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Sunday, 11 April 2010

From Today's Papers - 11 Apr 2010






Border dispute won’t hit ties with China: Tharoor
Bijay Sankar Bora/TNS  Guwahati, April 10 India is not going to allow the unresolved border disputes with China to come in the way of strengthening its growing trade relations with the neighbouring country, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said here today.  “I don’t see any tension along the India-China border. The 21st century is for looking beyond the geographical barriers. We look forward for better economic ties with China,” he said in respect to the persisting ‘tension’ along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.  He was interacting with the media after launching a new development concept in the form of a book titled ‘Naturenomics’ for facilitating economic growth in a low carbon environment.  He said the unresolved boundary disputes with China dates back to the 1950s. He said India and China were having normal neighbourly relations, though the two sides were yet to have an agreement to settle the border dispute.  Regarding issues India is planning to raise when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Brazil-Russia-India-China Summit scheduled for later this month, Tharoor said, “There are many areas where these countries can work together and have improved level of cooperation”.  In this regard he cited the example of India-Africa ties that have scaled a new high in respect of the bi-lateral cooperation with India and the African Union Commission agreeing to work together in various fields





Tejas to be stationed at new IAF base in Rajasthan
Ajay Banerjee/TNS  New Delhi, April 10 India’s self-developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be based at the IAF’s brand new forward-operating base at Phalodi in Rajasthan. Medium-lift choppers, Mi-17s will also be stationed at the base which will be 102 km from the India-Pakistan border, said sources.  Uniquely, the new air base that was inaugurated four days ago is the first forward-operating airbase to be commissioned by the IAF in more than two decades. The first lot of the LCA -- a squadron of 20 aircraft -- is scheduled to be handed over to the IAF in 11 months from now. The second squadron will follow a year later -- both are being built at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) unit at Bangalore. Once handed over to the IAF, the LCA’s first base, briefly, will be at a station in South India, from where the fighters will move in batches to Phalodi, the sources said. Moving planes in small batches is a normal IAF procedure. Phalodi has the capacity to handle other aircraft besides deep penetration radars.  Defence Minister A K Antony had told Parliament last month that the first lot of the LCA would be delivered in March 2011. The Air Force is likely to accord ‘initial operational clearance’ by the end of this year.  Phalodi is the sixth IAF base in Rajasthan. It is located almost equidistant from the three existing IAF bases at Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Nal (Bikaner). The IAF has two others bases in Rajasthan -- Suratgarh and Uttarlai (Barmer). Across the border opposite Phalodi are two major Pakistani military bases in Bahawalpur and Rahimyar Khan.  In the past two decades, the IAF had not commissioned or operationalised a new base as it had focused on improving infrastructure in the existing bases across the country -- some 70 in number. In the past two years, the IAF has reopened defunct advanced landing grounds at Nyoma, Fukche and Daulet Beg Oldie -- all in Ladakh. The forces have a requirement for more than 200 LCA-type aircraft to replace the ageing lot of MiG 21 series of fighters. An additional $ 538.2 million (about Rs 2,500 crore) has been approved by the government for the LCA Phase-II programme. For this, the engines are to be selected soon.






India, Pak have upset balance of nuke deterrence: Hillary Clinton
Press Trust of India, Saturday April 10, 2010, Washington  The manner in which India and Pakistan have pursued atomic weapons has "upset the balance of nuclear deterrence", Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday said, asserting the US is working hard with both countries to try to limit their number of nuclear stockpiles.  "There are three pillars to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. One is disarmament, one is nonproliferation, and one is the peaceful use of nuclear weapons, the peaceful use of nuclear energy for civil nuclear purposes," Clinton said in her speech on nuclear non-proliferation at the University of Louisville.  "So the United States will continue to demonstrate its willingness, in concert with Russia, because we have so many more weapons than any of the other countries -- you know, by a very, very big margin," she said in her speech on 'No Greater Danger: Protecting our nation and allies from nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation', in Kentucky.  "Other countries that have pursued nuclear weapons - like India and Pakistan, for example -- have done so in a way that has upset the balance of nuclear deterrence," Clinton said.  "And that's why we're working with both countries very hard to try to make sure that their nuclear stockpiles are, you know, well tended to, and that they participate with us in trying to limit the number of nuclear weapons. And both of them will be in Washington next week," she said.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would represent India at the Nuclear Security Summit next week convened by US President Barack Obama, which is being attended by more than 40 world leaders including Pakistani Premier Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.                          






Militants attacks Indian camp in Afghanistan
Press Trust of India / Kabul April 10, 2010, 16:06 IST  Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn attack on an Indian road construction camp in eastern Afghanistan today, burning vehicles and equipment and sending the crew fleeing, authorities said.  No deaths or injuries were reported in the attack in Khost province's Domanda district, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Suspected Taliban, who are active in the mountainous eastern region bordering Pakistan, descended on the camp around 2 a.m. local time.  Such raids seek to discourage foreign involvement in Afghanistan and destabilize the central government, which is struggling to bring development to the impoverished countryside and extend its mandate outside the capital, Kabul.  Elsewhere, two members of a nomadic tribe were killed by a roadside bomb Friday in the southern province of Kandahar, the ministry said. No details were given.  Also today, NATO said it still had no information on what caused the crash of a US Air Force Osprey in which three service members and a civilian contractor were killed. It was the first crash of the costly tilt-rotor aircraft in a combat zone, the US military said.  Numerous other service members were reported injured when the aircraft went down late Thursday 11 kilometers from Qalat, the capital of Zabul province about 300 kilometers southwest of Kabul.  A Taliban spokesman said militants shot down the aircraft, but the insurgents often make exaggerated claims.






Chinese shadows cast pall on cyber skies 
Gautam Datt First Published : 11 Apr 2010 09:07:00 AM IST Last Updated : 10 Apr 2010 07:56:57 PM IST  Two years ago, the world got its first taste of a new type of war, silent, bloodless but as deadly as they come. No shots were fired but the victims were real and the damage considerable. The victim was Georgia, and the moment of truth came when the Caucasian republic faced off against Russia in its ill-conceived plan to go on the offensive to reiterate its rights in the breakaway province of South Ossetia.  In the first ever use of cyber attacks to fight a military battle, Russians crippled Georgia’s computer network. The Georgian government found itself struggling on two fronts — while its troops came under attack on ground, the establishment was engaged in reviving a dead network that had crippled some of its key functions. It was a bitter lesson to learn on top of its humiliation by the Russian forces.  India too got a taste of that bitterness earlier this week, with the sensational disclosure by US and Canadian researchers that Chinese cyber-spies had stolen extremely sensitive Indian defence documents. This was the first time that threat had become fact.  The extent of the damage has not been established yet even though the researchers — from the Munk School of Global Affairs at Canada’s University of Toronto — in their report, “Shadows in the Cloud: Investigating Cyber Espionage”, listed thefts from a wide range of sensitive installations, from the  National Security Council to the military intelligence directorate. The cyber-spies tracked several Indian missions abroad and stole important communications marked “secret” and “confidential”.  So it’s crystal clear, if ever there was a doubt, that the face of war is changing and so are the ways to fight it. In this conflict the damage is caused behind enemy lines before the first shot is fired. And this implies ano­ther truism as well. The nations who hold the technology will also call the shots.  Cyber attacks are thus bound to form an integral part of any future war. Cyberspace has become a key tool of espionage, which means a constant state of engagement bet­ween the adversaries, much like George Smiley’s dusty, battered spies, even when there is no actual war.  The revelations have thrown up a key question: Is India prepared for cyber warfare? On the evidence it would seem the answer is no. Experts say one of the biggest challenges is the protection of sensitive data from spies on the prowl in cyberspace.  The basic rules of battle are the same, say experts. One is setting up a defence through counter measures to guard networks from the cyber stalkers, and the other is to go to on the offensive and launch your own attacks.  “One aspect of these activities is hacking and the other is stealing documents,” says Dr Gulshan Rai, director of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), a body established by the Ministry of Information and Technology to fight cyber attacks.  He claims that all the key departments vulnerable to such threats have been instructed to remain on guard. “They already have segregated their networks. No sensitive information is stored on any Internet-related network. The segregation is already being exercised,” he says. “It is a thumb rule, they don’t store sensitive information on the net.”  Rai has met Munk School researchers over their disclosures about the Chinese theft. He is highly appreciative of their detective work.  “Their methods of tracking are very sophisticated. However, they didn’t share the documents that they retrieved from the Sha­dow network, so I can’t confirm exactly what has been taken,” he says.  Cyber security expert Subimal Bhattacharjee says the threat is very serious and more networks are being targeted. He claims that many groups of hackers are on the prowl and they are very good at their job.  Rai acknowledges that it is difficult to track their activities as they keep switching servers. “It is not easy to know which hacker group server is active as they tend to pass it on to others,” he says.  While the government claims to have put in place counter measures, the network continues to be vulnerable. “No system is 100 per cent secure,” admits Rai. “The technology available with the cyber attackers keeps changing and they are always one step ahead of those chasing them.”  Even a country like the United States considers itself vulnerable to cyber attacks, as the millions of recorded attacks on its systems testify.  Rai says it is not possible to keep track of the servers used without international cooperation. “That is why we are in touch with authorities in the US and other countries,” he said. Sometimes information is allowed to trickle out as a ploy to follow the trail and see where it leads.  Subimal says that while the government is conscious of the threat it needs to form a common national cyber security strategy to bring all the departments under its  ambit. At the moment, the agencies work separately but information about impending attacks or other aspects is constantly shared.  Internet access in most of the sensitive departments is monitored regularly. A senior army official said that the organisation is alive to the threat and segregation of network is already in place. The Army Cyber Security Establishment has started regular audits to monitor network usage. It is evolving a system for organising attacks as enshrined in the information warfare doctrine.  The officials and experts agree that among the countries, the biggest threat comes from China, which has developed a strong technology base and is using it to great advantage. Not only are the Chinese are good at carrying out cyber attacks but they have also protected their own systems well.  ‘‘The Chinese systems are very strong and they are encrypted on a different level,” said Subimal. But that doesn’t mean that they are completely secured. But the army still doesn’t have a strategy in place to go on the offensive. And that says something about India’s state of preparedness
Low-cost hacking  When researchers at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of  Toronto first published their discovery of GhostNet in March last year, the immediate impressions were of a network that required sophisticated technology and major funding. The large-scale cyber spying operation based in China had spread out to about 103 countries, a conclusion that could mean the involvement of the Chinese government. In fact, setting up a network like Ghostnet, or the recently discovered India-focused Shadow Network, costs very little.  Professor Ron Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School, says the lessons we can learn from both GhostNet and the Shadow Network is that it doesn’t need a billion dollars to make it work. “You can siphon off information at a very low cost. The techniques are extremely sophisticated but the technology isn’t. These hackers used very refined social engineering techniques and malicious software (like Trojans). They also distribute their command and control infrastructure over many tiers, particularly focusing on infiltrating social networking sites.”  Steven Adair, a security researcher at the Shadowserver Foundation — a voluntary group of professional internet security workers — who collaborated with the Munk School on this report, says that all the hackers needed was access to malware and a place to host it. “The first tier of their hosting was 100 per cent free. They just had to register domain names, which would cost say $10 –$100. Then they needed a server or two to host it, which could be $30-$80 a month. Consider that fraudulent credit cards could also have been used at any point. Nothing points to government involvement from anything we have detailed. Funding this would be pretty cheap.”  Deibert says what the group uncovered was only a “momentary glimpse” of what could be a massive operation. Rather than government involvement, the links discovered were to individual hackers who are possibly part of the criminal underground.  The frightening conclusion, given the scale of what could be going on, is that Indian intelligence has no inkling of this. But, Deibert says, it’s equally possible that they might not be telling all they know. The Munk School findings were communicated to Indian officials on February 23. On March 31, the group met Minister of State for Communication and Technology, Sachin Pilot and Dr Gulshan Rai, director-general of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team. But the meeting, Deibert says, only lasted ten minutes as Pilot was travelling. So there was no time to show them the documents, some extremely classified, which the group claims to have recovered from the Shadow network.  — jayantsriram@gmail.com







