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Sunday, 28 March 2010

From Today's Papers - 28 Mar 2010

Beyond narrow boundaries
We must change our mindset to meet new security challenges, says Gen V.P. Malik (retd) 
ONE of the cornerstones of a democracy is a healthy civil military relationship. India stands out as the greatest success story in civil military relations amongst developing nations of the world. The nation and its military are rightfully proud of it.  However, should the discourse on civil military relations remain confined to the facts that in our country there have never been open criticism of the government’s policies on military affairs, never any combat refusal, or anything like a threat of military takeover? Unfortunately, most of our experts and the media are content to focus on the presence or absence of civilian control, politicisation, military discontent and discipline as the only considerations worthy of attention. Little attention is paid to the dynamics of politico-military strategies and civil military discourse on military capabilities and doctrines for any future conflicts.  In his seminal book, The Soldier and the State, Samuel Huntington states that “the objective of military security policy of a nation is to develop a system of civil military relations which will maximise military security at the least sacrifice of other social values.” Is India getting maximum value from its civil military relations and discourse?  Indeed, India’s defense and security report card for the past six decades plus has been more positive than negative. Despite a weak strategic culture, reactive strategic policies, ad hoc defense planning, intelligence failures and strategic surprises, the armed forces have maintained India’s security and territorial integrity better than any other democratic, developing nation in the world.  However, the credit for these successes goes less to any strategic foresight or higher direction of war and more to personnel involved in operational planning and fighting on the ground. In most conflicts, India has failed to convert hard-won operational achievements into long-term strategic successes.  The 21st century has ushered in a new era in security and the nature of conflict and warfare. While conventional war as an instrument of foreign policy has become increasingly unviable due to high costs, casualties and international pressures, limited, asymmetric and sub-conventional conflicts have become more likely. And when they occur, it is not possible to take them to the logical conclusion of military victories as was the case in the past. They have to be conducted with the objective of achieving political successes rather than military victories.  The USA and its allies could not achieve victory in Iraq, Kosovo or Afghanistan. In Kargil war, too, the political aim and terms of reference prevented the Indian military from crossing the Line of Control and escalating the conflict.  With such a paradigm shift in the nature of conflicts, the military has to be prepared for an elongated spectrum, ranging from aid to civil authority, counter-terrorism, different levels of conventional war, to a war involving weapons of mass destruction. In this environment, the separation between tactical, operational and strategic levels of warfare stands blurred.  Greater mobility, long reach in targeting and more effective communications and control have obscured tactical and strategic boundaries. A small military action along the Line of Control or a terrorists’ act in the hinterland become issues for consideration and decision making at the highest political level.  In such a war or war-like situation, selection of political and military objectives and time available to execute missions becomes crucial for planning and conduct of operations. There has to be complete understanding between the political and military leadership on these issues.  Careful and calibrated orchestration of military operations, diplomacy and domestic political environment become essential for the successful outcome. Continuous control of the “escalatory ladder” requires close political oversight and politico- civil- military interaction. Some important challenges likely to be encountered in a future conflict would be:  lPolitical definition of the goals and its translation into military objectives. This is always difficult, sometimes uncertain and indirect. Yet its success is critical for the attainment of the political goals.  lAbility to react rapidly to a developing or a surprise crisis. The military would be expected to react quickly: enhance deterrence, arrest deterioration of the situation, diminish adversary’s incentives for escalation, and/or to carry out a riposte.  lMobilising and sustaining domestic and internationally political support for such military operations would depend upon the ability of the military to operate in a manner that conforms to political legitimacy, i.e. avoid civilian casualties and minimise collateral damage.  lMilitarily, the greatest challenge would be the political reluctance to commit a pro-active engagement and its insistence to retain the authority for approving not just key military moves but also many operational decisions.  lPolitical requirements and military targeting would need a heavy reliance on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for target selection. Airpower, precision guided weapons, standoff armaments, and artillery would be first weapons of choice.  