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Monday, 11 July 2011

From Today's Papers - 11 Jul 2011





US puts aid to Pak military on hold: Report

Washington, July 10 In a move that could further strain the US-Pak ties, the Obama administration is suspending and, in some cases, cancelling millions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani military to chasten it for expelling American military trainers, a media report said today.  “About $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected,” the New York Times reported.  This aid includes about $300 million to reimburse Pakistan for some of the costs of deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border to combat terrorism, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in training assistance and military hardware, the paper said quoting half a dozen Congressional, Pentagon and other administration officials.  The move illustrates the depth of the debate inside the Obama administration over how to change the behaviour of one of its key counter-terrorism partners, the NYT said.  The news of halting or withdrawal of aid comes days after US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen’s remarks linking the Pakistan government to the murder of a journalist.  Some of the curtailed aid is equipment that the US wants to send but Pakistan now refuses to accept, like rifles, ammunition, body armour and bomb-disposal gear that were withdrawn or held up after Pakistan ordered more than 100 Army Special Forces trainers to leave the country in recent weeks.  American officials say they would probably resume equipment deliveries and aid if relations improve and Pakistan pursues terrorists more aggressively, the paper said, adding the cutoffs did not affect any immediate deliveries of military sales to Pakistan, like F-16 fighter jets, or nonmilitary aid.  While the American aid cutoff would probably have a small impact on the overall military budget, it would most directly affect the counterinsurgency campaign, it said.  While some senior administration officials believe that Pakistan will never be the kind of partner the US hoped for when President Obama entered office, others emphasise that the Washington cannot risk a full break in relations, it said.  But many of the recent aid curtailments are clearly intended to force the Pakistani military to make a difficult choice between backing the country that finances much of its operations and equipment, or continuing to provide secret support for the Taliban and other militants groups, it said.  The decision to hold back much of the American military aid has not been made public. But it is well known at the top levels of the military, and a senior Pakistani official described it as an effort by the Americans to gain “leverage”, the paper said. — PTI  Side Effects  n About $800 million in military aid and equipment could be affected  n The cut-offs did not affect any immediate deliveries of military sales to Pak or non-military aid  n While the cutoff would probably have a small impact on the overall military budget, it would most directly affect the counterinsurgency campaign







Quota row hits Army medical college

Admissions suspended; SC contempt notice to Army chief Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, July 10 Set up as a welfare measure for wards of armed forces personnel, the Army College of Medical Sciences (ACMS), New Delhi, is in a piquant situation where majority of the seats for the MBBS course may go to civilian aspirants.  The issue of granting admission to civilian candidates in the ACMS has seen legal battles reaching up to the Supreme Court. As a fallout of the ongoing legal wrangling, admissions to the ACMS for the academic session 2011-12 have been suspended while Chief of the Army Staff has been issued a contempt notice by the apex court for not implementing its orders to admit civilian candidates. The contempt matter is scheduled to come up for hearing on July 11.  The Supreme Court had ruled that the ACMS, which heretofore admitted only wards of Army personnel, could not reserve all its seats for that particular category and had to go by the reservation policy of the state and university concerned. Some lawyers associated with the case say that the orders imply that the ACMS could reserve only 5 per cent seats of Army children, with the rest going to civilians. This, sources said, have put a question mark on the rationale for an Army Welfare Society to run an institute where majority students are civilians. A notice on the ACMS website states that admissions have been suspended this year due to ‘unavoidable circumstances and financial constraints’.  The ACMS is run by the Army Welfare Education Society. Conceived in 1980 by the then Army chief and registered in 1983, the society at present runs 128 Army Schools and Army Public Schools and 13 professional institutes catering to medical, engineering, management, law, fashion designing, education, etc across the country. Some of these institutes cater only to wards of Army personnel while some admit civilian students. The ACMS has 100 seats meant exclusively for wards of soldiers.  Some civilian aspirants for the MBBS course had moved the Delhi High Court challenging 100 per cent reservation in the ACMS for wards of Army personnel. They had contended that such reservation was illegal and contrary to the rules of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University to which it is affiliated. The Medical Council of India is also a party in the case.  A single bench judgment of the High Court had allowed 21 seats out of 100 for civilians and had also ruled that if warranted a different and higher fee structure could be introduced for them. A division bench of the same court later struck down this judgment, allowing all 100 seats to be reserved for wards of Army personnel.  When the matter came before the Supreme Court, the apex court recently ruled that reserving all seats in the college for wards of Army personnel was illegal and unconstitutional. The institute would be amenable to the reservation policy as applicable in Delhi under the relevant statute and provisions enshrined in the Constitution.  Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar have held that notwithstanding such issues, it was not permissible for the ACMS to dedicate itself only to wards of Army personnel.








