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Thursday, 21 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 21 Oct 2010

Countering China's strategic encirclement
Brig Kartar Singh (Retd) DRAGON'S FIRE: Chinese self-propelled rocket
launchers during a field exercise The Defence Minister and Army Chief have
voiced concern over China's increasing assertiveness on the political,
diplomatic and military fronts. Though there is no cause yet to sound an
alarm, the Indian establishment should be prepared to checkmate the Dragon's
moves Look at some of the past and recent developments and then perceive
the scenario of a Sino-Indian thaw. The occupation of Aksai Chin by China
since 1962, construction of the Karakoram Highway connecting Pakistan,
supporting insurgency in India's North East since 1965 and claiming areas
like Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have been some of the direct interferences
of China in Indian affairs. A few recent developments, however, are more
disturbing then the earlier ones. These include : * A proposed rail
link, via Myanmar, to Chittagong port in Bangladesh * Construction of
Sona deep sea port at Cox Bazaar in Bangladesh * Construction of
Hambantola port in Sri Lanka * A full facility at Gawadar port, west of
Karachi, in Pakistan * Occupation of northern areas of Gilgit by regular
Chinese troops * Interference in internal politics of Nepal *
Intruding in various places along the borders in the guise of herd-grazers
* Construction of nuclear power plants in Pakistan Sino-Indian relations
started on a warm note after independence. Both countries were in search of
their place in the new World Order and trying to find bread for their
people. All this changed in the aftermath of the 1962 Sino-Indian war, which
has left China and India in state of flux that continues till today. China
started her economic development in late 80's and became a popular
investment destination for Americans and Europeans. Today she is poised to
become an economic superpower and is in close competition with the US and
Japan, leaving India far behind. China knows it well that after Japan and
United Korea, no other country can compete with her. With India waking up
very late to the new realities of economic developments, China now perceives
India as a potential competitor in Asia and Afro-Asian regions. China has
become the largest user of oil in the world overtaking USA. Her growing
economy has also become the third largest economy of the world and she is
fully a developed nuclear state with the largest Army in the world. It is
reported that China consumed 2,200 million tons of oil in 2009. Her
consumption of energy in future is well perceived and in order to maintain
future import requirements, she definitely requires a supply chain
management system from the Gulf countries. Gawadar-Xinjang highway, gas
pipeline from Myanmar and intermediate refueling facility at the port of
Hambantola in Sri Lanka may be her genuine requirements. These facilities
may legitimatise as geo-economic necessities for the future. But her regular
troops occupying Gilgit region in POK, direct support to the Maoist party in
Nepal and openly declaring Kashmir as a disputed area prove her hidden
intensions of deploying herself in the geo-strategic encirclement of India.
Recent developments in the Indo-US relationship paradigm may have also irked
Beijing. US civilian nuclear deal with India, enhanced mutual trust between
the two democracies, Obama's forthcoming visit to India, purchase of defence
hardware by India from the US and Obama's clear indications of upgrading
mutual relations with India could be seen as unwelcome developments by
China. China follows well-practiced strategies with her neighbours, like
"teaching them a lesson", as she did with Vietnam in 1978. She also follows
a strategy of "tactical arrogance", which she repeats with India, Nepal and
Bhutan over and again during the livestock-grazing season. She also believes
in the strategy of "bullying"' neighbours by actions more than words.
Recently she denied a visa to one of our Army Commanders posted in Kashmir.
These postures and actions prove yet another point that China has grown so
powerful that it does not bother about anyone, including Uncle Sam. She
believes in having its cake and eating it too. One of the biggest and
saddest event that has gone in favour of China is downfall of the erstwhile
USSR. The present Russian federation cannot engage China due to its internal
problems and weak economy. So, what does it boil down to? What should India
do to engage her bullying neighbour meaningfully? One of the options
available to India, as our economist Prime Minister stated, is that our
engagement with ASEAN countries is a key element of India's vision of an
Asian economic community. If we can meaningfully engage ASEAN countries in
economies ties, then these countries will definitely look up to New Delhi in
a supportive and friendly gesture. These countries will definitely upgrade
India in their priorities over China. India should also keep close watch on
SAARC countries and help them in their genuine economic development. This
would remove their fear of India's big brother attitude and bring about an
economic change in the region. We, therefore, must agree upon an economic
development programme for SAARC countries to enhance their confidence in
India and not leave them to any vulnerable threat from outside. China knows
it well that India today is not what she was in 1962. With a credible
nuclear deterrence, a fairly well trained and well deployed army, India
cannot be bullied or treated with arrogance. India could do well by
organising some sort of offensive capabilities along the north-eastern
borders. Indian defensive capabilities are fairly well developed and she is
capable of countering any limited misadventure by China. A large-scale
Chinese offensive, of course, would dictate different options for India. In
all fairness, China is definitely not an irresponsible state and recognises
India's regional and international aspirations. If New Delhi and Beijing can
settle their long-standing border disputes and engage in economic
development between themselves as well as ASEAN and SAARC countries, then
the 21st century definitely belongs to these Asian giants. After all,
Panchsheel, the basic document guiding India's foreign policy, was first
signed by these two countries.
