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Saturday, 28 November 2009

From Today's Papers - 28 Nov 09

 Imagine two branches of service in the Government of India. The two branches are different in substance and in the perception of the citizens. One branch has its halo effect and is considered both glamorous and praiseworthy in public perception. The other branch is often pejoratively titled “babudom”.
 Now consider the following points:
 ·        The armed forces have their uniforms and shiny medals. The bureaucrats have none.
 ·        Generals, Admirals and Air Marhsals sport three stars on their vehicles, and sometimes four stars. Even officers of the rank of Brigadier sport a star.  The bureaucrats of similar seniority have to make do with just a red or blue light. Lest you consider this a trivial matter not worthy of the attention of a senior bureucrat, consider this – when my brother, an Air Commodore, was posted as India’s Air Attache in Washington, he was entitled to put a single star – the US Army’s designated insignia for a brigadier level officer – on his vehicle. This gave him certain parking and other privileges in specified buildings. His administrative superior – an officer belonging to the Indian Foreign Service – actually urged my brother to remove the star from his car since he, the senior officer, was not entitled to it.
 ·        The armed forces, with their bemedalled heroes guarding our boundaries, and their fighter pilots, navy commanders etc. garner favourable publicity in the media and are viewed as services with an air of professionalism and macho. They carry an aura of glamour. The bureaucrats, on the other hand, do not have such an image – in fact, they are widely considered to be working in musty offices, surrounded by files and aided by often sloppy staff, who the average citizen encounters in his or her daily life.
 If professions could be said to have sexes, the armed forces would definitely be considered masculine and the bureaucrats, their civilian counterpart, feminine. In saying this I do not mean to slight the feminine aspect. I am just stating the obvious – the aggressive, protective, outgoing principle vis a vis the protected, home-bound civilian bureuacrats.
 This dichotomy between the two appears to have affected the bureaucratic wing adversely as far as their attitude towards the defence wing is concerned. The closest we can express this attitude in psychological terms is by saying that they suffer from penis-envy.
 Sigmund Freud introduced the concept of a little girl's envy of the penis in his 1908 article "On the Sexual Theories of Children," and developed the idea later in his work “On Narcissism”. Subsequantly, his theory has been overtaken by more accurate theories of female sexuality by psychologists such as Eric Ericson ad Jian Paget. It has also been criticised by feminists and others. However, here we are not dealing with the girl child’s psychological development. We are concerned with a similar emotion amongst India’s bureaucrats vis a vis our Armed Forces where this theory does appear to apply rather closely.
 The bureaucrats subconsciously appear to wish that they had more glamour in their profession, that they had smart, uniformed assistants and starred vehicles and be-medalled uniforms. Acquiring these appears as difficult as the girl’s covert wish to acquire a penis. However, unlike the girl child, the bureaucrats can do something about it. They may not be able to acquire a penis for themselves, but they leave no occasion to try and castrate the armed forces.
 The recent sixth pay commission controversy is only one factor in the ongoing struggle for supremacy which the bureaucrats have tried this castration. In pursuance of this effort, the bureaucrats have not permitted even a single representative of the armed forces – India’s largest employer – in the Pay Commission. An indicative incident of the feeling of animosity can be judged  by he incident where the military attaché in one of our embassies overheard one of the senior-most bureaucrats visiting that country make a pejorative comment in reference to the noise being made by the armed forces about the Sixth Pay Commission award anomalies. The senior bureaucrats comment was that on his return to India “We will fix the bastards”.
 Another indication of this castration is the order of precedence. This is the official order in which dignitaries are seated at formal functions and the ceremonial importance given to each relative to the others. At the time of independence, the senior most general was second in the Order of Precedence. Now the Army Chief is 12th in this list. The Cabinet Secretary is 11th, as is the Attorney General.  At the 23rd position are “Officers of the rank of full General or equivalent rank” on par with Secretaries to the Government, Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities , Secretary, Minorities Commission, Secretary, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Commission Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes , Members, Minorities Commission , Members, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, Members, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and a host of others.
 There are many other areas where no opportunity is missed by the bureaucrats to show the armed forces down.
 The overt reason one hears for maintaining the supremacy of the bureucrats over the armed forces is that we should adhere to the principle of  “the civilian control of the army”. However, civilian control does not mean the Chief of India’s Army, who commands 1.3 million officers and soldiers, apart from 1.4 million reserve and territorial army personnel, waiting at the pleasure of the bureaucrats manning the Ministry of Defence. So long as he obeys the orders of a civilian Minister of Defence, it would ensure the principle of civilian control adequately. However, the bureaucrats will never agree to this because this argument will take away one more tool which facilitates the castration mentioned above.
 These attempts at castration of the armed forces by the bureaucracy are resulting in the demoralisation of our armed forces at all levels. The retired officers speak about this openly and the serving ones in hushed tones. This complex of the bureaucrats needs to be recognised for what it is and, then, needs to be addressed firmly and fairly by the political masters, Unless this is done, we will continue devaluing the spear and shield of the country to satisfy the castrative instinct of the bureaucrats. If a further devaluation of the tools of India's defence happens, we should not be surprised that, when we need a steely response to danger on our borders, we will get a wooden one. Then, paradoxically, the bureaucrats will get one more reason to castrate the armed forces further and the vicious spiral will continue making holes in our national defence shield.

