Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Saturday, 4 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 04 Dec 2010

Towards a strong Navy This is critical to India’s strategic interests  For long, modern Indian military history and thinking has been land-focused, and therefore, army-centric. Much of this has to do with invasions on the country’s western front beginning with the Greeks and followed by various Muslim invaders. Yet, the irony is that while all land-based aggressors either plundered and departed or stayed on to rule and subsequently get absorbed, it were the invaders who arrived by sea who ended up colonising the country. They comprised the British, the Portuguese and, in small measure, the Danes.  It is only in recent years that the Indian Navy, which celebrates Navy Day today, has begun getting due importance. From its first post-Independence military engagement in 1961 when it provided fire support to the Army’s landing troops during the liberation of Goa, the Navy has added to its history a long list of operations and engagements that include the blockade of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and bombing of Karachi Harbour during the 1971 war; engagements in the Maldives and Sri Lanka in the late 1980s: deployments in the Northern Arabian Sea during the Kargil war: relief missions to as far as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives following the horrific Tsunami; evacuation missions from war-torn Lebanon; anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia; and several UN peace support operations  The Navy has emerged crucial to India’s strategic interests that extend from the Strait of Malacca to the Strait of Hormuz and other ‘choke points’ in the Gulf considering that it is located astride the world’s most critical sea lane of communication that is used for transporting a considerable quantum of trade, chiefly oil. The Navy has emerged as a valuable instrument of diplomacy by engaging in numerous bilateral and multilateral exercises and port visits. For India to be able to develop a credible second-strike capability, the soon-to-be inducted nuclear-powered submarines are critical. India could take a leaf from the navy of the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia, whose motto is Jaleseva Jayamaha, a phrase derived from Sanskrit, meaning ‘On the sea we are glorious’ and whose crest is the Brahm-astra, which symbolises the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
BI website hacked  NDTV Correspondent, Updated: December 04, 2010 01:45 IST ad_title  New Delhi:  On a day when India's premier investigating agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is swamped with the investigation of major corruption cases, in a major embarrassment, its website has been hacked.  People who logged on to the CBI's official home page were redirected to a page which said this attempt was in response to Pakistani websites hacked by 'Indian Cyber Army'.  "CBI is aware that its official website has beden hacked and defaced. An inquiry has been launched and necessary remedial measures are underway to restore it," CBI PRO RK Gaur said.  In addition to the CBI website, the self-proclaimed Pakistan Cyber army claims to have hacked another 270 websites.
'US govt told to ignore reports of rights abuses by Pak army' Press Trust of India / Washington December 03, 2010, 13:35 IST  The US government was advised to keep reports of human rights violations by the Pakistani army under wraps by its then envoy to the country Anne Patterson, who also suggested that the focus should be on assistance to Islamabad which was a close ally on the war against terrorism.  This was disclosed by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which released a secret US cable from the American embassy in Islamabad that was signed off by Patterson.  "A growing body of evidence is lending credence to allegations of human rights abuses by Pakistan security forces during domestic operations against terrorists in Malakand Division and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas," said the cable, much before reports of such abuses appeared on YouTube and other websites.  The cable dated September 7, 2009 and labelled as Secret/Nonforn (Non-foreign) was part of over 2,50,000 secret US documents which WikiLeaks claims to have in its possession.  The US, which has charged the WikiLeaks with indulging in a criminal act by stealing and releasing these cables, has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of these documents.  Taking serious note of human rights violations by the Pakistani Army, Patterson, however, advised Washington to avoid comment on these incidents to the extent possible and that efforts should remain focused on dialogue and the assistance strategy to Pakistan.  "While it is oftentimes difficult to attribute with accuracy any responsibility for such abuses, reporting from a variety of sources suggests that Frontier Corps and regular Pakistan Army units involved in direct combat with terrorists....," the US cable said.  "The crux of the problem appears to centre on the treatment of terrorists detained in battlefield operations and focused on the extra-judicial killing of some detainees. The detainees involved were in the custody of Frontier Corps or Pakistan Army units," it said.  The allegations of extra-judicial killings generally do not extend to what are locally referred to as 'the disappeared' -- "high-value terrorist suspects and domestic insurgents who are being held incommunicado by Pakistani intelligence agencies including the Inter-Services Intelligence Division (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) in their facilities," the cable said.
