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Sunday, 3 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 03 Jan 10

New Delhi, January 2
Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar is expected to visit China from January 6 to hold dialogue with the Chinese military leadership to discuss the long-pending border issue, steps to improve coordination along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and increasing bilateral military cooperation.

In the first-ever visit by an Indian Defence Secretary to Beijing, Kumar is likely to be accompanied by senior Army officials from Eastern Command which looks after the Chinese border in the northeast, Defence Ministry sources said.
During the visit, which comes in the backdrop of recent military incursions by the Chinese PLA along the LAC, Kumar is expected to hold meetings with the top Chinese military leadership and is likely to discuss some new confidence-building measures, the long-pending boundary dispute and steps to improve coordination along the LAC, they added.
The two sides are also likely to discuss about holding joint exercises between the military of the two countries.
The Armies of the two countries have already held two rounds of ‘Hand-in-Hand’ series of joint exercises. The first exercise was held in December 2007, in Kunming province in China, and the second was held in Belgaum in Karnataka in December 2008.
India and China had agreed to hold Defence Secretary-level dialogue around three years ago, but the talks started only after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in 2008. — PTI

Patiala, January 2
The 96th Defence Pension Adalat concluded recently. The Pension Adalat received a good response from the pensioners from in and around Patiala.

Over 300 cases were registered and majority of these were settled on the spot by authorities. Some of the cases requiring reference to various authorities were referred to for necessary action.
Few cases, which were under correspondence for considerable period, were examined by the experts and were disposed of during the pension adalat. Today’s pension adalat was last of pension adalats in the series, as planned by the Ministry of Defence in consultations with CGDA for this calendar year.

104 'restricted' Himalayan peaks now open for treks
Himanshi Dhawan, TNN 3 January 2010, 04:22am IST
NEW DELHI: In a confidence building measure spelling normalcy in J&K, the government has given its nod for opening of a whopping 104 peaks for expeditions. The peaks — located in the Leh-Ladakh area — along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LoC) were so far ‘restricted’.

The peaks that have been given clearance include Lingsarmo (6955m), Rungofarka (6395m), Techafarka (6495m), Pt 6148, Shafat-I (6800m), Photoksar (6080m), Shafat-II (6302m), Shafat-III (6155m), Chiling-I (6349m), Chiling-II (6253m), Hagshu-I (6515m), Kangyarrag (6210m), Kangyassay I (6401m), Lalung-I (6243), Lalung-II (6157) and Lalung-III (6126m).

The move, mooted by the tourism ministry, was cleared by the defence and home ministries. Expeditions will now only require clearance from the Indian Mountaineering Federation (IMF). The decision will make India a more competitive adventure tourism destination in comparison to neighbours like Pakistan and Nepal. At present, while Nepal offers over 100 mountaineering expeditions, Pakistan has about 60 while
India can only muster about 30-odd expeditions for tourists.

Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) president Tejbir Singh Anand said, “Unknown peaks draw attention and we hope that this will be good for the industry.” He added that the process of getting clearances could also be shortened with this decision. At present, IMF has to be contacted three months before an expedition for security clearances.

The defence ministry’s clearance has been given with certain conditions. It wants expeditions to follow only those routes to approach the peaks that have been approved by the Army. It also said filming and installation of equipment could be done only after prior permission from the Army. The expedition team is expected to carry GPS and will be accompanied by a liaison officer either from government organization or from a panel cleared by the government. It will also have to get clearances from the state government.

“The decision will help boost flagging foreign tourist arrivals and improve India’s branding as a adventure tourism hotspot,” an official said. The government had in last year’s budget exempted adventure equipment like skis from custom duty. This, along with exemption of protected area permit for areas in Arunachal Pradesh, is likely to give foreign tourist arrivals a major boost.

Defence Secretary to head team for Beijing dialogue

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: As part of annual dialogue, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar will leave for Beijing on Tuesday for a meeting with his Chinese counterpart and discussions to carry forward the ties between the two militaries.

