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Monday, 8 November 2010

From Today's Papers - 08 Nov 2010

Pak fight against terror not quick enough: Obama

Says US won't 'impose' itself on Indo-Pak ties Shiv Kumar Tribune News
Service Mumbai, November 7 US President Barack Obama today concluded the
Mumbai leg of his tour to India by meeting students from six colleges in the
city. During his interaction with the students at St Xavier's College here,
he showed a less formal version of himself, letting his guard down just a
wee bit as he took questions from students. He hit the right buttons taking
the podium after wife Michelle. He disarmed his listeners by praising his
wife's speaking skills. "I don't like speaking after Michelle. As you heard
her, she's very good," Obama thus began by striking the right chord with his
audience. However, the students, who were clearly disappointed at Obama not
condemning Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism against India during his speech
at the Taj Mahal hotel yesterday, took him to task. Obama admitted that
Pakistan's fight against terrorism was not proceeding at a quick enough
pace. He also made it clear that the US would not "impose" itself on
Indo-Pak relations. He, however, felt that India should push its neighbour
for peace talks. Taking questions from another student, Obama noted that
extremists were using Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify
violence against innocent people. "One of the challenges that we face is how
do we isolate those who have distorted notions of religious war," Obama
said. He told another questioner that the USA was all for a section of the
Taliban to disassociate themselves from the Al-Qaida, renounce violence and
act according to the constitution of Afghanistan. The President admitted
that there would, however, be organisations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba that
were "irreconcilable". "They will be there and there will be need to be a
military response to those who would perpetrate the kind of violence that we
saw here in Mumbai in a significant ongoing way, or the kind we saw on 9/11
in New York City," he said. Obama, however, bemoaned lack of progress with
Pakistan. He said his administration's foreign policy had been to engage
aggressively with Pakistan to communicate that they wanted nothing more than
a stable, prosperous and peaceful Pakistan. "And we will work with the
Pakistani Government in order to eradicate extremism that we consider a
cancer within the country that can potentially engulf the country," he said.
The US President said the Pakistan Government now understood the potential
threat that existed within its own borders. "I think more Pakistanis have
been killed by terrorists inside Pakistan than probably anywhere else," he
said. "Now, progress is not as quick as we'd like, partly because when you
get into some of the north-west territories, these are very difficult
terrains, very entrenched," Obama said. He went on to admit that the
American voters, by voting out members of his Democratic Party in the
Congressional elections earlier this month, were asking for change. The
results, Obama told a questioner, reflected the "right, obligation and duty"
of voters to express their unhappiness with the state of affairs in the US.
Deals with US not to hit Indo-Russia ties
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service New Delhi, November 7 India's military
ties with Russia are not likely to be affected by recent spurt in the
purchase of equipment from the US. For, the wide range of military equipment
being sourced from Russia, or being co-developed with Moscow, is far too
huge for the US to match, sources told The Tribune. Notably, the US has
recently entered the Indian military market via the government-to-government
sales route and is at best "setting its foot on the soil". Russia, however,
is so well ensconced that frontline fighters the Sukhoi-30 and T-90 tanks
are now being produced in India itself. And co-development projects include
a cruise missile, next generation of fighter and transport planes, an
official said. Among the recent acquisition from the US have been the six
C-130-J medium haul transport planes -- the first batch arrives in February
next. The Navy will also be soon getting the first batch of the eight
long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the
P-8I. India has already selected the General Electric's GE 414 engine to
power the next lot of light combat aircraft - the Tejas. Besides, the Army
is in the final stages of trying out the ultra-light howitzer - the M777.
The gun can be slung under a chopper and dropped at remote mountainous
locations. The last on the list is the much talked about $5.8 billion deal
for the purchase of 10 heavy lift transport aircraft, the C-17-A
Globemaster. This could be finalised during the present visit of the US
President. Ironically, even as all these deals were being discussed in the
media, India's own developed fighter aircraft engine, the Kaveri, was
flight-tested in Russia on November 3. The engine programme had suffered
following the imposition of sanctions post the 1998 Pokhran nuclear test.
The US had placed DRDO -- the developer of the engine -- on the entities
list banning US companies from dealing with it. Sources pointed out that
the recent announcement regarding India and Russia co-developing the fifth
generation fighter aircraft has indicated that the next generation of IAF
fighters will again come from the Russian stable. "There cannot be two types
of fifth generation fighters," said a source in the Ministry of Defence.
Since the early 1960s, IAF frontline fighters have been invariably of
Soviet-Russian origin, be it the MiG series or the latest Sukhoi-30 MKI.
The two countries have announced a $600 million joint venture to co-develop
a multi-role transport aircraft. Sources said the US transport planes -- the
C-130-J and the C-17-A -- are for tactical and strategic lift purposes. The
fleet of 100 odd Soviet-origin AN 32 -- presently being upgraded -- and the
IL 76 will form the backbone of transport operations for the next 10-15
years. On the Naval front, the upcoming Indian nuclear submarine, INS
Arihant, also has a strong Russian element. The India Navy will soon get a
nuclear submarine, the Nerpa, on a 10-year lease from Russia while Yantar
dockyard is building three of the India's stealth technology warships.
Separately, the controversy-ridden aircraft carrier Gorshkov is finally back
on track.
Son joins his martyr father's regiment today
Kusum Arora/TNS Jalandhar, November 7 Taking the family tradition of
joining armed forces ahead, this second-generation braveheart son of a
Kargil martyr is all set to follow in the footsteps of his father. The young
boy will don the olive green and join the Sikh Regimental Centre, Ramgarh
Cantt, Jharkhand, tomorrow. Ravail Singh and his son (R) Bakhtawar Ravail
Singh and his son (R) Bakhtawar Bakhtawar Singh (21), son of Kargil martyr
Naib Subedar Ravail Singh, will join the prestigious 8 Sikh Regiment as a
sepoy. His father served in this regiment when he died during Operation
Vijay in Kargil. He was awarded the Sena Medal posthumously. Talking to
TNS, Bakhtawar said November 8 would be one of the most memorable days of
his life. "Nothing can be as honourable as joining armed forces. And for me,
it is all the more special as I am joining the Sikh Regimental Centre where
my father took his first lessons in the Army. It is a real tribute to him,"
he added. The family celebrated their son's recruitment in the Army as a
grand affair along with the Divali celebrations in Jammu. Second among the
three brothers, Bakhtawar nurtured the dream of joining the Army since he
was a child. "I was studying in Class II at Pathankot when my father was
killed during the Kargil war. The memories of that day still make me feel
cry. But my father's regiment stood with us in our thick and thin and
ensured that we don't face any difficulty ever", he added. Surinder Kaur,
mother of Bakhtawar, said: "My joys knew no bounds when my son got selected
in the Army. He will be a part of the same regiment where father spent his
life as a soldier. We share a strange bond with this regiment and I am happy
that the legacy has passed ahead", she added. While many martyrs' families
prefer to stay away from joining the forces, this woman, however, said, "I
faced the worst fear of my life when my husband died in the Kargil war.
After that I developed a sense of belonging to the Army. Probably nothing
can match the joy of see-ing a son as a 'fauji'." The Sikh Regimental Centre
authorities have decided to impart free training and coaching to Bakhtawar
to join the Army as a commissioned officer.

Obama likely to push India to buy more US military hardware
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: November 07, 2010 22:05 IST Ads by Google
Luxury Home Doors Windows - European Quality. Made for India. India's #1
Window & Door Company New Delhi: US President Barack
Obama, on his visit to India, is aiming to seal deals worth billions of
dollars. A day after announcing new business deals, now his focus is on the
defence sector. NDTV has learnt that during his meeting with the Prime
Minister, Obama plans to push India to buy more US military hardware. Let's
take a look at the potential deals in the pipeline: The Indian Army plans
to buy 145 Howitzers, which is approximately US $8 billion deal. So far, BAE
Systems has offered the M777 Lightweight Towed Howitzer for which the Indian
Army has conducted field trials in recent weeks The Army also plans to buy
sensor-fused weapons or Cluster bombs - a $880 million deal. Apart from
this, Indian Air Force and Navy are looking for AWACS and mid-air refuelers
which are going to cost $ 2 billion. Leading US-based aircraft manufacturer
Boeing has offered the B737-700. Boeing is close to winning the 10 Air
Force Heavy Lift Aircraft deal by offering the C-17 Globemaster III. This
deal is valued at approximately US $4.5 billion. Also, there is the closely
contested $11 billion Air Force Multi-role Fighter Aircraft deal and the
winner is expected to be announced latest by mid-2011. Boeing has offered
the F/A-18 Super Hornets while Lockheed Martin has offered the less fancied
F-16IN single engine fighters. What's already in the bag: The Navy has
already ordered 12 Boeing P8I Poseidon Aircrafts worth US $$4.5-$5 billion
for maritime patrolling. The Air Force has sealed the deal for C-130
transport aircraft. First delivery is expected in less than a month.
However, all these weapons platforms will come bereft of latest technology
since India has refused to sign the CISMOA (Communications Interoperability
and Security Memorandum of Agreement) with the United States.

