Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Saturday, 6 July 2013

From Today's Papers - 06 Jul 2013
India, China agree to have ‘strategic communication’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 5
Looking to put behind the tension that erupted along the Line of Actual Control in April this year, India and China today agreed to have better communication at the highest level to promote an atmosphere of trust and confidence building.

Defence Minister AK Antony, who is on a four-day official visit to China, today held delegation-level talks with his counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan in Beijing, where it was decided to have ‘strategic communication’ and maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC until the boundary between the two edgy neighbours is demarcated. Sources said the ‘strategic level’ could be between the Director General of Military Operations of either side.

“Discussions between the two Defence Ministers included measures to promote mutual trust and confidence building between the armed forces. It was agreed that ‘strategic communication’ is required for building trust and understanding,” Indian Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said in an emailed communiqué from Beijing.

Both ministers discussed a number of issues relating to bilateral defence relations, exchanges and interactions between the Ministries of Defence and armed forces of both countries and the regional and international security situation.

Antony later called on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who had visited India in May this year. The Chinese Premier and his Defence Minister conveyed to Antony that “China attaches great importance in developing friendly and cooperative relations with India”.

An India Defence Ministry statement said: “Both sides agreed on the need to maintain peace, tranquility and stability on the LAC. It was agreed that the Special Representatives should continue to work towards a boundary solution. Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to maintain peace.”
Time to solve border dispute, says China premier Li Keqiang to AK Antony
Beijing: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Defence Minister AK Antony today that the two countries can settle a long-running border row, state media reported.

Both sides have the political will to solve their border issues and create a peaceful and stable environment, Mr Li told Mr Antony, according to the state TV news broadcast.

Mr Antony is making a three-day visit to China, the first by a defence chief from the South Asian giant in seven years.

His trip comes after the neighbours, which fought a brief war in 1962, engaged in a stand-off in May over troop movements in a disputed Himalayan border region.

India alleged Chinese troops intruded nearly 20 kilometres (12 miles) into its territory, triggering three weeks of tension that was resolved after talks between local military leaders, and a withdrawal of troops from both sides.

Just ahead of Mr Antony's scheduled arrival yesterday an outspoken Chinese general, known for his nationalist views, issued a warning to India over the dispute.

"The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase military deployment at the border areas and stir up new trouble," Major General Luo Yuan told reporters.

The overall trend, however, appears to be for constructive dialogue on the issue. Antony's trip is the latest in a recent series of high-level mutual visits.

Mr Antony told Mr Li that the development of India and China's friendship will benefit the world, according to the state TV broadcast.

Mr Li, visiting New Delhi in May, pledged to build trust with India, declaring that ties between the Asian giants were key to world peace.

He made India the first destination on his first foreign visit, since China's leadership change in March, which he said showed the importance that Beijing attached to ties with Delhi.

The two countries, both nuclear armed and with populations exceeding one billion people each, cooperate economically as member of the so-called BRICS emerging group along with Brazil, Russia and South Africa.

Last month, India's National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon held negotiations on the boundary issue with his counterparts in Beijing.

Mr Antony's trip overlaps with a visit to Beijing by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan - India's key rival but a close ally of China. The trip is Sharif's first foreign visit since winning election in May.
India, China to push military exchanges amid mistrust
India and China have agreed to boost exchanges between their two militaries, including expanded professional contact between the Air Forces and Navies, as they look to address the persisting strategic mistrust.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony and his counterpart, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Chang Wanquan, also firmed up plans for the first joint military exercise since 2008, to be held in October in China, as they met for talks here.

Mr. Antony, who is on a two-day visit, held delegation-level talks with General Chang, and also met with Premier and second-ranked leader Li Keqiang in the Central leadership compound, Zhongnanhai.

The Defence Minister was accompanied by Defence Secretary R.K. Mathur, Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh of the Eastern Command and Vice-Admiral Satish Soni of the Southern Command.

