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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 25 Aug 09

Flash - Govt orders for payment of balance 60% arrears issued today.

Indian Express

Indian Express

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Asian Age

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Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

INS Viraat goes to sea sans fighter jets

Chitranjan Sawant

Mon, Aug 24, 2009 13:08:11 IST

THE INDIAN Navy is proud of her sole aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. Rightly so. The first aircraft carrier, Vikrant is now a museum of sorts to enlighten citizens on the history of the Indian Navy. Thank God, she did not become a floating hotel as one entrepreneur had proposed. Remember the 1971 war India fought against Pakistan? It was in that war that INS Vikrant had actively participated and pounded military targets in the then East Pakistan with success. Well, it is history now.

INS Viraat filled the vacuum created by the departure of Vikrant to a great extent. Sea Harrier jump jets take off from her flight deck and also land vertically while the carrier is on the move full steam ahead. Quite a feat indeed to take off and land on an airfield that is afloat and on the move. Pilots of the Sea Harrier have to be really good at map reading on sea too. Initially the carrier had a complement of 30 jet fighters on board. Over a period of time the number has considerably reduced. Some crashed and some were worn out and some became unserviceable for technical reasons. I am sad to say that a naval fighter pilot Lieutenant Commander Saurav Saxena was killed when his Sea Harrier crashed on a training flight from the base in Goa this week. The number of fighter jets has reduced further and the tally today is just eight single seater fighter jets and three twin-seater trainers. Of the initial tally of thirty, half of the fighter jets were lost in accidents and were never replaced for one reason or the other. A sorry state of affairs indeed.

INS Viraat was in the dry dock for an extensive repair and a major refit. The aim of the exercise was to enable the 50-year-old aircraft carrier to slog on for an additional period of five years. The plan was fine but had a major snag. Did anyone think of procuring fighter jets to complete a strike force of thirty machines? The forward planners are not to blame because as per the original plan both INS Viraat and the Sea Harriers on board were to be decommissioned by 2009. However, that was not to be because successive governments were indecisive on new procurements. Imagine an aircraft carrier without its attack elements- the fighter jets. It is like fielding a tiger in battle without its teeth. Sad scenario.

A carrier battle group of two aircraft carriers is the immediate requirement of the Indian Navy; this would be necessary to make her presence felt in the Indian Ocean and surrounding waters. With China making aggressive moves in the Indian Ocean, it is high time our planners and decision makers woke up and took decisions that will make India militarily strong.

Army studies Jains for lessons on fasting

NDTV Correspondent, Monday August 24, 2009, Ahmedabad

Thirteen-year-old Bijal hasn't left her bed for the last eight days. She hasn't touched any food, and has been surviving on just boiled water.

This is a religious fast for Bijal, the youngest in her Jain family. This is the first time that Bijal is participating in the ritual. Called Paryushan, it's observed at the end of the Shravan month.

How Bijal's body copes is being studied in Ahmedabad by scientists who work for the Defence Ministry. Around 66 Jain volunteers have offered to conduct their fast here. The idea to is to figure out if jawans' bodies can be trained in similar fashion.

"In a war situation, they may not be able to get any supplies. So we need to find out how they could survive with whatever they have," explains the scientist in-charge of the project, Dr G Ilavazhagan.

So, the experiment provides a happy and unusual intersection of religion and science


Retired Naval officer, wife, shot in Chennai

NDTV Correspondent, Monday August 24, 2009, Chennai

A retired Navy officer and his wife have been shot dead at their house by unidentified gunmen.

Ilangovan (69) and his wife Ramani (62) were killed on Monday evening at their house in Neelankarai off the East Coast Road. The couple's daughter-in-law and two grand children were injured, and are now in hospital.

One of the robbers was caught by neighbours, and handed over to police. His interrogation is expected to lead the police to the others involved in the murder.

Armed forces should buy defence items from MSMEs: Assocham

Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 24, 2009, 16:35 IST

Assocham today demanded a defence procurement policy that makes it mandatory for armed forces to source 10 per cent of their annual purchases of articles like uniforms, belts, shoes and components for vehicles from MSMEs.

A survey of about 400 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) executives done by the chamber said the Prime Ministers Office should intervene in the matter.

"Over 85 per cent of the executives demanded a defence procurement policy that makes it mandatory for armed forces to source 10 per cent of their annual purchases from MSME's as their quality and delivery schedule is now on par with large industries," it said.

Defence Ministry spends about Rs 7 billion annually on defence procurements, of which virtually nothing is procured from MSME's, it added.

Right now there is no policy to procure supplies of defence articles from MSME's and all possible domestic defence purchases and procurements are directly sourced from large industries which, Assocham said, is totally unfair.

