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Thursday, 5 May 2011

From Today's Papers - 05 May 2011

Antony raps cantonment boards over NoCs
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 4 In the backdrop Adarsh house building scam in Mumbai, Defence Minister AK Antony today conveyed to the Defence Estate Department that the issuing of “no-objection certificates” (NoCs) to private builders had brought “bad name” to the ministry.  The Defence Minister’s speech was read out in absentia to the CEOs of the 62 cantonment boards across the country. Antony could not attend the function due to indisposition, ministry officials said.  It was announced that the survey of all 17 lakh acres of land under the ministry would be completed in the next three years and all records digitalised. “A few NoCs issued in the past by certain local authorities have earned us bad name... This must be avoided. All vacant pieces of defence land would be constantly monitored to avert encroachment.”  The ministry has withdrawn from the local military authorities the right to issue NoCs in any particular area.   The statement said the protection of vacant defence land, camping grounds and abandoned airfields, would be the responsibility of nearby military units and wherever that was not possible, sufficient manpower would be placed at the disposal of the Defence Estates Office to look after them.

Implications of Osama’s death US needs Pakistan for success in Afghanistan
by Harsh V. Pant  THE ordinary Americans are jubilant and it’s a shot in the arm for a besieged US President Barack Obama. After deploying enormous resources and manpower to tracking down the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, the US can finally claim success in an enterprise that took almost ten years to come to fruition. And psychologically, this is an important moment for the US too. A power that has been talked about in terms of its decline, economic and military, has shown that Washington still commands the most formidable fighting machinery in the world.  Bin Laden, the son of a billionaire Saudi Arabian contractor, was wanted by the United States not only for the Sept. 11 attacks but also for Al-Qaida’s bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, which killed 224 civilians and wounded more than 5,000 people. The U.S. government had offered a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or death. Bin Laden was killed in a raid by the US special forces on a compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. He was buried at sea after a Muslim funeral on board an aircraft carrier in the north Arabian Sea. Hailing the death of Osama bin Laden as a “good day for America,” Obama said “”Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do.” But in a sign of the dangers that lie ahead, the US has put its embassies around the world on alert, warning Americans of the possibility of Al-Qaida reprisal attacks for bin Laden’s killing. CIA director Leon Panetta said Al-Qaida would “almost certainly” try to avenge the death of bin Laden.  Washington is using this rare opportunity to send a message to the extremist Taliban movement fighting to make a comeback in Afghanistan, where it had harboured bin Laden and Al-Qaida before being driven from power by the U.S.-backed Afghan forces in November 2001. The message: give up hope of defeating the U.S. and NATO forces, renounce Al-Qaida and join the political process. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has vowed that the United States “will continue to take the fight to Al-Qaida and its Taliban allies.” Appearing at the State Department, she said, “Even as we mark this milestone, we should not forget that the battle to stop al-Qaeda and its syndicate of terror will not end with the death of Bin Laden.” She added: “Our message to the Taliban remains the same, but today it may have even greater resonance. You cannot wait us out. You cannot defeat us. But you can make the choice to abandon Al-Qaida and participate in a peaceful political process.”  This is significant as the narrative of American decline that was fostered by bin Laden is now being used by the Taliban who believe that the US has no stomach for a fight and will soon withdraw. From Taliban to Hamas, organisations are also expressing their sympathies for the “martyrdom” of bin Laden. A spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Pakistan-based strand of the movement, made it clear that the group would seek revenge. “Pakistani rulers, President Zardari and the army will be our first targets. America will be our second target”. The Afghan Taliban meanwhile is planning to launch a special offensive, called Bader, to avenge the Al-Qaida leader. “Losing him will be very painful for the mujahideen, but the ‘shahadat’ [martyrdom] of Osama will never stop the jihad,” the commander of this group has suggested. There is also the Palestinian Hamas, whose top leader in the Gaza Strip has mourned bin Laden as an “Arab holy warrior.” Ismail Haniyeh, who is Hamas’s prime minister, said that “we regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”  But the most important challenge of this development will be faced by the Pakistani security establishment. The United States did not share any intelligence with foreign governments, including Pakistan’s. Pakistan for years had insisted that bin Laden was not on Pakistani soil. And now bin Laden is found in a compound in Abbottabad, just a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy — the country’s equivalent of West Point or Sandhurst. Bin Laden had been in a large building with high walls so close to an army base without the knowledge of the Pakistani security forces. It will undoubtedly be a huge embarrassment to Pakistan that Bin Laden was found not only in the country, but also at the doorstep of the military academy. Ironically, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s military chief, had visited the military academy in Abbottabad just over a week ago and, in a speech, said his troops had “broken the backs” of militants.  The Pakistani government’s failure to discover bin Laden’s whereabouts will only reinforce suspicions in Washington and elsewhere that Islamabad is either not committed to the U.S.-backed fight against Islamist militancy or is playing a dangerous game by sheltering terrorists even as it pledges to fight militant groups. New Delhi has long warned Washington of this double game and Washington in recent years has been well aware of this. But the US still needs Pakistan if it is to succeed in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested that co-operation from Pakistan helped lead the Americans to bin Laden.  Nevertheless, the death of Osama bin Laden puts the US in the driving seat once again and will give a new momentum to the US military’s operations in Afghanistan. It remains to be seen if this will allow the US to force Pakistan to mend its ways in its policies vis-√†-vis India and Afghanistan. The past does not offer a particularly optimistic prognosis.

