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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 11 Jan 2011







More muscle to India’s air might Eurofighter ahead in IAF deal Likely to pip Russian, US, French jets for $10-billion ‘deal of the decade’ Man Mohan Our Roving Editor  New Delhi, January 10 The buzz has started about which new ‘fighter bird’ will rule the Indian skies as well as those of enemy. The Eurofighter aircraft, it seems, has emerged the winner after a long ‘dogfight’ among six foreign 4.5th generation jet planes to clinch over $10-billion Indian Air Force deal for 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). The second runner-up is said to be the French fighter Rafale.  Despite the aggressive business-oriented visit of US President Barack Obama recently, two major competing American military aircraft makers, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, have lost their pitch.  Growing Indo-US strategic relations have not helped the American diplomatic and arms lobbies to get either of the two planes touch the winning mark. India had shortlisted six aircraft: American Lockheed Martin’s F-16IN ‘Super Viper’, US Boeing’s ‘Super Hornet’ F/A-18IN, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company NV (EADS)’ Eurofighter Typhoon - EADS is a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italy firms - French D'assault's Rafale, Swedish Saab’s Gripen, and Russian MiG-35. The MMRCAs induction is likely to start by 2015.  When the file related to the final evaluation of rival aircraft was shown to Defence Minister AK Antony, highly reliable sources told The Tribune that he said that if this was the case, let it be. The Prime Minister’s Office has been made aware about this. Now, a ‘political decision’ is awaited on this mega deal.  Interestingly, on the New Year eve, an important file relating to the deal was found on the roadside in the Khel Gaon area. The file was supposed to be in the custody of an IAS officer of the rank of director in the defence production wing of the Ministry of Defence. An inquiry has been ordered.  The IAF intends to purchase the MMRCA combat jets to replace its aging Russian-made MiG-21 fleet in phases and help in curbing the recent trend of the depleting squadron strength.  India had floated tenders for this deal in August 2007. The exhaustive technical evaluation of the six global manufacturers’ bids was completed last year. Starting from Bangalore, the trials took the competing fighters and their weapons to the hot desert region of Jaisalmer as well as high-altitude Leh.  Incidentally, the IAF ‘top guns’ - after trials at home and abroad - were said to be in favour of Swedish Saab’s Gripen fighters. Boeing’s ‘Super Hornet’ also reportedly gave a tough fight to be among the top four. The Eurofighter is said to be the costliest jet among the competitors.  Lockheed Martin’s F-16 lost mainly as the Air Force pilots’ community raised a critical question: why should India go for the same fighter aircraft that is with our main regional adversary - Pakistan?  The arrival of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter plane for trials had made many in the IAF apprehensive, and they feared that its ‘selection’ - because of over-pitched American lobbying - might become a ‘combat disadvantage’ for India. Pakistan has been operating F-16 aircraft since the mid-eighties and is currently flying the F-16 Block 50.  The Russian MiG-35 was ‘not touched’ by the evaluators as New Delhi and Moscow were busy signing a deal for a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110111/main1.htm
Tejas, our own LCA, ready to fly Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  Tejas at the HAL airport in Bangalore on Monday. Tejas at the HAL airport in Bangalore on Monday. — PTI  Bangalore, January 10 India achieved a major milestone in military avionics today when the indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was given initial operational clearance in a function at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited airport here paving the way for its induction into the Indian Air Force.  K Tamilmani, chief executive of CEMILAC (Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification) handed over the clearance certificate to Defence Minister AK Antony, who passed it on to the IAF chief.  Addressing the gathering - consisting of HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) personnel, DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) officials, representatives of industry and academia, who lent support to the project and mediapersons - Antony said a state-of-the-art indigenous combat aircraft would go a long way in enhancing the national security.  The operational clearance comes after over three decades of LCA development and research spearheaded by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA, a DRDO outfit), overcoming technology denial regimes faced by India following the Pokhran-II test. The final operational clearance is expected to be given to the aircraft sometime next year.  The light-weight LCA, powered by American GE-F404 engine, has been developed from the scratch, putting India in the select club of nations that can develop fighter aircrafts. The flight test phase of Tejas was initiated in January 2001. The LCA had completed 1,508 flight tests using various variants and had carried out weapon tests among other tests.  Air Chief Marshal Naik - while congratulating the ADA and the HAL- said the IAF would like to see improvement in some of the areas before the LCA was inducted into the force.  He said wake penetration test, all-weather clearance and lightning clearance were among the areas in which he would like to see the LCA fine-tuning its performance.  Naik, however, confirmed that the IAF had already placed orders for 40 LCAs with four aircraft slated for delivery this year, including two in coming June. The first two squadrons of LCA - consisting of 20 aircraft each - would be deployed in Sulur in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, he said.  A flight display by two LCAs - one a prototype and the other a limited series production variant - was the highlight of the function. The delta wing planes roared off from the ground in great style disappeared in the horizon and then returned to land. The planes, however, refrained from doing any aerobatics. The DRDO had initially said three planes would fly, though only two planes took part in the demonstration.  The LCA is slated to replace the ageing fleet of MiG-21 aircrafts. Antony said the IAF and the Navy together had a requirement of 200 LCAs. While the first 40 LCAs would be using the GE 404 engines, the next batch of LCAs (Mk II) would be using the more powerful GE 414 engines.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110111/main2.htm
CRPF mahila battalions to be strengthened About 35 pc “excess strength” may be provided in each mahila battalion as “leave reserve” Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, January 10 The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is contemplating to increase the strength of its mahila battalions to cater to the relatively high rate of leave amongst women personnel vis-a-vis male personnel.  According to CRPF officers, the move envisions that 35 per cent “excess strength” may be provided in each mahila battalion as “leave reserve”. This follows a recommendation made in this regard by the National Conference of Women in Police organised recently by the Bureau of Police Research and Development.  Based upon feedback and reviews, CRPF officers said it had been observed that the rate of leave amongst women personnel was higher owing to domestic commitments and other factors. The officers estimate that about 20 per cent of women in these battalions are married.  The CRPF, at present, has two mahila battalions consisting of only women constabulary. Another two such battalions are being raised. These are used for enforcing law and order alongside regular battalions in troubled areas and disturbances that have significance presence of women populace. Besides participating in disaster management, these also provide elements for the CRPF’s Rapid Action Force and for United Nations Peacekeeping Missions overseas.  The CRPF was the first para-military force in the world to raise an all-women’s battalion with the 88 (Mahila) Battalion coming into existence in 1986. This was followed recently by the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Induction of women personnel in other paramilitary forces like the SSB has also been recommended.  “Since the role of women in paramilitary forces is expanding, there needs to be a permanent policy to cater to their specific requirements and to address manpower issues,” a senior officer said
IAF orders probe into BSF deal Tribune News Service  New Delhi, January 10 The Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered a court of enquiry to probe alleged discrepancies in the plans of the BSF's to acquire new transport aircraft.The IAF was evaluating the bid for the Home Ministry as the BSF’s Air wing wanted to buy new planes to replace its existing fleet of Soviet-origin AN 26 transporters.  Official sources confirmed that a probe has been ordered as some papers were not in order. An inquiry was instituted into the matter in the last week of December. The Home Ministry has also ordered an enquiry after it was found that the BSF documents were possibly tampered with, the sources said adding that it is likely that some of the papers were forged.  They said discrepancies came to light recently during negotiations with a European consortium, which had shown interest in the $ 300 million (Rs 1350 crore) deal.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110111/nation.htm#8
Reports on Chinese intrusion in Ladakh baseless: MEA Tribune News Service  New Delhi, January 10 Against the backdrop of fresh Chinese incursion in Demchok in Ladakh, Army Chief VK Singh today said the area where the incident took place was out of bounds for any construction work, but “unfortunately” such activities were being pushed by “some people” for local gains.  Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs, in an official statement, termed the media reports as “baseless and do not conform to fact”. They are, therefore, not a cause for concern.  Earlier today, the Army Chief said the “so-called” intrusions took place due to perceptional differences about the LAC between India and China, an issue which is being addressed by the two countries through discussion. “I only see it as a problem of perception. We patrol upto our perception of the LAC that is further east of this and the Chinese come to the LAC as perceived by them,” he said.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110111/nation.htm#13
Border intrusions may continue till India-China boundary issue is resolved  Lack of boundary demarcation between the countries creates perceptional difference about the territory held, says Indian Army chief  Indian Army chief General VK Singh  BY Ritu Sharma and Avinash Paliwal Delhi  Incidents of intrusions by Chinese troops along the 3,000 km disputed India-China border may continue till the boundary between the two countries is clearly delineated.  According to the Indian Army chief General VK Singh, lack of boundary demarcation between India and China creates difference in perceptions about the territory held by the two. This leads to transgressions made by the defence personnel of either side.  "There is a perceptional difference between us and the Chinese. This has been there for a long time, since the time when the LAC (Line of Actual Control) was put on the large-scale map by the Chinese. Our interpretation is in one particular manner and the Chinese perception is of different alignment," Singh told newspersons on Monday.  Singh's statement comes after the incident of a reported border intrusion by Chinese troops along the LAC in southeastern Ladakh in September. Apparently, Chinese troops not only entered Indian territory but also threatened a contractor and his team, forcing them to stop constructing a passenger shed on a T-point in the Gombir area of the Demchok region.  "I am quite sure on the Chinese side they must be calling it transgression when our patrol goes till our line of perception," added Singh. India and China have been engaged in talks over the LAC, and had exchanged maps in 2002. However, there have been differences over the perceived border between the Chinese small-scale maps and Indian large-scale maps.  The Samar Lungpa area between the Karakoram Pass and the Chipchap river (east Jammu and Kashmir) remains contentious, with the Chinese maps showing the LAC to be south of the Samar Lungpa.  However, according to sources in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), this is old news, and there is no reason to worry. "All lines are imaginary along the India-China border. This has been going on for a very long time," said an official of the MEA sources.  The MEA also released a statement saying: "These reports are baseless and do not conform to fact. They are, therefore, not a cause for concern. It will be recollected that there are differences in perception, between India and China, on the Line of Actual Control in this area." As per a report prepared by the army, the civilian administration in Ladakh, the central security agencies and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the state government had planned construction of seven link roads in the Nyoma and the Damchok areas to increase connectivity and provide better job opportunities to people in these areas, which are close to the LAC.  However, continued transgressions by Chinese troops into Ladakh since June 2009 and their threats to stop any form of construction in the area raise concerns over the development of the region and implementation of infrastructure development projects.  "Army and the MEA have given an advice that instead of putting matters to head, let us wait till this issue (boundary dispute) is resolved," added Singh.

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main48.asp?filename=Ws100111INTERNATIONAL.asp
India and China differ on boundary: Army chief CNN-IBN Updated Jan 10, 2011 at 05:59pm IST Email Print 6Share  Video  New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General VK Singh says that India has a "perceptional difference" with China over boundaries. Reacting to reports of Chinese troops having entered Ladakh, General Singh claimed that such incidents cannot be defined as intrusions.  "What has come in print media toady about so called intrusion, that particular area where this thing has been shown, is a area where there is perceptional difference of the Line of Actual Control between us and China. This has been there for very long time. Right at the time the LAC was put down on a very large scale map by China. So as per our interpretation line runs in a particular manner and as per Chinese perception line runs in a different alignment this is not marked on ground. Therefore there is always perceptional problems. I do not see it as alarming development I only see it as perception problem," said General Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday.  Chinese troops reportedly entered the Indian territory along the Line of Actual Control in South-eastern Ladakh region and threatened a contractor and his team to halt work on constructing a "passenger shed". Click to play video New Delhi: Indian Army Chief General VK Singh says that India has a "perceptional difference" with China over boundaries. Reacting to reports of Chinese troops having entered Ladakh, General Singh claimed that such incidents cannot be defined as intrusions. "What has come in print media toady about so called intrusion, that particular area where this thing has been shown, is a area where there is perceptional difference of the Line of Actual Control between us and China. This has been there for very long time. Right at the time the LAC was put down on a very large scale map by China. So as per our interpretation line runs in a particular manner and as per Chinese perception line runs in a different alignment this is not marked on ground. Therefore there is always perceptional problems. I do not see it as alarming development I only see it as perception problem," said General Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday. Chinese troops reportedly entered the Indian territory along the Line of Actual Control in South-eastern Ladakh region and threatened a contractor and his team to halt work on constructing a "passenger shed".  The state government has submitted an official report to the Centre saying that Chinese troops tried to stop construction work in the Gombir area of Demchok region of Jammu and Kashmir and also threatened locals not to carry out further work.  Jammu and Kashmir government has also taken up the issue with Ministry of External Affairs and the Minitstry of Sefence.  The alleged incident of incursion took place in September-October last year in a village about 300-kms south-east of Leh district headquarters.  When contacted, Lt Col JS Brar, who officiates as spokesperson for Leh-based 14 Corps, refused to comment on the issue.  According to the report, the civil administration proceeded on field verification to the area on October two, 2010 and on the next day, Army wrote to the administration to seek Defence Ministry's clearance for any project within 50 kms of Border.  The Civil administration said it was baffled by the Army's missive as this would mean entire Nyoma sub-division would get affected in the matter of developmental work.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-and-china-differ-on-boundary-army-chief/140000-3.html


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