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Friday, 6 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 06 Nov 09

Updated later:-

Chinese pinpricks over Arunachal
What realpolitik demands
by Punyapriya Dasgupta

One midnight in April 1960 Zhou Enlai addressed a Press conference in New Delhi. It was so crowded that in my firsthand memory I can see a couple of journalists standing on a window sill to be sure of being able to shoot their questions. The Chinese Premier suggested a compromise settlement of the then hotting up border issue between the two countries. His offer was for China conceding to India what was then the North-East Frontier Agency, now Arunachal Pradesh, in exchange for India withdrawing its claim to Aksai Chin in Kashmir.

Zhou brought the matter out of the diplomatic closet and hoped for public opinion in India to press Jawaharlal Nehru to accept this swap offer. There were signs that Nehru personally was inclined to view the proposed formula favourably but as Prime Minister of India he could not ignore the political forces arrayed against. He was even reported to have said that if he surrendered Aksai Chin he would “cease to be Prime Minister”. Zhou’s mission failed.What followed was the India’s utter humiliation in 1962. Unending logrolling has gone on since then with China scoring an advantage most of the time.

In the latest phase China has been creating problems on visas for residents of Arunachal, protested against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to India’s north-easternmost state and the Dalai Lama’s tour of Tawang. Has Beijing then withdrawn the swap offer Zhou Enlai made nearly 50 years ago? Perhaps, not. Why then is it refusing to accept the status quo south of the McMahon Line? One important fact should not be forgotten. In 1962 the victorious Chinese march stopped on its own at NEFA’s internal boundary with Assam although Nehru declared that his heart went out to Assam, clearly meaning that the despirited Prime Minister had given up that state too as lost. The Chinese went back to their side of the McMahon Line. Had they been serious about treating that line, which they have never formally accepted, as irrelevant for them they would not have vacated Arunachal. They never retreated even an inch from what they took in Aksai Chin

On the Indian side, patriotism has played a role all along in holding up a settlement. The people and Parliament have accepted the Nehru government’s version of the dispute as the only truth and supported it fully. It is, of course, true that India has never in its history been an expansive country. In fact, post-1947 India has showed some keenness to humour some neighbours which led to domestic protests. West Bengal stopped Jawaharlal Nehru from handing over Berubari to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Indira Gandhi ceded to Sri Lanka the tiny island of Kachchativu over Tamil protests. With China it has been different. In spite of “Hindi Chini bhai bhai”, the Indian establishment has eyed Communist China with suspicion after its occupation of Tibet. May be, that was not unjustified then.

China clashed soon after with the Soviet Union and Vietnam over their borders. The hostilities on the Burma (now Myanmar) border were an extension of the Chinese communist-nationalist civil war with the Burmese facilitating the task of the communists. All of the Chinese border problems have been sorted out except the one with India.

In 1947 India inherited the border with Tibet-China from the British. The British rulers had no problem drawing lines on the map as they thought fit. On the Kashmir-Tibet border they, in fact, drew more than one. One British official was censured for taking his line too far to the east but he had the satisfaction of seeing his projection as the claim line of the imperialism he had tried to expand. Neither this one nor the McMahon Line in the east was ever accepted by China but it was in no position then to make an issue of maps.

Tibet remained unconcerned since the situation on the ground remained anchored in tradition, unchanged by cartography. It was only when the assertive Chinese communists occupied Tibet and extended their sway up to the Indian border that questions arose. India decided to go by the maximum of the British claims. But since these were not always supported by ground reality New Delhi considered it expedient to withhold all maps of the Chinese border from all but a few and so too literature which created doubts about New Delhi’s arguments. The bureaucrats went to absurd lengths. After Major Kathing with an army detachment raced to Tawang and expelled the Tibetan officials from there and ensured Indian control, the government tried to censor, officially or unofficially, all references to the area as Tibetan.

In his “History of Frontier Areas Bordering on Assam” Robert Reid, one of the last British Governors of Assam, wrote in 1942 that the 1914 convention resulting in the McMahon Line was never published nor was anything done to give effect to it because the Chinese never accepted it. As a consequence, many maps by the British “still show the frontier of India along the administered border of Assam” that is, the status of the whole of NEFA or Arunachal was left undetermined.

