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Saturday, 22 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 22 Aug 09

Indian Express

Asian Age

Asian Age

Telegraph India

The Pioneer

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

DNA India

Navy pilot killed in Sea Harrier crash

Panaji, August 21
A Naval pilot was killed when an aging Sea Harrier jump jet crashed into the sea during a routine exercise off Goa coast today, even as the outgoing Navy Chief Sureesh Mehta called the aircraft "flight worthy".

The Sea Harrier crashed 15 nautical miles west off Goa at 1157 hours, 42 minutes after take-off, for a training mission with the Navy chief witnessing the exercise.

"Lieutenant Commander Saurav Saxena, the pilot of the single seater version of the aircraft lost his life in the incident. His body was later found," said, Captain Surendra Ahuja, chief of INS Hansa, the Navy's airbase in Goa. ― PTI

Former Pak NSA to visit India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 21
Track II diplomacy between India and Pakistan could well be on the cards. Pakistan's former national security adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani would be in New Delhi early next month to deliver the inaugural RK Mishra memorial lecture on India-Pakistan relations.

Durrani would be the first high-profile visitor from Pakistan to visit New Delhi after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. A former Pakistan army officer, Durrani is considered by the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) an American agent in Islamabad working for US and Indian interests.

Sixty eight-year-old Durrani was sacked as NSA in January this year by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after he acknowledged that Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai terror attacks, was a Pakistani national, much before the Pakistan government formally admitted it.

Sources in the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) said Durrani was being invited for the event since he was a close friend of Mishra. He would be in New Delhi from September 4-7 and deliver the lecture at the Indian International Centre on September 5.

The Pakistan High Commission here, meanwhile, said it had no knowledge of Durrani's visit as he was not holding any official position. He may not be occupying any post in Pakistan currently but Durrani is said to be close to President Asif Ali Zardari even now.

Like SK Lambah, India's special envoy on Kashmir, Durrani is a veteran of Track II diplomacy. While it is not known whether he would be meeting any Indian politician or senior official during his visit, he may utilise the opportunity to meet some of his old Indian friends, including former diplomats.

Lack of incentives driving away FDI in defence sector: Study

Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 21, 2009, 11:32 IST

Pitching for raising foreign direct investment limit to 49 per cent in the defence sector, a study on India's military exports has said global players are reluctant to fund the industry in the capital-intensive sector due to lack of incentives.

"The raising of the FDI limit to 49 per cent would go a long way in reducing the risk of Indian companies besides providing them an opportunity to access technical and managerial skills of the foreign companies to rise up the global value-chain rapidly," a joint study by industry body Assocham and research firm Ernst and Young said.

Noting that the existing policy permitted 26 per cent FDI in the defence sector, the report said it did not provide foreign investors incentives with respect to capacity expansion, buy-back guarantees and exports, while subjecting them to purchase and price discriminations vis-a-vis public sector enterprises.

"Given these constraints, major investors are reluctant to invest in Indian companies where they would have little control. Once permitted to increase the FDI limit to 49 per cent, foreign companies will have clear incentives to invest, enabling Indian companies to be part of their global supply chain," it said.

If the intent of opening up defence production to private sector in 2001 and allowing FDI was to recognise the private sector's potential to contribute meaningfully to the material cause of the armed forces, the government must ensure the ability is not handicapped, the study said.

"Only returns from investment can guarantee survival of the private sector," the Assocham-Ernst and Young study said, adding that the defence industry being primarily single consumer-driven and highly capital-intensive, the private sector was at a greater risk, which is compounded by little experience and technological know-how.

"Arguably, the contributions from international defence majors in the form of both capital and technology can enhance the ability of Indian private sector, which in turn would contribute to India's defence industrial capability and exports," it said.

Ruing that the defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) continued to be preferred over private players despite policy initiatives in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2008, the study argued that the protection of DPSUs and Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) from domestic players should be progressively withdrawn.

Favouring early declaration of Raksha Udyog Ratnas among private sector for at-par treatment with DPSUs, the report said the competitiveness would provide Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), their tier 2 and tier 3 vendors an opportunity to work with the Indian private sector in the defence industry.

However, there was a need for an appropriate platform for interaction between potential offset partners, the 10-page study report said.

"In the offset policy lies the challenge whereby private industry will have to be prepared to absorb technologies and engineering skills, and then manufacture components, assemble sub-systems, and systems, at a cost that is competitive, yet profitable, and then get into the global supply chain," it said.

The Indian defence production value stood at Rs 22,050 crore in 2006-07 compared to Rs 16,420 crore in 2003-04. Defence exports value was Rs 320 crore in 2006-07, compared to Rs 240 crore in 2003-04, an average of 1.9 per cent of total defence production during the period, the report said.

India's defence import-export ratio too was lower than countries that have smaller defence industrial base and the quantum of exports much less than Israel, South Korea and Singapore.

While Indian defence imports in 2004 were worth $2.3 billion, exports stood at $26 million. In 2008, the imports were worth $1.8 billion to a lowly $0.5 million exports.

On the offset policy in DPP 2008, it said it could act as a catalyst, as it provided equal status to the private sector to benefit from increased business opportunities, possible inflows of investment and technologies from overseas and tie-ups with major domestic and foreign defence companies.

Who are Iraq war's winners and losers?

