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Thursday, 17 June 2010

From Today's Papers - 17 Jun 2010

It’s official, permanent commission for women in IAF 
New Delhi, June 16 After winning a three-year-long court battle, women officers of the Air Force will now be accorded permanent commission for which an exercise has been initiated by the IAF.  “Yes, we have already started the process for according permanent commission to women officers in accordance with the Delhi High Court orders,” a senior IAF officer said.  The court orders came in March this year on a petition from 22 IAF and 30 Army women officers, who accused the government of discriminating against them vis-a-vis their male counterparts.  “All 22 women officers, who had gone to the court, will be given permanent commission,” the senior IAF officer said.  IAF sources said the force had already issued offer letters to these women officers asking if they would be interested in permanent commission. With this offer, women officers would get an opportunity to rise up to the rank of Lieutenant General and retire at the age of 60, along with retirement and other benefits, similar to those available to IAF men.  Sources said the IAF decision on the high court order came after Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam advised against an appeal and asked the IAF to go by the court directive.  However, the Army’s position on the court orders is still not clear, as they “are still studying the orders” and preparing their response, according to officers in the Army headquarters here.  In their landmark judgement favouring women serving in the defence forces, including those who had retired while the plea was being heard, the Division Bench of Justices SK Kaul and MP Garg had directed the government to grant permanent commission to them, saying they “deserve better from the government”. However, the court had disallowed the women officer’s plea to be allowed in combat roles in the armed forces.  “It is not a charity being sought by the women officers but enforcement of their own Constitutional rights,” the court had said. — PTI

Indo-Pak row over Kishenganga power project
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News service  New Delhi, June 16 India today conveyed to Pakistan the names of its two arbitrators for the legal battle between the two countries in an international court of arbitration over the Kishenganga power project being constructed in Jammu and Kashmir.  India has nominated a sitting judge of the International Court of Justice at Geneva and a Swiss international law expert to represent it in the dispute. They are: Peter Tomka, a Slovak diplomat who is the Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, and Lucius Caflisch, a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.  “Further, the Government of India has also invited the Government of Pakistan for consultations regarding the appointment of three umpires, including a chairman of the court of arbitration by mutual agreement,’’ MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash said.  Pakistan has already named Bruno Simma, also of the International Court of Justice, and Jan Paulsson, Norwegian head of an international law firm, as its arbitrators in the Court of Arbitration that will be set up to resolve its differences with India under the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty of 1960.  India is constructing the 330-MW hydroelectric project on the Kishanganga, a tributary of the Jhelum in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi maintains that it is within its rights, under the treaty, to divert Kishanganga waters to the Bonar Madmati Nallah, another tributary of the Jhelum, which falls into the Wullar Lake before joining the Jhelum again.  Pakistan has objected to this, saying India's plan to divert waters causes obstruction to the flow of the Kishanganga. It has also raised objection to the depletion of dead storage in the run of the Kishanganga project.  As far as India is concerned, the issue was settled by the neutral expert on the Baglihar project. Islamabad had invoked the provisions of the treaty to resolve design differences in the Baglihar project by approaching the neutral expert. Under the treaty, a request for arbitration must contain a statement explaining the dispute, the nature of relief sought and the names of the arbitrators appointed.  Pakistan is learnt to have sought legal interpretation on two major parameters concerning the diversion of Kishenganga water for the power project in Jammu and Kashmir. First, it has sought the legal interpretation of India’s obligations under the provisions of the Treaty that mandates India to let the water of the Western-flowing Indus Basin Rivers (Chenab, Jhelum and Indus) go to Pakistan and whether or not the Kishenganga project meets those obligations.

High-drama rescue, courtesy Navy, for ship near Mumbai
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: June 16, 2010 19:50 IST, Mumbai Navyrescuestory216.jpgAt sea, 300 miles from Mumbai, an oil tanker was being battered by huge waves. The Coast Guard received a distress message from the ship, the MV Jana, at 4 pm on Sunday.     Three crew members on board the tanker had been seriously injured after a particularly high wave crashed into the shop. One of the men had broken his legs and ribs.  The weather meant that the Coast Guard could not send its own helicopter for help. So it asked the Navy to step in. A Seaking was sent for the rescue operation and the three injured crew members were air-lifted.  They are now recovering at a Mumbai hospital.