The Sino-Indian Defence Dialogue will be held on January 6 and 7. Mr. Kumar will lead a delegation that includes Major-General Munish Sibal from the Eastern Command and officers of the Navy and the Air Force.

“We will be sharing our perception of issues in the region and world while looking at exchange programmes between the personnel of the three services and joint exercises,” a top official in the Ministry told TheHindu.

In its 2008-09 annual report, the Ministry noted that while monitoring China’s defence modernisation and its military assistance and cooperation with Pakistan, New Delhi would engage Beijing “to seek greater transparency and openness in its defence policy and posture, while taking all necessary measures to protect the national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.”

In December 2007, the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China held the first joint exercise in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. It was held in Kunming, Yunan province, around the time when the first annual defence dialogue took place.

During December 2008, while the second annual defence dialogue was held in New Delhi, joint exercises took place in Belgaum, Karnataka.

Last year, no exercise was scheduled since China could not spare its forces. Joint exercises are expected to be held this year.

While New Delhi has maintained that there is no increase in the number of incursions on the Sino-Indian border, the issue is expected to figure during next week’s dialogue.

Recently, during his visit to New Delhi, the PLA Deputy Chief of General Staff, General Ge Zhen Feng, told Defence Minister A.K. Antony that the present generation of political leadership in both countries would solve the border dispute through political negotiations and dialogue.

On his part, Mr. Antony said India did not want to escalate differences and would work to strengthen cooperation in various areas to the benefit of both countries.

Tradition should guide next army chief's selection
Published on : Saturday 02 Jan 2010 16:46 - by ANI
New Delhi, Jan. 2 : Traditionally utmost care and transparency is maintained by the government in the selection of service Chiefs and in maintaining the hierarchy of the services.

The top hierarchy of the Army is due for a change with incumbent Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor, completing his tenure on 31 March 2010. There is speculation in the media with respect to the selection and appointment of his successor.

The front runner and senior-most officer after General Kapoor is Lt. General V K Singh, who is presently commanding the Kolkata-based Eastern Army Command.

There is no reason to suggest that the above precedent will not be followed this time also, but there are some extraneous issues that are gaining center stage, particularly with regard to the candidature of Lt.General V K Singh.

The first is the matter of his age for which there exists certain discrepancies in the Army records. In the Adjutant Generals Branch of the Army, Lt. Gen. Singh's birth date is recorded as May, 10, 1951, whereas in the Military Secretary Branch, it is recorded as May, 10, 1950.

The second issue is the appointment of Lt. General P C Bhardwaj as the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, which is being perceived in certain quarters as an attempt being made to supercede Lt. Gen.Singh.

Lastly, there is a conclusion being drawn that General Kapoor is trying to manipulate against the appointment of Lt. Gen. Singh as his successor.

According to Jaibans Singh, a detailed investigation into the whole process has brought to light some interesting inputs.

With respect to the age factor, what has emerged is that the date of birth as recorded in the Gazette of India as May, 10, 1950. A second point is that whatever the date of birth, Lt. Gen.V K Singh will continue to be the senior most and most eligible contender for the post of Army Chief when General Deepak Kapoor retires,and the age factor will only impact the period for which he retains the post. The third point is that the date of birth published in the Gazette is deemed to be final if no observation is raised within two years of its publication and Lt. Gen.V K Singhs date of birth is recorded in the Gazette as May, 10, 1950.

It is not known whether the case for change of age has been going on for almost three decades now or whether it is of recent origin in which case it may not be admissible by law.

With respect of the appointment of Lt. Gen. P C Bhardwaj as Vice-Chief of Army Staff, what has emerged is that there have been many instances in the past when army commanders have directly picked up to be Army Chief. The most recent example is that of General J J Singh who was the Western Army Command chief from where he directly assumed charge as Army Chief.

On the issue of alleged manipulation by General Deepak Kapoor, it has emerged that the services -- be it Army, Navy or Air Force -- are not involved in the selection of their respective Chiefs. The services merely forward to the Ministry of Defence the dossier of the Army Commander ranked officers in service at the time of selection.