Nudged by US, India, S Arabia inch closer on terror, defence
Shishir Gupta Posted online: Mon Nov 08 2010, 04:01 hrs New Delhi : One of
the most silent and understated positive outcomes of the India-US strategic
partnership is the friendly nudge from Washington to New Delhi and Riyadh to
join hands against global terrorism and increase defence and security
cooperation. Four years after King Abdullah visited India in January 2006,
the Indian Army will hold joint exercises with the Royal Saudi Land Force in
that country in March next year. New Delhi has also agreed to build a
mountain warfare school to enhance the fighting capability of Riyadh against
non-state players. While the India-Saudi Arabia relationship is shrouded in
secrecy due to interests inimical to both countries, New Delhi and Riyadh
have broadened bilateral intelligence sharing, with high-level visits from
both sides to bolster cooperation in the fight against terrorism. A far cry
from the 1980s and '90s, Saudi Arabia is committed to not allowing shelter
to any fugitives from Indian justice or tolerating any anti-India activity.
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a historic three-day visit to
Riyadh this January, Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Mathur was in Saudi
Arabia last month to strengthen intelligence sharing with his counterparts.
Saudi Arabia's former intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud is
expected to visit India next March and interact with the Indian leadership.
Prince Turki, nephew of King Abdullah who heads an influential think tank in
Riyadh, was the force behind the Afghan resistance against Soviet occupation
in the late 1980s. The message from Riyadh is clear: that its bilateral
relationship with India is independent and not influenced by its ties with
other countries such as Pakistan.

Defence deal cleared ahead of Obama visit
K. V. Prasad Even as Washington is keen on pushing the envelope on
'big-ticket' defence deals and agreements during President Barack Obama's
visit, the Manmohan Singh government has cleared a Rs.2,000-crore proposal
to acquire a sophisticated equipment for the Indian Air Force. The deal,
which may not mean much in terms of value to the U.S., was given the nod
late last week. It will allow the IAF to procure state-of-the-art equipment
from the U.S. through the Foreign Military Sales route, sources in the top
echelons of the government confirmed to The Hindu. The decision to procure
sensors for weapons may not fall under the 'big-ticket' items that the U.S.
hopes to sell, but it shows the increasing trend of the government
concluding defence deals through the Foreign Military Sales route rather
than the multi-vendor process that the Defence Procurement Policy advocates.
The authorities maintain that the equipment is procured through the Foreign
Military Sales route given the requirement of the armed forces. In the
current year, the U.S. Congress was notified of a possible sale to India of
10 C-17 Globemaster III, a tactical transport aircraft made by Boeing, for
the IAF, and of Ultra-light Howitzers for the Indian Army. Boeing held
trials early this year in India to demonstrate the aircraft's ability to
take off from short runways, and the Indian Army has conducted field trials
of the howitzers, which can be airlifted across mountains. The possibility
of concluding the Boeing deal during Mr. Obama's visit is not on the cards,
the sources said, adding that the negotiations with Boeing on the price has
not yet concluded. With India estimated to spend $50 billion over the next
five years, U.S. defence companies are eyeing a major share of the deals,
with the focus now on the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft for the IAF.
The government is unwilling to commit itself to concluding the Logistics
Support Agreement and Communications Inter-operability Security Memorandum
of Agreement, which the Pentagon wants the Ministry of Defence to sign.
While the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, said last
month that the IAF could do without such agreements that the U.S. insists
will benefit India, there is reluctance on the part of the Army too.
Keywords: Obama's India visit

'Five-star culture of senior officers is bad for Army
' Saira Kurup, Nov 7, 2010, 05.01am IST He was the first head of the UN
peacekeeping force in the former Yugoslavia. That was 1992. Two years later,
Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar, 74, retired as deputy Chief of Army
Staff. But this highly decorated officer still remains intensely engaged
with military affairs. He talked Army pride, probity and the disturbing rise
of a "five-star culture" with Saira Kurup. Excerpts: As a distinguished
retired officer of the Indian Army, how do you react to the alleged
involvement of top serving and retired Army officers in the Adarsh building
scam? Without being unfair to the people concerned or to the establishment
that I had the great privilege of serving for many years, I must say that it
is an issue that causes all of us a great deal of anguish. One accepts that
moral values have taken a beating in society in general. But it is
disturbing to find that this degeneration has found its way into the armed
forces too. Particularly because the armed forces are a unique institution
in many ways; in which, quite often as leaders in battle, we ask of our
subordinates the ultimate sacrifice in terms of their lives. Hence their
trust and faith in us is something you cannot quantify or compromise. While
on the one hand, young officers and men of the Indian Army have literally
sacrificed their lives in ensuring the security of the country, on the other
hand, we have sections of the senior leadership indulging in actions that
bring shame on the organization. Will the scandal affect the way the wider
public views the Army? Till now, it`s been seen as pretty incorruptible. The
public perception of the armed forces has always been something we have
taken great pride in. Some of these stories have dented its image, but I
don`t think it`s irretrievable. A lot of it also has to do with the fact
that the armed forces are so much bigger now. They are deployed all over the
country. And they are constantly under public scrutiny. When the media
reports a misdemeanour by a political leader or a bureaucrat it is glossed
over as something that happens all the time. But it becomes big news when
the armed forces are involved. What redeems my faith in the system is that
most of these stories have come to light as much because of the armed forces
themselves having inquired into them, as of media effort. The public needs
to be made aware of that. Your son is a lieutenant-colonel. Might this scam
affect the morale of relatively young officers like him? The morale of the
young officers and the men is not so easily affected because there is a
great deal of resilience in the armed forces as an institution. But that is
not to suggest there is no impact. Unfortunately in recent years there is
already a disturbing five-star culture among the senior officers to which
they have already been exposed and to that extent, I presume they are not
too surprised. My advice to the current leadership in the armed forces would
be to refocus on and promote the basic character qualities of integrity,
loyalty to subordinates and courage. Moral values that sustain you in
battle. This issue assumes wider ramifications when we hear of senior
leaders falling prey to compromises on the quality of weapons, equipment and
food supplies for the men in the Army. But there`s a definite feeling among
ordinary Indians that patriotism and valour - the two defining
characteristics of the defence services - have been compromised? When armed
forces go into battle or to deal with insurgents and terrorists, it`s not
the national flag, the Constitution, or such other aspects that provide
motivation. It is something as basic as loyalty to the battalion or
regiment, and to one`s comrades. The izzat of that group becomes the driving
force. That aspect is not affected by such scams. But the overall aspect of
the senior military leadership displaying lack of moral values is something
that needs immediate attention. Can the Army deal with public cynicism that
it is no different from other stained institutions of state - the political
class and the bureaucracy? The Army is an institution that ordinary people
still look up to for basic values. It is totally apolitical. There is, of
course, cynicism within the armed forces about sections of the current
political leadership who have assumed perks and privileges well beyond those
exercised by the maharajas of old. The forces also have serious reservations
about the civilian bureaucracy that has assumed all the authority without
responsibility and accountability. There is considerable resentment that
these bureaucrats have been allowed to interpose themselves between the
political leadership and the armed forces hierarchy. Can we expect an
impartial probe by the Army into the Adarsh scam? I do not know what form
the probe will take. But there can be no two opinions about the fact that a
credible, fair and transparent probe must be instituted and exemplary action
taken against those guilty of criminal offences, abetment and misdemeanour.
India has always sent its best soldiers for peacekeeping duties abroad. Has
that changed of late in view of the fact that the UN issued a report three
years ago alleging corruption by Indian peacekeepers in Congo? The incidents
referred to are aberrations in the large deployment that we have today. The
need to educate our officers and men particularly on conducting themselves
well is something that is taken very seriously. How do you think the Indian
Army differs from its counterparts on the subcontinent? As someone who was
head of the UN mission in the former Yugoslavia, (I) had military
contingents from 34 countries of the world under my command. I can say with
some conviction that in terms of professionalism, the Indian Army is second
to none. The Indian Army`s need to modernize is discussed frequently. What
are the priorities? The Army`s requirement of weapons and equipment has
suffered over the years due to delays in decision making. This is evident in
our inability to acquire artillery guns to replace our current inventory
that is almost obsolete. It would seem that the Bofors episode paralysed the
decision making apparatus to the detriment of our operational preparedness.

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