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Friday, 11 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 11 Dec 09

DRDO’s focus: Deep penetration radars 
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, December 10
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has directed its focus on developing radars useful for fighting low intensity conflicts (LICs).

S Varadarajan, director of Electronic and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE) - a DRDO affiliate - said they were working on developing radars that would capture images penetrating obstacles such as foliage and concrete walls. “These radars are urgently required by our security forces,” he said.
The LRDE director, while talking to this reporter on the sidelines of the International Radar Symposium, India (IRSI), that began here yesterday, said the foliage penetration radar would be operated from an airborne platform and would be able to detect man and manmade objects hidden below foliage.
He said the wall penetration radar would be kept in a horizontal position on the ground and detect targets - both moving and stationary - hidden behind concrete walls. Varadarajan said they were also working on a radar with the capability to penetrate the ground to search for hidden mines. This radar would be operated by remote control since direct manual control could put the life of its handler in danger. All these radars would be ready in “two to three years time”.
He said work was on to develop synthetic aperture radar (SAR) of X-band frequency. An SAR having X-band frequency is considered ideal for military purposes since such radars pick up metallic objects well and give accurate images. The radar could be used by fitting it with a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). Varadarajan said it would take another three years time for the X-band SAR to be ready.
The LRDE director also revealed that work on manufacturing an indigenous Active Electronically Scanned Array radar (AESA radar) had made significant progress. AESAs allow ships and aircrafts to broadcast powerful radar signals to detect targets while remaining hidden. He said the AESA radars would be fitted with LCA Mark 2 - an upgraded version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft - slated to be rolled out in 2014.

Strategic blunders of India since Independence


Thu, Dec 10, 2009 12:56:10 IST

SIXTY TWO years of negligence in security has brought us to the stage where we need to lean on the United States to put pressure on Pakistan who has proclaimed a strategy of a ‘1000 cuts’ to bleed India. India is incapable of answering the outrageous terrorist attacks on Mumbai and other cities, and mayhem in Jammu and Kashmir.

Nehru was the visionary who set us on this course of neglect of the armed forces based on the flawed principle of ahimsa, reinforced by an erroneous understanding of the freedom struggle, Congress having taken all the credit for it by Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. It failed to take into account the role of the Azad Hind Fauj and Netaji’s relentless struggle for India’s freedom.

This was to deny the greatest son of India his role in forcing the British to quit. The court martial of three officers of the Azad Hind Fauj, Colonel Nawaz, Maj Sehgal and Captain Dhillon at Red Fort in 1945-46 ignited the nation and made the Indian army uneasy. Naval mutiny in Mumbai and various mutinies by small units at various military stations, such as Karachi, Jabalpur and daily fisticuffs in officers’ messes and verbal duals between British and Indian officers made the British uncomfortable.

The intelligence input was that if anything happened to the three INA officers under court martial, India would erupt and not a single British man or woman would escape to England. The result was a hasty decision to leave India, even advancing the date of transfer of power from June 30, 1948 to August 15, 1947. This was confirmed by Lord Clement Attlee in Calcutta when he visited India later. He was asked why the British left India when actually there was no real movement for freedom after 1930, except for the British policy of divide and rule, igniting Hindu-Muslim feuds throughout India. His answer was straightforward, we had lost the trust of the Indian army. In answer to the second question as to the impact of the non-cooperation movement on the freedom of India, he sarcastically chewed out the word minimal.

On independence, Nehru decided to cut the armed forces to size, both in strength and standing. Army’s pay packet was reduced by one-third. Its strength was brought down to 150,000 and later to 75,000 only.

Further disbandment came to a halt as Kashmir erupted when the Pakistan army attempted to takeover the state with Kabulis and disguised Pakistan army personnel. 194 and 1948 saw intense fighting in J&K, where Indian army again achieved such firsts as taking tanks to the highest point at the Zojila Pass and opening the Srinagar-Leh Road, failing which Ladakh would have been lost as Gilgit and Skardu were.

The army was on the move and the Pakistan army running away when our first major strategic blunder took place. India went to United Nations, in spite of Sardar Patel and the army advising against it.

Recognition of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet in 1950, and withdrawal of our military posts from Lhasa and Yatung brought China to our Northern borders and opened another front to guard. We hallucinated about Hindi Chini bhai bhai and neglected our defence. This resulted in the shameful debacle of 1962, called a ‘Himalayan Blunder’. But most shameful act was acceptance of ceasefire, unilaterally declared by Chinese and not preparing to fight back. After all, nations suffer tactical reverses, but they do not necessarily become strategic defeats. Why have we accepted the 1962 debacle as final and never thought of retaking our lost land from the aggressor?

The 1965 war was another blunder that could have turned into a monumental disaster, but for the tenacity of the Indian soldier. In 1958, Pakistan entered into a pact with US and started receiving arms aid. The only action Nehru took was to get a verbal assurance from US that these arms would not be used against India. Pray, who were they for then? It didn’t dawn on our Prime Minister to upgrade our army arsenal to match Pakistani preparations. Worse was the 1962 debacle effect, which diverted all attention to the North, neglecting the Western front. The result was a mismatch and a weaker Indian army against Pakistan Patton tanks, long range guns and sabre and star fighters. They were not only far superior to our World War II equipments in performance, but numerically also outnumbered us.

Besides, our intelligence failed to establish even the basic structure of the Pakistan army, thinking it had only one armoured division, the main striking force of any army, same as us, when it had two. Fortunately our soldiers fought Pakistan to standstill in the plain area, while our troops in the mountainous terrain of Pir Panjal and Kargil sector captured the important Haji Pir Pass, reopening the Poonch-Uri Road and making Pakistan defenses untenable in these areas. Alas, at Tashkent, Shastriji returned the strategic Haji Pir Pass, again closing the link to Uri and allowing Pakistan the freedom to infiltrate into J&K through this pass. We won the war on battlefield, but lost on negotiating table.

In 1971, we created history by liberating a nation and decisively defeating the Pakistani army, capturing 93,000 PoWs. Alas, we squandered the victory at Shimla where Indira Gandhi fell for the false promises of the smooth talking Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. We won the war on battlefield, but again lost on negotiating table.

In 1974, our scientists did India proud by making a N-bomb and demonstrating it at Pokhran. Alas, we fell for the US threat and disassembled all infrastructure; though an alerted Pakistan went on to acquire the bomb and succeeded in 1985, while we remained without one for a much longer period.   Under the threat of the bomb, Pak was able to put Punjab on fire and later J&K. Our stronger armed forces were impotent before the N-bomb threat. Fortunately in 1998, India got a government that looked at security first and under the leadership of Vajpayee we reasserted ourselves at Pokhran II.

Kargil was to a certain extent an intelligence failure, but righted by the valour of our soldiers and young officers. It is a tribute to the army officer class that such high rates of casualty among officers shows leadership from the front. Our shat shat shradhanjali to the 527 brave hearts of the Indian army and air force. The nation paid tribute to them on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Kargil victory, though government actions left a bitter taste.

The question being asked today is whether Sharm-Al-Sheikh will fall in the same category of strategic blunders? How Chinese are claiming Arunachal Pradesh? India is threatened externally and internally, and the government is fast asleep. Will we ever learn from our shameful historical blunders?

After touching skies in Sukhoi, Prez to go underwater
Press Trust Of India
PROUD PRESIDENT: Patil looks on as she sits in a Sukhoi fighter aircraft at an air force station, in Pune on Nov 25.

New Delhi: After she took to the skies in an Indian Air Forcer Sukhoi fighter jet in November, President Pratibha Patil is likely to have an underwater odyssey amid plans to set sail this month-end on INS Viraat.

Virat, which is India’s sole aircraft carried, crossed the golden jubilee milestone on November 18 this year.

While the date was being firmed up by the Navy and the Rashtrapati Bhavan officials for December 28, official sources said on Thursday that the President, after reviewing the Navy’ Western fleet in Mumbai, will leave for Nilayam in Hyderabad for her annual winter retreat.

This visit will also give the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces an opportunity to get a first hand view of the Navy’s preparedness in coastal security after 26/11, the sources said.

Patil is unlikely to spend a night on board the aircraft carrier.

The President’s sea sojourn comes barely a month after she took to skies in IAF’s frontline fighter aircraft - Sukhoi 30MKI.

Patil went up to the height of over 8,000 feet as a co-pilot in the plane which was commandeered by Wing Commander S Sajjan of Pune-based 30 ‘Rhinos’ squadron.

The 28,000-tonne Centaur class aircraft carrier, which was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on November 18, 1959, was later bought by India in 1987 and rechristened INS Viraat.

The warship, which has already served the Indian Navy for 23 years, recently rejoined the fleet after a year long upgrade to give it a life extension for another five years.

The service life of the aircraft carrier is expected to last till 2015, nearly 15 years over and above its life span of 40 years.

By that time, the Navy expects Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, bought from Russia in 2004, to join its fleet and the indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) being built in Kochi too would be ready for induction by 2015.

Army to use Zanskar ponies to carry supplies in higher reaches
TNN 11 December 2009, 01:59am IST

NEW DELHI: If China's People's Liberation Army can use yaks to ferry supplies along the border, the Indian Army is planning to brandish a new weapon of its own: the famous Zanskar ponies.

The Army plans to gradually replace mules with Zanskar ponies -- one of the indigenous breeds of equines whose native tract is the Zanskar Valley in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir -- to ferry supplies, arms and ammunition to soldiers manning forward posts in the area.

"We have undertaken `in situ' breeding of Zanskar ponies in Ladakh region. These ponies are better suited than mules for snow-bound high-altitude areas,'' said Army's Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC) director-general Lt-General J K Srivastava on Thursday.

"These ponies, with a lifespan of 25 years, can each carry 50-60 kg. We plan to supply Army formations in the region with 300 of these ponies as pack animals,'' he added.

Incidentally, DRDO's Defence Institute of High-Altitude Research lab at Leh has also been conducting research on Zanskar ponies, including conservation, multiplication and upgradation of the local equine germplasm.

RVC is also into horse and dog breeding and training. It already rears and trains guard, sniffer and search-and-rescue dogs for Army, National Security Guards, Central Industrial Security Force and other paramilitary forces.

In its latest endeavour, RVC is now planning to import around 40 dogs of breeds like Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, German Shepherd, Belgian Shepherd and Labrador to further improve their gene pools.

"RVC dogs have performed tremendously well in the most difficult and challenging counter-terrorism operations. We will provide the dogs to Delhi Police for the Commonwealth Games next year. The National Disaster Management Authority has also sought search-and-rescue dogs,'' said Lt-Gen Srivastava.

India’s somersault

Sultan M Hali

After blackballing Pakistan for the security of its nukes and expressing grave concern over the possibility of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling in the hands of terrorists, India has turned a complete somersault. On December 6, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor told a TV channel that India is not worried about the security of Pakistan’s nukes. This is a far cry from the alarmist reports emanating from Delhi and being echoed in Washington. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram, perhaps in consonance has announced a gradual reduction of troops from Indian occupied Kashmir. Indian motives for these somersaults are being mulled over.

The statement by the Army Chief, General Kayani, following the attack on the Rawalpindi mosque on Friday may hold the key to it. His words, “The nation, including the army, stands united in sharing their grief,” and “Pakistan is our motherland. It is the bastion of Islam and we live for the glory of Islam and Pakistan. “Our faith, resolve and pride in our religion and in our country is an asset, which is further reinforced after each terrorist incident,” may have contributed to the change. Equally important is the factor of Interior Minister Rehman Malik declaring that concrete evidence of Indian interference in Pakistan has been provided to the Foreign Office which will take it up at an appropriate forum. India’s sponsorship of miscreants to commit acts of sedition, sabotage and subversive activities in Pakistan, especially in the tribal regions of FATA, Swat and Balochistan have been a matter of grave concern to Pakistan. Now that Pakistan has irrefutable evidence of India’s involvement, confronting India is the only option. The arrest of three persons in Navi Mumbai, on the outskirts of Mumbai with five kilos of uranium has been a matter of apprehension. Earlier, A bizarre incident, pointing to serious security lapse, took place at the Kaiga nuclear power station at Karnataka’s Uttar Kannada district on 25 November 2009. Reportedly a cooler of drinking water was found contaminated with Tritium, which is a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen. Tritium is used in preparation of nuclear weapons and can cause damage to human body cells on consumption. Fifty-five employees were hospitalized due to consumption of contaminated water; two of them are still in hospital due to serous effects. Indian authorities and media is focusing on a possible act of sabotage by an insider who was supposedly able to steal a vial of tritium and mix it with the drinking water at the installation.

While Indian authorities and media are focused on an act of sabotage by a disgruntled employee and may later on try to point to foreign hand in it in an attempt to mitigate the consequences of the incident, the fact remains that security of Indian NBC installations is under microscope once more. Security issues of ambitious nuclear programme of India may force the world to take notice and slowdown the race for collaboration with India in the field of nuclear technology. Three years earlier, a container packed with radioactive material was stolen from a fortified research facility in eastern India, prompting a major hunt and fears of contamination. It carried uranium and radiation and could have an adverse effect in the region. The theft comes a year after police in the northeastern state of Assam arrested two uranium thieves after detectives posing as buyers offering 1.5 million rupees (34,000 dollars) managed to recover stolen radioactive material. In 1993, some 97 kilograms (213 pounds) of semi-processed uranium ore was stolen from another Federal Department of the Atomic Energy facility. Jharkhand is the only Indian state that produces uranium, but New Delhi says it is not economically viable to use the low-yield product to generate nuclear energy on a commercial scale. Another uranium theft case to come to light was reported on 27 August 2001, when police in West Bengal revealed that they had arrested two men with more than 200 grams of semi-processed uranium. According to the press report, Indian intelligence officials believed that a uranium smuggling gang was operating in West Bengal Apparently these grave lapses by India, coupled with the concrete evidence Pakistan has acquired of Indian involvement in destabilizing Pakistan, have prompted the Shashi Tharoor statement and troop reduction announcement. Simultaneously, news that Pakistan’s ISI chief, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha confronted his CIA counterpart Leon Panetta, with confirmed reports that to achieve its objectives the CIA hired the services of at least a dozen Afghan warlords inside Afghanistan and provided through them arms and finances to militants in FATA and Swat to carry out murders and devastations in the country. Reportedly, its rationale was to draw the Pakistan Army into launching attacks on the Taliban, an action, Pakistani security forces were demurring on. The Pakistani spy chief’s no nonsense approach may have surprised his US counterpart, but along with CIA’s involvement reports, concern was expressed regarding India’s extended operations against Pakistan through Afghanistan and the US was provided proof of it. It was reiterated that the Indians cannot undertake such wide-scale activities in this region without the tacit approval and backing of the CIA.

The attack last Friday in the Westridge Mosque in Rawalpindi, in which serving and retired Army Officers and their offspring were deliberately targeted, indicates intricate planning, reconnaissance and a well articulated stratagem.

The assault on Moon Market in Lahore and the others following it, are also reflective of very sophisticated intrigues and machination, which the ragtag militia of Taliban and Al-Qaeda are not capable of conducting. The change in US attitude regarding Robert Gates, U.S. Defence Secretary declaring that U.S. won’t pursue Taliban leaders in Pakistan; and also expressing doubts about Osama bin Laden being in Pakistan; Hillary Clinton declaring her satisfaction regarding the security of Pakistan’s nukes and Admiral Mike Mullen’s assertion that Kashmir issue’s resolution is a must for peace in South Asia, are evident reactions to Pakistan’s investigative exertion. The Indian somersault may be yet another ploy to dupe the world, so we have to be wary of the Indian scheming.

Mirage math: Israel better than France

New Delhi, Dec. 10: Israel is close to swinging an order to upgrade French-origin Mirage 2000 aircraft with the Indian Air Force (IAF) despite France’s charm offensive in hosting the Indian military on the Champs Elysees.

Tel Aviv has offered to upgrade the frontline fighter aircraft, of which the IAF has three squadrons, at rates nearly 40 per cent less than the price quoted by the French.

Israel, whose chief of defence staff returns to Tel Aviv after visiting New Delhi this week for the first time since diplomatic relations were established in 1992, is also favoured to win an order for 18 quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles (QR-SAMs) from the Indian Army that could cost more than Rs 2,000 crore.

The possible loss of the Mirage 2000 upgrade bid will hurt the French the most.

In July this year, France had hosted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and, in a rare honour, contingents of the Indian armed forces led the Bastille Day parade. Last week, French defence minister Herve Morin was in New Delhi courting the Indian defence establishment.

Early next month, President Nicolas Sarkozy could be back in India with wife Carla Bruni whom he has promised to take to Taj Mahal. Sarkozy visited India in January last year minus Carla.

Defence ministry sources said the delegation led by Israeli defence services chief, General Gabi Ashkenazi, made presentations to the top brass, including the chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, on the Mirage 2000 upgrade that Israel Aircraft Industries would carry out in collaboration with other firms.

In back-of-the envelope calculations, the cost of the Israeli bid totals Rs 96 crore per aircraft while the French bid is worth Rs 152 crore. The IAF has at least 51 Mirage 2000s.

The upgrade would include superior avionics and electronic warfare systems that would extend the service life of the aircraft by 15 years.

Although French companies Dassault Aviation and Thales are the original equipment suppliers, the price quoted, say defence ministry sources, may be put to better use by ordering new aircraft.

The French have already beaten down prices and there is a possibility they will go even lower. They are keen that the deal be done at the time of Sarkozy’s visit, though similar hopes during Singh’s Paris visit in July were dashed.

For the Spyder QR-SAM missile systems, the army may sign a contract within a month. The IAF has already contracted the Israelis for the systems.

The close-range missile defence systems are meant as a protective shield for the army’s critical immovable assets.

Defence equipment suppliers under CBI scanner
Express News Service Posted online: Friday , Dec 11, 2009 at 0059 hrs
Pune : “Material suppliers defrauded the defence ministry of Rs 6.7 crore”

After education institutes, it is the turn of city-based defence material suppliers to come under the scanner of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) of the CBI. Rishi Raj Singh, Joint Director, CBI (ACB), Mumbai, said here on Thursday the scam that was still being probed was to the tune of Rs 6.7 crore.

“Two material suppliers of the Indian armed forces are under the scanner of the CBI for defrauding the defence ministry of Rs 6.7 crore,” said Singh. He said one defence equipment manufacturer from the city has supplied 4,000 low quality mudguards worth Rs 5 crore to the armed forces. The mudguards are used in all terrain vehicles procured by the Army from Russia. He said investigations revealed that though the company was given a contract to do the job, the work was being executed by other local units with hardly any infrastructure.

“The quality control department didn’t take any step in spite of being aware of the quality standards prescribed for the products by the defence ministry. The samples of mud guards have gone for testing to IIT, Powai and we will initiate action against the firm once we get the results,” said Singh.

“Another city-based defence supplier that we are investigating supplied substandard chains, which are as good as junk, to the defence forces for tying together the wheels of vehicles that ply in high altitude areas that witness snowfall. They need to conform to certain quality standards otherwise there is a risk to the life of those travelling in these vehicles in inhospitable terrain and climate. The samples of chain thus supplied, worth Rs 1.7 crore, have also been sent for testing to IIT, Powai,” he said.

Singh was in the city to investigate the case of chairman of Sri Balaji Society A Balasubramanian, who is in police custody at CBI Pune office. “Balasubramanian had done a lot of publicity about his institutes being autonomous when they did not have the requisite permissions. Not even 50 per cent of the necessary infrastructure was in place. It has also emerged that he was paying the lecturers much lower salaries than what was shown in the books,” Singh said.

CME gentlemen cadets’ expedition flagged off
Express News Service Posted online: Thursday , Dec 10, 2009 at 0510 hrs
Pune : Lt Gen AS Lamba, GOC-in-C ARTRAC, Shimla flagged off the Multidimensional Expedition by gentlemen cadets of the Cadets Training Wing (CTW), College of Military Engineering (CME), Pune on Wednesday. The expedition named ‘Yatra, Tatra, Sarvatra’ will test the endurance level of the participants consisting of 6 officers, 17 Other Ranks and 65 gentlemen cadets.

The expedition involves traversing approx 2,450 km in six different stages ie Pune to Mumbai (Cycle rally 9-10 Dec), Mumbai to Porbandhar (Blue Water Sailing 11-22 Dec), Porbandhar to Barmer (motorcycle rally 16-17 Dec), Barmer to Jaisalmer (Camel Safari 18-22 Dec), Jaisalmer to Nashik (Motor Car rally 22-25 Dec) and Nashik to Pune (Trekking 26-31 Dec).

“This expedition not only tests the skill, stamina and tenacity, but also imbibes the essential qualities of leadership, team spirit and adventure amongst future officers of our Army”, said Lt Gen USP Sinha, VSM, Commandant CME.

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