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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

From Today's Papers - 10 Mar 2010






Putin to Push Arms, Energy in India

10 March 2010

By Alex Anishyuk


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will push India to double its payment for renovations on a long-delayed aircraft carrier, while also trying to conclude other deals for arms, nuclear energy and communications during a two-day visit beginning Thursday.


New Delhi is the largest foreign buyer of Russian defense equipment, particularly aircraft, and Putin will be looking to shore up that cooperation in talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his first visit to India since January 2007.


He is also slated to meet Indian President Pratibha Patil, the government press service said in a statement Tuesday.


But the biggest issue on the agenda are cost overruns and delays to refit and deliver the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, as the Soviet-built Admiral Gorshkov is now known. Problems with the project have been a regular thorn in generally solid bilateral ties.


A source close to state arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport told The Moscow Times that Putin would push India to sign a $2.3 billion deal to finish upgrades, which were originally expected to cost just $970 million.


The initial $1.6 billion contract, signed in 2004, would have seen the renovated carrier delivered to India in 2008 along with fighter jets that are now part of a separate contract. After years of wrangling over delays, India agreed in 2008 to another $1.2 billion in work on the carrier, with delivery pushed back to 2012.


The final price of $2.3 billion is less than the $2.7 billion total for renovations that Russia had been seeking.


Work on the Vikramaditya took so long to agree on because the Russian side did not realize how long it would take or what the costs would be, the source close to Rosoboronexport said.


"The agreement was signed in a rush. It wasn't quite clear what the weapon was and in what condition it was being sold," the source said. "Then the Russian side realized it would take longer and would cost more to finish it, and it took them more than a year to explain to the Indians why exactly they should pay twice the agreed amount."


Vladimir Pastukhov, head of the state-run Sevmash shipyard doing the work, resigned in 2007 when the underestimates and possible mismanagement of funds had already become clear.


President Dmitry Medvedev visited the shipyard in July and ordered current CEO Nikolai Kalistratov to complete the project, warning that there could be "grave consequences" for further delays. Problems at Sevmash have forced "everyone to make excuses, you to me and I to our Indian partners," Medvedev said at the time.


The source close to Rosoboronexport said three other defense deals may be discussed during the visit, although he declined to speculate on whether they would be signed. The talks could include the sale of 126 MiG-35 fighters, which are being tested as part of an Indian defense tender; development of the Russian-Indian fifth generation PAK FA fighter; and modernization of Su-30 MKI fighters.


Additionally, India is expected to complete a tender to buy patrol ships for its navy later this year, and Russia could participate in their construction, the source said. "It is most likely that an Indian company would win it, but they will build vessels in cooperation with Russia because they wouldn't be able to do it on their own."


Putin is most likely to sign deals to finish the aircraft carrier, sell 29 MiG-29 fighters that would be based on the carrier for $1.2 billion and jointly develop the MTA transport aircraft, Vedomosti reported last week, citing sources close to Rosoboronexport's management.


Rosoboronexport spokesman Vyacheslav Davydenko confirmed that the three agreements would be discussed, but he declined to comment on the terms of possible agreements.


"We never link our contracts to official visits, so I can't say which of them may be signed during the visit and which may not," he said.


The government's press office was not immediately available for comment.


In a promising prelude to Putin's trip, the Indian Defense Ministry on Tuesday said it approved Rosoboronexport as a helicopter supplier.


"In 2008, we agreed to supply 80 MI-17-V-5 helicopters to India, and we will start delivering them by the year's end. Now the Indians want to buy another 60 helicopters of the same model," the source said, without commenting on the possible terms.


Experts said India was likely to stick with Russian-made arms, despite expressing concern about the quality of some aircraft and the problems with the aircraft carrier. In 2009 alone, India lost two Su-30 MKI, three MiG-27s and three MiG-21s in noncombat crashes.


"The Indian army is equipped with Soviet arms, and switching to Western analogues takes a long time," said Alexander Pikayev, a senior research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations. "Also, Russia was the only country so far that agreed to sell India an aircraft carrier, so it looks like India has no other choice."


Moscow and New Delhi have been expanding economic ties beyond arms exports. During Singh's visit to Moscow in December, Russia was given the green light to build nuclear plants in India and work on satellite cooperation.


The countries may sign off on a joint venture in India to produce navigation equipment that would work with both the Russian Glonass system and its U.S. equivalent, GPS, Alexander Gurko, CEO of network operator Navigation and Information Systems, said Tuesday.


India would be able to use the system's civilian signal, which offers precision within 15 meters, while the use of the more precise military signal is being negotiated, Gurko said, RIA-Novosti reported.