Retd Lt Col sent to judicial custody

Chennai, July 10 A former Lt Colonel was today arrested for the killing of 13-year-old Dilshan a week ago inside the army residential complex for plucking mangoes and almonds as he was annoyed with boys trespassing in the area. With the police zeroing in on him on the basis of its probe, 58-year-old retired Lt Col Kandaswamy Ramraj, a native of Madurai, confessed to having shot Dilshan with his rifle from a balcony.  Ramraj has been booked by the Tamil Nadu Police crime branch under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC. He was produced before a special court that remanded him in judicial custody for 15 days.  “We have got a major breakthrough in the Dilshan murder case. We confronted the retired army officer with physical witnesses and evidences which made him to confess,” CB-CID ADGP R Sekar told reporters on the killing of Dilshan who fell to the bullet when he trespassed into the army residential quarters last Sunday. Stating that the retired Army officer got annoyed by the frequent trespassing of the boys to pluck mangoes and almonds, he said: “This lead him to shoot from his rifle from a balcony at the time of incident.” — PTI










India-China defence exchange Hope for boosting mutual trust

by Rup Narayan Das  After a long gap, defence cooperation, including military engagement, between India and China was resumed with the visit of Major-Gen Gurmeet Singh, General Officer-in-Commanding of the Rashtriya Rifles, to China from June 19 to 24. Earlier, General B.S. Jaswal had to cancel his visit on the ground that he was not issued a proper visa by the Chinese government as he headed troops in Jammu and Kashmir. The Chinese Embassy in India started the practice of issuing stapled visas to residents of Jammu and Kashmir in 2008. However, during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to China in April this year to participate in the BRICS summit in Sanya, the journalists from Jammu and Kashmir accompanying him were issued proper visas, which showed that the practice of stapled visas would be stopped. It was also indicated that defence exchanges between the two countries, suspended earlier, would be resumed soon.  The rationale for defence cooperation and military engagement can hardly be overemphasised, given the fact that the two countries fought a war in 1962 and they share a common border of 3,488 kilometres which remains undefined and disputed even after having 14 rounds of talks. The 15th round is going to take place sometime this year. There exists a persistent security dilemma between the two countries. Over the years there has been an incremental progress towards trust building.  The consolidation of diplomatic relations between the two countries with the path-breaking visit of the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, to China in December 1988 led to the establishment of the Joint Working Group (JWG) and the groundwork for defence cooperation and military engagement. Later, during the visit of the late Prime Minister, P.V. Narashima Rao, the Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border area was signed on September 7, 1993. The agreement was indeed a breakthrough.  In the first place, the agreement affirmed the view that the India-China boundary question would be resolved through peaceful and friendly consultations and that neither side would use or threaten to use force against the other by any means. Yet another important highlight of the agreement was that it stipulated that “pending an ultimate solution of the boundary question between the two countries, the two sides shall strictly observe the LAC and that no activities of either side shall overstep the LAC”.  Secondly, the agreement envisaged that each side would keep its military forces in the area along the LAC to a minimum level compatible with the friendly and good neighbourly relations between the two. It further noted that the two sides agree to reduce their military forces along the LAC in conformity with the requirement of the principle of equal security to ceilings to be mutually agreed upon, and that the reduction of military forces shall be carried out by stages in mutually agreed geographical locations, sector-wise, within the areas along the Line of Actual Control.  As a follow-up of this agreement, a senior-level Chinese military delegation aimed at fostering CBMs between the defence forces of the two countries made a six-day goodwill visit to India in December 1993. The visit was reciprocated by Indian Army Chief Gen. BC Joshi’s visit to China in July 1994. Since then, regular exchanges have been taking place at various levels. Three years later, the Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and  Tranquillity along the LAC was followed by an agreement between India and China on confidence-building  measures in the military field along the LAC on November 29, 1996, during the visit of Chinese President Ziyang  Zemin to India.  The upward swing of defence cooperation and military engagement between the two countries was given a further impetus during the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in April 2005. It was against this background of heightened engagement that the then Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, visited China in May/June 2006 and held wide-ranging talks with Premier Wen Jiabao and other senior Chinese leaders.  The high point of the visit was the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which is the first ever of its kind between the two countries.  The MoU envisages the establishment of a mechanism to ensure frequent and regular exchanges between leaders and officials of the Defence Ministries and the armed forces of the two countries in addition to developing an annual calendar for holding regular joint military exercises and training programmes.  During the past few years, India and China conducted joint naval manoeuvres, but the interaction between their ground forces was limited to border meetings and mountaineering expeditions, and there had been no interaction between the air forces. The MoU signed thus aimed at addressing these imperatives.  These gains were further consolidated during the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to India in November 2006. In the joint declaration on November 21, it was mentioned that “the exchange of visits in the field of defence had resulted in the building of mutual trust and enhancement of mutual understanding between the defence establishments of the two countries.  Certain concrete steps were taken as a follow-up of the CBMs. For example, the armed forces of India and China held a meeting at a new border point in Arunachal Pradesh on November 18, 2006, on the eve of President Hu Jintao’s visit to India. The two sides met at Kibithu in Anjwa district of Arunachal Pradesh, and discussed modalities for the conduct of troops along the border. Encouraged by the success of the first ever joint military exercise between China and India in Kunming in Yunnan in 2007, a week-long China-India joint anti-terrorist training programme was kicked off on December 6, 2008, in Belgaun in Karnataka with the performance of the Chinese Tai Chi and Indian martial arts.    The defence cooperation and military exchange, however, suffered a setback because of the trust-deficit. It is hoped the recently concluded visit of Major-Gen Gurmeet Singh will give a boost to the bilateral relationship between India and China. After all, the security scenario involving the two countries should not be perceived in terms of defence preparedness alone. There should be mutual trust and confidence building as well at the highest levels. This, in turn, can lead to troop reductions on both sides of the border, resulting in a decline in the huge expenditure incurred on maintaining the behemoth of armies.n  The writer is Senior Fellow, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.








Humourless in uniform

by Mina Surjit Singh  The rivalry between different uniformed services and the bureaucracy in our country is legendary. Although free from malice, the contention invariably takes on insular undertones with each side never missing an opportunity to:  “Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer  And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer”  Born to an illustrious and disciplined army officer with a tangy sense of humour and a talented mother and married to a police officer, my loyalties have always been divided between the two services — something for which I have often landed in a piquant situation. Nonetheless, I must admit to a bias towards the latter, having spent a greater part of my life in the company of a civil, witty, intelligent, professionally competent and humane person.  What has prompted this musing is a statement cursorily made by a socially active citizen on a satirical piece published by a police officer recently. Albeit the observation was followed by grudging admiration, in a rather sweeping statement, all police officers were reduced to stick-wielding monsters, incapable of refined tastes and the kind of wry humor expressed in the article.  Oblivious of the stereotypes that such a thoughtless comment was likely to reinforce in public, our friend carried on regardless, even suggesting borrowed intelligence, much to my dismay. Thankfully enough, the love of lucre had ceased to be the exclusive prerogative of this much-maligned tribe now and hence was discreetly left out of the scathing accusation, as a safeguard against the foot-in-mouth epidemic!  I was outright indignant. How such broad generalisations could be made with such perfect élan, I wondered. This was something serious and definitely needed subtle but civil intervention, I thought to myself.  I had grown up believing that wit had certainly got nothing to do with well-polished boots or batons. It lay neither in ‘khaki’ nor in ‘olive green’ or even in ‘civvies’ for that matter! You either had it or you didn’t. Agreed, that some people could boast of a native genius and ready brilliance, but the would-be wits were also free to happily thrive on borrowed humour, were they not? Be that as it may, the idea was to generate smiles, not scowls, any way.  I found myself resolutely offering a vociferous defence in the face of such irresponsible and unfair prosecution. All too soon an audience began to swell — even take sides and pitch in. The ensuing cacophony rapidly and predictably turned into a free-for-all, with each side vying to out-shout the other.  While this comedy of manners was unfolding and gaining momentum much to the curiosity and amusement of the dramatis personae, I was thankfully enough accosted face-on by a friend who I expectantly looked up to for support.  He came, he saw, he looked askance, couldn’t understand what the entire shindy was about and in all his earthy wisdom, digressed into an eloquent discourse on the merits of intelligent drafting instead! I was completely flummoxed. Apparently, he too had left his funny bone behind!  Grinning sheepishly, I left my prosecutor gloating much to the satisfaction of the witnesses for the prosecution and discreetly beat a hasty retreat!









