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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 01 Sep 2010

  State and Army in Pakistan How floods bring a harvest of gratitude
by Punyapriya Dasgupta  Of the two high-born Mirabeau brothers who lived through the French Revolution, the younger would have been quickly forgotten but for his legendary alcoholic prowess and one pithy observation he made: “Other states have their armies; in Prussia the army has a state.” Prussia no longer exists except in history books, but the truth in Mirabeau junior’s 12 words lives. In the immediate neighbourhood of India in the west an army has a State called Pakistan and in the east Myanmar (Burma) has been turned into a property of its army. The Myanmarese Generals’ grip on power is brutish. After refusing to abide by the electorate’s clear verdict two decades ago they are going to stage another election with preconditions tailored to their determination to hang on to ruthless oligarchic power. With its Nobel laureate leader Aung San Suu Kyi in the 14th year of house arrest and many of her party comrades in prison, the National League for Democracy (NLD), the winner of the 1990 election, will take no part in the contemplated bogus polls. In Pakistan, geopolitically a far more significant state in global politics, the current moves by the army are subtle and call for more attention.  After many doubts and fears about its genuineness Pakistan’s main political parties participated in the February 2008 general election and accepted the results as fair. The President Gen Pervez Musharraf went into exile and his successor as Army Chief Gen Ashfaque Kayani called all military officers heading civilian administrative units, including even dairy farms, back to the barracks. Pakistan today is trying to project an image of a civilian-ruled democracy. A low buzz of amusement mixed with incredulity inside the country as well as outside greeted the recent announcement in Islamabad that the Prime Minister had extended the tenure of General Kayani by three years.  The reality of the power equation in Pakistan had been demonstrated earlier. The civilian leaders of the government were made to realise that they must not venture into the army’s domains. The government of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was rapped on the knuckles when they ordered transfer of the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to the Ministry of Interior. Within a few hours the Gilani government issued a second statement saying that the notification placing the ISI under the Interior Ministry had been “misunderstood” which meant that the ISI remained with the Ministry of Defence — effectively with the army. In its scope and nature of operations the ISI resembles America’s CIA with the very important difference that in Pakistan it does not report to any civilian President.  In 33 of the 63 years since its creation Pakistan has been ruled by military Presidents. In the democratic interludes after the death of Gen Zia-ul-Haq the army got civilian Presidents to dismiss elected Prime Ministers — the late Benazir Bhutto twice, (in 1990 and 1996) and Mr Nawaz Sharif in 1993. Mr Sharif’s second ouster was directly by the army when he tried to sack the Army Chief, General Musharraf, and was himself thrown not only out of office but of the country as well. This chastisement of Mr Sharif was endorsed by the Supreme Court under the “doctrine of necessity”. After the make-believe restoration of democracy the shortsighted leaders of Pakistan’s main political parties vied among themselves in handing over the whip hand to the army.  Ms Benazir and Mr Sharif assiduously spread well-founded reports of their corruption and lobbied the army for the dethronement of whoever among them was in power at any time. In brutally frank words, neither of them was above prostituting Pakistan’s politics. In the current phase, politicians are trying to show themselves as more circumspect, but attempts at currying favour with the army leadership are evident. Pakistani commentators have interpreted the extension of the tenure of General Kayani as the Army Chief for three years as an insurance taken out for themselves by President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.  As of now, no army sword overhangs the civilian regime. But a question has arisen about the relative importance of the civil and military authorities in the State of Pakistan. Mr Richard Holbrooke, a peripatetic American diplomat currently hopping in and out of Pakistan and Afghanistan, has revealed, perhaps inadvertently, to the embarrassment of the Gilani government that General Kayani “is an enormously powerful political factor” in Pakistan and “we have extensive discussions with him.” This is confirmation of what was unofficially known to all: that Pakistan’s foreign relations too are guided largely by the army. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi may be impolite to his Indian counterpart — as it happened the last time they met in Islamabad — but he has to be respectful to what the army says about the handling of his portfolio.  