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Monday, 15 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 15 Apr 2013
India to develop Iran port for access to Afghanistan
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, April 14
With Pakistan continuing to deny India transit access to Afghanistan, New Delhi is trying to complete as early as possible the formalities for entering into an agreement with Iran for the development of the Chabahar Port which will provide it a vital link to transport its goods to the war-ravaged nation.
The Union Cabinet is expected to shortly approve a proposal to invest about $ 100 million for the development of the south-eastern Iranian port city of Chabahar to sustain India’s presence in Afghanistan and through it to Central Asia.

The Chinese presence at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port has accentuated the need for India to move fast on the Chabahar project, keeping in mind its geo-strategic interests in the region after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

Iran, it is learnt, is also keen on attracting Indian investment in the Chabahar project since port infrastructure is one of the areas which does not attract US sanctions against the Islamic republic. Iranian Ambassador to India Gholamreza Ansari recently met Opposition leaders like BJP president Rajnath Singh and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat to discuss the Chabahar project.

Pakistan had signed a trade and transit agreement with Afghanistan in 2010, allowing Kabul to transport goods to Pakistani ports and also to the Indian border. But India cannot utilise that arrangement for transporting its cargo to Afghanistan since Pakistan continues to be vehemently opposed to any Indian role in the war-torn country.

The Chabahar project has been hanging fire for a few years now because of different reasons. First, it was India’s vote against Iran at IAEA that had strained relations between the two countries and then US sanctions against the Islamic republic had made it difficult for New Delhi to enhance its commercial engagement with Tehran.

But things have changed over the past one or two years. Officials say Tehran has given the green signal to India to develop the port as that would also boost Iran’s economy at a time when it is grappling with crippling sanctions imposed against it by the West because of its controversial nuclear programme.

Chabahar Portvital link

Chabahar Port will provide India a vital link to transport goods to Afghanistan

Port will help sustain India’s presence in Afghanistan and through it to Central Asia

The Chinese presence at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port has accentuated the need for India to move fast on this project

It will help India safeguard its geo-strategic interests in the region after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 2014

Iran is keen on attracting Indian investment since port infrastructure is one of the areas which does not attract US sanctions
DRDO sets up poultry farm in Ladakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established high-tech poultry rearing facilities in Ladakh. This unique venture will not only help in increasing the farmers' income through poultry farming in the cold, high-altitude desert region, but also enable the production of hygienic broiler chicken meat in Ladakh and enhance the supply of fresh meat supply to Army formations deployed in the inhospitable region.

Called "Multitier Thermally Controlled High Altitude Poultry Rearing Facility", it was inaugurated by Dr RB Srivastava, Director of DRDO's Leh-based Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR), a statement issued here today said.

The facility was conceptualised and designed by Col Vasant R Ballewar, head of DIHAR's, Animal Science Division and Dr Vijay K. Bharti, the Project Officer, where day old chicks will be kept in specially designed four-tier cages installed with automatic drinking, lighting, controlled medication and litter removal mechanisms under thermally-controlled hygienic environment using solar energy.

In this system, drinking water come from an insulated water storage system and warmed automatically through an online water heating system fitted with a thermostat for achieving the desired water temperature during severe winters. Here, all the chicks are reared under controlled photoperiod and ambient temperature in a cage fitted with a conveyer belt for periodical automatic removal of litter and droppings. Hence, the common problems of high altitude rearing like ammonia toxicity, dumpiness, disease transmission and inoculation of salmonella, as is prevalent in deep litter systems, are minimised.

Compulsive poor ventilation in high altitude causes dumpiness and accumulation of ammonia in semi-underground housing that leads to respiratory problem and poor growth and survivability of birds. Therefore, this facility will enable DRDO in production of hygienic meat.
The Evolution of Indian Army’s ICT Infrastructure |

The Indian Army is set to trail blaze along the information pathway asit transforms into a netcentric force Communications are critical for all military operations. During the world war era, Armies used to rely on primitive systems and even send messages using pigeons to deliver important orders. Modern Armies use high-tech satellite systems, ultra high bandwidth optical fiber cables, radio based mobile adhoc networks and cognitive radio technology to make sure that all personnel in the battlefield are aware of the battle situation and function as a cohesive whole. Communications have become the greatest battle winning factor after soldiers and weapon systems. Under the netcentric doctrine being followed by most modern Armies, communications are perceived as the most important combat power enhancement factor.

The world has witnessed a strange role reversal as far as the relationship between Defence Forces and Communication Technology Providers is concerned. In the fifties and sixties, Defense was the most important and perhaps the largest user of communications. Communications technologies were developed keeping in mind Defence requirements. The Internet started out as the DARPANET in the US which was later adapted for civilian usage. Similarly the CDMA cellular technology was originally developed for Defence forces to avoid interception and jamming by enemy Electronic Warfare agencies. However, in the nineties, explosive growth in the sheer volume of civilian communications led to a new business model and thus the information revolution. This made service providers as the prime focus of the communications industry. In an intense,market driven economy, Defense requirements have today taken a backseat. Defense forces, all over the world are being increasingly forced to look towards Commercial-off the-Shelf (COTS) technologies to fulfill their requirements. While this is a winning situation for the industry, which is now able to service both the commercial and Defense sectors using similar technologies, this has often led to long delays in short listing of technologies for Defense usage and delayed fructification of important Defense projects. The Indian Army’s communication network infrastructure is looked after by the Corps of Signals. In the last two decades, the ICT infrastructure within the Army has undergone a paradigm shift mimicking the telecom growth in the country. The Army boasts of its own secure national converged network called the Army One Network. While details of the network are not widely known, this network is fault tolerant to meet military specifications and includes redundancy and recovery mechanisms for automatic traffic re-routing. The Army also operates its own cellular network in J&K providing carrier grade cellular facilities to soldiers involved in counter insurgency operations. The Army’s satellite nodes are spread throughout the length and breadth of the country and provide communication facilitiesin remote and difficult areas like the Siachen glacier. The Army is also developing several hundred kilometers of optical fiber cabling to provide high bandwidth communications to support the exponential growth of communication traffic.The Directorate General of Information Systems(DGIS) develops applications for the Army.

The DGIS provides IT and ITES verticals, starting from software applications which manage the clothing requirements of Army jawans till complex decision support systems. The DGIS has equipped Army units and formations with necessary IT resources to usher in Army wide

automation and assist operational information gathering and exploitation. Though nascent in implementation, almost all systems which will host Army wide information systems are in the pipeline as per a sound roadmap.

Going State of the Art

As in the commercial world, the Army is also now witnessing the network-application “meltdown” with applications driving network growth and network capacity in turn leading to increase in application complexity. Accordingly, today the Indian Army is on the verge of replacing a large number of existing ICT systems with the state – of – the – art. The Army’s’ old workhorse network is called the Army Radio Engineered Network (AREN). This indigenously conceived system for the field formations was launched more than three decades ago and is on the verge of being replaced by the Tactical Communication System (TCS). TCS, valued at more than `10,000 Crores is India’s first “Make” program. Government owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in the public sector will join the race for prototype development with a Ministry selected Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Company. Led by L&T, the SPV includes Tata Power SED and HCL Infosystems Limited. It is the first-ever program wherein three major private sector companies have formed a consortium together to provide indigenous solution for strategically important acquisition of the Army. As is the trend worldwide, TCS is envisaged to have a large percentage of COTS technologies, albeit customized and hardened for usage by the Army in the tactical battlefield. It is envisaged to use state of the art technologies like mobile adhoc networks and emerging 3G/4G cellular technologies. As a paradigm switch, TCS would link the forward most soldier to the high capacity national networks and carry critical voice, video and data for the digitized battlefield of the future. The Army is also set to transform its backbone network called Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON). ASCON was evolved to integrate the telecommunication infrastructure of the hinterland with the tactical communication networks. It is a digital, fully automated,secure, reliable communication system based on microwave radio, optical fiber cable and satellite equipment. Value added Services such as fax, telex, data transfer were also available to defence users on this network. Currently the existing ASCON network is being expanded and undergoing a technology upgrade. Simultaneously, BSNL is developing a Pan India backbone that shall be fully owned by the Army. Called project NFS (Network for Spectrum) the OFC network will be laid over 60,000 km to provide connectivity for 129 Army, 162 Air Force and 33 Naval stations. It is being built by BSNL in lieu of the commercial mobile spectrum vacated by the Defence services.

Expanding Network

The Army is also planning to expand its integral cellular network to ther parts of the country in a phased manner. Priority is being decided for the rollout of the ext generation cellular networks of the Army. The network will be expanded into areas of the northern and eastern parts of the country in the next few years. While adding critical tworking and infrastructure capabilities, the Army is constantly upgrading its cyber posture. Recently, the Army unveiled plans to complement ICT with Electronics and Cyber apabilities. Labeled ICTEC, (Information Communication Technologies Electronics and Cyber), the new paradigm envisages to integrate electronic warfare and cyber aspects with information and communication architecture from the ground up achieving full spectrum dominance. The recently concluded DEFCOM seminar deliberated on these aspects. The Indian Army is set to trail blaze along the information pathway as it transforms into a netcentric force. As it develops new capabilities, the Army is ensuring that its personnel are fully trained to handle the challenges of next generation information warfare. At the Military College of Telecommunications

“As it develops new capabilities, the Army is ensuring that its personnel are fully

trained to handle the challenges of the information war looming on the horizon”

Engineering, located at Mhow, near Indore in Madhya Pradesh, the Corps of Signals trains its information warriors in next generation warfare amidst global standards. Specializing in network control operations, network planning, electronic warfare and cyber security, personnel are being trained in specialized technical fields. The Army which trains its own engineers at the diploma, graduate, post graduate and doctorate levels is ensuring that its key personnel are fully prepared to meet the challenges in deployment, maintenance and exploitation of planned ICT infrastructure in military operations.
Army team to visit China to finalise military exercise schedule
NEW DELHI: Ahead of defence minister A K Antony's visit to China next month, an Army delegation would be there this month-end to finalise the dates of bilateral military exercises expected to be held later this year after a gap of over four years.

An Army delegation under a Brigadier from the Military Operations Branch will visit China in the last week of April to finalise the date for the third edition of the Hand-to-Hand exercise between the two sides, sources told PTI here.

The exercise is expected to be held in September-October time frame this year, they said.

India and China had last held the last edition of the exercise in December 2008 in Belgaum in Karnataka while the first edition was held in 2007 in Kunming province of China.

The two sides had decided to resume their military exercises during the visit of former Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie to India last September.

During the talks, Antony had also accepted the invitation to visit China. The visit is likely to see the two sides further discuss the proposal for a Border Defence Cooperation Agreement mooted by the Chinese side during the visit its Deputy Chief of General Staff last month.

The border defence cooperation agreement proposes to avoid any misunderstanding or flare up along the boundary.

After the visit to China, Antony is also scheduled to visit Australia.

The scheduled visit to Australia was postponed in February this year.
India alerts its army against threats from China, Pakistan
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - New Delhi—India’s deep unease over China’s growing military might and assertiveness as well as intransigence about the boundary dispute resonated at a military brass conclave on Monday, with Indian defence minister AK Antony also underlining the threat posed by the expansive nexus forged between Beijing and Islamabad, Indian media reported on Tuesday.

China’s approach to India on the long-standing boundary dispute and other issues, even after the recent leadership change in Beijing, “is not likely to change” in the foreseeable future. Consequently, the Indian armed forces need to “constantly develop” their capabilities to achieve “minimum credible deterrence” against China, said Antony.

The minister, addressing the closed-door Army commanders’ conference, did point out the government was trying to resolve issues with China in a “peaceful” manner, and also cited the new bilateral boundary management mechanism as “a positive development”.

But Antony also stressed it was crucial to modernize the armed forces to counter China’s “military assertiveness”, including its massive development of military infrastructure along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well as in other neighbouring countries, like the Gilgit-Baltistan areas of Pakistan, said Indian officials.

India has belatedly taken some steps to strategically counter China but much more needs to be done at a rapid clip. While IAF is now progressively basing Sukhoi-30MKI fighters in the north-east and the Navy is bolstering force-levels on the eastern seaboard, the Army’s Rs 81,000-crore plan to raise a new mountain strike corps with associated structures is yet to take off.

Holding that the recent Chinese takeover of Pakistan’s strategically-located Gwadar port near the Iranian border has further strengthened the economic and security linkages between the two countries, Antony promised all government support to the armed forces for “the necessary measures” needed to tackle “any emerging threats”. Pakistan, he said, poses “a unique threat” due to its rapidly growing nuclear arsenal, military modernization with the help of China and the US, and its continuing support to a large number of terrorist groups undertaking “proxy war” in Jammu and Kashmir. While India “welcomes” the forthcoming elections in Pakistan - to be held on May 11 - it is unlikely its “anti-India stance” and its “obsession” with J&K will ever abate. With the terror infrastructure in both Pakistan and Pakistani part of Kashmir still very much intact, India will need to maintain its policy of deterrence against its western neighbour. Moreover, with Afghanistan headed for instability after the US withdrawal next year, Pakistan’s continuing support to the Taliban and inroads into the country is a source of worry. India needs to be prepared to deal with “any spillover effect” as well, added Antony.—Online
India, Maldives to hold Defence Minister level talks
NEW DELHI: India and Maldives are expected to discuss ways to strengthen their military ties during their Defence Minister-level talks starting here tomorrow.

Maldivian Defence Minister Col Mohammed Nazim will be holding discussions with his Indian counterpart A K Antony during which the Indian side is expected to push for closer military ties between the two sides.

The Indian side is also expected to discuss the installation of more coastal radars in the island nation, Defence Ministry officials said here.

India is believed to have discussed the issue during the visit of Antony to Male last year in September.

This is the first visit by a senior Maldivian Minister to India after the recent political turbulence there due to a tussle between the Waheed Government and former President Mohammed Nasheed.

Nazim is also expected to meet Indian military leadership including the three Services chiefs, officials said.

Male is also seen to be moving towards China in the recent times as soon after Antony's visit, Nazim had gone to Beijing where the two sides decided to expand military cooperation.

During Antony's visit, India and Maldives had agreed to augment cooperation in defence and security to deal with common security threats.

He had inaugurated 'Senahiya', a military hospital built with Indian assistance there, and also decided to station a Defence Attache there besides training Maldivian helicopter pilots and defence personnel.

After the visit, the Indian Army and Maldivian forces had held a military exercise in India.

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