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Friday, 16 March 2012

From Today's Papers - 16 Mar 2012
Media should not undermine institutions: Kayani
Islamabad: Arguing that "ruthless criticism" of ISI in Pakistan was far higher than made on RAW, Mosad or the CIA in India, Israel or USA, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said media should not undermine institutions.

Kayani also said he had taken a "conscious decision" four and half years back to keep the army away from politics and will continue to stick to it.

"If you want to fight with history in this context, it's your choice to do so. However, establishing institutions require a lot of hard work and the media should be careful... that their words do not undermine these (institutions)," Kayani was quoted as saying in a media report while underlining that the Mehran Bank scandal was a 20-year old issue.

Mehran Bank scandal refers to an ongoing case in the Supreme Court here in which ISI is alleged to have paid large sums of money to political parties to keep the Pakistan People's Party out of power way back in early 90s.

Kayani made the comments speaking to senior journalists at a farewell reception for Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman at the Prime Minister House, The Express Tribune reported.

On the issue of alleged involvement of intelligence agencies in missing persons cases, Kayani said that institutions are not made easily adding, however, that they are also not above criticism.

"Gen Kayani added that one should be careful that while criticising one must not undermine national institutions or organisations," it said.

Using the US as an example, Kayani was reported to have said that the American army was not criticised by its people as harshly as the Pakistan Army was criticised by Pakistanis.

"The US media is careful in reporting events of US casualties in Afghanistan, for example. He said that the ruthless criticism of ISI in Pakistan was far higher than any criticism made on RAW, Mosad or the CIA in India, Israel or USA," the daily said.

Meanwhile The News International daily quoted Kayani as saying, "I took a conscious decision four-and-a-half years ago not to take part in politics and since then the army has stayed away from politics and I stand by my decision and will stick to it.

"I assure you the army is not involved in politics and it must be appreciated for this," he added.
People within the Army plotted against me
Chief of the Army Staff General V.K. Singh said that serving and retired officers of the Indian Army plotted to blow up the controversy over his date of birth. Speaking exclusively to THE WEEK, he said: "In a large organisation like ours you will always have people who feel left out. There were people who were doing wrong things. [Because] we stopped them they turned against me."

He said certain quarters spent huge amounts to plant defamatory stories in the media. "You will be surprised to know the amount of money which was spent to get the false certificate about my DoB," he told THE WEEK.

A third generation officer of the Rajput Regiment, Singh said the war with China in 1962 was a painful memory for him, as India went into it unprepared. "Our men fought very bravely, but we did not have weapons," he said. "My unit... lost 282 people."

He said the Army's proposal to form a Mountain Strike Corps was based on this bitter experience, but the move was shot down by the finance ministry. "We need monetary support to build capability," Singh told THE WEEK. "The Armed forces are like an insurance policy to the nation. If you have a lousy policy you will suffer."

He said the rumours about Military Intelligence bugging Defence Minister A.K. Antony's office were unfounded. "There has never been a single difference between me and my defence minister," Singh said. "I was plain-spoken with him, and he was appreciative of that."

Singh told THE WEEK that as a normal citizen he was justified in seeking legal remedies in the date of birth row. He said it was a personal decision handled personally. "I have not sought help or advice from any member of my staff [to approach the court]," he said. "I tried my best to kept the organisation away from my personal issue."
Dealing with Sri Lanka
Israel And India Boosting Defense Partnership
Indian Foreign Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna's visit to Israel in January marked the arrival of the highest-ranking Indian official there in 11 years, and is all the more significant as the Indian governing coalition is now headed by the Congress Party, a faction that traditionally has paid close attention to Muslim sensitivities.

But the visit is even more important financially. Defense business between the two nations amounts to around $5 billion but could reach an estimated $15 billion. It is no longer a secret that Israel has become one of India's top defense suppliers and partners.

Among recent big-ticket Israeli arms sales to India were Rafael's $1 billion contract in 2009 to provide 18 Spyder surface-to-air missile systems by 2012, as well as Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) $1.1 billion deal that same year for the advanced Barak 8 tactical air-defense system for warships. India launched an IAI-built Risat-2 all-weather spy satellite from the Sriharikota site in southern Andhra Pradesh state, forging strategic cooperation in space projects. Meantime, the Indian air force (IAF) is seeking government approval to order two additional Il-76 Phalcon AWACS aircraft for $800 million, expanding the current fleet of three aircraft procured by the IAF under the previous $1.1 billion program. And Indian Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik said the IAF would buy two more Phalcons. "Phalcon AWACS are tremendous force-multipliers. We are having an excellent experience with them," he said.

The system comprises an Israeli Elta EL/M-2075 active, electronically scanned array (AESA) radar mounted on an Il76. The Elta system mounts three radar antennas, each providing 120-deg. coverage, in a non-rotating radome on top of the aircraft. It is capable of simultaneously tracking 60 targets, including ballistic missiles rising into the sky, low-flying aircraft and cruise missiles up to 400 km (250 mi.) away. The aircraft also can be used to direct air defense fighters during combat operations. The Phalcons are being inducted into the newly raised 50 Squadron based at Agra air base.

India also has expressed interest in Israel's Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system jointly manufactured by IAI and Boeing. But the technology transfer involved could impede the sale since U.S. approval would be required and the countries have had past differences about such matters.

The IAF and army are planning to field guided missiles under several parallel programs currently in the acquisition process. To enable Rafael to participate as a sole bidder in the open tender, the Indian army obtained a special permit. Another obstacle for other competitors was India's insistence on unique performance—demanding that the system entail an "active-passive fire-and-forget guidance system," which only Rafael can offer. Off-the-shelf third-generation (3G) missiles employ passive sensors to lock on the target before launch, and perform "fire-and-forget" engagement. Only Rafael's Spike can offer active-passive 3G fire-and-forget—including the ability for the user to correct the missile's aiming while in flight. The Indian requirement sidelined the standard laser-guided Hellfire missiles carried on Boeing Apache Longbow attack helicopters. Still, since India's services favored the Apache for their next high-performance gunship, it is likely they will take it with its standard weapons, rather than make a significant investment in modifying its avionics and fire-control system to integrate other missiles.

A parallel acquisition by the Indian army is a lightweight guided missile for the infantry. Rafael's Mini-Spike could become a contender for this program. As far as industrial participation and technology transfer, if Rafael eventually wins the order, the Indians will get the first deliveries of the missiles made in Israel but Rafael is likely to shift production to India, as it has done in other markets like Poland and Spain.

Likewise, Rafael and Bharat Dynamics have recently stepped up their dialog with plans to establish a local joint venture. The companies are currently seeking a private sector, Indian-based partner to join the company. This selected company will become the local entity to acquire the know-how and production technologies to deliver the weapon's critical subsystems, including missile seekers for air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles and the Spike's electro-optical seekers.
Hasnain likely to become India's first Muslim DGMO
Srinagar-based Chinar Corps commander Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain is in line to become India's first Muslim director general of military operations (DGMO), with incumbent Lt Gen Ashok Choudhary being
pushed by the Defence Ministry for appointment to the post of Assam Rifles director

Bhopal-based XXI Strike Corps commander Lt General Om Prakash is likely to take the place of General Hasnain.

Sources said that after completing 16 months of sensitive duty as the Army's in-charge of Kashmir Valley counter-insurgency operations, the Defence Ministry and Army headquarters are working towards appointing Gen Hasnain as the DGMO. Widely known as the "people's general" in the Valley, Hasnain is the only Muslim holding the post of Lt General in the Army.

Till now, his tenure in the Valley has been largely successful — with a record boost in tourism last year, cross-border infiltration figures at a low, and a largely peaceful summer.

It is learnt that defence minister AK Antony and the Army headquarters are keen on bringing Hasnain to Delhi, and are trying to make the Home Ministry accept the nomination of present DGMO, General Choudhary, as the DG of Assam Rifles. The post of DG of the paramilitary force has been lying vacant ever since Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy was recalled to the Army last year, after certain irregularities were noticed during his previous tenure as the 16 Corps commander in 2009.

However, the hitch is that General Choudhary, who was appointed as DGMO last January, does not have two years left for his superannuation. The Home Ministry is inclined to post an Army officer, who has at least two years for retirement, on deputation to Assam Rifles.

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