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Saturday, 8 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 08 Jan 2011

A positive step Private sector role in defence is welcome  In a progressive step, the government has decided to allow private shipbuilders to construct warships. The measure comes as a sequel to a series of measures taken by the government during the last decade to involve the private sector to bolster India’s self-reliance in defence hardware. Until the 1980s, private sector participation had been non-existent in India’s state-owned military industrial complex. At best, the private sector played an ancillary role. It was after the disintegration of India’s main weapon supplier, the Soviet Union, that the Indian defence establishment, further induced by its economic liberalisation policies, began to reach out to the private sector. In 2001, the government took the unprecedented step of permitting 100 per cent Indian private sector participation (and even foreign direct investment up to 26 per cent) in the defence industry. Since then there has been a steady involvement of the private sector in the defence industry.  But India is still far behind advanced democracies such as the United States where the military-industrial complex has a huge private sector involvement. The Indian private sector’s success in the civil sector is only too well known. And so, there is no reason why India’s private sector cannot deliver in the defence sector. Obviously, the issue is not that simple. Many private companies do not find the defence sector lucrative enough because not only is their client likely to only be the Indian armed forces, but they are unlikely to be able to compete in the highly competitive world armament market dominated by both big and well established players. Also, despite the government continuously revising the defence procurement procedures, many in the private sector are still finding it difficult to do business with a defence ministry dominated by civilian bureaucrats and steeped in bureaucratic mindset.  All said and done, however, there is no doubt that private sector participation in the defence sector is imperative for India’s quest for self-reliance, especially in core weapon technologies, which foreign countries are either usually reluctant to export or sell only with a high price tag.
Towards another bout of army rule ? Mahir Ali  Asif Ali Zardari Asif Ali Zardari  WHATEVER may lie ahead, it hasn't been a happy New Year for Pakistan's ruling party. Should the hectic efforts to salvage what's left of its coalition and to bolster it sufficiently to fend off potential parliamentary motions of no-confidence come to naught, perhaps the likeliest outcome will be another bout of direct military rule.  That has always been a profoundly unpleasant prospect. It was particularly so in 1977, when Gen Zia-ul-Haq's coup pre-empted a formal truce between Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government and its political opponents, and led to the murkiest phase in Pakistan's history, whose appalling repercussions continue to reverberate. But even in 1958 and again in 1999, when sections of the population welcomed military intervention as a form of temporary salvation from the shenanigans of self-obsessed politicians, the consequences were largely unsalutary.  Gen Zia-ul-Haq Gen Zia-ul-Haq  Most Pakistanis ought to have realised long ago that if Pakistan has a future — and it's arguably a bigger 'if' now than ever before — it lies in consolidating civilian rule, establishing a coherent modus operandi for coexistence with India, and easing out of the clutches of the US without conceding ground to violence-prone obscurantists.  It's a tall order, no doubt, and the task is obviously confounded by the calibre of the politicians Pakistanis have to contend with. But there are no other feasible options. Direct military rule — and the deliberate implication in describing it as 'direct' is that the army has effectively never been completely out of power since 1977 — would be a case of two steps back without a face-saving one step forward.  At the same time, it ought to be acknowledged that the PPP's political rivals offer little scope for comparative advantage. The MQM accurately accuses Nawaz Sharif's faction of the PML of having been created by the military, but in doing so overlooks the circumstances of its own genesis in the early 1980s under a more ethnically specific nomenclature, when its emergence was facilitated by a regime that welcomed civil strife on the basis of ethnicity as a distraction from political challenges to its legitimacy.  Both these parties have evolved since then, but hardly in directions that could be deemed politically desirable. Much the same could be claimed about the PPP, of course. Notwithstanding its transformation within the first decade of its foundation in 1967 from a potential vehicle for social democracy into a profoundly personalised political entity characterised by autocratic zeal and a high degree of opportunism, circumstances in the late 1970s propelled it into the role of a pro-democracy force. The popular enthusiasm that greeted Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan in 1986 must have caused the spontaneous soiling of more than one pair of khaki pants.  She lost little time, however, in demonstrating a tendency to imbibe the wrong lessons from the nation's recent past. She had seen how her father had incurred the wrath of Uncle Sam by ploughing his own furrow in the field of international affairs, and by openly pledging to build a Pakistani nuclear deterrent after India had carried out a test in 1974. Although there are no WikiLeaks cables to substantiate the claim, it is widely believed that the US was complicit in Bhutto's overthrow in 1977 and put up no meaningful resistance to his judicial murder two years later.  