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Sunday, 12 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 12 May 2013
Raised incursion issue with China, border agreement talks on: Khurshid
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, May 11
While announcing that new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang would visit India on May 19, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today asserted that he did raise with the Chinese leadership the recent incursion by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Ladakh during his just-concluded visit to Beijing.

Stung by BJP president Rajnath Singh’s comments that he had compromised India’s strategic interests, Khurshid said,’’These are nothing but unwarranted expressions. It is not something we will ever allow or even suggested (to us) by anybody for a quid pro quo.’’

Addressing a press conference shortly after his arrival from Beijing this afternoon, the minister said he had firmly conveyed to the Chinese leadership that both countries need to analyse why the Chinese troops intruded into Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector and remained there for three weeks, leading to tension between the nations. ‘’We must analyse why it happened and learn a lesson from it... we must ensure that if such a thing happens again, it must be dealt with greater urgency and less passage of time. ‘’

He said he had held cordial meetings with the Chinese Premier, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and former Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who is now the new Chinese Special Representative (SR) for the border talks with India. ‘’Regarding the recent problem (Chinese incursion), we were on the same page and there was a degree of satisfaction that relevant mechanisms for dealing with such issues did work very well.’’ Both sides were in agreement that such incidents should not be allowed to obstruct meaningful progress in the relationship between the two countries.

Khurshid disclosed that the Chinese had some weeks back given to India the draft of a border defence management agreement. India, in turn, had given its own proposals to China on the proposed accord.

Referring to his meeting with Chinese Premier Li, the minister said he found the Chinese leader friendly, warm and welcoming in his demeanour. The Chinese leader, who would be visiting India on his maiden overseas official trip, will tour New Delhi and Mumbai. The two sides were looking at the possibility of signing some key agreements, including those on micro irrigation, waste water management and translation of classic and temporary works. The two countries were also discussing a joint statement to be issued at the end of the Premier’s visit to send a strong message to the people of the two countries, the rest of Asia and the world.

Following the Chinese Premier’s visit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be travelling to Beijing later during the year. The Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries on the border issue would also be holding their 16th round of talks in the next couple of months.

He said China had assured him that India’s downstream interests would not be affected. India also flagged the need to expand or set up a separate mechanism to deal with issues pertaining to trans-border rivers.

Chinese Premier coming on May 19

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who would be visiting India on his maiden overseas official trip from May 19, will tour  New Delhi and Mumbai
    The two sides were looking at the possibility of signing some key agreements, including those on micro irrigation, waste water management and translation of classic and temporary works
    The two countries were also discussing a joint statement to be issued at the end of the Premier’s visit to send a strong message to the people of the two countries, the rest of Asia and the world
    Following the Chinese Premier’s visit, PM Manmohan Singh would be travelling to Beijing later during the year
BrahMos aerospace his baby
“Time is not far when humans will explore space to live in,” says A Sivathanu Pillai, a distinguished space scientist. Pillai, who was honoured with Padma Bhushan last week, discovered planets like Kepler22h and Gliesen667c have the same temperature as the Earth. “Man can move to these planets for living, and return to the Earth on a holiday,” he says. These planets are at a distance of 122 light years.

The next Chandrayaan mission in 2014 would explore the material on the moon, he says. “It has material like helium which can be mined. It will become the hub in the future for launching vehicles and mining,” Pillai says.

Known as the “Father of BrahMos Aerospace”, Pillai is the chief controller of research development at the Defence Research and Development Organisation, and chief executive officer and managing director of BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. He has conceived and provided leadership in design, development, production and marketing. Having worked along some of India’s greatest visionaries like Dr Vikram Sarabhai and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Pillai has been at the core of missile research since 1991.

He has made significant contribution in the development of Agni, Prithvi, Nag and Akash missiles. He has been honoured with several awards, including Padma Shri and Vikram Sarabhai Research Award.

Asked why BrahMos became a benchmark in international cooperation, he says after the Gulf War, the Ministry of Defence realised the importance of cruise missiles. India decided to go for a weapon with supersonic speed. “The key to future war is speed. A supersonic missile needs a highly capable engine to reach the desired speed. That is why we focused on solid propellant technology. We were looking for a country that had the right technology.

“We are very experienced with guidance system. We have our own functional navigation systems and excellent experience in onboard computers through the Prithvi and Agni programmes. Our friends at NPO Machinostroyenia were working with us as consultants. Russia and its companies were facing financial crunch after the collapse of the USSR. The roots of our cooperation led to a fruitful arrangement. One brought its achievements and funding for R&D and the other technologies for a supersonic engine,” he explains.

“It was decided we would develop the supersonic missile in India making use of the Russian technology. We realised it would take five to seven years for the transfer of technology. Therefore, we thought it better to do things in parallel; work on the propulsion system in an approach that involves the engine directly. If we went shopping for such an engine, we would find restrictions for its use. This is a high-guarded technology. So, we found a way to work together in a joint venture configuration. The name for this cooperation was derived from Brahmaputra and Moskva — the two big rivers of our respective countries. The missile is now in service,” he says.
We’ll upgrade border infra: Antony
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Goa, May 11
Defence Minister AK Antony today said India has the right to build and develop its border infrastructure and would continue to shore up its capabilities.

“As China has the right to improve, increase and strengthen infrastructure and other facilities on its land, India has the right to develop its own infrastructure. Over the years, the Indian Air force and the Army have increased their capabilities. That process will continue,” Antony said.

The Defence Minister was addressing mediapersons after commissioning the MiG 29-K, the first ship-deck based super-sonic jet fighters for the Navy. Antony’s statement comes nearly a week after the face-off with China ended in northern Ladakh on May 5. The two sides had agreed to pull back their troops to their earlier positions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Voicing concern over Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea, Antony said: “There should be freedom of navigation as per the UN convention. India has commercial interests and though it is not a party to the dispute, it believes that disputes should be settled as per the UN laws”.

China has recently upped the ante and has been vigorously patrolling the seas. Vietnam, Brunei, The Philippines and Malaysia are locked in a dispute over sea boundaries in the oil and gas-rich South China Sea.

India’s commercial interests lie in two oil-exploration blocks (numbered 127 and 128) in Phu Khanh Basin. China disputes that these are not within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Vietnam. India has cited the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Seas to work on these blocks.

Antony made a special reference to the Sea Lanes of Communication which are vital for trade. “The protection of SLOCs is becoming more and more important. Economic development, trade and commerce everything depends on security of SLOCs,” he said.

Antony said the Navy's indigenously-built aircraft carrier would be launched on August 12 this year, while INS Vikramaditya (purchased from Russia) will arrive before the end of 2013.

The first lot of 18 new-age MiG29-K fighter aircraft was commissioned into the Navy today. This was the first-induction of fighters in the Navy since the Sea Harriers were commissioned in the early 1980s. In all, 45 MiG 29-K’s are being purchased from Russia at a cost of $2.4 billion (approx Rs 13,200 crore).

The aircraft would be attached to aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which would be commissioned later this year. Until then, the planes will fly off from Goa. “India has to maintain an edge over its adversaries in defence preparedness through the acquisition of new technology and better training of the personnel due to rapidly changing security scenario in the region,” said Antony.

MiG 29-K commissioned into Navy

New-age fighter aircraft MiG29-K was commissioned into the Navy in the presence of Defence Minister AK Antony at INS Hansa

Antony said the Navy's indigenously-built aircraft carrier would be launched on August 12 this year

INS Vikramaditya (purchased from Russia) will arrive before the end of 2013, said the Defence Minister
After China stand-off, Defence Minister AK Antony says India has right to upgrade infrastructure along the border
Panaji: A week after the Chinese Army withdrew from Raki Nalla in north Ladakh ending a 21-day face-off between the two neighbours, Defence Minister A K Antony said India would continue to upgrade its infrastructure and capabilities along the border with China. Despite Beijing's protests.

But he also said that the two countries would continue negotiations to find a solution to border issues. Mr Antony said the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement proposed by China had been discussed during External Affairs Minister Salam Khurshid's visit earlier this week to China. He said he did not "have the details yet."

The Defence Minister was speaking to reporters after commissioning the first MiG- 29 K - supersonic fighter jets squadron into the Indian Navy at the INS Hansa in Goa.
On April 15, a Chinese platoon had set up camp about 19 km inside India territory. China insisted that it had not intruded into Indian territory and it took much diplomatic negotiations and some tough talk from India to finally convince Beijing to withdraw its troops. Among China's demands reportedly was that India stop developing infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control; many areas in that region are disputed territory.

In a clear and stern message to China, Mr Antony said today, "it is the right of every country to develop infrastructure in their area. As China has the right to increase, improve and strengthen and other facilities on its land, India has the right to develop its own infrastructure in its area. Over the years the IAF and Army have increased capability on our land and that process will continue."

The mild-mannered Mr Antony, who is known to preach and practice the middle path both in politics and when administering his crucial ministry, today also emphasised that India would police the sea-lanes of communication in the Indian Ocean region and beyond to protect its interests.

He also said that a territorial dispute in the South China Sea should be settled as per the provision of the United Nations Convention of the Sea of 1982. India is not party to the party to this dispute - China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have overlapping claims here leading to tension. But it has two oil blocks (Blocks-127 ..128) in the Phu- Khanh basin in the South China Sea in the Vietnam Coast. India has claimed that these blocks are within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Vietnam, but China disputes this.
India has right to develop border facilities: Antony
Pointing out that status quo ante had been restored after the three-week Chinese incursion in eastern Ladakh with the issue having been sorted out through diplomacy and negotiations, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Saturday said India had the right to develop infrastructure, facilities and capabilities on its land.

“Our Army and Air Force are developing their capabilities in border areas only on our own land and this process will continue,” he said replying to questions at a press conference at the Naval Air Base in Goa after he commissioned the Navy’s MiG 29K combat jet squadron.

Mr. Antony said India had “well-established” procedures to sort out issues with neighbours. His reference was to the April 15 Chinese incursion in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector in eastern Ladakh that ended after several rounds of flag meetings between local Army commanders and negotiations with Beijing at the diplomatic level.

“As China has the right to improve infrastructure and other facilities in its border areas, India also has the right to develop its capabilities and infrastructure in the border areas on its own land,” he asserted.

Sea lanes vital

Reiterating that India would protect its national interests, including vital sea lanes which were becoming increasingly important for carrying on trade and commerce, the Minister said economic development depended on a secure environment.

“We are supporting the Navy so that it can meet all challenges successfully. The Navy will see a new age of more inductions in the years to come. It will protect the national interest in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere.” Without naming anybody, Mr. Antony asserted that India would do “everything to safeguard our national interests.”

Aircraft carrier

The indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC), being constructed at the Cochin shipyard, would be launched for outfitting on August 12. The 45,000-tonne aircraft carrier’s construction began in 2009 and after completing the undersea work like hull and propellers, it would be launched for outfitting on and above the deck.

The first IAC is likely to be commissioned in 2017 after extensive sea trials expected to begin in 2016.

On a question about Russia, Mr. Antony said Moscow had been the “most trusted” partner not only in defence but also in other key areas with the relationship going back to several decades.

The Minister said the armed forces were acquiring new platforms and equipment to strengthen their capabilities and preparedness.

Mr. Antony said the security environment around India was changing rapidly, more so in the oceans. Acquisition of new techniques and training were crucial to enhance India’s defence preparedness.

“Red letter day”

Terming the commissioning of the MiG 29K squadron, INAS 303, a “red letter day” for the Navy, the Minister said the latest squadron would operate from INS Vikramaditya, formerly Admiral Gorshkov, the aircraft carrier that would be delivered later this year.

Naval aviation is set to get more teeth with the new and capable aircraft joining the fleet. Nearly 20 MiG 29K aircraft have been inducted into the Navy’s air arm and the squadron was formally commissioned by Mr. Antony here, marking the diamond jubilee of the Naval aviation. Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi and top Navy officials were present at the ceremony that saw an impressive fly-past by Navy’s fighters and surveillance aircraft.

The latest squadron would form the fighter complement of INS Vikramaditya. Contracts had been signed for more MiG 29K aircraft and would form the complement of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1, which is under construction in the Kochi shipyard. Ever since decommissioning of INS Vikrant in 1997, INS Viraat with its integral air arm of Sea Harriers, Sea Kings and Chetaks has been central to fleet operations till date.

The Naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was under development at Goa. This LCA along with MiG 29K would form the main carrier-borne fighter component of the Navy in the near future.

Hawk 132 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft have also been contracted to take over the training role from the Kiran aircraft and deliveries of these would also start this year, say Navy officials.

Mini Air Force

Over the past few years, the Naval air arm has grown from a modest force to a mini Air Force and has about 220 aircraft, 1,300 officers and 9,000 men. From its early days of having a single air station, it has now grown to encompass eight air stations. “Future inductions will see our present naval aircraft inventory increase substantially, transforming the Naval Aviation into a potent multidimensional networked force,” Navy officials said.

The Navy’s long-range maritime patrol capabilities will also get a boost with the induction of the first Boeing P8-1 aircraft this year, making it only the second operator of this aircraft after the U.S. Navy. Coastal surveillance capabilities are also being increased with additional UAVs which have been integrated with fleet operations and can be controlled by fleet ships.
Indian Army matches China man-for-man on the border
As the Army's Military Intelligence (MI) and Military Operations (MO) directorates study the Chinese troop incursion into Indian territory at Daulat Beg Oldi, below the towering Karakoram Pass in Ladakh, military analysts are also scanning a newly-released Chinese document for information that might be of help.

Issued on April 16 by the State Council Information Office, the defence White Paper titled "The Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces" (hereafter 'China's Armed Forces') provides an unusually clear look into the structures and missions of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA includes China's ground, air and naval forces, and the Second Artillery Corps that operates that country's strategic arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles, including those that carry nuclear payloads.

The document, 'China's Armed Forces', has surprised Indian analysts by revealing the PLA land forces (long regarded as the largest standing army in the world) are actually just half the size that intelligence agencies worldwide had estimated. India has always estimated that the PLA Army (PLAA) numbers 1.6 million soldiers but the White Paper says the PLAA was just 850,000 strong. (SINO-INDIA BORDER: TROOP DEPLOYMENTS)

If these figures are authentic, the Indian Army, with 1.2 million soldiers, is 50 per cent larger than the PLAA.

The PLAA's numbers do not include the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) and the militia, both of which operate behind the frontlines. The Indian Army, too, gets assistance from central police organisations like the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal.

According to the White Paper, 400,000 airmen man the PLA Air Force (PLAAF), while the PLA Navy (PLAN) has 235,000 sailors.

Indian military planners who prepare for eventualities like the current PLA incursion spiraling out of control, perhaps even into actual fighting, focus less on total numbers than on the units and formations that can quickly come into action. The White Paper fully corroborates the Army's estimates of Chinese formations on the Sino-Indian border.

MI has long known that two of China's seven Military Area Commands (MACs) -Shenyang, Beijing, Lanzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Chengdu - are responsible for the Indian border. The Lanzhou MAC, which includes the 21st and 47th Combined Corps (earlier known as Group Armies), is responsible for operations on the Ladakh border. The Chengdu MAC, which includes the 13th and 14th Combined Corps, is responsible for the Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh borders.

Between them, these four Chinese combined corps muster nine divisions and five mechanised brigades. The Indian Army matches that with nine divisions on the Sino-Indian border - one in Ladakh, three in Sikkim, four in Arunachal and two in Nagaland and Manipur. In addition, India plans to raise a mountain strike corps during the 12th Defence Plan (2012-2017), which would add two more divisions. These would be stationed in the Brahmaputra Valley for launching offensive operations into Tibet.

India not just matches the PLAA division-for-division but, given the PLAA's revised overall numbers, China's formations could have significantly less troops than what had been earlier anticipated. That means numerical superiority on the Sino-Indian border quite clearly lies with India.

However, China's road and rail infrastructure allows it the major advantage of being able to move troops rapidly, even from other MACs. This would permit the PLAA to quickly concentrate a large number of troops in a small area, attack and overwhelm the Indian defenders at that point. Since the Sikkim and Arunachal roads are poor and railways non-existent, the Indian Army would find it difficult to move defenders as quickly to the threatened sector.

The White Paper reveals the PLAA has extensively practiced concentrating troops in a conflict zone. The document says, "Since 2010, a series of campaign-level exercises and drills code-named "Mission Action" for trans-MAC maneuvers have been carried out…. In 2011, relevant troops from the Chengdu and Jinan MACs were organised and carried out the exercise in plateau areas (i.e. Tibet). In 2012, the Chengdu, Jinan and Lanzhou MACs and relevant PLAAF troops were organised and carried out the exercise in southwestern China (i.e. Tibet).

'China's Armed Forces' is apparently Beijing's response to the international community's repeated demands for clarity on China's worrying military build-up. Beijing's projection of a benign and responsible international image goes hand-in-hand with its rather more bare-knuckled handling of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands dispute with Japan, its insistence on control over the South China Sea and its recent protests over Washington's decision to sell F-16 fighters to Taiwan.
Army trains youth of remote Jammu area for recruitment
Jammu, May 11 (IANS) The Indian Army is training youth from a remote mountainous area of Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district for a mega recruitment rally beginning May 30, an official said Saturday.

A defence spokesman said that under its ongoing Operation Sadbhavna (Goodwill) the army has picked youth from militancy-affected areas of Mahore in Reasi district, 220 km north of Jammu.

"This initiative aims to get maximum youth from Mahore area recruited in the upcoming recruitment rally. Keeping this in mind a total of 32 candidates are being made to undergo rigorous pre recruitment training in the various Army posts in Mahore," said the spokesman.

"All these candidates are being made to undergo training in physical and written classes. The tests that are conducted during the training are being conducted to ensure that all these candidates are mentally and physical geared up," he said.
India, Maldives to hold defence talks

New Delhi: India and Maldives are expected to discuss ways to strengthen their military ties during their Defence Minister-level talks starting here on Monday. 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.
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.
India does not retaliate against Pak due to nukes: US expert
WASHINGTON: India does not retaliate despite Pakistan-backed terrorist attacks against it because of the deterrence of nuclear weapons that the two countries possess, an American defence expert has said.

"All the terrorism that Pakistan has supported against India has been carried out, secure in the knowledge that India cannot retaliate," Stephen Blank, Research Professor of National Security Affairs at the Army War College, said.
"If Pakistan had no nukes, if there were no nukes on the South Indian peninsula, India could retaliate and probably would. But their hand is stayed by the threat of nuclear war," Blank told a meeting of National Defense Industrial Association in response to a question.
Similarly, nuclear weapons act as a deterrent for many countries, as was the case during the cold war between the US and China, he noted.
"If you look at the map, the Russian Far East, which directly adjoins China, is what we call an economy of force theatre. It is a theatre that can only survive by sustaining itself," Blank said.
"If a war broke out between Russia and China -- and now and then Russian military and political officials actually allude to the possibility of a Chinese threat -- probably within a day the Chinese could take out the Trans-Siberian Railway and essentially isolate the area from the rest of continental Russia," he said.
"Therefore, the only recourse that the Russian military has in a contingency with China is nuclear," he added.
During the Cold War, at the strategic level of nuclear weapons, the Russians could at any time they wanted destroy all of Europe.
"In return, we threatened to destroy all of the Soviet Union. That was basically the mutual hostage relationship. Then the US also became as well a target of enhanced Soviet capabilities," he said.
"If we are truly looking to build, 'a new world order', whatever that may be, and get beyond the Cold War, then we should not be encouraging people to build more nuclear weapons and to remain frozen in this posture of hostility and thinking about first-use scenarios," Blank said.
"So that already is the utility of nuclear weapons. It confers enormous political capabilities, as well as the strategic capability to wage conventional war. I mean, if you have nukes, you make the world safe for conventional warfare," Blank said.

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