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Saturday, 15 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 15 May 2010

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

Dangers of Dantewada Groping in the dark proving costly
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)  THE massacre at Dantewada was not only a great tragedy but possibly an event of far-reaching consequences. The scale of the tragedy is dismaying. The fact that the police party was ill trained, lacked coordination with local police and poorly led is an issue which needs no elaboration, but the larger issue is the state of Central Police Organisations (CPOs).  Why the CRPF with a strength of 210 battalions depend on the military for training when by now they should have had, along with other CPOs like the BSF, the ITBP, etc.) their own training schools? The higher hierarchy in this and other CPOs have no ground level experience in counter-insurgency operations. Small wonder, there is little central policy or doctrine and no accountability.  The government seems to be groping in the dark. One proposal is to raise another police force exclusively to deal with Maoists. Another one is to shift some RR units from Jammu and Kashmir for this task and/or raise more RR units. Equally weird is the idea to induct Remotely Piloted Planes to locate Maoists in thick jungles and much else. Yet another is to have a Central body to control and co-ordinate all anti-Maoist operations in the Red Corridor.  Shifting RR battalions from J&K appears unlikely. If new units are raised, their command and control will have to rest with the military. So, willy-nilly army will get sucked into anti-Maoist operations. The Army’s hands are already more than full and landing it with this additional commitment will have serious implications for national security. Placing these units under the CRPF control will not work.  The CPOs often operate in companies and not as full units and there lies a serious drawback This arrangement creates functional problems in command and control, performance and cohesiveness. There is little unit spirit when companies operate in mixed groups and can seldom meet serious challenges. Such an arrangement may work in duties at election times, but combating insurgency is a different ballgame.  The ease with which Maoists have been raiding prisons, police stations, taking away police weapons and attacking CPO camps does not speak well of the morale of the police. There is little motivation and leadership appears indifferent. For the Centre to pass the buck to states will not wash because higher leadership of the state police is from the Central cadre so also that of CPOs. It is no more a mere law and order case. The Home Minister may, as a first step, bring in accountability of higher police set-up: much else will, thereafter, fall in place.  As for naming of these CPOs as ‘paramilitary’, there is nothing about them that even remotely resembles the military, except perhaps their dress. The law of the land forbids any one to copy and wear any item of uniform that resembles that of the military. Here most brazenly the uniform and accruements are copied with impunity. This creates identity confusion and the military’s impact on terrorists and miscreants gets diffused.  The CPOs have none of the military’s ethos, traditions, skills, spirit and leadership. On their own and with the right leadership, they can be first-rate police force. There is little to be gained in aping the military in dress, form and formulations. CPOs have little to claim as paramilitary and dislike being called police. Resultantly, they fall between two stools.  The military has been ambushed on many an occasion but never at such a scale. Its casualty ratio between troops and officers in counter-insurgency operations is in the region of 1 to 13.4. That is for every 13/14 men killed there is an officer casualty and figure for officers in the last decade and a half is by now well over 560. These are commissioned officers ranging from Lieutenants to Colonels and in a few cases even higher rank officers. The military has been combating well trained and motivated insurgents in the North East and J&K. Whereas Maoists are a ‘ragtag’ force in its present state. To achieve results, police leadership will have to be up front.  The Indian state has been painfully slow in waking up to the Maoist threat. Even the Prime Minister’s wake-up call had gone unheeded. Over time conditions have been allowed to deteriorate resulting in large-scale disaffection amongst vast sections of marginalised and dispossessed population, whom all development and poverty alleviation schemes have simply bypassed. Whose small land holdings have been taken over by mining mafias, hydel projects, MNCs and some others whose forest rights have been dissolved, leaving them no means of livelihood? Added to that has been the gradual withdrawal of governance at district level and the all-pervasive corruption.  As administration shrank and poverty alleviation schemes and development plans were hijacked by corrupt officials and colluding politicians, in district after district, disaffection and deprivation spread. District officials seldom stirred out and often functioned from within their high security residences and offices and on return to Delhi, became experts in dealing with Maoist movement. Given such conditions, the Maoists kept enlarging their foothold and spread the field of activity while Delhi slept.  The media hype over the Dantewada incident portends ill for the developing situation. A kind of hysteria has been created where elimination of Maoists has become the top priority without regard to means and methods. Terms like revenge, enemy and war are being bandied about. What may follow are extreme excesses by the police: provincial and CPOs.  Arrests, interrogations, torture and torching of villages, dislocations, fake encounters could become a daily occurrence. Custodial deaths too will become a common feature, more so when senior leadership stays away from the field. Police brutalities can push more people into the Maoist fold. However, the Home Minister is expected to exercise a sobering influence on the anti-Maoist operations.  There is talk of accelerating development of these areas. If the same set of government machinery is to undertake this task, on which it so miserably failed in the past, how is it expected to do better this time? Government officials are loathe at venturing into these areas. So one proposal is to first bring the affected districts under control, restore law and order and then start developmental work. Yet another view is to start rapid development (whatever it means) as pockets are cleared of Maoists, because time is at a premium.  In the proposed development plans, it may perhaps be possible to make roads, healthcare centres, hospitals and schools (doubtful though) but the larger problem which makes a substantial difference is the creation of jobs, gainful employment and economic activity for the vast majority. That is an area which takes a lot of planning and time. So it is possible that the Maoist problem will not go away in a hurry and police retaliations, consequent to the hype created by the media, may exacerbate the already deteriorating situation.  A new legislation to deal with the Maoists needs to be brought in where this CPO(s) have the authority to operate in various Maoist affected states. It should be placed under a Central authority which co-ordinates its actions and intelligence work with the state police.  The answer lies in splitting the CRPF into two, with about 150 battalions forming the core of the anti-Maoist group, which should be given intensive training in counter-insurgency operations and provided young and competent leadership at platoon, company and battalion level. Perhaps IPS officers with less than 10 years of service be made to spend two to three years leading platoons and companies with anti-Maoist outfits.

4 cops held for supplying arms to Maoists 
Lucknow, May 14 Four policemen have been arrested from different districts of Uttar Pradesh on the suspicion of being involved in a racket to smuggle arms and ammunition for Maoists, officials said today.  Carrying out a joint operation with the police, the Special Task Force (STF) yesterday arrested the four cops from the Provincial Armed Constabulary from Gonda, Faizabad and Gorakhpur districts. They are Sushil Kumar, armourer with the PAC's 30th battalion in Gonda, Jitendra Singh and Amar Singh, both deployed as armourers in Faizabad, and Rajesh Shahi, an armourer with the Gorakhpur police, an official said.  They were held after their names were disclosed by an armourer of Basti district, who is being interrogated for his alleged involvement in the racket.  "We assisted the STF in making the arrests on the basis of statements given by our armourer," Basti SP Gyan Singh said.  On April 30, ADG (Law and Order) Brij Lal had told reporters that six persons - two CRPF troopers, three Uttar Pradesh police personnel and a retired sub inspector - had been arrested on suspicion of supplying arms and ammunition to Maoists.  According to him, over 5,000 live cartridges/magazines of pistols, carbine, AK 47, SLR (self-loading rifle) and around 250 kg of shells and other arms components had been recovered from their possession. — IANS

Despite Pak protest, India plans civilian trek to Siachen 
New Delhi, May 14 Notwithstanding Pakistan's vociferous protests earlier, India will organise a civilian mountaineering and trekking expedition to the forbidding Siachen Glacier for the fourth year in a row in October-November this year.  “The Siachen trekking expedition this year is in its planning stage and is likely to take place some time in October-November," an Army officer involved in the planning of the trek said here.  The expedition, which has now become an annual affair, is meant to showcase to the global community that Indian troops hold the Siachen glacial heights and Pakistan is nowhere near the Glacier, regarded as the world's highest battlefield.  Guns had boomed in the 78-km-long Glacier at an altitude of 18,875 feet till November 25, 2004, when a formal ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan came into effect along the 740-km Line of Control and 110-km Actual Ground Position Line.  During this year's expedition, the Army plans to take along 35 civilians. They would also be visiting some of the Army positions on their way up the glacier and back.  The civilian Siachen expedition had run into a controversy when it began in 2007 after Pakistan lodged a strong protest, calling it “incongruous” to ongoing peace efforts between the two countries.  Though the Army halted the trip immediately after the protest that year, it went ahead with the trekking expedition after a go-ahead was given by the UPA government later.  Every year since then, India continued with its Siachen expedition of civilians and mountaineering enthusiasts, even as Pakistan had voiced its concern.  Despite protests from Pakistan, India maintains it does not need Islamabad's approval to send trekkers to Siachen, which is essentially in Indian territory.  Pakistan, in its protest against the civilian trek to Siachen, had stated that the issue was part of the framework of the composite dialogue between the two countries and hence, sending civilians to an area that was part of the bilateral talks would vitiate the situation. — PTI

India to test M777 lightweight howitzer
                                  By Rahul Bedi  14 May 2010  The Indian Army is to conduct 'confirmatory' trials of the BAE Systems M777 155 mm/39-cal lightweight howitzer in the western Rajasthan desert prior to acquiring 145 guns via the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.  Military and defence industry sources in New Delhi told Jane's that the M777 trials with Indian-made ammunition were intended merely to 'validate' the FMS agreement under which India will acquire 145 units with Selex Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems for USD647 million.  Industry sources anticipate the deal being signed by the end of Fiscal Year 2010-11 next March.  Thereafter, howitzer deliveries are expected to begin within 18-24 months to equip two mountain divisions for deployment along India's disputed northeast frontier with China.  Logistical and technical support for the trials will be provided by a joint venture between BAE Systems and Mahindra Defence Systems focused on armoured vehicles - a partnership formed recently with an INR1 billion (USD22.22 million) equity on a 26:74 basis favouring the latter.  BAE Systems has declined to confirm or deny the M777's date of arrival in India for testing.

The Israel Defence Forces Looks to Hybridize Its Jeeps
Submitted by Karin Kloosterman on May 14, 2010 – 5:28
The Israel Air Force is doing it (with solar panels), and now the IDF, Israel Defence Forces will save carbon emissions as it looks to buy hybrid Jeeps. Haaretz newspaper reports that the IDF is now testing the hybrid Ford Escape to see how it performs, and that the force is not making the switch out of environment concerns. They want to save money on gas.  Intended to provide support for forces in the field, the Ford Escape could also become a mobile command center, transporting a limited number of soldiers or equipment, and it may even be used to evacuate casualties. With good fuel efficiency for an SUV (12-15 kilometers per liter – depending on road conditions), gas savings will be less when the jeep is used for off-roading purposes.  According to the report, the Ground Forces unit, which will test the vehicle, has asked Ford for a few test models and a price quote. The unit already tested the Indian Mahindra SUV, and found it lacking. The army will also conduct a test of the radiation levels emitted by the Escape to see if soldiers can spend over four hours inside at a stretch.  But any army, from Israel, the Middle East, America or Europe is not serving higher green ideals. Just read the cost of conflict to the environment report. While it sounds good for the media that an army in the world is going green, the greenest army is no army. We can dream.

India to set up Defence Technology Commission
Last Updated:May 13, 2010  Main Battle Tank 'Arjun' NEW DELHI (PTI): Government Thursday 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. 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 five 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.

EXCLUSIVE: India's Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT)
The Indian Army is still juggling concepts of precisely what it wants from its Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT), but information shared with LiveFist provides a rare broad glimpse into work very much in progress as far as qualitative requirements for the future platform go. The Army's FMBT wish-list, in no particular order follows.  The Army insists that stealth be built into the FMBT from the ground up -- including paints/materials to provide limited invisibility in IR/visible spectrum and for scrambling and avoidance of detection. The Indian Army wants the tank to have an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system "to obviate chances of own tanks firing at each other in battle", and a whole new reliable and secure mobile communication system capable of data transmission, audio and video conference. Protection in the form of soft-kill system requires IR detectors, laser warning, radar warning and devices to instantaneously integrate these signals and control a countermeasure suite. Such systems are threat specific so all would have to be carried on a vehicle to gain protection against more than one part of the EM threat spectrum.  The new tank necessarily needs to espouse hybrid electric vehicle technology and incorporate digital vehicle electronics (vetronics) to provide intra-vehicle and inter-vehicle communication capability that will greatly improve sit awareness and enhance operational effectiveness.  For mobility, in order to achieve ‘extraordinary’ acceleration, the Army observes that it is necessary to couple the conventional diesel engine of the proposed tank to a turbine. The ‘Hyberbar’ engine will be able to accelerate from zero to full power at 1,500 hp in 2.8 seconds, while a conventional diesel engine requires 8-12 seconds. The quest for more compact power pack has led to renewed interest in gas turbines, which needs to be explored, the Army feels.  The Army wants an active suspension system with sensors, control units, and a hydraulic power source in combination, to automatically alter the suspension characteristics to more closely match the speed of the vehicle and the terrain profile, especially in Indian terrain conditions.  The Army has always held the view that signature management was almost completely ignored in the development of the Arjun. The Army hopes that lesson has been learnt now. Current and expected future threat scenarios require signature management measures of a multi spectral type, and they require an extremely short reaction time. The Army says it requires signature management in design measures, basic camouflage, additional camouflage and temporary camouflage.  Explosive Reactive Armour Now! The Army points out that the main battlefield threats against tanks are Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGMs), unguided anti tank rockets and grenades; shaped charge High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) gun rounds; Kinetic Energy (KE) gun rounds; and top-attack weapons like intelligent sub-munitions, terminally guided artillery rounds, etc. There is a need for developing Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA). Given optimised designs, integrated ERA offers tanks highly effective protection against both the penetrators of Armoured Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) projectiles and the jets of shaped charge weapons, including those with tandem warheads.  The Army says it wants a high-performance armour system on its FMBT with advanced materials incorporating the following qualities (a) Reduced penetration by most lethal weapons, (b) Elimination of parasitic mass leading to a weight reduction, (c) Excellent corrosion resistance, (d) Inherent thermal and acoustic insulation properties.  The Army has stressed that the FMBT needs Infra Red (IR) detectors, target identification systems, laser warning systems, radar warning receivers and devices to coordinate their signal and instantaneously control a countermeasures suite. These countermeasures fall into two categories: soft-kill system and hard-kill system. The soft kill sensors must discriminate true and false targets and they must discriminate between missiles or other rounds that threaten the vehicle being protected and those that will miss or are aimed at other targets.  The Army wants an Automatic Protection Systems (APS) on the FMBT. The radar should determine threat levels adequately, and the self-defence rockets should not cause high levels of collateral damage, particularly to accompanying dismounted infantry.  Of course, weapons. Conventional tube weapons are the product of a mature technology, and have now reached a high level of performance. However, on account of the gas-dynamic processes of thermally transformed powder, the muzzle velocity of projectiles is theoretically limited to approximately 2,300 m/s. Contemporary tank guns still offer a considerable growth potential, and electronic guns will be able to exceed this and become an attractive proposition. Tank-fired missiles, which carry shaped-charge warheads, were susceptible to various countermeasures, especially reactive armour. The Army says it is reasonable to expect development of high velocity KE missiles with heavy-metal, long-rod penetrators to defeat current and future tanks both within and beyond line of sight. Such extended-range missiles would enable armoured vehicles to engage targets beyond the direct fire zone. The high/medium-energy level (100 kJ) vehicle-mounted laser is expected to be a lethality option against rockets, air vehicles, light ground vehicles, antennas of armoured vehicles and electro-optical sensors. Hard-kill system to provide full-spectrum defence against top attack weapons, ATGMs, guided missiles and gun-launched KE and HEAT rounds.  Fire Control System (FCS): Ground sensors, non-line-of-sight launch system and the network capability will enhance soldiers’ understanding of their situation in dynamic battlefield conditions by promoting a common perspective of enemy and friendly locations on digital maps and provide timely actionable intelligence.  Very importantly, the Army has stressed that there is a need to manufacture modern simulators using lasers, micro-processors and magnetic tapes, thereby creating near actual combat conditions during training. Development of driving, gunnery and tactical simulators.

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