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Sunday, 19 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 19 Jul 09

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Classification allowance for jawans from Jan 2006
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 18
Some more clarity has emerged in the recent announcement on pensions of retired ex-servicemen and officers. Union Minister of the state Defence MM Pallam Raju told the Rajya Sabha that the committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to look into the issue of “one rank, one pension” and related issues has submitted its report recommending the following benefits to substantially improve the pension for the PBORs and commissioned officers, which have been accepted by the government.

The benefits are: Inclusion of classification allowance for jawans from January 1, 2006; removal of linkage of full pension with 33 years from January 1, 2006; revision of Lt Gen pension after carving out a separate pay scale for them; bringing parity between pension of pre and post October 10, 1997 jawans and further improving pensions for jawans based on award of GOM 2006.

The minister said: “Since the issue on which they were agitating has been adequately addressed by the committee, the government expects them to honour their hard earned medals”. He was pointing out to the fact that several officers and jawans had handed over their gallantry medals to President Pratibha Patil.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090719/nation.htm#6

Lieutenant-generals to get higher pay scales
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Central government has hiked the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) pay scales of Lieutenant Generals and equivalent to Rs 67,000-79,000 per month along with an inbuilt increment of Rs 6,000 as notional Military Service Pay (MSP).

Earlier these officers had been placed in the scale of Rs 37,400-67,000 (Pay Band-4) with a grade pay of plus Grade Pay Rs 12,000.

Sources said that the corrigendum to the special Army instruction dealing with the pay scales of lieutenant generals was signed by the Ministry of Defence yesterday evening.

The top 33 per cent of lieutenant generals, Vice-admirals and air marshals were already in a higher scale of Rs 75,500-80,000 (called HAG-Plus). Army commanders and corps commanders who could not be elevated as Army commanders due to lack of residual service, were already in the even higher apex grade scale of Rs 80,000.

As a result of this, the basic pension of lieutenant generals who retired prior to 2006 is expected be fixed at Rs 36,500 per month (50 per cent of minimum scale plus Rs 3,000 as notional MSP fitment). Lieutenant generals who retired as Army commanders and selected corps commanders shall continue to draw Rs 40,000 fixed as basic pension, while pension of post-2006 retirees will be 50 per cent of the last drawn emoluments.

Government sources said in the near future the same scale could also extended to all other HAG officers of the Central government. Most of the pre-2006 retired civilian All -India Service officers, who are direct appointees, are HAG retirees and if the same scale is implemented for them, they shall be placed at a basic pension of Rs 33,500.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090719/nation.htm#7

India interfering in Balochistan, says Gilani

Islamabad, July 18
Two days after the controversial Indo-Pak joint statement in Egypt, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani tonight blamed India for “interference” in Balochistan and “other areas” and said the document reflected Pakistan’s concerns over this.

The joint statement signed by him and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “underlines our concerns over India’s interference in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan,” Gilani told at a first press conference after his return from Sharm-el Sheikh.

At the outset, he showered praise on Manmohan Singh for agreeing to restart dialogue, saying the Indian leader had shown “political sagacity” and “statesmanship” in realising that talks were the only way forward.

The statement, which has been attacked by Opposition parties and commentators in India, in a brief reference to Balochistan said Gilani had “mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.” Referring to the document, Gilani said it provided for discussion on all outstanding issues with India.

Asked when Pakistan will give proof to India about its “interference” in Balochistan, he said: “As and when talks take place, it will be handed over. Right now we are talking about talks.”

Asked about Singh’s response when he raised the issue of Balochistan, Gilani evaded a direct reply, saying both India and Pakistan are “victims of terrorism” and “joint effort” is required to fight it.

Gilani said Singh was “very clear” that he was ready to discuss all issues. “Just put the cards on the table, I am not scared,” he quoted Singh as saying during their three-hour-long discussions. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090719/main2.htm

BSF plans to recruit women soldiers: DG

Press Trust of India, Saturday July 18, 2009, Jammu


Some recent encounters in Kashmir valley indicate that militant training camps across the border are still in existence, BSF Director General M L Kumawat said on Saturday.

"Pakistan needs to take a decisive action against them. In case Islamabad is serious about taking action against terrorist outfits in their own country, they must dismantle these camps," he told reporters in Jammu.

Kumawat also said that a Mahila Battalion in BSF will be commissioned on July 25 and these women in the force will be deployed for frisking/searches and in dealing with trans-border crimes.

"We are also mordernising the force for which the government has provided Rs 4300 crore," he said, adding that this would be utilised for equipment, technology and border management of the force.

