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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

From Today's Papers - 02 Feb 10

 

 

 

 

India to host largest naval war game
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
A move aimed at securing the coast and ensuring that incidents like Mumbai terror attacks when foreign militants entered via sea route didn’t happen again, India would be hosting the largest four-day naval war game, ‘Milan-2010’, involving 12 nations in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands from February 4. The event will be held close to the world’s busiest trade route in the straits of Mallaca.

Terror threat to coastal areas apart from anti-piracy and poaching operations would be debated during the event, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence) Rear Admiral Sudharshan Shrikhande told reporters here.

There would be a discussion on maritime terror and the means to counter attacks like what happened in Mumbai. He said Indian Navy was already coordinating with Indonesia and Thailand for a structured joint patrol along each other's maritime borders for about two or three times a year.

Among other issues to be discussed would be illegal entry of foreign ships into the waters of the respective countries, just as India had experienced when a North Korean vessel anchored off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands last year and had to be apprehended.

Naval ships from Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand, with representatives from the navies of Brunei, Phillipines, Vietnam and New Zealand would join the exercise and also a seminar on “Navies in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief”. It will be inaugurated by Andaman and Nicobar Lieutenant Governor Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh (retd).

Separately, he said the event would be followed by the annual bilateral ‘Malabar’ exercise in the Arabian Sea in April-May this year involving India and USA. For this, the US is likely to bring one of its nuclear-powered submarines. India does

not own one yet.

Sources in the Navy said the Russian nuclear-powered submarine, K-152 Nerpa, will be in India on a 10-year lease by June this year.

The Akula-II class submarine, which India has sought for long, was inducted into the Russian navy in December last. “The Nerpa is expected to join the Indian Navy by June.”

An indigenously developed nuclear-powered vessel, the INS Arihant, was launched in July last. It is at present under construction in Visakhapatnam and is expected to join the fleet in about two years.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100202/main5.htm

 

 

 

 

 

India, Russia discuss fight against terror
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News service

New Delhi, February 1
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today discussed developments in the region in context of fight against terrorism with visiting Russian security chief Nikolai Patrushev. The volatile situation in Afghanistan and drug trafficking are also understood to have figured during the talks, official sources said.

Earlier in the day, Patrushev held talks with National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon on the new strategy worked out at the recent London conference on Afghanistan of integrating the Taliban in the war-ravaged nation. The two top national security officials debated the implications of the proposal.

Both India and Russia are not comfortable with accommodating the Taliban in any power-sharing arrangement and have resented any distinction between the so-called good and bad Taliban. Besides international terrorism and Afghanistan, the two officials also discussed a host of bilateral issues, including the ongoing civil-nuclear cooperation between them.

Patrushev is the first foreign NSA to visit New Delhi since Menon assumed charge about a week ago. The visit is a follow-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to Russia in December last year that led to the signing of an umbrella nuclear accord and defence pacts.

Patrushev's trip will be followed by that of Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin to India, expected around mid-February. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit India in March.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100202/nation.htm#7

 

 

 

 

 

Woman officer held for skipping GCM trial
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Major Dimple Singla, the first women officer in the Army to face trial by a general court martial (GCM), was today placed under arrest by the military court trying her on charges of professional misconduct. This is the first incident of its kind, where a woman officer facing trial has been placed under arrest for non-appearance.

The GCM, presided over by Col Sanjeev Jose, re-assembled at Zirakpur near here after remaining adjourned for a few weeks, as Major Singla had been hospitalised for seizure attacks.

An arrest warrant had been issued against her on December 29 after the accused reportedly left the hospital, where she had been admitted, without being discharged. The police had also gone to her house, but she could not be traced.

She had moved the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, pleading that she was ready to appear before the GCM, provided she was not arrested.

Last week, the Tribunal however, refused to grant a stay on her arrest and directed that she appear before the GCM on February 1.

The Tribunal had ruled that under law, only the competent authority in the Army could grant a stay on her arrest at this stage.

Major Singla, an officer of the Judge Advocate General’s Department, the legal wing of the Army, is facing trial for allegedly demanding and accepting bribes from accused persons to influence court martial proceedings in their favour. She is also facing charges of violation of good order and military discipline.

The trial had commenced in 2007 and has since been moving in fits and starts due to a series of lengthy adjournments.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100202/nation.htm#12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russian T-90 tanks to take on the Arjun MBT

February 02, 2010 02:19 IST

 

The outcome could decide whether the Indian Army [ Images ] will ride Indian tanks into future battles or continue its reliance upon a heavily criticised fleet of Russian T-72 tanks, which even the army chief admits is 80 per cent blind at night, when most tank battles occur.

