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Friday, 10 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 10 May 2013
IAF sets ball rolling for new transport fleet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
The Indian Air Force today moved ahead to get new transport aircraft that will replace the aging fleet of twin-engine turbo-prop Avros. The Ministry of Defence has initiated the first step to induct 56 new planes with a carrying capacity of 6 to 8 tonne each by inviting eight global companies to participate in the tendering process.

The deal may end up costing Rs 13,000 crore with the aircraft being manufactured entirely in India by an Indian subsidiary of a foreign firm. Avro’s HS-748 was originally procured from the UK in 1964 and later licence-produced by Defence public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Around 30 aircraft still remain in service, mostly relegated to training and communication roles.

The tender or request for proposal (RFP) was issued to eight aviation majors, including European consortium Airbus, Spanish Casa, Russian Ilyushin, Swedish Saab, American Lockheed Martin, Brazilian Embraer, Italian Alenia Aermacchi and an Ubzekistan aircraft maker.

Alenia Aermacchi is a subsidiary of Italian group Finmeccanica, which is under a cloud over bribery allegations in the supply of 12 VVIP helicopters by its subsidiary AgustaWestland.

Sources say the tender has been issued to its subsidiary since the government has not taken any action against Finmeccanica so far.

This is the first move to get Indian private companies in the military aviation sector. The RFP specifies that while 16 aircraft will be bought off-the-shelf from the foreign vendor, the remaining 40 will be manufactured in India by a private Indian Production Agency (IPA). The foreign aviation company will select the IPA based on qualification criteria for the IPA stipulated in the RFP. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has been kept out.
Pak policy smacks of nuclear blackmail
In dismissing India’s nuclear deterrent as driven by pride and prestige, Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent is sought to be projected as somehow more justified, as unlike India it is said to be driven by so-called real security threats.
Shyam Saran

Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary, studies Pakistan’s nuclear posturing and failure of India’s strategists to clear the air about its own nuclear programme. The article is the last in a three-part series.

Shrill articulation of imaginary security threats by Pakistan has justified its rapidly growing nuclear arsenal in the eyes of some motivated analysts. The next link in the argument would be that if only India could be persuaded to discard its pride and false sense of prestige and status, a strategic restraint regime, if not a non-nuclear regime, between the two sides would become possible and the world relieved from having to deal with the “most dangerous part of the world”.

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are certainly focused in large part on the threat from India, real or imagined. In the present case, the Pakistani motivation is to dissuade India from contemplating conventional punitive retaliation to sub-conventional but highly destructive and disruptive cross-border terrorist strikes such as the horrific 26/11 attack on Mumbai. What Pakistan is signalling to India and to the world is that India should not contemplate retaliation even if there is another Mumbai because Pakistan has lowered the threshold of nuclear use to the theatre level. This is nothing short of nuclear blackmail, no different from the irresponsible behaviour one witnesses in North Korea. It deserves equal condemnation by the international community because it is not just a threat to India but to international peace and security.

Perceived threats of Pak

Should the international community countenance a licence to aid and abet terrorism by a state holding out a threat of nuclear war? But today given the evidence available, is it even possible to claim that the so-called Indian threat is the sole motivation which drives Pakistan’s nuclear programme?

Some of the significant shifts that have taken place recently in Pakistan’s nuclear posture, taking it from declared “minimum deterrence” to a possible second strike capability, are:

    There is a calculated shift from the earlier generation of enriched uranium nuclear weapons to a newer generation of plutonium weapons.
    Plutonium weapons would enable Pakistan to significantly increase the number of weapons in its arsenal, Pakistan is reported to have overtaken India’s nuclear weapon inventory and, in a decade, may well surpass those held by Britain, France and China.
    Progress has been claimed in the miniaturisation of weapons, enabling their use with cruise missiles and also with a new generation of short-range and tactical missiles. This is not yet fully verified but the intent is clear.
    Pakistan has steadily pursued the improvement of the range and accuracy of its delivery vehicles, building upon the earlier Chinese models (the Hatf series) and the later North Korean models (the No-dong series). The newer missiles, including the Nasr, are solid-fuelled, which can be launched more speedily than the older liquid fuelled ones.
    Pakistan’s nuclear programme brings its scientific and technological accomplishments into the limelight. Pakistan repeatedly draws attention to its being the only Islamic country to have a sophisticated nuclear weapons programme. This gives it a special standing in the Islamic world. One should not underestimate the prestige factor in this regard.

These developments are driven by a mindset which seeks parity with, and even overtaking India, irrespective of the cost this entails. However, it is also driven by the more recent fear that the US may carry out an operation, like the one mounted in May 2011 to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad, to disable, destroy or confiscate its nuclear weapons. The increase in the number of weapons, planned miniaturisation of warheads and their wider dispersal, are all designed to deter the US from undertaking such an operation. This aspect has acquired increasing salience in Pakistani calculations.

Recent articles which claim that the US has contingency plans to take out Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in case of a jihadi takeover of its government or if the Pakistan army itself splits into a pro-jihadi and an anti-jihadi faction with the danger that the country’s nuclear arsenal is no longer in safe and secure hands, must have heightened the paranoia among Pakistan’s military and bureaucratic elite.

Multiple nuclear actors

Pakistan has, nevertheless, projected its nuclear deterrent as solely targeted at India and its strategic doctrine mimics the binary nuclear equation between the US and the Soviet Union which prevailed during the Cold War. But in a world of multiple nuclear actors, there is pervasive uncertainty about how the nuclear dynamic will play itself out even if a nuclear exchange commenced with only two actors. What may be a zero-sum game with two actors may not be so for a third or a fourth actor. For example, the long history of the Sino-Pakistan nuclear nexus determines that China will be a factor influencing security calculations in New Delhi, Islamabad and Washington. How will a nuclear exchange, often posited between India and Pakistan, impact on China and would India be prudent not to factor that into its nuclear deterrence calculations?

In the context of Japan and South Korea, can the nuclear threat posed by North Korea be delinked from China’s strategic posture in the region? How would these calculations affect the US nuclear posture? And how would Russian strategists react? It is because of this complexity that notions of a flexible response and counter-force targeting, which appeared to have certain logic in a binary US-Soviet context, lose their relevance in the multi-dimensional threat scenario which certainly prevails in our region. It is no longer sufficient to analyse the India-Pakistan or India-China nuclear equation only in the bilateral context. Therefore, Pakistan’s nuclear behaviour should be a matter of concern not just to India but to the international community. It obviously is for the US though it is usually made out to be a matter for and related to Pakistan’s relations with India.

It is also this complexity in multiple and interlinked nuclear equations which argues for an early realisation of global nuclear disarmament through multilateral negotiations and India’s championing of this cause is not all contradictory to its maintenance of a robust nuclear deterrent in the meantime. The above background must be kept in mind when evaluating India’s continued insistence on the central tenet of its nuclear doctrine that India will not be the first to use nuclear weapons, but if it is attacked with such weapons, it would engage in nuclear retaliation which will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage on its adversary.

The label on a nuclear weapon used for attacking India, strategic or tactical, is irrelevant from the Indian perspective. A limited nuclear war is a contradiction in terms. Any nuclear exchange, once initiated, would swiftly and inexorably escalate to the strategic level. Pakistan would be prudent not to assume otherwise as it sometimes appears to do, most recently by developing and perhaps deploying theatre nuclear weapons. It would be far better for Pakistan to finally and irreversibly abandon the long-standing policy of using cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy and pursue nuclear and conventional confidence-building measures with India which are already on the bilateral agenda. An agreement on no-first use of nuclear weapons would be a notable measure following up on the commitment already made by the two countries to maintain a moratorium on nuclear testing.

As would be apparent, in the case of India, it is the security narrative which is the most significant driver of its strategic nuclear capability though India has consistently followed a cautious and restrained approach. India’s nuclear doctrine categorically affirms India’s belief that its security would be enhanced not diminished in a world free of nuclear weapons. The elements of pride and prestige are supplementary as they always are in the complex basket of elements that influence strategic choices which countries make.

People must know

The mostly self-serving and misconceived notions about India’s nuclear deterrent that have found currency in the recent past, have much to do with the failure on the part of both the State as well as India’s strategic community to confront and refute them. The ease with which motivated assessments and speculative judgments invade our own thinking is deeply troubling.

The secrecy which surrounds our nuclear programme, a legacy of the long years of developing and maintaining strategic capabilities, is now counterproductive. There is not enough data or information that flows from the guardians of our strategic assets to enable reasoned judgments and evaluations. There has been significant progress in the modernisation and operationalisation of our strategic assets, but this is rarely and only anecdotally shared with the public. The result is an information vacuum which then gets occupied by either ill-informed or motivated speculation or assessments. To begin with, the government should make public its nuclear doctrine and release data regularly on what steps have been and are being taken to put the requirements of the doctrine in place.

It is not necessary to share operational details but an overall survey such as an annual strategic posture review should be shared with the citizens of the country who, after all, pay for the security which the deterrent is supposed to provide to them. An informed and vigorous debate based on accurate and factual information should be welcomed, because only through such a debate can concepts be refined, contingencies identified and the most effective responses formulated. In a democracy, this is critical to upholding a broad consensus on dealing with the complex and constantly evolving security challenges our country confronts.
Khurshid, Chinese Foreign Minister discuss LAC incursion

Beijing, May 9
India and China today discussed the recent intrusion by Chinese troops at the Depsang Valley during External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's two-hour-long meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Welcoming Khurshid, Wang said at present, the China-India relationship has shown a great momentum with both sides preparing for back-to-back visits of leaders within this year.

He was referring to the forthcoming visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India later this month and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit here later this year.

The two visits provides our bilateral relations an important opportunity for growth, he said. Stating that Khurshid's visit to China has great significance, Wang said at present, both sides have to "work for the common goal of making good preparations for Li's visit to India and to push forward our strategic and cooperative partnership forward between our two countries".

The two leaders later continued their talks over dinner. Ahead of their meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters that China hopes to use existing mechanisms to carry out discussions with India over border issues.

She was replying to questions on the intrusion by Chinese troops at the Daulat Beig Oldi (DBI) in the Ladakh region, resulting in a nearly three weeks’ long standoff before both sides pulled back their troops.

"We hope to use currently available mechanisms to conduct friendly consultations with India on border issues," she said, replying to a question regarding whether the two countries will sign a new border peace treaty,” Hua said.— PTI

India-China hotline

New Delhi: India will pursue with China a mechanism to set up a hotline at the level of Director General of Military Operation (DGMO). Such a hotline exists between DGMOs of India and Pakistan and the two officials often talk to each other and sort out bilateral military issues. Sources said the matter of having such a DGMO-level mechanism with China will be raised during the forthcoming bilateral meetings between the two countries. — TNS
Indian Army dismantling bunkers in Chumar in Ladakh
NEW DELHI: The Indian Army is dismantling its bunkers in Chumar area in Ladakh as part of the understanding reached with the Chinese Army that ended the 21-day stand-off over the intrusion by Chinese troops in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector.

The bunkers are in the process of being dismantled by the Army as per the understanding between the armies of the two sides during the flag meetings, sources said here today.

Indian troops were moved to the bunkers that were built a few months back in a bid to pressurise the Chinese troops to leave their posts from Depsang valley in the DBO sector, they said.

The dismantling of bunkers is, however, being seen as a "strategic disadvantage" for the Indian side as the location at Zhipugi Arla in Chumar gave it the capability for looking deep into the Chinese territory including the important road-links on the other side.

After the incursion by Chinese troops on April 15, Indian troops moved forward to the bunkers in Chumar area two days later, sources said.

Following the Indian move, the Chinese side demanded at the flag meetings that India withdraw its troops from the Chumar area but the Indian side stated that the pull-out of troops should be simultaneous, they said.

The Chinese side took a stand that Indian troops should move out from Chumar and then, it would consider withdrawing troops from Depsang valley, sources said.

The Indian side also did not budge from its stand on the issue but after negotiations on Sunday, it was decided that the two sides would withdraw from their respective positions simultaneously, they said.

Chinese Army soldiers had intruded 19 km into the Indian territory on April 15 and were in a face-to-face situation with the Indian troops who established a camp at a distance of less than 100 metres from their base.

The two sides agreed to leave the area and restore the situation existing before April 15.
No clarity on reasons behind Chinese incursion, says Salman Khurshid
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday there was still “no clarity” on the reasons behind the April 15 incursion by the People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh, but added that he did not seek an explanation from the Chinese during talks here.

Mr. Khurshid, who held talks with his counterpart Wang Yi over three hours on Thursday, said both sides had expressed “satisfaction” over the fact that the stand-off in Ladakh was resolved peacefully through existing mechanisms.

Asked if he had sought clarity on the reasons behind the PLA’s move to set up tents on the Depsang plains — a move that Indian officials described as an unexpected provocation that broke with established patrolling patterns followed by both sides in disputed areas — Mr. Khurshid told reporters, “I did not look for [clarity]. We are not even ready with our analysis of why it happened.”

“It is not clear why it happened,” he added. “I think they were not offering us that background, and we were not asking for that background… There was a tremendous sense of satisfaction that it was resolved in the manner it was resolved.”

Mr. Wang told Mr. Khurshid his visit to Beijing was “hugely important” to pave the way for the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s May 19 visit to India — his first overseas trip after he took over in March. That the Chinese side have framed his visit as heralding a new chapter in ties has made the April 15 incident all the more puzzling, officials acknowledge.

Mr. Khurshid, however, said “it is not very helpful at this stage to apportion blame between them and us, and it will only take away from the sense of relief and satisfaction that it was resolved in time not to upset the apple cart of what is going on, which is far more important”.

The External Affairs Minister said he did not think the incursion was related to ongoing talks between India and China over a border defence cooperation agreement. The Chinese side submitted a draft to India on May 4, which India is currently studying.

“I don’t think this incident should be seen or indicated as part of flagging or a reminder as a nudge or push to solve the border issue,” he said. He said both sides had a “shared conclusion” that existing systems were working.

Mr. Khurshid said the 16th round of talks between the Special Representatives on the boundary question will take place in the next two months. He said China had appointed the former Foreign Minister and top diplomat Yang Jiechi as the new SR to succeed recently retired former State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who chaired the previous round with National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

That meeting would provide a platform for both sides to discuss in greater depth what led to the stand-off. Indian officials will on Friday speak with Chinese officials handling boundary affairs and may also speak with officials from the PLA on Saturday.

Mr. Khurshid, who will meet Mr. Li, the Premier, and Mr. Yang, the new State Councillor, on Friday, said he also “flagged” to China’s attention India’s concern over certain aspects of China’s relations with Pakistan, specifically mentioning its nuclear programme. China has recently signed deals to sell nuclear reactors to Pakistan, going against the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s guidelines.

“We only urge them not to allow anybody to use their relationship with them to India’s detriment,” he said. “I was not there to make him accountable to NSG requirements. Those are multilateral agreements to which I am sure they know their responsibility… and I am sure they will take the appropriate position.”

He also raised China’s plans to build three new dams on the Brahmaputra, with India suggesting that existing mechanisms to share hydrological data be expanded to address concerns. He said he received a “positive” response from the Chinese, although no commitment as yet.

On trade, Mr. Khurshid said he raised the fast-widening trade imbalance, with China expressing interest in “major investment” in India and supporting liberalising the visa regime to offset the deficit.

China, he added, had responded positively to India’s concerns over the cases involving two traders in Yiwu, Deepak Raheja and Shyamsunder Aggarwal, who were sentenced last year, and six diamond merchants. He said China had granted the two Yiwu traders a concession. “They have been released and gone back home,” he said.
How The US Army Spent An Entire War Figuring Out What Camouflage To Wear

Actually the military's uniform trouble started, as trouble so often does, with the Marines.

Until the turn of the millennium, every service wore the same exact camo — as David A. Fahrenthold of The Washington Post put it: "One was green, for the woods. The other was brown, for the desert."

Then the Marines designed a uniform in 2002 and promptly patented the design. The reason was that a unified outward identity within the service made for good team building, and also "enemies would see us coming a mile away," said Corps spokesman Capt. Pete Mitchell.

Wait a second ...

He also said, "We want to be instantly recognized as a force to be reckoned with."

That's it, the Marine Corps wanted to be recognized on the battlefield as Marines ... once they were actually seen. The Marine Corps digital utility uniforms were largely a hit, both in combat and with the Marines.

They quickly became the envy of the sister services.

So set off an inter-service scramble to in some way, shape, or form, duplicate what the Corps had done ... except specialer.

Little did they know at the time how much the endeavor would cost.

Erik German of The (now defunct) Daily reported on what happened with the Army, the first to spearhead a new camo uniform:

Camouflage researchers testing patterns for the Army in the early 2000s were pressured to choose a design like the “trendy” new one being used by the Marine Corps.

The Marines' budget is significantly smaller than the other services though. Much more money to be made with the army.

“It got into political hands before the soldiers ever got the uniforms,” Army textile technologist Cheryl Stewardson said to The Daily, noting that Army brass sped along a decision before testing was complete.

What came out the other end what a horrific mistake: a grey uniform that made folks stick out in the environment like a platoon of sore thumbs.

“Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment,” an Army specialist told The Daily.  “The only time I have ever seen it work well was in a gravel pit.”

Planners in the other services weren't satisfied when they saw the Army's $3.2 million mistake, they plunged forward — eventually totaling out about $12 million to research and "develop" 10 different types of uniforms.

Once the Army decided to suspend the grey monstrosity and put more money into another solution, Brandon Webb, a former operator with special operations forces and editor of SOFREP, told the Blaze the universal-uniform-bungle was a “huge let down to the U.S. tax payer.”

"It’s also proof that the antiquated Department of Defense acquisition system is broken and in desperate need of fixing,” concluded Webb.

Webb said he personally, with a group of operators, a graphic designers and a contract lab for infrared testing, could do the job for $70,000.

It cost the Army $3.4 million just to develop, another $5 billion to field.

It didn't finish fielding until 2010 — arguably nearing the end of the war.

Here's the kicker though: despite the resounding success of the Army's new uniform in the last 2.5 years of combat, they've decided to research, develop, and field another new uniform.

At a cost of $4 billion.
US Army May Push Back JLTV, Rethink Armed Aerial Scout Program

WASHINGTON — The joint US Army/Marine Corps Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program may see its testing schedule pushed back by as much as four months by the end of this fiscal year, top Army leadership testified on Capitol Hill on May 8.

Lt. Gen. William Phillips, the top acquisition adviser to the secretary of the Army, told a Senate budget panel that the automatic cuts necessitated by sequestration are having a serious effect on all Army modernization programs, and the JLTV is only one among many programs whose schedules are being thrown into flux due to the legislation.

Michael Clow, an Army spokesman, told Defense News in a May 9 email that “across-the-board sequestration cuts and potential furloughs threaten JLTV’s planned schedule — particularly the test-intensive EMD phase currently underway, which could be delayed an estimated three to four months due to sequestration-imposed changes.”

He added that while the Army is “exploring mitigation strategies” in order to keep any significant impacts on the program to a minimum, “it remains unclear if the uncertainty surrounding future budgets will eventually require delaying the Milestone C decision into the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2016,” which would be a slip from the current plan to award a low-rate initial production contract in fiscal 2015.

The Army plans to buy about 49,000 JLTVs and the Marines 5,500 beginning in 2015 at a cost of about $250,000 per vehicle, before armor packages are factored in.

Despite some earlier bumps in the road, the program has been sailing along relatively smoothly since last August when three industry teams led by AM General, Lockheed Martin and Oshkosh Defense all won engineering and manufacturing development contracts. Each team is preparing to deliver 22 prototypes to the Army for testing this August, a program milestone that remains on track, sequestration or no.

All three contractors declined to comment on the potential testing slippage, referring all queries to the Army.

In another somewhat surprising comment, Phillips said that the Army won’t decide until later this summer whether to go ahead with the much anticipated replacement for the OH-58 Kiowa helicopter, the Armed Aerial Scout.

After a well-publicized “fly-off” last summer in which Army leaders visited all of the competitors interested in bidding on the work, it appeared that the service was happy with its initial look at what industry could offer.

But Phillips flipped that on its head on Wednesday, saying the results of the fly-off were disappointing, and “we didn’t find a single aircraft that was out there that could meet the Army’s requirements, so if we were to go forward with an Armed Aerial Scout it would essentially be a development program.”

The Army initially planned to decide whether to go forward with the program in December, but pushed that back to the spring. AgustaWestland, Boeing, EADS International and Bell Helicopter have all expressed interest in the program, and the Army visited each of them last summer.

This latest go-around represents the Army’s third effort to replace the Kiowa after the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche was killed in 2004 and Bell Helicopter’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter was scrapped in 2008.

Lt. Gen. James Barclay, deputy chief of staff of the Army, added another glum note during the hearing, telling the senators that due to sequestration, “all acquisition priorities and many equipment modernization programs may face unanticipated schedule or cost impacts in the out-years.”

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