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Friday, 28 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 28 Jun 2013
Copter crash: 20 bravehearts to get guard of honour

New Delhi, June 27
Twenty bravehearts, who died in Tuesday's helicopter crash while rescuing stranded people in flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand, will be given a guard of honour -- a ceremonial mark of respect -- by the government tomorrow in Dehradun.

"Twenty persons - National Disaster Response Force (9), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (6) and five from Indian Air Force - will be a given guard of honour tomorrow at 12.30 pm in Dehradun," Vice-Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) M Shashidhar Reddy told reporters here.

Reddy said he would be accompanying Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to Dehradun to pay homage to these brave personnel who laid down their lives in the service of the nation.

A sophisticated Mi-17V5 helicopter, belonging to IAF, had crashed in bad weather during a rescue mission in the flood-ravaged hill state. Bodies of all 20 personnel, on board the ill-fated copter, have been recovered.

He said so far over 1 lakh persons have been evacuated from different areas
of the state.

"As many as 1,495 people have been evacuated till 2 pm today both by air and by road. A total of 1,04,095 people have been evacuated so far since the disaster struck," Reddy said.

He said that 560 people have died in the disaster, 476 have been injured and about 344 people are still missing. A total of 2,232 houses, 154 bridges and 320 roads have been damaged due to the disaster.

Reddy's figures are lower to official estimates of 822 people having lost their lives following the natural disaster in the hill state.

Reddy hoped that the rescue operation would be completed by tomorrow. — PTI
The pioneering C-130 sortie that fuelled life-saving copters
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 27
“Sir, I can hear your engines overhead, but still cannot see you,” came the voice over the headsets in the cockpit of the IAF’s newly acquired C-130J medium-lift transport aircraft as it made a precarious approach to a small, weather-beaten airfield in the mountains of Uttarakhand to help rescue thousands of pilgrims stranded in the area due to flash floods.

The aircraft was just about a km away from touchdown when it broke a cloud cover and made a pioneering landing at Dharasu near Uttarkashi on June 22.

With no navigation aids or communication facilities on ground, the weather playing truant and no prior recce, a trial landing by an aircraft in adverse conditions posed a huge challenge.

“Ideally, visibility of at least 3-4 km is required. At first, the chaps on ground thought we would not be able to make it,” Gp Capt Tejbir Singh, the commanding officer of No. 77 Squadron that operates the C-130, said.

“It is the advanced avionics suite and onboard equipment, including sensors and infrared cameras, that give the C-130 the capability to operate in adverse circumstances like this,” he added.

With him in the cockpit were his co-pilot Wg Cdr A. Verma and combat systems operator Wg Cdr AK Bahuguna.

With no flying support facilities at Dharasu, a squadron officer, Sqdn Ldr HR Bhatt, sat in a parked Mi-17 cockpit and used the helicopter’s radio to maintain contact with the C-130.

He had gone there the previous evening just to see if the surface of the airstrip was fit for a landing. He had spent the night making bulldozers clear 6-7 ft-high bushes from the runway’s shoulders that otherwise could have got entangled in the aircraft’s propellers.

The landing of the C-130 at Dharasu was vital so that much-needed fuel for helicopters engaged in rescue work could be made available.

Ferrying fuel drums was not an option as the drums would have to be made to “sit” for 48 hours to allow the sediment to settle before the fuel could be used. With thousands of people stranded or dying, this kind of time was not available. Nor was use of the heavy Il-78 midair re-fuellers possible.

An out-of-the-box approach resulted in the C-130’s internal tanks being used to ferry fuel.

“There was no time even to adhere to standard operating procedures like prior ground and air recce and to make technical assessments. The cloud cover did not even permit an overhead circuit assess of the lay of the land prior to approach,” Gp Capt Tejbir said. “It was a blind mission. We just had to go in straight,” he added. The approach to Dharasu was difficult with the aircraft having to follow a curved flight path around a hill.

At 130 knots, the aircraft touched down on the 3,265 ft of the available runway. Not only was the runway length much less than that needed for an ideal landing, but the airspeed was also more at that altitude for an aircraft of that size and given the fact that it was carrying nine tonnes of additional fuel.

The fuel was offloaded into a bowser, airlifted by a Mi-26 the day before, through reverse action of the C-130’s fuel pumps. Hoses used for the purpose had been specially modified and tested at the Hindon airbase the night before.

