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Sunday, 31 October 2010

From Today's Papers - 31 Oct 2010

Swedish defence giant seeks more share in India
Tribune News Service New Delhi, October 30 Swedish defence equipment maker,
SAAB, is looking to have a key role in supply of equipment for the three
services - the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The company that is the one
of the six contenders for the $11-billion deal for fighter aircrafts for the
IAF, is already having tie-up for 'Carl Gustav' rocket launchers for the
Indian Army and the stealth technology radars for the Navy. CEO of SAAB
Håkan Buskhe told reporters that he was looking for further tie-ups and was
in talks with Mahindra and Mahindra in the aviation sector.
Musharraf's mystique The rugged commando with Machiavellian skills
by Admiral Sushil Kumar (retd) Sandeep Joshi General Pervez Musharraf, the
former Army Chief and President of Pakistan, is like a ghostly radar echo
that appears from nowhere, creates panic and vanishes in a cloud of chaff.
Now it's from London that he has popped up after years in exile and the
subcontinent is buzzing with speculation. Interestingly, he has made a habit
of doing this, each time he is away from his home base in Pakistan. This is
the stuff that the media thrives on and Musharraf has made the most of it.
Remember Kargil? That was when Musharraf made his explosive debut as the
Army Chief of Pakistan in May 1999. The General was away in China,
ostensibly on an official visit, when an intelligence agency managed to
intercept his telephonic conversation with his Chief of General Staff,
Lt-Gen Mohd Aziz Khan in Islamabad. Only then did we come to know that the
multiple intrusions across the Line of Control were part of a sinister
strategic manoeuvre which had been personally planned and orchestrated by
Musharraf with regular Pakistani Army troops masquerading as Mujahideen
freedom fighters. Until the treachery at Kargil was exposed, we had
believed quite foolishly that Pakistan's Army Chief was a sober and plain
thinking commando incapable of intrigue or deception. Kargil unveiled that
façade but more than that it also revealed Musharraf's eccentricity.
Maddened by the failure of his Kargil gamble, he went so far as to blackmail
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and threatened nuclear retaliation against
India. Then quite mysteriously, Musharraf vanished from the scene, leaving a
helpless Prime Minister to sort out the Kargil imbroglio and face the wrath
of the international community. It was from Sri Lanka that Musharraf
hatched his next move. This time around, the radar blip that painted
menacingly on the Air Traffic Controller's panel at Karachi was no illusion
and left Nawaz Sharif dazed with no reaction time for a counter air
operation. Musharraf landed on Pakistani soil and a saddened nation watched
tamely as his loyalists including Lt-Gen Mohd Aziz Khan and Lt-Gen Ahmed
staged a well rehearsed military coup. In his wildest dreams, Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif may never have expected such betrayal from his favourite
General who had been handpicked by him as the Army Chief of Pakistan.
Having shown his true colours, Musharraf faded into the background and came
forth in his new avatar as the military President of Pakistan. The scheming
General took on the guise of an international peacemaker and joined the
chorus against global terrorism. It was music to our ears and there were
many who even believed that Musharraf was an angel of peace with Kargil and
the military coup being only a fairy tale. This was dramatic irony that
would have sent William Shakespeare into ecstasy. In his transformed
civilian persona, embellished with a stylish Navy salute, Pervez Musharraf
breezed into the Agra Summit in July 2001. He had the air of a seasoned
statesman as he promised peace in the subcontinent with unabashed sincerity.
