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Monday, 10 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 10 May 2010

Comments:- It is amply clear that irrespective of what our elected representatives may like to believe, the country is being ruled by the babus. This is why the Parliamentary Standing Committee's recommendation of posting defence officers in the MoD has been rejected by the 'government' (read bureaucracy). The reasons, of course, are not difficult to fathom. Apart from preservation of jealously guarded turf, such a move would question the very basis of the supremacy of the IAS cadre. The reasons for the rejection of this proposal have not been cited - apart from putting forth the so called integration of the service headquarters with the ministry as being adequate as a measure along these lines. It is surprising that officers from other cadres - audits and accounts for example - are found fit to occupy key appointments in the MoD, but inclusion of service officers is not found warranted.

The Pioneer
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Indian Express
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
Times of India
DNA India

Army to outsource training of officers
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 9 In a perceptible shift in its ideology and approach to modern-day requirements, the Army is experimenting with the concept of outsourcing the training and orientation programme of officers posted to some branches to private firms.  While the job of training is being offered to ‘reputed firms having a national or international footprint’ to take up such tasks on a turn-key basis, the training programmes would be handled by senior retired officers on their rolls.  Officers posted to some branches in higher headquarters are required to undergo capsule courses to familiarise them with the functioning of the branch. For example, the Master General of Ordnance’s Branch at Army Headquarters, which has initiated this project, conducts a three-day training course for all officers posted to it.  At present, such matters are dealt in-house by the services, with serving officers being deputed for the same. Outsourcing training with senior retired officers at the helm of affairs would, according to the Army’s thinking, ensure availability of skilled advice and conserve military resources and manpower.  The training programme would be designed and approved by the branch concerned and the firms concerned would be required to form a panel of retired officers expert in the required areas for conduct of training. Officers would be of the rank of colonel or brigadier and it would be mandatory for them to have had an instructional tenure at specified military colleges or training establishments as well as a staff posting at the branch concerned during their service career.  Not surprisingly, the move to outsource training and the expected participation of international firms has raised security concerns in some quarters. Screening of firms and personnel associated with training as well as assuring security of information would be mandatory.

