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Thursday, 6 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 06 May 2010

Indian Express
Asian Age 


Comments: - 

Obviously there's more to it than use of official transport, which seems to be too frivolous a reason to remove a senior officer from such an important appointment. One hopes that truth will be disclosed at the earliest, rather than obfuscating matters under shreds of unbelieveable fabrications.

As for misuse of transport, taking a walk across DPS RK Puram or Sanskriti School in the morning shows you how well government transport is being utilized. On any given day you will find at least a dozen white ambassadors with the trademark government symbols on them, there on very important government business of dropping off the wards of government officials to school.



Indian Express
The Pioneer
Indian Express


Comments:-
This issue has been discussed in the blogitorial 'Silence of the Lambs'. While the service chiefs are expected to display temperance in their interactions with the press, the issuance of such diktats by the government, if true as reported, does not augur well for the institutional balance within the country.



Asian Age
Asian Age
Telegraph India
Asian Age
Indian Express
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
The Pioneer
Indian Express
The Pioneer
Mint
Times of India
Times of India




  Reviewing the NPT Need for new security architecture
by Harsh V. Pant  AS representatives from the nearly 190 countries, party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), gather this month for four weeks to take stock of the accord that lies at the heart of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the entire regime is under tremendous strain and it is no longer evident if it can be salvaged unblemished. The strains had come into sharp focus ever since India and Pakistan tested their nuclear devices in 1998, thereby challenging the extant global nuclear order. But the US-led international community found that challenge manageable.  Despite its mixed results, the nuclear non-proliferation regime is widely recognised as one of the most successful arms-control arrangements made ever. And the NPT has been the mainstay of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the key international standard-setting document for conduct in the nuclear era.  It has been argued that the non-proliferation treaty has had considerable success in persuading nations to forgo nuclear weapons as evidenced by the termination of nuclear weapon-related programmes in Argentina and Brazil, the elimination of South Africa's nuclear arsenal, the transfer of former Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia, and the detection and freeze of North Korea's nuclear facilities.  When the NPT came up for extension in 1995, widespread opinion among policymakers and experts was that the NPT needed to be extended as it had worked very well. This was premised on the belief that an extension of the NPT for unlimited duration would not only preserve all the gains made by the nuclear proliferation regime as a whole but would also make sure that future progress gathered momentum. The significance of the NPT for the nuclear non-proliferation regime remained in it being the sole global instrument through which non-nuclear-weapon states could make a legal commitment not to acquire the ultimate weapon.  The NPT got an indefinite extension in 1995, leading some to make a claim that it had been the most successful arms control treaty ever negotiated despite some problems primarily associated with a lack of movement towards nuclear disarmament by the nuclear powers. Even after the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in 1998, scholars remained upbeat about the non-proliferation regime. It was argued that India and Pakistan were exceptions to the rule and the non-proliferation regime had succeeded beyond the expectations of its founders. No one has, however, thought it fit to examine the “failures” of the non-proliferation regime closely so as to discern as to why, after all, this regime has not worked in the regions where it was most urgently required.  Today, new challenges have arisen from all sides and the same US-led international community seems to have no idea about how to respond. North Korea is a nuclear-weapon state while Iran seems to be moving steadfastly in the same direction. Moreover, the increasing complicity between the so-called “rogue” states is creating a second-tier of nuclear states who refuse to play the nuclear norms set by the West during the hey days of the Cold War. There is evidence that Iran has provided North Korea with data from its missile tests to enable Pyongyang to make improvements in its own missile systems. On the other hand, North Korea may be supplying Iran with engineering suggestions for further testing. North Korea may also be trying to raise hard currency by peddling its nuclear missile technology in the global black market. While it is accepted now that the A.Q. Khan network sold uranium enrichment technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, international inspectors are fretting over the fact that the Khan network may have even sold blueprints for a sophisticated and compact nuclear weapon. It’s not clear who received these blueprints. Most damaging has been the role of China — a nuclear-weapon state that has single-handedly wrecked the NPT by not abiding by its commitments of not spreading nuclear weapons technology.  There is a real danger that if nothing is done with regard to Iran and North Korea, other states like Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan, Japan and Brazil may be tempted to go nuclear. Moreover, with nations willing to trade their nuclear and missile technologies in the global black market, there is a real danger of these technologies falling into the hands of terrorists.  It should be clear to even the lay observer that the NPT has been a mute spectator of these recent developments. In fact, Iran has used its right as a member of the NPT to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes to move towards nuclear weapons. And North Korea casually walked out of the NPT when it realised that the treaty was becoming an impediment to its acquisition of nuclear weapons. The world has also taken note of the fact that India and Pakistan have become members of the global nuclear order without ever bowing to the pressures of the NPT.  The NPT was always a flawed document in many ways and various countries, including India, had pointed to its flaws over the years. Recent global developments make it amply clear that unless a thorough review is undertaken of the NPT, it would soon become a paper tiger, if it is not so already. Given the horrors of September 11, 2001, the danger of nuclear terrorism and the prospect of numerous Irans and North Koreas just a screwdriver-turn away from nuclear weapons, it is time for the international community to promote a bolder nuclear arrangement than the NPT.  India has always been dissatisfied with the global non-proliferation and arms control regime because it constrained its autonomy to make foreign policy decisions as dictated by national interests. India had argued that an inequitable regime that gave only a few countries the permanent right to have nuclear weapons and denied others this right was inherently unstable. There are reasons for India to feel vindicated by its long-held stance on these issues. Today, as the global nuclear non-proliferation regime crumbles under the weight of its own contradictions and India gains acceptance as a de facto nuclear-weapon state, India can rightfully claim that it was one of the first states to draw the attention of the world community to these challenges.  A radically new global security architecture is needed to tackle the problem of proliferation and terrorism. The old security architecture has failed and it is time this got recognised if the world hoped to tackle the emerging challenges. India along with the older nuclear powers should rise to the occasion and offer ideas on a new framework for international security suitable for the 21st century. Typically, world powers not only challenge the status quo that is inimical to their interests but also provide responsible alternatives to manage the challenges facing the globe. It is time for India to respond to its rising global profile.