Written by Sherwood Ross - CHICAGO

Thursday, 20 August 2009 06:09

"On my last day in Iraq," veteran McClatchy News correspondent Leila Fadel wrote August 9, "as on my first day in Iraq, I couldn't see what the United States and its allies had accomplished. … I couldn't understand what thousands of American soldiers had died for and why hundreds of thousands of Iraqis had been killed."

Quite a few oil company CEO's and "defense" industry executives, however, do have a pretty good idea why that war is being fought. As Michael Cherkasky, president of Kroll Inc., said a year after the Iraq invasion boosted his security firm's profits 231 percent: "It's the Gold Rush."

What follows is a brief look at some of the outfits that cashed in, and at the multitudes that got took.

"Defense Earnings Continue to Soar," Renae Merle wrote in The Washington Poston July 30, 2007. "Several of Washington's largest defense contractors said last week that they continue to benefit from a boom in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…"

Merle added, "Profit reports from Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin showed particularly strong results in operations in the region." More recently, Boeing's second-quarter earnings this year rose 17 percent, Associated Pressreported, in part because of what APcalled "robust defense sales."

But war, it turns out, is not only unhealthy for human beings, it is not uniformly good for the economy. Many sectors suffer, including non-defense employment, as a war can destroy more jobs than it creates.

While the makers of warplanes may be flying high, these are "Tough Times For Commercial Aerospace," Business Week reported July 13. "The sector is contending with the deepening global recession, declining air traffic, capacity cuts by airlines, and reduced availability of financing for aircraft purchases."

The general public suffers, too.

"As President Bush tried to fight the war without increasing taxes, the Iraq war has displaced private investment and/or government expenditures, including investments in infrastructure, R&D and education: they are less than they would otherwise have been," write Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes in The Three Trillion Dollar War.

Stiglitz holds a Nobel Prize in economics and Bilmes is former assistant secretary of the US Department of Commerce. They say government money spent in Iraq does not stimulate the economy in the way that the same amounts spent at home would.

The war has also starved countless firms for expansion bucks.

"Higher borrowing costs for business since the beginning of the Iraq war are bleeding manufacturing investment," Greg Palast wrote in Armed Madhouse. And when entrepreneurs -- who hire so many -- lack growth capital, job creation takes a real hit.

We might recall too, the millions around the world who filled the streets to protest President Bush's impending attack on Iraq and who have quit buying US products, further reducing sales and employment.

"American firms, especially those that have become icons, like McDonald's and Coca-Cola, may also suffer, not so much from explicit boycotts as from a broader sense of dislike of all things American," Stiglitz and Bilmes wrote.

"America's standing in the world has never been lower," the authors said, noting that in 2007, US "favorable" ratings plunged to 29 percent in Indonesia and nine percent in Turkey. "Large numbers of wealthy people in the Middle East � where the oil money and inequality put individual wealth in the billions � have shifted banking from America to elsewhere," they said.

Because the Iraq war crippled that country's oil industry, output fell, supplies tightened, and, according to Palast, "World prices leaped to reflect the shortfall."

What's more, Palast pointed out, after the Iraq invasion the Saudis withheld more than a million barrels of oil a day from the market. "The one-year 121 percent post-invasion jump in the price of crude, from under $30 a barrel to over $60, sucked that $120 billion windfall to the Saudis from SUV drivers and factory owners in the West," he said.

Count the Saudis among the big winners.

The oil spike subtracted 1.2 percent from the gross domestic product, "costing the USA just over one million jobs," Palast reckoned. Stiglitz and Bilmes said the oil price spike meant "American families have had to spend about 5 percent more of their income on gasoline and heating than before."

Last year, the Iraq and Afghan wars cost each American household $138 per month in taxes, they estimated. Count the Joneses among the big losers.

Palast wrote, "It has been a very good war for Big Oil � courtesy of OPEC price hikes. The five oil giants saw profits rise from $34 billion in 2002 to $81 billion in 2004…But this tsunami of black ink was nothing compared to the wave of $120 billion in profits to come in 2006: $15.6 billion for Conoco, $17.1 billion for Chevron and the Mother of All Earnings, Exxon's $39.5 billion in 2006 on sales of $378 billion."

Palast noted that oil firms have their own reserves whose value is tied to OPEC's price targets, and "The rise in the price of oil after the first three years of the war boosted the value of the reserves of ExxonMobil oil alone by just over $666 billion…

"Chevron Oil, where Condoleezza Rice had served as a director, gained a quarter trillion dollars in value…I calculate that the top five oil operators saw their reserves rise in value by over $2.363 trillion."

Who's surprised when Forbes reports of the ten most profitable corporations in the world five are now oil and gas companies � Exxon-Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Chevron, and Petro-China.

"Since the Iraq War began," Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive wrote, "aerospace and defense industry stocks have more than doubled. General Dynamics did even better than that. Its stock has tripled."

An Associated Pressaccount published July 23 observed: "With the military fighting two wars and Pentagon budgets on a steady upward rise, defense companies regularly posted huge gains in profits and rosier earnings forecasts during recent quarters. Even as the rest of the economy tumbled last fall, military contractors, with the federal government as their primary customer, were a relative safe haven."

Among the big winners are top Pentagon contractors, as ranked by as of 2008. Halliburton spun off KBR in 2007 and their operations are covered later. Data was selected for typical years 2007-09.

