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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 07 Jul 2010

Tackling Naxals IAF choppers to offer logistic support
Man Mohan Our Roving Editor  Raipur, July 6 The Indian Air Force will deploy helicopters in Maoist-hit states, especially in Chhattisgarh, to combat rising red terror. But it won’t be a free for all like ‘Rambo’ that will go and fire at Maoist camps and locations in lush green hilly terrain of the ‘Red Corridor’.  Union Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai here this afternoon said the Cabinet has cleared the plan to deploy IAF helicopters in inhospitable Naxal-dominated areas for quick response to reinforcements of paramilitary forces and rescue missions. New Delhi has come around to make use of IAF helicopters as successive deadly Maoist ambush and massacre of the CRPF men this year has shown that there was long delay in sending reinforcements and organising rescue missions. Also, graduation of Maoists from guerrilla tactical operations to military warfare capability is disturbing the Central government. At present, the state police and the paramilitary forces are using BSF helicopters stationed at Raipur and Ranchi. The BSF fleet consists of three to four Dhruv Advance Light Helicopters and two Mi-17 choppers.  “The IAF helicopters will be used only for logistic movements and they will not be available for any offensive operation,” Pillai said while talking to the media in the state guesthouse.  However, when contacted in New Delhi, a senior IAF officer told The Tribune that their chief is on record that he is totally against the use of armed forces in internal situations “as we are meant to defend threats from across the border.”  Some years ago, the IAF had deployed a helicopter to survey the lush green and hilly terrain and identify Maoist locations in Naxal-held Abhujmar in the Bastar region. Maoist had opened fire at the helicopter and killed a personal. After that, the IAF had withdrawn itself from anti-Naxal operations. The IAF officer from New Delhi told this correspondent that “we have made it clear that we will not carry out any Rambo-style operations against Maoists.” But he agreed that logistic and rescue missions would surely require the IAF to protect its personnel and platforms and suppress the fire coming on to them.

Naval version of LCA rolled out
Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  Bangalore, July 6 A rock concert like atmosphere prevailed at the rollout ceremony of the Naval version of the light combat aircraft (LCA), the fighter jet that is expected to make its first flight in October this year. The Navy band playing at venue set the tune for the events to unfold. The band’s lead singer’s spirited rendering of the 70s’ hit ‘Living next door to Alice’ saw everyone in the audience gradually getting sucked into a celebratory mood.  The rollout, when the aircraft was towed out from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) hangar where it was actually assembled, saw the band switching over to the patriotic ‘Sare jahan se achcha’. The final resemblance to a scene of rock concert was provided by release of smoke around the aircraft as it was being towed in for display.  The person sitting at the pilot’s seat in the twin-seat first prototype of the Naval version of LCA slowly stood up, saluted the Defence Minister AK Antony (who was present in the dais along with other dignitaries) and then waved the Tricolour from side to side. At this point, the audience, consisting primarily of HAL and DRDO employees, exploded. Emotion was visible even in the face of a seasoned politician like Antony.  Addressing the gathering, Antony said the progress the LCA had made had silenced the ‘prophets of doom’ who had advised him to call off the project because of its running behind the schedule.  The Defence Minister said the indigenous main battle tank Arjun (MBT Arjun) and the Akash missiles had been both adopted by the armed forces. The IAF had already made a commitment for having 60 LCA (Air Force version), Antony said and added that the LCA (Navy), too, would soon become a reality.  He said the current success in military hardware production by the Indian defence companies was an indication that the country would one day become a defence production major.  Rollout marks the stage when an aircraft is considered ready to undergo the phase of systems integration leading to ground runs, taxi trials and flight.  Antony said he would expect the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to keep their commitment of carrying out the maiden flight of the prototype in October.  Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said the Tejas (as the LCA was christened by former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee) would form the next fleet of navy avionics after the acquisition of Sea Harriers in the 80s and induction of Mig 29 in 2009 by the Navy.

Night trial of ‘Astra’ 
Balasore (Orissa), July 6 For the first time, India today conducted the night trial of its indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile ‘Astra’ in inclement weather.  Defence sources said the sophisticated missile was test-fired from a launcher in launch pad number two of the Integrated Test Range complex at Chandipur, about 15km from here, at about 8.15 pm.  The single stage, solid fuelled ‘Astra’ missile was more advanced in its category than the contemporary BVR missiles and was capable of engaging and destroying highly manoeuvrable supersonic aerial targets, Defence Research Development Organisation sources said.  The 3.8m long missile, which has a diametre of 178mm, can carry a warhead containing explosives weighing 15 kg and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.  It was intended to be eventually integrated with IAF’s Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, the sources said. — PTI

Valley on boil, 4 dead in 24 hours Army deployed as curfew reimposed in Srinagar after clashes
Ehsan Fazili Tribune News Service  Protesters run for cover as the police fires teargas shells during a clash on Tuesday. Protesters run for cover as the police fires teargas shells during a clash on Tuesday. — PTI  Srinagar, July 6 Four youths, including a woman, were killed and 100 others injured in fresh clashes that broke out between the cops and protesters in the valley over the past 24 hours. For its part, the administration has reimposed curfew in the area and the Army was called out by late evening.  The violence erupted in Batamaloo locality today following the death of a youth, Muzaffar Ahmad Bhat, whose body was fished out from a nearby Gangbugh nullah. Alleging that the youth was beaten up and then thrown into the stream by CRPF personnel last evening, the locals — carrying Bhat’s body — organised a protest demonstration today. They even hurled bricks and stones at police and CRPF personnel.  Notably, today’s stone-pelting incident follows a similar confrontation yesterday during the visit of a minister and a local MLA in the area, whose guards took to firing to chase away a mob of protesters.  According to eyewitnesses, the security personnel resorted to lathicharge as the mob went berserk. Later, the securitymen took to firing, which left a youth, Fayaz Ahmad Wani, and a 25-year-old woman, Fancy, dead while a few others were injured.  About Fancy, the cops said she died after being hit by a stray bullet. Though she was rushed to the SMHS hospital, doctors there declared her “brought dead”. Enraged, the protesters damaged a security picket outside the house of the local MLA.  Then, another youth, Abrar Ahmad Bhat, was killed while four others sustained injured in firing by security personnel in Maisuma area.  As soon as the reports of the deaths spread, people took to streets in different parts of the city, including central Lal Chowk area, Hari Singh High Street and Maisuma, protesting against what they termed as “human rights violations”. In Solina (on the airport road), an official Ambassador car was set ablaze.  Notably, today’s violence also left at least seven photo-journalists injured.  The Army was deployed to enforce curfew imposed after the killing of three youths allegedly in firing by security forces. The decision was taken in view of the fact that adequate police personnel were not available to deal with the situation as they have been deployed for Amarnath Yatra.

Army units to be deployed in Chhattisgarh: Antony
Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  We shall give the police and paramilitary forces full logistic support. We shall give them more training. We shall give them aircraft. — AK Antony, Defence Minister  Bangalore, July 6 Indicating increasing involvement of the Army in the drive against Naxalite guerrillas, Defence Minister AK Antony today said Army units would be deployed in Chhattishgarh — one of the states severely affected by the Naxalite strikes — to help the police and paramilitary personnel in their fight against the Maoists.  Addressing a press conference here today, he said short of directly participating in the operations against the Naxalites, the Army would do everything possible to help the state police and the central paramilitary forces to tackle guerrillas effectively.  “We shall give the police and paramilitary forces full logistic support. We shall give them more training. We shall give them aircraft,” Antony said. The Defence Minister said he was aware that the Naxalites posed a “serious threat”, and added the government had adopted a two-pronged approach to face the challenge. The government had initiated steps for massive development of Naxal-hit areas, while simultaneously the police and paramilitary action against armed guerrillas was being given full support, he said.  He said calling the Army for internal law and order problem should be the “last resort”, and added he was confident that the state police and paramilitary forces would be able to put an end to the Naxalite challenge.  On the recent developments in Kashmir, he said whenever there was an improvement in situation in Kashmir, militants were pushed from across the border to create law and order problem. “We had in fact anticipated that problems would break out in Kashmir this summer,” he said.

J&K govt asks for Army to contain unrest: Sources
 NDTV Correspondent, Updated: July 07, 2010 01:20 IST  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Srinagar:  As fresh violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday, claiming four lives in the last 24 hours after days of calm, the Jammu and Kashmir government has asked for the Army to be called in, sources told NDTV.  The sources said the Omar Abdullah government had made a formal request for use of the Army and wanted it to enforce curfew.  No decision, however, has been taken yet on the deployment of the Army, the sources said. The Army has some reservations, they said, and it wants clarity on terms of engagement like on the right to fire if it is attacked. Sources also said that the Army was reluctant to be used in downtown Srinagar and other dense pockets.  Sources have also told NDTV that the Central government is worried about the political impact of using the Army in the volatile Valley   The Army, meanwhile, is getting troops ready so that if it is ordered to move in, response time will be cut down. Some soldiers are reported to be posted on the periphery of Srinagar.  Tuesday began with protests against one death. Those led to a second death and then suddenly, Srinagar was back under curfew. The cycle of violence had spun out of control all over again. (Watch: 4 civilians dead in 24 hours, curfew in tense Srinagar)  On Monday, Muzaffar Ahmad, a class 11 student disappeared. Local residents said his death was caused by the security forces. The police said he fell and drowned when they were chasing a group of stone-throwers.  The anger spilled on to the streets and there was another casualty - 18-year-old Fayaz Ahmed died in Tengpura as protesters clashed with security personnel. The security forces were adamant that there had been no firing from their end.  And then, a young 25-year-old woman, Fancy, who was simply looking down at the chaos that had enveloped her city from the window of her home, was killed.  The police said this was an accident. That security forces had fired in the air to disperse a crowd pelting them with stones near Fancy's house and a stray bullet hit her.  The Jammu and Kashmir Police issued a statement saying, "While dealing with very heavy pelting by protesters at Lachmanpora, Batmaloo, security forces fired in the air. A stray bullet hit a girl who was watching from the window of her house. She was taken to hospital where she was declared brought dead."  As protests grew louder and violence spread to other parts of the city, another 18-year-old boy was killed after clashes in the separatist neighbourhood of Maisuma.  Blamed for 15 civilian deaths over the last three weeks, the CRPF and the police have said they are being inaccurately faulted for today's killings.  Top sources in the CRPF, in fact, say that their personnel have shown restraint in the Valley.  Ironically, the fresh violence erupted on a day when Omar Abdullah tried to reach out to his people as part of his political intervention to deal with the crisis. He was in Anantnag, in south Kashmir, which saw some of the worst violence last week.  But as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has himself conceded, the real failure in the Valley has been the failure of political dialogue and it is a vacuum that New Delhi needs to fill.  On Tuesday night, Omar apprised Union Home Minister P Chidambaram about the situation in the state. Omar discussed the law and order situation with fresh violence erupting in Kashmir Valley. (Read: Omar briefs Chidambaram about situation in Kashmir)  Official sources said the Chief Minister also sought reinforcement from the Centre on the ground that majority of the state security forces have been diverted for smooth conduct of the Amarnath Yatra.  Separatists like the moderate Hurriyat leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who also led protests against the killings today, said New Delhi needed to respond with urgency.  The vicious cycle of violence that began in Srinagar on June 11, traveled to north and south Kashmir, claiming the lives of 11 young men on its way. It is now back in Srinagar and has taken three more lives. (With PTI inputs)

Two ceasefire violations by Pak in J&K, BSF jawan killed 
Press Trust of India, Updated: July 07, 2010 00:02 IST  Jammu:  Violating the ceasefire yet again, Pakistani troops fired at two forward Indian positions along the Indo-Pak border in Poonch and Jammu district, killing a BSF jawan.  Pakistani troops fired at the Chak Fagwari Border Out Post in Pargawal sub-sector, 20 kms from here, around 6:15 am, BSF officials said.  BSF jawan Sultan Ali was killed in the firing.  Indian troops guarding the border retaliated and the firing ended at around 6:30 am. Pakistani troops also fired at forward positions along the Line of Control in Krishnagati area of Poonch sector late last night, they said.      However, Indian troops guarding the LoC did not retaliate, they said, adding there was no casualty in the firing.  There have been many ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops this year.  Pakistani troops had last violated the ceasefire on June 21 when they fired at a forward outpost along the International Border (IB) in Jammu where the BSF foiled an infiltration bid by militants.

Women in Army: Govt takes battle to Supreme Court 
Press Trust of India, Updated: July 06, 2010 19:13 IST  New Delhi:  Government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court judgement directing it to grant permanent commission to women serving in the Army.  The appeal against the March 12 verdict of the High Court was filed a day after its single Bench issued contempt notice to the Army Chief and Defence Ministry for not complying with its direction.  The Centre, in its petition, has sought stay of the operation of the High Court judgement and its review.  "We have filed the appeal against the High Court judgement and have sought stay of its operation," advocate Anil Katiyar who filed the petition on behalf of the Centre told PTI The High Court, in a landmark judgement, had directed the government to allow grant of permanent commission to women serving in short service commission saying they "deserve better from the government" which had shown reluctance in treating them on par with their male counterpart.  Delivering the verdict on a batch of petitions filed by more than 60 serving and retired women officers from Army and Air Force, the division Bench had said they would be treated equally with male officers.  However, it had turned turned down their plea of being allowed in combat operation.  The High Court had rejected the plea of the government that permanent commission can be allowed only for future recruitment and the benefit cannot be given retrospectively for the serving and retired lady officers who had approached the court.  The Air Force has complied with the High Court order. No officer from the Navy had approached the court.  Currently, women are inducted in the Army as officers under Short Service Commission for a maximum period of 14 years whereas their male counterparts are eligible to receive permanent commission after five years.

Pakistan and Indian defence spendings
Farheen Khan Since 2001, India is among the top 10 military spenders, but now she is at No.4 in terms of purchasing power parity behind US, China and Russia. After Kargil conflict the Indian defence budget has seen more than three-fold and the budget for the current year is 141703 corer. The UK, France, Israel and Russia are India’s main weapon suppliers. The 2.5 million Indian Army (eighteen Corps), comprises 1,300,000 personnel in active service, and 1,200,000 personnel as reserve troops. The Indian armour is of Russian origin. Out of 2,295 Indian Army’s Main Battle tanks, 2235 are of Russian origin. Indian Air Force consists of 800-1000 combat aircraft. The Indian Army and the Indian Air Force are structured into six commands. This sizable force is capable of launching major offensives from several fronts. The Pakistan Army has an active force of 620,000 (ten Corps) well-trained personnel, with 528,000 reservists. The decentralized command structure will be an advantage, as compared to Pakistan’s centralized Army command organization. Pakistan is geographically linear, with north to south communications—-roads and railways close to the international border, and at striking distance of the Indian Army. Pakistan’s lack of depth makes it vulnerable to thrusts by Indian armour and Rapid Action Divisions on narrow corridors. The above Indian attributes are of advantage for a prolonged war. A comparison of Indian Navy and Pakistan Navy reveals that Pakistan Navy could inflict substantial damage on the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy has 16 submarines. Pakistan Navy has ten, some of which are brand new. Indian Navy has 27 war ships, Pakistan Navy has ten. Indian Aircraft Carrier Veerat will be a menace, and must be sunk by submarine or air attacks, if it attempts to block Pakistan’s sea lanes or ports. Pakistan armed forces (Army, Navy, and Air Force) are the seventh largest in the world. Pakistan Army’s doctrine of “Offensive Defence” evolved by General Mirza Aslam Beg was put to test in 1989 in Exercise Zarb-e Momin. The doctrine is to launch a sizeable offensive into enemy territory rather than wait for enemy strikes or attacks. This doctrine was quite successful. In 2008 budget India has allocated 10 billion dollars to have the capability to wage a limited war, the kind where a short-sharp burst can punish an adversary. A perfect sample would be a quick strike across the LoC to flush out anti-India terror elements. India is prepared for this so-called “limited war” and spending large investments to purchase new age emerging technologies. It is providing all types of training and technical support in this regard. India is bringing a drastic and dramatic change in the training methods of traditional army for this purpose to carry out commando type hit-and-run warfare actions in future instead of the more traditional ones with the help of Israel. At present Pakistan is facing severe economic crises. We are suffering from a lack of infrastructure in irrigation, power, and high commodity prices. Poverty is widespread and growing further. Industrial and agricultural sectors are badly affected by power outages. Our exports are declining. Food inflation stands at a record level of 40% making the miseries of millions of Pakistani who earn around 2 dollars a day. Economic policies have failed completely. Today we are standing at cross road due to foreign debt and liabilities which have now crossed the $49 billion mark and the country is teetering on the brink of default. Foreign assistance is spent on debt servicing only and this aid has now become a burden. India has over one hundred billion dollar reserves. Defence capability is interplay of economic and military potential. Pakistan’s economy is in a poor state, and the industrial and agricultural sectors are badly affected by power outages. Indian economy is booming and its GDP growth is in double digits. She has over one hundred billion dollar reserves. Pakistan’s seventeen billion dollar reserves left by previous regime of President Musharraf have depleted to eight billion. Total foreign debt and liabilities have now crossed the $ 45 billion mark and we are on the brink of default. The PPP government has asked the IMF for a bailout. IMF has paid $7.5 billion loan so for to avoid threat of default. Pakistan is suffering from very poor governance resulting in lack of responsiveness to the basic needs of the vast majority of people; Corruption is at peak in every department. We are among the most illiterate countries of the world. Forty percent school going children are out of school and they work on roadside workshops or restaurants. Some religious fanatics use these innocent children who hail from very poor families prepare them for suicide bombing. Pakistan is currently facing the challenges of terrorism, economic crises, ethnic conflicts, Corruption, poor governance and the evil designs of our immediate neighbour India. A united move by the political and military hierarchy to put an end to all international and domestic conspiracies against the country is now needed. This cannot be achieved by merely wishing. The foremost is the need to know the dangers and then come up with appropriate strategy and effective measures to face them otherwise the state will be totally paralyzed and lose its control. The number of ballistic missiles and warheads are almost the same as those of India. So there is parity in nuclear weapons, which is a deterrent. The Pakistan Army is equally strong in armour, capable of giving a fitting response to any Indian military adventure. Main Battle tanks Al-Khalid and Al-Zarrar are the backbone of Pakistan armour Corps. Both are Pakistan made. Pakistan’s tank armory comprises of five hundred Al-Khalid MBTs; 320 Al-Zarrar type 85 II MBTs, 500 Al-Zarrar MBTs; 450 79II AP (Chinese type 81 upgrade, and 570 T-80 UD MBT of Ukrainian made. In addition, Pakistan has 880 Type 59, which were procured from China in 1970. This makes a total of three thousand six hundred and twenty tanks. All Pakistani MBTs except T-59s have 125 mm smooth barrel guns. Indian armour offensives in Kashmir, Punjab, and Sindh would be effectively challenged by Pakistani armour and mechanized formations, depending on PAF’s ability to keep the skies over the battle areas clear of Indian Air Force. India’s modern air defence system has Israeli Arrow anti-missile missiles, and 90,000 Surface to Air missiles —-SAMs. India has one hundred nuclear armed ballistic missiles (Agni-1 and Agni II), and Brahmos the new supersonic cruise missiles. The Indian Army is well trained, equipped and highly professional, and so is the Pakistan Army. Air power is likely to play a key, if not a decisive, role in any future major or minor India-Pakistan armed conflict. The aim of Indian pre-emptive strikes will be the maximum destruction by surprise air attacks, combined with shock commando action. Pakistan is suffering from very poor governance resulting in lack of responsiveness to the basic needs of the vast majority of people, I would suggest and emphasize that while the required resources may be provided, all possible measures for securing economy in defence expenditures should be taken care of. Development programmes in social sectors such as education and health have highly valued ends. If a country has ‘too much’ defence, it is wasting its resources, and if it has ‘too little’ defence its security is at risk. Those who advocate for greater allocations to development as compared to defence make the point that military activity is one of the most important types of economically non-contributive activity in the modern world. Military activity may have other kinds of value, but it has no economic value because it does not directly contribute to material well-being, to the material standard of living, or to poverty reduction. But while military goods and services have no economic value, they do have considerable economic cost. Military expenditure leads to labour, machinery, equipment, and other economically productive resources to be drawn into the service of the military sector. All of these resources could alternatively have been used to produce and distribute goods and services that do raise the standard of living. Their true cost is, therefore, their opportunity cost, the material well-being that has been sacrificed as a result of this diversion of resources. Besides external defence, internal security and human-development form a vital part of the overall security and well-being of the nation. Internal security has been neglected for too long. There is a need to balance overall expenditure to meet the challenge of the emerging economic and strategic scenario. Force levels need to be reviewed. Like obsolete equipment, obsolete organizations should be dispensed with. The army has become equipment and staff oriented. There are three critical aspects of defence economics: projecting national resources available now and in the future; working out the proportion of these resources which is the rupee being spent wisely? The answer is in the negative both in terms of quantum and efficacy should be allocated for internal and external security and division of resources within each of the two areas; and tracking the efficiency with which the resources so allocated are used. The above requires developing a competent group of analysts specializing in defence economics. Currently, no university, to our knowledge, offers such specialization at any level. The need is particularly acute at the post-graduate levels. The absence of such expertise in defence related think tanks is also striking. The media and professional military and economic journals have also not promoted this branch of economics. In the short run, such specialists would need to be trained (or recruited from) abroad; particularly in the US where defence economics is a thriving discipline. But there is no substitute for developing indigenous capacity to train its own defence economists and analysts.

Govt moves SC on full army service for women  
Rakesh Bhatnagar, Suman Sharma       / DNA Wednesday, July 7, 2010 0:36    A day after the Delhi high court issued a contempt notice to the chief of army staff for not complying with its order to grant permanent commission to women officers, the ministry of defence on Tuesday moved Supreme Court challenging the order.  On March 12, in a move aimed at removing gender discrimination in the armed forces, the high court had asked the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) to allow permanent commission to women officers on the same employment condition as men. While the IAF has complied with the order, the army is undecided yet.  The ministry, in its petition, has sought a stay on the operation of the court judgement and its review. The appeal asserts that a policy decision taken by the defence ministry can’t be reviewed and disturbed by a court.  “We have filed the appeal against the high court judgement and have sought stay of its operation,” advocate Anil Katiyar, who filed the petition on behalf of the Centre, said.  The government, meanwhile, has refuted reports on the contempt notice to the defence ministry or the chief of army staff.  The high court’s decision had followed a four-year court battle by around 60 army and IAF women officers for permanent commission and equal benefits like their male counterparts. The army had contended that women officers were in the danger of coming in contact with the enemy if they were granted permanent commission.  Women were allowed into the armed forces as officers for the first time in 1992. In 2005, their tenure was limited to 14 years of service in all three forces, without any post-retirement benefits. In 2008, the government had agreed upon permanent commission for women officers in some areas of the armed forces.

Army to hone anti-terror skills in drills with Big 3
TNN, Jul 6, 2010, 11.57pm IST NEW DELHI: The 1.13-million strong Indian Army is gearing up for joint combat exercises with the American and Russian armies, among others, in quick succession to further enhance "interoperability" withthem from August to October.  That's not all. India is also going to hold a military exercise with another big power, China, in the coming months. New Delhi and Beijing are now drawing up schedule for the third edition of their "hand-in-hand" (HiH) exercise, sources say.  Interestingly, the focus of all the three exercises will revolve more around counter-terrorism rather than conventional warfare, underlining the threat irregular warfare has assumed for the world at large.  The Indo-US combat exercise `Vajra Prahar' between the special forces of the two countries will be held at the Belgaum commando school in Karnataka between August and September, while the one with Russia called `Indra' is slated for Chaubatia near Ranikhet, Uttarakhand, from September to October.  While, India has had a long-standing defence relationship with Russia, notching up as it has military imports worth almost $40 billion from Moscow since the 1960s, joint combat exercises between the two have been few and far between.  Conversely, the most visible symbol of the now expansive Indo-US military ties has been the flurry of joint combat exercises -- over 50 in the last seven years -- between the two nations. Incidentally, India had hosted the largest-ever ground combat exercise with US, called `Yudh Abhyas', at Babina in October.  The US, of course, is now also aggressively cornering a major chunk of the lucrative Indian defence market. The largest-ever Indo-US defence deal -- the procurement of 10 C-17 Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift aircraft for IAF for around $3 billion -- is now on the verge of finalisation, as reported by TOI earlier. This deal will overtake the $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft inked last year.  In sharp contrast to US and Russia, India's HiH exercises with China have so far been largely symbolic in nature, with just over 100 soldiers participating from each side. But they are seen to be an important CBM between the two countries which fought a bloody war in 1962.  While the first HiH was conducted at Kunming in China in December 2007, the second one was conducted at Belgaum in December 2008. The third HiH edition will be held in China.

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