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Friday, 31 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 31 Jul 09

Indian Express

Asian Age

Indian Express

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Indian Express

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Mint

Mint

DNA India

DNA India

Navy alerted about suspicious ship sailing towards Goa

Press Trust of India / Panaji July 31, 2009, 11:02 IST

The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have intensified their patrolling off Konkan coast following intelligence inputs that a suspicious ship was heading towards Goa.

Goa police received the intelligence inputs last night from their counterparts in Sindhudurg (Maharashtra) which alerted them about a "suspiciously moving ship".

"We were informed by Goa police about such movement of the ship. But we are still verifying the reports," Captain Manohar Nambiar, public relation officer, Indian Navy, told PTI today.

The Sindhudurg police had based their inputs on the information provided by the fishermen.

There were no specific details about the vessel. The information did not even mention whether it was a large ship or small trawler-like vessel, a senior police official said.

"The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard launched search mission immediately after the inputs were conveyed to them but till now we have not received any feedback. That means the vessel was not traced or inputs were improper," Atmaram Deshpande, Superintendent of Police (Special Branch), said.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/navy-alerted-about-suspicious-ship-sailing-towards-goa-/69494/on


UN Security Council extends Darfur mission by one year

Press Trust of India / United Nations July 31, 2009, 10:04 IST

The UN Security Council today extended its peacekeeping mission in the Darfur region of Sudan by one more year.

In a unanimous resolution, the Security Council called for the UN to set out a plan so it can measure whether the mission is making progress towards achieving its mandate.

The 15-membered body stressed the importance of protecting Darfur's civilian population and ensuring humanitarian workers have unhindered access to those in need.

It also emphasised "the importance of achievable and realistic targets against which the progress of UN peacekeeping operations can be measured."

It asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to submit a work plan containing benchmarks so the Council can track UNAMID's progress in implementing its mandate.

The UN body's decision to extend the mission follows a request earlier this month from Ban, who warned in his latest report on the work of the mission that numerous challenges remain in Darfur, despite the decrease in large-scale conflict.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/un-security-council-extends-darfur-mission-by-one-year/69487/on


Brothers in 'arms'? China gives warship to Pak

Press Trust Of India

FIVE-STAR TREATMENT: China delivers the first of the four state-of-the-art F-22P frigates to Pak.

Islamabad: China on Friday delivered the first of the four state-of-the-art F-22P frigates to its all-weather ally Pakistan in keeping with contracts signed between the countries four years ago.

The frigate constructed at Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in the eastern Chinese city Shanghai was formally handed over to Pakistan Navy at a brief ceremony here, the APP reported.

Work on design and construction of F-22P ships started in 2005 after signing of a contract between Ministry of Defence Production and CSTC of China for construction of three ships in China and one at Karachi Shipyard. While first F-22P is now heading to Pakistan, all other three ships are at different stages of construction.

The F22P frigates are equipped with state of the art weaponry and sensors. They would also carry at Z9EC helicopter as integral part of the platform. The construction of 4th ship is to be completed by 2013.

Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir NI(M), said with the passage of time the relationship between Pakistan and China has grown deeper and fonder in all spheres of defence and economic cooperation.

"Pakistan is indeed proud of close association with China and this unique relationship does not draw any parallel elsewhere in the world," he said.

Addition of these ships will not only strengthen the PN Fleet with much needed potential but will also contribute in enhancing country's shipbuilding capabilities, Bashir said.

http://ibnlive.in.com/printpage.php?id=98275&section_id=2

Navy chief backs Gorshkov deal

New Delhi, July 30
With the CAG slamming the Government for buying the second-hand Admiral Gorshkov at the price of a new aircraft carrier, Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta today defended the price being paid by India for the warship. “I can’t comment on the CAG. But you all are defence analysts, can you get me an aircraft carrier for less than $ two billion? If you can, I am going to sign a cheque right now,” Mehta told reporters on the sidelines of the ‘Naval Self Reliance Seminar’ organised by CII.

In its report, the CAG had noted that till 2008 the escalated cost of the aircraft carrier was about $ 1.82 billion and another $ 522 million for the sea trials, which was originally pegged at $ 27 million in the 2004 contract.

India had bought the 45,000-tonne Gorshkov from Russia in January 2004 at a total cost of $ 974 million, which included its refit and repair.

The Russians have thrice revised the price of the Admiral Gorshkov since 2007 and have made a final demand of additional USD 2.9 billion this February. India is carrying out final price negotiations with Moscow and is willing to pay around USD 2.2 billion for the ship.

Commenting on the CAG's finding that the Navy had not undertaken a risk analysis before going in for price negotiation, Admiral Mehta said, the question did not arise, as the Navy has been searching for a warship since late 90s, and a decision on the Admiral Gorkshov was taken after adequate tests. — Agencies

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090731/nation.htm#15

Trainee aircraft crashes in AP, 2 die

Press Trust of India, Friday July 31, 2009, Hyderabad

A trainee aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday crashed in Andhra Pradesh's Medak district, killing two instructors.

The mishap occurred at about 9.45 am when the HPT-32 training aircraft belonging to Air Force Academy Dundigal (located on the city's outskirts) crashed in an open ground at Annaram village of Jinnaram Mandal near the academy, a senior police officer said.

"The trainee plane took off from the Dundigal academy at 9 am and as per preliminary reports it crashed while landing at the academy at about 9.45 am," Medak District Superintendent of Police M Kanta Rao said.

Two instructors Ritin Jain and Chaturvedi were killed on the spot, the police officer said adding that the exact cause of the crash was not known yet.

Senior Air Force officials rushed to the spot and were carrying out further investigations, he said.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/trainee_aircraft_crashes_in_ap_2_die.php


Same rank, different pensions
by Lt Gen (retd) Raj Kadyan

Having made a reference to the resolution of ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) in its 2004 election manifesto, the Congress-led government had rejected this long-standing demand of some two million ex-servicemen in the country. The rejection was announced in Parliament on December 11, 2008.

Dejected, the ex-servicemen went on a relay fast at Jantar Mantar on December 16, 2008. In their show of disappointment they also took to depositing their medals with the President. On February 8, 2009, they made a public commitment to support the Congress during the elections provided the UPA government implemented OROP. The party did not respond.

On March 17, the BJP made an announcement of implementing OROP in case it was voted to power. The party also included this in the election manifesto. On April 12, the ex-servicemen pledged support to the BJP. They followed the democratic norm where the voting pattern is largely decided by issues that affect the voter.

After the election results were announced, the ex-servicemen started planning their next phase of struggle. Happily, on June 4 the President included OROP in her address to the joint session of Parliament. This gave fresh heart to the ex-servicemen. They fervently hoped that this time OROP would be implemented.

The four-months-long relay fast at Jantar Mantar brought OROP on the national radar screen. The public got familiarity with the term. The media picked it up. The demand also found overwhelming support from the man on the street. That is not to say that all those who empathise with the veterans’ demand actually understand OROP.

It is hardly a secret that in order to retain a youthful profile, the military retires its members early. Nearly 85 per cent soldiers thus proceed on pension in the lowest rank of sepoy after 17 years of service when they are in their mid-thirties.

Not only do they lose means of livelihood, they also undergo a trauma of being unemployed in the prime of their life. They see that the fine traits of loyalty, discipline and dedication that they acquired during their years in uniform have no more value and are being wasted away.

To top it all, they find that the system for which they gave their all is not even giving them enough to survive. They have no choice but to look for lowly jobs to sustain their families.

The officers have been only marginally better. In view of the very steep pyramidal structure, a majority of them retired as Majors in their forties. Even today nearly 90 per cent officers retire at the age of 54 years as against 60 years applicable to all non-defence government employees. There is no compensation for this truncated service.

For nearly 25 years, the ex-servicemen have been demanding OROP. The demand implies that whenever the pay commissions enhance salaries and thus pensions, these enhancements should be given to the earlier pensioners as well.

Simply put, it means bringing old pensions equal to the present ones and keeping these equal as a principle. This provision is already in existence for our legislators, judges, Governors and many other categories. The retired soldiers rightly see this as a principle of equity as justice.

The government indeed showed political magnanimity in deciding to revisit OROP and had it included in the President’s address. However, it is not getting translated into action. So far while all pronouncements have used the term OROP; in their actions they have not touched it.

It needs to be understood that removing pension anomalies between distant past and recent past is not OROP; bringing the past with the present is OROP. The ex-servicemen are waiting for the last word from the government before deciding on their response.

The government machinery is notorious in finding a difficulty for every solution. Those opposed to OROP would undoubtedly do so again. One does hope the political leadership will show sagacity. This long-pending issue needs to be pushed and resolved once and for all. No one wants to see soldiers engaging in public airing of their just demands; least of all the soldiers themselves.

The writer is the Chairman, Indian Ex Servicemen Movement

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090731/edit.htm#8

Navy Chief slams CAG report

NEW DELHI: Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who is retiring next month, slammed the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s observations on the escalating price of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov and claimed that he would pay $2 billion to anyone who can get a similar warship at that price.
In its recent report, the CAG had expressed concern on the escalating price of the second hand aircraft carrier. It had made several other observations on the deal and hinted that it was a flawed contract.
Refusing to react directly on the report, Mehta said if an aircraft carrier was available for $2 billion, he was willing to sign a cheque right away.
Mehta also debunked the CAG’s remarks that a risk analysis of the ship was not carried out. “I can promise you that there is no such thing. There is no question. We have been looking at the ship since the late 90s,” he said on the sidelines of a naval seminar.
Defence Minister A K Antony had said in Parliament on Wednesday that negotiations were going on for fixing a fresh price for the warship.
According to the initial contract signed in 2004, the ship was to cost around $900 million. But the Russians are now demanding $2.9 billion.
“The cost of acquisition has more than doubled to 1.82 billion (for the refit) in four years. At best, Indian Navy would be acquiring, belatedly, a second-hand ship with a limited life span by paying significantly more than what it would have paid for a new ship,” the CAG had observed.
“It can be seen that the Indian Navy was acquiring a second-hand refitted aircraft carrier that had half the life span left and was 60 percent more expensive that a new one,’’ the CAG had observed.

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Navy+Chief+slams+CAG+report&artid=/oubflx2ddA=&SectionID=b7ziAYMenjw=&MainSectionID=b7ziAYMenjw=&SEO=CAG,+A+K+Antony,+Sureesh+Mehta,+admiral+gorshkov&SectionName=pWehHe7IsSU=

Thursday, 30 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 30 Jul 09

 

 

 

 

 

Antony says no contract with Russia on Gorshkov
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
Several controversies and five years after India announced that a Russian sea-based aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov, will be added to the Naval fleet, Defence Minister AK Antony today said: “We have not signed any contract (with the Russians) only negotiations are going on.”

A final decision on the contract will be taken after we verify everything including the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. Nothing has been decided the minister said as he attempted to put a lid on the controversy which started last week when the CAG “ripped through” the ministry of defence for paying some Rs 10,000 crore more than what was due for the aircraft carrier.

Antony’s statement was made to a supplementary question raised by T Shiva of Tamil Nadu in which he also admitted, “I agree Russia has asked for a substantially huge amount.” The CAG report had said that "second-hand" carrier will be 60 per cent costlier than a new one and there is the risk of further delay in its delivery.

In his reply Antony put forward something which may have missed the audit books of the CAG: “Very few countries manufacture such carriers and as per the international relations prevailing in 2004, no country other than Russia was ready to give us a warship of this kind.” Russia agreed to gift the carrier to us. (India had to pay for the re-fit and the fighter jets that would be on the deck of the warship) Russia failed to calculate the cost of the re-fit.

In a way Antony may be right the NATO countries have the capability to make such warships and they were not keen to arm India.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090730/nation.htm#3

 

 

 

 

‘No one rank, one pension for officers’
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 29
There would be no one rank-one pension (OROP) scheme for retired commissioned officers of the armed forces. Nor would there be any further improvement in the pension of officers after some recent modifications.

The recommendations of the high-level committee led by the cabinet secretary that looked into the disparities in pension of ex-servicemen that have been forwarded to and accepted by the government, do not include OROP for officers, highly placed Defence ministry sources revealed.

This revelation is contradictory to Defence Minister AK Anthony’s recent statement reported in certain sections of the media that the recommendation of OROP for officers, too, had been accepted.

Modifications carried out in pension regulations post Sixth Pay Commission (SPC) implementation have brought in parity in the pension of personnel below officer rank (PBOR), but officers have been left out. The government letter notifying the recommendations of the committee is expected to be issued shortly.