  India lags in self-reliance Indigenous defence capability is paramount
by Dinesh Kumar  More than five decades after it began its quest for self-reliance by establishing a series of government-owned defence research and production units, India has been unable to indigenously develop, produce and export any major weapon system. It remains overwhelmingly dependent on foreign vendors for about 70 per cent of its defence requirement, especially for critical military products and high-end defence technology. India’s defence ministry officially admits to attaining only 30 to 35 per cent self-reliance capability for its defence requirement. But even this figure is suspect given that India’s self-reliance mostly accrues from transfer of technology, license production and foreign consultancy despite considerable investment in time and money.  Although it would be unrealistic to expect any country to be cent percent self-reliant (even the most advanced countries are not), India has not been able to develop any core strength in defence technology to enable it to be placed on the world map, except arguably to a limited extent in missiles and warship design and production.  In contrast, the world’s major and middle-rung military powers, which possess a strong and well-established defence industry and military-industrial complex, are largely self-sufficient in some, if not all, critical cutting edge military technologies. In addition to being major producers of defence technology, these countries are also major exporters of defence equipment, which, in turn, serve as a source of influence in their foreign policy. This is especially true of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council and also several advanced countries or middle-rung powers such as Israel, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.  Even though China is a major importer of defence hardware – it is the second largest recipient (in US dollar value) and has signed the third highest number of transfer agreements of defence equipment among developing countries between 2000 and 2007 – yet at the same time it is self-sufficient in certain key military technologies and emerged as the fifth largest exporter of defence equipment to developing countries between 2000-2007.  In contrast, India’s modest record of producing and exporting weapon systems is evident from the fact that India’s defence annual exports averaged a meagre US$ 88 million between 2006-07 and 2008-09.  Imports have also meant infrastructure and product support problems for an Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet that comprises 26 different types of fighter, transport and trainer aircraft and helicopters sourced from at least six different countries. The same holds true for the IAF’s air defence comprising surface-to-air missiles, radars and aerostats. The issue of sourcing equipment and its product support from different countries also holds true for the technology-intensive Navy. Its air wing comprises UK-supplied fighter aircraft; surveillance aircraft sourced from Russia, the US and Germany; and a wide range of helicopters sourced from Russia, UK, France and the US. The submarine fleet is sourced from Russia and Germany with France in the pipeline while aircraft carriers are sourced from the UK with a Russian-made aircraft carrier in the pipeline.  Similarly, all high-end technology equipment and even some low-end equipment in even the comparatively less technology intensive Army is similarly equipped with imported weapon systems and other equipment that ranges from tanks, artillery and air defence systems to even high altitude clothing including jackets, shoes and gloves.  India’s over dependence on imports comes at a tremendous cost that includes re-negotiations, cost escalation, delay in delivery, problems in product support, denial of technology and technical glitches.  An adverse fall out of India’s over-dependence on imports is the regular occurrence of either proven or alleged scams in procurement from foreign vendors which, on occasions, have led to cancellation of deals. This has ramifications for the armed forces which fear that their operational preparedness and modernisation will suffer.  For example, in 2005 alone, the CBI was investigating 47 cases of procurement. In the last five years alone, the defence ministry cancelled deals involving import of 400 anti-material rifles, 197 light helicopters and 400 pieces of 155 mm towed artillery guns after years of technical trials and negotiations. In addition it has temporarily suspended contracts worth US$ 279 million and even black listed four foreign and three Indian companies.  As such, India’s over dependence on import is fraught with concerns for the armed forces in particular and the country’s security in general. Since military technology is constantly changing and potential adversaries making new procurements, there is no weapon system that is likely to remain relevant for the future. A weapon system, such as for example, a submarine bought in the 1980s becomes inflexible to meet the technological challenges posed by an adversary’s procurement of a sophisticated anti-submarine warfare technology some years later.  Although import of weapons ‘supplies technology’ it does not necessarily transfer technology. Neither do sellers transfer the ability to upgrade the technology when the need arises. Countries remain reluctant to part with critical and strategic technology both because it has power in it and because it has involved considerable monetary, technological and human resource investment. Further, the maintenance cost of weapon systems keeps increasing whereas its effectiveness remains constant at best and, at worst, keeps reducing vis-à-vis potential adversaries. In the absence of any serious indigenous capability, foreign suppliers become the reference point for the Services which usually want the most sophisticated (and therefore expensive) equipment.  In many cases, India’s defence acquisitions have been plagued by both indecisions and by cumbersome decision-making and procurement process. The long procurement process has, in turn, been afflicted by protracted negotiations followed by long delivery schedules and problems of product support. The net result is that the Indian armed forces are affected by a combination of depleted and antiquated equipment, deficiencies in training and a questionable operational readiness.  A majority of the Army’s artillery, air defence artillery, and armour dates back to three decades and more. Both the capital and technology-intensive Navy and IAF are suffering from either a depleting strength or ageing technology. The Navy’s fleet fell to 129 warships in 2008 notwithstanding the Defence Acquisition Council’s stipulation to maintain a minimum-must force-level of 140. Its fleet of submarines – a stealth platform critical for sea denial – has fallen from 22 to 16.  The IAF’s fighter squadron strength has fallen to 32 from a sanctioned strength of 39.5, and as, currently envisaged, will still be two squadrons short of the authorised strength even at the end of the 12th five-year plan period (2012-2019). Besides, technical obsolescence has affected the trainer aircraft fleet and air defence radars, while the transport fleet is suffering from a perennial shortage of spares thus adversely affecting its serviceability. The situation hardly augurs well for a country that boasts of the world’s third largest military located in a difficult and hostile neighbourhood and views its strategic interests as extending from the Strait of Malacca to the Strait of Hormuz.

