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Tuesday, 21 June 2011

From Today's Papers - 21 Jun 2011






Fresh talks with Pak to focus on terror: Krishna

Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, June 20 External Affairs Minister SM Krishna today made it clear that the upcoming foreign secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan would focus on terrorism, notwithstanding Islamabad's assertion that the two top diplomats would not be discussing the issue of Mumbai attacks.  Talking to mediapersons here before leaving for Myanmar, Krishna said the trust deficit between the two countries needed to be reduced. For this to happen, Pakistan must speed up the trial of the accused in the Mumbai carnage.  He said the confessions made by David Coleman Headley linking Pakistan's ISI with the Mumbai attacks would also form part of the talks.  This was in sharp contrast to what Islamabad has been saying. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman was recently quoted as saying that the two foreign secretaries would not be discussing the Mumbai attacks.  Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is scheduled to meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad on June 23-24 to discuss peace and security, including confidence building measures (CBMs), Jammu and Kashmir and promotion of friendly exchanges. They will also review the progress in dialogue process, which was frozen after the Mumbai attacks and reopened in February.  Krishna said the menace of terrorism had to be dealt with firmly and transparently for the common good of India and Pakistan as well as the region and beyond.  Asked whether he was satisfied with the progress made in the trial of Mumbai terror accused in Pakistan, Krishna said while India had completed the trial of the accused in its custody, Pakistan was yet to do that. "It is a sad commentary on what was happening there."  He said during every interaction with Pakistan, India had been conveying to the neighbour its concern over the slow pace of trial and urging it to bring the culprits of 26/11 to speedy justice. He, however, added that one has to be "patient, realistic and positive".  "We hope to narrow the trust deficit between our nations and pave the way for normalisation of relations by addressing all outstanding issues and concerns, particularly those pertaining to terrorism," said the minister.  He said the Foreign Secretary's visit and discussions would carry forward the dialogue process with Pakistan and a meeting of the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan was also expected by July this year. He pointed out that in the preceding months, meetings of Home Secretaries, Commerce Secretaries, Water Resources Secretaries, Additional Secretary/Surveyor General on Sir Creek and Defence Secretaries on Siachen had already taken place.  Replying to a question on Bombay blasts accused Dawood Ibrahim, who is supposed to be living in Pakistan, Krishna said the underworld don was wanted by India for various crimes he had committedin the country and India had asked for extradition of the criminal.








Maimed by mines Protecting civilians on Indo-Pak border

Many borders have weight-triggered explosive devices that can blast off with a human or inanimate contact. The difficult-to-patrol Indo-Pak border is dotted with them, a legacy of turbulent times and wars during which landmines were placed by the Army. With distressing frequency, the landmines are triggered by civilians who are then maimed or even sometimes killed by the blasts. Many of those affected are young people and indeed, a United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children maintains that landmines represent "an insidious and persistent danger" to children affected by war. Young people are far more likely to die from their mine injuries than adults, and even if they survive, seldom do they receive prostheses with the regularity that is necessary because of their growth.  Landmines were extensively used all over the world by armed forces till the 1990s, but after that, thanks to many voices being raised against their use, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, was signed in Ottawa, Canada, in 1997. Unfortunately, among the significant nations that have not signed the pact are India, Pakistan, Myanmar Nepal and China. That, however, did not deter Nepal from taking action and it was declared landmine-free zone only last week.  While the use of landmines has dropped dramatically worldwide since the Ottawa Treaty, obviously the border regions in India are unlikely to register such a fall. Naturally, the Army is expected to take a pro-active role in minimising the exposure of landmines to civilians who live near the border areas. People, especially children, living there must be sensitised so that they can recognise the threat. The Army must regularly sweep the border to remove any landmines that have moved from their original locations, as often happens. If anyone is hurt, it must work with the local administration to ensure proper, long-term care of the victims. Landmines are a deadly inheritance of wars; we must protect civilians from them.








Homeland security mkt seen at $16 bn by 2018

India's security market is expected to double to $16 billion (Rs 73,000 crore) by 2018, opening up vast opportunities for the private sector, experts said today.  By 2018, the homeland security market comprising of capital spend from the government, private sector and some export demand is likely to be worth $16 billion.

It is expected to expand to $13 billion by 2014, opening up significant opportunities for the private sector, said security experts and policy makers at INDESEC conference-cum-expo organised by industry body Assocham and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.  "The government and industry should collaborate to upgrade and modernise security systems and communication networks," Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs M Venkaiah Naidu said.  Meanwhile, Assocham's National Defence Council Chairman PC Bhasin said there is a plethora of state security agencies with minimal ability to coordinate while dealing with the threats in an effective manner.  Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect a country against terrorist activity. It is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks by reducing its vulnerability, minimising the damage and recovering quickly from attacks.  Over 100 exhibitors from 25 countries are participating in the meet.









