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Wednesday, 12 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 12 Aug 09

Indian Express

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Defence forces earmark 50 hospitals to tackle flu

Press Trust of India, Tuesday August 11, 2009, New Delhi

To prevent outbreak of swine flu among its personnel, the defence forces have earmarked 50 of their hospitals across the country to tackle the disease.

"Thirty nine Army hospitals, five Navy and six Air Force hospitals have been earmarked to check the spread of Swine Flu in our forces," Defence Ministry officials told PTI here.

The three Services, officials added, have issued separate advisories of do's and dont's for hospitals and the personnel.

"Each and every detail about the disease has been given to the hospitals in exhaustive advisories and the men have been asked to take all precautions against the flu," officials said.

Army's base hospitals in Pune and Delhi, they said, have been earmarked as sampling nodes by the Services.

http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/defence_forces_earmark_50_hospitals_to_tackle_flu.php

IAF wants a plane that will last 3 decades
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
As the country’s biggest defence deal- the purchase of 126 fighter aircrafts valued at Rs 50,000 crore- is set to commence, the Indian Air Force is looking to have aircraft that will last for some three decades with the capability to have a mid-life technological upgradation to maintain the combative cutting edge. The other main aspect to be evaluated will be the cost of ownership of the aircraft and its reliability in the long run.

Well placed IAF officials said the selected plane should have the capability to take on technological upgradation in the future to incorporate changes. Also, it should last us some three decades or so. The flights trials to buy the 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft would commence in the next week. These would be primarily to replace the ageing fleet of MiG 21s and MiG 27s.

The entire process of testing the aircraft of six competitors has been expected to last till April next year. The government would take a final call on awarding the contract and that would be based on strategic needs of the country.

The test would not be to pitch one aircraft against another rather it would be to check each one of the them separately for service qualitative requirements (SQRs) that have been laid down for various parameters. The jets would be tested in home conditions across three climate zones- hot, humid and cold.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090812/nation.htm#9

Tackling Naxals
Army may not have ‘spare’ men
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
Even as the Ministry of Home Affairs is keen to have some units of the Indian Army into its projected 40,000 strong unified force to combat naxal violence, the Indian Army may not be in a position to “spare” enough men.

It is still to assume the proportions of a “tiff” between the Ministry of Defence on one side and the Home Affairs on other. However, sources said the Home Ministry will prevail.

The Home Ministry has announced its intentions of creating a special force for the naxal-affected districts located across several states in mid-eastern and central India.

The deployment of Rashtriya Rifles (RR), a force comprising entirely of the Army’s infantry units, into the naxal areas will be fine-tuned in the final strategy to counter naxalites.

“If we can get some units of the RR there will be nothing like it”, a top official in the Home Ministry had told a select group of mediapersons last week. Sources in the Indian Army said already 63 battalions or 63,000 men had been dedicated to the RR, any more men would mean lowering guard.

Most of the infantry units located in “peace stations” had been directed at maintaining a certain number of men to tackle any immediate aggression from any neighbour. The plan of the Home Ministry had been to reduce the para-military strength in J&K, this would add to the burden of the Army. Separately, several thousand strong army had been posted in other parts of the J&K like Ladakh, Jammu and the Doda regions. Besides, it had also been engaged in counter insurgency in North East and also the national security guards.

Not only this, the Home Ministry wants the help of the IAF for reconnaissance and rescue efforts. The IAF had unmanned aerial vehicles and also choppers that could aid this new force.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090812/nation.htm#10

Govt slams report on China ‘breaking up’ India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 11
An article by a Chinese strategist saying Beijing should break up India into 20-30 independent states had India fuming today.

The article came close on the heels of Indo-China talks on boundary dispute that, New Delhi has reasons to believe, have gone off very well. “The article in question appears to be expression of an individual and does not accord with the officially stated position of China on India-China relations conveyed to us on several occasions, most recently by State Counsellor Dai Bingguo during his visit to India last week,’’ External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said.

He was of the view that opinions and assessment on the state of India-China relations should be expressed after careful judgement based on long-term interests of building a stable relationship between the two countries. The article ‘If China takes a little action, the so-called Great Indian Federation can be broken up’, has been published in the new edition of website of the China International Institute for Strategic Studies, an influential think tank that advises Beijing on global and strategic issues. It said China could be assisted in this task by "friendly countries" like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090812/nation.htm#35

China is mighty, but why India need not tremble

IANS

TWO NATIONS, ONE CONTINENT: India and China are pulling the world economy along in recession.