Reid’s book somehow went out of circulation a decade before Zhou Enlai said that although he did not accept India’s claim to NEFA, he was willing to concede in exchange for India’s forgetting Aksai Chin, which was, to him, indubitably Tibetan-Chinese. In its zeal for concealing unhelpful maps, New Delhi went to absurd lengths.

B.K. Nehru, Jawaharlal’s nephew and one of India’s ablest administrator-diplomats ever, wrote in his memoirs that in 1962, when he was India’s Ambassador in Washington, he asked his defence attaches to show him maps of the NEFA area the Chinese had marched into and he was told those were classified and even they were not entitled to see them. The ambassador found the “classified” maps sold across the counter at the National Geographic. Two decades later, as Governor of Kashmir, B.K. Nehru wanted detailed maps of the Kashmir valley he was touring and was told that for “security reasons” those did not exist. Again, according to this Nehru, the maps he wanted “were available for public sale only in Washington. At the same time the government did not even know for a few years that the Chinese had built roads in the territory claimed as India’s.

Machiavelli laid down the principle: ends justify means. The assumption is that the ends will be achieved. In the present context India’s ends have not been achieved — at least not yet. India was also not prepared for war, even as a contingency, at any time. Jawaharlal Nehru believed that India and China would not fight each other in his lifetime. Yet he precipitately ordered the Army in 1962 to “throw them (the Chinese) out”.

After the disaster that followed, Parliament in New Delhi resolved to recover every inch of lost territory and Nehru led a marching contingent of MPs in the next Republic Day parade. But nothing worked and yet the Parliament resolution is still treated as unalterable.It would have been great statecraft had India been able to implement that resolution.

Everyone knows that this parliamentary pledge cannot be redeemed in the foreseeable future. Not unnaturally, problems have been arising for half a century now. The Chinese are giving India pinpricks over Arunachal. It would be realpolitik for New Delhi to take facts into full account if it wants to root out the problem with China.

Indian tank fights doubts over performance

Published: Nov. 5, 2009 at 11:00 AM

NEW DELHI, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Indian army will take at least 124 of the controversial Indian-made Arjun tanks by April, according to media reports.

But the army still doubts its performance as the country's proposed main battle tank to replace hundreds of Russian-made T-90 tanks.

W. Selvamurthy, head of research and development at the Defense Research and Development Organization, made the announcement, saying many of the tanks are already being manufactured and getting readied for delivery.

"All of them will get inducted into the armed forces in March and April," Selvamurthy said in a report in the Times of India newspaper. "Other organizations are also giving us orders."

He was speaking at the valedictory function of a training course at the Defense Institute of Advanced Technology at Girinagar, near the city of Pune.

The DRDO project manages the Arjun, which has been designed and is being made by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment at Avadi, in the state of Tamil Nadu.

But the project has been 35 years in the making, and getting the first batch operational has been a battle in itself, lasting a decade, according to a report in the Hindustan Times newspaper last May.

Around 45 examples are already being used by the army, said the report. Yet the vehicle faces extensive comparative trials with the T-90s to see just how much the military can depend on it.

The Hindustan Times article said the Arjun was plagued with a number of major problems concerning its fire control system, suspension and poor mobility due to its excessive weight, coming in at just under 60 tons. The T-90s weigh in at around 45 tons.

Performance issues rose as early as 2000 prompting the army to begin ordering the T-90s instead of waiting for improvements to, and delivery of, Arjun tanks.

More than 390 T-90s were ordered in 2001, and last November another 347 were ordered. Also, as part of the deal, the Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory in India has begun the licensed manufacture of another 1,000 T-90S tanks. The army is also upgrading nearly 700 T-72 tanks.

In July 2008 the army said it needs nearly 1,800 dependable tanks to replace the older Russian T-55 and T-72 tanks. This will be met through the progressive induction of 1,657 Russian-origin T-90S tanks and 124 Arjuns.

The Arjun measures just under 33 feet long and 12 feet wide. Armor is a Kanchan steel-composite sandwich development. A 1,400hp diesel engine gives it an operational range of 280 miles with a speed of 45 mph on roads and 25 mph cross-country.

The 120mm rifled main turret gun can fire the LAHAT anti-tank missile. Secondary armaments are a MAG 7.62mm Tk715 coaxial machine gun and an HCB 12.7mm AA machine gun.