IAF’s C-130 aircraft trials soon
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 5 The first of the six C-130J Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force is expected to begin flight trials in a few weeks. All six airframes are on the manufacturing rigs at their American manufacturer Lockheed Martin’s facilities.  A spokesperson for Lockheed, in response to a query, stated that the first aircraft is expected to be ready for its maiden test flight by mid-summer. All six aircrafts, he added, would be fully assembled by Spring 2011, with the first aircraft scheduled to be delivered to the IAF in December this year, he added.  The aircraft and others following it, according to sources, would undergo further test flights and familiarisation operations in the Indian environment, before being formally commissioned into service early next year. It would be after about five decades that the IAF would be inducting a US military aircraft. The IAF has been operating American Boeing 737s for some time, but these have no military role and are dedicated solely for VVIP transport. The IAF has operated US B-24 bombers and Dakota and Packet transport aircraft for a few years after independence and at present the mainstay of its transport fleet has been of the Soviet origin.  The vastly improved “J” version of the C-130 features a stretched fuselage to accommodate more troops and cargo than the earlier versions of the four-engined turboprop that date back to 1957. The IAF versions have a maximum payload of about 24 tonne, almost four times that of the AN-32 tactical transporter and could accommodate 128 combat troops, 92 paratroopers or 97 medical litters.  Configured for special mission roles, C-130J has been equipped with an infrared detection set that would enable precision low-level flying, airdrops and landing in blackout conditions. The armed forces had first displayed their low-level airdrop capability during Exercise Brazen Chariots in Pokhran two years ago. The C-130s would primarily support airlift and para-drop of the Army’s special forces.  A new digital avionics architecture and propulsion system and dual mission computers that automate many functions, thereby reducing aircrew compliment, self-protection systems to ensure aircraft survivability in hostile air defence environments and air-to-air receiver refueling capability for extended range operations are prominent features of the “J”.  The C-130s has been expected to be based at the Hindon Air Force Station adjacent to Delhi, where a new squadron for this type would be raised. Initially, the Lockheed would train the IAF aircrew and ground technicians posted to the new outfit.






54 PoWs in Pak jails, says Centre
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 5 Union External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today said that as per available information 54 prisoners of war (PoW) are believed to be languishing in Pakistani jails after 1971 while 20 defence personnel are missing.  In a reply to a query by Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari in Parliament, Krishna said a tri-service committee under the Defence Ministry had been formed to look into the matter, which had been repeatedly raised with Pakistan through various diplomatic channels.  Notably, a delegation of the relatives of these PoWs also visited 10 jails in Paki- stan in June 2007. However, physical presence of any Indian PoWs could not be conclusively confirmed.  Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force would get more airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft over the next 15 years or so. Presently, only three such AWACS have been contracted, two of which have been delivered while the third was slated for delivery in December, Defence Minister AK Antony said in the Rajya Sabha today.  Also, the Defence Research and Development Organisation is developing an indigenous AWACS, Antony said.  Separately, Uttar Pradesh, as per a Home Ministry report tabled in the House, has been found to be the topper in the recovery of illegal arms in 2009. Of the 13,351 weapons seized across the country, 8,094 were found in UP alone. Illegal weapons were also recovered in Delhi (298), Haryana (215), Punjab and Rajasthan (196 each) and Uttarakhand (347).







BAE upbeat despite defence cuts concerns
06 May 2010 By JENNIFER HILL DEFENCE contractor BAE Systems is still in talks with regulators about the renewal of its US export licences and also expects to shrug off the loss of a key British Army contract to deliver earnings growth in 2010. The firm yesterday said it expected three of its four divisions to deliver growth this year and that sales at its land and armaments business would improve as cost-savings kicked in.  The US State Department last month said it would delay action on any new export licence requests by BAE after it pleaded guilty to violating American laws in connection with foreign arms contracts and paid a $400 million (£264.4m) fine to settle a long-standing inquiry into its practices.  However, BAE said the recently released US Quadrennial Defence Review and 2011 US defence budget identified investment growth "at the upper end" of its assumptions, mainly due to America's commitment to the F-35 Lightning II programme, in which BAE is a large participant through its British and US businesses.  Analysts said cuts to Britain's defence budget, which could lead to fewer troops and less equipment no matter which party wins today's election, weighed on BAE's shares, They closed down 6p at 342.9p.









Army Major caught spying for Pakistan, tip-off came from US
Ritu Sarin Posted online: Thursday , May 06, 2010 at 0215 hrs New Delhi : Around the time last month when the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was alerted about the possibility of one of their officers being involved in espionage, another sensitive counter-intelligence operation involving the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was in progress.  For over two weeks now, top Government sources say, an Army Major has been kept in “safe custody” of the Military Intelligence (MI). The officer—posted in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands—is alleged to have passed on classified information to Pakistan.  The first tip-off in what could develop into another espionage scandal, according to sources, came from American authorities. Suspicious internet traffic first came to the notice of American intelligence agencies when intercepts showed a user in Andaman and Nicobar Islands had dispatched a picture of a serving Indian Brigadier, who was attending a training programme in the US, to Pakistan.  Indian agencies quickly zeroed in on the officer and a quiet operation was planned to call him to New Delhi. Sources say the officer pleaded ignorance of the traffic from his computer to Pakistan saying it could have been generated by some virus or unknown software.  However, suspicion persisted since the Major’s computer had been recently formatted and cleaned of all contents. An early forensic examination done in New Delhi revealed the dispatch of classsified military information, some of which should not have been in the officer’s possession. The hard disk of the officer’s computer has since been sent by military authorities to a Hyderabad laboratory for accessing the erased contents.  “I do not have any information yet. I will have to find the details and then can get back to you,” Army spokesperson Col S Om Singh said when contacted for a reaction.  Both Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Home Minister P. Chidambaram are learnt to be aware of the developments in the case, given the serious implications involved.







