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Thursday, 25 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 25 Oct 2012
India following in America’s footsteps on cyber security
Man Mohan
Our Roving Editor

New Delhi, October 24
Cyber security roadmap that India spread out on October 15 has come with a nudge from America which has been pursing a global interlinked strategic alliance, knowledgeable South Block sources disclosed. For the USA, it promises huge business opportunities.

Interestingly, India’s ‘Mission Cyber Security’ was unveiled by National Security Council Secretariat less than a month after a statement of the FBI Director, Robert S Mueller, on ‘Homeland Threats’ (including cyber security) was presented before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in Washington on September 19.

Cyber security is generally referred to as the fifth realm of security after land, sea, air, and space. Cyberspace is the sphere along with space where, it is believed, the next generation warfare is likely to take place.

Few Indian firms have experience in dealing with cyber security. The US has major powerhouses like Lincoln Labs at MIT, Stanford University, the CIA funded venture arm In-Q-Tel, a host of military labs, think tanks and private companies like Raytheon devoted to cyber security and warfare. India will have no option but to lean on such organisations to get the requisite expertise. India’s vast army of computer experts is, however, its big asset.

J Satyanarayana, secretary in the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, has said that five lakh professionals are required to work for cyber security.

Major powers are worried about cyber terrorism and cyber warfare. Britain has started recruiting teenage apprentice spies and code-breakers without university degrees to deepen the talent pool of its intelligence services for this purpose.

There are striking similarities between Indian and American strategy to deal with emerging cyber security threats. Both the nations have declared that while they will continue to fight global terrorism, cyber security may well become the highest priority in the years to come.

The ‘common thread’ between the two nations’ cyber security plans is their declaration that they would go for public-private partnership to meet the challenge and develop technology.

“It is crystal clear that India has taken a chapter out of the US cyber security policy playbook and is looking at it as a template to craft a suitable policy,” said Manish Gupta, Director of Cogence, a specialised consultancy that guides high-tech security companies worldwide.

India has not yet experienced a wide-scale cyber-attack that debilitates its infrastructure. However, there have been incidents related to stealing of information from the PMO, defence networks, Indian consulates and major private companies.

The only case that reflected the lurking dangers in the cyber space was the swiftness with which postings on social media platforms recently triggered mass migration of the North-Eastern people from various south cities and threatened to disrupt the communal harmony.

According to the FBI chief, besides global terrorist threats, America is increasingly facing complex threats to cyber security. Nation-state actors, sophisticated organised crime groups and hackers-for-hire are stealing trade secrets and valuable research from America’s companies, universities and government agencies. Cyber threats also pose a significant risk to America’s critical infrastructure. They are also making use of social media.

“Foreign cyber spies,” according to Mueller, “have become increasingly adept at exploiting weaknesses in computer networks. Once inside, they can exfiltrate government and military secrets as well as valuable intellectual property - information that can improve the competitive advantage of state-owned companies. Unlike state-sponsored intruders, hackers-for-profit do not seek information for political power; rather they seek information for sale to the highest bidder. These once-isolated hackers have joined forces to create criminal syndicates.”

India and the USA have been working together for several years for evolving a cyber security network. For this, New Delhi and Washington signed a Memorandum of Understanding on January 19, 2012.
Women commandos yet to be in direct combat
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung/TNS

New Delhi, October 24
The concept of women commandos has come to India, but they are yet to be deployed in direct combat operations, as it is still considered a male domain.

The Army does not deploy women in combat operations involving "physical contact with the enemy". At present, women have been commissioned only in supporting arms and logistics branch of the force. Sources maintain it will take some more time before they are inducted into combat arms like the infantry and the armoured corps.

The CRPF, the country's largest central armed police force, has specialised units called the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA). The battalions, which are deployed in Naxal-dominated areas, are yet to induct women personnel. In Jammu and Kashmir, women constables of three "mahila" battalions take part in law and order operations only. "They have also been deployed to guard vital government installations and airports," adds a CRPF officer.

The country's elite counter-terror agency, the National Security Guard (NSG), has 25 women commandos who are being trained in VIP security, anti-hijacking and anti-terror operations. Their deployment is yet to be decided. Sources in the NSG say they are being tested to see "if they can match the standards of their male counterparts".

"Women will be trained in conditions simulating different types of operations. We will analyse if they can manage the situation," said an NSG official. NSG Director-General Subhash Joshi recently said, "We are still in the process of validating their capabilities."

