Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Thursday, 31 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 31 Dec 09

Army doctrine being reviewed
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 30
The Army’s military doctrine is being reviewed and it will now include an added thrust in five key areas that will propel the doctrine. This includes wars in faraway lands, besides strategy on how to face future challenges posed by China and Pakistan.The key areas include preparation for a two-pronged war with China and Pakistan. Both countries will have to be looked at separately and also collectively. The nature of conflict, if ever, with both countries will vary greatly in terms of terrain and use of weapons and firepower.

The Army, which is involved in fighting insurgency in J&K and the North-East, is also looking to optimise capabilities to fight asymmetric war waged by both state and non-state actors such as terror attacks and proxy wars. This will include cyber and electronic warfare.
The doctrine will look at ways to enhance the strategic reach of the Army and joint operations with the Navy and the Air Force. Countries like the USA already have airborne division while China displayed its might a couple of months ago by showing rapid induction of troops. The reviewed doctrine will also touch upon space-based capability and methods to achieve technological edge over the enemy.The doctrine is reviewed every five years by the Army’s Shimla-based Training Command. The two-day closed-door review ended here today.
Among those who have contributed with their opinions were retired officers like Lt-Gen SS Mehta, Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi, Lt-Gen Satish Nambiar, Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Maj-Gen GD Bakshi and Brig Gurmeet Kanwal. Former High Commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarthy was also among those who addressed the meeting.
The Training Command had already begun reworking on the doctrine to include the new developments in different areas of warfare.

Medical Benefits
Key file missing, MoD blames DGAFMS
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Even as former short service commissioned (SSC) officers continue to be hassled over availing treatment at military hospitals, the Directorate General Armed Forces Medical Services (DGAFMS) has claimed that the Defence Ministry’s file containing relevant orders issued by the President has been “lost”.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD), in response to a query under the RTI Act, has held the DGAFMS responsible for the loss, as it was the custodian of the file.
Earlier, the DGAFMS had responded to queries by ex-servicemen by claiming that the file was with the MoD. When the Ministry wrote to the DGAFMS pointing out that the file was with it, medical directorate then claimed that it was lost.
In 1996, the government had extended outdoor medical facilities in military hospitals to all “ex-servicemen”. These were earlier available only to “ex-service pensioners” and the relevant clause introduced in 1983 was amended after the presidential sanction was accorded for the same.
Letters on the subject were later issued by the Adjutant General’s branch, explicitly including emergency commissioned and SSC officers under the ambit of military medical facilities. Requests by the Director General Medical Services (Army) to rescind these medical facilities were also turned down by the MoD in 1997 and 1998.
Last year, the DGAFMS suo-moto started refusing medical care to elderly veterans on the pretext that they were not entitled to the facility. The DGAFMS also claimed that its concurrence was not taken before granting facilities to non-pensioner ex-servicemen. The DGMS (Army) even wrote to all Army Commands asking them not to comply with letters of the MOD and the Army Headquarters.
Irked by the conduct of the DGAFMS, many ex-servicemen sought a copy of the file notings leading to the Presidential sanction in which the complete concurrence of the then DGAFMS was taken. The DGAFMS, thereafter, took the pretext that the said file was lost.

Banning N-tests
Ball remains in the court of US, China
Whenever there is a discussion on civilian nuclear cooperation between two countries, a reference to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) cannot be ruled out. Thus, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama exchanging views on the CTBT in New Delhi on Tuesday was quite on the predictable lines. The Japanese, being the first and only victims of the nuclear bomb, do not miss an opportunity to advocate for a strict control on the proliferation of nuclear weapon technology. But India cannot be blamed for the CTBT not coming into force. As Dr Manmohan Singh made it clear, a new situation will arise when the US and China first ratify the CTBT. Only then can anybody raise the question why India, too, should not put its signature on it.
Despite not having ratified the CTBT, India continues to occupy the moral high ground because of its unilateral declaration of a moratorium on nuclear tests and adherence to the No First Use policy. In fact, India’s record as a nuclear weapon power is much better than that of China, which has harmed the non-proliferation cause by disguisedly helping Pakistan to acquire weapon-production capability.
India’s latest stance on the CTBT remains what the NDA government articulated after the 1998 nuclear tests — New Delhi would not come in the way of the treaty coming into force if the US and China went ahead and put their signature on it. There is a message in this for the Obama administration too, which has been more enthusiastic about taking up the nuclear non-proliferation and allied issues than the previous Bush administration. What Dr Manmohan Singh has stated, however, does not mean that India no longer considers the CTBT as a discriminatory regime. A treaty that allows those who acquired the nuclear bomb earlier than others to continue to posses it cannot help the cause of making the earth safe from the nuclear threat. The countries like Japan which are too much concerned about nuclear non-proliferation should, in fact, fight for total elimination of nuclear weapons and technology. There is need to go beyond the CTBT, as India has been insisting all these years. 

India monitoring Pak-China weapon deals, says Krishna

NEW DELHI: New Delhi is closely monitoring the sale of arms to Islamabad by Beijing, Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said on Wednesday.

“All these developments are closely monitored by the External Affairs Ministry, by the Defence Ministry and various other ministries... [as well as] the prime minister. So, let us not get into yet another speculative area,” he told reporters when asked if this would lead to an arms race in the region.

India has chalked out an ambitious plan to modernise its armed forces by acquiring arms worth $30 billion in the coming years. India has already purchased military hardware worth billions of dollars from Russia, Israel and western sources. He said India desired to “maintain peace and tranquillity at our borders and we will continue to do that”.

“I have said and I would like to repeat in the dying days of 2009 that India-China border is peaceful,” he said. The Indian Army also plans to buy specialised weapons that enable its commandos to “observe and fire” at the enemy hiding around a corner. A request for information seeking details from manufacturers of such hi-tech close-quarter weapons has been floated. The weapon system would be equipped with a high-resolution camera with night vision capability, media reports quoted an army officer as saying. App

