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Sunday, 17 January 2010

From Today's Papers - 17 Jan 10

Air Force officer shot dead by colleague
NDTV Correspondent, Saturday January 16, 2010, Chennai
A Leading Aircraft Man was shot dead by a security guard at the Indian Air Force station at Sulur in Coimbatore on Friday.

Authorities say it happened early in the morning when the victim, Deepak Kharia, failed to identify himself in the prescribed way when he entered the high-security runway area and his colleague mistook him for an intruder.

The Air Force has ordered a probe into the incident.

Army hunting for ballistic shields
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 16
To provide enhanced protection to its troops engaged in counterterrorism operations in confined areas in the northern sector, the Army is seeking hand-held ballistic shields. These would protect troops from the effects of small arms fire and limited blasts while clearing built up areas.

The Army has already floated a request for information for the supply of an initial batch of 32 such shields, each of which would be about three feet long, weigh about 10 kg and shield user’s face and upper body while offering wide visibility, maneuverability and tactical advantage. The Army wants the shields to conform to NIJ-0108.01 standards for level-IIIA threats, which is the standard US government specification for ballistic shields that offer protection against pistol and sub-machinegun ammunition.
Besides having a bulletproof window offering a wide-angle forward view, the shields would also be having a LED headlight that would serve the dual purpose of illuminating the area ahead as well as blinding potential adversaries. According to experts, such shields provide ballistic protection to assault teams during dynamic entry situations and approaches towards potentially armed individuals.
These offer enhanced protection as bulletproof jackets and helmets protect only the head and the chest, leaving the face, neck, lower body and limbs vulnerable to fire and blasts. Ballistic shields are also invaluable in situations where there is little or no cover. In the backdrop of recent terrorist situations and suicidal attacks, ballistic shields are becoming standard equipment for law enforcement agencies when approaching potentially armed suspects in public areas.
And as part of improving security of its complexes in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army is also in the process of acquiring high-speed barriers to stop hostile speeding vehicles crashing through the perimeter.
The Army is hunting for barriers that can be activated remotely and have a power backup in case of electricity failure. Significantly, these would also have a sensor detection system so that the gate operates automatically on detection of a unique security sensor installed on vehicles. These sensors would be issued in a controlled manner and also held reduce stress levels of troops on guard duty, besides giving them added advantage and safeguards.

Jaipur, January 16
With the state government deciding to allot 80 hectares of land to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Pilani in Jhunjhunu district, of Rajasthan will soon became the new assembling hub of the world’s fastest missile, BrahMos.

DRDO chief controller-research Dr A. Shivthnau Pillai said the Rs 200-crore project would be rolled out in the state soon. “We will hire around 150 technology experts for this project,” he said, assuring that local people would be given priority while making these appointments.
Presenting a model of the missile to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the DRDO official said at present the missile was being assembled at Hyderabad. Though the DRDO has projected the investment of Rs 200 crore in the project, the state government officials believe that the investment would be much more. A senior official said the government has even agreed to give the land on lease basis on concessional rates.
The BrahMos (an amalgam of Brahmaputra and Moskva) missile programme is a joint venture between India and Russia. It is the fastest operational cruise missile existing in the world today.

62nd Army day commemorated
New Delhi, Jan 15 (Agencies)
Article published on 1/16/2010 12:17:32 AM IST                
 ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’, the eternal flame, burns beneath the arch to honour the memory of the soldiers. Chiefs of the three wings of the armed forces, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and chief of the Air staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik offered floral tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. Various other functions are also being organised across the country to mark the occasion. Army Day is observed every year on January 15 to commemorate Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa’s taking over as the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from Sir Francis Butcher, the last British commander, in 1949
‘India wants cordial
relations with Pak China’
With his doctrine of two-front war with Pakistan and China having received vehement protest across the border, Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor on Friday said India wanted to foster “cordial and peaceful relations” with both the nations.
“India has always believed in maintaining peaceful and cordial relations with its neighbouring countries,” Gen. Kapoor told his troops, senior officers and foreign dignitaries here on the occasion of 62nd Army Day.
“With China, we want to continue peace. We want cordial relations and peace with Pakistan too,” he said after reviewing a smartly turned out Army Day Parade.
On the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern States, the Army Chief said the current situation was very much under control.
“The insurgency situation in Jammu and Kashmir is in full control of the security forces. The peaceful situation in the border state is due to the continuous efforts of the security forces. In the North East too we have ensured peace. We will continue this good work,” he said.
Referring to the changes in the geo-political and security situation, Gen. Kapoor said this was an era of bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation and added that India had pursued it by holding highly enriching joint training exercises with several countries. “Such joint exercises provides an opportunity to enhance mutual understanding,” he said. He listed out Armed Forces Tribunal for dispensing justice to personnel, Married Accommodation Project in forward and high altitude areas, hike in allowances and better facilities, as some of the welfare measures launched recently.
Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor said on Friday said that keeping in view the Indian Army standards, they would consider inducting the widows of defence personnel into the force. The desperate situation of war widows is rooted in the old Indian family system and beliefs whereby the family is dependent on the male member and once the husband is gone, the widow finds it difficult to survive and live with dignity.
Although armed forces have initiated various measures for proper rehabilitation of the war widows, yet many of them still find it difficult to benefit from them.
Meanwhile the number of violent incidents has decreased in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK), infiltration attempts registered a relative increase in 2009, Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor said on Thursday. Talking to reporters on the eve of the 62nd Army Day, he said around 700 ‘militants’ from Pakistan were waiting to infiltrate across the Line of Control (LoC).
“The terror infrastructure across the LoC is very much intact and all-out efforts are being made to push inside as many infiltrators as possible,” Kapoor said, adding that 57 people infiltrated in 2008, while the number rose to 110 by November 30, 2009. The Indian Army chief said that although India was “not involved in active operations” in Afghanistan, it was willing to train Afghan officers to build a strong army, if the US and other forces choose the exit policy. iftikhar gilani