These dossiers are processed by the Ministry of Defence and presented to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet which is responsible for the final selection.

Therefore, in the interest of the nation, the government should be allowed to do its job with the confidence that those entrusted with this responsibility definitely know what is best for the country.

Armed for impact
By Syed Nazakat

The Mumbai attack changed the way India looked at one of its most valuable assets—the elite special forces. Now they are set to get more ammo to counter 26/11 type attacks in future.
The plan is to equip them for a new, long-term strategy to deal with the changing face of threats. Be it on the LoC or during clandestine and “irregular” warfare behind enemy lines, the special forces will get cutting-edge weaponry. The defence ministry has identified a list of items. It includes, besides traditional machine guns, the Tavor TAR-21s with a ‘modified’ single-piece butt and new sights; Galil sniper rifles with telescopic and night vision; 5.56mm assault rifles of bull-pup design with integrated laser range finder and grenade launcher; and 8,000 UBGLs (under-barrel grenade launchers). There will be lightweight bullet-proof vests on the pattern the US Dragon skin body armour that offers greater range of motion for the soldier wearing it.

Infantry platoons and sections will get integrated GPS-based navigation system, lightweight walkie-talkie radio sets and better protective gear like lightweight anti-fragment helmet to replace the heavy metal combat helmet. Most of the weapons will be used by the Ghatak commandos, an elite infantry platoon attached to each infantry battalion of the Army. The Army will include three more battalions and dedicated Army Aviation Special Operations Squadrons, with helicopters and aircraft. Defence ministry sources said most of these equipment were from the US and Israel.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation said the Army had shown interest in its Laser Dazzlers and modern submachine carbine assault rifles for the special forces. Developed by the DRDO Laser Science and Technology Centre, the Laser Dazzler is a non-lethal gun that can stun and blind terrorists for 40 seconds, giving time to capture them. “There are further request orders from the Army for INSAS rifles,” said a senior DRDO official. “Our focus is now to develop lightweight weapons and equipment.”

General Deepak Kapoor, the Army chief, said that while the defence ministry had decided to get the equipment to counter 26/11 type attacks, “We are looking at it from the perspective of improving the capability of our special forces.” Security experts said the purchase list had items that NSG commandos lacked during 26/11—the bullet-proof armoured golf cart that can protect commandos as they move around a hotel, school or airport under siege. A moving platform that can reach windows 200m above the ground, the golf cart could have helped quick evacuation of people from the Taj and Trident during 26/11.

Top of the list of the special forces’ requirements are intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems—unmanned aerial vehicles, remote detonating devices, laser range-finders and high-frequency communication systems. But as mobility is important, all-terrain vehicles and specially equipped transport aircraft and helicopters are needed. So, the government has fast-tracked purchase of two Aerostat air-defence radars and 80 fast-interception vessels for the Navy from Israel to plug gaps in coastal security. Aerostat radars can be moved to any location. And with a detection range of over 500km, they can track low-flying aircraft. The Navy has also proposed to buy offshore patrol vessels worth Rs 5,000 crore.

Former Army vice-chief Lt Gen. Vijay Oberoi said enhancing the capability of the special forces was imperative as terrorists had access to latest weapons. “The courage and top physical fitness of our special forces is just not enough. They need latest and state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.
The Air Force is also in shopping mode. It is planning to buy six C-130J aircraft from the US for its Garud Commandos who protect Air Force bases and conduct search and rescue operations. The C-130J can land on makeshift landing grounds without lights. The Navy is also looking to acquire integrated surveillance systems. It is buying eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, worth $2.1 billion, from the US. The P-8A Poseidon—a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft— will replace the ageing and fuel-guzzling Russian Tupolev-142Ms. The deal has been long in the making, but 26/11 has brought it closer to closure.

“The equipment requirements have altered considerably in recent years, in keeping with the dramatic changes in the special forces’ employment trends around the world,” said an Army officer. “The modernisation of the special forces should focus on precision and mobility. In a hilly terrain like Kupwara, the light but effective weapons and other gadgets allow troops to act faster.”