At the very least, one would think a certain wariness of Washington ought to have been the logical response of a bereaved daughter. She evidently decided, instead, that the only feasible route to power in Pakistan passed through Capitol Hill. And the extent to which she was willing to ingratiate herself is demonstrated during a particularly cringe-worthy movement in Bhutto, the documentary produced by her lobbyist-publicist friend Mark Siegel, when in an audio-clip Benazir seeks to clarify that Henry Kissinger's notorious threat to ZAB, to the effect that a "horrible example" would be made of him should he persist with his nuclear ambitions, was, in fact, "a friendly warning". She evidently couldn't bring herself to suspect — or at least to say — that the US could do any wrong.  Which helped, of course, to propel her to power in 1988, after Zia got his comeuppance in midair. Perhaps, “power” is something of an exaggeration, given that the PPP did not have a parliamentary majority, compromised on continuity (with a hostile President and a military-affiliated Foreign Minister), and left hardly any discernible marks on the political landscape. The credibility of Benazir's return to office in the following decade was compromised when her husband was appointed Minister for Investment, of all things, and a bitterly public estrangement with her mother ensued over the return to Pakistan of Murtaza Bhutto.  Murtaza's murder in 1996 at the hands of a police posse on the streets of Karachi, just metres from his home, effectively sealed Benazir's political fate for the time being. Her mortal fate was sealed 11 years later, at least partly on account of her willingness once more to be a pawn in the hands of powers she appears never to have fully understood.  Her political and personality flaws do not substantially detract from the intensity of the tragedy on Dec 27, 2007. In the film “Bhutto”, though, the attempts to strike a balance are somewhat superficial and ham-handed. A proportion of the sound bites are allocated to detractors, though, including Fatima Bhutto - whose visceral reaction to those she deems responsible for the assassination of her father, Murtaza, is much more human than that of her aunt. The movie provides a momentary counterpoint to the official narrative on this score with the image of a clean-shaven Asif Ali Zardari at a condolatory function in the aftermath of his brother-in-law's demise.  A considerably more poignant clip - unlikely to have ever been seen before - depicts, all too briefly, ZAB in his prison cell. It serves as a reminder of what has been lost since the fleeting period back in the early 1970s when there were grounds for being optimistic about Pakistan's future. Who on earth can bring back that feeling?
Cross-border terror has Pak agencies’ backing: Krishna Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, January 7 Even as he renewed his invitation to his Pakistani counterpart SM Qureshi to visit India, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna reminded Islamabad of its commitment to not allow the misuse of the Pakistani territory for anti-India activities and to expeditiously bring to justice the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attack.  “We stand ready to resolve all outstanding issues (with Pakistan) through a peaceful dialogue. I have extended an invitation to my counterpart to visit India and earnestly hope that we can take the process of dialogue forward,’’ Krishna said at a press conference this morning.  Asked if Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao would meet her Pakistani counterpart before Qureshi’s visit (likely to be in the first quarter of the year), the minister said: “It would be in the fitness of things for the two Foreign Secretaries to meet to clear the ground for a very productive meeting between the Foreign Ministers.”  However, at the same time, Krishna, without naming Pakistan, charged the neighbouring country with continuing to use cross-border terror as a political and economic weapon against India. “We have been victims of the most vicious kind of cross-border terror activities for well over two decades. It has had the backing of official agencies, and continues to be used against us as a political and economic weapon. Fortunately, there is increasing realisation today in the international arena that terrorism threatens the peace and security of the entire world.”  Referring to China, Krishna said India would continue to actively engage Beijing across a spectrum of issues in 2011. The high level exchanges in 2010, including the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao, had lent stability and ballast to one of India’s most important and complex relationships. “We have agreed that as strategic partners, we will enhance all round cooperation in areas, including trade and commerce, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges while also tackling the areas of divergence.”  Asked if there was any possibility of the two countries resuming defence exchanges in 2011, he said the issue was being discussed between the two countries. “We hope to sort out the issue in a manner which is mutually beneficial and productive.”  Krishna, who is leaving for Afghanistan tomorrow, said India was in constant touch with Afghanistan authorities for ensuring full protection to the Indian Embassy in Kabul and consulates elsewhere in the war-ravaged nation.
LCA to get operational clearance on January 10 Tribune News Service  New Delhi, January 7 After nearly three decades of development - that was marked by hurdles due to global sanctions - India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, the Tejas, will gets its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) on January 10.  Defence Minister A K Antony and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik are slated to will witness the ceremony at Bangalore.  With the IOC coming, the IAF intends to induct two squadrons of the LCA Tejas by the middle of this year. The IAF had first placed the orders for 40 LCAs in March 2005. These are being powered by the US General Electric GE-F404 engines.  IAF also has plans to induct five more squadrons - some 100 aircraft -- in the coming years but with a more powerful engine and a few months ago the GE’s more powerful engine the GE-F414 was chosen for the LCA mark-II Tejas will ultimately have around 200 LCAs - 10 squadrons - in its fleet, primarily to replace the ageing Russian MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighter jets.  For the Tejas it has been long journey. The LCA design and development was approved to be done by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It was named “Tejas” sometime in 2004.  The aircraft’s integrated flight control system has been given the necessary documentation from the certifying authorities yesterday. The Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA) has handed over the certification for the LCA’s integrated flight control system (IFCS) - the pilot-friendly flight controls.  One of key delaying factors were the sanctions imposed after the 1998 Nuclear tests at Pokhran. It was a time when countries refused to even test the self-developed fly-by-wire system and refused technology. Some of the laboratories of the DRDO that were associated with the project, were placed on a “entities list” - a kind of black list maintained by the US that stopped its companies and of its allies from doing business with DRDO.
U.S. aims to cut defense budget, slash troops The United States plans to cut $78 billion in defense spending over five years, including a reduction of up to 47,000 troops, in a politically contentious move that would trim the government's growing budget deficit. Source : Reuters   Fri, Jan 07, 2011 11:40:28 IST Views: 8    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 US News :  Obama nominates FBI official Pistole to head TSA THE UNITED States plans to cut $78 billion in defense spending over five years, including a reduction of up to 47,000 troops, in a politically contentious move that would trim the government's growing budget deficit.  The proposed cuts, unveiled at a somber Pentagon briefing on Thursday, follow increased White House and congressional scrutiny of military spending, which has doubled in real terms since the September 11, 2001, attacks.  They are in addition to a $100 billion cost-savings drive that Defense Secretary Robert Gates kicked off last year to eliminate waste, cut poorly performing weapons programs and redirect the money to other priorities.  Congress ultimately controls the Defense Department's budget, and lawmakers often block administration efforts to cut military spending that provides jobs in their home districts.  But Gates said the military had to play its part in getting U.S. finances in order.  "As the biggest part of the discretionary federal budget, the Pentagon cannot presume to exempt itself from the scrutiny and pressure faced by the rest of our government," Gates said.  The annual budget request for the Pentagon will be submitted to Congress as part of the overall federal budget around February 14. Industry sources and analysts say the Obama administration will ask for $554 billion in military spending in fiscal 2012, not counting overseas fighting, $12 billion less than it initially intended.  Shares of major defense contractors rose. Lockheed Martin Corp and General Dynamics Corp have programs that would be hit by the reshuffle but were spared from deeper cuts that some investors feared.  Gates, in a half-hour address, said the Pentagon would cope with the belt-tightening by freezing civilian pay, changing economic assumptions and reducing troops starting in 2015, among other items.  That will allow defense spending to keep growing modestly through 2014 before leveling off in 2015 and 2016, Gates said.  He said calls from some in Congress for deeper cuts would be "risky at best and potentially calamitous," citing global tensions that require a strong, modern U.S. military.  Mitch McConnell, the top ranking Republican in the Senate, said on Thursday he believed no U.S. government department was off-limits from belt-tightening.  Other Republicans offered a swift rebuke of the plans, in a sign that the proposed cuts may not be realized despite growing pressure to rein in U.S. government spending.  "I'm not happy," House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon told reporters. "This is a dramatic shift for a nation at war and a dangerous signal from the Commander in Chief."  TROUBLED PROGRAMS AXED  McKeon and other critics took issue with Gates' plans to cut up to 47,000 troops from the Army and Marines starting in 2015, which would represent the first cuts for those services since before the September 11 attacks.  Analysts said the announcement was politically dicey for President Barack Obama, with U.S. troops still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier on Thursday, the Pentagon announced a new deployment of more Marines to Afghanistan.  "The land force end-strength cuts are just shocking," said Thomas Donnelly, at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.  But Gates said the reductions would take place four years after U.S. troops are set to leave Iraq, and that 2015 was also the year U.S. war planners aim to hand over responsibility for Afghan security to local forces.  "The numbers that we're talking about are relatively small," Gates said.  Gates announced cuts or cancellations of troubled weapons programs, including a $13 billion Marine Corps landing craft, designed by General Dynamics.  The Arca index of defense stocks closed up 0. 8 percent, a sign of relief that financial fallout from the Pentagon's spending overhaul was not worse than what had already been speculated.  "The bear argument about significant cuts has been taken off the table," said Peter Arment, an analyst with Gleacher & Co.  The plan also calls for cancellation of a ground-launched missile built by Raytheon Co, and includes the second overhaul in a year of the Pentagon's largest weapons program: Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  The Lockheed restructuring will cost the company 124 planes over the five years.  "Gates has announced the continued dismantling of the greatest military the world has ever known," said J. Randy Forbes, a Republican lawmaker.  But some of the Pentagon's cost-savings will be reinvested in similar big-ticket programs, including a new long-range nuclear bomber, more ships for the Navy and beefed up missile defense capabilities. Boeing will win a potential $2 billion-plus order for 41 more F/A-18 fighters.
Would like to explore greater military coop with China: Gates Press Trust of India / Washington January 07, 2011, 15:51 IST  The US wants to expand military cooperation with China to intensify collaboration in the areas of humanitarian exercises, disaster relief and counter piracy, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said, as he prepares to embark on a trip to the country to resume the suspended military dialogue.  Gates is scheduled to leave for China tomorrow for his first official visit to the country since 2007. The visit will see the resumption of military dialogue between the two countries.  The dialogue was stopped last year by China after the US announced arms package to Taiwan and US President Barak Obama met the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, despite strong protest by Beijing.  "I am eager to explore where we can further develop and deepen a dialogue on a number of issues of mutual concern and where we have -- and where we both have interests -- North Korea is an obvious example, but Iran, a number of other areas where we are engaged with the Chinese and where there are security issues involved," Gates told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.  Gates said expanding the dialogue is important, and so is to explore areas of partnership in military-to-military cooperation.  "Whether it's in training and exercising for humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, counter piracy, there are variety of areas where actually our interests coincide and where I think we can explore working together as equal partners and develop the relationship further," Gates said in response to a question.  Meanwhile, Michael Schiffer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said at a forum hosted by the International Institute of Strategic Studies that the "on-again, off-again" relationship the United States has had with China is harmful and it is in both countries' interests to develop better and enduring military-to-military relations.  In building a durable framework for lasting relations, Schiffer said, Gates and his Chinese counterpart must show their nations' mutual respect and trust of each other, have reciprocity in areas such as military cooperation and trade, work for the countries' mutual interests, work to reduce security risks in Asia, and continue to talk even when there are disagreements.  Gates' goals for his meetings with Chinese officials include creating clear and open channels for dialogue and having greater transparency into each other's militaries, Schiffer said.
Indian Army to purchase 1000 anti-material rifles  The rifles will be used during "conventional and sub-conventional operations"  The light weight, long-range rifles will fulfill a long-felt need of the Indian infantry  BY Ritu Sharma Delhi  Seeking to modernise its infantry, the Indian Army has initiated the process to purchase light weight anti-material rifles capable of busting light armoured vehicles, field fortifications and low flying helicopters from a long distance. The need for anti-material rifles was felt during the Kargil conflict in 1999 when insurgents made concrete bunkers on the frigid heights of the Himalayan range. Anti-material rifles are similar in form and appearance to modern sniper rifles and can often be used in that role, but they are usually chambered for more powerful cartridges and can operate at greater range.  According to the army's Request for Information (RFI), the rifles will be used during "conventional and sub-conventional operations" to engage "lightly armoured vehicles, static defences, field fortifications and low flying helicopters".  "It (the weapon) must be rugged and man portable by a crew of two and be easy to bring into and out of operation. The weapon must function in all terrain and climatic conditions as existing in India," the RFI stipulates.  The army wants that the rifle to weigh not more than 15 kg with a calibre higher than 12.7 mm and a range of more than 1.5 km.  Sources said the order will be for 1000 units and the manufacturers have been asked to respond to the RFI by Jan 31.  After the Kargil conflict, South African firm, Denel was contracted to supply the anti-material rifles. But following the blacklisting of the firm on charges of corruption, the acquisition got delayed. The proposal for these rifles has been pending with the defence ministry since 2006.  Though there is an Indigenous version of such a rifle, Vidhwansak, developed by the Indian ordnance factories, in association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), its weight is more than that specified by the Indian Army.  Vidhwansak, however, is cheaper at Rs 10 lakh (about $20,000), than alternatives such as the Denel NTW-20 AMR which costs Rs 23 lakh (more than $45,000).
Need for a composite back channel with Pakistan army Bookmark and Share Sushant Sareen  January 7, 2011  One of the most vexing and intractable foreign policy issues dogging India has been the bilateral relationship with Pakistan. Over the last six decades, a great deal of effort has been expended on working out a modus vivendi with Pakistan, but in the face of implacable hostility and unrelenting irredentism from Pakistan, all the initiatives taken by India have so far come to nought. After 26/11, India and Pakistan have once again reached a dead-end of sorts with public opinion in India inimical to any political or diplomatic initiative by the government to try and improve relations with Pakistan. But unless India has decided to turn its back on Pakistan and behave, even wish, as though Pakistan has ceased to exist, such an attitude would appear to be unsustainable. Worse, this attitude is also untenable because it is not the result of a conscious policy or strategic game plan, but is borne out of pique, some prejudice, a degree of pugnacity and of course domestic political compulsions.  Restarting a dialogue with Pakistan is however easier said than done, more so when there is a civilian government in office but the Pakistan army is in charge. This is a problem for the Indian political and permanent establishment, which, despite being aware of the power realities in Pakistan, balks at the idea of entering into any separate or direct dialogue with the Pakistan army. In other words, while India can countenance a dialogue with the ‘puppets’, it is averse to talking to the ‘puppeteers’. The resistance to opening a dialogue with the Pakistan army would be understandable if it was part of a well thought out strategy to alter the internal dynamics of Pakistan's power structure – drive a wedge between the political and military establishments in Pakistan and eventually end the preponderant power and influence that the generals wield in the politics of the country as well as sideline them from exercising a veto power on relations with India. But clearly, this strategy is a non-starter because the Pakistani political establishment has outsourced, rather abdicated, the country’s India policy to the army and now tows the line set by the army.  To be sure, India’s reluctance to engage the Pakistan army is morally correct and principled. But it goes against the basic principles of realpolitik, more so when self-proclaimed standard bearers of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ don’t bat an eyelid while mollycoddling Pakistani dictators, or doing business with the chief of the Pakistan army even though a civilian government is in office. The Indian distaste for opening a dialogue with the Pakistan army makes even less sense considering that India has never refused to engage military regimes in Pakistan, following the principle that it would deal with whoever was in power. Why then the resistance today to deal only with the de jure power (civilian government) and not the de facto power (army) in Pakistan? Not to put too fine point on it, in Pakistan if you win over the army, everything else falls into place, more or less.  