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Saturday, 11 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 11 May 2013
Mahindra Scorpio, Tata Safari set to crash Maruti Gypsy party in Indian Army
The Indian Army has decided to phase-out Maruti Gypsy from its inventory with Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari in the race to replace the vehicle under a project expected to cost the force more than Rs 3,000 crore.

The Indian Army is the biggest customer of the Maruti Gypsy utility vehicles with more than 25,000 such vehicles in service and uses them in all light vehicle operations including counter-terrorist and counter-insurgency operations.

The summer trials of military versions of Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari will be held in Jodhpur in Rajasthan next week and the winter trials will be held in Sikkim by the end of this year, defence officials said here.

One of the reasons for the Army's plans to phase out the petrol-run Gypsy with the diesel engine cars is the rising prices of petrol.

The Army has a requirement of around 30,000 new light utility 4X4 cars and has plans to initiate the phase-out of Gypsys by 2017.

The induction of these 30,000 new vehicles would be in a phased manner and the process is expected to be completed by the force in next 15-20 years.

In its tender floated for the procurement, the Army has stated that it wants general service vehicles weighing around 800 kg powered by a diesel engine, which should be Bharat Stage III and IV compliant.
'Russia provides latest military tech exclusively to India'
NEW DELHI: Russia today reminded India that it provides latest cutting-edge technology exclusively to New Delhi unlike its "newly-acquired partners" in defence sector.

"Unlike its newly-acquired partners, we provide the latest cutting-edge technology to India and don't share it with others," Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said at an IAF function here on frontline fighter aircraft MiG-21.
Kadakin said Russia was still India's biggest partner and it has orders worth over $ 20 billion for supplying defence hardware to its armed forces.

His comment came at a time when India is purchasing hardware from other countries -- the latest of which is French Rafale being shortlisted for 126 Medium-Multi Role Combat Aircraft ( M-MRCA) for the IAF.

Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said 874 MiG-21s were inducted into the force of which over 200 were still in service.

The Indian Air Force is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the induction of frontline MiG-21 fighters, which played a key role in 1965 and 1971 wars but later earned the sobriquet of 'flying coffin' due to their high rate of accidents.

Inducted into the IAF first in 1963, Artyom Mikoyan's brainchild took part in India's armed conflicts with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

During the two wars, the MiG-21s were at the forefront of air operations giving tough times to the Pakistan's American- origin fighters, including the Sabres and Starfighters.

The MiG-21s fired rockets at the Dhaka Governor's house during the 1971 war, resulting in the surrender of 90,000 Pakistan army troops under their commander Lt Gen A A Niyazi.

India continued the induction of the MiG-21s till the early 80s after which it went for the swing-wing MiG-23s and MiG-27s as a counter to F-16s of the Pakistan Air Force.

Though several types of MiG-21s have been phased out from service, over 100 of them will continue to provide strength to the IAF numbers till 2017.
China’s Defence White Paper 2013: Lessons for India
On 16 April 2013, China’s State Council published a White Paper titled The Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces Page. This 2013 edition is an update on the 2011 White Paper. While there are several elements of continuity, there are also important differences. The 2013 paper is shorter, crisper and gives some facts and figures on the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) numbers that were not known earlier.

The 2013 White Paper is the first defence document that reflects the views of the new leadership. The paper will be analysed from various angles by analysts but its central message is clear: there will be no compromise with China’s sovereignty; and thanks to sustained efforts of the last several decades, the pace of China’s military modernisation will only increase in the future. Further, the PLA, now a formidable force by international standards, will remain the most important instrument of governance in the hands of the Chinese communist party.

Struggling to deal with a rigid China on the intractable border issue, India would do well to digest the core assertions of the paper. It has several elements that will impinge on India’s security interests.

First, the reach of the PLA is becoming global and extends to areas where India has interests. The Chinese PLA is carrying out exercises in far flung regions extending from the West Pacific right up to the African coast and with Latin American counties. The scope of these exercises varies but the intent of extending the PLA’s reach is very clear. Further, the Chinese navy and air force are also carrying out joint exercises with Pakistan and with countries to the east and west of India.

Second, the professionalisation of the Chinese armed forces is growing rapidly. There is huge emphasis on training and combined operations. The White Paper provides greater clarity on doctrinal aspects. The focus on winning ‘local wars under conditions of informationalisation” continues. This means the PLA is geared to fight information and network centric wars.

Third, China’s Second Artillery Force, in charge of nuclear and conventional missiles, is being modernised. For the first time, the White Paper did not explicitly mention the “no first use” doctrine but it laid emphasis on strategic deterrence and counter attack. Non-mention of the No First Use has led many observers to debate whether China is beginning to dilute its NFU commitment. This will need to be watched.

Fourth, Chinese military forces will be used in combating the three evils of separatism, extremism and terrorism. The indirect reference here is to Xinjiang and Tibet regions, in close proximity to India.

Fifth, tensions between China and the United States, and between China and Japan, can be expected to increase. Both Japan and the United States are India’s strategic partners. Japan has been referred to as a country which is making ‘trouble’ over Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, and the US, without being named, as a country promoting new hegemonism in the Asia Pacific. China’s other neighbours, i.e. the ASEAN countries have also been issued a veiled warning not to “complicate or exacerbate the situation”.

Sixth, China’s military doctrine is taking up a distinctly superpower flavour. The White Paper says that China will develop armed forces commensurate with its international status. They will protect China’s diverse overseas interests, including the sea lanes of communications and various economic assets. The PLA will also provide safety to Chinese nationals abroad when they are in distress. There is a long mention of how China takes its obligations to world peace and security seriously and how much it contributes to international peacekeeping efforts.

Some numbers mentioned in the White Paper give an insight into the nature of China’s modernisation. There are useful details about the seven military regions and the deployment of corps and commands. The focus on cyber and space is going to continue but the paper lacks details on these issues. The sections on deployments, training and joint exercises are interesting. The emphasis is on inter-operability, rapid reaction, mobility, jointness and command and control.

There is an intrinsic message to the domestic audiences in China too. China’s military is playing and will continue to play a big role in national development, not only in maintaining social stability but also in building massive infrastructure. The PLA is forging closer coordination with the civilian authorities.

The White Paper provides specifics of modernisation of the PLA army, navy, air force, second artillery, and militia. All are being modernised and reorganised rapidly through the induction of high technology and training. For instance, PLA Army, with 18 combined corps, has a strength of 850,000, is concentrating on mobility, special operations forces, digitalized units while enhancing air-ground integrated operations and long-distance manoeuvres.

According to the White Paper, the PLA navy (PLAN), the most visible arm of the PLA, has 235,000 officers, organised into three fleets, namely, the Beihai fleet, the Donghai fleet and the Nanhai fleet., each equipped with aviation divisions and marine brigades. The navy has lately acquired an aircraft carrier, submarines, surface vessels, naval aviation equipment, etc. PLAN also has marine corps and coastal defence arms.

The PLA Air Force (PLAAF), with 398,000 officers and men, organised in seven Military Area Commands (MACs) of Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu, is developing a variety of reconnaissance and early warning, air strike, air and missile defence, and strategic projection systems.

The PLA Second Artillery Force (PLASAF) is the PLA’s nuclear force. According to the White Paper, its capabilities of “strategic deterrence, nuclear counterattack and conventional precision strike are being steadily elevated”. Equipped with a variety of "Dong Feng" ballistic missiles and "Chang Jian" cruise missiles, the PLASAF has a number of missile bases, training bases, specialized support units, academies and research institutions.

In addition to the army, air force, navy and second artillery force, China has a large number of militia and police who are well integrated with the PLA. They have an important role in the domestic security context. They coordinate their activities with the PLA.

There are some other details which should interest India. For instance, according to the White Paper, the PLA has been involved in constructing the Galungla tunnel along the Medog highway in Tibet and also in harnessing the Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputra river close to the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The PLA plays an important role in China’s foreign and security policies, be it relations with neighbours or its interests overseas. India’s own perception of China’s foreign policy will be incomplete without taking into account the views of the PLA. Therefore, it is necessary that the Indian establishment should deepen contacts with PLA academies and institutions. Indian think tanks can play a role in this regard.

The White Paper appears to be a document of an increasingly confident, emerging, super power. The strides made in military modernisation are impressive. It is likely that the details given out in the White Paper will generate more anxiety in the international community, particularly among China’s neighbours.

China’s new leadership, and now the White Paper, reemphasise the defence of national sovereignty and territorial integrity as the key task of the Chinese armed forces. The White Paper says, “China will resolutely take all necessary measures to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

India will need to ponder over the implications of this assertion in the White Paper in the context of the current standoff with China on the western sector of the Line of Actual Control. China can be expected to be hard on issues involving its territorial integrity, as can be seen in the South China Sea and East China Sea where the PLA navy is playing an increasingly assertive role. At the same time, China is also conscious of projecting a clean and benign image to the world. It will be watching the quality of the Indian response. India will need to seize the opportunity and respond to the latest crisis in a firm manner which balances diplomacy with appropriate measures on the ground. A weak response may hurt India’s national security interests.
Heavy logistic movement gave away Indian army’s positions in Chumar to China: sources
Movement of heavy logistics, including surveillance equipment, by the army may have given away the location of its positions in Chumar in Ladakh region to the Chinese troops which started raising protests on it.

These positions are located at key heights at a place called Zhipugi Arla in Chumar area and from there, the Army troops were able to look deep inside the Chinese  territory including some of its important road links, government sources said.

After the location of the position was compromised, the Chinese side started demanding that they be dismantled as they were built in violation of an understanding between the two sides against construction in disputed areas, they said.

The sources said following Chinese protest, the Indian side has only “taken-off” a “tin-shed” construction done in Chumar on April 18.

During the flag meetings between the two sides on the issue, the Chinese side was adamant that India dismantle its positions in Chumar before it could consider withdrawing from the Depsang Valley in Daulat Beg Oldi sector where they had pitched their tents since April 15.

The two sides held more than five flag meetings on the issue and agreed on Sunday evening to withdraw their troops to the pre-April 15 positions.
The recent India-China face-off in the biting cold of the 16,000 feet above sea level Depsung Bulge appears to be fitting in with the pattern of growing China’s aggressive and assertive policy witnessed since 2008.

It is well known that there are two perceived Lines of Actual Control (LAC) on the two sides along the unresolved India-China border. Several agreements between the two countries starting 1993 kept the borders generally stable and without serious incidents. When a platoon of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pitched tents in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) at a point, considered 19 kms. Inside Indian territory by India, the balance was disturbed. The Indian forces also reciprocated leading to an eye-ball to eye-ball situation, though there was no show of arms by either side.

Just in case the PLA was still under the 1962 illusion when the it gave a rubbing to a rag-tag Indian army who did not even have winter boots, the Indian army chief Gen. Bikram Singh decided India was determined and capable of defending its territory. Gen. Singh briefed the Indian cabinet on different options his army had to eject the PLA.

The matter was resolved by the two sides diplomatically through established channels. On May 05, the Chinese army moved back as did their Indian counterparts from their new forward positionsot a shot was fired. What else happened between the diplomats from the two sides is not known, but status quo ante was restored.

Instead of reducing trust the deficit between the two sides, the incident exacerbated it. The Indians learnt once again reading Chinese lips can be deceptive. Their mind has to be read, and that can be done to an extent if Chinese actions not only towards India but towards other Asian nations and the world at large can be plotted on a graph starting 1949.

The Indian foreign policy establishment was quite upbeat with their perceived India policy of the new Chinese leadership. Ignoring Chinese President Xi Jinping’s March 19 observation that resolving the India-China border issue “won’t be easy”, the Indian side weighed on Xi’s subsequent discussion with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Durban, and his statement to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua (March 27), urging the two sides to quickly work out parameters to resolve out the boundary issue. The Indians were further encouraged when the Chinese decided that the new Premier Li Keqiang’s first overseas visit would include India.

Li Keqiang’s India visit appears to be back on track. It, however, stood to be derailed if the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) incident had not been resolved. In that case India-China relations would have suffered a huge set back.

The Indian government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had from the time of the first UPA government in 2004, put improvement of relations with China on high priority, second only to improvement of relations with Pakistan. Dr. Singh also declared there was enough space in Asia for India and China to work and develop together. It was a clear message to Beijing that an India-China partnership could be the engine of peace, stability and development for Asia at large, not the general concept of Asia focussed on the Asia-Pacific region only.

Dr. Singh, however, has been dismayed more than once by Chinese action. Finally, when China attacked his visit to Arunachal Pradesh in October 2009, he was forced to take a strong stand. Then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao went forward to retrieve the situation. There is no Wen Jiabao now, who also tried to promote democratic values and freedom of speech in China.

It must be put on record that the international community was closely watching how the DBO interface between India and China would end. It was a test case for China’s aggressive behaviour beyond Japan and the South China Sea. The India-China border negotiations, not having completed the second stage in a three-stage process, were dormant. Why did the Chinese decide to disturb the equilibrium when on the one had there were new signs that under the Xi-Li leadership, Beijing was trying to recalibrate a foreign policy in a more inclusive direction?

In this stand-off, signals from China were totally opaque. After the March 27 Xinhua report of Xi Jinping’s positive stand when reference to historical problems on the border issue was dropped, the Chinese media went silent on the subject. There were no negatives and no positives. Finally, the Chinese foreign ministry took a vague stand on the issue and the proposed visit of Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to Beijing on May 09, as a preparatory consultation for Li Keqiang’s visit was left unclarified.

But Beijing’s intransigence provoked an Indian public outcry as evidenced by the statements of Indian opposition leaders and Indian media reports. This was no ultra-nationalist drum beating. The Indian public and media are not tutored by the Indian government on nationalism unlike what the Chinese Communist Party does. The public opinion in India has also learnt the lessons of 1962 and would not allow the government to concede paramount national interests.

Finally, Foreign Minister Khurshid had to take the position that his visit could not take place unless the Chinese troops withdraw from DBO. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also extended his visit to Japan for a day to meet Japanese politicians. The message was India could play the same game. The Indian foreign policy community which includes the media can no longer remain silent with Chinese objections to enhanced India-Japan relations, India-US relations and India-Vietnam relations among others.

China has had a free hand till now in obstructing sovereign Indian rights on the India-US civilian nuclear agreement and India’s membership of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG). On its part, China has reduced the India-China border length to 2000 kms, thereby siding with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, and made infrastructure construction in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) which India considers its sovereign territory under the instruments of Partition of India in 1947. Under a 1963 agreement, Pakistan illegally conceded over 5000 Sq.kms territory of POK to China. And, of course, China continues to beef up Pakistan’s nuclear capability.

Internationally, there are no two opinions that China made Pakistan a stand alone nuclear power, tested Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb in its Taklamakan test site, and gave Pakistan the blue print of the nuclear bomb.

If China finds the Indian advance (aircraft) landing strip (ASL) in the Depsung Bulge overlooking the Chinese road to Pakistan as a strategic threat, India will not be concerned. This ASL was used by India till 1965. It is in Indian territory, and China had not objected to it previously. All these issues have to be reconciled for an improved relation between the two countries.

The Global Times, an adjunct of the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, carried an intemperate editorial on May 02. It castigated the Indian media, especially the Times of India of writing unfriendly articles to influence the Indian mainstream society. It advised the India media and the political media to be ”balanced”’ and blamed the Indian government for not “clarifying the truth” of the “intrusion”’ whatever the Chinese version of the truth is. Finally, it warned that “China will not ignore provocation”’ suggesting a Chinese military adventure. In so many words, the editorial claimed that the Chinese troops had pitched tents in Chinese territory!

It is known that the Global Times is an aggressive newspaper. Most of its articles can be ignored. But an editorial cannot be.

The Chinese probe in DBO was a tactical error even if they were trying to test India’s resolve. It could have ended in a huge strategic blunder if China would have persisted in DBO. The Chinese apprehension that India was strategising itself with the US and Japan to encircle China is born out of characteristic suspicion of Chinese Communist Party. New Delhi has repeatedly assured China and others that it continues to prosecute an independent foreign policy. When the US says India is the “Lynch pin” of their Asia policy the target is not China. There is much more in India-US relation, and constraining China is not in that calculation, at least not on India’s part. Beijing should have realized by now that US President Barack Obama in his second term is readjusting America’s Asia pivot to a much more realistic relationship with China.

At the same time, China cannot grudge development of India’s relations with other countries whether they be Japan, Vietnam, the US, or with Nepal, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. This is India’s sovereign right.

With the second largest economy in the world, a speedily developing military might poised to project its real power in the Indian Ocean as the recent Chinese defense white paper indicates, and a promised quantum jump in 2020-22 of its comprehensive national power (CNP), China considers it has arrived as a great power to challenge the US.

India, too, is a rising power. But its influence is soft, collaborative and non-exploitative. China’s growing influence is seen by the international community increasingly as insensitive and aggressive backed by military power, as well as hegemonistic and exploitative of poorer nations as in Africa. Even Chinese experts have opined that China has no friends in its neighbourhood. It is not trusted by its neighbours, and that includes Russia. China needs a friendly and cooperative India. Prosecuting an enemy relationship with India can jeopardise its interests in Afghanistan, Central Asia and elsewhere.

China’s behaviour with its neighbours, especially with India on the DBO incident, has alarmed the international community. If they chose to wear blinkers, so be it. But it will be dropping a huge stone on its own feet. When premier Li Keqiang visits India late this month, a red carpet will be rolled out for him. He will, however, be well advised to come with the understanding that 1962 is history but India has learnt lessons and moved way ahead. President Xi, Premier Li and the rest of the top Chinese leadership including in the PLA would do well to tear apart the proverbial ‘string of pearls’ to encircle India and throw it in the deepest waters of the Indian Ocean.

Recent developments in China’s strategic foreign policy suggests that the leadership is facing a serious dilemma. They are under pressure from the demons and hallucinations that they have created over the last decade by discarding Deng Xiaoping’s policy of keeping a low profile, and attempting to implement Emperor Qin Shi Wangdi’s policy of violent subjugation of perceived enemies.

Obviously, there is a serious clash of ideas in Zhongnanhai in Beijing. How this debate is reconciled will negatively impact the fate of 21st century Asia or the earlier popular saying that the 21st century is Asia’s century. The Beijing leadership would do well to note this adage is hardly mentioned any longer. They must ponder why?

Time is of essence, but time has not yet been lost. There is plenty of space in the world as in Asia, for all to work together. There cannot be a China unipolar Asia. The US is retracting from an unipolar America concept following the demise of the Soviet Union. If China decides to fill in the space vacated by the US, it will be a recepie for conflict. China’s access to energy and raw material sources can be better ensured through peaceful means.

Alfred Thayer Mahn’s strategy of “one who rules the oceans rules the world” has become the new bible among some Chinese strategists. That strategy,

however, does not in its totality endure today. It has served its time. Other countries are not lotus eaters sleeping in blissful oblivion.

If China wants others to believe in its propaganda of “harmonious relationship” and “peaceful rise of China”’ it will have to walk the talk. The decision lies squarely with China.

Would you let your daughter join the army?

As a US veteran, I know that the military has a lot it needs to change for women, but there are also tremendous opportunities

The news has been full of stories about the self-acknowledged "big problem" of sexual assault in the military. It isn't new information, though the amount of public attention being paid to it is. As a result, I've been asked frequently if I would let my daughter enlist when she's old enough.

My answer may surprise you: definitely.

Whether I would "let" my daughter enlist is not even the right question: once she is 18, she has the right to join the military – and as strong willed as she is already (she's not quite two), any resistance from my part would be as likely to encourage her to sign right up as it would be to deter her.

And there are a surprising number of benefits specifically for women about military service. I've written about how my time in the army taught me a number of skills that have since helped me succeed in the civilian world, including how to present myself effectively; control my emotions; prioritize, plan and be decisive; keep perspective; and recognize my own strength.

There are also ways in which the military is surprisingly progressive for being such a conservative institution. It's one of the few large employers that provides subsidized child care. Where I live, the highest rate at the closest military child development center is half what I pay in a civilian facility, and rates are lower for the lowest-paid military personnel.

In addition, while there is a wage gap between men and women in the civilian world, it simply does not exist within the military. Pay is based on time in grade and time in service – no one has to negotiate for raises (a fraught proposition for women).

Contrary to popular belief, the total compensation package in the military is also remarkably high compared to those in the civilian sector, particularly for enlisted personnel – there aren't many other jobs in the US where someone with only a high school diploma can get free health insurance for their entire family from day one. The education benefits alone are incredibly valuable – the post-9/11 GI Bill covers in-state tuition at public schools while providing a housing stipend for full time students who attend classes, an incredibly valuable incentive for those seeking to improve their socioeconomic statuses in an era of rapidly increasing tuition.

I am certainly not arguing that the military is a haven for women. The ban on women serving in combat arms jobs and units has only recently been lifted – though we've been dying in combat since the American Revolution – and the full implementation details are as yet undetermined. We face sexual harassment, assault, and denigration. The military has a long way to go in improving the cultural climate that has allowed these problems to become so entrenched; hopefully now that even the president is publicly calling for consequences, we will finally see progress.

If it doesn't act soon, Congress may take matters out of military hands: there are now calls to create an independent office within the Department of Defense to handle sexual assault cases, require that service members convicted of sexual assault be discharged from the military, and eliminate commanders' ability to reverse convictions for sexual assault.

The US military is out front on wage equality and providing benefits that support families – policies that should be expanded throughout America. It has the opportunity now to lead the way in reforming how it approaches sexual misconduct, which is rife on college campuses and beyond.

Senior leaders should lead the way in changing a culture of victim blaming, vigorously prosecute offenders, and include how officers handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault in their formal evaluations. If it is able to become as progressive on this issue as it already is in others, it will be an organization that I would not only "let", but actively encourage, my daughter to join.

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