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Monday, 11 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 11 Oct 2010

Making Cold Start doctrine work
Ali Ahmed  The latest spat between the two South Asian protagonist states, this time at the UN, indicates that their relationship remains under a cloud. The implication is the terror threat has not receded. Another Mumbai 26/11 cannot be ruled out. Should that occur, the government, having last time round promised firm action, would not be able to escape it this time.  The options include surgical strikes at the minimal level to Cold Start. While surgical strikes may help let off steam, they may not bring Pakistan around. This may entail moving up the escalatory ladder eventually. So does Cold Start have some answers?  In this way India would have the advantage on termination of hostilities. The advantage would yet require to be converted into political gains by a change of its proxy war policy on part of Pakistan.  The Cold Start strategy is Pakistan specific. It entails early launch of limited offensives by “integrated battle groups” up to limited depth by pivot corps. Following in the immediate wake. would be the strike corps requiring a little more time to mobilise. This way the integrated battle groups would have served to unlock the defences and the strike corps would be able to keep their powder dry for battle in the enemy’s interior.  Care would be taken to keep the offensives well below Pakistan’s nuclear threshold. Making quick gains, India can thereafter afford to appear responsive to international pressures for war termination. It would instead be the Pakistani escalatory counter moves that would need to be aborted.  The idea has faced much scrutiny since. Its sister service, the Air Force, was the first to take on the Army. The Air Force, viewing itself as the strategic force, prefers inflicting attrition on the military and terrorist assets from the air. The release of the joint land-air doctrine this summer has perhaps laid at rest their disagreement.  The more significant critique revolves around the escalatory nature of Cold Start. Since Pakistan’s nuclear threshold is uncertain, it is not known which action could trigger a nuclear exchange. Pakistan has taken care to project a low threshold to keep India's conventional advantage under check. Launch of strike corps or attrition beyond a point on the Pakistani military by air operations could cumulatively trigger a nuclear situation.  The Army appears to have got round this problem by having two variants of the Cold Start. The first is restricting offensives to integrated battle groups only. This can be dubbed “Cold Start and Stop”. The second, as described earlier, launch strike corps but restrict their employment to only one or two formations. This variant can be termed “Cold Start and Continue”.  Between the two, Cold Start and Stop has the advantage. It can be more easily sold to the political leadership as a viable military option. The question that needs answering, however, is what political purpose is possibly served?  The most likely scenario of contemplation of the military option is another 26/11. Indian military options would range from the minimal level of surgical strikes to Cold Start and Continue. Surgical strikes and, at the next higher level, activation of the Line of Control through border skirmishes etc, help let off steam, but are unlikely to change Pakistan's anti India strategic posture. Avoidably, India may end up like Israel of having to repeat these periodically.  A counter offensive by Pakistan would see it seize the advantage, if India has not got off the blocks first. This implies a race to the opposite side's defences. In effect, since possibility of escalation of lower level options exists, to the military it would be better to preempt this. This makes Cold Start inevitable, even in case of exercise of the minimal option.  This is where Cold Start and Stop makes sense. It not only conveys the message intended through the lower level options unambiguously, but secures India better. India needs to build into the strategy that calls for a “politico-diplomatic” strategy, one arrived at once we stop criticising and instead engage with the idea constructively.  In effect, Cold Start and Stop is an “Operation Parakram Plus”. Op Parakram forced Musharraf's turn around with his January 12, 2002 speech. It, over time, enabled the the Islamabad joint statement of January 2004 in which Pakistan agreed to end terrorism. However, it has not quite done so. It may require being jolted into action as promised.  But first the Army needs to weigh in on the side of “Cold Start and Stop” over its current preference for “Cold Start and Continue”.  The writer is a research fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi

Four special ships for Navy
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, October 10 Signalling an important change in the long-term strategic plan of its armed forces, the Defence Ministry has okayed the purchase of four specialised ships that will triple the existing capability of launching offensive sea-borne “out of country operations” by the forces.  These ships, called the Landing Platform Docks (LPDs), are essentially a modern-day sea-based version of the Roman epic “Trojan horse”. Each carries in its huge lower deck hundreds of troops with tanks, vehicles and cargo. Such a ship can deliver men and equipment near a sea beach and does not need a berthing dock providing the option for landing thousands of troops near a spot chosen to attack.  The Defence Acquisition Council, headed by Defence Minister AK Antony, met earlier this week and cleared the purchase alongside the purchase of four additional long-range maritime aircraft for the Navy. The aircraft will allow dominance over the Indian Ocean. Currently, the Navy is woefully short of maritime surveillance platforms.  The additional LPDs were the first step towards increasing capability to launch “out-of-country operations”, set to be tripled over the next few years, sources said.  The Navy, at present, has one LPD, the INS Jalashwa, a 16,000-tonne displacement vessel. It was purchased form the USA for $50 million in 2007. The purchase of four additional LPDs would be done at a cost of more than $3.3 billion or Rs 18,000 crore. This time, the ministry has decided to call for a global tender. At least two of the ships would be manufactured at shipyard in India.  Forces that move across sea are referred to as “amphibious task force”. At present, India has the capability to move a Brigade, some 5,000 men, using the lone LPD along with a fleet of five smaller 4,500-tonne vessels called the Landing Ship Tank Large (LSTL) each of which can carry 10 tanks, 11 combat trucks and 500 troops.

Colonel to lose 5-yr service for slackness
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Serivice  Chandigarh, October 10 A general court martial (GCM) has acquitted a colonel of 16 charges of professional impropriety in a case pertaining to misappropriation of milk powder worth crores, but has held him guilty on one charge of failing to carry out technical inspection of military farms under his control.  Colonel AS Rathore, Director Military Farms, Central Command, has been awarded a severe reprimand and five-year loss of service for the purpose of fixing pension. The GCM, presided by Brig Sanjeev Kanal, commander of an artillery brigade, was held at Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir. The GCM’s verdict is subject to confirmation by the convening authority.  The 17 charges levelled against the officer pertain to the period from July 2001 to December 2004, when he was posted as the Director, Military Farms, Northern Command, during the Operation Parakram.  It was alleged that skimmed milk powder worth crores was purchased by the then lieutenant colonel in charge of the Military Farm, Jammu, in violation of the orders and policy on the subject.  Col Rathore, as his superior officer, had allegedly allowed him to do so with the intent to cause wrongful gain to the suppliers for which 12 charges were levelled. Five charges were made out for various acts of omission and commission.  Defence counsel Colonel SK Aggarwal (retd) had raised objections to the jurisdiction of the GCM on the grounds that statutory provisions of the Army rule 22 had not been complied with and also the trial had become time barred, but the objections were overruled.

Top Chinese leader arriving to ‘mend ties’
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, October 10 After months of tension over a plethora of issues, China is showing a keen desire to mend fences with India. In a move to put the relationship back on the track, the Chinese President is sending to India one of his key strategists to meet the Indian leadership and clarify Beijing’s position on certain contentious issues.  Zhou Yongkang, who is number seven in the hierarchy of the all-powerful Politburo of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and is in-charge of security related issues, is expected to be here towards the end of the month.  In fact, the two sides are also learnt to be exploring the possibility of a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India towards the end of the year. However, talks on the subject were at a preliminary stage, sources said. The two countries had started 2010 on a positive note celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them on a grand scale. However, the aggressiveness displayed by China on a host of issues in the last few months has caused anxiety in New Delhi.  The denial of visa by China to Lt Gen BS Jaswal to visit Beijing at the head of a high-level defence delegation just because Jammu and Kashmir is under his area of responsibility annoyed India no ends, forcing it to suspend all defence exchanges with China. The Chinese move was clearly seen by India as an attempt to question the status of Jammu and Kashmir, thereby supporting its ‘all-weather friend’ Pakistan’s position on the state.  China has been issuing visas on separate sheets to Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir for the past two years instead of stamping them in their passports. The sources said the two countries were also in discussion on the ‘complicated’ issue of stapling visa for J&K residents and hoped it would be resolved amicably. The sources said the Chinese often complain that the Indian media goes ballistic over even a small issue between India and China.  “The Chinese feel the Indian media goes overboard on any differences between India and China...after all we are two big sovereign countries which can always differ on issues. But it does not warrant portraying a negative picture of the relationship,” they added.  The Chinese also blame the West for ‘outdated’ views and ‘overly exaggerating’ differences between India and China. “Some Western media agencies have hyped the so-called competition between the dragon and elephant and dragon and the tigers and fabricated the prospects for conflicts,” said the website of the ‘People’s Daily’, China’s official party newspaper, in an editorial recently.

India concerned over China's N-supplies to Pak
 October 10, 2010 21:52 IST Tags: ONGC Videsh, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Expressing concern over China supplying nuclear reactors to Pakistan, India [ Images ] on Sunday said the global community should closely look at the collaboration considering Islamabad's [ Images ] track record on nuclear technology. Click!  "Our concern is, Pakistan does not have a good track record as we have. The global community has to very closely look at the collaboration," Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Prithviraj Chavan [ Images ] said.  "We have expressed our concerns at the appropriate place, citing previous illegal exchanges of nuclear technology," he told mediapersons on the sidelines of silver jubilee celebrations of the Fast Breeder Test Reactor and Radiometallurgy Laboratory in Kalapakkam, Tamil Nadu.  On allowing private domestic/foreign companies operate nuclear power stations amending Atomic Energy Act, he said the United Progressive Alliance [ Images ] government does not find a need to change the law.  "Right now money is not an issue to allow them operate. We are inviting domestic government owned companies as minority partners for Nuclear Power Corporation of India," he said.  Chavan said the government was also thinking of providing more autonomy to the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. "There is an internal debate as to the shape of additional autonomy that AERB should be given."  He also said India is interested in buying uranium mines overseas to overcome shortage of the yellow metal.  "We are looking at African countries to buy uranium mines, adopting the ONGC [ Get Quote ] model," the minister said. ONGC has set up a separate subsidiary, ONGC Videsh [ Images ], to acquire oilfields abroad.  He said the government was in the process of drafting rules for the recently passed Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill.  On the US reservations about the bill, he said they had voiced concern about right to recourse, but it has been adequately explained to them.

India to launch series of military satellites 
India plans to launch a series of indigenously built military satellites with surveillance, imaging and navigation capabilities to keep a watch on its neighbourhood and help guide cruise missiles, a top defence scientist said today.  "There will be a series of (defence) satellites. I cannot give you the numbers because they are classified," V K Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said here.  "Each year, you will find one or two satellites going up," added the Secretary, Defence R & D and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).  Mostly, these satellites are dedicated to different defence applications and would have payloads which are for surveillance, imaging, navigation and communication.  "You should be able to see with very high resolution and precision the movements of troops and things like that (in the neighbourhood)," Saraswat said. "You should be able to see what are the new buildings and new facilities which have come up".  India would be able to send data and commands through these satellites to cruise missiles. "So it will have tremendous applications", he said.  These defence satellites would be indigenously built and launched from home soil only given the "security sensitivity", Saraswat stressed.  "The Army, Navy and Air Force each have their own requirement and it won't be appropriate to say how many each of them would need, due to security considerations," Saraswat said.  India has taken up development and launch of these defence satellites under its space-based surveillance programme, which has a road-map for setting up satellites for all applications for the Army, Navy and Air Force, he said.  "Now, this road-map has been given to the Department of Space and it is making its own schedule for launching these satellites. We have only one Department of Space and we have huge requirements...," he said.  Saraswat said India has already launched some satellites under this programme.

Omar: 91 civilians killed by security forces’ bullets
AAMIR BASHIR Posted online: Sun Oct 10 2010, 09:20 hrs Srinagar : J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday revealed that 91 civilians out of 102 killed in the Valley between June 11 and October 2 died of bullets fired by the security forces. He also said 19 FIRs have been registered against security forces for resorting to unprovoked firing and excessive use of force against protesters.  In a written reply in the Upper House, Omar, who also holds charge of the Home Ministry said, two civilians including Tufail Ahmad Matoo, whose death set off the current wave of uprising on June 11, were killed by tear smoke shells.  His reply also revealed three civilians died because of drowning, two died in explosions in Khrew in Pulwama district after protesters set ablaze a police station. Two civilians including nine-year-old Sameer Ahmad were beaten to death by security forces and one was electrocuted after he was chased away by the CRPF.

Indian Army T-72 now equipped with night vision
     Indian Army T-72 now equipped with night vision : Defence Minister     BY: IDRW NEWS NETWORK      Defence Minister stated in parliament yesterday that some T-72 Main battle tanks have already gone through upgrades and are all ready equipped with night vision technology which will enable the tank and the crew to fight effectively at night ,      he also informed other ministers that other T-72 will also be upgraded soon and it is a on going upgrade process taken up by army along with DRDO labs in the country , and upgrade equipments have been purchased from international systems manufactures .      Few months ago Army chief in media had declared that T-72 tanks cannot fight at night since they lack night vision technology , T-72 tank upgrade has been a slow process due to various bureaucracy and in delay in procuring key equipments for the upgrade .      T-72 still forms the backbone of the Indian armies tank fleet which slowly has been getting replaced by new modern Russian built T-90s tanks .

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