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Monday, 25 April 2011

From Today's Papers - 25 Apr 2011

IAF to procure long-range missiles for its fighters
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, April 23 In line with its modernisation programme, the IAF is hovering over the global arms bazaar to procure stand-off long-range air-to-air missiles that would give its new generation fighters added capability to shoot down hostile aircraft without engaging them in close aerial combat.  The IAF has issued a global request for information (RFI) for procuring the intended weapon system. Though the RFI does not indicate the range of the missile, it is expected to be over 100 km. Modern aircraft equipped with long-range missiles, operating in conjugation with its newly acquired airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) in a network-centric environment backed by ground-based radars and satellite communication, form a huge force multiplier. The IAF would be able to cover a wider swath of airspace with lesser aircraft, thereby rationalising and optimising fleet deployment.  Standoff missiles are fired from a long distance and allow the launching platforms to generally remain outside the range of the target’s defences. These not only negate the chances of engaging hostile aircraft in dog-fights but also prevent them from approaching their intended targets.  The IAF already has long-range missiles like the Russian R-27 (70-130 km) and the R-77 (100 km) for use with MiG-29 and Su-30. The DRDO is also developing an air-to-air missile, Astra, with a range of 80-100 km. There are also reports of a deal with Russia to co-produce Novator K-100 “AWACS killer” missile having a range of 300-400 km.  The IAF’s move to procure long-range missiles comes when the numbers of Su-30 aircraft in its fleet is being increased and the upgrading of MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 is underway. Moreover, induction of the proposed 126 multi-role medium combat aircraft is just over the horizon.  Parameters listed by the IAF state that the intended missile should be lightweight with a long range, having “re-attack” capability. It should have a light warhead and precision strike capability with low collateral damage probability. State-of-the-art mid-course guidance system, data-link capability with aircraft, day, night and adverse weather capability and adequate anti-jamming measures are among other features desired by the air force. Further, series modification to suit specific IAF operational requirements should be possible.  A ground-based training simulator, multi-media training packages, dummy training missiles, captive training missile pod and maintenance and storage infrastructure would also form a part of the package.

Anti-drone protesters force Pak to halt NATO supplies
Islamabad, April 24 Hundreds of protesters demanding an end to US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions blocked the main road to the border in the northwest, forcing authorities to halt NATO supply shipments to Afghanistan.  Officials said around 70 per cent of NATO supplies were transported through Pakistan. Suspected militants often attacked NATO trucks in Pakistan and this forced the USA to sign agreements with Russia for an alternative supply route.  Officials said supply trucks and oil tankers for around 1.5 lakh NATO troops were stopped in eastern Punjab province from heading towards the border region in view of the protest.  Cricketer-turned-politician and chief of Tehrik-e-Insaf party Imran Khan, who had called for a two-day protest, spent last night with hundreds of protesters on the main highway, connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan.  “We will continue our campaign until America stops killing our innocent people,” he told around 3,000 protesters on the outskirts of Peshawar.  “It is our start against American slavery. The people have risen up. They will let neither corrupt leaders nor their American bosses stay in this country,” he added. Khan also offered to act as a mediator for talks with militants. — PTI

Death of a cantonment in Secunderabad
British established their empire in India with Indian troops. The only difference between the native armies and the British Indian Army was quality of training and discipline. Hence it is necessary that the violators of Secunderabad are punished.
ON APRIL 4, 2011 the CBI raided Office of Cantonment Executive Officer of Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB) and some builders. It found prime-facie cases of collusion between the two for illegal constructions within Cantonment limits and registered FIRs.   The whole episode was extensively reported in local media on 20/04/11. Next day, that is, on 21/04/11 local media including local editions of prominent english papers reported that as per their sources nearly 80 per cent of buildings are illegal in the Cantonment, wherein the Engineering Department of SCB and local politicos have colluded over last few years to perpetuate this gigantic scam. Earlier, Airport Authority of India’s clearance for multi-storey construction was mandatory and that acted as a check on depredations of corrupt SCB officials and greedy builders. This check was lifted after the Hyderabad Airport was moved from Begumpet (located in Cantonment) to new Samshabad Airport and the scam picked up momentum.  Modus-operandi was very simple.  • Step 1. Cantonment Executive Officer and elected members of SCB colluded to get permission for building from SCB. Objections by the Military Members (if any) were bulldozed). • Step 2. Permission given for construction of building strictly within rules. • Step 3. Builder commits violations in terms of excess covered area and addition of extra floor. • Step 4. SCB issues notice on paper. • Step 5. Notice is not followed through. • Step 6. No follow-up report is ever presented to SCB. Even if the President SCB (who is a military officer) asks for progress, he is either given wrong information or plain-simple ignored. • Objections of local military units/ officials on security and hygiene ground ignored.  It is likely that on 22/04/11 the local media carries no (NO) report of this scam. Why? Because they have been fed a preposterous lie, that is, since 80 per cent of buildings can be taken as illegal, nothing much can be done now. Logic is twofold. (a) You cannot demolish such a huge number of buildings where innocent people have invested their life’s earnings and (b) violations on such a large scale prove that rules are inherently out-dated. Then why do we want to destroy Adarsh Building in Mumbai?  This unethical argument seems to have been bought by the media. Because we have heard and accepted this argument ad-infinitum in past too. Trains are stopped and buses burnt with no adverse consequences for the rioters because they are supposedly fighting a wrong. Illegal colonies are regularised with disastrous consequences for urban infrastructure because where will the poor go! Inaction or acquiescence in such cases lets the selfish politico and bureaucrat get away with poor governance and corruption. Net result is that we are becoming a country of gated communities where the well-off live in hostile co-existence with neighbouring slums and commuting between cities has become movement from one bypass to other bypass.  While in civil side we have this ability to ghettoise. What will happen to military if cantonments are allowed to become playground of corrupt officials and builders. Advent of these corrupt has already led to neutralisation of military in all Cantonment Boards. To start with the life in a cantonment revolved around military. The civil segment was in support of and supported by the military. Now the situation has changed. Needs of ever increasing civil segment are driving growth of urban ghettos deep inside cantonments. These ever expanding sprawls are clashing with and inhibiting genuine military needs. Firing ranges are closed because civil buildings have come up around them. Training Areas have become segmented by roads criss-crossing to connect adjoining urban sprawls. Internal roads of Cantonment meant for military traffic are monopolised by heavy through-traffic causing delay and accidents to military movements.  Cantonments are being destroyed as a military sinecure we know. Thus today Indian Army is travelling longer distances and stays out for longer period from home station to avail limited training areas. With the Army men away for months to far-off training areas and cantonments becoming a bastion of anti-social elements, the families left behind in cantonments are exposed to all kind of depredations. This sense of insecurity destroys the morale of troops.  It is a well-known fact that today Indian military in general and Army in particular is facing a huge problem of encroachments and illegal activities inside cantonments. More and more of its time and manpower is getting diverted towards guarding it precious assets. Such an Army cannot train well and an untrained army is nothing but an armed mob which will never be able to fight a resolute and well trained enemy. Our own history tells us this. Our own history tells us this.

PMO denies report of 'secret' talks with Kayani
New Delhi:  The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has denied reports in the British media claiming that Dr Manmohan Singh had initiated a back channel exercise before the Mohali meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.  "We have seen media reports quoting a British newspaper saying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh contacted Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani before the Mohali meeting between the two Prime Ministers. The report is false," Prime Minister's media adviser Harish Khare said in a statement.  London-based The Times had reported yesterday that The Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh appointed an "unofficial envoy" to make contact with Pakistan's Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in a bid to take on board the man who exercises de facto control over Pakistan's foreign policy.  The Times report goes on to say that the talks between the Indian envoy and Kayani through a back channel have encouraged the UK and US which are keen to see a resolution of the conflict between the two countries.   Read more at:
The visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match between India and Pakistan in the cricket World Cup last month has sparked hope of a diplomatic thaw between the two neighbouring countries.  Kayani visited Kabul this week to meet members of the High Peace Council, a body set up by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to build contacts with Taliban groups.  The Pakistan army chief was accompanied by General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Two top Lashkar militants killed in Jammu and Kashmir
New Delhi:  Two top militants of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) have been killed in a fierce encounter with the Army's Delta Force jawans and the police in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.  The two militants have been identified as Divisional commander Abu Musa and District Commander Zulkarnain.  Sweeping operations are still going on. Two AK-47s have been recovered.  Both Abu Musa and Zulkarnain were active in the area for years and had been in regular contact with the LeT handlers in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.  

Pak army violates ceasefire in J&K; 2 Lashkar men killed
Published: Monday, Apr 25, 2011, 0:33 IST By DNA Correspondent | Place: Srinagar | Agency: DNA  Pakistani army violated ceasefire again and resorted to unprovoked firing on Indian forces along the line of control (LoC) in Poonch on Saturday night.  The truce violation came on the same day as media reports about prime minister Manmohan Singh’s secret talks with Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.  “Pakistani troops used small fire arms. Our troops did not retaliate to the firing and there was no casualty,” said SN Acharya, the defence spokesperson at Jammu. The army has lodged a protest with Pakistan, he said.  India and Pakistan had declared cease-fire on all the three borders in Jammu and Kashmir in 2003. However, last year 44 cases of ceasefire violations by the Pakistani army were reported. Pakistan violated ceasefire 110 times on LoC and International Border (IB) from 2006 to June, 2009.  Meanwhile, security forces in a joint operation killed two top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commanders at Khadi-Banihal in Ramban district of the state on Sunday.  “The slain terrorists have been identified Ayaz Ahmed Malik alias Musa and Farooq Ahmed See alais Zulkarnain. Musa’s death has further broken the backbone of LeT in the region,” Acharya said. Musa, the most wanted LeT Commander of the Pir Panchal belt, had escaped a few encounters and was involved in several attacks on security forces, Acharya added.  “He [Musa] was the mastermind behind the killing two jawans on December 31 at Bhimdasa. Zulkarnain was active in Shopian belt of south Kashmir and shifted his base to south Pir Panchal in 2008. He was the self-styled operation chief of the area,” he said.

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