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Friday, 8 February 2013

From Today's Papers - 08 Feb 2013
Maoist attack: Air Chief takes a swipe at MHA
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
In the ongoing war of words between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne today advised the MHA against indulging in a blame game as it could affect the war against Naxals. “This was not the way to function,” he said.

Sniping at each other could lead to a division among security forces-a scenario that would be liked by the Maoists, he said.

The IAF chief was referring to the January 18 incident when Maoists fired at an IAF MI-17 chopper on a rescue mission in Chhattisgarh. Home Secretary RK Singh had written to his counterpart in the Defence Ministry wanting to know what action had been taken against two IAF pilots who left behind an injured wireless operator of the Chhattisgarh Police. He described the IAF crew’s conduct as “extremely disturbing” and questioned battle hardiness. The letter had got leaked.

“The pilots did a great job in landing the choppers safely. The hydraulic system had been affected by bullets and the fuel (from the chopper engines overhead) had flooded the cabin,” said the IAF Chief while publicly countering the Home Secretary here today.

In a response to question by reporters at the Aero India show, the IAF Chief said, “In operations like these we all have to work as a team. I was surprised that letter by the Home Secretary reached the media.” He expressed full commitment to anti-Naxal operations saying the IAF had undertaken around 6,000 sorties and carried out 172 rescue missions.

In a clear show of his displeasure, the IAF Chief said: “If we keep sniping like this there will be a division between security forces. The Maoists will be very happy to have divisions. The same thing happened in the Valley (J&K) and is still happening in the Valley”. “I do not think this is the way to function in a situation like this,” he said.

Asked if his comments were directed at the Home Secretary, he said it was for “all the agencies working there. The lesson that we all have to draw is that we all have to work together as a team in one direction instead of finding faults in one incident.”


    Six IAF personnel allegedly abandoned an injured Chhattisgarh police wireless operator in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on January 18
    The men were travelling in an Mi-17 helicopter that made an emergency landing due to firing by the Maoists
    Union Home Secretary RK Singh sent a letter to Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma seeking a probe into the incident
    RK Singh had asserted that the IAF personnel’s action was disturbing and reflected on their battle hardiness
IAF charts out 10-yr ambitious plan
Light Combat Aircraft Tejas to join its first war drill in Rajasthan this month-end
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
The Indian Air Force is on its way to be a new-look force with new generation of planes, helicopters, transport planes and fighters to be inducted into it in the coming years.

Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne, speaking at the Aero India, here today talked about the 10-year-plan for both fixed wing and rotary wing planes.

The biggest of the upgrades will be the deal to buy 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). This will be the top priority in the 2013-14 fiscal, the IAF Chief said. Cost negotiations with French Dassault Aviation for Rafale planes were progressing in the right direction and the IAF expected the deal to be signed by the middle of 2013.

Further, on procurement plans during the next fiscal, Browne said his force would process fresh order for six C-130J medium lift planes for basing them at Panagarh in West Bengal. These would be in addition to the six C-130Js that are based in Hindon air base near Delhi.

Among other procurements on the priority list is conclusion of 22 Attack helicopters deal with US company Boeing and signing of contract for 15 heavy lift helicopters, apart from six Airbus-330 mid-air refuellers. “The government is fully aware and conscious of our requirements and I am sure, these will go through,” he stated

In the long run will come replacements for 56 Avro small transport aircraft and MiG-21 and MiG-27 fighter jets. Mi-8 helicopters are also slated to be phased out. While the Avros will be replaced by the new turbo prop engine planes, the MI17 V5 choppers will be added to phase out the MI-8 copters. Light Utility Helicopters will replace cheetah helicopters. The C-17 heavy lift transporter will join the fleet in June.

Tejas will join for the first-ever exercise ‘Iron fist’ in Rajasthan in the last week of February.

Meanwhile, the IAF Chief expressed no anxiety by the recent test by China on its heavy-lift transport plane Y-20, saying it looked like 70-tonne capacity plane. The engine was the same as IL 76 (operated by the IAF) had, but it did not look as good as the C-17. “Performance wise, we will have to wait and watch and see how it progresses,” he said.

Security hurdle hits Russian Knights

Aero India got a minor setback as the acrobatic team of Russian Knights could not reach Bangalore on Thursday for want of security clearance for Russian pilots. Sources told The Tribune that the Russian pilots and their Sukhoi 27 planes were still at the Hindon Airbase near Delhi. The Russian team, one of the leading acrobatic team on fighters, had landed at Hindon on Wednesday afternoon. The routine clearance that is needed for foreign pilots to fly in India had not been given till 4 pm on Thursday.
Vintage flight: From Delhi to Bangalore in six days
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
It took them six days to reach Bangalore from Delhi and they have halted at 15 places en route. Dharminder Singh Dangi and Himanshu Kulashrestha were not travelling by the slowest passenger train in business.

Dangi, a Group Captain with the IAF, and Wg Cmdr Kulashrestha, who are test pilots with the Aircrafts and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in Bangalore, flew a 1930s vintage Tiger Moth aircraft all the way from Delhi to Bangalore for the 9th edition of the Aero India air show underway here.

“In each hop, we could cover around 200 km. It took a little more than two hours for covering 200 km. The aircraft can do about 60 knots an hour which is about 100 km only”, Dangi said.

The pilots took off from Delhi on January 19 and reached Bangalore on January 25, a distance that commercial jets cover in three hours flat. And, Dangi and Kulashrestha, being fighter pilots, are accustomed to flying planes at a much greater speed than commercial jets. The former flies Sukhoi and was the first commanding officer of the Sukhoi base at Tezpur, Assam. Kulashreshtha flies Mig 23 and Mig 27.

The Tiger Moth, which flew here yesterday during the inauguration of the aero show and provided a pleasant deviation from the brawny fighter jets roaring in the sky, was the first trainer aircraft of the IAF. Built in 1930 in UK, it became a part of the Royal Air Force in 1932. It came to India in 1939 and, after a brief stint with flying clubs, became the first trainer aircraft of the IAF.

Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh, the only IAF officer to be given the five star rank, had his first flying lessons aboard this aircraft. “There is no aircraft better than it if you want to enjoy the pure thrill of flying. The modern aircrafts are so complicated that they keep you busy all the time,” Dangi said.

Kulashrestha said he was enjoying the scenic beauty as he flew the plane along Dangi, his senior colleague. Though the plane can go up to an altitude of 4 km, they flew the plane at 1 km and one-and-a-half km altitude only and this gave them plenty of opportunity to have a good look at the ground.

R Deshpande, flight testing engineer, who handled the restoration of the aircraft which is part of the IAF’s vintage aircrafts display at Delhi’s Palam Airport, said they worked on the plane for about more than a year to make it airworthy again. The plane, which was retired from service in 1952 and flew for the last time in 1958, was dismantled completely and then assembled again with spares brought from the UK.

Chandigarh residents can see the vintage beauty in action on March 6 when President Pranab Mukherjee will be coming to the city for a Defence Ministry function.

Old is gold

    The Tiger Moth was the first trainer aircraft of the IAF
    Built in 1930 in UK, it became a part of the Royal Air Force in 1932
    It came to India in 1939 and, after a brief stint with flying clubs, became the first trainer aircraft of the IAF
    The plane was retired from service in 1952 and flew for the last time in 1958
    It was dismantled completely and then assembled again with spares brought from the UK
    Marshal Arjan Singh had his first flying lessons on this aircraft
HAL’s basic trainer aircraft to double as stage 2 trainer
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, February 7
A top Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) official today said the company was working on a basic trainer that would make a separate plane for intermediate jet training obsolete.

Suvarna Raju, chief of HAL’s design and development section, said air force pilots were trained in two stages the world over, but in India this was done in three stages-basic flying training followed by intermediate training and finally advanced jet training. The Hindustan Turbo Trainer 40 (HTT 40) being developed by HAL would contain features that would enable it to double up for stage 2 (intermediate training).

However, the HAL has not abandoned its commitment of manufacturing an intermediate jet trainer (IJT) for stage 2 training of the rookie fighter pilots of the IAF. The Bangalore headquartered PSU under the Defence Ministry has been facing flak from all quarter for delay in the production of IJT.

