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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 05 Jan 2011

Antony: Coastal security govt’s immediate agenda  ‘Indigenous aircraft carrier by 2014’  Defence Minister AK Antony has expressed the hope that the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, being constructed at the Cochin Shipyard Limited, would be ready for the final launch in 2014.  Kozhikode, January 4 Defence Minister AK Antony today said coastal security was the “immediate agenda” of the government in view of pirate attacks on ships and that the Navy and Coast Guard had intensified patrolling along vulnerable areas to check the menace.  “In earlier days, we considered our coastal region more secure. But that is history. Fourteen ships have been attacked by pirates off Lakshadweep. Such attacks will affect the peace and security of the nation. Coastal security has now become the immediate agenda of the government,” he said.  Antony said despite the presence of naval forces from nearly 18 countries, piracy incidents in the Indian ocean had not come down. “It is not possible to say that the Somalian pirates alone are behind these acts. There are certain forces that are helping these pirates…. However, it is not possible to pinpoint who these external forces are,” he opined.  During his visits abroad, said Antony, several other nations, too, had expressed the doubt regarding “some forces being behind these pirates”.  Antony was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the Rs 600 crore mega National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH) at nearby Chaliyam. — PTI
Dangerous power politics Pakistan faces fresh threat of instability  With the MQM, which has 25 members in the Pakistan National Assembly, dissociating from the PPP-led ruling coalition in Islamabad, the Yousuf Raza Gilani government has lost the majority it had in the House. The MQM’s withdrawal came after another ally of the PPP, the eight-member Jamiatul Ulema Islam (F) parted company with the government, alleging that Mr Gilani had sabotaged the “policy of reconciliation” adopted by the PPP chief and Pakistan President, Mr Asif Ali Zardari. The MQM’s charge-sheet against the government says that it has failed to deliver on all fronts and, therefore, there is no reason why the Sindh-based party should remain a part of the coalition. The truth, however, is that the party of Mohajirs had made up its mind to call it quits after the Sindh Home Minister, a PPP leader, accused the MQM leadership of being involved in incidents of violence in Karachi and other parts of Sindh.  Despite having the support of only 163 members, including 127 belonging to the PPP, in the 342-member Lower House of parliament, the Gilani ministry, it seems, may be able to survive for the time being. The PML (Qaid), close to the Pakistan Army, is willing to support the government, though on certain conditions, and the PML (Nawaz) does not find it worthwhile to rock the “boat of democracy” at this stage when Pakistan is passing through a severe economic and security crisis. But the question is: why did the Sindh minister think of creating a situation which precipitated the MQM’s withdrawal from the coalition? The minister is close to President Zardari, who has not been pulling along well with Prime Minister Gilani.  Interestingly, there is now talk of finding a compromise candidate for the prime ministership to save the government as well as Pakistan, which cannot afford mid-term elections under the prevailing circumstances. If this really comes about, one person who would be very happy would be Mr Zardari, who had allowed Mr Gilani to become Prime Minister after the February 2008 elections on a temporary basis. However, Mr Gilani emerged smarter and made his position unassailable by establishing a close relationship with the all-powerful army. It is a dangerous power game being played in a country that needs stability more than anything else.
Delhi’s best bet in Dhaka January 05, 2011   7:10:43 AM  Ashok K Mehta  India should make every effort to improve relations with Bangladesh while the Sheikh Hasina sun shines. The time to act is now  We are a country because of you” was the sentiment expressed by several freedom fighters at Dhaka on the eve of their Victory Day celebrations to war veterans from India who joined them on Vijay Diwas last month. This was only the second time Indian war heroes, as the Bangladeshis call them, were jointly commemorating the 40th anniversary of Victory Day even as plans for constructing an Indian Martyrs Memorial in Dhaka are being finalised. God sent is this opportunity to redress the omissions of the past.  One theme that apparently reverberated across the country was the call for wartime trials and the appointment of an international tribunal. The Government has identified 30 prominent people who collaborated with the Pakistani Army in the genocide of 1971. Between two million and three million people were killed and nearly one lakh women raped as part of the Pakistani crackdown following the popular revolt of March 1971. Not surprisingly, many youth in Pakistan are oblivious to their Army’s brutality that led to the division of the country. And Pakistanis talk glibly of human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir.  