lEmployment of ground forces across the borders may be discouraged or delayed.  lOwing to growing transparency of the battlefield, information strategy and its implementation would be important. Political requirements of the military operations to achieve and retain the moral high ground and deny that to the adversary would need a comprehensive and sophisticated media, public affairs and information campaign.  This then leads this writer to ask, is India getting the required advice from our military? Do we have the right national security system and processes for this purpose?  Every nation requires strategically sound — not just militarily effective — advice to political authorities who are representative of and answerable to Parliament and a vibrant civil society.  The general impression in India and abroad is that our military leaders are not in a position to provide such advice to the political leadership. Such an impression appears valid when we ask ourselves:  lDoes our military demonstrate critical and creative understanding of the strategic purposes, contributions and consequences of military operational employment and institutional conduct? Does it demonstrate a willingness to speak up, and when necessary speak out, especially in opposition to strategically flawed policies and initiatives? The military brass has a duty not only to the political masters but also to the Constitution and the men that they command.  lDo our civilian authorities demonstrate critical understanding of larger strategic issues, constraints, effects and implications of military operational employment and its institutional conduct? Are they fully conversant with military purposes, capabilities, constraints and effects?  lAre the civilian authorities who oversee the military adequately competent strategically? Do we have the correct political supremacy and oversight of the military or is it very substantially through a bureaucratic proxy? Encouraging a timid military may be good for the civilian ego. But equally, that makes for poor strategic sense.  War, Clausewitz noted, is continuation of politics by other means. Recent wars have involved much greater level of integration of politics, diplomacy and military planning and execution than in the past. Even when a decision to employ the military is made, the political leadership seldom allows autonomous conduct of the war to the military. In practice, there is continuing erosion of the dividing lines between war and politics.  India’s national security framework and its antiquated civil–military relationship have not grown in step with the needs of new security challenges. It is essential that we change our mindsets and attitudes and look beyond narrow boundaries defined by turf and parochialism. For that, we need urgent changes in our security structure and procedures to make it more efficient, resilient, and speedily responsive.  The writer is a former Chief of Army Staff

Ordnance Corps headless for 2 yrs Four top generals in graft net
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, March 27 Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), the key logistics branch responsible for weapons, ammunition and equipment, has been headless for past about two years as four of its senior most generals have been embroiled in graft cases. This is perhaps the highest number of generals from a single branch to face graft charges concurrently.  According to sources, a court of inquiry that concluded at New Delhi a few days ago, held Maj Gen GS Narula blameworthy for lapses in procurement of equipment and recommended action against him. Presided by Lt Gen P. Mohapatra, Signals Officer-in-Chief at Army Headquarters, had investigated irregularities in the procurement of items of personal clothing and personal kits for troops proceeding on UN assignments.  The inquiry had been ordered in December after Lok Sabha member Harsh Vardhan reportedly wrote to Defence Minister AK Antony earlier this year, highlighting irregularities in procurement of supplies for troops on UN missions. According to the letter, some items were procured at double the cost and the loss to the Army on this count was Rs 2.82 crore. Narula was posted as Additional Director-General (ADG) in the Ordnance Directorate at Army HQs at the time the said purchases were made. Earlier, two other Maj Generals, who had also served on the same post as Narula, have been held blameworthy by the courts of inquiries. Sources said summary of evidence (SOE) in case of Maj Gen Anil Swarup is currently underway at Jammu.  Swarup, who has been attached to the Yol-based 9 Corps, was blamed by the CoI for procuring generators, cables and boots at inflated prices. Swarup moved the Armed Forces Tribunal, challenging the proceedings against him and the case is expected to come up for hearing later this month.  The third officer, Maj Gen SP Sinha, at present posted at Chandimandir, was accused of irregularities in the purchase of general stores for the ordnance depot at Choeki. Inferior goods were allegedly bought at inflated prices.  Then there is a case of Maj Gen AK Kapur, against who the CBI filed a chargesheet for possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income. A Maj General from the AOC has recently been approved for promotion to the rank of Lt General. There are two vacancies of Lt General in the AOC, one of Director-General Ordnance Services at Army Headquarters and the other as Commandant of the AOC Centre at Secunderabad.

