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Friday, 22 July 2011

From Today's Papers - 22 Jul 2011






‘Prahaar’ test-fired successfully

Chandipur (Orissa), July 21 India today successfully test-fired its surface-to-surface quick reaction tactical missile "Prahaar", which has a range of 150 km. Prahaar is capable of carrying different types of warheads and will be operated by the Army as a battlefield support system.  "The test firing was conducted successfully at 8.20 am today. Prahaar with a capability to strike targets at 150 km, comparable to ATACMS missile of the US, fills the vital gap between multi-barrel rockets and medium-range ballistic missiles," DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta said.  The missile will be helpful in filling gaps between Pinaka multi-barrel rockets with 40 km range and Prithvi ballistic missiles with ranges between 250 and 350 km.  The uniqueness of the missile with a payload of 200 kg is that "in one salvo, six missiles can be fired at multiple targets in all directions covering the entire azimuth plane".  The missile system developed by the DRDO in less than two years will provide the Army a cost-effective, quick reaction, all-weather, all-terrain, highly-accurate battlefield support tactical system.  The 7.3-m-long missile with a 420 mm diameter weighs 1,280 kg and goes to a height of 35 km before striking its target at 150 km in 4 minutes and 10 seconds.  "The missile equipped with state-of-the-art high-accuracy navigation, guidance and electro-mechanical actuation system with latest on board computer achieved terminal accuracy of less than 10 m," he said.  Prahaar is capable of being launched from the road mobile system, which can carry six missiles at a time and can be fired in salvo mode. During the test, the flight path of the missile was tracked and monitored by various radar systems and electro-optical systems located along the coast of Orissa.  An Indian Naval ship located near target point in Bay of Bengal witnessed the final event. The missile was developed by DRDO scientists with support from the Indian industry and quality assurance agency MSQAA. — PTI  Prahaar test-fired  n Prahaar is a  nsurface-to-surface quick-reaction tactical missile n The 7.3-m-long missile has a range of 150 km n Is capable of carrying different types of warheads  n The uniqueness of the missile with a payload of 200 kg is that in one salvo, six missiles can be fired at multiple targets in all directions  n It is capable of being launched from the road mobile system n Report on page 2

Pakistan’s K obsession Fai’s arrest shows alarming dimensions

Legally speaking, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, head of the Washington-based Kashmiri American Council, has been arrested on a charge of hiding Pakistan’s “involvement behind his efforts to influence the US government’s position on Kashmir”.   This means that had he disclosed to the US authorities the purpose behind his activities, he could have continued doing what he did with liberal funding from Pakistan’s ISI.  But is it really true that the US authorities did not know who he was? After all, Fai, who has been taken in custody along with Zaheer Ahmad, his close associate and a Pakistani-origin US citizen, had been working for a long time as an undeclared “ambassador” for the Pakistan government as well as Kashmiri separatists. He would financially contribute to the election funds of many US politicians and organised international conferences on Kashmir. It is unbelievable that his funding sources were hidden from the American intelligence networks.  His arrest has come at a time when the US has started tightening the screws on Pakistan to force it to toe American line on the Af-Pak situation. There is also need to make Pakistan abandon its policy of using terrorism for achieving geopolitical objectives like grabbing India’s Jammu and Kashmir and gaining strategic depth in Afghanistan. This policy of Pakistan has been mainly responsible for the prospering of many terrorist outfits based in that country. These outfits have been misusing the Quranic concept of jihad to help Pakistan in realising its unrealistic ambitions.  But Fai of the Kashmiri American Council functioned under the garb of promoting the cause of peace between India and Pakistan. His platform fitted well with his scheme of things because Kashmir has been the main source of trouble involving the two South Asian neighbours. The Fai case also exposes Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession despite the fact that this single factor has been the cause for most of the troubles Islamabad is faced with today. Pakistan has been spending billions of rupees on the three Kashmiri centres in the West — in Washington DC, London and Brussels — besides the funds it provides to the outfits within Pakistan. The Kashmir factor has contributed immensely to Pakistan reaching the stage of becoming a failed state. Will Islamabad ever learn?

Row over, Army Chief to retire in May

Decision about age controversy taken after Defence Ministry consulted Law Ministry & AG Tribune News Service  New Delhi, July 21 Ending months of raging controversy that threatened to vertically split the 1.3-million-strong Army, the Ministry of Defence has decided on the date-of-birth issue of Army Chief Gen VK Singh.  The Army Chief will now retire, as slated, in May next year as the ministry has decided that his date of birth, May 10, 1950, will be considered for his superannuation, rejecting his claims that he was born in May 1951.  Though the Army Chief can move court or the Armed Forces Tribunal in appeal, such a move can embarrass the Army Chief, the Army and the government. The Defence Ministry took the decision on the basis of the opinion given by the Attorney-General and the Law Ministry, sources said.  The dispute had arisen after two DoBs - May 10, 1950, and May 10, 1951, - were detected in Gen VK Singh’s service records.  The matriculation certificate showed May 10, 1951, as his date of birth, but the UPSC application form filled for entry into the Army has May 10, 1950, as the date of birth.  Determination of the correct year of birth was crucial as Gen VK Singh’s tenure as the Army Chief will be for three years or till he turns 62, whichever is earlier.  With May 1950 being considered as his date of birth, Gen VK Singh will have to retire in May next year, when he will complete 62 years of age.  Gen VK Singh had contended that May 1951 should be treated as his date of birth and sought the view of three former Chief Justices of India. However, in view of the controversy, the Defence Ministry had sought the opinion of the Law Ministry as well as the Attorney-General, which opined that May 10, 1950, should be treated as the date of birth since it was entered in the UPSC form at the time of his joining the National Defence Academy.  If there had been any discrepancy, the Army Rules, 1954, allow it to be corrected within two years of joining and not at this stage. As per the military secretary’s record, the date of birth was May 1950. Gen VK Singh was commissioned in the Army in 1970, but it was only in 2006 that the military secretary branch asked him about the two dates of birth in his official records.  General VK Singh had given a written undertaking that he would abide by any decision on his date of birth.  With today’s decision, eastern Army Commander Lt-Gen Bikram Singh is the senior-most Lt-Gen at the time of Gen VK Singh’s retirement. Had the ministry accepted the date of birth as May 1951, Lt-Gen Bikram Singh would have retired at 60 years of age and then the senior-most officer would have been Lt-Gen KT Parnaik, presently the northern Army Commander.

Short-range 'Prahar' missile test successful   Read more at:

Bhubaneswar:  India today successfully conducted the first test-fire of its indigenously developed short-range, quick reaction, tactical missile 'Prahar' from the Integrated Test Range off Orissa coast.  "The test launch was fully successful as the surface-to-surface, sleek missile mounted on a road mobile launcher, roared into an overcast sky, seconds within its blast off," defence sources said.  The sophisticated missile was test fired from ITR's launch pad-3 at about 8:15 am leaving behind its trajectory in an orange and white ribbon of smoke, they said.  "The missile witnessed a smooth vertical take-off from the launch pad and vital parameters will be analysed after mission data is retrieved," said a Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist soon after the missile was test-fired.  The 150 km range 'Prahar' is a single stage missile and is fuelled by solid propellants.  The uniqueness of the missile system is that "in one salvo, six missiles can be fired with multiple targets," said a scientist associated with this project.  This short range missile would be an 'excellent weapon' which would fill the gap between unguided multi-barrel rocket system 'Pinaka' with 40 km range and guided missiles like 'Prithvi', which can strike at 250 km to 350 km range.  In view of the scheduled missile test today, the Balasore district administration had as a precautionary measure temporarily evacuated 3,220 persons residing within two km radius of the launch pad-3 in to nearby shelter centers.  Fishermen were also warned not to venture into the sea during the missile test time.   Read more at:

Army's 'Cold Start' doctrine gets teeth

India’s ability to win a quick, pre-emptive war against Pakistan has been enhanced by a useful new set of teeth. This morning, at a missile test range in Balasore, Orissa, the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) launched its first-ever Prahaar missile, a mobile, truck-mounted rocket that can strike within 10 metres of a target 150 km away.  The Prahaar gives a huge boost to India’s ‘Cold Start’ military doctrine. This method of war would be adopted as retaliation for any grave Pakistani provocation, such as another 26/11 Mumbai-style terror attack. Cold Start involves multiple, simultaneous invasions of Pak territory with quickly assembled Indian Army battle groups, well before Pakistani forces can reach the border and occupy defensive positions. The Prahaar would provide the army’s invading battle groups with lethal fire support, striking Pakistani headquarters far behind the frontlines, and destroying roads, railways, bridges and other communications infrastructure that are essential for rushing Pak forces to the border.

Unlike the DRDO’s Prithvi missile, introduced into service as a 150-km range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile, the Prahaar is categorised as a ‘battlefield tactical missile’. Its maximum payload of 200 kg does not allow the Prahaar to carry a nuclear weapon (which are seldom under 500 kg). However, nuclear-capable ballistic missiles are useful only in the nightmarish eventuality of nuclear war; the Prahaar can be useful at every stage of a Cold Start campaign. Being a solid-fuel missile, it can swing into action quickly in response to rapidly evolving situations. And, its short flight time -- just 250 seconds or just over four minutes -- allows it to engage fleeting targets that would disappear in the time it would take to scramble and fly in fighter aircraft.  Further, the Prahaar’s range of warheads, which the DRDO has developed, gives the Indian Army multiple options. It could carry a cargo warhead containing bomblets that disperse over a wide area, killing any exposed troops. Alternatively, it could carry air-delivered mines, which spread across a piece of terrain, denying passage to enemy infantry or tanks. Or the Prahaar could carry a single, high-explosive warhead that can demolish even the best-protected target or critical infrastructure.  FREEING THE IAF So far, many of these targets have fallen to the lot of the Indian Air Force. But in a Cold Start situation, the emphasis of the IAF, especially during the initial crucial days, would focus on attacking the Pak Air Force to prevent it from causing casualties in the Indian Army’s attacking battle groups or stopping their advance. By using the Prahaar against enemy entities beyond the range of artillery guns or rockets (30-40 km), or for interdicting enemy reserves and logistic columns far behind the lines, IAF fighters would be freed for “counter-air operations” against the PAF.  If, as is more than likely, the IAF buys the Prahaar in numbers, the missile could be effectively launched against forward Pakistani air bases, destroying fighters on the ground and damaging runways, air defence radars and air control networks. Currently, manned fighter aircraft perform these tasks, often at the cost of pilots’ lives and shot-down fighters.  Pakistan has no battlefield missile similar to the Prahaar. Over recent years, its scientists have focused on developing the Hatf-9 (or Nasr) short range, ballistic missile, which seeks to deter a Cold Start campaign with an ability to deliver a nuclear warhead to a maximum distance of 60 kms. Since most Indian cities are farther than that, strategists believe the Hatf-9 is intended for counter-force targeting, i.e. against one or more of the Indian Army’s integrated battle groups inside Pak territory. This would serve notice of Pakistani resolve to carry out a counter-value strike, which would take the form of a longer-range missile, carrying a nuclear warhead to one or more large Indian cities.  According to the DRDO, the Prahaar is comparable to the US Army’s Advanced Tactical Missile System, extensively used during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Prahaar is launched from a Road Mobile System developed by Larsen & Toubro, which can carry six missiles. All six can be fired in a salvo, each against a different target.  According to the DRDO, the Prahaar was developed in a period of just two years.

Army Chief overruled on date of birth, will retire in 2012   Read more at:

New Delhi:  The Defence Ministry has today ruled against General VK Singh, who heads the Indian Army, on the matter of when he was born. He will retire, as planned, in May 2012.  Different records within the army show  May 10, 1950 and May 10, 1951  as the General's date of birth.  The Army Chief has maintained that he was born in 1951, though one official record showed otherwise. Defence Minister AK Antony has opted to go with that record in the Military Secretary's branch.  This is the first time that the age of a military chief has become an issue of national debate and government scrutiny.  The Law Ministry and the Attorney General were both consulted. The government's opinion is that General Singh should have corrected his records earlier, if they incorrectly stated his date of birth.  General Singh had argued that that the confusion arose from a form he filled when he was 15 years old. The clerk handling his papers for the UPSC exams listed the teenage Singh as 16 instead of 15.  This was the application form for the National Defence Academy, which documents the General joining the army.  All his promotions, were however decided on the basis of him being born, as he said, in 1951.  Legal experts have been divided on the issue with at least three retired chief justices saying General Singh had a strong legal case against the government for not accepting his claim of being born in 1951.   Read more at:

AR pitches for Indo-Sino border watch No common meeting point between Defence Ministry and Home Ministry

Delhi/Imphal, July 21 2011: Even as the Assam Rifles has pitched in to be handed over the operational control of defending the Indo-China border (Actual Line of Control) as well, the Government of India is faced with the task of drawing up the measures for handing over the task of defending Indo-Myanmar border to BSF.  According to sources in Indian Army, the Assam Rifles has the solid backing of the Defence Ministry and is most suitable for defending the 1,643 long km border that North Eastern region of India including Manipur share with Myanmar.  Indian Army has opined that in the light of a large number of insurgent groups operating from just across the border and strategic installations by China along the border with India, it would be more appropriate to deploy Assam Rifles, which has long years of working in border areas of North East region, rather than ITBF, Army has opined.  Being one of the seven Central Armed Forces or Para-Military forces under the Home Ministry, the administration of Assam Rifles is also done by the Home Ministry.  However, unlike the other six forces, the operational control of the Assam Rifles is done by the Army.  Moreover, Assam Rifles has 46 battalions with Army personnel strength of 65,00 0 cadres at the officer level.  A senior Army officer has observed that deployment of a single force along the Indo-Myanmar border is essential taking into account the problem of insurgency in the North Eastern States and serious threats from China in this region.  The Assam Rifles also has a good experience from long deployment in the border areas of North Eastern States, the officer added.  Nonetheless, the Union Home Ministry is not keen on the proposals that the Assam Rifles be put in charge of manning the Indo-Sino border in addition to its present assignment on the Indo-Myanmar border.  The Ministry is not in favour of replacing the ITBF by the Assam Rifles along Indo-Sino border nor deployment of BSF instead of Assam Rifles along Indo-Myanmar border.  The Home Ministry feels that the activities of the Assam Rifles to counter the insurgency and protect the border is not effective enough.  The conflict between the Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry over the issue of defending border has been discussed even at the level of Cabinet Committee on Security.  But the principle of one border, one force has not yet been resolved.  This is inspite of the fact that the Border Management Task Force, which was set up in the wake of 1999 Kargil war and the subsequent report of the Group of Minister have insisted on implementation of the one border, one force doctrine.


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