The survey further said that the RBI should ask commercial banks to at least advance 6 per cent of their net credit for MSME's under their priority sector lending norms.

Under RBI guidelines, 40 per cemt of commercial banks' net credit in a year is supposed to be utilised under priority sector.

Pak army to get almost half of defence budget


BIG BUCKS: Of the army's share, Rs 82 billion would be spent on the salaries and other expenses.

Islamabad: The Pakistani army is to get Rs 1.48 trillion ($18 billion), a little less than half of the country's Rs 3.42 trillion defence budget for 2009-10, parliament was informed on Monday.

Sources told Online news agency on Monday that such comprehensive and elaborate details about operational expenses, travel and transportation expenses, assets, defence stocks and civil works expenses separately in respect of the army, the air force and the navy have been provided for the first time to parliament and parliamentary committees.

The air force will get over Rs 80 billion and the navy Rs 38.1 billion.

Of the army's share, Rs 82 billion would be spent on the salaries and other expenses, while Rs 25 billion has been earmarked for operational expenses. This includes over Rs 4 billion for travel and transportation and a little over Rs 20 billion for general expenses.

The army, whose physical assets stand at over Rs 26 billion, will also spend Rs 14 billion on civil works during 2009-10.

The army, according to documents submitted to parliament, has to recover Rs 500 million from other government departments under supplies and services heads.

Of the air force share, Rs 12.33 billion will be spent on salaries and other expenses, Rs 16.75 billion on operational preparedness and Rs 4.62 billion on civil works.

The physical assets of the air force have been placed at over Rs 47 billion.

Of the navy share, Rs 8.15 billion has been earmarked for salaries and other allowances and Rs 4.57 billion on operational matters and renovation of flats.

The total assets of navy are placed at Rs 22.20 billion.

India and China: It was a stab from the front

'When it was all over. Nehru described the China war as a stab in the back. He was wrong. It was a stab from the front. He had only closed his eyes,' wrote M J Akbar in his book Nehru. The Making of India.

That in a nutshell sums up India's disastrous foreign policy towards China: a strategy that has changed little in terms of tangibles over the years. The 1962 defeat did alter our immediate perception of China. We now have our eyes open; we are wary of China but have failed to make the transition to sound pragmatism in the form of robust military prearrangements that such disillusion demands.

Commenting on India's parity with China, India's Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta recently remarked that it would be 'foolhardy' to compare India and China as equals in terms of economy, infrastructure and military spending. He went on to add that 'both in convention and non-conventional military terms, India neither does have the capability nor the intention to match China force for force.'

With regard to the future he counseled: "Our strategy to deal with China must include reducing the military gap and countering the growing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean region. 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."

First Indian-built T-90 tanks roll out

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 24

In a significant step in bolstering the Indian army’s combat capacity, the first lot of ten indigenously built T-90 S tanks that are equipped with protective armour against nuclear missiles rolled out of the heavy vehicles factory in Avadi, Tamil Nadu on Monday. This marks the beginning of indigenisation of production of the state-of-the-art Russian tanks.

Till now only semi and fully knocked-down tanks kits imported from Russia were being assembled at the facility. The indigenisation process was set in motion in 2004 following an agreement between the Indian and Russian governments. However, the transfer of technology has had a few glitches with the Russians holding back the knowhow for the gun turrrets.

The tanks will join the army’s 73 Armoured Regiment, which will run further field tests. The factory has been geared to produce 100 tanks, each of which costs about Rs 14-15 crore, per year. Recently it also rolled out the first lost of Arjun tanks.

The Indian army already has around 700 of these frontline tanks in service and the target is to have at least a thousand.

Pakistan is facing its worst security crisis in 60 years

2009-08-24 05:21:03 - Pakistan Defence and Security Report Q3 2009 - a new market research report on

Pakistan is facing its worst security crisis in 60 years. Its security offensive launched in April against the Pakistani Taliban (the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan) in the Swat province in the north west of the country appears to have achieved its main object with the capture of the region’s biggest city and administrative centre Mingora.

As of early June, some fighting continued in mountainous rural areas – particularly the Peochar valley, the stronghold of the rebel forces. However, reports from Islamabad suggest that the Pakistan military is now preparing to confront the Taliban in the tribal region of Waziristan, where clashes have already erupted.

The Pakistan government has widespread political support for this action, except from the fundamentalist party Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami. The US has also praised Islamabad’s ‘strong response’ to the militant threat.

However, the fighting has caused a massive internal problem for the country with an estimated 2.4mn people displaced by the fighting in the north west. The UNHCR on May 19 called for ‘urgent and massive’ international help for displaced.