Indian media reported in May 2008 that the tank was found to have low accuracy, frequent breakdown of power packs and problems with the gun barrel. Details of failures during trials were embarrassingly noted in question-and-answer times by ministers and elected representatives in the nation's parliament, the Lok Sabha.

The DRDO said it needs to have up to 300 rolling off the production line in order to see where all the performance issues lie. It wants the army to eventually take at least 500 tanks before any serious upgrades can be considered.

The Arjun tank is named after one of the main characters of the Indian epic poem the Mahabharata. The discussion of life and karma is the longest epic poem in the world, being roughly 10 times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined.

The Arjun news comes just after the end of a joint exercise by the Singapore armed Forces and the Indian army in Devlali, India. Soldiers from the 23rd and 24th Battalion, Singapore Artillery, and the Indian army's 283 Field Regiment took part.

The exercise, which included live firing of the SAF's FH-88 Howitzer guns and 155mm Battery guns from the Indian army, was the fifth in the Agni Warrior series. It began on Oct. 9 and ended Oct. 26.

India on way to become global military power: Experts

Agencies Posted: Nov 05, 2009 at 0844 hrs

Washington Moving itself from an era of "non-aligned" to "poly-alignment" India has emerged as a regional military power and is inching towards becoming a global one, a US military think-tank has said.

The paper "India's Strategic Defence Transformation: Expanding Global Relationship" by Brian Hedrick of Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of US Army Department of Defence, was released on Thursday, takes a global view of India's rise as a regional and future global military power.

"India's defence establishment is undergoing an unprecedented transformation as it modernises its military, seeks strategic partnerships with the United States and other nations, and expands its influence in the Indian Ocean and beyond," writes Douglas Lovelace, Director SSI.

"This transformation includes a shift from an emphasis on the former Soviet Union as the primary supplier of defence articles to a western base of supply and an increasing emphasis on bilateral exercises and training with many of the global powers," he said.

Military Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia at the State Department, Hedrick, who has served earlier in the US missions in India and Bangladesh, said that India's interests have changed over the past decade or more, taking it from a path of nonalignment and non-commitment to having specific strategic interests on a path of "poly-alignment".

"Since 2000, India has increased the number of countries with which it has defence-specific agreements from seven to 26 by the end of 2008.

Bilateral and multilateral exercises are also an increasing feature of India's expanding defence relations as it seeks to find new technologies to transform its military from Cold War era weapons to 21st century capabilities through such opportunities.

Through this new policy, one of the goals of New Delhi is to become a regional power across the Indian Ocean basin and secure agreements from partners in this region that support this goal, while building up expeditionary capabilities in its navy and air force, it says.

"At the same time, it continues to modernize its army to deal with potential threats from its immediate neighbours and internal insurgency groups, and to fulfil its goal of being a global leader in UN peacekeeping," the paper says.

India is also developing "strategic partnerships" with countries perceived as leaders of a global, multipolar order and seeking modern military capabilities from many of those countries.

This includes modern weapon systems as well as the technology and licensed production associated with those weapon systems, it said.

New Delhi wants to secure or maintain ties with smaller countries globally, many of which are members of the NAM, that can provide support in international fora as well as provide potential markets for its own emerging defence industry, said Hedrick, a graduate of the Indian Defense Services Staff College and the US Army Command and General Staff College.

Hedrick said many of the recent changes in India's global defence relationships represent a vast departure from past policy and practices.

Given that the Congress Party and its United Progressive Alliance coalition received a strong electoral mandate on its re-election in May 2009, these changes are likely to continue and perhaps will see bold moves to further develop and deepen strategic relationships around the world, he noted.

The report says there is new opportunity for tens of billions of US dollars in defence-related sales to India.

"Because many of the US defence technologies have important applications in domestic counterterrorism, these sales also expand opportunities well beyond the two defence establishments into law enforcement and border control issues," it said.

However, the report cautioned that as an extension of its NAM policy, India will continue to view its relationship with the United States through the lens of multilateralism, preference for a multipolar global power structure, and the impact on its bilateral relations with other countries.

"India will continue to forge new defence relationships around the world, increasingly with a view to exporting defence material from its own developing industry.

However, it will likely begin to shift its energy towards deepening many of the relationships it has established to date," it said.

Also India will increasingly assert itself as a regional power in the Indian Ocean.