Chhattisgarh forests death traps: Police
Maoists have laid landmines in most of these areas  Raipur, May 9 A day after eight paramilitary troopers were killed in a landmine blast by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, a top police official said the guerrillas had massively mined the state’s forested areas and it was difficult to de-mine the vast stretches without the required technology.  “The big problem is we have no technology and resources to de-mine the massive forested pockets. Without taking out landmines it’s literally impossible to go after them freely in thickly forested areas where Maoists are always ready with a booby trap,” Director General of Police (Chhattisgarh) Vishwa Ranjan said today.  Eight CRPF troopers were killed yesterday when Maoists blew up their vehicle in Bijapur, around 480 km south of state capital Raipur.  The bulletproof vehicle was blown up in the Koretal forested stretch. A CRPF personnel and two civilians were injured in the blast.  The coffins of the eight slain CRPF men were brought to Raipur today. They were offered floral tributes and given gun salutes in the Mana area on the outskirts of the city after their post-mortem examination was completed at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Government Hospital here.  Yesterday’s blast came just a month after 76 security personnel were massacred by the rebels in the same region in one of the deadliest attacks on April 6.  Both attacks took place in the Bastar region, spread over around 40,000 sq km area of which up to 25,000 sq km is intensively mined, Ranjan said.  A police officer said the two attacks had rattled the security forces.  “I admit that forces in the Bastar interiors have gone defensive. Neither the state police nor the paramilitary forces are ready with heart and mind to go after the Maoists in thickly forested areas that are heavily mined,” the officer said.  State Home Minister Nankiran Kanwar said he was in favour of the Army taking over the anti-Maoist operations. “I think the Army should take over the job to wipe out Maoists. I am saddened by the attacks coming one after another and the loss of lives of our brave soldiers,” Kanwar told reporters.  He described Saturday’s attack as “a gross neglect of guerrilla warfare rules and a complete intelligence failure”.  Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, comprising five districts of Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker has been the nerve centre of Maoist militancy since late 1980s. — IANS

’71 war veterans shocked by loss of records
Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  Bangalore, May 9 Veterans of India’s most successful war against Pakistan in 1971 have been shocked by the reported destruction of the records of the Army operations started during the campaign.  “I am shocked to read about this”, Admiral OS Dawson (retd), who was the director of Naval operations during the war and later became Chief of the Navy, said. Dawson, who now lives in Bangalore, said though not in the scale of the Army, the Navy, too, had imparted training to the members of the Mukti Bahini.  “The Bangladeshis are very good seamen. The guys trained by us were very effective in our operations to block the Chittagong port”, Dawson said.  The Navy had also helped set up the Bangladeshi Naval commando unit and had provided command staff for gunboats which were used for riverine operations and disrupted merchant marine movements in East Pakistan.  Dawson recalled the spectacular attack on the Karachi port carried out by the Navy during the war, besides the sinking of Ghazi, the-state-of-the-art submarine leased to Pakistan by the USA. He said he still could not forget the loss of the battleship, INS Khukri, to an attack by the Pakistani submarine, Hangor.  “The 1971 war was fought by all three wings of the armed forces - the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. I have no clue why the records of the Army operations during 1971 should be destroyed. The records of the naval operations of the war have been carefully preserved”, Dawson said.  Air Chief Marshal F H Major (retd), former IAF chief, who was a junior officer during the war, said the IAF always maintained a war diary during any hostility and the war diary of the ’71 war, containing all details of the IAF operations, had been preserved.  The IAF helped the Mukti Bahini form a light aircraft unit called Kilo flight, which was manned and serviced by Bengali pilots and technicians of who had defected from the Pakistan Air Force. This unit launched attacks on targets in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) prior to the start of formal combat between India and Pakistan.  Major, now a resident of Bangalore, said while it would be quite outrageous if all records of the Army operations during the war were destroyed. He would not be surprised if only the records related to the Army’s engagement with the Mukti Bahini, the armed force consisting of Bangladeshi freedom fighters, were destroyed. He said those records could be destroyed to play down India’s direct role in arming and providing training to the Bangladeshi freedom fighters before war between India and Pakistan broke out formally.

Military Might On display, Army’s swift-strike capability Summer war game Yodha Shakti concludes
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 9 The Army’s four-week long summer war game “Yodha Shakti” --- which showcased its ability to inflict maximum damage on enemy targets in shortest possible time --- concluded in the Rajasthan deserts on Friday. The exercise, which saw the Army using a sizeable component of its strike corps formations with an active operational support from the IAF, is a part of cold-start doctrine formulated after operation Parakaram in 2001.  During the latest exercise, nearly12,000-14,000 troops were pulled out from the Mathura-based 1 Strike Corps, the armoured formations at Patiala, Hissar and Jhansi. They practised battle maneuvers in hostile conditions in the Mahajan ranges of the desert state.  The new night vision devices fitted on the T-90 tanks were also tested for the first time. The tanks had come a cropper in this category when these were pitted against the home-built Arjun in a shootout in February. Removing “night blindness” on the T-90 is one of the immediate tasks of the Army.  The land-air synergy between the Army and the Air Force, which is essential for conducting operations deep inside enemy territory was best displayed. The war game witnessed heliborne operations behind the ‘enemy’ lines, airborne drop by paratroopers and multiple manoeuvres by the mechanised forces and attack helicopters in the operational depth with intense synergy and integration between the Army and Air Force.  The IAF also demonstrated how the aerial route could be used to send supplies to an armoured division deep inside enemy territory. Notably, leading the paradrop was the second senior-most officer of the Indian Army, Vice Chief Lt Gen P Bhardwaj. The Army Chief Gen VK Singh, the South Western Army commander Lt Gen CKS Sabu along with Chief of the Western Air Command Air Marshall NAK Browne attended the final phase of the exercise.

Army should fight Naxals, says Chhattisgarh home minister
NDTV Correspondent, Sunday May 9, 2010,
A day after eight CRPF jawans were killed when Naxals blew up a bullet-proof vehicle in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, the state home minister said that Army's help should be taken to counter the growing Naxal menace in the state.  "As per my knowledge six people have been killed in the attack. In today's scenario, the Army should be used to tackle Naxals. It completely depends on the central government to take a call on this. They cannot use the power of bullet in a democracy to come into power," says Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar.  Commenting on the incident Chhattisgarh DGP Viswaranjan said, "There are three camps of the CRPF in Abhapalli, Basaguda and Ilmadi. These camps need rations. This CRPF team had 'cleared' a stretch of 33 kms in the morning, to supply the rations. On their way back from Abhaplalli to Bijapur, some CRPF personnel were going on leave, so they set out in a bullet-proof vehicle. About 11 kms from Abhapalli they were hit by a landmine. There was no firing after the blast so; it could be a remotely triggered blast."  Saturday's attack is the first major attack after the Dantewada ambush which left 76 security men dead a month ago.  The Naxalites carried out the IED blast near Pedakodepal village on NH16, 14 kms from the district headquarters in Bijapur, and fired at the security personnel, Additional Director General, Naxal Operation, Ram Niwas said.  Eight CRPF personnel of 168 Battalion, including a driver, who were travelling in a bunker vehicle from Basaguda Avapalli to Bijapur, 284 km from here, were killed while 10 others were injured, he said.  "It appears that the security personnel ignored the instruction not to travel in any kind of vehicle in the Naxal-infested areas," State Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar said.  The injured have been admitted to hospital in Jagdalpur.  Naxalites had on April 6 carried out their deadliest attack killing 76 CRPF personnel in Mukrana forests of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

Govt says no to defence officers in MoD
Rajat Pandit, TNN, May 10, 2010, 02.07am IST
NEW DELHI: As if the deliberate go-slow in creating the crucial chief of defence staff (CDS) post was not enough, the government has now rejected the proposal to post Army, Navy and IAF officers as joint/additional secretaries in the defence ministry (MoD).  Taking note of the huge disconnect between Service HQs and MoD, the parliamentary standing committee on defence last year ‘‘strongly’’ recommended the change in MoD staffing patterns to ensure armed forces were ‘‘intrinsically involved in national security management and apex decision-making process’’.  But defence minister A K Antony holds "no change’’ is ‘‘considered necessary’’ since ‘‘a high degree of integration’’ between Service HQs and MoD had already been achieved. Antony, in Parliament last week, listed out steps like adoption of ‘‘single file system’’ between Service HQs and MoD, delegation of financial and administrative powers at various levels and re-designation of Service HQs as ‘‘Integrated HQs’’ to support this argument.  But these measures are widely perceived to be merely cosmetic, with the bureaucracy continuing to maintain a vice-like grip over armed forces. ‘‘India, like the Kargil Review Committee held, is probably the only major democracy where armed forces are kept out of the apex government structure,’’ said a senior Army officer.

Indian intel leak leaves Major killed
Srinagar—An Indian Army Major and a Jawan were Killed in an encounter with militants in the forest area of Chithibandi in Bandipore district late night. Acting on information about the smuggling of heroin in the Aragam area, the Army launched a raid and search operation. However, information regarding operation was leaked to the putlaw militants who opened indiscriminate fire on the party. Indian defence spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel J.S Brar disclosed the militants hiding there opened fire at the troops, injuring Major Yogenrda Rajbar and Rifleman Uttam Singh. The two later succumbed to their injuries in Military Hostital” Meanwhile, the Jajjer Kotli police seized 2 kg of poppy husk and arrested a person from the Domail area. The police said acting on specific information, a Naka was laid and during the checking narcotics was seized. A case has been registered at Jajjer Kotli police station in this regard. It is pertinent to mention here that poppy is grown in Indian Punjab and parts of Indian held Jammu and Kashmir states.—Agencies

Armyman’s family keeps mum on child porn case 
The family of 42-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Jagmohan Balbir Singh, who was arrested for allegedly uploading child pornography clips on the Internet, has distanced itself from him and the case.  Army jawans have been keeping a close watch outside the family’s house at Colaba, where Singh lived with his wife and two teenaged children. They scan every visitor. Journalists are being kept out of the premises.  Hindustan Times contacted Singh’s wife on the telephone. “My children and I have nothing to do with the case,” she said, refusing to give her name. “We have been asked by (defence) authorities to not speak about the case. I would not like to say anything further. So, please don’t embarrass me and yourself by calling again.”  Singh, who is attached to the Directorate of Supplies and Transport of the Indian Army, was arrested on Friday by the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell of the Mumbai police’s crime branch based on inputs from the Federal Police of Germany. The German police had stumbled upon a video clip in which an unknown man was having sex with an unidentified three-year-old girl.  The army officer was arrested from his flat, after the Internet Protocol address provided by the German police matched with that of the computer he used. Singh was on study leave. Police said Singh initially denied having any knowledge of the clip. But the police gave him a veiled threat saying they will have to investigate if it was the work of another family member. This is when Singh confessed that he had downloaded the pornographic material, police said.  A native of Punjab, Singh, who has completed 22 years in the army, was posted in Mumbai two years ago.  The police are waiting for reports of forensic tests on the hard disks and computer seized from his house. This case is being treated as a priority and the results are expected to be out in a month.

No need for CDS
Sunday, May 09, 2010 This is in reference to a news item in your paper about the possible introduction of the chief of defence staff post (May 6). Every country has its own military culture and strategic requirements. In our scheme of things, there would be tension between a powerful CDS and the service chiefs, especially the army chief as the latter will be exercising his independent command and control of the army. This situation will be accentuated if the CDS were to be from the army who would tend to lean more on him. Similarly, if the CDS were to be from the PAF, the chief of air staff may feel the pinch as the former would show his 'muscle'. I am of the considered view that the present system has been in vogue for many years now and working quite satisfactorily.  I may mention that in India (having the third largest army and the fifth largest air force of the world with a two-ocean navy), there is not even a full-time chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee let alone a CDS. Each service chief officiates, in addition to his own charge, for a year in turn as the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee.  Brig (r) Istiaq Ali-Khan

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