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Thursday, 29 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 29 Jul 2010

CVC nod a must before blacklisting cos
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, July 28 The Ministry of Defence will consult the Central Vigilance Commission and also the Law ministry before black-listing companies named by the Central Bureau of Investigation in its probe.  The CBI has recommended blacklisting of six firms after lodging an FIR against Sudipto Ghosh, former DG of Ordnance Factory. The CBI named Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd (STK), Singapore, Israel Military Industries Ltd, Israel, TS Kisan & Co Pvt Ltd, New Delhi, RK Machine Tools, Ludhiana, Rheinmetall Air Defence (RAD), Zurich and Corporation Defence, Russia (CDR) for blacklisting.  Defence Minister AK Antony in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha said “Nexus, if any, between Indian and foreign companies does not appear to have been investigated by CBI in this case”.  It was due to this cloud of suspicion that the Singapore Technologies was cold shouldered and the ongoing process to procure artillery guns was stalled.  Antony also said to infuse greater transparency in the procurement process, the role of independent monitors has been enhanced and made more elaborate in the Defence Procurement Procedure — 2008 (Amendment — 2009). Independent Monitors have been provided access to the relevant records of the buyer, connected with the complaint.

  Instability in Afghanistan Elusive prospects of regional consensus
by Anita Inder Singh  WITH Nato casualties on the rise, with President Karzai and his western backers keen on reconciliation with the Taliban and the prospect of American withdrawal after July 2011, insecurity and instability sum up the current situation in Afghanistan. With Nato failing to win out, the idea of regional cooperation on Afghanistan, presented by many western officials from time to time — and by Mr S M. Krishna at the Kabul Conference on July 20 — is an appealing one.  Which countries would be involved and what are the chances of their reaching a consensus — whether on the political future of Afghanistan or on promoting its economic development? The countries likely to be involved in any regional dialogue would be the US, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China and Russia.  The US has contributed some 100,000 troops to Nato’s Afghan campaign and staked its global reputation on defeating the Taliban. With military victory seemingly elusive, Washington would not be averse to countries in Afghanistan’s neighbourhood to work out an agreement that is in line with its interests.  Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai would like to build a strong democratic Afghanistan under the 2003 constitution — a goal he shares with the US. But Nato’s failure to make headway, and his own inept brand of governance are obstacles to the achievement of this aim. Meanwhile, Nato’s deficiencies have reportedly prompted him to seek reconciliation with Taliban hardliners like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Jalaludin Haqqani and the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. This has caused some consternation in New Delhi, which regards all extremists as bad.  India does not share a border with Afghanistan, and like Russia and China, is not contributing troops. But its goals are closest to those of the US — to defeat the Taliban and to build a strong state in Afghanistan which can develop the country.  India is opposed to both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban if only because there is ever-growing evidence of their links with the Pakistani-based extremists who continually try to destabilise its half of Kashmir.  Pakistan has sustained, trained and exported terrorists to Afghanistan since the US overthrew the Taliban regime in 2001. So innate in President Obama’s concept of Af-Pak is the idea that the key to Afghan security lies in Pakistan. Along with the Taliban, Islamabad can claim to share the dubious credit for frustrating the success of Nato’s Afghan campaign over the last nine years.  It is determined to use its hold over the Afghan Taliban to as a lever to secure a decisive say in Afghanistan’s political future, and the current signs are that the US and its Nato allies may not be averse to giving it an important place at the negotiating table if it can use its clout to persuade militants to ceasefire.  Pakistan will not be interested in the neutrality of Afghanistan – neutrality would restrict its influence there. It wants to persuade its Afghan puppets to keep India out of Afghanistan, though India has no military presence there and has given $1.3 billion in reconstruction aid. That is unlike Pakistan, whose political method of choice is to export extremism and to ‘bleed’ Nato and the Karzai government until they make “peace” on its terms.  