"Our responsibilities have become much more important keeping in view the capabilities of the terrorists," he added.

Asked about the number of camps and locations across the border he said, "We need not go into their numbers and locations." The fact remains that these training camps are there and they need to be dismantled by Pakistani authorities, he added.

Pointing out that the Pakistan Rangers had built a number of structures including bunkers and observation posts across the border after the Mumbai attack, he said, "We did not react to these developments as it would have given Pakistan an excuse not to deal with terrorists in that country".

The BSF DG said the government has sanctioned setting up of 500 Border outposts (BOPs) -- 300 in the eastern and the rest in the western sector. Of these, 33 will be upgraded and mordernised in Jammu frontier.

Discounting reports that a tunnel was being dug from Pakistan to India, Kumawat said that digging a 40-km-long tunnel would require a mammoth effort and merely 15 or 20 people cannot do it.

Asked about the number of infiltration bids in J&K, the DG BSF without going into details said such incidents have come down.

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

Militant training camps operating in Pak: BSF DG

Press Trust of India / Jammu July 18, 2009, 14:19 IST

Some recent encounters in Kashmir valley indicate that militant training camps across the border are still in existence, BSF Director General M L Kumawat today said.

"Pakistan needs to take a decisive action against them.In case Islamabad is serious about taking action against terrorist outfits in their own country, they must dismantle these camps," he told reporters here.

Asked about the number of such camps and locations across the border, he said "we need not go into their numbers and locations." The fact remains that these training camps are there and they need to be dismantled by Pakistani authorities, he added.

Pointing out that Pak rangers had built a number of structures including bunkers and observation posts across the border after the Mumbai attack, he said "we did not react to these developments as it would have given Pakistan an excuse not to deal with terrorists in that country".

BSF is the largest border guarding force in the world with 2.25 lakh personnel and 30,000 more men would be added soon to guard the frontiers.

He said the government has sanctioned setting up of 500 Border outposts (BOPs) — 300 in the eastern and the rest in the western sector. Of these, 33 will be upgraded and mordernised in Jammu frontier.

Kumawat said a Mahila Battalion in BSF will be commissioned on July 25.

Women in the force will be deployed for frisking and searches and in dealing with trans-border crimes.

"We are also mordernising the force for which the government has provided Rs 4300 crores," he said adding this would be utilised for equipment, technology and border management of the force.

"Our responsibilities have become much more important keeping in view the capabilities of the terrorists," he added. Discounting reports that a tunnel was being dug from Pakistan to India, Kumawat said that digging a 40-km-long tunnel would require a mammoth effort and merely 15 or 20 people cannot do it.

Asked about the number of infiltration bids in J&K, the DG BSF without going into details said such incidents have come down.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/militant-training-camps-operating-in-pak-bsf-dg/68166/on

India-Pakistan rivalry

Sunday, July 19, 2009

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

India and Pakistan are in a state of active hostility — if not war or at least two proxy wars. At least six of the Pakistan army’s nine corps are on the border with India. Of the six, I Corps and II Corps are heavy armour strike corps. At least seven of the Indian army’s 13 corps are on the border with Pakistan. Of the seven, X Corps and II Corps are powerful strike corps (strike corps is an offensive formation). Additionally, all of India’s holding crops that are directly facing Pakistan also have significant offensive capabilities. In effect, 66 per cent of the Pakistan army’s holding and strike formations are directly facing India. In effect, more than 53 per cent of the Indian army’s holding and strike formations are directly facing Pakistan.

Pakistan maintains — and sustains — critical assets in the northeast that have managed to pin down India’s XV Corps, IX Corps, XVI Corps, XIV Corps, XI Corps, X Corps and II Corps. India’s 4 Armoured Brigade, 340 Mechanised Brigade, 11 and 12 Infantry Divisions, Jaisalmer Air Force Base, Utarlai Air Force Base and Bhuj Air Force Base maintain a threatening-offensive posture. India is actively supporting anti-Pakistan Baloch elements as well as anti-Pakistan Taliban factions. India is bent upon projecting power into Afghanistan thus encircling Pakistan. And, India – post-Operation Parakram — has been investing into a "Cold Start War Doctrine" involving joint operations by the Indian army, air force and navy; eight integrated battle groups with armour, artillery, infantry and combat air support.

For FY 2009, India’s defence spending will rise by close to 50 per cent to a colossal $32.7 billion (according to Jane’s Information Group). India is planning its biggest-ever arms purchases; $11 billion fighter jets, T-90S tanks, Scorpion submarines, Phalcon airborne warning and control system, multi-barrel rocket-launchers and an aircraft carrier. At $32.7 billion India’s defence spending translates into 2.7 per cent of GDP.

For FY 2009, Pakistan’s official defence spending is set at $4.3 billion while unofficial estimates go as high as $7.8 billion. If Pakistan were to match India’s rise we would have to spend more than five per cent of our GDP on defence. For the record, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan spend an overwhelmingly large percentage of their GDP on defence. Iraq, Somalia and Sudan are all — or have been — in a state of civil war. For the record, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia use to spend an overwhelmingly large percentage of their GDP on defence. Soviet Union is no more. Czechoslovakia is no more.

The US and the Soviet Union fought a 50-year Cold War during which the Soviet Union stockpiled some 13,000 active nuclear warheads. In 1991, the US won without even firing a shot. The Soviet Union raced a race that it couldn’t win. The Soviet Union split into 15.

Over the past century, economic development has been all about intense trading. Pakistan has two population centres; central Punjab and Karachi. Central Punjab is a thousand kilometres from the nearest port. Between Karachi and central Punjab is a desert in the east and on west is an area that does not — and cannot — support population concentrations. To develop economically, we must trade. Trade we must. And, the only population concentration to trade with is on our east.

Time — and money — is on India’s side. Composite dialogue among civilians means little — if anything at all. What is needed is a strategic dialogue. How can India be persuaded to pull back its offensive formations? In return for what? How can we use our America leverage in our longer-term interest? We cannot win an arms’ race with India. We ought to race a race that we can win. We can continue to race a race that we are bound to lose. Or, begin a new race that we may be able to win — or at least not lose.

The writer is the executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com

http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=188734

New Age Army wives take aim at old mindset

Insiya Amir & Ajay Sura, TNN 19 July 2009, 01:49am IST

Is it time for change in the hierarchy-conscious Indian Army? Some Army wives are gunning for it. Alleging harassment because they refused to work for the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), the wives of two officers say they have been forced to kowtow to the same hierarchical rules as their spouses.

Savneet Paul, who has sent a legal notice to the Army and is waiting for a response, alleges that her husband (a Major) was given below-average ratings in the annual confidential report based on the couple's social interaction at AWWA activities. In other words, it's not merit but what the wife does that counts. Rosme Chaube, also the wife of a Major, has written to the Army chief expressing similar grievances.

The Indian Army is an institution that dates back to the Raj and some commands - such as the Eastern Command set up in 1920 - originated long before Independence. Its mindset, some say, is a hangover from colonial times and modern-day wives are rebelling.

``If I had known how old-fashioned it was, I would never have married an Armyman,'' says Chaube, who insists she did her best to adjust.

But the blind adherence to hierarchy got to her. ``When I was newly married, I was told by one of my husband's seniors at one of those mandatory AWWA parties that if I wanted my husband to become a General or Brigadier, then I would have to do well in AWWA,'' she says.

Retired Brigadier Anil Kumar admits the Army is a tradition-bound institution, but reasons that wives become part of the 'family'. He says,``Soldiering is a hard task, so it's only natural that a defence job is not just a job, but like joining a family.'' He says it is understandable "this can be difficult for the younger generation. We now have more wives who are MBAs, doctors and architects. Even if they were to understand the defence culture, it's practically impossible to live by it.''

The problem, explains Paul, is not working with AWWA, but the kind of work they are expected to do. ``Welfare for the jawan's wives should not mean forcing them to sing and dance. In this day and age, instead of training them in software and other professional skills that they can actually put to use, AWWA teaches them to make sandals, stuffed toys, bangles etc. Which woman can get by with only these skills?'' she asks. Paul now plans to approach the National Commission for Women.

The tensions are evident from the dwindling number of families living together on campus because many wives now have full-time civilian jobs.

Another noticeable change, says Guneet Chaudhary, Supreme Court advocate and ex-Army official, is the rising divorce rate in the Army. For every 10 married couples, there are four divorce applications pending. Separations are more common too. ``Most women complain that their major problems are because of AWWA dictating their lives,'' says the lawyer who is fighting Paul's case.

The voices of discontent are getting louder online. The blog pragmatic.nationalinterest.in started by an anonymous blogger is flooded with complaints about AWWA and the wives of senior officers. The association's functioning had come under scrutiny about two years ago when a Comptroller and Auditor General report questioned unauthorized expenditure of Rs 75 crore by the presidents of AWWA and AFWWA, who are the spouses of the Air Force and Army chiefs. The report also indicted the Army for irregularities in the hiring of light vehicles and their misuse by AWWA.

