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Monday, 31 August 2009

From Today's Papers - 31 Aug 09

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

Asian Age

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

The Pioneer

Times of India

Times of India

DNA India

DNA India

DNA India

DNA India

Hindustan Times

Dragon on move, India to redraw military plan
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 30
The largest-ever ongoing tactical military exercise by China will lead to redrawing of military plans in India. The deployment pattern of troops, equipment and planes along the 3,500-km long Sino-India border is likely to be reviewed and some changes are in the offing, said highly-placed sources.

Close watch is being kept on the Chinese exercise which is a hotly debated topic in the defence circles these days. India, which is ramping up infrastructure along the border, may not respond with a tit-for-tat exercise by moving its troops, but it will keep “the need for speed” in mind, the sources added. For this, the pressure will be again on train and road connectivity in areas bordering China.

China is testing its capacity to introduce long-range high-speed mobilisation using air, land and sea resources. The exercise, which started on August 11, will see some 50,000 men moving to unfamiliar areas far from their home bases for two months during which they will undergo live-fire drills. The men are drawn from four military regions of Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou. Each of the teams will be deployed at least 1,200 kilometers away from their bases. China is divided into seven military regions.

Such deployments may be needed by China to reinforce units in Tibet and Xinjiang as the military companies being used now are located farthest away from both these places. Notably, these two places are located very close to the border, as a result India is also within the “loop” of such an exercise, opined a serving officer. China already has a highway running right up to 50 km short of Demchok in eastern Ladakh. The highway running east of Lhasa is very close to Arunachal Pradesh. The 1220-km long Lhasa to Gormo railway line is another strategic link.

Brig Gurmeet Kanwal, who is director, of the Delhi-based think-tank, Center for Land warfare and Studies (CLAWS), says at present India is well poised in its defence strategy but a shift in doctrine was needed. For this, huge infrastructure support is needed. Kanwal believes that the exercise is not entirely geared towards India and China is testing its own ability to move large number of troops.

The high-profile war game of the Chinese army is set to be somewhat countered as the Indian and US troops will simultaneously conduct their largest joint drill in October. It will feature a variety of armoured vehicles, medium and heavy lift aircraft and helicopters, an official said. The scale will be much smaller than China, but, the message will be important.

Separately, IAF sources maintain that the advanced landing grounds in Arunachal Pradesh are ready and functional and so are the dozen-odd new helicopter landing grounds. These are all strategically placed to facilitate troop movement. “Heavy lift choppers will have to be used in case of any skirmish in these mountains”, opined a senior officer of the armed forces. A few months ago, the India Army deployed T-72 tanks in Sikkim. Another major road upgrade programme is on in eastern Ladakh for smoother deployment of mechanised infantry.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090831/main2.htm

China violates airspace

Leh (JK), August 30
Two Chinese helicopters have reportedly violated the Indian air space in recent months in the Leh area of north Jammu and Kashmir during which they air-dropped some canned food in barren land at Chumar, northeast of this Himalayan town, along the border.

The MI series helicopters were reported to the nearby defence post by residents of this high altitude area living along the Pangong lake, located in the lap of majestic hills, prompting the Army Aviation Corps to rush its Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

However, they could only find tell-tale signs left by Chinese helicopters which hovered in the Indian territory for nearly five minutes dropping the food material on June 21 this year, sources said.

Army spokesperson for Udhampur-based Northern Command said there was a report of a helicopter flying in the area south of Chumar, where India and China have differences in perception on the Line of Actual Control. It was reported by grazers.

A confidential defence document accessed by PTI shows that Chinese helicopters entered into Indian air space along the Damchok area and Trig Heights in Ladakh and air dropped canned food containing frozen pork and brinjal, which had passed the expiry date.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has been crossing over into the Indian side in this region quite frequently with August reporting the maximum number of incursions.

Trig Heights also known as Trade junction, which connected Ladakh with Tibet in earlier days, is an area where Chinese patrol have frequented this year in June, July and August.

Chinese Army patrols have made 26 sorties in June, including two incursions by helicopters, and 21 in July.

In August this year, Chinese patrols have entered into the Indian Territory 26 times and walked away with petrol and kerosene meant for jawans of the border guarding forces. The Chinese army had made 223 attempts last year and left tell-tale signs.

The Army spokesperson, however, tried to downplay these incursions attempts saying "there are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of the LAC. Both sides patrol up to their respective perceptions of LAC." — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090831/main2.htm#1

Pak has modified Harpoon, India under threat: US

No, says Pak

Islamabad: Pakistan today rejected an allegation that it had illegally modified US-made Harpoon missiles to enhance its ability to attack land targets, including in India, saying “no modification has been made to the missiles under reference”. — PTI

New York, August 30

The US has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying the Harpoon anti-ship missile, sold to it as a defensive tool by the Reagan Administration, to expand its capabilities to strike land targets, a potential threat to India.

The Obama Administration, reported 'The New York Times' in a front page story, lodged its protest with Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in June, adding to the tension between the two countries.

Quoting unnamed officials from the Administration and the US Congress, the daily said Washington has also accused Pakistan of modifying American-made P-3C aircraft for land-attack missions, another violation of United States law.

The Obama Administration's accusation confirms New Delhi's assertion that the US military aid is primarily used by Pakistan to strengthen and build up its army against India.

The newspaper said Pakistan has refuted the charge that it modified the missiles and claimed that it developed these itself. Between 1985 and 1988, the US had provided 165 Harpoon missiles to Pakistan.

The New York Times said top leaders of the Congress have been briefed about the protest lodged by the Obama Administration.

The Congress is currently in the process of approving a legislation which triples the non-military aid to Pakistan which along with the military aid amounts to $ 7.5 billion in five years. The dispute could derail this legislation, the daily said.

“Whatever their origin, the missiles would be a significant new entry into Pakistan’s arsenal against India. They would enable Pakistan’s small navy to strike targets on land, complementing the sizable land-based missile arsenal that Pakistan has developed,” The New York Times said.

“The focus of our concern is that this is a potential unauthorised modification of a maritime anti-ship defensive capability to an offensive land-attack missile,” a senior administration official was quoted as saying.

The potential for “proliferation and end-use violations are things we watch very closely,” the official said. “When we have concerns, we act aggressively,” the official said.

According to The New York Times, a senior unnamed Pakistani official said that the missile tested was developed by Pakistan, just as it had modified North Korean designs to build a range of land-based missiles that could strike India.

Given the strong protest lodged by the Obama Administration, the official told the daily that Pakistan has taken the unusual step of agreeing to allow American officials to inspect the country’s Harpoon inventory to prove that it had not violated the law.

The paper said the latest round of dispute between the US and Pakistan, reflects the “level of mistrust” between them.

“A central element of the American effort has been to get the military refocused on the internal threat facing the country, rather than on threat the country believes it still faces from India.

“Pakistani officials have insisted that they are making that shift. But the evidence continues to point to heavy investments in both nuclear and conventional weapons that experts say have no utility in the battle against insurgents,” the Times said. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090831/main3.htm

Crashes, engine failures ground IAF trainer craft

HPT-32:

Trainer-turned-killer

Wings of death

New Delhi, August 30

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its entire fleet of HPT-32 initial trainer aircraft owing to a series of crashes and engine failures. This comes at a time when the force is facing an acute shortage of efficient pilots.

Authoritative sources in the IAF said recurrent engine failure of the Hindustan Piston Trainer (HPT)-32 aircraft — stationed at the Air Force Academy (AFA) in Hyderabad — is the reason behind the grounding since last month.

“The entire fleet of the HPT-32 has not been flying," a senior IAF official said, requesting anonymity. The engine failures raised concern as the aircraft are handled by rookies for initial flight training.

On July 31, an HPT-32 aircraft crashed at Annaram village in Jinnaram Mandal of Medak district and both the instructors on board were killed in the accident. In May last year, a woman cadet of the AFA died during a crash. In this case, fuel had leaked into the engine, causing it to burst.

The basic propeller-driven trainer, with two side-by-side seats, suffered more than 70 incidents between 1988 and 1995. A group was constituted to study the aircraft, which is manufactured by the defence public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and which has been in service for three decades.

According to the study, the Avco Lycoming AEIO-540-D4B5 engine in the aircraft has registered more than 100 failures in recent months.

Usually around 140-150 cadets of the flying branch are trained on the HPT-32 and then graduate to the intermediate flight and weapons training aircraft Surya Kiran. However, with the initial trainer being grounded, cadets are now directly being trained on the Surya Kirans, affecting the training schedule of the pilots.

"We have got Surya Kiran trainer aircraft from across the country and also from SKAT (the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team) for training pilots," the official added.

Last year, even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said the IAF was facing an acute shortage of efficient pilots after failing to impart quality training. It attributed the discontinuity in training to lack of adequate state-of-the-art training aircraft with the IAF.

“HPT-32 aircraft used for Stage-I training is technologically outdated and beset by flight safety hazards. In spite of the loss of 11 pilots and 15 aircraft, it continues to be used today. Further, HPT-32 does not aid in the smooth transition of trainees to the next stage of training,” the CAG had said. — IANS

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090831/main7.htm

Chinese helicopters enter Indian air space twice in Ladakh

Press Trust Of India

Leh (Jammu and Kashmir): Two Chinese helicopters reportedly violated the Indian air space in the recent months in Leh. The helicopters air-dropped some canned food in a barren land at Chumar, northeast of Leh, along the border on June 21.

The MI series helicopters were reported to the nearby defence post by local residents who live along the Pangong lake, prompting the Army Aviation Corps to rush its Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

However, the Army could only find tell-tale signs left by Chinese helicopters which hovered in the Indian territory for nearly five minutes, sources said.

When contacted, Army Spokesperson for Udhampur-based Northern Command said that there was a report of a helicopter flying in the area south of Chumar, where India and China have differences in perception on the Line of Actual Control. It was reported by grazers.

A confidential defence document accessed by PTI shows that Chinese helicopters entered into Indian air space along Damchok area and Trig Heights in Ladakh and air dropped canned food containing frozen pork and brinjal, which had passed the expiry date.

Chinese People’s Liberation Army has been crossing over into the Indian side in this region quite frequently, with August reporting the maximum number of incursions.

Trig Heights also known as Trade junction, which connected Ladakh with Tibet in earlier days, is an area where Chinese patrol have frequented this year in June, July and August.

Chinese Army patrols have made 26 sorties in June, including two incursions by helicopters, and 21 in July.

The Chinese army had made 223 attempts last year and left tell-tale signs.

The Army spokesperson, however, tried to downplay these incursion attempts by saying, "There are a few areas along the border where India and China have different perceptions of the LAC. Both sides patrol upto their respective perceptions of LAC."

"Due to perceived differences in the alignment of LAC, the Chinese patrol does transgress beyond our perception of the LAC in a few areas. The pattern of transgressions has remained similar over a long period of time," the spokesperson said.

Incursions have taken place in eastern Ladakh and on the northern bank of Pangong Tso Lake. Chinese patrols come frequently on the North and South of this lake, whose 45 kilometres are on Indian side while another 90 on Chinese side.

India and China have been engaged in talks over the Line of Actual Control and had exchanged maps in 2002. In the western sector (East Jammu and Kashmir), the Samar Lungpa area, between the Karakoram Pass and the Chipchap river, is contentious, with Chinese maps showing the LAC to be south of the Samar Lungpa.

This is the northernmost part of the border, far to the north of Leh. But while the Indo-Tibetan Border Police operates north of the line the Chinese claim to be the border, they remain south of the Lungpa. South of the Chipchap River are the Trig Heights, comprising Points 5495 and 5459.

Chinese troops frequently enter the area and in fact, they have a name for Point 5459; Manshen Hill. The area, south-east of Trig Heights, called Depsang Ridge is also contentious. Differences were found when Chinese small-scale maps were interposed on large-scaled Indian ones.

http://ibnlive.in.com/printpage.php?id=100293&section_id=3

'Pak consistently trying to target India'

30 Aug 2009, 1742 hrs IST

Lt Gen (retd) Shankar Prasad, reacting on the accusations of the United States that Pakistan is illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets in India, said Pakistan has been consistently trying to target India.

Shankar Prasad, said, "Pakistan forever is known for violating all laws and norms. It is quite possible that the missiles that the United States gave to Pakistan nearly 20 years ago have a limited range. The effort on the Pakistan is to see that it enhances its range so that they are capable of taking targets on India and cause devastating effect. Pakistan has consistently tried to do this and advertising it deliberately. Pakistan is trying to put caution on India and saying that it is better for you not to react to any of our misdeeds.

'Pak is Indo centric'

V P Malik, former chief of Army staff, Indian army, said that the focus of Pakistan is Indo-centric rather than countering terrorism.

'This is an infringement our sovereignty'

Hamid Gul, former ISI chief, reacting on the accusations of the United States that Pakistan is illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets in India, said, "They are trying to blind the Pakistan army and the armed forces. They are also trying to project its image as that of a rogue. They think that Pakistan can be brought down to its knee. This is an infringement our sovereignty. If Pakistan accepts the conditions of the US, then it is going to be external difficulties. If it does not accept, I think it is going to be financial crisis which they will have to bear."

‘Pak acquiring weapons systems to use against India'

Strategic Affairs & Defence expert of TIMES NOW , Maroof Raza, has said that Pakistan's actions are not out of character given its proliferation record.

Maroof Raza said, "Pakistan has in fact a history of acquiring missiles in particular from countries like North Korea and China and then modifying them and claiming these were developed by Pakistan and therefore they were indigenous technology."

He is of the opinion that these weapons cannot be used against terror groups and insurgents on the Pak-Afghan border but would obviously be used against India.

Raza speaking on how weapons were used against India, said, "The last set of financial funding that Pakistan received post 9/11 when it became America's ally on the war on terror. Bulk of the money that was received by Pakistan's armed forces was either unaccountable or used to buy weapons systems which would not get them to confront militants and terror groups on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border but were used to acquire weapons systems against India."

In conclusion, Raza said, "The central question is if the Americans are aware and I am quite convinced they are aware, how the Paksitani military continues to use American funding."

He further questioned as to why the US is repeatedly sanctioning billons and billons of dollars to Pakistan to acquire weapons systems like the Harpoon missile and the others.

In a development that could significantly increase tensions between India and Pakistan and spawn an arms race, the United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets.

A "New York Times" report quoting anonymous US intelligence and government sources describes the modifications as a potential threat to India.

American military and intelligence officials say they suspect that Pakistan has modified the Harpoon antiship missiles that the United States sold the country in the 1980s, a move that would be a violation of the Arms Control Export Act. The United States has also accused Pakistan of modifying American-made P-3C naval patrol aircraft for land-attack missions, another violation of United States law that the Obama administration has protested...

"The New York Times" report also says the missiles would be a significant new entry into Pakistan's arsenal against India. They would enable Pakistan's small navy to strike targets on land, complementing the sizable land-based missile arsenal that Pakistan has developed.

http://www.timesnow.tv/Pak-consistently-trying-to-target-India/articleshow/4326039.cms

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