On December 15, 2010 the BNP’s Standing Committee member Saluddin Qadir Chowdhury, former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Gholam Azam and chairman of a faction of Islamic Oikya Jote, a partner of Begum Khaleda Zia’s BNP-led four-party alliance Mufti Izharul Islam were arrested to mark Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League Government’s determination to start the trials. It is not clear whether the masterminds of the genocide in Pakistan will be brought to book.  Amid the euphoria of Vijay Diwas, political divisions were palpable, accentuated after Begum Zia’s ouster from Army House after 30 years in Dhaka Cantonment. While she supports the freedom fighters, she is congenitally opposed to the India-leaning Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Her mentors are China, Pakistan and, some say, even the US, and certainly the Army which is more at ease with the BNP than the ruling Awami League. During BNP rule, no Victory Day parade was held or India remembered. Last month she boycotted not just the parade but also the President’s reception but she did lay a wreath at the Martyrs’ Memorial after the President and Prime Minister had left the site.  She is also opposed to war crime trials and her party has announced protest campaigns starting this month. She registered her disapproval of Victory Day celebrations by visiting China where she was accorded the honour of a state visit. Sheikh Hasina was quick to state that Khaleda Zia wants to protect war criminals.  Although Sheikh Hasina enjoys an overwhelming parliamentary majority and the Opposition BNP and JeI are electorally dwarfed, it is certainly not the beginning of their end. Sheikh Hasina, in two years of her rule, has made no spectacular gains, so the field is wide open and nobody can be written off.  The military which has ruled directly and indirectly for more than half the time after independence has played a crucial role in shaping the country’s destiny. Last year, Sheikh Hasina weathered a Bangladesh Rifles revolt which witnessed barbarism replicating the 1971 genocide. The BDR, with 7,000 to 8,000 of its personnel under trial, has undergone sweeping reform and has been re-designated Bangladesh Border Guards.  The Army-led Victory Day parade demonstrated the professional élan of the three services and auxiliary forces. They provide the glue in keeping the country united and combating internal insecurities. For the first time the three Service Chiefs are of the post-1971 era, devoid of any linkage with Pakistan.  The grand success of intelligence agencies and the 2004 raised Rapid Action Battalion in drying out terrorism is commendable. Bangladesh has not seen a terror attack since 2005 and terrorist groups like HuJI and JMB are leaderless and lying low. There were fears that the present Government might disband the RAB simply because it was raised during Begum Khaleda Zia’s time.  The Sheikh Hasina Government’s impressive cooperation with India in the security sector is the high note in India-Bangladesh relations. Today there is not a single Indian insurgent group leader enjoying sanctuary in Bangladesh and the Government’s determination in counter-terrorism cooperation is vital to India’s internal security.  Defence cooperation is negligible except for some training exchanges. The first ever joint exercise of commando platoons was done this year at Jorhat and another is planned next year at company level. The first Army to Army dialogue was held last year and another is underway this month. But it is at a low level.  The proposal for similar interactions for Navy and Air Force were rejected by the Ministry of Defence where a babu reportedly wrote on the file: “These exchanges have not taken place in the past so why now?” As for defence equipment, India is nowhere on the scene with China firmly established. Military diplomacy is handicapped due to a mismatch between the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.  Suspicion abounds about the Bangladesh Army — India is quietly portrayed as the ‘Enemy’. The Directorate-General Forces Intelligence is known to have links with the ISI and Pakistan is tunneling its way back not without help from local sympathisers.  Bangladesh has no real enemy except within. That is why it can afford to contribute liberally — and it does provide the largest number of 10,000 troops — to UN peace keeping operations which makes the Army a prized profession. China maintains very strong linkages providing bulk of the hardware.  The time for creative diplomacy is now to make hay while the Hasina sun shines. The opportunity must not be lost with high level visits of the Prime Minister and the President. India’s economic success story should create opportunities for Bangladesh. But most of all, what is lacking is people-to-people contact which is virtually zero. But does India have a plan for infusing confidence through trade, investment and other initiatives?  The war veterans can merely rekindle the spirit of cooperation of the past. Unfortunately the hard-fought gains of the 1971 victory were wasted not just against Pakistan, but also for failing to evolve a strategic partnership with the new-born Bangladesh — a strategic asset that has turned-into a political and security liability. In 2004, the Minister for External Affairs admitted that of all its neighbours, including Pakistan, India’s relations with Bangladesh were the worst. The opportunity for a reset has arrived. But let New Delhi not get stuck in the horrendously slow and chaotic Dhaka traffic.