Prithvi-II, Dhanush test-fired successfully 
‘Balasore (Orissa), March 27 India today successfully test-fired indigenously developed ballistic missiles ‘Prithvi-II’ and ‘Dhanush’ from different locations off the Orissa coast, adding more firepower to the armed forces.  “The tests were successful. Both the missiles test-fired early today met all the parameters,” the director of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, SP Dash, said.  While the ‘Prithvi-II’ was test-fired from complex-3 of ITR Chandipur, 15-km from here, from a mobile launcher at around 05:48 hours, the ‘Dhanush’ was fired from INS-Subhadra in the Bay of Bengal near Puri at around 05:44 hours by the Navy personnel as part of user training exercise.  The test firing of the short-range, surface-to-surface ‘Prithvi-II’ ballistic missile having a range of 295 km, which has already been inducted into the armed forces, was a user trial by the Army. The sleek missile is “handled by the strategic force command,” the sources said.  Prithvi, the first ballistic missile developed under the country's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), has the capability to carry 500-kg of warhead and has liquid propulsion twine engine.  With a nine-metre length and one-metre diameter, Prithvi- II uses an advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory and reach the targets with a few metre accuracy.  The entire trajectory of today’s trial was tracked down by a battery of sophisticated radars and an electro-optic telemetry stations were positioned in different locations for post-launch analysis, defence sources said.  The nuclear-capable ‘Dhanush’, the naval version of Prithvi, followed the pre-designated trajectory with text-book precision and two naval ships located near the target have tracked the splash, sources said. The 350-km range missile will give the Navy the capability to attack enemy targets with great precision.  The sophisticated radar systems located along the coast monitored its entire trajectory, the sources said. The single stage missile, weighing six tonne, is powered by liquid propellants. — PTI

K Subrahmanyam: Sleeping with the enemy in order to disarm him
The US may need to develop a closer relationship with Pakistan to deal with Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism, but it should take India into confide
The Pakistan-US strategic dialogue held in Washington DC on 24-25 March has generated a mix of hope and despair in India. There is some hope in US bonafides vis-a-vis India, as the US was firm in advising Pakistan to deal with the water issue with India according to the procedure laid down in the Indus waters treaty, refused to change its stand on the Kashmir issue and just listened to Pakistan's case on its having a nuclear deal similar to the one India has with the US.  But there is despair on the possibility of the Pakistan Army coming up with more tricks to avoid taking action against the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), considered Pakistan’s asset in its strategic arsenal against India. Having persuaded the Pakistan Army to initiate action against three of the five jehadi organisations listed by President Obama as entities to be disrupted, dismantled and defeated, the US administration is generous with its praise of the Pakistani Army. The three are the Pakistani Taliban, Afghan Taliban and al Qaeda. The Pakistan Army has given no indication of its intention to act against LeT or the Haqqani network. It is particularly puzzling to the Indians that in the immediate wake of David Headley's plea bargain establishing the continuing operations of the LeT in India and the US, and its close links with ex-army officers  and the ongoing attempts at terrorism on the US mainland by jehadis associated with LeT, the American side has chosen to adopt a muted stand on the issue of LeT.  There is a widespread view in India that just as President Pervez Musharraf joined the US in October 2001 in Operation Enduring Freedom to save the Taliban and al Qaeda from destruction, the present alignment of Pakistani Army policy with US policy may be designed to save and preserve the LeT and the Haqqani network for future terrorist use. Already, a representative of extremist leader Gulbuddin  Hekmatyar, an ally of Haqqani, has contacted Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. Hekmatyar is a long time favourite of the Pakistan Army and the bete noire of the US. This development raises fears that the Pakistan Army is planning to install its henchmen in Kabul when the Americans start drawing down their forces in Afghanistan in 2011.  The flip-flop of the Americans in respect of allowing Indian authorities access to David Headley is yet another issue which makes many Indians wonder whether we are back in the days of the Bush-Musharraf era, when the US looked away as General Musharraf gave a safe haven to the al Qaeda and Taliban, nurtured the LeT and allowed all of them to strengthen themselves.  President Obama, in his speech on 27 March, referred to the mixed record of those years and promised to hold the Pakistanis accountable. However, the US authorities, now looking away from lack of action against the LeT, would appear to indicate that the Pakistani Army may find it easy to repeat their past tricks. This is the basis of Indian despair vis-a-vis the Americans.     