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Saturday, 5 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 05 Nov 09

Tell Pak to stop anti-India terror: PM to Russia
Three-day visit to Moscow begins tomorrow
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 4
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that Russia being a great power could use its influence to convince Pakistan that the strategy of using terror as an instrument of state policy against India was counter-productive.

“On our part, if Pakistan’s territory ceases to be used by terrorists, we see immense opportunities for the two countries to work together in cooperation. There are immense opportunities of expanding trade, investment and technology flow between the two nations,” he told Russian journalists ahead of his three-day visit to Moscow beginning Sunday.
Stressing that India and Russia could work together to devise effective counter-terror strategies through coordinated intelligence and information system, the PM said the Indian subcontinent faced the onset of terrorism aided, inspired and instigated by ‘our neighbour’.
In the wide-ranging interview, Manmohan spoke at length about historic India-Russia ties, global economic crisis and other issues.
He sought to dispel the impression gaining ground that India was tilting more towards the US, while ignoring its long-standing relationship with Moscow. “We are clear that our growing engagement with the rest of the world cannot be at the cost of our time tested ties with Russia. Russia is an important factor of peace, stability and security in the world,” said Manmohan.
Admitting that there were still certain obstacles to be crossed before India and Russia could clinch the deal over Admiral Gorshkov carrier, the PM expressed confidence that the two countries could find practical solutions to the problems. “Collaboration between our two countries in the field of defence is a very vital aspect of our development. It will stay that way for many years to come.”
Cooperation in the field of nuclear energy had been a very important pillar of the India-Russia cooperation. India had identified new sites for collaboration with Russia for nuclear power projects. The PM was in favour of liberalising the bilateral visa regime so as to develop the closest possible business and people-to-people contact between the two countries.
Referring to the impact of the global economic crisis on the Indian economy, the PM said the immediate effect was that the growth rate declined to around 6.7 per cent. This year, the government expected the growth rate to be about 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent. In two to three years’ time, the PM was confident that the Indian economy could bounce back to the growth rate of about nine per cent per annum.
Meanwhile, there were indications that India and Russia could sign an atomic energy agreement on the lines of the 123 agreement that has been inked by India and the United States recently. The pact would cover a broad spectrum of bilateral nuclear trade. Although, India has a nuclear pact with Russia, it is confined to the construction of nuclear sites.
Russia is already building four nuclear energy reactors at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and two additional sites have been allocated for new reactors in Haripur and West Bengal.
In 2008, Russia was the third country to sign a nuclear deal with India after the latter’s pact with the US. During the visit, the two sides are also expected to sign agreements for enhancing cooperation in the health and culture sectors.

Afghan Crisis
No ground-level role for India: US
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 4
In what will address apprehension among political parties over the sensitive issue of India’s role in battling terrorism in Afghanistan, the US has, so far, not sought any ground-level role for the Indian armed forces. US Pacific Command Chief Admiral Robert F Willard, who is responsible for the entire Asia-Pacific region, today said no proposal of joint Indo-US operations in Afghanistan has been discussed during his present visit to India. Meeting a group of news persons here in the national capital, Admiral Willard, however, made it clear that US, which leads the collation forces, favours a significant role for India in ensuring peace in the trouble-torn region.

Terming India as one of the most important military partner of the US, the Admiral, said the pacific command will foster that relationship. The Admiral, who took over as the command some six-weeks ago, said “it is for the Indian military and the Indian government to decide ( its own role in Afghanistan)”
India has to decide whether it wants a military presence in the war-ravaged country, and also a role in the period when US troops withdraw. President Barack Obama has said withdrawal will commence in the summer of 2011, but not put an end date on the withdrawal, Willard pointed out. He was replying to questions if US was satisfied with Indian participation in the Afghan peace process and also India military presence once US troops withdraw.
The Commander said the US and India have discussed the latter’ role in Afghanistan and Pakistan during every engagement, including during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent talks with President Obama in Washington.
On the possibility of a trilateral India-US-China military arrangement in the Asia-Pacific region, Willard said it was “premature,” while adding that US China military engagement lags behind and the US is looking to improve military dialogue with China. The US continues to engage China and so does India.
Asked about China building an aircraft carrier, the US commander said Beijing had shown “intent on operationalising the warship by 2015, for which “dedication and commitment" was required as it was "an expensive and complex" process.
When asked if the long-tanding Indo-Russian military relationship was a hindrance to US relationship with India, Admiral Willard said “there were no such invisible walls”.
“In fact, the US is also improving relations with Russia,” he added.

New Delhi, December 4
Notwithstanding the recent verbal spats between India and China, Defence Minister AK Antony today played the “statesman’s role” saying India did not want to escalate differences with China and would work together to strengthen cooperation in various areas to benefit both countries. A Defence Ministry spokesperson issued a statement here tonight after a delegation from China led by Peoples’ Liberation Army Deputy Chief Gen Ge Zhen Feng called on Antony. The delegation also met the Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar.

Gen Feng, who is on a six-day visit from December 1 to 6, said China would observe the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and China in next year in 2010 as an important occasion to strengthen people-to-people contact between the two countries.

New Delhi, December 4
The three chiefs of Defence staff today, on the occasion of Navy Day paid their homage to the martyrs at the national war memorial at India Gate. Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and Air Chief Marshal PV Naik paid floral tributes to the soldiers at the war memorial. The Navy, the smallest of India’s defence forces operates one of the largest forces in the Indian Ocean with a fleet of more than 155 vessels, but many of its ships are old and due for replacement.

There were presently 40 ships and submarines on order, according to the Navy Chief. The Indian Navy is acquiring a number of platforms-frigates, destroyers, corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, mini counter vessels, fast interceptors and tankers, while finalising the design for the landing platform dock on the lines of INS Jalashwa.
The Navy Chief had said earlier that the Navy plans to increase its fleet strength from 130 to 170 warships within the next decade in a bid to establish itself in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
Naval Chief had said 60 more aircraft and 60 helicopters would also be inducted in the aviation wing of the fleet during the same period.
Admiral Verma had said recently that the Indian Navy would be acquiring 40 warships and new fighter jets indigenously and from abroad.
The Indian cabinet committee on security had recently approved the formation of ‘Sagar Prahari Bal’ or SPB, a new naval force formed to protect coastlines and naval bases of India. The 1,000 officers and sailors of the Indian Navy forming part of SPB will commence their three-week training from January 11 at Kochi. — ANI

New Delhi, December 4
The Mahar regiment of the Army, which has around 24,000 personnel, has sought suggestions of serving and retired officers of the regiment in further improving welfare measures for officers and troops of the regiment. Three battalions of the regiment are also deployed in counterinsurgency duties in the valley.

The colonel commandant of the regiment, chief of staff HQ southern command, Lt Gen RK Swami, met with serving and retired officers in the national capital. Amongst the other senior officers of the regiment present on the occasion were Maj Gen SK Sharda (retd), Maj Gen Bhupinder Yadav (retd), Lt Gen DR Sehgal (retd), Lt Gen CM Seth (retd), Maj Gen AK Choudhury (retd), Brig OP Gurung, (retd) and Brig ID Vashist, (retd).

Armed forces are fully prepared to counter any challenges: Defence Ministry

New Delhi [^], Dec 4 (ANI): Central Government on Friday clarified that Indian [^] armed Forces are fully prepared, battle-worthy and capable to counter any challenges at very short notice, in keeping with the task assigned to defend the nation.

In a clarification given by the Defence Ministry in the wake of reports in a section of the media regarding the Army not being fully combat ready, it said: “The modernisation is a deliberate process and is progressive in nature, the deficiency of the military hardware is reviewed at regular intervals and replacement of these are projected after deliberation based on the operational requirement and enhancement of operational efficiency keeping pace with modernization.”

“Projection of military hardware requirements has already been made and these are at various stages of procurement. The Defence procurement procedure is also amended periodically to ensure transparency and effectiveness in procurement,” it added.

The Defence Ministry further stated that : “The combat efficiency of the Army at no point be doubted as the military preparedness and combat efficiency is the foremost and primary task. There has been no compromise in this issue. The progress of modernization is monitored closely at various levels to minimize the shortfall.” (ANI)

France offers to sell artillery, tanks to India

Ashok Sharma
First Published : 05 Dec 2009 01:33:16 AM IST
Last Updated :

NEW DELHI: France offered Friday to sell artillery and tanks to the Indian army as the two sides expand existing defense ties now that India has emerged as a major arms buyer.

Defense relations between India and France have deepened over the last few years, and the two countries share similar views on global terrorism and regional security, French Defense Minister Herve Morin told reporters.

