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Saturday, 29 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 29 Dec 2012
India, Pak mull N-CBMs to reduce trust deficit
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, December 28
India and Pakistan are believed to have considered a series of nuclear CBMs, including the possibility of Islamabad joining global talks on the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT), at the seventh round of expert level talks on the issue between the two countries here today.

The FMCT talks at the Conference on Disarmament (CoD) in Geneva can move forward only by consensus. Therefore, Pakistan ought to be on board for concluding the talks.

Pakistan has so far refused to join the talks, arguing that any deal must also require India to reduce its existing stockpile. Islamabad also claims that India's nuclear initiative has made things much difficult for it. India, on the other hand, has taken the stand that if the existing stockpiles were to be made part of the negotiations at Geneva, the proposed deal would no longer remain the FMCT and rather become the nuclear weapons convention. The two sides also considered fresh CBMs in a bid to lower the level of trust-deficit.

The Indian delegation at today's meeting was led by D B Venkatesh Varma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament) in the External Affairs Ministry while the Pakistani side was headed by Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry.

The talks, which were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere, focused on review of implementation and strengthening of existing CBMs in the framework of the Lahore MoU, as well as possibilities for mutually acceptable additional CBMs, a joint statement said.
Book to highlight DRDO’s public friendly face
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, December 28
“What is the point in launching high technology missiles like Agni and BrahMos when the common Indian is still dying of dengue or malaria spread by mosquito bites?”, cynics often ask such questions to run down Indian achievements in the field of defence technology.

Vijaykumar Dillibabu, a young scientist of Bangalore-based Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab Gas Turbine Reasearch Establishment (GTRE), has a written a book to answer such critics.

“The DRDO not only makes missiles but has also developed mosquito repellent creams, bio-toilets and light weight calipers for public use”, mentions the book written by Dillibabu. Aptly titled ‘Missiles and mosquito bite’, it is a collection of essays written by Dillibabu addressing the central question, that is, does India has world class brain? It has essays on the benefits of R&D in defence technology. The book also includes an interview with Sivadhanu Pillai, CEO, BrahMos, recollecting his association with former President APJ Abdul Kalam.
2 Lashkar militants killed in Kashmir gunfight
2 Army officers among 10 hurt Clashes in Pulwama; probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 28
Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants were killed and three security personnel, including two Army officers, were injured in a fierce gunfight in a village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.

At least seven civilians were also wounded. While a police spokesman said the persons were injured in “retaliatory action” when a mob attacked an ambulance carrying an injured Armyman for treatment, the civilians’ account contradicted the police statement. A formal investigation has been ordered into the incident.

Following a “tip-off” about the presence of militants, Bubgam village of Pulwama district was sealed by personnel of police’s Srinagar and Pulwama units, Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF’s 182 Battalion in the early hours of Friday, a police official said.

Militants fired upon the joint search party, triggering an encounter in which two of them were killed, the official said. A Major, a Captain and a policeman were injured in the gunfight.

South Kashmir Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Vijay Kumar identified the slain militants as Imtiyaz Ahmad Teli, who operated under the alias Fahadullah Kashmiri, and Mohammad Aamir Bhat, who used the aliases Khalid and Khursheed. Both were residents of south Kashmir -- Teli was from Pulwama district while Bhat was from Shopian district.

Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police SM Sahai said Teli was a locally trained militant and was the District Commander of LeT. He had been arrested in 2009 and was released after 10 months in June 2010. “However, Imtiyaz (Teli) recycled again in 2011 after being motivated by the then Divisional Commander of LeT, Rehman Bhai,” Sahai said.

Sahai said the militants were “involved” in the July 28 grenade attack on a cab in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town that killed all four women tourists in it. The police had then claimed that the blast was caused by a cylinder burst.

“It seemed like a gas cylinder blast at that time. However, after forensic examinations and other investigations, it was termed as a grenade attack,” the IGP said.