Upgrade of the security forces is part of the government’s strategy to prevent spillover of trouble from Pakistan. “The surge of elite special forces units would represent a multi-layered effort aimed at strengthening the Army that the defence ministry sees as key to fighting terrorists,” said Lt Gen. (retd) Rajinder Singh, who had commanded troops in J&K.

Special forces commandos would be the tip of the spear in any Indian attack on terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “The special forces are not designed to cover the full range of challenges we face today on the low end of the conflict scale,” Singh said. “We should prepare them for a large intervention that goes well beyond the use of small packets of troops on lonely hillsides.”

Special forces of the world

US Army Special Forces, the ‘Green Berets’, are equipped with sophisticated weapons like long-range sniper systems and M203—a 40mm grenade-launcher fitted to SAS rifles

Its recently formed new special forces units—SRR & SFSG— have a wide range of weaponry like C8 carbine, M16 and its variants, HK G36 and Claymore, a portable anti-personnel mine for defence and ambush

Fernspher, members of Germany’s elite special force, use weapons with special additions not available to regular troops; the main weapon system is the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle, and variants of the HK MP5 SMG

Exact weapons of its special force, Sayeret, are not known, but it is one of the best equipped in the world; uses remote-controlled robot to scan tunnels that are used for smuggling

Special Operations Forces is a sub-branch of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Ground Force; PLA’s main infantry rifle is the recently issued QBZ-95; also uses locally-made versions of the Russian AK-47 rifles and SKS series carbines with the Chinese Type 56 assault rifle

Its Special Service Group is similar to the Green Berets and the British Army’s SAS; the SSG weaponry includes Steyr AUG, HK G3, and Type 56 (Chinese AK-47 variant) and HK-MP5 Submachine guns; in sniper, SSG has Steyr MP 69, Finnish Tikka bolt-action and HK PSG1; most of the weapons are of US origin

Indian Army Chief lacks strategic acumen: Gen Majid

RAWALPINDI—Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Tariq Majid has said that Indian army Chief General Deepak Kapoor knows very well what his army cannot and Pakistan Armed forces can pull off militarily.
Addressing senior military officers at the Joint Staff headquarters here on Saturday CJCSC doubted veracity of Indian media report attributed to General Kapoor stating that he(Kapoor) could not be so outlandish in strategic postulations to fix India on a self destruct mechanism.
Replying to a question about Indian army Chief General Kapoor’s jingoistic pronouncement of Indian military preparations to fight China and Pakistan simultaneously, General Tariq Majid said leave alone China, General Deepak Kapoor knows Pakistan Armed Forces can pull off militarily what the Indian army cannot..
He said if the news report is correct, the uncalled for rhetoric only betrays lack of strategic acumen.
Earlier, the media had reported that the Indian 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 and enhance strategic reach and joint operations with IAF and Navy, reports Indian newspaper The Times of India
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.

The Daily Mail - Daily News from Pakistan - Newspaper from Pakistan

‘Indian Army Can’t Deal With Pakistan, Let Alone China’: Gen Majid
Written by (Author ) Local Jan 3, 2010

Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee General Tariq Majid on Saturday rubbished the Indian media report which states that the Indian Armed Forces are preparing to fight China and Pakistan.

“Leave alone China, General Deepak Kapoor knows very well what the Indian Armed Forces can not and what the Pakistan Armed Forces can pull off militarily,” said General Tariq Majid.

He was responding to a question on the Indian Army Chief’s jingoistic pronouncement of Indian military preparations to fight China and Pakistan simultaneously.

General Majid said he doubted the veracity of the Indian media report attributed to General Kapoor, saying that “he (Kapoor) could not be so outlandish in strategic postulations to fix India on a self destruct mechanism.”

General Majid further said that if the news report is correct, then the statements of Indian Army Chief are uncalled for and only “display a lack of strategic acumen.”

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