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Thursday, 11 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 11 Oct 2012
Russia puts off Gorshkov delivery till 2013-end
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 10
The Indian plan to provide its Navy with two seaborne aircraft carriers has been delayed by a year. Russia today informed India that Admiral Gorshkov, India’s second carrier, cannot be delivered till the 2013-end due a “malfunction” in its propulsion system and boilers. India has been pressing for early delivery of the carrier, side-stepping questions if it could evoke the penalty clause for delay.

Defence Minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov met in New Delhi today for the 12th annual meeting of the India-Russia inter-governmental commission on military technical cooperation where the matter of delay in the delivery of Gorshkov was discussed. The 45,000-tonne carrier was scheduled to be delivered on December 4 this year. During the July-Sept sea trials in the Barents sea, a malfunction was detected in its boilers which is now causing the delay. The Gorshkov is being refitted at a cost of $2.3 billion for the Indian Navy that already operates seaborne aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

Serdyukov said, “We have given a revised time table, sea trials shall resume in April next year. We believe the transfer (of the ship) will take place in the fourth quarter of 2013.” At present the ship is back in the shipyard at Severodvinsk, an inspection is being carried out and the reason for the malfunction was being examined. “We will work a detail schedule for elimination of the malfunction”, the Russian Defence Minister said.

The Indian side made its stand clear that it was not evoking the penalty clause, but hinted that it could be considered. Antony, in response to a question on the penalty clause, said: “We are not discussing these issues now…. will be considered at latter stage, if necessary.”

He went on to add: “Early delivery of the Gorshkov is an important concern of the Indian Government and the Navy. We have conveyed serious concern.”

The Russian side said during the sea trials the warship covered 11,000 maritime miles. Serdyukov listed the lease of nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra as the high point of Indo-Russian defence relations. Significant results had been achieved in case of BrahMos missile and “we are working on a new-generation missile”, he said. Later sources said the new hypersonic version of the BrahMos was discussed at the meeting. “We are looking at stepping up the intensity of the Naval exercise,” Serdyukov added.

The Russian minister dismissed the talk that his visit scheduled for October 4 was postponed due to the Moscow-visit of the Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashraf Parvez Kayani. “I have already apologised (for that). The only reason was a new project had cropped up,” he added. Asked if Russia would be supplying arms to India’s neighbours, he said, “We have not had any change in our legislation whatsoever.”

Beside Gorshkov, the two sides also discussed issues of increased naval cooperation at high seas.
AFT: Equate women officers with regular officers
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, October 10
In a significant decision that would not only empower women officers but also remove a sore point for many male short service officers commissioned prior to 2006, the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal today held that they shall be entitled to substantive promotions at the same length of service as is applicable to all permanent commissioned officers and short service officers commissioned after 2006.

The Tribunal’s decision implies that short service officers commissioned prior to 2006 would not only be promoted faster but would also be eligible for grant of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, which was earlier not possible for them. The order affects hundreds of short service commission officers.

In 2004, the Central government had rationalised the promotional prospects of defence officers by providing time-scale promotions to the ranks of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel on the completion of two, six and 13 years’ service, respectively. The earlier time-span for these promotions was five, 10 and 15-18 years. Though the order was initially also made applicable to women and short service officers, the benefits were later held back on the pretext that the service of such officers was not technically “reckonable commissioned service”.

The benefits were not extended to affected officers even after the Defence Minister made a statement in Parliament that short service commission officers would be placed on a par with regular officers for promotional avenues and a government notification to the same effect issued under the Army Act.

However, the benefits were later granted to short service officers commissioned after 2006 when the old terms were changed from 5+5+4 years’ service to 10+4 years’ system. In the Air Force and the Navy, however, the benefits were granted to all officers. As a result, short service officers commissioned prior to 2006 were being promoted as Captains in nine years as compared to two years for those commissioned after 2006.

A woman officer, Jasreen Dhillon, had challenged the non-grant of benefits to officers who had opted to continue with the earlier terms on the ground that even the earlier existing regulations termed the service of such officers as “reckonable commissioned service” for promotion purpose and that benefits had been granted to officers under the new terms. It was averred that the Army could not deny benefits on the basis of executive orders which was in contravention of a Cabinet decision and statutory government notification.
Ordnance factory staff fear job insecurity
TRICHY: Employees of the Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT) on Wednesday staged a demonstration against the ministry of defence for deciding to stop procuring small rifles from OFT and three other government rifle factories. The move, according to employees, would give the impression that their jobs were not secure.

As many as 1,600 OFT technical staff owing allegiance to various employees unions demanded that the ministry allow OFT, Ordnance Factory in Nalanda, Small Arms Factory in Kanpur and Rifle Factory in Ishapore to go on with manufacturing of rifles with state-of-the-art features for supply to the Indian Army instead of importing such arms from foreign countries and allowing private companies to manufacture arms in India.

Members of employees unions such as National Defence Workers Union-INTUC, OFT Employees Union, Kamaraj Padaikkala Thozhilalar Sangam (KPTS) affiliated to Bharathiya Mazdoor Sangam (BMS), LPF and other unions began their protest from Tuesday by wearing black badges.

On Wednesday, they staged a demonstration in front of the factory in the morning. They will conduct a rally on Thursday and may go on strike if the MoD does not pay heed to their demand.

S Chandrasekaran, president of the National Defence Workers Union-INTUC, said, "OFT and three other government arms factories have been manufacturing small rifle 5.56mm INSAS for supply to the Indian Army since 1999. OFT manufactured 4.5 lakh 5.66 mm INSAS rifles so far. As the Indian Army recently decided to procure multipurpose rifles, MoD decided to stop procuring small rifles from OFT after March 2013. OFT now has to supply 19,300 5.56mm INSAS rifles to the Indian Army to reach this year's target."

The move is worrying employees as most of the technical staff are engaged in small rifle manufacturing in OFT. So, they feel the decision to stop manufacturing small rifles would affect their job security.

"Nearly 70% of our staff are involved in small rifle manufacturing. Rest of us are engaged in other arms like under barrel grenade launchers (UBGL). By stopping the manufacture of small rifles, our staff could suffer financial loss as they will not get overtime duty and other benefits," he added.

Chandrasekaran also said, "Moreover, the government has decided to import multipurpose rifles from Israel and Austria and allow private companies for rifle manufacturing even though the rifle factories are equipped to produce such arms. Last year, OFT staff designed the latest rifle called 'Trichy Assault Rifle'(TAR). After putting it to various experiments, the MoD shelved the idea to procure TAR for the Indian Army for unknown reasons."

At this juncture, the home ministry, MoD and the board of ordnance factories are going to meet on October 12, 2012, to decide on the issue.

"If they do not consider our demand, we will go on strike," said Chandrasekaran.
India, Russia agree to ink defence deals
India and Russia on Wednesday agreed on a slew of proposed defence deals, some of which are likely to be inked during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in December. These include licensed production of 42 SU-30 MKI aircraft in India and procurement of 59 MI-17 V-5 helicopters.

These deals were discussed during talks between Defence Minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov here. Both sides also agreed to intensify and raise the level of joint Army and naval exercises.

India plans to have a fleet of 300 plus SU-30 jets and has crossed the half-way mark. While the original contracts were for 276 jets, the proposed deal for 42 jets will see the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufacturing them here. Similarly, India is already in the process of acquiring 71 MI-17 helicopters for Defence and Home Ministries and plans to acquire 59 more machines.

Serydukov said the two countries were now working to produce 1,000 BrahMos supersonic missiles and Russia was keen to upgrade Russian-origin aircraft of IAF and the Infantry Combat Vehicles of the Army. Brahmos is the first joint venture between the two countries to jointly design and manufacture weapons systems.

As regards delivery schedule of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Serdyukov said, “We are expecting the final certification for the aircraft and initial start of production by the year 2020.”

India and Russia are jointly designing the FGFA and the initial production schedule was slated for 2018. India will procure 300 such aircraft and the deal is expected to cross 35 billion dollar mark.

Sources said Russia also offered missiles for six submarines, which India proposes to procure in the next few years, besides joint development of the hypersonic version of BrahMos missile.
What India's defence ministry urgently needs to do!
'The central concern in the Services HQ over the last 40 years or so has been a frustrating lack of appropriate and timely government response to many crucial military issues, often till these turn into a full blown crisis.'
Air Marshal Satish Inamdar (retd) discusses the many challenges and issues confronting India's [ Images ] defence establishment in the light of the recent Naresh Chandra report.

The Naresh Chandra Committee report on the armed forces, defence ministry and the Higher Direction of War is believed to have recommended the creation of a fourth four-star General/Flag/Air as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Notwithstanding the change in designation of the three Services Chiefs (from Commander-in-Chief to Chiefs of Staff), in 1954, they continue to be 'commanders' of their respective services.

In contrast, in most Western democracies, the Chiefs of Staff are genuinely 'staff officers.' The heads of operations, personnel, logistics etc report directly to the defence minister. Only the Theatre Commanders are 'commanders' and they also report to the minister.

Our Chiefs of Staff, in comparison, have far more powers than their counterparts in many if not most, progressive Western democracies.

Is that going to change in the proposed new structure?

Whichever new apex armed forces structure is put in place, it would have to necessarily pre-suppose a considerable change of mindset and attitude towards matters military in India in general, and in the political establishment (its public pronouncements notwithstanding!) in particular, if it is to deliver with the necessary speed, substance and success.

Removing the unstated but lurking politico-bureaucratic trust deficit towards the military -- no matter how inexplicable and baseless -- must become part of such a change.

This is possible only with a far greater appreciation and formal understanding of the armed forces in real terms among our civilian government functionaries than what perhaps obtains today.

For the higher direction of war in India to be effective, inspiring and substantive, the near-complete dependence of the political establishment on the civilian bureaucracy for many if not most inputs on the armed forces, has to either go, or the bureaucracy must evolve or get structured differently, or, preferably, both.

The central concern in the Services HQ over the last 40 years or so has been a frustrating lack of appropriate and timely government response to many crucial military issues (often till these turn into a full blown crisis).

This delayed response can be due to innate inability, indifference, ignorance or overwhelming preoccupation with party, legislative and electoral politics of the many political bosses.

This gets compounded by a not uncommon lack of genuine empathy and informed insight into military affairs among sections of the bureaucracy. Oversight sans accountability on the part of some of these officials, either institutional or individual, only makes a bad situation worse.

Inadequate or de facto lack of delegation of powers (financial and administrative) to the Service Chiefs and lower down often hampers many issues affecting not only capital acquisitions, but also the day-to-day running of the three wings of the armed forces of the Union.

This is perhaps the result of the Army, Navy and Air Force being (often not very subtly) treated like mere underling departments of the defence ministry instead of being treated as equal stake holders in National Security and an integral part of the composite whole.

Look at the Ministry of External Affairs. Indian Foreign Service bureaucrats spend a continuous lifetime on the same job, studying and mastering foreign affairs and policy. Those in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), in sharp counterpoint, are invariably, if not always, an itinerant population and as a result get to deal with complex military, defence, security, and strategy matters only during their short, widely spaced tenures in the MoD.

Is that desirable in this day and age?

While this is certainly not an aspersion on the competence and dedication of individual bureaucrats, the point is, will the present situation ever deliver militarily, especially in a two-front conflict? Can or must that be changed partially or wholly?

Even granting the basic difference -- that while IFS bureaucrats are also the MEA's operating arm in the field, the field operations arm of the MoD is not its IAS officers, but the three uniformed Services -- the near total and consistent absence of MoD bureaucrats (past and present) at the various defence, security, military and strategy related conclaves in Delhi [ Images ] comes as a surprise, if not dismay!

One always sees a large number of former IFS officers not just attending such events regularly, but also contributing in a major and meaningful way. This must mean something and should not be dismissed with an imperial wave of the hand.

It may be that the role of MoD bureaucrats with regard to the armed forces and defence, as conceived and formulated by government is one of pure 'supervision, oversight and control' and does not, therefore, require them to either develop an informed insight into the military or to be given continuity of service in that ministry.

If that is so, does that role need redefinition in the interest of expediency and dispatch now, when the nature, content and format of warfare itself is in the melting pot?

In the MEA, not only is the IFS a dedicated, single purpose cadre, even its clerical staff is mostly permanent, unlike in the MoD. There were, no doubt, good reasons for this dispensation in the MoD in the beginning, but is it not now time to at least take a second, concerned look?

One possible way to redress this situation is to review the 'Generalist' nature of the IAS which may have been progressively overstretched, overestimated or overplayed as far as Defence at least is concerned.

The other way is to fill many if not most officer posts in the MoD at all levels with a mix of IAS, IFS and military officers with suitable backgrounds and experience and in the numbers needed in order to speedily, empathetically and efficiently meet the overall needs of the armed forces in the 21st century.

A similar staffing-pattern mix at Services HQ can also be examined concurrently if it promises to improve matters. It probably will.

One of the things this will certainly lead to is the actual integration of the MoD and the Army-Navy-Air Force HQ, which has been tom-tommed for many years, but nothing has happened about it. All that has changed is the mere nomenclature of two wings of the armed forces. Nothing more, either in spirit or in substance: lip service at its best....or worst!

At the risk of iteration, unless there is a change in the present levels of knowledge and appreciation of defence matters and a clear shift in attitude and mindset towards the armed forces in the politician-bureaucrat combine, any exercise in beefing up or streamlining the apex military structure runs the risk of remaining less than complete or a reform on paper alone.

Hopefully, the Naresh Chandra Committee Report will not only start the process of change, but also prepare the ground for further changes over the years.

It must, unlike the earlier Subrahmanyam Committee and GOM reports, posit the possible and the immediately implementable, as against the ideal, the perfect and the best, which in most cases cannot be taken forward.

Given the pre-eminence and outstanding track record of the chairman and the members of this committee and the collective hopes of a very large segment in India, it is my belief that one can and should expect a fascinating report: Path-breaking in its approach, bold in its content and revolutionary in its recommendations.

Anything short of this would be a lamentable anticlimax and a monumentally lost opportunity!

What the government does with the report subsequently is anybody's guess. The MoD repositories can be deep, dark and cavernous!
No change in policy of not arming India's adversaries: Russia
NEW DELHI: Russia today sought to dispel impression of its growing proximity to Pakistan over arms supplies, saying there was no change in its policy in this regard.

Traditionally, Russia has adopted a policy of not supplying weapon systems to India's western adversary Pakistan but a number of its aircraft are in operational service with China.

"I will make a very short comment that we have not had any change in our legislation whatsoever," Russian defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters here at a joint press conference with Indian Defence Minister A K Antony.

He was asked if there was any change in Russian policy of not arming India's adversaries.

Pakistan is seeking combat aircraft engines for its fighter aircraft being developed jointly with China and equipment for the mid-air refuelling aircraft such as the Ilyushin-78.

On speculation that he had cancelled his October 4 visit to India to meet Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani, Serdyukov said he had already apologised to his Indian counterpart for not being able to make it.

"I could not make it but the only reason I stayed back was due to participation in certain activities run by my supreme commander President Putin. It was the release of new transport aircraft IL-476. It is a huge contract and it is very promising," he said.

Serdyukov was earlier supposed to reach India on October 4 for the Defence Minister-level meeting but after it was postponed, speculation was rife that he had done so to meet the Pakistani army chief who was in Moscow on a three-day visit.
Indian Defence Ministry Considering Army Proposal for Attack Choppers
07:03 GMT, October 10, 2012 Notwithstanding the Israeli Air Force's (IAF) opposition, the Indian Defence Ministry on Tuesday said it has not rejected an Army proposal to have its own attack helicopter fleet over which the two Services are engaged in a tussle.

Defence Minister A K Antony sought to downplay the differences between the two services on the issue, saying it is a "family problem" and the government is in final stages of resolving it.

The Army has been demanding control over attack and medium-lift helicopters, saying they are mainly used for its operations and that is why they should be under it.

The IAF has strongly opposed the demand.

"There is no tussle and there is no war. These are all family problems and we will find a solution. We are in the final stages of finding the solution amicably. Don't go beyond that. This has not been rejected," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Territorial Army Day parade in New Delhi.

He was asked if the Defence Ministry has rejected the Army's demand to have its own fleet of attack and medium-lift helicopters over which the two services are engaged in a battle.

The IAF recently said it has rejected Army's demand to have their own attack and medium-lift helicopters contending that country can't afford to have these "little air forces" growing up to do their "own things".

Commenting on its proposal, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh, who was present at the function, said the Defence Ministry holds a very "sympathetic view" about the demand raised by the Army for having its own attack helicopters.

It is still under the active consideration of the Ministry and it is not correct for anyone to say that the Ministry has shelved the Army's proposal in this regard, he said.

IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne has said "little air forces" cannot be allowed to grow up while asking if the Coast Guard asks for submarines, will it be given the assets by the Navy. (DD India)
Officers & general men
During British rule, His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor-General was the supreme authority in India. This appointment was invariably held by a peer of the realm and someone from public life. Senior military officers like Lord Cornwallis, Lord Harding, Lord Wavell and Lord Mountbatten held this exalted appointment. No civil servant, serving or retired, was ever appointed Viceroy. Next to the Viceroy was His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief in India (not C-in-C Indian Army). He wore several hats. He was the senior member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council functioning as a defence minister. Besides, he was C-in-C Indian Army, C-in-C British Army in India and the supreme commander of the Navy and the Air Force.
After Independence, this changed to conform to the requirements of democracy. Executive authority over the military was now exercised by the council of ministers. The military functioned under the defence minister. Hitherto the defence secretary was staff officer of the C-in-C in India, junior to the principal staff officers, who were lieutenant generals. The defence secretary now became the chief staff officer of the defence minister. The military role of C-in-C in India was now to be performed by the Cs-in-C of the three Services for their respective Service. Unlike the Railway Board which continued to remain free from control of civil servants, the three Service Headquarters were reduced to the position of attached departments controlled by the bureaucracy. A committee of three senior secretaries in the Government of India recommended that the defence secretary be accorded a higher protocol status than the Service Chiefs. The Service Chiefs, all British officers at that time, represented against this to Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor-General. Mountbatten advised Jawaharlal Nehru that the Service Chiefs must have a higher protocol status. Nehru agreed. The Service Chiefs continue to have a higher protocol status than the defence secretary. But this has not prevented their functional subordination.
The military has been increasingly isolated from the process of decision-making. Such functioning adversely affects defence preparedness and morale. Their legitimate dues are denied. The bureaucracy is perceived as inimical to the military. Such a sharp divide between the two exists in no other country. The Rules of Business of Government of India lays down that the defence secretary is responsible “for the defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence… and for the Armed Forces of India, namely Army, Navy and Air Force”. No mention is made of the role of the Service Chiefs!
Lord Ismay was a general with vast experience of the functioning of higher defence management. He had been the secretary of the Imperial Defence Committee for 15 years before World War II. During that war he was Winston Churchill’s chief of staff. In 1947 he was Mountbatten’s chief of staff and asked to examine India’s higher defence orgnisation.
In view of the troubled conditions of those times, ongoing Kashmir war, Indian Services vivisected in the wake of Partition and Indian officers who replaced British officers lacking seniority and experience, he did not recommend drastic changes in line with other democracies. He recommended a series of committees for coordinated functioning. At the apex level was the Cabinet Committee on Defence presided over by the Prime Minister with the defence minister and other ministers as members and Service Chiefs and civil bureaucrats in attendance. At the next level was the Defence Minister’s Committee with Service Chiefs and civilian bureaucrats as members. The secretarial support for these committees was provided by the military wing of the Cabinet Secretariat, with a military officer functioning as the secretary. After a few years these committees got wound up. The Cabinet Committee for Defence was replaced by the Cabinet Committee for Security with secretariat support provided by civil servants. Defence Secretary is in attendance at its meetings representing the three Services. Occasionally Service Chiefs are invited to attend. This has led to the isolation of Defence Services from the decision-making process.
Government decisions on recommendations of the Services are taken in files, with the last word resting with the bureaucracy. In 1962 a joint secretary verbally conveyed government orders to Gen. Thapar, the then Army Chief, to evict the Chinese from the Himalayas. He asked for this in writing. The Army Chief obviously had not been in the loop for taking this decision. In 1965 the then Naval Chief, Adm. Soman, complained that he was given operation orders to conduct operations without any prior consultation with him. The big reason for our debacle in 1962 was the isolation of the military from decision-making.
On March 25, 1955, Jawaharlal Nehru announced in Parliament that as in other democracies, India will have Chiefs of Staff replacing Cs-in-C and in due course Service Councils. The Service Chiefs were designated Chiefs of Staff as Cs-in-C, without any change in their functioning. This change of designation achieved nothing. No action was taken regarding setting up Service Councils. The Kargil Review Committee recommended the appointment of a CDS and integration of Service Headquarters with the ministry of defence. This was approved by a group of ministers. This was torpedoed by having an integrated defence staff without a head and integrated ministry of defence without any delegation of real power to the Services.
Now the Naresh Chandra Committee has recommended a full-time Chairman Chiefs of Staff and not CDS. A few military officers are to be seconded for tenures in the MoD. Such cosmetic changes will be of little help. Like democracies in the West, India must have a rational higher defence organisation, otherwise weapons acquisition, defence infrastructure and the morale of the Services will continue to suffer. One rank one pension has not been fully conceded after decades of representation. The status of military personnel has been persistently lowered. To this day a Field Marshal has not been accorded a higher protocol status than the Service Chiefs or Cabinet Secretary. While upholding the supremacy of the civil represented by political executives, the bureaucratic stranglehold on higher defence management must be eliminated.

The writer, a retired lieutenant-general, was Vice-Chief of Army Staff and has served as governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir
Army personnel to continue providing security to Lt Gen Brar
New Delhi: Government today took stock of the security of Lt Gen (Retd) K S Brar, who survived an assassination attempt in London, and decided to continue his tight security by army soldiers and ensure all stakeholders are informed in advance about his travel plans.

The security of Brar, who was attacked in London last week for his role in Operation Bluestar, was discussed threadbare at a high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary R K Singh and it was decided that the round-the-clock security of soldiers would continue.
The issue of communication gap between the defence establishment and the Home Ministry and the probable leak of information about Brar’s travel plan also came up for discussion.

Henceforth, local army authorities in Mumbai would immediately inform the Home Ministry through the Ministry of Defence whenever Brar undertakes any travel abroad and the Home Ministry will ensure his security outside country through foreign governments.

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