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Monday, 21 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 21 Jan 2013
French Prez coming in Feb; Rafale, N-deals top agenda
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, January 20
India and France are discussing some big-ticket deals to make the maiden visit of French President Francois Hollande to India next month a truly memorable one. Top officials of the two countries are busy holding diplomatic talks to explore the possibility of signing agreements for French Rafale fighter jets for India and French nuclear giant Areva building two nuclear power reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.
Indian officials say it’s a visit that New Delhi has been keenly looking forward to. India has compiled a list of priority countries for it and France is at the forefront in Europe.

India chose Dassault Aviation’s Rafale for a possible 126-plane order in January 2012 ahead of the competing Euro-fighter Typhoon and started exclusive talks. Dassault chief executive Charles Edelstenne was recently quoted in the media as saying that he was “relatively optimistic” that the deal would soon wrap up despite tough negotiations. Indications are that India could buy up to 189 of the Rafale fighter jets currently being used by France to bomb Islamist militants in Mali.

The possibility of an additional 63 jets being added to an expected order for 126 was raised during External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s recent visit to Paris to do the groundwork of the French President’s much-awaited visit to India. The deal is estimated to be worth about $12 billion. A 50 per cent increase in the number of planes ordered would take it to around $18 billion.

Also on the table when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Hollande will be the progress in the implementation of the civil nuclear deal signed between the two countries in October 2008. France was the first country to enter into a nuclear pact with India shortly after it secured a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) for undertaking nuclear commerce.

However, like other nuclear partners of India, France too is not happy with India’s civil nuclear law, particularly the liability clause. However, it has been made clear to France and other countries by India that there is no question of any change in the law though New Delhi is ready to consider increasing the cost of reactors.

During the French leader’s visit, the two countries may sign a commercial pact with French nuclear power giant Areva for building two nuclear power reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra. India has held a series of techno-commercial negotiations with Areva and there seems to be reasonable hope of convergence.
India to ramp up surveillance along LoC
Human intelligence to play a bigger role backed with top-line equipment
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, January 20
Almost two weeks after tensions escalated along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, India will ramp up its surveillance network by adding more gadgetry and by having more robust human intelligence network that will provide timely information on any such development on the Pakistani side along the LoC.

At present, the Indian Army stationed along the LoC uses thermal imagers and long-range reconnaissance and observation system (LOROSS) to see movements across and also along the LoC. This is backed by other method of 'listening' radio waves of telephone networks and enemy radio systems. These equipments have terrain and weather related handicaps.

Having a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that is capable of seeing through clouds, tree foliage and fog is an option but it would cost hundred of crores to have such radars all along the 724-km-long LoC that runs along some of the most inhospitable, dangerous, icy and rugged mountain terrain.

At present India has one satellite RISAT-I that has SAR capabilities but that cannot beam pictures 24x7 of the entire LoC. A new set of sensors that have night capabilities could be tried out. The other option is SAR-capable unmanned ariel vehicles (UAVs) but that would again mean constant ground monitoring and flying.

A final plan will be drawn up soon, immediately some steps have been taken to have aggressive patrolling.

The incident in January 8 in which two Indian Jawans - Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh - were killed and then their bodies mutilated was clearly a failure at tactical level. It was foggy hence the equipment like LOROSS would have been of lesser use. The LOROSS magnifies line of sight visibility with good sharpness.

That these two jawans meandered into a Pakistan Army ambush meant the patrol party and battalion has no information on any Pakistani Army's border action team having crossed the LoC and being present in Indian territory.

This shows lack of human intelligence to pick up the latest movements and be alerted on time. Lastly, the ambush took place between the barbed-wire fencing and the LoC, almost all equipment is located on Indian side of the fence.

Sources said apart from this, the equipping and movement pattern of Indian patrol parties is likely to change. They will be carrying more firepower and will have enough back up and a system of calling in fresh resources to take on enemy fire. Human intelligence has to play a big role and that has to be backed with top of the line surveillance equipment, sources added.

On January 14 the Army Chief had said "we are at looking at improving surveillance capability and ramping up human intelligence. We are revisiting doctrine and strategy and making it relevant and compatible".

Sources in the Military establishment said: "These are dynamic strategies and will be drawn up for the entire LoC". While one segment of the LoC might need conventional capability, other areas especially south of the Pir Panjal Range will need capability to fight asymmetric challenges like the one that reared its head on January 8.
India, US finalise Rs 3,000 cr deal for jet engines

New Delhi, January 20
India and the US have finalised a Rs 3,000-crore deal for supplying 99 jet engines to be used in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' being developed by the DRDO.