With the fuel available, helicopter engines revved up again for rescue work. Two more sorties were carried out and in the meantime road links were restored to ensure regular fuel supply.

Ingenious ways

    Ferrying fuel drums was not an option as the drums would have to be made to ‘sit’ for 48 hours to allow the sediment to settle before the fuel could be used
    The use of the heavy Il-78 midair re-fuellers was also not possible
    So C-130’s internal tanks were used to ferry fuel
Better Indo-Pak ties will improve Afghan situation: Dobbins
New Delhi, June 27
Improvement in Indo-Pak ties will automatically improve the situation in Afghanistan, US Special Af-Pak envoy James Dobbins said today even as he discussed the current state of play in US-Afghan relations and attempts to work towards reconciliation with top officials here.

Dobbins, who arrived here yesterday to brief Indian officials on the proposed talks with the Taliban as part of stabilising war-torn Afghanistan, also said there is no prospect of any agreement with the Taliban unless they decide on severing ties with all terror groups, including the Al-Qaida, a major concern of India.

"In an agreement, they need to improve on cessation of hostilities, respectfully attend the Constitution and go about severing of all ties with the Al-Qaida and similar terrorist organisations," he said.

Dobbins, who flew-in here after visiting Kabul and Islamabad, also said, "Any improvement in Indo-Pak ties will almost automatically improve the Afghanistan situation."

After his two-day official engagements which included meeting with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai yesterday, official sources here said the discussions "focused on the current state of play in US-Afghan relations and attempts to work towards reconciliation". — PTI
Sharif to visit China, his first trip after taking over as PM

Islamabad, June 27
On his first foreign visit since assuming office, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will go to China next week where he is likely to seek Beijing's assistance to overcome the country's energy crisis.

This would be the first foreign trip of the Prime Minister since the new government has taken over earlier this month, Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said at his weekly briefing here today.

He said the dates for the visit would be determined through diplomatic channels.

Various MoUs to increase cooperation in different fields, including energy, would be signed during the visit, the spokesman said.

During his stay in Beijing, Sharif will discuss with the Chinese leadership plans for reinforcing bilateral strategic partnership, enhancing economic cooperation and development of Pakistan-China trade and economic corridor.

Pakistani officials are also expected to discuss ways to seek Chinese assistance to overcome the country's energy crisis.

A high-level delegation comprising members of the federal cabinet, parliamentarians and other senior officials will accompany Sharif, according to an official source.

Sharif was invited by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a meeting with the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) chief on the sidelines of his visit to Islamabad last month.

Chaudhry said the dead bodies of Chinese tourists killed in Pakistan's northern areas in a terrorist attack have been sent to their country while those of the other countries will be sent later today. — PTI

Re-affirming traditional ties

* The two sides will work towards strategic partnership, enhanced economic ties

* Energy to dominate talks between the two countries
For Rs 6 lakh crore, Indian armed forces set to acquire Star Wars-like weapons
Seeking to prepare itself for futuristic warfare of the kind seen in the iconic and sensational Star Wars movies, Indian armed forces are planning to spend around Rs 6 lakh crore to get hi-tech equipment such as robots for combat roles, precision-guided missiles and watch-dog satellites, according to a Defence Ministry document.

In the document 'Technology and Capability Roadmap' for the armed forces for next 15 years, Defence Minister A K Antony has also made it clear that his department will make these acquisitions in a holistic manner "without compromising transparency, fairness and probity at any level."
"In the next 15 years, Indian forces are poised for major modernisation... The volumes are high and the financial outlays large. There is substantial scope in the process for Indian industry to harness this market around USD 100 billion (Rs six lakh crore) to develop indigenous capability; especially in high technology areas," it said. The TCR has been provided by the Ministry as a step to provide a roadmap to the private and public sector indigenous industry about the requirements of the armed forces so that they can gear up themselves to provide the solutions.

"The document is being put up in the public domain to establish a level playing field for the Indian defence industry, both public and private sector," the Ministry said. In the field of space, the TCR says the armed forces would require "watchdog satellites" to guard against the anti-satellite weapons, which have been developed by China.

"With the advent of anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) a concept of `watchdog satellites to guard other satellites could also be explored," it said.The armed forces are also turning eco-friendly and have sought "eco-friendly solar, wind and electric power and propulsion systems which are capable of lowering fuel consumption, reduce pollution and better energy efficient while helping vessels to operate quietly." Seeking artificial warriors on field, the TCR said for winning land battles, the Army would need "Robots to assist troops in combat for tasks such as surveillance, reconnaissance, anti mine and anti IED role, urban area combat and casualty extraction."
Indian Army launches website on Uttarakhand relief
The Indian Army Wednesday launched a website - -- to provide updates on the whereabouts of people stranded in disaster-hit Uttarakhand.

The site also provides information about the location of people, helpline numbers, lists of those rescued and their current location.

A spokesperson for the Central Command told IANS that the web site was a one-stop helpline for people in distress following the natural
calamity in Uttarakhand.
India Adding 40,000 Mountain Troops at China Border

NEW DELHI — Shortly after new Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited here, India has decided to proceed with a plan to add more than 40,000 troops in the form of a mountain corps to bolster its strength on the Chinese border.

The Ministry of Defence prepared the plan two years ago and has awaited consideration by the Ministry of Finance, which has given approval. Now, it must be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, an MoD source said.

About US $12 billion will be spent to raise the additional troops, and the new corps is expected to be functioning within 10 years, an Army official said. Additional weapons and equipment will be purchased.

“The elite mountain corps will be able to fill this gap in preparedness, thereby adding to the conventional stability in the medium to long term, though in the short term it may be perceived as destabilizing,” defense analyst Rahul Bhonsle said.

Last month, China’s Li visited New Delhi, his first foreign visit after taking office, amid reports that Chinese troops had intruded into Indian territory. The issue was discussed during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, though the point was passed off as “an incident,” an Indian External Affairs Ministry source said.

“The raising of additional troops to be deployed along the border with China is bound to raise tempers in Beijing,” the source said.

Analysts here, however, are unanimous that India and China can ill afford to go to war in the immediate future as both are building themselves economically.

“Given the track record of handling their military and diplomatic showdown ... China and India are not likely to go to war anytime soon,” said Swaran Singh, professor for diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru Univer­sity. “It’s not a strong possibility even in their medium-term trajectories. It is not in their interest and the interest of the international community, which will ensure it does not occur.

“The strongest incentive against war is their historic chance to achieve their peaceful rise followed by greater recognition and participation in world decision-making bodies.”

But Bhonsle said New Delhi must manage the issue carefully.

“India will certainly have to make extensive efforts to manage concerns that may be raised by China; [otherwise], the move will prove counterproductive and will only lead to increases in force levels on both the sides,” he said. “Confidence-building measures on the boundary and greater transparency in raising the force, including the fact that it is being positioned in the interior, should assuage Beijing.”

The Army official welcomed the new, because the service is operating at only 60 percent of its required capability level.

As the troops will be deployed in hilly terrain, new purchases will include light tanks, specialized vehicles, light artillery guns and advanced infantry equipment.

The Army also will buyammunition and small arms, hand-held thermal imagers, UAVs, aerostat-based radar, portable missiles, air-defense artillery and lightweight radar.

The service will establish network-centric warfare systems for the elite troops, including advanced C4ISR equip­ment, and information warfare systems, Army sources said.

On the composition of the weapons required, Bhonsle said, “the weapons and equipment will include the whole gamut from reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, firepower, tactical and logistics mobility including helicopters, communications and so on. Five years for forming up and almost eight to 10 years for full-spectrum effectiveness may be reasonable to assume.”

The 4,057-kilometer Line of Actual Control is India’s current border with China. The eastern sector, bordering the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, is the most contentious, where China claims 90,000 square kilometers of territory that India occupies.
Why China's Growing Military Should Concern India
China’s latest white paper on defence, a once-in-two-year exercise, was issued on April 16. It clearly underscores the importance of the People’s Liberation Army and its pivotal role in the economic development and growth of China. Its military rise is of concern for India, given its proximity to Pakistan, from where India has faced continuous threats of terrorism and military misadventures. The strategic relationship with Pakistan is evident from the number of joint exercises and training carried out in 2011-12 and economic investments.

The white paper emphasises China’s peaceful rise and its intent to “never seek hegemony... But we will surely counterattack if attacked”. China now sees itself as a world power that has arrived and it will likely intrude, even if it is not attacked, based on perceived threat or slight. The report says, “China’s security and development are closely connected with the peace and prosperity of the world as a whole.” This seems at times to be at odds with its sense of insecurity and the challenges that the report highlights in order to justify its massive military build-up.

The paper says: “It is a strategic task… to build a strong national defense and powerful armed forces which are commensurate with China’s international standing and meet the need of its security and development interests.” China intends to be a predominant military power in the region, apart from an economic power, which it already is, and will not hesitate to use its armed forces to protect its development interests.

In doing the latter, China is following the footsteps of the United States, which has often used its military ostensibly to promote democracy or to remove dictators; but, more often than not, it has been to protect its strategic economic interests. China will be no different, and won’t have pretensions of protecting democracy.

The report says, “Security risks to China’s overseas interests are on the increase.” China’s engagements in countries like Sudan, Libya, Pakistan and Myanmar, and the Indian Ocean, have increased the risks its overseas assets face, and are driven by economic interests in mineral and natural resources and trade routes. Earlier this year, Pakistan transferred the operational control of the strategically located Gwadar port to China.

It is clear that China’s military spend will continue to rise as it develops its strategic capabilities and firepower, both in terms of conventional warfare and information technology for cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare. Its perceived fears are of US hegemony in Asia, and threats to its territorial integrity, particularly from Taiwan and Japan. India has reasons to be concerned given the contentious border issue.

The white papers of 2010 and 2012, (this author has not read the previous papers) make it clear that China’s political and military leadership are well integrated, although the 2012 paper does not mention the Chinese Communist Party (the 2010 paper established the Party’s supremacy in the command structure).

In contrast, India lacks a strategic direction. Its military might has not been used to further its economic interests, and there is no evidence of such thinking among the political class. In fact, there have been signs of growing tension between the military leadership and the political class, particularly during the tenure of VK Singh as the army chief, and, more recently, the controversial non-defence helicopter deal involving former Air Force chief SP Tyagi.

A Domestic Defence Industry
Asia has become one of the largest defence markets in the world. India has the second largest number of active military personnel after China, a defence budget of nearly $50 billion, and is the world’s largest importer of defence equipment. For any large military equipment manufacturer and exporter, India is an important market and will remain so.

The process of procuring military equipment, however, has been a very long one, and often mired in controversies. Allegations of corruption have often stalled decision making and harmed the strategic interests of India as reputed global vendors have been blacklisted. India has also failed to develop a domestic supply base and Russia has remained its primary source of defence supplies. Although defence procurement is being opened up for the private sector, it is painfully slow. This, while China’s dependence on foreign sources has reduced.

The Economist says, “The defence industrial sector, dominated by the sprawling Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), remains stuck in state control and the country’s protectionist past. According to a recent defence-ministry audit, only 29 percent of the products developed by the DRDO in the past 17 years have entered service with the armed forces. The organisation is a byword for late-arriving and expensive flops.”

A thriving defence sector can drive exports, provide employment, and be responsible for major innovations. India has failed to use its defence needs strategically to develop a domestic ecosystem. The US aerospace and defence industry, says a Deloitte study, employs 3.53 million people; companies in this sector generated $324 billion in revenue in 2010. The industry contributed 2.23 percent to the US GDP, and is one of the largest contributors to the gross exports.

With defence spends in developed countries slowing down, companies there are looking at growth opportunities. With the offset clause in place, India has an opportunity to rapidly develop an R&D and production base. But dilution of the offset clause has meant that MNCs can get away with constructing buildings or sourcing software from India, which was happening anyway, and no indigenous production base or technology capabilities get built. 

Cyber Warfare
What should also be a concern for India is the presence of Chinese companies and/or equipment in the country that can affect India’s strategic interests. At a time when strategic warfare can be led by technology, China’s presence in the Indian telecom and information technology sectors has to be viewed with caution. There have been reports from Western countries, and from India, that defence and strategic installations have faced Chinese espionage.

Bloomberg Businessweek, in April, quoted a report by Akamai Technologies, an internet content delivery firm, that said China accounted for 41 percent of the world’s computer attack traffic in the last quarter of 2012, up from 3 percent in the previous quarter; USA was a distant second with 10 percent, India was at number 8, with 2.3 percent. “China’s hacking attacks overwhelmingly targeted intellectual property and state secrets,” the report said.

Mandiant, a cyber security firm, has claimed that hackers from a Chinese military outfit named Unit 61398 was probably behind attacks against more than 140 companies and government agencies around the world. “Our analysis has led us to conclude that APT1 [Advance Persistent Threat] is likely government-sponsored and one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors… Our research found that People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398 is similar to APT1 in its mission, capabilities, and resources. [It] is located in precisely the same area from which APT1 activity appears to originate,” the Mandiant report said. It is therefore not surprising that in March the US banned the purchase of China-made computer technology by the government or its agencies.

There have been reports of cyber attacks on defence and government websites and installations in India, many of them reportedly emanating from China. India cannot turn a blind eye to the operations of Chinese companies in this space as well as the use of Chinese equipment in sensitive areas. Strategic co-operation between India, Japan, Australia and the USA will be of paramount importance.

A Tougher Stand
The recent Chinese incursion into Ladakh seems to be routine before a visit by any senior Chinese political figure (Premier Li Keqiang is expected to visit India in May, en route to Pakistan). In 2006, before Hu Jintao’s visit, China raised its claims on Arunachal Pradesh; in 2010, before Wen Jiabao’s visit, it raised the issue of India’s sovereignty over Jammu & Kashmir. If China can needle India with the border dispute, and engage with Pakistan, why cannot India raise the issue of Tibet’s sovereignty and violation of human rights in Tibet and Xinjiang? Every Indian official’s visit to China should be clubbed or followed by a visit to Taiwan and Japan.

India’s Prime Minister described the Ladakh incursion as a localised problem that can be contained, although he acknowledged it after about a week of the media reporting it. Clearly he is not losing sleep over it. But defence analysts rightly see cause for concern. Brahma Chellaney, a defence expert with the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, wrote in a column that was published in The Economic Times and elsewhere, “The same old scenario has unfolded again. China quietly occupies a strategic area and a diffident India is left preaching the virtues of diplomacy and peace... India’s leadership fails to distinguish between caution and pusillanimity... India today risks becoming the proverbial frog in the slowly warming pot...”

India’s growing economic and military might, and co-operation with other nations, is sure to raise the temperature on the Chinese side. India has a tough balancing act ahead. Our leaders would do well to remember the lines of poet Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’: “Kshama shobhti us bhujang ko, jiske paas garal ho; uska kya jo dantheen, vishrahit vineet saral ho (Forgiveness is becoming of the serpent that’s got venom; none cares for the toothless, poisonless, kind, gentle one.)”
Army Chief remembers Manekshaw, underscores role played by Indian military leaders
Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, on Thursday highlighted the evolution of military strategic vision and contemporary strategic thought over the years and the stellar role played by Indian military leaders.

Delivering the memorial lecture on the occasion of birth centenary of Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw, MC (Military Cross), one of the most illustrious Generals of the Indian Army, General Singh gave a stimulating talk on "Evolution of Indian Military Strategic Thought", a contemporary topic, having immense relevance to all strategists involved in the management of security and defence of the country.

The proceedings began with a welcome note from the Director General of Infantry Lt. Gen. Rameshwar Yadav.

The lecture, which was organised at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt, culminated with closing remarks by the Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh and vote of thanks by Director General of Infantry.

The commemorative event was attended by a large, number of serving and retired Chiefs of three services, other senior serving officers and veterans.
Infiltration bid foiled along LoC, ceasefire violated in Poonch
JAMMU: The army foiled an infiltration bid in Rajouri sector of Jammu and Kashmir while Pakistani troops opened fire on Wednesday at Indian positions in Poonch district, the second ceasefire violation in 24 hours on a day Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the 11-km Banihal-Qazigund rail line.

"Army foiled an infiltration bid at around 11 am in Keri Sector of border district of Rajouri in Jammu region," said defence PRO S N Acharya. He said that troops manning the Line of Control detected movement by a group of two to three armed intruders who had sneaked across.

"Troops acting swiftly fired at them and the infiltrators fired back,'' he said, adding that the exchange of fire was in progress till the last report was filed.

In Poonch, Pakistani soldiers violated the ceasefire again, but no injury or any damage to property was reported. "Pakistan troops targeted forward Indian posts along Line of Control at around 10:45 am," Acharya said. "Small arms firing continued at forward Indian posts between Doda and Sawjian area for about 30 minutes upto 11:15am."

Pakistani troops had fired at Indian posts at 3:15pm on Tuesday.

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