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Thursday, 2 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 02 Sep 2010

College of Defence Management being upgraded
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, September 1 The College of Defence Management (CDM), a tri-service establishment responsible for instilling contemporary management thoughts, concepts and practices in the senior military leadership is being upgraded with additional institutions being set up under its ambit.  This will broaden the ambit of its training programmes to meet contemporary and future requirements to groom military leaders. The CDM, the only military training institution of its kind in Asia, will be renamed as the Institute of Defence Management and will in turn have three institutions under it, including the existing CDM. The other two institutes coming up are - the College of Industrial Resources Management (CIRM) and the Centre for Research and Consultancy.  The CIRM will impart education in the resource component of national power, with special emphasis on material acquisition and joint logistics, and their integration into national security strategy in peace and war, according to information released by the Ministry of Defence recently.  Upgradation of the CDM comes in the wake of the Indian National Defence University (INDU) being set up in Haryana. The CDM, along with other category-A training establishments like the National Defence Academy, Army War College and the Defence Services Staff College, would be affiliated to the INDU. At present these are affiliated with various regional universities.  The INDU is being set up near Gurgaon and is expected to set benchmark academic standards and create synergy between existing military institutes of learning and address strategic security challenges by bringing them under one authority. According to the ministry, the acquisition of land, creation of infrastructure and development of the university is expected to be completed over a period of seven years at an estimated expenditure of Rs 395 crore. This includes about Rs 100 crore for acquisition of land.  The Defence Ministry has also listed out four new institutes to be set up under the INDU, the most prominent of which are the College of National Security Policy (CNSP) and the National Institute of Strategic Studies (NISS). The CNSP will conduct a 10-month post-graduate instructional course for colonels and their equivalent civilian officers. The NISS will consist of a Department of War Gaming and Simulation and a Department of Research that will have centres of neighbourhood studies, counterterrorism, chinese studies, strategic thought, international security issues, maritime security, etc.  The other two proposed institutes are the Institute of Advanced Technology Studies, having two colleges dealing with technology and information security and the Department of Distance Learning that is envisioned to bring distance learning within the reach of service personnel.

  India’s neighbourhood policies The gap between promise and performance
by G. Parthasarathy  AS Ambassador to Myanmar, I had proposed in 1994 that, as Myanmar was interested in letting us develop the hydroelectric potential of the Chindwin river for the supply of between 1000 and 1500 MW of electricity to India, we should seek early implementation of this project, located close to Myanmar’s borders with Manipur. After some hesitation by the Ministry of Power, which claimed that there was surplus power in our Northeast, successive Prime Ministers supported early implementation of this project. The Myanmar government was advised about our intention to go ahead with its implementation.  Sixteen years later, we have not even finalised a detailed project report. There are now indications that in recent days China may have well tried to derail this project — a situation we could have avoided if we had acted more expeditiously. Delays in being unable to determine how we would transfer gas from an offshore field in Myanmar, in which both GAIL and ONGC had an equity stake, resulted in Rangoon deciding to supply gas to China.  While we may be able to tide over such developments in Myanmar, there now appear to be distinct possibilities that because of lack of attention, inertia and procrastination, we could well lose a historic opportunity to put our relations with Bangladesh on a sound footing. Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League swept to a decisive electoral victory in December 2008, winning 230 seats and securing a two-thirds parliamentary majority. Showing immense courage, Sheikh Hasina has declared Bangladesh a secular republic. She has overseen the signature of agreements with India on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, the transfer of sentenced persons, and combating terrorism. Anti-Indian Islamists from groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Harkat-ul-Jihad Al-Islami, apart from separatists like the ULFA’s Arabinda Rajkhowa and the NDFB’s Ranjan Daimari have been quietly put behind bars, though for understandable reasons. Bangladesh avoids publicising its actions. Pressures in Bangladesh have forced top ULFA leaders to flee to safe havens along the Myanmar-China border.  The visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Delhi earlier this year produced a broad road-map for future cooperation. Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee visited Dhaka on August 7 and inked an agreement for extending a soft loan of $ 1 billion for 14 projects in Bangladesh. He proclaimed: “I am sure this credit line will be a stepping stone for a shared destiny and will transform our bilateral relationship.” The line of credit will finance projects ranging from railway lines and equipment to the dredging of rivers and the supply of buses. India has also agreed to supply 250 MW of electricity from its grid to Bangladesh. Our image and credibility will be seriously compromised if the promised electricity is not made available expeditiously.  Bangladesh has agreed to the transit of Indian goods across its territory to our Northeast for the Palatona power project. But, given the opposition to such transit within Bangladesh, India should fulfil its commitment of improving the road network from within Bangladesh to Tripura before it is accused of damaging Bangladesh roads for the transit of its goods. Moreover, the Indian bureaucracy has little enthusiasm for upgrading and modernising border crossing points in remote areas. This needs to be addressed. Politically, the agreement for India to construct a bridge across the Feni river to facilitate trade would dilute Begum Khaleda Zia’s anti-Indian rhetoric, as it would facilitate border trade through her constituency. After agreeing to a long-pending request from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh for according transit rights for Chittagong and Mongia ports, India has to fulfil its commitment expeditiously.  India has shown an overly protectionist attitude in its approach to SAARC neighbours like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by placing key items of interest to these countries in a “negative list”, denying them duty-free access. This is short-sighted, given that we have a trade surplus approaching $3 billion with Bangladesh. It would be statesmanlike if India moves to expeditiously end the restrictions on the import of around 61 items of specific interest to Bangladesh. It is ridiculous to pretend that we are a rising economic power if we behave like an economic pygmy with smaller neighbours. There would be an immense political benefit if our Commerce Ministry acted to end these restrictions before the end of this year.  Sheikh Hasina is facing domestic criticism spearheaded by the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami for allegedly having sold out to India. She will have to show that relations with India are producing tangible and visible benefits for Bangladesh and that long-pending differences are being resolved. Under the 1974 Indira-Mujib agreement, India is required to hand over around 111 enclaves to Bangladesh and in return it will get 51 enclaves from Dhaka. It took us 18 years to lease a small corridor of land near Tin Bigha to Bangladesh, which we were required to do under the 1974 agreement. Barely 6.5 kilometres out of the 4096-km land border remains undemarcated. Measures need to be agreed upon so that the border is expeditiously demarcated.  The “Tin Bigha Corridor’ gave access in perpetuity to the Dahagram-Angarpota enclave and it was agreed during Sheikh Hasina’s visit that while Bangladesh would provide electrification to the affected population, India would build a flyover for unfettered Indian use while Bangladesh would use the ground under the flyover for its nationals. India should fulfil this commitment given by its Prime Minister immediately, given the sensitivity of this issue, which is seen as a litmus test of Indian seriousness and sincerity.  There are two factors which seriously undermine our ability to maintain a sustained effort in our relations with otherwise friendly neighbours like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The first is the excessive importance and attention given to Pakistan which, as other neighbours believe, is at their expense. Surely, the time has come to realise, as Indira Gandhi realistically did, that relations with Pakistan are not going to materially change in a hurry and that on issues like trade and economic cooperation, we should stop giving the impression that we are yearning to get trade and economic concessions from our western neighbour.  A policy of “benign neglect” on economic issues and realistic and low-key political and diplomatic engagement is the only realistic way to deal with Pakistan. Secondly, there is need for a dedicated inter-disciplinary team at the Secretary level to seek imaginative ways for a forward-looking engagement with other neighbours. This team’s primary role can be to anticipate problems, assess opportunities and see that promises made by us are implemented, with the National Security Adviser and the Prime Minister constantly overseeing its work.