HAL chairman RK Tyagi said IJT was in advanced stage of development and was expected to get initial operational clearance (IOC) by December and would be ready by 2015. The IJT had completed 647 flight tests so far, including 185 tests last year and 25 flights this year, he added.

HTT 40 is supposed to replace HPT 32 that was earlier used for basic training of the IAF pilots. HPT 32 trainers were grounded following accidents and the IAF recently acquired Swiss Pilatus aircraft for basic training of pilots.

Raju said HAL had moved proposals thrice for supplying basic trainers for the IAF, but all those proposals were shot down. Getting spares for imported aircraft was a big problem and often exorbitant prices were charged by foreign companies for supplying spares, he added.

The HTT being developed by HAL would cost less than Pilatus. Moreover, it would have weapons training and other features that would enable the pilots to graduate to an advanced jet trainer (AJT) directly from the basic trainer without requiring to go through training aboard an IJT. Pilatus did not have the features of intermediate training like the ones HTT 40 would have, Raju said.


    Hindustan Turbo Trainer 40 would contain features that would enable it to double up for stage-2 training
    The new aircraft would replace HPT 32 that was earlier used for basic training of the IAF pilots
    HPT 32 trainers were grounded following accidents
    The IAF had recently acquired Swiss Pilatus aircraft for basic training of pilots
Growth key to national security
Slow growth means a reduction in tax revenue, which leads to a cut in the expenditure on defence or the police, which will compromise our defence and security preparedness. Yet, we adopt a disdainful attitude to growth, says P. Chidambaram
Excerpted from the K. Subrahmanyam Memorial Lecture delivered by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on “India's National Security —Challenges and Priorities” on February 6 at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

Until recently, we had taken a very compartmentalised view of national security. Each threat to national security was neatly fitted into one compartment. The first, of course, was a war with Pakistan. That was meant to be deterred, or defended, through the might of our armed forces. A war with China was, and remains, unthinkable and therefore that threat was fitted into another compartment and reserved to be dealt with through a mixture of engagement, diplomacy, trade, and positioning adequate forces along the borders.

Beyond Pakistan and China, we did not perceive any external threat to our security. Other threats such as communal conflicts, terrorism, Naxalism or Maoist violence, drug peddling and Fake Indian Currency Notes were bundled together under the label "threats to internal security" and were left to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Some threats were not acknowledged at all as threats to national security and these included energy security, food security and pandemics. K Subrahmanyam was one of the earliest to argue that we should take a more holistic view of the threats to national security.

Three pillars

Defending and promoting national security stands on three important pillars: firstly, human resources; secondly, science and technology; and thirdly, money. I have placed money last, not because it is the least important, but because it is the most important pillar of national security. Without money, we cannot nurture and build our human resources. We need schools, colleges, universities, libraries, laboratories, skill development institutions and, above all, highly qualified teachers.

It was in the sixth decade of Independence that we were able to pass a law on the Right to Education. Only now we have been able to achieve near-universal enrolment of children in school, but there are still problems in retention and, according to 2010-11 statistics, only 73 percent of children who enrol in class I complete five years of schooling and only 59.4 percent complete eight years of schooling. Despite having 32,987 colleges and 621 universities, the Gross Enrolment Ratio is only 18.8 percent. The shortage of teachers at the elementary school level is estimated at 800,000.

According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development we need 20,000 more colleges and 1500 more universities if we aim to provide post-school education to all the children who complete school. Even today we turn out only about 800,000 engineers from our engineering colleges and 44,000 MBBS doctors from our medical colleges every year. Only 72,202 scholars were enrolled in Ph.D programmes in 2012 and only 9,704 applications were filed for patents in calendar 2012 by Indians.

The Central Government spends only 0.67 percent of GDP on education (2010-11), and that includes all heads of expenditure that could be broadly brought under the subject 'education'. It is estimated that all the State Governments put together spend another 2.36 percent of GDP on education (2010-11). The percentages may appear modest, but the absolute amounts are quite large. Nevertheless, the average child enrolled in class V has only attained the competence of a child in class II. At the other end, none of our universities figure in the top 200 universities of the world.

Low spending on health

The infant mortality rate is still at 44 per 1000 live births, maternal mortality rate is at 212 per 100,000 live births and, on both counts, we will not achieve the millennium development goal. Life expectancy has increased from 59.4 years in 1991 to 66.1 years in 2011, but during the same period the child sex ratio has declined from 945 girls to 914 girls per 1000 boys. The expenditure of the Central Government on 'health care' is 0.31 percent of GDP and State Governments spend another 0.60 percent of GDP. Thus, on education and health, the total Government expenditure is below 4 percent of GDP.

Other emerging economies spend much more. For example, Brazil (9.1 percent), South Africa (9.6 percent) and China (5.9 percent) spend much more. If we can create the fiscal space that will allow us to spend an additional one percent every year amounting to an additional four percent over the remaining four years of the 12th Plan, it would make a huge impact on human resource development in the country.

Science & technology

Let me turn to science and technology. Every country that has moved up to the level of middle income country or a developed country has intensively promoted and heavily relied upon science and technology. It begins with the Gross Enrolment Ratio. Countries that have made the big leap in the last 30 years have an impressive GER. In Malaysia it is 40 percent; in Brazil it is 26 percent and in China it is 26 percent. China has about 1200 colleges devoted to engineering which produce about 700,000 engineering graduates every year.

None of the threats to national security can be effectively countered unless we embrace science and technology and impart instruction in science and technology beginning at the school level. There are four physical domains in our world - land, sea, air and space. We have a land border of a length of about 15,000 kms with Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, and even a small length of 106 kms with Afghanistan. We patrol these borders using a variety of measures - from sophisticated radars to camel-mounted border guards.

On the Indian-Bhutan border, there are only two land custom stations at Jaigaon and Hatisar. However, a large volume of goods do not move through these stations and do not bear the endorsement of the Customs authorities. There are densely populated villages on either side of the India-Nepal and the India-Bhutan borders. Because only border guarding forces are in place, and hardly any technology is employed, it is widely acknowledged that the borders are porous. As I speak to you, there are 191 battalions of the BSF, ITBP, SSB and Assam Rifles on our borders, but little technology.

Growth yields money

The last of the three pillars is money. It is also the pillar that will support the first two pillars. Money comes out of growth. The revenues of Government are tax revenue and non-tax revenue. Non-tax revenue constitutes a small proportion of total revenue and is more uncertain. Tax revenue consists, mainly, of five taxes: excise, customs, service tax, income tax and corporation tax. Excise revenue is a function of growth in the manufacturing sector; customs revenue is a function of higher imports; service taxes are a function of more activity and more transactions in the services sector; income tax and corporation tax are a function of more incomes for individuals, families and corporations. Increase in tax revenue is, in a very large measure, the outcome of higher growth. When the economy is on a roll, tax revenues are buoyant and when the economy slows down, the first casualty is revenue from taxes.

In our own times, we have seen the difference between the period when the Indian economy was on a high growth path and the period when there has been a noticeable slow down. In the former phase (2004-2008), we were able to provide for virtually everything that we desired, but also for exceptional items of expenditure such as the agricultural loan waiver scheme. During that period, we were also able to reduce the fiscal deficit from 4.5 percent in 2003-04 to 2.5 percent in 2007-08.

Short-term response

When there is a slowdown, the consequence is the exact opposite. The first hit is on tax revenue. As the anticipated growth in tax revenue declines, expenditure cannot be compressed in the short term. The gap between revenue and expenditure rises rapidly. The short term response is to borrow more, leading to a ballooning of the fiscal deficit. The medium term response will be to contain expenditure, but that has its own consequences. A cut back on public expenditure will further slow down the economy. It will also curtail the number of jobs that are created. A cut back on social welfare will hurt the poor: less money for education or health care will deny, to many more people, access to basic education or basic health facilities. And, finally, a cut back on expenditure on defence or on the police forces will severely compromise our defence and security preparedness and diminish our capacity to meet the challenges to national security.

It is therefore a self-evident truth that growth is the key for greater public welfare and greater security. Yet, we adopt a disdainful attitude to growth. Some think that the value of growth is overstated and that we would be better off if we pursued not the goal of growth but other goals such as cultural nationalism or debt-driven egalitarianism.

‘Army opposes amendment to AFSPA’

Replying to questions from the audience, Finance Minister Chidambaram made some interesting observations. Here are excerpts:

On AFSPA {Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, we are not able to move forward because there is no consensus. The armed forces, and especially the Chief of Army Staff, the present one, the previous one, have taken a very strong position that AFSPA should not be amended and (the) notification of disturbed areas should not be rescinded even in areas where the Army is not deployed. Now, how does the government move forward in the face of such widely divergent views on the sensitive subject?

My view on AFSPA is known. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir view on AFSPA is known. We have (the) Jeevan Reddy Committee report but yet if the Army takes a very strong stand against any dilution or any amendment to AFSPA, it is difficult for a civil government to move forward.

I think you should ask the question to the armed forces and ask why are they so opposed to even some amendments to AFSPA which will make AFSPA a more humanitarian law?"
India, UK armies to hold joint exercise in April
BANGALORE: A company of the British Army will come down to India in April to conduct a joint exercise with the Indian Army, Philip Dunne, minister for defence equipment, support and technology, Great Britain, said on Thursday. He was speaking on the sidelines of Aero India 2013.

"We plan to increase joint exercises between the two countries in the near future," said the 54-year-old Conservative Party politician.

The Indian Army, for the first time since Independence, carried out joint exercises with their British counterparts on British soil in 2008, when Mechanized Infantry troops received training at the British Army's prestigious Land Warfare Centre in Warminster.

The minister also said that talks are currently under way between British companies and the state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra on internal security, border security and port security.

He said that science and technology collaboration between DRDO and its British equivalent DSLT, which agreed on three projects, also saw an agreement of a new fourth project last week.
Army to have armed choppers for Rajasthan deserts
JAISALMER: The Army is set to get its first lot of armed helicopters 'Rudra'. The indigenously produced armed helicopter 'Rudra' has been accorded the initial operational clearance.

Rudra is based on the platform of the advanced light helicopter (ALH) that is already in service in the country. It has been code named ALH Mark IV and is produced by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

"The induction of the first squadron of the choppers is expected within the next few months. Initially, it will be inducted in Jodhpur and Bathinda. The helicopter derives its name from Rigvedic god for wind, storm and hunt. In Rajasthan, the Jodhpur headquartered defensive desert corps will have a squadron of Rudra. The operational role of desert corps has areas in Jaisalmer and Barmer sectors," defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami said.

The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), a body under the ministry of defence, presented the airworthiness certificate to the HAL. "The occasion gives us confidence and it is a proud moment for the country and boosts our indigenous activities," a defence official said.

"The Army will get the first two squadrons of 10 armed helicopters. The induction of the Rudra will be an important milestone as the Indian inventory of armed helicopters, the Mi-35, which currently has a flying ceiling of 10,000-12,000 feet. The Rudra, powered by a new Shakti engine that has been co-developed by French company Turbomeca, will fly up to an altitude of 20,000 feet. The Himalayas rise above this altitude along large parts of the India-China frontier," the official said.

The weapons on board the chopper will include an M6-21 20 mm gun and 70 mm rockets with a range of 8 km. These weapons have been put through tests in hot, cold and humid climates.

The helicopters will also carry anti-tank guided missiles and air-to-air-missiles, the first lot of which has been imported but will be produced here latter. The engine can carry a full weapon load to altitudes of 20,000 feet.

"It is equipped with integrated sensors, weapons and electronic warfare suite using an upgraded version of the glass cockpit used in the Mk-III of the ALH. The cockpit avionics are among the best. The sensors include stabilised day and night cameras, infrared imaging, as well as laser ranging and designation," a defence source said.

"The electronic warfare (EW) suite consists of missile approach warning system, laser and radar warning systems and automated sensors covering all envisaged threats. It has automatic dispensation of countermeasures like chaff and fare dispensing systems. The Army has contracted to buy 60 such helicopters. The final plan is to have an aviation brigade with each of the 13 corps of the Army and the number of such armed choppers could go up to 130.

In Rajasthan, the Jodhpur headquartered defensive desert corps will have a squadron in Barmer. At all India level, each of the Army corps will have 10 (one squadron) armed helicopters, one squadron of reconnaissance helicopters and a squadron of utility helicopters," the defence source added.

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