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Monday, 4 March 2013

From Today's Papers - 04 Mar 2013
Armies of India, Myanmar start joint border patrols
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 3
Supplementing its ‘Look East’ policy, India has joined hands with Myanmar to conduct joint patrolling along the 1,634 km border between the two countries — a move that is expected to raise eyebrows in Beijing.

India and China have for long competed for access to natural resources like gas in Myanmar and a toe-hold in the strategically located country.

Myanmar sits at the mouth of the Straits of Mallaca from where crude oil-laden tankers make their way to China and India. The Indian Army and the Myanmar army (named Tatmadaw in Myanmarese) have started joint patrolling without fanfare in the last week of January.

This is the first such tie-up by the Indian Army along any of India’s borders. The patrols are being conducted in close coordination and is spread all along the border - from the northern-most point in Arunachal Pradesh and to southern edge bordering Tripura. The terrain is rugged, forested and infested with wild animals. The proposal to coordinate patrolling along the border by the Indian and Myanmarese armies was agreed upon by both countries at the last regional border committee (RBC) - December 5-7, 2012.

This was the first major breakthrough for the RBC that was established last year. The General Officer Commanding (GoC), 3 Corps, heads it on the Indian side. The GOC interacts with his counterpart in Myanmar every six months.

Officials here explained the utility of joint patrolling saying that the free movement regime between tribal-populated pockets in India and Myanmar was being misused by anti-national persons.

Since tribal affinities prevail on either side of the border, both countries on a reciprocal basis allow movement of people across the border into either territory up to a distance of 16 km. Though this facilitates the tribals, New Delhi has faced the rough end of the stick. Indian insurgent groups and terrorist groups have used the porous border to set up camps within Myanmar in league with extremists groups like the Kachins there.

“Illegal flow of drugs, contraband and weapons is undertaken by these outfits. Without the backing of real-time information that is available with Myanmar, it will not be possible to track down illegal trade and insurgent groups,” officials here said.

The armies of both nations have had substantive relations since the early 1990s, largely due to geographical contiguity and the precarious security situation in India’s Northern-Eastern states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur that border Myanmar. Secondly, China has a strong foothold in Myanmar. India has also had an arms-equipment supply-based relationship with the Myanmar armed forces while the Myanmar navy is invited to the Indian Navy exercise ‘Milan’ - primarily of navies of countries located east of India.

Apart from the unofficial trade, India and Myanmar signed a border trade agreement in 1994 and have two operational border trade points - Moreh-Tamu and Zowkhatar-Rhi along the border. A third border trade point is proposed to be opened at Avakhung-Pansat/Somrai.

According to official Indian estimates, the border trade has expanded significantly and was US $1.3 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in 2011-12. India's imports from Myanmar are dominated by pulses.

In October 2008, it was agreed that border trade at the existing points would be upgraded to normal trade so as to promote bilateral trade between the two countries. The first meeting of the India-Myanmar Border Trade Committee was held in Moreh, Manipur, on November 8, 2012, where security issues along the border were raised.
Probe ex-Defence Secy’s role too, says VK Singh
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, March 3
Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh (retd) today said the role of the then Defence Secretary and the then DG (Acquisition) should also be probed over allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal.

He was reacting to a query by mediapersons on the naming of former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi in a CBI preliminary inquiry, at local Desh Bhagat Yadgaar Hall. General Singh was in the city in connection with social activist Anna Hazare’s proposed tour of Punjab scheduled from March 31 to raise awareness among people against corruption.

General Singh said attempts were being made to close the Tatra scam inquiry apparently to protect individuals within the government responsible for alleged irregularities in the procurement process.

Each Tatra truck was given to the Army at a cost of Rs 1 crore whereas its value was just Rs 25 lakh, he said adding that the CBI should inquire into the irregularities in the procurement of these trucks.

Going one step further, General Singh said: “One will find scam in every other purchase for the Army but the role of Army officials in such scams is negligible, as a majority of those involved in such scams are civilians.”

People should put pressure on the government to provide autonomy to the CBI and pass the Jan Lokpal Bill to make the country corruption-free.

“The head of the Jantantra Morcha, Anna Hazare, will visit Punjab from March 31 to awaken the masses against corruption,” he added. “Dr Manmohan Singh had assured Anna Hazare of making certain strong provisions in the proposed Lokpal Bill but many such provisions have not been included in the Bill. Such a Bill is of no use.”