Violence has spread elsewhere in the country. In late-May, there was a suicide gun and bomb attack in Lahore that killed 24 people and wounded nearly 300. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was out of revenge for the army offensive in the Swat region.

In March 2009, a terrorist attack in Lahore on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team left eight people dead and eight Sri Lankan test players wounded.

Tensions remain high in Baluchistan, where the local tribesmen want the large military presence in the area reduced, saying it undermines their autonomy. In April, at least eight were killed in rioting in the region. The intervention of the government in these formerly autonomous tribal areas has ended their isolation. The government maintains that any change in policy would mean allowing the region to once again become a safe haven for smugglers, warlords and criminals. Baluchistan serves as a major route for the smuggling of drugs produced in Afghanistan, and the government has asked for US help to prevent the smuggling of weapons and drugs across the border.

The Baluchistan tribes want to participate in the local gas fields and other major projects there, with access to jobs and profit-sharing.

The Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008 by members of Lashkar-e-Toiba, a Pakistani militant organisation, rocked the region. Fears were held for an exacerbation of tensions between India and Pakistan.

The Kashmir situation forms part of the composite dialogue that India has initiated with Pakistan. The talks, which began in January 2004, were suspended by India after the Mumbai attacks, as they were carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists. The External Affairs Minister did not specify the conditions, but India has maintained that the dialogue can be resumed only after Pakistan takes what India considers to be credible and transparent actions to bring to justice the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks, and dismantle the terror infrastructure.

Pakistan’s defence industry comprises over 20 major public sector units (PSUs) and over 100 privatesector firms. The state-owned PSUs dominate major weapons systems production and assembly, while the private-sector supplies parts, components, bladed weapons and field equipment. Major PSUs include the Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF), Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) and the Pakistan Machine Tool Factory.

There are incipient signs of a stabilisation in the Pakistani economy, with inflation subsiding and the twin-deficit problem slowly diminishing in magnitude. As reflected in the first IMF review under Pakistan´s bail-out conditions, the authorities have thus far been successful in reining in some of the acute macroeconomic imbalances built up in recent years.

This quarter, we have introduced a significant new aspect to BMI´s Defence reports, which is the City Terrorism Rating (CTR). This assesses the risk of a terrorist attack. The CTR takes into account the overall BMI Terrorism Rating for the country in question. It also incorporates the ‘prevalence’ of terrorism, which recognises the frequency of attacks, and whether the city is a target for terrorists. The CTR also recognises the ´threat´ of terrorism in terms of the likely numbers of victims and the ability of groups to launch sustained campaigns. In Pakistan, we assess the CTR in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

The CTRs for these cities are 10, 25and 27.5 respectively. In the Asia Pacific region, these are the three lowest ratings, apart from Colombo (Sri Lanka) at 2nd lowest, of the 31 cities surveyed in the region. They reflect the dire security threats currently facing Pakistan.

Army has no plan to relax physical standard for Orissa tribals

Published by: Noor Khan

Published: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 at 20:18 IST

Bhubaneswar: Indian Army has no plan to relax physical standard for tribal youths from naxal infested areas of Orissa during recruitment as requested by the state government earlier, a top official said today.

"Army has no plan to relax physical standard for tribal youths from naxal-infested areas. As such there is relaxation for tribals and people from hilly regions. No futher relaxation is required", said Lt General J K Mohanty, the chief of the central command.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier told union Home Minister P Chiddambaram to take steps for relaxing physical standard for tribal youths many of whom join Left Wing Extremist (LWEs) groups due to lack of encouragement from defence forces.

"We can stop the tribal youths from joining LWEs by taking them in the defence service", Patnaik had also told defence minister A K Antony in a letter.

Lt Gen Mohanty, however, said that the Army had already launched a special recruitment drive in Orissa's tribal districts for taking more and more people from naxal-infested areas.

While rejecting idea of setting up a Kalinga Regiment in the Army, Lt Gen Mohanty said there was no need to open more regiments on regional basis.

To a question, he also said Army too had no plan to set up an Armed Force Medical College (AFMC) in the state.

Though Orissa's Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya had earlier claimed that the state government had given a proposal to the Army to set up an AFMC in Balasore, Lt Gen Mohanty said he was unaware of it.

Scamster Maj Gen gets kidnapped; safe, says army

By: Anshuman G Dutta Date: 2009-08-24 Place: Delhi

Maj Gen Anil Swaroop facing court of inquiry for Rs 100 cr scam in purchasing army equipments

The Noida police got an earth shattering call on Friday.

"A Major General rank officer of the Indian army has been kidnapped," they were told.

The building where Major Gen Swaroop used to stay in Sector 44, Noida

A police team rushed to the Sector 44 house of the army official but the family told them that Maj Gen (retd) Anil Swaroop has gone to Hardwar for some personal work.

Maj Gen Swaroop is facing a Court of Inquiry (CoI) for his involvement in the Rs 100 cr scam in purchase of equipments for army during his tenure as Additional Director General, Technical Store in Jabalpur during 2006-2008.

"We checked the matter thoroughly and there was nothing wrong. We later got to know that the officer is accused in some big scam in army," a senior Noida police official said.

He also informed that the Military Police officers visited Maj Gen Swaroop's residence the previous night in connection with the same case. "Probably he was questioned by military officials in connection to the scam. His wife also confessed that the military police have visited them thrice in the week."

But as soon as the news of a senior retired military officer being 'kidnapping' from Noida leaked, the Army Headquarter in Delhi came out with a clarification. "He is safe and well within our reach. Neither he has been kidnapped nor he is absconding," said an MoD official on condition of anonymity.

Though Indian Army is tightlipped about the actual nature of the scam, sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that Maj Gen Swaroop is accused of financial misappropriation in the purchase of basic military equipments and other things.

The officer also added that according to CoI report he is the only accused in the case. "Summary of Evidences would be produced in military court which will take final decision. He is among the very few high ranking officers to have undergone the process which can result into General Court Martial (GCM)," said the officer.

The case was detected soon after Maj Gen Anil Swaroop retired on July 31.

Security: Need to shed the VIP syndrome
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

One may wonder why there has been no terrorist attack on the US since 9/11 whereas India has had a string of terrorist attacks since the attack on Parliament. What is so special in the security laws and their implementation in the US which we Indians do not have or are unable to enforce? Is it that the American security machine works conscientiously and by the book: without any exception, where as we live by the ‘chalta hai’ mantra?

The print and electronic media and the political class in India went overboard on Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘ordeal’ at Newark airport. A Union Minister has demanded a ‘tit for tat policy’ with the Americans! It is stated that Shah Rukh was subjected to interrogation.

For us, the word ‘interrogation’ conjures up visions of interrogation by Indian police. What he was asked were some simple questions, such as, persons he knows in America, the purpose of his visit, etc. This was obviously so because there must have been some inputs in the immigration official’s computer software, that required questioning him. Such a procedure is followed by the security staff at American airports and there can be no exception.

Earlier, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was subjected to search at Palam by an American airline staff. This aroused much indignation and protests in the country. It is to the humility and sanguinity of Dr Kalam that he submitted to body search without any fuss. Dr Kalam is on the Government of India’s list of high dignitaries who are exempt from search at Indian airports. Whereas the American government order makes it mandatory that all passengers boarding American airline flights at foreign airports and headed for the US will be searched.

This practice by US airlines ought to have been known to the authorities. Therefore, it was incumbent on them to take up this issue of exemption from search of listed Indian VIPs with the American government. Evidently, this simple action was not taken.

The Indian government, instead of hauling over the coals, those who had failed to resolve this issue with the American government, went ahead with the act of filing FIRs against the American crew for merely carrying out their duty!

Our former Defence Minister George Fernandes was detained at an American airport, because the computer put him down as a terrorist. He was involved in the Baroda dynamite case! Similarly, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was detained for nearly an hour at an American airport because the computer showed him as a Communist, etc. The staff at the airport had to follow the laid down procedure without exception.

Had the security staff carried out its mandated duty and checked the identity of occupants of the car with red beacon at the entry point, there would have been no attack on Indian Parliament. Similarly, had Indian Airlines crew subjected passengers to body search before boarding its aircraft at Kathmandu, the highjacking of this aircraft to Kandahar would not have taken place.

In 2005, the Home Ministry allotted Rs 463 crore to coastal states and mandated them to establish 55 police stations along the coastline. How far was this project carried through and where did the money disappear? Absence of police post at the harbour, terrorists disembarked without being intercepted and Mumbai attack followed, where in addition, security functionaries at various levels failed to carry out their duties.

Ted Kennedy is a respected senator and is well known throughout the country. Twice he was denied entry into an American airport to take the flight, simply because the security computer, perhaps due to some bug, did not clear his name. He took these mishaps in his stride and there was no commotion in the Senate, public or the press.

In the US, there is no compromise on security and no VIP gets worked up over such drills or demands short-circuiting the security procedure. That is how the Department of Home Land Security in America has ensured no terrorist strike since 9/11.

In India we need to shed this VIP and celebrity syndrome and let the security staff carry out its duties diligently and faithfully.

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