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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 21 Jul 2010

New US strategy in Afghanistan Fresh challenges before India
by Maj-Gen Ashok Mehta (retd)  Things are going from bad to worse in Afghanistan. The troop surge and military operations in the South and East have failed to regain the initiative from the Taliban as expected. Rather, the Taliban offensive has taken a heavy toll of US and Afghan forces. An overall increase in violence is 87 per cent compared to that last year — a 94 per cent rise in roadside bombings and three suicide bombings a week, including multiple bombers targeting US/NATO bases inflicting the highest casualties in June. Earlier this month was the third case of fratricide since 2008 — a rogue Afghan soldier killing three British Gurkha soldiers and wounding four more. This is bound to adversely affect Afghanisation’s security sector.  The Afghan Rights Monitor (ARM) in its mid-year report has described 2010 as the worst for Afghanistan in terms of insecurity since 2001 and criticised the UN which has been “effectively paralysed in almost 90 per cent of Afghan due to self-paranoia and extreme risk-prevention measures”. If this was not bad enough, Holland, Canada, Poland, Australia and even UK are contemplating withdrawal of troops. “We can’t be there for another five years, having been there for nine years already”, British Prime Minister David Cameron has noted. NATO’s Secretary-General Rasmussen has warned that the Taliban would return to Afghanistan and it would once again become a safe haven for terrorists if international forces withdrew too soon.  President Obama, whose popularity is at a new low, has said that the July deadline is only the start of a transition phase that would allow the Afghan government to take more and more responsibility and not cut and run. Whatever the spin, the mood in America is somber, even pessimistic about the war of necessity which has a diminishing traction though support for the GIs is solid. US Congress is divided — an amendment sponsored by Democrats in the House demanding a detailed withdrawal plan was defeated due to Republican support.  Almost no one on the US think-tank circuit believes that the war can be won. The refrain is about averting defeat. The argument goes that to fight the war, the US has chosen two unreliable partners: President Karzai and Pakistan. It is uselessly spending $100 billion annually and losing 1.7 soldiers a day with no light at the end the tunnel. Afghanistan has become America’s longest military campaign in which more than 1000 soldiers have been killed and 6000 wounded. The talk is about alternative extrication strategies.  I heard a version of the alternate strategy during an international conference earlier this month in New York. It categorically asserted that the war could not be won; that it was a lost cause; that the US should immediately review its strategy keeping modest and attainable goals by scaling down troop levels to 20,000, mostly special forces and holding only key population centres like Kabul. Emphasis was on covert operations, backed by drones and air power. Both President Karzai and the Pakistan military establishment came in for a pasting which no one, including the Afghans and the Pakistanis attending the conference, seemed to mind.  There is little originality in this strategy as it resembles the US Vice-President’s own Biden Plan after his name. The latest incarnation of strategy comes from a former US envoy to India, Robert Blackwill, who recommends a defacto partition of Afghanistan between Pashtun and non-Pashtun areas with US forces concentrated in the non-Pashtun belt while employing Special Forces and the Air Force to target the Taliban leadership in the partitioned Pashtun area and inside Pakistan. Even the Blackwill Plan has shades of the Cofer Black (former CIA and counterterrorism expert) and Peter Galbraith (former Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan) alternate strategies.  The strategy being executed under the new leadership of Gen David Petraeus — the most over-researched strategy in recent history — is simply not working. Besides unreliable local partners, it suffers from the clarity of mission, inadequacy of resources, insufficiency of political will and a surfeit of cooks spoiling the broth. Nothing is more diverting for troops in combat than the deadlines for thinning out or alterations in the rules of engagement which are proposed by General Petraeus. Despite these deficiencies, American, British and other allied soldiers are fighting with “courageous restraint”, a term introduced by the dismissed Gen Stanley McChrystal for “protecting people”. Further, making President Karzai deliver on better governance and Pakistan on acting against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network is the work in progress but unlikely to succeed.  The exit strategy is premised on a negotiated power-sharing agreement with the reconcilable Afghan Taliban for which president Karzai and US interlocutors have been in contact with elements of the Quetta Shura, courtesy Pakistan’s ISI. One report suggests that General Petraeus has met Mullah Omar and that the Pakistan Army is in the driver’s seat on reconciliation. Ironically, the Pakistan Army has gained notoriety for breaking deals with militant groups in Pakistan and will sell a lemon to the US, anxious to walk into the sunset.  