The rugged Army commando had acquired Machiavellian skills with which he
charmed the media and disarmed our political establishment. Fortunately,
our armed forces were not taken in by this charade and always maintained
that Kargil is the real face of Musharraf. In fact, what is little known is
that Musharraf's obsession with the Line of Control goes back to his days as
a Brigadier when he tried his stunts at the Siachen glacier. In or out of
military uniform, Kashmir has remained the deep-rooted military agenda of
Musharraf and this has been the advice of our Service Chiefs for dealing
with Musharraf. Sadly, this advice went unheeded at the Agra Summit where
Musharraf craftily played his 'Kashmir' card and startled the Indian side as
he merrily stomped out of the meeting with the media fawning over him. Now
alas, it's Musharraf ahoy from London. He has popped up suddenly from out of
the cold, though it's not surprising since the solitude of exile may have
been unbearable for this power-hungry impresario. He is obviously eyeing his
old hunting grounds in the subcontinent in keeping with the Biblical proverb
— where your treasure is, there will also be your heart. Enamoured by
Musharraf's mystique, the media got him on their radar. His pronouncements
on terror sound bizarre coming from someone who skillfully fuelled the
terror network of the subcontinent even as he jumped onto the American
bandwagon. So his penchant of running with the hare and hunting with the
hounds has been stimulated by the current turmoil in Pakistan where
anti-American sentiment is running high and the Taliban with their soulmates
seem to be gathering momentum. With the Pakistan Army chomping at the bit,
his old instincts may have been rekindled. Returning to Islamabad with a
political party in tow may well be a ploy for a soft landing and to pave the
way for another military coup. But does it matter how it happens? When there
was a change of guard in Pakistan last time, Musharraf had flown in from
Colombo; this time it would be from London. Should all this happen, there
may be a silver lining to it. Hopefully, Pakistan may finally have someone
with authority to whom we can talk.
MoD to issue notice to beneficiaries
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service New Delhi, October 30 Even as the
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and three former chiefs of the armed
forces are under fire for their alleged dubious role in the Adarsh Housing
Society in Colaba Mumbai, the Ministry of Defence has decided to issue
notices to serving officers and functionaries who are among the
beneficiaries of the society. More than 35 of the 103 flats in the upscale
society have been allotted to officers of the Army, the Navy and also
functionaries of the Defence Estates Department. Some of them are still
serving. The notices will ask the officials to explain how they were
allotted the flats and what was the criteria they fulfilled. They will be
questioned about the source of money they used to fund their acquisitions.
Importantly, if any one of them has not listed the flats in the mandatory
annual property returns, the matter will be taken up separately. Sources
confirmed that the questions have been raised on how these officials funded
their flats and these notices will be served next week. Flats were allotted
for Rs 65-70 lakh each by the Adarsh society and the serving officers will
have a lot of explaining to do about the source of money, said a senior
functionary. In case of irregularities disciplinary proceedings under the
Army Act or the Navy Act will be initiated. The market value of each flat is
close to Rs 10 crore as the society is located a stone's throw from major
South Mumbai landmarks like the Taj Hotel and the Gateway of India. It is
one of the costliest piece of real estate in India. The list of
beneficiaries includes several middle level officials of the Army, the Navy
and the Defence Estate Department. The last category happens to be civilian
employees of the ministry and are mandated to look after the huge properties
of the ministry across the country. At present, the list is being
scrutinised to verify all names and their full initials as there could be
officers with the same name working in the two forces. Once that is done,
the officials were be taken to task.
World's big enough for India and China: Wen
'There is enough space in the world for India and China to achieve common
development ... to have cooperation,' Wen said at the beginning of a meeting
with Singh on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Hanoi. CJ: Vijay
Singh Fri, Oct 29, 2010 17:33:07 IST Views: 18 Comments: 0 Rate: 1 out
of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes
CHINESE PREMIER Wen Jiabao told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday
the world was big enough for their two countries to develop and cooperate,
sounding a positive note ahead of a visit planned for later this year. The
world's most populous countries have engaged in repeated diplomatic sparring
over the last two years, reflecting growing friction over their disputed
borders and roles as emerging global powers despite bilateral trade that has
grown 30-fold since 2000. "There is enough space in the world for India
and China to achieve common development ... to have cooperation," Wen said
at the beginning of a meeting with Singh on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific
summit in Hanoi. "We must strive to ensure the sound and steady growth of
our relationship," he said. Wen said his "preliminary consideration" was
that he would visit India later this year. "To make the visit a productive
one, we will discuss and reach consensus on some major aspects to lay a
foundation for the visit." That visit, which Indian media said would take
place in December, would follow a visit to India by U.S. President Barack
Obama in early November on a trip that will also take Obama to Indonesia,
South Korea and Japan. Some commentators have portrayed the tour as a
White House effort to counterbalance China's influence in Asia, which has
worried Indian officials. But Obama's aides said the administration's
strategy is to develop both relationships. China defeated India in a 1962
war, but they still spar over their disputed 3,500 km (2,170 mile) border
and the presence of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in
India. China's support for India's arch-enemy Pakistan, which backs
separatists in disputed Kashmir and also claims the Himalayan region in
full, has added to the suspicion.