Morin said he discussed with his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony the possibility of New Delhi buying artillery and tanks from his country. He did not provide details.

They also discussed upgrading nearly 50 French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft currently being used by the Indian air force and six Scorpene submarines that are being built in a dockyard near Mumbai, he said.

Morin also said India and France agreed to exchange intelligence to counter the threat posed by terrorism to both countries.

A French Embassy statement said Morin's talks in New Delhi were also in preparation for the proposed visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to India early next year.

Morin was to leave for Paris later Friday.

Indian defense minister meets with Chinese military delegation
    NEW DELHI, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony Friday met with visiting Vice Chief of General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China Major General Ge Zhenfeng and his military delegation.

    Antony expressed his welcome to Ge. He said that it is in the interests of regional and world peace, stability and development for India and China to develop friendly and cooperative relations as two major developing nations.

    Antony said over the past several years, India and China have been carrying out relatively close cooperation in economy, culture and science and technology. As the improvement of relations between the armed forces of the two countries is helpful to the development of bilateral relations, India wishes to seek close exchanges and cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, in order to increase trust and understanding between the two armed forces.

    Ge said that over the past several years, China and India have seen their relations developing with a good momentum. It is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples for China and India to maintain peaceful co-existence, carry out mutually beneficial cooperation and seek common development. This will also help maintain peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and even the whole world

    He said that Chinese government and people pay great importance to having good relations with the Indian government and people, and are willing to work with India to safeguard the good momentum of development of bilateral relations, in order to push forward a sustainable and healthy development of Sino-Indian Strategic Cooperative Partnership.

    Ge said that on the whole, the relations between the armed forces of China and India have seen smooth development over the past several years. China wishes that through common efforts, the two armed forces can further develop cooperation to enforce the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.

    Arriving in New Delhi on Tuesday, Ge and his military delegation also met with Chairman of the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the Indian Armed Forces and Army Chief Deepak Kapoor.

Not battle-ready before 2027, admits Indian Army
Kartikeya Sharma & Gaurav Sawant (Headlines Today)
The Indian Army, one of the world's largest, has admitted it is far from being battle-ready. The force is 50 per cent short of attaining full capability.

The admission is part of the army's internal assessment report submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence. Headlines Today has exclusive access to the report.

The report says it will take around 20 years for the army to gain full defence preparedness. The infantry, artillery and the armoury would be fully ready for battle only by 2027. This means that in the event of a war in the next two decades, the country may prove to be a virtual sitting duck.

Going by the report, the force seems most vulnerable as far as combat helicopters are concerned. The report says the army has attained an abysmal 17 per cent capability in combat choppers. Full combat capability by helicopters would not be possible before 2027.

Another problem is the army's inability to develop a communication network. India will not have a real-time information sharing network before 2027. The current capability is just 24 per cent despite the country's stellar show in information technology.

What's really shocking is the shortage in fighting arms. The artillery has just 52 per cent of the total capability required to defend the country. The country will near 97 per cent capability in artillery only by 2027.

The infantry too is struggling at a 65 per cent capability. The infantry wants to replace its indigenous INSAS rifles, acquire night-fighting capabilities, new generation anti-tank missiles and rockets. Shields for nuclear, biological and chemical warfare too are not properly in place.

The picture isn't rosy for the mechanised and special forces units either, which are way behind their required defence preparedness.

Ready to take on any challenge at short notice: Indian Army
admin on December 4, 2009 — Leave a Comment

New Delhi, Dec 4 (IANS) The Indian Army reiterated Friday that it was fully prepared and capable to counter any challenge at a very short notice.

“It may also be understood that our armed forces are fully prepared, battle-worthy and capable to counter any challenges at a very short notice, in keeping with the task assigned to defend the nation,” the army said in a statement.

“It is clarified that modernisation is a deliberate process and is progressive in nature. The deficiency of the military hardware is reviewed at regular intervals and replacement of these are projected after deliberation based on the operational requirement and enhancement of operational efficiency keeping pace with modernization,” the statemetn added.

Recent media reports have suggested that the operational preparedness of the army has suffered as its modernisation drive has slowed down for a variety of reasons, ranging from corruption in defence deals to delays in selecting equipment to be procured.

The army said its combat efficiency could not be doubted as this was its primary task.

“There has been no compromise in this issue. The progress of modernization is monitored closely at various levels to minimize the shortfall,” the statement added.

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