1.Lockheed Martin

2. Boeing

3. KBR

4. Northrop Grumman

5. General Dynamics

6. Raytheon


8. L-3 Communciations

9. EDS Corporation

10. Fluor Corporation

--Lockheed Martin, of Bethesda, Maryland, a major warplane builder, in 2007 alone earned profits of $3 billion on sales of nearly $42 billion.

--Boeing, of Chicago, saw its 2007 net profit shoot up 84 percent to $4 billion, fed by "strong growth in defense earnings," according to an Agence France-Presse report.

--Northrop Grumman, of Los Angeles, a manufacturer of bombers, warships and military electronics, had 2007 profits of $1.8 billion on sales of $32 billion.

--General Dynamics, of Falls Church, Virginia, had profits in 2008 of about $2.5 billion on sales of $29 billion. It makes tanks, combat vehicles, and mission-critical information systems.

--Raytheon, of Waltham, Massachusetts, reported about $23 billion in sales for 2008. It is the world's largest missile maker and Bloomberg News says it is benefiting from "higher domestic defense spending and US arms exports."

--Scientific International Applications Corp., of La Jolla, California, an engineering and technology supplier to the Pentagon, had sales of $10 billion for fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2009, and net income of $452 million.

--L-3, of New York City, has enjoyed sales growth of about 25 percent a year recently. Its total 2008 sales of $15 billion brought it profits of nearly $900 million. Its primary customer is the Defense Department, to which it supplies high tech surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

--EDS Corp., of Plano, Texas, purchased by Hewlett-Packard in May, 2008, had 2007 sales of nearly $20 billion. Its priority project is building the $12 billion Navy-Marine Corps Intranet, said to be the largest private network in the world.

--Fluor Corp., of Irvine, Texas, an engineering and construction firm, had net earnings of $720 million in 2008 on sales of $22 billion.

The good times continue to roll for military contractors under President Obama, who has increased the Pentagon's budget by 4 percent to a total of about $700 billion. One reason military contractors fare so well is that no-bid contracts with built-in profit margins tumble out of the Pentagon cornucopia directly into their laps.

The element of "risk," so basic to capitalism, has been trampled by Pentagon purchasing agents even as its top brass rattle their missiles at supposedly enemy governments abroad. If this isn't enough, in 2004 the Bush administration slipped a special provision into tax legislation to cut the tax on war profits to 7 percent compared to 21 percent paid by most US manufacturers.

Former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, according to author Pratap Chatterjee in his Halliburton's Army, raked in "more than $25 billion since the company won a ten-year contract in late 2001 to supply US troops in combat situations around the world."

As all know, President Bush's Vice President Dick Cheney previously headed Halliburton (1995-2000) and landed in the White House the same year Halliburton got its humungous outsourcing contract. Earlier, as Defense Secretary, (1989-1993) Cheney sparked the revolutionary change to outsourcing military support services to the privateers. Today, Halliburton ranks among the biggest "defense" winners of all.

Halliburton's army "employs enough people to staff one hundred battalions, a total of more than 50,000 personnel who work for KBR, a contract that is now projected to reach $150 billion," Chatterjee wrote.

"Together with the workers who are rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and the private security divisions of companies like Blackwater, Halliburton's Army now outnumber the uniformed soldiers on the ground in Iraq."

Accompanying Pentagon outsourcing, Chatterjee wrote, "is the potential for bribery, corruption, and fraud. Dozens of Halliburton/KBR workers and their subcontractors have already been arrested and charged, and several are already serving jail terms for stealing millions of dollars, notably from Camp Arifjan in Kuwait."

There's likely no better example of how Halliburton/KBR literally burned taxpayers' dollars than its destruction of $85,000 Mercedes and Volvo trucks when they got flat tires and were abandoned.

James Warren, a convoy truck driver testified to the Government Affairs Committee in July 2004, "KBR didn't seem to care what happened to its trucks…It was common to torch trucks that we abandoned…even though we all carried chains and could have towed them to be repaired."

Bunnatine Greenhouse, once top contract official at the US Army Corps of Engineers, made headlines by demanding old-fashioned free enterprise competitive bidding. She told a Senate committee in 2005: "I can unequivocally state the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper abuse I have witnessed" in 20 years of working on government contracts.

Greenhouse was demoted for her adherence to the law, Chatterjee said, but she became a cover girl at Fraud magazine and was honored by the Giraffe Society, a tribute to one Federal employee who stuck her neck out.

Tales of Halliburton/KBR's alleged swindles fill books. Rory Maybee, a former Halliburton/KBR contractor who worked at dining facilities in Camp Anaconda in 2004 told the US Senate Democratic Policy Committee "that the company often provided rotten food to the troops and often charged the army for 20 thousand meals a day when it was serving only ten thousand."

Food swindling, though, is small potatoes. Say Stiglitz and Bilmes: "KBR has also been implicated in a lucrative insurance scam that has gouged US taxpayers for at least $600 million."

To fatten profit margins, contractors who cheat US taxpayers apparently think nothing of underpaying their help.

"While the executives of KBR, Blackwater, and other firms are making profits, many of those performing the menial work, such as cooking, driving, cleaning, and laundry, are poorly paid nationals from India, Pakistan, and other Asian and African countries," Stiglitz and Bilmes wrote. "Indian cooks are reported to earn $3-$5 a day. At the same time, KBR bills the American taxpayer $100 per load of laundry."

Blackwater, the security firm repeatedly charged with shoot-first tactics, fraudulently obtained small-business set-aside contracts worth more than $144 million, the authors asserted.

According to Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill, the security firm in 2004 got a five-year contract to protect US officials in Iraq totaling $229 million but as of June 2006, just two years into the contract, it had been paid $321 million, and by late 2007 it had been paid more than $750 million.

Scahill reported an audit charged that Blackwater included profit in its overhead and its total costs. The result was "not only in a duplication of profit but a pyramiding of profit since in effect Blackwater is applying profit to profit," Scahill wrote. "The audit also alleged that the company tried to inflate its profits by representing different Blackwater divisions as wholly separate companies."

"As of summer, 2007, there were more 'private contractors' deployed on the US government payroll in Iraq (180,000) than there were actual soldiers (160,000)," Scahill said. "These contractors worked for some 630 companies and drew personnel from more than 100 countries around the globe. … This meant the US military had actually become the junior partner in the coalition that occupies Iraq."

And each Blackwater operative was costing the American taxpayers $1,222 per day. The Defense Department remains, of course, America's No. 1 Employer, with 2.3 million workers (roughly twice the size of Wal-Mart, which has 1.2 million staffers) perhaps because America's biggest export is war.

"Who pays Halliburton and Bechtel?" philosopher Noam Chomsky asked rhetorically in his Imperial Ambitions. "The US taxpayer," he answers.

"The same taxpayers fund the military-corporate system of weapons manufacturers and technology companies that bombed Iraq. So first you destroy Iraq, then you rebuild it. It's a transfer of wealth from the general population to narrow sectors of the population."

It's also been a body blow to Iraq, killing an estimated one million inhabitants, forcing two million into exile and millions more out of their homes. Incredibly, the US proposed to reconstruct the nation it invaded with their oil revenues � and then, after taking perhaps $8 billion left the job undone. (Since the US kept no records of how the dough was dispensed, it is not possible to identify the recipients.)

As Stiglitz and Bilmes remind us, "The money spent on Iraq could have been spent on schools, roads, or research. These investments yield high returns."

In an article in the Aug. 24 Nation, policy analyst Georgia Levenson Keohane cites the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to the effect that 48 states are reporting deficits totaling nearly $166 billion, projected to reach, cumulatively, $350 billion-$370 billion by 2011.

"Although many states have attempted tax increases, these are politically challenging and often insufficient to close the gaps. Consequently, statehouses have been forced to cut vital services at a time when the need for them is ever more desperate," Keohane wrote.

In the same issue, reporter Marc Cooper notes the poverty rate in Los Angeles county borders on 20 percent; that California's schools are ranked 47th nationally; that the state college system has suspended admissions for Spring 2010; that thousands of state workers are being laid off and/or forced to take furlough days; that unemployment has reached 12 percent; that state parks are being closed; that personal bankruptcies peaked last; that one in four "capsized mortgages in the US is in California."

Plus, California's bond rating is just above the junk level and it faces a $26 billion budget shortfall.

California's woes need to be examined in the light of the $116 billion the National Priorities Project of Northampton, Massachusetts, says its taxpayers have shelled out for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

Those same dollars roughly would put four million California students through a four-year college. Bear in mind, too, outlays for those wars are but a fraction of all Pentagon spending, so the total military tax bill is far higher than $116 billion to California.

In calling for a reduction in military spending, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, said, "The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy….

"[American] well-being is far more endangered by a proposal for substantial reductions in Medicare, Social Security or other important domestic areas than it would be by canceling weapons systems that have no justification from any threat we are likely to face."

On the other hand, maybe Americans want to keep paying to operate 2,000 domestic and foreign military bases and spend more money on armies and weapons of death than all other nations combined. Maybe they like living in the greatest Warfare State the world has ever known.

My hunch, though, is a lot of Americans haven't connected the country's looming bankruptcy with the greedy, gang from the military-industrial complex out to control the planet, its people and its precious resources.

After the long-suffering civilian population of Iraq, whose crime was having oil � a country Steiglitz says that has been rendered virtually unlivable � the big losers are the American taxpayers who are bleeding income, jobs and quality of life, not just sacrificing family members, on behalf of a runaway war machine.

California's plight is being repeated everywhere. A great nation is being looted and millions of its citizens are being pauperized before our eyes.

Sherwood Ross formerly worked for The Chicago Daily News and other major dailies and as a columnist for wire services. He currently runs a public relations firm for "worthy causes". Reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

First batch of armoured ambulances rolled out

Aparna Alluri

The first batch of Ambulance Armoured Tracked Vehicles to be used by the Indian Army to evacuate casualties from the battlefield was rolled out at the Ordnance Factory here on Friday.

Designed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment , a branch of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, and manufactured at the Ordnance Factory, Medak, the armoured ambulance is equipped to administer emergency medical care to battle casualties . It has in-built medical facilities including a continuous ECG monitoring, a ventilator, a suction unit to remove unwanted fluids, a DC refrigerator for preserving drugs and an air-conditioner with optional heating facility .

With the same mobility as an Infantry Combat Vehicle , the ambulance can cross a variety of terrains and even traverse through water. Features include a special blower and absorbent filter for nuclear, biological and chemical protection, and external and internal radio communication for navigation.

The seating capacity of 10 plus two includes medical attendants, but this can vary depending on the number of stretcher patients. Four stretcher patients, or two stretcher and four sitting patients, or eight sitting patients can be accommodated at a time.

Although the first model was ready in December 2005, it had to undergo several changes before a trial in September 2006. Three years and 56 modifications later, 10 vehicles were rolled out ready to be used by the Indian Army.

The Army has already ordered 288 armoured tracked ambulances. So far however, the Ordnance Factory has assembled only 50 such ambulances so that the army can recommend further changes, once the vehicles have been used in combat operations.

"You will get such large orders from the Indian army in the future that your machines will be running for the next 15 years," Lieutenant General Duleep Bhardwaj, Director General Mechanised Forces said. He was there to receive the first ambulance on behalf of the Chief of Staff. Saroj Vinayek, Director General and Chairperson, Ordnance Factories Board was the chief guest .

Why China will attack India

Written by Abhijay Patel World Aug 20, 2009

China will launch an attack on India before 2012.

There are multiple reasons for a desperate Beijing to teach India the final lesson, thereby ensuring Chinese supremacy in Asia in this century. The recession that shut the Chinese exports shop is creating an unprecedented internal social unrest. In turn, the vice-like grip of the communists over the society stands severely threatened.

Unemployment is on the rise. The unofficial estimate stands at a whopping fourteen percent. Worldwide recession has put thirty million people out of jobs. Economic slowdown is depleting the foreign exchange reserves. Foreign investors are slowly shifting out. To create a domestic market, the massive dole of loans to individuals is turning out to be a nightmare. There appears to be a flight of capital in billions of dollars in the shape of diamond and gold bought in Hong Kong and shipped out towards end 2008.

bharat-vermaThe fear of losing control over the Chinese masses is forcing the communists to compulsorily install filtering software on new computers on sale to crush dissent on the Internet, even though it is impossible to censor in entirety the flow of information as witnessed recently in Tibet, Xinjiang and Iran.

The growing internal unrest is making Beijing jittery.

The external picture appears to be equally dismal. The unfolding Obama strategy seems to be scoring goals for democracy and freedom without firing a single shot. While Bush unwittingly united and arrayed against himself Islamic countries and radical Islam worldwide, Obama has put radical Islam in disarray by lowering the intra-societal temperature vis-√†-vis America and the Muslim world. He deftly hints at democracy in his talk without directly threatening any group or country and the youth picks it up from there � as in Iran. With more and more Chinese citizens beginning to demand political freedom, the future of the communists is also becoming uncertain. The technological means available in the 21st century to spread democracy is definitely not conducive for the totalitarian regime in Beijing.

India's chaotic but successful democracy is an eyesore for the authoritarian regime in Beijing. Unlike India, China is handicapped as it lacks the soft power � an essential ingredient to spread influence. This further adds fuel to the fire.

mapIn addition, the growing irrelevance of Pakistan, their right hand that operates against India on their behest, is increasing the Chinese nervousness. Obama's AF-PAK policy is primarily a PAK-AF policy. It has intelligently set the thief to catch the thief. The stated withdrawal from Iraq by America now allows it to concentrate its military surplus on the single front to successfully execute the mission. This surplus, in combination with other democratic forces, enables America to look deep into resource rich Central Asia, besides containing China's expansionist ambitions.

To offset this adverse scenario, while overtly pretending to side with the West, the Chinese covertly ordered their other proxy, North Korea, to test underground nuclear explosions and carry out trials of missiles that threaten Japan and South Korea. The Chinese anxiety is understandable. Under Bush's declared policy of being 'a strategic competitor' alongside the 'axis of evil', they shared a large strategic maneuverability with others of similar hues. However, Obama policies wisely deny such a luxury by reclaiming more and more international strategic space ceded by the previous administration.

highlight-1The communists in China, therefore, need a military victory to unite the disillusioned citizenry behind them. This will assist in marketing the psychological perception that the 21st century belongs to China and assert their deep belief in the superiority of the Chinese race. To retain the communist party's hold on power, it is essential to divert attention from the brewing internal dissent. In an autocratic system normally the only recipe to unite the citizenry is by mannpulating their nationalistic feelings. The easy method for Beijing to heighten the feeling of patriotism and forging national unity is to design a war with an adversary. They believe that this will help them to midwife the Chinese century. That is the end game rooted in the abiding conviction of the communists that the Chinese race is far superior to Nazi Germany and is destined to "Lord over the Earth".

At present, there is no overall cost benefit ratio in integrating Taiwan by force with the mainland, since under the new dispensation in Taipei, the island is 'behaving' itself. Also, the American presence around the region is too strong for comfort. There is also the factor of Japan to be reckoned. Though Beijing is increasing its naval presence in the South China Sea to coerce into submission those opposing its claim on the Sprately Islands, at this point of time in history it will be unwise for recession-hit China to move against the Western interests, including Japan. Therefore, the most attractive option is to attack a soft target like India and forcibly occupy its territory in the Northeast.

Ideally, the Chinese believe that the east-wind should prevail over the west-wind. However, despite their imperial calculations of the past, they lag behind the West, particularly America, by many decades. Hence, they want the east-wind to at least prevail over the other east-wind, i.e., India, to ensure their dominance over Asia. Beijing's cleverly raising the hackles on its fabricated dispute in Arunachal Pradesh to an alarming level, is the preparatory groundwork for imposing such a conflict on India. A sinking Pakistan will team up with China to teach India "the final lesson".

The Chinese leadership wants to rally its population behind the communist rule. As it is, Beijing is already rattled, with its proxy Pakistan, now literally embroiled in a civil war, losing its sheen against India. Above all, it is worried over the growing alliance of India with the United States and the West, because the alliance has the potential to create a technologically superior counterpoise.

All these three concerns of the Chinese communists are best addressed by waging a war against pacifist India to achieve multiple strategic objectives. But India, otherwise the biggest challenge to the supremacy of China in Asia, is least prepared on ground to face the Chinese threat.

How will India repel the Chinese game plan? Will Indian leadership be able to take the heat of war? Have they laid the groundwork adequately to defend India? Is the Indian military equipped to face the two-front war by Beijing and Islamabad? Is the Indian Civil Administration geared to meet the internal security challenges that the external actors will sponsor simultaneously through their doctrine of unrestricted warfare?

The answers is an unequivocal 'NO'. Pacifist India is not ready by a long shot either on the internal or the external front.

It is said that long time back, a king with an excellent military machine at his disposal could not stomach the violence involved in winning wars. So he renounced war in victory. This led to the rise of the pacifist philosophies. The state either refused to defend itself or neglected the instruments that could defend it.

Any 'extreme' is dangerous, as it tends to create imbalance in statecraft.

highlight-2We saw that in the unjust unilateral aggression in Iraq. It diminished the American aura and recessed the economy. China's despotic regime is another extreme, scared to permit political dissent. This will fuel an explosion worse than the Tiananmen Square. Despite the use of disproportionate force and the demographic invasion of Tibet, Beijing's hold remains tenuous. Pakistan's over-aggressive agenda in the name of jihad haunts it now to the point of fragmentation of the State.

Similarly, India's pacifism is the other extreme. 26/11s will occur on a regular basis as it infects policy-making. Such extreme postures on either side invariably generate wars. Armed with an aggressive Wahabi philosophy, Pakistan, in cohort with China, wants to destabilize a pacifist India. India's instruments of state steeped in pacifism are unable to rise to its defence.

In the past sixty years, the deep-rooted pacifism contributed to the Civil Administration, ceding control of forty per cent of the Union's territory to the Maoists and ten percent to the insurgents, effecting a shrinking influence internally, as well in the 'near abroad'.

India must rapidly shift out from its defeatist posture of pacifism to deter China. New Delhi's stance should modify, not to aggression, but to a firm assertion in statecraft. The state must also exclusively retain the capability of intervention by use of force internally as well as externally. If it permits the non-state actors to develop this capability in competition, then the state will whither away. On the contrary, the state machinery should ensure a fast-paced development in the Red Corridor even it if has to hold Maoists hostage at gunpoint. The state's firm and just intervention will dissolve the Maoist movement.

Keeping in view the imminent threat posed by China, the quickest way to swing out of pacifism to a state of assertion is by injecting military thinking in the Civil Administration to build the sinews. That will enormously increase the deliverables on ground � from Lalgarh to Tawang.

Illusion of "China's Attack on India Before 2012

Chinese Response, By Chen Xiaochen

The 2000 km border between China and India has been a notable absence from press headlines in the years since then-Indian PM Vajpayee's 2003 visit to Beijing. Tensions, however, have risen again as India announced last month a plan to deploy two additional army divisions and two air force squadrons of Su-30 Fighter Unit, some 60,000 soldiers in total, in a disputed border area in the southern part of Tibet, which India claims as its state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Adding fuel to the flames is an article by Bharat Verma, editor of Indian Defense Review, predicting that China will attack India before 2012, leaving only three years to Indian government for preparation.

highlight-3According to Mr. Verma, "growing unrest in China" due in part to economic downturn will leave the Chinese government looking for something to "divert the attention of its own people from 'unprecedented' internal dissent, growing unemployment and financial problems." China will also want to strike India before the latter becomes powerful, which is the reason for the 2012 "deadline." India, with its growing affiliation with the West, is yet weak under China's fire.

But a "China's attack" is not going to happen, and one wonders at the basis for Mr. Verma's thinking. First, although it is true that China's macro-economy has taken a hit from the global financial crisis, the extent of the damage is under control. Recent statistics shows China's economy grew 7.1% in the first half of 2009, while its foreign exchange reserve has exceeded $2 trillion. China's stimulus plan has been effective and given people confidence. China will survive the global downturn as well or better than the rest of the world's economies.

And even if China's economy was really all that bad, would the government try to distract "unrest" by taking military actions against India? Mr Verma's reasoning rests on a lack of documentation. Looking into the past 60 years, China has no record of launching a war to divert public attention from anything. Moreover, while Mr. Verma supposes the Chinese Communist Party has no cards to play other than "invading India," the Party, widely experienced in dealing with domestic disputes, will hardly in only three years have run out of all options facing potential social instability. Moreover, even if Chinese leaders considered such an option, they would certainly be aware that an external war would severely jeopardize domestic affairs.

Other reasons the author mentions in the article are also vague. The Western powers would not take kindly to a Chinese conflict with India, leaving China rightfully reluctant to use force in any case other than extreme provocation. US forces well deployed in Afghanistan and Pakistan could check any China's military action in South Asia. And then there is also the nuclear problem: there has never been a war between two nuclear equipped nations, and both sides would have to be extremely cautious in decision-making, giving more room for less violent solutions.

Further, it is important to realize there is no reason for China to launch a war, against India in particular. Economic development, rather than military achievement, has long been the consensus of value among China's core leaders and citizens. Despite occasional calls to "Reoccupy South Tibet (occupied Chinese territory)," China's decision-making is always cautious. It is not possible to see a Chinese "incursion" into India, even into Tawang, an Indian-occupied Buddhist holy land over which China argues a resolute sovereignty.

Last but not least, China's strategy, even during the 1962 border war with India, has been mainly oriented towards the east, where Taiwan is its core interest, while the recent Xinjiang unrest highlights China's growing anti-terrorist tasks in the northwest � both issues are more important than the southwest border. If China were to be involved in a war within the next three years, as unlikely as that seems, the adversary would hardly be India. The best option, the sole option, open for the Chinese government is to negotiate around the disputed territory.

However, there is one scenario where there is possibility for war: an aggressive Indian policy toward China, a "New Forward Policy," may aggravate border disputes and push China to use force � despite China's appeal, as far as possible, for peaceful solutions.

Consider the 1959-1962 conflict, the only recorded war between China and India in the long history of their civilizations. After some slight friction with China in 1959, the Indian army implemented aggressive action known as its Forward Policy. The Chinese Army made a limited but successful counterattack in 1962.

Now, it seems "back to the future". Mr. Verma asserts another war will happen before 2012, a half century after the last, regrettable one. India has started to deploy more troops in the border area, similar to its Forward Policy 50 years ago. Is Mr. Verma's China-bashing merely a justification for more troops deployed along the border? Will India's "New Forward Policy", as the old one did 50 years ago, trigger a "2012 war?"

The answers lie mainly on the Indian side. Given China's relatively small military garrison in Tibet, Indian's 60,000 additional soldiers may largely break the balance. If India is as "pacific" as Mr. Verma says, and is sincere in its border negotiation, China-India friendship will remain. After all, China shares a long and mostly friendly cultural exchange with India as well as other neighbors. Now China is seeking deeper cooperation, wider coordination, and better consensus with India, especially in the global recession, and peace is a precondition for doing so. China wants to say, "We are on the same side," as the Indian Ambassador did in a recent interview in China. Thus, "China will attack India before 2012 is a provocative and inflammatory illusion.

Pallam Raju calls upon Private Industry to participate in Defence Sector

Friday, 21 August 2009

New Delhi: Minister of State for Defence, Dr. MM Pallam Raju, called for deployment of India's evident private sector capacities in information technology and engineering design in the armed forces as well.

"The government has stated its intention to source defence equipment indigenously up to the extent of 70%. Although this target is far from being met, we are committed to strengthening our civil industry capacities in order to be able to meet defence production requirements as well," he said while delivering the Inaugural Address at a seminar on 'Emerging Technologies in Sub Conventional Warfare and Homeland Security'.

The country is expected to spend around $10 billion in the next seven years on homeland security alone.

"I am aware that defence being a single consumer and owing to the level of confidentiality that has to be maintained, it has been difficult for civil industry to meet the requirements of defence. There is a high degree of business risk attached to the production of goods for defence purposes. However, there are a number of areas where civil industry and defence production facilities under the government can cooperate for developing new products that are of use to both sides," added Dr. Raju.

While delivering the welcome address at the session, Mr. S K Munjal, Past President CII and Chairman Hero Corporate Services said that the Defence sector is at the threshold of changes and industry is happy to see the positive and forward looking changes. He brought out that offsets offer a huge opportunity for the Indian industry. The challenge that remains is to convert these opportunities into inclusive growth of the country.

"The key facet of the cooperation between civil and defence industry is communication. I am delighted that CII is partnering with the defence forces and institutions such as CLAWS for bringing the opportunities in defence production to industry heads. This will alleviate many of the misconceptions and help build a culture of indigenous development and production in civil industry. Defence forces may outline exactly their requirements from civil industry well in advance in order to enable corporates to plan and develop the products well in time," the minister said.

The seminar was attended by officials from the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy. Officials from the various state police forces and paramilitary forces such as NSG, CRPF, BSF were also present.

Monday, Aug. 31, 2009

Watching the Border

By Ishaan Tharoor

It's a sign of how delicate feelings are between Asia's two rising powers that an obscure blog post can cause an international incident. Just recently, Indian newspapers circulated the incendiary comments of an essay published on a nationalist Chinese website. The essay ― authored under the pen name Zhanlue, or "strategy" in Mandarin ― suggested that it was in Beijing's interest to support insurgencies on India's borderlands that could eventually dismember the diverse Indian federal state. The uproar in India over this provocation forced officials in New Delhi to respond, saying that "the article in question ... does not accord with the official state position of China on India-China relations." That bland assertion, though, does little to stanch a lingering anxiety, particularly in India, that tensions between the two giants will inexorably come to a tipping point. "There cannot be two suns in the sky," warns Zhanlue's post.

The hubbub over the essay came at a moment when Indian and Chinese officials were engaged in a round of largely futile talks over long-standing disputes along their mountainous 1,060-mile (1,700 km) border. A war fought between the two countries in 1962 was brief, but its legacy remains rancorous, with both New Delhi and Beijing claiming chunks of land now patrolled by the other's troops. Though sparsely populated, the contested territories, from a sliver of Kashmir to the entirety of Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern state in India that China imagines is part of Tibet, are heavily militarized. Read "Can China and India Be Friends?"

While both nations are engaged in a budding geopolitical chess match across Asia ― building naval bases abroad and enhancing ties with smaller regional powers ― the rugged Himalayan frontier remains the chief fault line for potential hostilities. Zhanlue's post recommended helping militants across the border in Assam realize their separatist ambitions in the near future ― a proposal that feeds into the convictions of Indian hawks like retired army officer Bharat Verma, who warned in the Indian Defence Review in July that China would attempt, covertly or otherwise, to attack India by 2012.

Many China watchers have dismissed the essay as a product of China's frenetic and often hyper-nationalist community of Netizen bloggers. The Danwei blog, a respected China commentator, says that elements of Zhanlue's essay have appeared on Chinese websites since 2005. The essay's premise ― that India can be easily dissolved into its composite, regional parts ― displays a naivet√© few actual policy experts would be capable of. Nonetheless, some Indian analysts see Zhanlue's ambition as part of an internal, chest-thumping dialogue within China that the rulers in Beijing don't wish to discourage.

Despite India and China's ever expanding trade ties and the occasional cuddly platitudes uttered by their leaders, the intractable border dispute is a fundamental impasse in their relations. China has negotiated boundary settlements with virtually all of its other neighbors ― even with Japan, an old and bitter foe ― but refuses to drop its Indian claims. In India, growing awareness of the gulf between the two countries, from China's colossal foreign-exchange reserves to its ballooning military spending, has also heightened concern within certain policy circles. Read "Hands Across the Himalayas"

There's also a disconnect between how the public in both countries perceive each other. Indian wariness rubs up against what is, at best, Chinese indifference ― at worst, contempt. Ask most Chinese, and they will tell you India is a backward, chaotic place, bereft of decent infrastructure and burdened by hideous poverty. It has no part in the vision projected by Beijing of the 21st century as a Chinese one, a sense of grand historic purpose accepted by the bulk of China's population. The confident certainty behind Zhanlue's spurious post that China could break India with minimal fuss into 20 or 30 pieces is, if nothing else, an expression of a larger disdain.

But the underlying irony is that China, not India, remains the nation more threatened by the specter of ethnic separatism. The Uighurs of Xinjiang and the Tibetans to their south number fewer than, say, Kashmiris and Assamese in India, yet their aspirations for nationhood garner much greater global sympathy. This is chiefly the fault of Beijing, whose uncompromising, authoritarian rule has pushed certain minorities to the brink and transformed dissident leaders in exile into enduring spiritual anchors for their people.

Indeed, China could do worse than to look at India, a country that has managed to live with its proverbial million mutinies by safeguarding regional languages and cultures and, most importantly, letting the poor and marginalized throw out their local rulers every election cycle. Perhaps a time may come, then, when rather than spying weaknesses in India's multiethnic landscape, strategists in Beijing may draw inspiration from their neighbor's pluralism. In an era of great-power gamesmanship, that may be wishful thinking. But it surely is a better path than the one walked by the warmongers and doomsayers on both sides.,8816,1917640,00.html

Pune-based ARDE develops a sub-marine carbine for Indian Army

Indian Express: City-based Armaments Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) is giving the final touches to a modern sub-machine carbine (MSMC) for the Indian Army. The final trials for this 5.56 mm calibre MSMC will be conducted in December this year.

A carbine is a lightweight compact automatic gun with a small barrel; unlike a rifle it fires rapidly and is suitable for close quarter combats.

At present, the Indian Army, paramilitary forces, commandos and the police use a Russian origin 9 mm calibre carbine, which is fairly ancient.

"We are in the process of proving 99.7 per cent reliability for the MSMC. The user will be able to fire up to 200 metres using the MSMC," said ARDE director Anil M Datar.

The MSMC programme has its origins in the Indian Small Arms System family, which was started in 1982 in a bid to build an indigenous small arms weapons system for India. By 1987, the ARDE had designed the Rifle, the Light Machine Gun (LMG) and the carbine ― all part of the INSAS family.

The Army had inducted the INSAS rifle and LMG in 1993; DRDO scientists say it met with a fair amount of success but there were some defects as well, which came to light after the Kargil war.

"The rifle and the LMG was first put to test during Kargil. After that, based on the battlefield experiences, we developed a new version ― the INSAS 1B1" said R S Rao, joint director, INSAS, ARDE.

But it was the INSAS carbine that fell through, right from the start. "For the carbine, the ammunition was very powerful. It had higher sound, flash, and recoil effect," said S V Gade, joint director, INSAS, ARDE. "With the MSMC, we have now changed the length of the ammunition. It is still a 5.6 mm calibre bullet, but it is slightly shorter in length, thereby eliminating the drawbacks of the earlier carbine."

Finally, the INSAS carbine plan was shelved and in 2002, the Army devised a new set of General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQR) for the new MSMC, he said.

"Since 2006, when the first prototype was devised, the MSMC has been put through every possible scenario that the Army could conceive of."

The first trial of the prototype was held in 2006, then 2007-end and the last one was in January 2009.

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