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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

From Today's Papers - 08 Jun 2011

MoD rejects new promotion policy for Maj-Gens & above
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 7 The Ministry of Defence has rejected the proposed single stream policy of promotion of Major-Generals to the rank of Lieutenant Generals and above. It has asked the Army to redo the policy’s format as the law ministry did not agree to the proposal, well-placed officials said today.  The Army’s Military Secretary branch has been tasked with reworking the policy to make it “acceptable” and is learnt to have begun ironing out deficiencies.  The promotion policy has been mired in controversy as the Army wanted to merge the ‘two-streams’ that segregate Command and Staff officers of the level of Major-General and above. While officers in the former stream go on to command formations, others do not.  The Army had suggested a new policy by merging the two streams to form a single stream. It even carried out a promotion board this January on the basis of the new single-stream policy. Questioning the merger of the streams, the ministry wanted to know the need to change the policy introduced only two years ago during the tenure of General Deepak Kapoor.  At that time, the two-stream policy was chosen by segregating the one stream formula. This was done to “adjust” officers after the MoD added some senior posts on the recommendation of the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee (AVSC). With the proposal being sent going back-and-forth, several promotions have been delayed. Worst hit are at least seven senior Major-Generals, who have retired in the past few months as the defence ministry and the Army locked horns over the promotion policy.

India-US defence ties Strategic buying of military transport plane
India has finally agreed to buy from the US 10 high-value C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft for the IAF, estimated to cost Rs18000 crore ($4.1 billion). The US has been putting pressure on New Delhi in a subtle way to purchase seven more of these planes to offset the rejection of Boeing’s F-18 and Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter planes as part of a $10 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal negotiated between the two countries during President Barack Obama’s April visit to New Delhi. For the present, the Cabinet Committee on Security has decided to stick to the number exactly required by the IAF — only 10 planes. But this is unlikely to satisfy the Americans, who want India to increase its purchases to reach the value of the MMRCA deal. It is, therefore, believed that New Delhi may buy a few more C-17 planes in the coming months. The IAF had been so far managing with Russian H-76 Gajraj and AN-32 flying machines for transporting men and material to strategic locations.  The C-17 military transport aircraft has certain advantages over the Russian one. The Indian agencies that will be benefited include the aviation arm of RAW, the Aviation Research Centre. The new planes have undergone strict tests and the Indian side is quite satisfied with its new acquisition. The supplies will be made in two years with a few extra engines and sufficient spares. But it would have been better if the deal included the transfer of technology too so that India could think of indigenous production of such planes.  In any case, the MMRCA deal will boost India’s defence relations with the US. India needs to add to the strength of the IAF keeping in view the acquisitions of the Chinese air force. The tendency to compare with Pakistan should be given up. An emerging regional power that India is, it should think of acquiring a status which is no inferior to that of China. Only then will China stop pinpricking India now and then.

India can’t do a ‘Geronimo’ There are major fault-lines
by Lieut-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)  Consequent to American operation ‘Geronimo,’ at Abbottabad in Pakistan to eliminate Osama bin Laden, many in civil society have been asking whether India can go ahead with a similar operation. ‘Geronimo’ involved painstaking intelligence work spread over many years, though the final ‘fine- tuning’ took seven months or so. Detailed intelligence work and application of cutting edge technology apart, it required an enormous amount of co-ordination among those in the higher echelons of the civil administration and military high command as well as with the one who was to control the mission. The entire planning was closely monitored by the Chiefs of Defence Staff, the CIA chief and the President himself, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.  For months they worked on the plan, disseminating information strictly following the principle, ‘need to know’. A mock-up of the ‘Osama house’ would have been erected and an operation rehearsed a number of times by the designated team of helicopter crews and Seals, and the latter had otherwise been undergoing one of the most vigorous training schedules. Only then was it possible to complete the mission with clock-work precision. It was the President who had to take the final call and gave written orders.  Since intelligence is the most essential input for such an operation, can Indian intelligence agencies measure up to this basic requirement? Weaknesses of Indian intelligence have repeatedly surprised the nation, be it the Chinese road across Ladakh, the scale of aggression in 1962, and mass infiltration in 1965 in J and K followed by the attack in Chamb-Jorian. Kargil was a major intelligence failure and so was the attack on Parliament where there were security lapses too. It was repeated at Mumbai, in spite of some early leads. More recent are the cases of lists of terrorists in Pakistan and the CBI team arriving in Copenhangen with an out-dated warrant of arrest. The list is endless.  Accurate and actionable intelligence is fundamental to the success of covert operations, whereas it remains our weakest point. In fact, in the case of Indian intelligence agencies, it is not the case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing but the little finger not knowing whom the index finger, of the same hand, is fingering?  At the national level we have the NSG, especially trained and equipped for such operations. At Mumbai these commandos first took too long to arrive and later too long to complete the operation. Equally, are the NSG commandos equal to the job? Just recall the visuals of a commando holding his weapon well above his head and firing at supposedly some terrorists! This visual was repeatedly shown on the American TV, where we saw the drama unfold. The NSG was commanded by an army officer, invariably an ex-commando, but now it is a police officer with no ground-level experience of commando operations. Grabbing jobs, irrespective of the suitability of the appointee, is another feature of Indian setting.  There was no centralised control over the operation and the entire scene around Taj Hotel appeared one of a ‘circus,’ with apparently no one knowing what to do. The details of ammunition and grenades expended by the commandos in this action would give an idea of the operation and our suspicion of possible collateral damage.  Both the Indian Navy and the Indian Army have special forces which can carry out missions of the type conducted by the US naval Seals at Abbottabad. They are organised and trained for such missions and have the best of leadership. Quality of intelligence inputs apart, it is the joint operations where more than one service is to take part and then problems arise. There are major fault-lines in the field of coordination and meshing together of various aspects of such an operation between the two Services taking part in the operation. This lack of ‘joint-ship’ has been the bane of Indian defence forces, which essentially is the handiwork of the politic-bureaucratic combine. The policy of ‘divide and rule’, and ‘turf-tending’ over national interest has been the dominant feature of the Indian defence apparatus.  In the case of the Abbattobad raid, in spite of the complete integration of the defence forces in the United States, the Naval Seals had their own helicopters to ensure total involvement and commitment of those taking part in the operation. In the case of India, helicopters meant for carrying such troops are with the Indian Air Force rather than the Army! So, the total commitment required on the part of all those taking part in the operation will not measure up to the level required in an operation of the type conducted at Abbottabad. In fact, discord has often appeared when two Services had to operate together. It surfaced in rather an ugly form during the Kargil operations.  In the Indian political setting, a clear direction and the will to go for the kill will continue to be lacking. At Kargil, troops were told to carry out a ‘hot pursuit,’ but were forbidden to cross the Line of Control. This is when Pakistan had violated, on a very wide front and to great depth, India’s territorial integrity and the situation called for and justified a befitting response. However, India’s timid and inappropriate reaction resulted in frontal attacks up those impossible slopes, with avoidable casualties. Pakistan suffered no punishment for its blatant act of aggression. Consequent to attack on Indian Parliament, ‘Operation Parakaram’ kept the troops in their battle locations for months and ended in a fiasco. Indian reaction to these two incidents conveyed to Pakistan that it can take liberties with India and the latter carries no deterrence for the former. At the same time, it demonstrated that Indian political leadership will never have the stomach to order an operation of the ‘Geronimo’ type, no matter how provocative the action of the other country may be.  Civil society has suddenly woken up and is now seeking answers to searching questions on these issues, having closed its eyes and switched off its mind to national security issues all these decades. The inescapable fact is that the full potential of various components of the defence forces just cannot be realised without adopting the concepts of Chiefs of Defence Staff and “Theater Commands” along with the integration of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Services headquarters on the lines of the Pentagon. What has currently been carried out by way of amalgamation of Defence Headquarters with the MoD is a joke and a fraud on the nation. Yet civil society has remained a silent spectator. The Arun Singh Committee Report continues to gather dust, as it stands consigned to the archives of the Indian government.  Besides the above fault-lines in the Indian security establishment, it is the watertight compartments in which various organs of the state work. Foreign policy is evolved and practised in isolation of national security considerations and consultations. Intelligence agencies are never made accountable and have inadequate interaction with the defence Services.

14 militants killed in US drone attack along the Afgahan border in South Waziristan
The US have been gaining momentum with regular drone strikes as they have been regularly involved in drone strikes. They have been using these strikes regularly after the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
14 MILITANTS were killed by an alleged US drone attack along the Afghan border in South Waziristan, according to Geo Television. According to other reports on various news sources, there were two strikes, one at a town in South Waziristan, and the other in Watcha Dana area. The attack must have been targeted towards a madrassa, which has been badly damaged.   It seems that the US has recognised some targets that would help them nab top militants. Ilyas Kashmiri, an al-Qaeda leader was also killed in a similar attack on Friday, which must have encouraged the US team for the related attack. According to sources, these US drone were continuously flying even after they had attacked the region. This drone attack is considered to be one of the biggest attacks since March. It is the twelfth attack that has taken place after the killing of Osama Bin laden.   US officials are of the view that the drone attacks are very valuable as this would allow them to catch several high-profile militants. They have been successful in doing so, too, which gives them the motivation to perform these attacks without any fear.   Though many political parties have protested against the use of drone against the state, but the US still does not pay any heed to these kinds of protests.

Indian Army probing sexual abuse charges against UN peacekeepers in Congo  
New Delhi:  The Indian Army has launched a court of inquiry against 12 officers and 39 soldiers allegedly involved in cases of sexual abuse while they were deployed as UN peacekeepers in strife-riven Congo, an officer said on Tuesday.  The inquiry is being held in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, where the officers and soldiers are being questioned to conclude if they had sexually abused local women and also fathered children while on a UN peacekeeping mission in 2008, the officer at the army headquarters here said.  The court of inquiry is headed by a Brigadier, with two Colonels as its members, he added.  The sexual abuse allegations emerged after DNA tests commissioned by the UN on the children born to local women in Durla in the Congo showed they had "distinctive Indian features". The UN wrote to Indian Army requesting further investigations, with the latest reminder coming in August 2010.
In January, the army asked its Chandimandir-based Western Command to order a court of inquiry and it was constituted on May 24, the officer said.  "There are some allegations and we are investigating into the issue," the officer said, adding that the army headquarters had received an inconclusive report from UN.  "The UN probe into the allegations was inconclusive and that was why they asked us to investigate further," he added.  Following the allegations, the regiment in which the officers and soldiers were serving was recalled from the Congo and attached to the Western Command headquarters.  Earlier too, there have been allegations of sexual abuse and graft against Indian Army officers and soldiers serving in UN missions in the Congo but these have not been proved.  In March 2008, three officers were charged with sexual abuse of a local women while on a holiday in South Africa.  In 2007, there were allegations that some of the Indian peacekeepers had exchanged food and information with the locals for obtaining gold from rebels in North Kivu in the Congo. There were also allegations of Indian soldiers sexually exploiting minor girls in North Kivu.

Kashmir: Army punishes jawan who misbehaved with tourists  » News » Kashmir: Army punishes jawan who misbehaved with tourists Kashmir: Army punishes jawan who misbehaved with tourists June 07, 2011 23:20 IST Share this Ask Users Write a Comment Print this article  In a swift action, the army said on Tuesday it had taken 'strict disciplinary action against soldiers who had misbehaved with tourists in the south Kashmir's [ Images ] health resort of Pahalgam on Monday.'  A defence spokesman in Srinagar [ Images ] said that the corps commander, Lt Gen S A Hasnain 'ordered a fast track enquiry into the incident, which found the jawan guilty of unsoldierly conduct which has tarnished the name of the army.'   The spokesman, Lt Col J S Brar in a statement said, "Further the corps commander has passed explicit directions to rank and file to maintain the highest standards of conduct and ensure that such incidents, although an aberration, are never repeated again."  Police sources in Srinagar said soldiers had roughed up a tourist couple from Rajasthan [ Images ] in Pahalgam on Monday.  Last week army soldiers had searched three hotels in Leh in the cold desert region of Ladakh.  The searches triggered a controversy with the state police filing a case against the troopers.

Jawan gets army stick for tourist assault
Srinagar, June 7: A rare protest by Pahalgam residents against an assault on tourists by soldiers has paid off, with the army today ordering strict disciplinary action against a jawan.  Defence spokesperson Lt Col J.S. Brar said the action followed a fast-track inquiry ordered by Lt Gen. Hasnain, the general officer commanding, 15 Corps.  “The inquiry found the jawan guilty of unsoldierly conduct which has tarnished the name of the army. The army has taken strict disciplinary action against the erring soldier for misbehaviour with tourists at Pahalgam,” the spokesperson said.  Two jawans and a civilian driver of an army vehicle were involved in the incident yesterday in which a group of tourists from Rajasthan were thrashed.  Police said the tourists were rescued by Pahalgam residents, who then held a street protest against the attack by the men whom they described as drunk.  A vegetable vendor, Arshad Bhat of Anantnag district, suffered head injuries when he tried to save the tourists and was beaten up, reports PTI.  The police filed a case and arrested the driver, a civilian. They are also investigating the main accused, Jhankar Singh of 3 Rashtriya Rifles, against whom the army today announced action. The other jawan has been let off because he did not appear to have played an active role.  “The GOC has passed implicit directions to the rank and file to maintain the highest standards of conduct and ensure that such incidents, although an aberration, are never repeated again,” the army spokesperson said.

'Land in Colaba belongs to army'
MUMBAI: A defence estate officer who earlier claimed that there was no record to show that the land on which the Adarsh building stood was owned by the ministry of defence now said the army was indeed in possession of a portion of the Colaba plot.  "The property in question was neither on lease nor on license and no rent has been paid nor the state government has asked for it," said Defence Estates Officer Geeta Kashyap Perti to the Adarsh Inquiry Commission. "But the army was in possession of the land in question as per the records."  She said she agreed with the opinion that two plots, Block VI and the Adarsh land, had been occupied by the army since 1938-39 and therefore was defence land. She added that the station commander-in-charge of the station headquarters in Colaba was likely to have evidence to show that the land belonged to the army.  The commission's counsel, Advocate Dipan Merchant, said, "It is an important development, but its value can only be taken into account after the cross examination is complete. Merchant had cited new documents to Kashyap-Petri that were made available to the commission recently."  The officer also said the defence records pertaining to the army's position, that no reclamation was carried out as claimed by the state government, was correct. The MoD has said the property was in possession of Her Majesty's Government prior to Independence and subsequently, it was with the Federal Government and the Government of India after the country was freed.  The officer's cross-examination will continue on Wednesday. Later this week, affidavits will be filed by former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Vilsarao Deshmukh. Chavan is scheduled to respond to the commission's notice on June 9 and Deshmukh on April 14.

Israel signs high-tech deal with India
TEL AVIV, Israel, June 6 (UPI) -- Israel's High-Tech Industry Association has signed a memorandum of understanding with its Indian counterpart to boost cooperation in advanced technology, a move that will undoubtedly increase the Jewish state's burgeoning defense sales to India.  The Jerusalem Post reports that industry executives see the accord with the Confederation of Indian Industry, signed June 1, leading to a convergence of "Israel's innovative prowess with India's huge and talented pool of human resources."  Trade between Israel and India -- one Jewish, one Hindu, both locked in conflict with Islamist terror groups -- hit $47 billion in 2010, with India moving into second place among the Jewish state's export markets.  That didn't include defense sales on more than $1 billion annually. India is engaged in a top-to-bottom upgrade and expansion of its armed forces.  This includes massive spending on combat aircraft and building up naval forces to project Indian power across the Indian Ocean, a vital energy and trade route between the Middle East and Asia.  "Increased arms spending has created a natural market for Israeli military technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne early warning radar systems," the Post said.  In recent years, Israel has consolidated defense links with India into a strategic relationship.  On April 20, 2009, India launched its 650-pound RISAT-2 satellite, built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and carrying the same multi-spectral aperture radar as the Tecstar-1 satellite developed for Israel's military.  The Indians, with Israeli help, fast-tracked vital surveillance systems in the wake of the attack by Islamic extremists on Mumbai, India's commercial hub, in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed, five of them Israelis.  In January 2009, India took delivery of the first of three Phalcon all-weather AWACS, also built by IAI, the flagship of Israel's defense industry, under a $1.1 billion deal. The radar system, produced by Israel's Elta Industries, is built around the Russian-built Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft. Delivery was advanced by two months following the carnage in Mumbai.  The Phalcons made India the first state in South Asia to have advanced multi-sensor AWACs capable of providing tactical surveillance or multiple airborne and surface targets and able to gather signals intelligence.  As part of the Phalcon deal, the Israelis disclosed they would establish five factories in India to produce artillery shells, a project reportedly worth $250 million.  Ties like this will likely deepen through the high-tech accord because of an Indian requirement that local components account for 30 percent of any contract.  Israeli firms generally focus on developing cutting-edge software and worldwide exports in 2010 totaled around $29 billion.  Given the fast-growing markets emerging in India and China, the high-tech accord is tailor-made for Israel's export-heavy economy. The two countries are already discussing an agreement to remove trade barriers.  The Israelis are focusing on the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, home of the fast-growing software center at Hyderabad.  It is close to signing an agreement with Matimop of Israel, a government agency that facilitates multinational research and development projects.  Andhra Pradesh is becoming a high-tech industries powerhouse, with software exports of $8 billion in 2010.  Missiles are a key Israel-India connection, and that requires intensive high-tech cooperation.  In 2008, India signed a $4.1 billion deal to purchase a shore-based and seaborne anti-missile air-defense system based on Israel's Barak long-range naval weapon built by IAI.  In August that year, New Delhi signed a $2.5 billion contract with IAI and Israel's Rafael armaments company to jointly develop an advanced version of the Spyder surface-to-air missile.

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