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Saturday, 4 June 2011

From Today's Papers - 04 Jun 2011






Agni-V to be test-fired by year-end
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 3 Taking a step towards entering the exclusive club of nations that have long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s), India is set to demonstrate its ability to have missiles that will have range of hitting targets 5,000 km away.  Speaking to reporters at a function of the DRDO, Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, said the Agni-V test launch would take place before the end of this year.  Earlier, Defence Minister AK Antony called on defence scientists to deliver the Agni-V missile soon. “The DRDO must demonstrate its capability to reach the range of 5,000 km at the earliest,” he said. “The interceptor missile development programme has put India into an elite club of nations that possess the capability to demonstrate and deploy missile defence. The DRDO should now work towards developing a credible Ballistic Missile Defence for our country.”  The Defence Minister sounded optimistic as he hoped that Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas would soon get the final operation clearance. “After getting the initial operational clearance, Tejas is moving towards final operational clearance. I am sure the DRDO and our Air Force will work together to provide Tejas on schedule.”  Antony repeated his favourite objective narrating that he wanted the nation to achieve self-sufficiency through indigenisation in the defence sector. This would be possible only if all participants - the DRDO, DPSUs, the armed forces and the private sector come together to contribute to the defence sector in equal measure.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20110604/nation.htm#4
Army moves into Maoist area in Chhattisgarh
Raipur:  For the first time, an Army brigade has moved into Maoist-dominated area of Chhattisgarh - a move that could be a psychological hit for the rebels.  The 71 Brigade of the Indian Army under Central Command has moved to Narayanpur in Chhattisgarh. However, the deployment, Army says, is strictly for training purposes.  Narayanpur adjoins Amujhmarh forest area and is completely dominated by the Maoists.  The Home Ministry has formalised the rules of engagement in which the Army has been asked not to engage Maoists; they can only fire in self-defence.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/army-moves-into-maoist-area-in-chhattisgarh-110054
Antony: Indian help to Afghanistan is not directed against any country
Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Friday emphasised that while India is willing to extend more training facilities to the armed forces of Afghanistan and greater support to its government, such assistance is not directed against any other country.  “India is a long-standing friend of Afghanistan…we want a strong, democratic and pluralistic, peaceful Afghanistan. They are in transition, they are in difficulty, so as a friend, India is trying to help them…we promised to extend them more training facilities for their armed forces…as per their requirement and whatever help India is extending is not against any other country,” Mr. Antony told journalists on the sidelines of a defence function here.  The Defence Minister's response came in the context of the recent visit of Afghan Defence Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak. Mr. Antony's assertion that New Delhi-Kabul relations were not directed against any country was an apparent attempt to assuage Pakistan's concerns as it views the bilateral engagement with suspicion.  While India has preferred to state that it provides training to Afghan security forces, it has not commented on suggestions from Kabul on the possible supply of military equipment and made no mention of it at the end of the Defence Minister-level delegation talks here last week.  “Complicated issue”  On the talks with Pakistan on demilitarisation of Siachen glacier that concluded on Tuesday, Mr. Antony characterised it as “a very complicated issue” and felt that both sides needed more time to study the subject.  He said that while the discussions with the Pakistani delegation were free and frank and held in a cordial atmosphere, both sides were unable to come to any conclusion and so they decided to continue the parleys in Islamabad at a mutually convenient date and time.  Ballistic missile defence  Earlier in his address at the function, Mr. Antony said the Defence Research Development Organisation must demonstrate the capability to develop missiles of the range of 5,000 km at the earliest.  While acknowledging that the successful test of the interceptor missile development programme had taken the country to an elite club, he felt the premier research organisation should now work towards a credible ballistic missile defence.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2074704.ece
Pakistan jacks up annual defence spending by 11.3pc
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday hiked its defence budget for 2011-12 to Rs495.215 billion (just under $6 billion), an 11.37 percent increase from the outgoing fiscal year. However, given inflation at 14 percent, this 11.37 percent increase actually means an almost 2.63 percent decrease in real terms.  Given the dire need for military hardware, including strategic air defence, the defence allocation will be insufficient to meet both external and internal threats. In the outgoing fiscal, Rs442.173 billion was allocated for defence at the time of budget announcement. However, by the end the year, this figure was revised upward to Rs444.640 billion.  Most of the defence budget is spent on salaries and maintenance with little left over to purchase military hardware, which increases Pakistani’s dependence on foreign military aid. Defence experts say Pakistan needs strategic air defence to maintain deterrence. People increasingly fear a US attack on strategic assets despite US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s rejection of this anxiety as “conspiracy theories”.  The Gilani administration, widely viewed as clueless and visionless about emerging security threats, has allocated only Rs495.215 billion for defence, of which Rs493.745b is used for defence services and the remaining for defence administration.  India this year allocated Rs1644.15 billion (US $36.5 billion) or defence, with an ambitious plan to purchase military hardware including 126 combat aircraft, 197 light helicopters and 145 ultra-light howitzer artillery guns for the army. Given the volume of India’s defence budget and the emerging threats from militants and terrorists, the Gilani administration must focus on finding resources to beef up the country’s defence.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=6473&Cat=13&dt=6/4/2011
China, India exchange views on 'obstacles'
China on Friday told India candidly that “some artificial obstacles” were being raised by some of its “senior officials or the press” in a manner that “impeded” the “good momentum” in defence cooperation between the two countries.  India responded by reaffirming its call for “strengthening defence cooperation” on the basis of “mutual respect for each other's concerns.”  The issue was first raised by China's National Defence Minister Liang Guanglie during his meeting with Minster of State for Defence M. M. Pallam Raju on the eve of the 10th Asia Security Summit being organised here by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.  Mr. Raju later summed up his response as follows: “I said, ‘We believe in strengthening our relationship with China. Our Prime Minister has, in many meetings with China's Head of State, reiterated: Let us focus on the positives of the relationship and grow from strength to strength. And, similarly, there is a need, against the background of the overall relationship, for strengthening defence cooperation also [on the basis of] mutual respect for each other's concerns.”  Gen. Liang outlined China's perception that obstacles were being placed by “some Indian people, including some senior officials or the Indian press, from time to time, [in the form of] some irresponsible, unfounded remarks.”  Mr. Raju's response was that “India being a democracy, our media is very active and sometimes they are more critical about the functioning of our own government.”  Gen. Liang posed the issue while tracing the big picture of China-India relationship. He said: “Both China and India are the world's [two] ancient civilisations. We are two largest-developing countries and also two most populous countries in the world.”  Having struck common ground and shared similar interests on quite a number of major international issues, China and India in recent years, achieved “tangible” progress in their bilateral engagement on issues concerning economy, culture, science, and technology.  Space for improvement  Gen. Liang noted that “both sides have done a great deal of work in promoting friendly and cooperative relations” in a positive spirit. At the same time, “we also see a huge space for us to improve.”  While the two countries would “need to cherish what we have achieved, expand our common ground and explore new areas for cooperation … it is imperative for us to properly handle our disputes or sensitive issues.”  “Within this broad spectrum of bilateral engagement, China places great value on the military-to-military relations with India,” said Gen. Liang.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2074737.ece
‘Physical brawl’ led to Army raids on Leh hotels
While the police on Thursday rebuffed the army’s claim that an intelligence input about the presence of militants in a hotel in Leh led to its men frisking the tourists, sources on Friday told Kashmir Dispatch that the ‘cause and the motive behind the army action was quite uncanny’.  At the heart of the incident lied a physical brawl between an army colonel and police inspector which led to the incident, sources said.  A senior most official privy to both the army and police said more than a week ago a colonel along with his son went to Leh airport where they had an altercation with local police inspector over the issue of frisking.  “The colonel wanted that both of them should be released without frisking. The inspector refused and later both of them entered into a verbal brawl. Then there was exchange of blows as well,” the official said.  “During the incident, the colonel and his son got injured. They rushed to local police station and pressed them to register an FIR,” he added.  “The police refused to concede to the demand of colonel and his son. But they (police) promised to initiate a departmental action against the inspector,” he remarked.  Later, during a series of meetings between the police and army officials the issue was resolved, he added.  According to the source, the colonel came to know that the inspector frequented a hotel in the area.  “They thought that it was a good opportunity to settle the score with the inspector,” he said.  “On the intervening night of May 30 and May 31, they barged into several hotels looking for the inspector. In the meantime they barged into Hotel Masarovar, Holiday Inn and Keddar Guest House. The tourists were intimidated and harassed,” he said.  However, a senior official in the Army’s Northern Command told Kashmir Dispatch that there was a miscommunication between the army and the police that led to the incident.  “While there were intelligence inputs about the presence of militants, the army should have taken police into confidence,” he added.  Police had registered a case against unidentified army troopers for allegedly entering three hotels during night in Leh and harassing tourists, including foreigners, earlier this week.  The incident took place during the intervening night of May 30 and 31 when army personnel from 3 Division based at Kharu in Leh area of Ladakh region barged into many hotels, official sources had told Press Trust of India.  “Troopers carrying weapons and wearing uniforms without name badges, questioned the tourists without taking local police into confidence as required under law,” sources had said.  One of the tourists had taken pictures of the army troopers and complained to local police about harassment, the sources said.  A defence spokesperson, while denying harassment to the tourists by the army in Leh, had told Press Trust of India that army had stepped up vigil in Leh region following intelligence inputs that militants were planning to disrupt the tourism in the area.  Reacting to the statement by the defence spokesperson, the police on Thursday rebuffed the army saying there were no militants present in Leh.  "Taking cognizance of a statement of defence spokesman and as quoted by PTI the Police want to inform that there is no presence of militants in Leh," a spokesperson of the police had said.  "The Police is looking into the motives of the army personnel who searched some hotels in Leh during the intervening night of 30/31.05.2011, since the Armed Force Special Power Act is not in force in Leh," the police spokesperson had said.

http://www.kashmirdispatch.com/headlines/03063713-physical-brawl-led-to-army-raids-on-leh-hotels-kashmir.htm
Indian Army vice chief to visit Poland
Indian Army vice chief Lt. Gen. A.S. Lamba will go on a four-day visit to Poland from Saturday to explore opportunities to expand defence ties, an officer said here Friday.  Lamba’s visit assumes significance in the light of India’s diversifying defence relations with Poland, given its expertise in military technology and it being viewed as a potentially important defence partner, the senior army officer said.  During the visit, the army vice chief will interact with senior Polish military officials and also visit important defence establishments.  ‘The visit by the second senior-most officer of the Indian Army is expected to give added impetus to existing defence ties between the two countries,’ he said.

http://www.inewsone.com/2011/06/03/indian-army-vice-chief-to-visit-poland/55106
Saraswat asks military to be realistic
BANGALORE: Scientific Advisor to the defence minister, VK Saraswat asked the country's military to come up with "realistic requirements", specifically mentioning the Arjun Main Battle Tank and the Nag Anti-tank missile--programmes that had for long been considered white elephants before being finally inducted.  Speaking at the Defence Research Development Organisation annual awards held on Friday in New Delhi- an event which was also attended by defence minister AK Antony and members of the armed forces- Dr Saraswat said that while the the country's services were its integral partners as well as clients, there was an urgent need to have a greater connect. 'But while we welcome all inputs and guidelines, we also feel the need for the Services to firm up realistic requirements at the earliest, so we may properly plan our project requirements," he said.  In development for over 30 years and at a cost of over Rs 300 crores, the Arjun Main Battle Tank programme had come under severe flak for cost overruns and its failure to meet the Indian Army's combat requirements, leading to speculations that it could never be the mainstay of the Indian Army's Armoured Corps. However, since comprehensively outgunning and outrunning the Russian-made T-90 - India's current flagship battle tank - last year, the Arjun received a second order of 124 tanks in May.  "As you are aware the Arjun programme, spanning two decades, has been the most exhaustively evaluated project, which must be some sort of landmark in defence system development," Dr Saraswat said. "With a development phase of 10 years and an equal evaluation-cum-improvement phase of 10 years, MBT Arjun has literally been through an "Agni Pariksha" by the services," he further added.  Saraswat's comments have come less than a year after the DRDO has started work on the next-generation Future Main Battle Tank. The Army has projected a need for about 1,200 FMBTs and has indicated in no uncertain terms that it expects the tank to go into production by 2020. The project is seen as crucial for the country's future battle readiness.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/saraswat-asks-military-to-be-realistic/articleshow/8712164.cms
The 'desi' warship is a deception, Mr Antony
Ajai Shukla in New Delhi  The indigenisation programme of the ministry of defence has been an illusion, wrapped in a fallacy, cloaked in deception, writes Ajai Shukla  Defence indigenisation has long been more a ministry of defence slogan than reality. Minister A K Antony pays regular lip service to reversing the 70:30 ratio: i.e. reducing the foreign component of Indian defence from 70 per cent to 30 per cent. In practice, indigenisation has been an illusion, wrapped in a fallacy, cloaked in deception.  The empirical reality of "indigenisation" is evident in the Indian Navy, the only service that pursues indigenisation systematically (the Indian Air Force and the army talk the talk but oppose indigenisation in practice, demanding aircraft, tanks and guns now, not ten years down the line).  The navy takes justifiable pride in building most of its warships in Indian shipyards, but a closer examination reveals that indigenisation is only skin deep.  Defence shipyards have developed the crucial skills needed for designing and constructing sophisticated warships, and for harmonising myriad sensors and weapons into an integrated battle management system. But there is little headway in indigenising the multiplicity of components and systems that are the vital innards of a battleship.
Consequently, India's four defence shipyards --- the flagship Mazagon Dock Limited, Mumbai; Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers, Kolkata; Goa Shipyard Limited; and the newly acquired Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Visakhapatnam -- must necessarily look overseas for the engines, gas turbines, propulsion systems, gearboxes, generators, hydraulic systems, air-conditioning and countless other systems, which add up to the bulk of the cost of modern warships.  These are all lost opportunities for India's private sector companies, which could be building these systems as their route into the lucrative business of defence production.  Examine the figures. From the navy's budget of Rs 21,000 crore this year (all figures rounded off), almost 60 per cent or Rs 12,000 crore is earmarked for capital expenditure. Of this, Rs 4,000 crore will be disbursed directly to foreign shipyards that are constructing Indian warships, while Rs 8,000 crore will be paid to Indian shipyards.
On the face of it, that would appear like a healthy 66 per cent indigenisation rate, close to Antony's target. Unfortunately, only a small share of this goes to the Indian shipbuilder.  MDL retains just 25 per cent of the cost of each warship it produces, with 75 per cent being paid to foreign suppliers for the systems mentioned above. GRSE pays out 65 per cent and GSL remits 55 per cent abroad, not because they are better at indigenising but because their vessels use lower-end technology that is available in India.  The shocking statistic is that India has a 100 per cent indigenisation rate in jungle boots and blankets and similar low-tech equipment.  But in critical technologies, we import 85 per cent of our needs. And in warship-grade and aerospace-grade components, we have indigenised just 5 per cent of our requirement; 95 per cent still comes from abroad.
An example is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Dhruv helicopter, designed and integrated in India, but 90 per cent foreign in physical content.  This regrettable situation exists largely because the MoD, particularly its department of defence production, has failed to coordinate and sponsor the development of indigenous capability.  Warship builders still import even warship grade steel, the toughened alloy that comprises the basic structure of a modern battleship. This is not because the technology is beyond us.  Years ago, India's public sector metallurgical establishments -- the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory; Mishra Dhatu Nigam; and Steel Authority of India Limited -- developed and manufactured warship grade steel (termed D 40S), which has been used in the navy's reputed Shivalik class frigates.
But cross-ministerial coordination is needed for producing the relatively small volumes needed for warship programmes while remaining profitable for both steelmaker and shipyard.  Essar Steel had offered to produce warship steel, subject to some conditions. But the MoD has preferred to continue reliance on import.  In 2003, the navy addressed the lack of depth in indigenisation with a '15 Year Indigenisation Plan', which was subsequently revised up to 2022.  This forecasts the warship programme's requirement of equipment and systems, hoping for import substitution by bringing in the private sector.
A similar initiative last year, broadened to all three services, was the DRDO's "Technology Perspective & Capability Roadmap", which details the technologies that the military requires and urges the private sector "to offer firm commitments in partnering the MoD in developing contemporary and future technologies as well as productionalising equipment required by the armed forces."  But these useful baseline documents are only a starting point for an indigenisation thrust. Private sector corporations that are interested in defence production would still require handholding and funding for their initially non-productive R&D.  The funding is available -- each year the MoD has been earmarking some Rs 2,000 crore for "make" procedure projects, without a single rupee having ever been paid out -- but nobody in the MoD has taken clear ownership of such an initiative.
It is time for the defence ministry to step up to the plate.  They have already identified 61 critical technologies -- especially materials and components that can be used across a broad range of sub-systems and systems -- that India badly needs for developing higher technological capabilities.  A nationally synergised effort is needed, which must also explore the obtainment of specific technologies through the offset route.  We have learned how to swim at the deep end of the pool, developing the complex abilities needed for designing and integrating warships, aircraft and tanks, without developing the broader research and industrial eco-system that sustains a defence industrial base.  It is time to deepen and broaden indigenisation, developing the materials, components and sub-systems that will not just substitute defence imports, but also provide technological "trickle down" to energise the national industrial base.

http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-indian-navy-indegenous-warship-programme-is-a-deception/20110603.htm
Parameters for Indian Army 2020
Recently under the aegis of the Army a seminar was conducted to discuss the shape, size and structure of our Army in 2020. The scope of the seminar also included an assessment of emerging challenges and doctrinal issues. The deliberations during this event received some media coverage and comment.  If we are to go by the reports that doctrinal and organizational changes are in the offing based on the conclusions drawn during the Seminar clearly this event has been of considerable significance and extremely successful. The Army Headquarters, the organizers and the participants deserve to be congratulated. Equally it can be expected that the benefits of this event would encourage the defense establishment to engage in such debates more frequently.  The three service chiefs spoke during the inaugural session. A close scrutiny of what they said and the proceedings that followed would indicate that the deliberations were perhaps being conducted in a vacuum. Ideally, such a subject should have as its frame of reference a vision document of national strategy and security for 2020. Without such a conceptual framework the solutions arrived at are unlikely to be optimal and may even be flawed. We now have a National Security Council and a National Security Advisory Board comprising of some of our recognized and well-known members of the strategic community. Therefore it would be fair to expect a much greater degree of cohesion between national and defense planning.
For example what is our strategy in the next decade to settle the ‘line of control’ issue with Pakistan? Surely we should not have to forever live with this problem. Concurrently what is our action plan to win over the disaffected population of Kashmir so that militancy from the region is eradicated? Where does the military fit into this game plan? Again, what is our politico – diplomatic- military strategy for dealing with China on regional issues and the border problem? What about the ‘war against terror’ or the fallout of the actions in Iraq? What is our policy on sharing of responsibilities between the defense forces and the Central Police Forces till the problems in Kashmir and the North-east continue to fester? What diplomatic and military measures are contemplated to ensure that we retain the freedom of action to pursue our national interests without fear of arm twisting or intimidation and sanctions by other regional and global players?  Only if we have answers to these and a host of other issues can we begin to formulate a plan for the Army, Navy and Air Force of 2020. Otherwise we shall continue to witness the disjunction between military capabilities and the Country’s requirements as in 1947/48, 1962, 1965, Kargil, “Operation Parakrama’ or in our ability to impose a military deterrent on Pakistan so as to dissuade that Country from engaging us- with a fair degree of impunity- in the covert war that we have been in, for the last decade and a half. Admittedly affordability will always be a major consideration but implications must be well digested before decisions are taken.  The discussion on Pakistan’s nuclear capability and its ‘ absurdly low threshold’ reaffirmed the tremendous triumph of Pakistan’s nuclear strategy. Whether inadvertently or otherwise the US has rendered vital support in making the strategy succeed. The persistent projection of South Asia as a nuclear flashpoint since the eighties and the barrage of inputs that has flowed from the US since then has been effective in convincing us that Pakistan is capable of the utmost irresponsibility as a Nuclear weapon state. Consequently in our minds we have permitted our conventional military capability to get neutralized. The neutralization then finds expression in ‘limited war’, no deep operations, shallow objectives and other similar postulations.
The doctrine and capability definition that flow from such thinking can have an immeasurably debilitating effect on our entire military posture with the potential for disastrous consequences. Firstly it pushes us back into the old jacket of being totally defensive in our posture (it took us many years to get out of that mindset). Because whatever offensive capability we retain would be rendered virtually ineffective due to the fear of crossing Pakistan’s nuclear threshold. And look at the enormous military advantage we transfer to Pakistan because of such thinking.  Firstly it can continue to needle us by supporting terrorism and militancy without fear of any reprisal. Parakrama may well have reinforced this belief. Secondly in the event of war knowing that our offensives will be restricted to a few kilometers Pakistan can hold the front lightly with Para- military forces or with minimum regulars and then have the flexibility and freedom to concentrate forces to hit and hurt us at places of its choosing. Our nuclear doctrine of “no first use’ adding to the comfort level of Pakistan’s military planners.  There are similar problems with the notion of ‘ limited war’. In some sense or the other all wars are- limited. At a ridiculous level it can be argued that even the World Wars were limited. The catch is in defining limited wars and the conclusions we draw from such definition. Broadly, limited wars imply limitation of time, space and the use of force ( essentially weapon systems) In 1962 we did not employ our air force; neither did the Chinese. During the recent Kargil war the conflict was kept confined to the Kargil Sector and we also refrained from crossing the Line of Control.  In 1971 we limited the war to the capture of Dacca. Even way back in 47/48 we chose to limit the duration of operations.(many today believe that had we carried on, the history of the subcontinent would have been different ).  So what is new now? Yet especially after the Kargil War we have many from our strategic thinkers community emphasizing that since future wars are likely to be ‘limited’ either by choice or due to the pressure of the UN/US our force structure ought to be suitably tailored. Implicit in such thinking is the belief that we can reduce force levels. This is a slippery route. And perhaps dangerous. As a matter of fact instead of considering scaling down because of restrictions that may be imposed we should seriously consider scaling up so that we acquire the capacity to impose limited fighting (strikes) like Israel or the US. Such a capability acquisition should be possible- at least- against some of our likely adversaries.
Throughout the close to fifty years of the ‘cold war’, assessments of thresholds had little or no effect on the conventional force levels and operational plans of the Warsaw Pact countries or the NATO. Nuclear contingencies and employment of nuclear weapons admittedly were considered as options and possibilities on the escalatory ladder. China has nuclear adversaries including India but it continues to give greater teeth to its conventional forces. As a matter of fact in the history of nuclear weapons states it would be difficult to find any country that is as constrained by the threshold of an adversary as we are. The subject requires greater reflection.  Nuclear weapons for nuclear deterrence and a powerful conventional force for dissuasive deterrence must remain the pillars of our military strategy. Therefore notwithstanding Pakistan’s nuclear threshold we should maintain our focus on strengthening both pillars. Pakistan has convinced us of its low nuclear threshold. We have to now convince Pakistan that it does not matter. We are resolved to retaliate and punish if that Country transgresses our limit of tolerance.  In making a case for not compromising on conventional capability and the necessity to maintain the momentum of offensive operations, it would be incorrect, if it has been conveyed that nuclear threshold is altogether unimportant. In the planning and execution of operations it would remain a key consideration.  Over the last two decades our strategic horizon has undergone changes. But the shadow that Pakistan casts over our military minds continues to be disproportionately large. This must change. Areas to the North, North East and the Indian Ocean require much greater attention. The shift in focus must begin now. Then only can we expect to be well poised as we approach 2020.   

http://www.indiandefencereview.com/military-and-aerospace/Parameters-for-Indian-Army-2020.html
Indian army pressure Editorial By Dawn
FOR most of its existence, Pakistan has struggled with establishing strong civilian governments. Repeated interruptions in the democratic process have made the military notorious for maintaining an outsized role in policymaking, especially when it comes to foreign relations, security and defence. India, on the other hand, has ostensibly made bigger strides in this regard and is routinely praised for its democracy. Conventional wisdom has held that the country`s civilian governments control its military, not the other way around. But confidential US diplomatic cables obtained through WikiLeaks suggest that the extent of this independence has been overstated.  As this paper reported yesterday, the Indian army has been a key impediment to resolving the deadlock with Pakistan over Siachen. American officials have reported in these documents over the years that while the Indian prime minister has wanted to show flexibility in negotiations, pressure from the army has not allowed him to do so. While the resistance of opposition politicians and hardliners within the Congress party is also reported, that is part and parcel of a functioning democracy. What was less expected was the extent to which army buy-in would be needed for India to move forward on Siachen.  But this glacier is an uninhabited area with no economic significance. The deadlock has only resulted in increased defence expenditure and climate-related deaths of both Indian and Pakistani troops. If the Siachen issue has resulted in this level of military interference, what hope can there be for Kashmir? Extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions in India-administered Kashmir are one manifestation of the hold that the Indian security forces have on the area. The use of excessive force during protests last summer has been well-documented. And if the confidential material on Siachen is any indication, the civilian government may well be unable to move forward on Kashmir in the face of pressure from the Indian defence establishment.  The implications are clear: despite justified criticism of the role of Pakistan`s military in setting foreign policy, the reality is that the civilian governments on both sides have military pressure to stand up to. Both administrations also have a real desire for dispute resolution that is clearly being held back by this pressure. In these shared realities lies an opportunity: they should become a basis for establishing common ground between the two governments rather than roadblocks on the path to peace. They also indicate that both countries have work to do domestically to boost their democracies further, so that their relationship can be strengthened to more accurately reflect the true aspirations of their people. You might also like:

http://www.columnspk.com/indian-army-pressure-editorial-by-dawn/


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