Prez visits Leh with soothing words Interacts with survivors, praises Army, IAF men
Archit Watts writes from Choglamsar  September 1 Visiting cloudburst-hit Leh, President Pratibha Patil today assured survivors every kind of support and appealed to them not to lose heart. Though she did not announce additional relief, she did say that the assurances by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his recent visit would soon become a reality.  On her maiden visit to Leh, Patil reached the Solar Valley Relief Camp in this village around noon. Without delay, she began interacting with the 1,000-odd survivors present and accepted their memorandums.  “I have come here to see your plight and share your grief. We are with you at this time of tragedy. We love you and sympathise with you,” Patil said, while distributing shawls and sweaters to survivors in the relief camp. “Money alone will not be enough. We all must show extra courage to give rebirth to the dreams of Leh,” she said.  The cloudburst on the intervening night of August 5 and 6 had led to flash floods and mudslides, which claimed around 175 lives and injured about 400 people, besides causing widespread damage to public and private property.  The President then moved to the Army’s Rinchen Auditorium to meet Army and Air Force troops.  Commending the special efforts of the forces, she said, “My deepest sympathies go out to those who have lost their loved ones and to those uniformed personnel who have suffered during this calamity.”  Patil expressed a desire to meet all officers present there. Interacting with them later, she lavished praise on medical teams for restoring hospital facilities within hours of the catastrophe and treating nearly 550 injured.  “The special efforts to locate missing persons and rescue the stranded, including foreign tourists, show the hard work done by everyone with or without uniform and I personally admire it,” she said.  Before leaving for New Delhi after a nearly two-hour visit, the President said, “I am really impressed with the determination and courage of our jawans. Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country and I commend all those personnel who have left their homes to work in high altitude areas. All of you have always done a great job and we expect the same in future.”  Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah and Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh accompanied the President.   The Real Hero  l The President individually named and praised Havildar Sonam Paljor of Choglamsar village. He lost his father, mother and brother in the disaster but did not take leave and helped survivors. “I salute the soldier’s patriotic approach,” she said.  l GoC-in-C of the Northern Command Lt Gen BS Jaswal called Havildar Paljor the real hero. “His efforts are unbelievable. He deserves appreciation or an award.” 

China’s role in Arunachal, J&K puts India on guard
Ashok Tuteja & Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, September 1 Aggressive posturing by China on Jammu and Kashmir and its unusual interest in the Indian Ocean has annoyed New Delhi, forcing it to seriously consider ways to counter Beijing. India is considering adopting a “proactive” approach on Tibet and also exposing China’s clandestine nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.  According to sources privy to yesterday’s meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the government is considering a multi-pronged strategy to deal with China’s aggressiveness on issues critical to India's sovereignty, particularly J&K and Arunachal Pradesh. The message is clear to Beijing -- its recent actions on J&K were not in line with the efforts being made by New Delhi to normalise ties notwithstanding the complex border dispute.  Sources said India would stick to its stance of not having any military ties with China following its refusal to give visa to Lt Gen BS Jaswal on the ground that he commands Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Notably, Gen Jaswal was to go to China on a scheduled official visit. India, in retaliation, suspended defence exchanges and denied visas to three Chinese Army officers who were slated to visit India. The Armies of the two nations had conducted brief joint exercises on counter-terrorism in the past.  Meanwhile, a top-level military delegation from India tonight heads for Korea — China’s ‘not so cordial’ neighbour — to look at strategic cooperation for developing niche military equipment. Defence Minister AK Antony will lead the delegation. “India is looking at specific high-end research and development being done in the private sector in Korea… some of the Korean companies are doing well… India is looking at a mechanism by which the two countries can work together,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Defence. Leading private companies, which are global giants, have very good technology in shipbuilding and precision engineering, said sources.  Separately, sources said a section of officials within the South Block feel it is time for India to become proactive on Tibet as well as on China’s clandestine nuclear cooperation with Pakistan. So far, New Delhi has consistently maintained that the Tibetan Autonomous Region is an integral part of China.  A senior official said, “Our position on Tibet should not be misunderstood as a sign of weakness by China… what if we also start questioning the status of Tibet.’’  India, has also decided to campaign vigorously against China’s decision to build two nuclear power plants for Pakistan in violation of the guidelines of the nuclear suppliers’ group (NSG). The sources said New Delhi would in the coming days lobby over the issue with leading NSG members, which have been vehemently opposed to nuclear proliferation.  India is also wary of Beijing’s attempts to entrench its influence in India’s neighbourhood, particularly in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna yesterday told Parliament that China’s “more than the normal interest” in Indian Ocean affairs and its “intentions” were being closely monitored.  New Delhi has come to realise that China has been showing more than normal interest in the Indian Ocean. In January this year, India along with 12 of its eastern neighbours had conducted a massive six-day naval exercise off the coast of Andaman Islands. Some of the participating nations do not have “cordial relations” with China.  This is the second time in recent years that China has questioned the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India, clearly reflecting its tilt towards its “fair weather friend” Pakistan on what is essentially a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Early last year, China had started ve interestissuing visas to Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir on separate sheets, stapled on the passports.   Taming the dragon  l New Delhi to adopt ‘proactive’ approach on Tibet; will expose Beijing’s clandestine N-cooperation with Pakistan  l India wary of China’s attempts to increase influence in India's neighbourhood — in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Maldives  l Defence Minister Antony leaves for Korea, China’s ‘not so good’ neighbour, with top-level military delegation

US deaths in Afghanistan hit record in 2010
AFP/PTI / Kabul September 01, 2010, 13:09 IST  The number of US soldiers killed in the Afghan war in 2010 is the highest annual toll since the conflict began almost nine years ago, according to an AFP count today.  A total of 323 US soldiers have been killed in the Afghan war this year, compared to 317 for all of 2009, according to a count by AFP based on the independent icasualties.Org website.  Foreign forces suffered a grim spike in deaths last month as the Taliban insurgency intensified, with NATO confirming today that a sixth US soldier was killed on one of the bloodiest days this year.  At 490, the overall death toll for foreign troops for the first eight months of the year is rapidly closing in the number registered in all of 2009, which at 521 was a record since the start of the war in late 2001.  A total of 80 international soldiers died in the Afghan war last month, 56 of them Americans.  In all, 1,270 US troops have lost their lives since the conflict began with the US-led invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.  US President Barack Obama yesterday warned that the United States faced a "very tough fight" in Afghanistan, with more casualties and "heartbreak" to come.  "We obviously still have a very tough fight in Afghanistan," Obama told troops in Texas as the United States marked the formal end of combat operations in Iraq.  "We have seen casualties go up because we are taking the fight to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban," Obama said. "It is going to be a tough slog."  NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed that a sixth US soldier died yesterday, killed in an insurgent attack in the south of the country.  This followed the previously announced deaths on yesterday of another five US soldiers, four of them killed in a roadside bomb attack, which is the hallmark of the Taliban fighting style.

N-subs: India debates, China struggles
September 02, 2010 03:53 IST Tags: SSN, SSBN, Advanced Technology Vessel, Indian Navy, China Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  An increasingly apparent reason for the Ministry of Defence's slow decision-making on a second submarine production line for the Indian Navy is: the deep divisions within the navy over India's [ Images ] submarine force. A debate rages between the submarine arm and the surface navy — particularly the dominant aviation wing — on whether the future lies in submarines or aircraft carriers. The navy's submariners, meanwhile, debate the merits of conventional versus nuclear-powered submarines. Click!  Slowed by these internal debates, India's 30-Year Submarine Construction Plan, which the government approved in 1999, has languished. The 30-Year plan envisioned building 24 conventional submarines in India. Six were to be built from western technology and six with Russian collaboration; then Indian designers, having absorbed the best of both worlds, would build 12 submarines indigenously. Project 75, to build six Scorpene submarines (the "western" six), was contracted in 2005. In this series of articles, Business Standard has reported that the MoD believes it is still 4-6 years away from Project 75I, i.e. beginning work on the second six submarines.  A senior retired admiral, reflecting the views of the submarine arm, blames the navy's "aircraft carrier lobby" for the delay in building submarines. He alleges: "The last two naval chiefs (Admirals Arun Prakash and Sureesh Mehta) were aviators, who had no interest in using the navy's limited budget for building submarines. So they exploited the division of opinion amongst submariners — the nuclear-powered versus conventional submarine debate — to push submarine building into the future."  Nuclear-powered submarines are of two types: ballistic missile submarines (called SSBNs) and attack submarines (referred to as SSNs). Both are propelled by power from a miniature on-board reactor, but SSBNs also fire nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. SSBNs are not a part of the fighting navy; they constitute a country's nuclear deterrent and fire their nuclear-tipped missiles on orders from the national leadership. SSNs operate as part of a naval fleet, moving under nuclear power and sinking surface warships with conventional torpedoes and missiles.  Interestingly, India is the only country that has chosen to build SSBNs (the recently-launched INS Arihant [ Images ], and two successor submarines) before building an SSN force. The reason has been a deeply felt need to operationalise the nuclear triad — land, sea and air-based nuclear delivery systems that India's Draft Nuclear Doctrine stipulates as a secure second-strike capability.  But the possibility of an SSN force remains tantalisingly alive. In 2004 — when INS Arihant was being developed under the Advanced Technology Vessel, or ATV, programme — Admiral Arun Prakash, then navy chief, proposed that the ATV programme be enlarged to six SSBNs and four SSNs. This required the allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for the DRDO to develop the necessary technologies. Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ], then the defence minister, backed the allocation of this funding. But, according to sources close to the ATV project, once AK Antony took over as defence minister in 2006, he backed off, insisting that the Prime Minister's Office should take all decisions relating to India's strategic nuclear programme. The proposal for funding technology development lapsed.  But the Director General of the DRDO, Dr VK Saraswat, confirms that an SSN could be developed without difficulty. Talking to Business Standard, Saraswat said, "I have no charter to build an SSN at the moment. But once the government takes a policy decision… we can start working on it. The only major difference between a nuclear powered attack submarine (i.e. an SSN) and an SSBN is weaponry, and the size changes. The technology for design, packaging, and integration remains similar."  Votaries of nuclear submarines, such as Rear Admiral (Retired) Raja Menon, argue that nuclear-powered submarines have a crucial advantage over conventional ones: endurance. While conventional (diesel-electric) submarines are more quiet and harder to detect while submerged, they are easily picked up when they surface to charge their batteries. Furthermore, they move slowly underwater, unlike nuclear submarines, which can remain submerged almost indefinitely. This allows a single nuclear submarine  — travelling underwater to its patrol station and remaining there, undetected, for months — to do the job of multiple conventional submarines, which give their position away when they surface at regular intervals.  Admiral Menon explains, "A single SSN can dominate an area 1,000 nautical miles (1,850 km) away as effectively as three conventional submarines, which require one submarine on station, another transiting to relieve it, and a third transiting back to refuel. If the patrol area is farther than 1,000 nautical miles, a single SSN does the job of five conventional submarines. That is why the US Navy fields an all-nuclear force."  But Menon accepts that the Indian Navy would always need conventional submarines. India's coastal waters are so shallow that SSNs, which typically weigh 4,000-5,000 tonnes, run the risk of scraping the bottom. Conventional submarines, which normally weigh around 1,500 tonnes, are needed for dominating the coastal areas. But the complexities of a nuclear submarine programme are evident from China's current difficulties. The Pentagon's [ Images ] recent report to the US Congress, entitled "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China, 2010" reveals that China's SSN and SSBN programmes are in trouble. China relies on its four primitive Han-class attack submarines (Type 091), having decided to close construction of the newer Shen-class (Type 093). Currently, China is grappling with a newer Type 095 SSN; five of these could be added "in the coming years".  China also faces problems in developing SSBNs. The first Xia-class (Type 092) SSBN line produced just one submarine, which was never deployed on a deterrence patrol. Then China shifted focus to a newer Jin-class (Type 094), of which the first SSBN "appears ready", with four more under construction. However, the long-range ballistic missile for the Jin-class SSBNs, termed the Julang-2, has "encountered difficulty… failing several of what should have been the final round of flight tests."

Thousands of Chinese troops in Gilgit, says US expert
September 02, 2010 03:29 IST Tags: New York Times, Selig Harrison, Gilgit-Baltistan, Abdul Basit, China Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  A noted American South Asian expert said that thousands of Chinese soldiers are stationed in the Gilgit-Baltistan area in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir [ Images ] . Click!  "The total number of Chinese personnel in and on the border of Gilgit-Baltistan is uncertain, but most estimates suggest a minimum of 7,000," Selig Harrison told PTI.  He was responding to a question about the statement made by the Pakistani foreign office which refuted his last week's New York Times article that Chinese troops are present in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.  "Several thousand armed personnel of the PLA are stationed in the Khunjerab Pass on the border of Gilgit-Baltistan to protect the Karakoram Highway construction crews," he said.  "China does not have combat forces in Gilgit-Baltistan. The development work to which I referred is being carried out by adjuncts of the People's Liberation Army under the direct supervision of the Xinjiang Military District: the Production and Construction Corps, the Engineering Corps and the Communication Corps, all under the command of PLA officers," he said.  Reacting to the NYT article, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said, "Given Selig Harrison's well-known anti-Pakistan mindset, his gross misrepresentation of facts is hardly surprising. Nor is it unexpected of India [ Images ] to create unnecessary hype using Mr Harrison's tendentious article."  "The fact of the matter is that China, at our request, is helping us in repairing the Karakoram highway, which has been severely damaged by the recent floods and landslides. Anything beyond this is one's figment of imagination," Basit had said.  "China wants a grip on the strategic area to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan", the NYT said, and for this purpose is building high-speed rail and road link. The link up would enable Beijing [ Images ] to transport cargo and oil tankers from eastern China to the new Chinese built Pakistani Naval base at Gawadar, Pasni and Ormara in Balochistan, just east of the Gulf in 48 hours.

