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Thursday, 30 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 30 Sep 2010

AFT says battle casualties handled heartlessly
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, September 29 Placing on record its “great displeasure” over non-application of mind and showing heartlessness in dealing with battle casualties, the Armed Forces Tribunal has recently awarded costs of Rs 1 lakh to the wife of a disabled veteran who went missing four years ago.  The tribunal’s bench comprising Justice A.K. Mathur and Lt Gen M.L. Naidu has also directed the authorities concerned to release immediately liberalised family pension to the wife Geeta Devi along with the interest at the rate of 12 per cent from the date her husband went missing.  Geeta’s husband Yatender Singh had joined the Army in January 1999 and was deployed in Operation Rakshak / Operation Prakaram in J&K during 2003-04. In February 2004, he lost both his eyes, both hands and suffered gross injury to the right knee due to a mine detonation.  On July 24, 2006, he was being taken in a bus to Army Hospital, Delhi, by his friend. Due to some urgent work, his friend left him with the bus crew to be dropped in front of the hospital. As per the Army authorities, Yatender did not reach the hospital. An FIR was also lodged with the police. Thereafter, he was declared missing and ordinary family pension was released to Geeta, but no benefits pertaining to battle casualty were given.  The bench observed that the respondents had admitted Yatender was placed in low medical category but claimed that he was not on bonafide military duty at the time he went missing. “This is very unfortunate the way this widow has been dealt with by the respondents. It speaks volume for heartlessness and insensitivity. A person who has virtually become a living dead body, when he lost both the eyes, both the hands and received right knee injury and he was just surviving,” the bench said.  “As per rules, he should have been given a facility of an attendant to take him to the hospital but whole entreaties fell on deaf ears of an insensitive establishment. It was a very hard case in which the authorities should have provided an attendant who could have taken him from his house to the hospital but instead of this they left him dying and missing and dealt with the wife of the deceased by doling out an ordinary family pension,” the bench further observed.  Meanwhile, taking a serious view over non-compliance of its orders by the Territorial Army (TA), the AFT has summoned the force’s chief before it for an explanation.  The tribunal’s bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen N.S. Brar has directed that Maj Gen A D S Grewal, Additional Director General, TA, appear before it on October 8, two days before he retires from service.  In February, the Tribunal had ordered reinstatement of a TA jawan, Pawan Kumar, who had been dismissed from service in 2007 on account of being placed in low medical category.

Sarika - the only woman officer at Nathu La
Kusum Arora/TNS  Major Sarika GodboleJalandhar, September 29 It indeed requires a great amount of courage and determination to take on a challenge and perhaps a greater amount of motivation to fulfil it. But, Major Sarika Godbole, serving at a Mountain Brigade at Nathu La is indeed an exception.  At Nathu La, situated at a height of 14, 200 ft on the Indo-China border, extreme cold conditions and rugged terrain, she is the only woman officer posted in that area. Nathu La is the highest brigade headquarters falling under the Eastern Command.  The officer has been posted as an interpreter at the brigade headquarters since 2008 to decipher talks held during the annual flag meetings between India and China. The flag meetings are held twice a year. While on May 15, it is held on the Chinese side of the border, on September 15, it is held on the Indian side. “I am not doing anything special. It is a part of the duty and during the meetings, I translate talks for Indian as well as Chinese officers. It thrills me to serve in this part of the country,” she said.  She added that it was indeed a lifetime opportunity to serve in that area. “Usually not many women officers get a chance to serve in the field areas. Especially, serving at Nathu La on the Indo-China border is an experience in itself,” she quipped. “Initially, even I faced problems due to bad weather, but things became easy when I became completely acclimatised with the terrain. Jawans as well as officers undergo a three-stage acclimatisation to bear the extreme conditions,” she maintained.  The officer hailing from Nasik in Maharashtra, completed her MSc from Pune University and joined IIM, Ahmedabad, as joint professor. She passed out from Officers Training Academy, Chennai, and joined the Army Education Corps in 2003.

Navy to get its second floating dock 
Port Blair, September 29 The Indian Navy plans to acquire its second floating dock, at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore, which will be stationed at the strategically significant Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  The Floating Dock Navy-1 (FDN1) is currently put into optimum use and with the number of warships stationed on the coast set to increase significantly in the next decade, the need was felt for the second one. The Japanese-built FDN1, which is designed by the Indian Institute of Technology, is the only floating dock of Navy and has a lifting capacity of 11,500 tonnes. “The Navy has already floated expression of interest for the FDN-2 and plans for procurement are in an advanced stage,” a Navy official said.

Taliban, US fight to pursue peace from position of strength
The deputy governor of Gahzani province was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber. The NATO has launched an attack in the Kandahar area. But stalemate is in the offing. Hence, a peace deal is the honourable way out. CJ: Chitranjan Sawant   Wed, Sep 29, 2010 10:53:06 IST Views:               12    Comments: 2 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 1.0 / 1 votes           Latest World News :  Politics mixed with military matters makes a heady cocktail TALK PEACE and wage war simultaneously in Afghanistan. Indeed that is the new policy of both the belligerents; the NATO led Afghan army and the deadly adversary, the Taliban. A new 70-member strong Shoora, a council of wise men, has been formed by the Kabul government to talk peace with the Taliban and usher in peace in Afghanistan.   However, the push of the American- cum- Afghan forces in the last ditch battle with the Taliban in the Kandahar area is going ahead full speed. The theory is that one must negotiate peace from a position of strength. To prove the strong position, both the sides must continue fighting and gain the upper hand to bargain for more at the negotiating table.     It was in pursuance of this policy that the Taliban deputed a suicide bomber to bump off the Deputy Governor of the Ghazani province. Mohammad Kazim Allahyar, who was travelling to the airport along with his son, a nephew and some more people in a Toyota Corolla, an unarmoured car, when a suicide bomber on a mechanised rickshaw blew himself up at the rear of the Deputy Governor’s car killing self, all car occupants and a few passers- by. Ghazani is about two hours drive in the southwest of the national capital, Kabul.     It may be recalled that there are 150,000 foreign forces supported by 300,000 Afghan troops battling the Taliban. The biggest advantage that the Taliban has is a safe haven in Pakistan after crossing the no man’s land on the AFPAK borders. It is well known that the Pakistan government and people have their sympathy and support for the Taliban rebels, notwithstanding the massive American aid that they have been receiving uninterruptedly for more than a quarter of a century. Pakistan has mastered the dubious game of running with the hare and hunting with the hound at the same time.     Back in Washington DC President Barack Obama is reviewing the strategy of the most unpopular war among Americans. He had ordered the surge of 30,000 US troops at the insistence of the top commanders. Now the result of the Kandahar push is awaited before a final policy decision is taken.   History is a witness to the military defeats of foreign forces in Afghanistan for many centuries. Of course, After Raja Dasrath of Ayodhya who had defeated the Afghan forces and married Kaikeyi, the other example of a successful campaign in Afghanistan and beyond is that of Emperor Chandragupt Maurya, under the guidance of Acharya Chanakya.     He had defeated the Greek governor of Alexander the Great, Seleucus Nikator and accepted the hand of the Greek princess in marriage as his queen. Thereafter, the Mughals led disastrous campaigns in Afghanistan. Akbar had lost his friend and a commander, Raja Birbal in the inhospitable terrain of Afghanistan. Shahjehan lost Kandahar to the Persian forces and failed to recover despite many attempts. The British led Anglo-Afghan wars never met with success and names of many officers and men killed there are engraved on the India Gate in New Delhi. The Soviet army had retreated in defeat in Afghanistan in 1980s. Now the Americans are looking for a way out to disengage and go home.     Moral of the story is that the terrain and the fiercely independent nature of the people help the Afghan warriors to have better of the invading forces. Raja Dasrath of Ayodhya and Emperor Chandragupt Maurya of Patliputra are the two shining exceptions to the saga of defeat of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Confidence building measures in Valley: Unified command meets 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 29, 2010 20:55 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Gandarbal:  In Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah held a high level meeting on Wednesday where a series of measures have been decided to follow up on the all-party delegation's visit.  In the meeting, it was decided that the state government will set up two groups of senior police and Army officers in Srinagar and Jammu to identify areas where the government can de-notify the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).  The meeting also arrived at a consensus that 50 students arrested on charges of stone throwing will be released. Cases of others arrested under the strict Public Safety Act will also be reviewed.  The bunkers of security forces will be removed from 16 locations, it was decided. Meanwhile, mobile phone services have been restored in north Kashmir.      Kashmir needs a political solution, says Omar:  Earlier in the day, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressed a rally in his constituency Ganderbal.  This is his first public rally in four months since the unrest in Valley over civilian killings.  Reaching out to the people in his constituency, the J&K Chief Minister said, "Kashmir's problem is political and should have a political solution."  Talking about the dialogue process Omar added that all parties should participate in the dialogue to make it a success.  According to sources, there will be a Unified Command meet in the evening.

Spendings stuck, India trails China in firepower
Shishir Gupta Posted online: Thu Sep 30 2010, 03:12 hrs New Delhi : A year after China paraded its military might to mark 60 years of Communist rule, an internal study by South Block shows that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is way ahead of India in terms of strategic missiles, artillery, development of indigenous military hardware and acquisition. This comparison study has been shared with the UPA government at the highest levels.  China’s defence budget, pegged at $77.5 billion, is more than twice that of India’s $32-billion but its 2009 military parade has set off alarm bells in Delhi given the shortcomings in indigenous production capability and gaps in acquisition of military hardware — for a few years now, the Defence Ministry has not been able to spend the allocated capital for modernisation of the armed forces.  This is what the internal study found:  The PLA has a clear lead over the Indian Army in terms of infantry weapons, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery guns.  The Army has no answer to the Chinese QBZ-97 Type 97-2 5.8/5.56 mm anti-riot gun, the AK-74 modified QBZ-95 Type 95 automatic rifle, the M-16 NATO rifle modification Type 95B carbine.  The 9 mm Indian Army sub-machine gun (SMG) is considered inferior to the Chinese Type 5 sound-dampener 9 mm SMG, a modified version of the German Heckler & Koch MP 5 SMG. The original HK MP-5 is used by the Special Protection Group in India.  The Indian 5.56 mm INSAS is considered superior to the Chinese 7.62 mm (Type 85) assault rifles but the PLA QBZ-95 automatic rifle is better than the Indian 7.62 mm standard issue rifle.  Indians and Chinese are even when it comes to armour on display. The Arjun main battle tank is better than the Chinese third-generation ZTZ-99G MBT, a modification of the Russian T-72 battle tank. The Indian T-90 is superior to the Chinese ZTZ-96 A MBT in terms of firepower and accuracy. Even an Indian T-72 is a match.  India has no answer to China’s ZRD-05 tracked amphibious assault vehicles, ZBD-03 tracked AB paratroopers combat vehicle and WJ-03B wheeled armed vehicle used by the Snow Leopard Commando units.  China’s tracked APCs are superior to Indian APCs as they are copies of the Russian BMP-III — India still uses the Russian BMP-I with a 30 mm cannon and anti-tank guided missile.  On the artillery front, the Indian Army can’t match the PLZ-05 155-mm tracked self-propelled (SP) howitzer, PLZ-07 122-mm tracked SP howitzer, PLL-05 120-mm wheeled SP mortar and PTL-02 100-mm wheeled SP howitzer. Both countries use the same Russian 300-mm multiple launch rocket system.  The two armies are evenly matched when it comes to anti-tank guided missiles and anti-aircraft guns. PLA’s Red Arrow missile is a notch below the NAG anti-tank missile; the Indian air defence gun ZSU-2S6M1 has an edge over the Chinese PGZ-04A gun.  India is still developing the Sagarika long-range missile as an answer to the Chinese DF-31A ICBM. Indian cruise missiles like Brahmos suffer from range limitations while the Chinese DH-10 land attack cruise missile can strike targets beyond 1,500 km. The YJ-83 anti-ship missile has a 500-km range.  New Delhi has no answer to the YJ-62 A shore-based anti-ship cruise missile with a range of over 300 km. But the Agni series of short range, medium range and intermediate range missiles are more than a match for the Chinese DF-11A SRBM, DF-15A SRBM, DF-21C MRBM.  Chinese fighters J-7, J-8 and J-10 are either equal to or a notch below the IAF MiG-21, MiG-27 and Mirages. The PLA’s J-11B fighter has an equal in the IAF SU-30. The Indian Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft is more than a match for the Chinese JH-7A Flying Leopard. IAF refuellers and AWACS are far superior to the Chinese HY-6 refuellers and KJ-2000 early warning aircraft.

India’s own Bofors ready, field trials in progress
September 30, 2010   6:47:36 AM  Kestur Vasuki | Bangalore  In a significant development that would provide the much-needed impetus to artillery’s firepower, India is ready with an indigenous 155mm, 52-calibre state-of-the-art gun. The Bangalore-based defence public sector undertaking, Bharat Earth Movers Limited, is ready with the wheeled gun and field trials have already started at its testing tracks in the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), Karnataka.  This development comes in the backdrop of the fact that the artillery has not purchased a long-range gun in about 20 years following the Bofors gun controversy. The Government recently gave the nod to inviting global tenders for the 155mm guns and the proposed contract for over 1,000 guns, besides other range of artillery guns including Howitzers, worth over `20,000 crore.  Talking exclusively to The Pioneer, BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natarajan said they were the nodal processing agency for this gun, which would enhance the lethality of the defence forces. The gun is part of a technology transfer between a Slovakian company, DMD, and BEML to produce this high-precision gun for the Indian armed forces.  Natarajan said, “We have already been made a nodal processing agency for the 155mm, 52-calibre gun which is a state-of-the-art weapon to be inducted by India. We will produce and supply this to the defence forces. It’s a technology transfer; India wants to go for a very upgraded tank which is faster, lighter and able to have a greater fire power with lethality.”  He also said, “For the wheeled gun project, we have tied up with a Slovakian company, DMD, for a defence offset and the vehicle has already been made available for trial.  The time frame is about three years from the date of order by the defence forces. We expect it to commence in the current year or at most the next year.”  According to the BEML chief, the company was also looking at the tracked version of the same gun, which will give better fire power. “We have already set up a state-of-the-art, world-class test track. We have a firing range too,” Natarajan said, adding that the PSU was also in the process of setting up infrastructure for the overhauling of T72 and T90 tanks.  According to officials, the 155mm, 52-calibre gun — which is already in use by NATO countries - would augment Indian capabilities. At present, BEML has set up a testing range at KGF and started the trial of Suzana guns. This wheeled gun would increase the artillery power of the Indian Army. The gun’s trial evaluation is over and it is waiting for the request for proposal from the Indian Army, the officials added.

IAF mounts air cover for CWG 
K.V. Prasad  Army extends ground support as paramilitary forces join Delhi police for security    TAKING NO CHANCES: Security forces deployed in New Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games.  NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force has mounted unprecedented air defence surveillance and protection with adequate ground support from the Army ahead of the Commonwealth Games that get under way here on Sunday.  The overall security management for the multi-discipline event is being coordinated by the Union Home Ministry with Delhi police capacity being augmented by police from Central paramilitary forces.  Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday reviewed the security arrangements and saw for himself the preparations in the control room located inside the North Block.  Holistic air defence  The IAF plan provides for holistic air defence against all conceivable aerial threats, official sources said, adding that its radars along with those of the Airports Authority of India will scan the skies round-the-clock.  Besides perceived conventional threats from hijacked aircraft, low speed and high speed aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), it envisages unconventional threats including those from micro-light aircraft, para/hang gliders, balloons and remote flying aero-models.  The Delhi police have been trained by the IAF to detect low-altitude flying objects, especially in urban areas, which police snipers would bring down while two IAF UAVs will be hovering between 6,000 feet and 10,000 feet to gather input on any intruding aircraft.  The airspace will be closed for all unscheduled flights during the Games.  The Army Air Defence will provide support from the ground besides the Air Force deploying surface-to-air missiles like Pechora, OSA-AK and Igla systems.  India's frontline fighter Su-30 MKI, MiG-21-Bison and MiG-29 will be on Operational Readiness (stand-by) mode at air bases in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Sirsa and Adampur in Haryana and Srinagar during the period to tackle any intrusion.  In addition, the IAF will provide combat air patrol and reconnaissance through MI-17 and MI-35 attack helicopters while Chetak and Cheetak helicopters will conduct reconnaissance of the Games areas.

Indian Army Lodges Protest Over LoC Firing 
Jammu, Sep 29 – The Indian Army has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani Army over the latter’s latest bout of unprovoked firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district Tuesday night, terming it as an act aimed at escalating tensions on the border.  Army sources said two soldiers were injured in Pakistani firing, which started late Tuesday night and continued till Wednesday morning.  Pakistani troops fired mortar shells and rockets at the Indian posts of Kripan, Kranti, Roza, Battal and other posts along the LoC in Krishna Ghati and Jhallas areas of Poonch, 240 km north of Jammu.  The Indian side too retaliated to this ‘unprovoked firing’, according to the army sources.  The Indian Army suspected that the Pakistani Army was seeking to push in militants from across the LoC into the Indian side. But the army sources claimed that the attempt was foiled by the vigilant soldiers.  Meanwhile, the local commanders held a flag meeting at a forward post in Poonch. The Indian side conveyed in strong terms that the repeated violation of ceasefire and firing from across the LoC were causing tensions.  Pakistani side denied, but the Indian commander insisted that Pakistan should accept the truth and desist from such acts, the sources said.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 29 Sep 2010

Tehelka episode Prosecutor cashiered, gets four-year RI
Faced nine charges of contempt, disobedience Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, September 28 A lieutenant colonel who had secured the conviction of a brigadier and a colonel in the Tehelka episode has now himself been convicted on several charges of professional and personal misconduct, it is learnt.  A GCM has cashiered Lt Col Sanjay Sitanshu and sentenced him to four years rigorous imprisonment (RI) after finding him guilty of all nine charges leveled against him, sources said. The trial, presided by Brig S.K. Panigrahi, had commenced at Kota in January and concluded yesterday. The GCM’s verdict is subject to confirmation by the convening authority.  Colonel Sitanshu had faced six charges of contempt of court, two of disobedience of lawful command and one of overstaying leave. According to sources, he had allegedly used unparliamentary language and showed improper conduct during two separate courts martial of a lieutenant colonel and an NCO in which he was the defending officer.  During pre-trial proceedings against him, he had been ordered by his commanding officer to proceed from Hisar to another unit on two different occasions, which he refused. He was thereafter taken into custody and moved to Kota under escort. Earlier, he was supposed to report at N-Area in Chandigarh on completion of his leave but delayed his arrival by about 10 days. His leave had been extended four times before it finally expired, sources said. The defence could not be contacted for its comments on the trial. Colonel Sitanshu had been detailed as the prosecuting officer in the courts martial of a brigadier and a colonel who had been allegedly caught on tape demanding and accepting bribes in the a sting operation conducted by web-portal Tehelka’s operatives posing as arms dealers.  Three officers were convicted by separate courts martial held at Chandimandir, Patiala and Ferozepur. The colonel was awarded for years RI on four charges in January 2005, while the brigadier was awarded two years RI on three charges in October 2005. A major general, who was the senior-most to be tried in the episode, got one-year RI.

Sukhois deployed for CWG security
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 28 In what will be an unprecedented security apparatus for the Commonwealth Games, a 60-km radius area around the National Capital has been totally ‘sanitised’ to keep an eye at rogue aircrafts, para-gliders and even small microlights to counter any threat posed by militants.  While the Army’s surface-to-air missiles have been deployed, the Indian Air Force’s frontline fighters, the Sukhoi-30, will be scrambled from an airbase at Barreily to fly full throttle to be over Delhi within 10 minutes off a call, MI-35 and MI-17 armed choppers will hover over the Capital to meet any exigencies, hi-tech unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will monitor each movement and trained snipers will be stationed atop buildings.  Hand-held thermal imagers and night vision goggles, normally used by the infantry at borders, will be employed to maintain vigil at night alongside the latest surveillance equipment.  Bomb disposal squads and the sniffer dog squads of the Army will be at all venues.  Super-specialised teams that tackle chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats will be sanitising each venue. Each of these teams will have around 35-40 men, including engineers and medical personnel. The Army’s air defence guns and medium machine guns, too, would be deployed during the period, they said.  Sources said apart from the Sukhoi , the IAF MiG-29s based at Adampur in Punjab and the MiG-21s based at Sirsa and Srinagar will be pressed into service if any maverick pilot tries to attempt a crossing from the across the border from Pakistan. The IAF fighter formations will be on operational readiness, a senior functionary said. They will also deal with any eventuality such as a hijacked plane or a fast flying aircraft.  The IAF will have two UAVs hovering between 6,000 to 10,000 feet altitude on all days of the CWG from October 3 to 14. They carry high resolution camera and infrared equipment.  The Home Ministry will be the lead agency in the air defence of the city with agencies from the Home Ministry and Delhi Police supporting the effort to secure the skies.  The IAF and Army will place its anti-aircraft surface-to-air weapons such as Pechora, OSA-Ak and Igla. These can be used to bring down any object.  The IAF’s Mi-17 helicopters would be on standby for casualty evacuation, apart from its Chetak and Cheetah helicopters carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance flights.  The Delhi Police snipers have been trained over a period of time to identify any suspicious airborne objects. The men will be manning observations posts and they will be coordinated with the UAVs to bring down any such object.  The air space over Delhi would be a no-fly zone for all unscheduled aircraft during the CWG for which the Aviation Ministry has already issued guidelines.

ITBP vehicles to be tracked via satellite
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, September 28 Tasked with operating in remote mountainous areas amid inclement weather conditions, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) is turning towards satellite-based systems to track and control the movement of its vehicles.  ITBP officers said plans had been drawn up to install GPS tracking and navigation systems in vehicles that would provide real-time information on their location besides other relevant data.  “We have just finished trial runs of the pilot project to validate the concept,” an ITBP officer said. The pilot project involved installing such systems on 10 vehicles in specified battalions. An ITBP battalion is authorised 60 vehicles of different categories. The ITBP is the only central police organisation among six such security agencies to get installed such systems on its vehicles.  Based on feedback from the pilot project and consequential modifications, tracking and navigation devices would be installed in all vehicles in a battalion. The entire project, sources said, was expected to be undertaken over the next five years.  A Noida-based firm has been contracted to install the gadgets and set up control facilities at the ITBP Headquarters in New Delhi.  While the navigation system would be installed in the vehicle cabins, the tracking and control systems would be retrofitted in the engine compartment and would allow ignition to be enabled or disabled remotely from the control centre.  “Besides assisting in monitoring vehicle usage, these systems are also important from the safety point of view, in the sense that a signal can be transmitted in case of an emergency. The devises losing contact with the control centre will trigger an alarm,” an officer said.  Significant features of the tracking devices include sending an alert whenever the vehicles crosses a defined geographical limit, exchange phone-calls between the vehicle and control centre, maintaining a log of distances, speed and locations and having inbuilt maps of all cities, towns and districts where the ITBP operates.  The devices would also send an alert if a vehicle proceeding on a specific mission along a stipulated route fails to cross predefined checkpoints within specified time frames.

Antony asks US to remove Pokhran-test era sanctions
Ajay Banerjee/TNS  New Delhi, September 28 Defence Minister AK Antony has asked the US to remove a major irritant between the two countries to establish a long-term Defence relationship. Antony, who returned to India from the US tonight, has specifically asked it to correct what India perceives as a “wrong’ imposition of sanctions on key Indian Defence manufacturing units following the May 1999 nuclear tests at Pokhran.  Sources said Antony expressed New Delhi’s concerns to Washington over the “delayed and denial of export licences” with respect to Defence undertakings and DRDO laboratories. The Indian bid is to get the US to remove key units of its “entities list” which stops US-based companies from conducting business with them.  DRDO units such as the Aeronautical Development Establishment, the Aeronautical Development Agency and the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, which are involved in the Light Combat Aircraft project, still face sanctions which had been imposed after the Pokhran nuclear tests in 1999.

CWG: Army has chemical, nuclear decontamination teams 
Nitin Gokhale, Updated: Tue, Sep 28, 2010 18:46 IST CWG: Army has chemical, nuclear decontamination teams New Delhi: The Delhi Police has confirmed that all venues for the Commonwealth Games have been handed over to the police and are now in "security lockdown" mode.  The Army will also play a key role in keeping athletes and spectators safe.  The Army will provide ground-based air defence cover across Delhi in coordination with the Indian Air Force.  It will have 4 CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) decontamination teams on standby.      * Share this on     The Army will also provide long-range surveillance at night using night vision gadgets.  The Army's engineer regiment is on standby for any 'engineering emergencies' - it's already helping to rebuild the pedestrian over-bridge that collapsed earlier this month near Nehru Stadium.

Sarkozy eyes defence deals in Dec India visit
Reuters / Paris September 28, 2010, 17:58 IST  French President Nicolas Sarkozy will visit India in December, officials said on Tuesday, with an eye on increasing French firms' share of the country's 10-year $50-billion defence spending.  Indian Foreign Ministry officials said the visit will take place tentatively on December 6-7, but the dates are to be confirmed.  French daily newspaper La Tribune reported the state visit, initially planned for spring, will take place from December 4-7.  Sarkozy will plead the case for French defence firms to India, which at present prefers weapons from Russian, Israeli and U.S. contractors, the daily said, citing anonymous sources.  French ties with India hit a snag over commercial disputes and what India felt was a snub after a lightning visit by Sarkozy in 2008, the paper said.  While Russian, U.S. and Israeli firms have won contracts topping a billion dollars annually, France had just one major contract in 2005 to supply submarines worth $2.5 billion.  The one (contract) that is advanced enough to be signed during the visit is the modernisation of 51 Mirage 2000-H for 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion), the paper said.  The contract could reassure Thales and Dassault Aviation, who are awaiting a decision from Brazil on the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets.  India is set to decide on an $11-billion deal for 126 fighter jets where Dassault's Rafale is back as a contender after it was initially knocked out of the race for technical reasons last year.  Sarkozy's visit could also lead to the finalisation of a contract with nuclear group Areva, which 18 months ago signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of two reactors at Jaitapur in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Pak supporting US war in Afghan to keep India out: expert
Press Trust of India / Washington September 28, 2010, 16:23 IST  Pakistan and its spy agency ISI is supporting the US war in Afghanistan simply to ensure that Indians do not get strategic "advantage" in the war- ravaged country, even as it continues to use Taliban as an "active extension of its national power", an expert has said.  Anthony Shaffer, the controversial writer of the book "Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan - and the Path to Victory" said what Pakistan is doing in Afghanistan is in accordance to 'their perception of security, and their need to ensure that the Indians do not gain advantage through Afghanistan.'  Shaffer whose controversial book's 9,500 copies were pulped and sent to recycle last week after the US found it contained classifies information, said in the book that "The Taliban have been used as an active extension of their (Pakisatan's) national power.  We must accept the Pakistani perception of their self interest and security as being focused on its regional nuclear competitor, India, and work from there."  "The primary focus of the US diplomatic effort must be to reduce tension between Pakistan and India."  There are ways that the United States can participate and ensure regional stability by direct engagement and real reforms that would allow for a lowering of tensions between India and Pakistan, he said.  "America must create incentives for the Pakistani government (and the ISI and army) to stop its support of the Taliban," the author says.  The US Department of Defense found that the book had classified material. The Pentagon paid about $47,000 for the destruction of the book to its published.  "There were approximately 9,500 copies of the book. It contained classified information that the Department (of Defense) entered into an agreement with the publisher to destroy (the book)," Pentagon spokesman, Col Dave Lapan told reporters.  "The publisher conducted that destruction a week ago on Monday the 20th with the DoD observers there witnessing and those copies of the book were pulped and sent to recycle," he said.  The new version of the book, which has been blacked out at several places as per the direction of the Pentagon says that the consequences of America's failure in Afghanistan and throughout the region would be massive.  "The degree of consequences will vary, but ultimately, the price of failure will be another 9/11 attack or series of attacks that will dwarf the original in destructive effect and loss of life by orders of magnitude," the book says.  Noting that security measure around the Pakistani nuclear arsenal would continue to degrade, the book says that eventually, one or more of the country's nuclear weapons would be obtained by one of the radical elements.  "This weapon would be moved, via a network of conspirators, out of Pakistan and to one of a dozen potential targets.  Yes, there would be massive efforts to find and contain these weapons, but if even one makes it to a western target, there is a potential for huge property damage and thousands killed," the book warned.  Resolving Indo-Pak dispute is "the key" to regional stability in South Asia, the book said.

IAF mounts air cover for CWG 
K.V. Prasad  NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force has mounted unprecedented air defence surveillance and protection with adequate ground support from the Army ahead of the Commonwealth Games that get under way here on Sunday.  The overall security management for the multi-discipline event is being coordinated by the Union Home Ministry with Delhi police capacity being augmented by police from Central paramilitary forces.  Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday reviewed the security arrangements and saw for himself the preparations in the control room located inside the North Block.  The IAF plan provides for holistic air defence against all conceivable aerial threats, official sources said here, adding that its radars along with those of the Airports Authority of India will scan the skies round-the-clock.  Besides perceived conventional threats from hijacked aircraft, low speed and high speed aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), it envisages unconventional threats including those from micro-light aircraft, para/hang gliders, balloons and remote flying aero-models.  The Delhi police have been trained by the IAF to detect low-altitude flying objects, especially in urban areas, which police snipers would bring down while two IAF UAVs will be hovering between 6,000 feet and 10,000 feet to gather input on any intruding aircraft.  The airspace will be closed for all unscheduled flights during the Games.

Defence chiefs and ministers debated strategic review
Royal Marine in Afghanistan The last defence review was in 1998 and took more than a year  Defence chiefs have met Prime Minister David Cameron and government ministers to discuss the future shape and size of Britain's armed forces.  The National Security Council's two-hour meeting considered options for the strategic defence and security review - but did not reach any final decisions.  The RAF's Tornado force, two planned aircraft carriers and the size of the Army were discussed.  Mr Cameron said the review needed to be driven by strategy, not just spending.  The council is expected to meet again after the Tory Party conference next week, with the review due to report in October.  At the meeting, David Cameron apparently made it clear the highest priority must be the needs of current operations in Afghanistan, BBC defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt said.  He was also said to have stressed the importance of ensuring military capabilities were matched to future potential threats.  The meeting was attended by both the outgoing chief of the defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, and his successor as the head of the armed forces, General Sir David Richards, who will have the job of implementing the review's conclusions.
On Monday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said the defence budget - over-committed by £38bn over the next decade - must be dealt with.  A report by the think tank Policy Exchange, to be released on Thursday, suggests that the Army could save money by building up its bank of Territorial Army reservists.  Earlier, Lt Col Richard Williams, a former commander of the SAS and one of the authors of the report, told the BBC: "If you are doing a complex intervention such as southern Iraq or Afghanistan, you get an awful lot from somebody who has been a bank clerk or has an alternative employment and is not a full-time soldier."  It is understood the review will put Afghanistan first, with current operations ring-fenced and much of the Army's manpower spared until at least 2015, when the UK's combat operations in the country should have finished.  "That means the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force would bear the brunt of the cuts this time round," our correspondent said.  She said everybody had been fighting their corner hard but there were some pretty tough options on the table including cuts to the Royal Navy's surface fleet and some of the RAF's fast jets.  Many in the Armed Forces had been deeply dismayed at the speed at which the review was being undertaken, as well as by what they see as a lack of open and public debate at the scale of some of the potential cuts, she added.  But no date has been set for the meeting that will take the final decisions.  The review began after the general election. The last review, in 1998, took more than a year.  It is designed to look at the UK's role in the world, evolving threats to the country's interests, the nature of the UK's response to such threats and whether the armed forces are equipped to deal with future challenges.  Prof Michael Clarke, from the defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute, told BBC's Today programme that the UK intended to remain a global player on the world stage and retain a close relationship with the US.  He said: "This is the Asian century and it's coming upon us pretty quick. The United States is a lead player in moderating the effect of that Asian century on the western powers.  "We have a stake as a global player, we have a stake as an Anglo Saxon player in staying close to the one remaining superpower which will be struggling for its influence over China and India and Japan."  Annual defence spending in the UK currently stands at about £37bn, which is around 2.5% of GDP. Cuts of 10-20% are expected as part of the government's austerity measures to reduce public spending. 'Big picture'  Speculation on possible cuts has ranged from the scrapping of new aircraft carriers to grounding the RAF's entire fleet of more than 70 Tornado jets years earlier than planned.  Lt Col Williams said up to 40% of American high-end special operations activity in Iraq and Afghanistan was carried out by national guardsmen.  He said: "The fact that they cost broadly and, this is an approximate figure from public accounts, one fifth of a regular capability to maintain - you can see there are advantages."  He added: "We're finding in the main, is that across society, the younger civilians - or those who have been operating in the wider non-military world are much quicker at picking up the transformation technology systems and concepts than those who have been drilled in armoured warfare on the north German plains."  Our correspondent said the UK's nuclear defence system Trident was not officially on the agenda of the meeting but it could come up in discussions.  She said: "It does seem to appear that for the time being the coalition have put off that decision until 2015, until after the next election."  Earlier this month, the chairman of the Defence Select Committee expressed concern over the speed of the review, saying it could put combat operations and UK security at risk.  James Arbuthnot, a Conservative MP, said his committee was worried the process was money-driven and not taking time to assess the threats to the UK.  Defence Minister Nick Harvey acknowledged the pace of the review was influenced by economic circumstances but said it was a "big picture" exercise that drew on debates that had been going on for some time.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 28 Sep 2010

India, Japan set to boost military ties
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 27 Amidst diplomatic tension between Tokyo and Beijing, China’s two neighbours Japan and India today signalled a significant boost in their military ties. The two nations will conduct their first ever Army-to-Army talks starting tomorrow in New Delhi. Separately, the Indian Air Force Chief will be visiting Japan.  The four-day talks come at time when China is exerting pressure on Japan and the two countries are locked in a bitter dispute over the control of un-inhabited islands in the South East China Sea. India, early this month, upped its military relations with South Korea, another China’s neighbour. South Korea and China see each other with suspicion largely due to China’s “friendship” with North Korea - a major irritant for the South Korea.  Apart from the Army-level talks that will plan joint exercises and military exchanges between India and Japan, the IAF Chief Air Chief Marshall P V Naik will embark on a four-day visit to Tokyo tomorrow. "Naik will be on a goodwill visit to Tokyo….. while a Japanese Army team will be in Delhi to chalk out programmes aimed at furthering army-to-army contact," Defence Ministry officials confirmed here today.  Naik's visit comes three years after then Air Force chief S P Tyagi had gone to Tokyo on a visit. Naik, in his capacity as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, will be meeting with his Japanese defence forces' Chief of Staff General Kenichiro Hokazono when they would debate regional security issues. He would also be taking a tour of military installations of Japan and a couple of their training institutes during the visit. Gen Hokazono is expected to pay a return visit to Delhi next year for the same purpose.  Meanwhile, the visiting Japanese Army team will be led by its Director (Policy and Programme) Major General Koichiro Bansho and three other officers. “They will draw up a calendar of joint events,” a senior official said. India has such an arrangement with eight other countries like the US, the UK, Israel, France, Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore. Notably, Bangladesh is on either side of the Asian divide. The country had military relations with China also. Singapore is more on the Indian side.  In the four-day discussion, India and Japan are expected to share their ‘mutual security concerns’ and issues and review the bilateral army-to-army relations. The mutual security concerns are aimed at China, said a source while adding that it is natural.  Defence Minister A K Antony had visited Japan in November 2009. During that visit, Antony and his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa had reviewed the on-going defence related interactions and explored ways to enhance such exchanges for mutual benefit.  Among the issues discussed then were conducting joint exercises between the two armed forces and exchange of students in their respective defence training institutions and the possibilities of co-ordination of their respective Navy's efforts in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and other maritime security challenges.

  Central formula for Kashmir  The key lies in effective follow-up
  The Centre’s eight-point initiative for Jammu and Kashmir announced by Home Minister P. Chidambaram after a high-powered meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is welcome though belated. Based as it is largely on the inputs received from members of a 39-member all-party delegation that had visited Srinagar on September 20 and 21, it reflects a broad consensus at least among parties at the Centre and the ruling coalition in the State. That Kashmir’s main opposition party the PDP led by Ms Mehbooba Mufti which had refused to meet the all-party delegation has expressed cautious optimism on this package is also a hopeful sign. The PDP has been a spoiler consistently in recent months and the fact that it has not damned the package is an indication that it is testing the waters amid indications that the people are fed up of the violence and destructive mindsets of the separatists. This is an opportunity for the Centre to isolate separatists like Syed Ali Geelani who continue to sing the hardline tune.  It is heartening that the Centre has decided to appoint a group of interlocutors under the chairmanship of an eminent person to begin the process of “sustained dialogue” in Kashmir with political parties, groups, students, civil society and other stakeholders. But it would indeed be vital that the chairperson and the members be chosen with utmost care. The Central ‘advice’ to the State Government to release all students detained for stone-pelting and similar violations of law and to withdraw all charges against them is well-meaning and apt. But there must be a clear stipulation that a repeat offence would not be condoned. While magnanimity with one-time offenders is in order, the signal that goes out must not be one of weakness.  While a review of the deployment of security forces in the Kashmir valley by the Unified Command is in order, it is prudent that no assurance has been given on withdrawal or dilution of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. In the ultimate analysis, the proof of the pudding would lie in its eating. If this is not to be yet another failed initiative, concerted follow-up action is imperative.

  Engaging with Pakistan It’s a case of smoke and mirrors
by Arundhati Ghose  The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘schizophrenic’ as that ‘characterized by mutually contradictory or inconsistent elements’ and ‘schizophrenia’ as ‘withdrawal from reality into fantasy and delusion’. A person can be diagnosed as schizophrenic, but a State with all its institutions, military and political structures, its press and civil society? Or is it a case of smoke and mirrors? Pakistan has presented to the world several images, most of them contradictory and inconsistent, leading to apprehensions and reactions that are themselves often contradictory.  Let me at the outset offer a disclaimer: I am an outsider to the world of Pakistan watchers and commentators, dependent on reports in the media from Pakistan, India and the world. I am also a citizen of a neighbouring yet hostile country, but am unaffected by the hostility as I have no nostalgia for a country towards which reactions of my fellow citizens are complex and contradictory. It is in this spirit that I have dared to comment on what appears to me the possibility of a looming and seemingly intractable threat to the well-being of my country, its citizens and its ambitions and aspirations.  Recently, the Pakistani press reported that Pakistani Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh had said that his country was on the verge of ‘bankruptcy’, that it might not be possible for the State to pay salaries to its employees next month. In any other country, this would have been headline news, and there would have been widespread alarm. However, this was Pakistan, and the news was reported in a newspaper as an almost routine statement.  That Pakistan is facing a multitude of challenges cannot be denied: home-grown terrorism, the involvement of the country in the Af-Pak war, the floods and, of course, the stuttering economy. For a nascent democracy the challenges are indeed formidable. Add to this witches’ cauldron the separate and ambiguous role of the military, which after several decades in power, appears to retain an existence distinct from the State, and its severe paranoia about India, the desire not only for political and military parity with India, a State several times its size, but also a desire, as pointed out by Ahmed Rashid, a well-known Pakistani writer and journalist, to be recognised as a regional power. This is where the smoke begins to appear — a bankrupt regional power? Is it conceivable? Apparently it is, if the country is Pakistan. And, more stunningly, this appears to be accepted by many in the world.  Several months earlier, there was a concerted outcry that Pakistan was failing as a State and that this would lead to chaos not only in the State itself with its terrorist groups and nuclear weapons, but also in the region, indeed, in the world as a whole. This was at the time that the US, in a rabbit-in-the headlights situation in its messy war in Afghanistan, was seeking to pass a bill in its Congress transferring huge amounts of money to Pakistan, both to the economy and the military, in the forlorn hope that this would make the Pakistanis more friendly to them and more willing to back-stop them in Afghanistan. Stephen Cohen, an American scholar who has tried perhaps the hardest to understand Pakistan, has memorably likened that State to a man who holds a gun to his own head if he is not helped — with money, arms and other forms of support. Pakistan did not fail, of course, and not because millions of dollars had been poured in by the US and Pakistan’s other allies. And it did not make the US any more popular in Pakistan nor did the Pakistani army substantially support the flailing US efforts in Afghanistan. Here is where the mirrors come in.  The Pakistanis, after much talk of sovereignty and national pride etc, accepted the US largesse; much of the money went to the Pakistani army to bolster its support for the US troops in Afghanistan, who were fighting the Taliban and al Qaida, who used bases in Pakistan to launch their sallies against the US troops and who were supported by the Pakistani army, which had been paid by the US to help it fight the…the mirror-effect is dizzying. Add to this that the US sees the Pakistani army as a part of the solution of the war in Afghanistan, and possibly in post-NATO withdrawal Afghanistan as well.  Yet it would seem that the US is fighting a proxy war with that very Army. The US munificence could not possibly be funding the entire army and its operations and the country, the Pakistani Finance Minister has said, is about to face bankruptcy. So where is the Pakistani army getting its resources from? It has received promises of a soft loan of about US $250 million from the Chinese for two nuclear reactors and is in the process of purchasing from its all-weather friend other military hardware such as high-altitude anti- ballistic missile systems. According to a Pakistani defence analyst, the Chinese HQ-9/ 2000 is being considered “as no other supplier will sell these types of missiles to Pakistan.” Yet the Pakistani Ambassador to the US is “imploring” the world to help Pakistan deal with the very real catastrophe of floods and Pakistan’s President is asking the international financial institutions to write off the country’s outstanding debt. The missiles could not be for free, or could they?  Trying to look through the smoke and mirrors, one can only conclude that there are two States — one a poor developing country, a nascent democracy, trying to cope with floods, terrorism and violence which claims victims almost every other day, stunned by the immensity of its problems and its fragile economy and reportedly believing that friendly relations with India can only help its development and prosperity, and the other, a well-funded army with regional, if not global, ambitions and an agenda that includes a visceral hatred of India and does not appear to take the problems facing the first as its own. To be fair, they have been helping with floods, but almost like a foreign entity. Relief material delivered by the army is marked “Gift of the Army/Corps Commander”.  Should this be of concern to us? I am one of those who support the Prime Minister’s belief that we have to engage with Pakistan in our own interest. But which Pakistan?

ISI chief told CIA that his rogue elements were behind 26/11
Watergate journo reveals who were Mumbai plotters  Washington, September 27 Less than a month after the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan's spy agency chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha had admitted before the CIA that the terror strikes had ISI links but claimed it was not an "authorised" operation and carried out by "rogue" elements, according to a new book.  However, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later received reliable intelligence that the ISI was directly involved in the training for Mumbai, says the book entitled 'Obama's War' written by investigative American journalist Bob Woodward.  According to the book, the then President George W Bush during his meetings with his top aides had said that the terrorist attack on Mumbai was just like 9/11.  "President Bush called his national security team into the Oval Office as Mumbai sorted through the blood and rubble.  You guys get planning and do what you have to do to prevent a war between Pakistan and India, Bush told his aides. The last thing we need right now is a war between two nuclear-power states," Woodward says in his book which hit the stands today.  Giving an insight into the thinking and actions of the Bush Administration during and immediately after the Mumbai attacks, Woodward writes that an "upset Bush asked his aides about contingency plans for dealing with Pakistan," given his policy of "zero tolerance" for terrorists and their enablers.  "This is like 9/11, he (Bush) said," Woodward wrote.  "The United States military did not have 'war' plans for an invasion of Pakistan. Instead, it had and continues to have one of the most sensitive and secret of all military contingencies, what military officials call a 'retribution' plan in the event of another 9/11-like attack on the US by terrorists based in Pakistan," the book says.  Under this plan, the US would bomb or attack every known al-Qaeda compound or training camp in the US intelligence database. "Some locations might be outdated, but there would be no concern, under the plan, for who might be living there now. The attribution plan called for a brutal punishing attack on at least 150 or more associated camps," Woodward says.  According to Woodward, within 48 hours of the Mumbai attack, the then CIA Director Mike Hayden contacted Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani.  "CIA intelligence showed no direct ISI links, Hayden told him. These are former people who are no longer employees of the Pakistani government," he wrote.  "Bush informed the Indians himself. He called Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with whom he had a strong personal relationship. My intelligence shows that the new Pakistani government is not involved, Bush said. It looked like a war had been averted for the moment," Woodward writes.  "In a call to Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the Pakistani ISI, Hayden said, "We've got to get to the bottom of this. This is a big deal'," the book says.  He urged Pasha to come clean and disclose all.  On the day after Christmas, Pasha flew to the United States, where he briefed Hayden at CIA headquarters, the author writes.  "Pasha admitted that the planners of the Mumbai attacks - at least two retired Pakistani Army officers - had ISI links, but this had not been an authorised ISI operation. It was rogue. There may have been people associated with my organisation who were associated with this," Pasha said.  "That's different from authority, direction and control," Pasha is quoted as saying by Woodward.  According to Woodward, Pasha provided details that fit with the picture developed by US intelligence.  "Hayden told Bush he was convinced it was not an official Pakistani-sponsored attack, but it highlighted the problem of the sanctuaries in Pakistan. The ease of the planning and execution, the low cost, and the alarming sophistication of the communications system that LeT had used were all troubling," he said.  The author says that the Mumbai terrorists spoke with handlers back in Pakistan with satellite phones that went through a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service in New Jersey, making the calls difficult, if not impossible to trace and routed them in a way that also concealed the locations of those talking.  "The FBI was horrified by the low-cost, high-tech operation that had paralysed Mumbai. American cities were just as vulnerable. A senior FBI official responsible for thwarting similar attacks in the United States said, Mumbai changed everything," the book says.  In his book, Woodward writes that the open secret is that LeT was created and continues to be funded by the Pakistani ISI.  "The intelligence branch of the Pakistani military uses LeT to inflict pain and hardship on India, according to US intelligence. These gunmen had, quite possibly, committed an act of war," Woodward says. — PTI

India objects to Pak’s remark on Kashmir
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 27 India today chided Pakistan for its latest remarks on Jammu and Kashmir even as top diplomats of the countries were trying to fix a bilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries in New York.  “India’s position on the state of Jammu and Kashmir is unequivocal and well-articulated,” government sources here said. They were reacting to Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit’s statement asking New Delhi to “revisit its approach and its Kashmir policy rather than taking cosmetic measures here and there’’ as that would not bring about any change in the situation.  In the past two weeks, the two countries have exchanged sharp words over Kashmir with New Delhi accusing Islamabad of meddling in India’s internal affairs.  This verbal duel has come at a time when attempts are on to make External Affairs Minister SM Krishna meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmud Qureshi on the margins of the UN General Assembly meet.  If their meeting materialises, it would be the first time that they will hold substantive talks after their failed talks in Islamabad in mid-July.

Commandos, helicopters guarding CWG venues 
Press Trust of India, Updated: Mon, Sep 27, 2010 16:02 IST Commandos, helicopters guarding CWG venues New Delhi: Helicopters with armed commandos were on Monday pressed into service to ensure a ground-to-air security cover at and around the Commonwealth Games Village and the competition venues here.       Helicopters of Indian Army were seen hovering over the Games Village, which has a total build-up area of 63.5 hectare, at regular intervals.      Official sources said the helicopters have been deployed to bolster the entire security mechanism with troops of Delhi Police, paramilitary forces and the National Security Guard commandos handling the responsibility on the land.      The government has also decided to deploy three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Games security to carry out surveillance and keep vigil at regular intervals More than one lakh security personnel have been deployed for the Games including about 175 companies (17500 personnel) of paramilitary forces, 3000 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, 200 dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads.      About 150 personnel of the Delhi Police's Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) have been trained by the Indian Air Force and the NSG to shoot down suspicious manned or unmanned "flying objects".      Seventy one countries and territories are participating in the event scheduled from October 3-14.      Delhi Police and central security agencies are striving hard to ensure a smooth Games, which is being hosted by the country for the first time.      The Games Village has been transformed into a fortress with over 1,000 security personnel, helped by a plethora of safety gadgets and armed commandos, guarding the premises on 24-hour basis.      Along the routes at different corners of the city, Quick Reaction Team (QRT) vehicles were parked with gun totting personnel keeping a close eye on the movement of traffic.      NSG snipers will also be positioned at different points at the venues and along the routes to thwart any sabotage attempt or probable terror attacks.

Babus bog down Army modernization
Rajat Pandit, TNN, Sep 28, 2010, 03.03am IST NEW DELHI: Modernisation of the 1.13-million strong Army, grappling with critical capability gaps in areas like artillery, air defence, aviation, night-fighting and the like, is yet to gather steam despite the deteriorating security scenario in India's neighbourhood.  There are close to 100 Army procurement projects currently meandering their way through different stages amid bureaucratic bottle-necks, cumbersome procedures and general apathy, say defence ministry sources.  In fact, given the "prevailing worrisome state of affairs'', it's estimated the Army will take over 15 years to achieve its optimum level of operational readiness to defend borders as well as battle militancy in the hinterland.  This when Pakistan is gleefully receiving massive arms packages from the US in the name of the global war against terrorism and China is expanding its trans-border military capabilities at a staggering rate.  Incidentally, the ongoing revision of Army's war doctrine factors in the possibility of India even being forced to tackle "a two-front war'' in a worst-case scenario. But to achieve the military capabilities required for such an eventuality will take a lot of doing.  The much-smaller Navy and IAF, of course, are much better placed on their modernisation paths. While the two are more technology-intensive, the Army has many more ongoing procurement projects at any given time.  The need is increasingly being felt to revamp MoD's land systems acquisitions wing to fast-track inductions, as also ensure "much greater synergy'' within the Army HQ between its different "line directorates'' and the weapons and equipment directorate.  "Apart from better processes, MoD's Army acquisitions wing needs a strong dose of additional manpower and reorganisation. At present, it's capable of handling only around 24 projects a year,'' said a source.  A series of arms scandals in Army has also often derailed its modernisation plans. Take, for instance, the long-delayed over Rs 20,000-crore artillery modernisation programme. India has not been able to import a single 155mm/52-calibre gun since the infamous Bofors scandal of the mid-1980s.  When things were just about getting back on track, they were hit once again by the Denel and ST Kinetics scandals. Consequently, Army still awaits its planned progressive induction of 1,580 towed guns, 814 mounted gun systems, 180 self-propelled wheeled guns, 100 tracked self-propelled guns and 145 air-mobile ultra-light howitzers.  Similarly, it continues to make do with obsolete air defence missile and gun systems. Moreover, the force desperately needs third-generation thermal-imaging, image-intensification and infra-red devices to bolster the night-fighting capabilities of both its infantry and mechanised forces.  The conclusion of the long-delayed selection process for acquisition of 197 "light utility'' helicopters, with Russian Kamov and Eurocopters now left in contention, is also awaited to replace the ageing Cheetahs and Chetaks for high-altitude and other operations.  While 133 of these choppers will be for Army, the other 64 will go IAF. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has also promised to manufacture another 187 light helicopters for the armed forces to meet their overall requirements.

Lift defence export curbs: Antony 
New Delhi is hoping to convince the US to remove controls on defence exports to India, for long a major drag on constantly improving ties between the two countries.  “We want an early solution to that (export control restrictions),” Defence Minister A.K. Antony told reporters ahead of his talks here.  The issue has been top of the agenda for India — figuring prominently in recent talks between the two countries.  It was raised first during foreign secretary Nirupama Rao’s talks held here to prepare the ground for President Barack Obama’s visit in November, and during Commerce Minister Anand Sharma’s talks.  For now, there is no word on it from the US side. “We will definitely have more to we approach the President’s visit,” said a US official.  The other issue that Antony said he plans to raise was of Pakistan using against India arms and weapons it got from America for fighting insurgents in its northwestern areas.  The US imposed controls  on defence exports to India  following Pokhran II nuclear tests in 1998, making government clearance mandatory for export of dual-use technology (which can be used also for defence purposes).  Antony reached here late Saturday night with a delegation comprising Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, chief of Eastern Army Command Lt Gen. Bikram Singh, Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command Vice-Admiral D.K. Joshi and director general air operations of the IAF Air Marshal A.K. Gogoi.  Anotny will be meeting his US counterpart Robert Gates, National Security Adviser James Jones and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.  The US is also keen to bag a multi-billion deal for a fighter jet put out on the market by India.  “They (India) have a big competition going on for a new modern fighter,” Gates said, adding,, “We’ll probably have some conversations about that.”  Sure, said Antony on Sunday. But no more, no commitments. “It is a multi-vendor-situation. Trials are over. I can’t say who will get it,” the minister said.  The deal is said to be worth about $10 billion. And when  trials started in 2009, there were six main competitors: American F/A 18, Swedish Saab, American F 16, French Rafale, Russian MiG 35 and European Typhoon.

AFSPA debate: Soldiers clear, but is everyone else?
September 27, 2010 20:55 IST Tags: AFSPA, AFPSA, Indian Army, Air Force Acts, Government of India Share this Ask Users Write a Comment Today's terrorist does not allow you the luxury of a magistrate's presence, notes Major General Rajendra Prakash (retd), arguing why AFPSA is necessary.  With the Kashmir [ Images ] valley on the boil, the prolific public debate on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has taken on an unusual stridency.  But a debate which is swayed by emotion, prejudice or cultivated ignorance, instead of resting on a bedrock of factual realities, becomes an exercise in mere sophistry. Click!  Before we re-examine what AFSPA is all about, a word about the Indian soldier (means all members of the Indian Army [ Images ], Navy and Air Force).  The Indian soldier is a citizen with equal obligations and the same rights as any other Indian citizen -- s/he is neither a 'slave' of the State or of the populace and nor is s/he a robot, to be to be manipulated by the exigencies of politics or populism.  Albeit, as long as she/he wears the uniform, s/he voluntarily denudes her/him-self of three fundamental rights granted by Article 19 of our Constitution, right of free association, the right of political activity and the right to communicate to the press -- all other Constitutional rights remain intact.  Further, a soldier voluntarily places her/himself under the statutory rigours of military discipline (Army/Navy/Air Force Acts) and is bound to obey all lawful commands of her/his military superior, unto death.  Next, the Indian armed forces are the servants of the State and its ultimate resort. They are duty-bound to do all that is necessary for the 'safety, honour and welfare' of our nation and to this end, faithfully and efficiently execute all lawful commands, directions and policies of the government in power, with fidelity and to the utmost of their ability.  Reciprocally, it is the duty of the State (and its other executive instruments) to provide the armed forces, the means and wherewithal essential to perform the responsibilities and tasks assigned to them.  Now for the AFSPA. Except in war, or when guarding the international border, the Indian Army has no Constitutional authority or legal powers to use force or fire-arms against anyone, whosoever.  Like any other Indian citizen, the only legal right a soldier has, is the right of 'private defence' (of life or property), which must be proved post-facto, in a court of law, and this takes many years of court hearings.  The only other possibility of such use of force by the armed forces is when called out in 'aid to civil authority', where a magistrate must be present at each spot, and s/he must allow the use of force in writing, on a particular form, and only after completing these procedures can troops be ordered to use minimum force.  Well, today's terrorist/insurgent/militant/Naxalite does not allow you the luxury of a magistrate's presence, ready with a pen and form (and one would not be handy, everywhere and all the time) -- you are shot dead or blown-up in a jiffy, unless you are quicker and forestall him.  Any military commander ordering his troops to operate in a counter-insurgency role (cordons and searches, ambushes, counter-ambushes, pitched battles) against folks of this ilk, would be giving an unlawful command, not liable to be obeyed.  If obeyed, it would land all commanders down the chain and whole corps, divisions, brigades, battalions, companies, platoons and infantry sections before the courts of law, on charges of murder, assault, injury and destruction of property, obviously leaving no time or resources for any other military activities, for years.  So, to ensure that the army is able to perform its basic function of external defence and internal security of the nation, some pragmatic persons in the 1950s invented AFSPA for the Naga hills, and now it is applied on a 'fire-fighting basis' elsewhere also, not by the Indian Army but by the Government of India, when things get out of hand!  So before undermining AFSPA, understand one thing clearly -- in a democracy, only the elected government is mandated to govern -- if it fails and cannot find political solutions, and needs to exert State power to enforce its writ, then the army may be called in by the State -- it does not come in on its own.  So, ordering a soldier, who is also a citizen, to carry out counter-insurgency operations in the absence of any legal mandate, is to order her/him to commit murder and mayhem and this is not a lawful command and is legally and morally open to disobedience.  You apply AFPSA (or any suitable enabling legal measure) and it becomes a military operation, done in a military manner, with restraint and responsibility.  Aberrations will occur amongst humans, will be punished severely and promptly, but these aberrations are not policy. As simple as that!  So all those frantic for the removal of AFSPA, need to be clear on this -- abolish AFSPA, humanise it or whatever, but before that resolve politically or governance-wise, the problems which force the State to impose AFSPA (convince the insurgents, militants, terrorists, Naxalites [ Images ] to stop the mayhem and valley youth to stop chucking stones at the behest of 'organisers').  From the service chiefs downwards, no one can order a soldier to obey an unlawful command -- to inflict violence without legitimate legal sanction.  Thus, debates based on crass ignorance of ground realities are harmful for the community -- it is like banning a book or a movie without having read/seen it.  Soldiers are quite clear on where they stand on AFPSA, but is everyone else?

India, Japan signal ramping up of defence relations
PTI | 08:09 PM,Sep 27,2010  India, Japan signal ramping up of defence relations New Delhi, Sept 27 (PTI) Signalling ramping up of defence relations with Japan ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's tour, IAF Chief P V Naik will embark on a four-day visit to Tokyo tomorrow, even as a Japanese Army team will be here to plan joint exercises and exchanges for the first time. "Naik will be on a goodwill visit to Tokyo, basically to build bilateral military ties, while a Japanese Army team will be in Delhi to chalk out programmes aimed at furthering army-to-army contact," Defence Ministry officials said here today. The high-level visit come ahead of the Prime Minister's planned trip to Japan beginning October 24. Naik's visit comes three years after then Air Force chief S P Tyagi had gone to Tokyo on a visit. Naik, in his capacity as the Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, will be meeting with his Japanese defence forces' Chief of Staff General Kenichiro Hokazono when they would debate regional security issues. He would also be taking a tour of military installations of Japan and a couple of their training institutes during the visit. Naik will return to India on October 1. Gen Hokazono is expected to visit Delhi next year for the same purpose as Naik's current visit, officials said. Japanese army team led by its Director (Policy and Programme) Major General Koichiro Bansho and three other officers will be in Delhi till October 1 when they would be meeting with their Indian Army counterparts in a first-of-its kind effort at drawing up a calender of joint events. India has such an arrangement with eight other countries like the US, the UK, Israel, France, Australia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore. In the four-day discussion, the two sides are expected to share their mutual security concerns and issues and review the bilateral army-to-army relations. "They will also work out a plan to institutionalise a bilateral calendar of joint exercises, visits and exchanges between the two armies," the officials said. Defence Minister A K Antony too had visited Japan in November 2009. During that visit, Antony and his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa had reviewed the on-going defence related interactions and explored ways to enhance such exchanges for mutual benefit. Among the issues discussed then were conducting joint exercises between the two armed forces and exchange of students in their respective defence training institutions, and the possibilities of co-ordination of their respective Navy's efforts in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and other maritime security challenges. Indo-Japanese security and defence co-operation is guided by a joint statement issued by their Defence Ministers in May 2006 and the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation issued during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Japan in October 2008.


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