General Chang welcomed the Minister with a formal guard of honour at the Bayi (August 1st) building — the PLA’s sprawling central Beijing headquarters — named after its founding date.

He said Mr. Antony’s visit would “further enhance strategic communications and mutual trust and promote the healthy and stable development of relations between the two countries and the two militaries”.

Mr. Antony’s visit is the first by a Defence Minister from India since 2006, when Pranab Mukherjee visited Beijing and the northwestern Lanzhou Military Region.

His visit comes amid renewed attention on the border, following the April 15 incursion by Chinese troops into Depsang, in eastern Ladakh, which sparked a stand-off and took three weeks to resolve.

Asked if the Depsang incident came up during talks, Mr. Antony said: “When we are discussing for a long time, we will discuss everything,” he said.

Both sides did, however, acknowledge the need to take “measures to strengthen communication and coordination at various levels between the border guarding forces”, according to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry. They also agreed to make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity on the border.

Mr. Antony said he was “satisfied” with the talks, but added there would be further discussions on Saturday, when he meets Chinese State Councillor and top diplomat Yang Jiechi. Mr. Antony will also visit a PLA Air Force unit in Tianjin, a port city near here.

Mr. Antony played down the comments made by hardline PLA Major General Luo Yuan, who in an interaction with journalists warned India not to “stir up” trouble along the border. Chinese officials have emphasised that Major General Luo, who is known here for his particularly hawkish views, did not represent the official viewpoint.

“My discussions were with official people,” Mr. Antony said when asked about the comments.

He added that Premier Li had “again reiterated that the new leadership in China gives much importance to strengthening and expanding relations with India”.

“He told me he consciously took India as his first overseas destination after assuming [office] as Prime Minister of China,” Mr. Antony said. “This was to send a signal to everybody that the Chinese new leadership wants very cordial and friendly relations with India”.
India, China agree on need for 'strategic communication'
BEIJING: Seeking to maintain peace and stability on the Line of Actual Control in the backdrop of the PLA incursion in Ladakh, India and China today agreed that "strategic communication" is required for building mutual trust even as they agreed to resume joint-army exercises.

During the delegation-level talks between Defence Minister A K Antony and his Chinese counterpart Gen Chang Wanquan here, the two sides agreed that they will make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders and take measures to strengthen communication and coordination at various levels between the border guarding forces.

On the issue of the Chinese incursion into Depsang Valley in April, Antony said, "when we are discussing for a long time we will discuss everything. Outcome is very important. In discussions, everything will be discussed. But the outcome is very positive".

Asked whether he took up the hostile comments made by a Major General of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Luo Yuan, Antony said, "My discussions were with official people. Very detailed delegation level dialogue with the Defence Minister, and with the Premier also. The message is very clear.

"The PM again reiterated, the new leadership in China, he told me, gives much importance to strengthening and expanding the relations with India".

The General had yesterday accused India of occupying 90,000 sq km of territory and cautioned New Delhi of not to "provoke" China by increasing the military deployment at the border to "start new trouble".

Antony said Chinese Premier felt that in the emerging scenario, India and China can play a major role and "we must play a role together for the betterment of the two countries, prosperity of people of two countries and betterment of region and peace and stability".

He told me that he consciously decided on India as his first overseas destination after assuming office as Prime Minister of China, Antony said referring to Li's visit in May.

"This was to send a signal to everybody that the new Chinese leadership wants very cordial and friendly relations with India and they want to jointly work with India for prosperity of their nation and also other countries", he said.

Meanwhile, an Indian Defence Ministry spokesperson said here that "In the discussions between the two Defence Ministers, measures to promote mutual trust and confidence building between the armed forces were discussed.

"It was agreed that 'strategic communication' is required for building trust and understanding," he said.

The stress on the need for maintaining peace along the LAC comes against the backdrop of the Depsang valley incursion incident in May when the Chinese troops had pitched their tents 19kms inside Indian territory for over three weeks.