New Delhi: Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta has said that India cannot match China in military capability. Former armed forces chiefs and defence analysts agree that Beijing is certainly more powerful, but say India need not be "overly concerned".

"China is more powerful nation but it is not that our capability is what it used to be earlier. We are much more capable now. It is difficult to match force by force," former Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, told IANS.

The same opinion was echoed by former Indian Army chief, General V P Malik, who led the Army during the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan.

"There is a sealing now on the scale of conflict between the two countries as both are nuclear armed nations. So the maximum we would see in terms would be a threshold of a full-fledged war. But there is nothing alarming," Malik said.

"What the Navy chief has projected is that our military asymmetry to China is similar to our asymmetry vis-a-vis our economies. Instead of matching China force by force we should harness technology more innovatively. It is not alarmist at all but a prudent suggestion that money allocated is spent and spent wisely," National Maritime Foundation director Commodore (retd.) C. Uday Bhaskar said.

Terming China one of India's primary challenges, Mehta said at a lecture Monday that "it would be foolhardy to compare India and China as equals".

"Whether in terms of GDP, defence spending or any other economic, social or development parameter, the gap between the two is just too wide to bridge (and getting wider by the day). In military terms, both conventional and non-conventional, we neither have the capability nor the intention to match China, force for force," Mehta told an elite audience at the India Habitat Centre.

Earlier IAF chief Major, who retired on May 31, had said that China was a bigger challenge for India as little was known about its capability.

"What I meant was while it is easy to gauge the intentions of other countries, it is slightly difficult with China because it is a closed society. Moreover quantity does not matter but capability does. We need not be that overly concerned with China. We do not have to put them on such a high pedestal," Major said.

The Chinese armed forces overrun the Indian armed forces in sheer numbers. While India has a 1.3 million strong army, China's is around 2 million.

However, the Chinese air force and navy have been lagging behind in terms of quality platforms and vessels. However, China has increased its defence spending exorbitantly to achieve rapid modernisation of its two forces and lately has flexing muscles to spread its influence in the South Asian and Indian Ocean Regions.

The Chinese air force is at a nascent stage but the infrastructure that it is coming up with in north-eastern region is cause for concern, say Indian military experts.

Caught unawares, the Indian Air Force has also started work to revive its advanced landing grounds and upgrade its existing runways in the north-eastern states and Ladakh region bordering China.

India recently deployed its frontline fighter jets Sukhoi-30 MKI in Tezpur in Assam. Though a symbolic induction has been done, a squadron strength has not been completed yet, according to defence ministry sources.

The Chinese navy, which is currently termed as a 'brown water' navy with limited reach and endurance, does not operate a single aircraft carrier.

The Indian Navy, which operates one aircraft carrier, is already constructing indigenous aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine, compelling China to increase the pace of its efforts to get an aircraft carrier soon.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/china-is-mighty-but-why-india-need-not-tremble/99004-3.html

IAF study: Smoking leads to hearing loss among aircrew
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
An IAF study has linked smoking to increased prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss amongst its personnel. The study also found that personnel engaged in technical trades were more prone to noise -related hearing loss.

Pointing out that smoking and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) are known to have a synergistic relation, the authors’ the report said, “We found the prevalence of HINL among smokers to be higher among technical as well as non-technical trades. The present study confirms the deleterious effects on smokers exposed to high-noise levels.”

The study, undertaken by Air Vice -Marshal RC Kashyap, Principal Medical Officer, Western Air Command, New Delhi, and Lt Col S Nair, ENT specialist, Command Hospital, Bangalore, has been published in the latest issue of the Medical Journal Armed Forces of India, the professional official publication of services’ medical fraternity.

The study states that though the mechanism is not clear, it is hypothesised that smoking may damage cells due to due to reduced blood flow to cochlea or by increasing carboxyhaemogolobin and reducing available oxygen.

As part of the study, an audiometric survey among 1,000 IAF personnel from various trades, ages and exposure groups was carried out at an operational base.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090812/cth1.htm#13

People's Army not standing still

Randy Schriver

Today's People's Liberation Army (PLA) is an institution of great consequence to the United States and our allies. As China emerges as a regional and global power, the PLA will be an important force that shapes events in virtually any imaginable future -- but of particular concern should be the role the PLA would play if the United States faces a China that continues trending hostile to our global interests.

China has already reached a position of influence in our world that demands a more sophisticated understanding of both the challenges and opportunities being presented by an evolving defense institution. Unfortunately, current discussions of China's military development often miss the mark. The PLA today is not "10 feet tall," but nor is it the gang that can't shoot straight. It is a military with niche areas of excellence (e.g., ballistic and cruise missiles), as well as glaring Achilles heels (continuing difficulties with modern command, control and communications).

But most notable about today's PLA is the aggressive pursuit of modernization. The modernization efforts are paying off and offer us observable trend lines that are worth our time and attention to better understand.

Which trend lines should we watch closely? The first unfolding trend line is the professionalization of the PLA. Central authorities embarked on a course to professionalize the PLA a decade and a half ago, and the results of those policies are coming to fruition in the form of a more competent and capable military. PLA business enterprises have closed so military officers no longer have to choose between running a business and professional training.

Corruption is being exposed, and merit-based promotions are now the norm. A streamlined PLA has also transferred domestic security missions to the People's Armed Police, so the PLA can focus more intensely on traditional military missions. And perhaps most important, the quality of PLA training has improved toward greater joint force cooperation as well as more realistic scenarios across a wide range of contingencies.

The second trend to note is China's continuing advances in defense-industrial capability. After decades of reverse engineering from foreign technologies and experimentation through domestic research and development, the PLA is moving closer to a sustainable modern indigenous defense-industrial system. The PLA of the near future will be less vulnerable to potential supply disruptions in time of conflict, and will be better positioned to acquire the specific capabilities required for China's unique circumstances.

The third trend line relates to China's acquisition strategy. It is a priority for China to acquire capabilities specifically oriented toward countering U.S. military strengths. China's aerospace programs in anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) and anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons are potential "game-changers" for U.S. operations. A successful ASBM program could expand the threat envelope for U.S. aircraft carriers to a distance where traditional carrier-based flight operations become impractical. Likewise, the ASAT program threatens satellites that the U.S. military relies on for intelligence, communication and navigation.

A fourth trend line also relates to PLA acquisitions, but it also speaks to evolving doctrine, strategy and tactics. China is investing heavily in the next generation of asymmetric warfare capabilities. This is most evident in Chinese cyberwarfare capabilities. China's increasingly sophisticated and aggressive cyberespionage has undoubtedly already compromised sensitive information.

Yet of even greater concern is China's ambition to acquire the capability to lethally cripple civilian and military information infrastructures, and to weave such capabilities into PLA doctrine for war fighting.

Two other trend lines of concern relate to activities outside China's borders. The first of these is the evolving nature of China's proliferation behavior. China's advancing defense industrial capabilities has put a new tool in its political-military tool kit -- use of foreign military sales and provision of defense technologies to support broader strategic and military goals.

And China is making policy choices that present growing challenges to U.S. interests. Despite formal commitments, China supplies missiles to Iran and conventional weapons and small arms to Sudan. A U.N. investigation in 2006 found China to be the primary supplier of ammunitions used in Darfur. China's military sales increasingly complicate U.S. interests.

Finally, China's burgeoning foreign military diplomacy presents a new and difficult set of challenges for the United States and our allies. The PLA is actively pursuing the objective of extended its global reach and influence through securing strategic access to key ports and bases. Though China has yet to develop a blue-water navy, it is able to expand its naval power in the Indian Ocean and beyond through access to facilities in Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This threatens to alter the strategic balance, not only by expanding PLA reach, but also by potentially limiting or denying access for the United States and others in the same areas.

There are wise policy solutions for the United States and our allies to all the challenges the PLA may have in store. But many potential solutions that may be available to us are longer-term pursuits themselves. Thus, proper focus and orientation in Washington is needed now.

Randy Schriver is a founding partner of Armitage International LLC and president of the Project 2049 Institute. He is a former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia, and a former senior country director for China in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

http://www.washtimes.com/news/2009/aug/12/peoples-army-not-standing-still/?feat=home_commentary

Aw, India is less macho now

- Candid navy chief: Military no match for China’s might

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

New Delhi, Aug. 10: The country’s seniormost serving commander has admitted that India’s military is no match for China’s might — the most candid public confession by an officer that did not change ground rules but can touch a raw nerve.

Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee and the chief of naval staff, added that New Delhi also does not have the “intention” to be comparable to China.

“In military terms, both conventional and non-conventional, we neither have the capability nor the intention to match China, force by force,” the admiral, who retires at the end of the month, said here this evening at a lecture organised by the National Maritime Foundation, a thinktank of the navy.

