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Friday, 14 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 14 May 2010

Asian Age
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Telegraph India
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
The Pioneer
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Times of India
DNA India

Boost for Research Centre overhauls DRDO
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 13 In the first major overhaul of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) since its formation in 1958, the Defence Ministry today made its intent clear and ordered a total revamp.  An overarching commission will decide on induction of new technology, while the top brass of the DRDO will be held accountable to ensure timely delivery of the products. The thrust on home-manufactured products will continue as second generation of Arjun Tanks and Akash air defense missiles, both indigenous products, will be developed locally. The ministry today ordered that a new Defence Technology Commission, a kind of monitoring body, headed by Defence Minister AK Antony, would oversee new research works and induction of technology.  It would have representation of the services, engineers, designers and scientists among others. It would also assess if the technology could be developed within India or procured from aboard. It would set up timelines and decide on products that would be needed in the future and would also finalise the needs of the forces, called the “general staff qualitative requirements” in military parlance. Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar clarified, “The new commission will have separate secretariat located at the DRDO Headquarters.”  The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) will continue to work on the development of a combat aircraft. The Light Combat Aircraft is to be inducted next year and the IAF has ordered some 40 of these and the ADA has been looking to upgrade its skills. The Kaveri aero-engine programme that was an attempt to make world-class engines would continue. The revamp was part of the recommendations of a committee under former Science and Technology Secretary P Rama Rao. The committee had submitted its report to Antony in 2008. The team headed by Defence Secretary was formed to study the report and submit recommendations for implementation.  The DRDO would now have the power to choose partners from the private industry. It would also have a commercial arm to market items in the civil market. This would be private limited company owned by the DRDO with a seed capital of about Rs two crore, dealing with only the spin-off products and technologies. It would not take up any manufacturing activity.  Some of the DRDO laboratories would be merged with other public-funded institutions with similar discipline, interest and administrative systems.

NSG-IAF exercise ends
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 13 The national security guards (NSG) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) today concluded their weeklong joint exercise to hone counter terrorist skills. Apart from the choppers, the IAF’s raised special force, the Garud’s, participated alongside the NSG.  A large component of the NSG is drawn from the Indian Army and is detailed at specialised operations like the one conducted to counter the November 2008 Mumbai attack. The exercise named “Black Eagle” was the first such exercise since 2008.  It covered various skills of shooting and techniques to enable precision surgical strikes against terrorists, hostile elements and to carry out rescue missions. The emphasis was on ‘swift deployment’ for which choppers where used, like the one used in Mumbai to send in commandoes atop the Nariman house. The IAF pilots performed difficult manoeuvres, which aided the NSG commandos to practise new tactics.

Centre clears decks for first defence varsity Will come up at a cost of Rs 300 cr near Gurgaon
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 13 More than 40 years after it was mooted, the Union Cabinet today gave its approval to set up the nation’s first defence university near Gurgaon. It would aim at imparting education on strategic challenges to armed forces officials, bureaucrats, academicians, parliamentarians and trainees at military academies.  A meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accorded an in principle approval to set up the Indian National Defence University (INDU), Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here.  The university will come up at Binola, around 20 km from Gurgaon, the glitzy financial capital of Haryana and a suburb of Delhi. To be established at an estimated Rs 300 crore, the institute would come up on an area of about 200 acres. A sum of Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for land acquisition.  The existing defence educational institutions like the National Defence College, New Delhi, College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, National Staff College, Wellington, and National Defence Academy, Pune, would also be affiliated to the INDU. At present, these institutions are attached to various universities across the country.  The proposed university, which would be fully autonomous and constituted under an Act of Parliament, would promote policy-oriented research on all aspects of national security as part of the strategic national policy-making. The university was first mooted in 1967 and the matter was accorded all seriousness after the 1999 Kargil conflict.  The government had set up a Kargil Review Committee, headed by strategic expert K Subrahmanyam, which had recommended establishment of such a university to exclusively deal with defence and strategic matters. It will encourage awareness of national security issues by reaching out to scholars and an audience beyond the official machinery.  Earlier, Ambika Soni said the INDU would educate national security leaders on all aspects of strategies in the fields of security, military, information and technology through teaching and research. The university will undertake long-term defence and strategic studies and create synergy between the academic community and government functionaries, she added.  Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh, a former minister of state for defence in the first term of the UPA, has also welcomed the move.

Govt to set up new Defence Technology Commission
Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 13, 2010, 16:08 IST  The government today announced setting up of a new Defence Technology Commission to provide a major boost to research and development and decided to go for the second generation of main battle tank 'Arjun' and 'Akash' surface-to-air missile.  The decision to set up the Commission with Defence Minister A K Antony as its chief forms part of a series of measures aimed at transforming and revitalising the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in form and substance, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said here.  "A new Defence Technology Commission will now be established with the Defence Minister as its Chairman and supported by a Secretariat located at DRDO Headquarters," he said, quoting Antony, who approved the recommendations of a committee under former Science and Technology Secretary P Rama Rao that was set up in February 2007 to restructure DRDO.  After the committee had submitted its report to Antony a year later, another team headed by Defence Secretary was formed to study the report and submit recommendations for implementation.  The government has also given its nod to development of second generation of main battle tank 'Arjun' and 'Akash' surface-to-air missile by DRDO.  With Arjun's performance in the comparative trials with Russian T-90 tanks coming in for praise and it proving itself to be a superior tank, the decision to go in for a second generation Arjun Mk-II tanks is only an indication that the Army would be inducting more of these tanks in the future.  Already, the Army has placed orders for 124 Arjun tanks of which about 50 tanks were finally handed over to it last year to form a regiment.  Other key measures on which Antony took a decision include the de-centralisation of DRDO management and making it a leaner organisation by merging some of its laboratories with other public-funded institutions with similar discipline, interest and administrative system.  The Defence Ministry would now engage an eminent Human Resource (HR) expert as consultant to revamp the entire HR structure of DRDO and establishment of a commercial arm of the Organisation.  Antony also decided to continue with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for design and development of combat aircraft, a continuation of the Kaveri aero-engine programme.  To increase private participation in DRDO activities, it has also been decided to select industry partners through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism.  Kar said the decentralisation of DRDO management would be achieved through formation of technology domain-based centres or clusters of laboratories headed by Directors General.  "Seven centres will be created based on functionalities and technology domains. It will be the responsibility of the Directors General to ensure timely execution of major programmes and encouragement of research in laboratories," he said.  DRDO would also ensure full autonomy to all laboratories as far as Science and Technology initiatives were concerned. While empowering the Directors of the laboratories, DRDO would put in a mechanism in place to ensure the accountability of the laboratory Directors.  One of the major recommendations of the Rama Rao Committee was to make DRDO leaner by merging some of its laboratories with other public funded institutions have similar discipline, interests and administrative systems.  Antony also decided that the present DRDO Director General would be redesignated as 'DRDO Chairman' with Directors General at centres and Chief Controllers of Research and Development (CCsR&D) at the headquarters reporting to the DRDO Chairman, the head of the organisation.  The Chairman would also head the DRDO Management Council with seven Directors General and four CCsR&D and Additional Financial Advisor (R&D) as members.  The Financial Advisors at the appropriate levels would report to Directors General and Lab Directors to ensure accountability.  To revamp the DRDO's HR structure, the expert hired as consultant would be entrusted with the task of examining issues such as selection and tenure of Directors and avenues for the induction of talented persons, independently spotted by the Lab Directors and the heads of centres, including filling up of wastage vacancies.  It was also decided that the budget for rejuvenating research should be 5 per cent of DRDO's budget for a period of three years.  The new Commercial Arm of DRDO would be a Private Limited Company with a seed capital of about Rs 2 crore. It would deal only with spin-off products and technologies meant for civilian use.  "It will not take up any manufacturing activity. For any production activity, the services of public or private sector industry will be utilised," Kar added.

Government gives nod to next generation Arjun tanks
May 13th, 2010 - 10:50 pm ICT by IANS -  New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) The Indian government Thursday decided to go for the second generation of main battle tank Arjun and Akash surface-to-air missile to be developed by the premier Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Annoucing a slew of measures to revitalise the DRDO in form and substance, Defence Minister A.K. Antony also approved the continuation of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for design and development of combat aircraft and of the Kaveri aero-engine programme, defence spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.  “The decision also includes development of (main battle tank) MBT Arjun Mk-II and Akash Mk-II by the DRDO and selection of industry partners by DRDO through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism,” Kar said in a statement.  The decision was taken after Arjun’s performance in the comparative trials with Russian T-90 tanks came in for praise as it proved to be a superior tank.  The army has placed orders for 124 Arjun tanks, of which about 50 tanks were finally handed over to it last year to form a regiment.  The government also announced the setting up of a new Defence Technology Commission to provide a major boost to research and development and decided the de-centralisation of DRDO management and making it a leaner organisation by merging some of its laboratories with other public-funded institutions.

Army de-mines Jammu land, gives to farmers for cultivation  
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan    / DNA Friday, May 14, 2010 0:59    The Indian Army has de-mined minefields spread over 653 acres of land on the Line of Control in Jammu’s Pallanwala sector. The land was then handed over to the locals during a ceremony on May 10. The de-mined land will now be utilised for cultivation.   “The Indian Army has been not only protecting the nation, but also helping locals by undertaking various people-friendly projects. It has de-mined land and handed it over to its owners,” Lt Col Biplab Nath, defence spokesman, Jammu, said.  The Indian Army had converted 28,000 kanals (20 kanals equals one hectare) spread over 21 villages in Pallanwala-Akhnoor sector into minefields during Operation Parakram. Of the 28,000 kanals, 717.19 kanals were already de-mined in February and handed over to the locals.  “The process to de-mine other minefields in Akhnoor sector is on. We are trying to complete the process before the onset of monsoon in June. During monsoon, the mines float on land,” divisional commissioner (Jammu) Pawan Kotwal said.  “De-mining is a very sophisticated process and a specialised job. The army has been using state-of-the-art equipment to clear the minefields. It is using a special machine, which cracks up four inches of the earth’s surface when it is run over the minefield. After that, another machine is brought in to de-mine the land… We hope the de-mining process is completed before the deadline,” Kotwal said.  The J&K government is in constant touch with the army to ensure that the de-mining process is completed in time for cultivation of land to begin. “That is why we want the land to be de-mined as soon as possible so that it is safe for farmers to use it for agriculture. We hope that the June deadline is met so that farmers can reuse their land,” a senior official said.

General Kiyani’s imminent scheduled honorable retirement
Posted on May 13, 2010 by The Editors 3 Votes  Quantcast   At my recent talk at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC about the successful counterinsurgency operations by the Pakistani army, renowned defence analyst Stephen Cohen posed a loaded question: whether Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani should get an “extension” when his tenure as COAS expires. My answer was no, that in order to make the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee the effective institution it was designed to be when it first came into existence in 1975, Gen Kayani should instead head a reformed JCSC.  On extensions my opinion is that once promoted to lieutenant general a three-star must complete his tenure of four years of service (age should not become a bar). But if he has completed his four years of service an extension can be given in extraordinary circumstances. Extension of service for a COAS is an entirely different matter. Primarily, it sets off a chain reaction which ends in promotions in the army being blocked. However loyal and sincere the senior military hierarchy, potential aspirants will feel deprived of their turn at attaining the top slot. Really good prospects down the line will find their careers and ambitions sidelined. All those presently in contention for the COAS job have good professional careers, and for the most part are not tainted by real-estate scandals. “Extension” will mean these officers will retire from service in the next 12-18 months. An extension to the COAS will put a monkey wrench into a natural process.  Promotions during the Kayani incumbency have been deserving ones, and crucial slots (the right man for the right job) have mostly been filled on merit. There will always be a perception of nepotism and favouritism, normal for any organisation or corporate entity. The boss will always tend to prefer those he considers close to him. Rightly or wrongly, a feeling will still prevail that, merit notwithstanding, crucial posts will go to favourites rather than to the man best suited to the job.  The JCSC must become an effective military instrument. Today`s warfare cannot be fought service by service, it has to be a combined, all-service affair. Not a single military analyst believes otherwise, so why is practice different from theory? The present Army-PAF cooperation during counterinsurgency operations has been superb, for while both chiefs are to be commended. Something routine had to depend upon the personal chemistry of the two leaders! This is unacceptable for a modern military machine, the combined potential on which the existence of our nation is dependant.  The JCSC should be the central HQ for all three services, formulating overall war plans incorporating their combined fighting potential, and the mechanism for implementing the war plans. Things basic to the three services must be unified. Some of it is already being done–e.g., medical and engineering services. Why not entities that are common, basic training institutions, workshops, etc.? Specifics cannot be addressed in a short article, but what about standardisation of small arms, vehicles, the myriad types of which defy adequate description? The present incumbent can spend usefully the 150 days he has left by conducting an exercise on how the JCSC can be made effective.  Constructive reforms should include: (1) the JCSC becoming the GHQ for all three services, and the army`s headquarters, the “Army HQ”; (2) the chairman of the JCSC (rename him “Chief of Defence Services,” or something similar) presiding over the senior promotions, from one star to two stars and from two stars to three stars in all three services; (3) all postings of three stars taking place with the concurrence of the GHQ; (4) creation of a Joint Operations Chief (JOC), or any such nomenclature, in the GHQ; (5) all military procurement under the GHQ`s aegis; (6) the ISI and the ISPR reporting to the GHQ, etc.  We need services integration, and we need it now. Being 36 years out of date, current and better military minds than mine can work out the modalities of making the JCSC effective. One does not grudge them their task of taking apart and putting out to pasture a 19th-century military mindset having no place in the 21st century, and certainly not after World War II.  Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has remade the Pakistani army in many ways more than one: restoring the esteem that in which the army was held by the citizens of the country, and restoring the morale and self-confidence of its rank and file; recalling several hundred army officers “on deputation” in civil services where they had no reason to be; the military`s intelligence services not being allowed to interfere in the 2008 elections.  This set the stage for the army to get out of politics. He oversaw a peaceful transition (with dignity) of Gen Musharraf out of the office of president (and with some difficulty out of the Army House), and stayed neutral in the subsequent process of the election of the new president.  Kayani has focused on soldiers` welfare and a return to professionalism. Counterinsurgency training was carried out indigenously before soldiers were taken into battle. A peacetime outfit was converted into an effective military machine. Observers far and wide have been amazed by the effectiveness of the subsequent counterinsurgency campaign.  Our young men in uniform laid down their lives in Swat and South Waziristan. Their Shahadats amounted to something great. Kayani gently nudged the government into restoring the superior judiciary in the face of the “long march.” Kayani`s many successes have not gone to his head. Instead of developing “Napoleonic” tendencies, he remains committed to democracy, even a multi-flawed, inherently corrupt one like ours. His will be a difficult act to follow.  There are many more reasons for Kayani not getting an extension. To quote Air Vice Marshal (r) Shahzad Chaudhry, “losing him would be a blow to the continuity of a transition in the nation`s institutional rebuilding, while extending his present position will likely not go down well with others in the army waiting to have their chance.”  With the universal confidence reposed in Kayani, he can supervise the process of making the JCSC reforms effective. Without this, Kayani should opt to retire gracefully, putting the considerable strength of his popularity in ensuring that the best man for the job is selected as the new COAS. Thursday, May 13, 2010, Ikram Sehgal, The writer is a defence and political analyst. Email:

Finally, India to get a national defence university
Rajat Pandit, TNN, May 13, 2010, 03.01am IST NEW DELHI: India has long lacked a robust strategic thinking culture both within the military as well as outside it. The government is now finally scrambling to establish the Indian National Defence University (INDU) to help craft strategic planning and analysis in keeping with the country's long-term geo-political objectives.  The Union Cabinet on Thursday will take up the proposal to set up INDU, as a fully-autonomous institution to be created by an Act of Parliament, decades after it was first mooted.  Even the 2001 GoM report on "Reforming the national security system'' had strongly recommended INDU's creation to usher in much-needed synergy between the academic world and the executive. At present, university research on defence and strategic issues is neither structured effectively, nor does it have any policy orientation.  Conversely, US, China and several other countries have institutions like INDU to ensure cross-pollination of ideas and strategic thinking between academia and government. In Washington, for instance, it's commonplace to find "strategists'' straddling both the worlds with equal ease.  Officials said INDU's charter will be to undertake long-term defence and strategic studies, create "synergy'' between academicians and government functionaries, and "educate national security leaders on all aspects of national strategy''.  "We hope to infuse governance with an appropriate strategic culture. It will also promote coordination and interaction among Army, Navy and IAF,'' said a senior official.  INDU will bring together existing institutes like the National Defence College (Delhi), College of Defence Management (Secunderabad), Defence Services Staff College (Wellington) and National Defence Academy (Khadakwasla), which are currently affiliated to different universities, under its umbrella.  It's also likely to include new institutes like the National Institute of Strategic Studies, College of National Security Policy and Institute for Advanced Technology Studies, apart from a war gaming and simulation centre.  It's no wonder then that Punjab and Haryana have long being jostling with each other to host the INDU campus. Haryana, however, seems to have won the battle, with land close to New Delhi being identified in its Rewari district. With an initial investment of Rs 230 crore, it will take around three years for INDU to come up.

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