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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

From Today's Papers - 17 Aug 2010

Indian Army hosts Chinese soldiers on I-Day
Tribune News Service  Guwahati, August 16 Indian Army personnel guarding the border in Arunachal Pradesh hosted their counterparts from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China at a special border personnel meeting (BPM) held on the occasion of Indian Independence Day at the historic Maitri Sthal, located at an altitude of around 15,000 ft, near the strategic Bum La pass in Twang district here.  According to information provided by the office of GoC 4 Cops of Indian Army, the get-together was attended by Indian and Chinese Army personnel along with their family members. Representatives of civilian population from both sides of the border also attended the function.  BPMs between the security forces of the two neighbours serve as a platform for resolving local issues and fostering confidence with a view to promoting peace and tranquility on the frontier.

A crash a month since April 5, 2007!
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 16 In a telling statistic, 39 fighter aircraft and choppers of the Indian Air Force and the Navy have crashed during the past three years - almost a crash a month in which a total of 13 well qualified pilots have been killed.  The figure do not include transport aircraft crashes.  A total number of 39 fighter aircraft, including MiG series, Jaguars, Sukhoi aircraft and helicopters, have been lost in air crashes from April 5, 2007 to July 24, 2010, the Defence Minister AK Antony told the Parliament today. Each fighter costs a couple of hundred crores each in foreign exchange and is not available off the shelf.  As per the data made available in Parliament, 13 fighters were of the ageing MiG 21 series, while six of MiG 27 series fighter went down. Two aircraft each of the MiG 29 series and the latest Sukhoi 30-MKI were also lost. The IAF also lost four of its Mi-8 choppers and two of the Mi 17 series choppers.  The navy lost three of its Sea Harriers. Two of its Russian Kamov choppers also crashed. One Jaguar, One Kiran and one MiG 23 also crashed.  Antony said each aircraft accident in the IAF is investigated through a court of Inquiry and remedial measures are taken to check their recurrence. A constant interaction with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), both indigenous and foreign, is also maintained to overcome the technical defects of the aircraft. He said the phasing out of a particular aircraft and its replacements is decided based on the operational requirements of services which is reviewed from time to time.

Pak still considering Indian aid offer for flood victims 
Press Trust of India, Updated: August 16, 2010 18:28 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Islamabad:  Pakistan today said it is considering India's offer of $five million as aid for its flood victims but a decision has been delayed as there is "sensitivity" involved in the relationship with India.  Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said his Indian counterpart S M Krishna offered the aid during a telephone conversation on Friday.  "Yes, they have offered assistance to Pakistan and they have asked the government of Pakistan to prioritise what kind of assistance we require," he said.  "In line with the conversation that I've had with Mr Krishna, I've informed the leadership about the details and the leadership is giving it consideration," he told a news conference at the Foreign Office.      Qureshi was responding to a question on whether Pakistan had accepted the aid offered by India. In response to another question on why Pakistan has accepted aid from other countries but is yet to decide on India's offer, he said the kind of relationship with India and the "sensitivity" involved is "different".  Qureshi kept the door open for the possibility of accepting the Indian offer at a later stage.  Noting that "the matter has not ended," he said Pakistan will need a long-drawn strategy as the floods were still causing devastation.  After the ongoing relief operations, the rehabilitation and reconstruction process will continue for about two years, he said.  Qureshi said Krishna had called him to "condole on the loss of life that had taken place, to sympathise with the people of Pakistan and express solidarity in this hour of grief with Pakistan".  Earlier, diplomatic sources told PTI that "no decision" had been made as yet on India's offer of aid. Asked about the matter, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said: "We appreciate this offer made by India. It has been conveyed to the relevant authorities".  Krishna described the offer of aid as a "gesture of solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their hour of need".  The floods triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains have killed over 1,700 people and affected 20 million. It has also destroyed millions of acres of crop land and washed away key roads, bridges and communication infrastructure.

39 defence aircraft lost in crashes since 2007-08: Govt
 Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 16, 2010, 18:45 IST  39 aircraft including the latest Sukhoi 30 MKI and MiG series fighter jets and helicopters have been lost in crashes which claimed 16 lives during the last 40 months, the Lok Sabha was informed today.  "39 aircraft including MiG series, Sukhoi aircraft and helicopters have been lost in air crashes during the last three financial years from 2007-08 to August 11 this year," Defence Minster A K Antony said in a written reply.  Of the 16 people killed in these crashes, 13 were from the armed forces. 14 civilians were also injured in these mishaps.  The MiG 21s have suffered the highest casualty as 12 of these were lost in the last three years whereas six MiG 27s were also lost during the same period.  The Navy also lost eight of its aircraft including four Sea Harriers, two Kamov choppers and two Kiran Mk II trainer aircraft, which crashed over an airshow early this year.  To another question, Antony said India has signed a contract with Russia for procuring 29 more MiG 29K maritime combat jets of which 24 would be fighters and five trainers.

Gen McChrystal: Fired by Obama, hired by Yale
August 17, 2010 01:22 IST Tags: Stanley McChrystal, Yale, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Former United States commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, who was fired for his disparaging remarks against Obama administration officials, is to teach at Yale University.  McChrystal, 55, has been given a teaching position at Yale University, which will commence this year.  McChrystal would be appointed a senior fellow with the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, and he would start teaching this fall, a statement from varsity said on Monday.  McChrystal will be teaching a graduate level seminar in the international relations master's programme.  "The course will examine how dramatic changes in globalisation have increased the complexity of modern leadership," the statement said.  "I am extremely excited to be teaching at Yale and I look forward to sharing my experiences and insights as a career military officer," McChrystal, said in a statement.  The general was fired by President Barack Obama [ Images ] in June for making disparaging remarks about administration officials, including Vice President Joe Biden. He was replaced with his boss, Gen David Petraeus.  These remarks appeared in a Rolling Stones magazine article.  'Biden? Did you say, 'Bite me?'' one aide is quoted saying in the article called 'The Runaway General', which also quoted McChrystal as complaining about being in an "unsellable position" in the war.

Another defence procurement under FMS route planned
 K. V. Prasad Defence Ministry to approach U.S. for third generation ‘Javelin' anti-tank guided missile for the Army  The Defence Ministry on Monday said it plans to approach the United States to procure third generation ‘Javelin' anti-tank guided missile for the Army under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.  Defence Minister A.K. Antony told the Lok Sabha through a written reply that once the Ministry issues the letter of request, further action for procurement will follow. The Javelin missile was exhibited during the Indo-U.S. exercise involving mechanised forces, at Babina last year.  It is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and has automatic self-guidance besides other features.  Once processed, this would become the third such possible procurement route preferred by the government this year.  In January this year, the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency, under its Department of Defense (DoD), notified to the U.S. Congress of possible sale of 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers that is estimated to cost $467.  In April, the Agency said it notified the Congress of potential sale of 10 heavy-lift Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III to India with an estimated value of $5.8 billion. The Indian Air Force conducted trials for the C-17 earlier this summer at three locations, including in Himachal Pradesh, to test its efficacy to take-off from a short airfield.  The Defence Ministry has maintained that it clears procurement of military hardware under the FMS route only to meet the operational requirements of the armed forces.  While the FMS process does away with the established tender procedure under the Defence Procurement Policy, there has been criticism that while it addresses time delays, the cost of equipment is fixed by the suppliers and without any commitment on transfer of technology and other things than can be negotiated under multi-vendor process. In addition, the DoD charges an administrative fee for processing procurement for this government-to-government sale.

India to buy US anti-tank missiles
Express news service Posted online: Tue Aug 17 2010, 22:33 hrs New Delhi : In what could possibly be the first major American weapon system in the Indian Army, the Defence Ministry is planning to procure latest generation anti-tank missiles from the US under the foreign military sales route, Defence Minister A K Antony informed Parliament on Monday.  The Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile, which has been demonstrated to the Indian Army on several occasions, is a third generation, fire and forget missile that has a very high ‘kill rate’  or probability of hitting the target. Antony told Parliament that a letter of request will be sent to the US government to procure the missile system.  Under the foreign military sales route, the ministry will purchase the missiles directly from the US government, bypassing any dealings with defence contractors. India, which currently operates second generation, wire guided missiles for an anti-tank role, also wants transfer of technology for the missiles that will give valuable expertise to the defence research establishment.

Over 230 armymen died in four years fighting terrorists
 A total of 234 army personnel have died fighting terrorists in the last four years, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.  "From 2007 to 2009, 196 army personnel died while 38 lost their lives this year," Defence Minister AK Antony said in reply to a written query.  The Indian Army is deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-east for many years now.  It was deployed in the Northeast in the 1950s and later on tasked to handle the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir since late 80s.  On another query, the minister said 8,214 officers were inducting into the army in the last three years.  The Defence Minister said, in reply to a query, that officers of the rank of Brigadier and equivalent are eligible for re-employment in the army and the navy.  "In army, the number of re-employed retired brigadiers is limited to a maximum of 10 per cent of the authorised strength, while there is no such prescribed limit in case of the navy," he said.

Armed forces spent just over Rs7,000 crore till July
PTI / Monday, August 16, 2010 20:57 IST  Of the Rs43,799 crores allocated to the defence forces for acquisition of weapon systems, only Rs7,550 crores has been spent by the three services till July 31, the Lok Sabha was informed today.  The Indian Air Force has been given the highest allocation of Rs23,482.43 crores of which Rs4,062 crores has been spent, defence minister AK Antony said in reply to a query.  A number of big ticket deals including contracts for 12 VVIP helicopters, six C-130 J Hercules aircraft have been signed by the force.  Indian armed forces are undergoing large-scale modernisation and are expected to spend over $80 billion in the next decade for making purchases of weapon systems and defence equipment.  After not being able to utilise the procurement funds in last three-four years, the defence ministry overspent by 4% in the last fiscal.  In 2009-10, the ministry was allocated Rs40,367.72 crores for capital acquisitions but later on the figure was revised to Rs35,146.88 crores.  However, at the end of the last fiscal, it had spent Rs38,427 crores.  Replying to another query, the minister said the army was constructing low-cost houses for serving and retired Personnel Below Officer Ranks (PBOR) 0and the widows of jawans.  Under the scheme, houses have been constructed in Jaipur, Pune and Allahabad and planning for construction of houses has been taken up at Belgaum (Karnataka), Bhatinda (Punjab), Secunderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and Dehradun (Uttarakhand).

CBI for blacklisting of six defence firms: Govt
  The CBI has recommended the blacklisting of six defence companies in a corruption case and the matter has been forwarded to the Central Vigilance Commission for its advice, the Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.  "CBI has recommended blacklisting of six firms involved in the payment of illegal gratification. The case has been referred to CVC for advice," Defence Minister AK Antony said in reply to a query.  The foreign firms are: Singapore Technology Kinetics, Israeli Military Industries, Rheinmetall Air Defence and Corporation Defence Russia and the Indian firms are T S Kissan and Company and RK Machine Tools.  The Ministry added that a decision in this regard would be taken after receiving the CVC's advice and consultation with the Law Ministry.  The CBI had registered a case against Sudipto Ghosh, former (DG) Ordnance Factory Board and some others regarding receipt of illegal gratification from various suppliers of ordnance factories before a special court in Kolkata in May last year.  To another query, Antony said a contract for procuring of 12 AW-101 helicopters was signed with European chopper manufacturers Agusta Westland Limited February this year.  "The cost of the project is Rs 3,546.17 crore and out of these 12 helicopters, eight would be configured for VVIP transportation and four helicopters would be the non-VVIP version," Antony said.  The choppers have been procured to replace the ageing Russian-origin Mi-8 helicopters, which are nearing completion of its technical life.  "There were no objections raised by the Ministry of Finance relating to any security concerns raised by the Special Protection Group (SPG) or the Indian Air Force," the Minister added.  He said that a global tender was issued and a multi-vendor procurement procedure followed as per the then existing Defence Procurement Procedure.  Replying to another question, the Minister said in view of the increased threat perception in counter-terrorist operations, the General Staff Qualitative Requirements for bullet-proof jackets in the Army was reviewed.  He added that there were sufficient jackets in the Army for meeting its operational requirements.

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