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Friday, 26 August 2011

From Today's Papers - 26 Aug 2011





Jointness in armed forces Politics of Chief of Defence Staff

by Rakesh Datta  Immediately after Independence, Lord Ismay, Chief of Staff to Governor-General Mountbatten, was approached by the Government of India to draw up a system for defence management in the country. Ismay, while recommending integrated functioning among the three Services for smooth coordination, also cautioned Pt Nehru not to go in for the position of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to have strong, stable and federal civilian control in the country. It was, however, taken by the successive governments as a quote from the Bible.  Ironically, after over five decades the Kargil Review Committee and later a Group of Ministers suggested that the capability of the armed forces could be enhanced significantly if they operated with a high degree of jointness. Modern warfare demands a much higher degree of coordination in operations by the various Services. The creation of the CDS may promote greater jointness in the armed forces.  The key recommendation of the GoM on jointness included the restructuring of the Services headquarters with the Ministry of Defence promoting a single point military advice, management and control of nuclear weapons and strategic forces, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of the planning process, technical and commercial evaluation of capital schemes and optimising the use of training and other resources in the Services to ensure economy in expenditure. While the GoM asked for the enhancement of jointness in the armed forces, it also suggested even the cross-posting of officers in operations, intelligence and planning directorates.  At the same time, the GoM recommended the creation of an Andaman & Nicobar Command, a strategic forces command, a defence intelligence agency and a defence procurement Board. Later, however, all recommendations except those pertaining to the CDS were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security on May 11, 2001. In the case of the CDS, the Cabinet Committee on Security opted for wider discussions with various political parties before taking the final view. Instead, the HQ Integrated Defence Staff was raised on October 1, 2001, providing staff support to the Chief of Staff Committee.  Military jointness is not a new concept. It has only come under focus again. The reasons for this include shrinking wars, an extended period of mobilisation, rising defence budgets and the lack of interoperability and the dominating Service ethos. As regards promoting military jointness, the most significant thing is training and preparing the mindset to overcome some of the inherent fears like the Services redundancy, presumably linked to the appointment of the CDS.  It may be pointed out that nearly 66 countries are having joint command structures. In most of the western democracies like the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy as well other nations of consequence in the Asia-Pacific region like China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Sri Lanka, there is a duly appointed Chief of Defence/General Staff enjoying full confidence of their respective Head of State or Goernment to whom they directly report. There can be no better way of ensuring supremacy and control or the civilian authority over the military.  On the other hand, countries not having opted for the CDS system are of little consequence. Some of them do not ever possess the armed forces sufficient to undertake the regular defence requirements. At the same time, countries like Saudi Arabia are considering military jointness as a necessity. India, on the contrary — possessing the third largest army, the fourth largest Air Force and the sixth largest Navy — has remained averse to military jointness and to the institution of the CDS.  It may be interesting to know that after 1971 war, Indira Gandhi offered the then Army Chief, the late General Manekshaw, the position of Chief of Defence Staff. Later, when consensus was sought by the then Defence Minister from the other two Chiefs the matter got aborted. During NDA rule the long-awaited integration of the three Services got shelved due to the indifference shown by the Services. This attitude, however, goes contrary to the belief otherwise expressed by the defence services for the Chief of Defence Staff.  All nations practising jointness of the armed forces provide single window advice or, more correctly, a synergised institutional opinion.  The CDS system is considered essential for the armed forces the world over and India is no exception. The future operating environment will need the application of military power in a small incremental manner which, in turn, will require the achievement of joint synergy at all levels. There is, therefore, much scope in having a joint service, said the US Defence Attache in India. The joint command is multi-service in nature, much better and cost-effective. For instance, a joint assignment is mandatory for getting a one-star appointment in the US defence forces.  The creation of a joint defence structure does not mean abolition of the authority of the Service Chiefs. Their significance lies in maintaining the Service character, ethos and training, and being force providers for facilitating joint operational engagement, which itself is a full-time job. However, keeping in view the inter-Services conflict in India that may arise from the appointment of the CDS, the most desirable course would be to adopt a power-sharing mechanism.  The writer is Professor and Chairman, Department of Defence and National Security Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. He was also a member of the National Security Advisory Board.