But all is not lost. Chaudhary cautions that AWWA is not all bad. It has done some great work in the past. All it needs is an overhaul to be in tune with changing times.

Wives tale

* AWWA was founded on July 1, 1966 by the wife of the then Chief of Army, G N Chaudhary, for the welfare of wives and widows of jawans

* What began with one centre in Delhi has become an independent organization with eight `commands' in the country

* Though it is widely believed to be funded by the Army, in response to an RTI filed by Supreme Court advocate Guneet Chaudhary, Information Officers of Army said that AWWA is a non-governmental organisation

* As part of its work, AWWA claims to be helping over 10,000 widows in the country

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS-India-New-Age-Army-wives-take-aim-at-old-mindset/articleshow/4794134.cms

Army chief to Antony: Don't block gun trials

Ajai Shukla / New Delhi July 18, 2009, 0:45 IST

A K AntonyA worried army chief, General Deepak Kapoor, has protested to Defence Minister A K Antony about the derailing of vital defence purchases by allegations of corruption. On June 10, General Kapoor complained about the cancellation of army trials on the Pegasus ultra-light howitzer, after the manufacturer, Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), was suspended on suspicion of links with a discredited MoD official.

The trials of the 155 mm Pegasus were to commence on 22 June at the Pokhran Ranges in Rajasthan. Any delay, General Kapoor warned Mr Antony, would push back the hot-weather trials by a year.

The next day, the deputy chief, Lt Gen MS Dadwal, fired off a letter to the Defence Secretary, Vijay Singh (Letter No 00048/Proc/DCOAS (P&S)/Sectt) reiterating that the Pegasus trials must continue, even while the Central Bureau of Investigation probes whether STK was connected in any way with Sudipta Ghosh — the former chairman of the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) — who was arrested for corruption on 19 May. If STK was found guilty, the purchase could always be cancelled.

The army chief, an artilleryman himself, has emphasised on the crucial need for modern artillery; the last important purchase was more than 20 years ago: the 155mm Bofors FH-77B gun in the mid-1980s. Even that was restricted, by allegations of kickbacks, to the direct purchase of 400 guns. The chance to manufacture thousands more in India, through transfer of technology (ToT) was thrown away, even though India paid for the technology. In 2005, amidst a push to buy towed and self-propelled artillery, South African gun manufacturer, Denel, was banned. Soon afterwards, Israeli artillery firm, Soltam Systems, found itself under the scanner.

General Kapoor’s request to Antony has counte0d for little; the CBI and the CVC suggested to the MoD that the ban on STK continues. The MoD wrote back to Army HQ (Letter No 1(5)/2007/D(Proc) dated 7 July) saying that the trials stood cancelled until further orders.

Ironically, the army could benefit from this delay, which creates conditions for bringing another gun into contention: the combat-proven BAE Systems M777 ultra-light howitzer, which is currently doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. So far, Pegasus was the only gun in contention — a monopoly situation explicitly discouraged in the MoD’s Defence Procurement Policy of 2008 (DPP–2008). BAE Systems could not bid because the MoD refused to grant it several months for clearing Indian ammunition to be fired from M777 howitzers.

Major General AJS Sandhu, an Indian artillery expert, explains that — since British Army M777 crews would fire Indian ammunition during the trials — British regulations demanded that the ammunition first be “classified”, or cleared by safety experts, before the trials. And since India insisted on firing several types of ammunition during trials, classifying every one of them would take several months.

Asked to confirm, BAE Systems India President, Julian Scopes told Business Standard by email, “In the tender for ultra-light howitzers, there were requirements in the [tender] that made it difficult for us respond in the time available. But we remain hopeful that M777 can be considered and continue to point out to the MoD that the BAE Systems M777 is the lightest 155mm howitzer in the world, in service with the US Army, US Marine Corp and Canadian Army, and the only one that is combat proven.”

Defence experts are unanimous that India’s artillery has deteriorated worryingly from poor procurement. In a hurry to acquire ultra-light howitzers, the MoD opted for a single vendor (STK), which offered a gun that has never seen battle. Now, with STK blacklisted, a yearlong delay seems inevitable; but that period, says General Sandhu, could allow the MoD to bring in BAE Systems, generating wider choice and competitive bidding.