Sahai also said that the initial investigation revealed that Teli was also involved in a grenade attack on a liquor shop at Narwal in Jammu province in which one person was killed and five others injured.

A police spokesman said seven persons were injured in “retaliatory action” when a mob attacked an ambulance in Pulwama town that was taking the injured Army Major for treatment. He identified the seven men as Mohammad Yaseen Bhat, Ashiq Ahmad, Jahangir Ahmed, Gowhar Ahmad, Imran Bhat, Showkat Mir and Younis Mir. They have been admitted to hospitals in Srinagar. Some other injured were admitted at a local hospital in Pulwama district.

However, the account of the injured civilians clashed with the police claim. One of the injured said he and two others were carrying their “cousin” to a hospital after he was hit by a “stray bullet” at his village near the encounter site. When they reached Pulwama town in a cab, they were fired “without provocation” from an Army vehicle when their driver tried to overtake it, he said. “Three of us were injured when the Army fired on the cab,” the man, who was hit by a bullet in the stomach, said.

Army spokesperson Col Brijesh Pandey said its ambulance carrying the injured Major was only being escorted by a police vehicle and no Armyman fired on the civilians. “Whoever fired on the people was not from the Army. We cannot tell who fired,” he said.

Pulwama Deputy Commissioner Shafat Noor Barlas has ordered a magisterial probe into the firing. “The probe will be conducted by the Additional District Magistrate. The inquiry report will be submitted in a time bound manner and is expected be furnished in 15 days,” he said, adding that restrictions on the movement of people were also imposed in the area.

Violent December
Dec 13: 3 militants killed in two separate gunfights near Sopore, north Kashmir
Dec 18-19: 6 LeT militants killed in Sopore
Dec 24: 2 LeT militants and a head constable killed in Kulgam area of south Kashmir
IA plans to equip 1,600 T-72 tanks with night- fighting capabilities
New Delhi: The Army, having long suffered from deficiencies in night fighting electro-optical equipment, is set to make up critical deficiencies.
Following footsteps of paramilitary forces and the National Security Guard (NSG),who have gone in for accelerated purchase of night vision devices after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, the armed forces are now taking steps to improve their night fighting capabilities, according to Frontier India News Network.
Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, had said in 2010 that “Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent while Pakistani’s have 80 percent and China has 100 percent”.
The armed forces will review their doctrine, capabilities andshortcomings and also identifylatest trends and technologiesat a two-day seminar “Night Vision India 2013? on 16-17 January.
The Centre for Land Warfare Studies, a think tank of the Indian Army is organising the seminar at the Air Force Auditorium here in collaboration with IMR Media, apublishing and event organising company.
Delegates from the three Services will discuss tactics, techniques, and procedures that maximize our night-fighting technological advantages while countering the enemy’s night capabilities.
The Army’s objective is to equip over 1,600 T-72 tanks which form the backbone of the country’s armoured forces, with advanced night fighting capabilities. The Army’s case for acquiring 700TISAS (thermal imaging stand alone systems) and 418 TIFACS (thermal fire control systems) for its T-72 fleet at a cost of around $230 million is in various stages of the procurement process. 300 Israeli TISAS were imported, followed by 3,860 image intensifier-based night-visiondevices. A huge requirement persists. 310 T-90S main-battle tanks (MBTs) were imported from Russia and fitted with French Catherine TI cameras.
Indian Army T-72 Ajeya Tank on Display According to Major General RK Arora, ediotr of Indian Military Review magazine, Army also requires hand held thermal imaging (HHTI) sights (with laser rangefinder) for infantry, armoured,air defence, artillery and engineer regiments. The infantry is also looking for TI sights for medium machine guns and sniper rifles. RFIs for night sights for AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms have also been issued.
Senior officers of the armed forces will address the delgates. Among them are Lt Gen Narendra Singh, Deputy chief of the army staff, Lt Gen Philip Campose, director general of perspective planning, Lt Gen JS Bajwa, director general Infantry and Lt Gen Vijay Sharma, engineer- in-cheif among others.
Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is the biggest supplier of night vision equipment to the armedforces. Anil Kumar, chairman &managing director of BEL is expected to give an overviewof BEL’s current and future plans.
BEL recently supplied 30,600 passive night sights for rifles, rocket launchers and light machine guns, passive night vision binoculars and passive night vision goggles to the Army but the forces remain woefully short and arelooking for the latest 3rd generation technology to reduce weight and extend thelife of NVDs.
The Indian Air Force has felt the need for helmet-mounted night vision goggle (NVG) for a long time. Unfortunately, these had serious drawbacks in the past. Originally designed for surface forces and subsequently modified forairlift and helicopters, they were very cumbersome and limited both the field of view and visual acuity and thus totally incompatible with fighter aircraft. Further, they were not stressed for high-G loading and were not safe to wear in an ejection.
However, NVGs now in production resolve or minimize these problems and are specifically designed for fighter aircraft. Cockpit lighting has also improved.
It is expected that such NVGs would come along with Rafale as and when it enters service. With this new generation of NVGs, the fighter force would be able to provide a simple, cost-effective night vision capability that would allow the aircraft to support special operations including low intensity conflict (LIC) missions24 hours a day.
Tavor rifle with Indian Army
After several stops and starts, including problems with stability and the lack of certain features, the Israel-built IWI Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle is now comfortably in Indian use, inducted and operational in several agencies including the Army para commando units, marine commandos, Rashtriya Rifles, Special Frontier Force and certain paramilitary units.

The Army has also begun fitting its Tavors with telescopic sights, accessory rails, dual magazine clips, self luminous reflex sight for the under-barrel grenade launcher and single eye night vision with head band. The light-weight fast-point/shoot Israeli weapon is being considered a mainstay design alongside the Belgian FN Herstan F2000 bullpup assault rifle, the latter in use with agencies that include the VVIP Special Protection Group's counter-assault force that was raised in 2008. Apart from further inductions of both weapon types, the Army is engaged in a slew of small arms procurement efforts. For instance, the TAR-21 and F2000 are likely contenders in a tender that the Army announced in December 2010 -- one that it will float shortly for a new modular assault rifle as part of its F-INSAS infantry modernisation programme. In May last year, the Army also announced its interest in procuring an unspecified number of 7.62mm amphibious assault rifles that could be used immediately after being brought out of water by special forces personnel.

Also, to augment Glock 17 and Fn-35 9mm pistols in service with the SF and para units, the Army has been scouting over the last two years for a new 9mm semi-automatic sidearm. To round off its requirement, the Army is also looking out for a new 5.56mm Close-Quarter battle carbine and 7.62mm light machine gun (LMG).
Defence Secretary to visit China in January to discuss CBMs
New Delhi: With an aim of pushing military ties, a high-level delegation led by Defence Secertary Shashikant Sharma will visit China next month to discuss confidence building measures including the resumption of joint Army exercises.

The Defence Secretary will head a tri-services delegation to China on January 14-15 as part of the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue between the two sides, Ministry officials said here on Friday.

Defence Minister AK Antony is also likely to visit China next year as he had accepted an invitation from Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie during his trip here in September.

During the visit of Liang, the two sides had agreed to resume their bilateral military exercises in 2013 and increase defence exchanges.

Military exercises between the two countries had started in 2007 but were put on hold in 2010 after a series of hiccups in the defence ties between the two sides.

The first exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007 and the second in Belgaum in India in 2008. The third edition was to have been held in China in 2010 but got stalled.

After the denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal by the Chinese in 2010, New Delhi had frozen all bilateral defence exchanges with Beijing.

The defence exchanges were revived in the recent times but there were still some hiccups as China has been refusing to grant visas to armed forces officers from Arunachal Pradesh-- an Indian state over which China lays its claim.

The two countries have also operationalised mechanisms to prevent any face-off between their armed forces along the over 4,000-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) apart from coordinating in high seas in the Gulf of Aden to tackle piracy.

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