Do we need a chief of defence staff?

The recent decision to appoint a committee under Naresh Chandra to review defence reforms in India is a step in the right direction. While it would be premature to comment on the functioning of the committee, this announcement has been welcomed by the entire strategic community and has already triggered a useful debate. Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik’s recent comments on the chief of defence staff (CDS) have also re-ignited this controversy. This post was recommended by a Group of Ministers in 2002, but was not created due to opposition from some political leaders and the Indian air force. However, the debate has been along such narrow lines that leading journalist Inder Malhotra has exasperatedly argued that either the CDS should be appointed or the post “should be firmly ruled out forever, with whatever consequences this would have.” While the continued silence of the other service chiefs might reflect their desire to avoid a media controversy, but sooner rather than later, they will have to come up with a considered view. This, therefore, provides us a perfect opportunity to understand what is at stake and to usher in the next generation of defence reforms.  Air Chief Marshal Naik, while expressing his views (and the views of the air force, according to him), made three points on the CDS question. First, the air force is not opposed to the appointment of the CDS, but “does not want a CDS in its present form.” In that case, the air chief needs to clarify what form of CDS he visualises. It is unfair to oppose without offering an alternative. His second point was a somewhat rhetorical question: “what role model of CDS do we want?” Again, this is a question that the air chief must take a first call on. It is inconceivable that over the last 10 years, the Indian air force has not studied, evaluated and thought of an acceptable model for the CDS. The final point was his assertion that we “don’t need a CDS for the next five-ten years,” again without any clarity about this duration. In other words, what would have to change during this time that would warrant the appointment of a CDS? These observations are not meant as a criticism of the air chief or the Indian air force, but it is important to engage in a substantive debate. To his credit, in the seminar on national security reforms, the air chief had urged for more informed debate on the question.









With U.S. military aid cut, Pakistan eyes China

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's increasingly "close and effective defense ties" established with China during the past decade will allow Islamabad to "fill the gap" arising from the prospect of reduced military aid from the United States, a senior Pakistani official said on Sunday after reports emerged of cuts of up to $800 million in U.S. aid.  Amid tense relations with the United States, Pakistan officials have increasingly pointed towards Beijing as the country's natural ally, offering the possibility of becoming at least a half-substitute to ties with the U.S.  On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration was suspending and in some cases canceling up to $800 million in annual military aid and equipment to Pakistan - more than one-third of the $2 billion earmarked for security assistance annually to the South Asian country.  The U.S. decision would mark a significant punitive measure by Washington which in the past has sought to build up close ties with Pakistan's armed forces (notably the Army and Air Force) in its campaign to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.  But relations have continued to deteriorate since the May 2 raid by U.S. Navy SEALs in which Osama bin Laden was targeted and killed in Pakistan's northern city of Abbottabad.  U.S. officials withheld information from their Pakistani counterparts until after the raid, mainly over concerns that sympathizers of Islamic militants within Pakistan's intelligence and military services would have alerted al Qaeda ahead of the attack.  Stung by the U.S. decision, Pakistan's influential military ordered more than 120 American trainers deployed in the country to leave.  On Sunday, the senior Pakistani official who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity following the Times report said, "This tightening of U.S. military aid was expected. That's where our long-term relations with China will help to meet this gap."  In recent weeks, Pakistani officials have pointed towards China's increasing role in the past decade as its main supplier of military hardware, as Pakistan established closer ties to the U.S. campaign against terror following the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.  During the past decade, Pakistan began jointly producing the JF-17 Thunder fighter plane with China. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) plans to eventually introduce up to 250 of the JF-17 fighter planes - the largest deployment of any aircraft in its history.  Earlier this year, the Pakistani government also publicly announced its approval for the Pakistan Navy to begin negotiations with China for the purchase of up to six new submarines, in a move that - if successful - will become the largest single hardware order by the Navy.  Western diplomats, however, said that Pakistan's worsening relations with the U.S. will only cause harm to its interests irrespective of the extent of the support that it receives from China.  "The US has a long history of giving economic and military assistance to Pakistan, which by far outpaces China in dollar terms," said one Western diplomat in Islamabad who spoke to CBS News on condition of anonymity. "Worsening ties with the U.S. could push Pakistan towards isolation.  "I don't think it's wise for Pakistan to be playing down the importance of the U.S. as a partner, just because there have been some defense deals with China," added the diplomat.








Govt may ease rules for large overseas defence contractors

New Delhi: India may ease rules in the next few weeks for large overseas defence contractors on sourcing components from domestic vendors.  Foreign firms may be allowed to cite project and supply chain management costs and provide financial services, via intermediaries, to small and medium-scale enterprises as part of their so-called offset obligations.  The defence ministry has invited industry executives on 15 July to discuss these issues, two people aware of the development said, requesting anonymity.  Under India’s offset policy, overseas original equipment manufacturers that win defence contracts worth more than Rs. 300 crore have to source components worth 30-50% of the value of the contract from Indian vendors.  The policy aims to develop the indigenous defence industry. Indian defence industry executives are not happy about the proposed changes.  “While the value of the product sourced or services procured is offsetable, the cost incurred in doing this should not count,” said an executive. “The reason is that the exact cost of project management cannot be calculated and hence there is a risk of it being inflated just to fulfil as much offset credit as possible.” The executive spoke on condition that neither he nor his firm be named.  Project management, he said, is an activity you carry out in support of your business, such as seeking legal advice. It is not the main objective of the business, and should not be counted.  Retired colonel and defence analyst with PricewaterhouseCoopers India Rajiv Chib agreed. “Such proposals make little sense,” he said. “The industry will reject them.”  The defence ministry was looking at reforming the defence offsets facilitation agency (Dofa), which implements the policy on counter-trade obligations, Mint reported on 2 February.  Mint also said the ministry was also looking at the possibility of bringing transfer of technology under the ambit of the offset regime and linking the latter with multipliers.  The offset multiplier is a coefficient that indicates the increase in the nominal value of the offset obligation with benefits at the time of fulfilment of the obligation.  Another reform under consideration is increasing the maximum period allowed for banking offset credits to five or seven years, Mint said.  Under the offset banking provision introduced in 2008, the government permits foreign suppliers to trade in offset credits and carry it forward by up to two years.  In a revised procurement policy announced on 6 January, the government brought civil aerospace and internal security equipment under the ambit of offsets.  Between March 2007 and September 2010, the Indian private sector participated in 51 offset proposals totalling Rs. 45,367 crore, which are at various stages of implementation, Mint had reported on 24 January.









Why Pakistan's generals still rule the roost

Pakistan's army is the Macavity of militaries. It remains the bafflement of Washington and an elusive puppeteer of the Pakistani polity. Even as its officers and soldiers die in large numbers at the hands of Islamist extremists, its traces can be found on nearly every jihadi enterprise in the beleaguered country. Recently a link was discovered between Osama bin Laden's courier and the establishment-backed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen group. And documents have now emerged that suggest two former Pakistani generals were involved in selling uranium enrichment technology to North Korea for millions of dollars.  As with the mystery cat, when you reach the scene of the crime the military's not there. The army has lost all its wars, but emerged stronger from almost every one, even seizing power outright after a failed invasion of Kargil in 1999.  Has this run come to an end? May was the cruellest month for the generals. It began with the US raid on Abbottabad and ended with a major attack on a Karachi airbase as well as the suspected murder of a journalist by the country's spy service, the ISI.  The New York Times alleged that the army chief, General Kayani, was "fighting to save his position in the face of seething anger from top generals and junior officers", and that "a colonels' coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question". The Washington Post quoted a US official as saying that Kayani was "fighting to survive".  Both articles made waves in Pakistan, but they were probably off the mark. First, anyone familiar with Pakistan's army would know that it is a rigidly hierarchical body. Unlike their Latin American and Middle Eastern counterparts, Pakistan's low- and middle-ranking offices have never launched a successful coup. All successful seizures of power have come from the uppermost ranks.  The 11 corps commanders, some of whom would be essential to any coup, appear satisfied with Kayani's defiance towards Washington. And although Islamist infiltration is a very real threat, it almost certainly does not affect the upper echelons. And Kayani – unlike General Musharraf, the former president – has never been the target of a known assassination attempt.  But there are more subtle reasons why a coup against the civilian government is unlikely. In the 1990s, the army became adept at playing squabbling political parties off one another. Today Nawaz Sharif, the formerly exiled leader of the conservative PML-N party, has attacked the army at just the moment when he could have co-operated with it to destabilise the government. "End your domination of foreign policy if you wish the criticism to end," was his welcome message.  The army also knows that the international conditions are no longer those of 1999, when Musharraf was embraced by outside powers eager to find a reliable ally for counterterrorism.  Now US exasperation with Pakistan has reached boiling point. Congressional leaders are tired of Pakistan's links to groups killing US soldiers in Afghanistan, such as the Haqqani network, or groups with an increasingly global reach, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba. US aid already hangs by a slender thread – a coup would sever it at an instant.  For all these reasons, the PPP-led government made a grievous error in backing the military in the aftermath of the travails last May. This was truly the best opportunity in decades to chip away at the institutional privileges of an army that has brought little but ruin to a large and proud country, and attempt necessary reforms – including pushing the ISI under civilian control (as the government tried and failed to do in 2008), scrutinising defence budgets and the army's economic empire, and eventually reappropriating foreign and security policy.  It would be naive to think this is a simple matter of pushing hard enough. A new Pew poll reveals something that one might miss if reading the liberal Pakistani press: the army remains enormously popular. The Bin Laden raid pushed its favourability rating from 83% to a still remarkable 79% – above the media, religious leaders, courts, police, national government and prime minister. Kayani himself enjoys a 52% rating, far above the prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani (37%), and the president, Asif Ali Zardari (a feeble 11%).  These are not the figures of a man teetering on the edge or an army on the brink of national humiliation. The extraordinary waves of "dissent, comment and dark humour against the grinding ISI state" produced after the events of May represent a narrow slice of Pakistani opinion.  The myriad suicide bombings, the cross-border terrorism, the weekly slaughter of poorly-paid policemen and frontier guards – these are not the fault of a rogue institution's misguided priorities, but instead the US-India-Israel axis first, and the "bloody civvies" second.  In mid-June the ISPR – the army's PR wing – released a tirade against the "perceptual biases" of anti-army journalists. What is more remarkable is just how corrosive establishment propaganda has been, to the point at which the same Pew poll recorded 55% of Pakistanis deeming Bin Laden's death to be a bad thing, and nearly a quarter seeing "minor/no threat" from al-Qaida and the Taliban. Pakistan's population would be anti-American without any help from Rawalpindi, but the latter has fanned the flames.  There is no broad-based constituency for wholesale civil-military reform in Pakistan, let alone at a time when terrorist attacks occur at a steady rate of more than 150 a month and Kayani has so visibly pushed back against American demands. Nor will the army implode in Islamist fervour or convulse from a mid-level coup. Its pretensions to efficiency and integrity may be laughable, but its hierarchy is not.  But this is precisely why only a top-down effort by civilian elites can begin the process of civil-military rebalancing, without which Pakistan will remain buffeted by the whims and strategic delusions of its deep state.









C-17 Globemaster III aircraft to be inducted at Hindan base

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will induct its first C-17 Globemaster III, its largest strategic heavy lift aircraft, at the Hindan air force in Ghaziabad near here after it is procured from the US.  "We have decided to induct the C-17 at the Hindan air force base when the first aircraft would be delivered to us in the 2013-14 time-frame," IAF officials told PTI here.  India had recently signed its biggest defence deal with the US to procure ten C-17 heavy-lift aircraft for USD 4.1 billion under which American defence major Boeing will set up test facilities for hi-tech aeronautics engines for the DRDO.  Hindan, the closest air force station outside the capital, is already the home base for the C-130J Super Hercules which was inducted in February for carrying out Special Operations.  Till now, Agra has been the main hub of heavy lift aircraft such as the Ilyushin-76 and Il-78 mid-air refuelers along with the bases in Chandigarh and Nagpur.  After procuring the initial ten aircraft, the IAF is also planning to order six more of them to augment its fleet of the Il-76, C-130J and An-32 transporters.  The deal was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security for procuring the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales route.  The Globemaster is capable of carrying a maximum payload of 77.5 tonnes, including combat vehicles, artillery guns and battle-ready troops and will strengthen India's capabilities to rapidly move troops and equipment in its areas of interest.  The four-engine aircraft is capable of taking off and landing even on makeshift runways, barely 3,500-feet long and 90-feet wide, India will be able to transport soldiers and combat systems to forward areas both on western and eastern fronts much faster.




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