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Thursday, 28 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 28 Oct 2010

Two naval bases okayed in Orissa, Tamil Nadu * New naval bases to come up on
the Eastern sea board at Paradip and Tuticorin * These will be the first
major naval bases other that Vizag on the eastern coast Ajay Banerjee/TNS
Defence Minister AK Antony addresses the Naval Commanders' Conference, in
New Delhi Defence Minister AK Antony addresses the Naval Commanders'
Conference, in New Delhi on Wednesday. — PTI New Delhi, October 27 In an
apparent bid to counter China's growing presence in the Bay of Bengal,
especially its new forays in Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Indian Government
has okayed two new naval bases on the Eastern sea board - Paradip and
Tuticorin in Orissa and Tamil Nadu, respectively. These will be the first
major naval bases other that Vizag on the eastern coast. The Navy has
smaller stations but no big bases that typically provide all logistics
support like supplies, replenishment, repair and maintenance. Paradip has a
commercial port. Though the east coast as a host of Coast Guard stations,
the decision was taken to ramp up Naval presence, sources said. China has
announced its intention to build a deep sea port at Sonadia near Cox Bazar
Bangladesh. It is also building ports in Myanmar. All these are in the Bay
of Bengal and face India. Most of country's missile tests are conducted off
the east coast. India's "look east" policy aims at engaging smaller navies
that are east of India. For them this will be a huge morale booster as all
of them regularly conduct exercises with India, said sources. Defence
Minister AK Antony today told top Naval Commanders that "due priority" will
be given to creation of new operational and administrative infrastructure in
the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands. Antony,
while addressing the top brass of the Navy at the bi-annual commanders
conference, asked the Navy to further strengthen professional ties, mutual
trust and streamline capacity to inter-operate with the navies of countries
of the Indian Ocean. China's main oil supply routes pass through these
waters and it is very fidgety about India's control over the Indian Ocean.
Antony called for "…a state of perpetual operational readiness". The
Defence Minister said Navy's responsibilities in the Indian Ocean Region are
crucial as well as sensitive from the point of view of economic prosperity
and security of the nation. Antony told the Navy commanders "…engage
like-minded African states in the western Indian Ocean Region, such as
Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya, to enhance strengths and
stability". He made specific reference to Sri Lanka saying there was a need
to sustain the momentum of cooperation with Sri Lanka to ensure peaceful
fishing on either side of the International Maritime Boundary Line and to
prevent a possible resurgence of the LTTE. Earlier, Naval Chief Admiral
Nirmal Verma commended the Naval commands for integrating coastal population
into the coastal security architecture through widespread campaigns — 33 in
this year alone.
Whistleblower Case AFT summons Military Secretary Vijay Mohan/TNS
Chandigarh, October 27 Observing negligence of the Army to carry out orders,
its earlier orders to consider the case of a lieutenant colonel for
promotion, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today ordered the Military
Secretary at the Army Headquarters to appear before it in person and show
cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against the
respondents. The Tribunal's bench comprising Justice Chanshyam Prashad and
Lt Gen HS Panag directed the Army to consider the petitioner, Lt Col BS
Goraya for promotion to the next rank and if found fit, to be promoted with
all consequential benefits with effect from May 12, 2010. The bench has
fixed November 12 as the next date of the hearing. The Military Secretary is
among the principal staff officers to the Army Chief and is responsible for
the cadre management of officers. Lt Col Goraya had alleged that he was
being victimised and not being considered for promotion as he had exposed
irregularities by his commanding officer during his tenure in an Army
Service Corps battalion. Disposing-off an earlier petition filed by the
officer against his withdrawal from the Service Selection Board for
consideration for promotion, the Tribunal had directed the board held in May
2010 to consider him.
Pak designs in Afghanistan What President Obama needs to be told by G.
Parthasarathy THERE have been few instances where an American President has
given such open access to a journalist to go through the secrets of an
ongoing conflict as President Obama has done for Pulitzer Prize winning
newsman Bob Woodward's book "Obama's Wars". The book contains detailed
accounts of sensitive meetings on the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda
in Afghanistan and lays bare the infighting within the Obama team. History
alone will tell whether Woodward's revelations really served American
national interests, or paved the way for the Taliban and terrorist groups
across the world to get a better understanding of American vulnerabilities
and weaknesses. For us in India, it provides a valuable insight into the
potential and limitations of the "strategic partnership" with the world's
most powerful country, as the Americans implement Obama's directions to
finalise an "exit strategy" from Afghanistan. What emerges from the book is
that despite the belief in India that the US relations with India and
Pakistan are "de-hyphenated" (which indeed they largely were during the
latter half of the Bush Presidency), a measure of "hyphenation" continues on
American policies on Afghanistan. The Pakistanis have succeeded in
persuading significant sections of the Obama Administration that their
support for the Taliban and other radical Islamic groups that challenge the
Americans in Afghanistan and promote terrorism in India is because they feel
"threatened" by India. The logical corollary to this has been Pakistani
demands for the Americans to squeeze India to resume dialogue, without any
action by them on Indian concerns on terrorism and to get India to settle
Jammu and Kashmir on their terms. The Pakistanis have also secured a
movement forward in their demands for a nuclear deal akin to that given to
India, granting access to more and more sophisticated weaponry and
recognition that Pakistan will play the key role in future developments in
Afghanistan. Interestingly, virtually every White House briefing on
Afghanistan of Obama and his Cabinet officials is on the basis of a
background presentation by a middle-level intelligence official Peter Lavoy
— a long-term India baiter. Woodward reveals that every briefing of Lavoy
commences with a justification of Pakistani support for the Taliban because
of what are said to be Pakistan's "obsessions" with India. Lavoy repeatedly
focuses on Pakistani "concerns" on India's economic assistance to
Afghanistan and its allegations of Indian funding of "separatist movements
in various regions of Pakistan, most notably among the natives of
Baluchistan". He even implicitly justifies Pakistani allegations about
former Afghan Intelligence Chief Amrollah Saleh being an "Indian agent".