Iran, which is Afghanistan’s western neighbour, remains opposed to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Its historical and cultural links with Afghanistan are symbolised by the latter’s Persian-speaking and Shia minorities. Like India and Russia, it does not want to see Pakistan calling the shots in Kabul. Teheran favours more regional trade with Afghanistan and would benefit from a reduction in the cross-border drugs trade. It has given around $600 million in reconstruction aid, and invested in electricity, transport agricultural projects in Afghanistan, notably in the area around the city of Herat. But Iran’s relations with the US are fractious largely because of its nuclear programme and its uncompromising stance on Israel.  Saudi Arabia was one of three countries — including Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates — to recognise the brutal Taliban regime until 2001. The links between Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda, the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have sharpened its interest in Afghanistan, as had talk of Nato’s retreat from Afghanistan. It has bestowed some $500 million in reconstruction aid. It has also been involved in ad hoc and informal reconciliation talks between the Karzai government and the Afghan Taliban. To no avail: every confabulation only confirmed the wide gap between Kabul and extremists.  Riyadh has a fractious relationship with Shia-dominated Iran and a close one with Sunni-dominated Pakistan. Riyadh and Islamabad are at one in wanting the Taliban included in a future government in Kabul and having a government and society steered by religious “Islamic” (read Sunni) law. That puts it at odds with the US, even as the Saudi desire for a stable Afghanistan coincides with US aims.  Russia would like to see Nato succeed in Afghanistan, the Taliban put to rout, and an end to the narcotics which enter its territory from Afghanistan. It has allowed Nato troops to transit its territory en route to Afghanistan and has supplied fuel to Nato via Central Asia. It is disturbed at attempts by Karzai and the West to work out some sort of reconciliation with the Taliban.  For, like India, Russia does not distinguish between good and bad extremists and does not wish to see Kabul coming under the influence of extremists exporting Islamabad. Moscow also fears that a war-weary US could beat a hasty retreat from Afghanistan, paving the way for resurgence of the Taliban, and the spread of extremist influence into its sphere of influence in Central Asia.  China has fragile historical links with Afghanistan. It would gain from the defeat of the Taliban and the establishment of a stable state in Afghanistan. Both could help check the flow of extremists into its western province of Xinjiang, where it confronts the possibility of growing extremism among its Uighur minorities.  China has invested $ 3.5 billion in the Aynak copper mine in Afghanistan and also in various infrastructure projects in irrigation, communication and health. As an economically expansive power and potentially the largest investor in Afghanistan, it would welcome a politically strong government in Kabul.  But China has close strategic ties with Pakistan. So far it has been unwilling to put pressure on Pakistan to stop shoring up extremists. China fears that Nato’s success would consolidate the US position as the dominant power in South and Central Asia, and that its Asian rival, India, would benefit from a prolonged American presence in Afghanistan.  China probably hopes that the US will gain the military vantage point in Afghanistan while refraining from putting pressure on Pakistan to give up its alignment with extremists. Like Russia, China does not have a large stake in Afghanistan at the moment. Both could increase investments there if security were assured.  If New Delhi wants to explore the possibility of a regional approach, it would have to contend with Pakistan’s pathological fear and hatred of India, reflected at one level by Islamabad’s paranoia about the presence of less than 4,000 Indians in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s use of terrorist exports rather than reconstruction aid to counter Indian influence and to increase its clout in Afghanistan does not augur well for the emergence of Indo-Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan’s political future. Added to that is the continuing western military dependence on Pakistan even as it plays its old double game of giving some military facilities to Nato while giving safe havens and training to the Afghan Taliban — and getting American largesse in return.  More generally, divergent national interests and cross-cutting rivalries between the US, Pakistan, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China could block the emergence of a regional consensus on Afghanistan. India would have to work around these differences if it tries to forge a regional approach on Afghanistan. Such an approach could well turn out to be elusive.