For most of the last six decades, the ethos of the Indian military has been to prepare for a battle on two fronts — to the west with Pakistan and to the north with China.

Even if the military balance with China is heavily loaded against India, it is simply not in the culture of armed forces officers to publicly acknowledge the weakness.

Mehta has gone against the grain, fully aware that he was giving a reality check.

“These are indeed sobering thoughts and, therefore, our strategy to deal with China would need to be in consonance with these realities,” he said.

Mehta is the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee because he is the seniormost armed forces officer in the country.

Among the audience this evening at the India Habitat Centre that heard his confession were the chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik; Admiral Mehta’s predecessor, the former navy chief, Admiral (retired) Arun Prakash; at least three other former armed forces chiefs, diplomats from India and abroad, retired armed forces officers and school students.

“The traditional or ‘attritionist’ approach of matching ‘division for division’ must give way to harnessing modern technology for developing high situational awareness and creating a reliable stand-off deterrent,” Mehta said.

Translated, this means Mehta is calling for a halt to matching China’s military in terms of numbers — of ships, submarines, army divisions or combat aircraft. Instead, he is urging that New Delhi’s military energies focus only on building a defensive capability. Mehta later said, answering a question from the media, “We cannot cope in terms of numbers, so we must look at technologies, get smarter.”

In his lecture, he said: “On the military front, our strategy to deal with China must include reducing the military gap and countering the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean region.” To some extent, this would be possible if India developed relations with the littoral countries — largely island nations in the waters around India.

Mehta emphasised that India’s military weakness vis-à-vis China was merely reflective of its backwardness in other spheres.

“Whether in terms of GDP, defence spending or any other economic, social or development parameter, the gap between the two is just too wide to bridge (and getting wider by the day).”

Mehta said that once China consolidated its national power and military capabilities, it would be more assertive with its claims in the neighbourhood. “Our ‘trust deficit’ with China can never be liquidated unless our boundary problems are resolved,” he said.

But a military conflict would be damaging for both India and China. So it was important that New Delhi and Beijing “co-operate with each other in mutually beneficial endeavours, and ensure that the potential for conflict is minimised”, he said.

India’s annual defence expenditure was approximately $30 billion for 2008-09. Mehta quoted US thinktank Rand Corporation and US Defence Intelligence Agency figures for China’s defence spending for the same period, which stood between $70 billion and $200 billion.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090811/jsp/frontpage/story_11346512.jsp

Pak militants using high altitude posts to infiltrate, says Indian Army

Ani

August 10th, 2009

Aangan Pathri Post (Pir Panjal, Jammu), - Desperate attempts are being made by militants to enter India before the passes are rendered inaccesible by snowfall and inclement weather, army officials have claimed.

The officials said that Indian troops have intensified their vigilance at high altitudes along the Line of Control in the wake of these reports of failed infiltration bids.

According to army sources, troops of the 18 Mahar are bravely countering the adverse weather and hostile conditions to thwart any attempt by the militants to cross to this side of the border from the Cobra Post in Pakistan, which is the nearest launch pad for these ultras.

They said troops were deployed at Aangan Pathri, the highest LoC post (13,000 feet above sea level)) on Pirpanjal range in Sawjain Sector of Poonch, to thwart any such attempt.

“Because of terrorist launch pads which are closure to this area and they have a Pir Panjal access to the valley, so that is why the try to infiltrate through this route.” Said Major Rahul Salathia, the company commander at the Aangan Pathri Post.

Major Salathia who is manning this high altitude post for the last one year in hostile weather conditions said: ” The challenge is bad weather and inhospitable terrain and lots of nullahs (ditches) and jungle in this area, those challenges we are facing, but we are ready to combat all these challenges.”

“The trends what we are seeing they are trying to infiltrate in smaller groups and they are using GPS and are not using local guides.We are are moving round the clock, we are laying ambushes in the night and we are vigilant 24 hours to combat all these things,” added Major Salathia.

Naik Netarpal said: “We have been vigilant day and night, we have got the night equipements. There are more chances of infiltration because all the snow has melted and maize has grown, so there are more chances of militants sneaking in, so during this period we need to remain more vigilant.” By Tahir Nadeem Khan (ANI)

http://blog.taragana.com/n/pak-militants-using-high-altitude-posts-to-infiltrate-says-indian-army-135545/



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