While Woodward recognises that Lavoy's is not the only voice the President
is influenced by, he does note that Vice-President Biden echoed Lavoy
stating: "What Pakistan does not want, as a matter of faith, is a unified
Afghan Government led by a Pashtun sympathetic to India, like Karzai". But,
given American anger at Pakistani duplicity in Afghanistan, President Obama
is unlikely to concede all that Islamabad demands. Woodward's book leaves
one with the clear impression that while the Americans will reduce forces in
Afghanistan, they will retain residual military power to prevent a total
Taliban takeover. In the meantime, they will seek "reconciliation" with the
Taliban and target the Taliban and Al-Qaeda bases across the Durand Line.
India should, however, prepare for the contingency of a more precipitate US
withdrawal, especially if the Americans are able to eliminate the Al-Qaeda
leadership, in which event the ISI will use the Taliban and their supporting
jihadi groups from Pakistan to seek a military takeover of Afghanistan.
Consultations with Russia, Iran and Afghanistan's Central Asian neighbours
have to be stepped up. More importantly, the Americans led by President
Obama should be firmly told that it is entirely incorrect to attribute
Pakistani behaviour in Afghanistan to their "concerns" about India. By
keeping Afghanistan unstable, isolated and saddled with Taliban-style
rulers, Pakistan seeks to subsume Pashtun nationalism and divert attention
from the fact that virtually no Pashtun recognises the Durand Line as an
international border. Woodward notes that some American officials describe
the areas straddling the Durand Line as "Pashtunistan". India should assert
that it expects that the dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the
Durand Line will be settled in a manner that fulfils Pashtun national
aspirations. A sustained diplomatic effort to get more attention focused on
the real motives of Pakistani policies and intrigues in Afghanistan is long
overdue. The fact that that the CIA knew of David Coleman Headley's links
with the Lashka-e-Toiba and yet chose not to inform New Delhi about this
during his visits to India prior to the 26/11 strikes, or when he visited
India even in 2009, will cast a shadow on President Obama's visit to Mumbai.
The FBI acted against Headley only after it received reports that he was
plotting a terrorist attack on Denmark. Woodward reveals that while ISI
chief General Shuja Pasha acknowledged that ex-ISI officials were involved
in the 26/11 attack when he was summoned to the US shortly after the attack,
the CIA later learnt that the entire attack was planned, financed and
executed by serving ISI officials. Moreover, even after 26/11, Lashkar
leaders like Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi continue to plot terrorist attacks with
ISI connivance. Despite this, India continues to receive "advice" from
Washington on why it should continue dialogue and resolve problems with
Pakistan, as though Pakistan is a normal State, amenable to reasoning. When
Dr Manmohan Singh visited Washington in November 2009, the establishment of
a "Joint Counter-terrorism Initiative" was announced with much fanfare. This
was not very different from the euphoria that followed the announcement of a
"Joint Counter-terror Mechanism" with Pakistan, in Havana earlier. It is now
evident is that while the US will help in upgrading our intelligence
capabilities in technical and professional terms, it will not share any
intelligence with us which implicates the ISI for its involvement in
terrorist activities against India. Those who argue that as a "victim of
terrorism" Pakistan will act against terrorist groups waging war against
India will hopefully realise that they are living in a fools' paradise. New
Delhi has necessarily to adopt punitive and retributive policies for raising
the costs for Pakistan when it sponsors terrorism against India. We are not
going to be bailed out by the Americans. Moreover, New Delhi and Washington
will not necessarily see eye to eye on India's security concerns on China
and Pakistan. The India-US bilateral relationship, however, has to be
nurtured because of its intrinsic importance and value to both sides,
transcending the differences we may have on the American approach to some of
our national security concerns.
CBI gives armed forces, society a week to reply Prafulla Marpakwar, TNN, Oct
28, 2010, 02.12am IST MUMBAI: The ministry of defence is now considering
invoking the provisions of the Defence of India rules, but the Central
Bureau of Investigation had already stepped in to probe the row over the
allotment of land to Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society at the beginning of
October. Although CBI joint director Rishiraj Singh declined to comment, a
senior state government official on Wednesday confirmed that following a
specific complaint of rampant irregularities, the CBI wrote to Mumbai
collector Chandrashekhar Oke, society general secretary R C Thakur and
competent authorities of the Indian navy and army on October 2. "However,
barring the Mumbai collector, nobody responded - neither the society nor the
Indian navy and army officials. As a result, the probe into the crucial case
has been hampered," the official said. The CBI has set a deadline of one
week for the society and the defence establishments to respond, failing
which it will take action as per the provisions of law. The CBI has asked
Oke to submit the entire correspondence between the collectorate and the
society, particularly on the registration of the society, rules under which
the land was allotted and whether the land belonged to the state revenue
department or defence. "In response to the CBI's letter, Oke's office on
Tuesday submitted a comprehensive report as asked by the investigating
agency," he said. In a letter to Adarsh society, the CBI asked it to
provide the letter of allotment of land from the revenue department, the
no-objection certificate from either the Indian navy or army and the list of
members, along with the affidavits and declarations filed by them while
obtaining membership of the society. "So far, there has been no response
from the society. We are awaiting their reply. If, in the next few days,
there is no response, the CBI will proceed as per rules," the official said.
The CBI proposes to probe into the declarations and affidavits filed by the
members. "Its line of thinking is: can a member whose monthly income is
between Rs 25,000 and Rs 75,000 afford a flat sold at between Rs 80 lakh and
Rs 1 crore?" said the official. "Of the 103-odd members, the monthly income
of over 45 members is between Rs 25,000 and 75,000. The CBI will probe into
the source of funds of all such members.
When will India get the Admiral Gorshkov? Posted on27 October 2010.
Diagram of wikipedia:INS Vikramaditya.INS Vikr... Image via Wikipedia
India's buying spree has run into some serious hurdles. It had planned to
spending $2.5 Billion on an obsolete Aircraft Career that even the mighty
Russian Empire could not afford to operate. Moscow has jacked up the price
several times and now it is around $3 Billion. It would be worthwhile in
this context to narrate Indo-Russian defence relations briefly. The
relations dated back to the heydays of the cold war when the economic and
defence capability of India, surrounded by hostile powers, was at a poor
shape. The then Soviet assistance was timely. Its willingness to come closer
as reflected in the friendship treaty of 1971 was noteworthy. Whether it was
the establishment of heavy industries or the issue of securing national
sovereignty and integrity, the Soviet assistance was phenomenal. In fact,
India's army would be unimaginable without the Soviet/Russian weapons.
Intellibriefs $2.5 Billion or the $4 Billion spent on Aircraft Carriers
will not make India a superpower, and any pretenses of this need to be
nipped in the bud by the latest book on the subject by Paragh Khanna. "India
has missed the boat" on that count. Bharat is hemmed in towards the East by
the Strats of Malacca by Chinese Naval bases in Burma and Hainan. Bharat
cannot contol the Chinese, either from the East, the West or the South.
India has only a few Boeing P-8 US-made Submarine Hunter planes and one
decrepid and obsolete Aircraft Carrier. The declining Indo-Russian
relationship leaves Delhi scrambling for new arms sources—but they come with
strings. Delhi's deal with Russia about an Aircraft Carrier will probably
never go through. India: $3.2 for obsolete aircraft carrier while millions
starve. The Indo-Russian relationship is not what it used to be. Russia
elides India in Flanker Su-30 development. The race is on. Both China and
Bharat have started indigenous production of Aircarft carriers. In typical
Indian fashion, the keel was laid with much pomp and ceremony. In typical
Chinese stoic demeanor, the Chinese Aircraft Carrier in production is the
subject of much speculation in the West and in Delhi. Delhi will get the
first glimpse of the Chinese fleet of Aircraft Carriers when they sail from
Gwader to Hainan. As Bharat waves goodbye to its hallucinating dreams of
superpower status, the writing on the wall for Delhi is clear–the oceans
surrounding Delhi are fast becoming Chinese Lakes. "Waving Goodbye to
Hegemony" By Parag Khanna: Dawn of a multipolar world with China and Europe
and maybe Russia. N C Bipindra Chaubattia (Uttarakhand), Oct 24 Russia
today defended the delays in joint defence projects with India, including
the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, saying it should be "excused" if
sophisticated and modern weapons systems was what New Delhi wanted.Though
time overruns were "unfortunate," Russian Federation Ambassador to India
Alexander M Kadakin said it was the experience in both countries when it
came to latest technology defence equipment projects." As far as Admiral
Gorshkov is concerned, Indians asked us for a state-of-the-art warship and
for such a warship, there is a cost. For a cheap price, you can only
purchase a 3-carat diamond. "Now it will be a modern aircraft carrier and if
there is a delay of two or three months for delivery, what difference would
it make. If you need a potent warship, these delays have to be excused,"
Kadakin told reporters on the sidelines of an Indo-Russian army exercise
that ended here.India had flagged the delays in critical defence projects
such as Gorshkov during the recent bilateral Military Technical Commission
meeting between the Defence Ministers of the two countries in New Delhi.
Admiral Gorshkov, which India bought from Russia in 2004, is already behind
schedule by two years, having been originally scheduled to be delivered
after a refit at the Sevmash naval shipyard in Russia in 2008. Now the
45,000-tonne warship is rescheduled for delivery in end of 2012 or early
2013, though India coughed up USD 2.33 billion earlier this year after it
had bought it for a price of USD 974 million under the original contract.
Kadakin said such experiences existed in both countries and that it should
be excused when the project involved sophisticated systems."Both countries
have this experience that without delays we will not get such sophisticated
systems. That is why sometimes this kind of delays do happen. It is
unfortunate," he said.He was replying to a query on delays in major defence
projects between India and Russia such as the Admiral Gorshkov, which has
been rechristened by Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya. (PTI) The Admiral
Gorshkov entered service in 1987, but was inactivated in 1996 (too expensive
to operate on a post Cold War budget). The Indian deal was made in 2004, and
the carrier was to be ready by 2008. But a year ago reports began coming out
of Russia that the shipyard doing the work, Sevmash, had seriously
miscalculated the cost of the project. The revised costs were more like $1.1
billion for the $700 million refurb. The situation proceeded to get worse,
with Sevmash reporting ever increasing costs to refurbish the carrier. The
Indians were not happy, and at first insisted that the Russian government
(which owns many of the entities involved) make good on the original deal.
India sent its own team of technical experts to Russia, and their report
apparently confirmed what the Russians reported, about shipyard officials
low-balling the cost of the work needed. This is a common tactic for firms
building weapons for their own country. It gets more complicated when you
try to pull that sort of thing on a foreign customer. The Russian government
will cover some of the overrun cost. The Sevmash managers who negotiated the
low bid are being prosecuted. Once refurbished, the Gorshkov, renamed INS
Vikramaditya, should be good for about 10 years of service–though the
Bharatis may drag it out for thirty years–just to show that the Bharat has
an Aircraft Carrier.
Boom of guns and business battle - Singapore firm speaks out after sikkim
trial of us arms SUJAN DUTTA New Delhi, Oct. 27: Somewhere in Sikkim this
week, the hills are echoing with the thunder of American "flying cannons"
firing volley after volley of Indian ammunition — not to start a war with
China, but in the hope of winning a Rs 2,900-crore ($650 million) order. In
the Indian Army's high-altitude firing range, artillery officers are
supervising what they call "confirmatory trials" of the BAE Land Systems
155mm/39cal M777 ultra-light howitzers even as the foreign and defence
ministries in New Delhi look for a big idea — such as a multi-million-dollar
cheque — to add zing to Barack Obama's India visit. The deal for the
"flying cannons" — so-called because the ultra-light howitzers weighing just
about 4.2 tonnes each can be underslung and flown by some helicopters — is
already a minor victory for the Pentagon. The M777 uses titanium and
aluminium alloys to keep its weight low. Whether the contract is signed
during the presidential visit or not has become secondary. The Singaporean
rival vying for the order has complained and cried foul but both the Indian
defence ministry and the Pentagon have decided the deal will be pushed
through. The army wants the guns to equip six new Indian artillery
regiments — the initial order will be for 145 howitzers — being raised
especially for the China border. Last week, a senior US government official
confirmed, two of the BAE Land Systems-made M777 ultra-light howitzers
landed in Delhi. They were then flown to Sikkim. The aircraft carrying the
guns overflew Gwalior where a gun of the same category — called the Pegasus,
after the winged horse of Greek mythology, has been idled. The Pegasus is
made by Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) that is swinging in the grey
area of a blacklist and a ban after the defence ministry asked the CBI to
probe its links with former chief of the Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipto
Ghosh. STK's chief marketing officer, Brigadier General Patrick Choy, has
written to the defence ministry more than twice asking for an opportunity to
be heard. Now, he does not mind going public. "Our gun was on the firing
line for the trials last year when suddenly it was asked to be withdrawn,"
he told The Telegraph over phone from Washington DC. "We have not been given
an explanation and our gun is still in India and now we hear that the M777
is being tried," he said. "I have written to the MoD (ministry of defence)
expressing my frustration — there doesn't seem to be a level playing field.
Why have I been blocked from the competition? But there has been no
response," said Patrick. But Indian Army officials — and BAE sources — say
that the M777 has been ready for trials for long. Last year, one of the
trials got deferred after the Indian Army said the Pegasus was yet to be
calibrated to fire Indian ammunition. The government then re-tendered but
earlier this year the defence secretary, Pradip Kumar, said India was
considering procurement of the M777 through the Pentagon's Foreign Military
Sales (FMS) route, a direct government-to-government transaction that
effectively bypasses competition. Even now, as the gun is being evaluated,
senior officers call it a "confirmatory trial", a phrase that conveys both a
confirmation of the order and the testing of the guns. Asked why the test
if the order is confirmed, an official said: "We wanted to check its
performance in Indian conditions." The guns were also tried in the Rajasthan
desert in summer. The M777 is used by the US Marine Corps, Canadian and
Australian armed forces and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. The Indian
Army projected the need for ultra-light howitzers from a lesson learnt in
the 1999 Kargil war — to deploy big guns faster in high altitude. Despite
the controversy dogging the process of the selection, the army is simply
relieved that the government is inclined to place the order because it has
not added a single big gun to its arsenal since the Bofors FH77 in 1987. In
a notification to Congress, the Pentagon's sales wing has said: "The (M777)
howitzers will assist the Indian Army to develop and enhance standardisation
and to improve interoperability with US soldiers and Marines who use the
M777 as their primary means of indirect fire." Needless to say, the Indian
order will also generate jobs in the M777's assembly plant in Mississippi.
BAE Land Systems, that has a joint venture in India with Mahindra &
Mahindra, is also in competition with STK for an order of towed howitzers of
the 155mm/52cal. BAE has fielded the FH77B05, a modernised version of the
Bofors gun that was seen in action in the 1999 Kargil war, and STK was in
the competition with its iFH 2000. But a frustrated STK, whose Indian
partner is Punj Lloyd, has flown-out the gun that it had brought for the
trials to India.
Desperate to re-order and modernise Rahul Bedi Share · Comment ·
print · T+ AP "Standards and values have changed for the worse and the
army is not impervious to the overall environment," admits a retired
Lieutenant General. File photo shows Indian Army soldiers participating in
R-Day parade rehearsal. A large number of military officers concur that the
Indian army, with an inordinately high teeth-to-tail ratio, faces a serious
crisis of confidence. An alarming rise in the number of Indian military
officers charged with corruption, senior ranks quitting due to frustrating
service conditions, and increasing instances of 'fragging' in which
disgruntled soldiers shoot dead their seniors, are severely damaging the
image of the country's defence forces. Few want to join the once-favoured
military with the shortage of officers in the army never having fallen below
11,000 for over a decade against a sanctioned strength of 46,615 personnel.
The navy and the air force too face officer shortage but it is not as severe
as in the 1.2 million strong army. Senior defence officials cite expanding
employment opportunities as the reason behind the shortage. But serving and
retired officers say this is only part of the cause. The Services too have
to take responsibility for lowering the military's image and overall
standing in the country's order of precedence and preference, they point
out. "Standards and values have changed for the worse and the army is not
impervious to the overall environment," admits a retired Lieutenant General.
Like the rest of society, India's military too is in the turbulent and
unsettling throes of transition, he adds. Serving army officers say the
'rot' in service ethics has been steadily creeping into the Services. Till
the 1980s, military officers were considered upright men, respected in
society and eagerly sought after by parents as suitable match for their
daughters. Retired military men talk nostalgically of the days when a mere
note from the commanding officer on behalf of a jawan to the local
authorities back in his village carried weight. Those were the times when
the esprit d' corps in the apolitical service was strong and invitations to
riotous, albeit swinging, regimental officers' messes were much sought
after. Salaries were low but the lifestyle was lavish in what was largely a
gentleman's army. Many officers were, in reality, eager boys trapped inside
adult bodies seeking to indulge in passions like shikar, riding, polo and
outdoor living and danger at state expense as expansive colonial traditions
made military service not only respectable but attractive. From Independence
till the third war with Pakistan in 1971, there was ample opportunity for
such expansiveness. And it was adequately vindicated, except for the
disastrous 1962 war with China in which India came off badly. But in this
instance, it was widely acknowledged that it was the political and not the
military establishment that forced ignominy upon the country. The
flamboyance, bravery and tactical brilliance of all ranks in the three wars
with Pakistan are well recorded and the subject of study in combat
institutions around the world. It is rarely acknowledged even at home that
in 1971, the Indian army single-handedly achieved what even the United
States with all its mite and technical wizardry has not managed since World
War II — it liberated a nation. Politics was rarely, if at all, discussed
by officers who, if passed over for promotion, retired gracefully, confident
of their status in society. Promotions, the bane of the Services today, were
merit-based and, by and large, fair with undeserving candidates, adhering to
the Peter Principle and rarely ever crossing their limits of incompetence.
Army chiefs and senior commanders brooked no political interference in
operational matters and were listened to with respect by the establishment.
Asked by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to move into East Pakistan — later
Bangladesh — in early 1971, General Sam Manekshaw — later Field Marshal —
firmly told her that it would take at least 10 months before his force would
be ready for combat. "That" he declared, referring to Indira Gandhi's
scheme of launching operations earlier "would present me with problems far
more complex than what had been the bane of the German general staff for
more than 50 years across two world wars. It would be unwise to rely on
diplomatic assurances that the Chinese would not react in support of
Pakistan. We must wait for the snow to block the northern passes." Indira
Gandhi listened and Bangladesh came into being in December that year. In
short, the olive green uniform enjoyed an exalted status it was soon to
lose. Its professionalism and apolitical stance began to slowly unravel
after the Third Pay Commission in the late 1970s when officer ranks were
diluted, ostensibly to enhance career prospects, but their responsibilities
reduced in inverse proportion to their promotions. Periodic cadre reviews
further led to a lopsided rank structure creating a situation where
Lieutenant Generals among the seniormost army officers, and their
equivalents in the navy and the air force, discharged duties previously
performed by middle-ranking Colonels and half-colonels and similar ranks in
the other two services. Currently there are over 900 Brigadiers, some 290
Major Generals and 85-odd Lieutenant Generals, roughly around a third of who
were replaced every two-three years due to retirement, promotion and other
reasons. Pressure on promotions in the pyramid-like structure also meant
that most served between 12-18 months in these higher ranks leaving them
little time to effect any meaningful change in the overall command and
control structure. The cadre re-assessment was the moment for which
politicians and civil servants had long been waiting. Having always looked
upon the military with suspicion after independence and gazing nervously at
Pakistan's experience, they were simply waiting for an opportunity to gain
ascendancy over the Services. Incidentally, this inherent misgiving and
fear of the military persists, adversely manifesting itself in the
non-appointment of a Chief of Defence staff, despite ministerial commissions
and review and parliamentary committees stressing the need for such an
officer in a nuclear weapon state and for an expanding military power with
possible out-of-area responsibilities. Sadly, many senior officers actively
contributed to this negative state of affairs by seeking political and
bureaucratic patronage for career enhancement whilst in service and for
lucrative sinecures after retirement. Consequently, over years the
military's standing deteriorated, reaching the unbelievable stage where it
was selectively included in the "security loop." The Service chiefs, for
instance, were told about the multiple 1998 Shakti tests at Pokhran just
hours before they occurred; and that too as insurance against any "adverse
reaction" from neighbouring Pakistan. In the intervening period thereafter,
the military has been dealt a limited hand in maintaining India's strategic
deterrence. In another shocker, the military, particularly the army, was
also unaware of India's cache of chemical weapons stored at various Defence
Research and Development Organisation laboratories across the country that
were destroyed under the global Chemicals Weapon Convention some years ago.
In conclusion, a large number of military officers concur that India's
Mughal-like army, with an inordinately high teeth-to-tail ratio, faces a
serious crisis of confidence which simply refuses to abate even as it is
increasingly employed not only in counter-insurgency operations, flood and
drought relief but also to battle mosquitoes threatening the Commonwealth
Games athletes' village. For, besides struggling against the slew of
corruption charges, lopsided promotions and un-equitable pensions, the
military also faces ad hoc equipping policies determined and dominated by
ill-informed politicians and civil servants, as it grapples desperately to
reorder and modernise itself within a nuclear weapon state. But that, as
they say, is a far longer and complex saga.
India on the path of aggression Sajjad Shaukat AFTER learning positive
lessons from the past conflicts, especially World War I and World War II, in
the modern era of new trends like renunciation of war as a state policy,
peaceful settlement of disputes and economic development, it is expected
that unlike the non-state actors, state actors will behave with
responsibility when controversy arises between them or two countries over
any issue. Quite contrarily, Indian irresponsible civil and military leaders
are still acting upon aggressive policy towards Pakistan and China. In this
connection, Indian present Army Chief General VK Singh has said on October
15, 2010 that China and Pakistan posed a major threat to India's security,
while calling for a need to upgrade country's defence. Notably, General
Singh after taking over the charge on March 30 had said in his first
strategic statement, "Indian Army is well prepared to face any threat from
China." Before him, Indian former Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor had
vocally revealed on December 29, 2009 that Indian Army "is now revising its
five-year-old doctrine" and is preparing for a "possible two-front war with
China and Pakistan." While India is no match to China in conventional and
nuclear weapons, but the statements of its two army chiefs clearly show that
Indian rulers are ready to go even to the extent of war against Beijing.
That is why India's war-mongering policy continues against China. Notably,
in May 1998, when India detonated five nuclear tests, the then Defence
Minister George Fernandes had declared publicly that "China is India's
potential threat No. 1." India which successfully tested missile, Agni-111
in May 2007, has been extending its range to target all the big cities of
China. As regards Indian new military build up against China, on May 31
last year, after 43 years, New Delhi re-opened its Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO)
airbase in northern Ladakh, which overlooks the strategic Karakoram Pass and
is only 8 km south of the Chinese border-Aksai Chin area. India has also
erected more than 10 new helipads and roads between the Sino-Indian border.
In this context, Defence Ministry planners are working on building
additional airfields and increasing troops—raising two new mountain
divisions to be deployed along the 4,057-kilometer Line of Actual Control
(LAC). New Delhi has also announced to develop immediately 1,100 kms of
strategic roads on the Indo-Tibetan border. With the help of Israel and
America, on 26 February 2008, India conducted its first test of a
nuclear-capable missile from an under sea platform after completing its
project in connection with air, land and sea ballistic systems. On May 10,
2009, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta had disclosed that New Delhi
"will soon float tenders to acquire six submarines". Mehta also accused
Beijing and explained that the "Indian Navy would keep a close watch on the
movements of Chinese submarines which are operating out of an underground
base in the South China Sea" and "wish to enter the Indian Ocean". However,
under the pretension of Chinese threat, Washington, New Delhi and Israel are
plotting to block the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean for their joint
strategic goals. It is notable that in order to conceal its covert
activities, India has always blamed China for backing Maoist uprising. In
this respect, instead of addressing the root causes of the Maoist uprising,
Indian government has recently intensified its blame game against China,
alleging for supplying arms to these insurgents. Besides, peace-loving
country like China, Pakistan is also particular target of India's aggressive
policy. In this regard, during the terrorist's attack on the Indian
parliament and during the Kargil crisis, Indian rulers had left no stone
unturned in intimidating Islamabad through war-like approach coupled with
concentration of troops on the Pak-Indian border. It is mentionable that in
the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage of November 26, 2008, New Delhi again
acted upon aggressive policy. In wake of a continued rising tension between
the two nuclear states regarding the culprits of Mumbai tragedy, Pakistan
proved itself as a responsible state actor. On February 12, 2009, Islamabad
submitted its report to India after lodging FIR against the nine suspects
and taking six accused persons into custody. Pakistan's positive behaviour
was greatly appreciated by the foreign officials and media, while on the
other side, New Delhi along with its media anchors took it as a surprise
because India has, itself, been acting upon a reckless policy regarding
Pakistan which is still being pursued through a threatening style. However,
since November 26, 2008, setting aside our ruler's views that non-state
actors were linked to the Mumbai mayhem, India's blindly rejection of
Islamabad's offer of joint investigation, various contradictory statements
of Indian military and civilian leadership such as calling Pakistan the
epicentre of terrorism, emphasizing to hand over the fugitives to New Delhi,
take action against them inside Pakistan, terrorism is state policy of
Islamabad and all options are open for India including military
one—deployment of Indian military troops across the international border
have shown that India is a reckless state actor. Despite Islamabad's
optimistic reaction, India had not ruled out surgical strikes on selective
targets of our country. The fact of the matter is that Islamabad's
realistic reply has proved, without any doubt, that some non-sovereign
entities in Pakistan, India and even in some western countries had planed
Mumbai catastrophe, but New Delhi wanted to unilaterally blame Islamabad in
that respect in order to conceal Indian culprits because its real
anti-Pakistan designs would be exposed through a genuine probe. In that
regard, Islamabad also raised 30 questions in the report, reciprocally
seeking information about Indian officials involved in Malay villages and
Samjotha Express blasts in which Indian mastermind Lt. Col Srikant Purohit
was found guilty in targeting Muslims and details on the death of Indian
Anti-terrorist Squad Chief Hemant Karkare during Mumbai tragedy. Question
arises as to why there is no international pressure by the sole superpower
or UN on Indian government to handing over Lt. Col. Purohit, other similar
criminals and especially Ajmal Kasab to Pakistan. And why India avoided
joint probe in this serious matter. In fact, India has only been exploiting
the Mumbai events to fulfil some covert aims against our country. First, New
Delhi wants to divert the attention of US President Barack Obama from the
thorny issue of Kashmir as earlier he had recognised an inter-relationship
between war against terrorism in Afghanistan and this dispute. Second, India
wants to use delaying tactics in relation to the composite dialogue or any
result-oriented talk in resolving any issue with Pakistan. Third, New Delhi
intends to continue creating unrest in Pakistan by supporting insurgency in
Balochistan and Pakistan's other regions from Afghanistan where it has
established a terror-structure with the help of Indian army and intelligence
agency, RAW. Fourth, India, with the backing of America, wants to contain
China with a view to thwarting Sino-Pak cooperation, especially in the
Gwadar seaport. The most alarming point, however, is that Indian all
clandestine designs as part of its aggressive policy are not only directed
against Pakistan and China but also against Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal
and Bangladesh. There is no doubt India's aggressive policy will ultimately
weaken the federation of India itself as non-state actors or insurgents are
present almost in every state of India. Nevertheless such an aggressive
policy will further embolden Hindu terrorists who already keep on massacring
Muslims and Christians intermittently. In November 2010, President Obama
will visit India to sign a number of agreements with New Delhi. Most likely
India is going to ask purchase of C-17 and F35 aircrafts along with latest
defence-related equipments from the US. It seems that America will further
encourage India in its hot pursuit policy in one or the other way. In fact,
while playing an opportunist role, India wants to extract maximum benefits
from the US. It is the right hour that Obama should take cognizance of the
fact that Indo-US defence pact is likely to initiate a dangerous arms race
in the region as China and Pakistan will be compelled to give similar
response to New Delhi. American president should know that Indian regional
hegemonic designs are a potent threat to the global peace. US president must
take serious notice of Indian gross human rights violations in Kashmir,
against Maoists, Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. Washington must also force
India to resolve Kashmir dispute with Pakistan for the sake of regional
peace.— Opinion-Maker
Scam-hit Adarsh Society denies encroaching defence land 2010-10-27 23:10:00
Tata Housing at Pune Ads by Google La Montana - 1,2 BHK Apts Talegaon
Mediterranean Style Architecture. Mumbai, Oct 27 (IANS)
The controversial Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society claimed Wednesday that
it had not encroached even an inch of defence land here, as alleged, and
that the property in question belongs to the Maharashtra government. In a
statement issued here late Wednesday evening, retired brigadier M.M. Wanchu,
president of the society, said: 'The fact is that no defence land has been
grabbed, not even an inch has been encroached by Adarsh Society.' Wanchu
cited a defence communication and said the land on survey number 652, Colaba
Division, forming part of Block VI, is state government land earlier
allotted to BEST and left out for road widening. It was subsequently
allotted to the society because the road widening project was abandoned
after a ban was imposed on reclamation in 1991. 'This is an important
aspect of the whole case and it is clarified that defence has nothing to do
with the land in question,' he said. The Western Naval Command (WNC) had
written to the deputy registrar, A ward, for the first time Aug 27, 2009,
seeking details of the society. 'The persons staying in the building or the
members have been approved by the government of Maharashtra and their
antecedents have been properly verified and checked by the state government
authorities,' according to Wanchu. Wanchu also dismissed as 'baseless' and
factually not correct the contentions that while allotting the land, the
state government had stipulated that it was reserved only for Kargil war
widows or a girls hostel. The society president said that Colaba is a
non-cantonment military station, which is providing residential
accommodation to navy, army, air force and housing recreational clubs and
there was no naval establishment around the areas near Adarsh Society as
alleged. He pointed out that the WNC headquarters starts at the Lion Gate,
near Colaba, which is around 3-4 km away from the society. The most
sensitive buildings overlooking the WNC and naval dockyards were Hotel Taj
Mahal, the Reserve Bank of India building, the Bombay Stock Exchange
building and DSK Tower, besides twin highrises, Oyster and Dolphin, which
were in the heart of the army area and next to the Indian Naval Hospital,
Ashvini, he said. 'Therefore, these are the sensitive buildings the Navy
should be concerned about and not the Adarsh Tower, which is far away from
them,' he said. 'The reasons are best known to official as to why no
objection has been ever raised by navy prior to September 2009, when the
building was completed. It will be a sheer incorrect statement to make that
either the navy or other authorities have ever raised any security concerns
about Adarsh Society,' he said. 'It may be noted that some of the aspirants
have been denied membership due to non-availability (of flats) and that is
the origin of the problem,' the society president contended. Wanchu also
pointed out that the residential navy area in Colaba was surrounded by more
than 10,000 slums towards the Arabian Sea side, which should be a major
security concern of the naval authorities and not Adarsh Society. He said
that raising names of generals and other officers was only to sensationalise
the issue. 'General Vij was given membership in 2009, almost 5 years after
his retirement. Similarly, General (Deepak) Kapoor applied for membership,
when he was in the northern command and therefore had no role to play in
formation of the society or allotment of land,' he said. 'They have been
allotted only a two-BHK flats as a result of increase in FSI. It may be
noted that though it is a society like any other normal housing society, but
have accommodated more than 60 percent service/ex-servicemen including
Kargil heroes and widows and other brave soldiers in addition to 20 percent
Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes as per government Rules,' Wanchu said.
Wanchu also submitted a list of the 103 members of the society, who include
several big names from various fields of life.

1st wheelchair-bound officer promoted as Maj Gen PTI | 10:10 PM,Oct 27,2010
New Delhi, Mar 19 (PTI) History was created in the Indian Army today when a
wheelchair-bound officer was promoted to the rank of a Major General.
Belonging to the elite Parachute regiment, Maj Gen S K Razdan picked up his
two-star rank today and is posted at the Headquarters, Integrated Defence
Staff, Army officials said here. The 52-year-old Para Commando was left
paralysed below his waist after a spinal injury 15 years ago during a
gunfight in Kashmir, an effort which had won him a Kirti Chakra, the
country's second highest peace-time gallantry award. In a daring effort in
1995, Razdan had taken on terrorists and saved the lives of 14 women in a
16-hour operation in Damal Kunzipur on October 8, which also happens to be
his birthday. The officer was shifted to the Army's Base Hospital in the
national capital, where he was treated for his injuries. The Army has in the
past promoted amputee officers to General-officer rank, but this would be
the first time a wheelchair-bound officer has become a Major General, the
officers added.

Tower of shame For a man sought by his furious boss after going missing
from office, Ramchandra Sonelal Thakur looked calm and relaxed. It was 2003.
Thakur and I were at a café in Colaba, just outside south Mumbai's sylvan,
sprawling military station. Between sips of his coffee, Thakur told me of
his plan to rehouse war veterans and widows in a six-storey building. "You
see, it is for a noble cause," he said, explaining how as chief promoter and
founding member of the proposed Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society he
intended do the military a good turn. It seemed a minor detail to him that
he was a junior defence estates official, being probed by the Central Bureau
of Investigation for allegedly allowing construction on defence land in
exchange for two flats in Nagpur (the allegations were never proved). It
seemed irrelevant that his boss, director general of defence estates Veena
Maitra had denied him leave to be here in Mumbai. Thakur left Delhi anyway;
and much to Maitra's chagrin, he was slowly, methodically, and improbably,
managing to push his housing society through not one but two bureaucracies,
military and civilian. "Adarsh is only concerned with the military, all
branches of the defence forces," Thakur told me. This was the first of many
lies, which over the last seven years became the bedrock on which Thakur's
dream rose 30 storeys from the original six. In doing so, the Adarsh Society
mowed down what was then a park (inaugurated in 1996 by the local army
commander) of about 100 trees, brought on board a power list of names from
the military, politics and bureaucracy — and laid bare not just all that is
wrong and shameful about emerging India but the opportunities this
immorality offers those who dare. Even in 2003, Colaba was among Asia's most
valuable swathes of real estate (Adarsh's plot is now valued at more than Rs
500 crore). As we talked, I pointed to the name of "Kargil Hero" Subedar
Ramnarain Achelal Thakur, the lone JCO (junior commissioned officer) on
Adarsh's list of 71 beneficiaries. Even if your society is for war veterans
as you claim, how, I asked Thakur, could the Subedar hope to deposit Rs 6
lakh as a 20 per cent advance? "You see, jawans (soldiers) have ancestral
lands," said Thakur. "They can sell them easily. "Then Subedar Thakur will
collect his family from Bihar and move them to Cuffe Parade." Did he
seriously expect me to believe such explanations? It didn't matter. Thakur
seemed to be made of Teflon, as did his scheme. Director general Maitra said
she had asked the Maharashtra government to stop the transfer of the army's
park to Thakur's society. As for her errant junior, she said: "We are going
to proceed against him for this, and we are waiting for the CBI to finish
the inquiry." Seven years have passed since I first reported this story. A
veil of silence descended around Thakur; his backers possessed a doggedness
people like me did not. They knew irritants like me would go away if they
all stayed the course and stayed silent. None more so than the man whose
go-ahead was needed for the transfer of army land to civilian control, Maj
Gen T.K. Kaul, then Commander of the local army base. Today, as then, Kaul
refuses to answer questions or his phone or fax. Retired, he lives in the
Adarsh tower. Others who got flats blandly said then — and reiterate now —
that they did not know of the Kargil angle or the reputation of Thakur,
general secretary today of the Adarsh Society. Admiral Madhavendra Singh
was chief of naval staff when he became a member of Adarsh. "I had
absolutely no idea about the background of the person who is promoting it,"
he said in 2003. Retired today, the admiral says, "I have no clue if the
society was meant for Kargil heroes." Glib denials work because Thakur and
the Maharashtra government are right in insisting the society's paperwork is
in order. On September 16, 2010, the state handed Adarsh its occupation
certificate, the final clearance. It was obvious his society's powerful
members helped Thakur get a thicket of clearances, many of which should
never have been given. India is plagued with dubious land transfers, and the
army has had its share, involving its top echelons. But the Adarsh case is
particularly depressing because it reaffirms that nothing is sacred in
acquisitive new India; laws or memories of dead soldiers. Defence minister
A.K. Antony will find it hard to probe the case, as he now promises. Adarsh
was cleared by two of Anthony's Cabinet colleagues: power minister
Sushilkumar Shinde and heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. In 2003,
Shinde dodged all questions on Adarsh; he continues to do so. The affable
Deshmukh just says he doesn't remember. Since I first wrote the Adarsh
story, follow-ups were few. Today, there's been a fresh burst of publicity,
thanks to a protest — the latest of not-so-many over the years — from vice
admiral Sanjeev Bhasin, chief of the western naval command based in Mumbai.
When I tracked down Thakur earlier this week, he was as confident as ever.
"Khatta angoor kaun khaya? Who has eaten sour grapes?" he said to me,
implying that Admiral Bhasin was opposing Adarsh because he did not get a
flat there. As in 2003, Thakur invited me to a meeting. Not at a café this
time but at his grand tower.
2 ceasefire violations by Pak at Poonch, Uri sectors in J-K Jammu/Srinagar:
In two ceasefire violations on Wednesday, Pakistani troops pounded 10 Indian
posts with mortar bombs and rockets and fired indiscriminately along the
Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch and Uri sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. The
ceasefire violations within a gap of a couple of hours are the eighth in
less than a month along the LoC in J and K and the fifth this month alone
with the last incident occurring on Sunday. No casualties among the Indian
troops were reported in today`s incidents unlike during the ceasefire
violation on Sunday when army jawan Moray Sehdev of 17 Mahar Regiment was
killed after Indian posts were targeted with rockets in the Krishnagati
sub-sector in Poonch. The ceasefire violations occurred when the 63rd
Infantry day was being celebrated to mark the landing of the Indian army in
the Kashmir valley to beat back Tribal attack in 1948 to foil the designs of
Pakistan. Armed with heavy guns and rocket launchers, Pakistani troops
shelled Indian forward posts along LoC in Krishnagati sub-sector of Poonch
district around 1630 hours, Brigadier General Staff (BGS), 16 Corps, Brig
Satesh Dua told PTI in Jammu. Two to three posts came under unprovoked
shelling and firing, he said. Indian troops guarding the LoC took position
and retaliated leading to heavy exchanges till late in the evening, he said.
Over 20 to 25 mortar bombs and rockets were fired on Indian side, he said,
adding there was no casualties among the Indian troops. Pakistani troops
fired from their Chuha, Pimple and Daku posts and targeted Indian forward
posts of Kranti, Kripan-1, Chajja and Kripan-2 posts. The army believes
that ceasfire violation is a diversionary tactic to facilitate infiltration
of militants from across the LoC before the onset of winter snow which
blocks the Himalayan mountain passes. In the second ceasefire violation
which was in the Valley, Pakistani troops fired towards Indian positions in
Uri sector by resorting to unprovoked firing, an army spokesman said.
"Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing towards our positions in Uri
sector this evening," the spokesman said in Srinagar.. He said there were
no casualties in the firing.

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