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Thursday, 12 May 2011

From Today's Papers - 12 May 2011

ISRO, DRDO monitoring biggest Army exercise
SP Sharma/TNS  Suratgarh, May 11 The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) are closely monitoring the Army’s ongoing biggest exercise “Vijayee Bhava” in the Thar Desert of the North Rajasthan where their newly-developed missiles and satellite capabilities have been put to test.  With over 50,000 troops participating in the exercise, this is one of the biggest military manoeuvres being conducted in the desert sector this summer. The DRDO would test some of the newly-developed missiles and weaponary and the ISRO would also test its satellite capabilities to connect to a real time war-like situation.  The commander of the Western Command, Lt Gen SR Ghosh yesterday reviewed the training of the Ambala-based Kharga Corps during the exercise.  ISRO is also keenly watching the efficiency and robustness of its satellite downlinks for the field force during the wartime like situation. The focus of the exercise is to evaluate various proposals put forth by the transformation study groups.

T-90 makeover: ‘Bhishma’ set to be more lethal
Will include new weapon system that will to enable the tank commander to fire a missile to neutralise mid-air an enemy missile or grenade Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  Glorious  The Army has so far deployed the T-90 along the country’s Western borders in Rajasthan and Punjab. Historically, the Army has been engaged in pitched tank battles on the Western front. Use of the T-55 and the PT-76 in Bangladesh in the 1971 war stands out as the sole exception. India will have 1,650 T-90 tanks in the next few years  New Delhi, May 11 The Army’s main battle tank, Russian-origin T-90 christened as ‘Bhishma’, is being upgraded under a modernisation project that will improve the lethality of the 46-tonne war machine besides improving its rate of survival in a real battlefield environment.  New Delhi has finally okayed a project to include a new weapon system on board the existing tank that will enable the tank commander to fire a missile to neutralise mid-air an enemy anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) or a rocket-propelled grenade. Despite the steel armour and specialised armour protection kits, a hit by an ATGM usually leaves a tank paralysed and at times totally damaged.  In the past one year, there has been speculation in the defence circles that India was re-looking at its earlier proposal to have an “active protection” suite for its frontline T-90 series of tanks. The Army has now made it official and sent out a request to global manufacturers inviting them to display the system.  A similar effort was made in 2008-09 and six global companies had participated in it.  The “active protection” is a proactive countermeasure to tackle incoming ATGMs and rocket-propelled grenades. In modern day battlefields, the biggest threat are anti-tank missiles that can be shoulder fired ATGM’s, also those fired from infantry carried rocket launchers and from helicopters.  Militarily advanced countries like the US and Russia have such methods that give a definitive edge in battle, said a senior functionary.  Now-a-days, rocket-propelled grenades are no less in threat. It can penetrate several inches of a tank’s steel-plated armour. The alternative is to increases the armour thickness that will add up to the weight of the tank making it sluggish. The best option is to have an active protection that tackles incoming threats at distance away from the tank ensuring safety of the crew and also the tanks in the same squadron.  Ideally, the Army is looking at a new weapons system that will not increase the height of the tank and impact its capabilities to wade through water. Height is an issue as the Army moves its fleet on trains across the country. The new system is likely to be top mounted on to the tank.

IAF chief: Integrate Defence Ministry with armed forces
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, May 11 Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik today suggested that a regular politico-military dialogue was essential for a country like India as it faces a large number of military and non-military threats.  Naik was addressing a seminar on the “National Security Reforms” organised by a leading think-tank Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) here. Delivering his keynote address, Naik said, “An institutionalised politico-military interface is required... the Integration of Defence Ministry with the Armed Forces is one area where I feel a lot has to be done.”  Naik today made a suggestion that has been repeated by experts from long time that service headquarters should be integrated with the Defence Ministry. At present there is no political interface, he said adding that the participation of the service chiefs in the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) was a positive step. A lot of our inputs have been taken and acted upon Naik said.  He disfavoured the creation of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in its present format saying it will only obstruct the system. The IAF was against the proposal to appoint a four-star or five-star serving officer as the CDS. In my opinion, the CDS has to be the single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister  Speaking candidly, Naik said a lot of people think that by withholding the appointment of the CDS, the government had actually weakened the pace and quality of military reforms. He went on to term the CDS as a “foreign” concept, and added that in his opinion the strengthening of the chiefs of the Staff Committee should be the first step in this model. Setting up new structures will not make the system more efficient or effective.

Defence hawks discuss urban warfare
Tribune News Service  Bangalore, May 11 The biannual Tri-Services Training Command Conference of defence services, held at the headquarters training command of the IAF in Bangalore today, focused on urban warfare and coordination with civil agencies to evoke fastest possible response.  Vice-Admiral KN Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, Air Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, HQ Training Command, IAF, and Lt-Gen K Surendra Nath, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Army Training Command, led delegates of their respective services at the conference. Major-General Vikram Puri, Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Services, and his team represented the integrated defence staff.  The objective of the conference was to identify and capitalise on core competencies of respective services towards promoting inter-operability and integrated training methodology to gain effective cohesiveness in joint operations.  According to defence experts, the vastly changed geopolitical scenario and threat perceptions will more commonly see joint operations in varied sectors of operations in difficult terrains and inhospitable weather conditions. The new weapon platforms and technology have also necessitated integration of the three services at the training level.  It has been found that the inter-services training of defence personnel leads to optimum utilisation of infrastructure and resources, and towards better understanding and insight of systems. This exposure is tactically exploited to give cutting edge in missions. The conference also reviewed the previous decisions of inter-service training methodologies and operating procedures.

Army Chief’s comment
Need to be discreet on operational skills  A day after US Special Forces clandestinely flew into Pakistan and killed Osama bin Laden, the Indian Army Chief, General VK Singh, declared that the three services were competent to carry out a similar operation. Although the Army chief’s remark was in response to a question asked by journalists and was devoid of any mention of Pakistan, it was enough to evoke an excited reaction from the western neighbour which lost no time in warning India of a ‘catastrophic’ response against any such ‘misadventure’.  But the incident raises the question of whether the Army chief needed to make such a comment in the first place and whether he could have handled it more diplomatically. Few Army chiefs would like to admit that their forces do not possess such a capability, especially when it comes to India vis-a-vis Pakistan and, equally, vice versa. But more importantly, should a service chief be commenting on such capabilities considering that such operations require stealth, surprise and will forever be fraught with risk? For, if the US did record a spectacular success in taking out Osama bin Laden, then there have also been cases of abject failure. On April 24, 1981, almost 30 years ago, an attempt by a US Special Forces team to rescue 52 Americans held hostage in the US Embassy in Teheran resulted in a humiliating failure and contributed significantly to Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the presidential elections held later that same year.  The Indian armed forces would do well to study the success of Operation Geronimo, work to understand and acquire the required technology to make such operations successful and develop capabilities to conduct both covert and special operations. India’s security concerns are complex and not just confined to Pakistan. Considering that launching a war is neither easy nor a first option, the armed forces may be called upon to engage in similar operations in the future. 

Osama operation: Defence Minister AK Antony reviews security
New Delhi:  Union Defence Minister AK Antony reviewed overall security situation with three service chiefs, the National Security Advisor, and the Defence Secretary.  Review meeting was held in the wake of recent development in the neighbourhood and situation arising out of killings of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.  On Tuesday, coastal security of India was reviewed with Navy Chief, Coast Guard Chief and Defence Secretary.  

'Rogue' elements in ISI, Pak army may have helped Osama: Musharraf   Read more at:
Washington:  Calling Pakistani intelligence's failure to detect Osama bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad a ''massive slip-up,'' ex-President Pervez Musharraf has admitted that ''rogue'' members of ISI and military may have helped the Al Qaeda chief hide in plain sight in the garrison city.      Musharraf, who lives in Britain in self-exile, said the "rogue" lower-level members of the powerful ISI and military might have known about bin Laden's location during the last year of his Presidency six years ago.  "It's really appalling that he was there and nobody knew. I'm certainly appalled that I didn't know and that intelligence people from that time onward didn't know for six years that he was inside.  "And there is no excuse for this great, massive slip-up. And an investigation is in order and people must be punished for this big lapse," Musharraf told ABC News.  
As a policy, the army and ISI are fighting terrorism and extremism, including Al Qaeda and Taliban, he said. "But rogue element within is a possibility," he said.  According to the former President, there were three attachment commanders in Abbottabad in the past six years and he could not imagine all three knowing and harbouring bin Laden.  "The possibility as I said, at the lower level, somebody following a policy of his own and violating the policy from above, is a possibility," he was quoted as saying.  Regardless of who knew what, according to Musharraf, was the fact that the US raid was a possible violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and that there was never a deal struck during his tenure to allow the US to make a unilateral attack on Pakistan's soil if bin Laden was found.  While calling the Al Qaeda chief's six-year residence in Abbottabad a "big blunder" on the part of Pakistani intelligence, Musharraf warned the United States that if it continues to alienate Pakistan as it did in the bin Laden raid, the US will be the "loser."  "You want to alienate Pakistan, you will be a loser," he was quoted as saying.  

Op Geronimo aftermath: India conducts security review 
New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) Ten days after US special forces killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, India Wednesday carried out a comprehensive review of its security architecture, defence ministry officials said here.  Defence Minister A.K. Antony chaired a meeting that assessed the security implications of the May 2 US strike at Abbottabad killing Osama and Pakistan’s angry reactions to the covert operation, particularly its warning of a catastrophic response to any ‘misadventure’ by its neighbours.  With US and Pakistan blowing hot and cold over the SEALs operation, India is keenly watching the spat and its impact on its own security and that of Afghanistan, where a war on terror is led by the Americans, apart from putting pressure on its western neighbour to act against the terror accused on its most-wanted list.  The meeting, officials suggested, also took stock of the recent assessment of an Indian security think-tank that China could take over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir by 2020 and Beijing’s infrastructure build-up on the Sino-Indian border.  The meeting was attended by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, Indian Air Force chief Air Cheif Marshal P.V. Naik, Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar.  Antony had on Tuesday reviewed India’s coastal security arrangements and its beefing up in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, in which the maritime security agencies of the country gave him a low-down on the apparatus put in place over the last two years, defence ministry officials said here.  Tuesday’s meeting was attended by Coast Guard Director General Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Defence Production secretary R.K. Singh, apart from the navy chief and defence secretary.  The meeting reviewed the progress on phase-I of the coastal security mechanism put in place by the government that is almost complete.  The navy, which was given overall charge of coastal security in February 2009, has already raised the 1,000-man Sagar Prahari Bal for providing round-the-clock security for important military and strategic assets along India’s 7,500-km long coastline.  Apart from providing speedboats and floating platforms for the Coast Guard to carry out its duties effectively, the coastal states too have opened several hundreds of coastal police stations, apart from getting policemen trained by the navy.  On the eve of the second anniversary last year of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, India took a giant step by installing gap-free radar coverage atop 90 lighthouses by placing an order worth Rs 76 crore with Swedish firm SAAB.  The coastal security exercises, regularly carried out by the forces in coordination with other maritime agencies such as customs, ports, fisheries and petroleum ministries, too were reviewed.  The meeting also discussed the second phase of the coastal security mechanism that will be implemented beginning this year.

Defence Ministry seeks AG''s advice on Army Chief''s DOB
New Delhi, May 11 (PTI) The controversy surrounding the date of birth of Army Chief General V K Singh could be settled soon with the Defence Ministry now seeking Attorney General's advice on it."The Ministry has sough Attorney General's advice on the issue. Besides going into the legal aspect of maintaining one of the two DoBs maintained by Army in its records, the AG would also give his opinion," Ministry officials said today."The report is awaited in due course of time as it needs a proper examination of all the available documents including the view expressed by the Law Ministry," the officials added.Officials further added that based on the advise of Attorney General Ghoolam E Vahanvati, the matter would be forwarded to Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) for final decision.The controversy arose after two different DoBs of General Singh were discovered in the files of Adjutant General (AG) branch and Military Secretary (MS) branch of the Indian Army.The AG branch - the official record keeper for salary and pension - has been following May 10, 1951 as Singh's date of birth, while the MS branch, which looks after promotions and postings, shows it as May 10, 1950.The Law Ministry, providing its opinion on the issue, recently said that General Singh DoB was May 10, 1951 as shown in his matriculation certificate and not May 10, 1950 as filled in his UPSC form for the entrance exam of National Defence Academy (NDA).Taking into consideration the year 1950, Singh will retire on June 1, 2012, but if the other date of birth is accepted, he may remain in office for another ten months.As per rules, an army chief can serve for three years or up to the age of 62, whichever is earlier. The issue will also determine as to who will succeed Gen Singh.If he retires in June 2012, Lt Gen Bikram Singh will be the most-likely successor and if he gets an extension, Lt Gen K T Parnaik could succeed him.

IAF against creating CDS 'in present format'
New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) Wednesday opposed creating, "in the present format", the post of a chief of defence staff (CDS) above the armed forces chiefs to serve as a single point of reference for the government on security matters. The idea was mooted by a committee that reviewed the conduct of the 1999 India-Pakistan Kargil war and was approved by a group of ministers.  The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, told a seminar on national security reforms that he disfavoured the creation of a CDS "in the present format" as it would create obstructions in the existing security apparatus.  "I would like to emphasise and reiterate that the IAF is all for the formation of CDS, but we are against appointment of CDS in the present format. The appointment in this format will only create another obstruction to the system," Naik said here at the seminar organised by the Centre for Land Warfare and Studies (CLAWS).  The Kargil Review Committee headed by the late security analyst, K. Subramanyam, was set up in the backdrop of the India-Pakistan war in the Kargil sector of Jammu and Kashmir. It had proposed a CDS to enable jointness among the army, navy and air force and to act as a single-point adviser to the government on security, a gap found during the 1999 operations.  Though the proposal is more than a decade old, Defence Minister A.K. Antony has on several occasions told parliament that consensus among political parties on the CDS was lacking.  Political consensus apart, there was no unanimity among the three services on the CDS.  Naik said the IAF was not ready to accept the appointment a four-star or five-star serving officer as the CDS, saying the he would not have the wherewithal to execute his duties.  Favouring the continuance of the existing structure of command with each service individually communicating with the defence ministry, the IAF chief said: "Our existing system, without a CDS, has worked well in last 40-50 years. We fought four wars in 1947, 1969, 1971 and Kargil without any major glitches."  Contesting the suggestion that the CDS could be the most important reform in the defence sphere, Naik said: "Lots of people think that by withholding the appointment of CDS, the government has actually weakened the pace and quality of military reforms."  Referring to the CDS format of other countries, he said the model varies from country to country.  "In United States, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff controls the operations; in Australia, the CDS and the defence secretary are parallel and report to their equivalent of the defence minister. Which model do we want to adopt," he asked.  Naik dubbed the CDS concept a "foreign" idea and called for "strengthening the Chiefs of Staff Committee" as the first step in the security reforms. "Setting up new structures will not make the system more efficient or effective," he said.  Stressing the need for a national security doctrine and a White Paper on defence, Naik pitched for a regular dialogue between the political and military leadership of the country, saying it was essential for India, which faced a large number of military and non-military threats.  "At present there is no political interface. One very good step that has been taken is that the three service chiefs have been participating in the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). It is a good step in my opinion. A lot of our inputs have been taken and acted upon by the government," he added.

Indian army may soon get bio-chem suits
The Indian army [ Images ] is likely to add a new Nuclear-Biological-Chemical suit to its artillery which would prove effective against any kind of dangerous weapons or chemicals and protect the soldiers from any kind of negative effect.  "The  Defence Material and Stores Research Development Establishment in Kanpur has developed a new NBC suit that would be  proved effective against any kind of dangerous weapons or chemicals and protect soldiers from any sort of attack," DMSRDE Director Arvind Kumar Saxena told mediapersons.  "Though the organisation have developed the chemical attack resistant suit, but the suits necessary for the nuclear and biological war situation has not been prepared. "The work on the biological suit is likely to be completed by 2013, whereas the preparation for the nuclear one is in the primary level," he said.  Saxena said that the work on the suits, purely developed on indigenous technique in four of the ordinance parachute factory laboratories here, have been tested successfully and the Director General of Quality Assurance in Pune have also given its nod after  examining it.  The NBC suit was handed over to the army for their approval and they were quite satisfied after examining it, he said, adding that the officials have also ordered 40,000 pieces of the same to the ordinance parachute factory.  The suit, worth about Rs 30,000, is much cheaper than its foreign counterparts, Saxena said, adding, that the further progress on the other two suits are going on. © Copyright 2011 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Army warns PM: China can deploy 500,000 troops on LAC
China now has the capability to deploy and sustain more than half-a-million troops for over a month on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in case of a high threat scenario with India.  Combining deft defence diplomacy with India’s neighbours and major infrastructure upgradation in restive Xinjiang and Tibet, Beijing is expected to be increasingly assertive towards New Delhi and may put pressure on Arunachal Pradesh in near future.  This threat perception and assessment in the form of a presentation in South Block was given to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony, National Security Adviser S S Menon, Principal Secretary T K Nair and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar by the Indian military brass last month.  While the government is tight-lipped about the presentation, the military brass told the PM that Chinese PLA has acquired the capability to deploy 34 troop divisions (one division has 23,000 troops) along the LAC in case of a high threat scenario by pulling out troops from Chengdu and Lanzhou military regions. When compared to the Indian strength of nine holding divisions along the northern borders, the PLA with a defence budget estimated at $150 billion holds overwhelming advantage.  Ads by Google  As part of major infrastructure upgradation in Tibet and Xinjiang, China is doing the following:  Connection with all counties in Tibet with border roads completed. Road network increased from 51,000 km in 2008 to 58,000 km in 2010. Plans to increase black topped roads by another 70,000 km on the anvil.  Extension of Qinghai-Tibet Railway from Golmund to Lhasa and thereon to Shigatse (close to Sikkim). Rail connectivity is planned to link Kathmandu, Myanmar, Bhutan, Pakistan and Central Asian republics. Eleven new rail lines on the anvil in Tibet and Xinjiang for rapid deployment of PLA.  There are eight airfields in Tibet, including five operational ones; 18 air bases in Tibet and Xinjiang have the capability to put India under range of Sukhoi 27 aircraft.  The Indian security concerns get multiplied when this Chinese advantage is backed with an all-weather friend like Pakistan. Beijing is in the process of supplying four F-22 frigates along with JF-17 aircraft to Islamabad. PLA has pushed some 1,000 troops in PoK for upgradation of Karakoram Highway and to link it with sea ports of Karachi, Gwadar and Bin Qassim. This will not only give strategic depth to Pakistan but also allow PLA to control the Persian Gulf.  China’s Dong Fang Electric Supply Corporation and Pakistan Railways have also signed a feasibility study contract on a Havelian-Khunjerab Pass rail link. The military brass also gave information on Chinese inroads into Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

DRDO to test military platforms at Army’s ongoing exercise
NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) would be testing some of the new military platforms during the Indian Army's six day-long ongoing exercise 'Vijayee Bhava' in northern Rajasthan.  The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) would also be testing its satellite capabilities to connect to a real-time war-like situation.  "ISRO is keenly watching the efficacy and robustness of its satellite down-links for the field forces," an army spokesperson said here Tuesday.  Western Army Commander, Lieutenant General S R Ghosh Tuesday reviewed the six day-long exercise and briefed the operational commander.  Over 50,000 troops are taking part in the exercise, which is being conducted by Chandigarh-based Western Army Command.  Army is putting into test some of the new concepts derived from its transformational studies carried by it in the last few years.  The purpose of the exercise is to transform Army into a lean, agile and enabled force ready to tackle the developing security situation in today's scenario.  The concept of dedicated Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) units would also be validated during the exercise to enhance operational situational awareness.

Ordnance factories record 29% rise in annual turnover
PUNE: Amidst reports of the country procuring latest arms and defence systems from abroad, ordnance factories in the country are doing a steady job as they recorded a 29% rise in their turnover this year.  "The steady rise in revenues in the last few years is mainly because of the new procurement manual and modernisation of factories," said D M Gupta, director general and chairman of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).  As per ordnance factory board statistics, in 2009-10 the factories recorded a collective growth of nearly 20 per cent. It grew by 29% in 2010-11 to reach Rs 11,238 crore (Rs 30 crore more as compared to last year).  "It is a historical growth and the highest ever for our ordnance factories. A number of initiatives were taken as part of the modernisation programme which included improvement in some arms and launching of new equipment. Participation of the private sector too helped improve the factories' revenues," said Gupta.  The history and development of Indian ordnance factories can be traced to the British regime. In 1775, the British authorities in India accepted the establishment of Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata. This marks the official beginning of the Army Ordnance in India.  There were 18 ordnance factories in the country before 1947. Twenty-one factories were established after independence - mostly, in the wake of defence preparedness imperatives caused by three major wars fought by the Indian Armed Forces. The 40th factory is being set up at Nalanda in Bihar.  Veteran Armed Forces officers, however, feel that along with quantitative improvement, qualitative improvement is imperative. "Many arms and ammunitions we use today are outdated. We are far behind developed countries in adopting latest technology and methods of manufacturing ammos," said Col (retd) Vinay Dalvi.  Dalvi, who has served as an instructor at the NDA, the OTA and the IMA, feels that weapon systems play an important role in the training of future Army officers.

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