Pak either incompetent or involved: CIA chief
US feared roping in Islamabad could have jeopardised Operation Geronimo Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC  The CIA ruled out Pakistan as a partner in the Navy Seals’ operation to capture or kill Osama bin Laden because it feared Islamabad may alert the Al-Qaida leader, according to CIA Director Leon E Panetta.  In an interview with Time magazine, Panetta said: “It was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardise the mission. They might alert the targets.” Panetta briefed US lawmakers on the raid on Tuesday.  He said Washington is trying to get to the bottom of the Pakistan’s “troubling” role in its professed ignorance about Laden’s whereabouts and whether it was involved or incompetent. “Either they were involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be,” Panetta said.  Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry in a lengthy statement expressed “deep concerns and reservations” over the US operation, which, it claimed, was “without prior information or authorisation from Islamabad.”  “This event of unauthorised unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule,” it said. Pakistan, a key ally in the US war in Afghanistan, received $1.3 billion in US aid last year.  White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday described the US-Pakistan relationship as “complicated but important.”  Unidentified officials in the ISI were quoted in some reports as saying the agency was unaware that Laden was hiding in a million-dollar mansion in Abbottabad, 30 miles from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. The compound was less than a mile from the elite Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul.  Some Pakistani officials said Laden had been living in the house for the past few months. The comments conflicted with those from other Pakistani officials who said they were unaware that the terrorist leader was in Abbottabad.  US President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, told CBS’ “Early Show” that Laden had been living in the mansion for the past five or six years.  Abbottabad and its surrounding areas had been under “sharp focus of intelligence agencies since 2003 resulting in a highly technical operation by the ISI which led to the arrest of high value Al-Qaida target in 2004,” according to a statement by the Pakistan Government. The ISI had been sharing information regarding the Abbottabad house with the CIA and “other friendly intelligence agencies” since 2009 and the intelligence flow indicating the presence of “foreigners” in the outskirts of Abbottabad continued until mid-April, it added.  The statement said the CIA had taken advantage of “much superior technological assets” and “exploited the intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Laden.” It said the US helicopters had entered Pakistani airspace by using blind spots in radar coverage caused by the hilly terrain. According to some Pakistani media reports, the US helicopters took off from Ghazi airbase in Pakistan.