The cataclysmic floods in Pakistan have brought the army a huge harvest of gratitude from the people nobody could have foreseen. The Generals had for long been reviled for their suppression of democracy and turning the country into their fief. At the head of every profitable organisation of the government sat an officer of the armed forces. General Kayani ended this system and since mid-July he has been seen visiting the flood-hit areas time and again. By contrast, the misery of his people made no difference to President Zardari enjoying his visit to France and Britain. He would not forego even his scheduled visit to the 16th century chateau in Normandy which his late wife Benazir Bhutto’s family had acquired and now belongs to him.  At home Prime Minister Gilani found coping with the floods beyond the capacity of his government and confessed it. He thought this was good enough reason why government officials were not seen trying to help the distressed people. Mr Gilani was taken on a visit to one relief centre and this one turned out to be a fake. The armed forces have filled all the gaps left by the government and are extracting all the credit for it. Wherever they go to rescue people or provide relief they advertise it with the help of banners.  Journalists are on frequent flood surveys in military helicopters, and Pakistan’s TV networks are full of pictures of the army providing succour to the affected people. In some refugee centres cries — spontaneous or tutored — are heard: “Army zindabad”. For the first time in Pakistan the armed forces are scoring high in winning the hearts and minds of the people — a fact testified by respected newspaper columnists. This will help General Kayani to guide Pakistan to wherever he intends to take it.

Sachin to be hony Gp Capt on Sept 3
 Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 31 Sachin Tendulkar will be conferred the rank of honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force, a post equivalent to a Colonel of the Indian Army, at a function here on September 3.  Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshall PV Naik will do the honours of actually “piping” the epaulettes on the shoulders of the great cricketer. Among others expected to attend the function are the top brass of the forces and Marshall of the Air Force Arjan Singh.  A decision to confer the rank on Sachin was taken in June. However, the function had to wait as the dates of Sachin’s availability were to be kept in mind. These had to be coordinated with his cricket schedule.  An honorary rank in the Indian armed forces can be granted to an Indian national who has rendered service of high order to the nation. Normally, such ranks are granted as per the status of the person, his position and age. Tendulkar (37) is around the same age when an officer is just short of reaching the Group Captain level that is after 17/18 years of service. All proposals of honorary ranks have to be cleared by the President.  In 2008, the Indian Army had conferred the rank of Lieut-Colonel on former cricketer Kapil Dev.

Chinese in PoK: Antony meets services chiefs
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 31 In view of the growing military implications of the Chinese presence in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the Defence Minister AK Antony was today briefed by the Chiefs of the three armed forces. The Defence Secretary was also present at the top-level briefing, sources confirmed today.  The Cabinet Committee on Security under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister met today and the matter was discussed in detail. Antony is also planning a visit to the forward areas in Ladakh in the coming few days, sources said. Here he will seek out the opinions of the top Army and IAF commanders who are expected to brief him on the implications of the Chinese presence in PoK and also what is India’s preparedness.  Actually, the Chinese presence has been noticed at Kunjerab pass that straddles the border between China and PoK. It is north-east of the recently opened Indian advanced landing ground at Daulat Beg Oldie where the IAF operates its AN-32 transport aircraft. The airstrip is on the Indian side that is south of the Karokaram range.  India has a “corps strength” stationed of the Army in Ladakh area that is equal to some 50,000-60,000 men, however, the area is so vast, isolated and difficult that some quick decisions will be needed to ramp up Indian infrastructure, said sources.  This visit of Antony to Ladakh is likely to fructify after he returns from a crucial two-day visit to South Korea on September 4.  Meanwhile sources said one of the key thrust areas where India would need change was its long-term plans and that would include rapid development of all-weather roads that could carry men and machines at faster pace in the entire Ladakh region. At present, the two road links -- via Srinagar and via Manali - remain cut-off for more than five to six months each year.

Army to play key role in conduct of C’wealth Games
Sandeep Yadav Tribune News Service  New Delhi, August 31 Delhi Police may be the face of security for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games but Indian Army would be taking up some key responsibilities. Apart from playing a key role in securing the key installations like Games Village, the army will also perform conduction role for events like marathons and cycling and do the honours in important ceremonies.  Its officers, considered much savvier than cops, would also shoulder the ceremonial responsibilities and liaison work during the 12-day event in the national capital. A senior army officer told The Tribune that close to 700 army personnel have already been roped in for securing various stadiums, more than 1000 men, officers as well as jawans, staying at the commands close to Delhi have been put on stand by notice.  “Security is the priority,” said an officer, adding that many army commandos would form Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) to respond decisively during the games in case some security exigency arises. “It would be naïve to think that Delhi Police constables with an AK-47 gun can make a commando and handle terror situation. In organizing an international event of this magnitude, it is vital to have army commandos or National Security Guards (NSG),” said the officer.

US ends Iraq combat mission
  Baghdad, August 31 Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Iraqis today their own soldiers and police are up to the job as US forces ended a combat role after seven years of fighting that has cost thousands of lives.  A major troop pullout over past months has left less than 50,000 US soldiers in Iraq while a simultaneous surge in car bombings and shootings, many targeting local security forces, has raised security concerns.  US President Barack Obama was to mark the symbolic end of combat operations in a speech from the Oval Office at 0000 GMT (3 am on Wednesday for Baghdadis), after visiting a base in Texas where he was to meet returned Iraq veterans.  He was also expected to speak by telephone with former President George W. Bush who, backed by key ally Britain, took the decision to invade Iraq in March 2003, ousting dictator Saddam Hussein within weeks.  In advance of Obama's speech, Maliki said on state television that Iraq was a "sovereign and independent" state and he was confident the last US forces would leave the country as planned at the end of 2011. — AFP

Army revises training to deal with unfit recruits 
James Dao, NYT News Service, Updated: August 31, 2010 11:43 IST Ads by Google  Army Records For Free? – Check Anyone's Army Records. Process Takes Less Than 5 Seconds!  Fort Jackson, South Carolina:  Dawn breaks at this, the Army's largest training post, with the reliable sound of fresh recruits marching to their morning exercise. But these days, something looks different.  That familiar standby, the situp, is gone, or almost gone. Exercises that look like pilates or yoga routines are in. And the traditional bane of the new private, the long run, has been downgraded.  This is the Army's new physical-training program, which has been rolled out this year at its five basic training posts that handle 145,000 recruits a year. Nearly a decade in the making, its official goal is to reduce injuries and better prepare soldiers for the rigors of combat in rough terrain like Afghanistan.  But as much as anything, the program was created to help address one of the most pressing issues facing the military today: overweight and unfit recruits   "What we were finding was that the soldiers we're getting in today's Army are not in as good shape as they used to be," said Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who oversees basic training for the Army. "This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue."  Excess weight is the leading reason the Army rejects potential recruits. And while that has been true for years, the problem has worsened as the waistlines of America's youth have expanded. This year, a group of retired generals and admirals released a report titled "Too Fat to Fight."  "Between 1995 and 2008, the proportion of potential recruits who failed their physicals each year because they were overweight rose nearly 70 percent," the report concluded.  Though the Army screens out the seriously obese and completely unfit, it is still finding that many of the recruits who reach basic training have less strength and endurance than privates past. It is the legacy of junk food and video games, compounded by a reduction in gym classes in many high schools, Army officials assert.  As a result, it is harder for recruits to reach Army fitness standards, and more are getting injured along the way. General Hertling said that the percentage of male recruits who failed the most basic fitness test at one training center rose to more than one in five in 2006, up from just 4 percent in 2000. The percentages were higher for women.  Another study found that at one training center in 2002, 3 recruits suffered stress fractures of the pubic bone, but last year the number rose to 39. The reason, General Hertling said: not enough weight-bearing exercise and a diet heavy on sugared sodas and energy drinks but light in calcium and iron.  