 

The army's Bikaner-headquartered 24 Infantry Division will conduct the month-long trials in the desert expanses around Bikaner, Suratgarh and Pokhran. A squadron (14 tanks) of the Arjun will be pitted against a T-90 squadron. Both will be evaluated by day and by night, comparing their abilities to speed through rugged, sand-dune-infested terrain; to fire accurately even while moving; their abilities to operate for long periods over long distances; and the fatigue they impose on their crews.

 

The declared aim of the comparative trial, surprisingly, is not to identify the better tank. The army claims the T-90 is not on trial; instead, the strengths and weaknesses of the Arjun are being evaluated, to help the army decide what operational role the Arjun could play, and which sector of the border it could effectively operate in.

 

But the Defence Research &Development Organisation—which has developed the Arjun tank at the Central Vehicles R&D Establishment at Chennai—insists that if the Arjun performs well against the vaunted T-90, the army will be forced to order the Indian tank in larger numbers. Arjuns could start replacing the T-72, while the T-90 remains in service for another three decades.

 

So far, the army has only ordered 124 Arjuns for its 4,000-tank fleet. An incensed DRDO has long demanded comparative trials against the T-72, and the newer T-90, to prove the Arjun's quality. Trials were scheduled, and then postponed, because of a shortage of Arjun ammunition. With the ammunition now available the army, significantly, has withdrawn the T-72 from the trials.

 

"The army knows that the T-72 would have performed very poorly in trials against the Arjun", complains a senior DRDO officer. "Despite that, the army continues to sink money into its 2400 outdated T-72s. Any comparative trial with the T-72 would make it clear that the Arjun should replace the T-72."

 

But there is also concern about the subjectivity of trials involving an entire squadron in tactical manoeuvres. Major General HM Singh (retired), the father of the Arjun tank, says, "It is impossible to measure the tactical performance of 14 tanks. There are too many variables, including the skill of the tank crews and coloured perceptions of the judges. A comparative trial should be a scientific comparison of each tanks' physical performance in identical situations."

 

The Ministry of Defence has not responded to an emailed questionnaire from Business Standard on the comparative trials and the condition of the T-72 tank fleet.

 

Meanwhile, the Arjun is ready for production in larger numbers, with a production line at the Heavy Vehicles Factory near Chennai established at a cost of Rs 50 crores. Capable of producing 20 Arjuns annually, it has already equipped India's first Arjun unit, 43 Armoured Regiment. Now, a second unit, 75 Armoured Regiment, is being converted to the Arjun.

 

But that is as far as the army is prepared to accept the Arjun. According to the army's long-term plan, which Business Standard has accessed, no more Arjuns are planned. Instead, the army will field equal numbers of T-90s and T-72s for the next 15 years, spending thousands of crores on extending the life of the T-72.

 

But these trials, despite the reservations about their relevance, are the moment of truth for the Indian tank. A strong performance by the Arjun will force the army to redo its maths. Conspicuous failure, on the other hand, could cap the programme at just 124 tanks.

http://news.rediff.com/report/2010/feb/02/russian-t-90-tank-to-bet-pitted-against-arjun.htm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russia's T-90 vs India's Arjun

Ajai Shukla / New Delhi February 02, 2010, 0:23 IST

 

Next month, India’s homegrown Arjun tank will take on the new Russian T-90 in a long-awaited comparative trial.

 

The outcome could decide whether the Indian Army will ride Indian tanks into future battles or continue its reliance upon a heavily criticised fleet of Russian T-72 tanks, which even the army chief admits is 80 per cent blind at night, when most tank battles occur.

 

The army’s Bikaner-headquartered 24 Infantry Division will conduct the month-long trials in the desert expanses around Bikaner, Suratgarh and Pokhran. A squadron (14 tanks) of the Arjun will be pitted against a T-90 squadron. Both will be evaluated by day and by night, comparing their abilities to speed through rugged, sand-dune-infested terrain; to fire accurately even while moving; their abilities to operate for long periods over long distances; and the fatigue they impose on their crews.

 

The declared aim of the comparative trial, surprisingly, is not to identify the better tank. The army claims the T-90 is not on trial; instead, the strengths and weaknesses of the Arjun are being evaluated, to help the army decide what operational role the Arjun could play, and which sector of the border it could effectively operate in.

 

But the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) — which has developed the Arjun tank at the Central Vehicles R&D Establishment (CVRDE) at Chennai — insists that if the Arjun performs well against the vaunted T-90, the army will be forced to order the Indian tank in larger numbers. Arjuns could start replacing the T-72, while the T-90 remains in service for another three decades.

 

So far, the army has only ordered 124 Arjuns for its 4,000-tank fleet. An incensed DRDO has long demanded comparative trials against the T-72, and the newer T-90, to prove the Arjun’s quality. Trials were scheduled, and then postponed, because of a shortage of Arjun ammunition. With the ammunition now available the army, significantly, has withdrawn the T-72 from the trials.

 

“The army knows that the T-72 would have performed very poorly in trials against the Arjun”, complains a senior DRDO officer. “Despite that, the army continues to sink money into its 2400 outdated T-72s. Any comparative trial with the T-72 would make it clear that the Arjun should replace the T-72.”

 

But there is also concern about the subjectivity of trials involving an entire squadron in tactical manoeuvres. Major General HM Singh (retired), the father of the Arjun, says, “It is impossible to measure the tactical performance of 14 tanks. There are too many variables, including the skill of the tank crews and coloured perceptions of the judges. A comparative trial should be a scientific comparison of each tanks’ physical performance in identical situations.”

 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not responded to an emailed questionnaire from Business Standard on the comparative trials and the condition of the T-72 tank fleet.

 

Meanwhile, the Arjun is ready for production in larger numbers, with a production line at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) near Chennai established at a cost of Rs 50 crores. Capable of producing 20 Arjuns annually, it has already equipped India’s first Arjun unit, 43 Armoured Regiment. Now, a second unit, 75 Armoured Regiment, is being converted to the Arjun.

 

But that is as far as the army is prepared to accept the Arjun. According to the army’s long-term plan, which Business Standard has accessed, no more Arjuns are planned. Instead, the army will field equal numbers of T-90s and T-72s for the next 15 years, spending thousands of crores on extending the life of the T-72.

 

But these trials, despite the reservations about their relevance, are the moment of truth for the Indian tank. A strong performance by the Arjun will force the army to redo its maths. Conspicuous failure, on the other hand, could cap the programme at just 124 tanks.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/russia%5Cs-t-90-vs-india%5Cs-arjun/384353/

 

 

 

 

 

 

India's quick-strike doctrine causes flutter

 

By HARSH V. PANT

 

Special to The Japan Times

 

LONDON — Recently the Indian Army chief, Gen. Deepak Kapoor, drew attention when he suggested at a training command seminar that India is preparing for a "two-front" war with Pakistan and China as it brings its war-fighting doctrine in sync with emerging scenarios to firm up its "Cold Start" strategy.

 

After strengthening its offensive capabilities vis-a-vis Pakistan by creating a new Southwestern Army Command in 2005, India is now concentrating on countering China effectively in the eastern sector. Kapoor said there is now "a proportionate focus toward the western and northeastern fronts."

 

Pakistan reacted predictably by describing India's move as reflecting a "hegemonistic and jingoistic mindset" and betraying a "hostile intent." It urged the international community to take notice. The Pakistani security establishment apparently viewed this as an opportunity to once again press upon the Americans the need to keep Pakistani troops on the India-Pakistan border rather than on the Afghanistan border to fight Taliban forces.

 

China, on the other hand, did not choose to respond to the issue directly. The two states have begun a dialogue at the defense secretary level. Chinese analysts have expressed concerns in recent years about India's growing military ambitions and the purported shift in India's "passive" defense strategy to one viewed as "active and aggressive."

 

It was the Kargil conflict of 1999 that exposed Indian vulnerabilities as Pakistan realized that India didn't have the capability to impose quick and effective retribution. The Indian Army chief at the time had famously commented that the forces would fight with whatever they had, underscoring the military's frustration over the inability to procure needed arms.

 

Only because that conflict remained largely confined to the 150-km front of the Kargil sector did India manage to gain the upper hand. Then, in 2001, came the standoff between the Indian and Pakistani armies across the Line of Control after the Indian Parliament was attacked. Again, India lacked the ability to carry out surgical strikes against Pakistan because of the unavailability of suitable weaponry, including night-vision equipment.

 

The nuclear aspect is important because it is one reason why elements within the Pakistani security establishment have become more adventurous. Realizing that India would be reluctant to escalate a conflict to the nuclear level, sections of the Pakistani military and intelligence have pushed the conventional envelope in using various terror groups to launch assaults on India.

 

For India this presents a structural conundrum: Nuclear weapons have made a major conventional conflict with Pakistan unrealistic, yet India still needs to find a way to launch effective but limited military action against Pakistan.

 

After Operation Parakram (2001-2002), the Indian Army tried to develop a new doctrine to find an answer to Pakistan's growing recklessness. Thus was born the Cold Start doctrine, which basically states the effort to acquire the ability to launch quick, decisive, limited strikes under the nuclear umbrella, and to seize some territory — before the international community can intervene — to be used as a postconflict bargaining chip.

 

As this doctrine is evolving, it's not clear how effective it would be in making sure that a conflict remains limited. Moreover, the army has found little support for it from the other two services. Nor has the civilian government shown interest in the venture.

 

Yet, the Cold Start doctrine has remained in the limelight as the national security establishment searches for policy options vis-a-vis Pakistan. Execution of the doctrine, a work in progress, would require proper equipment, which India must acquire on a priority basis.

 

For the army to make the acquisitions, it will have to surmount a number of entrenched problems in defense procurement. The 1999 and 2001 crises forced the government to react by boosting defense expenditures, but political compulsions reasserted themselves soon afterward.

 

When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government came to power in 2004, it ordered the investigation of several arms acquisition deals. Furthermore, a series of defense procurement scandals since the late 1980s have made the bureaucracy risk-averse, thereby delaying acquisitions.

 

The labyrinthine military procurement process has crimped spending on defense, even as Pakistan has acquired U.S. technology the past several years because of its involvement in the "war on terror." And while China's military modernization has gathered momentum, the modernization of the Indian Army has slipped behind by as much as a decade.

 

So, the Indian Army chief was stating the obvious when he talked of India's preparing for a two-front war. Unlike in Pakistan and China, though, strategic policymaking in India is the sole preserve of the political leadership. And Indian policymakers have yet to sign on to this much-talked-about new doctrine.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20100202a1.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lt General Nair takes charge as Military Secretary

New Delhi, Feb 1 (ANI): Lieutenant General G M Nair took charge as Military Secretary here on Monday.

 

Lt General Nair is a recipient of the Sena Medal and Vishista Seva Medal for dedicated service to the armed forces.

 

 

Born on January 17 1952 Lt General Nair did his schooling from Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala.

 

He joined the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla and was commissioned into 1/11 Gorkha Rifles (BATALIK) in 1972 after completion of training at Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun.

 

General Nair, has been in active service in several operational areas.

 

He commanded 1/11 Gorkha Rifles in Counter Insurgency Operations in Assam and Manipur, Infantry Brigade in Western Sector during Operation PARAKRAM, 39 Mountain Division in Operation RAKSHAK in Jammu and Kashmir).

 

Prior to his appointment as Military Secretary, Lt General Nair was servuing as the General officer Commanding in Chief (GOC in C) of the Kangra based 9 Corps.

 

He has held several important staff, instructional and foreign assignments. Lt General Nair has been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade during Operation PAWAN, Military Observer with United Nation Forces in Namibia and Instructor in the rank of Brigadier at the Army War College in Mhow.

 

Lt General Nair is a highly qualified professional careerist.

 

He has done Defence Service Staff College Course, Senior Command and Higher Command Courses in India and has attended US Army War College Course in Carlisle.

 

Lt General Nair holds a Masters in Defence Studies from Madras University, M Phil in Defence and Management Studies from DAVV, Indore and MS in Strategic Studies from US Army War College. (ANI)

http://news.oneindia.in/2010/02/01/ltgeneral-nair-takes-charge-as-military-secretary.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

British Army chief arriving Thursday     

Monday, 01 February 2010 16:51

British Army chief General Sir David Julian Richards is arriving on a six-day official visit to Nepal Thursday at the invitation of Chief of Army Staff (C0AS) Chhatra Man Singh Gurung.

 

British Army chief General Sir David Julian Richards

Issuing a press statement Monday, Nepal Army's (NA) Directorate of Public Relation (DPR) said General Richards will pay a courtesy call on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at the President's Office in Shital Niwas on Friday morning and then call on Defense Minister Bidhya Devi Bhandari later in the afternoon.

 

Thereafter, he is scheduled to attend a Wreath Laying ceremony at "Bir Smarak" at Army grounds in Tudhikhel and receive a guard of honour from Nepal Army.

 

The same day, the British Army chief will meet his Nepalese counterpart COAS Chhatra Man Singh Gurung and attend a dinner to be hosted in his honor in the evening.

 

On Saturday, he will visit the training centre for NA's peace keeping missions in Panchkhal of Kavre. The same day he will leave for Pokhara to attend various programmes organized by the British Gurkha Camp, the main Gurkha recruiting center.

 

On Sunday afternoon he will return to Kathmandu and meet Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal later in the evening.

 

General Richards is scheduled to attend various programmes organized by the British Gurkha Nepal Society, Area Welfare Center including the ex-British Gurkha soldiers in Nepal on Monday.

 

General Richards will return to Britain on Tuesday.

 

The British Army chief's visit to Nepal follows the one made by the Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor last month during which time the latter was conferred with the honorary title of General of Nepal Army. Nepalnews.com

http://www.nepalnews.com/main/index.php/news-archive/2-political/3884-british-army-chief-arriving-thursday.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

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