Kishore Asthana

China boost to Pak military troubles India
Warships, fighters, missiles and millions in aid, Islamabad has it all
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
The ongoing military relationship between China and Pakistan is worrying India. Defence Minister AK Antony today hit out at China saying the “increasing nexus between China and Pakistan remains an area of serious concern ….. we have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly”.

He was speaking at the 44th foundation day celebrations of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in the Capital.
“India wants to develop a friendly and cordial relationship with its neighbours including China. We continue our efforts. At the same time, there are issues that are a matter of concern to us,” he said. Antony’s fears are not misplaced. New Delhi feels the China-Pakistan military nexus is detrimental to its interests and the strategic balance in the South Asian region.
Another area of concern for India is Chinese transfer of equipment and technology for Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme. China has helped Pakistan build two nuclear reactors in the Punjab province and continues to support its nuclear programme.
China is Pakistan’s largest defence supplier. These include short-range ballistic missiles, fighter aircraft, frigates with helicopters, T-85 tanks, jet trainers, besides arms and ammunition.
Pakistan is scheduled to get the second of the four warships China is building for it next month. PNS Shamsheer, the frigate class warship F 22P, has anti-submarine warfare capabilities and armed choppers on board. In July this year, just days after India had launched its first N- powered submarine, China had handed over the first warship to Pakistan. Three of these ships will be built at a Chinese port, while the fourth one will be built in Pakistan.
Just last week, the two neighbours of India had announced that they were co-developing a fighter jet named JF-17. The production facilities of the same will be housed in Pakistan, while China will provide most of the parts that includes a Russian-built engine. Separately, China has already agreed to supply some 36 J-10 fighters to Pakistan. The single-engine fighter is somewhere close to the Mirage-2000 owned by India.
In the past, the Chinese have supplied Pakistan with K-8 jet trainers, Al-Khalid tanks and Al-Zarar tanks. Both have lower capability than India’s T-90 tanks. China has also supplied small arms and ammunition besides having built a ballistic-missile manufacturing facility near Rawalpindi to develop the 750-km-range, solid-fuel Shaheen-1 missile for Pakistan.
Apart from two nuclear reactors, a huge port at Gwadar near Karachi has been set up with Chinese aid. In the second project, China has pumped in 80 per cent of the expenses, say sources.
However, Antony was hopeful that China would reciprocate India’s initiatives aimed at mutual prosperity and understanding.

New Delhi, November 27
Even as India and the United States iron out their differences over the reprocessing of the spent nuclear fuel under the 123 agreement, the French Parliament has ratified the India-France nuclear accord, paving the way for French nuclear giants to build nuclear plants in India.

The French National Assembly adopted a law authorising the ratification of the agreement signed between the two countries on September 30 last year during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Paris.
This is subsequent to the adoption of the same law by the Senate on October 15 this year, according to the French Embassy here. “The unanimous vote by both assemblies is an important milestone in the development of the civilian nuclear cooperation between France and India.
It will enable the early entry into force of the agreement. It now paves the way for strengthening relations between French and Indian partners and for more concrete developments in the industrial field,” the French mission said.
France was the first country to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with New Delhi days after India secured a waiver from the nuclear suppliers’ group (NSG) to undertake nuclear commerce last year. Since then, India has signed nuclear deals with the US, Russia, Namibia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Argentina. French nuclear supplier Areva has been allocated the nuclear project site at Jaitapur in Maharashtra to initially build two power plants.
The Indo-French nuclear agreement allows reprocessing of the spent nuclear fuel from French nuclear reactors under safeguards, and gives an assurance of lifetime supply of nuclear fuel for these reactors.
It does not bar the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies. With the ratification of the agreement by the French Parliament, France becomes the second country after Russia to give unconditional rights to reprocess spent nuclear fuel to India.
The agreement makes it mandatory that reprocessing be done under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. France and India are keen to build a multiform partnership.
The strengthening of their civilian nuclear cooperation is expected to contribute to economic growth and development, improve energy security and contribute to limiting greenhouse gas emissions. 