It is impossible to tell how Afghanistan will shape up by December when President Obama will preside over the third review of the Af-Pak strategy. The civilian and military surge is continuing, the delayed operations to clear and hold Kandahar, the intellectual heartland of the Taliban, will have been attempted to commence negotiating with the defeated Taliban from a position of strength. Most Afghans believe the real Taliban will not negotiate when they know that the occupation forces are on the way out. The best case scenario for the US is empowering the Afghan National Security Forces in undertaking independent operations against the Taliban coupled with a credible power-sharing agreement resulting from a national unity government.  The scenario that India dreads is the return of the Taliban in whatever combination of anti-India networks that Pakistan is able to engineer. A nuanced shift has taken place in New Delhi’s Afghanistan policy. It has reconciled with the idea of reintegration of Taliban foot soldiers but rejected reconciliation with its leadership as dangerous. The need of the hour is preventing with the help of regional players a precipitate departure of the US and NATO forces by scuttling Pakistan’s design of foisting the Taliban on Kabul.  Reviving the Northern Alliance, opening channels to the Pashtun groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Taliban, is an immediate challenge for New Delhi. So also is protecting its 4000 workers and assets in Afghanistan while continuing to gainfully employ its soft power in reconstructing Afghanistan. India’s biggest handicap in pursuing a proactive policy is the lack of contiguity with Afghanistan and US over-reliance on Pakistan to deliver both on counter-insurgency as well as reconciliation with the Taliban. Enlarging military engagement through military training and exchange of police and army officers will ensure that the Afghan military benefits from the Indian Army’s long and sustained counter-insurgency experience. India needs to augment its defence wing in Kabul and improve intelligence-sharing with ISAF and the Afghan military. It could donate one division-worth of military equipment for the Afghan Army. The essence of the challenge is combining hard and soft power for preserving India’s interests while promoting stability in Afghanistan. New Delhi should stop saying that it has no leverage!

NSA does a Pillai but skips naming Pak Sees clear link between ISI, 26/11 and Headley
Ashok Tuteja/TNS  New Delhi, July 20 Virtually endorsing Home Secretary GK Pillai’s controversial statement that the ISI controlled and coordinated the Mumbai attacks that many believe led to the collapse of the Indo-Pak talks, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon today indicated that a clear link has been established between the Pakistani establishment and David Headley during the terror suspect’s recent interrogation.  For us, it's been brought home most recently by what we learnt from Headley, which confirms many of the things that we knew before. And it’s really the links between the official establishment and with existing intelligence agencies, it’s that nexus, which makes it a much harder phenomenon for us to deal with. — Shivshankar Menon  “For us, it's been brought home most recently by what we learnt from Headley, which confirms many of the things that we knew before. And it’s really the links between the official establishment and with existing intelligence agencies, it’s that nexus, which makes it a much harder phenomenon for us to deal with. Unfortunately what we know and what we see suggests that these links or this nexus, in fact, will not be broken soon. If anything, it is getting stronger,” said Menon.  Without naming Pakistan, Menon said the nexus had left no room for India to be optimistic as the link was growing “stronger”. The interrogation of Headley proved “our worst fears have come true and the situation is as bad as we thought”, Menon said while opening a conference on “Countering terrorism in South Asia: Perspective from US and India” organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the US-based Heritage Foundation.  Stating that “there is less possibility of being optimistic”, the NSA said the traditional definition of terror groups in South Asia has become obsolete in the wake of these outfits merging to conduct operations. “The other aspect that is coming from it is how over times in the last few years these terror groups in South Asia have got fused, they are training together, using the same communication," Menon said.  “The traditional distinction of these terror groups has become meaningless,” he said, referring to Pakistan's “good” Taliban and “bad” Taliban theory. Menon is the second top Indian official to openly speak about the official patronage which militant groups receive in Pakistan. The Home Secretary had said in an interview last week that the ISI had a “much more significant role” to play in the Mumbai mayhem and that the Pakistani spy agency was "literally controlling and coordinating the attacks from the beginning till the end".  Headley, who is in a Chicago jail, was interrogated by Indian investigators, including sleuths from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), last month. Sources say Headley told Indian interrogators that the ISI had paid Rs 25 lakhs to LeT to purchase the boat used by the 10 Pakistani terrorists who headed to Mumbai to execute the worst-ever terror attack in India in which 166 persons were killed. Headley also said he visited five terror camps in Pakistan, and that some of these were run by the ISI.

Act on Headley’s revelations, Krishna tells Pakistan 
On Board Special Aircraft, July 20 Talking tough, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today told Pakistan to take "seriously" the revelations made by LeT operative David Headley on the Mumbai attacks and not "push these under the carpet". Faced with a series of flip-flops from Pakistan, India's concerns with regard to the 26/11 attacks would only be addressed "slowly" by that country, the minister believed.  "Whatever Headley has told the FBI has to be taken seriously by Pakistan and India's concerns have to be addressed," he told reporters, accompanying him on his way back from Kabul, where he attended the International Conference on Afghanistan.  He was responding to a question on Home Secretary GK Pillai's contention that the ISI was involved in the Mumbai terror attacks.  "Whether we like it or not, Headley's statements have come into the public domain. His revelations cannot be brushed under the carpet," Krishna said.  Headley had told Indian investigators in Chicago that the ISI was involved in the planning of the 26/11 attacks from "beginning to the end".  During his visit to Islamabad in June, Home Minister P Chidambaram had provided leads to Pakistan based on Headley's interrogation by the Indian authorities.  Krishna's comments came on a day Pakistan dismissed as "baseless" India's contention that Headley was linked to the Pakistani establishment and intelligence agencies.  Asked about the roadmap for the Indo-Pak talks, Krishna made it clear that New Delhi was keen to continue the dialogue process with Pakistan.  "I have just concluded one dialogue. As I have said earlier, I have invited Foreign Minister Qureshi to visit India in the later part of the year. So, I am looking forward to that so that we can take it up from where we left in Islamabad," he said.  Krishna, who met his US counterpart Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the conference, said he had given her his assessment of the situation in the region and his talks with Qureshi.  He said he had told Clinton that India wanted a dialogue which could continue. Krishna said there had to be an institutional mechanism for resolving the concerns between India and Pakistan. — PTI

Spy diplomat Madhuri Gupta chargesheeted
Planned to marry ISI handler who ‘treated her like dog’ Rashi Agarwal Tribune News Service  Madhuri Gupta Madhuri Gupta  New Delhi, July 20 The Delhi Police today filed a charge sheet against the arrested Indian junior diplomat Madhuri Gupta, accusing her of spying for Pakistan and passing classified information to its officials during her posting at Islamabad.  The police filed the charge sheet before the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja under various provisions of the Official Secrets Act and the Indian Penal Code.  In its voluminous 700-page charge sheet, the police said the 53-year-old spinster was in regular touch with two ISI officials, Mubshar Raza Rana and Jamshed. The charge sheet filed by the special cell of the Delhi Police said Gupta had an affair with Jamshed whom she had planned to marry. She used to communicate with Jamshed whose code name was ‘Jim’.  “The contents of an email showed that she was in love with Jim (Jamshed). Both had planned to get married. It is further very clear from the content that Jim is a Pakistani. The motive is clear and established from the email,” said the charge sheet.  The charge sheet also discloses details of a letter which was written by Gupta. “I have done my best for him and for his sake but he treats me like a dog. He has no consideration for me nor does he make any effort to understand my position. Till we are married and till I am in the present job, I have to behave accordingly,” the letter said. In the letter, Gupta had named herself ‘Javeria’.  The police has cited some 30 witnesses to prove its charge against Gupta. The court took on record the charge sheet, which would be taken up for consideration tomorrow.  Gupta's counsel Joginder Dahiya contested the charges and said he had no idea on what basis the police was making its claims.  The police has claimed that they have recovered 19 emails in her inbox, 54 in sent items and three contacts in Gupta’s email sent by her Pakistani handlers.  The police has also raised suspicion over a couple residing in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir who were in regular touch with Gupta through email and telephone. Some of the emails exchanged between Gupta and the Rajouri woman are part of the documents being held as evidence against the diplomat. The charge sheet said Gupta had visited Jammu and Kashmir in March this year.  The Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Gupta, who was then posted at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, on April 22 from the Capital on her arrival from Pakistan on a complaint filed against her by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ashok Tomar.

Pak govt knows where Osama is: Hillary Clinton 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: July 20, 2010 12:09 IST  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Kabul:  Speaking from Kabul where she is convening an international donors' conference on Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she believed that Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was still in Pakistan. She also said Washington believed that Taliban chief Mulla Omar was also in the country.  Hillary Clinton also told a news channel that Pakistan government knows where Osama bin Laden is and that Pakistan should share that intelligence.  "I believe (bin Laden) is here in Pakistan and it would be very helpful if we could take them (Al-Qaida leaders)," she said, adding, "I want those guys. I assume somebody in this (Pakistani) government, from top to bottom, does know where Bin Laden is, and I would like to know too,"  Though the Pakistani leaders claim that the world's most wanted terrorist may be dead, top US officials have been maintaining that Laden and his powerful deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are in Pakistan Meanwhile, speaking on the 26/11 Mumbai attacks' interrogation, Hillary Clinton said that Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley has thrown up a revealing set of facts that have been shared with Pakistan.  "I don't know the specifics (of the revelations made by Headley) but I know that it has been quite a revealing set of facts that we have shared with the Pakistani authorities," she said. (With agencies' inputs)

US rejects Pak's request to mediate in talks with India
ANI / Islamabad July 20, 2010, 11:49 IST  The United States has rejected Pakistan’s request to mediate between it and India to help both resolve outstanding issues, including Kashmir and the river water sharing dispute.  During a joint media interaction with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi here, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that Washington would continue with its “hands off” policy concerning the Indo-Pak impasse.  “We can only encourage, we can’t solve (the Kashmir issue) because at the end of the day, this is an issue (to which) there is no dictated response. This is what Pakistan must do, this is what India must do,” Clinton said.  Commenting on the water dispute between both South Asian neighbouring nations, she said that Islamabad must ensure judicious use of water and manage its own resources before seeking external mediation.  “Pakistan has to get control of the water you currently have, because if you go to a mediation body and say water is being diverted, the first response will be you are not efficiently using the water you have,” Clinton told reporters.  When asked about the recent meeting between Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna with his Pakistani counterpart Qureshi, which ended on a bitter note, Clinton stressed that the Obama administration would like both Islamabad and New Delhi to sustain their renewed engagement process.

Babus make ex-army man run in circles
Mateen Hafeez, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 02.57am IST MUMBAI: Bureaucrats are making a 60-year-old retired army man run from pillar to post for a gas agency connection. His son, also an army man, was killed in an explosion in Jammu & Kashmir in 2005.  Shah Alam Ansari, a retired military man, who joined the Indian Army in 1968, hails from Uttar Pradesh and is in Mumbai to meet Petroleum and Natural Gas minister, Murli Deora.  Ansari's son, Aejaz, also joined the army as a survey field jawan in 1997 and was part of Operation Rakhshak during and post-Kargil war. Aejaz was later posted in Pune and again in Kashmir in 2004. "On August 12, 2005, I received information about my son's death in an explosion at Sachho Post Chorbatla sub-sector on the Line of Control in J&K. It was the most difficult time when I saw the body of my young son, who was scheduled to get married a month earlier,'' said Ansari.  Aejaz's body reached his home town in Uttar Pradesh on August 15, 2005. Ansari, along with other Indian army men had served in Bhutan for training the latter's military in mid-70s.  After Aejaz's death, the then defence minister, Pranab Mukherjee, and a batallion of defence personnel wrote condolence letters to Ansari. "Aejaz was my eldest son and wanted to serve the nation for the rest of his life. I had spoken to him a few days before his death. He was very excited to return for his wedding,'' added Ansari, who himself was posted thrice in Jammu & Kashmir. Ansari was also part of bunker task formation near the China border in 1984 and was conferred several certificates for having a good service record.  He stated that even the President's secretariat, in a letter, suggested him to submit his documents to procure a gas agency. "I completed all the documents and submitted them. However, now the babus are delaying allotting me a gas agency. They keep showing me the rule book. They say that I am over 60 and the agency can only be allotted to someone who is under 45. I also requested them to allot it under my second son's name. He is doing his graduation in science. But they are just not ready to listen to me. They are making me run from one office to another. Is this the way to treat a shaheed's family?'' Ansari said. He has two sons and three daughters, all studying.  Ansari met Deora last year in Mumbai to get his work done. "Deora said it was unfortunate that it was taking a long time but assured help,'' said Ansari. When contacted, Deora said he was in Cambodia.

FARNBOROUGH: Military helicopter market is in buoyant mood
By Jon Lake  Although global demand has declined since the Cold War, and although some new helicopter acquisition programmes have run into real difficulties, many air forces are investing heavily in improving their helicopter capabilities.  The threat posed by Islamist terrorism has led to an increased demand for helicopters for use in internal security and law enforcement roles, sometimes flown by military units, sometimes by parapublic operators.  For the UK, USA and other nations, the demand for helicopters has been driven by the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the threat from improvised explosive devices (IED) has led to a growing shift from road to air transport for the routine movement of troops, and where the helicopter support of special operations forces has been pivotal. Helicopters have also provided a life-and-death medical evacuation capability.  V-22 Osprey, USAF  © USAF  The media focus on shortages of helicopter capacity in Afghanistan have fuelled public concern that there are insufficient aircraft to ensure the safety of their troops, and this has led to pressure for specific helicopter acquisition programmes in some coalition countries, most notably in the UK and USA.  But market growth will not solely be based on Afghan requirements, and Asia and the Middle East are expected to be responsible for significant growth in the military helicopter market in 2010 and beyond, and this growth will help parts of the industry to ride out the reduction in civilian helicopter orders.  Eurocopter, for example, suffered a marked decrease in commercial helicopter orders in 2009, but the increase in demand for military rotorcraft allowed the company to record its second-highest annual sales tally.  In its annual survey of the international rotorcraft market Rolls-Royce predicted that the world's helicopter manufacturers would deliver around 6,100 military helicopters over the next decade, representing just over one-third of the total number of 16,400 helicopters delivered in the same period.  These military deliveries will be worth an estimated $108 billion of the $146 billion total, and 2010 alone will account for spending on military rotorcraft worth a staggering $15.3 billion.  Much of the activity will be in the medium/heavy segment of the military helicopter market, which is defined as a helicopter with a gross weight of 6,800kg (15,000lb), or more, with deliveries of 4,319 medium/heavy helicopters (worth an estimated $92.3 billion) predicted during the 10-year period. Deliveries are expected to grow rapidly in the first half of the decade, from 391 helicopters in 2010, to 500 in 2014, before dipping to an annual rate of 376 helicopters by 2019, as high-volume procurement programmes from the beginning of the decade start to tail off.  But all military helicopter classes will share in the growth to some extent, and significant utility, attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance/scout and maritime helicopter orders are expected. But while many air arms are expanding their helicopter operations, there has also been a great expansion in the use of contractor-owned helicopters, in what were once viewed as core military roles.  Helicopter pilot and aircrew training has been widely civilianised, and last year the US Department of Defense was forced to search for a civilian contractor to provide cargo delivery services in Afghanistan to augment its hard-pressed army and air force helicopter assets in-theatre.  Sikorsky S-92, Sikorsky  © Sikorsky  The normal requirement to run a full and open competition was set aside, so urgent was the requirement to provide this critical capability.  In the UK, the "gold standard" search and rescue service, one of the largest contracts provided by a mix of military and civilian helicopters, is to be replaced from 2012 by a service provided by preferred bidder Soteria, which hopes to sign a £6 billion, 25-year private finance initiative contract this year.  The existing mix of civil Sikorsky S-92s and AgustaWestland AW139s and Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Westland Sea Kings is to be replaced by a smaller fleet of S-92s. Only 66 military aircrew are being retained under the new system to ensure that a percentage of RAF and RN helicopter crews are SAR trained and experienced to allow them to undertake deployed military SAR operations.  The USA remains the key market for military rotorcraft, and Afghanistan continues to drive the shape of US helicopter procurement.  Boeing enjoys a full orderbook for its Chinook, with the new CH-47F Improved Cargo Helicopter, which has a modernised airframe, T55-GA-714A engines and an advanced digital flight control system. It is re-equipping army units and winning export orders (initially from the Netherlands and Australia). The dedicated MH-47G is going to the Special Operations community.  CH-47 Chinook, US Army  © US Army  The company's rotorcraft portfolio also includes the Apache, now undergoing a comprehensive Block III upgrade, and the AH-6i, already being aggressively marketed to export customers and a potential candidate to meet nascent US Army requirements for an armed reconnaissance helicopter following the failure of the Bell 407 ARH.  Boeing is also teamed with Bell on the V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor, production of which continues, as the type adds to its combat record in Afghanistan.  Sikorsky is also enjoying strong demand for its military helicopters, with significant multi-year contracts from the US Military for the UH-60 Black Hawk and MH-60 Sea Hawk, and with continuing demand for the type from export customers.  This demand has led to the development of the S-70i "International Black Hawk" a less expensive multi-mission variant produced by Sikorsky's global partners and to be delivered from Sikorsky's newly acquired PZL Mielec plant in Poland.  Sikorsky is also energetically marketing an Armed Black Hawk or "BattleHawk", fitted with an advanced cockpit, helmet-mounted sighting systems, an undernose 20mm gun and a chin-mounted electro-optical turret developed in association with Israel's Elbit, as well as an optionally manned Black Hawk that could be flown manned (with one or two pilots) or as an autonomous unmanned vehicle.  The bigger S-92 is already in service with the Saudi ministry of the interior in the internal security role, and the type has also secured a niche as VIP transport. Canada has now received the first of its militarised, ASW-configured S-92s (locally designated as the CH-148 Cyclone), albeit to an interim standard, and the type is expected to become fully operational in 2013.  Sikorsky UH-60, USAF  © USAF  Sikorsky is also developing a next-generation version of its triple-engined heavyweight, CH-53E Super Stallion. The new CH-53K heavylift helicopter, which is due to fly in November 2011, has new General Electric GE38-1B engines, new composite main rotor blades, an all-new glass cockpit and a wider cabin, and 227 are on order to re-equip USMC heavy lift helicopter squadrons.  Military helicopter sales accounted for 39% of Bell's revenue in 2009, with its share of the Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey augmenting the company's own AH-1Z and UH-1Y programmes.  European manufacturers are increasingly making inroads into the US defence market. Although the effort by AgustaWestland and Lockheed Martin to meet the VXX "Marine One" Presidential Helicopter requirement using the AW101/VH-71 helicopter stalled, Boeing has now secured the rights to use AgustaWestland intellectual property, data and production rights to integrate the same basic AW101 into a Boeing product to meet the same VXX programme requirement.  Meanwhile, Eurocopter has built on its initial success with the Dauphin (used, as the HH-65, by the US Coast Guard since 1979) by successfully offering the EC145 to meet the US Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) requirement. Some 322 helicopters are being procured by the US Army as the UH-72A Lakota for Homeland Security, medevac, logistics support and other missions, and to support the army's test and training centres. Five more are being acquired for the US Naval Test Pilot School.  The company, teamed with Lockheed, is offering an armed version of the EC145, known as the Armed Scout 645 or AAS-72, to meet the US Army's requirement for an armed scout helicopter to replace the OH-58 Kiowa.  Outside the USA, big helicopter orders tend to be numbered in tens, rather than hundreds, making the UK's plan to acquire 22 new Chinooks (plus two attrition replacements) a relatively big deal - always assuming that the plan survives the incoming coalition government's promised defence review, and new Prime Minister David Cameron's hope to see UK troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by 2015. The multirole Lynx Wildcat military helicopter, which made its maiden flight at Yeovil on 12 November 2009, is planned as a 62-aircraft programme, with the first due to enter service in 2014.  Elsewhere, the multinational NH90 programme continues to make progress, though some early customers have experienced problems, and orders are building only relatively slowly, although the total programme is large, thanks to the large number of customers.  As with civil helicopters, one of the most important and fastest growing markets for military helicopters is in the Far East. India and Indonesia are being targeted by Boeing as possible markets for the Chinook, with India also having been offered the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. Sikorsky is also targeting the Indian market, and has established a joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems to manufacture aerospace components in India, while also marketing various helicopter types to the Indian forces. Eurocopter is offering the AS550 to meet an Indian requirement for a scout helicopter, while AgustaWestland has signed a contract to supply 12 AW101 helicopters to the Indian air force.  With no end in sight for the campaign in Afghanistan, and with a steady demand for new helicopters continuing in Asia and the Middle East, the boom in military rotorcraft looks set to continue, and the prospects for manufacturers and upgrade providers look promising. Advanced technologies are making good progress, and many believe that the foundations are now being laid for a radical new generation of military rotorcraft, whose new capabilities will allow an expansion into new roles.

Pak army again violates cease fire; opens fire along Jammu border
July 20th, 2010 chandra         Violating the ceasefire yet again, Pakistani troops fired on a forward defence location along the border in Jammu sector late last night, drawing retaliation from Indian troops.  According to official sources, Pakistani troops targeted the Chak Phagwari Border Out Post (BoP) in Pargawal sub-sector, with mortars and small arms fire around 2200 hours last night. Indian troops guarding the border retaliated and the firing continued for over two-and-a-half hours intermittently. However, there was no casualty or injury to anyone in the firing.  This was the seventh ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the LoC and International Border in July this year. Pakistani troops had targeted six Indian posts with mortar, rockets and small arms fire in Krishna Ghati sub-sector Poonch sector on the intervening night of July 15 and 16.  There was also a ceasefire violation along the International Border in R S Pura sub-sector on the same day. BSF officials said the issue would be raised with Pakistani Rangers and a protest will be registered with them at a flag meeting.

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