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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

From Today's Papers - 29 Mar 2011

China’s growing military might A major challenge for India
by Harsh V. Pant  After announcing a mere 7.5 per cent jump in its defence budget, the first time since the 1980s when its defence spending increased in single-digit percentage, China is back to its double-digit defence budget. Beijing has announced that its official defence budget for 2011 will rise by 12.7 per cent from the previous year.  China’s largely secretive military modernisation programme is producing results faster than expected. Beijing is gearing up to challenge the US military prowess in the Pacific. It is refitting a Soviet-era Ukrainian aircraft carrier for deployment next year and more carriers are under construction in Shanghai. China’s submarine fleet is the largest in Asia and is undergoing refurbishment involving nuclear-powered vessels and ballistic missile-equipped subs. Its anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) system, developed specifically to target US carrier strike groups, has reached initial operational capability much earlier than expected. And earlier this year, photographs appeared on Chinese Internet sites of what is apparently China’s first stealth fighter during a runway test in western China.  China has already shown its prowess in anti-satellite warfare and has redeployed its nuclear warheads onto mobile launchers and advanced submarines. In a marked shift in China’s no-first-use policy, Chinese leaders have indicated that they would consider launching pre-emptive strikes if they found the country in a “critical situation”, thereby lowering the threshold of nuclear threats. There is a growing debate in the PLA about whether to discard conditionalities on China’s commitments to no-first use.  China is a rising power with the world’s second largest economy and a growing global footprint. It would like to have a military ready and willing to defend these interests. But it is the opaqueness surrounding China’s military upgradation that is the real source of concern. China does not believe in transparency. In fact, the PLA follows Sun Tzu who argues that “the essence of warfare is creating ambiguity in the perceptions of the enemy.”  China continues to defend its military upgradation by claiming that it needs offensive capability for Taiwan-related emergencies. But clearly its sights are now focused on the US. China wants to limit American ability to project power into the Western Pacific. It wants to prevent a repeat of its humiliation in 1996 when the US aircraft carriers could move around unmolested in the Taiwan Strait and deter Chinese provocations. Not surprisingly, the steady build up of a force with offensive capabilities well beyond Chinese territory is causing consternation in Washington and among China’s neighbours. This comes at a time of Chinese assertiveness on territorial disputes with Japan, India and Southeast Asian countries.  Beijing has started claiming that the bulk of South China Sea constitutes Chinese territorial waters, defining it as a “core national interest,” a phrase previously used in reference to Tibet and Taiwan. This has come as a shock to regional states such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan who also have territorial claims in the sea. This sea passage is too important to be controlled by a single country and that too by one that is located far away from these waters. China would like to extend its territorial waters, which usually run to 12 miles, to include the entire exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 miles. China is challenging the fundamental principle of free navigation. All maritime powers, including India, have a national interest in the freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons and respect for international law in the South China Sea.  American technological prowess and war-fighting experience will ensure that China will not be able to catch up very easily. China is still at least a generation behind the US militarily. But the Pentagon’s most recent assessment of China’s military strategy argues that despite persistent efforts, the US understanding of how much China’s government spends on defence “has not improved measurably.” It is clear now that Beijing is configuring its military to fight the US. China’s focus on anti-access and area denial weapons is designed to prevent the US from operating without fear in the Western Pacific.  At a time when the US is increasingly looking inwards, China’s military rise has the potential to change the regional balance of power to India’s disadvantage. It is not entirely clear that China has well-defined external policy objectives though its means, both economic and military, to pursue policies are greater than at any time in the recent past. Yet, there is no need for India to counter China by matching weapon for weapon or bluster for bluster. India will have to look inwards to prepare for the China challenge. After all, China has not prevented India from pursuing economic reforms and decisive governance, developing its infrastructure and border areas, and from intelligently investing in military capabilities. If India could deal with stoicism the Chinese challenge in 1987, when there was a real border stand-off between the two, there should be less need for alarm today when India is a much stronger nation, economically and militarily. A resurgent India of 2011 needs new reference points to manage its complex relationship with the super power-in-waiting — China.  China’s Global Times had warned last year that “India needs to consider whether or not it can afford the consequences of a potential confrontation with China.” India’s challenge is to raise the stakes high enough so that instead of New Delhi it is Beijing that is forced to consider seriously the consequences of a potential confrontation with India. But it is not clear if the political leadership in New Delhi has the farsightedness to rise to this challenge.  The writer, who teaches at King’s College, London, is the author of “The China Syndrome”.

Singh, Gilani to hold informal talks
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, March 28 Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani are likely to hold informal talks in Mohali, where they will reach on Wednesday to witness the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final match.  Official sources discounted the possibility of the two leaders holding discussions on all outstanding issues which have bedevilled relations between the two countries.  The sources said the idea behind ‘cricket diplomacy’ was to provide an opportunity to the two PMs to meet in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy the game, which could help reduce tension between the two nations.Gilani, however, has no plans to come to Delhi and will be reaching straight to Chandigarh, the sources said. He will be accompanied by the Senate Chairman, some parliamentarians and top aides. Besides, some media personnel will also be part of the nearly 50-strong Pakistani delegation.  The Indian PM will also be accompanied to Mohali by a few ministers and top officials, including National Security Adviser Shivshanker Menon. Indications are that Gilani will head straight to the PCA Stadium at Mohali on his arrival to watch the match. Singh will be hosting a dinner in honour of Gilani at the stadium itself.  Asked if the Pakistan Premier would return to Pakistan after the match, the sources said his programme was still being finalised. “Everything is in a flux…we should be in a position to give some concrete details by tomorrow,’’ they added. The Congress party, meanwhile, made it clear that Singh’s invitation to Gilani did not in anyway mean any compromise by New Delhi on the issue of cross-border terrorism.  Party spokesman Manish Tewari said the PM’s overture was reflective of India's "holistic" approach towards friendly relations with the neighbouring country and it did not mean any compromise on the issue of terrorism.  Pakistan media reports quoted Gilani as telling his Cabinet colleagues that he accepted Singh’s invitation in national interest. He said it was also a timely opportunity for the two governments to show the world that the two nations could play together and sit and deliberate together on issues of national importance.

India, Pak secy-level talks positive
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, March 28 Some 28 months after the ghastly November 2008 Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan today re-started the dialogue process at the secretary-level at a conference hall that was christened “Friendship Room”. The venue was a grand five-star hotel in South Delhi where and the home secretaries of India and Pakistan, GK Pillai and Chaudhary Qamar Zaman, respectively, accompanied by a bevy of officials and top security officers started the two-day talks on a wide range of issues.  Expectedly, the five-hour session on the first day of the dialogue centred around the Mumbai attacks. It was after these attacks that the dialogue was suspended in 2008. Emerging from the meeting both sides mouthed one-liners about being “positive” and termed the progress as going “in the right direction”. A joint statement is expected tomorrow. The Pakistan Home Secretary is slated to fly out to Agra after the talks to visit the iconic Taj Mahal once the talks are over.  Sources said India asked Pakistan for voice samples of the suspected Mumbai terror attack plotters believed to be in Pakistan. The neighbouring country will have to challenge a court ruling that prevented it from sharing voice samples of those being prosecuted for the attacks.  India has been demanding voice samples of seven Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorists - including top leader Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu al-Qama and Zarar Shah - suspected to have masterminded the Mumbai carnage that killed 166 people. Indian investigators want to match the voice samples with taped telephone calls between the 10 terrorists who unleashed the Mumbai mayhem and their Pakistani handlers. “Talks were extremely positive. Progress was made in certain direction and in the right direction,” Indian Home Secretary G K Pillai told reporters at the end of the first day. Last July, Pakistan had blamed Pillai for the collapse of the Indo-Pak talks when the foreign ministers of the two countries had met in Islamabad.  Zaman, who is leading a 12-member delegation, also said talks were "very positive". “We have another day for the talks to follow through”, he said while adding that he would not go into the specifics. “But I can tell you with good amount of certainty that its been a very positive attitude displayed on both sides and I am really confident about tomorrow's proceedings also,” Zaman said.

Indian army organises Human Rights Camp in Doda
AS PART of the awareness drive related to Human Rights, the Indian army organized a day-long Camp for the villagers of Bhart and Udianpur blocks, on 26 Mar 2011 at Village Bagla under the aegis of its village committee with the aim of spreading the message “Army for Human Rights”.   The Camp was also supported by local NGO's working in Human Rights field.    The focus of the HR camp was primarily to educate villagers about the exact idea of Human Rights, which is right to life, right to freedom, right to no torture, right to  education and right to equality amongst others.    Other aspects covered were Human and Fundamental Rights as guaranteed by the constitution of India, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles under it and action we can take on violation of any of these Rights.   The Army has played a key role in ensuring the Human Rights of people by bringing in peace and harmony, there by paving way for the unhindered developmental activities and emphasis on issues like health care, education and employment.   The conducting RR Unit has also established a Human Rights Cell named “Khuda Ke Bande HR Cell” at their Battalion HQ at Arnora, Ghat in Dist Doda and established a SAATHI telephone helpline @ 9419169094, where people can call 24 x 7 regarding reporting any violations of Human Rights, RTI related issues, guidance regarding education or scholarship schemes for children, career counselling for youth, guidance for recruitment in the Army / Police and for participating in the Army's efforts towards development of the area.   By organising this camp Army has given a clear message to people that they are working as the saviours of their Human Rights rather than violating it.   A total of appox 800 people attended the Human Rights Camp, which was followed by a Medical Aid Camp conducted with the help of both military as well as volunteer civilian doctors. Availability of lady doctors proved to be of great use for most of the women staying in the remote areas, who rarely get opportunity to visit doctors for medical assistance.    The Addl DC Mr A.R.Natnoo was present at the Camp to note the problems and suggestions of the people, first hand. The camp received a very positive response both from the local populace and the civil administration.     People were all praises for the awareness drive started by the Rashtriya Rifles Battalion.

India army building luxury golf courses: auditor 
(AFP) – 18 hours ago  NEW DELHI — The Indian army has developed a sideline in running golf courses using government land but returning no revenue to the state, the nation's auditor claims in a damning new report.  The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that at least 32 square kilometres (12 square miles) of rent-free land had been handed to a privately-run company, Army Zone Golf, which operates 97 luxury golf courses.  The defence ministry is the largest state landowner, holding 80 percent of the 7,000 square kilometres of government land, much of it now prime real estate, according to the CAG report released Friday.  Golf memberships are being sold to present and past service personnel as well as civilians and foreign nationals, the report said, with revenue credited to a private regimental fund which could not be accessed by the auditors.  Army authorities "earn large amounts of revenue by allowing persons other than service personnel to use these facilities," the report said.  "Heavy amounts of revenues were being earned without paying any lease rent and allied charges for use of government assets," it added.  The CAG's account of the misuse of public land will add to growing worries about the military's slide into corruption following a string of recent scandals.  In January, the government ordered a 31-storey apartment block in Mumbai to be demolished after it emerged army officers and local politicians had usurped apartments originally meant for war widows.  Army Zone Golf claims to promote the sport in the armed services and runs "some of the most spectacular golf courses of India," according to its website. No one at the company responded to calls for comment from AFP.  The company's organising council includes several retired army officers, and was once headed by Joginder Jaswant Singh, former army chief of staff and now the governor of the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.  The CAG has been instrumental in exposing mismanagement and possible fraud in the sale of telecom licences in 2008 which it said had led to a loss to the state of up to 39 billion dollars.  The telecom minister at the time, A. Raja, has since been arrested and awaits trial.

Pakistan Centric: ‘The Indian Army’ – Analysis
 Written by: Masood-Ur-Rehman Khattak Bookmark and Share  India has always claimed that the Indian army is “China Centric” and its military transformation is not against Pakistan. But ground reality is quite different from the Indian military’s claims. This article will focus on three main issues, first the Indian military’s formation and deployment against Pakistan, secondly the Indian military’s Pakistan focused arms acquisition and thirdly the Indian military’s aggressive doctrines and strategies against Pakistan.  The Indian Army is divided into six operational commands. 1. Northern Command- Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir. 2- Southern Command- Pune, Maharashtra, 3- Eastern Command Kolkata-West Bengal, 4- Western Command- Chandimandir, 5- Southwestern Command- Jaipur, Rajasthan, 6- Central Command- Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.  Out of these six commands, three are Pakistan centric. Firstly, the Northern Command, which is headquartered at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir. It possess three Corps under its command, which are XIV Corps, headquartered at Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, XV Corps, headquartered at Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir and XVI Corps, headquartered at Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir.  The Second command, which is focused on Pakistan is the “Southern Command”, is Headquartered at Pune, Maharashtra and responsible for border areas of Rajasthan. It possesses XII Corps, which is headquartered at Jodhpur, Rajasthan close to the border with Pakistan. It is equipped with Armour brigade and Mechanised brigade along with two infantry divisions for swift and quick thrusts into Pakistan.  The third command which is focused on Pakistan is the Western Command,  headquartered at Chandimandir, Indian Punjab. This is the most important Indian command as far as Pakistan is concerned. This command holds extensive strike power. There are four Corps under this command and includes, the II-Corps, X Corps, IX Corps, and XI Corps.  II-Corps is the most important of the Indian Army’s three strike formations. Initially it was tasked to cut across the Cholistan desert towards Jacobabad cutting Pakistan in two. But after the induction of nuclear weapons in south Asia, its role has been transformed; now it will support Indian army’s proactive military operations to carry out swift and quick limited assaults against Pakistan.  This Corps (II-Corps) holds almost 50 per cent of the Indian army’s strike capabilities. It is responsible for guarding the borders till Ganganagar. II-Corps is a strike force that includes an armoured division, which is capable of intruding deep into enemy territory. Its Armoured Division is located at Patiala; it has also placed Reorganised Army’s Plains Infantry Division (RAPID) located at Dehradun. India Army (Click on image to enlarge)  India Army (Click on image to enlarge)  The Indian Army has four RAPID (Reorganized Army Plains Infantry Division) formations each consisting of two infantry brigades, one mechanised brigade with brigade-sized mechanised assets, one artillery brigade, one recon & support battalion, one engineer regiment, one signals regiment and vastly improved surveillance with target acquisition equipment and dedicated aviation units. RAPID formations are attached to the Holding Corps in Punjab and Rajasthan and provide these essentially defensive formations with an extremely flexible unit that dramatically enhances their ability to withstand offensive operations against Pakistan. All these capabilities shows that most of the Indian strike formations are focused on Pakistan – not China.  X Corps which is headquartered at Bhatinda, Punjab also comes under the Western Command; this Corps also possesses adequate strike power including an Infantry Division two RAPID, an Independent Armoured brigade, an Independent, an Air defence brigade and an Engineering Brigade. Due to its proximity with Pakistani Punjab, this Corps is also considered to be Pakistan focused.  IX Corps, headquartered at Yol, Himachal Pradesh also comes under Western Command. This Corps also posses plenty of strike forces including two Infantry Divisions, and three Independent Armoured brigades, giving enough fire power to launch quick assault against Pakistan within short span of time.  XI Corps, headquartered at Jalandhar, Punjab is also part of Western Command. This Corps is also Pakistan centric, because of the propinquity with Pakistan. This Corps possesses enough fire power to launch a quick, swift and sudden attack giving no response time to Pakistan army. This Corps is armed with three infantry divisions, one armoured brigade and Mechanised brigade for rapid intrusion inside Pakistani territory.  In 2005 Vajra Shakti Exercise, India brought flexibility in its Holding corps. These holding Corps were designated as Pivot Corps. Pivot Corps can initiate offensive if required in the battlefield. According to the then Chief of Army Staff, Gen J J Singh, ‘‘They (Pivot Corps) have assigned roles, which are offensive as well as defensive and the doctrine does not spell them out in detail. The decision making has been left to theatre commanders, depending upon their assessment and evaluation of the situation. Purpose of these Corps was to give an offensive punch to its Defensive Corps for any rapid assault against Pakistan.  After the brief assessment of the Indian army’s deployment patterns, we can assess that most of the Indian Army is deployed against Pakistan. Such a deployment has compelled Pakistan to adopt counter measures and devote most of its resources at Eastern border to avoid any coercion by the Indian Army. The next paragraphs of the article will assess the Indian military’s Pakistan focused arms acquisition and its impact on Pakistan.  In last five years the Indian military has brought dramatic transformation in its weapon and equipment. In 2004 Indian army introduced LORROS- Long Range Reconnaissance and Observation System. This is a high quality, remotely controlled; observation system designed for medium and long range surveillance. India has already utilised this system in Indian Held Kashmir-(IHK) against Mujahideen, and it has also used this system against the Pakistan Army to keep a constant check on the deployment and movement Pak-Army at the LoC. Its main aim is to provide border surveillance, Intelligence gathering, Reconnaissance, Artillery spotting & target acquisition.  The Indian Army has also introduced Weapon Locating Radar (WLR). WLR is mobile artillery locating Phased array radar developed by India. This counter-battery radar is designed to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for Counter-battery fire. India practiced this radar in the 2009 military exercises. In the same year the Indian army introduced Battle Field Surveillance Radar- Short Range (BFSR-SR). This is a man portable 2D short range Battle Field and Perimeter Surveillance Radar developed by the Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). Both these Radars are Pakistan specific and were practiced in 2009 military exercises, closed to the border with Pakistan – which shows Indian military’s Pakistan centric approach. India has also extensively practiced Network Centric and electronic warfare capabilities in the last few years.  It is necessary for the Indian Military to acquire latest fighter jets along with fast mobility latest Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), because any rapid assault (against Pakistan), would require mechanized armour and latest fighter jets to carry out swift, quick, day and night operations with lightening speed. India in last five years has added 82 Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters and 300 T-90 tanks from Russia, and A-50/Phalcon Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system from Israel and Russia. By 2015, India would be able to have 272 SU-30 fighter Jets in its air force and approximately 1000 T-90 tanks by 2020. Such a huge air force and Mechanised force is mainly for Pakistan, because of the geographical compulsions. India cannot use its tanks and other Mechanized forces against China because of the rugged mountainous terrain. So as far Indian arms acquisition is concerned it is mainly to coerce Pakistan and establish its regional hegemony in the subcontinent. The next part of the article would briefly assess the Indian military’s aggressive doctrine and its impact on Pakistan.  Initially Indian Military’s doctrine (Sunder Ji Doctrine) was aimed to dissect Pakistan in two parts but after the nuclearisation of the region and threat of nuclear retaliation by Pakistan, India brought change in its military doctrine and introduced Cold Start Doctrine in 2004. This doctrine is aimed against Pakistan and urges Indian military to carry out quick and swift operations against Pakistan within 72-96 hours and give no response time to Pakistan Military. To operationalise this doctrine Indian military would require Network Centric Warfare (NCW) and Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities in its Army and air force with robust command and control at its core. Synergy and integration between the Indian forces would be essential elements of this Doctrine. To operationalise this doctrine the Indian military has carried out almost 10 major exercises in last six years close to the border with Pakistan. it has practiced all those elements which are required for Cold Start based operations. Because of this doctrine deterrence in South Asia is in danger because of the rapid militarization and operationalisation of Cold Start Doctrine. It has the potential not only to operationalise Indian military doctrine on the basis of pre-emption but can also trigger a nuclear conflict.  Most of the Indian army is deployed against Pakistan, which shows that Indian army is Pakistan centric. India is improving its ties with China and it is a possibility that their mutual trade may cross 100 billion dollars mark in next few years. Recently India and China have also carried out joint military exercises which show, they are improving their bilateral relationship at a rapid pace and it would be unwise to expect any clash between China and India in the foreseeable future. But with Pakistan, India is in a constant clash over many issues starting from Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, Water distribution and terrorism. It is a possibility that India may launch a limited war (under the nuclear umbrella) against Pakistan to intimidate Pakistan economically and militarily. In such a scenario it would be difficult to assess Pakistan’s response. Any provocation against Pakistan, may lead to nuclear exchange. It is imperative for the Indian strategic thinkers to think wisely and forget the approach of “immediate neighbour as an enemy” and work for the peace and development of the region. Pakistan centric military build up will not benefit either party. The Indian Military must take concrete steps to build confidence with its small neighbours, only then we can expect long term peace and stability in South Asia.

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