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Saturday, 20 November 2010

From Today's Papers -

Tribunal sets aside 25-yr-old court martial order Kochi, November 19
Setting aside a 25-year-old Court Martial order of an Army officer, the
Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) here has directed the Union Government and the
Army Chief to pay the officer concerned within six months the arrears of his
salary, allowances, and full pension due to him. The tribunal has ordered
the respondents -- the Union Government, Chief of Army Staff, Commandant COD
and the General Officer Commanding UP area -- to treat as if the petitioner,
Captain Tony George, was on actual duty till the date on which he would have
superannuated. The arrears of salary, allowances of salary and pension
after adjusting the amounts should be paid to the petitioner within six
months, the Kochi bench of the tribunal held while allowing a petition by
Captain Tony George of Central Ordnance Depot (COD), Agra cantonment,
challenging his Court Martial. The division bench of the tribunal also set
aside the court martial findings and punishment against the petitioner.
"The facts and circumstances clearly show that the court martial was held
without any valid order or a report as provided under Army Rule 150 by the
competent military authority," the tribunal held. The amounts due to the
petitioner should be paid within six months, failing which each month
arrears would carry 9 per cent interest annually from the date of which it
fell due and the payment is made, the tribunal held. Captain Tony, who was
posted as officer in charge of a section in COD, Agra, was dismissed from
service after he was found guilty of offences of perjury under Sect 60 of
the Army Act. He was examined as a witness in a theft case in the depot.
Commissioned in the Army in 1973, Captain Tony George was serving as
officer-in-charge in the COD when in 1984 he deposed as a witness in a GCM
against Lt Col Balwant Singh, the depot administrative officer and some
others. Action was ordered against the petitioner and three others for
"making false statements". — PTI
Defence deals: Sting of the US law Air Marshal B.D. Jayal (Retd) The IAF's
recently procured C-130J Super Hercules takes-off on its first test flight
in the US The IAF's recently procured C-130J Super Hercules takes-off on its
first test flight in the US Proposing a National Aeronautical Policy in
1994, then President of the Aeronautical Society of India, Dr APJ Abdul
Kalam, had stated, "Aviation is one of the most significant technological
influences of modern time and empowers the nation with strength for
international partnership. It is a major tool for economic development and
has a significant role in national security and international relations".
Not surprisingly, one of the high points of the recent visit of the US
President to India, which was as much to promote US exports as fostering
next steps in strategic partnership, was a single deal for procuring ten
C-17 Globemaster III strategic heavy-lift aircraft worth about 4.1 billion
dollars. Earlier, the IAF had signed for six C-130J Hercules transport
aircraft modified and equipped for special operations and three Boeing-737
business jets for VVIP duties. Besides, Indian Navy is procuring eight P-81
long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The first two procurements are
through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, involving direct
government-to-government dealing. Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation
Agency (DSCA) procures the equipment on behalf of India and charges a
commission. The Boeings and P-81s went through the direct sale route, though
these are subject to "End Use Monitoring Agreements". The Defence
Procurement Procedure-2008 makes exceptions to the open tender route in
cases involving imperatives of strategic partnerships or major diplomatic,
political, economic, technological or military benefits. The above
procurements fall under this category and to the IAF, which often falls
victim to decision-making processes lasting decades, this quick procedure
will be welcome. To the bureaucracy still recovering from the Bofors
syndrome, government-to-government deal also makes for smoother
decision-making, as the specter of agents and scandals does not haunt the
process. For long, the IAF has had on its wish list, weapons and platforms
of US origin for reasons of superior technology, high operational
performance and very competitive life cycle costs, but geopolitical
considerations have come in the way. In lieu, the IAF has made good with
procurements from other countries and frequently modified them to maximise
operational capability. This has had two beneficial fallouts. First,
successfully integrating weapons and systems from varied sources, thus
producing a unique operational system, and secondly, gaining valuable
knowledge and expertise in integration, testing and certification of complex
airborne systems. It would be fair to say this techno-operational approach
to achieving flexibility with weapon systems is now part of IAF psyche and
it would be loathe to surrender it. Future procurements should preferably be
in tune with this philosophy. The sting in the FMS tail, to which little
attention has been paid, is the End Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) mandated
by US law that is far more intrusive than mere monitoring end use.
Pentagon's Security Assistance Management Manual also stipulates specific
conditions under which FMS equipment can be used limiting it mainly to a
self-defence role. It also inhibits any non-original equipment manufacturer
integration. CAG in its scrutiny of the purchase of the landing dock ship,
USS Trenton, now INS Jalashwa, had also commented on both these constraints.
It also observed that binding the navy to support only from the original
equipment manufacturers created permanent dependence. It has recently been
reported that the army has expressed unhappiness with the support to their
Weapon Locating Radars procured in 2002 through FMS, resulting in poor
serviceability. In the world of complex geopolitics where one man's
terrorist is another's freedom fighter, self-defence for one can easily be
viewed as offence to another. Some restrictions that US laws place on
military supplies through the FMS route hence have strategic ramifications
that transcend the armed forces as users and impinge on national strategic
autonomy itself. If the armed forces are unhappy with FMS conditions, they
are justified. It is likely the US industry, which used considerable
political capital to support the Indo-US nuclear deal, pressured US State
Department to resolve the EUMA issue with India in order to gain access to
the lucrative Indian aeronautics market. This was an important agenda on
Secretary of State Clinton's visit last year and she appears to have
convinced the Indian government, albeit with some cosmetic giveaways.
Whilst the aforementioned aircraft purchases relate primarily to support
functions, India has issued an open tender for Medium Multi-Role Combat
Aircraft, which once implemented, will be the single largest defence deal in
the Indian history. Amongst the six contenders are two US manufacturers. All
contenders have been evaluated by the IAF and the report is with the MoD.
Respective governments will actively lobby for a programme of such vital
strategic-cum-commercial implications. To the operational, technical and
economic aspects of the decision-making will now be added diplomatic and
strategic elements. One hopes that our tenders have clearly spelt out
conditions that are acceptable. If, in spite of this the US contenders
remain in the running, it can only be good news for the IAF and the
aeronautics sector, as it implies the US military aeronautics market will
remain open through the normal commercial route minus strategically
crippling conditions. All this, however, is in the realm of speculation and
hope. India has been criticised for not having a strategic culture. Whether
or not one accepts this thesis, it is clear that adequate thought has not
been given to the larger canvas of our evolving strategic partnership with
the US in the realm of defence procurements considering various US laws
mandating such sales. First there was debate on the EUMA and now India is
hesitant in signing the Communications Interoperability and Security
Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation
Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA). Under US laws, both pacts need
bilateral confirmation to ensure sensitive technology control transfers.
Failing agreement, India will be denied advanced avionics and communication
equipment on all the above projected aircraft sales. The same would possibly
also apply to the MMRCA. These are critical limitations and should have been
resolved prior to entering into sale agreements. Today, it is not just the
flying platforms, but avionics and systems that confer on aircraft potent
operational capability. Minus such sensitive technology and systems, some of
these platforms will be severely limited in their capability. Limited by FMS
agreements the IAF and IN will not even be able to upgrade them with systems
from other sources. US laws on sale of defence equipment are not India
specific, but apply to all their customers. But the US, by virtue of its
being a technology and economic powerhouse, has only sold weapons to
alliance partners and client states. India, on the other hand, is just
emerging from its non-aligned mindset and such conditions will rest uneasily
with its people and the armed forces. If the two countries are to exploit
the power of technology towards mutual economic benefit and to enhance the
evolving strategic partnership, hard work needs to be done to understand and
bridge these sensitive differences. The writer is a former AOC-in-C of
South-Western Air Command
Focus more on technical support Wg Cdr D.P. Sabharwal (Retd) Indian Air
Force, by any standards, is an ageing force when one looks at its fleet. Its
fighters are over 25 years old. The Jaguars, Mirages and MiG-29s were
procured in mid-80s. Same is the story with the transport fleet of AN-32s,
IL-76s and helicopters. IAF, for almost a decade, has been operating without
a genuine Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft. There have been many reported
deals, which include 10 billion dollars for procuring Su-30 aircraft, 964
million dollars for upgrading MiG-29s and another 10.4 billion dollars for
medium multi-role combat aircraft. Procurement of transport aircraft, attack
helicopters and trainers is also on the cards. On a conservative estimate,
IAF will invest 40-50 billion dollars for modernising its fleet. Amidst
purchases to retain the cutting edge in the battlefield, the IAF has also
initiated a Rs 375 crore ($85 million) programme for modernisation and
refurbishment of its Base Repair Depots (BRD) and Equipment Depots (ED). The
programme, to be executed on a turnkey basis, shall be covering 27 locations
across the country. The projects will be completed within the next 3-5
years. The process of short-listing companies is over and 12 out of original
31 bidders have been selected. The contracts are to be awarded in 2011.
BRDs and EDs play a pivotal role in keeping the flying machines operational.
Though routine maintenance and minor repairs are carried out in flying
units, much more is required to keep the aircraft airworthy. Spares and
other materials like fuel, oil, lubricant, gases and weapons are held by the
EDs. Needless to say, these EDs must have proper storage facilities,
material handing equipment and above all fool-proof accounting systems in
place. Most of these requirements are lacking today. BRDs are primarily
involved in the overhaul of equipment in addition to carrying out major
modifications and defect investigation of equipment, which are tasks beyond
the capability of the units operating these systems. There are eight BRDs
dealing in aircraft, missiles, avionics and communications. Two at Kanpur
and one at Nasik deal with fighter aircraft and their engines. The one at
Chandigarh, biggest of all the BRDs, deals with helicopters and its engines.
The BRD at Pune deals with radio equipment and the one at Delhi look after
radar and communication equipment along with power generation and air
conditioning equipments. In a BRD, the aircraft is dismantled and stripped
down to its last component. Each component is visually inspected, then
checked with gauges and instruments and finally tested for performance,
leading to three options: First, if the component is beyond economical
repair, it is discarded and replaced. Secondly, the component may be worn
out and require re-work. Thirdly the component may still be within
permissible limits and hence can be fitted back after cleaning, greasing and
other routine operations. It is the second option that is the most
demanding. The work required to refurbish a component to original design
condition involves many steps like degreasing and cleaning in salt/oil
baths, machining, electro-plating, heat treatment, painting and testing
Tthese need special purpose machines and equipment. All BRDs were set up
over 40 years ago when they were supposed to overhaul simpler aircraft.
Though old machinery has been replaced from time to time, it has been a
piecemeal exercise akin to fire-fighting. Major facilities in most BRDs are
vintage, needing replacement. The current modernisation programme envisages
procurement of machines, machine tools, electronics and electrical test
equipment, general purpose measuring equipment, calibration and test
equipment, refurbishment of electro-plating and heat-treatment processes.
The project includes installation of material handling, packaging and allied
machinery, besides upgradation of existing hangars which require proper
lighting, flooring, pressure pipelines, mechanised doors, earthing pits and
bird proofing. Bays and labs attached to hangers require modular equipment,
air curtains, installation of gantry and lift, fire alarms and
electro-magnetically shielded cabins. The modernisation programme is no
doubtlaudable, yet akin to a drop in the ocean. The required work, to say
the least, is enormous but the funds earmarked are meagre. Spending Rs 375
crore amongst 27 depots means the biggest depot may get Rs 40 crore or so at
the most. The replacement of antique test bed at 3 BRD itself would consume
more than half of that amount. Therefore, the budget for this programme,
which amounts to just about 0.2 per cent of the expenditure on fleet
modernisation, needs enhancement. Another vital area that needs a look into
is manpower. It is said that a machine is as good as the man behind it.
Every operation in a BRD demands highly trained technicians. Alas, there is
no dedicated training programme for technicians posted to BRDs as is the
case with technicians posted to a squadron, who undergo a special course at
designated "Type Training Schools". There is another linked issue. Once a
technician develops expertise, which takes two-to-three years, he is posted
out just after another two years or so. This is highly deplorable. There is
a need to have a policy that 70-75 per cent of the trained manpower at any
BRD should remain there till retirement. It is not a tall order in today's
world where there is a high premium on highly skilled and professional
technicians. The writer is an aeronautical engineer and has served in Base
Repair Depots
IAF copter crashes after blast on board; 12 dead n Lt Col, 3 IAF officers
among dead n Probe ordered Tribune News Service Guwahati/New Delhi,
November 19 Twelve persons, including a Lieutenant Colonel and 11 Indian Air
Force men,were killed today when an Mi-17 helicopter crashed after an
explosion on board at Bomdir near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Tezpur-based
defence spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia said the explosion on board the chopper
occurred minutes after its take-off from the Tawang helipad at around 12
noon. The helicopter was en route to Guwahati. Among the 11 dead IAF
personnel include three officers. The official said a search operation was
launched by Army personnel at Tawang base immediately after the crash and
all 12 bodies were recovered within three hours. Eyewitnesses heard a loud
sound in the sky and saw the chopper catching fire. Senior Army and Air
Force officials rushed to Tawang after the incident. Prima facie the problem
has been identified with the rotors of the chopper. A Court of Inquiry has
been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident. Arunachal Pradesh Chief
Minister Dorjee Khandu condoled the death of defence personnel in the tragic
incident. This is the second crash of a MI-17 --- a Russian-origin chopper
that is considered a workhorse in the Himalayas --- since October last year
when four persons were killed when a copter plunged into Chenab river in
Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. The IAF operates around 80 MI-17
choppers and another 60 of the upgraded version known as MI-17-IV. Around 80
more have been ordered from Russia. The helipad at Tawang is at 9,000 feet
and the MI-17 lands and takes off with ease from Thoise and Leh in J&K that
are much higher in altitude, said sources. Also, the take-off load of 12
persons on board was within the laid down parameters, said sources, who said
that an MI-17 can take upto 24-28 passengers when taking off from the
plains. Official source said the weather in Tawang was okay and it was
unlikely that the ill-fated chopper could have encountered any obstruction.
At Tawang, the military helipad does not have an air traffic controller.
Army officer was coming home New Delhi: The Lt Col of the Army, who died in
an IAF chopper crash in Arunachal Pradesh, was heading home to attend to his
ailing mother, who had suffered a heart attack. The young officer is from
Engineers regiment and his name has been held back from print as the Army is
yet to complete the formalities of informing his family. His body was
retrieved along with other victims. Army officers posted in high-altitude
areas are allowed to use IAF choppers to reach the nearest major city.
Lt Col among 12 killed in crash Samudra Gupta Kashyap Posted online: Sat Nov
20 2010, 02:18 hrs Guwahati : Twelve persons were killed when an MI-17
helicopter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed at Bomdir in Tawang
district of western Arunachal Pradesh close to the India-China border around
noon on Friday. The dead include a Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army and
11 IAF personnel. Indian Air Force (Eastern Command) spokesperson Wing
Commander Ranjeev Sahoo said the Guwahati-bound MI-17 chopper crashed
minutes after it had taken off from the helipad at the brigade headquarters
in Tawang at 12:04 pm. The victims included a Lieutenant Colonel of the
Indian Army (Engineers), two Flight Lieutenants and nine other crew members
of the IAF. All the bodies were recovered within four hours of the crash,
shifted to the brigade headquarters, and identified. Sources in Tawang
quoting eye-witnesses said people heard a loud sound in the sky, following
which the helicopter caught fire and went down into a gorge. Tawang is
around 3,500 metres above sea level. This is the second major air crash in
Tawang and fourth in the state in recent times. On November 14, 1997, a
four-seater Cheetah with then union minister of state for Defence NVN Somu,
Major General Ramesh Nagpal and two Majors (both pilots) on board crashed
around 40 kms northeast of Tawang, killing all the four occupants. In June
last year, 14 army personnel were killed when an AN-32 aircraft crashed
after it took off from Mechuka in West Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh.
In May 2001, then education minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dera Natung and
six others were killed in a Pawan Hans helicopter crash near Sessa in West
Kameng district.
AT EASE WITH GREASE General Deepak Kapoor may seem like a terrible
aberration. But BRIJESH PANDEY finds the rot runs deeper in the army Caught
in action When he was army chief, Gen Kapoor opened his office to wheeler
dealers Caught in action When he was army chief, Gen Kapoor opened his
office to wheeler dealers PHOTO: SHAILENDRA PANDEY AS THE saga of General
(retd) Deepak Kapoor and Company unfolds, the nation is traumatised by the
crumbling of a pillar it still believes in, by and large. Can the country
still bank on this institution to keep the borders safe as well as rush in
to save the day when there is a natural calamity or civil strife? Does the
rot go deep or is it confined to a few aberrations? It was in 2001 that
TEHELKA's seminal exposé on corruption in defence procurement — 'Operation
Westend' — graphically laid bare the dangerous spread of the cancer of
corruption in the higher ranks of the Indian Army. But instead of launching
a no-holds barred clean-up act, the establishment and the army encouraged a
witch-hunt against TEHELKA. The then NDA government used the State machinery
to hit back. The gunfire was clearly misdirected, for it created an enabling
environment for corruption to grow, as seen in the indictment of senior
officers in corruption cases in the past five years. An opportunity to put
the house in order was wasted. As the decade closes, there is now a darker
cloud over the army. But there is also a silver lining made up of several
strands: that whistles were blown, that other officers went by the book
trying to expose embezzlements, that Courts of Inquiry (CoI) scrupulously
did their job, that court martials were proposed. And now, hopefully, thanks
to the unsparing glare of media exposure, the establishment will fight to
regain the stature and pride of place it enjoyed until a decade ago.
OFFICERS, NOT GENTLEMEN The turn of the millennium has seen many scams
blight the army's image There's a compelling reason why the defence
establishment — which includes politicians, bureaucrats and military
bureaucrats — needs to stop the tide of corruption. By 2015, India would
have spent Rs. 2.21 lakh crore on what consultancy firm KPMG terms "one of
the largest procurement cycles in the world". Leading global defence
manufacturers are flocking to Delhi for a slice of our defence spending.
Indian firms too stand to gain contracts worth Rs. 44,299 crore. The scope
for kickbacks and grease money are obvious. Three months ago, Patrick Choy,
chief marketing officer of Singapore-based defence firm ST Kinetics, blurted
out what is known as the emerging truth for foreign defence firms operating
in India: "It's come to a point where I wonder about ST Kinetics being
driven out of the Indian market by frustration. We cannot simply continue
with something that appears like a black hole." His firm, reportedly
blacklisted during Kapoor's tenure, was in competition with BAE Systems for
the Rs. 13,289 crore 155-mm gun contract. Kapoor has become an object of
hatred for armymen and women, serving and retired, with good reason: it is
said that he didn't just pocket a few kickbacks, he allegedly invited the
entire evil axis of corruption — politician-contractor-police-bureaucrat —
into the office of the army chief. He did this by letting it be known within
political circles that he is pliable and ready to use his office to share
the spoils. Some officers blame his predecessor General NC Vij for starting
the slide. A PART FROM the scope for making money under the table in
equipment purchases, there is immense opportunity in the prime land owned by
the armed forces, which is coveted by real estate sharks backed by
politicians. This is where the defence establishment could stand firm, or
succumb to the neta-broker combine. Other officers are outraged. "It hurts
like hell," says Maj Gen (retd) GD Bakshi, when asked about the Adarsh scam.
In fact, when the Maharashtra government gave the building the operational
certificate, Western Naval Commander Vice Admiral Sanjeev Bhasin wrote that
the skyscraper poses a security threat to the nearby naval base and sought
action against the promoters and officers involved since 2003. PHOTO : AFP ,
DEEPAK SALVI Kapoor and Vij feigning ignorance about the fact that this
society was meant to house Kargil war widows did not cut much ice with their
own fraternity. "A senior officer saying he didn't know that the flats were
meant for war widows? What nonsense. Then they are unfit to hold that rank,"
says Major General (retd) SCN Jatar. His scepticism is borne out by facts.
When Kapoor applied for the Adarsh flat in 2005, the membership rules were
clear: an aspirant should have lived in Mumbai for 15 years. To get this
waived, he wrote to then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, who obliged him with a
domicile certificate. His salary slip submitted with the application showed
an income of only Rs. 23,450 per month. When his attention was drawn to the
fake slip, he expressed surprise. Equally damningly, Trinamool Congress MP
Ambika Banerjee, in a letter dated 5 August, had written to the defence
minister that Kapoor had assets disproportionate to his known sources of
income. "There's a flat in Dwarka Sector 29, three flats in Gurgaon Sector
23, one flat in Gurgaon Sector 42/44, a flat in Gurgaon Phase III and a
house in Lokhandwala in Mumbai," she revealed in her letter. Kapoor had met
Defence Minister AK Antony to deny this allegation. The shock of all these
skeletons tumbling out is so profound that former army chief VP Malik says,
"Nothing has hurt the army as much as this latest scam as far as corruption
is concerned." But the trail goes all the way back to the Sukhna land scam
in which Kapoor was perceived as going soft on Lieutenant General Awdhesh
Prakash, his military secretary. To recall the story: a private educational
institution, Geetanjali Educational Trust, was allowed to purchase 70 acres
near the 33 Corps in Sukhna. Investigations revealed the involvement of
several top officers, including Lt Gen Rath, Lt Gen Halgali and Prakash. How
serious was the damage can be gauged from the fact that Rath was all set to
take over as deputy army chief and Prakash was one of the eight military
advisors to the army chief with the most enviable charge — promotions and
postings. General VK Singh, the current army chief, was then GOC-in-C of the
Eastern Command and headed the COI constituted to probe charges against all
four. The COI found them guilty and it recommended that Prakash be sacked.
However, Kapoor stepped in and recommended that only administrative action
should be taken against him. This caused so much commotion that Antony had
to write a letter to the army chief asking for a court martial. That's not
all. In 2006, Maj Gen Malhotra of the Ordnance Corps floated a proposal for
purchase of tents worth Rs. 16 crore. It was said in the proposal that there
was an extreme shortage of tents and they should be purchased using the
special financial powers of the Area Commander. The file then went to Major
General General Staff (MGGS) of the Northern Command, who wrote on the file,
"Are we going to spend the army's special financial power for buying tents
which are supposed to be supplied by Ordnance?" What was surprising was that
three months after that rejection, Malhotra again moved a proposal recalling
that he had proposed the purchase three months ago and said that the troops
are suffering because of tent shortage. This time, the MGGS signed the file
without a murmur. Kapoor also gave his nod. By 2015, India would have spent
Rs. 2.21 lakh crore on 'one of the largest procurement cycles in the world'
After that, Kapoor moved over to army headquarters as vice-chief. On the day
Lt Gen HS Panag took over as commander, he found an anonymous note apprising
him of the tent scam. On investigation, it was found that tents were not
even needed. A COI under Maj Gen Sapru found that Malhotra was guilty of
siphoning off Rs. 1.6 crore. Panag issued an order that would stop
Malhotra's future promotions. Panag had no idea that he had stirred a
hornet's nest — Kapoor had by that time become army chief, and ordered
Panag's transfer to the Central Command in the middle of his two-year
tenure. Panag met Kapoor but was curtly told that transfers were his
prerogative. Panag also met Antony. "It was clear that Kapoor was rattled
but then, between an army chief and an army commander, Antony chose the
chief," a retired officer said on the condition of anonymity. This incident
is cause for much heartburn in the army, as it is unusual that an army
commander is moved in the middle of his tenure. Further blows were dealt to
the defence establishment when the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)
report on defence services for the year ended March 2007 tabled in
Parliament indicted the then Northern Command chief for misusing powers
delegated to him for special operational requirements. TEHELKA CONTACTED
Kapoor several times to get his version. On the fifth call, he refused to
rebut the charges against him. "There are a lot of things going on and I
would not like to comment," he says. What a mighty fall this has been for a
respected institution can be gauged from the fact that till 2002-03, the
thought of court martialling an officer of the rank of major general was
considered to be a rarity. In 2010, names of former chiefs are figuring in
scams. The fall has been precipitate. Apart from these headline-grabbing
scams of the past five years, there are others in almost every department of
the army. Be it Supply Corps or Ordnance, top officers were busy siphoning
off money. : • In 2006, a COI found Maj Gen Gur Iqbal Singh Multani, four
brigadiers and seven other officers guilty of sale of military quota liquor
in the open market. • In 2006, Lt Gen Surendra K Sahni, a major general, two
brigadiers and eight other officers were found guilty of massive
irregularities in procurement of 'certain items of dry rations' for soldiers
in Jammu & Kashmir. • In 2007, a COI indicted Lt Gen SK Dahiya Brigadier DVS
Vishnoi and three other officers for alleged irregularities in the operation
of the 'frozen meat contract' for supplies to troops posted in the
highaltitude Ladakh sector. • In 2009, 41 officers were found guilty of
selling their 'non-service pattern' weapons for personal use in the grey
market. So, what made these senior officers shift from first gear to fourth
in such a short span, when it came to corruption? According to Maj Gen
(retd) Afsar Kareem, "These kind of things happen when the top leadership is
weak and corrupt. The culture is that everybody looks up. If the man on the
top is clean, nobody down the ranks dare do anything. But if the chap at the
top looks the other way or himself is involved, or his honesty is not fully
established, he fails in every respect, be it war or peace he is not fit for
the army. But by then, because they help each other, they get promotions,
they get decorations and this develops a nexus if left unchecked." Most
senior army people agree that a general doesn't become corrupt only when he
attains that rank. The question that logically arises then is: How does a
guy who is corrupt rise to that level? At fault is a promotion policy based
on the whims and fancies of the top echelons of the military and
politicians. "If you are clever and you are dishonest then you have a better
chance of promotion than being honest and professionally competent, unless
the people at the top recognise that and unless the government plays a
part," says Kareem. "The government generally likes to put an yes-man in
that position. And the man who has much to hide is always a yes-man." Maj
Gen AK Kapur had a net worth of Rs. 41,000 when he joined the army in 1971.
By 2007, his net was Rs. 5.5 crore A senior officer confirmed TEHELKA's
suspicion that the Adarsh and Sukhna land scam are merely tips of the
iceberg. "The real scam happens in the procurement department," he said.
"First there is the Army Supply Corps. We have 13 lakh soldiers. Now if we
spend Rs. 50 per day on one soldier's food, the daily budget would be Rs.
6.5 crore. Imagine the kind of money involved and the potential for
siphoning it off." Then there is Ordnance, which supplies everything, from
socks to weapons. Its annual budget is Rs. 8,000-10,000 crore. Tellingly,
throughout 2009 the corps had no chief as the three eligible officers were
facing graft charges. Maj Gen AK Kapur (according to the chargesheet), had a
net worth of Rs. 41,000 when he joined the army in 1971. By 2007, his assets
had grown to Rs. 5.5 crore. He owns 13 properties in Delhi, Gurgaon, Shimla
and Goa. Maj Gen Anil Swarup, who was officiating commandant of the College
of Materials Management, Jabalpur, has also been found guilty of
irregularities in the purchase of items for a unit headed on a UN
peacekeeping mission. He inflated prices, CWG style — 100-KVA generators
available in the market for Rs. 7 lakh were bought for Rs. 15 lakh, cables
sold for Rs. 300 were got for Rs. 2,000. The same firm that supplied shoes
to a Delhi school for Rs. 700 supplied to the army for Rs. 1,200. This Rs.
100- crore loot continued from 2006 to 2008. After Supply and Ordnance
comes the Military Engineering Service, which also works for the navy and
air force. Its annual construction budget is at least 10,000- 12,000 crore,
with buildings and airstrips perpetually under construction. In this, 10
percent commission is regarded as 'legitimate'. All of these scams require a
nexus with defence and finance ministry staff. IF THIS brazen corruption
continues, soldier morale and consequently the security of the country comes
under threat. "It erodes the command and control chain. After all, military
leadership is inspirational," says Maj Gen GD Bakshi. "I can't tell a
soldier: I will give you a Rs. 5,000 bonus, please go and die. But he goes
and dies for a Rs. 5,000 salary because it is for the honour of his country,
his unit." A senior officer adds: "Below the rank of colonel, there is no
corruption — if you leave aside procurement department or minor incidents.
As people get independent, get more power, they start alignments with their
bosses and this is when they are moulded as one of the corrupt lot. They
don't sign the main contract but remain in the shadow of their bosses."
Several officers believe that this rot can be stemmed in time if the army
makes an example of those indicted, as it was in the Sukhna land scam.
According to Maj Gen Jatar, "In my opinion they should have been stripped of
rank. They have no business to be called generals and retired chiefs of the
army or navy. Lower ranks must see that even former chiefs are not spared."
To get rid of the plague, serving and retired army personnel agree that it's
time for extreme action. You have to sacrifice a limb in order to save the
body — otherwise, watch one of the most magnificent institutions crumble
before your eyes.
NATO on course for new strategic concept Pallavi Aiyar / Lisbon November 20,
2010, 0:14 IST The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), the
transatlantic military alliance synonymous with the Cold War, is in search
of a facelift. A two-day Nato Summit being held in the Portuguese capital
Lisbon on November 19 and 20, is aimed at setting the organisation upon a
new path at a time when the alliance is beset with existential crises.
Defence cuts in Europe, a protracted and unpopular war in Afghanistan,
ambiguous relations with its old enemy Russia and a range of dispersed,
unconventional threats from cyber attacks to amorphous terrorist outfits,
set the challenging background against which Nato is searching for continued
relevance. On Friday, the 28-member alliance will adopt what they call a
new "strategic concept" an exercise last undertaken by Nato over a decade
ago in 1999. The strategic concept is essentially a mission statement that
aims to identify the threats likely to be faced by Nato over the next 10
years and the manner in which they can best be defended against. At the same
time the organisation will reaffirm its core commitment to collective
defence, as enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which
states that every Nato ally must come to the defence of any single member
that is under attack. It remains unclear however, how the new threats of
the twenty first century can best be defended against. One idea is to move
away from the focus on protecting territory to that of defending strategic
interest. But the definition of "strategic interests" is open to debate.
Similarly it may not be immediately evident what kind of cyber attack, for
example, may warrant an Article 5 response. It may not even be clear at
first who the instigators of such an attack are. Nonetheless, the strategic
concept is likely to be worded vaguely enough to be acceptable to all
members and should be adopted by the end of the first day of the summit.
Nato will also agree on a leaner organisational structure — achieved by the
dismantling of at least four of its 11 command bases — as well as on
modernising weapons defence. The latter is the cause of both internal
controversy within the Nato alliance as well as a major bone of contention
with one of Nato's most important interlocutors: Russia. A crucial element
of weapons' modernisation is the development of a territorial shield against
ballistic missiles, which Nato hopes will be a key deliverable for the
organisation in the coming years. "I would expect the summit to make a
decision on missile defence, which would be a very visible demonstration of
our preparedness to improve our capabilities even during a period of
economic austerity," Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a
meeting last month. However, the plan to develop a ballistic-missile defence
(BMD) system has raised Russia's hackles with Moscow viewing it as aimed at
undermining its nuclear deterrent. While Nato officials insist the proposed
BMD is not designed to counter Russia — a potential Iranian missile threat
being more commonly pointed to as motivation — the Kremlin has remained
unconvinced. However, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will be in Lisbon
for the summit, attending the first meeting of the Nato-Russia Council since
the row over Georgia in 2008. The United States has in recent months been
extending a hand of friendship to Russia and Nato has put on the back burner
its plans to grant membership to Ukraine and Georgia, a sticking point in
relations with Russia. While it's unlikely that Medvedev will sign up to
Nato's plans for the BMD while in Lisbon, the stage is thus set for some
common ground for future cooperation. In particular Moscow and Nato are
expected to agree to working more closely together in Afghanistan. Russia
may offer to provide training for the Afghan army and help secure supply
routes for Nato military equipment. It's the war in Afghanistan that will
be the main focus of the summit's second day on Saturday with Afghan
President Hamid Karzai meeting with Nato leaders in the morning. The
protracted nature of the war, the internal divisions between alliance
members on strategy and its unpopularity with domestic constituencies in
member countries has provoked analysts to ask whether Afghanistan may turn
out to be Nato's graveyard. Despite nine years of battle and a recent surge
of alliance troops, the Taliban remains strong in Afghanistan with even the
United States showing signs of accepting that any final solution may have to
include an accommodation with them. In Lisbon, US President Barack Obama is
expected to spell out a time line for the withdrawal of troops from
Afghanistan along with an admission that this may take longer than he had
once anticipated. Although the withdrawal will begin in mid 2011, he will
likely announce a longer time horizon of until at least 2014 before combat
responsibility is fully turned over to Afghani authorities. But many
European nations like the Netherlands, Germany and Italy display less
commitment and are determined to withdraw their forces at the earliest
possible time. Canada has announced it will pull out in 2011. And despite
the invocation of Article 5 for the Afghanistan war, there have been large
discrepancies in the resources devoted by the alliance members to it.
Germany for example has kept its soldiers away from the conflict ridden
south. In Lisbon, Nato will pledge an enduring partnership with Afghanistan
while admitting past mistakes. "I think that, seen retrospectively, we
underestimated the challenge and our operation in Afghanistan didn't have
sufficient resources, and yes, that was a mistake," Secretary General
Rasmussen told the Portuguese media in the run up to the summit. Amongst
the lessons learnt by Nato in Afghanistan is ostensibly the idea that crises
need a comprehensive approach combining military and civil resources, a
take-away that it's hoped will help shape the alliance's future policies.
The soul searching that Nato has embarked on will not end with the closing
of the summit. Over the next few years it must find a new role for itself
and redefine its partnerships and alliances with other major global powers.
There are those within Nato who believe the organisation should morph into a
grand facilitator of global security alliances that would include emerging
giants like China and India. But others within the grouping, in particular
the newer members comprising the former Soviet-bloc states, want a return to
basics, with an emphasis on territorial defence of territory. The European
Union, as it seeks a larger geo-strategic role in the world, is building up
its own defence network through a re-energised common defence and security
policy. The United States is preoccupied with strategic competition with
China and the threat of global terrorism. Whether Nato remains the best
vehicle for the challenges its members face in the twenty first century is
therefore far from clear. Although an imminent death for the alliance is
unlikely NATO will have its work cut out demonstrating its long-term
relevance over the next decade.

Unsung '62 war hero finally honoured Prasanta Mazumdar Express News Service
First Published : 19 Nov 2010 02:26:24 AM IST Last Updated : 19 Nov 2010
08:37:28 AM IST GUWAHATI: India's war against China maybe history to us but
to Alorno Pul, a Mishmi (tribe) of Walong sector in Arunachal Pradesh, it is
as fresh as yesterday. Alorno, a farmer called by many in Arunachal Pradesh
a living legend, helped save both Indian lives and property on the 1962
warfront and rebuild the Walong sector. But sadly, the recognition came only
on Tuesday, 48 years since the war. During the height of the war, Alorno,
like many other Mishmis, was employed by the Indian Army to carry their
rations, guns and ammunition to hill-top Army camps and bunkers. He played
his part but more importantly, played the ethnic card too to influence
Chinese officers and soldiers. The man, now a septuagenarian, was honoured
recently by the Arunachal Pradesh Government at Itanagar. The state's PWD
Minister Nabam Tuki handed him a 'thank you' certificate for his deeds in
the war.' At the conclusion of the war, the Indian Army presented him with a
ration card ensuring his lifelong access to subsidised defence canteens. But
he lost it a few years ago. "Call it his humbleness that he is not seeking a
replacement," said S Mining, extra assistant commissioner (EAC), Hawai
circle. "At the dawn of the war, one day I discovered that the Chinese Army
commander was also a Mishmi. I wasted no time and soon met him, rekindling
the long-lost ethnic ties," he said. A few days after this meeting, the
Chinese Army one day called Alorno and other locals to Walong and asked them
to take care of the abandoned villages and Indian Army camps. "Little did we
realize that they were going back. "When it dawned on us that they indeed
left, we got into the action carrying rations again - but this time to save
villagers from starvation," Alorno added.

some months now, the Indian Army's 'Cold Start' (CS) doctrine has been
attracting a lot of attention from Western diplomats, generals and political
leaders. The reason is simple: the Pakistanis, who were reluctant to move
against their 'strategic assets' (aka Taliban and Al Qaeda affiliates like
Lashkar-e-Taiba), have self-servingly flagged this doctrine as proof of
India's hostile and aggressive design. Waving the 'threat' from India, the
Pakistan Army has been resisting pressure from the West to redeploy troops
from the eastern border to the western front. The gullible Westerners appear
to have bought the Pakistani line and are seeking to persuade India to
renounce the CS doctrine. This, the Westerners believe, is the magic bullet
to address Pakistan's sense of insecurity and allow the Pakistan Army to
move against terrorist safe havens inside Pakistani territory. How much
the CS doctrine has spooked the Pakistani is clear from the statements of
the Pakistani political leaders and military generals. Addressing senior
officers in the GHQ on 1st January, the Pakistan army chief Gen. Ashfaq
Kayani called the CS doctrine "an adventurous and dangerous path". He
flogged this theme during his talk at the NATO headquarters in Brussels and
later in a meeting with Pakistani journalists where he showed deep concern
over the Indian Army's preparations for making the CS doctrine operational.
Taking the cue from him, the National Command Authority of Pakistan issued a
statement in which it said that an "offensive doctrines like Cold
Start...tend to destabilise the regional balance". The Azm-e-Nau military
exercises, held in April-May this year, were primarily aimed at countering
the CS strategy of the Indian army. Completely at a loss to understand
Pakistan's recalcitrance over acting against Islamist terror groups, the
West appears to have latched on to the Pakistan's India bogey as a possible
solution to end the Pakistani double-game in the war on terror. Hence, the
efforts to try and make India back off from the CS strategy. The problem,
however, is that no amount of disavowals by India, and no amount of security
assurances by the US or other Western nations, will ever convince Pakistan,
which has been badly rattled by the CS doctrine, that India's basic defence
posture is defensive in nature and orientation. Despite the Indian army
chief Gen. VK Singh denying the existence of any such doctrine, the CS
strategy has acquired a life of its own in the Pakistani military mind.
Come to think of if, this is probably not such a bad thing from India's
point of view. Even as strategists debate over the practicality or otherwise
of the concept of a limited war under a nuclear overhang and the CS doctrine
as a military strategy – after all, the battleground has a nasty habit of
springing surprises that can ground the most well-prepared battle plans –
the doctrine's validity has been confirmed by Pakistan's frenetic efforts to
put in place a counter strategy. That the Pakistan army is preparing to
counter the CS by its conventional forces and not through use of nuclear
weapons is a tacit acceptance of both the theory of limited war under a
nuclear overhang as well as the exploitation of this strategic space through
the device of CS doctrine. More important, however, has been the utility of
the CS doctrine as a tool of psy-war. Not only has it unsettled the
adversary, it has also put in place an effective deterrent against the proxy
war unleashed by Pakistan-sponsored terror groups in India. In other words,
Pakistan can no longer be sure on whether or not India will resort to
lightening strikes across the border in response to actions by Pakistani
terror groups inside India. The prospect of sudden retaliation by India
effectively means that the impunity with which Pakistan was exporting terror
to India is in grave danger. Perhaps this is one of the major reasons why
there has been no major terrorist attack in India since 26/11. But the
utility of CS as a deterrent to sub-conventional warfare or proxy warfare
depends in large measure on the credibility of the deterrent. In a sense,
the dynamics and dialectics of a sub-conventional deterrence like CS are no
different from those of nuclear deterrence. As and when India effectively
operationalises the CS doctrine, it will have to ensure that the adversary
knows the resolve of the Indian state to implement this strategy in response
to another major terrorist strike. This is critical to prevent any
miscalculation or misreading by Pakistan of India's resolve. While the
retaliation doesn't have to be immediate – to quote Mario Puzo "revenge is a
dish that tastes best when it is cold" – any failure by India to resort to
CS in response to a terror attack supported, inspired or originating from
Pakistan will degrade the value of the deterrence. It is in this sense that
the CS doctrine is a double-edged weapon for both India and Pakistan. To
retain credibility India will have to retaliate militarily using the CS
strategy, otherwise not only will India loses all credibility, it will
embolden Pakistan to continue to unleash jihadist terror on India. But
retaliation will put India on the escalation ladder which could easily go
beyond the parameters of scope and scale of CS operations. The big unknown
is that with sub-conventional deterrence in the form of CS doctrine breaking
down, how much time and what level of desperation of either party will force
them to take the next escalatory step which in turn could lead to making
real the spectre of a nuclear exchange in the subcontinent. To an extent,
the escalation ladder will depend on how Pakistan responds to a CS by India.
The dilemma for Pakistan will be that if it doesn't respond with its nuclear
weapons, it will not only validate India's belief of space for a limited war
under a nuclear overhang but more seriously, rob Pakistan of its nuclear
deterrent, if only in the context of a limited war. In other words, Pakistan
will face a Hobson's choice: it can either degrade the quality of its
nuclear deterrent or it can unleash a nuclear holocaust which will not only
wipe it out but wreck horrendous damage on India and indeed on rest of the
world. As long as the sub-conventional deterrence holds, the
enunciation of the Cold Start doctrine actually introduces a degree of
strategic stability in the region by forcing Pakistan to exercise extreme
caution in unleashing terrorist violence in India. Far from asking India to
renounce the CS doctrine or put it in the cold storage, the West needs to
impress upon Pakistan that it can no longer expect India to roll over and
play dead in response to actions of terror groups based inside Pakistan. If
Pakistan stops using terror as an instrument of state policy, the CS
strategy will stay in the cold storage. Otherwise, all bets are off.

Indian artillery inflicted maximum damage to Pak during Kargil New Delhi:
The Indian artillery, assisted by the Bofors gun and multi-barrel rocket
launchers among others, caused the maximum damage to the Pakistani Army
during the Kargil war, a fact now admitted by neighbour. As per the
official list of Pakistani soldiers who have been killed during the war
period, put up on its website by the Pakistani Army, about 190 of the over
400 dead were killed because of shelling by the Indian Army. The reasons
for the maximum number of deaths given by the Pakistani army was "En Arty
shelling" or "En shelling". 'En' stands for Enemy, an obvious reference to
Indian troops. The Indian soldiers also killed another about 160 of regular
Pakistani Army men in exchange of fire with their hand-held assault weapons
or as Pakistan puts it, "En Action". Besides the exchange of fire, the
Indian Army men also killed about 90 Pakistan Army personnel by shooting
them down. The reason given to such deaths was "En fire". Even the Indian
Air force, which bombarded certain territories captured by a mixture of
Pakistan troops and militants, killed regular armymen. It was not just the
Indian Army that Pakistan had to fight but also rolling stones and
avalanches. About 30 enemy troops died in this category. Interestingly, one
of them was killed in lightning. Among other reasons for deaths given were
also helicopter crashes. The Pakistan Army which had been denying its role
in the conflict has quietly put the names of 453 soldiers and officers
killed in the battle on its website. The names of those who died in Kargil
are tucked away in a list of thousands of personnel killed while on duty
that has been posted in the "Shuhada's Corner" (Martyrs Corner) of the
website. The very first page of the long list of martyrs includes the names
of Capt Karnal Sher and Havildar Lalak Jan, who were both killed on July 7,
1999 in Kargil and awarded Pakistan's highest military award, the
Nishan-e-Haider. Several others were posthumously given other gallantry
awards like the Tamgha-e-Jurat (Medal of Courage). A majority of those who
died in Kargil were soldiers from the Northern Light Infantry (NLI), a
paramilitary force that was made a regular regiment of the Pakistan Army
because of its performance in the 1999 conflict. During the Kargil conflict
and in subsequent years, the Pakistan Army insisted that none of its regular
soldiers were involved in the hostilities. Indian artillery inflicted
maximum damage to Pak during Kargil

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