British PM ticks off Pak on terror export
 n Backs India’s claim for UNSC seat n Bags deal worth £500 m for UK firm  Shubhadeep Choudhury/TNS  Bangalore, July 28 The British Prime Minister David Cameron asserted here today that Britain shared India’s concern over Pakistan exporting terror. “ We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able to promote the export of terror, whether to India or Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world,” he declared in response to a question while adressing techies and invited audience in the campus of IT major Infosys.  Also, he expressed support for India’s ambition to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.  Cameron, on maiden visit to India as PM, said he had discussed the issue with President Obama and would discuss it with PM Manmohan Singh when they meet in New Delhi. “ It’s not right to have any relationship with groups that are promoting terror”, he added while indicating that Pakistan needed to do more to curb activities of the terror groups operating from its soil.  Cameron’s visit to Bangalore reaped dividends for the British aerospace major BAE Systems, with it bagging a new order worth over £500 million for supplying additional 57 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer to India for the IAF and Indian Navy. While the IAF will get 40 of these aircraft, the Navy will get 17.  The aircraft will be manufactured at HAL’s facilities in Bangalore. BAE Systems will provide specialist engineering services, raw material and equipment necessary for airframe production and support package for IAF and the Navy.

Indian, Pak army officers should attend joint classes in US' 
Press Trust of India, Updated: July 28, 2010 15:29 IST  Washington:  A top US General today said that senior military officers from India and Pakistan should jointly attend military classes in the United States and study American civil war together. Such a move, General James Mattis said, would create the much needed trust between the military leaders of the two countries, which is required in addition to the diplomatic efforts between the leaders of India and Pakistan.  "As we all know, they (India and Pakistan) have fought several wars over a number of issues. There's the Kashmir issue. There's any number of terrorist attacks," General Mattis said in his confirmation hearing before the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee. "But I think the most important thing we can do in support of the diplomatic efforts which will fundamentally be how we change something like this, is to help bring the officer corps of both militaries together and create trust between them, allow them to perhaps attend our school together," Mattis said.  US President Barack Obama has nominated General Mattis as his Commander for the US Central Command, which handles Afghanistan and Pakistan. India comes under the jurisdiction of the Pacific Command.      As they do, they get to know each other there and even do some of the things we've done elsewhere in the world where we bring different sides during frozen conflicts together," he argued. "For example, at the Army School at Leavenworth, they're up at Carlisle Barracks, and let them study our Civil War together. And after a few days, they start warming up. I think there are ways for us to build trust between officer corps that will help stabilize these issues, but it's fundamentally a political problem, not a military one of course," Mattis said in response to a question from Senator Scott Brown.  Earlier in written response to senators' questions, Mattis said that Pakistan has concerns about any military cooperation between the US and India, which affects both their relationship with Islamabad and, indirectly, the US efforts in Afghanistan.  "However, we make clear to Pakistan that our military cooperation and engagement is not a threat to Pakistan and that this is not a zero-sum game. We have important relationships and strategic partnerships with both countries that are not at the expense of either," Mattis said.  The US General said close coordination between Central Command (CENTCOM) and Pacific Command (PACOM) is a recognized condition for the regions' challenges to be addressed. "Though some advantages could be realized with India and Pakistan in one AOR, PACOM and CENTCOM, with adequate coordination mechanisms to address US interests in the region, can work symbiotically on long-term security measures," Mattis said.

Chhattisgarh faced highest Naxal attacks in 3 months
 Press Trust of India, Updated: July 28, 2010 20:25 IST  New Delhi:  At least 500 Naxal attacks have been reported in nine states across the country in the last three months, with the highest number reported from Chhattisgarh, government said on Wednesday.  A highest of 140 instances were reported in Chhattisgarh, 111 in Jharkhand, 88 in West Bengal, 78 in Bihar and 43 in Orissa, according to data given in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha by Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken.  Twenty incidents including attacks on police and civilians by the Maoists were reported in Maharashtra, followed by 17 in Andhra Pradesh, two in Madhya Pradesh and one in Uttar Pradesh, it said.  According to the data, 348 people, including security force personnel were killed in such attacks. A highest of 194 casualties were reported in Chhattisgarh, followed by 66 in West Bengal and 23 in Orissa.      * NDTVShare on Twitter     * NDTVShare on Social     * NDTVGmail Buzz     * NDTVPrint   In reply to another question, Maken said a total of 378 Naxalites were arrested in the last two months.  "The CPI (Maoist) and other Left Wing Extremist groups source their weapons primarily by looting the same from security forces. In areas of Maoists influence, they also loot weapons from arms license holders. They also manufacture country made weapons in their arms manufacturing units," he said.  "Central Government grants, under security related expenditure scheme, ex-gratia payment of Rs three lakh to family of security personnel killed due to Naxal attacks. In addition, ex-gratia compensation of Rs 15 lakh is paid to the next of kin of personnel of Central para-military forces killed in action," Maken added.

India Orders 57 Hawk Jet Trainers From BAE
 By ANDREW CHUTER Published: 28 Jul 2010 08:51 India has ordered 57 Hawk jet trainers from BAE Systems in a deal worth more than 500 million pounds, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced during a visit to New Delhi.  The contract covers 40 aircraft for the Indian Air Force and 17 for the Indian Navy. All of the aircraft will be assembled in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The air force is already part way through taking delivery of 66 Hawks signed for in a deal earlier this decade. The first 24 of those aircraft were supplied directly from the U.K., with the remainder being built under license by HAL at its Bangalore facility.  HAL is also assembling the Rolls-Royce Adour Mk871 engine used by the jet trainer. The British aero-engine maker said the contract for an additional 57 engines is worth up to 200 million pounds.  Guy Griffiths, the international group managing director at BAE, said the new order highlights the importance of India as a home market to the company.  Earlier this year in a joint venture with local company Mahindra & Mahindra, BAE launched Defence Land Systems India. The company is pushing the sale of mine-protected vehicles locally. BAE will also use the joint venture if it secures a major 155mm howitzer contract for which it is competing to equip the Indian Army.  BAE is also looking to expand in the marine sector and has been talking to potential warship support partners locally for the last couple of years.  India is one of several nations globally where BAE is establishing what it terms a home market. Other home markets, where the company has a significant presence with opportunities to expand, include Saudi Arabia, the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, South Africa and Australia.  Figures released last week by the U.K. governments export arm, the Defence & Security Organisation, pointed to India being the second largest global importer of military equipment after Saudi Arabia.  The DSO figures showed between 2000-09 Indian defense imports totaled $39 billion, compared with Saudi Arabia's $56 billion and the U.S.'s $29 billion. India was Britain's third top destination for exports during the period after Saudi Arabia and the U.S.  Prime Minister David Cameron is currently in India along with other senior cabinet ministers and leading business executives, including BAE chairman Dick Olver, to try to improve political and trade ties with the New Delhi Government. Advertisement Defense News Media Group Armed Forces Journal Armed Forces Journal is the leading joint service monthly magazine for officers and leaders in the United States military community. C4ISR Journal Logo C4ISR Journal, published 10 times per year, is a professional journal dedicated to the rapidly advancing, high-tech realm of military intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Training & Simulation Journal Training & Simulation Journal, often referred to as TSJ, is a bimonthly journal that provides information on the latest trends in products and opportunities in the global military training and simulation market.     

