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Thursday, 25 November 2010

From Today's Papers - 25 Nov 2010

Debate over US AfPak policy Focus shifts to Kabul’s security forces by G. Parthasarathy  At a meeting at the White House “Situation Room” on October 26, 2009, attended by his top security advisers, including Defence Secretary Robert Gates, President Obama indicated that while he was willing to approve of a short-term increase in American force levels in Afghanistan, he also wanted a “realistic ramp down” of troops to an “equilibrium that is manageable” and a “better described closure” of the US war effort in Afghanistan. Rejecting calls for a prolonged counter-insurgency in Afghanistan, the President concluded the meeting with the words: “I want an exit strategy”. In his speech in New York in December 2009, Obama made it clear that he wanted a drawdown in American troop levels to commence in July 2011 and that he expected a progressive handing over of counter-insurgency responsibilities to the Afghan National Army.  President Obama’s policy led to the Taliban leadership concluding that, with the date for the commencement of withdrawal of American forces set, the Karzai government in Kabul would get demoralised and that, like the Soviet Union, the Americans would soon quit Afghanistan defeated by a group of radical Islamists. America’s NATO allies also readied to pack their bags to quit Afghanistan. The ISI was delighted at the prospect of yet again converting Afghanistan into a client state and demanded that they should be involved in any talks on “national reconciliation” between the Karzai government and the Taliban.  The Obama administration then received a rude shock when Faisal Shahzad, an American national of Pakistani origin, attempted to blow up the Times Square in New York after being trained in Taliban strongholds in the tribal areas of Pakistan, straddling the Pakistan-Afghan border. Moreover, in several rounds of talks with Taliban representatives, in which top Taliban leaders like Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani declined to participate, it has become clear that far from agreeing to abide by the Afghan Constitution, the Taliban leadership has no intention of scaling down its demand for an immediate and unconditional American withdrawal.  With the Republicans now controlling the House of Representatives, President Obama will find it difficult to advocate any strategy that leads to an ignominious US exit from Afghanistan, especially when the badlands along the AfPak borders remain as breeding grounds for international terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on the American homeland. Amidst these developments the Obama administration has given high-level access to a bipartisan “Task Force” of the Council for Foreign Relations (CFR), co-chaired by Clinton Administration NSA Sandy Berger and Bush Administration Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, to prepare and publish a report on the future AfPak policy. This report will constitute an important input for future AfPak policies which India should take careful note of.  The CFR Task Force defines the American objective in Pakistan thus: “To degrade and defeat terrorist groups that threaten American interests from its (Pakistan’s) territory and to prevent turmoil that would imperil the Pakistan state and risk the security of Pakistan’s nuclear programme”. American policy in Afghanistan is to be geared to “preventing the country from becoming a terrorist base that threatens the US and its allies” and to “diminish the potential that Afghanistan reverts to civil war”.  The usual incentives for Pakistan, which have failed in the past to change its orientation towards jihadi groups, are advocated. These include preferential market access, participation in G-20 discussions and increased economic and technical assistance. The report speaks of making it clear that American assistance is conditional on action by the Pakistan government against the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani group and related terrorist groups.  The report, however, notes that things may change if there is a terrorist strike on the US, in which case attacks on terrorist strongholds will become inevitable. It also notes that if Pakistan does not change its relations with groups like the LeT and the Afghan Taliban, “frustration could cause the US to shift its approach towards Pakistan. It could then resort to a policy of carrot and stick by cutting military and economic assistance and getting the IMF to do likewise”. It also advocates that in these circumstances, the US may pursue closer ties with India at Pakistan’s expense.  The debate within the Obama administration over a withdrawal schedule from Afghanistan has been intense. Shortly after President Obama announced a commencement of withdrawal in July 2011, Defence Secretary Robert Gates told the US Congress that what the President had said was “the beginning of a process and not the end of a process”. He added: “I have adamantly opposed deadlines. I opposed them in Iraq and I oppose deadlines in Afghanistan”. But both Gates and Hillary Clinton have now indicated that they hope to transfer combat responsibilities to the Afghan security forces in 2014 — a measure which has been endorsed by America’s NATO allies.  It remains to be seen whether the NATO-trained Afghan security forces can undertake this role in 2014. But it is clear that earlier expectations that they could do so in 2011 have not been met. The most encouraging development has been the growing Russian readiness to increase its profile in Afghanistan, both in the supply of military equipment and the training of Afghan forces. Moreover, American and Russian drug enforcement agencies recently cooperated actively in destroying narcotics production facilities along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Russia is making its transportation networks and airspace more easily available to the US.  The task force astonishingly advocates seeking Chinese cooperation to get Pakistan to act against terrorist groups like the LeT and the Afghan Taliban. It overlooks the fact that for over two years China blocked efforts in the UN Security Council to get the Jamat-ud-Dawa (another name for the LeT) banned as an international terrorist organization. Moreover, Pakistan has, in the past, facilitated Chinese contacts with the Taliban and Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami. Significantly, ISI-backed groups have never attacked Chinese interests in Afghanistan. It thus appears that the Obama administration will have to move towards continuing its military role in Afghanistan, at least till the end of 2014.  But American policies on Pakistan are destined to flounder, as they are based on seriously flawed premises. The Americans refuse to acknowledge that Pakistani support for terrorism is not the work of “elements” in the ISI, but constitute the considered decisions of the entire Pakistani Army establishment. It is not the fear of India, but the fear of Pashtun nationalism and a revival of Afghan territorial claims over the Durand Line that drive the Pakistani military’s efforts to convert Afghanistan into a medieval, isolated and extremist client state, which is shunned by the international community.
US aircraft carrier heads for Korean waters The United States and Japan urged China to do more to rein in North Korea after the reclusive nation fired scores of artillery shells on Tuesday at a South Korean island near the maritime boundary between the two sides. Source : Reuters   Wed, Nov 24, 2010 16:50:29 IST Views: 13    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   A U.S aircraft carrier group set off for Korean waters on Wednesday, a day after North Korea shelled a South Korean island, in a move likely to enrage Pyongyang and unsettle its ally, China.  The nuclear-powered USS George Washington, which carries 75 warplanes and has a crew of over 6,000, left a naval base south of Tokyo and would join exercises with South Korea from Sunday to the following Wednesday, U.S. officials in Seoul said.   "This exercise is defensive in nature," U.S. Forces Korea said in a statement. "While planned well before yesterday's unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the ROK (South Korea)-U.S. alliance and our commitment to regional stability through deterrence."   North Korea said Seoul was driving the peninsula to the "brink of war" with "reckless military provocation" and by postponing humanitarian aid, the North's official KCNA news agency said. The dispatch did not refer to the planned military drills.   The United States and Japan urged China to do more to rein in North Korea after the reclusive nation fired scores of artillery shells on Tuesday at a South Korean island near the maritime boundary between the two sides.   The Seoul government said two South Korean civilians and two soldiers were killed and houses set ablaze in the attack, the heaviest in the region since the Korean War ended in 1953.   Beijing will not be pleased by the deployment of the aircraft carrier and will not respond to such pressure, said Xu Guangyu, a retired major-general in the People's Liberation Army who now works for a government-run arms control organisation.   "China will not welcome the U.S. aircraft carrier joining the exercises, because that kind of move can escalate tensions and not relieve them," he said.   "Our biggest objective is stability on the Korean peninsula. That interest is not served by abandoning North Korea, and so there's no need to rethink the basics of the relationship."   Beijing has previously said an earlier plan to send the USS George Washington to U.S.-South Korea joint exercises threatened long-term damage to Sino-U.S. relations.   Tuesday's bombardment nagged at global markets, already unsettled by worries over Ireland's debt problem and looking to invest in less risky assets. But South Korea's markets, after sharp falls, recovered lost ground.   "If you look back at the last five years when we've had scares, they were all seen as buying opportunities. The rule among hedge funds and long-only funds is that you let the market sell off and watch for your entry point to get involved," said Todd Martin, Asia equity strategist with Societe Generale in Hong Kong.   SEOUL CALM   Pyongyang said the firing was in reaction to military drills conducted by South Korea in the area at the time but Seoul said it had not been firing at the North.   Seoul, a city of over 10 million, was bustling as normal on Wednesday, a sunny autumn day, although developments were being closely watched by office workers on TV and in newspapers.   Editorials stepped up pressure on President Lee Myung-bak to respond more toughly than he has to past provocations by the North and two small groups held anti-North Korea protests.   President Barack Obama, woken up in the early hours to be told of the artillery strike, said he was outraged and pressed the North to stop its provocative actions.   Although U.S. officials said the joint exercise was scheduled before the attack by North Korea, it was reminiscent of a crisis in 1996 when the then President Bill Clinton sent an aircraft carrier group through the Taiwan Strait after Beijing test-fired missiles into the channel between the mainland and Taiwan.   "We're in a semi state of war," South Korean coastguard Kim Dong-jin told Reuters in the port city of Incheon where many residents of Yeonpyeong island fled in panic as the bombardment triggered a fire storm.   "My house was burned to the ground," said Cho Soon-ae, 47, who was among 170 or so evacuated from Yeonpyeong on Wednesday.   "We've lost everything," she said weeping, holding on to her sixth-grade daughter, as she landed at Incheon.
India to built two test ranges of electronic warfare systems Press Trust of India / Bangalore November 24, 2010, 14:43 IST  India would build two ranges for testing radar-based electronic warfare systems as it seeks to strengthen its capability in the field, seen to be vital in war scenarios.  One range would come up in Chitradurga in Karnataka and another in Tandur in Andhra Pradesh, which would test "non-communication" and "communication" EW systems, respectively, a key defence official said today.  These two would be part of the 4,000-acre aeronautical test range in Chitradurga, some 200 km from here, and the 8,000-acre one in Tandur, some 135 km from Hyderabad. At present, EW systems are tested in the IAF range in Gwalior in a limited way.  Once the two new testing ranges (in Chitradurga and Tandur) are operational in 2012-13, experimental and R&D tests can be conducted, said Prahlada, Chief Controller, R&D (Ae & SI), Defence Research and Development Organisation.  Speaking at the India National Electronic Warfare Workshop (EWWI-2010), he said an investment of Rs 200 crore each is expected in the two test ranges.  "Electronic Warfare is becoming a very important area because... You may have all weapons but if somebody jams you (the weapons), you are as good as useless. Before firing the missile, you are already decimated," he said.  "Without electronic warfare, you cannot win a war. Once you have it (EW capability), you have to test it, you can't wait for a war to test it," Prahlada said.  He said the present EW systems have been integrated with MiG-27 fighters and operational flights are slated next year. They would be integrated with MiG-29 fighters and the light combat aircraft next year.  In 2012, Prahlada said India would fly a fourth-generational EW system, which is being developed by Defence Avionics Research Establishment and Defence Electronics Research Laboratory.  He also said the flight-testing of the long-range surface-to-air missile, being jointly developed by India and Israel, would start next year. Ground-testing has just been completed.  Prahlada said DRDO was completely off the US entities list and it is a "big relief". Now US industries were free to do business with India, he said.  DRDO now can source raw materials, software packages, testing equipment, components and manufacturing process machinery, which was a difficult exercise when sanctions were in place.  During times of sanctions, it was also difficult to source such items from even countries such as UK and Germany because they were "aligned" with the US, resulting in some of the DRDO projects being delayed.  Prahlada also said DRDO was expecting a budget of Rs 9,000 crore in 2011-12 in the area of strategic systems and tactical defence.
ndia to develop electronic warfare system soon 2010-11-25 00:00:00 HDFC Bank Personal Loan Ads by Google Hassle Free + Quick Approval + Low EMI*.Check Your Eligibility Online!  Bangalore, Nov 24 (IANS) India is developing its own radar-based electronic warfare system (EWS) with two test ranges in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to equip its armed forces for modern wars, a senior defence official said Wednesday.  'An indigenously developed radar-based EWS will be ready by 2013, with test ranges at Chitradurga in Karnataka and at Tandur near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh,' state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief controller Prahlada said here.  Cost of each test range is estimated to be about Rs.200 crore.  Noting that modern day wars cannot be fought and won without EWS, Prahlada said the radar-based sophisticated communication system would use electromagnetic spectrum for attack, protection and warfare support to destroy the combat capabilities of an enemy.  'The prowess of electronic warfare system was amply demonstrated by the US armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. A prototype EWS has been integrated with MiG-27 fighter for test flights,' Prahlada said at the first India National Electronic Warfare workshop, organised by the India chapter of Association of Old Crows (AOC), based at Virginia in the US.  The Chitradurga aeronautical test range, which will come up by 2012 at the DRDO's 4,000-acre campus in the state, about 200 km from Bangalore, will be used for communication-based EWS and the Tandur range will be used for non-communication EWS.  'The testing centres will be operational by 2012. As per the plan, EWS will be integrated with MiG-29, Jaguar, Sukhoi-MKI-30 of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas by 2011,' Prahlada told about 300 delegates.  'Our goal is to develop the fourth-generation EWS by 2012 because without electronic warfare, you cannot win a war. Once you have it (EW capability), you have to test it, you can't wait for a war to test it,' Prahlada added.  The fourth-generation EWS is being developed by the state-run Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) and Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DERL).  Once the air version of EWS is integrated and operational, the naval and army versions will be developed simultaneously.  Currently, EW systems are being tested in the IAF range at Gwalior in central India.  Stressing on greater self-reliance in production and procurement, the defence scientist said the country's defence research and development (R&D) establishments have been able meet about 50 percent of defence requirements indigenously and the target was to scale it up to 70 percent by 2020.
DRDO plans a slew of high-profile launches by December Debabrata Mohanty Posted online: Wed Nov 24 2010, 13:44 hrs Bhubaneswar : Two months after its embarrassing failure in the test firing of nuclear-weapons capable, surface-to-surface Prithvi-II ballistic missile from Chandipur in Orissa, the Defence Research Development Organisation officials are planning a slew of high-profile missile launches before the year ends.  On September 24, the Prithvi-II missile with a maximum range of 350 km dropped off a few seconds after it was fired from a mobile launcher from Integrated Test Range in Chandipur-on-sea of Orissa. DRDO so far has been silent on the failure on the missile which has been inducted into the Army.  DRDO sources said that on November 25, the nuclear-capable and surface-to-surface single stage Agni-I missile would be test-fired by personnel of the Strategic Forces Command as part of Indian Army's user-training exercise from Wheeler Island on Bay of Bengal. The missile was last successfully test-fired on March 28. Like Prithvi-II, Agni-I has also been inducted into the Army. The missile which has a range of 700 km, can carry payloads weighing up to 1000 kg. Agni-1, with its rail and road mobility can target most cities in Pakistan without having to be launched from the border. Agni-I is designed to bridge the gap between indigenously built short-range Prithvi, already deployed in the Army, and medium range Agni-II, that has a range of more than 2,000 km.  On December 2, DRDO would test-fire supersonic cruise missile Brahmos that has a range of 290 kms. It was last tested successfully on September 5.  Similarly, the 2,000 km plus range surface-to-surface nuclear-capable missile Agni-II would be test-fired from Wheeler Island between December 8 and 12. The missile was last tested successfully on May 17 this year after two successive failures last year. The 20-metre long Agni-II is a two stage, solid-propelled ballistic missile. It has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kg over a distance of 2000 km. In February this year, the 3,500-km plus range Agni-III was also successfully test-fired.
British Defence Secretary visits India   08:51 GMT, November 24, 2010 The UK's Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has met with the Indian Defence Minister Shri A K Antony during a two-day visit to New Delhi.  Dr Fox is the first UK Defence Secretary to visit India since 2005 and took the opportunity to give a speech to some of the country's top security officials at the Vivekananda International Foundation.  Dr Fox explained the importance of the strategic partnership between the UK and India and reiterated the UK's determination to deepen the already excellent defence relations between them.  The core aim of the visit was to begin a regular ministerial dialogue on a wide range of defence issues, engagement that will continue in the coming months. Dr Fox said: "The United Kingdom is committed to an enhanced partnership with India - one that celebrates and recognises India's position as a central player in contemporary world affairs. Our two countries have long historical connections and strong ties between our people.  "We have overlapping interests in trade and in security, which are a strong basis for our future relationship. The new British Government supports the promotion of a stronger, secure and more prosperous India playing its rightful role in global affairs."  During his visit, Dr Fox laid a wreath at India Gate as a mark of respect for fallen servicemen before visiting the New Delhi offices of defence company Cassidian to discuss and promote the Eurofighter Typhoon's bid to provide aircraft to the Indian Air Force.  Dr Fox spoke to Shri A K Antony about opportunities for the UK and Indian Armed Forces to work together more closely following on from the successful joint air exercise 'Indra Dhanush' last month and the recent company-level exercise 'Shamsheer Bugle' which was the first exercise involving a British Army unit in India in over 60 years.  Dr Fox added: "During Exercise Shamsheer Bugle, companies from the UK's 4 RIFLES [4th Battalion The Rifles] and India's 18th Battalion Sikh Regiment shared experience in counter-insurgency operations. We are keen to share the experience we have gained in operations in Afghanistan and hope to host an Indian Army company in the UK next year. We want to accelerate the bilateral programme of exercises, exchanges, training and equipment co-operation wherever we can."
India deploys new border divisions to counter massive Chinese advantages  (, Nov24, 2010) As China’s belligerence in terms of Kashmir policy and claim over Arunachal Pradesh grows despite increased bilateral trade relations and common interests in climate and trade talks at global forums, India is stepping up its efforts to strengthen its border security. It has now deployed two new army divisions – comprising more than 36,000 men – to defend its north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.  Apart from adopting a new policy of regarding Kashmir as a disputed territory, China recently took to calling Arunachal Pradesh as southern Tibet to strengthen its territorial assertion over the state.  The Times of India Nov 23 cited Indian Defence ministry officials as saying the two infantry mountain divisions included 1260 officers and 35011 soldiers, and that it will be fully “operational with specialized equipment” by 2011.  Similarly, the first battalion of Arunachal Scouts, a paramilitary force, will be up and running by May 2011. A Sikkim Scouts will also be set up. The two mountain-fit, son-of-the-soil forces will help the army protect the Sino-Indian border in the two states.  BBC News online Nov 23 said the new, 56th Division will be based in the nearby state of Nagaland to guard the eastern flank of Arunachal Pradesh from Chinese attack through Burma. The other new formation, the 71st Division, will be based in Assam to protect central Arunachal Pradesh.  Already the Indian Fifth Mountain Division guards western Arunachal Pradesh while another division is responsible for protecting the eastern part of the state.  The report cited a staff officer with the Indian Army Chief General VK Singh, who pushed very hard for the new divisions, as saying the new formation was India's response to the "huge Chinese build-up" in Tibet over the last three to four years.  India has also cited China’s "superb" communications system, especially after the completion of the Lhasa train line in 2006, and its far superior airlift capability as reasons for the border-strengthening moves.  The BBC report said the formation of the two new divisions means that India's deployments in the eastern sector of its border with Chinese ruled Tibet now matches the five army divisions that existed in 1986-87, when the two countries nearly went to war. It added that’s both the sides scaled down their deployments after they signed a "Peace and Tranquillity" treaty in 1993 as part of a confidence-building package.  Chinese reaction While China is yet to officially react to the Indian move, its official Global Times newspaper Nov 23 cited Chinese experts as dismissing what it called “the defiant move” as a misstep on New Delhi's behalf. "Such a move aims to add chips to the upcoming China-India talks on border disputes," it quoted Wang Dehua, an expert on India at the Shanghai International Studies Center, as saying.  It seems that "those hawkish groups in New Delhi are getting above themselves after the US voiced support for India's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council," Wang was further quoted as saying.  It also cited Sun Shihai, an expert on Asia Pacific studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as saying, "By making such a move, India showed its unwillingness to make a concession during the demarcation talks."  China and India are to hold the 14th meeting between their special representatives on border issues on Nov 29-30. China’s official Xinhua news agency recalled that the two countries had designated special representatives for demarcation work in 2003 and signed a political guideline on demarcation during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in 2005.Their last meeting was held last year in New Delhi, with the two sides agreeing to push forward the framework of the talk process and to make common efforts to keep peace and calm in their border areas.
India to deploy 36,000 extra troops on China border INDIA has formed two new army divisions - comprising more than 36,000 men - to defend the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, reported BBC on Tuesday. The remote north-eastern state adjoins China which claims large parts of it. The 56th Division will be based in the nearby state of Nagaland to guard the eastern flank of Arunachal Pradesh from Chinese attack through Burma. The other new formation, the 71st Division, will be based in Assam to protect central Arunachal Pradesh. There has been no response so far from China to the decision. Already the Indian Fifth Mountain Division guards western Arunachal Pradesh while another division is responsible for protecting the eastern part of the state. In addition there are counter-insurgency troops in Assam who can be sent to the Sino-Indian border at short notice. A total of 1,260 officers and 35,011 soldiers have been assigned to the two new divisions, which are being especially equipped for mountain warfare. Officials say they were formed at the behest of the Indian army chief, General VK Singh - who said they were necessary to beef up defences against China. Gen Singh was not available for comment but one of his staff officers, on condition of anonymity, told the BBC that the army chief had “pushed very hard to fast-track the raising of the two divisions”. He said that they should be “fully operational” by March 2011.  He said their formation was India’s response to the “huge Chinese build-up” in Tibet over the last three to four years. But he did not wish to elaborate. India is also raising a paramilitary force called the Arunachal Scouts and Sikkim Scouts to help the army protect the Sino-Indian border in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. “All the men in these formations will be drawn from mountain-fit local tribesmen but the officers will be from the army, at least for a while,” said a corps comma-nder. Their formation will be modelled on the Ladakh Scouts, who the army says bravely fought Pakistani intruders during the Kargil conflict of 1999.  India says the new measures have been put in place partly because China has “superb” communications on its side of the border, especially after a new train line to Lhasa was built in 2006. India says that the Chinese airlift capability is also far superior. The formation of the two new divisions means that India’s deployments in the eastern sector of its border with China now matches the five army divisions that existed in 1986-87, when the two countries nearly went to war.  But after India and China signed a “Peace and Tranquillity” treaty in 1993, both sides scaled down their deployments as part of a confidence-building package.

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