While India’s antipathy towards the Pakistan army is quite natural, the absence of a credible interlocutor in Pakistan who can exercise effective control over the Pakistan army leaves India with little choice except to open a parallel dialogue with the military establishment in Pakistan. The Indian policy of developing closer people-to-people relationships as a means to make a breakthrough in the bilateral relationship is unlikely to ever work. The manner in which the progress made on the people-to-people front between 2004 and 2008 was practically overnight reduced to nothing after the 26/11 terrorist strike in Mumbai should be proof enough that when it comes to India-Pakistan relations, the people tend to follow the line set by their establishments. In order words, people-to-people relations flower when the establishment allows them, and they wither away when the establishment shuts the door on them.  It is even more futile to depend on the so-called civil society of Pakistan for raising a constituency of peace. For one, what goes as civil society in Pakistan is really a fringe group and constitutes around 1000 people, and if you want to be very charitable then the number can be raised to 5000. This is not to belittle the commitment, conviction and courage of some of the members of civil society in promoting and propagating the cause of normalisation of relations with India. But at the end of the day, despite their visibility and volubility, how many army divisions or jihadists or even votes do these people control?  Interestingly, in trying to engage the Pakistan army, India doesn't even have to take the initiative; it just has to respond to overtures that the Pakistan army already appears to be making. Over the last few months, enough hints have been dropped by Pakistan's military establishment of its desire to deal directly with the Indian establishment. There are some reports, albeit unconfirmed, of a meeting between the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad and the Pakistan army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani. The ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha has met the Indian armed forces’ representatives posted in the High Commission in Islamabad and is believed to have conveyed to them that India needs to talk directly with the Pakistan army. There are also some suggestions (straws in the wind actually) that the Pakistan army is opening up to the idea of working with India on Afghanistan.  Indications of the Pakistan army’s willingness to engage with their opposite numbers in the Indian establishment have also come from the gestures made by the Pakistan army – for instance, Pasha attending an Iftar party thrown by the Indian High Commissioner, the ISI hosting farewell parties for some Indian defence advisors who were returning to India after completing their tenures in Islamabad, the Indian defence advisors being invited to attend the passing out parade at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul. For its part, the Indian establishment has been reciprocating the gestures from the Pakistan military establishment and has invited the head of the National Defence University in Islamabad, a serving Lt. Gen., to India. But until now, no decision has been taken to engage the Pakistan army in a serious, sustained manner.  There are of course a whole lot of counter-signals also being received that suggest that the Pakistan army has restarted the jihad factory directed against India. Many of the jihadist outfits that had been forced to go underground have started resurfacing and are openly preaching violence against India. Pakistan’s Taliban proxies are targeting Indian interests, workers and projects in Afghanistan. The ISI has been once again trying to reignite the insurgency in Kashmir by coordinating the actions of agent provocateurs and funding the unrest in the Kashmir valley last summer. None other than Ashfaq Kayani has made no bones about the fact that the Pakistan army remains India-centric and cannot ignore or neglect the threat it perceives from its eastern front regardless of the deterioration in the situation on the western front. The ratcheting up of the anti-India propaganda by the so-called ‘independent’ media in Pakistan is yet another pointer to the direction in which the wind is blowing inside Pakistan. And, if there were still any doubts, the rise in anti-India rhetoric of the Pakistan foreign office, especially from the foreign minister, should clinch the argument that the process of normalisation of relations between the two countries has regressed significantly.  But these negative signals are precisely the reason why it is so important for India to engage with Pakistan army. That the Pakistan army and General Kayani don’t like, much less trust, India is a sentiment that India reciprocates in full measure, and perhaps with far greater justification and reason. But what India is unable to understand fully is what is prompting Kayani’s anti-Indiaism. Is it a religious, or even a civilizational, hang-up? Or does it arise out of a genuine sense of insecurity? And is there any way that India can address this anti-Indiaism without in any way compromising on its security preparedness and its territorial unity, integrity and sovereignty? Similarly, there is a lot that Pakistan needs to do to reassure India and address its security concerns, and a dialogue with the Pakistan army can become a useful forum in finding a redressal to these problems.  The advocacy of open lines of communication with the Pakistan army doesn’t in any way mean letting the guard down or dropping ‘assets’ and ‘leverages’ that India might have built inside Pakistan (as had been done in the past by so many Indian Prime Ministers, including Morarji Desai and IK Gujral). Nor does it mean harbouring starry-eyed notions that the Pakistan army is no longer inimical to India’s security or is in the process of ending its hostility to India.  The point being made is not that there will be an end to the secret, or if you will, ‘shadow’ wars being fought between the two countries in different theatres; it is that in the course of engagement, the two establishments might be able to reach a better understanding of each others’ concerns and might find that some of their assumptions and presumptions about each other were misplaced. There is also a possibility of breaking common ground on a range of issues and initiating a process of confidence building measures that are verifiable on the ground.  Any dialogue with the Pakistan army must, however, be held far away from the media glare, otherwise the entire effort will be rendered futile by the grandstanding that is inherent in the presence of the media. Equally important, there must be strict confidentiality about the talks because nothing kills trust more than selective and self-serving leaks to the media. The template that can be adopted is that of the the ‘back-channel’ that had opened up after the Islamabad meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and General Pervez Musharraf in 2004.  Once the decision to enter into such a dialogue is taken, there will arise the question as to who from the Indian side will talk to the Pakistan army, especially since the Indian Army, by no stretch of imagination, occupies the same position in the Indian power structure as the Pakistan army does in Pakistan. Similarly, in terms of the power it wields, the Indian external intelligence agency R&AW cannot be put on the same pedestal as the ISI. One way out of this is to adopt a multi-track approach, a sort of ‘composite back-channel’ in which the intelligence agencies comprise one track, the military leaders another track in which they discuss military and security related matters, while a third track can discuss larger strategic perceptions, outlooks and assessments. All these various tracks can then provide inputs to the political back-channel. To start with, the discussions in these various tracks can be unstructured and, if necessary, can be held in some third country.  The question whether such a composite back channel between the security establishments of the two countries will work is hardly important. Having tried everything else, this is probably the only thing that is left to be tried. If it works, the prospects for normalization of relations will brighten; if it doesn't, neither country will have lost anything.
India-Russia Defense Integration Is Likely To Endure  January 7, 2011 by Dmitry Gorenburg  Here’s one last Oxford Analytica brief to tide over dedicated readers while I try to finish a big project. This one was originally written in early October. If all goes well, expect new material on the blog right after MLK day.  –  SUBJECT: The outlook for Russian-Indian defence cooperation.  SIGNIFICANCE: India will be the Russian defence industry’s biggest client for at least the next four years, accounting for 55% of all foreign orders. Many of these contracts are for joint ventures that will tie the two countries’ defence industries even closer together.  ANALYSIS: Despite recent reports that Russian aircraft did not advance to the final round of India’s tender for a medium multi-role combat aircraft, Russia’s defence industry will dominate India’s foreign arms purchases for the foreseeable future.  Ships and submarines Cooperation between the Indian and Russian navies has endured since the 1960s.  About half the Indian Navy’s major surface combatants and two-thirds of its submarines were built in Russia or the Soviet Union:      * Frigates In recent years, India has purchased six Russian-built Krivak (Talwar) class frigates. The first three were delivered in 2003-04, while the second set is being delivered in 2009-12.  Each of the new frigates is to be armed with eight jointly developed BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, a 100-millimetre gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, two Kashtan air-defence gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers and an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.      * Submarines India also operates ten Kilo class submarines, purchased from the Soviet Union and Russia between 1986 and 2000. Four of the older submarines have been modernised at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk, which included a complete overhaul of hull structures; improvements to control systems, sonar, electronic warfare systems, and an integrated weapon control system; as well as adding SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles.      * Weapons systems Over the years, India has bought a number of major Russian weapons systems for domestically built ships. These purchases have included anti-ship missiles and SAMs, torpedoes, ASW rocket launchers and naval guns. Most significantly, the Shivalik class frigates and Kolkata class destroyers are armed almost entirely with Russian weapons such as the RBU-6000 rocket launchers, SET-65E torpedoes, SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles, and SA-N-12 surface-to-air missiles.  Carrier delays The Severodvinsk shipyard is nearing completion on a long-delayed project to refurbish the former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya), which was sold to India in 2004.  Under the terms of the original deal, India would have receive the ship for free in 2008 — but would have paid 800 million dollars for necessary upgrades and refurbishment, and an additional 1 billion dollars for accompanying aircraft and weapons systems, which included:      * 12 single-seat MiG-29K and 4 dual-seat MiG-29KUB aircraft;     * 6 Ka-31 reconnaissance and Ka-28 anti-submarine helicopters;     * a Kashtan close-in weapons system;     * 9M-311 SAMs;     * torpedo tubes; and     * artillery units.  Recurring delays and significant cost over-runs brought the Indian side close to cancelling the deal, though in March 2010 the two sides reached an agreement to increase the payment for retrofitting to 2.3 billion dollars. According to the new contract, the carrier will be transferred to India in 2012. As of July 2010, all structural work had been completed and almost all large equipment had been installed, although cabling work is continuing.  Submarine lease In August 2010, Russia officially transferred an Akula-II class submarine to India, which will lease it for ten years. An Indian crew is currently in Russia being trained to operate the submarine. The lease is the result of a 2004 deal through which India invested 650 million dollars in completing construction on the submarine. It was due to be transferred in 2008, but technical problems during construction, followed by a deadly malfunction of the automatic fire extinguishing system during sea trials, delayed the transfer.  Aircraft The vast majority of India’s fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters were purchased from Russia.  In 2008, the two countries signed a contract to upgrade existing Mig-29s, in service since the 1980s, at a total cost of 964 million dollars. The first four aircraft will be upgraded in Russia, while the other 60-plus will be overhauled in India with the assistance of Russian experts. During the overhaul, which will be completed by 2013, the planes will be fitted with:      * advanced avionics;     * new multi-functional Zhuk-ME radars;     * a new weapon control system; and     * revamped engines.  As a result, the lifespan of the aircraft will be extended by 25-40 years.  In addition, in January the Indian Navy ordered 29 more Mig-29K aircraft at a cost of 1.5 billion dollars. Together with the 16 identical aircraft ordered as part of the Vikramaditya deal, these planes will form the core of India’s naval aviation for the foreseeable future.  The Indian government has reached an agreement with Sukhoi to assemble in India Su-30MKI fighters from kits purchased from Russia. It is also planning to modernise its existing fleet of Su-30MKI fighters, 42 of which will be upgraded with new radars, avionics and BrahMos supersonic missiles. The project will begin in 2012 and will be carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at a cost of 2.34 billion dollars, with assistance from Russian experts. By the end of this decade, the Indian Air Force will have a total of 272 Su-30MKI fighters in service at a total cost of around 14 billion dollars, making it the dominant aircraft in its fleet.  India has also purchased 139 Mi-17 helicopters as a replacement for its aging Mi-8s. The first lot of these is being delivered this year.  Tanks and armoured vehicles The Indian army currently operates 657 T-90 tanks, most of which were assembled in India under license. Another 1,000 T-90M tanks will be built locally over the next ten years. The Indian army also operates almost 2,000 T-72 tanks and large numbers of BMP-1 and BMP-2 armoured vehicles.  Joint projects In addition to purchases, the Indian and Russian defence industries are working on a range of joint projects, some of which have already resulted in very successful products:      * BrahMos Considered by some experts to be world’s fastest and most accurate cruise missile, the BrahMos has a range of 290 kilometres (km), can be used against ships or land targets, and can be launched from ships or land. Air- and submarine-launched versions are currently under development. The missile is currently in service on Indian frigates and destroyers, as well as in the Indian army on mobile launchers. The air version will be installed on Indian aircraft by 2012. A faster BrahMos II missile will be ready by 2014 and will be installed on the Kolkata class destroyers. The BrahMos is not currently used by the Russian military. It is available for export, with Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia involved in negotiations for potential purchases.      * Multi-role transport aircraft This project is in its initial stages, with costs being split evenly among Rosoboroneksport, the United Aircraft Corporation and HAL. A prototype aircraft may be built in six to eight years. It will be modelled on the Il-214, with a range of 2,500 km and a payload of up to 20 tonnes. The goal is produce around 200 aircraft, with 30% available for export.      * Fifth-generation fighter jet HAL is cooperating with Sukhoi on the development of a new fighter aircraft, which is expected to join the Russian Air Force in 2015.  India will procure at least 50 planes in a two-seat version that will be armed with BrahMos missiles.  CONCLUSION: Military cooperation has moved beyond arms sales and licensing of Russian designs for production in India.  Successful joint ventures promise to integrate the two countries’ defence industries for the foreseeable future.

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