The US-Pakistan joint statement released at the end of the dialogue said the two leaders, Hillary Clinton and Shah Mohammed Qureshi, reiterated that the core foundations of this partnership are shared democratic values, mutual trust and mutual respect. The irony of this assertion could not have been lost on those present, especially the Pakistanis. It has been well publicised in the Pakistani media that General Kayani summoned all the concerned Pakistani secretaries to the government to the Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi to finalise the brief for the Washington conference. The Army Chief recently extended the tenures of the ISI chief Shuja Pasha, present in the conference, and a number of corps commanders exercising the powers Musharraf used to have in his combined role as Army Chief and President. Pakistan would appear to be back in the days of Benazir, when she provided a civilian fa├žade to a government in which the Army wielded the real power. The Pakistani joke is that either a general sits on the chair of power or just stands behind it.  In the joint statement the United States re-affirmed its resolve to assist Pakistan to overcome socio-economic challenges by providing technical and economic assistance and to enable Pakistan to build its strengths by optimal utilisation of its considerable human and natural resources and entrepreneurial skills. The tenor of the statement indicated a long-term US commitment to Pakistan’s socio-economic development. In that event, in 2011 in the wake of the US draw-down of forces from Afghanistan, the US will be present in Pakistan with commitment to a long-term development programme and possibly a significant military assistance programme as well. In that sense the situation will be radically different from the one in 1994, when the untethered Pakistan army could walk in and establish Taliban rule in Kabul. One expects the US will simultaneously have an equally significant political and economic presence in Afghanistan in the withdrawal phase, with a diminishing military presence. In those circumstances, will the US permit Pakistan to reinstall Pakistan-pasand elements in dominant power in Kabul, as seemed to be envisaged in the Pakistani as well as many sections of the Indian establishment?  There is no disputing that the US has to have a strategy of developing a closer relationship with Pakistan, to deal with Pakistani state-sponsored terrorism. In spite of the 9/11 plot being hatched in Pakistan by a Pakistani and Pakistani al Qaeda, and LeT unsuccessfully (so far) targeting the US homeland for terroristic acts, the US has been extraordinarily patient in dealing with Pakistan, since Pakistani army-sponsored terrorism is shielded by its nuclear arsenal and its implicit threat of letting the weapons fall into the hands of terrorists. The US strategy appears to be like that of Delilah — sleeping with the enemy to disarm him. India cannot object to that. But since India is the primary victim of Pakistani terrorism, if India is not taken into confidence in regard to their broad strategy vis-a-vis Pakistan, in the absence of cent percent trust and communication India may be compelled to act, in case there is another major terrorist provocation in ways that may not be entirely in alignment with US strategy. US authorities should bear this in mind.
PAF ready to thwart Indian designs: air chief  Sunday, March 28, 2010 Air force to get 14 more sophisticated F-16s  By our correspondent  ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has made it emphatically clear that it is fully capable of responding to the so-called Indian ‘Cold Start Doctrine’ befittingly.  If the Indians opt to drop a few bombs close to the areas with the borders, the response would be even harsher and forthcoming in no time. The Indian doctrine is ridiculous. “Pakistan has put all the required preparations in place to meet any eventuality. The aggressor could not even think of what the reply would be from Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has kept its assets for thwarting conventional threats from the force devoted to deal with the terrorists.”  The announcement came from Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman at the Air Headquarters here on Saturday while replying to queries of newsmen during his briefing pertaining to the ongoing air exercise, High Mark-2010.  The air chief, in his about two-hour-long formal and informal briefing, told the media that preparedness and maintaining potential to frustrate any aggression was the right of every country that wished to live with dignity and honour.  The air chief, who was in high spirits and replied a volley of questions about the external threats from air, said any surgical strike by India would not go unanswered as the reaction time for both the countries in an air action was so short that in peace times, such activities could not be checked in a definite manner.  The air chief, who took part in the exercise by flying a French-made Mirage plane, would be flying the multi-role most sophisticated US-made F-16 in a day or two while taking part in ‘operation’.  He told the media that the US had agreed to provide another 14 F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan. These block-52 planes would be apart from the other 18 planes of the same calibre that would start reaching Pakistan from July this year and supply of the batch would be completed in December next. The planes will be equipped with the video and voice recorder (VVR) system rarely provided by the US to other countries, which is a high-resolution cockpit system that places a record of the HUD video, head-down displays, pilot voice and digital data bus information on a TEAC recorder.  With this, the number of the F-16 planes, being received from the US till the end of the year, would reach 30, besides the upgrading of the existing planes, acquired in the 1980s. He said the PAF was capable of thwarting both the conventional and unconventional threats from the enemy. He said Pakistan’s missile system was in the best shape and “our all the systems are well tested.”  The air chief said the PAF was focusing on its preparedness and taking stock of its preparations according to the modern trends. The area of the ongoing exercise is covering the entire country, from Skardu in the north to the Arabian Sea in the south. It included joint cooperation, with an extensive participation from the Army and the Navy, which would further enhance the joint operations, integration and cooperation amongst the three services.  The High Mark-2010 is aimed at conducting an operation in the near-realistic tactical environment while integrating the new inductions and providing a role-oriented training to combat and support elements of the PAF. The exercise is designed to achieve stipulated objectives, with a special emphasis on exposing the PAF combat crew to stimulated air battles, based on contemporary concepts. The air chief said all the main operating bases and forward operating bases were participating in the exercise.  New inductions like the JF-17 Thunder aircraft, jointly manufactured by Pakistan and China, force multipliers such as Saab-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft and air-to-air refueler aircraft are participating in the exercise for the first time. The exercise in question is the PAF’s biggest operational event, which is being conducted after five years.  The air chief said the ever-changing geo-political environment in the region demanded a change in the employment concepts and doctrine in the application of air power, with an emphasis on joint operations. The exercise High Mark-2010 would provide the PAF an opportunity to validate these concepts, which are vital for the overall defence of the motherland, he said.  Answering a question, Rao Qamar Suleman said Pakistan was cognisant of the Indian designs and war preparedness, as it was acquiring the weapon system from all over the world. The air chief said the PAF had developed its own drones and they were being manufactured in the Kamra facility.  Pakistan is not interested in buying the US drones, but it is keen to purchase sensors for its own drones. The US has not provided its drone technology to any country of the world, except Italy, where they are also operated by the US technicians.  The air chief parried a query about the flight base of the US drones, targeting the tribal areas, and said the Americans returned the control of Shahbaz and Pasni bases back in 2002. No PAF base is in the control of the US forces, he maintained.  He expressed his ignorance over the control of the Shamsi base and said it was neither being used by the PAF, nor the Pakistan Army. The base does not belong to the PAF. “I don’t know about the control of the Shamsi base,” he said while replying to a question about its control and its use by the Americans for the flight of drones.  The newsmen were also shown the most modern central security system in place, linked to all the facilities. It is controlled and monitored at a central base on a round-the-clock basis. The PAF has also acquired the US-made road scanners, which could easily detect any bypassing vehicle with weapons or ammunition. The system is working well and efficiently, as the security threat perception has increased for the PAF installations in the wake of use of air power against the militants in the areas adjoined to the border with Afghanistan.

Minister of State for defence visits bilateral armour exercise in India
The Singapore Armed Forces and Indian Army participated in a bilateral armour exercise in central India Saturday morning.  Codenamed "Bold Kurukshetra", the exercise was witnessed by Minister of State for Defence, Koo Tsai Kee.  MINDEF said Associate Prof Koo observed a live-firing exercise between the two armed forces, who interact regularly through policy dialogues, visits and courses.  This is the sixth collaboration in the month-long exercise.  MINDEF said the visit also underscores the warm defence relations between the two countries.  "The SAF and the Indian Army have been working together on bilateral army exercises since April 2005," Assoc Prof Koo said. "We appreciate the opportunity to train and exercise with the Indian Armed Forces. The successful conclusion of Exercise Bold Kurushektra 2010 demonstrates the capabilities and professionalism of both armies.”

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