The new fitness regime tries to deal with all these problems by incorporating more stretching, more exercises for the abdomen and lower back, instead of the traditional situps, and more agility and balance training. It increases in difficulty more gradually. And it sets up a multiweek course of linked exercises, rather than offering discrete drills.  There are fewer situps, different kinds of push-ups and fewer long runs, which Army officials say are good for building strength and endurance but often lead to injuries. They also do not necessarily prepare soldiers for carrying heavy packs or sprinting short distances.  "We haven't eliminated running," General Hertling said. "But it's trying to get away from that being the only thing we do." (The new system does include plenty of sprinting.)  Some of the new routines would look familiar to a devotee of pilates, yoga or even the latest home workout regimens on DVD, with a variety of side twists, back bridges and rowinglike exercises. "It's more whole body," said First Lt. Tameeka Hayes, a platoon leader for a class of new privates at Fort Jackson. "No one who has done this routine says we've made it easier."  The program was largely the brainchild of two former gym teachers who now run the Army Physical Fitness School based here. They are a military version of Click and Clack, finishing each other's sentences and wisecracking with the alternating beat of gas-fired pistons.  One, Stephen Van Camp, is a former professional kick-boxer who unwittingly ran a marathon with a fractured ankle. "That's not tough. That's stupid," he now says. The other, Frank Palkoska, is a former Army officer and West Point fitness instructor who adorns his office here with black-and-white photographs of 19th-century exercise classes and an assortment of retrograde equipment like medicine balls and wooden dumbbells.  "It's back to the future," Mr. Palkoska says before starting into a lament about the Xbox generation. "Technology is great, but it's killing us."  As he and Mr. Van Camp started developing what became a 434-page manual, they began by considering what combat soldiers do and came up with a checklist of things like throwing grenades and dodging gunfire.  Then they matched those needs with exercises. Some of those are already in use by the Army, but others are new and still others are drawn from century-old routines. There are drills that mimic climbing, that teach soldiers how to roll and that require swift lateral movements. Some are done in body armor.  The old style of physical training, he said, was less relevant to soldiers' tasks, which entail lots of jumping, crouching and climbing. "What we did in the morning had nothing to do with what we did the rest of the day," Mr. Palkoska said.  Under General Hertling, the new regimen will also include a makeover of the mess halls at its training bases. At Fort Jackson, there are more green leafy vegetables, less fried food, and milk instead of soda. The food line includes color-coded messages to encourage privates to eat low-fat entrees (marked in green). And there are other changes: no more assaulting tires with bayonets, but more time spent on rifle marksmanship and fighting with padded pugil sticks.  The trick now will be to push the program into the rest of the Army, where evidence suggests many soldiers are becoming overweight, particularly during or soon after deployments. The Army Training and Doctrine Command recently distributed the new fitness policy to the entire Army, officially replacing a physical fitness field manual that was first published in 1992.  While the training posts will have to follow the new program, since they are under General Hertling's command, it is not mandatory for officers in the field. Every unit's exercise routine is determined by its commander, and the current generation of officers has been indoctrinated under the old system.  The key, Mr. Palkoska says, will be to revamp the Army's fitness test, which is taken twice a year. It measures a soldier's ability to do situps, push-ups and a two-mile run. Since soldiers often train to the test, those are the exercises most of them do.  Mr. Palkoska and Mr. Van Camp hope the Army will revise that test by including new kinds of exercises and perhaps eliminating the situp.  "We know kids today are less fit," Mr. Palkoska said. "We have to adjust."  Soldier Held in Slaying  FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (AP) -- Sgt. Rashad Valmont of the Army Reserve was fasting to meet strict military weight guidelines and nearly catatonic when he shot and killed a supervisor, the soldier's lawyer said.  Details of the shooting were revealed for the first time Monday at a military hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial.  The lawyer, William Cassara, said that Sergeant Valmont, who faces a premeditated murder charge, was dehydrated, exhausted and delirious when he burst into Master Sgt. Pedro Mercado's office in Fort Gillem in June. Mr. Cassara said Sergeant Valmont had spent weeks trying body wraps and sauna treatments and starving himself.