Putin is also expected to sign an agreement on boosting cooperation in nuclear energy. India has 4.1 gigawatts of nuclear capacity now, a figure it is trying to raise fivefold by 2020.


India will build five nuclear plants in Gujarat, Andhra-Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Orissa states, and Russia and France are welcome to participate, Srikumar Banergi, chairman of the Indian commission on nuclear energy, said Tuesday.


Russian firms are working on the first phase of the Kudankulam plant in Tamilnad state, which will become India's most powerful. Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko said last year that nuclear work in India is "not just billions [of dollars]. It's about tens of billions."


Putin is also expected to sign an agreement that would make it easier for Indian businessmen to travel to Russia, Interfax reported Tuesday, citing a high-ranking source in India.








VIEW: Pakistan: ‘arena’ of the next Cold War —Sajjad Shaukat


Owing to the American perennial wave of drone strikes and a blame game that al Qaeda leaders are hiding in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan, a gulf has been created between Pakistan and the US, which is likely to widen in future


We should not judge the multi-faceted crises of Pakistan, including the perennial wave of suicide attacks, in isolation. The rapidly developing geo-political differences among regional and global powers in Asia show that the next Cold War, which is in its embryonic stages, is likely to be waged between the Russia-China alliance and the US-led nations, while Pakistan has already become its arena.


Despite cooperation, disagreements exist between Washington and Beijing over Chinese export of missile technology, human rights and the Taiwan issue. The US strategic thinkers take China’s military modernisation as a great threat to its military bases in the continent.


Some new developments have also revived the old animosity between Russia and the US. Apart from differences over the American occupation of Iraq and its national missile defence system (NMD), in August 2007, the US blamed Russia in connection with an incident of a missile dropped on Georgian soil. In that context, the then Russian President Putin had openly stated that his country was returning to its Soviet-era practice of sending long-range bomber aircraft on regular patrols near NATO airspace.


Now it seems that the differences of the US with Russia and China are moving from strategic partnership to strategic competition. Notably, it was due to the Moscow-Beijing stand in the UN Security Council that the US could not succeed in imposing tough economic sanctions on Iran, which is determined to continue its nuclear programme.


On August 16, 2007, during the annual summit, leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) displayed their strength against the rising dominance of the US in the region, calling for a multi-polar system in the world. Russian President Putin had even proposed defence cooperation among the member states. Pakistan and Iran also participated in the summit as observers and are expected to get permanent membership. The SCO is seen as an anti-US club, which is also against the NATO military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of Central Asia, which is replete with oil and gas.


Last year, Islamabad and Tehran signed the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project without New Delhi, as the latter was reluctant owing to its pro-US tilt.


As regards India, frustrated in achieving its aims of getting the status of a superpower, the Indian rulers have now openly started threatening Pakistan and China with war. The Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor revealed on December 29, 2009 that the Indian Army “is now revising its five-year-old doctrine” and is preparing for a “possible two-front war with China and Pakistan”.


India, which successfully tested missile Agni-III in May 2007, has been extending its range to target all the big cities of China. In fact, Pakistan’s province Balochistan, where China has invested billion of dollars to develop the Gwadar seaport, which could link Central Asian trade with the rest of the world, irritates both Washington and New Delhi. It has even shifted the centre of gravity of the New Great Game to Pakistan.


On the other hand, China has signed a number of agreements with Pakistan to help the latter in diverse sectors. So the Sino-Indian cold war is part of the prospective greater Cold War between the US and China. The US, which signed a nuclear deal with India in 2008, intends to make India a great power of Asia to contain China and destabilise Pakistan as well as Iran.


Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the ISPR spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas have repeatedly stated that they have concrete evidence of Indian support to terrorism in Pakistan through Afghanistan.


As a matter of fact, the US has been playing a double game with our country. Tough conditions of the Kerry-Lugar aid bill coupled with appreciation of the Swat-Malakand and Waziristan successful military operations by Pakistan’s armed forces might be noted as one instance.


Owing to the American perennial wave of drone strikes and a blame game that al Qaeda leaders are hiding in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan, a gulf has been created between Pakistan and the US, which is likely to widen in future. Our foreign minister calls it ‘a trust deficit’.


Besides, terrorism on the global level has added a dangerous element of ‘hot war’ to the cold war. Particularly, an unending war between the US-led NATO forces and the Taliban has created instability in Afghanistan, rendering US power vulnerable.


Nevertheless, the impending new cold war would divide the world between two blocs —the Russia-China bloc and the US bloc. The main players of this game, such as North Korea, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian Republics are likely to align with the Russia-China alliance. On the other side, Japan, Georgia, Ukraine, South Korea and India would join the American bloc. In case of foreign troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, the latter could also join the Russia-China bloc.