IAF officer to join probe

Officials from the Indian Air Force and the Defence Accounts Department will join a special CBI team formed to probe the allegations of kickbacks in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP helicopter deal as the investigating agency prepares to examine suspects named in its preliminary inquiry. An IAF officer will join the CBI team along with some officials from the Controller General of Defence Accounts to examine the documents collected from Milan as well as from Italian-based Finmeccanica, parent company of AgustaWestland helicopter.
CISF opens its own intelligence school
Tribune News Service

Ghaziabad, March 3
In view of the rising industrial espionage and changing terror perception, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) opened its own intelligence training school here on Friday. The intelligence school was inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh.

So far, the central armed police force has depended on intelligence inputs from other organisations like the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the BSF and the CRPF. In the past, the CISF has been sending some of its personnel for training in the intelligence schools of these organisations, in spite of which there was an existing shortage of trained personnel. To begin with, the faculty of the CISF 'Intelligence Training School' will comprise of instructors from the IB and some other espionage agencies.

The CISF, which came into existence in 1969 through a Parliament Act, provides security to vital nuclear installations, space establishments, airports, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, seaports, power plants and sensitive government buildings. The force is also guarding public sector mining establishments in the Naxal affected areas of Chhattisgarh and other states.

The minister said: "The intelligence training school is important for gaining information about any impending terror attack. Without intelligence inputs, it will not be possible to discover the movements of the Naxals."

CISF Director-General Rajiv said the school would provide training to 1,500 personnel of its crime and intelligence wings, who are deployed across various establishments of the force across the country. "To provide specialised training, we will associate the faculties of other agencies like the IB, BSF, CRPF and the state police. This is being done in the initial stages of capacity building," he said.

CISF officers said the school would be a boost for their intelligence wing, as they were earlier dependant on other security organisations for the training. "Suppose we send proposals to these agencies for training 20 of our men, only three to four will get approved. We will have to wait for a long time before we can send our men for the training. The other agencies specialised in their own field and would cater to their personnel first. So, the training of our men remained incomplete," said the officers.
Uncertainty over DRDO scientist’s release
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 3
An uncertain future awaits Ejaj Ahmed Mirza, a scientist at the DRDO, when he walks out from the prison tomorrow after having spent six months in police custody. Mirza, who was arrested by the crime branch of the Bangalore police in August last year in connection with an alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba conspiracy to kill VIPs, was granted bail but he failed to go home as arrangements for two sureties for Rs 25,000 each, as asked by the court as a pre-condition for his release, could not be made.

“By Monday, arrangement will be made for fulfilling the pre-condition set by the court and Mirza should be walking out of the prison that day,” Akmal Rizvi, Mirza’s lawyer said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had taken over investigation of the case from the Bangalore police and Mirza was given bail as the NIA failed to frame charges against him.

Even if Mirza is discharged, the stigma that he was arrested by the police in a terror case is likely to haunt the youth. “He has already lost his job with the DRDO. The appointment has been terminated by the DRDO and no way can he get it back,” Rizvi said.
Troubled Pak province
Islamabad coming to terms with reality in Balochistan
by T.V. Rajeswar

THE problem province of Balochistan in Pakistan continues to simmer. It has always been a source of conflict and headache to the Government of Pakistan. The geographical parameters of the province are such that they are prone to generate conflicts. The western part of Balochistan borders Iran while the northern part borders Afghanistan. The Gulf of Oman marks its southern border. The Balochis trace their origin to the central Caspian region. They have had close affinities with this region.

When Pakistan and India became independent in 1947, the British gave the Baloch tribes the choice of joining either Pakistan or India. Baloch tribal leaders, however, were against joining either of these two countries and instead wanted to be an independent State of Balochistan. Lord Mountbattan thought that Balochistan would not be able to survive as an independent country and decided to declare it as a part of Pakistan.

Early in 2012, a group of US Congressmen suggested a novel solution to bring about peace in the Af-Pak region as well as in Afghanistan. It suggested recognising Balochistan an independent state and thereby ensuring peace. However, the idea was dropped later on as being impractical. One of the Balochi leaders, Suleiman Khan, said that they had no desire to be a part of Pakistan. But they were given no choice and were "sold down the river". However, the Balochi leaders tried to negotiate with Pakistan to secure at least autonomy for retaining the authority over land and natural resources. But Pakistan integrated Balochistan as one of its four provinces and more or less completely erased the Balochi identity. With a population only 7.5 million, Balochistan is the largest of the four provinces of Pakistan. But the people of Balochistan are behind the rest of the Pakistanis in terms of education and social development, and as much as its 63 per cent of its people are living below poverty line. The people even lack safe drinking water and electricity. All these have led to a state of continuous discontent and hatred towards Pakistani rulers. There have been periodic outbreaks of insurgency which had been put down ruthlessly by the Pakistan Army.

The Balochi tribes took up arms and have resorted to a continuous guerrilla warfare. They had their bases in the region of Marri and Bugti. The insurgents bombed railway tracks and ambushed the convoys. The Pakistan Army retaliated ruthlessly and put down the conflicts that erupted in the shape of Guerrilla warfare in 2004, 2006 and 2009. In August 2009 the Khan of Kalat, tribal leader as a ruler of Balochistan, formally announced a council for independent Balochistan.

It is of interest to recall that after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani met at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in July 2009. They considered the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a view to charting the way forward for India-Pakistan better relations. Both leaders agreed that terrorism was the main threat to both countries. They affirmed their resolve to fight terrorism and cooperate with each other to this end. Dr Manmohan Singh reiterated the need to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks on 26/11, 2008, to justice. Gilani assured that Pakistan would do everything in its power in this matter.

He added that he had requested Dr Manmohan Singh for additional information with regard to the Mumbai attacks and that he had been promised it by Dr Singh before concluding the joint statement. Gilani inserted a crucial sentence. It created a lot of controversy in India later. What Gilani said was that Pakistan had some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas. It was a very vague statement and how India was concerned about it was not said, but it was to be presumed that India was possibly behind it.

Pakistan has repeatedly accused India of supporting the Baluch rebels in order to destabilise the country. India and the US have denied the charge. America, also accused of supporting a prominent Baluchi leader, Jundallah, for engineering a continuous insurgency in Balochistan. Mohammed Daoud Khan, one of the prominent tribal leaders, had stated that he would accept aid from India in case it was extended. However, in the lawless area of Balochistan and the Baloch-Afghanistan region, India had scrupulously avoided getting involved. Former Pak-Af envoy Richard Holbrooke had declared that Pakistan had failed to provide any evidence to the United States that India was involved in separatist movements in Balochistan. The US did not consider Pakistan's accusation against India credible. Holbrooke also strongly rejected that allegation India was using consulates in Afghanistan as launching pads for extending arms aid.

There are reports of Pakistan having given China access to the naval base at Gwadar, a crucial spot in western Balochistan adjoining the Gulf of Oman. Selig S. Harrison of the Center for International Policy, a well-known think tank, wrote in February 2011 suggesting that America should support Balochi tribes for weakening the Islamabad-Beijing links.

It has been reported that the Pakistan Army had been ruthlessly suppressing the Balochi rebels. The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in an interim order issued in October 2012 boldly held Pakistani agencies responsible for carrying out extra-judicial killings, abducting of common political kids and executing human rights activists. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the paramilitary forces and law enforcement agencies had committed serious violations of human rights in putting down Baluch insurgency. The US also expressed its concern over growing instability in Balochistan. There were as many as 2300 incidents of bomb blasts and rocket attacks and dumping of over 750 bodies which were the casualties in the ruthless suppression by the Pakistan Army while handing Balochi insurgency.

There are reports of an upsurge currently in Balochistan and the Pakistan Government has imposed Governor's rule effective from January 14, 2012, after dismissing the Balochi provincial government headed by Nawab Islam. The Supreme Court, presided over by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, found fault with Pakistani law enforcement agencies having imposed a regime of terror and suppressed human rights. Balochi students based in London have appealed to the United Nation for intervention to protect the human rights of the people of Balochistan.

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had recently assured a Balochi delegation that the imposition of Governor's rule in Balochistan would be reconsidered and the provincial government might be restored soon. Pakistan Interim Minister Rehman Malik also said that the general elections in Balochistan would be held on time and in a democratic manner.

It is to be hoped that the Government of Pakistan would hold the elections in Balochistan as promised and would allow a popular government to assume power. Ushering in of a popular government may bring about peace and development in Balochistan.
Tata Motors bets big on defence contracts
Tata Motors will bid for a $10 bn project of the army and expects to corner two-thirds of the business

Mumbai: Tata Motors Ltd’s revenue may get a boost as it braces for an Indian Army programme of buying tracked future infantry combat vehicles. The owner of British premium car maker Jaguar Land Rover Plc is also considering using one of the Land Rover Discovery models for the future requirement of the Indian Army.
Tata Motors will bid for the $ 10 billion (Rs.54,500 crore) project and expects to corner almost two-thirds of the business, V.S. Noronha, vice-president, defence and government business, said in an interview last week. The development cost of the combat vehicles could be around Rs.300 crore, he said.
If it gets the order, India’s largest auto maker by sales would set up a facility at Dharwad, Karnataka, for making the tracked vehicles, the prototype for which is ready, Noronha said.
Tata Motors is one of the four companies which have received expressions of interest to supply around 2,000 units to the army.
In early 2010, the ministry of defence had invited Tata Motors, the Mahindra Group, Larsen and Toubro Ltd and the state-run Ordnance Factory Board to submit proposals to develop a combat vehicle.
If the order comes through, it would increase Tata Motors’s revenue by 20-30% over the period of the order, according to Umesh Karne, analyst at brokerage Brics Securities Ltd. “It will also help in de-risking the business,” said Karne.
It is not known yet over how many years the order would be spread. In the fiscal year ended March 2012, Tata Motors’s revenue was Rs.59,220 crore, excluding subsidiaries.
The government seeks to reduce its dependence on imports and own intellectual property rights for the source codes, which could become a casualty during an insurgency, firms in private sector would play a bigger role in the years ahead, said Deba Mohanty, chairman and chief executive at Indicia Research and Advisory, a Delhi-based firm that offers research and consulting services to the defence and security sector and deals with government relations.
Moreover, the indigenously produced combat vehicles would shave costs by 20-30%, Mohanty said.
Tata Motors has been making customized vehicles, including light armoured troop carriers, mine protected vehicles, armoured vehicles, missile firing units, etc., for the Indian defence forces since 1958. It has sold 100,000 units so far and claims to have half the share in the defence sector. Other companies in this space are Mahindra Defense and Ashok Leyland Ltd.
“We will be filling in the tenders for the tracked vehicles in another two to three months,” said Noronha, adding that the armament and guns would come from within the Tata Group of companies.
While the mobility platform will come from Tata Motors, Tata Power Co. Ltd’s strategic electronic division will do the fire control system, Tata Advanced Material Systems Ltd will do the protection and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd would help in the design and lifecycle management of the vehicle.
A variant of the expression of interest filed by the defence ministry in 2010 will come in another two months, he said.
Tata Motors would file its bid by December “We have a whole group of Tata companies led by Tata Motors bidding for this project,” Noronha said. “If we win, we expect 60% of the business.”
Deepak Morada, spokesman at Larsen and Toubro, declined to comment. “We don’t talk about business prospects,” Morada said.
This is the first time the government is seeking participation from private Indian companies for tracked combat vehicles. It has been importing the combat vehicles from Russia and assembling them at the Ordnance Factory.
Indicia’s Mohanty said the combat-vehicle order augurs well for private-sector companies. “The private sector has never been involved as a prime contractor. Their role so far has been confined to supply of spares, sub-assemblies, etc,” said Mohanty. According to him, it’s an opportunity for the companies to demonstrate their capabilities.
Meanwhile, Tata Motors is also considering to use the Land Rover Discovery platform to make light, bulletproof vehicles for the army, said Noronha. He expects a requirement for such vehicles to come up in another two years. The Land Rover vehicles have been in great demand by armed forces in several countries, he said.
Tata Motors is also expecting orders for heavy duty multi-axle trucks as the army seeks to replace the ageing vehicles from Tatra, the maker of off-road vehicles and trucks from the Czech Republic. The procurement of Tatra trucks has been put on hold pending a probe of Central Bureau of Investigation into bribery allegations by former army chief general V.K. Singh.
The army is expected to finalize two to three big tenders by April, the combined value of which is estimated to be Rs.800 crore, Noronha said. These tenders would be for the 6x6 and 8x8 high-mobility, all-wheel drive trucks. Tata Motors vehicles are currently being tested, he said. Exports is another big focus area for the company. Besides the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries where it is supplying vehicles to police, army and peacekeeping forces, Tata Motors will now be exporting vehicles and kits to South Africa and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) which include Malaysia and Thailand. It would be using its existing facilities in South Africa and Thailand to address these regions, Noronha said.
Tata Motors has recently signed an agreement with DRB-HICOM Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Bhd, Malaysia, to develop, promote and market Tata Motors high-mobility 4x4 trucks for the armed forces of Malaysia.
Op-ed: India Defense Budget Cuts; a Good Sign for Progress of Region
Indian Finance Minister P.Chidambaram presented the much anticipated budget for the coming recent years (2013-2014) on Thursday. P.Chidambaram described the budget plan totaling $309 billion that is 16% greater than the last year (2012-2013).

Although India has allocated Rs. 2.03 trillion for defence, much more compared to the defence budget of Pakistan but still it will be appreciated by the neighbouring countries because the defence budget is increased only by 5%, compared to 17% the previous year.

Indian government decided to cut the defence budget by Rs.14, 000 crore because of the fiscal crises due to the slow growth of the Indian economy in recent years. Indian Defence Ministry officials said that the budget cut will affect the acquisitions of the new weapon systems that have been either put on hold or delayed.

Indian Army Chief, Vijay Kumar Singh described ‘Alarming’ state of military and warned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, not to neglect the modernization of the army by a letter written in March 2012. Reduction of the defence budget is also criticized by the defence analysts in India, it is said that defence budget is already a matter of serious concern because India is having potential security threats from its neighboring countries for which the up gradation of the weapon system is required but the gigantic reduction in the defence budget will aggravate the problems.

If we try to find these so called potential security threats and study the relations of India with its neighboring countries we can easily find that most of the problems of India with its neighboring countries are self-generated by India only.

Starting with Pakistan, Pakistan and China are the two neighbors that reject India’s domination; because of this India have worst relations with both China and Pakistan. In 1971 India played a major role in the separation of East Pakistan. Today India wants to repeat that in Baluchistan by supporting insurgency in Baluchistan through its consulates along Afghanistan-Baluchistan border and its agents operating inside Balochistan.  At the same time India is illegally occupying Sir Creek, the Siachin Glacier, the Saltoro Mountains and the state of Kashmir.

India also doesn’t have best relations with China.  India went on war with china in 1962 over a border dispute. India provokes China by hoisting the Dalai Lama off and on to keep the issue of Tibet alive. India is having disputes with China over areas of Aksai Chin and India also aligned itself with America to contain China.

Although India does not share its border with Afghanistan but India used its consulates in Afghanistan for exporting terror to Pakistan in the name of infrastructure development. The growing Indian influence in Afghanistan is a matter of concern for Pakistan. Recently President Barack Obama’s Defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has said; what Pakistani leaders and media are saying from long time that India has ‘for many years’ sponsored terrorist activities against Pakistan in Afghanistan.

India has supported the insurgency against the state in Sri Lanka by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Jaffna for decades. India is also having a dispute on Katchatheevu island, given to Sri Lanka by India in 1974; in 2001 Tamil Government called to return the island but Sri Lanka neglected this request.

Nepal is a landlocked country and entirely dependent on the Indian ports for sea cargo but India has always denied Nepal right of transit. India illegally occupied the areas of Kalapani and Susta that belong to Nepal. In 1985 it armed and trained Ramraja P. Singh in India to conduct various terrorist activities in Nepal where several innocent civilian were killed. Similarly India has illegally occupied the areas of Padua, part of Sylhet Division and the South Talpatti Island from Bangladesh in 1971.

Now just go through these figures published by the human rights groups and the Punjab judiciary to know the internal security situation of India, Indian government has killed almost 94,000 Kashmiri Muslims since 1988, about 250,000 Sikhs since 1984, more than 200,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1947 and thousands of other Indians like Assamese, Tamils, Manipuris, Dalits etc. Naxalite are active in 180 districts and 10 states of India, these figures clearly show how India deals with its people.

Spending money on defense and creating problems for neighbors is not a solution to any of the social problems of India. India is not only denying the basic needs of its people but it is also destabilizing the strategic balance in the region and dragging the neighboring countries in arms race started by India.

Indian government is busy in improving military might but socially the Indian state has all the social indicators of a failed state. According to the latest figures released by the Government of India, a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes. Indian’s capital New Delhi is known as rape capital now. According to latest data of the Union Home Ministry, India stands third in the world when it comes to rape cases, ahead of India are only the United States and South Africa. Despite the increase in sexual violence the number of convictions is falling in Bharat. India is rated 3rd in world poor but has the world’s 9th largest defence budget. In 2012, India’s defense budget stood at Rs 193,407 crore (US$ 38.58 billion). In 2011 India was the world’s 7th largest defense spender. Approximately 1/3 of India’s GDP is spent on defense every year.

According to Mr. Prem Sagar the defense and economic expert of India, 0.9 billion people of India earn only Rs.20 per day, 0.5 billion people earn Rs.10 only, 250 million earn Rs.5 and 50 million Indians don’t earn anything. The number of people living in slums in India has more than doubled in the past two decades and now exceeds the entire population of Britain; the Indian Government has announced. The number of people living in slums was projected to rise to 93 million in 2011 or 7.75 percent of the total population. India’s 500,000 villages don’t have water and only 26% of the slum population has access to safe drinking water. More than 122 million households have no toilets and 33% lack access to latrines, over 50% of the population (638 million) defecates in the open. India is ranked 3rd among the countries with the most number of HIV-infected. India has the world’s highest number of diabetic cases and expected hypertensive individuals in 2025 will be 214 million.

Neighboring countries of India will appreciate the reduction in the defense budget of India. This will not only help India to concentrate on its internal social problem but will also encourage the neighboring countries to reduce their military expenditure and concentrate on the development projects of the country.

India always ignored its people and concentrated on occupying land of other countries, sponsoring insurgencies, creating economic and political problems for its neighboring countries but India can play the role of soft power in the region by solving its problems with neighboring countries like China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal through dialogue and try to improve bilateral relations with them so that India can not only focus on curbing down poverty, illiteracy, population explosion, health problems and corruption itself but also help the neighboring countries in doing so. This will not only bring peace in the region but India along with its neighbors will be able to spend most of their budget on the welfare of their people and on development projects.
New defence budget leaves ex-Army generals, experts unhappy - See more at:
New Delhi: The Defence Budget for this year, which is 1.79 percent of the GDP, has come under criticism from former Army generals and military experts, who say it is not adequate in view of the present security environment.

Former Army chief VP Malik told a news agency that while neighbours like China and Pakistan are getting a military budget of more than three percent of the GDP, India is still lagging behind the two percent mark.

"China has more than 3 percent, it has about 3.5 percent. Pakistan has 4.5 percent. We also have been demanding that it should be 3 percent but it is in fact going down," he said.

The Defence Ministry was allocated Rs 2,03 lakh crore for 2013-14 which is barely Rs 25,169 crore more from last year's revised estimate of Rs 1.79 lakh crore.

In terms of GDP, this year's Budget allocation for defence is down from last year's 1.90 percent to 1.79 percent.

Factors like delay in procurement and inflation are not being taken into account while allocating funds for defence forces, Malik said.

"Inflation too has not been accounted for and nobody takes care of the deficiencies which have come into the forces over the years. So if you look at it, the Budget today has no meaning at all," he said.

Asked whether it will impact the preparedness of the defence forces, Malik said, "Of course it will impact our operational preparedness. It may not have its impact immediately but it will surely have mid and long-term impact."

Retired Lt Gen RK Sawhney termed the allocation "grossly inadequate" and underlined the need for being militarily prepared.

"It is going to impact. It is grossly inadequate. All the factors such as delays in procurement and less finance will of course impact our operational factor. It will have its adverse impact for a long time to come," Sawhney said.

Keeping in mind the current environment India cannot afford not to be militarily prepared, he added.

Similarly, Delhi-based defence analyst and CEO of Indicia Research and Advisory Deba R Mohanty said the trend of defence allocation in India has been disappointing.

"When there is a demand for increasing share of defence budget in relation to national GDP, the trend is actually showing otherwise. As far as India is concerned this is disappointing," he said.
Indian Army goes social, launches Twitter account with handle @adgpi
New Delhi: The Indian Army launched its official Twitter account on Friday. The account, which goes by the Twitter handle @adgpi, has already attracted more than a thousand followers.

Army sources said the handle @adgpi has been in the works for some months. The account will now feature all official announcements.

Following the trend, the army will be launching an official Facebook page as well in the coming months. Army sources have also confirmed changes to the their website to make it more user friendly and informative.

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