From Cold Start to AZM-e- NOU III
by Muhammad Bilal Iftikhar Khan    April 10, 2010    Pakistan Army has started its biggest Military exercises in history. The exercise Azm-e-Nou 3  is outcome of two war games conducted by forces named as Azm-e-Nou 1 and Azm-e-Nou 2. In this exercise Pakistani Forces will practice its new concepts and doctrine to counter Indian Army’s Cold Start.  According to ISPR “AZM-e-NOU will begin with violent surprise attack by Fox Land’s Air force on Blue Land territory followed by ground invasion. In Initial stage 20 thousand Troops will Take Part in exercise and at later stage 50 thousand troops will be involved. In this exercise all forces and their wings will take Part. The battle situation will be generated in three operation sectors and all conventional weapons will be tested and practiced. According to agreement India has been informed about the military maneuvers.  Why Pakistan Army had to start this exercise? Especially more than hundred thousand of Pakistani troops are engaged in Counter terrorism operations in FATA…..To understand this we have to see developments on Pakistan’s eastern borders and threats originating from them.  Indian army is the biggest army in south Asia and is also one of the largest in the world. However, its biggest dilemma is Pakistani Armed Forces that are haunting it since the independence of both countries. The active strength of Indian army alone is more than 12 00,000. The army consist of 38 divisions, which are distributed in 5 tactical area commands namely  ·         Northern Command” which is headquartered at Udhampur and is responsible for Indian Occupied Kashmir.  ·        “Western Command”, which is headquartered at Chandimadir and is responsible for Punjab.  ·        “Southern Command”, which is headquartered at Poona and is responsible for Gujrat and Maharashtra.  ·        “Eastern Command”, which is headquartered at Calcutta and is responsible for counter-insurgency operations in Assam and defence of boarder with Bangladesh.  ·        “Central Command”, which is headquartered in Luckhnow and consists of Indian army’s strike elements to take offensive against Pakistan.   In addition to these five commands India has raised a new tactical command christened as “North Western Command” along with a new Corps (HQ 9 Corps) for the defense of “Chicken Neck” (working boundary with Pakistan) area where Indians are traditionally weak.  Looking at the deployment of these tactical commands one thing is obvious that out of 7 tactical commands 5 are specifically meant against Pakistan (And Indian Leaders weep about Chinese Threat fooling whom??). On April 28th 2005, Indian army gave out its new war doctrine named as “Cold Start”. Formulators of this doctrine revealed that it is specifically for Pakistan. Indian officials and analysts, who are quite excited about it, are predicting that the future Indo-Pak war will be short and decisive one and will be based on info centric concept which US army demonstrated During Iraq Invasion.. The Cold Start doctrine is a combination of   Information  0r Network Centric War fare and Shock and Awe Strategy  tactics as displayed by Americans in Iraq Invasion of 2003. According to this doctrine the air borne troops and air cavalry units will be dropped behind Pakistani lines and important installations to destroy Pakistani command and defense infrastructure and capabilities. For the said purpose 8 or more integrated battle groups (formed with elements of Army, air force and navy) will undertake Blitzkrieg type action against Pakistan.  The war will not exceed 2 to 3 days. The actions will be crisp and violent because due to intergradations of all intelligence available at troop level allows commanders at junior level to modify the plans according to operational requirements and increase the pace of battle. This information sharing at lowest level, according to Kapalia,  will allow Indian forces space and flexibility for  maneuvers to Indian commanders  to execute in such a speed that objectives will be achieved before the international community will have the chance to intervene. This doctrine do not aims at the capture of Pakistani territory but at the destruction of Pakistani armed forces and defense infrastructure. The formulators of this doctrine suggest that essence of “Cold Start” is surprise, mobility and speed achieved by coordinated efforts of services. They say traditional slow mobilization of forces gives enough time to enemy for taking measures and so surprise is washed out. In future war they say they will not give time to think and react. Indian planners think that future war will be a limited war (in time dimension) fought under nuclear umbrella but short to nuclear threshold. They say Pakistan will not use nuclear weapons a) Because Pakistan knows that if Pakistan goes for its nuclear option than “it will be wiped out by Indian counter nuclear strikes”. b) Purpose of action will be to destroy not to capture therefore Pakistan will not be able to use its assets.  c) Initial attack will leave Pakistani forces in Shock and Paralysis.   Indian generals think decisive results can be achieved by close coordination among the three services, which is only possible when all services act under a unified commander. They also think that any blitzkrieg type action requires the revolution in military affairs of India and up gradation of Indian air force and logistic capability.   Since end of Operation Porakaram in 2002-03 Indian forces have conducted many exercises to practice their new concept. In next Part of the essay we will see the results and lessons learned by these exercises and in end Pakistan Army’s response to cold Start.





Army practices response to NBC disasters
Jammu, April 10  The Indian Army's Northern Command Saturday concluded a two-day exercise aimed at practicing its response to nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) disasters, an official said.  On first day of the exercise, held in Himachal Pradesh's Dharmashala area, Friday, deliberations were held on the situations which would be encountered and "the response of the civil administration as the first responder and that of the army as the second responder," army spokesman Major K.S. Rathi said in a release here.  "On the second day (Saturday), troops carried out their drills for mitigation of the said disasters," the spokesman said, but gave no further details.  According to the spokesman, the exercise "benefited the army in streamlining their drills and procedures, thereby ensuring effective response to any such disaster."  "It also re-emphasised the requirement of coordination and understanding between various branches of the army and the civil administration to face any disasters."



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