NSG exemption mandatory for China-Pak nuke deal: US
Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washington June 16, 2010, 13:21 IST  The US appeared in a publicly 'non-opposing' mode over China's proposed civil nuclear deal with Pakistan, but insisted that Beijing needs an NSG exemption to go ahead with the agreement as was done in the case of the US-India atomic pact.  "If China wishes to proceed with this (nuclear deal with Pakistan), they are going to require an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group," a senior State Department official told reporters.  Asked about US' stand on the issue, the official said, it had asked China to clarify the details of its second sale of additional reactors to Pakistan but stopped short of opposing it publicly.  "The NSG operates by consensus and we will have the opportunity to weigh in," he said.  The official was responding to questions as to why the United States is "not publicly opposing" the China-Pak nuclear deal, despite the fact that it has serious concerns over Pakistan's track record on nuclear proliferations.  "We have asked China to clarify the details of its second sale of additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan," State Department spokesperson P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news briefing yesterday.  This appears to extend beyond cooperation that was grandfathered when China was approved for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, he said in response to a question.  "We believe that such cooperation would require a specific exemption approved by consensus of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as was done for India. So we're not looking at any difference between the two," Crowley said.  The State Department spokesman said that the US has been taking up this issue with the Chinese periodically.  "I believe this was an issue that we've had, you know, periodic discussions with China for some time," he said.  The China-Pak nuclear deal is expected to come up before the 46-nation NSG meeting next week in New Zealand.  In a recent article, a prominent American nuclear expert said this would breach international protocol about the trade of nuclear equipment and material.  "The move would breach international protocol about the trade of nuclear equipment and material," Mark Hibbs, said in the latest issue in the June issue of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine.  The Washington Post said China has suggested that the sale is grandfathered from before it joined the NSG in 2004, because it was completing work on two earlier reactors for Pakistan at the time. But US officials disagree on the issue.

Pelt stones only in self-defence: Geelani
Bashaarat Masood Posted online: Thu Jun 17 2010, 02:06 hrs Srinagar : Chief of the Hurriyat’s hardline faction Syed Ali Shah Geelani Wednesday asked Valley youth to pelt stone only in self-defence and desist from making it a sport.  Geelani said stoning civilian vehicles or ambulances could not be justified. “I salute the sentiments of youth. But don’t pelt stones just for fun,” Geelani said while addressing his supporters at Saida Kadal, where he had gone to visit the family of Tufail Ahmad Matoo, the schoolboy who was killed by a police tear smoke shell on Friday. “Its use is justified in self-defence against police and occupational forces (Army, CRPF). I fail to understand why stones are pelted at common people, vehicles and ambulances”.  A few days ago, Geelani had called the stone-pelters of Baramulla “police agents” and “people with vested interests”, following which some youth addressed the media and promised never to pelt stones again. They also vowed not to follow any separatist protest programme.  Geelani again mentioned the Baramulla stone-pelters in Wednesday’s speech. “In Baramulla, Indian agents and vested interests were using stone-pelting to defame the freedom struggle.”  On the statement of GOC, Northern Command Lt Gen B K Jaiswal that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was a “holy book” for security forces, Geelani said, “It (AFSPA) is a licence for the armed forces to kill the innocent people of Kashmir, rape women and exploit our resources.”

IAF women to get permanent commission
Express news service Posted online: Thu Jun 17 2010, 02:51 hrs New Delhi : The Indian Air Force will offer permanent commission to women officers following the High Court order that directed the Defence Ministry to give them equal treatment at par with male officers. After legal advice, the IAF has decided not to contest the judgment and will now go ahead by offering permanent commission to the women officers who fought the legal battle leading to the verdict.  IAF officers said letters would be dispatched to all 22 women officers who had approached the Delhi HC and they would be given a chance of gaining permanent commission. Only two of the officers are currently in service while the others have retired after finishing their tenure as short service commission officers.  While the retired officers will be given the option of joining back, all may not take up the offer, as some of them are pursuing successful careers in the private sector after leaving the IAF. The lady officers will need to undergo regular fitness tests at par with male officers before rejoining service.  Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry has decided to contest the order recommending the granting of permanent commission to women officers in the Army.