US military attitude still rooted in cold war: Gates
Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washington January 16, 2010, 12:17 IST

The attitude of the US military is still rooted in the cold war era of the 20th century and it has not been able to adopt itself to the evolving domestic internal threat, Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said.

"It is clear that as a department, we have not done enough to adapt to the evolving domestic internal security threat to American troops and military facilities that has emerged over the past decade," Gates told reporters at a Pentagon news conference on the findings of the Fort Hood shooting inquiry.

The inquiry was ordered after the US Army Major Nidal Hasan Malik, an army doctor with extremist views, went on rampage and killed as many as 13 army personnel at Fort Hood in Texas last year.

The report was submitted to the Defence Secretary this week.

Among the report's conclusions are the military does not do enough to detect an enemy from within or to share information from one command to another.

Also, the military must change its culture to ward off future threats, said the report co-written by former Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark and former Army Secretary Togo West Jr.

"In this area as in so many others, this department is burdened by 20th-century processes and attitudes mostly rooted in the Cold War. Our counterintelligence procedures are mostly designed to combat an external threat such as a foreign intelligence service," Gates said.

"Likewise, our force-protection procedures are set up to investigate and adjudicate criminal conduct, such as domestic abuse and gang activities.

In particular, the (Fort Hood) review concluded that DOD (Department of Defence) force-protection programmes are not properly focused on internal threats such as workplace violence and self-radicalisation.

The problem is compounded in the absence of a clear understanding of what motivates a person to become radicalised and commit violent acts," Gates said.

He said the current definition for prohibited activities is incomplete and does not provide adequate guidance for commanders and supervisors to act on potential threats to security.

Current policies on prohibited activities provide neither the authority nor the tools for commanders and supervisors to intervene when DOD personnel at risk of personal -- of potential violence make contact or establish relationships with persons or entities that promote self-radicalisation.

"We need to refine our understanding of what these behavioural signals are and how they progress," he said.

"At the same time, there is no well integrated means to gather, evaluate and disseminate the wide range of behavioural indicators that could help our commanders better anticipate an internal threat.

Defence personnel-management systems are generally organised to withhold and compartmentalise troubling information about individuals, as opposed to sharing it with the people and leaders who need to know," said the Defence Secretary.

Among other significant findings and recommendations, the report also says there is no senior DOD official responsible for integrating force-protection policies throughout the department.

Individual installations can react to attack, but the department does not have a coherent approach or integrated command-and-control system to deal with internal threats.

War certain if India faces another 26/11: analyst

Washington: Citing the very real threat of a new Pakistan-based terror attack on India, a noted South Asia expert says that unlike in 2008 Indian military restraint "cannot be taken for granted if terrorists strike again".

"India faces the real prospect of another major terrorist attack by Pakistan-based terrorist organizations in the near future,” writes Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a Washington think tank.

But "unlike the aftermath of the November 2008 attack on Mumbai, in which 166 people died, Indian military restraint cannot be taken for granted if terrorists strike again," he says in a new ‘contingency planning memorandum’ examining what India's response would be and its consequences.

Noting that "an Indian retaliatory strike against terrorist targets on Pakistani soil would raise Indo-Pakistani tensions and could even set off a spiral of violent escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals," Markey says this would harm US interests "given Washington's effort to intensify pressure on al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated militants operating from Pakistani territory."

"The threat of another Mumbai-type attack is undeniable," he warns noting "numerous Pakistan-based groups remain motivated and able to strike Indian targets" as they have "incentives to act as spoilers,whether to disrupt efforts to improve Indo-Pakistani relations or to distract Islamabad from counterterror crackdowns at home."

"Thus the immediate risk of terrorism may actually increase if New Delhi and Islamabad make progress on resolving their differences or if Pakistan-based terrorists are effectively backed into a corner," Markey says.

Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed are the two terrorists groups that have proven themselves the most capable and motivated to carry out attacks in India, he notes.

"Al-Qaeda has historically focused its efforts outside India, but if the group's leadership feels threatened in the Pakistan Afghanistan border areas, it might direct and assist regional proxies to attack India as a way to ignite a distracting Indo-Pakistani confrontation," Markey writes.

Noting that more clearly a terrorist attack can be identified as having originated in Pakistan, the more likely India is to retaliate militarily," he says the US has a clear interest in preventing an Indo-Pakistani crisis.

"To defend against a terrorist attack, Washington should share information and technical tools with India and work with Pakistan to clamp down on materials that might be used in weapons of mass destruction."

It should also press Islamabad to accelerate the judicial process against the Mumbai plotters and crack down on militants throughout Pakistan, Markey says and "If US cooperation with Islamabad proves inadequate, Washington should develop its own capacity to infiltrate or attack these groups."

"In a worst-case scenario, Washington would have to choose between accepting an Indian strike on Pakistan and levelling its own coercive military threats against Islamabad," he says. But it should avoid policies that are likely to rule out effective working relationships with Islamabad and New Delhi once the crisis is over.

VIEW: The army and the people —Dr Mubashir Hasan

The Pakistan Army may train the Rangers, the Frontier Constabulary (FC) or other paramilitary units but should not lend officers from its permanent cadre to serve in the paramilitary units, as it amounts to direct confrontation involving arrests and opening fire on the people

In the last two decades before 1947, I do not remember any occasion when the Indian troops were called to quell a riot or a major civilian protest. It was always the British troops (the gora fauj) that were called in when the situation was considered beyond the control of the police such as the one in the early 1930s during the great Civil Disobedience Movement. The gora fauj was called and housed in the huge premises of the Delhi Municipal Corporation next to the main venue of the Congress demonstrations — the famous Chandni Chowk of Delhi. The British, and not the Indian troops, were also used to guard the top Congress leader MK Gandhi when he was under house arrest at the Birla House in Poona. Because it was so employed at all critical junctures, the gora fauj was feared and hated most by the Indians.

In Pakistan, the leadership of the Pakistan Army, originally trained as an instrument of the British empire, having no experience of the art and science of exercising sovereign power, plunged itself into confronting the Pakistani public directly instead of leaving the job exclusively to the police. If only Major General Azam Khan had told Defence Secretary Iskander Mirza in 1953 that he would not clamp Martial Law in Lahore unless the order came through his Commander-in-Chief General Ayub Khan; if only General Ayub Khan had not colluded with Governor General Ghulam Mohammad in dismissing the Constituent Assembly and later in accepting the post of defence minister; if only General Ayub Khan had not colluded with President Iskander Mirza in abrogating the 1956 Constitution and declaring Martial Law and assuming the presidency; if only Generals Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf had not exercised sovereign authority over Pakistan, the army would not be unpopular among the people as an instrument of state power.

This unfortunate situation of non-existence of a friendly relationship between the army and the people needs to be reversed. The cause of the defence of Pakistan requires the fullest support of all the people behind the army in defending the frontiers. Today the army can claim only partial support. The army officers and jawans should able to move about in uniform on the streets of town and villages. The villages should feel proud of their sons when the janaazas (funerals) of the shaheed (martyred) soldiers are received in the ancestral graveyards. In the 1950s I well remember seeing people on the Mall, Lahore, clapping at the sight of even a small group of soldiers in uniform. I also remember September 6, 1965, the scene on GT Road in front of Shalimar Bagh as the crowds of Lahorites with rehras trying to carry degs of food for soldiers at the Jallo front. I also remember the devotion showered by the people of Sialkot as they visited the 105 mm (or was it 175 mm) gun dug in west of the city limits. They lovingly called it Rani and remembered in awe its boom as it thundered to check the advance of Indian tanks in the Chawinda battle.

Times have changed.

The army must never again think of arresting a prime minister, locking up parliament, setting up military courts or presiding over the civil administrative machinery or not follow the example of General Jehangir Karamat of not obeying the judicial order issued by the chief justice.

The Pakistan Army may train the Rangers, the Frontier Constabulary (FC) or other paramilitary units but should not lend officers from its permanent cadre to serve in the paramilitary units, as it amounts to direct confrontation involving arrests and opening fire on the people. In short, the army must never serve the ruling elites for internal security purposes.

The seemingly difficult task of improving the relationship between the army and the people is not an impossible one. History has presented the army an excellent opportunity to improve upon its past record and make a fresh start.

The performance of the government of the day over the last year and a half has been dismal. The task of the maintenance of law and order is in shambles. Dire shortage of energy and other essential commodities has made the life of citizens miserable. Money and guns have replaced rule of law and moral behaviour for running the state and society. The state has fallen to pieces for the overwhelming majority of the population. The people are fed up and harbour feelings of hostility against the government, its functionaries and its patrons.

That the hydra-headed monster of corruption has seeped into the vitals of the organs of the state of Pakistan is universally acknowledged. The federal government, parliament, provincial governments, provincial assemblies and other authorities, as defined in Article 7 of the Constitution, have rendered themselves incapable of performing their duties as demanded by the Constitution. A thorough cleansing of our Augean Stables, filled up with the filth of corruption of the last sixty years, is required.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan is seized with the cases of a number of corrupt politicos and senior officers of the civil services. God-sent seems to be the intent of the judgements and pronouncements of the Honourable Court in trying to rid the national body politic of crooks and criminals.

The nation most earnestly hopes that the machinery of the state shall faithfully implement in letter and spirit the Herculean task set for it by the judgments of the court. However, to protect the vested interests of its personnel, the state may dilly-dally, try to frustrate or even evade the implementation of the orders of the highest court. In such an eventuality, which unwittingly may pave the way for transforming the present day general uprising into full-fledged anarchy and civil war, it is hoped that the Supreme Court shall mercifully invoke Article 190 of the Constitution and mobilise the services of the army personnel as police to implement the Court’s writ, should the need arise. The services so rendered shall put the people behind the army, which will be a big gain for the defence of Pakistan.

The writer can be reached at

In final test, Arjun tank to take on Russian T-90
Published on : Saturday 16 Jan 2010 17:27 - by Ritu Sharma

New Delhi, Jan 16 : The Arjun main battle tank will take on the Russian built T-90 tanks March 1, when the core strength of the indigenously-built tank will be assessed by the Indian Army's observers.

This could deliver the final verdict on a platform that has been 36 years in the making and which has cost the exchequer Rs.3.5 billion ($71.7 million).

With one regiment of the Arjun tanks (comprising 45 tanks) completing their conversion training and field practice, the comparative trials will be conducted at Mahajan Range in Rajasthan March 1.

"Our aim is not to determine a winner in these trials, but to test the core strength of the tanks," a senior official of the Indian Army said, wishing anonymity.

Experts from mechanised forces and officials from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will also witness the comparative trials.

The DRDO had handed over 16 tanks to the Indian Army last year, completing one regiment of 45 tanks. The regiment was then subjected to conversion training and field practice.

The DRDO's demand for the comparative trials of the two tanks was being seen as a last-ditch bid to save the Arjun as some 500 tanks would need to be acquired by the army to make the project feasible.

The army, however, has made it clear that it will buy no more than the 124 Arjuns it has contracted for because it is unhappy with the tank on various counts. This apart, the army says the Arjun can at best remain in service for five to 10 years while it is looking 20 years ahead and needs a futuristic MBT.

The army's stand has been contrary to a third-party assessment by an internationally reputed tank manufacturer.

The official said: "As suggested by the army, Arjun tanks were subjected to rigorous trials and assessment in a third-party audit. After the extensive evaluation, the auditor confirmed that Arjun is an excellent tank with very good mobility and firepower characteristics suitable for Indian deserts."

"They (the auditor) also gave inputs on production procedures for further enhancing the performance of Arjun tanks. DRDO will be incorporating all these inputs before the next lot of 62 tanks is handed over to army by March 2010," the official added.

The Indian Army laid down its qualitative requirement for the Arjun in 1972. In 1982, it was announced that the prototype was ready for field trials. However, the tank was publicly unveiled for the first time only in 1995.

Arjun was originally meant to be a 40-tonne tank with a 105 mm gun. It has now grown to a 50-tonne tank with a 120 mm gun. The tank was meant to supplement and eventually replace the Soviet-era T-72 MBT that was first inducted in the early 1980s.

However, delays in the Arjun project and Pakistan's decision to purchase the T-80 from Ukraine, prompted India to order 310 T-90s, an upgraded version of the T-72, in 2001.

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