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Saturday, 13 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 13 Oct 2012
India, Russia join hands to develop new transport jet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
India and Russia today formed a joint venture company to manufacture a multi-role transport aircraft. The preliminary design phase (PDP) contract was signed today between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation — Transport Aircraft (UAC-TA).

The plane project

    Delhi and Moscow will design, develop and produce the multi-role transport aircraft in the 15-20 tonne class
    While the Russian Air force requires 100 such aircraft, the IAF needs 45
    The aircraft will be designed for cargo and troop transportation

This contract is for a joint venture named Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL) and is a follow-on contract of the general contract signed in May 2012. “With this, HAL and UAC-TA will start the preliminary design work immediately at Moscow. The HAL design team consisting of 30 designers will be positioned at UAC-TA”, said RK Tyagi, chairman.

An Inter-Governmental agreement was signed between India and Russia on November 12, 2007, to design, develop and produce the multi-role transport aircraft in the 15-20 tonne class. A requirement of 100 aircraft for the Russian Air Force, 45 aircraft for the IAF and 60 for other countries have been projected.

The total requirement for the present is 205. The preliminary design phasecontract will be followed up by a detail design phase (DDP) Contract. The aircraft will be designed for cargo and troop transportation, para-dropping troops, air-drop of supplies, including ‘low altitude parachute extraction system’. The Russian export arm Rosoboronexport will also be part of the venture.

Through this contract, HAL will carry out the design and development work at Bangalore, while its Transport Aircraft Division (TAD) at Kanpur will manufacture the prototypes and subsequently the serial production will be undertaken at Kanpur where dedicated facilities are being set up. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s other research and development centres and manufacturing divisions will share development of systems and manufacture of components, sub-assemblies and composite structure.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will showcase its expertise in design of aircraft as well as systems, manufacturing and flight-testing while jointly working with the Russian team in Moscow as well as in India.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Kanpur facility has the experience of producing 44-seater HS-748 (Avro) passenger and transport aircraft and also the 19-seater Dornier passenger aircraft.
In dubious battle at heaven’s gate
On September 8, 1962, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army surrounded a small Indian Army post in Tsenjang to the north of the Namka Chu stream just below the disputed Thagla ridge at the India-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. The Indian post came to be established as a consequence of the asinine “Forward Policy” which was adopted by the Indian government after the Sino-Indian border dispute began hotting up, particularly after the flight of the Dalai Lama to India. The Chinese couldn’t have chosen a better place than Tsenjang to precipitate a military conflict with India. For a start, Tsenjang was to the north of the de facto border, which at that point ran midstream of the Namka Chu. The PLA also commanded the high ground. By surrounding Tsenjang, the Chinese had flung down the gauntlet at India. India walked right into it, chin extended.
Government warned

On September 10, the then Defence Minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, conveyed his decision that the matter must be settled on the field, overruling the vehement objections of the Army Chief, General P.N. Thapar. Gen. Thapar warned that the Chinese had deployed in strength and even larger numbers were concentrated at nearby Le, very clearly determined to attack in strength if need be. He warned that the fighting would break out all along the border and that there would be grave repercussions. But orders are orders and, consequently, the Eastern Command ordered Brigadier J.P. Dalvi commanding 7 Brigade to “move forward within forty eight hours and deal with the Chinese investing Dhola.” Having imposed this order on a reluctant Army, Krishna Menon left for New York on September 18 but not before slyly conveying to the press that the Indian Army had been ordered to evict the Chinese from the Indian territory. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru too was abroad having left India on September 7 only to return on September 30.

The Indian Army was under pressure but Gen. Thapar was still not prepared to bow to sheer stupidity. On September 22, at a meeting presided over by the Deputy Minister, K. Raghuramiah, Gen. Thapar once again warned the government of the possibility of grave repercussions and now demanded written orders. He received the following order signed by H.C. Sarin, then a mere Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence: “The decision throughout has been as discussed at previous meetings, that the Army should prepare and throw out the Chinese as soon as possible. The Chief of Army Staff was accordingly directed to take action for the eviction of the Chinese in the Kameng Frontier Division of NEFA [North East Frontier Agency] as soon as he was ready.” It was unambiguous insomuch as it conveyed the government’s determination to evict the Chinese, but by leaving the Army Chief to take action when he was ready for it was seeking to pass the onus on to him. With such waffling skills, it is no small wonder that Sarin rose to great heights in the bureaucracy.
Pressure from MPs

Under the previous Army Chief, General K.S. Thimayya, the Indian Army had developed a habit of winking at the government’s impossible demands often impelled by its fanciful public posturing. The posturing itself was an outcome of the trenchant attacks on the government in Parliament by a galaxy of MPs. One particular MP, the young Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was particularly eloquent in his quest to put Jawaharlal Nehru on the defensive. He and others like Lohia, Kripalani and Masani would frequently thunder that every inch of sacred Indian territory must be freed from the Chinese and charge the government with a grave dereliction of duty. Nehru finally obliged by initiating the stupid Forward Policy and resorting to the use of more extravagant language to signal his own determination to the Indian public. A general summed this policy succinctly by writing: “we would build a post here and they would build one there and it became a bit of a game, to get there first!”

Nehru returned on September 30 and was furious that the Chinese were still not thrown out from the Thagla ridge. He was tired of the Indian Army’s refrain of grave repercussions. He shouted at the hapless Army Chief: “I don’t care if the Chinese came as far as Delhi, they have to be driven out of Thagla.” Unlike Gen. Thimayya, Gen. Thapar was possibly a more obedient soldier, probably even less understanding of the government’s compulsions and hence took its orders far more literally and seriously than it deserved.

Within the Indian Army, there were serious reservations about the efficacy of the government’s orders. The GOC, Northern Command, Lt. Gen Daulat Singh, warned the government that “it is imperative that political direction be based on military means.” The 33 Corps, which was responsible for the sector, sent its candid opinions on the order. Its Brigadier General Staff, Jagjit Singh Aurora, who later won enduring fame as the liberator of Bangladesh, called up his friend Brigadier D.K. Palit, the then Director of Military Operations, and berated him for issuing such impractical orders. Not only were the Chinese better placed in terms of terrain, men and material, the Indian troops were woefully ill-equipped, ill-clothed and had to be supplied by mule, trains or airdrops. They were acutely short of ammunition. The objective of evicting the Chinese from Thagla itself was of no strategic or tactical consequence. The nation clearly needed a greater objective to go to precipitate an unequal war.
Bureaucratic chicanery

The government’s reaction was a typical instance of political and bureaucratic chicanery and cunning. It ordered the establishment of the 4 Corps culled out from 33 Corps and appointed Maj. Gen. B.M. Kaul, a Nehru kinsman and armchair general who had never commanded a fighting unit earlier. Gen. Kaul was from the Army Supply Corps and earned his spurs by building barracks near Ambala in record time. He was a creature peculiar to Delhi’s political hothouse and adept in all the bureaucratic skills that are still in demand there. He had the Prime Minister’s ear and that’s all that mattered. And so off he went, a dubious soldier seeking dubious battle and dubious glory that might even propel him to much higher office. Welles Hangen in his book After Nehru Who? profiled B.M. Kaul as a possible successor. The rest is history, a tale of dishonour, defeat and more duplicity about which much has been written.

Fifty years is a long time ago and the memory of 1962 is now faint. But what should cause the nation concern is that the lessons of 1962 still do not seem to have been learnt. If at all anything, the Indian Army is now an even greater and much more misused instrument of public policy. If in 1962, it was a relatively small army with 1930s equipment, it is a million man army in 2012 with 1960s equipment. Let alone the Chinese PLA, almost every terrorist and insurgent in Jammu and Kashmir has better arms and communication gear than our soldiers. Even the Border Security Force has superior logistics, vestments and small arms. We persist in benchmarking against the Pakistanis when we should be benchmarking against the Chinese, if not the Russians and Americans.

Governmental decision-making is still characterised by ad hocism and a tendency to grandstand. It was this tendency that cost us so many lives in Kargil when we went into quick battle mostly to assuage public opinion and for domestic political gain, without thinking through the tactics. It is only the unquestioning soldiers of the Indian Army who will still charge like the Light Brigade.

But does anyone of consequence in India, including in the Indian Army, commiserate these days over the futile and quite unnecessary loss of over 7,000 lives, so much of humiliation as a consequence of so much of foolishness by men holding high offices? In 1962, lyricist Pradeep wrote the now famous song whose first line runs “aye mere watan ke logon, zara aankh mey bhar lo paani, jo shaheed hue hain unki, zara yaad karo qurbani.” When Lata Mangeshkar sang this to an audience that included Jawaharlal Nehru, it is said that tears flowed from every pair of eyes. The song still has that magical quality, but few now seem to know what train of events caused those poignant words to be written and what emotions put that enduring magic in Lata’s voice.

If politicians cannot find the time or the attention span to read some of the numerous books and articles written on the subject, they should at least listen to the song and shed a tear for our fallen warriors. We owe them that much for they have, as Kaifi Azmi wrote in 1964: kar chale hum fida jaan aur tan sathiyon, ab tumhare hawale watan sathiyon!

(Mohan Guruswamy is a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.
Israel's IAI 'wins $958M India drone deal'
Aerospace Industries, flagship of the Jewish state's defense sector, is reported to have secured a $958 million contract from India's military to upgrade its IAI-built Heron and Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles.

UAVs are one of the biggest money-spinners for Israel's defense industry and India, which is engaged in a massive multiyear rearmament program, is a key customer.

Israel's Globes business daily cited Indian media reports that the deal covers some 150 UAVs acquired from IAI since the 1990s that are operated by India's army, air force and navy.

The Indian army deploys around 100 Searchers along the country's western, eastern and northern borders. The air force employs Searcher IIs and Herons for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

"Once the upgrades are complete, the air force will be able to use the aircraft for long-range missions and control them through satellite communications systems," Globes reported.

Israel is one of the world's leading arms exporters, with most of its key customers in the developing world.

The U.S. Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress reported in August that from 2004-11, Israel signed arms transfer agreements worth $12.9 billion. That ranked it as the eighth largest arms supplier in the world, behind the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, China and Italy.

IAI has had major dealings with India in recent years.

In early 2006, IAI and the Indian Defense Research Development Organization signed a $480 million contract on missile development. Israeli business sources said the deal was a major boost to IAI's orders backlog at a time when Israel's defense industry, a key revenue earner, had to grapple with a big dip in the global market.

IAI won a $1.1 billion deal with the Indian navy in 2009 to provide advanced Barak-8 tactical air-defense missile systems for its warships. The Indian army is jointly funding a project to adapt the Barak-8 into a multipurpose weapons system.

Also in 2009, Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems secured a $1 billion contract with New Delhi for 18 Spyder surface-to-air missile systems by 2012.

IAI sold the Indian air force three Phalcon early warning aircraft worth $1.1 billion in 2004.

All told, Israeli companies have sold India weapons and other military systems worth more than $10 billion over the last decade or so. In 2007, the Jewish state replaced France as India's second largest arms supplier after Russia.

India has also expressed interest in Israel's Arrow-2 anti-ballistic missile system jointly manufactured by IAI and the Boeing Co. of the United States.

But the technology transfer involved could impede any sale since U.S. approval would be required.

With a significant slowdown in the growth of high-tech exports to the United States and Europe, Israeli defense exporters are shifting their marketing focus to Asia.

In 2010, Israeli defense sales reached $9.6 billion, with the three largest defense-oriented companies along employing 30,600 people.

In March, India blacklisted Israel Military Industries, a major arms manufacturer, for 10 years because of a 2009 bribery scandal that has dogged links between the Jewish state's defense industry and one of its biggest customers.

State-owned IMI is the main supplier of defense platforms for the Israeli military and is a significant exporter in the defense field. This sector that has become increasingly crucial to maintaining production lines and developing new systems at a time when the government is slashing Israel's defense budget.

The decision by the Indian government "is expected to significantly impact IMI's activities in India, as well as that of other Israeli defense firms," the liberal Haaretz daily reported following the announcement of the blacklisting.

"However," Oxford Analytica observed in a December analysis, "these industries are now facing a problem similar to the one they faced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when they reacted quickly to the lessons learned during the 1973 war and the spate of airline hijackings.

"Systems invented at that time included UAVs and sophisticated airport security networks but for a while it was hard to sell these products.

"Both systems have since been adopted by the security forces of many countries and form the core of Israeli defense exports."
50 years on, attack choppers sought for China border
he army’s 2007 plan to set up a mountain strike corps for Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern sector is not only far from being shelved, the unit will also get more muscle in the form of attack helicopters that will be placed directly under its control. The corps will have 50,000 soldiers
with high-altitude warfare skills as well as air-defence weaponry and artillery. Despite the air force’s opposition, the government has decided to give the army control of the attack helicopters.

“We have a letter from the defence ministry and have been given the attack helicopters,” army chief Gen Bikram Singh said on Friday.

The army hopes to induct Apache helicopters. It feels these will be easier to buy as the air force is already procuring them.

The finance ministry is learnt to have reservations about the mountain strike corps because of the estimated Rs. 65,000-crore bill.

But Gen Singh refuted reports that the idea had been buried. "Our proposal is being vetted and validated. There have been some observations, which are being looked into. The proposal is being resubmitted and I am confident it will soon get approved," the army chief, who had commanded an infantry battalion in the northeast, told The Week magazine.

According to the army, inducting attack helicopters is an "inescapable operational necessity" as the infrastructure along the border with China is "far from satisfactory". A strike corps along the Arunachal border will give the army greater offensive and counter-offensive capabilities.

After the 1962 war, India had been hesitant about any 'offensive' deployment in the eastern sector as it could have prompted China to react 'provocatively'.
Army itself has to solve officer, jawan face-offs: Pallam Raju
Against the backdrop of recent face-offs between jawans and army officers, minister of state for defence MM Pallam Raju on Friday said it was a major "in-house" issue in military which needs to be tackled by its leadership.

"The relationship between officers and other ranks should
adjust to change in socio-economic scenario in the country. The growing levels of education and increased awareness of the enlisted man calls for dynamic leadership and man management."

"This is a major in-house issue of the military that has to be tackled. Nothing can be accomplished by the military if in any role the leadership is weak," Raju said delivering the Field Marshal KM Kariappa Memorial Lecture in New Delhi.

In recent times, there have been three cases of face-offs between officers and jawans including one in Nyoma (J&K) in May and the other one took place in an armoured unit deployed in Samba sector (J&K) in August.

Raju later told reporters that officers "have to be more sensitive and more guiding" in handling their personnel.

The minister, while dwelling on issue of civil-military relations in his speech, said, "problems of civil-military relations have and still exist in the country."

"This calls for a mature military leadership to ensure these matters do not prove detrimental to bigger cause. The civilian leadership should realise the need to leverage and integrate rich experience of military leadership in nation's management, governance and diplomacy," he said, stressing on the need to "iron out" the difference through greater integration.

On the role of military in India, Raju said armed forces have remained apolitical and this has helped in strengthening democracy in the country. "The military forces have remained loyal to the elected government and have been its obedient servant," Raju said.
Army HQ’s telephone cables stolen, high security phones left dead
The civilian government experienced a communication gap with the military on Thursday, when over 1,000 phones in the Army headquarters in the national capital went dead, after thieves made off with copper wiring used for telephone lines.

Over 1,000 phones including Remote Access Terminal phones that are used by army officials to communicate with ministers and government officials went dead, initially prompting fears of a security breach. However the incident was later verified to be the result of the theft of several tonnes of copper wires used in a junction box inside the guarded army headquarters, according to an Indian Express report.

Representational image. Reuters

“It is not possible to carry away such a massive quantity of heavy copper wire on foot. The thieves seem to have used a vehicle, probably a mini truck. It is suspected that they came in the guise of MTNL staff,”a police official who is investigating the theft was quoted as saying.

Since the rise in prices of copper, theft of telephone wires for extraction or reselling of copper is hardly uncommon. In a recent incident, over 10,000 phones in a Mumbai suburb went dead due to thieves stealing over 100 metres worth of  wiring in order to resell it. And in Hyderabad, thieves made off with thousands of kilos of metals from industrial units.

However, in this case the choice of target in this case is more bold than most cases reported earlier.
Def Min overrules IAF, allows Army to have own attack choppers
Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 12, 2012, 19:05

Overruling stiff opposition by the Air Force, Government has allowed the Army to have its own attack helicopter units, meeting its long-time demand.

The Defence Ministry has also decided that all future acquisitions of attack helicopters will be made for the Army while the IAF can retain its two squadrons of Mi-35 attack helicopters along with the soon-to-be-procured 22 Apache choppers.

"We have received a letter from the Defence Ministry and we have been given the attack helicopters by the government," Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh told PTI here.
In its letter to the Army, the Defence Ministry has said, "future attack choppers to be with the Army."

The Army had been demanding full control over attack and medium-lift helicopters saying these are mainly used for its operations but the IAF has been strongly opposing it.

Articulating the opposition, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne recently said that country "cannot afford to have these 'little air forces' doing their own things."

In the wake of tussle between IAF and Army, the Defence Ministry arrived at the decision after consulting National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

However, the Defence Ministry has allowed the IAF to retain the medium-lift choppers including the Mi-17s.

"Medium lift helicopters to be with the IAF but command and review system to ensure priortisation of tasks to meet operational needs," the Defence Ministry communication says. (MORE)

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