Antony is on a four-day official visit here and in his meeting with the Chinese premier, the Defence Minister said India looks forward to "building the relationship (with China) further on a foundation of mutual trust and confidence and based on mutual respect for each other's concerns".

On Li's statement that China's new leadership attaches importance to developing friendly and cooperative ties with India, Antony said New Delhi reciprocates the sentiment.

In the Defence Minister-level meetings, both sides discussed a number of issues relating to bilateral defence relations, exchanges and interactions between the Ministries of Defence and armed forces of both countries and the regional and international security situation.

In the meeting, "it was acknowledged that the border issue is a remanant of history which both sides are making efforts to resolve and it was agreed that the Special Representatives mechanism should continue to work towards a solution".

The measures discussed for practical cooperation included third joint India-China Army-to-Army exercise to be held here in October.

"Both sides have also agreed that the Navies and Air Forces of both countries will also undertake enhanced professional exchanges,," the Defence Ministry said.
Armies of India and China held their first exercises in 2007 at Belguam in Karnataka with plans to hold such events annually.

Similar exercises were held in 2008 at China's Kunming city.

The drills were later disrupted over China's new policy of granting visas on piece of paper to residents of Jammu and Kashmir even denied visas to a top General Northern Command after which India called off military contacts.

Antony was assisted by the Indian Ambassador S Jaishankar, Defence Secretary R K Mathur; Eastern Army Commander Lt General Dalbir Singh, Southern Naval Commander, Vice Admiral Satish Soni and other officials of the Defence Ministry.

After the meetings today, Antony is expected to have further meetings in Beijing and will also be visiting the Chinese National Defence University and an Air Force unit in Tianjin.

Though both Li and Gen Wang met Antony today, no meetings were expected with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was of surprise as Xi holds the all powerful office of the head of the Chinese military as Chairman of the Military Commission.

Chinese officials explained that it was due to pre-occupation of the new leader who in recent months emerged as the most powerful holding the posts of President, General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party and the Military.

Xi met Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh in March at the BRICS summit in South Africa.
Antony in Beijing; China warns India against 'new trouble'
EIJING: Defence minister AK Antony arrived here on Thursday on a four-day visit for high-level talks with Chinese leadership on new confidence building measures to maintain peace at the disputed borders in the backdrop of incursion of PLA troops in the Ladakh region.

Accompanied by a high power defence delegation, Antony arrived in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai by an Air India flight. He later flew to Beijing by a special flight arranged by the Chinese government.

Antony, the first defence minister to visit China in seven years, will formally hold talks with his Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan here on Friday.

He is expected to call on Premier Li Keqiang besides visiting a military installation and command centre.

It is not yet clear whether he could meet President Xi Jinping, who is the over all commander of the Chinese military by virtue of being the Chairman of the Military Commission, which controls the world's largest army of 2.3 million.

Antony's visit comes days after the 16th round of border talks between national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi here during which the two sides had a threadbare discussion on mutual concerns, especially the incursion of China's People's Liberation Army troops into the Depsang Valley on April 15.

Border incursion, the finalization of the border defence coordination agreement (BDCA), a new mechanism suggested by China last year for improving security at the borders, pending the final settlement of the territorial dispute, top Antony's agenda for talks here.

The BDCA was expected to set up mechanisms which will provide for consultations for communication between both side to improve management at the border.

Officials said BDCA would come up for discussions during Antony's talks but not expected to be signed.

The BDCA which has several facets has been discussed extensively between the two sides, including during the June 28-29 border talks between the two special representatives.

Besides BDCA, the two sides are expected to finalize the dates to resume bilateral military exercises which would focus on anti-terrorism drills.

PLA general warns India against provocation

Hours before the arrival of defence minister AK Antony here for high-level talks, a hawkish Chinese General today warned India against provoking "new trouble" by increasing its military deployment at the border.

"There is no denying that there are tensions and problems between China and India particularly at the border areas," Major General Luo Yuan, executive vice-president and secretary general of China Strategy Culture Promotion Association, said.

"There is still problem of 90,000sqkm of territory still occupied by the Indian side. These are the problems left over from history and we should look at it with cool head," he said while talking to foreign correspondents here.

He was replying to a question about People's Liberation Army's (PLA) views on India-China relations in the backdrop of Antony's visit starting from Thursday.

"The Indian side should not provoke new problems and increase the military deployment at the border areas and start new trouble," General Luo, known for his hawkish and extreme views on China's strategic and military relations with its neighbours and the US, said.

India is the only country in the world which says it is developing military power due to China's threat, he said adding that "India should be cautious about what it says and what it does".

Luo's 90,000 sq km remark referred to China's claim to Arunachal Pradesh which it calls as Southern Tibet.

India asserts that the border dispute covered 4,000km along line actual control (LAC), while China states that the dispute was confined to 2,000km that is Arunachal Pradesh.

The two sides held their last boundary talks on June 28.

Antony is the first Indian defence minister in seven years to visit China.

On Anotony's meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Friday, the defence ministry in a statement in Delhi said, "Both ministers are expected to discuss a number of issues, including those related to maintenance of peace and tranquillity on the border ... and matters relating to regional and global security."

Antony is expected to call on Premier Li Keqiang besides visiting a military unit and a command centre during the three-day visit, official sources told PTI here.

The Chinese general also attacked the US, saying that it is trying to take advantage of the military tensions in the South China Sea and termed the Philippines as the trouble maker for China by provoking Beijing with Washington's help.

A serving General, Luo was known in China for his incisive comments over blog and this was first time he was invited to address the foreign media here by the state-run All China Journalists Association.

Luo, however, played down the Chinese incursion into Depsang valley in April, saying that "This issue is triggered by media and media sometime overstate the problem.
We hope both sides keep patience and cool mind to solve this problem."

The incursion by the PLA troops who also pitched their tents figured in the just concluded talks between national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi here.

The two sides are now discussing the BDCA to avert incidents of border incursions in future.

It was expected to figure in Antony's talks. In his comments, General Luo referred to the visits of Premier Li to India recently as well as Antony's visit.

He said "generally speaking the whole situation is still under control particularly after the visit of Li to India.

The political relationship has been enhanced. Now your defence minister is visiting here."

"I believe the situation generally speaking is within control and it is up to India not to start some new trouble," he said.

"In spite of all these differences we do have a lot in common. As the two biggest developing countries in the world China and India have a lot of common interests," he said.

"So we should work actively to implement the outcomes of Premier Li's visit and work to enhance our cooperation," he said pointing that both countries initiated the idea of five principles of peaceful co-existence.

"Therefore we should effectively implement these principles," he said.

He also defended PLA's close relationship with Pakistan's military.

"There is also no denying that China and Pakistan enjoy traditional friendship and we have with Pakistan the all weather comprehensive strategic partnership," he said.

"We also have strategic partnership with India and we do hope that India and Pakistan will live together and coexist in peace just like what the five principles of coexistence say and so I hope India and Pakistan will solve their differences and problems through peaceful means," he said.
Role of the Indian Military in Disasters
P. K. Gautam

July 5, 2013

The 21st century has seen an increasing number of natural disasters with alarming intensity – the 2001 Bhuj earthquake; the 2004 tsunami; the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir; heavy rainfall in Mumbai in 2006; the 2008 Bihar Kosi river flood; the August 2010 cloud burst in Leh; the September 2011 Sikkim earthquake; and, most recently, in June, the unprecedented flash floods and cloudbursts in Garhwal, parts of Kumaon and Nepal, and Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh. Each of these disasters has seen the active involvement of the armed forces in the relief operations.

The military’s primary task is to guard the nation’s borders. In matters domestic, the military is supposed to be a second respondent, except in the case of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidences. Theoretically, the principle is “last to enter and first to leave”. However, when theory is matched with practice, this does not seem to be the case. According to the Administrative Reforms Commissions, the military needs to be taken off from the loop of disaster management gradually. While it may sound sensible on paper, it is not really possible in practice. The civil administration is usually not properly geared up for an effective response. It needs to be noted that discipline and efficiency is the first demand in disaster response and relief tasks, which are often dangerous missions and quite naturally the military brings in order in post-disaster operations. Wherever there is danger, the military has a constitutional duty to undertake tasks and missions. The required wherewithal including the command, control and communication, are available with the field formations. Preparing for military operations other than war (MOOTW), of which disaster is the main component will be a critical part of military training.

Though the government is aware of the urgent need for better disaster response mechanism, the overall trend has indicated that the level of preparedness at both the centre as well as the states is inadequate. The nodal agency for coordination of relief, response and overall natural disaster management is under the Central Ministry of Home Affairs (see Table 1 below). However, when any disaster breaks, it is the Armed forces under the Ministry of Defence that is called upon to intervene as an ‘aid to civil authority’.

Table 1 Nodal Ministries for Disaster Management
Disasters        Nodal Ministry
Earthquake and Tsunami       MHA/Ministry of Earth Sciences/IMD
Floods             MHA/Ministry of Water Resources/CWC
Cyclones         MHA/Ministry of Earth Sciences/IMD
Drought           Ministry of Agriculture
Biological Disasters    Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Chemical Disasters    Ministry of Environment & Forests
Nuclear Disasters       Ministry of Atomic Energy
Air Accidents Ministry of Civil Aviation
Railway Accidents      Ministry of Railways

(Source: National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India, June 23, 2011, available at

The Disaster Management Act of 2005 provides the blue print for the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) at the Centre, the State Disaster Management Authorities and the District Disaster Management Authorities. The state and the district level are the weak links in disaster management efforts. It appears that the civil administration has “got used to military and central help as a norm”.

A tendency to over-rely on the military has stunted the initiative, responsibility and accountability of the civil government and officials. The case of Operation Sadbhavana in Jammu and Kashmir is a case in point. It is this vacuum in delivery and governance that the armed forces, due to their ‘spirit to deliver’ training, have filled. But we need to ask hard questions. In the case of disasters, why should the relief commissioners and civil administration not be held accountable for flouting norms of construction, ignoring drainage congestion and thereby exacerbating conditions leading to man-made disasters? We are aware of large areas of the country that experience floods regularly. Yet the civil administration is found wanting in its prevention and preparedness, which along with response, relief and recovery, are the constitutional duties and responsibilities of the civil administration. The military has no role in regulating the implementation of these principles. This ‘bad governance’ is the root problem of recurring threats caused by disasters. The Arthasastra of Kautilya in book 4 on the “The Suppression of Criminal”, under chapter three section 78 on remedial measures during calamities such as floods, in sutras 4.3.6-9 says:

    In the rainy season villages situated near water should live away from the level of floods. And they should keep a collection of wooden planks, bamboos and boats. They should rescue a (person) being carried away by floods by means of gourds, skin-bags, canoes, tree- stems and rope braids. For those who do not go to the rescue, the fine is twelve panans, except in the case of those without canoes.

Response to a disaster is a set of inter-related activities, which requires database, logistics, technological needs, self-reliance, communication infrastructure, emergency preparedness and forecasting. Advance study in the field of disaster management will give a better understanding of responding effectively to disasters. A centre of excellence for disaster management in the military must be set up under the aegis of HQ, IDS and the upcoming Indian National Defence University (INDU).

