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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.

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