Corruption scams generate acute row amongst Indian army top brass

—Gen. Kapoor lock horns with Fort William boss Lt Gen. Singh

From Christina Palmer & Ajay Mehta

New Delhi—An outrageous feud has erupted amongst the top brass of India Army as two top Generals, the chief, General Deepak Kapoor, and his putative successor and the Eastern Command boss, Lt General V.K. Singh have locked horns over the issue of corruption scams in the army , reveal the findings of The Daily Mail.
According to the findings of The Daily Mail, the difference between the Indian army Chief General Kapoor and the Chief of Army’s Eastern Command, Lt. General V.K Singh, who is the senior-most Lieutenant General, were emerging for the past few months after the inquiries into a military land scam began. These finding indicate that this tension between the 2 top general of Indian army reached to the extreme when a Court of Inquiry, convened by the Eastern Army Commander who is based in Fort William in Calcutta, started the proceedings and recommended for the sacking of Army Chief, General Kapoor’s Principal Staff Officer (PSO) and Military Secretary, Lt Gen. Avadhesh Prakash. According to the sources in the in the Indian army, the Army Chief General Kapoor has made an abortive attempt to defend his top confidant. Our sources in the Ministry of Defence informed that General Kapoor has officially informed the Defence Minister A.K. Antony that Lt Gen. V.K Singh was taking an over enthusiastic and “undue interest” in the land scam case of North Bengal
The Daily Mail’s investigations further indicate that the Court of Inquiry, presided over by Commander 4 Corps, based at Tezpur-based, Lt Gen. K.T. Parnaik, had forwarded its findings to Lt Gen. Singh. Based on the findings and on consultations with the Judge Advocate General (JAG) in his command, the eastern army commander recommended the “termination of services” of Lt Gen. Prakash because of his alleged involvement in a land scam case. The army sources say that this situation has paralyzed the entire military establishment as the scuffle between the 2 bigwigs of the Indian Army is rising day by day with Army Chief trying to show his muscles to Commander Eastern Command and resisting JAG branch’s recommendations while Commander Eastern Command sticking to the set rules and procedures.
The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that the Indian Defence Minister, who trying hard to stay away from this controversy over the corruption scam of the Generals of the Indian army, held a confidential meeting with his Army Chief General Kapoor on the eve of Christmas and asked General Kapoor to be easy over the matter of his PSO Lt Gen. Prakash. The sources say that upon this Gen. Kapoor demurred and defended his confidant but failed to convince the Defence Minister.
These investigations further indicate the while the report of the Court of Inquiry was being “studied and analysed”, another probe from the central command brought out “the involvement without blaming” of the military secretary in awarding a Rs 1.7-crore contract to a north Bengal-based realtor, Dilip Aggarwal.
Brigadier (Rtd) M.K Singh, a former Indian army officer and is one way or the other, associated to the state of affairs, upon contacting by The Daily Mail said that it was all indicative of a serious communication gap between Army Headquarters and the Eastern Command, a fully operational authority whose area of responsibility covers the maximum length of international borders. According to Brigadier Singh, after the report of the Court of Inquiry (CoI) was hand-delivered from Calcutta at 9.30 on the morning of December 23, Wednesday, Army Chief Kapoor was summoned for an unscheduled meeting by the Defence Minister in his office and he discussed the matter with General Kapoor for about two hours but general Kapoor remained stick to defend ‘his’ men and the meeting ended with no positive outcome.
Brigadier Singh says that there was cold war going on between general Kaporr and the Fort William boss Lt. General V.K Singh for the past few months over some personal issues. He says that since Gen. Singh had convened a Court of Inquiry that indicted Lt Gen. Prakash in the land case. Gen. Kapoor felt that the Eastern Commander did not have the authority to summon the army chief’s principal staff officer and he did so with ill-intentions. He further said that Lt Gen. V.K. Singh, whose age was caught in a discrepancy, was bypassed earlier for the post of Vice-Chief of the Army staff and somehow blamed General Kapoor for it and that is perhaps from where the row between the two began.
The Daily Mail’s findings reveal that a meeting between Defence Minister and Army Chief General Kapoor was held in the afternoon of December 24 after the minister had returned from Hyderabad. This meeting lasted for 40 minutes. During the meeting the Defence Minister and the army Chief discussed the Eastern Command’s recommendation to “terminate the services” of Prakash over the alleged Rs 300-crore land scam in north Bengal. Sources in the defence Ministry say that Minister Antony sought a summary of the investigation and the recommendations and directed that the military secretary be prevailed upon to put in his papers to avoid further embarrassment to his ministry and the army.
The Daily Mail findings suggest that Gen. Kapoor protested and defended his PSO’s position and pleaded to the Defence Minister that the Eastern Command under Lt Gen. Singh, who was the convening authority of the court of inquiry that has indicted the military secretary, has taken an “undue interest” in investigating Lt Gen. Prakash.
The military secretary was called as a witness to the court and the eastern commander does not have authority to investigate him or recommend action against one of the eight principal staff officers.
The Daily Mail’s findings further indicate that the army Chief suggested that the recommendation to “terminate the services” in other words, cashier or sack the military secretary should be toned down to “administrative action” that could involve cutting his benefits but will not drape an officer with such a long career in ignominy but the minister did not agree to it and instead conveyed that Lt Gen. Prakash should be persuaded to put in his papers if he does not do so voluntarily.
These findings indicate that the next day, December 25, Gen. Kapoor visited the defence minister at his residence, ostensibly to wish him on Christmas. Staff at the defence minister’s residence expected the meeting to last about 30 minutes or so. But it ended after 10 minutes in a very cold manner.
The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that during the time of the first unscheduled meeting, the Defence Minister was not properly briefed about the second investigation in Lucknow by a Major General.
That investigation indicted seven officers, including a Major General, in the Ranikhet Kumaon Regimental Centre land scam while Military Secretary Lt Gen. Prakash is the Colonel Commandant of the Kumaon Regiment. It was a double whammy for the Army Chief General Kapoor and his Principal aide.
The defence analysts here at New Delhi believe that this state of affairs where the Chief of Army Staff is patronizing the officers that have been proved guilty of corruption, the Indian Army is bound suffer badly.
They suggest that general Kapoor should either be removed or be asked for a volunteer retirement from the service to save the image and reputation of the institution that is already suffering from big blows of corruption.

Indian Army seeks Corner Shot weapons
December 30th, 2009 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS Tell a Friend -

New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) Seeking to equip itself for close-quarter urban warfare, the Indian Army has sought information about Corner Shot weapons that enable the user to observe and engage a target from around a corner, especially in situations like the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, an official said Wednesday.
“The Ministry of Defence is desirous of procuring a weapon system for shooting around the corner without exposing the firer or with minimum exposure of the firer. It should engage targets effectively beyond 200 metres,” says a request for information (RFI) issued to different companies.

The weapons are likely to be used by the army’s Special Forces.

The RFI, however, does not specify the number of units to be purchased. The supplier also needs to specify its willingness to allow manufacturing of the systems in India under licensed production.

Corner Shot Holdings, a US-Israeli company, unveiled the highly technological system in December 2003 and it is already being used by some of the world’s elite special forces. It includes a small, high-resolution camera and a monitor that can observe and view a target from various angles.

“The detachable video camera enables the user to scan an area prior to pinpointing a target and broadcast the footage in real time to the operating team behind or to a monitor at the command post in the rear,” an Indian Army official said.

“The weapon could be extremely useful in situations like the Mumbai terror attack, when armed terrorists played hide and seek with security forces in posh hotels. The terrorists were in an advantageous position and required the security personnel to expose themselves dangerously to nail them down,” the official added.

The army’s request for information follows the elite National Security Guard (NSG) purchasing the system at a cost of Rs.758,000 per piece. The weapon allows the shooter to track terrorists around a corner with the help of a video camera mounted on the gun, which can swivel 63 degrees on either side.

The NSG is now planning to purchase more systems so that they can be mounted on standard Swiss SIG 551 or soon-to-be upgraded 553 assault rifles and AK-47 rifles used by NSG commandos. This system is used by Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams in the US and other Western countries to counter terror attacks.

Neglect of higher Defence Management in India
Report on functioning of MOD, tabled by the Parliamentary Committee on Defense in Parliament on 16 Dec 09 have taken serious note of the lackadaisical attitude of people in power concerning India' security.
CJ: Brigadier Arun..

PAKISTAN BUILDIING 69 new bunkers on our Western borders, Chinese Army transgressing our Eastern Boundary in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh almost every second day as if on picnic and both these countries now openly joining hands against India, should have been sufficient enough reasons for  Ministry of Defence (MOD) in India to wake up and take immediate corrective measures. Not so if the current report on functioning of MOD, tabled by the Parliamentary Committee on Defense in Parliament on 16 Dec 09 is taken into account.

Kudos to this body of Indian legislatures, who cutting across party lines have taken serious note of this lackadaisical attitude of people in power concerning India’s security. The report points out that while the three wings of Indian Armed Forces are working on the ‘Long Term Perspective Plan 2012-2027’ taking the ‘11th Five Year Defence Plan 2007-2012’ as their base, it is shocking that the Indian political masters and the bureaucrats straddling the MOD, have not yet approved this five year plan, even though it is three years over date.
Based on Kargil Committee recommendations the Indian Government in 2003 had approved the plan of setting up a federal Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under MOD whose job was to oversee the functioning of the Intelligence Agencies of the three services, at the same time it was required to coordinate between the other central and state intelligence agencies. Even after six years have gone by, no effort has been made to make this operational.

Another decision aimed at better functioning of the MOD and timely decision making was that the three service headquarters will be fully integrated with the MOD and Armed Forces officers will also be posted on joint secretary and additional secretary posts which currently remains the exclusive domain of the bureaucrats. This proposal is also gathering dust.
We in India never tier off in telling all and sundry that we are a regional power in Asia on the way to become a global power. Nevertheless all the three wings of the Armed Forces are still functional on the organizations evolved prior to Second World War days. It is pathetic that our MOD has not thought it prudent till date to appoint an expert committee to recommend the reorganization of the three services keeping in view the modern technology and passage of time. This has been brought out by this Parliamentary Committee. Similarly when Chinese Navy is making stupendous accretions and China is busy ringing India with its operational bases in Pakistan, Myanmar, and SriLanka we in India continue to have critical shortages of manpower and equipment in our only Tri Service Andaman and Nicobar Command.

What is most shocking is that in 2003, based on the recommendations of the GOM, then NDA Government had decided to implement the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) System in India also. This system is being followed in America, Britain, France and 67 other countries. The only rider was that before implementation, a political consensus will be obtained. The CDS system is required to coordinate the functioning of the three services which tend to pull in different directions and bring in synergy in them. What is most important is a common doctrinal platform.

Case in point is that currently Army is harping on the concept of Cold Start so that the surprise is not lost to Pakistan as it happened in Operation PARAKRAM in 2002.For this They want Air Force to provide them with close air support. Air Force is telling Army that they should use their own means like helicopter gunship’s and not burden Air Force initially with this role as they want to degrade the overall capability of Enemy Air Force. Both schools of thoughts have merit but who decides which one to adopt? This is where CDS comes in.

Another most important function of the CDS system is that it provides a single window military advice opportunity to the Government. CDS also resolves the procurement planning requirement of the three services thereby ensuring optimal usage of the Defense Budget. The Parliamentary Committee has also taken note of large scale shortage of officers in all the three Services. Need for establishing National Defense University has also been highlighted. This Committee has done a yeoman’s job, now it is for the people of India and Political class in power at the helm, who must pressurize the power that be to implement these recommendations at the earliest.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 30 Dec 09

Pak soldier sneaks into India, arrested
Press Trust of India, Tuesday December 29, 2009, Srinagar
A Pakistan Army regular, who sneaked into India, was arrested by security forces in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Tuesday.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, an infantry man from the Mujahideen brigade, was nabbed by Army personnel near Neel border post, official sources said.

The Army is ascertaining whether Ahmed had some purpose or he simply strayed in the LoC, they said. Army authorities are interrogating him and have not handed him yet to the police, they said.

Steps to tackle Maoists improper: Ex-Army chief
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, December 29
Neither the Centre nor the states so far has taken any steps to tackle the Maoists problems, former Army Chief Gen. Shankar Roychowdhury alleged. He did not think the problem could be solved either with the deployment of the joint action force in the vulnerable areas or allowing the troops to operate there.

Roychowdhury said the Maoists problem was a human problem and an Army operation against the Maoists would be disastrous. He suggested that both the Centre and the respective state government should adopt a joint master plan for developing those neglected villages on a war footing. But for some time, the joint action force should remain there and from time to time conduct the flushing-out operations of Maoists.
Talking to a private TV channel today, the former Army chief suggested that all political parties, irrespective of their differences, should come to a common platform and launch welfare activities in those vulnerable areas with the involvement of the local people. This would compel the Maoists and other vested interests to gradually withdraw.
Roychowdhury did not think the Maoists problems could be treated merely as law and order problems of the state, meant only for the respective state government to tackle. The Centre should share the responsibility of protecting the people against the Maoists since the Centre too was responsible for their plight. He suggested that the Maoists should be brought into the mainstream in phases and they should be engaged in suitable alternatives for earning their livelihoods.
The Bengal government had taken a foolish step, according to the former Chief, by engaging the police force for combating the Maoists in the first stage instead of initiating a dialogue with the local people and redressing their grievances. 

Russia begins mounting of weapons on stealth frigate for India
Press Trust of India / Moscow December 29, 2009, 17:30 IST

Russia has launched the process of installing weapons on the first of three stealth frigates being constructed by it for India at a Kaliningrad-based naval shipyard under the $1.6 billion deal signed in 2007.

"Two torpedo units are being installed on the Teg frigate, which was launched on November 27. The works are on schedule. The Teg has been armed with a BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile battery," Sergei Mikhailov, the spokesman of Yantar shipyard where the frigates are under construction, was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS.

The three 'Talwar' class stealth frigates of Project 1135.6 were christened by President Pratibha Patil - INS Teg (sabre), Tarkash (quiver) and Trikand (bow), continuing with the Indian naval tradition of naming warship of the same class beginning with same letter.

Earlier, Russia's St Petersburg-based Baltiisky Zavod shipyard had built INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar.

The first ship is 70 per cent ready and will be delivered to the Indian Navy in 2011, while two other frigates would be handed over in 2012.

Chandigarh, December 29
As many as 500 ex-servicemen attended the Defence Pension Adalat that began at Patiala today. The adalat would serve as a platform to resolve pension-related grievances of veterans on the spot as representatives of the decision-making authorities concerned, banks and the Defence Ministry would also be present there.

Being organised under the aegis of the Controller-General of Defence Accounts, Western Command, the adalat was inaugurated by Lieut-Gen VK Chaturvedi, Director-General Manpower Planning, Army Headquarters. This is the 96th such adalat to be held in the country.

Pakistani soldier 'strays' into India, arrested
Press Trust Of India
PAK SOLDIER HELD: Army authorities are interrogating him and have not handed him yet to the police.

Srinagar: A Pakistan army regular, who sneaked into India, was arrested by security forces in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Tuesday.

Sarfaraz Ahmed, an infantry man from the Mujahideen brigade, was nabbed by Army personnel near Neel border post, official sources said.

The Army is ascertaining whether Ahmed had some purpose or he simply strayed in the LoC, they said.

Army authorities are interrogating him and have not handed him yet to the police, they said.

Based on the cease-fire agreement between India and Pakistan, authorities will take the necessary action and the arrested soldier is likely to be sent back after the investigation, official sources said in New Delhi.

The Pakistani soldier is likely to be handed back on Wednesday, official sources said.

Army reworks war doctrine for Pakistan, China
Rajat Pandit, TNN 30 December 2009, 04:32am IST

NEW DELHI: The Army is now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of a possible `two-front war' with China and Pakistan, deal with asymmetric and fourth-generation warfare, enhance strategic reach and joint operations with IAF and Navy.

Work on the new war doctrine -- to reflect the reconfiguration of threat perceptions and security challenges -- is already underway under the aegis of Shimla-based Army Training Command, headed by Lt-General A S Lamba, said sources.

It comes in the backdrop of the 1.13-million strong Army having practised -- through several wargames over the last five years -- its `pro-active' war strategy to mobilise fast and strike hard to pulverise the enemy.

This `cold start strategy', under a NBC (nuclear-chemical-biological) overhang, emerged from the `harsh lessons' learnt during Operation Parakram, where it took Army's strike formations almost a month to mobilise at the `border launch pads' after the December 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament.

This gave ample opportunity to Pakistan to shore up its defences as well as adequate time to the international community, primarily the US, to intervene. The lack of clear directives from the then NDA government only made matters worse.

"A major leap in our approach to conduct of operations (since then) has been the successful firming-up of the cold start strategy (to be able to go to war promptly)," said Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, at a closed-door seminar on Tuesday.

The plan now is to launch self-contained and highly-mobile `battle groups', with Russian-origin T-90S tanks and upgraded T-72 M1 tanks at their core, adequately backed by air cover and artillery fire assaults, for rapid thrusts into enemy territory within 96 hours.

Gen Kapoor identified five thrust areas that will drive the new doctrine. One, even as the armed forces prepare for their primary task of conventional wars, they must also factor in the eventuality of `a two-front war' breaking out.

In tune with this, after acquiring a greater offensive punch along the entire western front with Pakistan by the creation of a new South-Western Army Command in 2005, India is now taking steps -- albeit belatedly -- to strategically counter the stark military asymmetry with China in the eastern sector. There is now "a proportionate focus towards the western and north-eastern fronts", said Gen Kapoor.

Two, the Army needs to `optimise' its capability to effectively counter `both military and non-military facets' of asymmetric and sub-conventional threats like WMD terrorism, cyber warfare, electronic warfare and information warfare.

Three, the armed forces have to substantially enhance their strategic reach and out-of-area capabilities to protect India's geo-political interests stretching from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait.

"This would enable us to protect our island territories; as also give assistance to the littoral states in the Indian Ocean Region," said Gen Kapoor.

Four, interdependence and operational synergy among Army, Navy and IAF must become the essence of strategic planning and execution in future wars. "For this, joint operations, strategic and space-based capability, ballistic missile defence and amphibious, air-borne and air-land operations must be addressed comprehensively," he said.

And five, India must strive to achieve a technological edge over its adversaries. "Harnessing and exploitation of technology also includes integration of network centricity, decision-support systems, information warfare and electronic warfare into our operational plans," he added.

Apart from analysing the evolving military strategy and doctrines of China and Pakistan, the Army is also studying the lessons learnt from the US-launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and their relevance to India.

* e-ticket project for armed forces to be launched tomorrow


New Delhi, Dec 29 (PTI) To facilitate easy rail ticket booking for armed forces personnel in remote locations, Defence Ministry and Indian Railways will launch an e-ticket project at 20 sites across the country tomorrow.

Army Vice-Chief Lt Gen P C Bhardwaj will inaugurate the pilot project to provide ticket reservation through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) portal at unit locations, Defence Ministry officials said today.

The project would cover personnel from Army, Navy and Air Force, they said, adding the facility would be extended to more locations in the future.

"The project's main features are availability of the system on a 24x7 basis, user friendliness, ease of operation and accounting, while addressing security concerns," they said.

The system would automatically generate and print tickets at the unit location, apart from performing accounting, payment and financial reporting tasks.


Ministry of Defence

            The country’s march towards indigenization and strengthening of the Armed Forces through modernization and state-of-the-art weapons acquisitions were the highlights of the Ministry of Defence during the year 2009. The Navy took a giant leap with the launching of the first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’ in July. The Indian Navy is well on its way to acquire a lethal punch in the years ahead when it gets the first indigenous aircraft carrier. The keel for the carrier was laid in Kochi in February. The Navy also received the first batch of three MiG-29K fighter jets. The Air Force got a big boost when the first of the three AWACS, the IAF’s eye in the sky, joined its fleet in May. The Army’s focus during the year was on indigenization with the induction of locally built MBT Arjun and T-90 Bhishma tanks.

            To facilitate the indigenous defence industry and fast track acquisitions by transfer of technology from foreign vendors, the Ministry of Defence issued an updated Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 in October. The year also fulfilled a longstanding aspiration of the Armed Forces personnel when the President inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal in August. The other significant events during the year include Rescue and Relief during cyclone Aila that hit West Bengal and humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Sri Lanka and the participation by a 400-member tri-service contingent in the French National Day Parade for the first time.


India’s first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’, meaning ‘Destroyer of the Enemies’, was launched on July 26 at the Ship Building Center, Visakhapatnam. India thus joined a select group of nations which have the technological capability to build and operate nuclear propelled submarines. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while congratulating the Director General of the ATV (Advanced Technology Vehicle) Programme, Vice Admiral (Retd) DSP Verma and all personnel associated with it for achieving this historic milestone in the country’s defence preparedness, noted that they overcame several hurdles and barriers to enable the country to acquire self-reliance in the most advanced areas of defence technology. The Prime Minister made a special mention of the cooperation extended by Russia.

The 6,000 ton ‘Arihant’ is undergoing trials for two years before its commissioning.


In February the keel was laid in Kochi for the first indigenous aircraft carrier, making India the fourth nation to join a select club of designers and builders of over 40,000 tonne Aircraft Carriers. The ship that will carry 30 aircraft including Mig-29Klub, LCA Tejas and Kamov Ka-31 helicopters and include a complement of 1,600 crew, is expected to add punch to the Navy’s capability  when it joins the fleet in 2014. The carrier is the largest vessel for which construction has been undertaken at any Indian shipyard.


INS Airavat, the third Landing Ship Tank (Large) of the Shardul class was commissioned in May. As a platform designed for amphibious operations the ship can carry 10 Main Battle Tanks, 11 Combat Trucks and 500 Troops and has a considerable range and endurance at sea. With its weapon package, control systems and habitability conditions significantly enhanced from the earlier Magar class, Airavat delivers considerable punch and amphibious capabilities to the fighting prowess of the Indian Navy.

Four Fast Attack Craft namely INS Cora Divh, Cheriyam, Carnicobar and Chetlat were also commissioned over the year.

MiG-29K ARRIVAL      

The first batch of three MiG-29K aircraft were received on December 04, 2009 at INS Hansa Goa.  A total of 16 aircraft have been contracted from MiG RAC. These aircraft will be flown intensively after their acceptance.


            A contract was signed in January with Boeing Industries for eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft worth $2.137 Billion. Delivery of aircraft is scheduled between 2013-15.


The Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Kerala was commissioned on January 08, 2009. This Academy named INS Zamorin will be the largest officer-training Naval Academy in Asia. The Academy, spread over an area of 2452 acres along the North Malabar coastline, would be conducting a four year 'B Tech' programme in 'Electronics and Communications' and 'Mechanical Engineering' for naval cadets.


Two lady officers were inducted as the first women Observers of the Indian Navy. Sub Lieutenant Seema Rani Sharma and Sub Lieutenant Ambica Hooda were awarded ‘Wings’ on November 20, 2009.


            In June a meeting chaired by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony decided to set up a high level committee under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to review the measures taken for coastal security at regular intervals. The other members of the committee will include the Chief of Naval Staff, Secretaries of all concerned Ministries such as Defence, Home, Petroleum and Chief Secretaries of Coastal States.

One significant achievement of the year has been the integration of all maritime stakeholders, including the several State and Central agencies into the coastal security matrix. Intelligence and information sharing has undergone a transformational change. The Indian Navy has established four Joint Operation Centres in all Naval Commands. All coastal security operations are now coordinated from the Joint Operations Centre, which are manned round the clock by Naval and Coast Guard teams. In addition, the state Marine Police and other agencies such as Customs, Intelligence Bureau, Ports etc are also networked with these centers. Besides the four Joint Operation Centers at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair, each coastal district also has its own Operation Center for coordinating activity in their districts. The Coast Guard set up a station at Gandhinagar, Gujarat in December to strengthen maritime and coastal security in the northwestern region.

            In a focused drive to enlist the support of fishermen for their role, awareness campaigns targeting coastal and fishing communities were conducted.   

            Recognizing that the Marine Police and CISF are not fully trained in maritime tasks, the Indian Navy has provided training assistance to all coastal states and CISF personnel. 263 CISF personnel have already undergone training at INS Chilka, the premier training establishment for sailors in the Indian Navy. Local Naval and Coast Guard elements in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Maharashtra have also taken up similar training for the Marine Police. Nearly 1600 marine police personnel have been trained. This effort continues during joint patrols, in which the Navy and Coast Guard participate along with the Marine Police, CISF and Customs.


The Indian Navy maintained one ship on anti-piracy patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden throughout the year. During the year the Indian Naval warships escorted over 700 merchant vessels through the treacherous Gulf of Aden. About 14 piracy attempts were successfully thwarted by the Indian Navy.

From early November an additional ship has been deployed to patrol the maritime areas of Seychelles and Mauritius to counter the increasing cases of piracy in these areas.


The first of the three Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform arrived in India from Israel in May. Three Mig-29 and Jaguar aircraft escorted the giant IL-76 configured in its new avatar, each that took off from an advanced fighter airbase of South Western Air Command (SWAC). Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, SWAC, Air Marshal KD Singh, Air Defence Commander Air Vice Marshal P Singh and the AOC Jamnagar, Air Commodore C Hari Kumar and air warriors of the airbase welcomed the crew of the AWACS aircraft that included the Commanding Officer of the first AWACS squadron, Group Captain B Saju. Their maiden touchdown on Indian soil also marked the first landing of the AWACS in an IAF airbase.


On September 18, 2009 an IAF AN-32 aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in eastern Ladakh. Though helicopters have been landing at this ALG, this was for the first time that a fixed-wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 kms from the Line of Actual Control at an altitude of 13,300 feet. It marked the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.

The landing came 15 months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.


          The Su-30 aircraft was formally inducted at Air Force Station Tezpur on 15 June 15, following the upgrade of the airbase in the northeast.


President Pratibha Patil inducted the new state-of-the-art VVIP jet into the IAF on April 1, 2009.  The President later undertook a flight to Assam aboard the new Boeing 747/700, christened as ‘Rajdoot’. The sparkling white 60-passenger-capacity aircraft, designed on the lines of the US President’s Air Force One and equipped with a wide range of security cover and latest communication devices, replaces the Boeing 737.


The President of India, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil became the first woman President anywhere across the world to fly a fighter jet. She undertook the historic half-hour sortie on the Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft at the Lohegaon airbase, Pune on November 25. Next month the President boarded the INS Viraat, India’s only aircraft carrier, and witnessed the operation of Sea Harrier Vertical Take-Off and Landing fighter jets from its decks. The 50-year-old 28,000 tonnes aircraft carrier rejoined the Indian Navy in August after a year-long refit at the Cochin Shipyard.


                The Indian Air Force began flight evaluation tests for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in August. US' Boeing and Lockheed Martin, French d'Assault, Swedish SAAB, European consortium EADS and Russian MiG are vying for the deal worth around Rs. 48,000 crore ($10.2 billion). The IAF hopes to complete the tests by April, 2010.


            The Indian Air Force successfully undertook sorties to help Indian scientists study the total solar eclipse that took place on July 23. Two separate missions from Agra and Gwalior were flown along the path of the moon’s shadow, a mission that was deemed hugely successful by scientists associated with the experiment. While one AN-32 transport aircraft carrying scientific equipment, cameras and scientists that took off from Agra landed back after a three-hour flight, a Mirage-2000 trainer from Gwalior took spectacular images of the celestial spectacle from 40,000 feet. With weather being clear at the altitudes and coordinates planned by the IAF pilots, both AN-32 and Mirage-2000 pilots were able to accomplish the mission successfully.


            History of sorts was made on May 25 when the Indian Army proudly equipped itself with the first Armoured Regiment of the indigenously built Main Battle Tank, Arjun. The development marked the fruition of 35 years of research in self-reliance by dedicated Indian scientists against all odds. 16 tanks (cumulative 45 Arjun tanks) were handed over to Lt.Gen.D.Bhardwaj, DGMF, towards formation of the 1st Arjun regiment at a function in Avadi, Tamil Nadu. MBT Arjun is the state-of-art main battle tank designed and developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi along with other DRDO and industrial partners. MBT Arjun is provided with excellent mobility, superior firepower and protection and its features are comparable to contemporary tanks operated by cavalries around the world.


India rolled out its first batch of the indigenous, Russian-designed T-90 tanks in August, which will be the country’s main battle tank over the next three decades. The successor to the T-72 tanks, the T-90 - renamed Bhishma after the Mahabharat stalwart - is the one of the most advanced tanks in the world. It has night-fighting capability and can fire guided missiles from its turret. It is also designed to ensure protection of crew from radioactivity in the event of a nuclear attack. The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi in Tamil Nadu will make 100 T-90 tanks annually over the next 10 years. The tank will be the spearhead of India's armoured corps and the mainstay of its offensive operations.


            The terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have drastically come down and infiltration has been largely checked, thanks to the strict vigil on the Line of Control maintained by the Indian Army. In view of the improved situation in the state, the Army withdrew two Divisions comprising closed to 30,000 troops.


India inched closer towards its endeavour to put in place its own home-grown Ballistic Missile Defence System by successfully carrying out the third Interceptor test on March 06, 2009 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island in Orissa. The two-stage Interceptor Missile fitted with advanced systems hit the target enemy missile at 75 kms altitude. This third consecutive interception of Ballistic Missiles once again demonstrated the robustness of the Indian Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.


An updated and revised Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 was released in October 29, and it came into effect in November. It promotes indigenous defence industry, ensure transparency and accountability in all procurement cases and liberalizes Offset provisions to enable vendors to fulfil their obligations. The amended DDP-2009 introduced a new category named ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ which enables indigenous private and public industry to enter into joint ventures with foreign suppliers by Transfer of Technology and not by Research and Development.


The long-awaited Armed Forces tribunal was inaugurated by the President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil on August 07, 2009. Set up by an Act of parliament in December, 2007, the Armed Forces Tribunal has its Principal Bench in New Delhi and eight regional benches spread across the country. It has been followed with the setting up of the Tribunal’s regional benches in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kolkata and Chennai. The Tribunal will have 15 courts in all, - three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi.

Aggrieved armed forces personnel will now be able to appeal against sentences handed down by the court-martial. The Tribunal has the powers to grant bail to any person in military custody. The Armed Forces Tribunal provides a judicial forum for the redressal of grievances of about a 1.3 million strong armed forces personnel and another 1.2 million Ex-Servicemen.


            Acting upon the request of the West Bengal government, the Ministry of Defence dispatched medical teams of the Armed Forces personnel to the devastating cyclone ‘Aila’ affected areas of North and South 24 Parganas districts of the state in June. Many columns of the Army and several divers from the Indian Navy were also engaged in providing relief and rescue. These teams provided medical aid to several thousand people in the Aila affected areas. 5,000 kgs of relief stores were also distributed in the flood affected areas, which include clothing, food items and tentage. Divers from Indian Navy and Army personnel rescued 450 marooned persons and evacuated them to safer areas. Armed Forces also pressed into service Gemini boats in cyclone affected areas to distribute relief materials. IAF also pressed the Mi-17 helicopters into service to provide aid to the affected people.

When parts of Andhra Pradesh and northern Karnataka were badly affected by floods in the first week of October, the Army, Navy and IAF carried out extensive operations, rescuing over 3,600 people. More than 4.5 tonnes of rations were distributed by the Army to the marooned people in the two flood affected states. The Air Force deployed 32 aircraft and helicopters, carrying out 340 sorties.. The Navy also deployed two Chetak helicopters and diving teams for flood rescue operations.

In February the IAF also launched Operation Humsafar to supply food and medicines to the snowbound remote areas of Doda district.


           On the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, medical teams from Armed Forces were sent to war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka. Indian Air Force IL-76 transport aircraft airlifted several tones of medical aid to Colombo in March.


The Indian Army conducted the joint exercise ‘YUDH ABHYAS-09’ with the US Army at Babina near Jhansi in October, towards coordinated peacekeeping and disaster relief operation. A Mechanised Infantry Battalion of Indian Army and 2nd Squadron of 14 CAV of 254 Stryker Brigade Combat Team comprising 325 US troops participated in this exercise. The Indian and Maldivian troops conducted ‘EKUVERIN-09’ exercise in Belgaum.

Exercise COPE INDIA 2009 was held in October at Agra between IAF and US Air Force. Six IAF Jaguars participated in a joint Air Exercise with the Royal Air Force of Oman at Thumrait, Oman the same month. Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet Task Force comprising four warships carried out joint exercise ‘SIMBEX 09’ in March with the Singapore Navy. The Fleet also exercised with the US and Japanese Navies under the aegis of the MALABAR exercise. Additionally enroute, the fleet conducted exercises with the navies of Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia. On the other hand, a Western Fleet Task Force comprising four ships were deployed to Europe from May, 2009. The fleet ships touched over 15 ports and in addition to having dedicated joint operations with the Royal Navy and the French Navy under the codenames ‘Konkan’ and ‘Varuna’ the ships also conducted exercises enroute with 12 different navies viz. the Algerian Navy, Portugese Navy, German Navy, Turkish Navy, Israeli Navy, Russian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Spanish Navy, Moroccon Navy, Hellenic Navy, Egyptian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman.

Indian Naval warships and aircraft also conducted joint surveillance of the extensive Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters of Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. Our ships conducted coordinated patrols with the navies of Thailand and Indonesia.


In a New Year bonanza for the Armed Forces on January 1, 2009, the Prime Minister’s Office informed the Defence Ministry that the Armed Forces personnel would henceforth have a separate Pay Commission, which is delinked from the civilian pay panel. On April 21 the Government notified Pay Band-4A with a Grade Pay of Rs 8000 for Lieutenant Colonels and equivalents in Navy and Air Force, which benefitted about 15,000 officers. Later the Government approved higher wages under the Sixth Pay Commission for Lieutenant Generals and equivalent officers, putting them at par with the Director Generals of Police, a key demand of the Armed Forces. About 33 per cent of the total number of Lt Generals in the Army, Air Marshals in the IAF and Vice Admirals in the Navy, were granted the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) Plus scales.


The 7th Edition of Aero India, Asia’s premier Air Show, was held in Bengaluru from February 11 to 15, 2009. In size and number, this was the biggest air show, hosted by India so far. 592 exhibitors from 25 countries participated at the show. A number of aircraft including F-16, F-18, MiG-35D, Eurofighter, IJT, ALH Dhruv, AJT Hawk, C-17, Embraer 135 Business Jet Legacy 600, C-130J Hercules, Citation XLS,G 550, AN-12 Cargo and A-310 MRTT were on display. Defence Ministers of France, Peru, Bolivia, Surinam, Mongolia, Oman and Maldives came for the show. Besides high level delegations from 40 countries also attended the Show.


            The Armed Forces Journal ‘Sainik Samachar’ celebrated its Centenary on January 2, 2009. Sainik Samachar had started as Fauji Akhbar, an Urdu weekly on January 2, 1909, with an aim to provide Army personnel with ‘a summary of news with a military bias’. It was re-christened as Sainik Samachar on April 04, 1954. The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony released a Coffee Table Book ‘Soldiering On...’ on the occasion.


A 400-strong contingent of the Indian Armed Forces comprising marching columns and a combined military band from the Army, Air Force and Navy participated in the French National Day parade on July 14, 2009 in Paris. This was the first time an Indian military contingent was accorded the honour. The contingent was commanded by Air Commodore RK Mathur.


Following the resounding win of the United Progressive Alliance in the April-May General Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha, Shri AK Antony took over as the Defence Minister for the second time on May 25, 2009. Shri Antony has been at the helm of the Defence Ministry since October 25, 2006.



Shri Pradeep Kumar took over as the Defence Secretary on July 31 following the superannuation of Shri Vijay Singh. Shri Kumar was already working as Secretary (Defence Production) in the Ministry of Defence. Earlier on May 31, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik took charge as the 19th Chief of Air Staff from Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major and later the Navy got Admiral Nirmal Verma as its new chief, following the superannuation of Admiral Sureesh Chopra.

Eminent missile scientist Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat took over as the new head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Shri M Natarajan on September 1, 2009. Dr. Saraswat spearheaded the development of country’s strategic and tactical missile systems including the ‘Agni’ series of strategic missiles covering a range up to 3,000 kms.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 29 Dec 09

India to receive Nerpa submarine in May 2010
Vinay Shukla/PTI / Moscow December 28, 2009, 14:12 IST

India would receive its first new generation Nerpa Akula-II class nuclear attack submarine by March next year on a 10-year lease with the vessel being inducted into the Russian Navy prior to its transfer.

 The Nerpa submarine was today formally inducted into the Russian Navy with the raising of St Andrews Flag, shipyard officials said.

The commissioning of the submarine coincided with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to the region, but it was not clear whether he was present at the ceremony.

The submarine will be subsequently leased to the Indian Navy under the name INS Chakra in March under the $650 million for a 10-year lease.

The 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine belongs to the class of the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The Nerpa was to be initially leased to the Indian Navy in mid-2009, but its delivery was delayed due to a fatal accident killing 21 crewmen and technical staff following the release of lethal Freon gas in the sleeping quarters, while on trial sailing in the Sea of Japan.

Built by the Amur Shipyards in Komsomolsk-on-Amur the submarine has 'successfully passed final trials', a Pacific Fleet spokesman said.

"A state commission has concluded that judging by the results of all trials, the Nerpa nuclear submarine is ready to enter service with the Russian Navy," a Pacific Fleet official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

According to earlier media reports, an Indian crew is expected to arrive on Russia's Bolshoi Kamen (Big Rock) port on the Pacific Coast in January for joint pre-delivery sailing with the Russian naval crew to be followed by independent sailing under the supervision of Russian instructors.

A Tribune Exclusive
China spied on Dalai Lama in Tawang
Used unmanned aerial vehicle
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 28
In the ongoing game of one-upmanship being played between India and China, it now turns out that China had again intruded the Indian airspace. It sent an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — also popularly called a drone - on a spying mission over Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh while the Dalai Lama was there for a religious visit in the first week of November.

Indian intelligence agencies immediately reported the sighting of a Chinese UAV, near Bumla, a few km north of the historic Buddhist Monastery at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Sources said, “A UAV entered the Indian airspace on November 9 from the Sela Pass and was headed (south) towards Bumla/ Tawang.” The time of sighting was around 6 pm.
The Dalai Lama started his week-long visit to the monastery on November 8.
The Sela pass, where the UAV was sighted, is the point where Indian and Chinese troops hold border meetings. It is lowest point in that valley in the lofty Himalayas. Both sides have permanent border patrols and observation posts there and every activity is watched.
A UAV is between 14 to 20 feet long. It is normally fitted with high-resolution cameras, thermal imagers and even “listening devises”. This one would also be carrying all this, otherwise why would China send it across, sources said. It could have been used to know how big were the crowds at the monastery or even intercept some communication over mobile or satellite phones. India could have brought it down, however, this would have caused an international furore amidst the Dalai Lama’s visit.
The spying mission of the UAV is the second major violation of the Indian airspace by China after an intrusion by its choppers over Ladakh in June. Earlier this month, Defence Minister AK Antony had informed Parliament that there had been 11 violations of Indian space between December last year and September this year. This included three violations by China and six by Pakistan. The recent one during the Dalai Lama’s visit was not mentioned as the question in Parliament related to the period ending September 30, 2009.
Just days before the Dalai Lama started his visit in November, China blamed New Delhi for trying to provoke Beijing by orchestrating the Tibetan spiritual leader “controversial visit” to Arunachal Pradesh. India has rubbished the allegation, but had advised the Indian armed forces not to provide any “logistical” help.
The field formations of the Army and the IAF were advised not to be seen facilitating the visit in any manner.
The visit of the spiritual leader to the Tawang monastery was important as it had been linked with Lhasa. Till the early 50s - or before the Chinese took over Tibet - the chief Lama of Tawang was appointed by the Drepung monastery in Lhasa. 

DRDO, IIT join hands to forecast weather
Vijay Mohan/Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 28
In a first-of-its-kind venture, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has joined hands with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi, to develop indigenous capability and methodology for long-term forecast of weather.

Culmination of the project would enable generation of weather forecast reports over the entire duration of a season. At present, accurate weather forecast capability is limited to a week. “We are looking towards predicting weather and climatic formation about one or two months ahead, which would eventually be extended to forecast weather over a seasonal duration,” Ashwagosha Ganju, Director of the DRDO’s Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) said. “The project is expected to take around three years to formulate effective models for long-range weather forecast,” he added.
Engaged in studying snow physics, avalanche mitigation and climatic conditions over the Himalayas, the SASE is the nodal agency for the project. This is for the first time that such a project is being undertaken in the country. It is being funded by the DRDO. At present, accurate weather forecast in the country is limited to 3-5 days ahead, while the medium-range weather predictions done by the central agencies cover duration of a week or so.
Six experts in atmospheric sciences from the SASE and the IIT are engaged in the project. Data would be collected by DRDO observatories and weather stations while the IIT would be primarily responsible for conceiving and developing forecast models.
Recently, the SASE has also extended its mountain meteorology project, heretofore focused on Western Himalayas, to the Central Himalayan axis to improve weather forecast and avalanche warning. Besides the SASE, the India Meteorological Department, the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, the Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force are stakeholders in the project.

Xe, Formerly Blackwater, Poses Biggest Threat to Pakistan's Nukes
Dr Shahid Qureshi for

Is America out to hurt her trusted ally?
 (LONDON) - Lawyers from the local bar associations protested outside the 'secret base' of US mercenaries (Xe/Blackwater) inside the ‘Sehala’ Police Training College, a few miles from the Kahuta Nuclear Plant. Why did Pakistani media ignore the story?

Kahuta Nuke Plant
As the propaganda that Pakistani nukes are likely to fall into the hands of the Taliban continues in the American press, one wonders what might be the U.S. intent.

Seen in the light that American mercenaries have become overt operationally, it appears that the intent is to use them to ‘lift’ the Pak Nukes using the threat from the Taliban as an excuse.

It is a most ridiculous statement that the Taliban are going to walk into Pakistani nuclear sites and take control. Are nuclear weapons toys that can be taken away from an errant kid?

It is common knowledge that different sections of the system are stored in different places; "how can Taliban take over all sites and put them together” was my response to a question by Adam Brooks, BBC’s Washington correspondent, in a live program on BBC World Service TV on 23rd December 2009.

Some analysts believe that Blackwater is a bigger threat to Pakistan’s nuclear sites than real Taliban. There are reports that (TTP) ‘Tehrik Taliban Pakistan’ is co-sponsored by CIA-Raw-Mossad and perhaps some other interested parties.

In fact TTP is created to fight Taliban in Afghanistan and may be entrapments. The attacks on Pakistan's sensitive institutions are serving the purpose of the enemies of Pakistan including India.

The Al-Qaida threat is like a ‘swine flu’ which can be used anywhere from Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and FATA depending on the aims, purpose and objectives of the Neoconic emerging policies in the concerned areas.

Al-Qaida is a trump card in the hands of the defence contractors and war profiteers, main benefactors of Global War on Terror and of 9/11 terrorism. Pakistan’s spy chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha reportedly gave proof of the CIA’s involvement into destabilising/terrorist activities in Pakistan.

According to some assessments U.S. mercenaries with support of ‘locally recruited agents’ are behind the targeted killings of senior Pakistani military officers in the past few months.

In the current scenario it is irrelevant who gave permission, freedom of movement and a base in the Police Training College a few miles from the “Kahuta Nuclear Plant” to US private mercenaries (Blackwater/Xe) in Pakistan. The most important question is what Rehman Malik and Zardari are doing about it?

According to reports, four U.S. nationals, who were dressed in Taliban clothes, speaking Pashto, were arrested by the police approximately 1.5 miles from the Kahuta Nuclear Plant. They were carrying explosives and dozens of hand grenades in a 4x4 jeep with some kind of spying and jamming equipments.

When they were brought to the police station, people from Rehman Malik’s Interior Ministry and allegedly Salman Faruqui Zardari’s NRO partner and beneficiary got these criminals released without charge and handed over to the US embassy.”

Lawyers from the local bar associations protested outside the secret base of US mercenaries (Xe/Blackwater) placed inside ‘Sehala’ Police Training College. Even the head of the college, a senior DIG, was not allowed in the US facility.

That reminded me of the reported incident where military dictator General Ayub Khan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs - none other than Zulifkar Ali Bhutto, father in law of President Zardari, wanted to visit a U.S. Base in Peshawar.

His request was turned down by the base commander and he was turned away from the canteen. Soon after, a U.S. spy plane U2 was shot down in the Soviet air space and the pilot was taken into custody. Which obviously resulted in shutting down of the base as well as daily U2 flights.

In the current scenario without making corruption a moral or political issue, Pakistan is facing two major internal threats from two individuals. Asif Zardari and Rehman Malik are two major threats to Pakistan’s security and sovereignty.

Rehman Malik is responsible for providing safe passages to Blackwater mercenaries via corrupt police officials day in day out. When there is overwhelming evidence that Blackwater/Xe are involved in terrorism and anti-state activities against Pakistan’s armed forces, nuclear program and assassination of Benazir Bhutto, according to former Army Chief General Aslam Baig (whom she awarded with a medal).

Rehman Malik should be tried in open court for aiding, abetting and procuring for all the incidents when foreign mercenaries, who were released on the orders of his interior ministry. In mid September 2009 a senior police officer Nasir Aftab was sacked by Rehman Malik because he arrested and apprehended armed Blackwater agents. The incident took place in Islamabad when Superintendent intercepted some officers of an intelligence agency and marines of a powerful country riding in a vehicle. He took them to the Margala police station where a brawl took place.

The SP later lodged an FIR against some officials of the intelligence agency. The Acting Chief of Islamabad Police DIG (Operations) Bin Yamin said, "reasons of officers' removal were not mentioned in the letter”. So the responsibility comes down to Mr. Rehman Malik. He should be questioned. There is a dire need to identify ‘local collaborators’ and ‘enemies of the state’ in Pakistan.

According to a report filed by Fawad Ali of ‘The Nation’ on 14th December 2009, "17 Top Pakistani officials are protecting US interests in (NWFP) province neighbouring Afghanistan. Seventeen officials serving in NWFP on various important posts are active members of the notorious American Khyber Club (AKC) that is believed to be a hotbed of conspiracies against Pakistan; highly placed sources informed The Nation. These officials are facilitating American diplomats, operatives of CIA and mercenaries of Blackwater in their activities stretched across the province and FATA. In reciprocation, the local officials get full support in getting lucrative postings, transfers and getting away with inquiries, etc, sources disclosed and added they are taken care of by Americans who have tons of money at their disposal."

"Those who stand out in serving US interests are posted on the posts of their own choice despite lapse of tenure, and this speaks of increasing American influence in our internal matters," an official said.

Their nominees get U.S. visas in no time and the children as well as siblings of some officials are getting free educations in prestigious institutions abroad.

"These days serving American interests is more fruitful for anyone than serving interests of Pakistan," an official who was made OSD for an unforgivable crime of non-cooperation with foreigners told The Nation.

The top 17 officials who have made American Khyber Club their second home include nine from the District Management Group (DMG), six officers representing the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP), while two are in the Office Management Group (OMG). The PSP officers who take pride in having personal relations with American operatives hail from Peshawar, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Waziristan and Kohat.

They have been spotted roaming around with foreigners in their bulletproof cars and holding secret meetings with them in their offices, which is an open violation of rules and regulations, sources informed.

The DMG officials who are protecting U.S. interests in the region hail from Peshawar, Nowshehra, Swabi, Mardan and Charsadda. They also use the American Khyber Club as their unofficial secretariat.

The officials belonging to OMG and PSC Executive Group hail from Waziristan and Shabqadar. Orders have been repeatedly circulated that government officials can’t meet foreigners (Americans) without prior approval from the authorities concerned but no one seems to be interested in abiding by the rules.

On the other hand, those who are not in the good books of the American Consulate have been given insignificant posts or have simply been made Officers on Special (Spiritual) Duty (OSDs). The sources informed that Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency has reported the matter to the highest authorities in Islamabad.

While talking to the writer the above-mentioned senior journalist, Mr. Fawad Ali confirmed that he has "been threatened by the notorious Blackwater," which forced him to go public to save his life. It looks likes a failed attempt to recruit him? So what did Rehman Malik do as all the police service officers are accountable to his ministry?

Rehman Malik is toeing a "U.S. Plan of using minorities" which is becoming more and more visible - which Iranians clearly understand. The questions one should be asking Mr Malik are:

(a) Why majority of the people and companies hired by Xe/Blackwater are Shias?

(b) Why he always names Sunni sectarian groups/organisations minutes after the incidents.

(c) Is he settling scores for someone in the name of counter terrorism?

(d) Why he never mentioned Indian Raw after the attack on a Sri Lankan team in Lahore, when Punjab CID warned of India's plan long before the incident?

On the one hand they are supporting Shia minority elements in private security agencies business, but on the other making majority Sunnis realize that less then 5% Shias of Pakistan are ruling the country from Presidency, State Bank, and media.

The so called Shia left pseudo intellectuals have jumped on the U.S. bandwagon everywhere, both Pakistan and Iran should be careful with them. The US strategy of creating sectarianism failed in Iraq and it was allegedly Blackwater and private mercenaries bombing both Sunnis and Shia mosques.

The Obama Administration must bring to justice those ‘friendly spies’ arrested in the U.S., who were releasing information about U.S. troop movements in Iraq as IED's were planted on those routes.

A senior based in the region told me that sometimes these private mercenaries establish fake checkpoints, take people away for search, plant remote control bombs in their cars, tell them to collect their papers from the place where explosion is intended, when vehicles get there, devices are exploded.

These people did not know that they were carriers. Private mercenaries are terrorizing people with the help of the locals. The people who killed senior Pakistani military officers were allegedly re-trained by Xe/Blackwater.

It is a fact that soldiers and officers retire at a young age due to type of profession and need to join other professions. Exposure of these snakes in the grass, aiders and abettors of these foreign mercenaries is important.

Blackwater in Pakistan for "Targeted Killings"

According to a report, “The security company of Ikram Sehgal, MD of Pathfinder and Security Management Services (SMS) was brought into the spotlight for being security providers of American embassy, and the strength of 20,000 plus security guards employed in that organization armed with sophisticated weapons and armoured vehicles were discussed."

The cause of frustration is solely based on suspicious activities of foreign agencies and their agents in Pakistan with local backing. It is important to analyze what owners of these agencies are up and to and where they are going. For Example as reported in the media, Mr Ikram Sehgal’s statement, "No harm in recognizing Israel", is not only treacherous but against the state of Pakistan. Mr Ikram Sehgal, chief editor of the Defence Journal, said on Saturday that there would be no harm in Pakistan’s recognition of Israel if Tel Aviv could be pursued to refrain from a pro-Indian policy.

In a lecture at the Department of International Relations at Karachi University, he said if Jordan and Egypt could recognize Israel, why not Pakistan? He does not understand the legality of the issue and historical stands of the father of the nation on the issue. Should this man be allowed to continue run his ‘private army’ which could be converted into Israeli army at any time? A few years back Brinks USA was also among those who jumped into the local security business, but a major cause of panic is the recent recovery of weapons during a raid on the residence of Capt. Zaidi of InterRisk security agency and the discovery of illegal prohibited weapons. It was recently reported that an international company SkyPlan is delivering NATO supplies via Sialkot airport. Why has this matter not been fully investigated as to who is behind these activities?

Did Pakistan Armed Forces train Black water/Xe’s local recruits to work against the national interests of the state? As far as Zardari and Rehman Malik are concerned, they have converted Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party into (PPPP) Pimping, Pleasuring and Profiteering Party.


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal