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Monday, 4 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 04 Jan 10






India developing weapons against satellites
Press Trust of India, Sunday January 3, 2010, Thiruvananthapuram

Indian defence scientists are readying a weapon system to neutralise enemy satellites operating in low-earth orbit, a top defence scientist said in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

"India is putting together building blocks of technology that could be used to neutralise enemy satellites," Defence Research and Development Organisation Director General V K Saraswat told reporters on the sidelines of the 97th Indian Science Congress.

However, he added that the defence scientists have not planned any tests but have started planning such technology which could be used to leapfrog to build a weapon in case the country needed it.

Saraswat, who is also the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, said the scientists were planning to build the weapon which would have the capacity to hit and destroy satellites in low-earth orbit and polar orbit.

Usually, satellites in such orbits are used for network centric warfare and neutralising such spacecraft would deny enemy access to its space assets.

"We are working to ensure space security and protect our satellites. At the same time we are also working on how to deny the enemy access to its space assets," he said.

To achieve such capabilities, a kill vehicle needs to be developed and that process is being carried out under the Ballistic Missile Defence programme.






India lives in a difficult neighbourhood and national security and terrorism originating from across our borders would remain a major challenge in the year 2010
* * *
The Headley-Rana case is presently under investigation. An appropriate decision on the future course of action would be taken in due course
New Delhi, January 3
Taking exception to China's involvement in several projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), India today described it as "illegal" and said it has conveyed its concern over this as well as supply of Chinese weapons to Pakistan.

Despite differences on a host of issues with China, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is expected to visit Beijing in April this year, said the country did not see it in "antagonistic terms".
In a year-end review of the foreign policy and India's relations with its neighbours, the minister said, “India lives in a difficult neighbourhood and national security and terrorism originating from across our borders would remain a major challenge in 2010.”
During an exclusive interview to PTI, he touched upon the troubled ties with Pakistan, relations with China and his optimism about "meaningful cooperation" from the US in regard to cases of two terror suspects David Headley and Tahawwur Rana, arrested there for plotting terror attacks in India.
He emphasised that China's continued supply of weapons to Pakistan and activities of Chinese companies in PoK were a matter of concern and India was talking about all these issues with China.
Explaining why India sees these activities in PoK as "illegal', Krishna said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and neither Pakistan nor China have a "locus standi" there.0
Still India did not see China in "antagonistic terms" as it believes that there is enough space for both to develop in a "mutually supportive manner while remaining sensitive to each other's concerns and aspirations", as befits good neighbours and strategic partners, Krishna said.
On the outlook for 2010, he said, "I am optimistic about the progress in our bilateral ties with China in the year ahead".
He also said "India and China are engaged in deepening their strategic and cooperative partnership on the one hand and narrowing divergences on the other." Krishna emphasised that India was "committed to friendly relations with our neighbours" as it was convinced "that our destinies are interlinked".
Referring to Pakistan, he noted that progress had been achieved in five years of composite dialogue but it was "eroded" by continued terrorism emanating from that country.
For better ties, he put the onus on Pakistan to act with "determination" against terrorism directed at India.
Observing that it was in India's interest to "engage and normalise our relations", Krishna said "at the same time we are very clear that any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can only be based on fulfilment of its commitment, in letter and spirit, not to allow its territory to be used in any manner for terrorist activities against India."
"In this context we expect Pakistan to unravel the full conspiracy behind the Mumbai terrorist attack and bring to justice the perpetrators and the conspirators of this heinous act of terrorism", he added.
Asked about the perception that the US authorities were not "fully cooperating" with their Indian counterparts with regard to Headley and Rana, he said, "the US Government has assured us of all possible help to deal with the Headley-Rana case. They have extended valuable cooperation to us in the Mumbai attacks case. The Headley-Rana case is presently under investigation, on which both India and the US are working. I am optimistic of meaningful cooperation from the US side in the matter."
On whether India will seek extradition of Headley and Rana, the minister said, "the Headley-Rana case is presently under investigation. An appropriate decision on the future course of action would be taken in due course."
Asked about his assessment of the way country's foreign policy has worked in the year gone by, Krishna said "our approach, aimed at a supportive external environment helpful for our security and for sustaining rapid economic growth, has paid rich dividends. — PTI





Thiruvananthapuram, January 3
Indian defence scientists are readying a weapons system to neutralise enemy satellites operating in low-earth orbit, a top defence scientist said here today.

