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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

From Today's Papers - 21 Nov 2012
India rejects OIC reference to J&K
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
India today rejected as “factually incorrect and misleading” the references made by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to Jammu and Kashmir at its Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Djibouti.

“We note with regret that the OIC has once again made factually incorrect and misleading references to matters internal to India, including the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. We reject all such references/resolutions,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in response to a question.

At its meeting last week, the OIC contact group reaffirmed its support to the people of J&K in their struggle to achieve their “legitimate rights” and emphasised considering new means for backing them.

The meeting, which was attended by Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, also called for peaceful resolution of the J&K issue in accordance with the wishes and human rights of the Kashmiri people.

India has routinely dismissed the resolutions on Kashmir passed at the OIC meetings. New Delhi believes these resolutions are invariably adopted at the insistence of Pakistan.

Many OIC members have privately told India that they are not in agreement with the spirit of the resolutions on Kashmir but approve them for the sake of consensus and also because of the pressure from Islamabad.

But their argument has not impressed New Delhi, which believes that other OIC members should rebuff Pakistan’s attempt to internationalise what is basically a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

OIC stand

    Reaffirm support to the people of J&K in their struggle to achieve 'legitimate rights'
    Should consider new means for backing Kashmiri people

India's rebuff

    Regret OIC making factually incorrect and misleading references to matters internal to India
    Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India|head
India-Singapore Defense Ties Strong Despite Industry Blacklisting

NEW DELHI — The blacklisting of ST (Singapore Technologies) Kinetics in 2009 on alleged involvement in kickbacks with the Indian Ordnance Factories Board will not affect defense ties between India and the Indian Ocean island nation, says visiting Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Speaking at a lecture organized here Nov. 20, Hen said, “Singapore has a working mechanism where even defense companies recognize that they have to work themselves as per international norms, and ST Kinetics is well poised to defend itself.”

However, Indian Defence Ministry sources said Singapore raised the issue of blacklisting at the diplomatic level in the past when India canceled a tender for light howitzer guns in which BAE systems and Singapore Technology were competing.

The Defence Ministry subsequently decided to buy 145 howitzers from the U.S. subsidiary of BAE in 2010. The tender is now in the final stages and is likely to be inked this year.

India and Singapore have been cooperating in land-based military exercises in which Singapore troops have been using Indian locations. The two countries inked a five-year defense cooperation pact in 2007 that allows Singapore troops to exercise regularly on Indian territory and airspace.

This year, the Singapore Army held a joint artillery exercise at India’s artillery base in the central Indian state of Maharashtra, and the air forces of the two countries held joint drills over the eastern state of West Bengal.

India wants to increase strategic and defense ties to match the growing Chinese influence in the region. Singapore in turn is looking to tap the Indian defense market. Singapore Technologies had an eye on India’s $6 billion 155mm 52-caliber gun market, but that evaporated after the blacklisting of the company.
A taste of disgrace
Our three-centuries-old Army has a magnificent record of gallantry and discipline. In the two World Wars, its performance in battles fought on three continents earned much international acclaim.

Lord Wavell, the Viceroy, in his farewell address on March 21, 1947, said, “I believe that the stability of the Indian Army may perhaps be the deciding factor in the future of India.” Events in the wake of Independence and after vindicated this.
There were three instances of major generals involved in corruption and unbecoming behaviour soon after 1947. One was involved in misuse and misappropriation of funds, the second was accused of drunken behaviour in public and the third of immoral conduct. General Cariappa sent for them and asked them to resign or face a court martial. All three resigned. These cases were sorted in-house, without publicity. However, unlike today, such cases were very few.
Many officers now go to courts of law. A serving lieutenant general approached the high court against a posting not to his liking. Early this year, the previous Army Chief went to the Supreme Court on the issue of his age. No serving Army Chief in India, or any other democracy, has ever done so. In the past orders were accepted with a stiff upper lip.
After Independence, there were three cases of attempted, virtual and actual supersession of the senior Army commander for Army Chief. In 1949, at the instance of Sardar Patel, the government decided to supersede Gen. Cariappa and appoint Gen. Rajendra Sinhji. The former was considered too Anglicised. The Intelligence Bureau had reported that Cariappa was too friendly with a Pakistani general visiting Delhi for division of assets of the undivided Indian Army and also with the military adviser at the Pakistan high commission in Delhi. For decades they had served in the Rajput Regiment under Cariappa. On the other hand, Rajendra Sinhji had very successfully executed Hyderabad operations, as desired by Sardar Patel. He was also the brother of the Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, the chancellor of the Chamber of Princes who had worked closely with Patel to integrate the princely states. When Rajendra Sinhji heard of this, he told Jawaharlal Nehru he would resign if appointed Army Chief superseding Cariappa as that would send a wrong message and may eventually lead to politicisation of the Army. Nehru saw the point and Cariappa became the first Indian to be the Army Chief.
Lt. Gen. P.S. Bhagat, winner of the Victoria Cross in World War II, was a great thinking general with a strategic vision. He was highly popular with all ranks because of his concern for them. Everyone in the Army was looking forward to his taking over as Army Chief. We were all stunned when suddenly the government decided to give the outgoing Chief an extension. The retirement age for Army commanders is two years earlier than the Chief’s. Bhagat accepted the decision. In 1983, I was the senior Army commander brought to Delhi as vice-chief about four months before the then Chief was to retire. I was officially told that I had to understudy the Chief. Suddenly Indira Gandhi decided to supersede me and I immediately resigned. It was reported in the press that this was due to political reasons. In view of the controversy over my supersession, defence minister R. Venkataraman sent his public relations officer with some press correspondents to my office wanting me to issue a press statement. I stated, “I do not question the decision of the government. I accept it. I have decided to fade away from the Army. Gen. Vaidya, selected to be the Chief, is my friend and a competent general. The Army will do well under his leadership.” These were the values practised by Army officers and the traditions of the Army in the old days.
No doubt the date of birth, as claimed by Gen. V.K. Singh, was supported by three indisputable documents. However, he had written 1950 instead of 1951 in his application for joining the Army. Defence service regulations state that a change in the date of birth can be made in the first three years of an individual’s service and not later. For three successive promotions as a general officer Gen. Singh gave a written undertaking that he accepted the year of birth as in MS Branch records. On becoming the Chief he took up the matter, filed a statutory complaint and, when this was rejected by the government, he sought redress in the Supreme Court. Twenty-two Rajput MPs wrote to the Prime Minister in his support. He also, while serving as Chief in uniform, unveiled the statue of a Rajput MP at Ballia, Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court was approached by some retired officers alleging that the top decision makers in Delhi in the Army and government, being Sikhs, were favouring a Sikh general. At the same time he was constantly issuing statements to the media to support his case. The government remained a mute spectator.
The most celebrated general in modern history, Douglas MacArthur, as Supreme Commander in Korea, was critical of his country’s war policy. President Harry S. Truman immediately dismissed him. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the US commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, criticised the Obama administration’s policy on Afghanistan. President Obama dismissed him. Neither general went to court.
After a lull of a few months, the Army is again in the news for the wrong reason. Lt. Gen. Ravi Dastane has filed a statutory complaint stating that if he does not get justice, he will go to the Armed Forces Tribunal and later the Supreme Court. His specious plea is that both Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh and he were cleared at the same time for promotion to Army commander, the former being senior to him. The appointment of Eastern Army Commander fell vacant on June 1 when Dalbir Singh was not eligible. Therefore, Lt. Gen. Dastane should get that appointment. This will put him in line to be Army Chief in 2014. At this rate, anyone delayed in taking over his appointment by a few days due to, say, temporary illness or temporary duty abroad, will lose his seniority. This new case can snowball into another controversy. The government must step in to stop such controversies.

The writer, a retired lieutenant-general, was Vice-Chief of Army Staff and has served as governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
Boeing Could Win Another Indian Helicopter Contract

NEW DELHI — When it comes to selling military aircraft to India, Boeing is on a roll.

After winning a $1.3 billion Indian Air Force contract for 22 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters last month — and getting selected as the preferred vendor for India’s $1.4 billion heavylift helicopter competition with its Chinook CH-47F — Boeing could get another contract, this time for more Apaches to be used by the Army, Indian Ministry of Defence sources said.

The Indian MoD chose the 22 Apache helicopters for the Air Force over Russia’s Mi-28 helicopters.

U.S. firms have already won contracts worth more than $8 billion in the past four years, and most of the weapons and equipment supplied to India have come through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. India contracted 10 Boeing C-17 aircraft for $4.2 billion, 12 Boeing P-3I maritime surveillance aircraft and six Lockheed Martin C-130J aircraft. The other major suppliers in the FMS route have been the Russians.

While the Indian Army had been demanding attack helicopters independent of the Indian Air Force, the Air Force has opposed the plan. A senior Air Force official described the move as the creation of a mini air force within the Army.

The MoD, however, decided last month to allow the Army to use attack helicopters but has not publicly said which service will get the 22 Apaches ordered last month. MoD sources said the Air Force will receive the 22 helicopters.

For Boeing, the order book could remain active, as the Indian Navy has proposed ordering an additional 12 P-8I — for a total of 24 aircraft — through FMS.

The method has become the preferred purchase route for India, as opposed to open competition.

And the FMS route could get busier if the U.S. agrees to dilute legal conditions that include restrictive clauses governing the placement and use of U.S.-bought weapons, an MoD official said.

India has signed restrictive clauses when buying U.S. weapons, a move opposed by senior Indian Navy and Air Force personnel, the official said.

India’s comptroller and auditor general, in a 2008 report, raised doubts over agreeing to such conditions regarding the purchase of an amphibious ship.

“Restrictive clauses raise doubts about the real advantage from this deal,” the report said. “For example, restrictions on the offensive deployment of the ship and permission to the foreign government to conduct an inspection and inventory of all articles transferred under the end-use monitoring clause of the letter of agreement.”
‘India, Singapore defence ties not hit over blacklisted firm’
New Delhi: Singapore today said the blacklisting of its military firm by India has not affected defence ties between the two sides and the armed forces of the two sides were moving closer.

In his lecture on Security Cooperation in a Changing Strategic Landscape, Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen also called for a role for India in the security architecture of Asia-Pacific and South East Asia region.
“Actually no, it has not affected ties… Singapore has a working mechanism where even defence companies recognise that they have to work themselves as per international norms and ST Kinetics is well poised to defend itself,” he said when asked if the blacklisting had affected military ties between two sides.

Asked if he would take up the issue with his Indian counterparts, Hen said, “I won’t be bringing it up with Indian counterparts” and “I don’t think we need to say anything on their behalf”.

ST Kinetics was one of the six companies formally blacklisted by the defence ministry for 10 years after a CBI probe into their alleged role in the Ordnance Factory Scam of 2005.

The Singaporean defence minister said the two sides have moved closer as their armed forces hold joint exercises every year.

The Singapore Army is holding a joint artillery exercise at Deolali in Nashik district in Maharashtra with Indian Army and recently, their air forces had also held joint drills over West Bengal.

On India’s role in South East Asia, Hen said, “India’s greater engagement promotes its economic interests in Asia Pacific and Asean.”

He also highlighted the importance of the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) which includes 18 countries including India, the US, China and Russia in maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Indian Army Seeks to Identify Ladhak UFOs

One hundred UFOs were sighted by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITPB) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir between August 1 and October 15 this year, throwing the Indian army into turmoil.

The objects in question do not correspond to any known aircraft. They are very bright and give off a glow day and night. They are undetectable by radar and can only be observed only visually. The Indian Army has unsuccessfully deployed a mobile ground-based radar unit and a spectrum analyzer. Teams of scientists dispatched on site confirmed the phenomenon without being able to discern it.

Rising up on the horizon from the Chinese side, the Indian Army has concluded that the UFOs were manufactured in China using new technology. But the main question is: to what purpose?

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