Army training 50,000 men to tackle Naxals
Josy Joseph, TNN, Jun 17, 2010, 12.32am IST NEW DELHI: The government may have decided not to draft it for the anti-naxal offensive, but the Indian Army has started preparing for the possibility of being called upon to tackle what Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls India's gravest internal security threat.  Army Headquarters has drawn up a plan to keep about 50,000 soldiers - approximately 5 divisions - in readiness to help the civilian authorities deal with the growing Naxal threat. A training programme, especially designed to meet the challenge that the Left wing extremists pose, has been drawn up, with the Lucknow-based Central Command being given the task of readying the soldiers for what could potentially be the single-biggest internal mobilisation outside the insurgency-ravaged J&K and the northeast.  The rigorous training schedule aims to re-orient troops, conditioned to fight hostile nations as well as insurgents of J&K and northeast, for a battle which is to be fought in the heartland and against an enemy adept at blending into the population.  The Army believes that its approach will be radically different from the way paralimitary troops engaged in the anti-Naxal fight have been taken through the paces. Army officials say that paramilitary forces are engaged in random jungle bashing which is fraught with the risk of collateral damages. As against this, they plan, if and when called in, to create a security grid which would isolate the civilian population from the insurgents.  The anti-Naxal training module focuses on acquiring intimate knowledge of the topography and the tactics used by Maoists. All this would require the sodiers to unlearn many of the lessons imparted to them for conventional warfare, and use tactics different from those in vogue in J&K and northeast.  The Army, which has already identified four senior officers for appointment as security advisors to the worst Naxal-affected states, plans to keep the specially-trained divisions in "ready-to-deploy" condition.  For that, it is pulling out troop components from artillery,armoured and other arms to put them through the new training module. Besides, the infantry units returning from counter-insurgency deployments in Kashmir and northeast will be put through the new training schedule once they have had enough rest and recuperation, sources said.  As a prelude to the eventual deployment, the Army has already stepped up its intelligence gathering capabilities in the Naxal belt. It traditionally never had any intelligence networks in the tribal areas of central India. To fill the gap, Central Command soldiers who understand tribal languages, have been deploying for intelligence gathering and analysis.  Authoritative sources said the four brigadiers, with extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations in northeast and Kashmir, have been identified for deputation to the Union home ministry. These officers will be appointed as security advisors to the unified commands, comprising paramilitary and state polices, that are being set up in Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.  These officers would be based in New Delhi as the defence ministry is reluctant at present to post them in the states, given the confusion over chain of command and other concerns, sources said.

Arms spending: India grows as west shrinks
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi June 17, 2010, 0:54 IST  India’s military modernisation presents opportunities for defence majors.  With global arms majors focused on the commercial opportunities presented by India’s military modernisation programme, consulting firm Deloitte India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have produced a detailed report on the country’s defence market and the possibilities it presents. Entitled, “Prospects for Global Defence Export Industry in Indian Defence Market”, the report was released today at the Eurosatory 2010 defence exhibition in Paris.  The report follows a KPMG-CII report in January on “Opportunities in the Indian Defence Sector”, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report in April on “Aerospace and Defence Insights” and a CII report last month on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector.  The Deloitte-CII report points out that as defence expenditure drops in the traditionally big-spending western economies, including the USA, Indian defence spending will grow steadily over the next 20-25 years, as New Delhi implements a major defence modernisation.   KEY IAF PROJECTS * 180 Sukhoi-30MKI (pictured) fighters, worth $9.9 billion. * 126 medium fighters (to replace the MiG-21) for $9.09 billion. * 120 indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA), for which an additional $1.71 billion has been allotted. * Advanced and intermediate jet trainer aircraft. * The Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter, with an estimated development cost of $9.9 billion. * Upgrades to more than 60 MiG, Jaguar and Mirage aircraft.  Linking defence spending to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prediction that India’s economy will grow in real terms by 7.5 per cent from 2010 to 2014, the Deloitte-CII report says that India’s current defence expenditure of $32.03 billion will rise to an estimated $42 billion by 2015. The capital expenditure on new weapons platforms will rise from the current $13.04 billion to $19.2 billion in 2015.  Inflation, warns the report, somewhat tempers these figures: the real growth in defence expenditure is expected to be marginal over the next two years and about 5.3 per cent from 2012 to 2015.  Nevertheless, the figures remain impressive. During the current Five Year Plan (2007-12), India will spend $100 billion on weaponry, which will rise to $120 billion during the next Five Year Plan (2012-17).  Deloitte-CII point out that 70 per cent of this procurement, in value terms, is from foreign sources; Indian companies supply only 30 per cent, the bulk of that as components and sub-assemblies to state-owned companies. The report is sceptical about the Indian MoD’s (Ministry of Defence’s) oft-repeated target of 70 per cent indigenous production. If that target is to be achieved by 2015, local industry would need to more than double in size, an unlikely event.  India’s domestic defence sector benefits from increasing MoD requirements to “buy local” as well as taxation arrangements that advantage local firms; in the case of defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), tax advantages can be as high as 50 per cent. Deloitte-CII, however, see clear opportunities for foreign firms in providing specialist inputs to Indian defence manufacturers, which they require for developing advanced platforms and systems.  Land systems The report notes that India’s acquisition of land systems suffered a serious slowdown in 2009. Many of the postponed acquisitions relate to the Army’s $8-billion artillery modernisation programme (called the Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, or FARP). This aims to induct between 2,700-3,600 guns over the next two decades at a cost of $4.77-6.48 billion.  Procurement has long been initiated for four kinds of guns: air-mobile ultralight howitzers for mountain divisions on the China border, towed and wheeled 155mm guns for plains infantry and mountain divisions, self-propelled tracked and wheeled guns for mechanised strike formations, and mounted gun systems. These projects, however, have moved very slowly.  Besides upgraded artillery, the report also highlights the proposed acquisition and upgrades of tanks, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and 300 helicopters for Army Aviation. India’s obsolescent air defence systems also provide major opportunities to foreign vendors.  Navy and Coast Guard Deloitte-CII note that naval acquisitions are earmarked for a greater degree of indigenisation than the other services. Foreign shipbuilders are pointed to opportunities for modernising Indian shipyards to enable them to produce large, advanced battleships. By 2022, the Indian Navy plans to have a 160-plus ship Navy, including three aircraft carriers, 60 major combatants (including submarines) and about 400 aircraft of different types.  The report highlights the Indian Navy’s “Indigenisation Plan (2008)”, which forecasts a requirement for marine engineering equipment, including gas turbines, diesel generators, pressure cylinders, hydraulic manipulators and motors.  Furthermore, India’s Coast Guard, which is 70 per cent short of its requirements, plans to double its assets in the next few years and triple them over a decade. Its current fleet of 76 ships and 45 aircraft is likely to be ramped up in five years to 217 ships and 74 aircraft. Some 70 of these new ships would be large vessels.  Aerospace The report notes that India is struggling to indigenise aerospace production. Historically d0ependent upon Russia, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to diversify its vendor base for combat and transport aircraft, providing major opportunities for aerospace firms (see chart).

Armed forces doctrine has lessons to fight Maoists 
The Indian armed forces, in a step towards enhancing their joint fighting capabilities, have promulgated two doctrines, including one on fighting internal battles like the Maoist insurgency, "where a misguided population" has to be brought into the mainstream.  The documents, "Doctrine on Perception Management and Psychological Operations" and "Doctrine on Air and Land Operations", are aimed at creating the "requisite synergy between the three services in important military matters", a defence spokesperson said.   The Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, who is also the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, released the doctrines here Tuesday.   They "will go a long way towards enhancing joint fighting capabilities of Indian armed forces", the spokesperson said.  The documents collectively aver that victory in a battle depends on joint teamwork by maritime, ground and air forces operating effectively, individually and together in support of shared military objectives.   The doctrine on "Military Psychological Operations" assumes significance as the government is currently mulling using the Indian Army, directly or indirectly, to fight the raging Leftwing extremism in east and central India.   It provides guidelines for activities related to "perception management in sub-conventional operations" like fighting insurgency.   The psychological operations document is useful "in an internal environment wherein misguided population may have to be brought into the mainstream".  It stresses a planned process of conveying a message to "selected target audiences".  This will "promote particular themes that result in desired attitudes and behaviour which affect the achievement of political and military objectives", it says.  "Given the potential benefit of psychological operations as an effective force multiplier, its use in support of military aims and objectives is considerable," the document says.  "The joint doctrine for Air-Land Operations would serve as the keystone document for employment of military power in a joint operations scenario," the spokesperson said.   It establishes the framework of concepts and principles to understand the approach to planning and conduct of air-land operations in a conventional war scenario.   It also lays down procedures that will leverage the available technology towards synergistic application of air power.  The doctrines were formulated by the Doctrine Directorate of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (IDS).

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