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Sunday, 17 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 17 Oct 2010





Army Chief stands up for AFSPA
 In an exclusive interview to The Tribune, General VK Singh asserts that India is prepared to meet any kind of threat from Pakistan and China Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  n Neighbours’ intentions can change as capabilities grow...we are prepared to meet the threats n We are prepared to fight dirty... in the sense we can fight through an area contaminated by a nuclear strike n Wars are fought by human beings...so that capital has to be good n As a person who heads the Army, I find there is no problem on our borders n We would like our private sector to come up to meet our requirements  — Army Chief General VK Singh  New Delhi, October 16 A staggering 96 per cent of the complaints of human rights violations against the Army have been found to be false, claimed the Army Chief General V.K. Singh in an exclusive interview with the Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Raj Chengappa. (Read the complete interview on Page 12).  General Singh emphatically said that the Indian Army is concerned about its image and pointed out that in the rural areas in Kashmir, where the Army has its presence, there is enormous goodwill for the Army. Even in times of crises these areas have been quiet and peaceful and people have not supported agitations.  Ruling out the need for diluting the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act ( AFSPA), the Army Chief asserted that the Indian Army has a ‘human rights’ cell within its rank and that the Army is very serious about taking action against the odd offender who misuses his power. “ We take very quick action...the Army does it even faster than a fast-track court,” said the General while reiterating the view upheld by the Supreme Court that AFSPA is an enabling provision and not an arbitrary Act.  Admitting that India has unstable neighbours to the West, the Army Chief played down threats on the north and the north-eastern border. Saying that the confidence-building measures on the border with China are working well, the General said with a wry smile, “ I think at times things get unnecessarily blown up.” He went on to strike a note of caution though and said that since the country has an unresolved border dispute with China, the Army has to be prepared for all eventualities.  On a more positive note, the General declared that if a war is thrust on the country, “ We will take the war to its logical conclusion whether it is a nuclear strike or no nuclear strike...I am quite confident of our nuclear capability. We are clear that as a nation we will be able to withstand whatever comes our way and retaliate in adequate measure”.  Replying to questions, the Army Chief dwelt at length on issues like obsolescence, problems related to modernisation and whether there is a role for the Army in Afghanistan.  The General ruled out any military involvement of the Indian Army in Afghanistan. “ We do not look at the Army stepping in, in any way, and we are not recommending to do so,” he told The Tribune.  The Army Chief said that the Indian Army is going through a process of transformation, becoming more agile, more capable of transmitting its “lethality” and having more responsive logistical support.








 THE Tribune interview by Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief “We are prepared to meet any kind of threat from Pakistan and China” — General V.K. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff 
General V.K. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff — Tribune photo: Mukesh AggarwalTHE Chief of the Army Staff, General Vijay Kumar Singh, is a third generation officer of the Rajput Regiment. He has had an outstanding track record ever since he was commissioned in 1970 and is an expert in counter-insurgency operations. Having taken over as chief in March 2010, General Singh has weathered the criticism of army high-handedness in Kashmir and maintained firmness in dealing with the situation apart from working towards transforming the Army. In an exclusive interview at his office in Delhi’s South Block, he spoke for an hour to Editor-in-Chief Raj Chengappa about his efforts to enhance the Army’s ability to deal with all kinds of threats both current and future.  Excerpts:  What are the current and future threats to India? Is the Army ready with a long-term defensive and offensive plan to tackle them?  We are preparing ourselves to operate in the entire spectrum. So far as the conventional operations are concerned, whether it is conventional with a nuclear backdrop or low intensity, something which is akin to proxy war border skirmishes, we are prepared for everything.  As far as the non-conventional threats are concerned like cyber warfare, meddling with what we term as global commerce, those are areas which are receiving due attention. We are looking at what we can create in terms of organisation which can address them even better than what we are doing today.  Where internal dissent and those issues are concerned which basically are socio-economic in nature or which are law and order where at times you get called in, we are also looking at that in conjunction with what we can do with other organs of the state which will help us in meeting these challenges.  General V.K. Singh, Chief of the Army Staff — Tribune photo: Mukesh AggarwalSuffice to say that we are giving a thought to this entire range of threats and we are looking at upgrading our capability, looking at certain amount of restructuring that we need to do and how we will develop our human resource capital because that is the major thing. Wars are fought by human beings. Ultimately, it is a human being who is going to plant a flag and not a machine.  So that capital has to be good.  So how manpower is to be by recruited, trained, prepared, made technologically more aware and all that is part of this gamut.  The Air Force chief described the situation in the neighbourhood as volcanic. Do you agree?  I do not want to comment on what he said.  What I look at it is that we have an unstable neighbour on our West (Pakistan).  Unstable because of internal problems, unabated terrorism out there and unstable because it decided that it will aid some terrorists groups and support some terrorist groups for strategic aims because of political drift and the fissures that are coming up because of all these factors.  And we also know that whenever situation become critical with this particular neighbour of ours it tends to direct attention of its people towards India.  There is instability; there is a terrorist infrastructure which is in place. Till that time the threat to our country will remain because it looks at dismembering the country as a nation. We also have the so-called border problem because of what happened after 1948.  So far as China is concerned, yes, it is developing infrastructure, developing its military but at the same time the borders are comparatively peaceful.  You have confidence-building measures in place and there is a fair amount of understanding in ensuring peace and tranquility.  However, intentions in this case can change as the capabilities grow.  We take note of both these developments and I think we are prepared to meet the type of threats that may erupt.  I think all the three services are on the same grid so far as this issue is concerned.  There is also a nuclear dimension with Pakistan having acquired the capability as well?  We have been looking on this threat for quite sometime. It is not that suddenly it has come, we knew at the capabilities of our neighbourhood and what was happening over there and we have been talking about it, we have been training for it and we have been looking at our own concepts and doctrine etc so far as this particular issue is concerned. As an Army, we are prepared to fight dirty which means not dirty in the sense of street fighting, dirty in the sense of fighting through our area which has been contaminated by a nuclear strike. We are confident that we will get through in such contaminated areas and this is part of our training methodology, doctrine and our concept.  It is not that somebody is going to say I will drop a bomb and therefore you stop on your track. Sorry, it does not happen that way, it is not going to happen.  We will take the war to its logical conclusion whether it is a nuclear strike or no nuclear strike. I am quite confident of our nuclear capability. We are clear that as a nation we will be able to withstand whatever comes our way and retaliate in adequate measure.  China is ramping up infrastructure along its side of the border with India and there has been talk of intrusions. Do you think India is doing enough to counter any threat the Chinese may pose?  I would answer the question in two parts. Firstly, yes, there is lot of infrastructural development in Tibet autonomous region and China has enhanced its capability in that region. But there is no enhancement of military force for which we should get worried. Yes, China is a country which is progressing very well economically and obviously when you are doing great amount of economic progress, certain benefits go in modernisation of the military like any other nation would do.  Because we have a disputed border, there will always be a concern that intentions can change.  And there is a second point.  At the moment, the borders are peaceful. There are confidence-building measures in place. There is a system of holding border personnel meetings. There is a system of hot lines so that unnecessarily things do not go out of control.  And they are functioning pretty well.  I think at times things get unnecessarily blown up. There are no intrusions.  There are transgressions. Transgressions are in areas where a certain alignment is disputed between the two countries. You feel that the alignment should be at a particular place and you go up to that place.  They feel that alignment should be at a particular place, so he comes up to that place. Therefore, for him you have transgressed and for you, he has transgressed. That is what all is happening. There is nothing very alarming about it. As a person who heads the Army, I find there is no problem on our borders. We are ensuring that whatever are our national interests, they are guarded properly. There is no alarm on this matter at all.  And I think China also knows it.  That is how confidence-building measures are coming into place.  For the Army, there has been a problem of acquisition of new armament or upgradation of existing equipment especially after the Bofors controversy with every government since then wary of taking decisions about defence purchases. Is the Army facing the same problem of obsolescence as the Air Force is?  This is a perception.  Obsolete to what? There are certain things which probably have outlived their lifespan in terms of equipment that came or got inducted at a particular time.  Such equipment is still worthwhile because of what you have in your neighbourhood. Yes, acquisitions suffered in the wake of Bofors thing that came up and everybody is too cautious for the simple reason that nobody wants to get into the vigilance net.  The Defence procurement procedure policy that has been laid down now is quite good and it is getting updated as we keep having interactions with the industry and all other people who work in it.  Two things have to be maintained in procurement — one is transparency and the second is to ensure that nobody can cast a doubt which usually happens when there is a large amount involved.   I feel that if we are convinced that a thing is needed, it is necessary or if there is an urgent requirement for it we should be able to remove the cobwebs that come in the way.  I am confident that this will happen and I have seen it happening. We have a very supportive political leadership so far as this issue is concerned. I am looking at faster acquisitions.  But let me also sound a word of caution. What you acquire from abroad and what can be made indigenously, we need to have a balance. You cannot be dependent on too much from outside because then you become a hostage in times of a need.  So there is a great amount of effort that is being made to ensure that our own private sector comes up in this field. We would like our private sector to come up whether they make a joint venture with somebody outside or what they want to do is there problem. But at least there should be technology infusion by which they can match up to what we require and maybe we will see that over a period of time the type of vibrant industry that we have, that is our strength in the economic marvel that has happened, it should be able to take on lot of jobs.  What are the technologies or equipment the Army needs to acquire to face future challenges?  We are ready to face the challenges that may come up.  There are certain focus areas that we have kept for ourselves. Like we are looking at the type of surveillance equipment that can come, we look at our capability to do 24x7 operations where night is not a problem.  We are looking at improving our networks centricity. We are looking at high technology items in terms of computer controlled and command controlled systems which provide synergy to the entire process. Some of these are on way and some are these are being given a push. The other area that we are looking is our capability for bringing in precision targeting.  There has been demands to modify or amend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) especially in Kashmir. What are your views on it?  Kashmir is a complex problem. Like I have said, we had created a situation which should have been made use of.  Somewhere, some problems have occurred and I will not go into why and how of it.  I think you all are aware of what is happening out there. We as the Army, have done a tremendous job out there. Even in the period of crisis you have seen that the rural areas where the Army mainly is have remained quiet. They have not supported agitations and whatever goodwill that we have earned is reflected in the way people respond to us. I am sure this will be visible to everybody and they can find the windows which they can utilise for betterment of the situation. AFSPA is an enabling provision and Act passed by Parliament. It assists the armed forces in dealing with special situations.  It does not give it unwieldy powers because when the Supreme Court reviewed it, it looked at it very critically and came to a decision that this is not an arbitrary act.  It has got a meaning. It enables your forces to have a certain amount of legal cover. They also said that we should have certain guidelines which have been given to the Army.  The Army by itself had already taken out certain commandments that the troops must follow as additional guidelines.  Troops who operate in to such areas are actually not aware of AFSPA. They are operating under the guidelines given by the Army.  And those guidelines are very explicit.  They tell you what to do what not to do.  And where aberration occur,  we come down hard upon those people. So there is no misuse. I don’t think there is a need to dilute the Act.  What about action against violators?  We have human rights organisations in our service.  Each case is investigated.  Let me tell you 96 per cent of the cases are found to be false and we go back to the National Human Rights Commission and tell them that’s what it is. Where there is a violation we take very quick action and ensure that adequate punishment is given to these people. The Army does it in much faster time frame, even faster than a fast track court because we are concerned about our own image. We are not an occupation Army in anyway.  Do you see a role for the Indian Army in Afghanistan?  Afghanistan has been a country that India has been engaged with for a long time.  Because of our age-old relationships, all our aid is developmental and humanitarian.  We have looked at ensuring that there is development in Afghanistan and we have looked at progress in Afghanistan.  But we have not looked at militarily involving ourselves in Afghanistan. And that stance continues. We do not look at the Army stepping in any way and we are not recommending it to do so. Our government has chalked out a policy on Afghanistan that is absolutely correct.  It ensures that whatever interest we have is fulfilled.  What would be your focus during your tenure as chief?  We have embarked on a transformation process for our Army. Transformation is in terms of making the Army more agile, the Army more capable of transmitting its lethality and the Army in which there are no people who will be, in Army terms, left out of battle. Apart from that it is having a more responsive logistic system and ensuring that our Army headquarters are suitably structured so that they can contribute towards faster decision-making. This is what I think we should be able to achieve along with ensuring that whatever modernisation plans that we have they fructify to a large extent.  I look at what we can do to increase our joint-manship network centricity so that we can operate in an environment where it should be possible for us to make use of all the acumen and skills that all the services we have.