The former army chief, General S. Padmanabhan in his book A General Speaks (2005), mentions that during the Bhuj earthquake in 2001, he realised that the army was inadequately equipped to deal with the extensive devastation and damage. He was impressed by the Turkish team who had come to aid in the rescue efforts, which had structured the unit based on the lessons of past experiences. Ironically, the study he ordered on disaster relief was never used.

It is interesting to recall that the army pavilion during the India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi in November 2005 had the banner: “Brave Hearts: Role of Armed Forces in Disaster Management and Aid to Civil Authorities”. The disaster relief Operation Rahat, due to excessive snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir in February 2005 and Operation Imdad of the October 2005 earthquake were exhibited for the public. However, there was no data-base on previous earthquakes in similar terrain, such as one at Uttarkashi in the early 1990s. Military leaders and troops need to be trained and updated on the various aspects of disasters. Not all major disasters are properly recorded. Here, even seminar proceedings are of great value. In 2002, a year after the terror strikes in the US on September 11, 2001, a national-level seminar on “Disaster Management and Armed Forces: A National Effort” was organised by the Army HQ Engineer-in-Chief’s Branch and Institution of Engineers (India). The proceedings of the seminar will make excellent text for general awareness and further detailed research. Seminar reports and proceedings are as important as war diaries and the suggested Centre of Excellence must locate and gather such texts as archival data.
Dighi defence setup to lead robotics project
PUNE: The Research & Development Establishment (Engineers), Dighi, near here, will be the nodal agency for the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) ambitious long-term programme of developing robotic soldiers for the Indian Army.

"We are developing capabilities for the robotic soldier programme that involves multidisciplinary technologies, to be developed in various institutes and later integrated. R&DE(E) will lead the project," DRDO director general Avinash Chander told reporters on Thursday.

"In the next 10 years, we aim to achieve the capabilities of having robots that can distinguish on their own a threat and a non-threat and can engage in group intelligence activity," he said. "As of now, we have manually controlled robots, but the bigger task of creating intelligent robots, which can take decisions and act on their own and engage in group activities, will take time for development in phases," he said.

The DRDO chief was in the city to attend the inaugural function of an international conference on advances in robotics, jointly organized by R&DE(E) and the Robotics Society of India. Principal scientific adviser to the Government of India R Chidambaram was the chief guest at the function.

Chander said, "Robotics has gained a very important role in defence planning and is bound to grow further with increased capabilities and strength. World over, there is a trend for defence applications moving to unmanned warfare. Countries like USA, Russia, China, Japan and Israel have identified robotics as one of the very high priority areas. In fact, USA has declared that one-third of their defence ground vehicles will be unmanned by end of 2015."

"In this context, the DRDO has put a major thrust on development of unmanned vehicles for land, sea and air," he said. "The R&DE(E), in collaboration with IIT, Bombay, has developed UAV 'Netra', which has been deployed by paramilitary forces like CRPF, Border Security Force, NDRF, among others, while the army too has done an assessment for induction of 'Netra' for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. More recently, four 'Netra' UAVs were used for locating people during rescue operations in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand," he added.

"Another DRDO lab in Bangalore has developed UAV 'Nishant', which has just completed tests and is set to be taken over by the army as well as the CRPF. We are now developing long duration high altitude UAVs 'Rustom I and II'. While 'Rustom-I' has gone through certain trials, 'Rustom-II', which will have the capacity to fly at 30,000 ft with 24-hour endurance and 250-km range, will go for trial later this year," said Chander.

He said, "An equally important aspect is the ground application of unmanned vehicles for low intensity conflict areas; urban warfare and advance reconnaissance operations in battle fields. "This is where the robotic soldier programme will be of immense importance," he said.

Referring to underwater capabilities, Chander said, "We have carried out certain studies and have developed prototypes of unmanned vehicles for sea. The future would be in larger capacity of such vehicles that can touch 600 to 1000 meters depth in sea for surveillance and allied operations."

S Sundaresh, DRDO's chief controller of research and development and R&DE(E) director S Guruprasad were also present at the function.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal