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Sunday, 27 March 2011

From Today's Papers - 27 Mar 2011

Tiger Division of Indian army establishes computer lab Jammu
n a commendable initiative, the Tiger division of the Indian army established a computer lab in a higher secondary school at Surainsar, Jammu. The project has been undertaken acknowledging the need of the youth.
A COMPUTER cell for the students of Higher Secondary school at Surainsar, Jammu, was established by Tiger Division, in which computers and peripherals worth Rs One Lakh were handed over to the school authorities by Commander, Tiger Artillery Brigade.   The project has been undertaken acknowledging the need of local populace to impart computer education to their wards and prepare them for benefits, which may be accrued from the IT revolution being witnessed in the country.  The presentation ceremony was a solemn affair hosted by the school authorities wherein army officials from the Tiger Division interacted with students and motivated them to contribute to nation building in whatever capacity they can.   The importance of IT awareness, its present and future contributions and effect on world’s economies and wide scope and employment opportunities were also deliberated upon.  The Commander of Tiger Artillery Brigade also emphasised that the assistance rendered will facilitate the students to enhance their knowledge and skills on IT related aspects and equip them to compete with students from schools of urban area.   The initiative has met the aspirations of the local population and is in furtherance to the Army’s efforts to render meaningful contribution for the upliftment of the youth of the state.
US eye more firepower to hit pro-Gaddafi forces Press Trust of India / Washington March 26, 2011, 16:50 IST  Battered by a week of allied air strikes, forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi still remain a potent threat to civilians, according to Pentagon officials, who are considering more firepower and airborne surveillance systems to find and attack the enemy troops.  As the military eyes other tools in its arsenal, the White House announced late Friday that President Barack Obama will give a speech to Americans on Monday evening explaining his decision-making on Libya to a public weary after a decade of war.  The timing comes as Republicans and Democrats have complained that the president has not sought their input about the US role in the war or explained with enough clarity about the US goals and exit strategy.  Among the weapons being eyed for use in Libya is the Air Force's AC-130 gunship, an imposing aircraft armed with cannons that shoot from the side doors with precision.  Other possibilities are helicopters and drones that fly lower and slower and can spot more than fast-moving jet fighters.  With the US pressing to shift full command of the Libya air campaign to the Nato alliance, the discussion of adding weapons to step up the assault on Gaddafi's ground troops reflects the challenges the coalition faces in hitting the right targets.  US-led forces began launching missile strikes last Saturday against the defenses of embattled Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi to establish a no-fly zone and prevent him from attacking his own people.
Defence reform shouldn’t wait for another ‘Kargil’
This year marks a decade since the attempted reform of national security institutions after the Kargil war. As a result, a number of new organizations have been created and efforts made to deal with the shortcomings identified by the reform committees.  Despite some incremental progress, the defence reforms process has failed to deliver. This is primarily due to three factors: lack of political attention, absence of civilian expertise and bureaucratic infighting. But India continues to face formidable internal and external challenges and there is a need to revisit the intellectual debates and reforms process. Such attention is unlikely in the absence of a crisis.  The 1999 Kargil war was the trigger for the defence reforms but intellectual ferment over this preceded it by at least a decade. The Indian Army's ill-fated deployment against the LTTE in Sri Lanka in the late 1980s initiated the process of self-examination. A committee on defence expenditure was created. Among other issues, the committee examined higher defence management. According to one account, this committee's recommendations were inconvenient both to civilian and military bureaucracies because their powers would have been curtailed. The report was marked secret and quickly buried.  But official reluctance to acknowledge problems could not prevent vibrant debate on national security reform among strategic analysts. But their arguments got little political attention. It took the Kargil war for that to happen. The Kargil review committee and the Group of Ministers made a number of recommendations most of which, according to the defence ministry , were implemented. However, the most controversial one — appointing a chief of defence staff (CDS) to head the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) — was not. This, on account of opposition from three sources —the Congress party, which was then in opposition; the Indian Air Force, which has historically been suspicious of such a post and some civilian bureaucrats fearful of a "Super General." A decision was taken at the time to defer this recommendation until a political consensus.  Incredibly, 10 years later, such a consensus has not evolved, indicating either lack of seriousness or collective political failure. As a result, the efficacy of all newly established organizations working in the Integrated Defence Staff are in question. According to General Padmanabhan, as the CDS was not established "the entire effort in creating an IDS is, as of now, an exercise in futility... [and] is yet another example of redundancy in military bureaucracy." Indeed, the functioning of most of these new organizations, such as the Andaman and Nicobar Joint Command, the Defence Intelligence Agency and Office of Net Assessment have been affected by inter-services and bureaucratic rivalries over posts, power and resources.  There are continuing problems in other functional areas such as defence planning and interagency coordination. The 10th five-year defence plan was only approved in its penultimate year and the current defence plan (2007-2012 ) has still not been approved. Worryingly, accordingly to informed sources, the critical task of inter-services prioritization is done by the office of defence finance and not by an informed committee of experts that examines threat assessments, force structures and strategic plans. Similarly, jointness , inherently difficult in all countries, has fetched little attention. India follows the "coordination" model of jointness in which the three services agree to coordinate their operations when required. This has historically led to a single-service approach to training, operations and even education. As a result, even tactical interoperability between the three services is a problem. Finally , inter-agency coordination between different national security establishments leaves much to be desired. Interaction between these institutions -the armed forces, intelligence agencies, paramilitary , police and other governance structures - requires improved information sharing and cooperation . On paper, the National Security Council was expected to undertake this task. However, lacking resources, capability and a mandate, this body itself has been criticized in recent times.  Problems in implementing defence reform are the result of political inattention, bureaucratic infighting and the lack of civilian expertise. This last is unique to India. Outside the armed forces, there is little expertise on defence affairs. This is primarily due to our non-existent declassification procedures and the generalist system of governance, with bureaucrats in the defence ministry expertly processing complex policies even though they lack the expertise. As a result, the relationship between service headquarters and the defence ministry is one of negative control instead of a mature, considered dialogue.  While examining defence reforms, the parliamentary standing committee acknowledged some of these problems and recommended that the process be re-examined . This sentiment is shared by a large number of defence, internal security and intelligence experts who argue that there is a compelling need for an overhaul after due deliberation under the rubric of a National Security Act. In their opinion, only this type of parliamentary intervention can smooth over bureaucratic resistance. But this idea has had little political traction. For that to happen, we may unfortunately need another crisis.
Exceptional General March 27, 2011   7:01:41 AM  The core of the book deals with the issue of national security, says Sanjoy Bagchi  Reminiscences and Reflections Author: Lt Gen SK Sinha Publisher: Gyan Price: Rs 650  Lt Gen SK Sinha joined the Army in 1943 when World War II was on. After graduating from the Indian Military Academy, he saw active service in Burma with General Slim’s 14th Army engaged in ousting the Japanese from South-East Asia. He went on to fight in Indonesia and after Independence, against Pakistan in Kashmir and insurgents in the Northeast.  Sinha became the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff and should have become the Army Chief, but at the last moment Indira Gandhi superseded him. It was suspected that the inner circle surrounding Mrs Gandhi had fed her suspicions about Sinha’s familial proximity with Jayaprakash Narain. If his loyalty to the Government of the day as the Army Chief was being doubted, strangely it was never questioned when he was the Vice-Chief. Indeed, there had never been any occasion in independent India when the loyalty of any defence officer to the Government of the day could ever be questioned. The Indian Army in this regard has been unique, unlike its counterparts in Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan that had been tempted to seize political power. It is especially distinctive because the neighbouring armies along with the Indian Army had the same parentage and shared the same traditions, ethos and esprit de corps.  Lt Gen Sinha has been regularly writing non-controversial features in the newspapers while in retirement. He has now collected his contributions in a book form. In this book, he has divided them into four parts. The first part contains his memories of the days in the Army. The second part deals with various aspects of national security like the secessionist movements in the country and the festering Kashmir problem. The third part is concerned with insurgency in the Northeast as well as the communist variety. The last part contains a miscellany of a variety of subjects ranging from the role and office of Governors to supremacy of civil power and some controversial subjects like the misuse of national awards, etc.  An important feature in the collection is Sinha’s role as Ambassador in Nepal. VP Singh had not shown much evidence of farsighted regard for the country’s national interest during his tenure as Prime Minister. But his picking up of Lt Gen Sinha from retirement as India’s Ambassador to Nepal was brilliant.  Rajiv Gandhi, his predecessor, was an immature Prime Minister surrounded by an equally immature bunch of his school chums. In a fit of temper, he had perpetrated one of the worst disasters on a neighbour that was not only a small land-locked country, but also a buffer against a bigger and more powerful enemy. He denied the renewal of the Trade and Transit Treaty with Nepal, resulting in its economic strangulation with shortage of all essential commodities. It created an intense animosity against India and I had personally witnessed this feeling, while on a visit as a UN representative, not only in the Nepalese Government but also at the local UNDP office.  It was in this context that Lt Gen Sinha went to Nepal. He was, however, well-equipped. Having been the Colonel Commandant of the Gurkha Regiment, he knew the Nepali life and customs. He had often trekked through the homeland of the Gurkhas; and, he was fluent in their language. Soon, he was able to build a rapport with the King, the politicians and the people; and, he got the lapsed treaty renewed to the satisfaction of both sides.  His tenure was perhaps a classic example of proper diplomatic relations between a big country and its small, prickly neighbour. Curiously, the King used to converse with his Prime Minister in English but with the Indian Ambassador in Nepalese. It is a pity that he was not allowed to continue the good work by VP Singh’s successor. Lt Gen Sinha should write a more detailed account of his time in Nepal to serve as a model for the Indian envoys in other neighbouring countries.  The core of the book deals with the issue of national security and terrorism in the Northeast, Kashmir and even the Naxal stronghold. He has classified terrorism into three kinds: The secessionist variety, the religious type and the revolutionary nature. The origin and the development of each are different. The secessionist terror emerged in the Northeast when the Nagas and Mizos felt that their local resources were diverted for the enrichment of the ‘outsiders’. A tell-tale example was the location of an oil refinery in Uttar Pradesh, instead of Assam. Later the conflict assumed an ethnic form between the tribals and the immigrants which was aggravated by the Congress using the Muslim immigrants as its vote-bank.  The terror in Kashmir was inspired from outside by religious fundamentalists to whom the presence of a multi-religious society was anathema. The Naxal movement exploited the abject poverty and economic deprivation of the indigenous people for the capture of political power by foreign ideologues.  The fight against militancy is like a war that has to be fought to a finish with a single-minded devotion. It should not admit any policy of appeasement and needs to be pursued with absolute co-ordination of all forces, supported by prompt intelligence and quick offensive deployment.  The author has pointed out “glaring deficiencies of paramilitary leadership” and poor morale of the CRPF. The higher echelons of paramilitary forces are manned almost exclusively by the IPS cadre with little or no combat training and who lead not from the front but from their headquarters far away from the scene. He has stressed the importance of training in jungle warfare for all CRPF men.  Lt Gen Sinha’s experience demonstrates the need for a strong political will to fight insurgency that is often lacking in the political arena. It requires the maintenance of offensive spirit, and there should not be any place for misguided feelings of human rights  The author was Governor for full terms in two ‘difficult’ States. He has written two short pieces on the office of the Governor and the relations between Governors and Chief Ministers. The Constitution has retained the position of Governors as ceremonial heads of States and as agents of the Union Government. The ruling parties have tended to treat the post as a parking slot for retired or defeated politicians who cannot be accommodated elsewhere. Of course, the difficult positions have been usually filled by competent persons from the civil or military professions.  Governors are not entirely ornamental as they are often required to play crucial roles. They are called upon to tread skilfully between the political needs of a Union Government of a different hue and the political rights of a popularly elected State Government. The author has wide experience in this treacherous field. Having been in the Army, he has the ability for objective analyses. He is articulate to shed more light compared with his political counterparts who are rarely so equipped.  Sinha would do an immense service to the nation if he were to undertake a detailed examination, based on his personal experience, of the role and function of the Governors.
House panel raps Defence Ministry’s attitude Spl Correspondent  NEW DELHI, March 26 – Despite attaching top-most priority on developing infrastructure in border areas, India might still miss the deadline on completing the road projects near the Chinese border, even as the Defence Ministry was found wanting in keeping track of the construction projects across the border and has been rapped for its casual attitude.  Strategies have been re-worked and priorities attached on completion of road projects along the Indo-China border, in a bid to keep pace with the massive construction undertaken by Beijing. But the plans might fall short of expectation, if a Parliamentary panel’s report is anything to go by. It found the Defence Ministry at fault on several counts.  According to a Parliamentary Standing Committee report, the Ministry of Defence has not maintained any details and data about the activities going on in the borders. “This speaks volume of the casual attitude of the Ministry towards such an important matter concerning the security of the country,” the report said.  The committee recommended that it was utmost important to keep watch on the construction activities going on along the country’s border by different countries and maintain a data.  In response, Defence Minister AK Anthony in a statement regarding the status of the implementation of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, said a mechanism exists and Directorate General of Military Intelligence is one of the agencies responsible for keeping a track of all construction activities by neighbouring countries along the country’s border, monitoring developments in these areas and maintaining data.  Necessary steps have been taken to ensure that national security concerns are adequately addressed through development of infrastructure, including road, rail and forward airfield, as well as operational capabilities of the Army to secure desired national military objectives, Anthony said.  The Defence Minister has apprised the committee that the government has chalked out a Long Term Perspective Plan (LTPP). At least 116 roads of the total length of 3,765 Km have been identified, of which six roads with a length of 98 Km have been completed in the first phase.  The Border Road Organisation would complete 45 roads of 911 Km length by 2012. The BRO has planned to complete a total of 113 road with length of 2,878 Km by 2015 and the remaining part thereafter. The Centre plans to spend an estimated Rs 9,200 crore in the first phase.  Under Phase II of the LTPP, 188 roads have been identified with a total cost of Rs 15,255 crore. Currently, work on 11 roads of 876 Km length is under way.  The Defence Ministry further said that maximum efforts are being put on the 73 Indo-China border roads wherein 61 BRO units have been moved to Kashmir and 46 units to Arunachal Pradesh. In the last two years, the deficiency of manpower has been brought down to 12 per cent from 25 per cent.  The committee found a sense of complacency prevailed among the BRO officials and mentioned that the Defence Secretary admitted that they may not be able to meet the deadline of 2012.  The data regarding progress of the work indicated that of the total 277 roads, only 29 roads could be completed and work on 168 others were in progress.  The slow progress was attributed to delay in obtaining forest clearance, restricted fund flow till 2008-2009 and limited working season.  The Central Government has been facing uncomfortable questions over the massive construction undertaken by China in Tibetan Autonomous Region with plans to bring even Nepal within its rail network.  Though the western borders are fairly well connected, the Northern and Eastern borders are not as well connected, the Defence Ministry has admitted.
ndian Military’s Modernisation: A Threat To Strategic Stability Of South Asia – Analysis  Written by: Masood-Ur-Rehman Khattak Bookmark and Share  India is on course to revamp its military machine in next few years to compete with China and coerce Pakistan. India is spending about 2.5 percent of its GDP on defense, which is a huge amount as compared to the other South Asian states. India’s defence budget for the year 2010-11 is $32 billion, and which shows its ambitious designs in the region. This article assesses some of the Indian Military’s modernisation programmes and their implications for the region.  According to a report, India may spend about $120 billion in the next five years to refurbish its military. India has floated a tender to add almost 126 combat aircraft. This is the first time in the history of India that it has concluded a contract of this magnitude. Many international companies including Dassault Aviation SA, Chicago-based Boeing Co, Lockheed Martin Corp. Saab AB, Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. and the European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Co are competing to get the contract. Moreover, India will spend approximately $48 billion through 2017 on purchases of combat jets, helicopters, transport and trainer aircraft. Indian navy may also buy fighter jets and helicopters worth $7.5 billion through 2022. So it could be analysed that the next decade would seemingly bring revolutionary change in the Indian military. India  India  Europe’s largest defense contractor BAE Systems Plc expects that India will to become their second-biggest market after the U.S. in the next decade. This company has already won $803 million contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for 57 Hawk jet trainers. Such collaboration would improve Indian defense industry. India is also modernizing its fleet of helicopters; the Indian Air Force recently announced that it would acquire more than 230 choppers in the near future. Lockheed is also in talks with the Indian government to sell its Sniper advanced targeting pods for fixed-wing aircraft. All these contracts involve transfer of technology to India. Such development will give boost to India’s fading defense industry.  Indian military is also in negotiations with the U.S company to supply Hellfire Romeo missile and Longbow radar as part of a bid by Boeing to sell 22 Apache AH-64 helicopters to India. Lockheed is already implementing an order for supplying six Super Hercules planes in a deal worth about $1 billion. The company sealed the order in February 2008. The first plane was delivered to the Indian Air Force late last year and was inducted into the Indian Air Force on Feb. 7, remaining planes will also be inducted in the IAF in coming years. India is also heading towards the induction of Ballistic Missile Defence system, such system would destabilise the region and may provoke arms race in South Asia. The Indian government is in dialogue with Lockheed Martin Corp, for sale of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile systems.  The Indian Navy will add a few Scorpene submarines with the help of France’s state-owned DCNS for an estimated total cost of $4.6 billion. These subs can stay sunken for about a week, making difficult for enemy radars to track and giving more room to the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean. India has also purchased eight maritime-reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft from Boeing Co. for $2.1 billion in 2009, and the Indian government recently approved an order for another four. Such inductions would upgrade India’s prying capabilities; it would also give Indian navy strategic outreach in the Indian Ocean. In order to add more teeth to its amphibious warfare capabilities, the Indian Navy is planning to induct four Landing Platform Docks to join the fleet alongside INS Jalashwa. These ships will be of 200 meters long and to be able to transport Main Battle tanks, heavy trucks, Armoured Personnel Vehicles and other heavy machinery. It would also be able to carry out operations of heavy-lift helicopters of the Navy. The four LPDs will also have a point missile defence system and a close-in weapon system to protect itself from enemy firing and aircraft.  The Indian Army is making strides towards modernisation and introducing high-tech and all-terrain infantrymen, including the Futuristic Infantry Solider as a System (F-INSAS). These soldiers will have the capability to fight in network centric warfare and electronic warfare environment. The Indian Army has recently floated a global tender for acquiring an integrated computer and communications system for its infantrymen. The systems included mini-computers or laptops along with GPS and radio systems, which will be part of the F-INSAS programme. The entire process is likely to cost more than $3 billion. The F-INSAS programme was first announced in 2007. The first phase of acquiring and training infantrymen is likely to be over by the end of 2011. These futuristic soldiers will have a more lethal but lighter rifle, lighter but stronger bulletproof jacket and lighter boots, besides ultra modern gadgets to increase his efficiency in the modern warfare. Latest technologies like GPS, radio systems and computers in the form of mini-laptops, helmet-mounted pads or wristbands will enable soldiers to exchange important information with the chain of command under all conditions. The main idea of the F-INSAS programme is to augment the soldier’s lethality, survival capacity and mobility.  The Indian Army has also inducted its first indigenously designed and developed Nishant unmanned aerial vehicles. The 15-foot-long Nishant has a wingspan of nearly 22 feet and a ceiling of around 11,800 feet. Maximum speed is around 115 mph and turnaround launches can be done within 20 minutes. Niashant is also joined with Lakshya, which has a range of 370 miles, a flight ceiling of 29,504 feet and a maximum speed of about 600 mph. such UAVs would enhance Indian army’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, making things worse for Pakistan military. The Indian Army has recently issued a global tender for procurement of 400 towed artillery howitzers. It was recently revealed that trials on various kinds of guns would take place this summer, leading to their induction by end of 2012. India is already in an advanced stage of negotiations with the US for procuring over 145 ultra-light howitzers for their deployment in mountainous regions. Such induction is to deter Kargil type situation in future and also to meet any threat from China. In addition to that Lockheed Martin is also in talks with the Indian government to sell the Javelin shoulder fire missile system to the Indian Army. The potential contract for supplying 8,000 missiles and 300 command launchers could be valued at more than $1 billion.  India has also acquired an Israeli RISAT-2 satellite that has day and night viewing capability. This satellite will keep a 24/7 watch over Pakistan even when the landmass is covered by a thick cloud cover. This capability puts the satellite in the class of what are often called spy satellites. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been developing its very own RadarSat at the cost of almost 400 million Indian rupees, that would be operational in few years and it would give India an edge in the space.  The level of funds India allocated for the revitalization of military’s capabilities reveals that Indian Military is on route to achieve the potential to establish its hegemony in South Asia and also to operationalise its aggressive doctrine against its neighbours. Induction of latest aircrafts and Air borne early warning systems will enhance its air mobility, firepower, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities. Such a capability is essential for the quick and swift operations. India has also brought change in its military’s night time operations’ capabilities, such a shift would shore up Indian Military’s capacity to carry out day and night operations without any time impediment.  It is necessary for Pakistan to monitor Indian Military’s modernisation and come up with an adequate response. Pakistan is a democratic country with effectual military force. Its military and political leadership can play a viable role to allay threats to the national security. Political leadership must show a clear direction to the Pakistan armed forces. Political parties of the country must support the ruling government and military in any crisis situation. Inter Services harmony and coordination is necessary in the modern warfare. After the induction of nuclear weapons, wars have become limited, lethal and destructive. In such warfare, it is necessary to have Inter Services synergy and better coordination. Therefore, keeping in mind the changing strategic environment and India’s technological advancement, Pakistan has to develop and equip its military with latest weapons and equipment. It has to rely on its indigenous defense industry for the maintenance and development of its military machine.
CAG locks horns with Army  Gautam Datt Express News Service First Published : 26 Mar 2011 02:24:56 AM IST Last Updated : 26 Mar 2011 10:32:23 AM IST  NEWDELHI : A tussle has broken out between the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Army over large number of unauthorised golf courses in cantonments. The auditors are unhappy over the way Army has turned more than 8,000 acres of defence land into sprawling stretches of green where officers indulge in what has become the most favourite pastime of the services top brass — playing golf.  But the Army has locked horns with the CAG on the issue claiming that golf is being played at certain stations and cantonments where there is adequate open space available within authorised land norms and scales.  Army sources said that no extra land for such purposes were demanded and the open spaces were utilised for multipurpose activities such as training, mobilisation, practice, environment, protection and operational purposes.  Close to 100 golf courses on defence land around the country had invited the wrath of the CAG earlier also after which then Army Chief General N C Vij in 2004 had started calling them Environmental Park and Training Area.  The CAG has said that they continue to be unauthorised and only stopped short of calling them illegal.  The latest CAG report, tabled in Parliament on Friday, went into large scale irregularities in the way defence land was being handled.  With 17.31 lakh hectares, the Ministry of Defence is the largest land holder in the country and around 80 percent of this is under the Army. It was found that Directorate of Defence Estate, land record keeper, has become redundant and the CAG has recommended setting up of land management authority.  It cited several instances where commercial establishments such as hotels have come up on the land meant for the Armed Forces. Not to mention the Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai’s upmarket Colaba. The 31-story Adarsh housing apartment was built on defence land in violation of every rule.  The CAG is conducting a separate audit on Adarsh case and would be ready with its report in next session of Parliament.  The CAG has now pointed out that these courses were being operated by Army Zone Golf, a private body and also included non-armed forces personnel, including foreigners, as members. Money was being earned through monthly subscriptions, but revenue is not credited to the government.  The Army has challenged this observation also claiming that civilians were not permanent members and foreigners are the defence and military attaches of missions based in India. The auditors said they have not problems with the Armed Forces having golf courses, but they should be developed under some rule.  “The ministry was yet to frame a set of rules governing the running of the golf courses as also treatment of the revenue generated out of activities of such golf courses,” said the report.  There is a concept of military recreation ground in the Cantonment Land Administration Rules of 1937 under which golf courses and race courses were not covered.  But in 2004, the Army Chief declared golf a sport and not a recreational activity. There were 16 golf courses where memberships were open to civilians.  According to records, the Army has 97 golf courses. The area of 79 of them is 8076.94 acres.   The Army also claimed that there was no perceptible increase in encroachment of Army land.

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