India, UK Air Force exercise from tomorrow
Kusum Arora Tribune News Service  Jalandhar, October 16 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.  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 and the protection of High-Value Aerial Assets as undertaken by the RAF as a part of the coalition and expeditionary force deployment across the globe.










Iran dares US and Israel on Lebanese border
On the Iranian presidents visit, the people were seen waving Iranian flags and carried posters of the Iranian president and supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
                   THOUSANDS OF Lebanese nationals lined the streets of Beirut on Wednesday to welcome the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his first visit to Lebanon. Signs on billboards and banners said: "The south welcomes the protector of the resistance".  They were seen waving Iranian flags and carried posters of the Iranian president and supreme leader of the Islamic Revolution-Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.  In order to boost the increasing bilateral cooperation with Lebanon, the Iranian President signed 17 memorandums of understanding in various fields like energy, agriculture, health, education, and other areas.  At a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Suleiman, Ahmadinejad applauded Lebanon's continued opposition to Israel and mentioned that Iran gives its complete support to the Lebanese people. In return, Suleiman mentioned that Lebanon supports Iran's peaceful nuclear activities.  In fact Ahmadinejad's visit to southern Lebanon is a stern message to Israel. He told thousands of supporters, who turned out on Thursday at a rally in a south Lebanon border town that Israel would disappear, while they would thrive.  Ahmadinejad praised Hezbollah and its southern stronghold as "the foremost shield of Lebanon." Iranian President visited the town of Bint Jbeil which was the location of fierce fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and the Hezbollah militia during the Second Lebanon War of 2006. It was also  the location of a victory speech by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah after Israel ended two decades of occupation of south Lebanon.  "You are the heroes that guard Lebanon's sovereignty," he told them. "You have proven that there no force in the world can beat you. The resistance of the Lebanese nation, drawn from faith in God, can stand up to any Israeli force – planes, tanks and ships."   The U.S. and Israel have called Ahmadinejad's visit to Bint Jbeil, located just a couple miles of the Israeli border, an intentionally provocative move.









Indian jet deal could create 27,000 jobs in US 
Associated Press, Updated: October 16, 2010 09:27 IST
Washington:  The Obama Administration is eyeing the lucrative multi-billion dollar tender for medium multi-role combat aircraft of Indian Air Force as this has the potential to create 27,000 jobs in the US.  At a time when unemployment rate continues to be at low ebb and US President Barack Obama is struggling to create fresh jobs; such a deal bagged by an American company could give him a big political boost.  Two major fighter jet manufacturing companies - Boeing and Lockheed Martin - are vying for the USD 10 billion Indian tender; which is expected to be raised by the US officials during the India visit of the US President in November.  "If either jet wins, we estimate that it could bring 27,000 jobs to the US," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told a Baltimore-based think tank, thus indicating the importance US attaches in bagging such a deal.     
"Equally important, it will help seal our strategic objective of working wing-to-wing with India to bolster global security and stability," Blake said.  "India is the world's largest democracy, one of the world's fastest growing economies, and a rising power in Asia and beyond. It has vibrant democratic institutions, a free press, a robust civil society, and an innovative private sector," he said.  "India's commitment to the values cherished by their people and espoused by their founders democracy, pluralism, tolerance, openness, and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights animate our continued efforts to build a more peaceful, prosperous, inclusive, secure, and sustainable world," he said.  "These common values and our increasingly convergent interests have driven an unprecedented transformation in Indo-US relations in just one decade  "Today, the wide scope and the intensity of our bilateral engagement is unprecedented and yet still growing," he said.  "President Obama had called India our "indispensable" partner for the 21st century. That's why the President and Secretary Clinton are now forging a new strategic partnership with India that will help shape the 21st century," Blake said.











Pakistan to bid for non-permanent UNSC seat 
Press Trust of India, Updated: October 16, 2010 22:31 IST
United Nations:  Pakistan will try for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council next year and hopes to get India's support for its bid, the country's top diplomat to the world body has said.      "Next year we're trying for a Security Council seat (from the Asian region) and I believe that the Indians have said that they will support us there," Abdullah Hussain Haroon told PTI.      He also wished India well for its two-year tenure as a non-permanent UNSC member, beginning from January 2011.     Pakistan had supported India in the recent election for non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council.     
Haroon pointed out that Pakistan's support for India was rooted in the Asian Group's efforts to keep a united front.  "A year ago a couple of us met and said let's get the Asian Group working... all other groups had unanimous candidates...Asia always have a fight," the Pakistani envoy said.      "As far as the Asian Group is concerned this was an important act of faith... and we had to see it that way," he added.      On whether Pakistan would support India's bid for a permanent UNSC seat, Haroon gave a guarded response, saying "I think these things go one after another...let's see where the world takes us."      Three countries bidding for a permanent seat --  India, Brazil and Germany -- will be on the Council as non-permanent members for the next two years, and India is hoping that the change will come in the next two years when it will be already on the Council.      Pointing out that there were already two European nations in the Permanent Five of US, UK, Russia, China and France -- and one more permanent seat may open up for Europe, Haroon said that Asia needs to vie for more permanent UNSC seats, instead of just the one spot that India is contending for.      "I am in favour of Asia getting more seats," he said.      India would share the table for one year with Pakistan if Islamabad is elected with a two-third majority in the General Assembly polls for non-permanent UNSC seats in October 2011.  India, which has been on the Council six times before, had earlier shared the table with Pakistan in 1968, 1977 and 1984.  Haroon also underlined that he shared a "good relationship" with his Indian counterpart Hardeep Singh Puri, which is often analysed by the media.      Last month, Puri and Haroon attended the semi-final and final matches of the Indo-Pak tennis duo, Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, at the US Open.      "Ambassador Puri and I, despite the occasional broadsides fired at us, we've kept a good relationship," he said. "All I can say is that everyone reciprocates and it gets further."      Haroon also said that the newly-elected member countries at the UNSC would have a chance to prove themselves during their terms. "They have a year or two to prove what can be possible," he said.








Indian army chief's remarks unwise, says Pakistan
October 16, 2010 21:56 IST Tags: Pakistan, Gen V K Singh, India, Abdul Basit, New Delhi Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Pakistan on Saturday reacted angrily to the Indian army [ Images ] chief's remarks describing the country as a major irritant for India's security and about the possibility of a war in a nuclear scenario, saying they were 'jingoistic' and 'unwise.' Click!  Rejecting the allegations made by Indian army chief Gen V K Singh, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement: "The government of Pakistan takes a serious exception to the reported statement of the Indian army chief about his threat perception from Pakistan, war under a nuclear scenario and uncalled for and gratuitous comments on the internal affairs of Pakistan."  The repetitive mentions by Indian army's high command 'about war under the nuclear scenario is not only irresponsible but also jingoistic and unwise,' Basit said.  "Such statements and grandstanding by India are evidently unhelpful to the cause of promoting peace, security and stability in South Asia," he added.  Pakistan remains committed to a purposeful and result-oriented dialogue with India on all outstanding issues, including the 'core issue of Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ],' the spokesman said.  Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi [ Images ] on Friday, Singh had described Pakistan and China as major irritants for India's security. He said India should have substantial war fighting capabilities to fight in a nuclear scenario.  Singh said terrorist infrastructure was still intact in Pakistan. The problem of governance in Pakistan and support for terrorist groups could have a fall-out on India, he said.







Why China training with NATO ally matters
October 16, 2010 16:51 IST Tags: NATO, Chinese Air Force, China Daily, Turkey, People's Liberation Army Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  It is learnt that Chinese Air Force planes had refuelled in Pakistan and Iran last month while on their way to Turkey to participate in a joint air exercise with the Turkish Air Force. On the way back, they refueled only in Iran. The air exercise preceded the recent visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to Turkey.  Turkey's agreement to hold a joint exercise with the People's Liberation Army (Air Force) is significant for two reasons.  Firstly, Turkey agreed to participate in the exercise and to host Wen despite the considerable unhappiness and anger caused among the religious elements of Turkey last year over the suppression of the Uighurs of Xinjiang by the PLA.  The Munich-based World Uighur Congress, which Beijing [ Images ] blamed for the Uighur uprising in Xinjiang last year, enjoys considerable support in Turkey. Secondly, the Obama [ Images ] administration does not appear to have opposed the joint exercise despite the fact that the planes of the Turkish Air Force that participated in the joint exercise had been given by the US.  Details of the exercise have been carried by the People's Daily in China on the basis of Western and Turkish media reports.Turkish press reports confirmed the unprecedented involvement of PLA (Air Force) jets in Turkey's annual joint exercises, known as Anatolian Eagle, held over the centre of the country. Click!  Army Lieutenant Colonel Tamara Parker, a Pentagon [ Images ] spokeswoman, confirmed European press reports of the unusual aerial military exercises involving US-made Turkish jets and Chinese Su-27 fighters that engaged in simulated aerial combat.  She said, "The government of Turkey is committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Oorganisation Alliance and the continuation of strong ties to the United States, and Turkey assured us they would take the utmost care related to their possession of US and NATO technologies."  However, she did not address the issue of whether the Chinese military might have learned sensitive NATO aerial combat information.  Jane's Defense Weekly, quoting Turkish diplomatic sources, stated that the exercises involved less-capable US-made F-4s and Chinese Su-27s, but not the more advanced US-made F-16s.  Ed Timperlake, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot and former Pentagon technology security official, said allowing the Chinese Air Force to exercise with a NATO ally posed security risks. He said: 'The Turkish Air Force helping the Chinese Air Force to see NATO combat tactics and training is a very bad idea. It is deadly serious stuff."  He said the exercises and Turkey's warming relations with neighbouring Iran should lead the Pentagon to rethink its decision to sell the new F-35 jet to Turkey.  Richard Fisher, a specialist on China's military at the International Assessment and Strategy Centre, also criticised Turkey's military for conducting aerial exercises with a communist power that posed a threat to US and allied security interests in Asia. "It's not a good thing," he said.  Fisher said Turkey in the late 1990s used Chinese technology to jointly develop short-range B-611 missiles.  The Tehran Press TV Online reported that Iran opened its airspace to the Turkish and Chinese jets.  The daily Hurriyat  reported that Iran indirectly supported a secret military drill between the Turkish and Chinese Air Forces.  Four drill-bound Chinese SU-27 warplanes that took off from bases in China refueled in Iran – the first time the Islamic Republic has ever allowed foreign warplanes to refuel at its airbases, the daily said.  The Russian-made SU-27s used by the Chinese Air Force had to refuel in both Pakistan and Iran because of their limited 3,500-kilometer range.  Official letters were sent to the two countries prior to the exercise requesting the use of airspace and passage and refueling privileges.  The warplanes refueled a second time in Iran on their return to China. The exercise was conducted after two years of deliberations, the report said, adding that its sole purpose was to improve mutual cooperation between the two friendly countries.  Washington contacted Ankara ahead of the drill to express concerns over the planned use of F-16 warplanes in a military drill involving China -- which the US considers a possible threat. "We expect you to honour the agreement article that requires the exercise of caution regarding the transfer of technology to third countries," the memorandum read.  American concerns were taken into consideration and F-16 fighters were replaced by older F-4 models in the exercise.  The China Daily reported on October 15 that a new Strategic Concept expected to be discussed by a NATO summit to be held in Lisbon next month proposes regular consultations with countries like China and India [ Images ].  The paper said: "However, there is slim hope that China will put on its own agenda the cooperation with the NATO.  According to Tao Wenzhao, a professor at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, "NATO has been eyeing deeper ties with China for some time, because they are looking for substantial help from China to ease things up in Afghanistan, a nine-year-old war that has required the deployment of 150,000 multinational troops."  "But even if Beijing is supportive of anti-terrorism measures, China remains a country firmly committed to non-alliance. Moreover, it is unlikely China would carry out in-depth cooperation with NATO, an outcome of the cold war," said Tao.









DRDO, IAI, MBDA products to Improve Indian Air Force Air Defence Capabilities
DRDO, IAI, MBDA products to Improve Indian Air Force Air Defence Capabilities 2010-10-16 In a recent interview, the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik had been quoted saying that the Indian Air Force was close to having a 50 percent obsolence level in its equipment. This was largely a reference to the air defence capabilities of the Indian Air Force.  For the past few years, however, the Government has moved to address these gaps in capabilities with the following orders / upgrades planned:      * December 2010 - President Sarkozy's Visit: Formal accord likely to be signed and joint development work to begin for the 15-km.-range Indo-French Maitri short-range SAM (SR-SAM). Workshare agreement between the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and European defense major MBDA has been concluded. An MBDA official says the SR-SAM would finish development work and the first phase of testing within three years of program go-ahead. The system is likely to be available for deployment by late 2013.      * February 2011 - IAF will receive its first two Akash batteries in February, and is likely to deploy them in India's Northeast. The IAF decided to order six more Akash batteries worth USD $925 million -- each with 125 missiles -- in addition to the two systems already on order.      * March 2011 - IAF receive the first of 18 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)-Rafael Spyder quick-reaction medium-range missile systems. The offshore deal became necessary in 2006 because of delays in the indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) program.      * DRDO is developing with IAI a 70-km.-range Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MR-SAM). The IAF plans to raise at least two regiments that will use the MR-SAM, each with 40 launchers and support equipment. In India, the MR-SAM will progressively replace the antiquated Soviet-vintage SA-3 Pechora and SA-8 OSA-AK SAM systems.      * Radar coverage - The IAF currently has fast-track tenders out for long-range surveillance radars, high-powered radars, three-dimensional C/D band air surveillance radars, low-level transportable radars and radars for mountain surveillance in India's northern and eastern sectors.








Pakistan reacts angrily to Indian army chief’s statement
 Islamabad, Pakistan has reacted strongly to the statement of Indian army chief, General V.K. Singh that ‘Pakistan and China are major security threats for India’.  In a statement issued Saturday, Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman said the ‘allegations made by Indian army chief are baseless and distortion of facts’.  ‘We outright reject these accusations,’ the spokesman added.  ‘The statements by Indian army’s high command regarding possible atomic war in the region are highly irresponsible and detrimental to the peace and security in this part of the world,’ he said, while calling for ‘more maturity and restraint before making such statements’.  General Singh had made these observations at a seminar Friday organised by the Army’s think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) on emerging roles and tasks of the Indian Army.




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