Pensions of pre-2006 PBOR will now be computed by taking into account the top end of Fifth Pay Commission scales and notionally configuring it within the SPC pay bands instead of basing the same on the minimum of the new scales.

This implies that a jawan who retired before 2006 and was getting a basic pension of Rs 3,700 would now be granted a basic pension of approximately Rs 5,500.

Upgrading the pensions of pre-06 lieutenant generals to Rs 36,500 per month is also among the accepted recommendations.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090730/nation.htm#7

 

 

 

 

Sikh soldiers to guard Queen Elizabeth for first time

Press Trust of India, Wednesday July 29, 2009, London

 

Two Sikh British soldiers have for the first time earned the honour of guarding Queen Elizabeth II.

 

Twenty six-year-old Signaler Simranjit Singh and Lance Corporal Sarvjit Singh, 28, have become the first two Sikhs to join the fleet of royal guards at the Buckingham Palace.

 

Signaler Singh made history to become the first personnel to wear turban on public duties guarding the 83-year-old monarch and protecting the Crown Jewels. He was soon joined by Lance Corporal Singh.

 

Signaler Simranjit Singh from Coventry enthusiastically took on the duty in May this year.

 

He serves with 21st Signal Regiment based in Chippenham, Wiltshire, while Lance Corporal serves with 3rd Regiment Army Air Corps based at Wattisham, Suffolk.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/diaspora/sikh_soldiers_to_guard_queen_elizabeth_for_first_time.php

 

 

 

 

India contributing more than 8,000 troops to UN

Press Trust of India / New Delhi July 29, 2009, 13:30 IST

 

India has contributed 8,607 troops, police and military observers to nine UN Peacekeeping operations this year and has suffered 131 casualties, government today said. 

 

Giving the information in the Lok Sabha in response to a written question, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India is the third largest such contributor. 

 

He said upto 30 June 2009, India suffered 131 casualties in the UN Peacekeeping operations. 

 

The minister said in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution 52/177 dated 20 January, 1998, the United Nations pays compensation in case of death and disability during peacekeeping operations.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/india-contributing-more-than-8000-troops-to-un/69277/on

 

 

 

 

China for hotline between its Premier & Indian PM

Press Trust of India / New Delhi July 29, 2009, 12:25 IST

 

Government today said that China has proposed that there should be a hotline between the Chinese Premier and the the Prime Minister of India to maintain regular contacts at the highest level.

 

"The Chinese side has proposed that there should be a hotline between the Chinese Premier and the PM of India to maintain regular contacts at the highest level," External Affairs Minister S M Krishna told the Lok Sabha.

 

In a written reply, he said the two countries are in the process of discussing the technical and other modalities.

 

A hotline between India and Russia is currently operational, Krishna informed.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/china-for-hotline-between-its-premierindian-pm/69274/on

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan launches psywar over Baluchistan

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, with the help of compliant sections of Pakistan's journalist community, has embarked on a psychological warfare on the issue of the use of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ]  by the ISI against India and the demand of the Government of India that it act against the LeT for its involvement in the Mumbai [ Images ] terrorist attacks of 26/11.

 

The message of the campaign is clear: 'If you want us to act against the LeT, help us in acting against the Baluchistan Liberation Army.'

 

The BLA has been active in Baluchistan since 2005 and has badly damaged the Punjab [ Images ]i economy by repeatedly disrupting the supply of Sui Gas from the production wells in Baluchistan to industrial and domestic consumers in Pakistan's Punjab. The successful disruption of gas supply to industrial consumers in Punjab and power stations in the rest of Pakistan is partly behind the problems faced by the Pakistani economy and the serious disruptions in power supply in different parts of Pakistan.

 

Even if the US gives Pakistan billions of dollars in economic assistance, Pakistan's economy will not improve so long as Baluchistan continues to burn due to the grievances of the Baluchis against the Punjabis. The economic difficulties faced by the people due to erratic power supply, which is affecting the daily lives of millions of Pakistanis and damaging agricultural operations, are creating new pockets of alienation in the Seraiki areas of southern Punjab and Sindh.

 

The Pakistani Army, despite the use of the most ruthless methods of suppression and despite the misuse against the Baluchis of equipment such as helicopter gunships given by the US for use against Al Qaeda [ Images ] and the Taliban [ Images ], has not been able to enforce the Pakistan government's writ in the Baluch majority areas of the province. So long as the Pakistan Army [ Images ] does not succeed in Baluchistan, the much-hyped Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will remain a pipedream.

 

So too the much-hyped dream of Gwadar becoming the preferred gateway for the external trade of Central Asian Republics and Xinjiang province of China. More than two years after it was inaugurated by the then president Pervez Musharraf [ Images ], the Chinese-constructed Gwadar port has failed to attract the CARs. The Chinese have  their own problems in the Xinjiang province where the Muslims are in a state of revolt against Han domination in an area which is looked upon by pan-Islamic forces such as Al Qaeda as historically belonging to the Muslim Umma. At a time when the Kashgar area of Xinjiang is threatening to become the North Waziristan of the Central Asian region, it is not surprising that the Chinese are going slow on the various proposals, which had originated from Pakistan, for the further development of Gwadar.

 

Pakistani leaders are fond of describing Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] as the jugular vein of Pakistan, using an expression originally coined by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan cannot emerge as an industrial power if Baluchistan, the most mineral rich of the Pakistani provinces, remains in a state of revolt. The Baluch revolt has made the Pakistani leaders realise that Baluchistan is Pakistan's real jugular vein. Pakistan's economy will be perpetually in a state of near collapse if there is no stability in Baluchistan.

 

The federal government -- whether ruled by the military or political leaders -- are not prepared to loosen control of the Punjabi business class over the mineral wealth of Baluchistan. The Baluch demand for independence is not only due to political and ethnic reasons. It is also due to economic reasons. The rest of Pakistan -- particularly Punjab -- used to flourish with the help of the gas and other mineral resources of Baluchistan, with the Baluchs languishing in poverty. The Baluch nationalists have decided -- thus far and no further. For the last three years, they have seen to it that their mineral wealth no longer goes to Punjab and other provinces.

 

Just as China's problems in Xinjiang are due to the Han colonisation of the province, Pakistan's problems in Baluchistan are due to the Punjabi colonisation of the province. The Baluch freedom struggle is the outcome of the Punjabi colonisation. India has had nothing to do with it.

 

If India had wanted to take advantage of the widespread alienation among the Baluchs against the Punjabi colonisers, it could have done so in 1971 after crushing the Pakistani Army in the then East Pakistan. Indira Gandhi [ Images ] could have easily ordered the Indian Navy to crush the Pakistan Navy and to move to the Baluch coast and help the Baluch freedom-fighters, who had risen in revolt. She did not do so because she felt that the Baluch problem was Pakistan's internal affair and that it was not in India's interest to further weaken Pakistan.

 

Despite considerable sympathy and friendly feelings for the problems of the Sindhis, Mohajirs, Baluchis and Pashtuns, far-sighted Indian leaders, who succeeded Indira Gandhi as prime minister, refrained from taking advantage of Pakistan's internal problems in retaliation for its use of terrorism against India. The late G M Syed, father of the Sindhu Desh movement, openly visited India when Rajiv Gandhi [ Images ] was the prime minister. Similarly, many Pashtun, Baluch and Seraiki leaders had openly visited India on many occasions to interact with Congress leaders. The message conveyed to them was very clear: They should sort out their problems with the Government of Pakistan. India would have no role in it. 

 

Despite this, since 2005, Pakistan has been alleging Indian interference in Baluchistan and is now talking of an alleged Indian role in the Pashtun belt. It is being helped in this exercise by some US non-governmental analysts not well disposed towards India.

 

Pakistan has now stepped up this campaign for two reasons: Firstly, its economy is steadily worsening as a result of the continuing freedom struggle in Baluchistan. Secondly, its intelligence agencies find in this psywar a pretext for not acting against the LeT.

 

India should not fall into this trap. It should follow a two-pronged approach. Firstly, it should make it clear that Baluchistan is Pakistan's internal affair and that it has nothing to do with terrorism. Hence, it could not figure in Indo-Pakistan discussions on terrorism. Secondly, Pakistan's attempts to divert the attention of the international community away from the LeT's activities will not be allowed to succeed.

 

The writer is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi [ Images ] and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com

 

http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/jul/28/raman-pakistan-launches-psywar-over-baluchistan.htm

 

 

 

 

 

China opens up a little

The scene looked like Beijing’s version of Mumbai’s Nariman House siege last November. Chinese counter-terrorism commandoes stormed a three-storey building while explosions covered the white structure in smoke. After a brief battle the ‘terrorists’ were silenced.

 

The battle was staged this week for foreign journalists invited inside barracks of a division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA, which has grown from its origins as a peasant army in 1927 to becoming a sophisticated 2.3 million-strong military force, is the world's biggest army.

 

The PLA, feared because of its secrecy and double-digit budget, is now experimenting with an open image.

 

On the PLA’s 82nd anniversary on August 1, the defence ministry will launch its first official website — Chinese analysts call it a ‘leap forward’.

 

“We will speed up our opening process,’’ senior colonel Leng Jiesong of the Third Guard Division told the media.

 

“China is more open to the outside world and so is the PLA.’’

 

On the October 1, 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, the PLA will march down Beijing’s main east-west avenue in its first military parade since 1999.

 

The government-run Chinese media has said that the parade will be the biggest-ever and include ‘new weapons.’

 

But as the US, India, Japan and self-ruled Taiwan worry about China’s military modernisation and plans to build an aircraft carrier, the PLA’s image-makeover is focussed on counter-terror operations.

 

The rare media visit included a stroll through spartan dormitories with bunk beds, a dining-hall where dumplings were placed beside cupcakes and front-row seats as soldiers blasted targets on a mountainside.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=3f179534-b8b0-459f-a952-ab6cb9b66cb4&Headline=China+opens+up+a+little

 

 

 

 

 

Comment: Relic Of The Past

30 July 2009, 12:00am IST

               

After all the heated debate, defence minister A K Antony's decision comes as a disappointment. The parliamentary standing committee on defence's

recommendation to scrap the orderly or sahayak system was one he should have endorsed. The sop that he has offered instead that the army's top brass will ensure that the sahayak system is not abused means little. Strict regulations and guidelines have been in place concerning sahayaks since 1947. In the face of their obvious ineffectuality, assurances that they will now be strictly observed strain credulity. He and all the army personnel who have argued for the retention of the system miss the point. The crux of the matter is not whether the guidelines regulating the sahayak system are observed or not. It is whether the system has any place in a modern army.

 

That a system born out of a feudal mindset and the class distinctions prevailing in the British military of an earlier era should be perpetuated for more than six decades in the army of the largest democracy in the world defies understanding. The British army itself abolished the system after World War II. So did every other military with similar systems. The last one to do so was Pakistan in 2004. Other branches of the Indian armed forces have followed suit as well, switching over to a system of contracted civilian personnel.

 

In the face of all this, the army's reasons for retaining the system are less than compelling. If, as Antony contends, the sahayak also serves an important operational role in the field, let jawans be used in such situations. It does not explain the need to carry the practice over to peace stations. Neither does the argument of officers posted in inhospitable or dangerous terrain needing assistance with personal tasks to free them to focus on their duties hold much water. Is the Indian army the only one in the world to have personnel in conflict zones?

 

Army officials do have a point when they argue that misuse of personnel is as rampant in civilian services; it is something that must be looked into as well. But it does not condone inaction on their part. Psychologists have found that humiliation by superiors is among the catalysts for suicides in the army. At a time when it is facing a manpower shortage, the last thing the army can afford is a disintegration of morale. The sahayak system is an anachronism in an army that prides itself on its egalitarian, professional nature. Its time is up.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/OPINION/Edit-Page/Comment-Relic-Of-The-Past/articleshow/4834554.cms

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 29 Jul 09

Indian Express

Indian Express

Indian Express

Indian Express

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Telegraph India

The Pioneer

Asian Age

DNA India

DNA India

DNA India


US open to conditional talks with North Korea


Press Trust of India / Washington July 28, 2009, 9:53 IST


The United States today said it is open to bilateral talks with North Korea if Pyongyang takes some concrete steps to fulfill its commitments.

"Our longstanding policy is that we are open to a bilateral dialogue, but only in the context of the Six-Party Talks, only in a multilateral context," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.

Responding to a question about North Korea's offer of talks, Kelly said: "You heard what the Secretary (of State Hillary Clinton) said yesterday. She said that we are not going to reward the North Koreans by agreeing to meet with them without some specific actions that they have to take. They know exactly what those actions are."