‘India capable of Abbottabad-like strike’
Tribune News Service & PTI  New Delhi, May 4 Even as New Delhi justified the unilateral action by the US to hunt down Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan without taking Islamabad into confidence, it indicated that it has no plans to undertake similar strikes against the neighbouring country. But it added that Indian forces were "competent" to carry out a similar operation.  India also stated that the process of dialogue with Pakistan would continue uninterrupted to press Islamabad to act against terror groups and that there was no alternative but to keep Islamabad engaged.  “We have to engage them on various issues, including terrorism,” said top government sources. Asked why India could not carry out the hot pursuit of Dawood Ibrahim and other such terrorists who have taken shelter in Pakistan, sources pointed out that there was a big difference in Pakistan’s equations vis-√†-vis the US and India.  However, Army Chief General VK Singh made it clear that the country’s armed forces were "competent" to carry out an operation similar to the one conducted by the US in Pakistan against Osama.  The General was asked whether the Indian forces could successfully carry out Abbottabad-like operation. “I would like to say only this that if such a chance comes, then all the three arms (of the military) are competent to do this," the Army Chief told reporters in Lucknow.  Shortly after the US operation, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik had also said India has the capability to carry out such surgical strikes.  The statements assume significance as there had been demands after 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that India should carry out surgical strikes on terror camps in Pakistan.  But sources said it was not India’s intention to humiliate Pakistan. “We have no intention to bring Pakistan to its knees or to humiliate Pakistan… it is not in anybody’s interest,” they said. “Pakistan is not a pushover… it’s a hard country. After all, we exist back to back with Pakistan. Also, the foreign policy is not wish fulfillment. It has to deal with the realities… We are not being helpless. There is a reasonable, sober way of dealing with the neighbour.”  But Pakistan must realise that it could not adopt a selective approach in dealing with terrorism, sources added.  Describing the killing of Osama as a “momentous development”, sources said the development had, however, not diminished the threat to the global community from international terror syndicates. In this connection, they noted that terror outfits like the LeT, JeM and the Hizbul Mujahideen remained a serious threat for India and Afghanistan.  The fact that Laden was living in a large mansion in Abbottabad has vindicated New Delhi’s stand that terrorism could not be eliminated without the elimination of safe havens in Pakistan.

Navy SEAL team likely to be honoured in secret for Osama raid   Read more at:
San Diego:  The highly secretive Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden will likely be honored in the only way such a covert group can be: in private with nobody but themselves and their commanders in the know.  Quietly recognizing heroic actions for clandestine operations is not new in the military. Some service members wear war decorations but refuse to talk about how they earned them. Others stash away their medals, either because they've been ordered to hide them or they have chosen to for their own security.  And there are those heroes who have never lived to see a medal, their families sworn to secrecy until they were honored posthumously. For the elite few who dropped from the sky into the walled compound in Pakistan, they must carry on without breathing a word about their participation in Sunday's spectacular raid that eliminated the world's most-wanted terrorist.  It is a secret that surely must burn in their souls, but military officials say they have no doubt it will be kept. The stakes are too high.   Read more at:
The Navy still hasn't confirmed its SEALs carried out the much-lauded, 40-minute operation. But privately, Rear Adm. Edward Winters, at Naval Special Warfare Command in California, sent an email congratulating his forces and reminding them to keep quiet because "the fight is not over."  Winters is the chief of the elite SEAL unit officially known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or "DEVGRU," which is made up of only a few hundred personnel based in Dam Neck, Va. They call themselves "the quiet professionals."  Team members' names won't be released for their personal safety, said Naval Petty Officer 2nd Class John Scorza, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command.  "I can understand the conundrum that commanders are in about how much can you tell," said defense analyst Paul Giarra, a retired U.S. naval officer. "Because it's news that's good for morale and it also makes it clear to al-Qaida that they're losing. That's important. They need to know they're losing."  Revealing too much, on the other hand, can give the upper hand to groups like al-Qaida, Giarra said.  Gauging how much to tell is a growing challenge as military special operation groups increasingly work side by side with the intelligence community, like the SEALs and CIA did Sunday. There are benefits to touting such fantastic successes, something the U.S. government has long seized upon: President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Marines photographed raising the flag on Iwo Jima to come home and be identified so they could use interest in the picture to raise billions of dollars in war bonds.  President Barack Obama's ratings went up after the announcement of bin Laden's death, as did donations for the Virginia-based Navy SEAL Foundation, which helps the families of SEALs.  Other details of the raid that emerged Tuesday - including that Navy SEALs handcuffed those they encountered in the compound with plastic zip ties and pressed on in pursuit of their target, code-named Geronimo - could boost the public image of a force, whose raids have not always gone as planned. In a 2008 raid, the intended targets at a compound in Pakistan fled and instead a number of civilians were killed.  Sunday's raid was nearly textbook perfect, and officials say its participants will likely receive some of the military's highest medals. As military personnel, they are not eligible for the $25 million reward that was offered for hunting down bin Laden.  First, the Navy would have to confirm who did what exactly, and then a letter outlining their achievements would be written. Usually, the immediate commanding officer presents the honor. The entire process could take months, and would be meticulously carried out to ensure the names of those involved are not revealed, officials say.  In other cases, the government has chosen not to honor service members of covert operations until the mission has been declassified.  Last year, Obama posthumously recognized Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. "Dick" Etchberger for his courage under fire in 1968 during a mission on a remote Laotian mountain that was kept secret for decades because the U.S. wasn't supposed to have troops in the officially neutral Southeast Asian country. Etchberger was awarded the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, after the government declassified his mission.  Sunday's raid was one of a countless number that U.S. special operation forces have carried out in their pursuit of terrorists from Africa to the Middle East. While the SEALs were applauded for bin Laden's death, they've also been told their mission is not over.  The SEALs involved in Sunday's mission were back in the U.S. at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington for debriefing on the raid, lawmakers said after meeting with CIA Director Leon Panetta.  Craig Sawyer, a former Navy SEAL, speculated the team will likely be invited to the White House to meet the president and attend a private, small ceremony acknowledging their grand achievement.  "The operators of their unit and they themselves will know about it, but nobody else will," he said. "That's just the nature of the business."  Many Americans, like Omar Quintero, a San Diego contractor, said it's a shame the nation cannot give them the thanks they deserve.  "It would be very exciting to see who they are," the 34-year-old father of two said. "Then we could treat them like celebrities. The guy who killed him (bin Laden) would be like our Superman."   Read more at:

US hopes to unravel Osama's links in Pakistan
Calling it a virtual terror "treasure trove", US today began scouring seized computers, hard discs and DVDs to unravel Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden's links in Pakistan and clues that could lead them to other dreaded militant commanders.  "We are surprised by the depth and breadth of what we have," CIA chief Leon Panetta said in his first word about five computers, 10 hard drives and more than 100 storage devices, such as DVDs and removable flash drives, seized by Navy SEALs from the Abbottabad mansion, where they shot dead Bin Laden on Monday in a special operation.
"When a mid level terrorist is captured, his bosses know exactly what information might be compromised and can change plans," Panetta said, pointing out "when the boss is taken, everything might be compromised but nobody knows for sure."  The documents, US officials said could also provide details of Al Qaeda's links to other terror groups like the Taliban, Haqqani network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad.  While Al Qaeda's links with Taliban and Haqqani network are "known and established", US officials said, the thrust of the search would be now to unravel the extent of Qaeda's ties with groups like LeT.  CIA chief said that a top level task force of intelligence men, military data experts and even computer experts had been constituted and had begun work to sift through material taken from Osama's bed room and the complex.  Bin Laden and his men, did not get to destroy equipment or documents as the strike team closed in on them.  "Osama was not found destroying documents. It is unclear if others made an effort to destroy data," Wall Street Journal reported.  "It appears that Bin Laden and his courier cum body guards were more interested in fighting there way out, then destroying anything," officials said.  The terror discs and hard drives are being catalogued and processed and US intelligence officers are subjecting it to forensic and fingerprints analysis.  Elaborating on the seizures, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, told reporters that experts were giving top priority in the search to three areas to get a vital insight about Al Qaeda's operational plans.  First, of all, and most important evidence of any planned new attack, second would be information that could lead to other high value targets and other networks that exist that maybe we don't know about.  Thirdly, he said, American experts would be looking at what sustained bin Laden and Al Qaeda network in Pakistan and his links in the country, apparently referring to efforts to unmask Bin Laden's official links if any in the country.  The deputy national security adviser John Brennan, said, that the SEALS had taken advantage of their time on the compound to make sure that they were able to acquire whatever material they thought was appropriate and what was needed.  "We are trying to determine exactly the worth of what we have been able to pick up. And its not necessarily quantity, frequently it is the quality."  US officials and lawmakers have recently expressed concern over sprouting of LeT terror camps in Pakistan's restive tribal belt in the northwest and the expansion of the group's activities to Afghanistan and terror campaigns on the European mainland.  The CIA has established a task force to study the material recovered from the mansion in Abbottabad.

No apology for violating Pakistan air space: White House
Press Trust of India / Washington May 4, 2011, 10:52 IST  US white houseThe United States will not apologise to Pakistan for its unilateral military action against al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden at his hideout in that country, the White House has said.  "We make no apologies about that," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked whether the US should have gone unilaterally inside Pakistan to get bin Laden.
"He was enemy number one for this country and killed many many innocent civilians. And no apologies," Carney said.  Pakistan yesterday termed the US commando operation in Abbottabad that killed Laden an "unauthorised, unilateral action" without its knowledge.  Besides, the White House said America has never been at war with Islam.  "This has never been a war against Islam. President (George W) Bush said that; President (Barack) Obama has said that. Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims, as well as people of other faiths," Carney said.  "It has been our cooperation with Muslims in Pakistan and other countries, as well as Muslim Americans, which has helped in our overall effort to fight al Qaeda and protect Americans, to protect this country," he said.  Taking action against bin Laden does not mean that one shouldn't be entirely respectful of Islam, which the US is.  "It doesn't change the fact the President's very strongly held conviction and expressed conviction that this has never been about Islam, because, in fact, Osama bin Laden was a mass murderer who killed many Muslims," he said.  Carney said Laden was a relic of the past, in many ways.  "The kind of yearning for individual freedoms that we've seen protest on the streets of the Arab world in these past few months represent a movement that is in the polar opposite direction that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda wanted to take the Arab world," he said.  "I think that that’s an important point to make and to observe because he’s in many ways, the symbol of everything that those folks who have been demonstrating on the ground for their voices, for their rights, for their individual aspirations, he’s a representation of everything they don’t want," he said.

India capable of US-like operation: Army chief
Indian Army chief General VK Singh on Wednesday claimed that the country's defence forces were competent to undertake an US-like operation that killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. "We have the capability.....If situation arises, all the three wings (army, navy and air force) are competent in ca related stories      * After Osama's death, India says no change on dialogue with Pakistan  rrying out such an operation," Singh replied when journalists asked whether the Indian Army could carry out an operation like the US special forces undertook to kill the world's most dreaded terrorist in Pakistan on early Monday.  Asked whether the US took any assistance from Pakistan during the operation against bin Laden, Singh said, "How can I comment on this? is up to Pakistan and the US to clarify on the issue."  Singh was in Lucknow to inaugurate a new block at the Sainik School in the city.  During the function, Singh called upon the students to serve the country by joining the armed forces.

Antony to Visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar
With a view to give a boost to bilateral defence cooperation between India and its important partners in the Gulf, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony will be leaving New Delhi on Saturday on a three day visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This is going to be the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to both the countries. Shri Antony will be accompanied by the Defence Secretary Shri Pradeep Kumar, the Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen AS Lamba and other senior officials of MoD and the Armed Forces.  In the first leg of his visit to Riyadh, Shri Antony will have meetings with the top Saudi leadership on issues of bilateral and regional importance. The visit aims at paving the way for enhanced defence interactions between the Armed Forces of the two countries, especially in areas of training and technical exchanges. India and Saudi Arabia have been having regular exchange of defence related visits and interactions. Indian and Saudi ships have also been visiting each other’s ports from time to time.  In the second leg of his visit, Shri Antony will be going to Doha. Expansion in bilateral exchanges and regional security issues will come up prominently during the discussions that Shri Antony will hold the Qatari leadership. It may be recalled that India and Qatar had signed a bilateral agreement on defence cooperation during the visit of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Doha in November 2008. The Indian and Qatari Armed Forces have also been exchanging visits and have participated as observers in each other’s exercises from time to time.  During his sojourn in Riyadh and Doha, Shri Antony will also be meeting representatives of the large Indian community in both the countries.

