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Saturday, 22 September 2012

From Today's Papers - 22 Sep 2012
Airborne early warning system to be deployed in Western sector
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, September 21
The indigenous AEW&Cs (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) mounted on Brazilian Embraer aircrafts would be deployed somewhere in the Western sector, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said here yesterday.

Browne, accompanied by DRDO chief VK Saraswat, was addressing the media after attending a function organised here to celebrate the arrival of the first modified Embraer aircraft from Brazil.

Two more modified Embraer-145 jets are slated arrive in India, including one next year, to be mounted with indigenous AEW&C radars.

Browne said while the exact places where these aircraft - which are equipped with air-to-air refuelling facility — would be hovering had been already identified, he would not like to disclose these.

Successful integration of the indigenous radar with the modified aircraft would pave the way for bigger projects such as the AWACS (India), Browne said.

Under the AWACS(I) project, being executed by the DRDO in collaboration with the IAF, 360-degree AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars will be mounted on large aircraft like IL-76 or Boeing or Airbus.

AWACS (airborne warning and control system) and AEW&C are considered huge force multipliers in air warfare because they can detect incoming aerial threats, including enemy fighters and cruise missiles, much before ground-based radars.

While Pakistan already has four Swedish Saab-2000 AEW&C aircraft with four more Chinese ZDK-03 AWACS in the pipeline, China reportedly has around 20 AWACS.

The IAF has only three Phalcon AWACS mounted on IL-76 aircraft with a range of over 400-km and 360-degree coverage by each of these. The IAF is supposed to deploy two more Phalcon AWACS in the near future.

Fitting of the Embraer jets with the indigenous AEW&C is known as the mini-AWACS project. DRDO chief VK Saraswat said that the most complex and challenging phase of the programme — that of integrating the radar with the aircraft — would begin now.
Agni-III test-fired successfully

Balasore (Odisha), Sept 21
Two days after a perfect trial of the highly advanced Agni-IV weapon system, India today successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III missile with a strike range of over 3,000 km from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.

The indigenously developed surface-to-air missile, capable of carrying a warhead of 1.5 tonnes and protected by a carbon all-composite heat shield, blasted off at 1.15 pm from a mobile launcher at launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR), defence sources said.

“The trial was successful and met all the mission objectives,” a defence scientist said.

The launch operation was carried out by strategic forces command of the Indian Army with logistic support from Defence Research and Development Organisation. — PTI
HC refers service matters of armed forces to AFT
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, September 21
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, by passing a single order, has referred “all service matters concerning members of the armed forces” to the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). The “matters” involve pension and other retirement benefits pending before the HC.

The significance of the order can be gauged from the fact that the HC has disposed of, through the order, nothing less than 31 writ petitions filed by Army personnel “pertaining to the disability pension, dismissal from service, etc.”

The bunch comprised writ petitions against the orders passed by the CAT and Regular Second Appeals against the judgments and decrees of the courts below.

Taking up the petitions by Naik Prem Singh and other petitioners against the Union of India and other respondents, a Division Bench of the HC asserted the petitions pertaining to the disability pension, dismissal from service, etc. of Army personnel fell within the definition of “service matters” as defined in Section 3(O) of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

The bench added: “At the outset, counsel for the respondents have raised a preliminary objection by placing reliance on Section 34 read with Section 14 and 3(O) of the Act. A conjoint reading of these Sections would show that all service matters concerning the members of Armed Forces, involving pension and other retiral benefits, pending before this court are required to be transferred to the AFT, Chandigarh Bench, which is constituted for this jurisdiction”.
Indian Navy rescues Maldivian boat

New Delhi, September 21
In a goodwill measure, Indian Navy has rescued a Maldives-origin boat and four persons of the island nation who had gone missing in the Indian Ocean earlier this week.

“A 95-feet-long Maldivian mechanical boat with four personnel on board, reported missing at sea off the Southern coast of Maldives since September 17, was rescued by Indian Navy warship INS Shardul yesterday,” the Navy said in a release. The location of the boat was such that beyond that, there is no land till Antarctica.

Indian Navy warship INS Shardul and its on board chopper were launched to locate the missing vessel on September 19 following a request from Maldivian authorities. — TNS

Indian Army chief opposes PM trip to Pakistan
NEW DELHI (INP): Any hope Pakistan may have nurtured that a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could open the door for a "deal" on Siachen has been dashed, with Army chief Gen Bikram Singh being as opposed to the idea as all his predecessors before him.
In his maiden interaction with the press, Gen Singh clearly stated the ground rules on a border agreement. And they don't include any troop withdrawal from the Siachen heights. "There is no change in our view at all. We must continue to hold that area.
Pakistan is hopeful of Singh's visit before it goes to the polls. Singh himself is keen to visitPakistan, and has not shied away from making his interest known. With this in mind,Islamabad has pushed New Delhi hard this year to do a deal on Siachen. Pakistan has even delayed talks on the Sir Creek issue in order to mount pressure on India for a Siachen pact.
Returning from Iran after the NAM summit, the PM hinted that a Sir Creek agreement was "doable" but he was silent on Siachen. There is little chance of Singh going to Pakistan this year. His position is very different from Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had visited Pakistan twice in his five years despite a Kargil and a Parliament attack as well as a disastrous Agra summit between them, a report in Times of India said on Friday.
The political atmosphere in India is fragile enough that a concession to Pakistan would be interpreted as a betrayal. The UPA has already taken several knocks after the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement with Pakistan in 2009. In the forthcoming state elections, political managers fear a PM visit to Pakistan could be battered on nationalistic lines.
There is cross-spectrum acceptance on trade concessions and people-to-people contacts withPakistan. But there is no room for a concession on Siachen because it ties in with India's larger strategic outlook, particularly regarding the China-Pakistan nexus. India's occupation of the Siachen heights gives it a unique advantage that it does not want to relinquish.
Officials said India's position on Siachen had neither hardened nor softened for years. But Pakistani Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani had said twice in a month (May) that Pakistan wants the Siachen issue to be solved and India had "toughened" its stand asking for a demarcation, which was seen here as a pressure tactic. Ideally, a Siachen agreement should be part of a broad agreement of the border, but Pakistan is yet to agree to that.
"We have been consistent on the steps necessary before demilitarization of Siachen can be carried out. We won't give up the advantage we enjoy without a very credible, and verifiable, commitment from their side," a senior Indian Army officer told TOI recently.
Another officer pointed out that India has repeatedly pointed out that any demilitarization should be preceded by delineation of Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL), authentication of the line and military positions on maps to be exchanged between the two countries, an end to wrong projection of AGPL in each other's maps, drawing up framework for demilitarization and as final step withdrawal of troops from the glacial heights. "They are reluctant to agree to our suggestions," another senior military official said.
The core of the difference between the two sides is this: India wants Pakistan to authenticate positions on the AGPL before any talk of demilitarization or withdrawal.
Pakistan is pushing a four-point plan that includes demilitarization, withdrawal of troops, delineation and authentication. India is unwilling to do this.
'Kargil was poor test of India's air warfare capability'
Kargil conflict was a "poor test" of India's air warfare capability, a prominent US think-tank has said, warning that with threats of future wars with Pakistan and China persisting, Indian defence establishment has to prepare accordingly.
"Despite the happy ending of the Kargil [ Images ] experience for India, the IAF's fighter pilots were restricted in their operations due to myriad challenges specific to this campaign. They were thus consigned to do what they could rather than what they might have done if they had more room for maneuver," said the think-tank in a report released on Thursday.

The Kargil war, in which India emerged victorious over Pakistan, the 70-page report titles "Airpower At 18,000': the

Indian Air Force in the Kargil War' further brought to light the initial near-total lack of transparency and open communication between Indian Army's [ Images ] top leaders and the IAF.

The report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said the covert Pakistani intrusion into Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] had exposed a gaping hole in India's nationwide real-time intelligence.

"On a strategic level, the Kargil War vividly demonstrated that a stable bilateral nuclear deterrence relationship can markedly inhibit such regional conflicts in intensity and scale -- if not preclude them altogether," it said.

"In the absence of the nuclear stabilising factor, those flash points could erupt into open-ended conventional showdowns for the highest stakes. But the Kargil War also demonstrated that nuclear deterrence is not a panacea," the report said.

It said the possibility of future conventional wars of major consequence along India's borders with Pakistan and China persists, and the Indian defence establishment must plan and prepare accordingly.

According to the report, Pakistan's military leaders miscalculated badly in their apparent belief that the international community would press immediately for a cease-fire in Kashmir out of concern over a possible escalation of the fighting to the nuclear level, with the net result that Pakistan would be left with an easily acquired new slice of the terrain on the Indian side of the LoC.

Carnegie said the nuclear balance between the two countries did not deter a determined Indian conventional response, and the successful reaction that India ultimately mounted on the Kargil heights fell well short of being all out in scale.

"Furthermore, since the Vajpayee government scrupulously kept its combat operations confined to Indian-controlled

Kashmir, the international community had no compelling reason to intervene," it said.

As a result, a remote but high-intensity and high-stakes showdown was allowed to run on for more than two months, something the Pakistan Army's [ Images ] leaders all but certainly did not anticipate when they first conjured up their incursion plan.

The Kargil experience also suggested that if China and Pakistan came to appreciate that India possessed overwhelming conventional force preponderance in the region, that presence could act as a deterrent against such provocations in the future, it said.

According to the report, prudent Indian defence planners will likely find themselves shortchanged in their preparations for the full spectrum of possible challenges to their country's security in years to come if they draw undue comfort from the happy ending of the Kargil experience and accept that conflict as their only planning baseline for hedging against future contingencies along the Line of Control
US think-tank asks India to prepare against threats along northern borders
NEW DELHI: Holding that the possibility of future conventional wars of major consequence along India's northern borders with Pakistan and China persists, a prominent US think-tank says the Indian defence establishment "must plan and prepare accordingly".

In a 70-page report titled, "Airpower at 18,000: The IAF in the Kargil war", the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace says the 1999 Indo-Pak conflict demonstrated on a strategic level that a stable bilateral nuclear deterrence relationship can markedly inhibit such regional conflicts in intensity and scale - if not preclude them altogether.

"In the absence of the nuclear stabilizing factor, those flash points could erupt into open-ended conventional showdowns for the highest stakes," it says. But the study goes on to add that the Kargil war "also demonstrated that nuclear deterrence is not a panacea", and consequently India must plan and prepare for the future.

The study also underlines — as is well-documented by now — some of India's military shortcomings. For instance, the gaping holes in the country's real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability that allowed the incursion by Pakistani Army regulars and others "to go undetected for many days".

"It further brought to light the initial near-total lack of transparency and open communication between the Indian Army's top leaders and the IAF with respect to the gathering crisis. All things considered, the conflict was a poor test of India's air warfare capability," it says.

As earlier reported by TOI, the then Army and IAF chiefs, General V P Malik and Air Chief Marshal A Y Tipnis, squabbled with each other over the conduct of operations. Gen Malik has written how ACM Tipnis was reluctant to use airpower in the initial days of the conflict.

ACM Tipnis went on record to retort that an "embarrassed" Army was initially reluctant "to reveal the full gravity" of the situation, arising from the presence of Pakistani intruders in the Kargil heights, to the government. As the conflict progressed, both Army and IAF, however, got their act together. IAF pitched in with ground strikes by its MiG-21s, MiG-27s and Mirage-2000s to help Indian soldiers evict the Pakistanis from the icy heights.

The study says, "Despite the happy ending of the Kargil experience for India, IAF's fighter pilots were restricted in their operations due to myriad challenges specific to this campaign. They were thus consigned to do what they could rather than what they might have done if they had more room for manoeuvre."
Army jawan dies during race
AISALMER: A 30-year-old Army jawan fell down unconscious and died during a 5-km practice race in Pokhran area of Jaisalmer district. The body has been handed over to family members after post-mortem.

According to Pokhran police, the incident happened on Thursday when Army jawans conducted a practice race from Sankada Fanta to one of the Army unit headquarters. During the race, jawan Ravindra Kumar fell down unconscious near a petrol pump, 300 m before reaching the headquarters. Medical personnel who were following the runners immediately rushed him to the hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami said a race of 5 km was organized during the battle field proficiency training for jawans at Pokhran during which Kumar fell down. He was immediately brought to the medical centre. The cause of death will be know after the post mortem report, Goswami added.
No 1962 repeat, says Army chief
NEW DELHI: Even as India again tested an advanced 4,000-km range Agni-IV ballistic missile towards building a much-needed credible nuclear deterrence against China, the Army on Wednesday said it was fully geared to tackle all threats despite a deepening Beijing-Islamabad military nexus.

But wary of China's growing footprint in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and the Gilgit-Baltistan areas, the force has strongly stressed the need to firmly hold on the "strategic positions" in the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region as well as conveyed "concerns" to the government on the presence of Chinese soldiers in PoK.

"I am assuring the nation as the Army chief that 1962 will not be repeated...No way. We have plans in place on all borders to safeguard our country's territorial integrity," said General Bikram Singh on Wednesday.

Speaking a month before the 50th anniversary of China's military offensives into Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, the Army chief was quick to stress India was bolstering its military capabilities in tune with its own national security objectives. "They are not specific to any country or geared against anybody," he said.

The Army chief, however, was clear about the "strategic importance" of Siachen-Saltoro Ridge, where 850 Indian soldiers have laid down their lives since 1984. "There is no change in our view at all. We must continue to hold that area...We have lost lot of lives and shed a lot of blood there," he said.

By controlling almost all the dominating heights ranging from 16,000 to 22,000-feet on the Saltoro Ridge, Indian soldiers in effect prevent Pakistan from the west and China from the east linking up through the Karakoram Pass to threaten Ladakh.

Defence minister A K Antony himself has stressed Pakistan will have to agree to the sequential process of proper authentication, delineation and demarcation before any talk of troop disengagement from the glacial heights.

As for the presence of People's Liberation Army soldiers in PoK, which was recently denied by Chinese defence minister Liang Guanglie, Gen Singh said, " As per our inputs, Chinese soldiers are there to provide protection to their ongoing infrastructure work like road, railway and hydro-electric projects."

Apart from Agni missiles and Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, India also urgently needs to raise the proposed mountain strike corps, with two specialized divisions for high-altitude warfare, for offensive ground capabilities against China.

While two new infantry divisions have come up with over 35,000 soldiers around Zakama (Nagaland) and Misamari (Assam) over the last three years, the government has sent back the Army's over Rs 65,000 crore plan for the mountain strike corps (additional 40,000 soldiers) to the chiefs of staff committee for a re-think and joint tri-Service proposal.

"It (strike corps plan) is undergoing a process of validation. It has not been shelved. We will go back to the government again. We have to create a capability keeping in mind national security interests, not any specific country," added Gen Singh.
Comrades in arms no more

There is something rotten in the state of the Indian Army. Brijesh Pandey decodes why jawans are turning against their superiors and why soldiers are leaving in droves
VISHWAMOHANAN PILLAI was looking forward to welcoming his son home for Onam. Instead, what arrived at his doorstep was his son’s coffin. On 8 August, Arun V, a jawan of the 16th Light Cavalry regiment in Samba district of Jammu & Kashmir, committed suicide with his service weapon. Arun, 30, wanted to visit his family in Thiruvananthapuram during the holiday season, but his leave application was denied approval by his superiors. A frustrated Arun ended up taking his own life.
As soon as the news of his suicide broke, angry jawans protested against the officers concerned. The stand-off lasted for several hours. Additional troops had to be rushed to the spot to keep a lid on the situation and all the officers were moved out of their living quarters. The army ordered two courts of inquiry to probe the incident.

This incident came close on the heels of what happened at Nyoma sub-station at Leh involving the 226 Field Artillery regiment on 11-12 May. An orderly allegedly misbehaved with the wife of a Major, who beat him up. Despite the jawan being in a critical condition, the Major refused to let him get any medical treatment. This led to outrage among the fellow jawans. When the news reached the Commanding Officer (CO), he rushed to the spot and took the Major to task. Infuriated with the public dressing down, the Major and his colleagues beat up the CO. Seeing this, the jawans went berserk and thrashed the officers. Later, the General Officer Commanding in-charge was rushed to Leh to defuse the situation. The army downplayed the incident, calling it a “minor scuffle”, adding that a court of inquiry had been ordered.

When Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh was asked about the Samba incident, he termed the incident as an isolated one in the 1.13 million-strong Indian Army. He added that there was no connection between the suicide and the stand-off. “We are looking into the problems and trying to fix them,” he said.

The army chief was being economical with the truth. On 3 September, Defence Minister AK Antony told Parliament that Pillai’s suicide had led to “unrest” among the troops deployed in the Samba sector and that the suicide and the stand-off were not two different incidents. That was not all. Figures released by the defence minister revealed a scary picture, illustrating the level of disenchantment among the jawans and the officers.

According to Antony, more than 25,000 soldiers have opted for voluntary retirement in the past three years (10,315 in 2011, 7,249 in 2010 and 7,499 in 2009). He added that during the same period, more than 1,600 officers have either sought voluntary retirement or have resigned (this when the army is already reeling under a massive shortage of close to 12,000 officers). He also revealed that since 2003, more than 1,000 jawans have committed suicide.

So, what’s ailing the Indian Army? Why are the jawans and officers treating each other like enemies? Some officers are blaming the shortage of officers coupled with the dwindling quality of the recruits.
“The army has expanded a lot and there is a lack of quality due to it,” says Maj Gen (retd) Afsir Karim. “There is a structural problem in the way officers are recruited. There is also a problem with the higher command. They indirectly affect things like how the men are treated, where they are deployed.”

Maj Gen (retd) GD Bakshi has a different take. He believes that strong bonds are rarely formed between jawans and officers in a peacetime army. “Combat is the biggest glue,” he says. “It is the combat stress that makes you face death together.”

According to officers, there is a lack of communication between the commanding officers and jawans. One of the reasons is that there are not enough officers and secondly, not enough responsibility is given to the Junior Commissioned Officer, the critical link between the jawans and the officers. There is also a class bias. All financial handlings, court of inquiry, etc. are handled by officers. While a combat battalion requires 21 officers, only one-third of posts are filled on the ground. So every officer is, in effect, doing the job of three officers. That does not give adequate time to an officer to interact with his men as it should have been.

According to Lt Gen (retd) Raj Kadyan, “In our time, we used to have a notebook that had the personal details of every jawan under us such as his likes, dislikes, eccentricities, family, etc. Now, that kind of activity needs a lot of time because of the lopsided men-officer ratio.”

Officers also blame the lack of promotion options. According to a former commander, “Only 25 percent of the officers become Colonels; and only 0.05 percent get the chance of becoming a General. My batch had 1,200 commissioned officers and I was the only one who became a commander. There is plenty of frustration among the officer corps. After spending many years, everybody wants a good rank.”

The bulk of the jawans who used to join the army earlier came from villages, with little exposure. In the past 15-20 years, most of the jawans have been coming from semi-urban and urban areas. They are more educated and highly aspirational. They are not keen on blindly following their superior’s orders.

IN 2007, Antony had asked the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) to investigate suicides and fratricide in the army. The DIPR concluded that high workload, lack of adequate rest and leaves, nonabundance of basic amenities and domestic concerns coupled with inadequate and insufficient support from the civil administration were the most prevalent factors causing stress among troops.

According to Maj Gen (retd) GD Bakshi, “A lot has changed in the past 20 years. The reality is that there is lack of respect for the army. Earlier, it was a matter of pride to be in the army. People would look up to you with awe. Now, you are a fool, wasting your prime for nothing.”

Senior officers admit that the recent cases of corruption involving top generals have also not helped the cause.

After his statement in Parliament, Antony met the three service chiefs and discussed the issues of suicides, retirements and fratricide. He asked the chiefs to ensure that officers should be liberal while granting leaves to jawans. He also asked the defence ministry to get in touch with the railways to ensure that whenever a jawan goes on leave, he immediately gets a reservation.

While the ministry is making all the right noises, it is for the army to do some serious introspection about effective manmanagement skills that not only treats its jawans well, but also takes into account the society’s changing aspirations.
Army officer showers praise on war veterans
ALLAHABAD: The General Officer commanding, Madhya Bharat Area, Lt Gen RS Pradhan addressed all officers, Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and other ranks of the formation posted at a grand Sainik Sammelan organised at New Cantonment here on Thursday.

The General Officer asked all ranks to uphold the rich tradition and ethos of the Indian Army. He emphasised that Army plays a significant role in nation building and symbolises uniformity, discipline and power of an organisation. He laid thrust on professional ethos and core values of integrity, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service and honour.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant General RS Pradhan, General Officer Commanding, Madhya Bharat Area inspected 508 Army Base Workshop here. He was received by Brigadier Tumul Varma, commandant and managing director, 508 Army Base Workshop and introduced to all Army and civilian Officer of the unit. The General Officer visited various groups of the workshop and expressed happiness over the performance of the workshop in overhaul of various heavy mobility vehicles and equipment of the Field Army.

Lt Gen Pradhan expressed satisfaction over the administrative and technical functioning and praised the steps taken for modernisation of the unit.
Indian army chief’s rhetoric
General Jagjit Singh Arorra, the hero of the Indians, who commanded the operation to separate the eastern wing of Pakistan (now Bangladesh), was removed from his office only because he summoned the nerve to issue a political statement. And now the current Army Chief General Bikram Singh has asked the Indian government not to accept a proposal initiated by Pakistan that both the armies in the Siachen Sector withdraw to their pre-1984 positions. India captured Pakistani territory, including the Quaid Post located at an altitude of 22,700 feet. The argument offered by the General is that Indian army personnel offered great sacrifices to capture heights in that sector which are strategically very important. But he has conveniently forgotten that the said territory belongs to Pakistan and if peace has to be restored; his troops would have to vacate it and go back to previous positions.General Singh availed this opportunity to once again allege that the Chinese troops were present in Azad Kashmir adding that he had informed his government about what is happening on the other side of the fence. One wonders, how current diplomatic efforts can succeed if India sticks to its previous stances on such sensitive matters. The dialogue process as a result of which meetings are being held at various levels between Pakistan

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