"Occasionally India's interests may diverge with US (such as Indian support to Mauritius' claim to Diego Garcia105), creating potential irritants in the relationship," it said.

Further, India will likely emphasise balance in its defence relations, especially with the larger powers of the United States, Russia, the EU, UK, and Israel.

This balance will often be reflected in defence procurement decisions, as these are enduring symbols of the bilateral relationship.

"Most bilateral and multilateral military exercises will not be affected with considerations of balance, with the exception of larger, more visible exercises," it said.

Stryker in India for Military Training Exercise

By jayita

November 4th, 2009

land_m1133_stryker_medevac_lgNew Delhi- The joint India-US army exercise Yudh Abhyas 09 , which included the largest deployment of the latter’s Stryker armoured vehicles outside Iraq and Afghanistan, concluded at Babina in Uttar Pradesh on October 29th.

Yudh Abhyas is a regularly scheduled bilateral exercise hosted by the Indian Army.

The bilateral exercise was subjected to the peace-keeping drill with focus on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism in a semi-urban scenario. It was also designed to promote cooperation between the two militaries while sharing, training in cultural exchanges and building joint operating skills.

About 1,000 military personnel from the Indian and US armies participated in exercise Yudh Abhyas 2009, according to a senior army official .

The US featured 17 Stryker vehicles and the Javelin anti-tank missile system, deployed against current and future armoured combat vehicles.

The scale of the exercise involved armoured units India’s Russian-origin BMP troop-carriers, its latest T-90 tanks and Dhruv helicopters.

During the exercise, participants engaged in a variety of missions, from joint planning and manoeuvre execution, a variety of artillery ranges, to cordon and search operations as well as search and rescue training’

,said the official.

The US, had used the joint war games as a platform to pitch for Strykers as it is anxious to grab a major chunk of the lucrative Indian arms market.

The Stryker is an eight-wheeled all-wheel-drive armoured combat vehicle that is known for its lightweight and easy maintenance.

Most cables, hoses, and mechanical systems in the vehicle can be quickly disconnected for maintenance work, while the engine and transmission can be removed and reinstalled in approximately two hours.

Each Stryker armoured vehicle costs around $1.5 million (nearly Rs.7 crore).

But, beyond the show of power and battlefield skills, there was also a pitch for arms sales to India. The Stryker vehicle itself was closely watched by the Indian forces. It can be configured for several tasks offensive, reconnaissance, communications and evacuations apart from troop carrying.

The Chinese navy is going blue water

BY XIAOXIONG YI • November 4, 2009

Harvard historian Paul Kenned, in his "The Rise and Fall of Navies," wrote, "Those faster-growing economies can afford both guns and butter." China's tremendous economic growth has been accompanied by a quantum leap in China's naval build-up.

Today, more than 1,000 Chinese commercial ships and oil tankers are sailing through troubled waters every day, and China's commercial sea-borne trade volumes have escalated dramatically. China's commercial maritime interests exceeded $800 billion by the end of 2008, and more than 60 percent of its oil imports transported by sea.

As Chinese cargo ships and oil tankers are becoming all the time more vulnerable on the high seas, Beijing sees it as vital to safeguard China's sea-lanes. Last week, the Chinese government vowed to make "all-out efforts" to rescue De Xin Hai, the Chinese ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean northeast of the Seychelles.

What is perhaps more important, however, is Beijing's political-strategic ambitions. Chinese rulers are good students of the late Chairman Mao, who once said, "Power of government comes out of the barrel of gun." As Chinese rulers are becoming more confident and assertive, to modernize China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), especially the PLA Navy (PLAN), has become one of Beijing's top priorities.

China's defense spending has increased by an average of 16.2 percent a year since 1999. It now is the second-highest in the world. The PLA's official military budget for 2009 is at $70 billion, but the U.S. published estimates show that China's military spending as high as $150 billion. In its first annual report to Congress under the Obama administration, the Pentagon has charged China with hiding its real military spending and expressed concern over why China would increase its military expenditure with no apparent external threats. "China's failure to be transparent about its rapidly growing military capabilities," according to the report, "has created uncertainty and risks of miscalculation. Much uncertainty surrounds China's future course, particularly regarding how its expanding military power might be used."