Govt examining CBI recommendation on blacklisting 6 firms: Antony
TNN, Jul 29, 2010, 03.32am IST NEW DELHI: The defence ministry is yet to take a decision on CBI's recommendation to blacklist four foreign and two Indian armament companies for their alleged involvement in the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) scam.  The international firms are Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), Rheinmetall Air Defence and Russian Corporation Defence, while the Indian ones are T S Kissan & Co and R K Machine Tools.  Defence minister A K Antony on Wednesday told Rajya Sabha that the CBI report was still being examined by his ministry. "Further action in the matter will be taken after obtaining the advise of the CVC and the law ministry,'' he said.  Incidentally, the CBI has also recommended the blacklisting of three other foreign firms -- Israeli Soltam, Varas Associates of Isle of Man and South African Denel -- in the recent past.  The defence ministry, however, has scrapped the trials of the 155mm towed artillery guns once again since only one contender, BAE Systems, was left in the race after the other, STK, was named in the OFB scam, as reported earlier.  A series of scandals, beginning from the infamous Bofors one in the mid-1980s, have stymied the long-delayed acquisition of different types of 155mm/52-calibre guns, under the Army's artillery modernisation programme worth well over Rs 20,000 crore.  The most badly-hit has been the over Rs 12,000-crore towed guns project, under which 400 howitzers are to be bought from a foreign vendor and another 1,180 howitzers manufactured indigenously after transfer of technology.  The planned artillery acquisitions, stuck at different stages, include 1,580 towed guns, 814 mounted gun systems, 180 self-propelled wheeled guns and 100 tracked guns.  The OFB scandal has also hit the Rs 1,200-crore OFB-IMI project to set up an ordnance complex of five plants at Nalanda in Bihar to manufacture propellant charges for heavy calibre artillery ammunition for Bofors howitzers and other guns.

Kayani to ensure army calls shots till 2013 polls
Indrani Bagchi, TNN, Jul 29, 2010, 12.01am IST NEW DELHI: When Pakistani PM Yousaf Raza Gilani went on national TV to announce a three-year extension for army chief general Ashfaq Kayani, the news was not unexpected. Kayani’s extension was widely desired by the US and within Pakistan as a sign of solidity and continuity. What it signifies immediately is that Kayani will continue to be the power behind the civilian facade in Pakistan, all the way until the next scheduled elections in 2013, which he is likely to preside over.  The development has not seen wild cheering in India. Because, by India’s assessment, Kayani remains one of the traditional, congenitally anti-India commanders of the Pakistan army. In fact, India need not have torn its heart out worrying about the failure of the foreign ministers’ talks in Islamabad. The army, particularly Kayani, did not want talks with India at this point.  So we have three more years of a man who, as DG ISI between 2004-07, ran the Taliban and the Haqqanis against Indian interests in Afghanistan. As army chief, he has been upfront with his demand that India should exit Afghanistan if he is expected to play ball on a resolution there, with the Taliban in tow. Most of all, while he may be running operations against the Pakistan Taliban and Swat and South Waziristan, he wants to protect two of his most precious assets — Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani network — to use them against India.  Kayani, who started out as an apolitical army chief, is now in the driving seat in Pakistan. Built in the traditional mould of the Pakistan army, he has gone back to a determinedly anti-India stand as the cementing factor for the army. His stance matters because he has quietly occupied the top slot in the leadership stakes in Pakistan. A day before the foreign secretary talks in February, Kayani told a defence committee in the National Assembly that under him, the army would remain "India-centric". "India has the capability, intentions can change overnight," he said.  Pakistan’s strategic outreach has been managed by Kayani — with a buzzing power-point presentation at the Nato headquarters in Brussels on how he could help the west get out of Afghanistan, getting the Turks to keep India out of a key conference on Afghanistan, starring in the lead role in the strategic dialogue with the US as well as being China’s pointperson in Pakistan.  By 2010, Kayani also had US generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal convinced that he would be part of the solution in Afghanistan, even though they knew in their intel assessments that he was the problem.  Kayani, say Pakistani experts, brought back to the Pakistan army its quintessential value — conviction about its centrality as the bulwark of the Pakistan state. That means keeping India, Kashmir etc in the forefront, and reclaiming strategic depth in Afghanistan. Until PM Manmohan Singh complained bitterly to Barack Obama in April, the US was quite happy to keep Kayani flush with weapons — all of which are directed against India.  Kayani belongs to a middle class family in Gujjar Khan tehsil, Rawalpindi district. His father Lehrasab was a naib-subedar in the Pakistan army, so he is steeped in the old Pakistan army values. This makes him a relative rarity among Pakistan’s privileged leadership. He cut his teeth in the army during the 1971 India-Pakistan war. Thirty years later, as director-general military operations (DGMO), Kayani directed the 10-month standoff against India.  The question remains how much Kayani is willing to let groups like LeT and HuJI carry on their activities against India, with ISI support. Pakistan refuses to acknowledge Indian concerns on LeT or on the Haqqani network, Ilyas Kashmiri etc. Despite the US tut-tutting to Kayani about these groups, he has remained adamant. "Pakistan’s long-term national interests would never be sacrificed on someone else’s short-term interests," he has maintained.