Noting that the required actions were laid out in the 2005 joint statement, Kelly said: "If they take those actions, take some concrete steps, we are willing to meet in the Six-Party context, and within that context we could have bilateral discussions with them."

Kelly said the Obama Administration wants concrete steps to be taken by North Korea before it can go for a dialogue with them.

"We want them to uphold their commitments. Those commitments are laid out very specifically in this joint statement that they signed. Once they start doing that and agree to talks in a Six-Party context, then we can start talking about some movement forward. But right now, I don't see any," he said

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/us-open-to-conditional-talksnorth-korea/69087/on

Deal for SU-30s deprives industry of Rs 2,711 crore
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The mighty SU-30s are the pride of the IAF, but their procurement has generated some turbulence. A deal to procure 40 such aircraft has apparently deprived the Indian industry of Rs 2,711 crore in offset benefits. This has happened because the Ministry of Defence and the IAF failed to go in for an offset clause as stipulated in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

In order to arrest declining force levels, the IAF concluded a contract worth Rs 9,000 crore with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in March, 2007, for the supply of 40 aircraft. These were to be delivered in phases between 2008-11.

While revealing this in its latest report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has also pointed out that the IAF did not have any funds allocated for this acquisition and funds were diverted from other programmes. Further, the delivery schedules have been pushed from 2011 to 2012. Against eight aircraft to be delivered in 2008-09, only two were delivered till February, 2009.

The DPP classifies acquisitions as Buy-Indian, Buy and make with Transfer of Technology (ToT) or Buy-Global. Offset clause is applicable in the latter two cases. The MoD and IAF categorised the procurement as Buy-Indian on the grounds that the procurement was a repeat order for equipment developed through ToT.

The CAG termed this categorisation as incorrect. Buy-Indian implied that the indigenous content is a minimum of 30 per cent when an Indian vendor integrates the systems. In the said contract, however, the indigenous content was just five per cent, with 95 per cent of the material being imported.

The MoD maintained that categorisation of the procurement was discussed by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) and it was decided to procure the aircraft in the Buy-Indian category taking into account the urgency of procurement, indigenous content and price link and insistence of the offset clause would have delayed negotiations and negated price advantages.

The CAG termed the ministry’s contentions as unacceptable as adherence to the DPP was mandatory. It pointed out that the advice of the Defence Offset Facilitation Agency was not obtained in the matter. Moreover, the DAC was not empowered to supersede provisions of the DPP.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090729/nation.htm#10

Army for political solution to strife in Assam
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Dimapur, July 28
The Army believes that the permanent solution to the vexed insurgency problem and recurring bouts of ethnic strife in North Cachar Hills district of Assam can be arrived at only through political process.

“The solution to the problems in the district has to be political. We can only control it and prepare the ground for the political process,” said Brigadier NK Misra, based in the Army’s 3 Corps headquarter at Rangapahar near here.

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary GK Pillai will arrive in Assam on Thursday to make an assessment of the situation in the state. He is also scheduled to visit North Cachar hills on Friday.

The situation in the strife-torn district is improving gradually. The Army has moved into the interior areas of the district, leaving security of the railway track and national highway to the state police and para-military forces.

“The situation is slowly improving because of better coordination in operation and intelligence sharing among the Army, the police, the CRPF and the civil administration. We meet every evening to discuss strategy for the next day. The Army is now moving into the interior areas in order to help the civil administration rebuild confidence among various communities,” Brigadier Misra said.

The North Cachar Hills district, which has witnessed a series of violence mainly perpetrated by the banned Jewel Garlosa faction of the Dima Halam Daogah - DHD(J) - which is better known as Black Widow, falls under the jurisdiction of 3 Corps of the Army. As many as four infantry battalions of the Army are currently deployed in the district in addition to one battalion of the Assam Rifles, 25 companies of the CRPF and 10 platoons of the Assam Police.

“The police and para-military forces have sanitised 3-km stretch along the railway track to ensure safe running of trains. We have now fanned out our troops to the interiors to help the civil administration to reach out to the remote villages,” Brigadier Misra said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi informed the state assembly that ethnic clashes between the Dimasa and Zeme tribes had left at least 63 dead since March. Nearly 13,000 persons from both communities had been rendered homeless and were now lodged in 32 relief camps across the district.

“The Army is also trying to help the administration to shift people from vulnerable villages to 12 proposed clusters that will have round-the-clock security till peace returns. The Army is also ready to provide logistical support to the administration to set up more police stations in the district,” Brigadier Misra said.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090729/nation.htm#17

Pakistan launches psywar over Baluchistan

Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, with the help of compliant sections of Pakistan's journalist community, has embarked on a psychological warfare on the issue of the use of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] by the ISI against India and the demand of the Government of India that it act against the LeT for its involvement in the Mumbai [ Images ] terrorist attacks of 26/11.

The message of the campaign is clear: 'If you want us to act against the LeT, help us in acting against the Baluchistan Liberation Army.'

The BLA has been active in Baluchistan since 2005 and has badly damaged the Punjab [ Images ]i economy by repeatedly disrupting the supply of Sui Gas from the production wells in Baluchistan to industrial and domestic consumers in Pakistan's Punjab. The successful disruption of gas supply to industrial consumers in Punjab and power stations in the rest of Pakistan is partly behind the problems faced by the Pakistani economy and the serious disruptions in power supply in different parts of Pakistan.

Even if the US gives Pakistan billions of dollars in economic assistance, Pakistan's economy will not improve so long as Baluchistan continues to burn due to the grievances of the Baluchis against the Punjabis. The economic difficulties faced by the people due to erratic power supply, which is affecting the daily lives of millions of Pakistanis and damaging agricultural operations, are creating new pockets of alienation in the Seraiki areas of southern Punjab and Sindh.

The Pakistani Army, despite the use of the most ruthless methods of suppression and despite the misuse against the Baluchis of equipment such as helicopter gunships given by the US for use against Al Qaeda [ Images ] and the Taliban [ Images ], has not been able to enforce the Pakistan government's writ in the Baluch majority areas of the province. So long as the Pakistan Army [ Images ] does not succeed in Baluchistan, the much-hyped Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will remain a pipedream.

So too the much-hyped dream of Gwadar becoming the preferred gateway for the external trade of Central Asian Republics and Xinjiang province of China. More than two years after it was inaugurated by the then president Pervez Musharraf [ Images ], the Chinese-constructed Gwadar port has failed to attract the CARs. The Chinese have their own problems in the Xinjiang province where the Muslims are in a state of revolt against Han domination in an area which is looked upon by pan-Islamic forces such as Al Qaeda as historically belonging to the Muslim Umma. At a time when the Kashgar area of Xinjiang is threatening to become the North Waziristan of the Central Asian region, it is not surprising that the Chinese are going slow on the various proposals, which had originated from Pakistan, for the further development of Gwadar.

Pakistani leaders are fond of describing Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] as the jugular vein of Pakistan, using an expression originally coined by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Pakistan cannot emerge as an industrial power if Baluchistan, the most mineral rich of the Pakistani provinces, remains in a state of revolt. The Baluch revolt has made the Pakistani leaders realise that Baluchistan is Pakistan's real jugular vein. Pakistan's economy will be perpetually in a state of near collapse if there is no stability in Baluchistan.

The federal government -- whether ruled by the military or political leaders -- are not prepared to loosen control of the Punjabi business class over the mineral wealth of Baluchistan. The Baluch demand for independence is not only due to political and ethnic reasons. It is also due to economic reasons. The rest of Pakistan -- particularly Punjab -- used to flourish with the help of the gas and other mineral resources of Baluchistan, with the Baluchs languishing in poverty. The Baluch nationalists have decided -- thus far and no further. For the last three years, they have seen to it that their mineral wealth no longer goes to Punjab and other provinces.

Just as China's problems in Xinjiang are due to the Han colonisation of the province, Pakistan's problems in Baluchistan are due to the Punjabi colonisation of the province. The Baluch freedom struggle is the outcome of the Punjabi colonisation. India has had nothing to do with it.

If India had wanted to take advantage of the widespread alienation among the Baluchs against the Punjabi colonisers, it could have done so in 1971 after crushing the Pakistani Army in the then East Pakistan. Indira Gandhi [ Images ] could have easily ordered the Indian Navy to crush the Pakistan Navy and to move to the Baluch coast and help the Baluch freedom-fighters, who had risen in revolt. She did not do so because she felt that the Baluch problem was Pakistan's internal affair and that it was not in India's interest to further weaken Pakistan.

Despite considerable sympathy and friendly feelings for the problems of the Sindhis, Mohajirs, Baluchis and Pashtuns, far-sighted Indian leaders, who succeeded Indira Gandhi as prime minister, refrained from taking advantage of Pakistan's internal problems in retaliation for its use of terrorism against India. The late G M Syed, father of the Sindhu Desh movement, openly visited India when Rajiv Gandhi [ Images ] was the prime minister. Similarly, many Pashtun, Baluch and Seraiki leaders had openly visited India on many occasions to interact with Congress leaders. The message conveyed to them was very clear: They should sort out their problems with the Government of Pakistan. India would have no role in it.

Despite this, since 2005, Pakistan has been alleging Indian interference in Baluchistan and is now talking of an alleged Indian role in the Pashtun belt. It is being helped in this exercise by some US non-governmental analysts not well disposed towards India.

Pakistan has now stepped up this campaign for two reasons: Firstly, its economy is steadily worsening as a result of the continuing freedom struggle in Baluchistan. Secondly, its intelligence agencies find in this psywar a pretext for not acting against the LeT.

India should not fall into this trap. It should follow a two-pronged approach. Firstly, it should make it clear that Baluchistan is Pakistan's internal affair and that it has nothing to do with terrorism. Hence, it could not figure in Indo-Pakistan discussions on terrorism. Secondly, Pakistan's attempts to divert the attention of the international community away from the LeT's activities will not be allowed to succeed.

The writer is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi [ Images ] and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com

http://news.rediff.com/column/2009/jul/28/raman-pakistan-launches-psywar-over-baluchistan.htm

India abolishes the army batman as 'abhorrent' relic of British Raj

Jeremy Page in Delhi

To the Indian army officer, it has always been an essential perk of the job to have a batman — a personal assistant responsible for duties such as shining your boots, cleaning your weapons and serving your whisky at sundown.

To many Indian politicians, however, the post is an abhorrent relic of the British Raj, under which soldiers have to perform degrading tasks such as walking their officers’ dogs and taking their children to school.

Now the Indian Government has finally bowed to political pressure and ordered the army, for the first time, to prevent its roughly 34,000 officers from using their sahayaks, or assistants, as domestic servants.

“Sahayaks will not be employed for menial household work,” A. K. Antony, the Defence Minister, told Parliament on Monday. “Any practice that lowers the self-esteem is to be abhorred . . . In this context, it is always ensured and shall continue to be ensured that soldiers are not employed on any demeaning and humiliating tasks.”

Mr Antony was responding to a report by a parliamentary committee last year which said that using batmen as domestic servants was “demeaning and humiliating” and contributed to psychological problems in the 1.3 million-strong army.

“The committee take a very serious view of the shameful practice which should have no place in an independent India,” the report said.

A separate government commission also recommended cracking down on the use of batmen as servants among paramilitary forces under the Home Ministry.

Many MPs want to abolish the system, under which batmen are still officially obliged to answer their officers’ telephones, maintain their uniforms and weapons and act as their bodyguards. India is thought to be the only country in the world to maintain such a tradition after Pakistan’s decision to replace batmen with contracted non-combatant domestic staff in 2004.

Britain abolished the system after the Second World War. In India, the navy and air force phased it out several years ago and pressure has been mounting on the army to follow suit. Current and former batmen complain that they are issued with inferior uniforms, passed over for promotions and frequently humiliated by their officers, or more often their wives.

Army psychologists have also found that verbal abuse and perceived humiliation are among the factors accounting for a spate of recent suicides in the army.

Yet Mr Antony stopped short of abolishing the system altogether, in an apparent concession to army top brass worried that losing such perks could accelerate a brain drain to the private sector.

Instead, he defended the army by saying that it had repeatedly issued detailed instructions on duties to be performed by batmen.

He also backed the army’s assertion that a batman was a “comrade-in-arms” to officers, symbolising “trust, respect, warmth, confidence and interdependence, which are the fundamentals of relations between the leaders and the led”.

The army deployed similar arguments before the parliamentary committee, testifying that though batmen were not supposed to act as domestic servants, many did so out of “reverence”.

Some officers have also argued that civilian government officials enjoy similar perks — and often treat their staff far worse.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6731047.ece

India tightens controls on arms buys

Published: July 28, 2009 at 12:07 PM

When the deputy chief of the Indian army recently promised the Indian public and private sectors a "level playing field" in purchases of military hardware he wasn't talking about electric golf carts to take elderly golfers around hilly golf courses.

The carts, which cost about $243,000, were allegedly bought with money designated for electric wheelchairs in military hospitals and on track alignment reconnaissance vehicles.

Meanwhile, the India government announced major reforms to the country's military procurement program designed to speed up and tighten quality controls over the purchase of defense equipment. Decisions on modern combat and related materiel for the Indian armed forces are being delegated to a new committee under the Master General of Ordnance.

Defense Minister A K Antony told the Indian parliament: "There is no question of delays now. After considering security aspect, the committee can take decisions and can give money also. Now the committee under MGO can give all clearances."

Responding to critical questions about delays and the issue of sub-standard equipment, the minister said the government will speed up the process of Indianisation in military purchasing to bring more transparency and give "more space" for both Indian industry in both the private and public sectors. The Indian military procures some 70 percent of its purchases from outside the country, a figure that Antony described as "shameful and dangerous."

The "military" golf carts are just the tip of an iceberg of recent criticisms of India's military procurement program highlighted in reports by India's Comptroller and Audit General. Purchases from Russia have come in for particular criticism.

The CAG said 2,000 laser-guided 155mm Krasnopol-M rounds, which the army acquired from Russia in 2002, had proved unsuccessful. Bought for some $77 million, the comptroller's report said they had been acquired "without necessary evaluation." The critique was embarrassing because an earlier $31 million purchase of 1,000 similar rounds made in 1999 was also found to have been flawed.

India's purchase of a second-hand Russian-built aircraft carrier has also come under attack. The Admiral Gorshkov is due for delivery by 2012, though the CAG believes it could well be delayed, at a total cost of $1.8 billion. The final bill doubled, say Indian media reports, when the Russian shipyard escalated the price of its refitting in 2007.

The Admiral Gorshkov will turn out to be 60 percent dearer than a new warship, says CAG, adding, "The objective of inducting an aircraft carrier in time to fill the gap in Indian navy has not been achieved."

India is building its own 858-foot carrier to be armed with surface-to-air missiles, latest radar and an array of other combat systems from Israel, France and Russia.

'With this project, India joins the select club of 40,000-ton aircraft carrier designers and builders," the navy said in a statement.

The CAG report has also criticized the induction into the Army Aviation Corps of 40 advanced light helicopters -- designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited -- at a cost of $360 million. It says they are underpowered, limiting their range to 5,000 instead of the required 6,500 miles, which will delay the phasing out of the AAC's obsolete Chetak (SA 316B Alouette III) and Cheetah (SA 315B Lama) helicopters, reducing the army's operational efficiency in the mountainous Kashmir region.

Meanwhile, the Indian ministry of defense has ingeniously defended its golf carts. It says they "facilitate noiseless reconnaissance in close proximity to the enemy."

Jane's Defense Weekly, however, notes that more than half of India's 180 golf course are owned or managed the military -- most of them by the army.

http://www.upi.com/Security_Industry/2009/07/28/India-tightens-controls-on-arms-buys/UPI-97101248797263/print/

A ‘libertarian’ China tours foreign journalists to show their army for the first time in the history!

Bureau News

July 28th, 2009

People's Liberation ArmyBEIJING — China took foreign journalists on a tour of a People’s Liberation Army division north of Beijing on Tuesday, calling it a sign that the world’s largest army is opening up to the outside world.

China has long been tightlipped about its military strength and capacity, drawing criticism from other countries wary of the Asian giant’s growing power and skyrocketing military spending.

Senior Colonel Leng Jiesong, head of the army’s Third Guard Division, told journalists that the tour was part of a policy of increased openness.

“China is more and more open to the outside world, and so is the People’s Liberation Army, and we are actively speeding up our opening process,” he said.

The visit comes ahead of Aug. 1, which marks the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, which now has 2.3 million members.

The tour was organized by the Ministry of Defense and attended by officials from the Foreign Ministry. Journalists took a tour of of soldiers living quarters, viewed a counterterrorism exercise involving a hijacked bus, and watched target practice involving automatic weapons and rocket launchers.

The trip comes as China’s Defense Ministry gears up to launch its official Web site. State media have said the site will be online in time for the army’s anniversary, but the director of the ministry’s information office, Hu Changming, would not confirm the launch date.

China’s military spending has jumped by double-digit percentages every year for nearly two decades. This year, Beijing announced a 14.9 percent rise in military spending to 480.68 billion yuan ($70.27 billion).

That spending puts it on par with Japan, Russia and Britain, but it is still dwarfed by the U.S., which spends nearly 10 times as much.

http://blog.taragana.com/n/china-takes-foreign-journalists-inside-peoples-liberation-army-says-it-is-trying-to-be-open-122542/

110 LoC violations by Pak since 2006

28 Jul 2009, 0424 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Defence minister A K Antony on Monday told LS that there have been 110 ceasefire violations from the Pakistani side along the Line of

Control (LoC) since 2006.

“A total of 110 incidents of ceasefire violations have taken place along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir since 2006. These include 47 incidents of trans-LoC firing... our troops have suffered nine fatal and 25 non-fatal casualties,” the minister said. A maximum of 77 such incidents had taken place in 2008, 21 in 2007 and three in 2006. He also told the House that nine violations have taken place this year.

Replying to another query, minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju said 690 officers and soldiers were killed on duty in the same period. “54 officers, 62 Junior Commissioned Officers and 574 other ranks have been killed on duty since 2006,” he said. On his part, Mr Antony said Indian troops take strong action against any attempts to violate LoC while maintaining adequate restraint to prevent escalation.

The minister also acknowledged that there was a massive shortage of officers in the Army. “The Indian Army is short of over 11,387 officers,” the minister said. While the Navy was short of 1,512 officers, the shortage in the Air Force was 1,400, he said. However, there is no significant shortage of Personnel Below Officer Ranks in the Armed Forces.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/PoliticsNation/110-LoC-violations-by-Pak-since-2006/articleshow/4827935.cms

Made in India, for India’s defence

c.s. chima Posted online: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0446 hrs

Major modernisation programmes of our armed forces, long delayed by the problems and cost of acquiring systems from abroad, lengthy procurement procedures (often scuttled by allegations of kickbacks), as well as hitches in establishing state-of-the-art indigenous defence capability, urgently need to be expedited. For example, the bulk of weapon systems of the army’s air defence arm are of ’70s and early ’80s vintage. All three services are in a largely similar state. Obviously, from a national defence perspective, urgent action must be taken to ensure an adequate operational capability.

Contrary to official pronouncements from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), and optimistic reports claiming that our defence field was gradually opening up to Indian private industry in collaboration with DRDO, defence PSUs (DPSUs), and foreign technology partners; the actual development of major modern defence systems and platforms like tanks, artillery guns and air defence weapon systems has been a non-starter. So far, not a single case for the development of a ‘High Technology Complex System’, as defined in the procedure given for ‘Make Category’ in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), has been cleared by the Department of Defence (DOD) in the defence ministry.

The track record over the last five decades of indigenous development and production of defence systems by the various efforts of the DRDO, defence PSUs, and ordnance factories, with some outsourcing to private industry, under the control and regulation of the DOD and Department of Defence Production (DDP), has been very unsatisfactory. Most acquisitions have been outright ‘buy’ from foreign vendors, with transfer of technology clauses in some cases. The 2005 Kelkar Committee report had recommended an integrated approach involving the users, the defence ministry and industry in the indigenous ‘Make’ procedure. While ‘strategic, complex and security sensitive’ projects would be undertaken by the DRDO, ‘high technology complex systems’, the major battle systems would be undertaken by Indian industry, defence PSUs and ordnance factories on a level playing field. The subsequent Ramarao Committee report on the review of the DRDO, submitted to the government in March 2008, had recommended a more positive, proactive and effective role for the DRDO, for which it is to be urgently restructured. MOD has still to start action.

Anticipating major business amounting to thousands of crores, with many foreign governments now prepared to share their defence technology, leading Indian industries and foreign defence companies are reported to have been negotiating for joint venture development and manufacture of advanced defence systems. In some cases, collaborative agreements have been finalised and infrastructure established for the manufacture of specific high technology defence systems. This flurry of activity is taking place despite of the fact that no sanction for the development of a prototype based on any specific Services requirement, or contract for any such system, has been accorded by the government. Even internal routine ‘make’ cases proposed by the DRDO and DPSUs are understood to have been shuttling between the ministry and proposers for the last three years. Therefore, the proposal to raise FDI in defence from 26 per cent to 49 per cent, as presented by the finance minister in the recent Economic Survey, may be difficult to implement in such a situation.

The existing indigenous defence production in the country is almost entirely the government’s domain; executed by DPSUs and ordnance factories, assisted in some cases by the DRDO. These organisations have contracts with private industry and foreign vendors for certain processes and components. The several wings of the MOD responsible in some way for this process tend to function in a compartmentalised manner, leading to delays and cost overheads. Since an increasing number of high technology systems would now be developed on the joint consortium model, with significant foreign participation, it is essential that a more pragmatic procedure be adopted for managing indigenous development and production of defence systems under one nodal agency in the MOD.

The entire policy and management of the acquisition and procurement process is controlled by the acquisition wing of the DOD based on the DPP, now its 2008 version. The ‘offset provision’, which was incorporated in the DPP three years ago, and stipulates that a minimum 30 per cent cost of the investment by any foreign partner within India, in the form of components, services or technology, is also controlled by the acquisition wing, even though the Defence Offset Facilitation Agency, (DOFA), has been set up under the DDP to facilitate this policy. A study of DPP 2008 will reveal that the procedures set for both the ‘Buy and Make’, and the ‘Make’ categories of defence systems involve a very centralised, complicated, and time consuming process, requiring repeated sanctions from the acquisition wing for each stage. Moreover, this wing of the DOD is inadequately staffed and does not have the necessary expertise, thus necessitating numerous queries to the User Service, Finance, DDP, DRDO and Quality Assurance. It is, therefore, recommended that the acquisition wing of DOD handle all categories of acquisition and procurement cases up to the stage of categorisation and acceptance of necessity by the Defence Acquisition Committee, which is headed by the defence minister. Thereafter, it should only control the ‘Buy’ and ‘Buy and Make’ categories up to the ‘Buy’ stage, and hand over the ‘Make’ stage to the special nodal agency.

It is imperative that this nodal authority, with experts from among all stakeholders, and all wings of the MOD and services, is made functional in the defence ministry. For this purpose, the existing DDP of the MOD should be restructured on a corporate pattern, to incorporate more efficient procedures with necessary checks included. Each project should have an integrated project management team, given authority to take necessary decisions, including routine expenditure, and preferably headed by someone from the Service for which the system is intended. The selected private industry or partnership venture could be assisted by the government, where necessary, from the modernisation budget.

India is a fast-emerging regional and economic power. An effective defence capability, sustained by a vibrant, modern indigenous defence development and production infrastructure is vital. Major foreign investment and technology is all set to participate in our defence sphere. Changing some existing mindsets and procedures and adopting a fresh, radical approach is the need of the hour.

Lt Gen (Retd) C.S. Chima is a former DG, Army Air Defence and was a member of the Ramarao DRDO review committee.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Made-in-India--for-India-s-defence/494970

ISI, Pak Army exert significant influence on policy towards India: Report

Ani

July 28th, 2009

WASHINGTON - The Inter State Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan Army play a significant role in influencing Islamabad’s policies towards New Delhi despite the fact the two have always denied any role in government’s functioning, a report said.

Stratfor, the global think tank, in its report said: “The ISI and the army already exert a significant influence on policy towards India, whether they have a formal seat or not”.

Referring to the alleged meeting of Indian officials with the ISI chief Shuja Pasha on July 3, the report said that it was an important meeting which could have an effect on the region.

“Regardless of what was said during the July 3 meeting, the impromptu meeting itself was a significant one,” it said.

The report said that the dynamics of the region were fast changing, which may be the prime reason behind the ISI chief calling the unplanned meeting.

“The last thing India wants to see is the US ease up on Pakistan, should a terrorist attack take place in India, its ability to hold Pakistan responsible would be severely compromised. This is why the Indians are not buying reports of Pakistan targeting terrorist groups.

The Pakistanis know they cannot be held responsible. These are the newly emerging dynamics of the region, and they may well be the reason the ISI chief held his impromptu get-together with the Indian military attaches,” the report said. (ANI)

http://blog.taragana.com/n/isi-pak-army-exert-significant-influence-on-policy-towards-india-report-122729/

 

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