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Friday, 1 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 01 Oct 2010

Musharraf’s comeback plan But his chances of success are remote 
Former military ruler of Pakistan Gen Pervez Musharraf’s plan to formally launch his own political party has been in the news for a long time. What was in doubt was his declaration that he would return to Pakistan to try his luck as a politician. Now, however, it is clear that he will function a la Altaf Husain of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Obviously, he cannot take the risk of being among his people to “change the political culture” of Pakistan because of a number of cases pending against him.  The cases registered against him include those relating to his alleged involvement in the killing of Baloch nationalist Nawab Akbar Baghti, the Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad, suspension of the judiciary and the imposition of an emergency. General Musharraf cannot think of coming back home so long as Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who was suspended twice during the retired General’s rule, is there on the scene.  General Musharraf, who has chosen a Friday to launch his All-Pakistan Muslim League because of the day’s religious significance, perhaps, feels that this is the right time for him to announce his emergence on the political landscape of Pakistan. The Army has given a good dressing down to the PPP-led government in Islamabad for its poor handling of the crisis caused by the unprecedented floods. People in the flood-hit areas consider the Army as their saviour. The ruling politicians stand condemned. General Musharraf must be feeling vindicated as he tried to prove during his rule that the traditional politicians of his country were not fit to govern the country.  He patronised a Muslim League faction, derisively called the King’s Party, when he was running the show as President. But the party fared badly during the 2008 elections, leading to his ouster from the seat of power. Only a small section of educated Pakistanis consider him as the man who saved Pakistan by reversing the country’s Taliban policy after 9/11. A vast majority of Pakistanis hold him responsible for the suicide bombing culture that has endangered the very survival of their country. Keeping all this in view, one can easily say that his new political experiment will take him nowhere.

GE engines for Tejas
Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  Bangalore, September 30 GE Aviation of USA has bagged the contract for supplying engines for the Light Combat Aircraft MK-2 (LCA MK-2 or Tejas MK-2). The aircraft is being developed by the DRDO with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) being the implementing agency for the project.  Installation of the new engine will pave the way for acquisition of the indigenous multi-role fighter jet by the IAF.  Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), affiliated to the DRDO, had last year issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the selection of a new and more powerful engine for the fighter jet.  The necessity for a new engine arose after the LCA’s present engine, also supplied by GE (GE F404 IN20), failed to meet the IAF requirements. The RFP was sent to GE for its F414 engine and to the European consortium Eurojet for its EJ200 engine. Both engines are currently in service and capable of delivering an installed thrust in excess of 90 kilonewtons.  The RFP indicated a demand of 99 engines, with the option to procure a further 49. While the first 10 engines will be bought out in fly-away condition, the remaining will be assembled or manufactured at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility at Bangalore.  The RFP was delayed by almost one year and the primary reason for this was reportedly HAL’s desire to secure via the engine deal as much manufacturing technology from the supplier as possible. The HAL has never designed or manufactured its own aero engines. It has only assembled them under license production agreements. It wants to get into manufacturing by getting familiar with technology such as single crystal blade and blade cooling.  Eurojet, which has lost in the competition, had indicated that an Indian entity can join them as a partner in designing modifications and improvements to its EJ200. No such offer has been given by the GE.  Installation of the new engine will necessitate major modifications to the LCA, especially the fuselage. The ADA expects the Tejas MK2 to fly in 2014.  The Price Negotiating Committee for the engine for LCA MK-2, after having compared the bids from GE and Eurojet, found the GE to be the lowest bidder. The committee consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Defence, the IAF, the Navy, the ADA, the DRDO and the HAL.  The commercial quotes were compared after evaluation and acceptance of the technical offer provided by both Eurojet and GE Aviation. Further price negotiations with GE will be carried out by the DRDO before finalisation of the contract.

Pak touched India's core issues: Krishna 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 30, 2010 16:14 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  PLAYClick to Expand & Play New York:  The war of words between India and Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) shows no signs of abating.  Pakistan today took to the floor of the UNGA to respond to Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna's address to the UNGA where he slammed Pakistan's record on democracy and human rights.  Speaking to NDTV after his speech at the UNGA, the Foreign Minister made it clear that Pakistan's attempts to put India up against a wall over the domestic situation in Kashmir were unsuccessful.  NDTV:  PM Singh and you have both consistently said that there is no alternative to dialogue but this week we have seen an escalation in the war of words. How does India pick up the threads of peace because they really seem to be in shatters now?  Krishna: I was only reiterating the consistent policies that have been pursued by my government over a period of time on Kashmir.  NDTV: But it seems- perhaps - to outsiders that Pakistan has put India into a corner?  Krishna: I don't think so. These are contentious issues that touch on some of the issues that we believe. These are our core issues. When they are touched naturally India will have to responds and in strongest terms. That is in national self-interest. I am here as the representative of the country and I did so in no uncertain terms this morning.  AT UN, INDIA SLAMS PAKISTAN FOR SPONSORING TERRORISM IN J&K  On Wednesday, hitting back at Pakistan a day after its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi harped on giving the Kashmiri people the right to "self-determination through plebiscite", S M Krishna said Islamabad must stop its state-sponsored militancy and terrorism in the state.  "Jammu & Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, is the target of Pakistan-sponsored militancy and terrorism. Pakistan must fulfill its solemn commitment of not allowing territory under its control to be used for terrorism directed against India," he said in his firmly worded speech at the 65th UN General Assembly session in New York. (Read: Krishna's full speech)  Krishna said the "credible and firm action by Pakistan against terrorist groups operating from its soil is in the interest of the region as it is in Pakistan's own interest."  Slamming Qureshi for his remark against Indian security forces, Krishna said, "Pakistan cannot impart lessons to us on democracy and human rights."  He said India was committed to good neighbourly relations with all our neighbours, including Pakistan.  Krishna, however, emphasised that "Pakistan has to live up to its commitment not to allow use of its soil by terrorists acting against India."  This, he said, would significantly help reduce the trust deficit that impedes the development of better bilateral relations between our two countries.

Pakistan on the brink of a military coup: Musharraf
 Press Trust of India, Updated: September 30, 2010 18:57 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  London:  Pakistan may be on the brink of a military coup, the country's former military ruler Parvez Musharraf has warned, amidst reports of the powerful army pressing for a shakeup in the nation's civilian setup.  Musharraf, who is striving to stage a political comeback, has also demanded that the military in Pakistan should be given a defined role in the constitution, but not given the power to overthrow governments.  Musharraf, who toppled the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999, said the current chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani could be forced to intervene against the civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari because of rampant corruption and nepotism.  The 67-year-old former military ruler made these remarks at a debating forum here last night and his comments assume significance in the backdrop of media reports of a crisis meeting this week between Pakistan's Army chief Kayani, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and President Zardari, where media reports said the powerful General had demanded a shake up in the civilian set up "Well, you see the photographs of the meeting of the General, President and the Prime Minister and I can assure you that they were not discussing the weather," the former General told a Q&A at the forum.  "There was a serious discussion of some kind or the other and certainly at this moment all kinds of pressure must be on this Army chief," Musharraf, who had hand-picked Kayani, said.  Musharraf, who would officially announce his political comeback tomorrow by launching his party here, recalled that there were similar pressures on him prior to his sacking Nawaz Sharif.  "That year Pakistan was going down and a number of politicians, women and men, came to me telling me 'Why are you not acting?'" Musharraf told the forum.  According to him, the recipe for Pakistan was to give the Army a constitutional role in governing the nation, which has spent more than half of its independent existence under the jackboots.  "If you want stability in Pakistan, checks and balances in the democratic structure, then the Army ought to have some role," he said.

India-Botswana joint military exercise begins
0 September 2010 20:43:50 by IANS ( Leave a comment )  New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) A 15-member delegation of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) will be in India from Oct 2 to participate in a joint logistics exercise with the Indian Army.  The BDF delegation, led by their Chief of Staff Logistic Brigadier George Modirwa Tlhalerws, will travel to Dehradun for the Oct 3-9 exercise.  “Besides being engaged in aspects related to the exercise, the visitors will be given an exposure to premier institutions such as Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Forest Research Institute (FRI),” a defence spokesperson said.  India and Botswana have long enjoyed close defence ties having had a well-established training team located in the country to facilitate training of personnel of the BDF.  “Based on a specific request by the BDF, during an earlier visit by Chief of Army Staff to Botswana, the Indian Army is presently engaged in putting in place arrangements for the envisaged exercise. Titled ‘Ex Milap’, the proposed exercise will aim to give an exposure, to personnel of the BDF, on a wide spectrum of issues related to logistics support for a fighting force,” the spokesperson said.

BEML’s Artillery Gun to Undergo Field Trials 
Indian Defence Online, New Delhi — After a spate of scrapped tenders and trials for the Indian Army’s artillery gun, defence public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) has announced that it is ready with the indigenous 155mm, 52-calibre wheeled gun.  BEML has been made the nodal processing agency and the Indian government has permitted BEML to invite global tenders for the 155mm guns and the proposed contract for over 1,000 guns, besides other ranges of artillery guns including Howitzers. The estimated worth of these contracts is 20,000 crore.  The Indian Army has been desperately short of artillery firepower and a long-range state-of-the-art gun has been due for two decades since the Bofors gun controversy in the 1980s. The Indian Army’s 180-odd artillery gun regiments, each having 18 guns, have not received any new weaponry since the Bofors gun was bought in the late 1980s.  The selection of a suitable 155 mm, 52-calibre towed howitzer to fill this gap began only in 2002, when the Defence Ministry began evaluating three guns from BAE Systems, Israeli firm Soltam and Denel of South Africa. The five rounds of trials, conducted in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006, reached no conclusion. While Denel was blacklisted for corruption in September 2005, the other two guns did not meet the Indian Army’s standards. Following this failure, a new tender was issued in 2008. However, in July this year, the defence ministry scrapped the trials since the gun of only one contender, BAE Systems, was left in the process after the other firm; Singapore Technology Kinetics (STK) was named in the alleged Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) scam.  Finally, the state-owned BEML has offered a ray of hope to the Indian Army and a chance to fill the operational void in its artillery. The 155 mm 52-calibre wheeled gun will give the much needed boost in the lethality of the Indian Army and will be faster, lighter and will have increased firepower. The high-precision gun is part of a technology transfer between a Slovakian company, DMD and BEML. The BEML tie-up with DMD of Slovakia is a defence offset.  BEML officials indicated that field trials have already started at its testing tracks in the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), Karnataka. They added that the time frame for delivery is about three years from the date of order by the defence forces and BEML is expecting order from this year itself. BEML is also envisaging the creation of the tracked version of the same gun which will enhance fire power and a world-class test track as well as a firing range has been created too.  BEML is the biggest Original equipment manufacturer of defence land systems in India. BEML premier Rs. 3000 crore Indian PSU engaged in the design, development, manufacture and marketing of varied defence equipment like Heavy Duty 4X4, 6X6, 8X8, and 10X10 Trucks, Trailers, Heavy Recovery Vehicles, Armoured Recovery Vehicles, Crash Fire Tenders, Weapon Loading Systems and PMS Bridge System apart from earthmoving and construction equipment and rail and metro equipment.

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