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Friday, 26 November 2010

From Today's Papers - 26 Nov 2010

‘Reduntant’ Defence Estates Dept may be disbanded Tribune News Service  New Delhi, November 25 In a stinging retort on the functioning of the Defence Estates Department, an in-house study of the Ministry of Defence has said that the department “had very limited utility” and suggested its disbanding. Defence Minister AK Antony yesterday told Parliament that the Controller General of Defence Accounts had asked the Controller of Defence Accounts to carry out a special performance audit to examine the existing land acquisition system and the report had been received.  The report says: “The Ministry may like to order a comprehensive study for disbanding the organisation in a phased manner.”
Nuclear capable  Agni missile test-fired   Balasore (Orissa), Nov 25 India's nuclear-capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile, which has a  striking range of 700 km, was successfully test-fired by the Army during a user trial from the Integ-rated Test Range at Wheeler Island off Orissa  coast today.  "The trial of Agni-I was smooth and the test flight was fully successful," ITR Director SP Dash said.  The indigenously developed surface-to-surface single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a rail mobile launcher around 1010 hours from launch pad-4 of ITR, 100 km off Orissa coast, defence sources said, adding "all parameters were met during the trial".  User of the missile -- the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the Indian Army -- as part of their training exercise, executed the entire launch operation with the logistic support provided by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) at the ITR, said a DRDO official.  The missile has a highly specialised navigation system, which ensures it reaches the target  with a high degree of accuracy, he said.  The entire trajectory of the missile was tracked by sophisticated radars  and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the sea coast and two ships positioned near the impact point in the downrange area.  Weighing 12 tonne, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, which can carry payloads up to 1,000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army. — PTI
North Korea warns of new attacks for Seoul 'provocations' Reuters / Seoul November 25, 2010, 8:42 IST  North Korea warned of additional military attacks if South Korea makes "reckless military provocations again," its official media said on Thursday.  "(North Korea) will wage second and even third rounds of attacks without any hesitation, if warmongers in South Korea make reckless military provocations again," the North's KCNA news agency quoted a statement from Pyongyang's military as saying.
Look beyond Rawalpindi C. Raja Mohan Posted online: Fri Nov 26 2010, 03:45 hrs Two years after the pre-meditated and outrageous attack on Mumbai, India’s vulnerabilities to cross-border terrorism remain acute as ever. Despite overwhelming evidence that the aggression was planned and executed from Pakistan in collaboration with its state institutions, there is little hope that Islamabad will bring the perpetrators to justice. There is even less of a prospect that Pakistan might give credible assurances that its soil will not be used to launch future attacks on India. Delhi’s security managers can surely pat themselves on the back for being vigilant in preventing a major incident after 26/11. But the next attack might not be too far away. Much work remains to be done on all three dimensions of an effective counter-terror strategy — defence, deterrence and diplomacy. Defence is about preventing acts of terror through better acquisition and assessment of intelligence and effectively dealing with the attack when it does take place. India’s handling of 26/11 exposed the pitiful state of India’s capabilities on both these fronts. P. Chidambaram, who took charge of internal security in November 2008 itself, was quick to begin long overdue reforms. These included the passing of new anti-terror legislation, the setting up of the National Investigative Agency, establishing multi-agency centres at the national and state levels to better integrate and assess the available intelligence leads, and unveiling plans for the modernisation of the National Security Guard and improving coastal security. While it marked a good beginning, there is no doubt that the effort to reform India’s internal security structures has stalled. India’s police personnel remain poorly equipped, under-manned and ill-trained to deal with the expansive challenge of terrorism. If most state governments have refused to rise to the challenge, the Central government has been hampered by bureaucratic battles for turf and political doubts in the ruling party about security sector reform. The second element of our counter-terror strategy is deterrence. Ever since Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons, India has had few options for punitive retaliatory actions against Rawalpindi’s support for cross-border terror. Since it was surprised by Pakistan’s Kargil aggression in the summer of 1999, the Indian military establishment has struggled to break out of this box.Delhi’s talk about a “cold start” doctrine — that might let India conduct conventional military operations below the threshold of nuclear escalation — did draw a lot of concern from across the border and beyond. The Pakistan army headquarters in Rawalpindi is fully aware that India is nowhere near acquiring the conventional military capability to punish Pakistan. To deter the Pakistan army from facilitating future cross-border terror attacks, India needs to act on a range of fronts. These include more purposeful modernisation of the armed forces to generate some military pressure against Rawalpindi and strengthening India’s nuclear arsenal which continues to lag behind that of Pakistan. India must also focus on building up a serious missile defence programme that can introduce some uncertainty into Rawalpindi’s strategic calculus.Finally, on the diplomatic front, India has had some success and a lot more frustration. The evidence from 26/11 has helped India convince the international community to recognise the sources of terrorism in Pakistan. It has also opened the door for more substantive counter-terror cooperation with the United States. During his visit to Delhi earlier this month, American President Barack Obama called on Pakistan to shut down the terror networks on its territory, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba. British Prime Minister David Cameron travelling in India a few months earlier was more direct in stating the truth about Rawalpindi’s support for terror groups. Yet, Delhi knows the limits to international pressure on Pakistan. Despite giving nearly $20 billion in civilian and military aid to Pakistan during the last decade, the US is still having trouble getting Pakistan to act against groups that directly target American troops in Afghanistan. It was logical then for India to find ways to directly engage Pakistan to bring the Mumbai plotters to book. But all indications are that India is unlikely to get any satisfaction on terrorism from its current talks with Pakistan. Our interlocutors across the border have no control over the terror machine, which is run by the Pakistan army. The real challenge for India, then, is in finding ways to compel Rawalpindi to change its calculus of support for cross-border terrorism. This in turn means exploring Rawalpindi’s own weak points.The ISI’s influence over the Pashtuns across its western frontiers is at the heart of Pakistan’s success in holding the international community hostage in Afghanistan. It is also potentially the weakest element of Rawalpindi’s strategy, for the Pashtuns, including the Taliban, have never recognised the legitimacy of the Durand Line that is supposed to be the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. India must step up its engagement of the Pashtuns and put the question of the Durand Line’s future on the international agenda.India must also begin to focus on Pakistan’s civil-military relations and step up its support for genuine democratic change. While Rawalpindi’s dominance over Pakistan’s polity is real, it is no reason why India should not make it a political issue. Further, Delhi must take a more disaggregated view of our neighbour. Instead of negotiating with the civilian government that is sat upon by the army, India must consider a direct engagement with the political parties in Pakistan both at the federal and provincial level. Capacity-building holds the key to India’s progress in the areas of defence and deterrence against terrorism. That will take time, persistent effort and strong political leadership in Delhi. On the diplomatic front, India will have to continuously look for bold approaches to contain the Pakistan army, the main support base for cross-border terrorism against India.
Delhi HC slams army''s policy on posting of injured personnel  New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has slammed as "grossly deficient" the central government''s policy on posting of military personnel who have suffered injuries during the course of duty and asked the Indian Army not to transfer them frequently. Saying that the government is unable to effect meaningful postings of such persons, the court suggested the Indian Army to deploy them in peace areas to rehabilitate them and avail of their service. The court was hearing a petition filed by one Vinod seeking a direction to the Army not to transfer him from Delhi as he lost his fingers due to frostbite during the course of duty in Siachen. "The existing policy or working of any policy which may be in existence is shown to be grossly deficient in ensuring justice to such personnel", said a division bench of Justice Gita Mittal and J R Midha recently. "The importance of these issues which are necessary not only for rehabilitation of injured personnel in the service but also essential for ensuring a sense of justice to the personnel serving in the armed forces of the nation", the bench said. "It has been brought to our notice that there are several positions and assignments in the service where such personnel can be effectively and usefully deployed while at the same time ensuring continuity of a posting so that they are not required to shift periodically," the court added. Pointing to inaction on part of the government despite several observations passed earlier in similar issues, the court asked Atul Nanda, Standing Counsel of the Union of India, to bring it to the notice of the Defence Ministry for proper implementation of the existing policies. Rejecting the government stand that wounded personnel cannot be posted at any particular place beyond a length of time, the court suggested the government consider a policy for inter-corps transfer so that injured personnel can be placed at a post where longer tenures may be possible.
Indian MoD comments various defence and security issues   15:19 GMT, November 25, 2010 According to the Indian Press Information Bureau, the following information was recently given by Indian Defence Minister, Shri AK Antony in written replies to members of the Parliament of India:   Delay in Joint Defence Projects with Russia  The induction of aircraft carrier – Gorshkov/Vikramaditya has been delayed due to requirement of additional works and change in the scope of trials. The additional works will increase the service life of the aircraft carrier significantly. The delivery of the aircraft carrier has been rescheduled for December, 2012.  The procurement of modern weapon systems is undertaken as per the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought and time frame prescribed, from various indigenous as well as foreign sources, including Russia, in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure.   Action Against Black Listed Israeli Company  CBI had registered a case against Shri Sudipta Gosh, former DGOF and some others in May, 2009 regarding receipt of illegal gratification from some suppliers of Ordnance Factories. After examining the FIR lodged by CBI, the Ministry of Defence had decided to put on hold all contracts with the companies involved in the CBI case, in its order dated May 28, 2009. The above order was challenged by some of the companies before the Delhi High Court. The High Court after hearing both sides set aside the order in its judgement dated February 11, 2010 directing that penal action against the companies can be taken only after following the principles of natural justice. Accordingly, show cause notices were issued to all the companies based on the contents of the FIR lodged by CBI. Replies were submitted by the companies denying the allegations and seeking specific evidence based on which penal action was proposed against them. When the information was sought from CBI, they informed that the charge sheet in the case will soon be filed.  After the charge sheet was field, the advice of the CVC was sought on the action to be taken. After considering CVC’s advice, it has been decided to issue fresh show cause notices to the companies based on the contents of the charge sheet. A decision regarding penal action will be taken after examining the replies of the companies and in consultation with the Ministry of Law.   Corruption in Defence Deals with Israel  Procurement of Defence equipment/weapon systems is done from various indigenous as well as foreign sources, including Israel, in accordance with the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure. The said Procedure contains stringent provisions aimed at ensuring the highest degree of probity, public accountability, transparency and safeguarding the integrity of the Indian Defence procurement process.  Irregularities in respect of some Israeli Defence companies have come to notice and appropriate restrictions have been placed on dealing with these companies.   Obsolete Defence Equipment  Modernization and upgradation of its equipment by the Indian Air Force is a continuous process. This is done keeping in view the threat perceptions before the country. Government is seized of the threats facing the country and is fully prepared to meet all challenges.  The Navy and the Army also have equipment which has a prescribed life. Hence, there is life cycle based inventory management approach that is followed. Accordingly, acquisition is an ongoing process.

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