Indian MoD comments various defence and security issues  
18:58 GMT, May 5, 2010 According to the Indian Press Information Bureau, the following information was recently given by Indian Defence Minister, Shri AK Antony in written replies to members of the Parliament of India:   Revival of Hindustan Shipyard Limited The Government has transferred Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL), which was earlier under the Ministry of Shipping to the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence by way of amendment of the Allocation of Business Rules on February 23, 2010.  An amount of Rs. 47.70 crores is due as arrear towards 1997 pay revision and 2007 pay revision.  HSL is not in a healthy financial situation. As on March 31, 2009 this shipyard has accumulated losses of Rs. 987.43 crores and the negative networth of Rs. 685.44 crores. In the wage revision settlement entered into the Union by the Management of HSL, it was agreed that payment of arrears on account of revision will be made based on the improvement in the financial position of the company. However, revised salaries are being paid. Ministry of Defence is processing a proposal for financial restructuring of HSL in consultation with the shipyard.   Acquiring of Swanky AW-101 Helicopters A contract for the procurement of 12 AW-101 helicopters for VVIP transportation was signed between Ministry of Defence and M/s Agusta Westland Limited, United Kingdom on February 08, 2010.  There were no objections raised by the Ministry of Finance relating to any security concern nor were there any security concerns raised by the SPG or the IAF.   Purchase of ULH for Army Operations A procurement case for acquisition of Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) for the Indian Army is underway as per the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure 2008. Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS), the Ministry of Defence had also issued a Letter of Request for procurement of ULH to the Government of the USA in May 2009.   Delay in Delivery of AWACS by Israel The contract for supply of three Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft was signed with M/s Elta, Israel on March 05, 2004. The first and second AWACS aircraft were delivered to the Indian Air Force on May 25, 2009 and March 25, 2010 respectively as per the revised delivery schedule. The delivery of the third aircraft is planned for December 2010. Additional AWACS aircraft are planned to be procured in the 12th, 13th and 14th Plans.  The Defence Research and Development Organisation is developing an indigenous Airborne And Early Warning system for use of the Indian Air Force.   Shortage of Officers in Army The sanctioned strength of officers is 46614 in Army, 9,293 in Navy and 12,212 in Air Force. The present strength of officers in Army is 35,158 and around 11,500 posts are vacant.  One Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai is already functional. The Government has approved setting up of a second OTA at Gaya, Bihar. Necessary steps have been initiated to make the Academy functional.  . A number of steps have been taken to attract the talented youth to join the Armed Forces. All officers including those in Short Service Commission (SSC) are now eligible to hold substantive rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel after 2, 6 and 13 years of reckonable service respectively. The tenure of SSC officers has been increased from 10 years to 14 years. A total number of 750 posts of Lt. Colonel have been upgraded to Colonel towards implementation of AV Singh Committee Report (Phase-I). Further, 1896 additional posts in the ranks of Colonel, Brigadier, Major General and Lieutenant General and their equivalents in the other two Services have been upgraded towards implementation of AV Singh Committee Report (Phase-II). The implementation of recommendations of the VI Central Pay Commission with substantial improvement in the pay structure of officers of Armed Forces, is expected to make the Services more attractive.  The Armed Forces have also undertaken sustained image projection and publicity campaign to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career. Awareness campaigns, participation in career fairs and exhibitions, advertisements in print and electronic media, motivational lectures in schools, colleges are also some of the other measures in this direction.   State of Art OFC Network for Defence Forces The Government has approved Rs. 9175.16 crores for setting up a nationwide dedicated and security exclusive optical fibre cable network for Army, Navy and Air Force. This will provide dedicated and secure network for a pan India system to meet security concerns.   IAF Squadrons for Strategic Balance With China and Pakistan The number of Indian Air Force (IAF) squadrons required is decided based on various factors like threat perceptions, security concerns and operational requirements of the IAF and is reviewed from time to time.  In the last five years (Financial Years 2005-06 to 2009-10), 48.3% of the accidents in the IAF were due to Technical Defects, 37.9% were due to Human Error and 8.6% were due to Bird Hit.  The IAF has a well structured strategy in place for life extension of existing aircraft fleet by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and also by Indian agencies like Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), National Aeronautics Ltd. (NAL), etc.   Delayed Projects of DRDO Some of the major delayed projects of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with original and revised cost, and Probable Date of Completion (PDC) are given below:-  (i) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) Programme – Phase II:  Date of sanction - 20 November 2001 Original PDC - 31 December 2008 Revised PDC - 31 December 2012 Original Cost - Rs. 3301.78 cr Revised Cost - Rs. 5777.56 cr  (ii) Full Scale Engineering Development (FSED) Programme of Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA-Navy):  Date of sanction - 28 March 2003 Original PDC - 27 March 2010 Revised PDC - 27 December 2014 Original Cost - Rs. 948.90 cr Revised Cost - Rs. 1714.98 cr  (iii) Interception, Monitoring, Direction Finding and Analysis system (IMDFAS) – Divyadrishti:  Date of sanction - 27 August 2002 Original PDC - 26 February 2008 Revised PDC - 26 August 2010 Original Cost - Rs. 560.00 cr Revised Cost - Rs. 670.60 cr  (iv) Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP):  Date of sanction - 26 July 1983 Original PDC - 30 July 1995 Revised PDC - 31 December 2010  (Projects for development of Prithvi, Agni, Dhanush, Akash and Trishul missiles have been completed, whereas PDC for only Nag missile has been extended upto to December 2010)  Original Cost - Rs. 388.83 cr Revised Cost - Rs. 1771.43 cr  (v) Kaveri Engine for LCA:  Date of sanction - 30 March 1989 Original PDC - 31 December 1996 Revised PDC - 31 December 2010 Original Cost - Rs. 383.81 cr Revised Cost - Rs. 2839.00 cr  The reasons for delay in completion of the above projects and their cost escalation are due to technical / technological complexities; Sanctions imposed by technologically advanced countries and various control regimes; increase in scope of work in terms of creation of more infrastructure, test facilities and their maintenance; change/enhancement in user requirements during development; deviations/failures during testing; extended and long-drawn user trials; etc.  Following efforts have been made to complete these projects without any further delay:  (i) Consortium approach has been used for design, development and fabrication of critical components.  (ii) Three-tier project monitoring approach is being followed in the major projects / programmes.  (iii) Project Monitoring Review committee (PMRC); and Project Appraisal and Review Committee (PARC) meeting are held regularly to monitor the progress of the ongoing projects.  (iv) Concurrent engineering approach has been adopted in technology intensive projects to minimize time-lag between development and productionisation of the systems, and Information Technology and modern management techniques have been applied.  (v) Encouraging joint funding by Services to ensure their commitment towards early completion.  (vi) Promoting synergy and better coordination among user Services, DRDO and production agencies through cluster meetings.





Purchase of ULH for Army Operations
                16:28 IST A procurement case for acquisition of Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) for the Indian Army is underway as per the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure 2008. Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS), the Ministry of Defence had also issued a Letter of Request for procurement of ULH to the Government of the USA in May 2009.  This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in written reply to Shri in Sharad Anantrao Joshi Rajya Sabha today.



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