155-mm gun contract: DRDO enters the fray
Ajai Shukla / Pune July 29, 2010, 0:36 IST  With the international procurement of the 155-mm towed gun for the Indian Army dogged by controversy and failure, India’s Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) has made the potentially game-changing decision to jump into the fray. The DRDO’s most productive laboratory, the Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune, could soon become the hub for developing an indigenous 155-mm towed gun, with the DRDO partnering private industry giants such as Bharat Forge and Larsen & Toubro.  A DRDO project to produce a 155-mm towed gun indigenously would introduce an Indian consortium into a jinxed procurement confined to foreign vendors, many attended by controversy. Today, defence minister A K Antony informed Parliament that the Central Bureau of Investigation had recommended the blacklisting of four companies that had been involved, at various stages of this procurement: Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK); Germany’s Rheinmetall; Israel Military Industries (IMI); and another Israeli company, Soltam. Denel, a South African company, had been blacklisted earlier; and the only other gun on offer, the BAE Systems FH-77B-05 howitzer, is a modernised version of the controversial Bofors gun.  In these circumstances, say MoD sources, an indigenous 155-mm gun could be a politically palatable choice. Anil Datar, the ARDE Director, told Business Standard, “Within the DRDO, we are discussing how to develop a 155-mm gun. We can make it, no problem, with the help of Indian industry. A 155mm gun requires high-class manufacturing; we have Bharat Forge and L&T in and around Pune, which are keen to join us.”  While the ARDE — the DRDO’s facility for developing small arms, guns, howitzers, and rockets — has worked on gun technology earlier, now the army appears to have also concluded that indigenous development might be a faster route than international procurement.  The DRDO spokesperson in New Delhi, Ravi Gupta, confirmed to the Business Standard, “The DRDO is very keen to develop 155-mm guns for the army. We had formed a team to work on this more than a decade ago, but the army did not give us a firm requirement then. Now, the army has expressed interest in the 155-mm gun project and preliminary work has already begun.”  The selection of a 155-mm towed gun has dragged on for eight years without result. On Friday, the MoD cancelled army trials of two guns — the Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) IFH-2000; and the BAE Systems FH-77B-05 — after the CBI’s announcement about STK left only the Bofors gun in contention. MoD insiders say it was impossible to select that gun on a single-vendor basis.  The contract, worth an estimated Rs 8,000 crore, envisages buying 400 towed guns off the shelf and building 1,180 in India from transferred technology.  Highlighting the ARDE’s experience in guns and artillery systems, Datar says: “The army is currently inducting our Pinaka multi-barrelled rocket launcher, a world-class system. Our 120-mm gun for the Arjun tank has outperformed the T-90 gun in army trials. In 1972, ARDE developed the 105mm Indian Field Gun (IFG), which was a mainstay of the Army’s field artillery. We assisted with up-gunning the army’s 130mm gun to 155-mm. And, ARDE produced a heavy 185-mm gun, but that never entered service because the army was not interested then.”  Datar claims ARDE — given adequate support from the private sector, and from the DRDO network of 50-odd laboratories — could develop a world-class 155-mm gun within three to three and a half years. The Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, in Hyderabad, would develop special alloys and materials for the gun. Ammunition would be tested at the Proof and Experimental Establishment at Balasore, Orissa. Warheads would be tested at the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh.  The ARDE is one of DRDO’s star laboratories, having developed over 200 items that are in service with the military today. With just one per cent of DRDO’s total budget and five per cent of the DRDO’s manpower (1,300 persons, including 220 scientists and 250 technical officers), the ARDE has developed 70 per cent of the equipment that the Ordnance Factories have manufactured for the military.

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