DRDO lab, Navy to dev Kaveri marine engine
Ramnath Shenoy/PTI / Bangalore November 27, 2009, 10:48 IST

Gas Turbine Research Establishment is looking to develop a marine version of Kaveri engine, originally intended to power India's indigenous fighter jet Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, in partnership with the Navy.

"We are already looking at Kaveri Marine project of which Indian Navy is quite supportive and they are going to be our working partners including financial participation", Director of GTRE, a lab under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), T Mohana Rao, told PTI here.

Using the core of the Kaveri engine, GTRE plans to add low-pressure compressor and turbine as a gas generator to generate shaft power for maritime applications.

Bangalore-based GTRE is also looking at developing small gas turbine engines for unmanned aircraft.

"There are lots of other projects in the offing. We need to look at them in a very pragmatic way", Rao said. "We (GTRE) are capable of taking up any gas turbine-related design and development activity for the country".

Meanwhile, the Kaveri engine meant for Tejas is currently undergoing altitude tests in Russia, an exercise expected to last three to four weeks.

"Once that's in good shape and a good success, we will be using one more engine for flying test bed trials", he said.

Meanwhile, France-based Snecma which had been identified as a joint venture partner of GTRE for further development of the Kaveri engine for LCA, is yet to join the programme.

Guarding the sea
Coastal security remains inadequate
by Premvir Das
LAST year on November 26, a little before 9 p.m, 10 heavily armed people landed at a bustling fishing village in the heart of South Mumbai. A week earlier, on November 19, reports had indicated that a Pakistani vessel carrying terrorists had sailed from Karachi and was in a position about 50 miles south west of that port.
This did not attract much attention in either the Coast Guard (CG) or the Navy. At the maritime boundary, separating India and Pakistan, the terrorists apprehended an Indian fishing trawler, Kuber, killed four of its five crewmen, and, using the fifth as hostage, headed for Mumbai. The journey of about 500 miles, all through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, was completed without any hindrance and the trawler arrived off that city by the evening of November 26.
As darkness fell, a small rubber craft was inflated and lowered in the water and into it went the terrorists, each wearing an inflated life jacket and carrying shoulder bags containing an AK 47, 10 loaded magazines and 10 grenades. In addition, several bombs made of lethal RDX were embarked.
If it is appreciated that all this was done even as the two craft rolled and pitched in the darkness, in a not too calm sea, the difficult nature of the mission becomes apparent. The chosen landing spot has about a 100 fishing boats, at anchor or beached, and into this congested area, spread over a water front less than a 100 yards wide, this small craft put its passengers ashore.
Landing on any shore, even the most desolate, is a very hazardous maritime operation; yet, it is this part of the mission that was so successfully accomplished, without any challenge. The passage covered two coastal states, Gujarat and Maharashtra, which account for almost 60,000 fishing boats of various sizes.
These waters also host dozens of oil platforms of different sizes. CG patrol boats, and aircraft, provide occasional surveillance; that this stretch of water was crossed with such great ease speaks of its poor quality.

How was this allowed to happen and what has been done to prevent its recurrence is what any reasonable person should ask. After all, despite some shortages in force levels, there are two quite capable maritime security forces, i.e. the Navy and the CG, which should have reacted more positively to the input of November 19 rather than later plead “systemic failure”.
Intelligence, meaning analysed inputs, is clearly the first imperative for preventive action against terrorism but this was not there; a National Intelligence Agency has only now been constituted. Security at sea had been a naval responsibility only in the blue waters while, in coastal waters, it came under the purview of the CG, and the area immediately on the coast within the jurisdiction of state marine police forces.
In the new security environment, in which coastal security has become important, an entirely war fighting role for the Navy can no longer be sustained; it must assume counter-terrorism duties in peace as well. The entire spectrum of maritime security, both at and from the sea, against state as well as non-state actors, has now been assigned to the Navy and joint control rooms set up in Mumbai and elsewhere but its authority is still not as complete as it should be.
Measures to augment resources needed for coastal security have been initiated but these will take some time to materialise fully. So, if the question is if, one year after the event, we are better prepared to safeguard our coastal security, the answer is, disappointingly, in the negative.
Unity of command is an essential prerequisite for successful counter-terrorism and the correct step would have been to place all maritime security forces under Naval control. This has not been done. For example, even as joint control rooms have been set up in major ports, sailing of a CG vessel still needs the approval of its CG superiors. This dilutes accountability.
The designation of the Director-General Coast Guard as head of a Coastal Command is also merely cosmetic; there is no addition to his duties. Making the Navy responsible for the entire gamut of maritime security, without providing it with the required managerial control, is something of a sham.
While acquisition of hardware such as boats, aircraft and coast radar stations cannot happen overnight, the problem is more in their use rather than in their numbers; the terrorists could come in so easily not because we did not have enough forces but because we were not able to exploit them coherently. Bold steps are required to review what has been done and to rectify the deficiencies.
Similarly, much more attention must also be paid to port security which means not just physical watch over the ports themselves but equally on the ships which enter them. For example, the US requires all containers entering its ports to be X-rayed; India has no such control. An explosives-laden container, if exploded in docks at a major port like Mumbai can cause mayhem.
There continues to be considerable laxity in superintendence of fishing vessels; registration of all, as required, is only a distant possibility. There is also no record of fishing vessels leaving and returning to their villages. Had such records been maintained, it would have been known that the Kuber, which had left Porbander to fish off Sir Creek, was overdue for several days.
A search operation would have located the Kuber far from that area and, possibly, thwarted the Mumbai attacks. Security of offshore installations continues to remain an area of concern.
Until now, the Indian Navy trained only to counter military threats from nation state adversaries. The emerging environment requires adjustment in this mindset. This is happening, even if slowly, but all its efforts will not succeed if the required command and control arrangements are not put in place. More asymmetric attacks must be expected from the sea, not necessarily repeats of 26/11 but exploiting that medium in some way or another.
A fully empowered organisational structure must be put in place urgently, which will be tasked to direct, rather than merely coordinate, all aspects of sea-based activity which have security implications. If this is not done very quickly, it will not be long before another Navy Chief will have to be pleading “systemic failure”.n
The writer is a former Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command

India's fresh security worry: growing China-Pak ties
SECURITY ENVIRONMENT: Defence Minister A K Antony worried about 'nexus'.

New Delhi: Growing military ties between China and Pakistan are a serious concern to India, Defence Minister A K Antony said on Friday.

India worries about China's rising influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region, a neighbourhood New Delhi has traditionally considered as its sphere of influence. The Asian giants also jostle for global resources and influence.

China and Pakistan signed a military cooperation pact last year.

Whereas India's relations with old foe Pakistan dived after last year's Mumbai attacks, Beijing has funded projects in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, claimed by India, and raised hackles by issuing separate visas to Indian Kashmiris.

"The increasing nexus between China and Pakistan in military sphere remains an area of serious concern," Antony said in a speech.

"We have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly. At the same time, we need to be vigilant at all times."

Tensions between India and China flared in recent months, especially with the re-emergence of a long-standing border dispute made worse by a visit by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, to Arunachal Pradesh, a state partially claimed by Beijing.

Pakistan PM warns Obama on Afghan escalation

The prime minister of Pakistan has warned the Obama administration against increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. The IAEA has levelled unprecedented criticism against Iran and its nuclear ambitions. The Indian defence minister has voiced concern over increasingly close ties between Beijing and Islamabad. All this and more, in today’s security update…

On Thursday, it was reported that Pakistan’s prime minister, Yusuf Gaza Gilani, warned the Obama administration of the dangers of increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. The prime minister expressed concerns that any such troop increase would lead to militants fleeing across the border into Balochistan, Pakistan’s restive northwest province, which is already gripped by insurgency.

Gilani’s comments comes just days before President Obama unveils his long anticipated new strategy for the Afghanistan war. It is widely expected that the president will order an increase of around 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, to prosecute a more ambitious counter-insurgency doctrine recommended by current US and ISAF commander General Stanley McChrystal.

In a further blow to NATO’s Afghan strategy, the most senior officer in the German Bundeswehr resigned over a coalition air strike in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province. Speaking in the Bundestag on Thursday, German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg announced that General Wolfgang Schneiderhan had ‘released himself from his duties at his own request’. General Schneiderhan’s resignation is reported to be in response to accusations that the government had misled the public regarding the number of civilian casualties incurred by a NATO air strike in Kunduz, carried out in September at the behest of a German colonel. The Afghan government reported that 69 Taliban fighters were killed and 30 civilians, but independent reports cite a civilian death count between 70 and 100. Commentators state that the F16 fighter bombers carrying out the air strike failed to perform a warning run required by new rules of engagement put in place by General McChrystal. Peter Wichert, a senior German defence official, also resigned over the incident.  

The openSecurity verdict: Pakistan has seen a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks in recent months; a trend linked by analysts to the increasingly robust approach taken by the government against Taliban strongholds in Pakistan’s unstable northwest frontier province. Such attacks supplement a long standing insurgency in Balochistan. Until recently this latter struggle was waged predominantly by Balochistani separatists, but Pakistani army offensives in Swat and South Waziristan have resulted in a flow of Taliban militants to Balochistan to continue the struggle against the Pakistani state.

The prime minister appealed to the US to consult Pakistan in any new change in strategy; though this is unlikely to reflect a genuine belief that Pakistan can influence American policy in this regard. Rather, his comments are thought to be aimed at the domestic audience in Pakistan, where there is continued resentment of the coalition presence in Afghanistan held to be culpable for the spate of suicide bombings in Pakistan’s northwest. 

The prime minister’s comments reflect the deep uncertainty surrounding any US surge in Afghanistan. While there may be immediate conventional military gains, the long term ramifications, particularly regarding the stability of Pakistan and security of its nuclear arsenal, are unclear. The resignation of General Schneiderhan is indicative of another aspect of ISAF’s efforts: the integrity of the coalition itself.

General Schneiderhan’s resignation comes at a time when the Bundestag is debating extending the mandate of the German contribution to ISAF, currently comprising 4,500 troops. Against the background of further military escalation in Afghanistan, additional incidents like the Kunduz air strike are inevitable. If their casualties continue to include the careers of senior defence officials and army chiefs, the prospects for continued international military engagement in Afghanistan will be bleak.

IAEA criticises Iran nuclear site

On Thursday and Friday, Iran was criticised heavily by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over its uranium enrichment facility at Qom. On Thursday, the outgoing director of the IAEA, Dr Mohammad ElBaradei, declared that Iran had been stonewalling investigations into whether it had been researching nuclear weapons designs. On Friday, the IAEA’s governing body voted overwhelmingly to censure Iran over its nuclear programme. In addition to the vote, which was carried by 25 to three, the governing body also voiced ‘serious concern; over the potential military applications of Iran’s nuclear programme, as well as demanding the immediate cessation of activity at the Qom plant.

Indian defence minister expresses concern over China-Pakistan alliance

On Friday, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony said that increasing military ties between China and Pakistan were a source of concern for India. In his speech, Antony said that ‘we have to carry out continuous appraisals of Chinese military capabilities and shape our responses accordingly’. In the context of the subcontinent, relations between Pakistan and India suffered considerably from the terrorist attack on Mumbai a year ago today, carried out by Laskar-e-Taiba, an organisation which reportedly enjoys the backing of Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence agency.

Conversely, ties between Pakistan and China have warmed in recent months, with the two countries agreeing to a defence pact last year, and Pakistani President Zadari giving support for Beijing’s policy against Muslim Uighur activists in China’s restive Xinjiang Autonomous Region. This latter move provided the Chinese government with a vital diplomatic windfall from a Muslim country in the midst of international condemnation over its handling of Uighur riots in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi.

Peace bid suffers as India seeks to malign Pakistan

* Ex-foreign secretary Tanvir Khan says India increasing pressure on Pakistan to amend mechanism of composite dialogue process

By Sajjad Malik

ISLAMABAD: The peace process between Pakistan and India remains in a state of limbo despite hectic international efforts to revive it, as New Delhi has refused to resume talks unless Islamabad makes “tangible” moves to punish the alleged perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

“We do no see immediate chances of revival of the peace process, as instead of appreciating Pakistan’s act of arresting and beginning the trial of the alleged perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, India has been using the incident to malign Pakistan as a hub of terrorism,” senior diplomatic sources in Islamabad said.

“They (the Indians) see an opportunity in Pakistan’s problems and are pedalling a parallel agenda to drum up international support to bracket Pakistan with the states that sponsor terrorism,” the sources said.

The latest statements by Indian officials only added to the worries of Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh used his US visit to pressure Pakistan, while back home, the Indian army chief threatened Pakistan with a nuclear war scenario.

Former foreign secretary Tanvir Ahmad Khan said Singh used very strong language against Pakistan in the US. “India believes that Pakistan is weak due to its security and economic problems and it is trying to put more pressure [on Islamabad] before resuming the peace process,” Khan said.

Pakistan and India have exchanged some of the toughest statements since the Mumbai attacks.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an interview with a German news wire accused India of having “visceral animosity towards Pakistan”, while the Foreign Office in a statement blamed India for “preparing for a limited war”.

Defence analyst Talat Masood says India deliberately began the recent spat of tough statements to highlight the US visit of Prime Minister Singh. “It was just posturing and whenever there is such a visit, they begin Pakistan-bashing,” he said.

Khan believes India is increasing pressure on Pakistan to amend the mechanism of the composite dialogue process.

Masood agrees, but says the worst is over. “India was waiting for the first anniversary of Mumbai attacks to pass peacefully and for Pakistan to do something solid against the alleged individuals,” he said.

Versions of Daksh to be displayed at Defence Expo
Express News Service Posted online: Saturday , Nov 28, 2009 at 0144 hrs
Pune : A few months ago, the Indian Army placed orders for an Improvised Explosives Device (IED) handling robot - Daksh - a two feet tall remote controlled machine used for removing improvised explosive devises. It can handle the IED from a distance, scan it to see if it contains a bomb and then disrupt it using a on-board water jet disrupter.

Now, the DRDO is coming out with varying versions of Daksh, which will be show-cased at the Defence Expo to be held in Delhi on February.

It is trying to build a smaller, more compact version which could be used by local law enforcement agencies like the CRPF, or the National Security Guard.

The R & D wing of the Indian Army is also working on a Gun mounted Robot. Instead of an IED handler, the robot will have a rifle, an LMG and a grenade launcher. This is designed somewhat along the lines of the Talon, a US made robot; around 1000 Talons have already been deployed by the US in the Iraq, said Alok Mukherjee, DRDO scientist.

“This could be useful in hostage situations. Instead of posting personnel on each and every corner, a robot loaded with arms could be sent to save lives,” he said.

Another version of the Daksh is the disrupter-mounted robot. While the original arm of the Daksh is used in handing IEDs, the disrupter-mounted version has no such appendage, reducing its weight. While Daksh is useful in handling suspect explosive objects before they are defused, the disrupter-mounted robot is designed just to destroy the suspect IED from a distance.

“It is a more inexpensive method. Instead of handling it and then defusing the explosive, the disrupter mounted robot defuses the explosive directly,” said Alok Mukherjee, DRDO scientist.

While the Daksh has already gone through stringent military trials, if the varying versions of the Daksh are to be inducted into the Armed Forces, they would have to go through the entire procedure.

Agni-II glitches to be removed: Antony
November 27th, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS Tell a Friend -

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Defence Minister A.K. Antony Friday downplayed the recent failure of the nuclear-capable intermediate range Agni-II missile’s test firing, saying scientists would soon rectify the glitches.
“It is not absolutely correct. Sometimes tests do fail,” Antony said in reply to a query if the test was a setback for India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme.

“I am absolutely confident that DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) scientists will look into the problem and do away with it,” Antony added.

The first night test of the Agni-II missile Nov 23 turned out to be a failure. The surface-to-surface missile with a range of 2,000-plus km was tested from Wheeler’s Island - a launch site in Orissa’s Bhadrak district, about 200 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, at about 7.50 p.m.

The take-off and first phase separation went off smoothly. However, the second stage booster failed to function as expected. The test was a user trial to give the Indian Army the confidence to fire the missile whenever required.

Earlier this year, a daytime trial of the Agni-II was also a failure.

The Agni-II missile is 20 metres long and can carry a 1,000 kg payload. It weighs 17 tonnes and its range can be increased to 3,000 km by reducing the payload.

The Agni-II version of the Agni-series of missiles was first test fired in 1999.

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