Since Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World, hence the US, India and Israel are determined to denuclearise it. It is worth mentioning that on October 7, 2009, BBC displayed a documentary movie regarding the eighth anniversary of the US-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan. It stated, “Now this war is being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it will soon spread to Pakistan.”


Nonetheless, Pakistan has already become the arena of the next cold war because of its geopolitical location. Therefore, unrest created by the foreign elements continues unabated in our country.


Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book US vs Islamic Militants: Invisible Balance of Power. He can be reached at\03\10\story_10-3-2010_pg3_4







MoD Plans to Nominate BEL for TCS Project


The Indian Ministry of Defence is scheduled to give yet another discouraging sign to the private firms trying to enter the defence sector, by scrapping competitive bidding for the $2 billion project for developing the Indian Army’s futuristic Tactical Communications System (TCS).


The Indian Ministry of Defence has decided to hand over the crucial project to the state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) due to the crucial nature of the project and the secrecy needed. Sadly, it was the Ministry of Defence who had invited bids from the private sector in the first place. The India Defence Ministry has declared that the turnaround was caused after reviewing the new cyber policy formulated by the apex National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) – a secretive body that functions under the Cabinet Secretariat, which oversees electronic intelligence.


The TCS project also falls under the purview of this body. The TCS project involves the Indian government funding 80 per cent of the research and development cost, with the remaining 20 per cent to be funded by the chosen vendor for the project.


As for the TCS, it functions like a cellular phone network, the TCS’s exchanges and switches will be installed in high-mobility vehicles which will enable them to be transported and set up anywhere. The messages sent out over the TCS cannot be easily intercepted or jammed since they will not remain on a single frequency. The TCS will be configured in such a way that the transmissions will hop frequencies dozens of times every second in a pre-programmed sequence. This sequence is called a “hopping algorithm”.


The Indian Defence Ministry has declared that in order to maintain the secrecy of this “hopping algorithm”, or the sequence in which the TCS hops frequencies, the state-owned BEL is being handed over the TCS project.


The NTRO has also mandated that the “hopping algorithm” must remain the exclusive preserve of the government. Added to this, a special defence ministry committee is about to recommend that the TCS procurement be categorised as “Make – Strategic, Complex and Security Sensitive Systems”, as opposed to the prior “Make – High Tech”, wherein the private sector was invited. Under the Defence Procurement Policy and the NTRO’s guidelines and its mandate, the TCS project will automatically go to the state-owned firms Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and BEL.


The private sector firms who are left groping in the dark are Wipro, Mahindra Defence Systems, Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Rolta and HCL.


These private sector players have blamed the Indian Defence Ministry for belittling their competence in the area of Information Technology, software and communications by making these unfair moves against them. The private players have warned that the current turnaround of events in the TCS project, and a host of others which the Indian government dangles and then snatches away, will only drive away the private sector players as well as shareholders investments in the defence sector.


While the private sector players have been involved in highly crucial projects involving secrecy, the current blow has come as a shock to them. In the TCS project, last year it was decided that top-secret algorithms in the TCS would be developed by the DRDO’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), but the private sector could develop the rest of the project. Even the Kelkar Committee had recommended that companies with a history and proven potential in defence production should be designated Raksha Udyog Ratnas (RURs) and treated at par with DPSUs in the award of projects like the TCS. But, the Indian defence ministry decided against nominating RURs as well.


The private sector players claim that the secrecy can be fully preserved by reserving the ‘hopping algorithm’ for DRDO and BEL, and it seems unfair that just to safeguard the secrecy of the microchip which contains the ‘hopping algorithm’, the defence ministry is handing them an entire $2 billion project.


This will only lead to future crucial projects finding their way in to the laps of the state-owned companies.


The private sector has also cited the false notion of indigenisation that the state-owned firms are fronting in these projects and said that the BEL, which has been awarded the TCS project, builds systems that are built mainly from foreign components. BEL’s Artillery Combat Command and Control System (ACCCS), a system similar to the TCS, has computers and software from Israeli company, Elbit.


In the past, Indian private companies have played important and responsible roles in some of India’s most secret defence projects. Larsen & Toubro, built most of India’s nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, and will have a similar role in building successors to the Arihant. Another private company, Tata Power, which built crucial command systems for the Arihant, also designed the core of the top secret Samyukta Electronic Warfare system. However, they have been unfairly sidelined in the TCS project.


Even the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence, has raised concerns over the false indigenisation where Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) have allegedly fronted for foreign companies. Last year, the Standing Committee’s report noted that a large proportion of procurement takes place through the ordnance factories and DPSUs, which are indigenous sources, but have to depend on imports for manufacturing the finished product.