DRDO to commercialise its technologies 2011-01-04 17:20:00 Blush every day Ads by Google Stylish everyday jewellery for Girls Tanishq Blush Collection.  Chennai, Jan 4 (IANS) In order to cash in on the opportunities available for its technologies in the paramilitary and civilian sectors, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has decided to float a commercial arm shortly, a top official said Tuesday.  'Our range of products is wide. We have a specific user - the armed forces. Over a period of time, new users like paramilitary forces are coming up. We also see civilian spinoff benefits out of our products. Hence, we are planning a marketing arm,' DRDO director general V.K.Saraswat told reporters here.  He said DRDO has transferred technology for its products to around 15 units and has earned around Rs.20 crore from the deals.  'Once our products get into the user industry, then the revenue potential is around Rs.70 crore,' he said.  Saraswat said the DRDO can customise some of the weapons used by army for the paramilitary forces.  'However, the market is very competitive,' he added.  The other product DRDO is betting on is its bio-digesters or bio-toilets, where human waste is biodegraded by bacteria. The product is particularly useful for the railways as the droppings from running coaches have been found to corrode the rail tracks.  The DRDO has already licenced the technology to around eight companies. A DRDO official told IANS that the Lakshadweep administration is interested in sourcing the bio-toilets.  The DRDO has also already started licensing out the technology for ready-to-eat packaged food to several private sector companies.  Queried about the poor response from foreign companies to the condition of sourcing of components from Indian companies, Saraswat said: 'The 30 percent offset clause is the starting point. What we look at is the 30 percent of the order value to be sourced from India by the overseas suppliers. It can benefit other industrial sectors.'  On the failure of Agni-II missile, he said the reason was a component problem.  Saraswat said the DRDO is also working to increase from around 170 km to 300 km the distance at which the anti-ballastic missiles would be able to intercept and destroy the enemy missile mid-air.  On the induction of light combat aircraft (LCA) in the Indian Air Force, he said the initial operational clearance is expected this month.  Stating that the DRDO and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) work together in areas of mutual interest, Saraswat denied that his organisation is building satellites for strategic use.  Meanwhile, the DRDO has started collaborative research work first with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras by taking 30,000 sq.ft space at the IIT Madras Technology Park here.  'We will have around 20 people in the research centre that would work on cyber security, nano material, aeronautics and others,' Saraswat said.
Women in Defense: An Indian Perspective  By admin at 4 January, 2011, 3:50 pm  SOURCE: JOYDEEP GHOSH security Editorial Panel For Security Magazine ( Magazine)  We all talk of giving women equal rights, and efforts have been made on that front to allow women to compete with men. In many areas women given the opportunity have made good progress and have broken through the ‘glass ceiling’. But in many areas they still face the problem and defence is one such area.  While in many western countries women have reached top position in defence forces commanding thousands of troops, squadrons, battle ships, in India it’s still a problem and women who are in defence services have to face a lot of hardships in order to reach a top position or even so get respect as a leading officer or commander of a unit traditionally dominated by men. Cases of sexual harassment and asking for sexual favors from female counterparts by male seniors, has not helped their case either. While women in India have served in medical branch since long; only now they are being given permanent commission that too only in law and other non-combat areas.  Despite the fact that the most emphatic victory, Indian armed forces gained was in 1971 under the leadership of Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi, a women and the current supreme commander of Indian armed forces is Pratibha Patel, a women the percentage of women in armed forces is really abysmal. Even after Short Service Commission was started for women in defence they have been discriminated a lot. The policy makers must know that it’s discriminatory to ban females from performing certain duties in armed forces.  They should be tried on their individual merits and have themselves suitability evaluated and compared to other male candidates and limiting their career in armed forces to maximum of 15 years is not acceptable just for the fact that when they become pregnant after marriage they take break from performing their duties or opt for soft positions.  It must be noted that a female complying with such high demands as in armed forces is unlikely to become pregnant unawares, a time when most women take a long sabbatical during pregnancy and after child birth. Below we will talk about situations in defence forces in India with respect to serving women.  Air Force  While it has been over 50 years since women in western countries and particularly in communist Soviet Union started flying fighters/bombers and with some even becoming fighter aces and serving for long years in their respective air forces, in India it was not until mid-1990s that women started entering Indian Air Force. While in US air force there have been instances when women have taken part in Gulf War flying missions dropping bombs from bombers like B-52; its said from mid 90s the women in US Air Force are also flying frontline fighter jets.  But in India the women are allowed only Short Service Commission (SSC) in Indian Air Force and that too are allowed to fly only helicopters and transport planes that too in peaceful areas, with those in the ground staff also being denied permanent commission. While demand for permanent commission has been rejected time and time again; with various defence ministers categorically saying India does not need women fighter pilot, it may be noted that even a conservative Muslim country like Pakistan have women flying fighter jets.  With assurance to consider giving permanent commission to women the Indian Air Force the previous air chief said women in IAF can’t fly fighter jets and if they do they can’t have kids till a certain age as IAF will spend crores on training them and must recover that money. In all probability it will still take Indian women several years to reach the position of squadron leader or above or even fly fighter jets in IAF.  Indian Navy  While women have been serving in warships across navies across the world, even a conservative Muslim country like Malaysia has women serving on warships. But in India women have not been allowed to serve in warships simply because of the logic that there is less space. Though Indian women did manage to break the glass ceiling recently when 2 Haryana girls became radio operators on a Indian Navy aircraft, but on ships of Indian Navy it’s still a different story.  It may be known hot bunking in warships where 2 people share a berth is common, but its indeed necessary that women need to have additional space like wardrobe and separate berth. Though till now women have not got chance to serve on surface ships, the launch of INS Shivalik which has a cabin exclusive for 2 female officers just beside the captain’s cabin may well be the start when women in Indian Navy will serve on warships. Even Honorable President Pratibha Patel has asked for making arrangement for women to serve on aircraft carriers. As such the INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant both will have room for at least 100 women officers among over 1500 who will man those ships.  But still Indian women serving in submarines is a far-fetched dream, even though worldwide most navies prohibit women from serving on submarines, except for those on the Royal Norwegian Navy, Royal Danish Navy, Swedish Navy, Royal Australian Navy, German Navy and Canadian Navy. It may be known that in 1995, Solveig Krey of the Royal Norwegian Navy became the first female officer to assume command on a military submarine, HNoMS Kobben; and since then several women across various navies have assumed command of ships, but an Indian women commanding a ship is a dream that may never be realized  Indian Army  The world’s 2nd largest army numerical wise is woefully short of women officers. With regiments formed on the lines of states, caste and religion it’s impossible to think women will get a chance to be part of such a large force. Though just last month OTA Madras saw the first female best cadet to be awarded the sword from among 150 trainees including men and who even led the passing out parade, for a women to get a permanent position in army is still a far-fetched dream. Though some instances have occurred, where women were allowed to get posting in potentially risky areas and they happily accepted it.  But the chauvinistic attitude of men in Indian armed forces, refuses to accept women as part of their contingent who can do the same thing as they can do. There was a instance when a newly recruited women officer of Army Ordinance Core was given the charge of transporting material to forces stationed in Manipur .  It’s said when these men heard of their replenishment supplies coming were happy but when they learned that it was led by women they became upset. It’s said the men were unhappy with the fact that a women was a part of the entourage and were even more upset when they learnt that they had to set up a separate tent for the lady officer with a separate area that she was to use as her bathroom.  Even though across the world all major armies have had women as army combatants who have taken part in battles and earned laurels. It’s still a far-fetched dream for women in India.  Though women in Para military forces like CISF and CRPF apart from police forces have been given permanent commission, just a few weeks back the first contingents of women joined the BSF and were tasked with securing the border.  Women are expected to join armed forces in large numbers in future, and as that happens the defence top brass may be expected to give in women officers’ demand of permanent commission and unbiased work opportunities. Let’s hope for the best.
India Requests Support for Direct Commercial Sale of AH-64D Block III APACHE Helicopters India Requests Support for Direct Commercial Sale of AH-64D Block III APACHE Helicopters 2011-01-03 The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the U.S. Congress on December 22 of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of India of various engines, equipment, weapons, training, parts and logistical support for a possible Direct Commercial Sale of 22 AH-64D Block III Apache helicopters. The complete package is worth approximately $1.4 billion.  The Government of India has requested proposals from several foreign suppliers, including the United States, to provide the next generation attack helicopter for the Indian Air Force. In this competition, the Government of India has yet to select the Boeing-United States Army proposal. This notification is being made in advance so that, in the event that the Boeing-U.S. Army proposal is selected, the United States might move as quickly as possible to implement the sale.  If the Government of India selects the Boeing-U.S. Army proposal, the Government of India will request a possible sale of -- 50 T700-GE-701D engines -- 12 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars -- 12 AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometers -- 812 AGM-114L-3 HELLFIRE LONGBOW missiles -- 542 AGM-114R-3 HELLFIRE II missiles -- 245 STINGER Block I-92H missiles -- 23 Modernized Target Acquisition Designation Sight/Pilot Night Vision Sensors -- Rockets, training and dummy missiles -- 30mm ammunition -- Transponders and Simulators -- Global positioning system/inertial navigation systems -- Communication equipment -- Spare and repair parts; tools and test equipment, -- Support equipment, repair and return support -- Personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation, -- U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services -- Other related elements of logistics support to be provided in conjunction with a proposed direct commercial sale of 22 AH-64D Block III APACHE Helicopters.  The estimated cost is $1.4 billion.  Related: Field Trials Conducted for Boeing AH-64 Apache Longbow Helicopters  This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in South Asia.  The proposed sale in support of AH-64D helicopters will improve India’s capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. This support for the AH-64D will provide an incremental increase in India’s defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces. India will have no difficulty absorbing this helicopter support into its armed forces.  The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.  The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Corporation in Orlando, Florida; General Electric Company, in Cincinnati Ohio; Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensor in Owego, New York; Longbow Limited Liability Corporation in Orlando, Florida; and Raytheon Company in Tucson, Arizona. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.  Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of one U.S. Government and seven contractor representatives to India for one week to conduct a detailed discussion of the various aspects of the hybrid program with Government of India representatives. There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale. This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

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