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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 13 Oct 2010

Hike in defence budget not enough Need for long-term modernisation plan
by Maj-Gen Ashok K. Mehta (retd)  ON the eve of the 78th anniversary of the Indian Air Force last week, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik made several strategic pronouncements, including that the Air Force is to acquire 250 to 300 fifth generation fighter aircraft in a joint development and production arrangement with Russia at a cost of $30 billion. Taken together with other military acquisitions over the next 10 to 15 years, India will be spending nearly $100 billion, the largest spurt in defence modernisation ever. But this alone will not alter the strategic environment to India’s advantage. It will also require new thinking and political will.  The principal beneficiaries of the drive are to be the Air Force and the Navy which together have traditionally received less than half of the Army’s share in funding. This belated correction has stemmed not from any rational analysis but classic numerology: maintaining a 1.2 million-strong Army, 39 and a half squadron Air Force and a 100-ship Navy.  The new British coalition government is contemplating deep cuts in the defence budget as part of reducing the budget deficit. Being considered is a freeze on aircraft carriers, downsising tanks and aircraft meant for Cold War contingencies and even reviewing the Trident nuclear deterrent. But no increase or decrease in defence capability can be ordered without a strategic defence and security review (SDSR). This warning came from Defence Secretary Liam Fox to Prime Minister David Cameron.  No one knows how the military capability exercise is done in India where, leave alone an SDSR, not even a defence review or White Paper has ever been issued. Yet ACM Naik, who is also the current Chairman of the rotating Chief of Staff Committee, said that the new capabilities were “in tune with national aspirations”. He explained, “even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that India’s area of responsibility extends from the Hormuz Straits to the Malacca Straits and beyond.”  Each service does its future planning singly and not as an integrated whole to achieve a collective capability. Service Chiefs look out for clues about strategic aspirations from prime ministerial speeches at the combined commanders’ conferences and other heady occasions. The Army is currently engaged in a seminal exercise of transformation which has been “uplinked” with its long-term perspective plans and with those of the other two Services.  It is noteworthy that the 11th Defence Plan (2007-12) is in its fourth year and not yet approved by the government. Nor has the 15-year long-term Perspective Plan (2007-2022). Further, the defence acquisition process is so warped that Rs 50,000 crore has gone unspent over the last 10 years for which no one is accountable. The DRDO, at best an unreliable and erratic performer, is one cause for a rise in spending. Still further, there is no integrated defence plan sanctioned by the government and ad-hocism and the Defence Secretary, in the absence of a Chief of Defence Staff, play a key role in shaping the future defence and security landscape.  Otherwise what would explain the impossible two-and-a-half-front scenario: fighting conventional wars with Pakistan and China and combating an insurgency? Such a contingency has never emerged from any government directive based on an SDSR coupling defence and diplomacy — that is hard and, soft power — and, therefore, the concept never ratified by the government. Take the Army’s much-celebrated Cold Start doctrine which has sent shivers down Pakistan’s spine. According to Army Chief Gen VK Singh, Cold Start is not an official doctrine but part of new thinking.  All novel strategic thinking on the part of Service Chiefs seldom attracts government sanction. So, most innovative thinking is done in a political vacuum giving the government the dubious advantage of deniability, whether it is a two-front war or Cold Start. Four years ago, soon after the Chinese shot down a space satellite, the Air Force organised a seminar on the domination of aerospace. Then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee ruled that India’s policy was benign and only defensive assets would be deployed in higher space. The IAF, however, wants to be a network-centric aerospace power.  The Services cannot be faulted for advanced thinking to get out of the strategic static as governments have never and are unlikely in the future to indulge in future thinking and planning, especially on defence and security. Lack of political direction and strategic guidance have led to half-baked organisational structures, systems and procedures. So this year, the government has decided to upgrade and acquire $ 50 billion worth of aircraft, ships and submarines. The Army, which has hogged funds all this while, is to be starved of money for the modernisation of its artillery and air defence.  It is entirely a different matter that these big ticket items of conventional deterrence are unlikely to be employed as the wars and conflicts of the future will be low intensity which require different skills and equipment. India has been fighting insurgency and terrorism for the last three decades with inadequate and inappropriate arms and equipment. That is why when Kargil happened and the government rushed to Israel and South Africa with an SOS, then Army Chief Gen V.P. Malik declared: We will fight with what we have and later embarked on a futile exercise of downsising manpower to create funds for modernisation, symbolising acute ad-hocism.  In the late 1980s, Air Chief Marshal S.K. Kaul at a conference of industry and the Air Force said that the IAF did not need a deep strike aircraft. His advice was ignored and the government went ahead with a deal with Russia for Su-30 which is now the mainstay of the IAF. Under almost similar conditions earlier, the Jaguar aircraft was acquired at the behest of the government. The acquisition of the haunted Bofors gun was pushed by the government overriding recommendations for guns in the same caliber.  What this suggests is that governments take keen interest in the purchase of weapons involving big sums of money.  What is evident today is the scramble for making good the horrible deficiencies in aircraft and squadron strength which have declined from 39 and a half squadrons to 28. ACM Naik said that 50 per cent of the Air Force equipment was either obsolete or obsolescent at a time when the neighbourhood was volcanic.  This unacceptable decline in operational readiness would not have occurred had there been an integrated long-term modernisation plan approved and sanctioned by the government. As a rising power with a 9 per cent growth rate, India is expected to have considerable military capability with advanced technology to appear to be an assertive power. But converting military power into political and diplomatic gain will not come easily, certainly not from the so-called Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence which is a big lie.

India to step up campaign for permanent seat at UNSC 
Ashok Tuteja/TNS  New Delhi, October 12 Jubilant over India winning a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna tonight indicated that the country would intensify its campaign for a permanent seat on the council.  Addressing a press conference here soon after it was announced that India had won a non-permanent Security Council seat for a two-year term from January 1, 2011, Krishna thanked the global community on New Delhi’s behalf for their support. He said India had secured 187 votes, the highest for any country contesting in the non-permanent category, representing 98 per cent of the total 191 votes.  “We were well ahead of the requisite 128 votes to become a non-permanent member?. This reflects the growing clout of India in the comity of nations.” The minister said the victory was indicative of India's major role on the world stage in areas like combating terrorism and climate change.  He said India's immediate priority as a Security Council member would be to establish “peace and stability” in the country's immediate and extended neighbourhood.  India will take a seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member after a gap of nearly two decades, winning the Asian seat earlier today in the UN General Assembly poll.  With Kazakhstan withdrawing from the race in January, India became the sole candidate from the Asian region.

India-UK Air Force exercise from October 18
Kusum Arora/TNS  Jalandhar, October 12 To promote operational cooperation with foreign air forces, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will launch an India-UK Air Force exercise ‘Indradhanush’ at the Kalaikunda Air Force station in West Midnapur (West Bengal) from October 18.  This will be the first time that the Royal Air Force (RAF) will be seen in a joint operation in India. The exercise is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding between the two air forces and refining the procedures for such future exercises.  The IAF will be participating with its top-of-the-line aircraft like SU-30 MKI, Mirage 2000s, Mig 27s and Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).  The RAF will be deploying its AWACS (E-3D) and Air-to-Air refuellers (VC-10). For the first time, the IAF AWACS aircraft will participate in the exercise. The IAF will also be exploring the logistics management required to move large forces during an-out-of-area contingency.  The Air Marshal KK Nohwar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, said, “The exercise will create a platform for both air forces to understand the operational philosophies, work cultures and also provide an opportunity for the IAF to understand state-of-the-art technologies.” The exercise will lay emphasis on introducing the IAF crew and controllers to missions like the large-force engagements.

 Dive deep to fathom the deception of Pakistan
Pakistan is promoting terror. Yet it says it is helping America to kill terrorists. It is all a game for American dollars.
WHAT AN American sees on the surface in big cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar is not the whole of Pakistan. It is not real Pakistan. To understand the success or failure of the common man in Pakistan, Americans should go to their villages, small towns and meet students in vernacular schools in the backward areas of Baluchistan, Sind and the Frontier province.   Viewing Pakistan from the angle of the present war in Afghanistan and the support that the Islamist Taliban backed by Al Qaida get in both North and South Waziristan only misleads American strategists.   American policy makers recommend doling out billions of dollars of American tax-payers money to Pakistan but it goes to the Army and it buys weapons meant for fighting against India and not for destroying the Islamist terrorists.   FAULTY ASSESSMENT   Americans think that Pakistan is the bulwark of their defence against Taliban and Al Qaida. How myopic this policy is. Pakistan treats Taliban as its brothers-in-arms that would protect its flanks when it goes to war against India. Will Pakistan Army destroy its flank protection force? No, never. One may recall that the Taliban was born in Pakistan, nourished by the Pakistan Army and its secret wing called ISI. Will Pakistan kill its progeny? Never.   It is time the American policy makers reassess the role Pakistan plays in aiding America against Islamist terrorists. Burning the American fuel tanks day after day is certainly not helping the troops deployed in Afghanistan to fight against the Taliban terrorists.   The American prestige has suffered a major blow in the numerous fuel tank burning incidents on the AFPAK borders. Costwise it may be peanuts for America but prestigewise it has made a huge dent in the American image.   How many dents of this nature is Obama Administration prepared to suffer?   TALKING TO INDIA   The columnists and diplomats, who advise a resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan to put the peace process back on rails forget that Pakistan is still active in training terrorists and sending them across its eastern border into Jammu and kashmir to destabilise India.   Have the peaceniks forgotten that Pakistan has not raised a little finger to punish the terrorists who killed innocent Indians in Mumbai and indulged in arson. Pakistan is a terrorist state and needs to be punished.   America is supporting Pakistan and just letting its dollars go down the drain.   Whenever India sends concrete evidence to Pakistan against men, who are terrorists and committed heinous crimes in India at many places, Pakistan takes no action against them. Instead it sends a long questionnaire asking for irrelevant information. It is sheer delaying tactics.   Pakistan is not serious in punishing those terrorists as they have had the support of Pakistan government all along.   Pakistan is a part of the problem and, therefore, can never be a part of the solution. Even some Indian leaders fail to see Pakistan in its true colours because the Peaceniks are fishing for the Nobel Peace Prize.   They have missed the boat this time as the prize has gone to a Chinese dissident. Both Beijing and Delhi are furious. Of course, for different reasons. Beijing is fuming because its dissident has been honoured by Norway.   Delhi is fuming as its pro-Pakistan top leader has been ignored for the Nobel Peace Prize, notwithstanding the canvassing. The said top leader stooped to conquer by pushing for talks with Pakistan despite that terrorist country heaping atrocious insults on India.   Is the Nobel Peace Prize more important than love for own country and its people? Ask him and he will just give a feeble smile.Hereafter, India must never talk to Pakistan unless the rogue state punishes the terrorists who inflicted pain and misery on Indians and are being harboured by Pakistan.   CENTRAL  ASIAN SUPPLY ROUTE   If the Americans succeed in persuading Kazakistan, Kyrghistan and Russia to let its supplies go to the troops in Afghanistan through their countries, the importance of Pakistan will be ipso facto reduced to minimal.   Herein, Turkey may play an important role in persuading fellow Islamic countries, except Russia, to let the American supplies pass through the Central Asian route. The goods will reach the destination safely. Turkey is a member of the NATO and permits the supplies coming by air to land at its airports and be transported further by land route.   The lethal weapons and other munitions of war are air lifted by USA direct to the Bagaram airport at Kabul, capital of Afghanistan. The eighty five percent supplies of ration, fuel, clothing, equipment and other knick-knacks coming through Pakistan may be diverted to the central Asian route. Thus the Americans will be able to save on expenditure on land transportation too. The receiving troops will get one hundred percent of the supplies despatched sans pilferage.   Indeed a lot of negotiation will go into the exercise before the new route is opened. The biggest gain will be getting rid of an unreliable ally like Pakistan. In that country one never knows what will happen next. Not long ago a top American diplomat minced no words in calling General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan Army Chief, a LIAR.   Not many experienced hands would disagree with him. The treacherous Pakistanis are milking America dry just because they are one Muslim country that has mastered the dubious art of running with the hare and hunting with the hound simultaneously.

India wins non-permanent seat at UN Security Council 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: October 13, 2010 00:56 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  New York:  After years of intense diplomatic canvassing, India has won a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after a gap of 19 years. India needed 128 votes but secured 187 in the 192-member UN General Assembly, which met on Tuesday.  India was standing unopposed for the Asia seat after the only other contestant in this category, Kazakhstan, withdrew from the race in December last year.  Reacting to the development, Foreign Minister SM Krishna said, "This marks major shifts on world stage as well as the civil nuclear deal. The overwhelming support to this reflects expectations of international community from India."  Each non-permanent country stays on the council for two years, alongside the permanent powers: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, who have the right to veto any council resolution.      What New Delhi would be looking at now is a claim for a permanent seat when serious negotiations begin for expanding the Security Council next year.  Germany too made it to the Security Council. Had Germany lost, it would have been a setback for India because G-4, which wants the Security Council expansion, are all in UNSC now and can work together.

India has important role at UNSC, says US
 October 13, 2010 04:18 IST Tags: UN Security Council, P J Crowley, India, State Department, BRIC Share this Ask Users Write a Comment Click!  The US welcomed the election of India [ Images ] as a non-permanent member of the powerful UN Security Council along with South Africa [ Images ] and Brazil [ Images ] and hoped these countries would play an important and constructive role in resolving key global issues together.  The US, however, refrained from endorsing New Delhi [ Images ] for the permanent membership of this powerful UN body, but said the Obama Administration is committed to the reform of the United Nations and its Security Council. "We look forward to working constructively with all members of the Security Council. "We trust that all new members will work to support the principles of the charter, contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of the council, and uphold its role in maintaining international peace and security," State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news conference.  The State Department welcomed the election of South Africa, India, Colombia, Portugal and Germany [ Images ] to the Security Council as its non-permanent members for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2011. Crowley said the US is committed to finding a way forward on Security Council reform that preserves and strengthens its efficiency and effectiveness, and enhance its ability to carry out its mandate and meet the challenges ofthe 21st century.  "We are well aware of India's aspirations to play a more significant, you know, global role. We have welcomed that expanded role by India both on regional issues and global issues," Crowley said when asked if the US would be endorsing India during the visit of US President Barack Obama [ Images ] in November. "We will work within the UN and within the Security Council because, you know, we recognise that there are a number of countries in the world that have those same aspirations. We are committed to continue to work constructively on UN reform," Crowley said.  The United States does not expect the BRIC [ Images ] (Brazil, Russia [ Images ], India and China) countries, who for the first time are together in the Security Council, to form a separate block within the UN Security Council, he said. "These countries have been playing significant roles and in some cases increasing roles in their respective regions for some time, and we welcome their participation in the Security Council," he said. "As we've said, the global challenges that we face cannot be solved by any one country. They're going to need significant engagement, involvement, and support from these emerging powers.

Nepal Maoist army denies training Indian peers
Tue, Oct 12 2010 14:21 IST | 92 Views | Add your comment FONT SIZE: AAA SHARE: Kathmandu, Oct 12  The guerrilla army of Nepals opposition Maoist party Tuesday denied a report in the Indian media that had claimed that "hundreds" of Indian Maoists were being trained in Nepal.  Nanda Kishore Pun, who led the Maoists "Peoples Liberation Army" (PLA) into a 10-year war against the government before his party signed a peace agreement in 2006, issued a statement Tuesday, in an unusual gesture, refuting a report in an Indian daily that has been creating ripples in Nepal.  Pun, known as Pasang during the civil war, said the PLA condemned the report as "deliberately erroneous and imaginary".  Pasang said at a time Nepal remained gripped by a crisis and had been unable to form a new government and the ruling parties were flouting the peace pact that had promised to assimilate the PLA into the national army, the report, which smacked of "deliberate and planned propaganda", was a cause for serious concern.  The Maoist "general" said his party feared that the Indian government was abetting the instability in Nepal to derail the peace process and the drafting of a new constitution.  The propaganda, he said, could be an effort to create an excuse for greater Indian intervention in Nepal.  The report had said that Oct 5, Indias home minister had sent a note to the officials of eight Indian states that were the hardest hit by Indias Maoist insurgency.  These were West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.  The report claimed that June 28, a group of six Indian Maoists had crossed over to Malangawa, the main town in Sarlahi district on the Indo-Nepal border, and joined 20 combatants who were being trained by the PLA.  It also alleged that over 200 Indian Maoists were training in Nepal under the supervision of Indian Naxalite leaders and LeT members.  Nepals Maoist party, which returned to mainstream politics in 2006 and fought an election two years later successfully to form a coalition government, says while as a communist party it sympathises with all communist parties worldwide, it has no links with the Indian Maoists, who have been banned as terrorist organisations in India.  Since the end of the "Peoples War", the PLA, which has a strength of over 19,000 fighters, has been confined in 28 camps supervised by a UN agency, the UN Mission in Nepal.

USD 2.2 billion for Indian Army Tactical Communication System; Top IT Majors Invited
USD 2.2 billion for Indian Army Tactical Communication System; Top IT Majors Invited 2010-10-10 Indian defense officials have sent out expressions of interest to at least six domestic IT businesses seeking a consortium to develop an indigenous communications system. The tactical communication system, first announced in May 2009, will be the foundation of the Indian army's communication network and is expected to cost around USD $2.2 billion. The system will be a robust, snoop-proof, mobile, cellular network for the Indian army's voice and data communications during battle, the defense department said. It will allow integrated communication, from battlefield to command headquarters and include everything from cellular telephones to equipment sensors.  By seeking domestic design and manufacture of the system, the government is seeking to better integrate and improve the competitiveness of the private indigenous IT sector into defense production. Few details of the expression of interest have been released because of security concerns by the army. However, documents were sent to five private companies and three public sector businesses for developing the tactical communications system, army communications chief Lt. Gen. P. Mohapatra said.  The competition will be between the prototypes of two companies selected by the army that will pay for 80 percent of their development costs. The private companies concerned are Tata Power's Strategic Electronics Division, HCL Infosystems, Wipro Technologies, Rolta India and L&T. Another major Indian player in the IT sector is Tech Mahindra but the company wasn't included. It fails to qualify as an Indian company because of a foreign holding higher than 26 percent, a report in the Business Standard said. Tech Mahindra is a joint operation formed in 1986 between Mahindra & Mahindra and British telecommunications giant BT.  The Business Standard also reported there was intense debate among army acquisition officials about going public with the development of the system because of security concerns. Some officials wanted Bharat Electronics to head up the project without going to tender. The companies and public businesses have two months to return their documents, which should include details of their proposed consortia which will become the development agency for the project. Indigenous manufacture of the system is important for the army. The expression of interest states that "the contribution of the Indian industry in acquiring and developing technologies in critical areas shall be a key criterion in assessment of various proposals."  However, it is expected that not all components will be India-made but it could reach up to 80 percent, one company said.

CWG: Army told it can't attend Closing Ceremony 
Sidharth Pandey, Updated: October 13, 2010 01:21 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  PLAYClick to Expand & Play New Delhi:  For more than a month, 1500 people from the Army have worked overtime for the Commonwealth Games. Their to-do list has included managing venues used for the games, handling protocol requirements with the international contingents in town, and stepping in to rebuild a crucial bridge in record time after it collapsed days before the Games began.  For all this, the Army is not being compensated. The organisers of the Games reneged on a promise to cover basic expenses like transport and cellphones for the jawans and officers enlisted for the event. The bill of 11 crores, the Defence Minister was told recently, would have to be covered by the  defence budget because the organisers had run out of money.    During the Games so far, the Army has contributed 23 medals, including eight golds, for India.  Earlier this month, it booked 300 tickets for Thursday's closing ceremony; last week, it deposited four lakhs for the same tickets.      But now, they've been told the closing ceremony is off-limits. The Organising Committee, headed by Suresh Kalmadi, has said it has run out of tickets.  "The armed forces have played a major role in the CWG. If they face any problems, I will look into it," said Kalmadi.  One of the lowlights of the Games has been the skimpy audiences - sportspersons performed in near-empty stadia, a fact brought up repeatedly by the international officials of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Yet, tickets are not available for most events - complimentary passes seem to be the only entry point to venues.

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