Ominous moves across the Himalayan borders
Wg Cdr N.K. Pant (Retd) Much water has flowed down India's rivers ever
since former defence minister George Fernandes declared that the 1998
Pokharan nuclear tests had been aimed at the Peoples Republic of China
(PRC). In 2008, Pranab Mukherjee, the external affairs minister, repeated
this, calling the security challenge posed by Beijing as an important
priority for New Delhi. These were not off-the-cuff remarks by politicians,
but a clear comprehension of the impending threat looming large on our
northern mountainous borders since 1950 when the Peoples Liberation Army
(PLA) overran Tibet. Tibet had racial, cultural and religious
characteristics entirely different from China. It was rightfully emerging on
the world stage as an independent nation, but PLA's brutal military
occupation and human rights abuses altered the course of history.
Subsequently, mass migration of Hans to the so-called Tibetan Autonomous
Region (TAR) from the Chinese mainland rendered Tibetans a minority in their
own homeland. The myopic leadership in New Delhi, with exception of then
deputy prime minister Sardar V. Patel, at that crucial time failed to see
the writing on the wall and went ahead to recognise China's sovereignty over
Tibet. This shortsighted approach to China's Tibetan invasion has cost the
country dearly in terms of the defence of our Himalayan borders. After
strengthening its grip on Tibet and improving road communication till the
Indian borders, Beijing invented a thorny boundary dispute with New Delhi,
which it is unwilling to resolve. In 1962, Communist China, that lays claim
on vast areas in the Himalayas and refuses to recognise Arunachal Pradesh
and Sikkim as integral parts of India, launched a humiliating military
attack on India. That China's hostile policy towards India is not going to
change, is clear from a recent online poll conducted by a Chinese website,, which stated 90 per cent participants believed India posed a
big threat to China. About 74 per cent said China should not maintain
friendly relations with India anymore, while 65 per cent thought India
deploying additional troops in Arunachal was damaging bilateral ties.
Recent reported confiscation of tourism brochures by the Chinese police from
the Indian pavilion at the Shanghai Expo because these showed Arunachal
Pradesh as part of India is perhaps a forewarning of a military blitzkrieg
across our Himalayan frontiers. New Delhi must take foolproof
countermeasures to avoid a 1962 type fiasco. Despite rapidly rising trade
relations, China has, off and on, been provoking India on military and
diplomatic fronts. The year before, there were media reports about
increasing incursions by PLA along the borders. China has now reportedly
deployed 11,000 regular troops in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and
Kashmir that is under Pakistan's occupation. China is the only country that
issues stapled visas to Indian citizens from J&K and Arunachal on the
pretext that these territories remain disputed. Last year it raised
objections when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Arunachal Pradesh. As
quoted in the media, Singh now rightly wants the nation to be prepared in
view of the new assertiveness among the Chinese, which "is difficult to tell
which way it will go". Beijing's refusal to issue visa to Lt Gen B.S.
Jaswal, the Northern Command chief, for a high-level military exchange visit
on grounds that he commanded troops in the disputed area of J&K has added
salt to the injury, leading New Delhi to cancel defence exchanges with
China. Indian officials found China's behaviour particularly provocative
because in August 2009, Gen V.K. Singh, currently the Army Chief and then
the Eastern Army Commander, had visited China for a similar exchange. If
territorial sensitivity was the issue, then Gen Singh's visit should have
been even more problematic because, as the Eastern Army Commander, he had
jurisdiction over Arunachal Pradesh, which China has provocatively started
calling South Tibet. It now transpires that besides amassing troops along
the 1,700-km Indo-Tibet border, China has menacingly deployed nuclear-tipped
missiles aimed at the Indian mainland. Last year when India decided to
bolster defences in Arunachal, Global Times, China's English language
mouthpiece, in an editorial termed it "dangerous if it is based on a false
anticipation that China will cave in". It also commented India's current
course can only lead to rivalry between the two countries and cautioned that
India "needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a
potential confrontation with China". The bottom line, unambiguously, was
India should not have any illusions as China would neither make any
compromise in border disputes nor would sacrifice its sovereignty in
exchange for friendship. Should India not revisit its policy on the Tibetan
issue in view of China's continued aggressive intransigence? Sometimes in
the middle ages, China may have had "suzerainty" over Tibet, but the
territory has always functioned as a free nation till Mao's army annexed it
in 1950. In fact, the region, in cultural, trade and religious spheres, was
much closer to India than to China. Some imperial dynasties ruling Chinese
mainland in the distant past had association with Tibet that can be loosely
compared to the British monarch's connections with some Commonwealth
countries like Canada and Australia. However, present-day Britain never laid
territorial claims on these sovereign nations that had once been its
colonies. New Delhi, besides bolstering defences on the Indo-Tibet border,
must strive to create a strong international opinion for creating a
genuinely autonomous Shangri-La where indigenous Tibetans can preserve their
vanishing cultural and religious identity.
Laser-guided bomb developed
Tribune News service Dehradun, October 20 With technical support from
Dehradun-based Instruments Research and Development Establishment (IRDE), a
laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the
country has developed its first laser-guided bomb (LGB), a weapon that can
illuminate a target and then decimates it with accuracy. Two successful
flight trials of the LGB were conducted for the IAF at the Chandipur test
range in Orissa in January this year.
'Can't sign binding down military pacts with US'
Ajay Banerjee/TNS New Delhi, October 20 Just two weeks ahead of US
President Barack Obama's visit, New Delhi has visibly firmed up its stance
and said that it sees no use in signing any "binding down" military
agreements. Top sources in the Ministry of Defence said New Delhi was
studying what Washington calls the "foundation" for transferring high-tech
communications equipment. India is buying or is in the process of buying
several US-made platforms, including medium lift and heavy lift military
transport planes, long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft and VVIP
business jets. Users of planes -- the Indian Air force and Navy -- have made
told the MoD that these agreements serve little purpose and were "binding
down" rather than being "enablers". Defence Ministry sources today
confirmed: ".We do not want to be tied down with one type of technology.
India is not keen on the agreements." Still, technical persons are studying
the benefits of these. The two agreements are Communications
Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement and Basic Exchange and
Cooperation Agreement For Geospatial Cooperation. The US says these were
technology enablers and would make military platforms technically "more
potent". Last Friday, Air Chief Air Marshal PV Naik had, in a reply to a
question on the benefits or drawbacks of not signing these agreements, said
".it will not make any substantial difference to our operational
capabilities". However, the US claims that the communications
interoperability and security agreement will enable interoperability between
air forces of both countries. Senior functionaries see this as a needless
"prop" and India sees no benefit in the IAF being interoperable with the US.
Obama to visit Pakistan in 2011, not next month: White House
October 21, 2010 03:21 IST Tags: Barack Obama, White House, Pakistan, Al
Qaeda, Afghanistan Share this Ask Users Write a Comment United States
President Barack Obama [ Images ] would travel to Pakistan next year but not
make a stopover there during his November trip to Asia including India [
Images ], the White House has said. Click! Obama conveyed this to a
visiting delegation from Pakistan, who were in Washington, DC to participate
in the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue, it said in a statement. The visiting
Pakistani delegation was led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and
Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani [ Images ]. "The president
explained that he would not be stopping in Pakistan during his trip to Asia
next month, and committed to visiting Pakistan in 2011, as well as welcoming
(Pak) President (Asif Ali) Zardari to Washington," the White House said in a
statement after the meeting. The current round of the strategic dialogue,
the third such meeting this year, concludes tomorrow. In his meeting with
the Pakistani delegation, the White House said that Obama underlined the
importance of the dialogue in moving US-Pak relationship toward a true
partnership based on mutual respect and common interests. "The President
and the Pakistani delegation agreed on the need for regional stability, and
specifically on the importance of cooperating toward a peaceful and stable
outcome in Afghanistan," it said. Earlier in the day, Obama held his
monthly situation room meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan along with his
key national security advisors. "The President and his team then discussed
our relationship with Pakistan in the context of this week's Strategic
Dialogue in Washington, including our security cooperation, the need to
increase pressure on extremist safe-havens, our support for the Pakistani
people and their democratic institutions, and our efforts to help Pakistan
recover from the devastating floods," the White House said. The meeting
began with a discussion of America's ongoing efforts to work with Pakistan
and Afghanistan to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda [ Images ] and its
affiliates, including counter-terrorism operations that have killed or
captured several Al Qaeda leaders in recent months. Obama and his team then
discussed their ongoing efforts in Afghanistan, including recent
developments related to the Afghan elections, economic development, local
police initiative and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's [ Images ]
establishment of a High Peace Council to support Afghan-led reintegration
and reconciliation. "The President received a briefing on the security
situation in Afghanistan, including our efforts to target Taliban [ Images ]
leadership, our security operations around Kandahar, and our preparations
for the NATO Summit in Lisbon," the White House added.

India's Rustom 1 UAV makes successful flight
By Greg Waldron India has completed a successful test flight of the Rustom
1, a new indigenous unmanned air vehicle. Developed by India's Aeronautical
Development Establishment (ADE), the Rustom 1 flew for 12min, despite
"inclement weather". The test flight took place at a general aviation
airfield in Hosur near Bangalore. For its first flight the UAV was
controlled by an Indian army officer at the end of the runway. C
Aeronautical Development Establishment The Rustom 1 has a planned endurance
of 12-15h, can carry payloads of up to 75kg (165lb) and has a maximum
ceiling of 25,000ft (7,620m). The UAV's datalink was designed and developed
by India's Defence Electronics Applications Laboratory, while its airframe
and most of its electronics were produced by Indian companies. "This
development is the forerunner to the medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV
project Rustom H, which the lab will take up shortly," the ADE says. "It
paves the way for the development of unmanned combat air vehicles in India.
This UAV can be used by all three of the country's armed services." A first
test flight of the Rustom was conducted from Hosur in November 2009, but
ended when the air vehicle crashed following a "misjudgement of altitude".

Eurocopter to Set Up India Engineering Center
By NIKHIL GULATI NEW DELHI -- Eurocopter, a unit of European Aeronautic
Defence & Space Co. NV, Wednesday said it will form an Indian subsidiary and
set up an engineering center in Bangalore next year to support its global
design and development work. View Full Image eurocopt1020 Reuters
Eurocopter's X3 high-speed hybrid helicopter demonstrator seen in this
September 6, 2010 file photo. eurocopt1020 eurocopt1020 Eurocopter will
also build a maintenance, repair and overhaul center for its helicopters in
India, primarily to service the fleet of state-run Pawan Hans Helicopters
Ltd. The center will service Eurocopter's AS365 Dauphins operated by Pawan
Hans, said Eurocopter India Pvt. Ltd. Chief Executive Marie-Agnes Veve. She
didn't elaborate on the investments or the timeframe. Pawan Hans has a
fleet of 40 helicopters, of which 28 are Dauphins. The Eurocopter
engineering center will be the second for EADS in India. It opened a branch
of its research and development unit--EADS Innovation Works--in Bangalore in
2009. The Indian branch was set up as part of EADS's Airbus Engineering
Center to manage research and technology projects for its business units.
"The Indian helicopter industry has great potential for expansion, given the
country's expanding economy, its size and challenging terrain as well as the
industrial potential," Ms. Veve said. The helicopter maker is increasing
its focus on India, where it expects to sell up to 25 civilian
helicopters--about half the market--a year from 2015 onwards. "Eurocopter
wants to sell helicopters worth EUR100 million a year from 2015," said Ms.
Veve. Eurocopter India will only sell civilian helicopters, while the
parent company will continue to handle sales to Indian defense forces, Ms.
Veve added. Separately, Eurocopter Executive Vice President for Commercial
Helicopters Joseph Saporite said the company expects to conclude trials by
December for a tender to supply 197 light-utility helicopters to the Indian
Army and the Indian Air Force. The company is offering its Fennec model for
the contract. "We completed two phases of the trials in India earlier this
year. The third and last phase with complementary equipment will be
concluded by the end of this year in France," Mr. Saporite said, without
elaborating on the likely value of the tender. India plans to buy new
combat jets and helicopters to modernize its fleet of mainly Soviet-vintage
planes as Pakistan and China expand their military capabilities. The Indian
Air Force is also in the process of buying 127 fighter jets for an estimated
$10 billion. Eurocopter earlier won a tender to supply 197 helicopters to
the army and air force in 2007, but India's federal government scrapped the
contract, citing irregularities in the evaluation of the helicopters. The
Indian government invited bids for the helicopters for a second time in
2009. Apart from Eurocopter, Russia's Kamov is in the running as well.

Eurocopter hopes to bag tender for 197 helicopters
New Delhi, Oct 20 (PTI) Global helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter today said
it has successfully performed in the trials for supplying 197 Light Utility
Helicopters (LUH) to the Indian Army and the Air Force. "We have passed all
the trials so far and our company is still in race and we remain committed
to it (the deal)," Eurocopter''s senior Vice President Joseph Saporito said.
He was speaking to reporters here after the launch of Eurocopter''s Indian
subsidiary. Eurocopter and Russian Kamov are the two companies in the race
for the deal. Asked to comment on reports suggesting the possibility of the
tender being scrapped again after one of the companies raised questions over
its elimination, Saporito said, "It is not possible for us to comment
because we respect the confidentiality clauses of the tender and wish that
others would respect them as well." The deal was scrapped earlier in
December 2007 at the last moment when Defence Ministry was in the final
stages of finalising the price of the choppers. Recent reports suggested
that Italian defence major AgustaWestland has written a letter to the
Defence Ministry questioning its elimination from the competition.
Eurocpoter''s new India-head Marie Anges Veve said on the occasion that the
company was committed to supporting the Indian armed forces as it did in the
case of the French-origin Cheetah and Chetak fleet. Of the 197 LUHs, 135
would go to the Army and the rest to the Air Force. HAL is also developing a
similar class of choppers and is looking for global partners for design,
development and manufacturing of the helicopters.
Hard bargain on US pacts
SUJAN DUTTA New Delhi, Oct. 20: New Delhi has decided to play hardball on
military pacts with the Pentagon after expectations were raised that the
pending agreements may be signed during the visit of Barack Obama in about
two weeks from now. "We are in consultation with the armed forces about the
benefits and utility of these (agreements)," defence secretary Pradip Kumar
said here, in a rare public admission of the military's discomfort over US
proposals to sign a Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) and a Communications
Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). The
discordant note was struck after reports that the US was lining up a
$2-billion security aid package for Pakistan. Last month, during his visit
to Washington, the defence minister had raised the issue with US secretary
of defence Robert Gates. A.K. Antony also emphasised that India suspected
Pakistan was using US military aid to reinforce its conventional
war-fighting capabilities against India. The LSA will allow US warships,
military aircraft and personnel to access Indian military bases for
refuelling, rest and recuperation, and turnover on a reciprocal basis. It
would allow the US to replenish its military platforms on a barter basis,
meaning that the US would allow similar access and facilities to the Indian
armed forces. The CISMOA is designed to ensure that equipment transferred
to the Indian armed forces are encrypted, secure and compatible with US
military systems. A highly placed defence source said a view that had
emerged from the armed forces during consultations was that signing such
agreements would "bind" India to US military equipment. The Pentagon argues
that the signing of the agreements would facilitate the transfer of
high-tech platforms and keep India-US military relations robust. The
statement today - that the armed forces were being consulted to verify if
the pacts would be beneficial - is a step back from the position that India
was studying the agreements. Draft agreements have been pending with the
cabinet committee on security (CCS) for three years now after they were
vetted by the armed forces headquarters. Negotiations over such agreements
can be protracted. It took three years for Washington and New Delhi to agree
to a standard text on the End User Verification Agreement (EUVA) - through
which the Pentagon judges if a military system is being used by a buyer for
the purpose for which it was meant - that was signed last year. The
expectations on clinching the agreements rose because of the high-profile
visit by Obama. It is exceptional for a US President to visit India within
the first two years of his first term in office - that demonstrates the
priority the White House gives to India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was
also the first state guest of the Obama administration last year. The US
was also expecting the agreements to be signed along with announcements of
two major arms deals. The Indian Air Force has decided to buy 10 C-17
Globemaster-III heavy airlifters in a deal that could be worth $4.4 billion.
A second deal - for up to 300 M-777 ultra light howitzers - under the
Pentagon's direct Foreign Military Sales programme is in the works but an
announcement is unlikely because the Indian army has not yet finished
evaluating the guns. The guns are for deployment in high-altitude border
positions on the Chinese frontier. The Indian Air Force that had earlier
contracted the C-130J Hercules from the US is getting the medium-lift
aircraft minus some of the equipment that the Pentagon says could have been
made available if the agreements were signed. But topping the US' priority
in all these deals is the mega-competition to sell 126 (possibly 200)
medium, multi-role combat aircraft that could cost as much as $12 billion.
Two US-origin aircraft, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin's
F-16 Super Viper (Fighting Falcon) are in the running. The US has got a
boost after a technical committee determined the GE-414 engine as the best
option for India's indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft programme. The
GE-414 also powers the Super Hornet, as it does the Swedish-origin Gripen
NG. (The other aircraft in the competition are the MiG 35 of Russia,
Dassault's Rafale of France and a European consortium's Eurofighter
Typhoon). Each of the countries is leveraging their diplomatic muscle to
win the contract. Since the civilian nuclear agreement, Washington believes
its claim is the strongest. Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik had said
the air force had submitted its technical evaluation report and a selection
was likely by 2010. The report is now with the government that will make a
choice not only on financial but also on diplomatic and political

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