Around two years ago, India had selected the American company General Electric over its rival European Eurojet 2000 for the LCA Mark II programme expected to be ready around 2014-15. "The deal worth Rs 3,000 crore has been finalised with the US for procuring 99 engines for the LCA Tejas MkII," DRDO officials said here.

As per the contract, the order could be for 99 engines initially but India will have the option of ordering another 100 engines in the future.

The engine on offer for the LCA Mark II is GE F-414 engine, which are more powerful that the GE F-404 engines fitted in the first batch of LCAs that the Indian Air Force would receive in near future.

The need for changing the existing engines in the LCAs was felt after the IAF found out that the GE-404 engines were not providing enough power to the aircraft and more powerful engines were needed for the purpose.

The DRDO is developing the LCA Mk II to meet the Air Force requirements and it will have latest technological equipment, including the Active Electronic Scanned Array radar and would be able to carry more payload than the LCA Mk I.

As per the current plans, the IAF will induct two squadrons of the LCA Mk I which would be followed by delivery of LCA Mk II aircraft. — PTI

Defence boost

    India had selected American company General Electric over its rival European Eurojet 2000 for the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas Mark II programme expected to be ready around 2014-15
    The order could be for 99 engines initially, but India will have the option of ordering another 100 engines
    The DRDO is developing Tejas Mark II to meet the Air Force requirements and it will have latest technological equipment
America’s Afghan problem
Implications of troop pullout

With only a few months left for the withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan, President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai are showing signs of uneasiness. What should be the size of the US troops to be left for “training” and “assisting” Afghan security forces after July 2014? This question is worrying both Washington DC and Kabul.

After his recent talks with Karzai in Washington, President Obama reiterated that he was committed to the pullout of the 66,000 American soldiers and marines stationed in Afghanistan, but he wanted it to be a “responsible” move forward to protect “the gains the US troops have made”. One suggestion is that the US must retain between 3,000 and 9,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014, whereas top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen John Allen wants to retain as many as 15,000 troops to protect the US interests in the Af-Pak region. But will Obama be able to sell it to the war-weary American public?

There is a major problem which has defied a foolproof solution so far: How to prevent the Taliban’s resurgence in post-2014 Afghanistan? The Afghan national troops are not in a position to successfully face any Taliban onslaught. They are getting trained to take up the responsibility of maintaining law and order, but it is a tough task to be accomplished in the few months left before the US troop withdrawal deadline ends.

Afghanistan is actually heading for fresh chaos. The year 2014 will come with the responsibility of maintaining peace in the war-torn country falling on the shoulders of the Afghan national forces when fresh elections are also due. According to the new constitution of Afghanistan, Karzai cannot contest the polls for another term as President, and there is no one who can easily replace him. Karzai must be busy finding a person who can be remote-controlled to run the administration. It will be interesting to watch who emerges as a replacement for Karzai. However, the world community (the US, to be precise) may prefer an amendment to the Afghan constitution so that Karzai remains at the helm of affairs for a few years after 2014. This is in the interest of peace and stability in the region also.
The Naxalite menace
Need to prepare an action plan
by Lt-Gen Kamal Davar (retd)

Among the serious internal challenges before India today is the Naxal-Maoist threat, commonly dubbed as Left wing extremism (LWE). Alluded to publicly as being the most serious internal security challenge by the Prime Minister on more than one occasion, this threat currently spans nearly 170 districts spread over 16 states with a wide swathe running in the centre of the Indian hinterland from the Nepal-Bihar border to the Karnataka and Kerala borders in a south-west orientation, referred to as “The Red Corridor”.

That some areas within this corridor are bereft of any governmental presence and control, referred to as “liberated zones” by these militants, should be a cause for serious concern to the governments both at the national and state levels. That this serious challenge to India’s security has cross-border linkages compounds the already serious ramifications of LWE in India.

Growing from a small movement in 1967 in the remote village of Naxalbari in West Bengal, led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Charu Mazumdar, initially to primarily address local problems of landless, small farmers and farm labour from rapacious landlords, the movement has gradually developed into a malignant cancer engulfing, in varying intensity, nearly one-third of India. At least 48 districts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal have been seriously affected. The recent arrest of a leading Maoist leader, Kishenji, from Guwahati displays the growing spread of LWE to even Assam.

LWE embracing Naxal, Maoist, CPI(ML) and People’s War Group cadres have now grown to a widely dispersed yet interlinked, vehemently anti-democratic and a gruesomely violent movement which aims at the overthrow of democratically elected governments and all state institutions across the country. By conservative estimates, this movement has nearly 50,000 highly motivated armed cadres, many well-trained in the use of improvised explosive devices and landmines, and are equipped with sophisticated smuggled small automatic weaponry from China. The LWE hierarchy has a budget, based on an extortion economy of over Rs 1500 crore, to propel their violent struggles against the Indian state. That in the “Red Corridor”, even newly well-equipped police detachments trained to combat LWE have suffered large casualties, is nothing very surprising. Over 11,000 civilian and police fatalities have resulted in the last five years owing to LWE violence. The Dantewada massacre in April 2010 in Chhattisgarh, which resulted in 76 casualties to security personnel, is a classic case of the reach of the militants and the lack of operational preparedness of our counter-insurgency police forces.

As the nation braces to get rid of this scourge, it will only be prudent to introspect the reasons for the growth of LWE insurgency in India. Notwithstanding our many failings and the so-called “foreign hand”, it is a matter of some satisfaction that India has successfully managed, after many years of costly struggle, to contain and manage insurgency in Kashmir and the restive North-East to a large extent. Therefore, defeating LWE should also not be impossible for a nation which aspires to be in global reckoning.

Not many in the government or security analysts in the country will doubt that LWE in India has materialised in its present alarming dimension owing to a variety of reasons since Independence. These are lack of a clear national policy in combating indigenous insurgencies, political differences between many states and the Central government, woefully poor intelligence especially at the ground level, ill-equipped and under-trained police and central police forces, lack of coordination among state and Central security agencies and, above all, a total neglect of locally significant development issues in the insurgency-infested regions. That most state governments have not implemented the various forest laws and land-ceiling laws, enacted as early as in 1955, to safeguard the basic rights of tribals and the poor in rural areas has compounded and fuelled the problem of growing insurgencies in the hyper poverty-stricken regions of the country.

There is no doubt that the nation is more than seized of the LWE malaise. For the past few years, Central intervention in combating this menace has seen liberal assistance at capacity building, deployment of central police forces, generous allocation of security-related expenditure to the affected states, better equipping and training of special police forces for counter-insurgency operations, construction of specialised infrastructure and fortified police stations. The Centre’s Integrated Action Plan and Road Requirement Plans-I have made some inroads into the development of remote regions after years of neglect. As the government allocates additional funding for special development projects, it must scrupulously ensure that funds are being utilised properly on the ground and not being misappropriated by corrupt elements in the states as some NGOs have pointed out.

To merely attribute the spread of LWE to socio-economic reasons like the lack of development in the regions affected will be rather simplistic in formulation. At the moment when the Naxals have explicitly refused to talk to the government and are indulging in the worst form of violence not only against the police forces but also against innocent civilians and lower functionaries of the state, the sole priority of the government should be to take on these terrorists head-on, eliminate and jail as many as possible without causing collateral damage to own civilians and villagers in the regions affected. The stated policy of “Clear, Hold and Build” is eminently workable provided there is synergy in action between the political and security elements at the state, national and regional levels.

The nation has only one choice and that is to speedily and unitedly combat and defeat the LWE cadres before full-scale insurgencies erupt at many places within the country. Drawing up a five-year immediate action plan and a 20-year long-term perspective plan needs to be conceptualised and taken to its logical conclusion. These plans to defeat the Naxal menace will have to be an amalgam of the three non-negotiable pillars — security for all, equitable development and political rehabilitation of those who surrender to the state. The overriding principle should be to encourage local genius and resources to be fully utilised.
In Delhi, Army loses Lutyens territory; govt plans to build war museum, apartments in Princess Park
NEW DELHI: The Army has been asked to vacate a World War II barrack on prime land in Lutyens Delhi, unless it is able to offer a gainful redevelopment plan, making clear the government's intention of forfeiting underutilised land in an already overcrowded Capital.
The Army has said that it will vacate 'Princess Park' — built on 28-acre of leafy stretch along the India Gate central vista — only after it is provided with an alternate accommodation "in suitable land".

The row, involving the urban development and defence ministries and the Army, has been escalated to a group of ministers, which plans to set up a war museum and a few apartments on the land. But the proposal has to be cleared by the union cabinet, a top ranking defence ministry officer said.

The land, valued at aroundRs4,000 crore today, was given temporarily to the Army by the then government during World War II to build barracks for British and US soldiers and pilots. It has since been refurbished to accommodate 100 mid-ranking officers of the armed forces. "Princess Park is the most inefficient use of prime land in the centre of the city.
They still have low-rise barracks. We have told them we would forfeit it if they do not come up with a plan," said a senior government official in the ministry of urban development. "We are in advanced stages of negotiations with them," he added.

A spokesman for the Army responded to an email saying that while the Indian Army has received no notice, consultations are on between ministries of defence and urban development.
Shortage of Accommodation

"Presently there is large deficiency of available accommodation for the officers of the armed forces. We will be able to vacate this land on provision of alternate accommodation in suitable land," Col Jagdeep Dahiya said.

Defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma said his ministry is in discussions with the urban development ministry. "A GoM had recommended that a national war museum would be built on the land and the officers who stay on the land be accommodated in high-rise apartment buildings behind the museum." This museum will be connected through a tunnel to a national war memorial near the India Gate monument.

"But a nod from the cabinet is pending," said Sharma.

He said that there are a number of other plots in central Delhi that house Army barracks where redevelopment is being planned, but nothing concrete has been finalised yet.

The ministry of urban development has been planning to improve utilisation of prime land in central Delhi, especially in the Lutyens zone, where India's top businessmen have homes in leafy neighbourhoods dotted with British-styled bungalows that are occupied by top politicians, bureaucrats, judges and Army officers.

Last week, ET reported that the government is pushing a plan to set up a Land Authority of India that will take over all underutilised and unused government land and monetise them, leading to a windfall of an estimated Rs 1 lakh crore that can give succor to the country's burgeoning fiscal deficit.
Immense scope for entrepreneurs in defence: Artillery DG
Jamshedpur: Entrepreneurs have immense opportunity in the defence sector as projects worth 30 per cent of the defence budget is open for them, a top Army official has said.

Claiming that the defence sector has business opportunities to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore per annum, Director General of Artillery Lt Gen Anjan Mukherjee yesterday said that entrepreneurs have plenty of scope to work with the Indian Army in areas such as Cyber space, Aerospace and surveillance.

Describing opportunity in Cyber space as "endless", he said it has huge potential as it requires high level of electronics and telecommunication system as well as surveillance system, which needs to be upgraded at regular interval.

However, South Asia, including India, is lacking behind as far as systematic monitoring was concerned, he said.

The DG, Artillery said this while addressing students of XLRI, a premier institute of the Business Management and Human Resources of the country, on "Opportunities in Defence Procurement : An over 50000 Cr Per Annum Business Opportunity".

Mukherjee said the defence sector was now encouraging private sector to work with them, emphasising the need for maintaining quality services while assuring transparency on the part of the defence sector.

Mukherjee said the SMEs (small and medium enterprises) particularly ancillary units have bright scope to work in the defence sector, which procure everything from spare parts to shoe laces in large quantity every year.

India, he said, should invest more and more in the defence sector to ensure a secure border in the interest of the nation.

"At present, we are spending only 2.1 per cent of GDP as the government is focusing on the social sector, an important sector for a country like ours," he said.

Appreciating Indian Aerospace personnel for their excellent work, Mukherjee said the sector was going up in steady pace and had scope for entrepreneurs.

Mukherjee denied corruption in the defence sector particularly after strict measures taken by Defence Minister A K Antony to curb such practice.

There is hardly any scope for corruption in defence since the online procurement system was launched, he said adding that approval of a technical committee was required if procurement by any department was worth over Rs 300 crore.

"The issues of corruption are raised by our enemies, who want our development projects to be scuttled," Mukherjee claimed while assuring that the Indian Army was well prepared to handle such situations.
Pervez Musharraf alleges Indian Army cooked up false tale of soldier’s beheading

Former Pakistan President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has refuted allegations that the Indian soldier was beheaded by the Pakistan Army with the help of militants.

In an interview with a TV channel, Musharraf defended the Pakistan Army’s stand dismissing allegations that an Indian soldier was beheaded by the army with help from militants.

According to the Express tribune, a visibly aggressive Musharraf, said that there has been no effort from India to maintain civilised relations.

Musharraf said that beheading a soldier and sending back his body is inexcusable.

However, knowing the Pakistan Army, he said that for sure that it is not in their culture to do something as horrific as that, and no disciplined army would do that.

When grilled further about the army’s alleged nexus with militants, Musharraf said that the country was not filled with mad people.

He added that the politicians, media everyone in India have a tendency to be hysterical about everything.

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