Army jawans to get 2 eggs, poultries a fat biz
COIMBATORE: Jai Jawan Jai Kisan! Poultry farmers across India are seeing a golden goose, after the defence ministry said the country’s 30 lakh-strong armed forces can look forward to an extra egg in their daily ration. Delighted poultry companies have already begun drawing up big expansion plans in a race to corner this Rs 250-crore opportunity as the Forces get set to consume nearly 5% of the total eggs sold daily in the country.  “The troops will now get two eggs a day irrespective of their placements, be it on field or peace locations. The ministry has allocated an additional Rs 250 crore in the annual budget for the change in diet plan,” said Sitanshu Kar, spokesman in the ministry of defence.  Till now, jawans deployed above 9000 ft and those in the forward areas were getting one egg a day, while those below officer rank in peace time posting were not given eggs.  With heavy army deployment at the Pakistan border, Jammu and Kashmir and North East areas, poultry farmers in Punjab, Haryana and West Bengal are planning to swiftly increase egg production to meet this huge rise in demand. India produces around 14 crore eggs daily and consumes all but 30 lakh that are used to make egg powder.  “Farmers in our areas will get better prices,” said Atul Mahajan, a big poultry farmer in Haryana’s Barwala district whose farm produces 32,000 eggs daily.  Fruits quota too hiked  Currently, the region produces 1.5 crore eggs a day and supplies mainly to Delhi and neighbouring markets.  Poultry companies have also started working on how to pack eggs in liquid form, to make transportation easier in tougher terrain.  “It is definitely a big boost to the fluctuating fortunes of the layer egg industry. While the industry as a whole is expected to grow by around 7-8% every year, the egg industry’s growth has been oscillating between 3% and 8% for the past few years. Now with sustained demand, we can grow organically and achieve the World Health Organisation’s target of 180 eggs per capita annual consumption by 2011,” said N Senthil Kumar, who heads the layer birds department at Coimbatore-based `3,200-crore Suguna Group, which produces a fifth of the chicken India eats and sells eggs under the ‘Suguna’ brand.  The per capita egg consumption in India is 43 eggs a year, which is much lower than the world average of 124 eggs.  India’s layer bird population, or chickens bred to lay eggs, has only risen by 30% in the past decade. It has been stagnant in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and north India. “There has been growth only in Tamil Nadu, but it is almost saturated. This year, we expect a 15% increase in the north’s layer bird population and this demand from the Army will be a big support,” he added.  Nutrition-wise, adding more eggs to the army’s diet will be a cost-effective way to increase protein consumption. “Compared to other protein sources, egg is very cheap and has good protein content,” said R Krishnamurthi, CEO of Coimbatore-based Shanthi Fortune that has presence in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and West Bengal.  A Panipat-based animal science professor, ML Kansal, said an egg has higher biological value and is richer in proteins and essential amino acids, compared to a 100-ml glass of milk. His company Kansal Agro, that produces almost 2 lakh eggs daily, recently introduced herbal, odourless eggs.   On Wednesday, the farm gate price of an egg was quoted at Rs 2.35 at Namakkal, according to industry body National Egg Coordination Committee. The retail price hovers between Rs 3 and Rs 5 per egg.  “Most retailers procure eggs at around Rs 2 per egg at the farm gate. With more demand, the procurement price will improve,” Mr Krishnamurthi added.  The defence ministry has also increased the quota of fresh fruits in the daily diet, creating extra demand for 2,700 tonne of fruits each week. Till now, jawans were entitled to only 230 gm fruits three times a week. With the new announcement, they will get 230 gm fruits daily. The army’s biggest food commodity purchases are rice, wheat flour and lentils.

Gurkhas face their toughest battle as cuts threaten their future
Premium Article !  Your account has been frozen. For your available options click the below button. Options Premium Article !  To read this article in full you must have registered and have a Premium Content Subscription with the n/a site. Subscribe Registered Article !  To read this article in full you must be registered with the site. Sign In Register Young Gurkha troops passing out at Catterick. Young Gurkha troops passing out at Catterick. Young Gurkha troops passing out at Catterick. Click on thumbnail to view image Click on thumbnail to view image Click on thumbnail to view image Click on thumbnail to view image  « Previous « Previous Next » Next » View Gallery ADVERTISEMENT Published Date: 31 August 2010 By Chris Bond SIR Ralph Turner, who served with the Gurkhas, once said of the famous regiment: "Bravest of the brave, most generous of the generous, never had a country more faithful friends than you."  The Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for nearly 200 years but these Nepalese soldiers, famous across the world for their discipline and courage, could be sacrificed as part of the battle over defence spending as the MoD tries to balance the books.  Last year, a high-profile campaign led by Joanna Lumley succeeded in improving Gurkha rights, including the right to settle in the UK. But this could prove to be a Pyrrhic victory with Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former Army officer, warning that the Gurkhas were under threat.  "The great benefit that the Gurkhas had in the past was twofold – the first is that they were cheap, much cheaper than the British equivalent, and secondly they were plentiful," he says. "Well, now they are not so cheap and now British recruiting has never been higher."  A strategic Defence and Security review is due to be concluded in the autumn and although the MoD has refused to be drawn on specific issues it has said that "tough decisions" will have to be made. Some defence experts have claimed that Lumley's triumph last year had piled costs on to the running of the Gurkhas, as those soldiers who move to Britain will be entitled to full pensions, while those in Nepal receive around a third of what former British soldiers get.  Historically, Gurkhas who had served their time in the Army – a maximum of 30 years – were discharged back to Nepal, but this has now changed.  Veterans are also fighting for equal pensions with the soldiers they served alongside, and in 2007 they won a partial victory when pension rules were changed to give serving Gurkha soldiers equal pension rights with other service personnel in the UK.  The Gurkhas have been an integral part of the British Army since 1815, when the British East India Company signed a peace deal allowing it to recruit Nepalese soldiers. Following the partition of India in 1947, an agreement between Nepal, India and Britain led to four Gurkha regiments from the Indian army being transferred to the British Army and eventually becoming the Gurkha Brigade.  Since then, they have loyally fought for Britain all over the world, receiving 13 Victoria Crosses between them. More than 200,000 Gurkhas fought in the two world wars, during which 43,000 lost their lives. The name "Gurkha" comes from the hill town of Gorkha in Nepal and they still carry their traditional weapon – an 18-inch long curved knife known as the kukri. In the past, it was said that once a kukri was drawn in battle, it had to "taste blood". Nowadays it is used mainly for cooking.  The soldiers are selected from young men living in the hills of Nepal – with about 28,000 youths competing for just over 200 places each year. The selection process has been described as one of the toughest in the world, the would-be soldiers are expected to run uphill for 40 minutes carrying a wicker basket on their back filled with rocks weighing 70lb.  Their numbers have fallen sharply from a peak of 112,000 men during the Second World War, to a figure of about 3,500 today. Despite this decline, Major Gerald Davies, curator of the Gurkha Museum, in Winchester, says the Gurkhas have played a key role in Britain's history. "They first entered the British psyche during the Indian Mutiny when they remained loyal to the crown and then during the two world wars their manpower was crucial to Britain as it allowed the Indian Army to go overseas."  He says the relationship between Britain and Nepal is a long and illustrious one. "At great cost to their own nation Nepal has come to Britain's aid when we have been in times of peril. Nepal is our oldest ally in Asia and the two countries have a special treaty of friendship, not only in military terms, but on a state-to-state basis that has endured for nearly 200 years."

Bofors back in artillery race
SUJAN DUTTA Army personnel display a Bofors gun. (File picture)  New Delhi, Sept. 1: The Bofors gun is back in the competition for a record fourth time for a multi-billion dollar heavy artillery gun order from the Indian Army.  BAE Systems, the current owner of Bofors, has said that that it has “submitted a response to the Indian ministry of defence’s latest RFI (request for information) for towed 155mm howitzers, following previous tenders which were cancelled because of the inability of other potential suppliers to meet the tender conditions.”  Along with its Indian partner, Mahindra and Mahindra, the company has offered a version of the FH77 B05 155mm howitzer. It says “a significant proportion will be manufactured in India to meet the specific needs of the Indian Army.”  In the last trial, which was cancelled by A.K. Antony’s defence ministry in July, the Bofors gun and ST Kinetics’s iFH 2000 were the only guns in the competition.  Army sources said the trial was cancelled because STK’s gun was not calibrated to fire Indian ammunition. But STK sources say they were not given the time sought to re-calibrate their weapon for the summer trial in the Rajasthan desert.  The tender was cancelled because STK’s disqualification made BAE Systems the only vendor and the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) lays down that procurement must be based on competition, defence ministry sources said.  The guns — the Bofors GH 77 B05 and STK’s iFH 2000 — that the companies had brought for the trials are still in India. The cancellation of the tender pushed the Indian army’s field artillery modernisation programme, already behind schedule by 10 years, at least two more years behind.  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”. The Indian Army used the earlier version of the howitzer in the 1999 Kargil war.  The army plans to buy and produce a total of 1,580 guns of the 155mm/52caliber category. For 23 years now, the army has not added a single big gun to its arsenal since the Bofors FH77B02, contracted by the Rajiv Gandhi government, raised a row over kickbacks.  The old guns are now rusty and the artillery regiments often resort to cannibalisation to keep some of them firing.

BrahMos order book swells to $13 billion
 BANGALORE: Brahmos, the missile joint venture between India and Russia, has an order book of $13 billion, helped by increased demand from other countries including Brazil, South Africa and Chile, a senior defence official told ET.  Named after India’s Brahmaputra river and Russia’s Moscow river, the BrahMos missile can travel at nearly three times the speed of sound and hit targets up to 300 kms away.  “The negotiations and ground work to export these missiles to other countries have started. The export of BrahMos will start once the requirements of Indian defence are met”, said a senior defence official speaking on condition of anonymity. On its part, India has already placed $3 billion of missile orders including ground systems and receivers with BrahMos for the next 7-8 years.  “It is the best missile, simple but universal. We are working along with state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) labs and public sector undertakings(PSUs) such as DRDL and Bharat Earth Movers (BEML). Private players such as Larsen& Toubro and Godrej are also collaborating for the project”, said Alexander B Maksichev, deputy general director at NPO Mashinostroyenia and managing director at BrahMos Aerospace told ET. “BrahMos is moving in a new direction with airborne missile version,” he added.  The supersonic cruise missile system has also caught attention because it has been developed at a low-cost budget of $300 million. The system jointly built by India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land.  The missiles will also be exported to the Russian military, which has shown interest in the Air-borne version, the defence official said. “The air-launched version includes a missile which can be dropped from an altitude of 3,000 km from a Russian aircraft or any fighter jet. It can then find the target on its own with the help of a computer”, the defence official said.  There are 60,000 cruise missiles worldwide, most of them were developed during 1970’s. Now many countries want to upgrade their missile systems, which has increased demand for BrahMos missiles, the official quoted earlier added. BrahMos is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear warheads, with a payload of 200-300 kg.  The test of air-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is expected to take place in 2012, said Dr Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai, chief executive, BrahMos Aerospace, at Bangalore Space Expo 2010. He said the Indian Air Force has chosen the Su-30MKI fighter aircraft as the launch platform for the BrahMos missile. The IAF has also placed orders for land-to-land attack missiles.  Meanwhile, the Indian Army which has given orders for long-target missiles is also procuring Block-two Brahmos missiles for precise and controlled attack on small targets. This will prevent the surrounding infrastructure from devastation.  “BrahMos is a landmark project because it was started from scratch in India. We have been developing ballistic missiles. But it is a good learning process for Indian scientists to design and develop the cruise missile technology”, said Ajey Lele from the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), a Delhi-based think tank.   Going forward a hypersonic version of the missile Brahmos-II is presently under development. The missile can touch speeds ranging from five to seven times that of sound, making it the fastest cruise missile in the world. BrahMos-II is expected to be ready by 2013-14 and will arm the Project 15B destroyers of the Indian Navy. The Project 15B or ships will also be armed with the Nirbhay cruise missile of 1,000 km range, and extended range surface to air missile (ER-SAM) with a range of 100 km.  The success of the BrahMos model comes at a time when India is considering deploying its nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in the north-east close to its border with China in an apparent attempt to enhance its military preparedness. The move comes close on the release of a report by Pentagon, which suggested that China has moved its new-advanced long-range CSS-5 missiles close to its border with India and developed contingency plans to shift airborne forces to the region.

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