“India is putting together building blocks of technology that could be used to neutralise enemy satellites,” Defence Research and Development Organisation Director-General V K Saraswat told reporters on the sidelines of the 97th Indian Science Congress.
However, he added that the defence scientists have not planned any tests but have started planning such technology which could be used to leapfrog to build a weapon in case the country needed it.
Saraswat, who is also the Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, said the scientists were planning to build the weapon which would have the capacity to hit and destroy satellites in low-earth orbit and polar orbit.
Usually, satellites in such orbits are used for network centric warfare and neutralising such spacecraft would deny enemy access to its space assets. “We are working to ensure space security and protect our satellites.
At the same time we are also working on how to deny the enemy access to its space assets,” he said.
To achieve such capabilities, a kill vehicle needs to be developed and that process is being carried out under the Ballistic Missile Defence programme. “Basically, these are deterrence technologies and quite certainly many of these technologies will not be used. hope they are not used,” Saraswat said. In January 2007, China had demonstrated its capability to destroy satellites by conducting an anti-satellite test.




An institution called Subedar Major
by B.K. Karkra

It is difficult to describe the position and prestige that a Subedar Major enjoys in a unit. Whatever you say about him would fall short of the parameters of his personality. He is rather an institution in himself. His commanding officer often falls back on his advice in difficult situations-specially, those related to the morale, welfare and discipline of his men and the image of the unit.

Most of the clout that he commands comes out of the position of trust that he enjoys with his commanding officer who regards him as a repository of wisdom, sagacity, sobriety, maturity, loyalty, cool-headedness and above all, a sort of farmer’s horse-sense. But, this is not all. Let me try to explain this phenomenon more properly through a couple of incidents.

An Army unit was on an operational exercise in a highly undulated and slippery area. Their divisional commander, a Major General, came to oversee them. When being escorted to the exercise area, he slipped and fell on the ground. Seeing the plight of the embarrassed General, the Subedar Major of the unit, following behind his C.O. lost no time in slipping himself in an equally ungainly thud. He then stood up smartly and said, “Saab, yahan to hum roz bees bees bar girte hain (Sir, we fall here scores of times every day)”. That put the General at ease instantly, though he did not fail to notice, rather approvingly, why the Subedar Major had enacted all this. Here was a typical S.M. discharging one of his multi-dimensional roles to perfection.

Some 32 years back, the 51 Battalion, C.R.P.Force that I commanded was doing training under an Army brigade at the peak of summer. Our men then did not get any ration allowance. So, their messing had to be managed within their own meagre resources.

Something affordable was needed to be done to save them from heat stoke. I directed that they would be served daily two glasses of diluted milk beverage (lassi). Almond, rose and other essences were to be added for flavour. This worked well, in that none of my men was laid with heat stroke and they enjoyed the drink also.

Encouraged with this, I got another brain wave. The summer was now over. I briefed my faithful S.M. that the sub-units would prepare ‘kanji’, a black carrot based beverage that also works out cheap and is quite tasty and invigorating.

Thus, massive ‘matkas’ (earthen pots) were promptly procured in the unit to brew the beverage for the men. After a few days I checked with my Subedar Major how the idea had done. With his usual sense of obedience, he stated that the men were duly being made to drink it ‘hukamiya’ i.e. under orders. On my prodding, he came out that otherwise the men did not like it.

The incident explains yet another facet of a Subedar Major’s profile — there are, of course, many more to it.






Will Antony finally revamp DRDO?
Rajat Pandit, TNN 4 January 2010, 03:00am IST
 (DRDO)’s time and cost overruns persist or initiate the long-delayed process of transforming it into an organisation capable of delivering cutting-edge weapon systems to the armed forces.

Antony will later this month get the final roadmap for DRDO’s restructuring as proposed by the P Rama Rao panel and subsequently vetted by a high-level committee led by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar.

“After several meetings, the defence secretary committee, which also had representation from Army, Navy and IAF as well as other stake-holders, will submit its recommendations to Antony before January-end. The aim is to make DRDO, which has a budget of Rs 8,481 crore this year, more effective,” said a top official.

Experts, however, say ‘mere tinkering’ will simply not do any longer. Instead, DRDO and its 51 labs need a drastic overhaul, along with a strong push for joint ventures and private sector participation to ensure India develops a robust industrial-military infrastructure. “For a country like India which has global aspirations and the third-largest standing armed forces in the world, it’s very embarrassing that over 70% of its military requirements have to be imported,” said a senior officer.

The Rama Rao report, on its part, stresses DRDO should concentrate only on 8 to 10 ‘critical technologies’ of ‘strategic importance’ instead of also venturing into making juices, mosquito repellents, titanium dental implants and the like. For this, a dozen or so of DRDO’s 51 labs should be hived off to other ministries and the rest reorganized into five basic clusters — naval systems, aero-systems, combat systems, weapon systems and electronic warfare systems.

Interestingly, another key recommendation is to create a Defence Technology Commission to allow DRDO to have a greater say.






A Tale Of Dishonest Soldiers


Kashmir Watch, Jan 3

ALI SUKHANVER

The enigmatic dreamlike valley of the Indian held Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir; says the history. The Kashmiris are a nation, having an individual identity, a separate culture and independent traditional values. It might be the fertility of their lands or the geographical importance of their sky-kissing hills which are pouring out precious rivers that the independence of this charismatic land is always in danger. Not a single moment without fear .No peace, no security. The people of the Indian held Kashmir sometimes feel that they are not human beings but lifeless objects; every morning a new saga of miseries, every night a new tale of suppressions. The Indian held Kashmir has turned into a land of death and harassment. The world peace-makers and the so called international peace-fighters are always dumb and silent at the continuous human rights violations going on in this charismatic valley of Indian held Kashmir; perhaps they are afraid of Indian aggressive temperament which never lets anyone talk against its atrocities. Moreover the American hand of grandfatherly affection has added a tinge of supremacy to this aggressive temperament.  Recently the Indian Chief of the army staff, General Deepak Kapur has proclaimed in one of his raging statements that India can give a harsh tough time to Pakistan and China. Though the two targeted countries have taken this statement as a cry of an innocent child weeping just to impress his parents, but one can easily feel the presence of the American patronization behind his words. It seems that the respected Commander has some severe type of misunderstandings regarding the two countries. He must keep in mind that these countries are not like the helpless valley of the Indian held Kashmir where the Indian soldiers are the lords of their own wills.

Different books on wars and battles say that the first step to lose a war is the underestimation of the opponent. The opponent must never be taken for granted. The second factor which pushes an army towards defeat is the over-confidence. General Deepak Kapur has fallen a prey to both these misunderstandings. A commander-in-Chief must not be a man of poor understanding: General Deepak is not only under estimating his opponent forces but also over-estimating his own army. The ‘wonderful’ abilities of the Indian army must not be a secret to him. The Darjeeling land scam case, the sex-crimes of Indian Army officers in Congo, the story of 41 serving officers caught  selling their personal weapons in the grey market, and the rape of two young Kashmiri girls a few months back; the same story with different titles . The respected General Deepak Kapur seems so pre-occupied that he could not spare time for listening to these wonderful stories of marvelous deeds.

A few weeks back almost all newspapers of India highlighted a very ridiculous type of scandal which proved nothing less than a blob of dirt on the face of Indian armed forces. The scandal was about   a scam in procurements of supplies for troops going on UN missions. A serving Major General was held responsible for this irresponsible activity. According to the details over the past few years the Indian Army shelled out double the amount for personal items of UN troops like shoes as compared to the market price. Moreover there were complaints regarding the purchase of two types of boots for UN troops that allegedly caused a loss of Rs 2.82 crore to the exchequer. The matter was so serious and the pressure exerted by media was so grave that the government of India had to take prompt action and order the investigations. According to the Indian Express, the scope of the scam could be much larger, given that the Court of Inquiry had been mandated to investigate all procurements for UN troops since January 2006. The, Court of Inquiry  headed by Signals Officer in Chief Lt Gen P Mohapatra, has been ordered to investigate irregularities in the procurement of items of personal clothing including shoes as part of the Personal Stores Kit item for troops proceeding on UN assignments. The senior serving officer, Maj. Gen G S Narula, was responsible for UN purchases as an Additional Director General (ADG) at Army HQ during the period mentioned in the inquiry. It is nothing but simply day-dreaming of General Deepak Kapur that he is going to give tough time to Pakistan and China on the basis of such morally bankrupt army officers who are involved in illegal selling of shoes and clothing.

The basic characteristic of a true soldier is that he at once sacrifices his life for two things; for the flag of his country and for the weapon in his hands. When we try to search for this characteristic in the Indian soldiers we feel very much disappointed. The army commanded by General Deepak Kapur is not only involved in selling shoes and clothing but also in the sale of its weapons. According to some very authentic sources, the Indian Army Headquarter has ordered to initiate an administrative and disciplinary action against 41 serving officers, one JCO and four retired officers for allegedly selling their personal weapons in the grey market. In such a shameful situation the India Army chief must reconsider his intention regarding Pakistan and China. No doubt It is his genuine right to wish for the materialization of his dreams but before that he will have to kick out each and every corrupt officer hidden in the rows under his command; but unfortunately in that case, he would find himself standing alone with no one behind him.

India is no doubt a very strong and powerful country but there are countless factors which are silently undermining its strength and power. There are so many ongoing separatist movements in different parts of the country which are badly affecting the whole of its social fiber. Poverty and lawlessness along with a feeling of deprivation in the low-caste Hindus combined with the bitter effects resulted by the Naxalite movement and a frightening scenario painted by the Maoist movement; the Indian army chief must pay his attention to these problems first. 

Author is a Pakistan based bilingual analyst on international defense and strategic affairs.  Email: alisukhanver@hotmail.com







India may buy howitzers from US
January 3rd, 2010 - 5:49 pm ICT by IANS Tell a Friend -

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) In a bid to hasten the artillery modernisation programme for the Indian Army, the defence ministry is considering buying ultra-light howitzers from the US, an official said Sunday.
“We are considering purchasing the ultra-light howitzers through the foreign military sales route,” a senior defence ministry official said, requesting anonymity.

The foreign military sales is the government-to-government route for selling US defence equipment, services, and training.

India has not bought any artillery guns since the controversial Bofors deal in 1986. In 2009, after 10 months of evaluation, it had selected Pegasus light howitzer of the Singapore Technologies for field trials.

However, the field trials could not be undertaken as the firm was blacklisted by the defence ministry on corruption charges, jeopardising the modernisation plan.

The ultra light howitzers are required by the Indian Army to counter the Chinese threat as heavy artillery cannot be moved in the mountainous terrain of the Himalayas.

The Indian Army was looking to purchase 140 ultra-light howitzers for Rs.29 billion ($612 million).

The Indian Army is now left with just about half of its 410 guns. Apart from 145 howitzers, the army wants to add 160 towed and wheeled guns.






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