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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 06 Jan 10

'Pak terror groups have strategic intent to strike India'
Press Trust of India, Tuesday January 5, 2010, Washington

Pakistan-based terror groups have a "strategic intent" to launch major new attacks on the Indian soil to trigger a conflict between the two countries, according to a US intelligence and security think-tank.

In its annual forecast released today, Stratfor predicted that 2010 might see the US intensifying its drone strikes in Pakistan as the bulk of the Al Qaida leadership is believed to be hiding there.

As the nature of the war shifts to Pakistan, Stratfor said, there is a strong jihadist strategic intent to launch a major attack against India in order to trigger a conflict between India and Pakistan.

"Such an attack would re-direct Pakistani troops from battling the jihadists in the country's west, towards the Indian border," the think tank Stratfor said in its security forecast for South Asia in 2010.

But the think tank said both Washington and New Delhi were well aware of such tactics and since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, India and the US had garnered better intelligence on groups with such goals, making success less likely.
"But that hardly makes such attacks impossible," the Stratfor said.

The Mumbai terror attacks, orchestrated by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2008, left Indo-Pak relations severely strained and stalled the composite dialogue process.

New Delhi, January 5
Just weeks after Defence Minister AK Antony announced a revised defence procurement policy (DPP), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has conducted a survey and today released its findings saying the changed policy “would aid homespun defence industrial base”.

On the “offset” clause that make it mandatory for the foreign investors to invest a certain percentage in developing Indian industry, the CII estimated that contracts (between Indian and foreign partners) worth Rs 40,000 crore would be signed till 2012. According to the latest estimates, contracts worth Rs 8,000 crore have been signed between 2006 and 2008 under the DPP, which was formulated 2005 and then revised, the latest being just a few weeks ago.
The policy encourages upgrading of technology, sub-contracting, JVs/collaborations, co-production and license production. 

More holes in Govt’s bulletproof jacket deals
Parul Malhotra
UNZIPPED: The issue of the poor quality of bulletproof jackets has surfaced again.

New Delhi: The lessons of 26/11 appear to have been forgotten in a hurry. Months after the Ram Pradhan Committee report indicted the Maharashtra government for the poor quality of bulletproof jackets, the issue has surfaced again.

It was the poor quality of life-saving bulletproof jackets that could have cost Mumbai top cop Hemant Karkare’s life in the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks. However, lessons have not been learnt from the unforgettable incidence.

CNN-IBN has unearthed serious violations in a recent tendering and approval process for 59,000 bulletproof jackets floated by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Rules have allegedly been bent by the nation's premier Defence Research And Development Organisation (DRDO). Documents exclusively with CNN-IBN detail the testing process of all the eight bidders.

Violation No. 1

Two different samples of jackets were tested for live firing at the same time - 1305 hrs IST to 1320 hrs IST and 1312 hrs IST to 1318 hrs IST but the DRDO lab is a single bench test firing range, two samples just cannot be tested at the same time. How did the second test start before the first one finished?

Violation No. 2

As per the rule or standard operating procedure –‘wet jackets' have to be fired at within 10 minutes of soaking but the document clearly reveals how a sample was fired at after 17 minutes and rejected. Ironically, other bidders did adhere to this guideline and passed the trial.

Violation No. 3

If a jacket is perforated during a test shot, testing must end and the sample stands rejected. But the report shows how shot number 4 from an AK-47 pierced the jacket and yet more shots were fired at the sample. In another case, when an MP5 bullet pierced a sample jacket, the shot was declared "unfair", to allow testing to continue.

Even the declaration is a whiteout job endorsed only by RK Verma, one of the seven members on technical evaluation committee and the man who fired the shot.

Interestingly, of the 376 shots fired during the trials, this was the only shot declared unfair.

Jackets belonging to this vendor were approved in the technical bidding making it eligible for the financial bid.

CNN-IBN also found that lab test reports don't have the signatures of five out of seven members on the technical evaluation committee. Ironically, the Union Home Ministry in an internal note has conceded it has received several complaints about these trials.

At least three complaints are currently being examined. An alleged audio recording which indicts a technical evaluation committee member is also being examined.

When CNN-IBN contacted Verma, who has been named in the complaints to the Ministry, he denied any wrongdoing but refused to come on camera and said that the Bureau of Police Research and Development were answerable.

Top level sources say that a worried Home Ministry has now halted the price bid for this tender.

The chairman of the technical evaluation committee will also be asked to explain. The Director General of CRPF – the head of the tender appraisal committee – will be consulted and DRDO will be hauled up and the ballistic trials will be held again if the Ministry is convinced that they were manipulated.

ARTC&S celebrates 52nd Raising Day with fervour
  Assam Rifles Training Centre and School (ARTC&S) celebrated its 52nd Raising Day with great fervour. The day started with a “Mandir parade” addressed by religious teachers of all major religions of the country, followed by a ‘Special Sainik Sammelan” and later by a Barakhana.
According to a defence release, Brig D Anbu, SM, DIG, Commandant Assam Rifles Training Centre & School addressed all ranks of the Centre while speaking at the Special Sainik Sammelan wished all ranks a very happy and prosperous new year.
The Commandant exhorted all ranks to put in their best efforts in maintaining the institution as one of the best training Centres of the country.
Emphasising that the Centre in the last 51 years, had achieved a lot in terms of expansion of infrastructure, providing need based training to young recruits and trained soldiers, he said that in the New Year, the centre have to look ahead and further improve our standards. “The task ahead is enormous and it would take time and effort to make the Centre a model training centre. Each individual is required to contribute with his might towards improving the ambience, infrastructure and training facilities in the Centre”, he added.
The Commandant further said that about ten thousand personnel of the Force undergo training at the Centre every year including recruits, trained soldiers and officers, and added “We are required to set very high standards in training, turn out and discipline. Since this will have a direct bearing on the standard of our troops, this necessitates us to be proactive and improve our standards further by keeping pace with time and technology”.
On conclusion of the Sainik Sammelan, Brig Anbu presented the ‘Commandant’s Banner’ jointly to Lakhimpur Training Battalion and Sukhovi Training Battalion as these both battalions secured equal points in the events organised during 2009.

Defence body takes note of tactics to disturb strategic balance in South Asia

ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of India’s tactics to disturb the regional balance of power in South Asia, the cabinet’s Defence Committee on Tuesday underscored that Pakistan would never allow its security to be jeopardised.

The meeting was held in the wake of recent statements by the Indian army chief declaring that India was preparing its forces to launch a simultaneous war with Pakistan and China.

The committee meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, affirmed the strong commitment of the government and the people of Pakistan to defend the country’s honour, dignity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the committee said Pakistan’s defence forces and its strategic and conventional capabilities would continue to be strengthened.

It said the committee deliberated on global and regional developments that were affecting the peace and security of the country.

The cabinet body reviewed security challenges faced by Pakistan, including terrorism, and expressed satisfaction with the defence preparedness as well as counter-terrorism mechanisms.

It was noted that the nation was united in its resolve to counter terrorism and stood behind the armed forces and the law enforcement agencies in the war on terror.

The committee renewed the government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country, adding that the nation will never forget the sacrifices of all those who had fallen victim to terrorism. staff report

Singapore firm may lose Army contract to US
Manu Pubby Posted online: Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 0313 hrs
New Delhi : With defence giant Singapore Technologies (ST) still in trouble due to the ongoing CBI investigation into charges of bribing Indian officials, a mega Army contract valued at more than $1 billion seems to be heading the American way.

A top defence official has said the Defence Ministry is looking at other options, including a direct military purchase from the US, for the ultra light 155 mm howitzer contract in which ST was the only contender.

Making it clear that the procurement — the Army urgently requires 145 of the light mountain guns for deployment on the China and Pakistan borders — has gone into deep freeze, the official said trials for the gun would not be carried out as per the advice of the Law Ministry.

As reported earlier, the MoD had last month allowed trials in cases where tainted defence firms are contenders, as long as it was a multiple-vendor situation. This has again quashed ST’s hopes that its gun would be tested for the ultra light contest. The ST gun, which was under shipment for trials when the CBI arrested former OFB chairman Sudipta Ghosh, is currently lying idle in Pokharan.

Defence Ministry officials said given the urgent requirement of the Army and the legal deadlock over ST, a direct military purchase could be a viable option. “We are looking at other options. We are looking at the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) option which was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC),” a top official said.

If the MoD decides to take the FMS route, the Indian Army will go in for the M 777 ultra light Howitzer that is being used by American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The gun, which is owned by British firm BAR Systems, is the only other artillery system suited to the Indian Army.

While the BAE gun had been called to take part in the trial, the company did not participate in the contest, which many considered would be one-sided given the list of technical requirements drawn up by the Army.

However, insiders say another option, that of a direct military sale of the ST gun from Singapore, could be pursued by the Ministry. This direct government-to-government sale would also take care of legal problems being faced in negotiating directly with a tainted firm like ST.

Army chief meets Antony
TNN 6 January 2010, 03:00am IST
NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of pressure mounting on the Army chief to take action against his military secretary, Lt-Gen Avadhesh Prakash, among the four generals indicted in the alleged Sukna land scam case, defence minister A K Antony called General Deepak Kapoor for a meeting on Tuesday.

Antony has already told the Army that such cases "not only damage the Indian Army's image" but also "adversely affect the ability of senior officers to measure up to the expectations of the men they lead".

India must be ready to retaliate any attack: Ex-Army Chief
Updated on Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 22:16 IST Tags:Ex-Army Chief, India, retaliate any attack
Hyderabad: Stating that the possibility of China or Pakistan mounting an attack against India cannot be ruled out, former army chief K V Krishna Rao today stressed upon the need to develop credible deterrence.

"Both China and Pakistan have been laying claims for more Indian territories with China for Arunachal Pradesh and Pakistan for Kashmir, in addition to what they have already in their adverse possession. It cannot be ruled out that at a suitable opportunity, they (China and Pakistan) may resort to an aggression once again," Rao said after inaugurating two-day national seminar 'Challenges to Indian Defence Planning: Synchronising Present Structures with National Aspirations' at the College of Defence Management (CDM) here.

India must always be fully prepared to retaliate if the adversaries indulge in any adventures, he said, underlining the need for India to develop credible deterrence that includes effective counter offensive capabilities.

The major challenge will be if Pakistan and China collude in launching an offensive against India. The overall situation must be reviewed from time to time, to meet any emerging challenges and the capabilities of the adversaries need constant study, Rao stressed.

Land scam: Pressure on Army to sack accused officers
Updated on Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 17:38 IST Tags:Land scam, Army
Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Pressure on the Army to sack officials embroiled in a land scam increased on Tuesday as Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor met with the union Defence Minister AK Antony in the Capital.

General Kapoor met with AK Antony to discuss various issues including his upcoming visit to Nepal. Antony is supposed to have asked Kapoor to act on the Court of Inquiry (COI) report on a land scam in Sukhna cantonment in West Bengal.

The report recommended “termination of service” of Lt. Gen. Avadhesh Prakash, the Military Secretary at Army HQ and the initiation of court martial proceedings against Lt. Gen. P.K. Rath, whose appointment as deputy chief of army staff has been scrapped by the Defence Ministry.

According to sources, the Army court has indicted the two officers for their role in issuing a no-objection certificate to a private establishment that falsely claimed to be establishing an affiliate of the well known Ajmer-based Mayo College on land adjacent to the Sukhna military station in Darjeeling district.

The CoI is also reported to have recommended administrative action against another lieutenant general and disciplinary action and court martial against a major general.

Prakash is one of the eight Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) at Army HQ who act as advisors to the army chief. As Military Secretary, he is responsible for the promotions and postings of officers.

P.K. Rath was commander of the Sukhna-based 33 Corps when the alleged land scam took place.

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