A major factor that contributes to China's rapidly growing military expenditure is Beijing's long-harbored ambition of possessing a blue-water navy, not only to safeguard China's commercial sea-lanes, but also to advance China's off-shore territorial claims. Such considerations have ensured the PLAN to receive top priority in China's military modernization, with a generous budgetary allocation estimated at more than 30 percent of the PLA's total defense budget.

To build a blue water navy, no expense has been spared. Earlier this year, Chinese defense minister Liang Guanglie confirmed Beijing's plan to build a new generation of large destroyers and aircraft carrier. From the Yellow Sea to the South China Sea, Chinese shipyards are running flat out. According to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, "By 2010 China's submarine force will be nearly double the size of the U.S., and the entire Chinese naval fleet is projected to surpass the size of the U.S. fleet by 2015."

Strategically, China's leaders have long been saying that the Indian Ocean is not India's Ocean. Beijing's new "Pearl Necklace Strategy" is designed to put Chinese naval bases along the shores of the Indian Ocean, and the maritime routes to Malacca: Marao in the Maldives, Coco Island in Burma, Chittagong in Bangladesh and Gwadar in Pakistan. China also is creating coastal bases in Africa, now widely open to Chinese investment.

Beijing sees the Pacific to be the next major strategic contending field in coming decades. Here, China foresees two rivals: Japan and the United States. Beijing has already tested Tokyo's readiness by repeated submarine incursions. PLAN vessels also are confronting U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific. The Chinese ships jostled with a U.S. Navy surveillance ship in the recent South China Sea confrontation sends a strong signal to countries in the region that they may no longer be able to depend on the U.S. in a conflict with China in the Pacific theater.

One hundred fifteen years ago, Qing Dynasty China's shiny new armada, North Sea Fleet, was crushed by the Japanese Imperial Navy in the Battle of Yalu. The humiliating defeat accelerated the decline of China. Today, China is flexing its new naval muscle at sea. The Chinese naval build-up still is in its early stages, and it may be years before Beijing has a navy to match that of the U.S., but the trend is clear: Beijing is determined to challenge American hegemony on the high seas and to re-address the postwar balance of power in the Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor Blames India’s Irresponsibility For Repeated Terror Attacks

Last Updated: 2009-11-04T16:02:31+05:30

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Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, while citing that India would not be able to “afford a repeat of 26/11", mentioned that the repeated terrorist attacks were happening as India had repeatedly allowed the perpetrators of terror attacks to get away.

"The US has not allowed a second 9/11, Indonesia has not allowed a second Bali," Kapoor said, adding that India had allowed those behind the "2001 parliament attack, Delhi blasts and Mumbai terror attack" to get away.

"India cannot afford a repeat of 26/11," said the army chief said who was talking at the Network Centricity and National Security seminar conducted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi.

He has also emphasized the need for network centricity so that intelligence gathering and sharing can be done in a netter fashion.

"There has to be speedy flow of intelligence and updated data for speedy decision based on the geographical location and a swift action by nearest security agencies," said Kapoor.

Endorsing his view, Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju said considering the "fragile internal security scenario", there had to be new centres to facilitate rapid action across the country and better coordination among intelligence agencies and security forces.

A Cradle to Lead Indian Army’s Transformation Inauguration of New Office Complex of DGIS

The Indian Army (IA) took another leap in its efforts to empower its field formations to fight the Battles of the 21st Century. In an impressive ceremony held today, the Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, PVSM, AVSM, SM, ADC inaugurated a state of the art building which would be the future abode of the Directorate General of Information System (DGIS) at Rao Tula Ram Marg, Delhi. The new building finally brings under one roof all the major components of DGIS, which were till date, spread all over Delhi.

DGIS, created in 2004 is spearheading the transformation of the IA from conventional warfare to information enabled warfare. DGIS is leading the development, testing, integration and fielding of the automated operational systems for the IA at different levels of operations from the Army HQs down to the soldier. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the COAS emphasised that the modern battlefield is a convergence of various technologies and thus there is a need for seamless and real time information dissemination. He added that there is a need to keep pace with the transformation required from the conventional ‘Platform Centric Approach’ to a ‘Network Centric Approach’. He felt that the new structure will be the cradle in which DGIS will more effectively execute the assigned role. The Army Chief also appreciated the MES and entire workforce for their efforts and also lauded the Project Management Committee of DGIS which oversaw the construction.

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