Antony’s South Korea visit to boost defence ties
Aman Malik & Elizabeth Roche Close on the heels of a June visit to South Korea by external affairs minister S.M. Krishna, defence minister A.K. Antony is set to undertake a two-day visit to the East Asian nation in a bid to “boost defence co-operation between the two countries”. Antony, who will begin his visit on 2 September, will be accompanied by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar, defence adviser Sundaram Krishna and senior army and navy officials. “The visit is part of India’s ‘Look East policy’ and a wide range of issues, including defence and bilateral co-operation in research and development for manufacture of military equipment, will figure prominently during the visit,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The visit comes in the backdrop of reports of a massive Chinese military presence in the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and a recent Pentagon report that details the Chinese build-up. “Antony was supposed to visit South Korea later this year but the fact that he is going now, so close after Krishna’s visit, indicates that there is some urgency in countering China’s military build-up by forging stronger military and strategic ties with South Korea,” said Rajaram Panda, senior fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (Idsa). Since May, Antony has visited Oman and Seychelles and is scheduled to visit the US in late September and Vietnam in October as part of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). Panda said India is looking to effectively counter the Chinese “string of pearls” strategy and Antony’s visit should be looked at in a larger context. “We could safely say that these are the beginnings of an India-South Korea-Japan axis as a counterpoise to the Pakistan-China-North Korea one,” he said. China’s “string of pearls” strategy is designed to control maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR)) by building bases or partnering with countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar in securing sea routes to move cargo and oil. India and Japan have been holding negotiations toward concluding a civil nuclear deal and analysts point out that India would actively look to pursue a similar deal with South Korea. “Although chances of an Indo-Japan civil nuclear deal appear bright, Japan does have domestic political issues which could come in the way. In South Korea’s case, though, there is no such issue,” said Panda. “Japan has always been on India’s strategic grid but not South Korea, which, because of its technological prowess, has a potentially large stake in India’s defence market,” said defence analyst Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar. “These back-to-back visits and bilateral exchanges are a tacit acknowledgement of that fact.” Analysts say India would also seek to tap into South Korea’s strong capabilities in ship-building technology. “South Korea has marched ahead of Japan in naval ship-building technology, so it makes sense for India to build synergies with that country, considering the fact that our naval ship-building yards have their hands full,” added Bhaskar. In recent years, India has increased its military, especially maritime, engagement with countries in the IOR. The Indian Navy has been involved in anti-piracy operations off the Gulf of Aden. “Both the South Koreans and the Japanese are equally dependent on the IOR as their maritime trade routes run via the IOR. Considering the fact that India is the predominant naval force in the IOR, co-operation with India becomes inevitable,” Bhaskar said.

PM meets cabinet panel to discuss China chill 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security to discuss the chill in relations with China, triggered by issues related to Jammu & Kashmir.  New Delhi had put on hold defence exchanges, barring the border personal meeting, country following Beijing's refusal to allow a visit by a senior Indian army officer.  The 90-minute meeting was also attended by India's Ambassador to China S.Jaishankar who briefed the CCS about the developments in the past few weeks. National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon also present at the meeting.  The consultations by the Prime Minister also come in the wake of reports of China posting about 11,000 troops in the  Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and Kashmir which has been held by Pakistan. New Delhi has been watching keenly on Chinese position on J& K that includes issuing stapled visa to the state residents, and Beijing helping PoK projects, reaching a flashpoint with Gen Lt Gen Jaswal being refused permission to visit China.  Chinese Ambassador to India Zhang Yang was called in by the MEA and Chinese defence ministry issued a statement, stating they haven’t stopped defence exchange with India.  Earlier in the day, Defence Minister A.K. Antony reviewed the security scenario in the wake of reports suggesting the  presence of Chinese soldiers in parts of Jammu and Kashmir held by Pakistan and deployment of missiles along India's eastern borders.  The meeting reviewed the preparedness of the armed forces after reports emerged about Chinese military posturing along Indian borders and presence of more than 11,000 Chinese troops in Gilgit and Baltistan in the PoK.

Antony reviews security scenario
2010-08-31 19:00:00  Defence Minister A.K. Antony Tuesday reviewed the security scenario with the three service chiefs, the first such meeting after a controversy erupted over China refusing to welcome an Indian Army general as he had Jammu and Kashmir under his command.  Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar was also present during the meeting.  'A variety of issues were discussed, including the situation in India's immediate neighbourhood,' an official said.  The China issue was also understood to have figured in the discussions.  Military ties between India and China have been thrown into disarray after it was reported last week that Beijing had refused to welcome Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal as he had a 'difficult' area under his command.  Jaswal heads the Northern Command that guards the borders with China and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. He was to visit Beijing as part of a routine high-level exchange.  As an immediate fallout of the Jaswal episode, three Chinese army officers have been denied visas. Two captains were to visit Pachmarhi and a colonel had been invited for a guest lecture at the National Defence College here.  On Friday, when the controversy erupted, Antony said the cancellation of Jaswal's visit was 'not the question of breaking ties.'  'There are occasional problems but that will not affect our broader approach,' he told reporters in Hyderabad.  However, informed sources said India-China military exchanges had been put on hold till the issue was resolved.  'We should not only introspect, but there is little point in taking forward defence exchanges unless this is resolved,' the sources told IANS.  The meeting called by Antony is also understood to have discussed the construction by China of dams and roads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Media a potent force multiplier: Indian Army chief
 2010-08-31 20:40:00  The media should be viewed not only as a synergy partner but as a 'potent' force multiplier and the military should take formal steps to acknowledge the role of the media by establishing formalized accreditation and training processes, the Indian Army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh said Tuesday.  'It is prudent to view media not only as a synergy partner but as a potent force multiplier,' he said in his keynote address at a two-day seminar on Media-Military Synergy being conducted by the Army Training Command, here.  He set the pace of the seminar, by highlighting the role of media as the guardian of democratic values. He also acknowledged that a journalist is a trustee of the society and that he must always uphold that trust.  Realising the urgency of graduating into a more open and supportive relationship with the media in future, the army chief said that the military should take formal steps to acknowledge the role of the media by establishing formalized accreditation and training processes.  In his opening remarks, Lt. Gen. A.S. Lamba, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command said: 'War is won by military force, the general's strategic acumen, diplomatic resolve and skill; but it is the media that gets the message through to the public and strengthens public opinion.'  The services need to appreciate the media's potential influence to mutual benefit, he added.  The key to convergence, Lamba pointed out, lay in understanding each other and rising above institutional cultures and compulsions and willingness to endure a few setbacks.  'The seminar is aimed at identifying comprehensively respective viewpoints towards achieving desired synergy, fostering mutual understanding and setting the ground for maximising desired influence on this important issue,' a defence ministry statement said.  'While the perspective session revealed lessons relating to varying viewpoints and standoffs that project military operations and day-to-day events, the follow on session identified timelines and transparency as an imperative,' the statement added.  Focusing on existing models and examples in media military convergence the world over, the speakers drew parallels in our own context. There was a visible need to elevate the synergy from the tactical and operational to the strategic level to ensure image and perceptions are appropriately facilitated.  Ethics, deadlines and competition among the media needed to be understood by the military, the speakers said.  Amongst the participants Tuesday were Mark Tully (former BBC bureau chief), Suhasini Haidar (CNN-IBN), K.V. Prasad and Sandeep Dikshit (The Hindu), Sanjay Ahirwal (NDTV), former Indian Navy chief Admiral (retd) Arun Prakash and noted defence analyst Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar.

BAE Systems bids for Indian Army's artillery gun order
2010-08-31 17:50:00    BAE Systems has submitted a fresh bid for an Indian Army order for 155mm towed howitzers, the company said Tuesday, adding that it was offering an advanced version of the gun that had performed extremely creditably during the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan.  The BAE offer is 'based on the FH77 B05 155mm howitzer, and a significant proportion will be manufactured in India to meet the specific needs of the Indian Army', a company statement said.  'The FH77 B05 is a more powerful, updated and computerised version of the howitzer that performed so well in the Kargil conflict. FH77B05 has significantly greater range than its predecessor, but retains many of the features that endeared the system to its users in the Indian Army,' the statement added.  The army is known to be immediately looking for 400 towed howitzers as part of its artillery modernisation programme that has suffered inordinate delays. The numbers could eventually go up to 1,600. If the entire modernistion programme is taken into account, the army will be shopping for some 5,000 howitzers in the next two decades in a combination of towed, self-propelled and ultra-light guns.  The BAE bid is in response to a fresh request for information (RFI) issued by the defence ministry last month after the previous tendering process was cancelled after it had reached the summer field trial phase.  No official reason has been assigned for the cancellation but sources said this was because some of the contenders could not meet the conditions stipulated in the tender.  'BAE Systems and the FH77 B05 was present and ready to take part in those cancelled trials in Rajasthan and the (gun) remains in India ready to recommence the process,' the statement said.  Andrew Gallagher, managing director and chief executive of BAE Systems India, said: 'BAE Systems is confident that the FH77 B05 is the best heavy towed howitzer in the world today and meets the requirements of the Indian Army.'  'If selected...our FH77 howitzer will be largely manufactured by Defence Land Systems India, our joint venture with Mahindra and we hope this will be the first step to establishing this business as an artillery centre of excellence, for BAE Systems globally. Furthermore it will create highly skilled local jobs in India,' Gallagher added.  Anand Mahindra, vice chairman and managing director of the Mahindra Group, said: 'Working on this programme will bring world-leading artillery technology to India for the first time, setting in motion the process of making Defence Land Systems India a global force in artillery.'  BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009, BAE Systems reported sales of $36.2 billion (Rs.1.7 trillion).

China placing missiles in G-B, encircling India: Jaswant Singh  
* BJP leader claims Chinese military building road, rail networks in G-B  * Says even Pak Army denied access to building sites  By Iftikhar Gilani/ap  NEW DELHI: The Chinese military has dug tunnels in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and is storing missiles there in an attempt to encircle India, claimed a senior leader of India's Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday.  Speaking in Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Indian parliament, BJP leader Jaswant Singh claimed that the Chinese military is storing missiles in tunnels it has dug in G-B. The target of the missiles, he said, is India. Singh warned that Beijing was trying to "encircle" India. He said it has set up permanent structures in G-B in Jammu and Kashmir, which he said is "an inalienable part of India".  Rail, road networks: Singh remarked Pakistan has handed over G-B to China and the People's Liberation Army personnel were digging tunnels there to set up rail and road networks for placement of missiles. He asserted that "even locals and Pakistan Army personnel were not allowed to venture in those areas".  The former foreign minister stressed that it was an issue of vital national importance on which the government must respond in unequivocal terms. He criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent statement on China's actions, which said that ''we do not have to be reciprocal'. Singh said that India was being encircled by the People's Republic of China and the prime minister chooses not to respond. He observed that statecraft was a cruel dealing where personal niceties had little relevance.  Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday denied reports that appeared in a section of the press that India's maps had been confiscated by Chinese authorities from the country's pavilion at World Expo 2010. "I have seen a report in the Times of India about the alleged confiscation of some printed material depicting the Indian map... there is no factual basis to this report," a ministry spokesperson said.  According to the newspaper, officials of China's Public Security Bureau (PSB) barged into the Indian pavilion at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and seized brochures bearing India's map, saying they were taking away the maps because China objected to showing northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Indian territory. The spokesperson, however said, "there has been no interference in the functioning of our pavilion at the Shanghai Expo."  China had recently refused visa to an Indian Army general on the grounds that he commanded troops in Indian-held Kashmir, which it described as a disputed area. China said on Monday that it had not received any word from New Delhi that it had suspended military exchanges over the refusal of visa. An anonymous senior Indian official was quoted as saying in The Hindu on Saturday that future military exchanges and a joint exercise between Indian and Chinese defence forces would remain suspended until China resolved the issue.  "China did not suspend military exchanges with India, nor did it receive any communication from India about a suspension of exchanges between the two militaries," China's Ministry of National Defence said in a statement faxed to The Associated Press in response to questions.

NAG Indian Army Anti Tank Missile
  25  Share  Nag (Cobra) anti-tank missile Nag is a third-generation “fire and forget” anti-tank guided missile with a range of 4 to 6 kilometers. Nag can be mounted on an infantry combat vehicle and helicopter launched version of Nag is also available. Nag is a third generation anti-tank missile system with fire and forget and top attack capabilities. Capable of defeating modern armour, Nag uses Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) guidance having both day and night capability. The state-of-the-art Imaging Infra Red homing guidance system has lock-on-before-launch capability for day and night operation. A smokeless nitramine based propellant has been developed for the Nag. The missile is carried either on NAMICA (Traced ICV) or the Advanced Light Helicopter. Its high strength composite airframe with foldable wings and fins, onboard real time processor with fast and efficient algorithms, compact sensor package and electric actuation system, digital autopilot and high immunity to counter measures, make this a formidable missile. For the Army, the missiles will be carried by specialist carrier vehicles equipped with a thermal imager for target acquisition. It can carry tour missiles at a time. For the Air Force, a nose-mounted thermal imaging system has been developed for guiding the missile’s trajectory. A twin launcher for the Advanced Light Helicopter and a single launcher for Cheetah helicopter have also been successfully developed. Nag,is the last of the five missile systems successfully …

Diesel selling army officer’s interim bail extended
31 08 2010 0 0 i Rate This  Quantcast  A court in this Himachal Pradesh capital Monday extended interim anticipatory bail granted to an Indian Army officer who was caught red handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) allegedly selling diesel from the army’s stocks.  District and Sessions Judge B.R. Chandel extended the interim pre-arrest bail of Captain Vikalp Purohit till Sep 6, but he asked the army officer to cooperate with the investigating agency.  Purohit of the General Reserve Engineering Force, a wing of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), was posted at Koksar in Lahaul and Spiti district and was caught Aug 20 by CBI sleuths who posed as decoy customers.  The diesel was meant for the BRO’s Project Deepak, which maintains a 222-km stretch between Manali and Sarchu, part of the 475-km Manali-Leh National Highway-21.  The CBI summoned Purohit last week to its office here and grilled him. It also summoned all the records of diesel supplies and consumption by the BRO for verification.  It couldn’t arrest him as the accused got the anticipatory bail Aug 23.  CBI Superintendent of Police R. Upasak said the army officer was trapped by two decoy customers, who presented themselves as contractors of the state public works department.  They entered into negotiations with him and he was ready to sell 800 litres of diesel to them.  The CBI is suspecting a larger racket in the army of illegal sale of official diesel quota assigned to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the open market.  “Our suspicion of a larger link in the illegal sale of government diesel supplies is based on the fact that the decoy cops of the CBI, who were posing as contractors of the Public Works Department, were offered a deal of nearly five barrels supply each month by the GREF officer. Only after we go through the stock records can we comment on involvement of any other officials,” said Superintendent of Police at CBI, Shimla, R Upasak..  The CBI has already registered a case against Purohit.

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