Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Friday, 7 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 07 Jan 2011

Antony to decide on sending defence chiefs to PAC  Tribune News Service  New Delhi, January 6 Defence Minister AK Antony is expected to okay a request of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to send the three Service Chiefs to be present before the PAC - the most powerful watchdog financial committee of both the Houses.  Sources said the Chief of Staffs Committee (COSC) Air Chief Marshall PV Naik and Antony will discuss the matter tomorrow. The three Chiefs, sources said, have been asked by the PAC to be present at the meeting of the committee on January 12 when a matter related to the canteen stores department of the Services is discussed.  It is not that the Chiefs will be presenting something or will be probed, only their presence is needed, a source said while adding that Antony today sought a clarification from the PAC if the three of the top brass were needed or would it suffice if the Vice Chiefs are present.  Normally, it is the Vice Chiefs or the Defence Secretary who is detailed to attend PAC meetings. This is for the first time that the PAC had summoned the Chiefs of the three Services together. In the past there have been instances when one of the Chiefs has been called by the PAC.  Earlier this morning, Indian Army Chief General V.K. Singh denied having received any summons from the PAC.
Warship construction to go fast-paced Ajay Banerjee/TNS  New Delhi, January 6 In an effort to increase the pace of constructing warships and submarines for the Navy, the Defence Ministry this evening announced a key turnaround in its policy.  The ministry made it clear that it would ask private shipyards to participate in building warships and submarines. Clearly, this work would no more be the exclusive domain of four Defence Ministry-owned shipyards now. The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) has been amended, the ministry announced late this evening by posting the same on its website. The move comes in the backdrop of the slow-paced and old-method of construction offered by public sector shipyards. Separately, sources said the ministry had initiated a modernisation plan to upgrade its owned shipyards starting with the Mumbai-based Mazagon docks limited - it is here that the six Scorpene submarines and stealth frigates are being constructed. The state-owned shipyards would be upgraded to match the best in the world.  Under today policy shift there would be open competition from bidders for warships and submarines. The last bit indicates that India could ask a private shipyard to build the forthcoming lot of submarines that would have air independent propulsion (AIP) technology - allowing longer submergence periods. It also shows government’s keenness to match China’s frantic pace of ship and submarine building.  In a way, Defence Minister AK Antony has lived up to his promise of enabling faster ship building, as demanded by the Navy. In November last, Antony had hinted at the impending change. He had told defence shipyards “…from now on …there will be no hand holding and no nominations”. Till now, one of the defence shipyards used to be nominated for construction of a particular type of warship.
U.S. to send 1,400 extra troops to Afghanistan: Report The United States plans to send 1,400 additional Marines to Afghanistan to boost its combat forces ahead of the spring fighting season, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. CJ: pascal               Thu, Jan 06, 2011 14:46:30 IST Views:                7    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes       THE UNITED States plans to send 1,400 additional Marines to Afghanistan to boost its combat forces ahead of the spring fighting season, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.     The United States President Barack Obama said last month that enough progress was being made in the campaign to meet his pledge to start withdrawing U.S. troops by July and hand over security to Afghan forces by 2014.    The Taliban are at their strongest since they were ousted form power, although operations against the insurgency have intensified since 2008. More than 700 foreign troops were killed in Afghanistan last year, and civilian casualties were at record levels.    "The Marine battalion could start arriving on the ground as early as mid-January. The forces would mostly be deployed in the south, around Kandahar, where the U.S. has concentrated troops over the past several months." the paper said. It cited unnamed officials.    The United States, which led a 2001 invasion of Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban, has about 100,000 troops in the country, and President Barack Obama is under pressure to show results so he can begin a promised withdrawal this year.
China flexes military muscle for US  Michael Wines and Edward Wong, New York Times, Updated: January 06, 2011 11:46 IST ad_title  Beijing:  Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, on a mission to resuscitate moribund military relations with China, will not arrive in Beijing for talks with the nation's top military leaders until Sunday. But at an airfield in Chengdu, a metropolis in the nation's center, China's military leaders have already rolled out a welcome for him.  It is the J-20, a radar-evading jet fighter that has the same two angled tailfins that are the trademark of the Pentagon's own stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor. After years of top-secret development, the jet -- China's first stealth plane -- was put through what appear to be preliminary, but also very public, tests this week on the runway of the Aviation Design Institute in Chengdu, a site so open that aircraft enthusiasts often gather there to snap photos.  Some analysts say the timing is no coincidence. "This is their new policy of deterrence," Andrei Chang, the Hong Kong editor in chief of the Canadian journal Kanwa Defense Weekly, who reported the jet's tests, said Wednesday. "They want to show the U. S., show Mr. Gates, their muscle."  These days, there is more muscle to show. A decade of aggressive modernization of China's once creaky military is beginning to bear fruit, and both the Pentagon and China's Asian neighbors are increasingly taking notice.      * Share this on     * NDTVTwitter     * NDTVNDTV Social     * Share with MessengerLive Messenger     * NDTVGmail Buzz     * NDTVPrint   By most accounts, China remains a generation or more behind the United States in military technology, and even further behind in deploying battle-tested versions of its most sophisticated naval and air capabilities. But after years of denials that it has any intention of becoming a peer military power of the United States, it is now unveiling capabilities that suggest that it intends, sooner or later, to be able to challenge American forces in the Pacific.  Besides the J-20, a midair-refuelable, missile-capable jet designed to fly far beyond Chinese borders, the Chinese are reported to be refitting a Soviet-era Ukrainian aircraft carrier -- China's first such power-projecting ship -- for deployment as soon as next year.  A spate of news reports allege that construction is already under way in Shanghai on one or more carriers; the military denied a similar report in 2006, but senior military officials have been more outspoken this year about China's desire to build the big ships. China could launch several carriers by 2020, the Pentagon stated in a 2009 report.  The military's nuclear deterrent, estimated by experts at no more than 160 warheads, has been redeployed since 2008 onto mobile launchers and advanced submarines that no longer are sitting ducks for attackers. Multiple-warhead missiles are widely presumed to come next. China's 60-boat submarine fleet, already Asia's largest, is being refurbished with super-quiet nuclear-powered vessels and a second generation of ballistic-missile-equipped subs.  And a widely anticipated antiship ballistic missile, called a "carrier-killer" for its potential to strike the big carriers at the heart of the American naval presence in the Pacific, appears to be approaching deployment. The head of the United States Pacific Command, Adm. Robert F. Willard, told a Japanese newspaper in December that the weapon had reached "initial operational capability," an important benchmark. Navy officials said later that the Chinese had a working design but that it apparently had yet to be tested over water.  On that and other weaponry, China's clear message nevertheless is that its ability to deter others from territory it owns, or claims, is growing fast.  China, of course, has its own rationales for its military buildup. A common theme is that potentially offensive weapons like aircraft carriers, antiship missiles and stealth fighters are needed to enforce claims to Taiwan, should leaders there seek legal independence from the mainland.  Taiwan's current status, governed separately but claimed by China as part of its sovereign territory, is maintained in part by an American commitment to defend it should Beijing carry out an attack. Some experts date elements of today's military buildup from crises in the mid-1990s, when the United States sent aircraft carriers unmolested into waters around Taiwan to drive home Washington's commitment to the island.  Chinese officials also clearly worry that the United States plans to ring China with military alliances to contain Beijing's ambitions for power and influence. In that view, the Pentagon's long-term strategy is to cement in Central Asia the sorts of partnerships it has built on China's eastern flank in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.  "Some Chinese scholars worry that the U. S. will complete its encirclement of China this way," said Xu Qinhua, who studies Russia and Central Asia at the Renmin University of China and advises government officials on regional issues. "We should worry about this. It's natural."  The Pentagon's official view has long been that it welcomes a stronger Chinese military as a partner with the United States to maintain open sea lanes, fight piracy and perform other international duties now shouldered -- and paid for -- by American service members and taxpayers.  But Chinese military leaders have seldom offered more than a glimpse of their long-term military strategy, and the steady buildup of a force with offensive abilities well beyond Chinese territory clearly worries American military planners.  "When we talk about a threat, it's a combination of capabilities and intentions," said Abraham M. Denmark, a former China country director in Mr. Gates's office. "The capabilities are becoming more and more clearly defined, and they're more and more clearly targeted at limiting American abilities to project military power into the western Pacific."  "What's unclear to us is the intent," he added. "China's military modernization is certainly their right. What others question is how that military power is going to be used."  Mr. Denmark, who now directs the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said China's recent strong-arm reaction to territorial disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian neighbors had given both the Pentagon and China's neighbors cause for concern.  Still, a top Navy intelligence officer told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the United States should not overestimate Beijing's military prowess and that China had not yet demonstrated an ability to use its different weapons systems together in proficient warfare. The officer, Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, the deputy chief of naval operations for information dominance, said that although China had developed some weapons faster than the United States expected, he was not alarmed over all.  "Have you seen them deploy large groups of naval forces?" he said. "No. Have we seen large, joint, sophisticated exercises? No. Do they have any combat proficiency? No."  Admiral Dorsett said that even though the Chinese were planning sea trials on a "used, very old" Russian aircraft carrier this year and were intent on building their own carriers as well, they would still have limited proficiency in landing planes on carriers and operating them as part of larger battle groups at sea.  Little about China's military intentions is clear. The Pentagon's 2009 assessment of China's military strategy stated baldly that despite "persistent efforts," its understanding of how and how much China's government spends on defense "has not improved measurably."  In an interview on Wednesday, a leading Chinese expert on the military, Zhu Feng, said he viewed some claims of rapid progress on advanced weapons as little more than puffery.  "What's the real story?" he asked in a telephone interview. "I must be very skeptical. I see a lot of vast headlines with regards to weapons procurement. But behind the curtain, I see a lot of wasted money -- a lot of ballooning, a lot of exaggeration."  Mr. Zhu, who directs the international security program at Peking University, suggested that China's military establishment -- not unlike that in the United States -- was inclined to inflate threats and exaggerate its progress in a continual bid to win more influence and money for its favored programs.  And that may be true. If so, however, the artifice may be lost on China's cross-Pacific rivals.  "Ultimately, from a U. S. perspective it comes down to an issue of whether the United States will be as dominant in the western Pacific as we always have been," Bonnie Glaser, a China scholar at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a telephone interview. "And clearly the Chinese would like to make it far more complicated for us."  "That's something the Chinese would see as reasonable," she said. "But from a U. S. perspective, that's just unacceptable."
Indian army launches campaign to encourage youth to join defence forces Post a Comment January 5, 2011 – 1:15 pm  By News Desk | Permalink | Print This Article |  Coimbatore, Jan 5 (ANI): To motivate youngsters to join defence forces, the Territorial Army flagged off a cycling expedition here.  Speaking on the occasion, B. K. Bhal Singh, commanding officer of 10 battalion of Territorial Army, said the basic objective was to inculcate the spirit of adventure among the youth.  “Basic aim is to inculcate the spirit of adventure and educate the youth of Tamil Nadu to join the Territorial Army and the Defence Forces of India so that they serve the nation in peace as well in the time of war,” he added.  He expressed his concerns saying that the next generation is not inclined to take up defence services.  “As you know, nowadays people are going to the corporate sector that is engineering; doctors and MNCs and very few people opt to join Army or the Territorial Army. So our basic aim is to motivate the young,” he said.  The volunteers will travel around 2,300 kilometres across 23 districts. (ANI)
Army fully cooperating in Adarsh scam: Army Chief Thursday, January 6, 2011, 22:00 [IST] Print This Page Mail To Friend Comment on This Article A A A Follow us on Follow us on Twitter New Delhi, Jan 6 (ANI): Army Chief General VK Singh on Thursday said the army is fully cooperating with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the Adarsh Housing Society scam in Mumbai.  Buzz up! General Singh said the army was rendering all support in the investigation into the Adarsh scam.   "Whatever the CBI has done I am not aware of it, but whenever they want somebody we are giving them full support, whatever they want," General Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a book release function here.  General Singh further said the Indian Army is ready to clarify its stand on certain procedural irregularities pointed out by the state auditor in the functioning of the defence ration procurements by the Canteen Stores Department (CSD).  "I am not aware if there is a extra requirement for the chiefs to go to explain something, whatever we have is quite clear, we must understand lot of things are pointed out on procedural aspects," said General Singh.  "There are two-three issues that CAG had pointed out and that is where the PAC wants to ask or clarify various things. So, it depends on what Ministry wants from us, if they want us to go and clarify we have got no problem in clarifying," he added.  The CBI has claimed to have found evidence of alleged forgery and manipulation of documents on part of some army officials and bureaucrats in the scam.  CBI sources said that some of the documents seized by the investigating agency were indicative of some forgery having allegedly been committed by a few defence officials in criminal conspiracy with bureaucrats of Maharashtra government and private individuals.  A decision on registering the case under provisions of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act would be taken once a clearance came from the legal department of the CBI.  Earlier on December 21, the Bombay High Court slammed the Maharashtra Government over the controversial Adarsh Housing Society scam saying it is 'a clear-cut case of manipulation' by its officers in which everybody who was supposed to clear the file was 'gifted' a flat.  The 31-storey Adarsh Society, originally meant for Kargil war heroes, landed in controversy after media reports said several politicians, bureaucrats and defence personnel owned flats there.  The CBI had on November 15 registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) to probe the alleged role of former and serving Army officers, with the permission of Defence Minister A K Antony.
India's defence electronics sector to log good growth: experts 2011-01-06 18:40:00   Jobs in Electronic Co's. Ads by Google Great Careers in Electronics. Submit Your Resume Free. Now!  Chennai, Jan 6 (IANS) Increasing budgetary allocation for armed forces, the army's replacement of old equipment, and compulsory sourcing of Indian components by foreign defence equipment vendors are among the drivers for India's strategic electronics industry, a defence official said Thursday.  'In 2009, the defence electronics sector revenue was Rs.9,000 crore up from Rs.6,000 crore logged in 2008. The defence electronics sector accounts for around six percent of the total Indian electronics market,' said I.V.Sharma, Bharat Electronics Ltd director (research and development), at the 98th Indian Science Congress held at the SRM University campus in Kattankulathur near here.  Strategic electronics consists of radars, underwater electronics, communication equipment, electronic warfare equipment, electro-optic equipments, homeland security solutions, satellite communication and others.  According to Sharma, the country's defence outlay is going up by around 10 percent every year and India is one of the top ten global spenders on defence.  'The defence capital expenditure is expected to go up as many of the in-service equipments have to be replaced or upgraded,' he said.  Referring to the government's policy of allowing 26 percent foreign direct investment in defence equipment production, Sharma said foreign companies are planning joint ventures with Indian companies which, in turn, would increase the size of the overall industry.  Further, the offset policy - making foreign defence equipment vendors source 30 percent of the contract value if their order value exceeds Rs.300 crore - would also spur domestic production of electronics for defence sector, Sharma said.  Citing the development of Akash missile as a trend setter of public-private partnership, he said the partnerships for research and production of systems will enhance the strategic electronics output.  Stressing the importance of strategic electronics sector, Avinash Chander, director of the Defence Research and Development Organisation's Advanced Systems Laboratories, said the electronics for the missile system offers many new challenges and opportunities for electronics designers, academia as well as industry.  According to Electronics Corporation of India Ltd chairman Y.S.Mayya, the country should leverage wisely the opportunities in the defence electronics to develop home-grown products and intellectual properties.  Citing the electronics developed for the Indian nuclear power sector indigenously, he stressed all these gains should not be lost now.
Not aware of PAC letter over canteen irregularities: Army chief 2011-01-07 05:30:00  New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh Thursday denied having received any summons from the Public Accounts Committee of parliament asking all three service chiefs to appear before it on alleged irregularities in defence-run canteens.  'I don't know about the PAC letter. I am not aware of it,' Singh told reporters here on the sidelines of a book release function.  Defence ministry sources Wednesday said the navy, air force and the army had not responded to the ministry when the three services were asked to provide accounts of the unit-run canteens to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). And that is why the PAC summoned the service chiefs.  The CAG in its report in August last year had criticised the services over the way Canteen Stores Department (CSD) and unit run canteens function and the lack of transparency in their accounting methods.  The military had defended its actions, saying the services had their own internal audit mechanisms to keep a watch on unit-run canteens.  There are some 3,600 unit-run canteens, which are set up on soft loans extended by the military, and operate from official military premises. The CAG report had found that the concessions given to the canteens resulted in a loss of Rs.441 crore to the government from 2002-03 to 2008-09.  The CAG report had also heavily criticised the existing methods of procurement by the CSD. The procedures ran the risk of cartelisation, the report had warned.  As per the procedures, the CAG can seek details from the ministry over alleged irregularities if any, and the defence secretary can attend to such calls by parliamentary committees. This is the first time that the PAC had summoned the chiefs of the three services.  The army chief said he was not aware 'if there was an extra requirement for the (service) chiefs to' appear before the PAC.  Asked if he would appear before the PAC, Gen Singh said: 'It depends on what the ministry wants us to do.'
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the enemy within Jan 6, 2011 06:44 EST      * Facebook     * Twitter     * LinkedIn     *     *  militants | nuclear weapons | proliferation | Salman Taseer  m1Steve Coll, the president of the New America Foundation and a South Asia expert, has raised the issue of the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in the wake of the assassination of the governor of most populous Punjab state by one of his bodyguards. It’s a question that comes up each time Pakistan is faced with a crisis whether it a major act of violence such as this or a political/economic meltdown or a sudden escalation of tensions with India obviously, but also the United States.  Pakistan’s security establishment bristles at suggestions that it could be any less responsible than other states in defending its nuclear arsenal, and its leaders and experts have repeatedly said that the professional army is the ultimate guardian of such “national assets.’  But Coll in a blog at  The New Yorker says at some stage in a domestic insurgency when your own people are fighting you, the lines between the guerrillas and the security forces often get  blurred with dangerous consequences. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by two of her Sikh bodyguards in 1984 incensed by her decision to send the Indian army into the holiest Sikh shrine to flush out militants a few months before.    The Pakistani police officer who killed governor Salman Taseer was similarly no Lee Harvey Oswald, but a regular government employee who was apparently angry over the governor’s strident defence of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy, a case that exposed deep rifts in Pakistani society.  Coll writes :      At a certain point the violence of insurgency and counterinsurgency among people sharing language, geography, faith, and culture becomes so intimate that it is no longer possible to reliably vet friends from foes.  Pakistan’s growing nuclear stockpile – about which we wrote here – is under the lock and key of the military. Coll says the Punjab governor’s killing was a reminder that  one shouldn’t be too dismissive of the possibility of a breach in the nuclear security systems by an insider, however remote.      Taseer’s betrayal should give pause to those officials in Washington who seem regularly to express complacency, or at least satisfaction, about the security of Pakistan’s arsenal.  The possibility of  subversion  is something that has repeatedly come up in the context of the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.  Former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Anne W. Patterson  spoke about this during a February 2009 briefing for special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, according to diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks and published by Britain’s Guardian. ” Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in GOP facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon.”  Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who retired after three years as the U.S. Department of Energy’s director of intelligence and counter-intelligence, preceded by two decades at the CIA, echoed the same in the July/August 2009 issue of Arms Control Today:      Purely in actuarial terms, there is a strong possibility that bad apples in the nuclear establishment are willing to cooperate with outsiders for personal gain or out of sympathy for their cause. Nowhere in the world is this threat greater than in Pakistan. . . . Anything that helps upgrade Pakistan’s nuclear security is an investment.  Retired Pakistan Brig. Gen. Feroz Hassan Khan, a former director of arms control and disarmament affairs in the Strategic Plans Division,  said in a piece in the same issue of Arms Control that while some of the fears over nuclear security were valid, many were overblown. While concerns  relating to theft of material, sabotage, unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, and even  insider-outsider collaboration were valid, the idea that somebody in the armed forces would collaborate with militant groups to steal weapons was bizarre.  Pakistan, he points out, isn’t new to the nuclear game. It has three decades of experience in producing, transferring, and storing fissile stocks and weapons. Pakistani security managers have also learned to put in place detection equipment and security barriers, as well as set up checkpoints and customs posts. Such types of performance are easily measurable and of course can always be improved. No security can be 100 percent foolproof including that of the United States.  But Pakistan was aware of the dangers and had taken important steps, especially since the September 11 attacks that dramatically changed the security environment in the region following the arrival of foreign troops in Afghanistan and the exponential rise of militant groups since then, Khan says.  Pakistan had improved its supervisory procedure for military and scientific manpower.  Two identical programs for employment security were created: the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) and the Human Reliability Program (HRP), for military and civilian personnel, respectively. A security clearance system of annual, semiannual, and quarterly review was created. Counter Intelligence Teams were created to act as the daily eyes and ears of the Strategic Plans Division Weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports for the security of all organizations are maintained by the SPD to prevent theft, loss, or accident.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal