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Friday, 14 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 14 Jan 2011

Self-appointed messiahs General Musharraf (retd) claims that the state`s security needs should be given precedence over democracy. In fact, there is no contradiction between the two. They are mutually reinforcing, for a state is far stronger when its rulers enjoy a popular mandate. Tariq Fatemi  Gen Pervez Musharraf (retd)THERE is no denying that the current government has been a deep disappointment, even to its devoted supporters, not merely because of its inefficiency but more for its failure to show any interest in governance.  Resultantly, not only is the economy on the point of collapse and national institutions crumbling, but the very fabric of the state appears to be tearing apart. As if this was not enough, the self-appointed guardians of our morals and beliefs have now taken it upon themselves to cleanse society of those that do not conform to their warped concepts.  The suffering of the masses is so extensive that it is prompting many to question the very wisdom and viability of democratic institutions. Even more frightening is that this sense of despair could once again encourage `adventurers` and self-appointed messiahs to fish in troubled waters, as was evident from General Musharraf`s article published recently in Dawn.  As an effort to refurbish his credentials, his argument failed dismally. He comes across as still living in the past, convinced of his infallibility and confident of his indispensability. The fact that he had to flee the country on account of country-wide protests appears not to have registered.  Mr Musharraf refuses to accept that his decade-long authoritarian rule primarily accounts for the many ills currently afflicting this country. Not one major project can be credited to him, nor one worthwhile policy that he could bequeath to his successors.  Though he was the fourth in the line of Generals who violated their oaths as soldiers, he has the distinction of having done this more than once. Having overthrown an elected government, sent parliament packing and causing some political leaders to go into exile, he created an edifice based on duplicity. When it began to collapse, he once again violated the constitution and its laws, muzzling the media, locking up members of civil society and attempting to sack the chief justice.  Mr Musharraf claims that "democracy is an obsession with the West". He ignores reality in not recognising that it is an "obsession" with humans the world over, irrespective of their colour or creed. What else would explain the unceasing struggle, at enormous cost, in the hamlets of Africa and the fair fields of South America?  Closer to home, is it not "obsession" with democracy that has sustained the heroic struggle of the Burmese people, led by a seemingly fragile widow, Aung San Suu Kyi?  The general seeks justification for what he referred to as "tailoring democracy" by bringing up the "existential threat" that he felt Pakistan faces from India and the "centrifugal forces" acting against national security from within. Yet as regards to standing up to the Indian threat, the track record of authoritarian regimes is abysmal. The first military ruler, who had the brilliance to gift to Pakistan a democracy "suited to the genius of the people", initiated a war that sowed the seeds of separatism in the eastern wing. The second ignominiously lost half the country, while the third was unaware of the loss of strategic Siachen, so consumed was he by his passion to make us all good Muslims.  Mr Musharraf, meanwhile, launched the unauthorised adventure in Kargil which not only cost the lives of thousands of soldiers but also left Pakistan ostracised by the international community. With just one phone call, he succumbed to a foreign power`s onerous demands, oblivious to the country`s long-term interests. Most disastrous of all was his continued mollycoddling of extremists and militants.  Though it may have been the American preacher, Theodore Parker, who defined democracy as "a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people", (later made famous by Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address in 1863), the idea of an elected and accountable government is almost as old as mankind itself. Whereas in the animal kingdom, leadership is determined by raw power, humans seek some say in determining who should govern them. It may also be true that democracy can be slow, inefficient, and occasionally even corrupt, but as Winston Churchill remarked that it may be "the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time".  The general claims that the state`s security needs should be given precedence over democracy. In fact, there is no contradiction between the two. They are mutually reinforcing, for a state is far stronger when its rulers enjoy a popular mandate.  Mr Musharraf would have been well-served had he recalled that the most dangerous moment in the life of the young American Republic came in March 1783, when the officers of the Revolutionary Army, profoundly unhappy with their elected representatives, gathered to discuss seizing power.  It was the country`s good fortune that its then Commander-in Chief, Gen Washington, used all his powers of pressure and persuasion to dissuade the angry officers, urging them to "give one more distinguished proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue, rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings".  A multi-ethnic and multi- linguistic state such as Pakistan cannot afford even a unitary system of government, far less an authoritarian regime. In fact, experiments with systems in which power and privilege are maintained by an individual or a class in perpetuity would be utterly disastrous. At such a time as this, when extremism and militancy are striking at the very roots of this country, it is only a democratic polity, responsive to the people and sensitive to their interests, that can create domestic consensus and tolerance. And these are essential to prevent this land from what appears to be its head-long plunge into anarchy.
Defence policy targets production autonomy Antony for reducing dependence on foreign suppliers Tribune News Service  Policy promises to...  n Make country self-reliant in the production of defence equipment and weapons n Create conditions conducive for pvt industries to play active role in the field n Act as a catalyst to enhance potential of small and medium enterprises for defence research n Give preference to indigenous design and manufacture of defence equipment  New Delhi, January 13 Defence Minister AK Antony today unveiled the country’s first ever Defence Production Policy (DPrP) that lays down a clear goal to attain self-reliance in design, development and production of defence equipment and weapons while cutting down on imports. The policy aims to allow more private participation as well as address issues of delays.  Unveiling the policy, Antony said the present scale of dependence on foreign suppliers was not acceptable. “The policy aims to build a defence industrial base.” Dependence on other countries should be reduced as it could cause problems, he said, adding that “the Defence Acquisition Council has decided that whenever possible we will produce in India.”  The Defence Ministry has nine public sector undertakings working dedicatedly under it besides a clutch of ordnance factories that produce ammunition and laboratories under the DRDO. “We will protect and strengthen these public sector undertakings,” Antony clarified.  At present, India imports more than 70 per cent of its equipment and weapon needs. Antony said he was aiming to bring down the imports to 50 per cent but went on to add that “Rome was not built in a day” to emphasise that the process might take some time. The solution lies in involving the private sector, which will reduce the space for foreign suppliers, Antony said. The PSUs and the ordnance factory board cannot meet the growing demand, he added. He remained non-committal when asked if the term “growing demand” indicated a rise in defence spending in the forthcoming budget.  Defence preparedness was the top priority of the country, he said. “The government will meet the needs of the forces.” India intends to spend some $100 billion over the next decade to modernise its forces and foreign firms are eyeing that market.  Under the new policy, the government will set up a separate fund to provide resources to public sector, private, academic and scientific institutions to support research and development of defence products.  Based on the approved long-term plan, systems will be developed within the country. Sub-systems that are not economically viable for production within the country may be imported, ensuring their availability at all times.
INS Kirpan gunner defends Commander Sood Jangveer Singh Tribune News Service  n Bakhtawar says that the frigate could have done little even it had remained there. Besides, staying at the spot would have also made the Kirpan vulnerable to a torpedo attack. n He maintains the frigate was back at the site of the torpedo attack at 4 o’clock next morning and that it rescued survivors who had managed to get onto lifeboats.  Chandigarh, January 13 INS Kirpan former Commander Rishi Raj Sood may have chosen not to reply to charges of dereliction of duty and running away after his sister ship INS Khukri was torpedoed by a Pak submarine in the 1971 war, but a gunner aboard Kirpan today said the Commander had taken evasive action to save the ship.  Gunner Bakhtawar Singh has taken on the duty to defend Capt Sood after another Chandigarh resident Chanchal Singh Gill, who was a survivor from the INS Khukri, petitioned the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal accusing then Commander Sood of committing dereliction of duty. Gill has asserted that Kirpan should have tried to rescue the victims of the Khukri, which sank in few minutes after being torpedoed by a Pak submarine off the coast of Gujarat on December 9, 1971.  Talking to TNS, Bakhtawar Singh said INS Kirpan’s sonar had detected the torpedos fired by the Pak submarine Hangor and that the ship turned hard port by nearly 45 degrees to avert a hit. He said INS Khukri was, however, not so lucky and a torpedo exploded under its ammunition store ensuring it sank in three minutes only.  The gunner said INS Kirpan fired limbos and depth charges immediately even as it moved away from the attack site. “This is part of war tactics”, he said, adding it was also the duty of the Commander to save the ship.  While ruing the loss of precious lives because the Kirpan arrived back at the attack site only early next morning, Bakhtawar said the frigate could have done little even it had remained there. “The ship was under darkness. It would have been difficult to affect any rescue”, he said adding staying at the spot would have also made the Kirpan vulnerable to a torpedo attack.  Bakhtawar maintains the frigate was back at the site of the torpedo attack at 4 o’clock next morning and that it rescued survivors who had managed to get onto lifeboats. He says Commander Sood was the man in charge and he took the decision to follow the war manual and move out of Torpedo Danger Zone (TDZ), adding coming back to the spot at night was not feasible under the conditions.  The Khukri and Kirpan, two anti-submarine frigates, had been dispatched from Mumbai to hunt for the Pakistani submarine Hangor that had been detected in the Arabian Sea, south of Diu. However, the submarine detected the warship first and attacked them.  While Bakhtawar’s first person account is a general account of what happened, it is in variance with retired Rear Admiral’s Vir Chakra citation. The citation credits him with repealing the attack by the Pak submarine. It says “When INS Khukri received multiple torpedo hits from an enemy submarine, Commander Sood rushed his ship into a counter-attack, which was conducted so fiercely and relentlessly that the enemy submarine could not carry out any further attack and had to retreat.”
Deposing before PAC Question mark over summons to Service Chiefs  IN an unusual development, the Army and Air Force chiefs along with the Navy vice chief (who represented the Navy chief since the latter is on a scheduled official visit overseas) deposed before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to present their views on a recent Comptroller and Auditor-General report. The report had severely criticised the Services over the functioning of their unit-run canteens, the lack of transparency in the accounting methods, and the issue of supply of dry rations to troops. The decision that the Service chiefs would depose before the parliamentary committee came after the PAC sought answers from the Ministry of Defence, which in turn wrote to the Service chiefs.  This marks a significant departure from the existing practice of only the defence secretary and other senior bureaucrats deposing before parliamentary committees. The armed forces have largely been kept insulated from parliamentary oversight committees since the country’s political executive and the defence ministry’s bureaucrats maintain complete civilian control and supremacy over the armed forces. But the question arises whether the Service chiefs have been nudged into deposing before the PAC more out of expediency and convenience of the bureaucrat-dominated defence ministry, or whether this is an isolated incident, or, still, whether this is a sign of change in which the Service chiefs will, while being held directly accountable, henceforth also be assigned greater authority and responsibility.  Unlike advanced democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom where the Services form part of the decision making process and are thus institutionally required to testify before their respective senate and parliamentary committees, the Indian Service chiefs are treated as department heads with limited financial powers and severely curtailed decision making powers. Yesterday’s development has rekindled the debate on civil-military relations in the country and on the way the defence ministry is structured. If Service chiefs are to be held accountable to parliamentary committees, then they must also be assigned the requisite authority and powers. It is equally important that the defence ministry is re-structured in a way whereby officers of the armed forces are made part of the decision making process, made aware of the intricacies of civil government functioning, and consequently, be institutionally held accountable.
ISRO satellite to snoop on Maoists Prepares control room for CRPF to track its men  How it works      * A giant screen comprising 16 LCD screens has been put up, which will show the exact positioning of troops in Naxal strongholds     * With the help of global positioning system, each step of the personnel can be tracked     * The system will be helpful in carrying out offensive operations and also to undertake any rescue missions   New Delhi, January 13 A state-of-the-art control room with giant TV screens that will help track the offensive of security forces in Naxal strongholds with satellite imaging and GPS has been activated at the CRPF headquarters here.  Official sources said the control room will enable top officers to track the movement of personnel in thick jungles and hilly terrains across states where anti-Naxal operations are on. A giant screen comprising 16 LCD screens has been put up, which at the push of a button will show the exact positioning of troops in the area. The preloaded satellite images will give a fair idea of the patrol party’s location and nearby areas.  The project was kick-started a few years ago with the force approaching the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for satellite imaging of Naxal areas. The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) is also part of the project.  “Lack of knowledge of the topography is the biggest hurdle before securitymen against its fight against the Naxals who are well versed with the terrain,” a source said. The images outline major details of the terrain, including water bodies among others. And with the help of global positioning system (GPS), each step of the personnel can be tracked.  “This will be very helpful in carrying out offensive operations and also to undertake rescue missions, if any. — PTI
Pakistan is epicenter of terrorism in the world: Mullen Admiral Mullen noted that there were 'some challenges that are there to ensure that where they have been before -- in Swat, Bajaur, [Kot] Moman -- that there's no reemergence of the insurgents there as well. So the challenges are enormous.' Source : ANI   Thu, Jan 13, 2011 17:26:58 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       PAKISTAN IS the “epicenter of terrorism in the world” right now, and the coalition forces fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan cannot win the war without eliminating the ‘safe terrorist havens’ in Pakistan, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen has said.     “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again it [Pakistan] is the epicenter of terrorism in the world right now, and it deserves the attention of everybody to do as much as we can to eliminate that threat. But we cannot succeed in Afghanistan without shutting down those safe havens,” Mullen said during a briefing at the Foreign Press Center.     “One of the things that I spoke to in my remarks was support for this reconciliation process, and that process includes everything, not just the Afghan Taliban, in terms of getting to a point where Afghanistan is peaceful and stable and can take control of its own life and move forward in every respect,” he added.     Mullen made these comments in response to a question in which he was asked about ‘fertile ground’ for terrorists with reference to Pakistan, and how “important is progress there, and can you assess how progress is being made there for progress in Afghanistan?”     “Progress in Pakistan is critical in terms of the region… I think progress there is critical as well. Obviously the recent assassination, the political challenges that we’ve seen with MQM [Muttahida Qaumi Movement political party] leaving and returning to the coalition to ensure that that government doesn’t fall, I think that political aspect is something I keep an eye on all the time,” he said.     “It is absolutely critical that the safe havens in Pakistan get shut down. We cannot succeed in Afghanistan without that. I’ve had many meetings with General Kayani on this subject and he has evolved his military against this threat. This threat is evolving as well, because it’s not just Haqqani Network anymore, or al-Qaida, or TTT [Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, or Pakistani Taliban], the Afghan Taliban, or LET [Lashkar-e-Taiba], it’s all of them working together in ways that two years ago they absolutely did not,” he added.     When asked that given his own comment that the US and coalition forces “cannot win the war in Afghanistan without the full cooperation of Pakistan”, whether Pakistan was doing enough or not, and what he had told the nation and what it was doing in order to shut down the safe havens there, Admiral Mullen replied: “I don’t go into specifics of discussions that I’ve had, private conversations that I’ve had.”     “But one of the facts over the course of the last year is Pakistan is emerging from these devastating floods and their military, their army in particular, was diverted, and rightfully so, to take care of their own people. They’re emerging from that… So the Pakistani military leadership has had to both guide that and readjust. I’m confident that the military knows what it has to do and I’ve been through this with General Kayani, and intends to do this,” he added.     Admiral Mullen noted that there were “some challenges that are there to ensure that where they have been before -- in Swat, Bajaur, [Kot] Moman -- that there’s no reemergence of the insurgents there as well. So the challenges are enormous.”     “We are in full support of those and strategically the safe havens have got to go. When I talk about the region, it isn’t just Afghanistan and Pakistan. We had a question earlier about Iran. I talk about this with my Russian counterpart. The neighbors in the area to include India. I think we all have responsibility and we all want to see this resolved as rapidly as possible. That is a call for action for everybody that’s involved in this,” he added.
NEWS      * Live TV     * Video     * India     * Cities     * World     * Tech     * Sports     * Trends     * Photos     * Polls     * Forums  You are here: Home » India» Services: E-learning Classified City Guide Insurance Books More »      * Article     * Comments  Sri Lankan navy denies shooting fishermen, India lodges formal complaint  NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 13, 2011 19:13 IST ad_title  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Chennai:  Sri Lanka has denied shooting Indian fishermen.  Speaking to NDTV, Sri Lankan government spokesperson Laxman Hullugalle denied the incident. "When I spoke to the Navy, the Navy totally denied any shooting incident on fishermen from India."  The denial came as New Delhi formally registered its complaint with Colombo over the Lankan navy opening fire at sea at fishermen from Tamil Nadu. One fisherman was killed, another was injured.  External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has written to the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry expressing what sources describe as "a strong protest."   The Sri Lankan High Commissioner was reportedly summoned within fifteen minutes of the occurence of the incident to discuss the matter. (Read: India's official response)  The fishermen attacked on Wednesday belong to a village in Pudukottai, about 350 kilometres from Chennai.  (Read: Indian fisherman shot dead by Lankan Navy)      * Share this on     * NDTVTwitter     * NDTVNDTV Social     * Share with MessengerLive Messenger     * NDTVGmail Buzz     * NDTVPrint   Manivel, who survived the attack, says, "I left with Pandian around 7 am. The Lankan navy arrived around 4 or 5 pm. They opened fire when they saw us fishing on the rear side of our boat.  Pandian died and then they left."  This morning, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi sent a telegram to the Prime Minister.  Mr Karunanidhi said, "Atrocities of Lankan navy are continuing unabated inspite of repeated assurances. This incident may be taken with Lankan Government for immediate action against those responsible for shooting and killing. Your personal intervention is requested for firm action to end such killings."  That wasn't enough to placate the Opposition at home.  The AIADMK slammed the state government over the "continued killing" of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan navy over the past four years and asked "whether the state government will just stop with writing letters to the Centre or would take any action."
Army chief promises action in defence land grab exposed by NDTV  NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 13, 2011 09:00 IST ad_title  PLAYClick to Expand & Play Mumbai:  It's been a season of land grab cases. Even as the CBI continues to probe the much controversial Adarsh Housing Society scam, Army chief VK Singh has promised action in another defence land grab in Mumbai, exposed by NDTV two months ago.  Kalpataru Towers in Mumbai's Kandivali suburbs, a 31-storey residential scheme, is built on grabbed defence land. It overlooks the high-security Defence Central Ordnance Depot, around which construction is not allowed.  The Army chief has hinted at recommending a CBI probe into the alleged scam. "We have received a report from the Southern Army Commander...We will have to do something of that sort," he said when asked if the Army was planning to order a CBI probe.  Southern Army Commander Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna has reportedly alleged in his report to the Army Headquarters that the plot of land in Kandivali-Malad area, that was with the Army on lease, was sold "illegally" to a private builder in 2007 at the intervention of senior officials, Army sources said.      * Share this on     * NDTVTwitter     * NDTVNDTV Social     * Share with MessengerLive Messenger     * NDTVGmail Buzz     * NDTVPrint   In his report, which has been forwarded by the Army to the ministry, the Pune-based Army Commander has recommended a proper investigation into the entire issue.  The announcement by the Army chief is significant as big names are alleged to have colluded in this scam.  Top names allegedly involved in Mumbai defence land grab:      * Minister of State for Defence, MM Pallam Raju     * Former Minister of State for Defence, Rao Inderjit Singh     * Ex Army chief, General Deepak Kapoor     * Ex Area Commander, Major General RK Hooda  In 1999, Neo Pharma had applied to the Suburban Collector for allotment of this one-acre plot. The Kalpataru Builders say the Collector wrote to the Central Ordnance Depot twice in 2001 and then in 2004 for permission. There was no response. But in 2007, the then Collector, Vishwas Patil, allotted the land to Neo Pharma, even though the Defence still held its lease.  When construction began, the Central Ordnance Depot raised an alarm but the Collector upheld the transfer.  Sources have told NDTV that MM Pallam Raju, Rao Inderjit Singh, General Deepak Kapoor and Major General RK Hooda were said to have allegedly played a role in this land transfer.  Of them, RK Hooda is already facing a court of inquiry for his involvement in the Adarsh Society scam.  The revelations in the Adarsh scam have forced the Army to investigate all land deals that were brokered during the tenure of defence officials accused in Adarsh. (With PTI Inputs)
2009 mutiny: Bangladesh court sentences 46 BDR rebels January 14, 2011 00:51 IST Tags: BDR, Dhaka, Judge Mohammad Zohurul Haque, Speedy Trial Tribunal, Zahedur Rahman Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  A special court in Bangladesh on Thursday sentenced 46 Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) soldiers to prison terms up to seven years for staging a revolt at their unit in the southeastern Khagrachhari hills in February 2009 when border guards in Dhaka had killed 57 army officers in a bloody massacre.  The paramilitary court jailed the 46 Bangladesh Rifles soldiers to different terms up to seven years.  A BDR spokesman said the special court headed by Chittagong Sector Commander Lieutenant Colonel Zahedur Rahman handed down the punishment to the border guards serving 29 Rifles Battalion at Matiranga sub-district of the rugged region.  The court, however, found one of the suspects innocent and acquitted him of the charges. The trial of several thousand rebel soldiers is underway in 11 special BDR courts on ordinary mutiny charges under the BDR Act, which prescribe a maximum imprisonment of seven years for breaching command or indiscipline.  Several hundred soldiers have already been jailed under the process. A BDR official familiar with the process said the trial of rebels in 10 of out of 52 units have so far been completed.  He said 12 of the units were based in Pilkhana at the time of the rebellion while the rest were outside Dhaka where they took up weapons and control of their units.  In line with a Supreme Court directive, the government had earlier decided that the BDR soldiers who were directly linked to the killings, lootings and arson during the February 25-26 rebellion at the Pilkhana headquarters in Dhaka would be tried in a Speedy Trial Tribunal under the civil penal code.  A Dhaka court last week marked the beginning of the trial of the main accused as it took into cognizance charges against 824 suspected "core culprits" of the 2009 carnage when 74 people including 57 army officers serving the paramilitary border force were killed.  Metropolitan Sessions Judge Mohammad Zohurul Haque took into cognizance the charges as 800 of the 824 core culprits appeared before the court at the heavily guarded newly built makeshift court complex in Dhaka.  Prosecution lawyers said the trial of the main massacre suspects were set to be referred later to a special court under the tough Speedy Trial Tribunal in line with a government decision. While 21 absconding accused are being tried in absentia, two others have died. © Copyright 2010 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
Building too close to Mumbai naval base: HC stays sale of flats January 14, 2011 00:13 IST Tags: Harsiddhi, INS Trata, Indian Navy, NOC, Justice D K Deshmukh Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  The Bombay high court on Thursday ordered an interim stay on further sale of flats in an 18-storey building named Harsiddhi at Worli in Mumbai [ Images ] as the Indian Navy has raised it objections to the project.  The Navy has claimed that the builders had not obtained the no-objection certificate from the Western Command of the Navy before starting the constructing of the building.  Naval counsel informed the division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and N D Deshpande that the building was just 57 meters away from its naval base INS Trata which houses sensitive missiles and launchers.  "According to the rules laid down by the state government, a NOC has to be procured from the Navy for any construction within 300 metres of the base," said advocate Dinesh Shah appearing for the Navy.  Shah accused the developers and the Slum Redevelopment Authority of conniving with some powerful persons for commencement of construction despite the lack of NOC from Navy.  Shah told the court that the building has an unrestricted view of the naval base and its activities in the area, which impedes their normal functioning.  Since the next hearing is two weeks away the court directed to maintain status quo till then and thereby putting any further sale of flats in the building on hold. The high court has asked the builder to submit a list of all the present occupants in the building to the court.  Interestingly, one of the residents of the Harsiddhi happens to be IPS officer turned lawyer Y P Singh. It was Singh who had obtained information under Right To Information application in the Adarsh case that revealed how the promoters had always maintained that the flats were meant for defense personnel.  A defence official said that though there were several buildings in the vicinity of INS Trata objection was specifically raised against Harsiddhi as the missile battery stood exposed to the towering building.     "There are different rules for operational and administrative areas. In operational areas we are stringent because like in INS Trata we have a missile battery there, so we have to be more stringent and Harsiddhi is near the missile battery while the other buildings are near the administrative areas," said the official on condition of anonymity.
Steps India Took To Bolster Its Defence In 2010  Written by: SAAG Share  By Rajeev Sharma  India faces military threats both from China and Pakistan. Pakistan is manageable, though one can never be complacent. The cracking pace with which China has been beefing up its military muscle is well known. But what is the Indian government doing? What specific steps the Indian government took in 2010? The Indian government has been hauled over coals by defence experts for not doing enough in terms of modernization of its defence forces. This article attempts to discuss some important things that the Indian armed forces did in the year just gone by, though the list is by no means exhaustive. Six entities – Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Defence Research and Development Organization and Ministry of Defence – have been discussed in some detail.  Indian Air Force  China has consistently been increasing its defence expenditure by ten per cent year on year for past over two decades. Though India did not use its air force in the 1962 war with China, the IAF is slowly and gradually trying to ensure that China is not able to repeat the humiliating history. The Indian Air Force ended the year 2010 with its eyes set on beefing up its aircraft fleet, weaponry and infrastructure in an attempt to catch up with China which is still way ahead of IAF in every respect. With an eye on China, India opeothrationalised an Advanced Landing Ground at Nyoma at an altitude of 13,300 feet, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh and A K Antony became the first Defence Minister to land at this airstrip on June 26.  The IAF added a brand new airfield at Phalodi in Rajasthan, which can host all types of aircraft in the IAF’s inventory, and also constructed a new parallel runway to the one existing at the Air Force Station, Gwalior, capable of operating all types of IAF aircraft. Perhaps, the biggest addition of the IAF in 2010 was the delivery of the first of the six C-130J-30 Super Hercules military transport plane to the IAF by Lockheed Martin at a function in Marietta, Georgia on December 16. The other five planes are to be delivered to India in early 2011. The over one billion dollars Super Hercules deal is just one of the many big ticket acquisitions that the IAF is going to make in the next few years. Besides, the IAF acquired AFNET, a state-of-the-art gigabyte digital information grid. The AFNET, dedicated to the nation by Antony on September 14, is managed by the Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS). The dedicated network links all ground-based and airborne sensors, air defence weapon systems and command and control nodes and also paves the way for the release of radio spectrum for civilian telecom use.  Indian Army  The most important achievement of the Indian Army in the year 2010 was the successful pre-induction test firing of the Agni-3 missile in February, which immensely fortified India’s defence capabilities vis a vis Pakistan and China. The 17-metre- long missile can carry a 1.5 ton nuclear payload to a distance of 3,500 kms, which means that it can effectively cover the whole of Pakistan and large parts of China. The missile achieved textbook precision, attaining a maximum altitude of 350 kms and withstood temperatures in the range of 3,000 degrees Celsius during its flight.  On the indigenization front, the Army decided to place an order for an additional 124 Main Battle Tanks MBT Arjun Mark-2 after successful grueling desert trials in the first quarter of this year. This is over and above the existing order of an equal number of MBT Arjun Mark-I placed with the Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi. For years, the Indian Army has been plagued by the problem of shortfall in its Officers Cadre. The one million- strong Indian Army presently has around 36,000 Officers as against a sanctioned strength of 47,000. It took an important step in addressing the issue as the apex decision-making body on security and strategic issues, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by the Prime Minister, approved its demand for setting up the second Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya in Bihar. The Gaya OTA will be only the second such academy in the country after Chennai. Its initial cost will be Rs 360 crores and is expected to start functioning by June 2011. The Academy will groom 250 cadets initially and the number is expected to go up to 750 once it peaks up.  Indian Navy  Of all the three armed services, the Indian Navy, which has been in the forefront in ensuring coastal security ever since terrorists struck Mumbai from the sea route in November 2008, boosted its all-round capacity the maximum in the year 2010. The IN stamped its robust blue water presence across the Indian Ocean Region, bolstered capacity with induction of force multipliers like MIG 29K and the INS Shivalik and launched a large number of warships, including the INS Tarkash stealth frigate in Russia and INS Shakti fleet tanker in Italy.  Defence Minister AK Antony inducted the air dominance fighter Mig-29K into the IN at INS Hansa, Vasco da Gama, Goa on February 19. The 4th generation multirole fighter jet equipped with Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and guided anti-ship Missiles and smart bombs will eventually berth on the INS Vikramaditya, the Gorshkov aircraft carrier, when it is likely to be delivered in 2012. On April 29, Antony commissioned INS Shivalik, the first of three indigenously designed and built stealth frigates, at Mumbai. The frigate, which will be the mainstay of the Naval fleet in the first half of this century, is equipped with Combat Management System, CMS-17, manufactured by the Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited, Ghaziabad. During the year two Water Jet Fast Attack Crafts were also commissioned, taking the total to eight of ten ordered.  Tarkash, the second of the three to follow on Talwar class stealth frigates being built by Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad, Russia, was launched on June 23 and will join the IN fleet in the second half of 2011. The SAM missiles-equipped warship will carry the Brahmos missile in vertical launch mode, giving it 360 degrees maneuverability. On October 11, the INS Shakti, second of the two Indian fleet tankers being built by Fincantieri, was launched at Genoa, Italy. The first, INS Deepak, is undergoing advanced sea trials before delivery to the IN. On April 1, INS Chennai, the third ship of Project-15A, was launched at Defence shipyard Mazagon Docks, Mumbai. Armed with Brahmos, the new ships of the Project-15 class will pioneer the IN’s foray into sophisticated multifunction radar system.  During the year the IN also obtained approval to induct six submarines under Project-75 India and four Landing Platform Dock (LPDs) ships under the ‘Buy and Make Indian’ clause. The IN also concluded a contract to buy four additional P-8Is, taking the total number of the US-origin maritime aircraft ordered to 12. The IN, being the nodal agency for Coastal Security among all maritime stakeholders, established four Joint Operations Centres at Mumbai, Kochi, Visakhapatnam and Port Blair. Besides the Coast Guard and the state Marine Police, other agencies including the Customs, Intelligence Bureau and Ports Authorities are all networked with these centres. Also, each coastal district has been placed under an Area Operations Centre for coordinating coastal security activities.  Indian Coast Guard  Since the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the Government has been strengthening and modernising the Indian Coast Guard which, along with the Indian Navy, has the prime responsibility to ensure that terrorists are not able to infiltrate into the country through the sea route again. As part of this incremental progress, the ICG witnessed the maximum expansion in capacity and capabilities in 2010.  The Government approved setting up of 14 new Indian Coast Guard Stations (ICGS), a massive one-time addition considering that the number of existing ICGS across the country’s vast coastline is 28. The new ICGS will come up in Pipavav and Mundra in Gujarat, Ratnagiri and Dahanu in Maharashtra, Minicoy and Androth in the Lakshadweep Islands, Karaikal (Tamil Nadu), Nizampatnam and Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Gopalpur (Orissa), Kamorta and Mayabunder (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) and Kolkata and Frazerganj (West Bengal). Five of the 14 were commissioned during this year itself. The ICGS Hutbay in Andamans was commissioned on January 28, ICGS Murud Janjira in Maharashtra on September 30, ICGS Veraval in Gujarat on October 2, while ICGS Minicoy was commissioned and DHQ-12 at Kavaratti in Lakshadweep Islands inaugurated by Defence Minister A K Antony on December 24.  The state-of-the-art new generation Offshore Patrol Vessel, ICGS Vishwast was commissioned by Antony at the Defence undertaking Goa Shipyard Limited on March 17, while ICGS Samudra Prahari was commissioned in Mumbai on October 9. Built by ABG Shipyard Limited, Surat, it carries the most advanced and sophisticated pollution response equipment to fight oil spills. The 95-meter-long ship can also embark a helicopter. Besides, two Coast Guard Air Stations and a Divisional Headquarter at Kavaratti in the Lakshadweep archipelago were also approved. During the year, the ICG inducted seven vessels including an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) and a Pollution Control Vessel (the first PCV of its kind in Southeast Asia) and also signed contract for acquisition of 12 Dornier Surveillance Aircraft on March 30, four each to be delivered by the Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited every year beginning 2012. The ICG also took delivery of six of the 17 Elta Radars under various stages of procurement. The installation of the first two Elta radar systems on the Dornier was completed this year, with the flight acceptance trials due to be undertaken in January 2011.  DRDO  It could have been a fantastic year for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with a string of big ticket achievements but for a high-profile failure in the fag end of 2010: the failure of the December 10 maiden launch of nuclear-capable Agni-2 Prime missile, which fills the gap in the range between the 2000-km Agni 2 and 3500-km Agni 3. Earlier in the year, the test launch of India’s new Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Interceptor Missile, capable of destroying hostile missiles, had failed on March 15. The DRDO did not give up despite this reversal and conducted the fourth in a row successful test of the Interceptor Missile, in endo-atmospheric mode at an altitude of 15 kms, at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur in Orissa on July 26.  The DRDO added many feathers to its cap in 2010: the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas inched closer to its induction in the Indian Air Force passing stages to finally take wings, the unveiling of the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) which took its first flight on March 29, and the Armed Version of ALH Dhruv and the Main Battle Tank Arjun finally getting bulk orders. The Government also initiated a long-awaited restructuring of the DRDO to make it leaner and give fillip to private sector participation.  The indigenously designed and developed LCH is laced with Forward Looking Infra Red Imaging Technology, Laser Range Finder facilities for target acquisition under all-weather conditions and data link for network centric operations. The 5.5 ton capacity helicopter is due to get its Initial Operational Clearance in December, 2011. The Armed Version of ALH Dhruv, ALH Weapons System Integrated, ALH-WSI, was developed by HAL and is presently undergoing integration trial for armament and electro-optical systems. It is equipped with Forward Looking Infra Red and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles and Air-to-Air Missiles. The first LCA Navy, NP-I, rolled out from the hangars of HAL, Bangalore on July 6, ready for the phase of Systems Integration Tests leading to Ground Runs and Taxi Trials with the first flight due to take place in 2011.  Another important development was the Government approval for restructuring of DRDO on May 13, following recommendations made by the Committee headed by Dr. P Rama Rao, former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology. Aimed at boosting Defence Research and encouraging the private sector to participate in the vast Defence Production and R&D efforts, the proposals envisage establishment of the Defence Technology Commission to be headed by the Defence Minister and likely to be functional in February 2011.  Ministry of Defence  The Ministry of Defence posted a string of major achievements in 2010 like the testing of AGNI-2 by the Strategic Forces and start of construction for the Rohtang Tunnel, but its image was severely dented by two real estate scams – Sukhna land in Darjeeling district of West Bengal and the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbai. The Army completed a Court of Inquiry into the Sukhna Land Scam at the directions of Defence Minister A K Antony which found six officers blameworthy and censured four others, including three of General rank, for attempting a lease agreement with a private developer for 71 acres of land near the Sukhna military station. Antony also ordered a CBI probe into the Adarsh Society scam and the CBI on January 2, 2011, claimed to have found evidence that some army officials and bureaucrats had indeed forged and manipulated documents. The Adarsh Society was originally meant to be a six-storey structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin, but ineligible people, including top officers of the armed forces, politicians and bureaucrats became members and the Society building itself was later illegally extended to 31 floors.  The Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Integrated Defence Staff, which handles the country’s nuclear weapons assets, honed its skills with successful tests of the Agni missiles. Other major events included the starting of digging work for the ambitious Rohtang Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh and implementation of Joint Doctrines. The SFC successfully test fired the Agni A2 Missile from Wheeler Island on May 15. With this test the SFC carried out successful launch of all three versions of the Agni in three months. On November 25, the SFC launched the medium range Agni-I. National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi laid the foundation stone of the 8.8 km-long Rohtang Tunnel at Manali on June 28. Expected to be completed by 2015, the Tunnel will be a step towards making the Leh-Manali Highway an all-weather road. The Rohtang Tunnel is the 18th Project of the Border Roads Organisation, which celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2010.  In other major developments for the year 2010, the National Defence University got the go-ahead signal from the Union Cabinet on May 13. The National Defence College, New Delhi, College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington are proposed to be brought under the ambit of National Defence University, Gurgaon, without dissolving their autonomy. Three Joint Doctrines, one for Sub-Conventional Operations, another for Electronic Warfare and the third for Maritime Air Operations, were promulgated on February 9. These are aimed to prepare the armed forces for battle space as future wars would be fought also in cyberspace. Air Chief PV Naik released two more Joint Operational Doctrines, one for Perception Management and Psychological Operations and another for Air and Land Operations on June 16.  The writer is a New Delhi-based journalist-author and a strategic analyst. He can be reached at
Pakistani troops violate ceasefire, Indian soldier injured 2011-01-13 11:00:00 Last Updated: 2011-01-13 11:16:38 Need a Home loan? Ads by Google Your dream home is closer than you think. Apply for a home loan today!  KashmirLOC_250 KashmirLOC_250  Jammu: An Indian Army soldier has been injured in another ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops who opened fire in Shahpur area along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector, defence sources said on Thursday.  Pakistani troops opened fire in violation of the ceasefire on the borders around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, army sources said. One Indian soldier was injured.  Indian troops retaliated. The exchange of firing continued till 6 a.m on Thursday.  The sources said it was a clear case of ceasefire violation by the Pakistani Army. The ceasefire had come into effect in November 2003.  The guns have fallen silent but the troops are maintaining vigil, the sources said.  The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
Indian Army Commits News The Indian Army managed to get two links in the Cobra Post today.  One is to a brief piece in the Times of India, entitled Indian Army Set For Its Most Radical Revamp, about an impending restructuring.  The other is a routine corruption story in the Indian Express, Mumbai Land Deal Report with Anthony, Army Chief Says Will Act.  This blog will ignore the land deal because at the moment it looks like just another bribe in India.  It seems unlikely to be of much strategic importance, and after the bank and Wall Street bailout of 2008, corruption in India seems small time to me.  Not that it is not a problem, but the Indian people have a better chance of dealing with their corruption issues than we in the US have of dealing with ours.  The army reorganization seems to be more significant.  The key points include the creation of a "Strategic Command", which will concentrate all of the army's offensive capabilities under one commander.  Staffs are to be pruned and reorganized.  Another idea, not necessarily connected to the reorganization, but part of it, is the creation of a mountain strike corps for Arunachal Pradesh.  It seems likely that General Kayani and other senior officers in  the Pakistani army know about this, and mentioned it to Biden as a reason for keeping troops on the Indian border.  After all, the creation of a unified command containing all elements of the Indian army useful in an "offensive" seems pretty clearly aimed at Pakistan to me.  It probably seems even more obviously aimed at Pakistan to Pakistani army officers.  So if the Indian army is reorganizing to increase its capability to attack Pakistan, it would seem unwise for the Pakistani army to weaken its defense against India by moving additional forces away from the Indian border to participate in an offensive in North Waziristan.  This is not what Biden and the Obama administration want to hear.  It should be noted that this Indian reorganization is probably a reaction to the fact that the Indian army was unprepared to attack Pakistan after 11/26/2008.  It probably does not indicate any real desire to attack Pakistan in the near future.  But the Pakistan army has to worry about India's capabilities, not about its desires.  Desires can change quickly, especially in response to provocations like the 11/26/2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

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