The MoD has tendered for three types of guns: self-propelled guns for the mechanised forces; towed guns for divisions deployed in the plains; and ultra-light howitzers for mountainous areas. Two new mountain divisions, being raised for offensive operations on the China border, will be equipped with these guns. Constructed largely from titanium, their low weight provides tactical mobility, or the ability to quickly move around the battlefield on mountain roads and dirt tracks where heavier guns would get bogged down. Ultra-light guns can even be airlifted into inaccessible firing positions by helicopter.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/army-chief-to-antony-don%5Ct-block-gun-trials/364248/

A few planes for India

Saturday, 18 Jul 2009 at 14:07 IST

I am in Germany looking at some stuff that India might be spending more than $10 billion soon.

India is looking at buying around 130 modern fighter jets that will revamp its air power, much-maligned for its ageing, iffy fleet even as neighbour Pakistan keeps getting new American jets... and a seemingly unending list of accidents killing so many young pilots that it even brought about a super hit Bollywood movie, Rang de Basanti, which gave us super simple logic for dust-binning our once popular MiG aircrafts.

Yes, $10 billion in these troubled times is one of the biggest boosts to the global defence industry ever, and almost everyone who is anyone in the business selling defence equipment is fighting to get this contract. But such is the secretive systems of defence and the jargon-filled layers that most likely none of us would ever know that this giant purchase is being made and the reasons for awarding the contract until its all done under the benign eye of supposedly one of India's most honest defence ministers, can't-seem-to-plug-the-holes-but-is-personally-honest-even-with-a-nickname-of-St. (Defence Minister) A K Antony.

So, let's try and explain what really is happening. I will begin with what I am looking at on the outskirts of Munich, the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the most modern jets ever made in Europe. It is being made, in some senses, the cornerstone of NATO air defence, and is already the key punch of all the air policing activities in Germany, the country which has a lead role in producing and pitching the Typhoon. The Typhoon is made by a consortium of nations, as it were, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Part of the core idea of the Typhoon is to lessen dependence on American defence systems and the Eurofighter, as far as I can understand, is aimed at giving NATO a powerful air defence weapon that is also built for rapid upgradation in future.

Apart from trying to sell the Eurofighter to India, the plane has been pitched to Greece, Austria is buying some, as has Saudi Arabia.

Now, in India, it is a six pack competition. The six taking part are Eurofighter, Boeing’s F/A-18, Lockheed Martin's F-16, France's Rafale, Russia's MiG-35 and Sweden's Gripen.

Most analysts accept that finally, even as all six ready for field trials, the fight for the order will come down to the F/16, the Americans are pushing hard especially after the nuclear deal, and Hilary Clinton, say insiders, will push for Lockheed Martin during her India tour, and the Eurofighter.

Now what should India choose?

The Europeans say that they are the natural answer because of one big reason - total technology transfer or ToT in defence. What does this mean? It means that the Europeans are willing to give India all the technology required for the high-end plane. India, this means, will not have to be dependent on the Europeans for every nut and bolt and chip of the plane after the plane is sold to us.

Now, this is a big deal in some ways because the Americans are traditionally chronically jittery about technology transfer and indeed under law cannot transfer critical, sensitive technology. In fact, some reports suggest that the Americans even forced the Israelis to pull out of the race due to concerns that technology via the Israelis would land in Indian hands.

This is of special concern for India because we have a terrible experience with the Russians who have, in many ways, pushed us to the brink with endless delays and arm twisting on the (aircraft carrier) Admiral Groskov deal. Such has been the Russian bargaining that it has been called blackmail by almost every Indian defence expert including tough talking army chiefs.

So the ToT point is critical and well admired in India, and some in the defence establishment believe that point alone should mean that the Europeans win the bid. But others argue that because of unprecedented closeness between the security establishments of the US and India, we would be better off buying from Lockheed Martin and expanding the scope and depth of the Indo-American partnership and also develop even greater voice in the American defence establishment to stop high end systems going to Pakistan. Going with America, say the pro-Americans, even give us leverage against China.

But for everyone keen on India developing in some sense an independent defence strategy, the Eurofighter, which is technologically cutting-edge, and the fact that the Europeans are ready to go the extra mile for India brings greater advantage.

In the course of the next few weeks, I will be returning to the theme of which plane India ought to buy and my daily show - Everybody's Business, every weeknight 7.30 to 8.00 - will constantly look at this. Remember $10 billion of your and my money will be spent on this deal. We need to know which is the best for India and build some sort of public opinion in one of our biggest defence purchases ever. After all, these planes will guard us for a long, long time. We ought to know why this money is being spent and how.

It is everybody's business to know this....

http://www.utvi.com/experts-opinions/market-experts-blogs/510/a_few_planes_for_india.html#

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