Support to Anna shows power of democracy: Army Chief

Mumbai, August 25 Terming the present period as "interesting and turbulent", Indian Army Chief General V K Singh said the support that the anti-corruption movement is getting in the country is an indication of the power of democracy and of the people.  "We are passing through an interesting and turbulent period. Interesting in terms of how we are witnessing the power of democracy, the power of the people. Interesting in terms of how we are seeing our leadership cope up with these things...," he said.  The Army chief was speaking at an interaction with members of the entertainment industry, organised by former MP Santosh Bhartiya in suburban Juhu last night.  "A lot of things are happening, from Kashmir to Kanyamkumari and from Gujarat to the most north-eastern part. There is a certain amount of unrest in the country, for various reasons - some sponsored, some genuine (and) some which started with genuine thing and then got into something else.  "The theme is only one - how do we take the nation forward from the morass that we are in.... It is not who is leading the movement but it is why it has come to this stage," he said.  The Army chief equated corruption to a hydra-headed monster. "Because we all are involved in its thriving. If we introspect, we will see that at one point or another, we are all involved in it," he said.  "When the Naxalite movement (issue) was presented to us, we were very clear in our minds that it is a socio-economic problem, a problem created by bad governance.  “Army is not the answer (to Naxal problem)... Army has a role in preventing external aggression. Army has a role in assisting in humanitarian crisis," he said.  "But beyond that, in our country, at least the way the Army has come up, we do not think that we have a role," he said.  "The task we defined for ourselves after I took over as the Army chief was that we will restore the value system that we had," he said.  It is the values on which things can work, he said.  "Whenever values of a society, of a system, of an organisation get whittled away, then that institution suffers. What is important for us is (to ensure) how can we revive these values," he said.  "If the youth are channelised, if they are given the type of value system, I think we can get out of this great 'daldal' (morass) that we are in," he said.  The situation that exists today, seems disappointing, making us wonder where have we come, he said.  A filmmaker pointed out to the Army chief that a senior Army officer had demanded a Rs two-crore bribe when he was planning a film. Gen Singh said, "I think, though the person (who asked for bribe) may have been wearing a uniform, he was not part of the traditions of the Army." — PTI


DLSI plans infantry combat vehicles, artillery systems

Defence Land Systems India, a joint venture between Mahindra & Mahindra and BAE Systems Plc, on Thursday said it plans to develop infantry combat vehicles and artillery systems as it looks to expand its product portfolio.        The company today announced handing over of six (MPV-I) to Jharkhand Police to mark the beginning of serial production of the landmine protected vehicles from its Prithla plant, near Faridabad.        It expects to sell about MPV-I next fiscal as it eyes big orders from the Home Ministry for CRPF and other state police forces for mine protected vehicles.        "We are among the four companies identified for Indian Army's future infantry combat vehicle, out of which two will be shortlisted. Already we are preparing ourselves to be ready if we are shortlisted for that," Defence Land Systems India (DLSI) Managing Director and CEO, Khutub Hai said.         Moreover the company is "also looking at design and development of artillery systems" to widen its portfolio.        He said the company is leveraging on technology from BAE Systems and develop products that are cost effective but at par with global standards.        Commenting on the MPV-I, Hai said:"This is the first such vehicle of its kind indigenously manufactured by the private sector industry being delivered to the police forces in the country."         While declining to disclose order size from Jharkhand Police, he said the firm expects to sell a total of about 20- 25 MPV-Is this fiscal.        "This will include repeat order from Jharkhand Police, which will be slightly bigger than the first order and also from five to six states which are actively combating Naxalites," Hai said without disclosing further details.        "For the next fiscal we are confident of doing about 100 MPV-Is and we are expecting orders from various state police forces," he said.        Globally such vehicles cost around about half a million dollars but DLSI is offering it "at a much lesser rate", he said.        At present, DLSI produces combat vehicles such as Rakshak, Rakshak Plus, Marksman and MPVi, armoured bus, riot intervention vehicle and Scorpio Uparmoured for VIP security.        The company's Prithla plant has a capacity to produce up to 800 vehicles a year, of which up to 120 are MPV-Is. In the last three to four years the company has invested about Rs 60 crore on the plant.


Hooda punished for role in Adarsh: Army chief

MUMBAI: The chief of Army Staff, General VK Singh, on Wednesday said that the army had taken action against retired Major-General R K Hooda, former General Officer (Commanding) for Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area, who was allotted a flat in the controversial Adarsh housing society.  "The commission on inquiry (CoI) has punished General Hooda for not performing his duty on certain issues in the Adarsh case. As a result, Hooda lost his promotion (as Lt General). Another CoI has been set up to inquire about the transfer of defence land at Kandivli; a report is expected at the earliest. Action will be taken against those officers, however high-ranking they might be, for not doing their duty," Singh said.  The army chief was responding to a query from TOI as to whether the army has taken inspiration from Anna Hazare, an ex-army man, to clean up the system. "Anna is a good man. I would not like to comment further. So far as the army is concerned, I have maintained that we want to clean up the system. This will continue," Singh said.  Singh is in Mumbai for a two-day visit. Earlier, he gave a keynote address, "Indigenization of army supplies", at an event organized by the All India Association of Industries.  In its March 13 edition, TOI had mentioned that a three-man CoI, headed by Lieutenant-General J S Rawat, commandant of the Intelligence School in Pune, did not find any evidence of Hooda misleading superiors about the fact that the land did not belong to the army. However, Hooda was issued a show-cause notice for failing to inform the army headquarters that he has taken a Rs 30-lakh bank loan and withdrawn Rs 5 lakh from his provident fund to pay for the Adarsh flat. n the Adarsh Housing Society scam, Chief of the Army Staff General VK Singh on Wednesday said that the Army had taken action against retired Major General (then serving) R K Hooda, former General Officer Commanding for Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa area and one of the allottees in the 31-storey building.  "The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has punished General Hooda for not performing his duty on certain issues in the Adarsh case. As a result of which the officer lost his promotion (as Lt General). Another CoI has been set up to inquire transfer of defence land at Kandivali and where, a report is expected at the earliest. Action too will be taken against those officers, however high ranking they might be for not doing their duty," Singh said.  The army chief was responding to a query from ToI to whether the Army had taken any inspiration from Anna Hazare, an ex-army man to clean up the system. "Anna is a good man. I would not like to comment further. So far as the army is concerned, I have maintained that we want to clean up the system. This will continue," said Singh.  Singh is in Mumbai for a two-day visit - the first time after he took over as army chief in 2010. Earlier, he gave a keynote address on "Indigenisation of Army Supplies" at a interactive organized by the All India Association of Industries.  ToI in their March 13 edition had mentioned that a three man CoI headed by Lieutenant General J S Rawat, commandant of the Intelligence School in Pune did not find any evidence of Hooda misleading superiors on the fact that the land did not belong to the army. The former GOC however, was issued a show-cause notice for failing to inform the army headquarters that he had taken a Rs 30-lakh bank loan and withdrawn Rs 5 lakh from the provident fund (PF) to pay for the Adarsh flat.

Mahindra anti-mine vehicles for Naxal ops

New product aimed to address long-awaited need in counter-insurgency, buyers optimistic.  For a decade, jawans travelling across the Naxal belt in shoddy mine-protected vehicles (MPVs) built by the Ordnance Factory Board rested their hopes for survival on a single bizarre test. In this, a live pig was strapped into an MPV, which was then subjected to a mine blast at a Ministry of Defence facility near Chandigarh. The pig survived and so, too, it was assumed, would the jawans.

Beginning today, these policemen have more to pin their hopes on. At its production facility near here, Defence Land Systems India (DLSI) handed over to the Jharkhand Police the first of six modern mine protected vehicles for that landmine-prone state. Designed by South African vehicle protection specialist, OMC, the Jharkhand Police’s new Mine Protected Vehicle – India (MPV-I) has been tested in South Africa to global standards, using million-dollar mannequins, and found capable of protecting passengers even when subjected to a blast from 21 kilos of TNT.  DLSI, a joint venture between the Mahindra group and UK-based BAE Systems (74:26, respectively), anticipates a burgeoning market for protected vehicles. The Mahindra group began its charge into the defence market with protected vehicles, selling about 1,500 smaller models since 2001, including the Rakshak, the Marksman and the Rapid Intervention Vehicle. But the big money is in MPVs, each of which costs close to Rs 1 crore. In that, there was little headway until this first order from the Jharkhand Police.  FELT NEED “The equipping of police forces in the Naxal-affected states with 300 MPVs will reduce casualties by some 90 per cent,” argues Brigadier (retired) Khutab Hai, who heads Mahindra’s defence business. This year alone, almost 300 security personnel have been killed or injured in blasts from 76 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the crude but powerful devices that insurgents have mastered.  In the Maoist heartland of Chhattisgarh, MPVs have disappointed. In early 2005, there was euphoria after all 17 policemen travelling in an MPV survived a Naxal IED attack in Narayanpur, Bastar. It wass short-lived, as the Naxals modified their tactics. In their next attack, in Bijapur district in September 2005, they replaced the 10-kilo Narayanpur IED with a massive 40-kg IED, targeting an MPV procured from the Ordnance Factory, Medak. The force of that blast threw the MPV up in the air, killing 24 CRPF jawans whose bodies were barely recognisable. After that, the security forces in Chhattisgarh shrink from travelling in MPVs, except on blacktopped highways where no IEDs can be buried.  “An MPV makes an attractive target for the Naxals and, as we increase the armour, they just increase the explosive in the IED. In Chhattisgarh we use MPVs only for activities like convoy escort, where they can be used as mobile pillboxes from where policemen can fire on insurgents attempting an ambush. But for off-the-road movement, the security forces have to rely on smaller, less conspicuous vehicles or, better still, move on foot,” says Brigadier (retired) Basant Ponwar, who heads the state government’s Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College in Kanker.  As recently as June 10, near Dantewada in Bastar, 10 policemen travelling in an MPV at night were killed in an IED attack.  AHEAD The Jharkhand Police, which has already bought 150 smaller protected vehicles from DLSI, is confident its new MPV-I will serve their purpose. Says B B Pradhan, the state’s additional director-general of police: “Our first responsibility is to protect our men from the explosions of landmines. There is no real foolproof protection from landmine attacks, the world over. But technology is improving everyday… I am very optimistic that the MPV-I will prove successful.”  Besides purchases by Naxal-affected states, DLSI hopes for orders from the army, a potentially large user of MPVs. There is a viewpoint that MPVs could serve a dual purpose, for counter-insurgency operations in peacetime and to convey jawans into enemy territory during war, for attacks on enemy strong points or important towns. While no army requirement has been formalised, or tender issued, the acceptance of this viewpoint would make the army a major buyer of MPVs.  The MPV-I traces its design back to the redoubtable Casspir MPVs, which the Indian Army used extensively in Jammu & Kashmir. The special armoured steel for the MPV-I’s protective body comes from Sweden; it is built into a monocoque body, using kits imported from South Africa. The engine and chassis are from Russian Ural vehicles that are manufactured at Haldia, West Bengal. Using these inputs, DLSI has the capacity to build 100-120 MPV-I per year.  The Tatas and Ashok Leyland have also tried to crack the MPV market, but without success. Their MPVs are significantly lighter than DLSI’s and are designed to withstand just eight to 10 kilos of TNT, compared to the 21 kg blast-resistance of the MPV-I. The six-wheeled MPV-I also provides greater safety than the four-wheeled Tata and Leyland MPVs.


Elephant and the dragon

India must deal with China on its own  It could be argued that India-China relations are really no concern of the US, not the least because Washington, DC should be more worried about Beijing’s increasing strategic investments in America that make the former enormously dependent on the latter and, to a great extent, ineffective in reining in the dragon, leave alone clipping its claws. The parlous state of the American economy robs the US much of its power though it remains, notionally so, the world’s sole superpower, albeit steeped in debt and unsure where it will be by the first quarter of the 21st century. Even the mighty American military with multi-million-dollar weapons now appears no more than a tired and defeated Army, unable to flex its muscles or score a victory. There is nothing edifying about the exit of American forces from Afghanistan, no matter what spin is put on it; when the last US soldier leaves that country, the intervention and the subsequent War on Terror will be remembered more about how the Americans turned tail and ran rather than how they bravely fought back the forces of darkness and evil. A country which decides to opt for sleight of hand — for instance, designating terrorists like the Taliban as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ — to cut its losses and run, leaving many others in the lurch, is not worthy of either respect or regard. The view from Washington could be entirely different, but that in no manner diminishes the fact that to the world at large, the US is now just another country, desperately struggling to stay afloat in these hard and trying times. It is against this backdrop that we should view the US Defence Department’s report, “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2011,” which highlights the pace and scope of China’s defence investments and capabilities and describes them as “potentially destabilising” to military balances in the region.  This is not to deny that the rapid build-up of China’s military capabilities should be of no concern to its neighbours, barring Pakistan, its ‘all-weather friend’ which is now looking towards Beijing as Islamabad’s steamy affair with Washington approaches a rather sour end. Countries in South-East Asia have reason to worry about China’s expansionist policies, as does India. After all, if there is one country which China would like to contain, if not hobble, it is India — the Middle Kingdom’s history bears testimony to this long-cherished desire. But this is a concern that India has to deal with on its own, instead of becoming a pawn in a fresh round of the ‘Great Game’ that so enthuses the Anglo-Saxon world and distracts it from pressing concerns at home. Enlightened strategic self-interest demands that India should hasten the process of modernising its military and acquiring far greater capabilities — both in terms of human resource and state-of-the-art hardware. Decades of neglect and the absence of strategic foresight have contributed to the creation of a situation where China has an upper hand over India, especially in terms of mobilising forces and launching warheads from the areas adjacent to the border — in Tibet, to be precise. But pragmatism demands that India must take recourse to creative diplomacy and use bilateral relations to its advantage. Little or no purpose will be served by falling prey to American alarmism.


High costs stall Army's plans on China border

NEW DELHI: The massive military modernization along the China border, including the setting up of the country's first Mountain Strike Corps, has run into a new hurdle with the government raising questions about the high capital expenditure involved in it.  Sources said the defence ministry has returned the Army proposal to set up the strike corps, and two independent brigades along the China border. The MoD has raised detailed queries about the high capital costs projected by Army headquarters. The Army has projected an expenditure of over Rs 12,000 crore for the entire proposal, which is part of New Delhi's efforts to catch up with China which has steadily built up outstanding military capabilities and infrastructure along the disputed Sino-Indian border.  The Army had sent the proposal to the MoD sometime in early 2010, for putting it up to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval. In April, the PM had offered all government support for Army modernization along the China border during a presentation to him by the Army top brass. The Army leadership appraised the PM about the overwhelming capabilities of the People's Liberation Army along the border with India during the presentation.  Despite the PM's assurance, the MoD has now raised questions about the Army's assessment of Rs 12,000 crore needed to set up the new formations, and sent back the file to Army headquarters. "The concern is about the high capital expenditure projected by Army headquarters," senior sources said.  The Army proposes to set up the country's first Mountain Strike Corps and two independent brigades along the border with China. The corps would be India's fourth strike corps, and the first one for dedicated offensive operations in mountainous terrain. This is besides the two mountain divisions already being raised along the China border.  One of the independent brigades is to be stationed in Ladakh while the other would be based in Uttarakhand. The proposed corps could be headquartered at Pannagarh in West Bengal, a recent report said.  Sources said once the Army headquarters replies to the MoD query and other clarifications are settled, the file would be processed for final approval. "We are hopeful that it can be cleared this financial year," a senior source said.  Since the humiliating defeat in 1962, India has been on an extremely defensive posture along the China border, including a deliberate decision not to develop border infrastructure. In the process, as New Delhi stood by, China built up an impressive border infrastructure and capability to mobilize almost 500,000 troops in a matter of a few weeks to the Line of Actual Control with India.



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