India, China end freeze in military exchanges

India and China have resumed military exchanges after nearly a year's freeze over a visa dispute, which experts from both sides said will end an embarrassing impasse between the neighbors.  An eight-member Indian military delegation, headed by Major General Gurmeet Singh, arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a six-day visit, a senior Indian defense official told Agence France-Presse earlier.  The delegation is scheduled to visit Chinese military units and hold talks with its counterparts in Beijing, Shanghai and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.  AFP said Singh, the delegation chief, is the head of the Delta Force, part of a specialized counter-insurgency unit deployed in India-controlled Kashmir.  A spokesman for the Indian embassy in Beijing confirmed the delegation arrived on Sunday afternoon but did not reveal details. The Chinese Ministry of National Defense has yet to comment on the visit.  India suspended military exchanges in July last year after Beijing provided a stapled visa instead of a stamped one to the then head of India's Northern Army Command. The command controls part of disputed area of Kashmir.  The issue was resolved after China started issuing regular visas to residents from the disputed area, including some reporters who covered the BRICS summit in the southern Chinese city of Sanya in April.  "We decided to pause defense exchanges because of these differences of opinion," a source in the Indian government told AFP earlier on condition of anonymity.  "There were still phone calls and other contacts, but now, with this visit, we are seeing the resumption of normal, full-scale military exchanges," said the official.  The decision to resume defense cooperation was reached during talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Hu Jintao in China in April.  The Hindu, an Indian newspaper, said the two countries also agreed to resume the annual defense dialogue due to take place in New Delhi.  Defense exchanges between the world's fastest growing economies have lagged far behind their trade and diplomatic ties, they said.  China is India's largest trade partner and the two nations have cooperated on issues ranging from global financial reform to climate change.  Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor of Chinese studies at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, told Reuters that not having defense talks was a "symbol of mistrust".  "It breeds more suspicion if they are not talking," Kondapalli added.  Uday Bhaskar, director of the New Delhi-based think tank National Maritime Foundation, said the visit is symbolic.  "It does not represent any breakthrough in solving the disputes," Bhaskar said. "Major generals in India do not decide policy ... That can happen only at the political level."  "But with this engagement you create space for political rapprochement," he said.  Wan Wei, a researcher at the Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, said that the renewed contact at least meant that two countries had put the visa dispute behind them.  "It is a symbolic move and I think it helps to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation on international issues."  Commenting on recent Indian media claims that China is trying to "encircle" India, Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the comments reflected a Cold War mentality, which partly resulted in the impasse in the past year.  "India has always regarded China as a potential No 1 rival, but China does not view India in the same way," Fu said.








MRCA tender: US firm Raytheon locks onto India

Vying for a pie in India's planned procurement of 126 MMRCA fighters, US defence major Raytheon today said it was eager to supply weapons systems for being integrated onto the jets to be selected from among two shortlisted European companies.  Harry Schulte, Raytheon vice-president of Air Warfare Systems said the company has a suite of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons systems that could be integrated on Rafale or Eurofighter, the two shortlisted plane makers by India, subject to US government approval.  "Raytheon is prepared to meet India's national security needs and support the protection of India's sovereign interests with our air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons," he said at the Paris Air Show here.  India has shortlisted two European contenders, French Dassault Rafale and European Eurofighter for procuring 126 Medium-Multirole Combat Aircraft (M-MRCA) deal for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in April.  He said Raytheon's Paveway systems with proven track record could be integrated into the 126 MMRCA. Raytheon's Paveway is a kit that transforms "dumb" bombs into precision-guided munitions; Paveway is currently in the inventory of the Indian Air Force and 41 other countries.  The Paveway family of weapons are platform independent and integrated on more than 27 aircraft.  Noting that India was a priority country for Raytheon, he also announced the firm's desire to integrate the combat-proven Paveway systems on India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).  "Raytheon has been a trusted partner to India for more than three decades, and we hope to deepen this relationship by providing the Indian Air Force the tools it needs to defend India's sovereign interests," said Harry Schulte, Raytheon vice-president of Air Warfare Systems.  "India's air warriors deserve the world's most accurate direct-attack precision guided munition, which is why Raytheon's Paveway is a perfect fit for the LCA.  Integrated on the Rafale and Eurofighter, Paveway has been extensively used in several ongoing contingency operations. Raytheon's battle-tested Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile is integrated on the Eurofighter.  Raytheon officials also indicated that subject to the approval of the US and Indian governments, Raytheon is looking for partnership opportunities to produce critical components of Paveway with Indian industry.  "Raytheon has the utmost respect for the capabilities of India's defense industry," said Peter Wray, vice president of business development for Raytheon Missile Systems in India.  "If Raytheon were to receive the proper authorisations and find the right partner, we'd be eager to pursue co-production opportunities".








Indians Uneasy As China Builds Ports Nearby

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more.  As China flexes its economic and military muscle, it's bumping elbows with Asia's other big and fast-growing power: India.  China's hunger for energy from the Middle East and resources from Africa brings it into the Indian Ocean. And some defense analysts in India are watching uneasily as China develops commercial ports in some of India's neighbor countries.  To understand India's concerns about China, it helps to remember that the two countries have a history of border disputes, and that they fought a brief but ferocious war over territory in 1962.  Indian Concerns Over 'String Of Pearls'  Long-time members of India's military establishment spend a lot of time thinking about China's new military, and its strategic aims.  Arun Kumar Singh, a retired Indian vice admiral, habitually refers to China's military as "he."  "He wants to keep us in a state of imbalance, because he wants us to be boxed up in South Asia, though we are the second-largest and possibly the largest, or the fastest-growing economy in the world today," Singh says. Map of India and surrounding countries  Credit: Alyson Hurt/NPR  As a navy man, Singh is particularly concerned with China's efforts to build commercial ports in countries such as Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan — the so-called "string of pearls" strategy.  "What he is trying to do is trying to find innovative means of overcoming his geostrategic disadvantages. So one of them is 'string of pearls,' where he is building harbors and ports and airports," Singh says.  The thinking goes that China is establishing these facilities for commercial purposes now, but that they might be turned into military bases at some point in the future.  Skepticism Of The Theory  "The 'string of pearls' itself is a term — sounds very Chinese, doesn't it? — but it's a term that the Rand Corporation came up with originally, to describe what was meant to be a strategy of surrounding India with a whole bunch of bases," says Siddharth Varadarajan, who studies military policy as the New Delhi bureau chief for The Hindu newspaper. More In This Series The Varyag aircraft carrier, shown April 26, is being renovated at a shipyard in the northern Chinese city of Dalian. After years of refurbishing work, the carrier — bought from Ukraine — has been described as "on the verge of setting out" by Xinhua state news agency. China: Beyond Borders China's Growing Military Muscle: A Looming Threat? China's Global Reach China: Beyond Borders Explore China's Global Reach FULL SERIES: China: Beyond Borders  He says it doesn't make much sense to base India's policy toward China on speculation about a military strategy that may or may not exist.  Jabin Jacob, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi, is also skeptical about the string of pearls theory.  He says India's policy planners should be more concerned with the way China is using its military in what are called "military operations other than war," such as anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia.  "How will you deal with a China that is actively crisscrossing the Indian Ocean, and building up relations with other Indian Ocean littoral states where India has traditionally held sway?" he asks.  India needs to involve itself actively with its smaller neighbors and their problems, if it wants to maintain its influence, he says.  Jacob says policymakers also need to remember that China has its reasons for being wary of India's activities in China's neighborhood. A Pakistani soldier patrols the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan in 2007. Eighty percent of the port's initial funding was provided by China. Enlarge Shakil Adil/AP  A Pakistani soldier patrols the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan in 2007. Eighty percent of the port's initial funding was provided by China. A Pakistani soldier patrols the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan in 2007. Eighty percent of the port's initial funding was provided by China. Shakil Adil/AP  A Pakistani soldier patrols the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan in 2007. Eighty percent of the port's initial funding was provided by China.  "We have excellent relations with Mongolia and Vietnam, and the Chinese are not unaware of it," Jacob says. "So we want to focus on the string of pearls surrounding India, but you know we have another string, shall we say, garlanding the Chinese, which they are equally paranoid about."  Protecting Vital Sea Routes  Varadarajan, the New Delhi bureau chief, says that a lot of China's current thinking on military policy is really defensive in nature, a way to protect legitimate and vital shipping lanes.  "If India, as a major Indian Ocean power, could reassure the Chinese that India stands for freedom of the seas, and has a vital stake in working with other countries to protect sea lines, that could be one concrete way to build confidence and trust and also greater openness with the Chinese," Varadarajan says.  Jacob has another reminder for foreign policy wonks who may be trying to figure out the strategies of both China and India: Both huge countries are going to be focused on their own internal problems long into the future, he says, and that will drive their foreign policy agendas.








Indian Army wants better border posture against China

2011-06-20 (China Military News cited from -- With Chinese troops continuing with their aggressive "transgressions'' across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Army wants the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) to be placed under its "operational control'' for better border management.  Defence ministry sources said the Army contends India's border management posture will acquire the much-needed "cohesion, coordination and synergy'' required to counter the People's Liberation Army's "offensive'' posture if ITBP is placed under its jurisdiction.  The Army feels such a step will prove operationally productive as well as ensure optimal utilisation of resources especially in eastern Ladakh where ITBP, one of the seven central police forces under the home ministry, is responsible for border management of 826 km of the LAC.  The Army is also present in depth along that stretch but it can exercise operational control over ITBP only during the outbreak of hostilities.  This is not the first time the Army has moved for getting ITBP under its operational wings along the 4,057-km LAC for "single-point control'' as well as effective "border-guarding'' rather than mere "border-policing''.  The defence ministry had six years ago taken up the Army proposal with the home ministry and the national security advisor, among others, but it all came to naught. Interestingly, one of the main objectors at that time was the external affairs ministry, which felt that it would needlessly antagonize China.  China has had no such compunctions. It continues with its policy of frequent troop incursions all along the three LAC sectors -- western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal).  Officially, India often downplays Chinese intrusions, holding that they take place due to "differing perceptions'' of the still-unresolved LAC. The fact, however, remains that China has been indulging in aggressive border patrolling for several years now to strengthen its claim over disputed areas and put pressure on India.

India's overall border management policy has remained largely muddled over the years despite having a porous land border of 14,880-km, running through 17 states and touching six countries. Moreover, it took the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai for the government to rethink security of the country's 5,422-km coastline and 1,197 islands.  The large land borders with both China and Pakistan, as also Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, continue to suffer from a lack of coordination among the different forces manning the border outposts, ranging from BSF, ITBP and Sashastra Seema Bal to Assam Rifles and of course the Army, which report to different bosses and ministries.  Incidentally, both the Border Management Task Force in the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil conflict, and the subsequent Group of Ministers' report on "reforming the national security system'' in 2001, had strongly recommended the principle of "one border one force''.  "Multiplicity of forces on the same borders has inevitably led to the lack of accountability as well as problems of command and control,'' held the crucial GoM report. But since then, both the previous NDA and the present UPA regimes have taken only half-hearted steps to plug the gaps.









To plug officer shortage, Indian Army to open Bihar academy

NEW DELHI: Grappling with a shortage of over 12,500 army officers, India is all set to open a swanky new military training academy at Gaya in Bihar in a month to augment the number of troop commanders.  The first batch of 200 cadets will begin training soon at the Gaya Officers Training Academy (OTA), where they will be moulded into fine young officers.  With training infrastructure development complete and staff requirements met, the government has sanctioned the inauguration of the Gaya OTA on the lines of the existing Chennai-based OTA for short-service officers, senior defence ministry officials told IANS.  "The government has given its nod to open the new OTA at Gaya and it will happen within a month's time. The first batch of 200 cadets too will join the Gaya OTA soon," officials said.  The 1.13-million-strong Indian Army has a sanctioned officer strength of 47,864. But the shortage of 12,510 officers in its current strength is crippling, particularly in the ranks of captain, major and lieutenant colonels who lead troops.  As a result, the army's fighting battalions such as infantry and artillery have to make do with just a third of their sanctioned strength of 28 officers.  It is to bridge this gap that the army had in 2008 made the proposal to start a second OTA to supplement the army intake of Short Service Commissioned (SSC) officers from the existing Chennai-based OTA and Permanent Commissioned (PC) officers from the Dehradun-based Indian Military Academy (IMA).  Another proposal from the army, then, was to increase the number of seats in Chennai OTA and Dehradun IMA with improvement and upgrade of these institutions' infrastructure and staff requirements.  The Cabinet Committee on Security , in December 2009, formally approved the Gaya OTA project.  As per the government orders, the Gaya OTA will be housed in the existing premises of the Army Service Corps Centre (North), which is being moved to Bangalore.  With a capacity to train 750 cadets a year, the OTA's fund requirement would be to the tune of Rs.364 crore for non-recurring expenditure and Rs.44.75 crore recurring expenses annually.  The Gaya OTA will begin with 200 SSC cadets first and then eventually increase its annual, two-batch intake to 750 cadets. This 750 cadets will be the additional recruitment of officers by the army to bridge the shortage in its cadre every year from 2011.  This apart, the army gets a maximum of 600 SSC officers from the Chennai OTA and another 1,100 PC officers from IMA annually.  The army's second proposal to increase the intake in Chennai OTA to 650 and IMA 1,450 per year, to add another 400 officers to the army's cadre, is under the consideration of the defence ministry, the officials said.  IMA gets its cadets from the tri-service Khadakwasla-based National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune, open to youngsters after Class 12, and through the 'direct entry scheme' for college graduates. The OTA is open to college graduates only.  Armed forces want to gradually, but substantially, increase the number of SSC officers in their ranks, as part of force-restructuring to maintain a youthful profile of its troop commanders. The eventual plan is to have two SSC officers to every PC officer (2:1 ratio) in its cadre.




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