Army and the corporate world must exchange its cultures

Today, the corporate world has so many challenges. It can immensely benefit from the Army ethos that stress on dedication, justice, equality and total commitment.




The high level of transparency in the functioning of the Indian Army and other government and private organizations has created so much of scope to benefit from each other. The military as an organization has very time tested ethos enabling it to keep its head very high, both during peace as well as war.


The Army ethos has so much of applicability in any other government and civil organization and the corporate sector in particular can benefit immensely from it.


A Look at some of the military ethos:


1) The first military ethos is to live and die for each other and this creates lot for of esprit-de corps and camaraderie amongst everyone

2) The second military ethos is to apply the principle of impartiality and justice to everyone across the board and this creates a lot of mutual trust and confidence among the soldiers of the Indian Army.

3) The third military ethos is to create a family amongst everyone and this happens by respecting the religion the tradition and the culture of each other. The principle of secularism is the root of the survival of the Indian Army. Everyone, irrespective of his caste, color, and creed is a soldier and that is the only religion followed by everyone.

4) The fourth military ethos is to put the interest of the country at the top most level under any circumstances and then comes the welfare of the subordinates and the welfare of the officers class comes only at the last. This creates a total sense of patriotism and nationalism amongst everyone and every high level of officers’ relationship gets established.


Blending of the Military ethos in the corporate culture and other sectors:


All above mentioned military culture, if followed in letter and spirit can further enhance the homogeneity and the integrity of that corporate sector and all other sectors.


Ensuing of best mutual understanding and following the principles of impartiality and justice enhances the working environment of any organization. All the top and middle level managers need to connect properly with their subordinates to understand them in totality and to get the maximum from them.


The subordinates in any organization only play up when they have full faith and confidence in their leaders. The real welfare of any subordinate is only ensured by giving him the best of his dues. Any kind of recruitment and promotion in the corporate world has to be based on the principle of meritocracy and impartiality. The maximum cohesion and integrity within an organization has to be ensured to create a true family feeling


Today, the corporate world has so many challenges to meet and only the best of dedication and sincerity in all the team members can help it to achieve its target. It is therefore very essential for the employees of the corporate world to treat their respective companies as their homes and to render their best of loyalties to achieve the maximum in such a competitive world.


The time has come for the Army and the corporate world to exchange its cultures with each other to achieve the best of intermingle.


The issue of maintaining the best of security by every organization & establishment of the Indian Army is very well understood and suitable mechanisms need to be devised to interact and exchange ideas and information with the corporate world and any other sector without compromising in this regard in any manner what so ever.





Posted by Frontier India Strategic and Defence

Published in Defence Products Manufacturing Companies


The programme to build the UK’s new aircraft carriers gained further momentum today, as BAE Systems began construction at Portsmouth Naval Base – the future home of the Queen Elizabeth Class ships.


Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, was invited to push the button on the company’s new state of the art plasma steel cutter, marking the start of full scale production at the site. The team at Portsmouth is building Lower Block 2, one of the large structures, that forms part of the hull on the first ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Housing machinery spaces, stores, switchboards and some of the ship’s accommodation, this block alone will weigh around 6,000 tonnes and will stand over 18 metres tall, 70 metres long and 40 metres wide.


Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth, said “Here in Portsmouth work is just beginning but across the country in Devon, Tyneside, Glasgow and Rosyth work is already under way. In all, six shipyards across the UK will be involved in the manufacture of the ships’ hulls, supporting up to 8,000 jobs in the construction and up to another 3,000 throughout the supply chain. The progress already being made to deliver these defence assets, which will be a cornerstone of future defence policy, is a testament to UK industry.”


First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, said “The two ships will be the largest and most powerful warships ever built for the UK, each providing four acres from which to project airpower anywhere in the world. With 80 per cent of the world’s land mass within 500 miles of the ocean, the carriers will provide unparalleled logistical flexibility for the future of defence.”


BAE Systems is a member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, responsible for delivering the biggest and most powerful surface warships ever constructed in the UK. The carriers will sustain thousands of skilled jobs across industry and will be a key component of the UK’s maritime defence capability. BAE Systems employees at its yards on the Clyde began the manufacture of the carrier’s Lower Block 3 in July 2009 with work beginning on the largest section, Lower Block 4, in January.


Elsewhere across the UK, the Aircraft Carrier Alliance is making strong progress – the first of the flight deck extensions, known as the sponsons, have already been delivered to the final assembly yard in Rosyth, while the first blocks of the hull are due to leave Appledore in Devon for the Scottish shipyard in the spring. Over £1 billion of orders have been placed for equipment for the two ships and many of the ships’ key components such as the diesel generators and turbines have already been manufactured.







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