COMMENT: Is China a threat to India? —Dr Rashid Ahmad Khan  Chinese peripheries — and South Asia being one of them — constitute the areas of special focus of the foreign policy of China for the reason that tensions and instability in these regions will have a spillover effect on the Chinese mainland  The military as well as political leadership of India have recently issued statements referring to China as a security threat to their country. In October, Indian Army Chief General V K Singh, while speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, had bracketed China with Pakistan as ‘major irritant’ for India’s security. A couple of months earlier the Indian army chief had caused a heated controversy in the political and diplomatic circles of Pakistan by claiming in a statement that India was working on a defence doctrine based on the capability to simultaneously fight a war with Pakistan and China. The statement was somehow ignored by China but it evoked a sharp reaction from the top military leadership of Pakistan. In a similar but wider context, the same view was expressed by Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in September that China was seeking influence in South Asia at India’s expense. Calling the expansion of China’s bilateral relations in trade, economic cooperation and security fields with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as “new assertiveness by the Chinese”, the Indian Prime Minister said that that Beijing was trying to “have a foothold in South Asia, and we have to reflect on this reality”. Sino-Indian strategic discord was further highlighted in October when China denied a visa to an Indian general based in Kashmir. Most interestingly, the Indian concerns seem to centre on growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean — a water body India perceives as its exclusive preserve.  The Indian perception of China as a security threat has been for quite long an important element of the Indian security doctrine, although Chinese leaders have repeatedly asserted that China neither sees India as a threat nor does it pose any threat to India. India relates its nuclear weapons development programme to the perceived nuclear threat from China, despite the fact that China never resorted to nuclear sabre-rattling against India. It is also true that despite robust bilateral trade, which may exceed $ 50 billion in 2010, mutual mistrust between the two countries continues to persist. The Indian media never misses an opportunity to play up this mistrust to sour relations between Beijing and New Delhi. Thus, on the one hand, there are positive and encouraging developments in relations between India and China; on the other, India’s political and military leadership and media continues to raise the bogey of a threat from China. The traditional theory that India does so in order to curry favour with the US, which itself is worried about the lengthening Chinese shadows over Southeast Asia and South Asia, fails to explain this, as, according to a Pentagon Report of 2009, the US is convinced that China can play a positive role in South Asia, particularly in defusing Pakistan-India tension. Then why has India suddenly started whipping up the perceived threat from China; and do the recent Chinese moves in South Asia pose a threat to Indian security? In order to find an answer to this question, we will have to analyse the traditional Chinese policy towards South Asia, particularly recent initiatives focusing on the promotion of bilateral trade and economic cooperation with countries that are strategically located in the Indian Ocean, and look at the Indian self-image and its perceived role in South Asia.  Unlike most western countries, including the US and Russia, China has never looked at South Asia through Indian eyes. It is to be noted that even at the height of Sino-India friendship epitomised by the slogan ‘Hindi-Cheeni bhai bhai’ (Indians-Chinese are brothers) and despite the fact that Pakistan had joined avowedly the anti-China military pact Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), China never publicly endorsed the Indian stance on Kashmir. The Chinese have interacted with smaller countries of South Asia since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949 but they never used their presence to influence the security and foreign policies of these countries. Chinese peripheries — and South Asia being one of them — constitute the areas of special focus of the foreign policy of China for the reason that tensions and instability in these regions will have a spillover effect on the Chinese mainland. This is the reason why trade, investment and economic cooperation relations occupy top priority in China’s approach towards expanding relations with its neighbouring countries. In South Asia, this approach is reflected in a more than 30 times increase in bilateral trade with India, focus on commerce and investment, involvement in the development of infrastructure and the energy sector in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and, most importantly, Chinese acquisition of an observer state status in SAARC summits. China did not oppose India’s signing a civil nuclear deal with the US and has offered India a long-term relationship based on a strategic partnership. China is a consistent supporter of the Pakistan-India peace process and, according to former prime minister Zafarullah Jamali, China was one of those countries that played a behind-the-scenes role in facilitating the resumption of the Pakistan-India peace talks in 2004. Then why should India raise the spectre of a Chinese threat to its security?  It is because through expanded bilateral relationships with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma, China looks poised, in India’s perception, to ‘dominate’ the Indian Ocean the way the British did for two hundred years by acting on the strategy developed by famous Portuguese Admiral Albuquerque. This strategy was based on the control of three key points in the Indian Ocean — Aden in the west, Malacca Straits in the East and Ceylon in the centre. In addition to this, India still sticks to its traditional view of regarding the entire South Asia region as its sphere of influence and finds it difficult to reconcile with unfettered freedom of options by the peripheral states to engage with extra-regional powers like China.  The writer is a professor of International Relations at Sargodha University. He can be reached at\12\04\story_4-12-2010_pg3_6
hen Indian Army buys fuses, good money burns  BY BRIJESH PANDEY Up in smoke The tender for fuses is worth approximately Rs. 1,000 crore  Up in smoke The tender for fuses is worth approximately Rs. 1,000 crore  PHOTO: AFP  THE AVALANCHE of corruption allegations has not abated for the Indian Army. This time, the deal in question is the massive irregularities in the tender process for the procurement of fuses for three artillery guns: 105 mm, 130 mm and 155 mm. It is alleged that South African firm FUCHS Ltd has monopolised supplies via Indian public sector undertakings for the past several years. The tender is worth about Rs. 1,000 crore.  What is surprising is that as early as 2008, the multi-party Committee of Petitions (CoP) of the Lok Sabha, hearing a complaint on the issue, ruled that fuses must be procured though tenders and no further monopoly should be permitted.  The committee made some strong recommendations, saying, “The entire matter needs to be investigated thoroughly by an appropriate agency to unearth the motives and financial irregularities in procurement of electronic fuses.” It strongly deprecated the “indefensible” arguments of Army Headquarters (AHQ) for sticking to a single vendor in the first instance and deplored the failure of the Ministry of Defence to introduce a multi-vendor system.  Despite this clear directive, AHQ found imaginative ways to scuttle the directive of the CoP, using a request for proposal (RFP) for 10 lakh fuses. At first, a global request for interest was issued as no Indian firm manufactures electronic fuses. But at the next stage of the RFP, the procurement procedure was tampered with by manipulating specifications. A paragraph about giving priority to indigenous products was inserted, knowing well that this would limit participation in the tender. So, no global RFP was issued, leaving the coast clear for the Indian company.  “Tenders were manipulated and crafted in such a way that no other company except FUCHS Ltd of South Africa under the cover of PSU Electronic Corporation of India ltd (ECIL), could qualify in these tenders,” says Maharajganj MP Harsh Vardhan, who is a member of the ministry’s consultative committee. “What is shocking is that to ensure ECIL is not disqualified due to the single-vendor situation, they roped in another PSU, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). BEL has never manufactured an hearelectronic fuse. This was just to ensure that ECIL is not in a single-vendor situation on paper and force the MoD to continue purchases from a single source.”  Another complainant, HN Sharma, who used to be political adviser to late prime minister Chandra Shekhar, points out the clear nexus between ECIL and the Artillery Wing. “In a note sent to the Lok Sabha Committee, the army admitted that former director-general of Artillery Lt Gen Charanjit Singh joined ECIL immediately after retirement,” he says. “But since ECIL had been routinely appointing army officers after retirement and nobody ever objected, the army did not do anything about it.”  Tenders for artillery fuses were fixed in favour of South African firm FUCHS, claims MP Vardhan  Sharma, who filed the complaint along with Barmer MP Manvendra Singh, explains, “The three guns have different types of fuses. Yet, clauses like — ‘if the company does not possess all three types of technology for each fuse they will not be considered’ — was inserted. Specification was based on FUCHS’ capability to facilitate the company. What is surprising is that ECIL is not even a defence PSU, but somehow it has emerged as sole supplier of almost 80 percent of electronic fuses. ECIL in turn depends on imports from FUCHS. Companies like ITI, IFB and few others were willing to participate but it was ensured that they do not emerge as a potential threat to ECIL’s monopoly.”  When these anomalies were brought to the notice of the defence minister, he ordered an inquiry into the matter with Joint Secretary Jatinder Bir Singh as its head. After thorough examination in October, the Joint Secretary came to the conclusion that the situation is not all right and recommended retraction of these tenders.  MUCH TO the surprise of many in the MoD, instead of following the recommendation, the then director-general (acquisition) SK Sharma, referred the matter to the Scientific Adviser to the defence minister. Despite the clear directive of the CoP and its own ministry, another committee was appointed under the chairmanship of the scientific adviser, which recommended the continuation of trials and said that if a singlevendor situation arises after two years, the situation can again be referred to the DAC.  According to a senior officer in the MoD, this is shocking. “Who will be responsible for enormous losses to the tune of approximately Rs. 500 crore in case recommendations of the department are implemented after two years of trial? Why was the Committee of Petition’s decision overruled? Where was the need to have another committee?” he asks.  Harsh Vardhan and other MPs have written to both the CAG and CVC for a detailed probe into the issue but they have not received a reply in this case. The wait is on.
IAF and Indian Army to order more Akash Missiles Defence major Bharat Electronics Limited expects to bag contracts worth at least Rs 10,000 crore in the next few months from Indian Air Force and the army to produce several squadrons of Akash missile system.  Bangalore-based BEL has already bagged a Rs 1,221 crore order from IAF to produce two squadrons of the surface-to-air area defence guided missile system.  “They (IAF) are going to place another order for six squadrons shortly (in a month),” said P C Jain, general manager of BEL’s military radar business unit.  BEL sources said the order for six squadrons of Akash missile system is estimated to be nearly Rs 3,500 crore.  They said each squadron consists of 48 missiles, a surveillance radar (3D central acquisition radar) and a tracking (flight level) radar and flight control centre, among others.  According to Jain, the Indian Army is “looking for the same (Akash missile) system”, and BEL is expecting an order to produce two regiments for it.  The army is currently in the process of finalising the configuration it requires vis-a-vis the system.  “Each regiment is much bigger than a squadron, much, much bigger…May be five-six squadron is equivalent to one regiment,” Jain said, indicating that the army order is expected to be Rs 6,000 crore-Rs 7,000 crore.  The surveillance radar used in the Akash missile system, a medium-range, multi-target surface-to-air defence system which provides air defence against multifarious threats to mobile, semi-mobile and static vulnerable forces and areas, has a range of 120 km and the tracking radar 80 km.  The surveillance and tracking radar can detect 100 targets and 64 targets simultaneously, respectively.  The missile system has a range of 25 km and “it can go up to an altitude of 18 km”, Jain said. “It can engage four targets simultaneously. We can launch eight missiles simultaneously.”  He also said the BEL has despatched the company- produced weapon location radar system to Pokhran in Rajasthan for user trials by the army, from which it expects to bag order to deliver 50 such units.  Jain said BEL has delivered 1,400 Battle Field Surveillance Radars to the Indian Army, adding, the IAF is now looking to deploy such systems to monitor movement of manpower, jeeps and other small vehicles in its airfields.
Indian Army to train in high tech warfare – General AS Lamba By Ravinder Makhaik on Dec 3rd, 2010 and filed under Feature, Latest News, People  Print This!        ShareThis                 Shimla: With newer technologies changing the warfare threat perceptions, outgoing ARTRAC commander Lt General AS Lamba today emphasized on change in training methods and strategies and change building forces capabilities for new and emerging technologies.  General Lamba, who was on his way to take up his new assignment as Vice Chief of Army Staff, was interacting with senior army officers after inspecting an impressive Guard of Honour at Annadale before departing for Delhi.  Quoting Army Chief VK Singh about ‘an army is as good as it trains’ he said, “transformation in training is about total change; change in how the army deploys and employs forces; change in its ability to adapt to a wider range of missions across the full spectrum of warfare and change in leadership development process.”  Speaking ARTAC (Army Training Command) he said that it carried the onerous responsibility of evolving and articulating operational doctrines, concepts and philosophies as an expression of Indian Army’s fundamental approach to war-fighting in the emerging operational environment.  While at ARTRAC, General Lamba has articulated the new Indian Army Doctrine and has strongly advocated joint training exercises for the three forces for improving combat effectiveness.  For a million strong and the second largest army, training will remain a huge challenge for ARTRAC for which the Training Institutions would gradually transform into Centre of Excellence, he said.  Excellence in the art and science of war’ remains the credo and the guiding spirit behind Army Training Command remains’, he added.  Recently he also was instrumental in holding a seminar on Media-Military Synergy which set benchmarks in fostering mutual understanding with the media.  ARTRAC command looks at transforming war-fighters to operate successfully in the realms of high technology environment.  The Army is provisioning state of art infrastructure and equipment to simulate battlefield as also addresses the fields of e-Learning and distant learning in training establishments for proliferation to the entire environment which make learning more accessible beyond the legacy systems.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal