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Thursday, 7 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 07 Jan 10

Speak less, General
Army Chief needs to be circumspect
Soon after his taking over as Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor caused consternation by favouring conscription for the Army. The government had to sternly contradict his stand. The chief of an army as large and responsible as that of India is not expected to shoot his mouth off. But that is what General Deepak Kapoor seems to be doing of late, as reported in the Indian Express. That has caused great embarrassment to the country forcing the government to issue clarifications more than once. In the process, he has ruffled feathers in Nepal, China and Pakistan alike. In Kathmandu, opposition leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" is going to town over his reported comments on the issue of Maoist cadres joining the Nepalese army, accusing India of "naked interference" in Nepal. India's Ambassador in Kathmandu Rakesh Sood had to issue a press statement that "we have seen media reports attributing certain remarks to the Indian Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor on the issue of 'PLA integration' in the Nepal Army which are highly distorted and do not reflect Government of India's position on the issue".
He had caused similar consternation in Islamabad recently by his comment that "there is a possibility of a limited war under a nuclear overhang". Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself had to do some damage control in Washington by stating that "any other statement distorted out of context should not carry the weight when I have stated categorically that Pakistan faces no threat whatsoever from our side". Despite this, the Army chief later spoke in a similar cavalier fashion that India was revising its war strategy to prepare for a two-front war with China and Pakistan.
The General would do well to leave the domain of policy statements to the political masters while engaging himself in defending the country to the best of his ability. He should have realised by now that his statements are prone to be "misunderstood". Even now it will not be too late. 

IAF's Rs 6000-cr refuelling aircraft tender cancelled
Press Trust of India / New Delhi January 06, 2010, 21:12 IST

In a setback to Indian Air Force's (IAF) plans to expand its capabilities, the Defence Ministry has cancelled a tender worth around Rs 6,000 crore for procuring six air-to-air refuelling aircraft.

The contract was cancelled after the Finance Ministry had raised objections over the price of the aircraft recommended and chosen by the IAF after an over two-year-long process, Defence Ministry sources said.

The IAF had recommended the government to buy the Airbus A330 multirole transport tanker aircraft as it believed that the European aircraft was technologically more capable than the Russian IL-78 aircraft in the fray, they added.

The price quoted by Airbus for its aircraft was more than what the Russians were asking and as per the Defence Procurement procedure (DPP) norms, the government must buy the cheapest item that satisfies the qualitative requirements of the forces.

Airbus and Ilyushin were the only two contenders in the race. The IAF already has a fleet of six mid-air refuellers, which are based in Agra and are used for increasing the endurance of its fighter aircraft.

Four years ago, the Defence Ministry had sent request for proposal to American Lockheed Martin, Boeing, European EADS and Russian Ilyushin. Lockheed Martin and Boeing did not respond to the tender.

No more favours through VVIPs, VIPs for postings: IAF
Last updated on: January 06, 2010 23:37 IST
Do not approach VVIPs and VIPs for postings. This is the message of the Indian Air Force to its officers and air warriors.

In a recently issued circular, the IAF has told its personnel that they should not approach VVIPs and VIPs to influence matters pertaining to their postings in the service.

When contacted to know the reasons behind issuing such a circular, IAF spokesperson Flight Lieutenant Priya Joshi said, "this is a routine general advisory issued by the IAF.

It was not instigated by any particular incident in the recent past."

"Such things are even discussed and conveyed to officers and troops at the welfare meetings that take place at unit level," she added.

The IAF spokesperson said there were well-established procedures in the service for "redressal of grievances for putting across one's view to higher echelons".
She added that writing directly to VVIPs for seeking favours was deemed to be an unauthorised channel of approach and seeking such direct interventions amounted to bypassing laid down channels and exerting undue pressure on decision-making authorities.
© Copyright 2009 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

New Delhi, January 6
Blaming non-state actors for tensions between India and Pakistan, visiting Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza today pitched for the resumption of bilateral talks, saying that dialogue was the only way to tame disruptive forces and cull "consensus out of conflict".

During her references on the Speaker's role as a mediator at the 20th Conference of Speakers of Commonwealth nations, which concluded today, Mirza said absence of democratic institutions in the region had enabled the non-state actors to "act on their own and aggravate tensions".
"This can only be curtailed if we allow the chosen representatives of people to engage in the dialogue on a regular basis, understand each other's positions, dare to cross over the rigid governmental positions and seek consensus out of conflict," Mirza said in obvious though veiled references to the composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan, which was stalled post 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks last year.
India said it would resume dialogue only after Pakistan took concrete action against perpetrators of the terror attacks.
The Pakistan Speaker had yesterday discussed with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar the need for greater parliamentary exchanges, particularly between India and Pakistan, and South Asian region in general.
Kumar today reacted positively to the suggestion, especially for establishing a regional women's parliamentary caucus, saying that: "If I and the Speaker of the Pakistan Assembly do it together, we will certainly do well. I will look at the suggestion."
Fehmida quoted India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to say Speakers, as the symbol of national freedom, could be "assets in seeking sustainable solutions to the disputes between various nations as well." She earlier quoted Nehru, as having said: "The Speaker represents the freedom of the House and because the House represents the nation, in a particular way, the Speaker becomes the symbol of the nation's freedom and liberty."
Going a step further to push for the role of parliamentary diplomacy in the resolution of Indo-Pak dispute, Mirza said: "If cricket diplomacy can work in this region, so can and should the parliamentary diplomacy. As fellow Speakers, we must speak the language of our people, which is the same everywhere - the language of love."

Land Scam
Military secy to face action
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 6
The case relating to allegations in land scam, near Darjeeling, against Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash is likely to be decided next week. Sources of the Army headquarters said action was expected next week as Defence Minister AK Antony had taken a very strict view of the matter and called the Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor to discuss the same.

In case the Adjutant General agrees with findings of the Court of Inquiry (COI), then General Prakash will be issued a show-cause notice as to why the action should not be taken against him. The COI ordered by the General Officer-in-Chief Commanding (GOC-in-C) Eastern Command Lt Gen VK Singh.
The Army is under pressure to maintain its clean image and so is Antony, who has been ruthless against any case of corruption. 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".
Lt Gen Prakash retires on January 31 and can be punished after that also, however, the minister wants to be seen as taking action.
Other than Lt Prakash, Deputy Chief of Army Staff-designate Lt Gen P K Rath, 11 Corps Commander Lt Gen Ramesh Halgalli and Major General P C Sen were found culpable for issuing a No-objection Certificate to a private institution, which "falsely" claimed that it would set up an affiliate of the famed Ajmer-based Mayo College adjacent to Sukhna military station.

COMMENT: Will the war last 96 hours? —Mohammad Jamil

The Indian Army is now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of war with China and Pakistan, deal with asymmetric and fourth-generation warfare, and enhance strategic reach and joint operations with the IAF and Navy

The future of Asia, as an
engine of growth for the rest of the world or the region marred with war and threats of war, depends on the leaderships of the countries of the region. When army generals start issuing policy statements and do not watch their words, the consequences could be disastrous. The unveiling of the 'two-front' strategy by Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, during a closed-door seminar targeting China and Pakistan simultaneously sounds rather overambitious. His prattle included: "The armed forces have to substantially enhance their strategic reach and out-of-area capabilities to protect India's geo-political interests stretching from the Gulf to the Malacca Straits." 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. The question arises as to whether the war would last 96 hours between two nuclear states?

General Kapoor's claim of taking on Pakistan and China simultaneously needs an honest and objective analysis whether it is rhetoric or what he says is achievable. So far as conventional weapons are concerned, India has only quantitative edge over Pakistan but falls short in qualitative terms. As regards nuclear capability, Indian scientists had confirmed that at least the test of a thermonuclear device had failed because shockwave readings recorded were those of a conventional nuclear device and certainly not of a Hydrogen Bomb. After the Mumbai attacks, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had toyed with the idea of limited war or surgical strikes, and even the Americans were of the opinion that India should be allowed to hit a specified area in Pakistan to give vent to India's anger. However, General Kapoor had then expressed his inability to attack on the pretext of lack of sophisticated and quality equipment.

According to a newspaper report, the Indian Army is now revising its five-year-old doctrine to effectively meet the challenges of war with China and Pakistan, deal with asymmetric and fourth-generation warfare, and enhance strategic reach and joint operations with the IAF and Navy. The new war doctrine is being worked out at Simla-based Army Training Command headed by Lieutenant-General AS Lamba, who boasted that a massive thrust in Rawalpindi could quiet Pakistanis within 48 hours of the start of the assault. The Indian Generals should bear in mind that when it comes to war it is not doctrines that determine its course but fighting assumes its own momentum that determines the course. There is a perception that General Kapoor's rhetoric of a two-front war strategy is meant to threaten the insurgents and terrorists in India. According to South Asia Terrorism Portal's report 2007, at least 231 of the country's 608 districts were afflicted by various insurgent and terrorist movements in differing intensities. In addition, wide areas of the country appear to have 'fallen off the map' of good governance, and are acutely susceptible to violent political mobilisation, lawlessness and organised criminal activity. In this backdrop one can conclude that India is awash with home-grown terrorist organisations and can implode from within without any outside effort. Coming back to India's 'two-front strategy', one has to remind the Indian generals that it had failed when Germany prepared a two-front strategy — Russia and Europe. The US's two-front strategy — Iraq and Afghanistan — is also doomed to failure. The question is, can India be successful, especially when it has deployed 700,000 troops in Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK), and has started military operations against the Maoists?

Whereas India has been trying to prove itself as a responsible nuclear state, its Generals' statements have caused tremendous embarrassment to the government. Ahead of General Kapoor's first official visit to Nepal, the Indian government distanced itself from the controversy raked up by his reported statement about the Maoist army in Nepal, saying it did not reflect the government's position. On January 4, 2010, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu said: "We have seen media reports attributing certain remarks to the Indian Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor on the issue of the integration of the (Maoist) People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the Nepal Army. These do not reflect the government of India's position on the issue." The Maoists condemned the Indian general's reported statement as naked intervention in Nepal's internal matter. General Kapoor was reported as saying last month that the PLA should not be merged with the Nepal Army as it would lead to the politicisation of the state army. China is also determined to retrieve the land occupied by India in Arunachal Pradesh. Many defence analysts are of the view that Arunachal is a flashpoint like or even more than Taiwan.

As recently as January 3, 2010, Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna in an interview emphasised that China's continued supply of weapons to Pakistan and activities of Chinese companies in Azad Kashmir were a matter of concern, and India was talking about all these issues with China. Explaining why India sees these activities in Azad Kashmir as 'illegal', Krishna said: "Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country; neither Pakistan nor China has a locus standi there." But it is not true because the Kashmir dispute is still pending in the UN awaiting implementation of UN Security Council resolutions whereby the Kashmiris had been given the right to decide about joining Pakistan or India through a plebiscite to be held under the aegis of the UN. Whereas the US seems to have invoked its policy of containing China in a subtle manner, Beijing is also making preparations for any eventuality and building up its military strength to project power not only regionally but also to contend with the US as a major player in global politics. Nevertheless, the Chinese leaders hope that frictions can be contained and overwhelmed by the two nations' shared interest in prosperity. The Chinese leadership also understands that economic power is the most important and most essential factor in comprehensive national power, which is why China has all along focused on increasing its economic strength keeping in mind that its military strength depends on the former.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at

China, India annual defense dialogue underway
By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
China and India yesterday resumed its annual high-level bilateral talks on defense issues - the first time ever that the Indian defense secretary has visited Beijing for the military dialogue between the Asian neighbors.

The People's Liberation Army Deputy Chief of General Staff Ma Xiaotian and Indian Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar jointly presided over yesterday's negotiations, which are expected to last through today.

Senior defense officials from India have accompanied Kumar on his trip.

The neighbors agreed on many issues of mutual concern, including "regional security, and relations between the two militaries", according to a press release issued by the Ministry of National Defense yesterday.

The dialogue is a good platform for both sides to "clarify concerns, deepen mutual trust and coordinate stances," the release quoted Ma, while Kumar said India was keen to expand the scope of defense and security cooperation with China. No further details were released.

Chinese defense experts and the Indian media said the annual talks this time round would touch upon the sensitive border issue and India's concerns over the Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

This is the third such annual dialogue between the Asian powers.

The first was held in 2008 amid escalating tensions over infrastructure construction along both countries' border.

China, India annual defense dialogue underway

Ma Xiaotian (right), deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army, greets Indian Defense Secretary Pradeep Kumar yesterday in Beijing. Song Jihe

The border issue stretches back to colonial British rule. China and India share a nearly-2,000 km border and disputed areas cover about 125,000 sq km on both sides.

A leading Indian economic daily, the Financial Express, this week quoted unnamed sources as saying that the previous dialogues had been exploratory in nature, with both sides not touching upon the boundary question or other controversial claims.

"In fact, there was hardly any conversation even on new confidence building measures. The focus, rather, was on maritime cooperation in and around the Gulf of Aden to combat piracy, with the Chinese side using the opportunity to repeat their concerns over Tibetan political activities in India," the newspaper said.

Last year was a turning point in military exchanges between the two neighbors - for the first time, Indian military commanders in charge of border defense visited Tibet, as well as the Chengdu Military Command.

Following the trip, the Chinese military commander in charge of Tibet visited India and was taken to the Eastern Army Command.

Border security is highly likely to figure during the ongoing talks, said Fu Xiaoqiang, a scholar of South Asia studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"It's a good opportunity. Trust building between the two militaries is key to easing border disputes," he said.

Indian sources told the Financial Express that the talks have raised hopes about improved coordination along the Line of Actual Control, which will better address differences in perception regarding the border until a permanent solution is reached.

The sources also said the annual forum would touch upon India's concern over China's naval presence in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese Navy has sent some ships to waters off Somalia to protect its and foreign merchant vessels from attacks by pirates.

During the visit, Kumar is also expected to meet top officials of the PLA.

Corps commanders discuss security at annual meeting

RAWALPINDI: The military top brass discussed the prevailing security situation in the country and the measures taken to tackle it as it met for the 125th Corps Commanders' Conference at the General Headquarters (GHQ). Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired the meeting, which was attended by all corps commanders and principal staff officers (PSO). The ISPR said the participants were given a comprehensive overview of the security situation in and around the country and also discussed the measures undertaken by the armed forces to secure the country. "The forum showed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of the army," the ISPR said. Sources said the commanders endorsed the decisions taken by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) on Tuesday and reiterated that Pakistan would never allow its security to be jeopardised. The conference also took notice of the recent belligerent statements by the Indian Army chief, who has said India is preparing to fight simultaneous wars with Pakistan and China. The corps commanders also took up the ongoing military operations and resolved to eliminate militancy from the country. staff report

No soft approach towards India: Pak Defence Committee of Cabinet
Omer Farooq Khan, TNN 6 January 2010, 08:48pm IST

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's political and military leadership on Wednesday decided not to adopt any soft posture towards India, saying that no one should underestimate Pakistan's capacity to safeguard its sovereignty.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) in connection to the recent remarks of the Indian army chief Deepak Kapoor about pursuing a proactive strategy to simultaneously wage wars against China and Pakistan. The remarks of Indian army chief produced uproar in local media while the country's military and political leadership responded by making bunt statements.

According to official sources, the meeting of DCC, the country's highest forum for defence policy consultation and coordination, decided to bring Pakistan's diplomatic and military policies in line with India's aggressive stance towards the country. The committee said that Pakistan's defence forces and its strategic and conventional capabilities would continue to be strengthened, the sources added.

The committee was also briefed on the latest security situation in the troubled North and South Waziristan tribal regions by the top military officials.

The briefing coincided with US drone strikes in North Waziristan, killing four militants and injuring two others, on Wednesday, local security officials said. "The missiles hit a militant compound in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan which was believed to be a training camp of militants. We have reports that four people have been killed," an intelligence official said. It was the third drone strike this year in the lawless Waziristan region while 51 strikes were carried out in 2009, according to a Reuters tally.

The US has been pushing Pakistan to take action against other Taliban groups in North Waziristan, particularly the Haqqani network. North Waziristan on the Afghan border is a well-known sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
The DCC meeting decided, the insiders said, that Pakistan will not declare military offensive in North Waziristan under external pressure.

The participants of the meeting agreed that the final decision regarding a military operation in North Waziristan would be taken only after assessing ground realities.

The meeting was informed that the Nato commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, during his recent meetings with Pakistan's top military leadership, had agreed to re-establish military posts along the Pak-Afghan border near the Waziristan region.

RAW Agents Target NATO Forces

Kashmir Watch, Jan 6

By Sajjad Shaukat

There is no doubt that while fighting against the occupying forces, the Taliban have been conducting ambush assaults and suicide attacks on the NATO forces and claim responsibility. Last year, western commanders and high officials have admitted that level of insurgency has increased in Afghanistan. 

In fact, Indian intelligence agency, RAW has been availing this golden opportunity of perennial militancyto target the NATO troops and military installations in Afghanistan. Such acts of sabotage are also being conducted inside Pakistan, which also include attacks on the NATO's supply-trucks and containers passing through Pakistan. 

Question arises in the mind of people as to how RAW can conduct subversive activities against the US-led NATO interest both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reply is quite clear, which can better be understood by students of international relations.

All the developments in Afghanistan cannot be seen in isolation because they have a co-relationship with Indian other regional designs. India is determined to become a greater power of Asia, and wants to go even to the extent of war with nuclear power like Pakistan and China. In this context, Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor vocally said on December 29, 2009 that Indian Army "is now revising its five-year-old doctrine" and is preparing for a "possible two-front war with China and Pakistan." 

No country can ignore its defence, while its enemy has aggressive designs. In response to New Delhi's open threat, on January 2, Pakistan's Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman Gen. Tariq Majid stated, "The Indian Army Chief's statement exhibits a lack of strategic acumen. He further said that such a path could "fix India on a self-destruct mechanism." A day ago, Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani warned that the situation would get out of control in case of any dangerous adventurism of New Delhi. 

It is notable that in the recent past, although the US President Obama has announced that he will send an extra 30,000 US troops to fight the war in Afghanistan, yet his revised strategy also includes withdrawal of forces, which will start in July 2011. In this context, on November 15, last year, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had already revealed, "We're not interested in staying in Afghanistan" for a long time and set a start date for military withdrawal.  

It is mentionable that during his trip to the USA in 2009, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh left no stone unturned in convincing Washington by raising alleged concerns regarding Pakistan and Afghanistan in connection with militancy. In his interview to the Washington Post and Newsweek, Singh remarked that India "wants to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan", while accusing the latter of "sponsoring terrorism." He called for the US pressure on Islamabad to rein in extremists. He also said that he would encourage the American leadership to stay in Afghanistan. Besides, Singh warned that Afghanistan could fall into a civil war if the US exited. 

On the other side, frustrated in achieving their aims, NATO countries have seriously been considering withdrawal of their troops from Afghanistan in future owing to growing domestic pressure coupled with daily casualties of their personal and rising cost of war. Particularly, America has been bearing huge losses, amounting seven trillion dollars in the total cost of war against terrorism, increase in defence budget and acute financial crisis inside the US homeland.

If US-led NATO forces pull out of Afghanistan, Karzai regime will fall like a house of cards due to the Taliban insurgency. Hence, India has planned to entrap the US permanently in Afghanistan in order to achieve its secret designs against Pakistan and Chinain the Indian-held Kashmir by damaging American global and regional interests, and thus wants to get further benefits from the US and other developed countries so as to become a superpower.

Notably, American dependence on Pakistan for war against terrorism and for close economic cooperation with China, and in future, withdrawal of foreign powers from Afghanistan will roll back Indian clandestine agenda which is part of its regional ambition against Islamabad and Beijing.

Sometimes surprises happen in world politics which is an arena of great complications, and states' shrewd strategies are followed by all unfair means. In this respect, renowned thinker, Morghenthau, while echoing the thoughts of Machiavelli indicates that sometimes rulers have to act upon immoral activities like falsehood, deceit and theft. In this connection, India is determined to obtain its inter-related aims to dominate other regional countries. Particularly, it considers Pakistan an obstacle in its way.

Under the pretext of Talibinisation of Afghanistan and Pakistan, Indian secret agency, RAW with the support of Israeli Mossad has well-established its networks. Particularly, India has been running secret operations against Pakistan from its consulates in Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandhar and other sensitive parts of the Pak-Afghan border. It has spent millions of dollars in Afghanistan to strengthen its grip. And from there, Indian RAW has been sending well-trained militants along with arms to Pakistan so as to attack the security personnel including western nationals. New Delhi which wants to get strategic depth against Pakistan has not only increased its military troops in the counry, but has also decided to set up cantonments. In this respect, puppet regeme of Hamid Karzai encouraged India in using the Border Roads Organisation in constructing the ring roads by employing Indo-Tibeten police force for security.

Meanwhile, admiting Indian activities in Afghanistan, on September 20, NATO commander, Gen. McChrystal in his report on the Afghan war had admitted: "Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan including significant development efforts…is likely to exacerbate regional tensions."

Worried about withdrawal of the US-led allies from Afghanistan, India with the covert support of Indo-Israeli lobbies has already started a propaganda campaign in the west to implicate Islamabad.

Nevertheless, with its ambitious policy including development and acquisition of sophisticated arms from the most developed countries, New Delhi tries to achieve its secret goals, coupled with its size at any cost. For this purpose, RAW has been given a carte blanche to target the US-backed forces in Afghanistan. In this context, with the help of Indian so-called Muslim scholars, RAW has set up a number of secret mudrassas in India from where well-trained agents of RAW are being sent to Afghanistan to join the ranks and files of Talibanand are conducting various activities such as plantation of roadside bombs, deployment of mines and suicide attacks on NATO's personnel and installations so as to distort the image of Pakistan in the eyes of America and Europe.

In this context, RAW has also intensified subversive activities in Pakistan where Afghan-like militancy is continuously being supported by RAW agents. This agency has also been given a free hand by New Delhi to attack NATO's supply vehicles in Pakistan.

While in case of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, sometimes Taliban claims responsibility for their acts of sabotage. But fact of the matter is that in most of the cases, RAW's technical experts arrange video movies and tapes to show that Taliban have accepted the responsibility in order to conceal the real face of India.

Besides other assaults on NATO troops and bases, on December, 2009 a well-planned suicide attack killed seven CIA officers at a highly-protected military base in Afghanistan. In this regard, The Washington post reported, "the suicide attack was one of the deadliest blows ever against the CIA…a bomber managed to penetrate the defences of the 'forward base', detonating an explosives belt in a room described as a gym."

American military officials are worried as to how this base became vulnerable to insurgents' target. Although the Taliban have claimed responsibility for the incident, yet the authenticity of this message is either not clear or the same is fake. In fact, hired Muslim agents of RAW have conducted this suicide attacks in the guise of the Taliban. Same is also true regarding Pakistan where similar pattern is being adopted by the agents of RAW, who sometimes kill the foreigners including Chinese nationals. Other subversive activities and targeted killings of Pakistanis by RAW in our country are not only to create instability, but also to confuse the massacre of westerners in order to hide the real identity of the Indian agents.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations . Email:

Ongoing Revision of Indian Army Doctrine
Ali Ahmed

January 6, 2010

At a closed door seminar in the last week of the last decade, the Indian Army reviewed its doctrine. Presumably, it is gearing up for facing the challenges of the current decade and beyond. This is apparent from the sound bytes of the Chief on the occasion in which he referred to preparing for a 'two front' scenario. Armies as institutions cater for the 'worst case'. A 'two front' scenario being the 'worst case' for India, the Army is evidently in the midst of thinking through how it would cope. Its earlier largely Pakistan specific 'Cold Start' strategy has been perfected over the past half decade. Over the same period, the Army in conjunction with the Air Force had moved towards a more offensive stance even against China with the IAF moving additional air assets towards that front and the Army raising two mountain divisions as part of a mountain strike corps. The new posture was termed 'active deterrence' as against the 'dissuasive deterrence' that was practiced earlier. The two distinct postures are perhaps being amalgamated to cater for the 'worst case' scenario.

This is part of periodic updation of the doctrine of 2004 being conducted by the Army Training Command. As mentioned in the preface to the 2004 Indian Army Doctrine by the then Army Commander, 'Part I will be reviewed every five years and updated, as necessary.' This 'main part' was earlier accessible on the Army's website; but is now available on the website of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff. The second part is classified and is only for restricted circulation. As a whole, the doctrine is to be re-issued every ten years. It is likely that the open document is currently under review, though news reports let on that the 'Cold Start' strategy is also under review. Interestingly, the Cold Start strategy does not find mention in Part I and can be presumed to have been dwelt with in the restricted Part II. In effect, both parts are likely being dealt with in the ongoing review, though only the revised Part I would be placed in the public domain eventually.

The Army's commendable initiative is expectedly as per schedule. The 'two front' aspect is prompted, as the Times of India defence correspondent has it, by a 'reconfiguration of threat perceptions and security challenges'. The backdrop to this is possibly the friction in India-China relations played out in the media late last year, particularly troublesome from the military point of view being border intrusions and the asymmetry brought about by Chinese military modernisation and infrastructure improvements in the Tibetan plateau. The Army Chief has been sanguine in his comment on the Pakistan front, stating as per Pandit's report: "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)."

The point of significance is that even as the Army in keeping with its social responsibility of provision of security prepares for the worst case, it would be a political-diplomatic-strategic exercise to ensure that such a scenario does not arise. Logically, a 'two front' strategy comprises first knocking Pakistan down by a blow from a Cold Start and then transferring the centre of gravity to the relatively slower paced, but more portentous conflict in the eastern Himalayas. As called for in the Draft Nuclear Doctrine of 1999, India's conventional forces are to be of the order as to negate any call on India's nuclear capability. Therefore any doctrinal and organisational moves of the military to cater for conventional capability to take on the worst case are mandated. However, despite growing defence budgets, the capability requirement of prevailing on both fronts may be an onerous strain. Therefore, it is a political call as to what level the Army needs to tread down this route.

A response to the Army's initiative in terms of political direction from the Cabinet Committee on Security, with input from the National Security Council Secretariat, is called for. This would help assimilate the Army initiative in a 'whole of government' approach to the problem to the levels warranted. The "proportionate focus towards the western and north-eastern fronts" referred to by General Kapoor at the seminar was restricted to force levels and capabilities distribution by the Army to both fronts. Instead, it needs to be widened through such direction to include diplomacy, the relative weight between the three services and between conventional capability and strategic deterrence.

Rajat Pandit, attributing his information to 'sources', indicates that 'The (Cold Start) 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.' He states that this is in keeping with the lesson of Operation Parakram and is to undercut any delay that would enable Pakistan to shore up its defences and outside powers to intervene diplomatically. The launch from a standing start is operationally useful in that it would be against limited opposition and would facilitate more options for the subsequent deep-battle. Strategically, it has the advantage of heightening conventional deterrence directed at influencing Pakistani proxy war.

However, it is politically problematic in that it restricts the time window of examining non-military options. In the event of a grave provocation for instance in the form of another 26/11, pressures to proceed on militarily sensible timetables arise. The resulting situation would be reminiscent of the The Guns of August. While preparedness to furnish the political head with options in the circumstance is the Army's prerogative, care needs to be taken against being stampeded. Second, though the Cold Start strategy is reportedly cognizant of the nuclear overhang, a second opinion is necessary. This is not to second guess the Army, but since the judgment is at the interface between the conventional and nuclear planes, it is one best taken jointly between military and civilian principals.

Part I under revision is sketchy on limitation in conflict. Having a section on limitation has the advantage of placing the Army on one page and informing the nation how the Army intends engaging with the nuclear overhang. Communication being useful for deterrence, knowledge of this with the enemy also helps in staying any itchy nuclear fingers. The current doctrine has rightly accepted that 'victory' can be 'defined in other terms such as reconciliation, stabilisation (acceptance of the status quo) or acceptance of an agreed peace plan.' The nuclear backdrop implies that military action supplement diplomacy, and not the other way round, though both are instruments towards the same political ends.

The Army therefore needs to build in suitable 'exit points' in the unfolding of its operation, such as prior to launch of pivot corps offensive resources, prior to launch of strike corps, prior to break out of enemy operational depth and prior to developing a threat to terminal objectives. These would act as cues to maximising diplomatic pressures on the enemy leadership to concede legitimate and reasonable aims. In this conceptualisation, the military threat of incremental coercion brings Schelling's concept of deterrence i.e. 'the threat that leaves something to chance', into the equation. The onus for things getting out of hand, resting with the enemy, serves to deter. That there would be no pauses at these junctures entails getting national political resources in concert. This necessitates explicit inclusion in doctrine after due consultations.

This brings one to the issue of doctrinal formulation and promulgation in India. The absence of a Chief of Defence Staff leads to each service formulating and promulgating respective doctrine on its own. While admittedly this would be after due formal and informal networking with other services, yet organisational theory informs that this cannot be without the contaminating element of inter-service rivalry. The Joint Doctrine released earlier can serve to inform fresh doctrinal reflection, but not much more. The Ministry of Defence, which in the view of critics is by default exercising de-facto CDS functions, cannot be expected to adjudicate. Any faultlines that arise will then await the harsh test of conflict before being dispensed with. This is self-evidently untenable and requires attention at the political level.

Understandably, Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit has said that the Army's deliberations "betray a hostile intent as well as a hegemonic and jingoistic mindset which is quite out of step with the realities of our time." It appears that even the routine exercise, announced well prior, of doctrinal review has deterrence value. It remains to be seen how the final document addresses what Bernard Brodie described as the principle challenge for militaries of the nuclear age – that of deterrence rather than war fighting.

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