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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 24 Nov 09

Pak nukes may fall into wrong hands: Antony
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 23
Expressing concern over the safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, Defence Minister AK Antony today said the threat of these weapons falling into the wrong hands was an "area of serious concern" and its consequences would be unimaginable.

There was barely any country not affected by terrorism and the recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan had "pushed South Asia into sub-conventional conflict and instability," the minister said while addressing a seminar on "Changing Nature of Conflict: Trends and Responses."
He called for greater synergy among security agencies, both nationally and internationally, to tackle the threat from terrorism. He stressed on the need for conventional armed forces to maintain an edge over such non-conventional players.
The world had witnessed a paradigm shift in the nature of conflicts, he observed. "Though territory-related issues retain their primacy, other issues like historical differences, ideological biases, economic disparity, religious prejudices, energy security and water shortage are no less a contributing factor", he observed.
"Modern-day conflicts are not merely confined to states, but have expanded to include sub-nationalities, terrorists and insurgences, religious fanatics and ethnic interest", he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor said South Asia along with West Asia had emerged as an epicentre of conflict and instability.
He warned that the situation could worsen as there was neither political nor diplomatic unity on the issue.

N-capable Agni II test firing at night fails
Nitin Gokhale, Monday November 23, 2009, New Delhi
The first night test firing of India's 2000 km plus range nuclear capable ballistic missile, Agni-II from the Wheeler's Island 10 km from Balasore inside the Bay of Bengal has failed.

It is for the first time that, the Strategic Forces Command personnel along with scientists from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were conducting this trial during night.

Sources have told NDTV that the test failed to meet many parametres after it was fired off at 1950 hours on Monday night.

According to a defence source, "The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a rail mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) launch pad - 4."

The two-stage solid propelled missile has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and approximately 20 meters in height. It can carry a pay load of one tonne over 2000 km.

Pak nuke facilities at risk: Security expert
Press Trust of India, Monday November 23, 2009, Toronto
A Taliban insurgency and the war in neighbouring Afghanistan have put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at risk giving rise to a "troubling" situation, an arms control expert who served as former US President George W Bush's national security adviser has said.

"The situation in Pakistan is troubling from a lot of perspectives," Stephen Hadley, who now advises Washington-based think-tank the US Institute of Peace said.

"There is a lot of concern about what happens to Pakistan's nuclear weapons if the government fragments in some way," he said on Sunday at an international security conference in Halifax.

Hadley said there was concern in the Bush administration after the September, 2001 terrorist attack that US-led military action inside Afghanistan might destabilise Pakistan and could even lead to a Taliban government.

"So far that hasn't happened, and Pakistan's nuclear weapons remain firmly in the control of the established civilian government," Hadley was quoted as saying by media reports here.

He said the US has assisted Pakistan since 9/11 in maintaining legitimate command and control efforts over its arsenal.

"Whenever we checked with our military and intelligence people, we said, 'Is this a nuclear arsenal at risk?' The answer so far has always been, 'No,'" Hadley said.

BSF to step up vigil on Indo-Bangla border
Agartala, November 23
BSF officials were today asked to maintain close surveillance along the 856-km long porous Indo-Bangla border in Tripura, official sources said.

Raman Srivastava, Director-General of BSF, who arrived here on a two-day visit, held series of meetings with top BSF officials of the state and visited two border outposts (BOP) besides meeting the Governor and the Chief Minister.
Sources said, during meeting with the officials, the DG directed all officials to maintain a close vigilance in the border areas so that no unwanted elements could enter into the Indian territory from the neighbouring Bangladesh.
He would tomorrow visit two air-maintained BOPs in the North Tripura district and interact with jawans and officials.
The visit assumes significance in view of the mounting pressure on Bangladeshi security force on the Indian insurgents using their soil for conducting subversive activities in Indian territories.
BSF sources said, the official was also apprised about the outcome of the Inspector-General level meeting held recently in Sylhat in the first week of this month.
BSF had nabbed Ulfa's self-appointed finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika and self-styled foreign secretary Shashadhar Chowdhury along the Bangladesh border in West Tripura district this month. — PTI 

Five Assam Rifles men killed
Tribune News Service
Guwahati, November 23
Five personnel of the Assam Rifles, including two officers, were killed in an ambush by suspected militants belonging to the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) in a remote hill area of Manipur bordering Myanmar today.

An Army spokesman said an area-domination patrol party of the Assam Rifles was ambushed by suspected UNLF in the Old Samtal area in Chandel district of Manipur Hills at around 9.30 am.
Five personnel from the 43rd Assam Rifles were killed in the ensuing gunbattle. Those killed included two officers - Assistant Comandant Raminder Kumar and Major Bhupinder Mehra.The area, which is located close to the India-Myanmar border, was stated to be thickly forested and hilly with lack of proper surface communication.

DRDO develops equipment for swine flu diagnosis
Press Trust of India / New Delhi November 23, 2009, 16:00 IST

The DRDO has developed a rapid and cost-effective 'Swine Flu virus H1N1 specific isothermal gene amplification assay' for reliable and early clinical diagnosis of the disease, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Defence Minister A K Antony, in a written reply to MPs' queries, said the equipment was a single-tube method and cost-effective as compared to WHO-approved Centre for Disease Control recommended real-time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction test system.

"The assay is based on principle of isothermal gene amplification protocol. No expensive real-time PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) equipment is required and as a result it can be monitored by naked eye. The DRDO developed method gives result in an hour as compared to the three to four hours required for WHO-approved CDC recommended kit," Antony said.

The DRDO-developed kit was validated at the National Centre for Disease Control, Delhi; Post Graduate Institute, Chandigarh; and National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore.

"The process for transfer of technology for commercialisation has also been initiated," he added.

India test fires nuke-capable Agni-II in night trial
Press Trust Of India
INDIA'S PRIDE: The Agni-II had not been test fired at night time before, a crucial step in testing capability.

Balasore (Orissa): India has successfully conducted its first night-trial of nuclear-capable Agni-II intermediate range ballistic missile from Wheeler island off Orissa coast.

It had been decided to test the nuclear capable Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) for the first time during night, defence officials had said in Balasore on Sunday.

"Range integration work in Integrated Test Range (ITR) for the proposed trial has been completed and if final check-up in the sub-system of the missile is found flawless, the mission will be taken up tomorrow," the officials had said.

A special 'strategic forces team' raised by the Army conducted the trial with necessary logistic support by various ITR laboratories and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientists.

The indigenous weapon is a two-stage solid propelled ballistic missile and has a weight of 17 tonnes and length of 20 metres. It can carry a payload of one tonne over a distance of 2,000 km.

Agni-II was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated with Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Hyderabad with the private sector participating in a big way in its production.

The missile is part of the Agni series which included Agni-I (700 km range) and Agni-III (3,500 km range). Agni-I was already inducted and Agni-III is in the process of induction, the officials added.

The missile was already inducted into the services and the strategic command network is in charge of the missiles operation.

Media policy on army, defence soon
Says PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addresses the Formation Commanders of Bangladesh Army at Formation Commanders' Conference in the Army Headquarters Conference Room at Dhaka Cantonment yesterday. Photo: ISPRBss, Dhaka

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government is going to formulate a specific media policy soon regarding media publicity on army and defence.

At the same time, she said, her government has taken steps to make Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) Directorate effective and time befitting by reconstituting its existing organisational structure.

The PM said this while presiding over the Formation Commanders' Conference-2009 of Bangladesh Army at the Army Headquarters in Dhaka Cantonment.

Referring to recent propaganda centering Bangladesh Army in a section of newspapers and TV channels, she said any negative remarks or discussion on army hurt the moral courage of all the military personnel.

In this context, she called upon all army personnel not to be confused with propaganda and expressed hope that they would discharge their duties vested in them with utmost sincerity and honesty in the greater interest of the nation.

She called upon the army to be united to foil any ill attempt against the beloved motherland by maintaining discipline, unity and fellow feelings within the force.

"You have to take all possible measures to keep moral courage of the army personnel at the highest level removing all the existing problems by identifying those," she added.

The premier said historically the army is a disciplined, sincere and patriotic force and the government as well as the people are keeping deep faith in them regarding safeguarding the country's sovereignty and integrity.

Terming the army as the pride of the nation, Hasina said her government wants the army remain above all criticism and as a glittering symbol of sovereignty.

She called upon them to keep up the laurels that they earned both in the national and international arenas by flourishing the country's historic ideology and military values.

Hasina also asked them to take effective steps so that no wrong impression or evil force can hinder their forward march.

The PM requested the army to keep full confidence in the existing law of the land, judicial system and administration.

"The existing process could be time-consuming, but it is possible to achieve sustainable and permanent solution only through this process," she said.

Referring to her election pledge, Hasina said her government is pledge-bound to build a modern and strong army in the country.

"Our main objective is to attain economic prosperity quickly maintaining the country's internal stability," she said.

Laying emphasis on taking training to gain professional efficiency, she said there is no alternative to constant exercises for attaining efficiency and professional ability.

Earlier on her arrival at the venue, Chief of Army Staff General Md Abdul Mubeen received the PM.

PM's Defence Adviser Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, among others, was present on the occasion.

Allowing foreign investment to private defence suppliers will benefit US, India: PM
Published on : Monday 23 Nov 2009 22:40 - by ANI

By Smita Prakash

Washington, Nov 23 - ANI: To involve Indian and American industries in enhancing investment flows between both countries, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said that Indian private sector defence suppliers are now allowed to have up to 26 percent foreign investment, opening a new avenue for Indo-US collaboration.

Addressing the US-India Business Council (USIBC), the premier business advocacy organization representing Americas top companies investing in India, joined by global Indian companies promoting economic reforms with an aim to deepen and strengthen bilateral trade and commercial ties, Dr. Singh: We have an expanding area of defence collaboration, including the possibility of procurement of defence equipment from the US. Our domestic private sector defence suppliers are now allowed to have up to 26 percent foreign investment, opening a new avenue for Indo-US collaboration.

Our defence and strategic dialogues have added important dimensions to our ties. Maritime security, including countering piracy and protecting sea-lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean and beyond, is another area where we should expand cooperation, he said.

Outlining the Obama administrations "New Strategic Dialogue", U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns said that greater Indo-U.S. cooperation can be expected on counter-terrorism, the reconstruction process in Afghanistan, non-proliferation, and the defence sector during Dr. Singhs four-day visit to Washington.

In a sign of increasing Indo-US military ties, India has started negotiating the purchase of heavy lift transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster from the U.S. in a deal worth approximately 1.7 billion dollars.

The Indian Air Force has also placed orders for six C-130J aircraft from the U.S., the deliveries of which will commence in 2011.

India is also in the process of finalising the order for 126 multi-role combat aircraft and looking to procure 197 light utility helicopters.

According to Ashley J. Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,U.S.-India defence cooperation is not only going to deepen, but is also going to broaden much more than seen historically.

Tellis has that there are three areas where he thinks bilateral defence cooperation will prosper:

1) Military-to-military cooperation: There is already a very robust pattern of engagement and this will only increase in time.

2) Defence trade: India has slowly started to look to the United States as a supplier of high-end defense equipment. So far, the deals have been modest, but there are very big deals that are on the anvil, which will be concluded within the next decade, and.

3) Defence industrial cooperation: American industry is going to look to India to invest. Its going to be a destination for investment. There is going to be a great deal of co-production and in some cases even co-development over the longer term.

Telllis sees the field of defence as being extremely ripe for "very, very deep cooperation" between the two countries.

Defence cooperation between both countries is overseen and reviewed by the India-US Defence Policy Group (DPG). The Joint Technical Group (JTG) coordinates the transfer of technology and explores the areas of scientific interaction between U.S. and India. Executive Steering Group (ESG) meetings are held annually between the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force commanders and their counterparts in the US forces.- ANI

Indian sub-continent is prone to nuclear war: Army Chief

by ANI on November 23, 2009

in National

New Delhi, Nov 23 (ANI): Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor today said that Indian [^] sub-continent is prone to nuclear war.

General Kapoor said that Indian-subcontinent has gradually emerged as one of the epicentres of conflict and instability.

"The possibility of limited war under a nuclear overhang is still a reality, at least in the Indian sub-continent, along with West Asia, South Asia has gradually emerged as one of the epicentres of conflict and instability.

"Territorial disputes, provocation by proxy wars, religious fundamentalism, radical extremism, ethnic tensions and socio-economic disparities are the hallmarks of South Asia," said General Kapoor while addressing a seminar on "Changing nature of Conflict: Trends and Responses".

Defence Minister A. K. Antony also shares General Kapoor's view and expressed concern over nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands in Pakistan

During his address, Antony said that there has been an outbreak of terror-related incidents across the world, particularly in South and South-East Asia.

"When there's scarcely any nation that is not affected by terrorism, we stood actively involved in the war on terror. Various developments in the last few months, in and around our neighbourhood, particularly Afghanistan and Pakistan, thrust South Asia to the centre stage of sub-conventional conflict and instability," said Antony.

"The threat of nuclear weapons falling in wrong hands remains an area of serious concern and consequences of such a situation are unimaginable," he added.

Security analysts always raise a concern over the security of Pakistani nuclear arsenal. A section of media earlier reported that Islamic militants have access to nation's nuclear warhead. (ANI)

Telecom Commission OKs Rs 9k cr project for defence
Agencies Posted online: Monday , Nov 23, 2009 at 1939 hrs
New Delhi : The Telecom Commission, the policy making wing of the Department of telecom, has approved a Rs 9000-crore optic fibre project for the Army and the Navy, as part of its promise to the defence forces in return for release of 3G spectrum.

The proposal will now go to the Cabinet for clearance, a senior DoT official said.

A similar project made for the AirForce is currently under testing.

The cable network is part of the commitment made to the defence forces in return for agreeing to release 25 Mhz of spectrum for third generation mobile services.

DoT will move a note for the Cabinet on December 3 to consider granting Rs 9000 crore for the cable network. Once the Cabinet gives its approval, the Department and the defence will sign a formal agreement on December 7.

* Thermal Imaging system for T-72 tanks

New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) The Russian-made T-72 tank fleet of the Indian Army is undergoing an upgradation programme to equip thermal imaging capabilities to its night vision system, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lower House in a written reply during question hour that the process of upgrading the night fighting capabilities of the T-72 tanks with thermal imaging was an ongoing process.

He said the fleet was being optimally used and was the mainstay of the present tank fleet. "The entire fleet of this tank is fully battle worthy with high mission and operational reliability."

Of the total holding of T-72 tanks, a part of them was already equipped with high-end technology night vision device, which was fully integrated and exploited, he said.

India currently operates about 1,800 T-72 tanks.

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