulting firm Mahindra Special Services Group that advises companies and organizations on threat assessments and risk mitigation strategies. Respond to this column at

Pakistan: India no longer a military threat

President Asif Zardari of Pakistan has said India no longer poses a military threat to Islamabad, and that his people's real enemy is terrorism.

By Dean Nelson, South Asia Editor

Published: 4:59PM BST 24 Jun 2009

His comments, made during a visit to Brussels and again in Karachi, mark a significant shift in Islamabad's view of its traditional rival and enemy.

They provoked an immediate controversy, with members of the national assembly raising the issue and several leading Pakistani newspapers criticising his move.

Mr Zardari has been under intense pressure to divert military spending from its erstwhile "front line" on its eastern border with India to its rebellious tribal belt along the Afghan border, which is largely under Taliban control.

"I do not consider India a military threat; the question is that India has the capability. Capability is what matters. [With regard to] intention I think we both have our good intentions," he said.

"India is a reality, Pakistan is a reality, but Taliban are a threat, an international threat to our way of life. And at the moment, I'm focused on the Taliban. It's something that has been going on for a long time and of course went unchecked under the dictatorial rule of the last president," he said in Brussels during a meeting with European Union officials.

His comments represent a victory for British and American diplomats who have been attempting to persuade Mr Zardari and his army chiefs to concentrate their efforts on confronting the Taliban rather than to India.

Their work intensified following the attack on Mumbai by the Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which left more than 170 dead and heightened tensions between India and Pakistan.

India's prime minister, Manmohan Singh, accused elements within the Pakistani authorities of backing the attackers, who planned and launched their strike from across the border.

As tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi escalated following the attack, senior Pakistani army officers warned they would switch their forces away from fighting Islamic militants to reinforce their defences along the border with India. One senior officer hailed an offer of support from the Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and described him as a patriot.

Mr Zardari's government has now turned its focus to Mehsud's forces, and a full-scale assault on their bases in north and south Waziristan, from where militants launch attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan, is believed to be imminent.

His new approach to India is unlikely however to be welcomed too warmly in New Delhi, where Manmohan Singh's government is focused primarily on bringing the perpetrators and masterminds of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Warrants were issued on Wednesday for the arrest of Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba who was recently released from custody in Pakistan.

A senior figure in Mr Zardari's Pakistan People's Party last night said people should "be very concerned" about his statement, and that it would cause alarm within the Pakistani army.

General Hamid Gul said although Mr Zardari's comments were "technically true", they would be ridiculed with the army's high command, where senior officers still regarded India as the main threat.

"Indian intelligence is working in the Swat Valley and in the federally administered Tribal Areas. They have jacked up their [military] budget by 20 per cent and their air force budget along is bigger than our entire defence budget. The army is in unison. India is our enemy and will remain our enemy," he said.

The "odium" would continue until the people of Kashmir are given the chance to vote on their future status, he said.

Singaporean light howitzers enter India despite ban

June 24th, 2009 - 5:45 pm ICT by IANS

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) India recently received a consignment of 155 mm light howitzers from Singapore Technologies (ST) Kinetics despite a temporary ban on procurements from the company and six others on corruption charges, a leading defence journal says.

The 35 cartons of “cargo” that landed in Mumbai on May 29 were booked from Singapore by air charter service Chapman Freeborn, which confirmed the shipment, Aviation Week said.

The air charter service is believed to have hired a Hercules C-130 from a Quebec charter company with ground handlers Freedom Air, which obtained permission from the Indian defence ministry and the Director General of Civil Aviation for the consignment, which was cleared by May 31.

“It is not clear if the guns were sent for trials. However, if there was a ban on the company, one cannot fathom how the defense ministry allowed them in,” the magazine quoted a defence analyst here as saying.

“This puts a cloak on the transparency talk of the government,” he added.

Taking a proactive stance against corruption, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had ordered acquisitions from seven companies - including Singapore Technologies - named in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on May 17 charging a former director general of the Ordance Factories Board with corruption “to be put on hold until further notice”.

In response to a request for proposals (RFPs), Singapore Technologies was the only vendor left to offer its lightweight 155mm howitzer - the Pegasus SLWH - which is self-propelled and is transportable by the C-130 and the CH-47 helicopter.

However, it is not as light as competitor BAE Systems’ M777, which pulled out of the bidding on grounds it had inadequate time to study the details within the three-month deadline.

“We are keen to be in the competition, as we know we have the best weapon and the lightest in the world,” BAE spokesperson Guy Douglas said.

The M777 weighs 3,745 kg. Two can fit inside a C-130, ready to operate on landing, which means the barrel does not have to be removed. It has been selected by the US Army and Marine Corps as their medium force weapon.

Since BAE was unable to pursue the RFP route, it is likely to approach the government via the US Foreign Military Sales route once there is clarification on India’s intentions over which guns it plans to purchase, one analyst told Aviation Week.

Indian Army chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor said June 13 that the ban on Singapore Technologies would delay Indian plans to acquire light howitzers for modernising its artillery.

The other six banned companies are Israeli Military Industries, BVT Poland and Media Architects of Singapore and three Indian companies - T.S. Kishan and Co., R.K. Machine Tools and HYT Engineering Co.

Chandigarh gets DRDO’s bio-tech lab
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is establishing a bio-technology laboratory at Chandigarh which would carry out agro-animal research to boost the availability of fresh food items in high altitude areas.

The laboratory, which is part of the Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), would also include transit facility for DRDO functionaries proceeding to Ladakh. DRDO’s Chief Controller (Research and Development), Dr W Selvamurthy laid the laboratory’s foundation stone near IAF’s No 3 Base Repair Depot today.

According to DIHAR Director Dr Shashi Bala Singh, micro-propagation of some endangered high altitude medicinal plants and their conservation studies would be carried out at Chandigarh by establishing tissue culture facilities, besides carrying out isolation of cold resistant gene from high altitude plants and its transfer to various crops.

Research done at Chandigarh would be fed into the applied research carried out by the parent laboratory at Leh. The research activities here would help in the production of fresh vegetables in winters for troops, boosting the availability of fresh food on the frozen heights of the Himalayas, besides helping to conserve the fragile bio-diversity of Ladakh.

The idea of setting up the laboratory at Chandigarh was mooted by Dr Selvamurthy during his visit to DIHAR at Leh in 2004. The then director of DIHAR Col B Raut had discussed the necessity of having research and transit facilities at Chandigarh.

Thereafter, the DRDO had taken up the matter for procurement of two acres of land with the Chandigarh administration. The location, allotment and zoning plan was approved by the administration in January 2008 and final approval and sanction for construction for the laboratory was obtained in May 2009 through the Ministry of Defence.

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