NSG officers admit that women politicians for whose protection these commandos are being trained are reluctant to accept them. BSP chief Mayawati and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa have already made their preferences clear. Ironically, Tamil Nadu was the first state in India to have an all-women police commando battalion that was raised in 2003 under orders from CM Jayalalithaa.

In 2011, the Delhi Police trained 461 women constables at its Jharoda Kalan police training college. The aim was to provide security to female dignitaries and act as a catalyst to reduce crime against women. Of these, 25 women volunteered for an advanced commando course at the Neemuch police training academy in Madhya Pradesh.

Their instructor Inspector OP Sharma, says, "Three of them are now teaching self-defence techniques to girl students of Delhi University. The rest are deployed in security duties at the residences of the Prime Minister and the President."

This year, 48 more Delhi Police women personnel, were imparted basic commando training. They are now part of the VIP security unit. Unlike their male counterparts, none of them has been deployed in the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) teams that deal in counter-terror operations in Delhi.

India not an exception

The situation is not much different even in other countries across the world. The Royal Marine Commandos of the United Kingdom is an all-male unit. The government has prohibited employment of women commandos for front line duties. Although women are allowed to attend and pass the training course, they are not inducted into the marines.

In Australia also, women are not permitted to serve in the special forces.

In the US, the Pentagon policy bans women from serving as infantry personnel, special operation commandos and in other combat roles that have direct contact with the enemy.

Libya's late dictator, Col Muammar Gaddafi, however, always had female bodyguards around him, who were called Amazonian Guards or the Revolutionary Nuns.

China has a cadre of women commandos, who are presently trained for internal security duties. Pakistan also has women commandos in the police but they are meant to just supplement the force.


Army does not deploy women in combat operations involving "physical contact with the enemy

COBRA battalions of the CRPF, which are deployed in Naxal-dominated areas, are yet to induct women personnel

25 women commandos of the NSG are still being tested to see "if they can match the standards of their male counterparts"
Saving the hornbill: Coast Guard looks for alternative site for radars in Andaman

New Delhi, October 24
The Coast Guard has started looking for an alternative site to deploy its coastal radars in Andaman and Nicobar Islands after the Environment Ministry red-flagged its plan to put them up at Narcondam to save rare bird “hornbill”.

The agency was planning to set up radars as part of a coastal security network to keep an eye on the activities along the coastline there.

The search for an alternative place has already begun and the regional Coast Guard officials are working towards finding a strategic site for the purpose, Defence officials say.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had rejected the Defence Ministry proposal to set up a radar site and a power plant on the Narcondam island. The MoEF said the government had the option to set up offshore sites to install such radars but noted “there is no such option available for hornbill whose survival may get seriously threatened if establishment of proposed radar is allowed on the Narcondam island”. It had also stated that there were only around 350 of this rare species of birds.

As part of the coastal security network, the Coast Guard is installing 46 radars. — PTI
Defence panel in Parliament sets ambitious agenda
KV Prasad/TNS

New Delhi, October 24
With the country defence budget going up each year and expected to rise in the coming years, functioning of the key ministry and important issues related to the armed forces will come under parliamentary oversight during the next one year.

The recently re-constituted Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence headed by Satpal Maharaj has identified issues like swifter procurements, modernisation of industries, functioning of cantonments and stations, cyber security, modernisation of military airfields, service matters like the contentious recruitment and empowerment of women and one rank-one pension, among others, for review.

Speedy defence procurement, especially armaments, is one of the major challenges being faced by the armed forces. While the country on an average spends around $10 billion (Rs 53,000 crore) each year to modernise its forces, there have been instances when some procurement was stalled either due to irregularities being detected in the procedure or delayed due to alterations in the Staff Qualitative Requirements (SQRs).

On many occasions, Defence Minister AK Antony asked the Service chiefs to avoid changing the SQRs frequently that lead to delays. On its part, the Services argue that with rapid changes in technology, armed forces will be better served with the latest.

The committee will look at the issue also in the context of the offsets under the Defence Procurement Procedure that mandates 30 per cent of value of orders be sourced within the country. The government made a series of amendments to expand areas that qualify towards offset obligations for foreign manufacturers who are awarded the contracts.

The committee would also review cyber security mechanism with regard to strategic defence data maintained in computers and servers. The issue assumes significance in the wake of incidents of hacking by hostile foreign servers, including one in the Tri-services command in Andaman and Nicobar Islands two years ago.

Issues for review

The committee on defence has identified issues like swifter procurements, modernisation of industries, functioning of cantonments and stations, cyber security, modernisation of military airfields, service matters like the contentious recruitment and empowerment of women and one rank-one pension, among others, for review
Putting 1962 talkathon to use
Indian State must learn to function
by Inder Malhotra

AFTER the super-tsunami of words on the 1962 border war with China and the lessons we must learn from it, why should there be another article on the subject? The answer is that my theme this time around is different though there might be some unavoidable overlapping with specific suggestions made by experts.

So far the discussion has been confined to what went wrong, leading to the mortifying humiliation of this country, and who must be held accountable for what lapse or worse was found. Little attention has been paid to the much wider problem that even though 50 years ago the Indian state and system were headed by so towering, indeed titanic, a leader as Jawaharlal Nehru, whose party had a huge majority in Parliament, the Indian state had become so dysfunctional that it practically invited the disasters that began with the Chinese invasion on October 20, 1962.

Nehru did come to the horribly wrong conclusion that the Chinese would do “nothing big”, apart from border skirmishes and patrol-level clashes. And yet there wasn’t a single voice — from among his civilian and military advisers, Cabinet colleagues or anyone else —pointing out to him that he was wrong. In the circumstances it should be no surprise that the Prime Minister’s “protégé extraordinary”, Defence Minister Krishna Menon, could play havoc with national security by undermining the Army’s cohesion and morale. It was Menon who appointed Lieutenant-General B. M. Kaul the overall commander of the northeastern battlefield even when the general was lying seriously in Delhi. About Kaul’s disgraceful performance and Intelligence Czar B. N. Mullik’s malign role in policy making the less said the better. My purpose in briefly treading this ground that has already been covered is to underscore that if, despite the high quality of leadership, at a time of great peril, the Indian state could be that dysfunctional, we should shudder at the very thought of what might happen when the Indian state is not just dysfunctional but chaotic in the extreme. The contrast is enormous and, sadly, sometimes appears irremediable.

It is no good blaming the malaise on coalition politics and to moan that India has entered the coalition era that is likely to last long. A large number of countries in the world are ruled by coalitions without making a mockery of governance. Indeed, the National Democratic Alliance government, led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, functioned marginally better than the Congress-led ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance, has been doing, especially during the last three years since the Congress came back to power with 206 seats in Parliament.

In all fairness, the BJP must share a large part of blame for the dismal situation because of its appalling performance as the principal opposition party, to say the least. The regional parties, intoxicated by their growing power on the national scene, are delighted to give their parochial or even personal pursuits preference over national interest – a pernicious trend aggravated by the Congress’s inability or unwillingness fully to respect the federal principle. This is by means all. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party of the key state of UP, whose support “from outside” is vital for the UPA government’s survival until May 2014, are free to run amuck with impunity.

Even this is not enough to show how gargantuan is the difference between the functioning of the Indian state in those dark days and today’s “normal” times. Two of the many instances should suffice. First, all through the Nehru era and some years beyond, Parliament wasn’t disrupted even for a single day. In recent years this has become an almost daily routine. The entire monsoon session was a dead loss, thanks to the BJP, and no one can predict the fate of the winter session due to begin on November 21.

Since three years before the Chinese invasion, Nehru’s policy on China was under attack in both Houses of Parliament, and the criticism had become more and more trenchant as the Indian retreat, particularly in the Kameng division of what is now called Arunachal Pradesh, turned into rout. He answered ever charge at every stage and was listened to with respect.

The second example I have to cite shows that while other parties are surely responsible for the degeneration of the Indian state, the Congress party has to bear the lion’s share of the blame, because of a fundamental change in its character since the dawn of the dynastic era. At the height of the 1962 war there was ample inner-party democracy for the executive committee (that no longer exists) of the Congress Parliamentary Party to be able to “force” Nehru to sack Krishna Menon. Today the core of the ruling coalition is reduced to an amorphous bunch of sycophants wearing their loyalty to the First Family on their sleeves. Also, the diarchy shared by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has become a halter around the party’s neck. Needless to add that the dynasts of other, smaller parties, ruling several states, have been quick to flatter the Congress by imitation in their respective domains.

One would have thought that heavily centralised political parties would at least have the mitigating virtue of enforcing discipline and minimum standards of probity. Precisely opposite is the prevailing state of affairs. Inexplicably, the Congress high command has refrained from reprimanding a Congress MLA in the state of Haryana, the epicentre of rapes, who had the temerity to declare that 90 per cent of all rapes in his state were, in fact, “consensual”. The party MLA in Gujarat who brandished a gun at a minor functionary doing his duty is also immune from reproach. Only Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid has attracted a mild disapproval for his threatening remarks against activist Arvind Kejriwal.

It is against this bleak backdrop that we should think through our China policy. The only remark I wish to make at present is to repeat a pertinent point made by a former Foreign Secretary M. K. Rasgotra: “We make our policy in a five-year framework; the Chinese think fifty years ahead.”
Indian Army planning to deploy artillery, tank brigades along borders

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of Chinese military build-up along its boundary with India, the Army is planning to deploy artillery and tank brigades along the borders in northern and northeastern regions.

In recent times, the force has also proposed to increase its strength by one lakh soldiers along with the raising of a Mountain Strike Corps.

To upgrade the fighting capabilities in the region, the plan is to set up armoured brigades with Russian-origin tanks and Infantry Combat Vehicles in the Ladakh and northeastern region, Army sources said.
The Army is also planning to deploy two independent armoured brigades in Uttarakhand and Ladakh. As part of the plans to upgrade military strength, an additional 10,000 troops are planned to be deployed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the Army currently has an amphibious brigade.

The modernisation and expansion plan also includes setting up of new airstrips and helipads in remote locations around the Chinese boundary.

After a major military infrastructure buildup by China in its territory, India has been taking a large number of steps to develop its own capabilities.

It has been building strategic roads along the border with China and has deployed its supersonic BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in Arunachal Pradesh and the Su-30MKIs at bases in Assam.

It has also started revamping its old air strips in Ladakh and the northeast for operations of both transport and fighter aircraft from there.
Army Aviation lacks helicopters: Parliament Standing Committee on Defence
New Delhi: Parliament's Standing Committee on Defence has confirmed that there are huge gaps between sanctioned and existing weapons platform with the Army. According to the Standing Committee on Defence report tabled in Parliament on Monday there is a huge shortage of helicopters with the Army Aviation unit. The Army faces a shortage of 18 Cheetah, one Chetak, 76 Advance Light Helicopter and 60 Advance Light Helicopter with weapon systems.

The report reveals that the letter written by Army Chief General VK Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the poor state of Army's war preparedness and the obsolete weaponry showed the factual status. In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister dated March 12, General Singh had written that the Army's tank regiments lacked ammunition to defeat the enemy, the air defence was almost obsolete and the infantry falling short of critical weapons.

He underlined that the country's security might be at stake due to the critical shortage of ammunition. The letter, sent to the Prime Minister's Office, had asked Manmohan Singh to 'pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the Army'. The explosive letter comes amidst claims made by the Army Chief that he was offered bribe to clear a deal for sub-standard vehicles in the Army.
General Singh wrote that the Army's entire tank fleet was devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks. He also added that the air defence was '97 per cent obsolete and it doesn't give the deemed confidence to protect from the air', the infantry had 'deficiencies of crew served weapon' and lacks 'night fighting' capabilities and that the Elite Special Forces were 'woefully short of essential weapons'.

General Singh also pointed out that the 'hollowness' in the system is a manifestation of the procedures and processing time for procurements as well as legal impediments by vendors.

General Singh also mentioned that the work quality was poor and there was a 'lack of urgency at all levels' on matters of national security.

The Standing Committee also said that the report by a national daily on the movement of troops which reportedly spooked the government was not true. According to the Committee the details furnished by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma showed that the movement of troops was purely for training purposes aimed at refining the mobilisation drills and ensuring operational preparedness of the Army under adverse weather conditions.

On the issue of seeking Ministry of Defence's permission or intimating it about such movement, the Defence Secretary also substantiated that to the best of his knowledge there was no such government order.|head
India’s $2B Border Solution: Satellites, Gear and Sensors

NEW DELHI — India plans to build a Border Space Command as part of a larger effort to manage the country’s more than 15,000-kilometer border with China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, according to an Indian Defence Ministry source.

After concluding that fencing, unattended ground sensors and other gadgets are not sufficient to monitor the country’s porous border, the Indian Home Ministry will build advanced structures that use satellites to manage the border, the MoD source said. The Home Ministry finalized the plan this month to spend more than $2 billion in the next five years on the command.

The Home Ministry plans to send “expressions of interest” to overseas companies for advanced solutions, the source said. The ministry will also assess available worldwide technologies to create a blueprint for the plan, which will include acquiring a dedicated Home Ministry satellite, and setting up ground structures with advanced sensors, fences and electronic equipment linked to command structures.

The ministry decided to beef up border security after Indian authorities discovered a 400-meter-long tunnel from Pakistan into India on July 28. The tunnel, in the Samba district, was detected after rains forced a straight-line cave-in near border fencing.

“Satellites can play an important role for management of borders in varied forms. Continuous surveillance is key to border management. Satellites can provide [that], in addition [to] terrain mapping, communications with remote locations and transponders,” said Rahul Bhonsle, a retired Indian Army brigadier general and defense analyst.

The Border Space Command plan will include construction of more than 500 border posts along the frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The government will also purchase electronic surveillance equipment, such as night-vision devices, handheld thermal imagers, battlefield surveillance radars, direction finders, unattended ground sensors and high-powered telescopes.

India mainly uses fences and unattended ground sensors along sections of the 15,000-kilometer border. However, the fences are not foolproof, and the sensors have not responded on several occasions, said a source in the border paramilitary force.

This year, India sent a team to Israel to learn from that country’s experience in erecting the security barrier along the West Bank and Gaza Strip and to assess technologies New Delhi could use, an official from the Home Ministry said.

India launched its fencing project in 1986, and only 40 percent of the border is fenced, the paramilitary source said.

Managing the border is important for not only maintaining the security of the country, but also reducing the workload of the Indian Army, which is fighting a low-intensity war with terrorists and insurgents, an Army official said. The Army must devote its time exclusively to preparing to fight a future war with Pakistan and China simultaneously, rather than getting bogged down in border skirmishes, the official said.
Troops from India to train at Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne

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WASHINGTON -- The Indian army will send about 400 soldiers to Fort Bragg in May for the first time for a military exercise with the 82nd Airborne Division, Army officials said Tuesday.

About 400 U.S. soldiers will be involved in the Yudh Abhyas exercise May 3-17, U.S. Army Pacific officials said.

"We started Yudh Abhyas several years ago," Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski, the commanding general of U.S. Army Pacific in Hawaii, said in an interview with The Fayetteville Observer. "It's an exchange of combat units. One year, we spent it in India. The next year, we spend it in the United States."

Wiercisnski said he has discussed the exercise with Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.

"He's excited about it," said Wiercinski. a master parachutist who made a combat parachute jump into Panama in 1989 with the Rangers but was never assigned to Fort Bragg. "I appreciate his total support on this."

Wiercinski was in Washington for the 2012 Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition. He participated in panels on the "rebalancing" of Army forces in the Pacific after a decade of warfare in the Middle East. Army officials also discussed the increasing importance of aligning units to specific regions of the world such as the Pacific and Middle East.

"Most of the time, we've been doing it in the Pacific," Wiercinski said. "We wanted to give them a different flavor and a different location, and Fort Bragg was kind enough to offer it up."

Soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corps and California National Guard also will participate, Army Pacific officials said.

Indian and U.S. planners are working out the details of the exercise, but few details are available, said Lt. Col. Virginia McCabe, an 82nd Airborne Division spokeswoman.

In 2010, soldiers of U.S. Army Alaska participated in the exercise with the Indian army. An airborne unit from the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division conducted a parachute assault. It was too early to say on Tuesday whether the Fort Bragg exercise will involve a parachute jump and exchange of parachutist badges between the soldiers of the two countries.

The purpose of the exercise will be bilateral operations, the exchange of ideas and developing the ability to work side by side, Wiercinski said.

"Last year, we had a Stryker unit in India with the Indians," he said. The U.S. soldiers worked with an Indian mounted cavalry unit.

"It was almost seamless, like they had been working together for years," Wiercinski said. "They've done competitions -- squad, platoon. It's a pretty good exercise. It's evolving every year. Now at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with the 82nd Airborne Division, I think it will be a tremendous opportunity."

The U.S. has a "budding relationship" with India, Wiercisnki said. "For years, we did not work together. Now, we are re-establishing a relationship. It's a very good relationship. They have a tremendously professional army, a lot of the same equipment."

The two armies could be called upon to work together in the future, he said.

"We're not looking for missions," he said. "What we are looking for is just cooperation and exchange and making sure we understand each other and keeping the dialogue and the engagement open."

The exercise will have no impact on U.S. relations with Pakistan, which sometimes has tensions with neighboring India.

"They know about our exercises," Wiercinski said. "We have a relationship with Pakistan. We have a relationship with India."

The 1st Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the Army corps that is aligned with the Pacific, but 18th Airborne Corps could be called upon for a mission in the Pacific if 1st Corps is not available, Wiercinski said.

The 18th Airborne Corps participated in an exercise in South Korea this year. Lt. Gen. Daniel Allyn was an operational commander in the exercise.

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