As threats grow, India's military capabilities shrink
Indian military capabilities shrink rapidly while the threats multiply.  Instead of removing poverty, the politician turned poverty into business of vote-bank-politics. Result: Sixty-two years later Maoists control forty per cent of the Indian Territory and the insurgents in the border states have influence in another ten per cent, both with explicit support of external actors.  While the Army is battling insurgents for decades in Kashmir and in the Northeast, in all likelihood, it will be drawn into conflict with the Maoists to reclaim territories under their control.  This is a direct consequence to the demonstrated incompetence of the inept and crumbling Civil Administration. Resources of the Army, Air force and the Navy are already at an all time low and are over stretched, undermining the capability of the Indian military machine to fulfill its primary role of coping with the challenges of external threat.  Beijing and Islamabad are delighted with New Delhi's clumsy response.  Couple the internal threat with burgeoning external threat - Beijing boasts of capability to create three-pronged mischief on the Indian Borders. First, China has built elaborate infrastructure and potent military capability in Tibet.  Second, it not only synergized anti-India activities with Pakistan but has also positioned elements of the PLA inside PoK. Third, China quietly propelled their proxy Maoists (Nepal) to the centre-stage in Katmandu. Not to mention the advantage China gained in Sri Lanka while India lost some.
Beijing now influences almost 7500 km of land opposite Indian borders.  The Indian Navy - grappling with increasing incidents of piracy, securing the EEZ, the 7500-km of coastline and Sea Lines of Communications - now faces the prospect of confronting the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean.  The competitive interests of the two rapidly growing economies for energy and transit can transform the Indian Ocean into an area of bitter conflict in the near future.  Apart from its wits, the Indian Navy will require a large and modern arsenal.  New Delhi's indecisiveness, inconsistent and callous approach to modernization of the Armed Forces, ignorance, and enormous bureaucratic red tape keeps the Army, Navy and the Air Force under-equipped and devoid of adequate material and human resources to meet the growing threats.  In addition, the ill equipped military requires power projection capabilities to safeguard India's strategic interests. Even as New Delhi's weakness allowed India built Zaranj Delaram Highway to slip under Taliban control in Afghanistan, the Chinese lead the great game near Kabul by successfully mining copper.  The irony is that while Indian taxpayer's money helps rebuild war torn Afghanistan, Beijing walks away with the riches.  To cope with a two-front war, the IAF requires 60 air-worthy combat squadrons.  The professional assessment to tackle the challenge of a single front war and holding action on the other front requires 45 squadrons.  New Delhi sanctioned 39.5 squadrons, but has indicated intent to raise the squadron strength to 42 by the end of the current decade.  Of the sanctioned strength of combat squadrons, for the IAF only 28.5 remain air-worthy today. Discounting the obsolescent fleet of the MiG 21 as also other ageing aircrafts, the IAF is left with around 22 combat worthy squadrons.  At Aero India 2011, apart from the Su30 MKI display by the IAF,rest of it turned out to be nothing more than a vintage aircraft rally!  When the NDA government was in power, India negotiated for forty Mirages 2000-V. After prolonged negotiations, when the time came to ink the deal, the then Defence Minister decided that he would sign it after the general elections. The NDA coalition lost and the UPA government that came to power scrapped the deal.  Similarly, a deal for In-flight Refuellers negotiated over three years. When the deal was about to be inked, the Ministry of Finance suddenly declared that the tankers preferred by the IAF were too expensive. The tender was scrapped.  Moreover, after many years of trials and negotiations, the deal for 197 helicopters was thrown out of the window in the last minute. The tender for 126 MMRCA is languishing for the past eleven years and now runs into problems and complications with the unwieldy offset procedures and Transfer of Technology.  In the bargain, the vendors have lost millions of dollars on unproductive efforts. Worse, the nation lost credibility in its international dealings and the Air Force its combat power.  With its overall capability severely eroded especially during the last decade, the IAF today no longer spearheads national military power. There is hardly any strategic or tactical airlift capability worth the name. The air defence cover supported by obsolete systems, is porous and there is only a token representation of force multipliers.  The state of the IAF prompted the  Chief of the Air Staff to state publicly that fifty per cent of the equipment in the IAF was obsolete. Clearly, the IAF is in no shape to support power projection by the nation or to confront its two main adversaries that are rearming and modernizing rapidly.  On the other hand, DRDO and the indigenous aerospace industry continue to devour precious resources that the nation can ill afford but have proved totally incapable of making the nation self reliant in respect of contemporary military hardware.  Global tenders for even desperately needed military equipment remain bogged down in the complex bureaucratic labyrinth of the Defence Procurement Procedure.  Ineptitude and apathy of the government is usually cloaked in fiery rhetoric that routinely emanates from the top echelons of national leadership and genuine modernization programmes continue to remain a distant dream.  For the past twenty-five years Ministry of Defence has found itself incapable of finalizing the induction of 155 mm guns for the Regiment of Artillery. The Kargil war was barely managed through extensive cannibalization just to have a few guns firing.  MoD floats tenders and cancels them with an unbelievable regularity.  The Indian Army's Combat Arms are in a state of crises because of obsolete equipment that was not replaced in the last sixty years.  Tanks and ICVs are night blind without night sights.The MoD is unable to decide between import of Thermal Imager Fire Control System (TIFCS) and Thermal Imager Stand Alone System (TISAS).  Pakistan forces equipped with night vision devices will be sitting behind blind Indian mechanized forces since modern wars will be fought largely at night.  The bewildering variety of antiquated artillery guns-120 mmmortars, 105 mm Field gun, 130 mm Medium gun, 155 mm Gun, 122 mm Howitzer, 122 mm Multi-barreled Rocket Launcher and now Pinaka and Smerch Long Range Systems are a logistician's nightmare.  Ground based air defence practically is non-existent and devoid of Control and Reporting(C&R) System. Further, air defence is in shambles as L-60 and L-70 guns are of WW II vintage.  On the other hand, the Schilkaself propelled guns, SAM and OSA-AK missiles are of early 1970s vintage. Not a single gun and missile has been acquired since then.  The Infantry soldier fights with a WW II carbine while the terrorist is equipped with AK-47. DRDO has been kept in business by funneling taxpayer's resources but INSAS rifles and LMG have not proven successful.  FINSAS (future infantrysoldier as a system) is yet to take off. DRDO continues to copy ideas from the brochures of the western firms, guzzling huge defence budgets, but is unable to produce a simple CQB weapon like a carbine!  Editor's Pick Indian Air Force of the future Article 370: The untold story Indian Navy: challenges beyond the horizon Seven blunders that will haunt India for posterity Army's Capability Accretion     Communications systems remain antiquated. Fifty per cent of the infantry is yet to be equipped with Individual Combat Kit (ICK).  The Navy will be left with nine operational submarines by 2012 against the stated requirement of thirty.  Keeping in view the precarious position, I wonder what stopped New Delhi from ordering in a single stroke twelve submarines from the French and simultaneously opening a second submarine manufacturing line with another vendor.  The laborious and complicated process of vetting tenders and negotiations provided adequate data to replenish the dwindling submarine resources at one go. Once again, we start this time-consuming tedious process to appoint a second vendor.  MoD's legendary inefficiency extends battle-winning advantages to the enemy!  Meanwhile, without pausing for the mental lethargy of New Delhi, warfare technology has rapidly moved to pilotless or remote controlled vehicles and weapon systems on sea, land and in the air.  One can practically look inside the enemy's house sitting in New Delhi and neutralize the emerging threat by firing a missile with the help of a remote controlled pilotless drone.  We are nowhere near use of such magnificent technologies in spite of the favorable opportunities that exist in the new geopolitical environment.  Technological innovation earlier took a decade to develop.Warfare technology now can be out of date within a year. It is a distinct possibility that with the rapid pace of technological advances in warfare, by the time 126 MMRCA deal is finalized, much of the technology offered by OEMs may be out of date.  With diminishing or ageing population, the West perforce depends more and more on technology. However, as in Libya or Afghanistan, unless cutting edge technologies are employed together with sufficient boots on ground, the situation is likely to result in a stalemate.  Luckily, India boasts of young demographic profile in abundance that is sufficiently tech savvy. Yet there is huge shortage of young officers as the government is not willing to give that extra incentive to lure them for a spell of short service commission. This creates vacuumin cohesion at the junior level, so vital to lead the troops.  When one adds equipment shortage to it, the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force are unequal to the task the nation expects them to execute in case push comes to shove.  China and Pakistan's support to insurgents, Maoists, and dissident groups within India is well documented. Therefore, internal and the external threats are interlinked and require seamless integration between the Civil and the Military.  Despite the grave threat posed by external forces against the Union, the Civil Administration is unwilling to swiftly equip the military with requisite young human resources or the latest technology to cope with the growing security challenge.   Nor the Civil Administration is eager to beef up its own weakening sinews by lateral induction into the civil segment forty thousand highly skilled young soldiers (and officers) released each year by the Armed Forces.  Induction of trained manpower from the military and merger of the military skills with the Civil Administration can be the game-changer effecting increased efficiency.  Induction of personnel equipped with military skills will not only boost the ability to reclaim territory lost but also help to hold the ground subsequently, lest Maoists or insurgents attempt to stage a comeback.  Simultaneously, it will dramatically lower the ageing profile of Army, Navy and the Air Force, which is an operational necessity.  This arrangement is a win-win for Civil and the Military.  The shambles in which the Army, Navy and the Air Force find themselves today tantamount to dereliction of duty by the State, which in turn poses threat to the unity and integrity of the Union.  Surrounded by authoritarian regimes, and located within the arch of Islamic terrorism, the Union of India is possibly the largest social experiment in diversity in the 21st century. To keep the Union intact, therefore, necessitates reversing the swiftly shrinking military capabilities but also a degree of militarization of the pacifist Indian mind.

Defence personnel hone business management skills at Amity
Amity Institute of Education and Training for Defence Forces and Police Organizations in association with Directorate General of Resettlement inaugurated a six month long training programme for Defence Forces at Amity Campus, Sector – 125, Noida.  The objective of the training programme is to help the defence personnel for their resettlement after retirement from the defence service. The six month certificate training program will prepare them vigorously on various aspects of management skills which will help them place themselves well in their second innings of life to match with the corporate sector.
aj. Gen. A.K. Malik, Additional Director General, Operational Logistics of Army; Group Captain R. Venkataraman, Director Training, Directorate General for Resettlement; Dr. Sanjay Srivastav, Director General, Amity Business School; Prof. Alka Munjal, Director, Amity School of Business and Maj. Gen. S. Bindra, Senior Director, Amity Institute of Education and Training were present during the inauguration of the training programme.  While delivering his inaugural address, Maj. Gen. A.K. Malik, Additional Director General, Operational Logistics of Army, said, “corporate is a new field for the participants of the training programme which need huge amount of monetary aid along with discipline and integrity. Therefore, in a systematic manner one should learn the mannerisms, skill set and attitude to earn money. Amity has provided the army personnel a platform to learn various skills of management. After the completion of the course, trainees attitude will change and can lead a well settled life. The training will provide the leadership quality and give identification to the trainees. But the participants are to work diligently to get fruitful result from the training programme.”  Group Captain R. Venkataraman, Director Training, Directorate General for Resettlement opined that it is a noble job to create opportunities for the resettlement of the army personnel after their retirement from service. 352 programmes are conducted by Directorate General for Resettlement in the area of Information Technology, Business Management and vocational training programmes to name a few. The programmes are re-structured from time to time to make them job oriented. In the year 2004, Directorate General for Resettlement ventured with the prominent B-Schools for the unique 6 month certificate programme. We are proud to associate ourselves with Amity for the last 6 years.  Most of the candidates are well versed with the practical management aspects. But the exact jargons are to be learnt which will take the trainees to the new prospective of the corporate world. It will add value to the past experiences and knowledge of the candidates, commented Captain Venkataraman  While sharing his views about the training programme with the august gathering, Rear. Admiral Ravi Kochhar, OSD, HR, Admin of Amity, said that after leaving the portals of defence services, the participants of the training programme will feel alienated to step into the civilian world since army personnel have their own infrastructure and community. By the time, the service period of the army personnel gets over, they need to learn certain skills to make their life more lively and interesting. Amity will guide and lead the participants to their expectations. But the most important thing is effort of the participants and their zeal to learn.  Suresh K. Mishra, Chief Petty Officer, Navy, participant of the training programme said that the programme will help us in coping with the civilian sectors and teach us to showcase our talent in a proper way after our retirement from defence service.  Subedar Mokhtar Alam, Army, participant of the training programme appreciated the programme and said, “we are energetic enough to start the second innings of our life. But to step into a new world, some amount of training is needed which will help to enhance our skills and learn new things too. This training programme will prove to be of immense help to us.”  Sergeant Shashi Kant Singh, Indian Air Force, participant of the training programme said that the training programme will give a good exposure to the trainees of the corporate world. It will also prepare them to re-establish their life again with a new perspective.  A total of 36 candidates from Army, Navy and Air Force participated in the training programme.

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