Adarsh Society scam: Former Army chiefs give up flats
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: October 31, 2010 00:32 IST Ads by Google
Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1
Window & Door Company New Delhi: Former Army chiefs
General N C Vij and Deepak Kapoor have said they are surrendering their
flats from the scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society. General Vij said he is
also giving up the membership of society. "I have written to the Adarsh
Society that I am giving up the membership with immediate effect. I have
also informed the Defence Minister of my decision," he told NDTV. General
Vij also said had purchased a flat in the Society in Mumbai after retirement
without knowing that they were meant for war widows. * Share this on * NDTVTwitter * NDTVNDTV Social * Share
with MessengerLive Messenger * NDTVGmail Buzz * NDTVPrint He has
favoured an investigation into the whole episode to punish the guilty. "I
applied for the flat after I had retired and at that time, but I had no idea
that it was meant for war widows and Kargil heroes... having discovered
this, I discussed it with Admiral Madhavendra Singh and General Deepak
Kapoor and jointly decided to surrender the flat," Vij told reporters in New
Delhi. In a joint statement released by Singh on Friday, the three former
services chiefs had said they would return the flats if they were meant for
war heroes and their families. Asked if he is open for any probe into the
alleged scam, Vij said, "Let there be investigations and the facts of the
case be ascertained." "I have decided to return the flat to the authorities
concerned," he said adding, "I don't want to be even remotely associated
with this and deprive the war widows of their right." Asked if the whole
episode had hurt the image of the armed forces, the former Army chief said,
"It does hurt the morale of the armed forces." Meanwhile, former Navy Vice
Chief Vice Admiral R P Suthan has said he was allotted the flat in 2004 but
he pulled out of the scheme after the Housing Society failed to show him the
documents related to the building. A controversy has erupted over how the
Adarsh society in upscale Colaba, originally meant to be a six-storey
structure to house Kargil war heroes and widows, got converted into a
31-storey building. The high-rise is built on 6,450 sq metres within the
Colaba naval area and was cleared on the condition of housing war veterans
but now has 104 members including senior Army commanders, a former
environment minister, legislators and state bureaucrats.

With 7,000 sq km, defence ministry owns land equal to 5 Delhis
Rajat Pandit, TNN, Oct 31, 2010, 04.14am IST NEW DELHI: Land scams and
defence often go together. The defence ministry, after all, owns a
staggering 17.3 lakh acres of land around the country. That is little over
7,000 sq km. Or, about the size of five Delhis (new, old and rural) put
together. Defence, railways and ports, in fact, are the largest landowners
in India. Yes, the defence land includes airbases, firing ranges, dockyards
and other crucial military establishments. But, from the famous sprawling
maidan in front of Victoria Memorial in Kolkata, the huge Delhi Cantonment
and the Navy Nagar in tony south Mumbai to hill stations like Dalhousie,
Lansdowne and Kasauli, MoD also owns some pretty prime property across the
country. So, it's no wonder that all this land attracts gleeful
unscrupulous elements, both from within and outside, who are eager to grab,
misappropriate or encroach some chunks of this precious commodity. In fact,
a defence minister not so long ago had send shivers down the military ranks
by obliquely suggesting the sale of large parts of defence land, with the
unstated intention of raking in the moolah. While the 17.3 lakh acres of
defence land is managed by the three Services and other organisations like
Ordnance Factory Board, Defence Research and Development Organisation and
others, the 1.13-million strong Army is by far the biggest land-holder. The
Army has 13.79 lakh acres under its control and management, while the much
smaller IAF has 1.51 lakh acres and Navy 0.37 lakh acres. Of the total 17.3
lakh acres, around 2 lakh acres lie within the 62 cantonments in 19 states.
There is even a big Directorate General of Defence Estates for "advisory and
executive functions" in matters relating to defence lands and civic
administration in cantonments. Apart from huge land holdings, the armed
forces also have veto powers on land sale or construction activities near
their stations on grounds of security. Take, for instance, the recent
infamous Sukna land scam case, in which four generals were indicted. The
case revolved around the alleged conspiracy to aid the transfer of a 71-acre
tea estate adjacent to the Sukna military station in Darjeeling district to
a real estate developer, who was a family friend of one of the generals.
Then, there are several instances of defence land being misused. The
continuing saga of the swanky Santushti shopping complex, the haunt of the
rich and the famous just down the road from the PM's official residence in
the Capital, is one of the examples. The latest CAG report slams MoD and
IAF for blatantly violating all rules and regulations in managing Santushti,
with its 43 shops, which was established by the Air Force Wives Welfare
Association (AWWA) on defence land in 1985 with the ostensible purpose to
help needy military personnel and their families. But the "irregular
allotment" of many shops to fashion designers, businesswomen and other
gliterrati has "defeated the welfare objectives of providing assistance to
ex-servicemen, war widows, disabled military pensioners and the like", said
CAG. Shades of the Adarsh scam?

'Are we going to fight Pakistan with the US'
Raman Puri, 30-Oct-2010 10:16:30 AM FacebookTwitterDiggLinked
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US President Barack Obama greets India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L)
at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington US President Barack Obama
greets India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) at the Nuclear Security
Summit in Washington Vice Admiral Raman Puri asks hard questions about
India-US defence ties The Indian experience of buying weapons from America
is not smooth. We have recently found problems in weapons-locating radars of
the United States. The American transfer of technology means that they will
build, they will sell the item and keep you on a short leash as far as spare
parts and support system are concerned. My contention is that as long as we
don't have a deep political understanding with the US, it is not advisable
to get into a deep defence relationship. The Asia Pacific is America's
concern, but India's concern is Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Why do we
need certain defence agreements with US that give us inter-operability in
far away shores? Further, growing Indo-US defense ties suggest that the
Indian government has given up on the goal of self-reliance. It is now
merely a political slogan. Their excuse is lame. They say the Defense
Research and Development Organisation has not delivered. I don't think
critics of the DRDO have analysed what is not delivered. There is no synergy
in the ministry of defence. There is no synergy between the decision-making
structures of the government. Army headquarter is one silo, the naval and
air force headquarters are separate silos. The ministry of defence works on
its own. There is a very loose coordination attempted at the individual
level without a formal structure. There is a firewall between the production
and the research side of the weapons making systems. There is hardly any
mission statement from the armed forces. That doesn't come because you don't
have a national security strategy and its stated goals. 'Army's shopping
from the US doesn't make sense' The Indian army's shopping from the US or
Israel doesn't make sense because our army has not issued a mission
statement yet. I think our so-called shopping of state-of-the-art weapons
don't make sense till the National Security Council and the office of
Chairman, Chief of Defense Staff function in coordination. Both these
institutions are resisted or just ignored. The Indian armed forces are
apolitical; why there should not be a chief of defence staff? How will he
become more powerful than politicians? Today in cyber warfare, we don't
have joint strategies of the three wings. I have seen meetings between the
chiefs of the three defence wings. They don't produce any doctrines. They
function on a limited agenda. When the issue of buying of defense equipment
from America comes, they talk about 'latest' and 'high technology.' These
are just subjective words. What India needs is to fight efficiently with its
competitors. We are not in competition with the US or Europe. We are and we
should compare ourselves with our neighbours. I have not read a
professional joint mission need of Indian forces in 40 years. So, who is
pushing the forces to buy such costly arms? 'Why should we go for American
aircraft' In absence of solid internal defence coordination of the three
wings of the air force, army and navy, how can India sign the Communication
Interoperability & Security Memorandum of Agreement, Logistics Support
agreement, End Users Agreement kind of pacts with America? Some of these
agreements will allow the inter-operability of Indian forces with the US,
but what about inter-operability within our own forces? If we sign such
agreements with the US then we will need double set of equipments: One to
read American algorithms and one to read ours. Why do we need
inter-operability that the Americans want so much? Are we going to fight
with Pakistan or any other country along with the US? Surely, we don't want
to join American forces doing the dirty work of intervention operations? The
Indian armed forces should remain independent of such tie-ups, which are not
backed by political understanding of the highest order. In my assessment
all that the Indian defence forces need is updated Sukhoi- 30s and Light
Combat Aircraft. We should keep modernising the LCAs; they are as good as
the Mirage 2000. Why should we go for American- made 126 Medium Multi-Role
Combat Aircraft? Each US-made MMRCA will cost us over $ 70 million while the
LCA cost us only $ 26 million. Why should we spend so much money? Of course,
we have problems with our LCA but we should be working to solve that. Why
should we be so keen to become dependent? And, remember, when you build the
LCA indigenously, you are building an institution. I can say only that I
disagree with my own community when they want to go for US- or Israel-made
weapons and completely bind themselves with them. I know for sure that in
2003 the Air Force only wanted the Mirage 2000. Why don't you upgrade it? I
think that is what the Indian Air Force needs to fight China, Pakistan or
any other neighbour if need be. The Indian government doesn't have second
professional advice. It is totally in the hands of service chiefs who many
times don't agree with each other. That disturbs the country's research and
development and upsets production infrastructure. 'India and US' political
goals do not match' In India, there is no systematic method to produce
joint mission requirements. We don't draw joint technological plans with
long-term perspectives. India doesn't have a technological commission to
cater to needs of the defence services. At this rate, in the long term, our
dependence on the US will increase. Indian taxpayers will pay much more than
what you should be paying for the capabilities being created. I think we
will feel sorry when we have to use those capabilities. Importantly, if the
US and India's political goals do not match, then US made equipment
capabilities will be much reduced, with problems of spare parts, upgradation
and other legal restrictions on technologies. There are many lobbies
working around in New Delhi representing the British, French, Americans,
Russians, etc. I believe they should not influence us. Even foreign aircraft
come only after 10 or so years don't blame indigenous efforts to develop
them that take that kind of time. Second, we must see what we can afford.
Three, we should not have a fetish for state-of-the-art equipment if we can
mange with what we have or what we can get with help of the DRDO. Also, is
what you are buying really state of the art? I don't think so. I have seen
negotiations for a few things going on for decades, still you say you are
buying the latest! We have made ballistic missiles to ballistic missiles
systems. I don't think there is any technology left that doesn't go into
that system. 'We must promote self-reliance' The American system of
selling weapons to India under Foreign Military Sales has kept middlemen
away, but I don't think it's helpful in getting access to spares and other
services. I think CISMOA should be a no-go area for Indian defense services.
Being poor is no crime. But being a slave is a crime. How can you file
status report to Americans under the LSA? On one side we are losing
politically when in Af-Pak policy the Americans keep India out while
allowing Pakistan to have strategic depth, but still we want to sign defence
agreements with them. I agree that the US is a powerful country. We should
have defence ties with it. But we must promote self-reliance. China is doing
today what it wants because it's not dependent on others. You can't be even
a sub-regional power if you are totally dependent on outside powers for your
weapons. We can't even have military diplomacy. Also, China's official
defense budget is three times our own and their procurement costs are much
lower than ours because they have much greater levels of indigenisation. So,
when we are buying from abroad our needs cannot clearly help to bridge the
growing asymmetries in capability. We must be cautious of the factor of
affordability when planning to buy from America or any other country. We
have to choose appropriate strategies to meet our mission needs and not some
hypothetical 'state-of-the-art' printed in the brochure of weapons
manufacturing companies. As told to Sheela Bhatt

I have returned the Adarsh flat, says former Navy chief Agencies,
30-Oct-2010 10:59:03 PM FacebookTwitterDiggLinked
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Adarsh Housing Society | Mumbai | former Navy chief Admiral Madhavendra
Singh | I have returned the Adarsh flat, says former Navy chief I have
returned the Adarsh flat, says former Navy chief New Delhi: Amid a
controversy over allotment of apartments to former heads of services among
other VIPs in the Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai, former Navy chief
Admiral Madhavendra Singh today said he had returned the flat. "What more
do you want us to do?" he told CNN-IBN. He further said, "I have returned
the flat. The moment I found that it was not meant for us but was meant for
war widows, I have returned it. Now it is up to the Society to decide what
they want to do with it." A controversy has erupted over how the Adarsh
Society in upscale Colaba, originally meant to be a six-storey structure to
house Kargil war heroes and widows, got converted into a 31-storey building.
"The inquiries are on...whatever the inquiries establish, we will see,"
Singh said.

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