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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

From Today's Papers - 09 Jul 2013
Blast, firing by Pakistani troops along Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir
One porter, working for the Indian Army, was injured and another is missing in a blast at the Line of Control in the Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to a statement by the Army, 11 civilian porters were targeted through an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) by suspected militants at 8 am today. A pony was killed in the attack.

The statement added that while a search operation was being conducted by the Army to locate the missing porter, Pakistani troops fired at Indian soldiers in a ceasefire violation while militants detonated another IED. However, no injuries were sustained.

This is the second attack on porters in the Poonch sector within a span of two months.

Last week, a Pakistani intruder, trying to cross over to India, was killed when the IED he was carrying went off after firing by the Indian Army.
India, China to have hotlines between service headquarters soon
India and China will soon have a hotline between their service headquarters for avoiding and handling situations such as a possible border flare-up.

Setting up of a hotline between officers at the level of Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) has been a long-standing proposal by India to China.

The two sides are in agreement over the issue now after several high-level meetings between them during which the issue has been discussed prominently, sources said.
The Chinese side is soon expected to nominate an official in its military headquarters who would have the hotline with his Indian counterpart, they said.

During the recent Defence Minister-level talks between the two sides also, India and China agreed on the need for having "strategic communication" for building mutual trust between the two sides.

In the recent times, there have been several high-level visits and exchanges between the two countries including the visit of Chinese premier to India and recent visit by Defence Minister A K Antony and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to that country.

In the past, the two sides have also discussed proposals to set up hotlines between India's Northern and Eastern Army Commanders with their Chinese counterparts but not much progress has been made in that direction so far.

At present, three hotlines exist between the armies of the two countries at Spamgur Gap, Nathula and Bumla - the three locations where the two sides meet for Border Personnel Meetings.

Such a hotline is expected to help in early resolution of situations like the one which happened in Depsang Valley in Ladakh on April 15 when Chinese troops intruded 19 km into Indian territory crossing the Line of Actual Control.
Indian air chief leads military delegation to South Korea
New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, who is also the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), is on a four-day official visit to South Korea leading a tri-service delegation comprising senior Indian military officers.

Accompanied by Indian Ambassador Vishnu Prakash, Browne Monday called on South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, who fondly recalled his visit to India last year, including to the 60th Parachute Hospital Unit of the Indian Army at Agra. The unit had given an exceptional account of itself during the 1950-53 Korean conflict.

Kim expressed happiness at expanding strategic and defence engagement between the two countries, underlining the desirability of greater cooperation and coordination on regional and international security issues. He appreciated India's positive role in maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula.

India and South Korea are in the midst of expanding bilateral cooperation and finding common ground on regional and international issues. There is a regular exchange of high-level visits between the two countries.

Browne invited his counterpart, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) General Jung Seung-jo to visit India. Over the next couple of days Browne and his delegation will visit South Korea's military operations and training establishments as well as defence industries.

The visit of the air chief and the Indian delegation is taking place within the framework of the 40th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It comes close on the heels of the visit of India's National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon's visit to Seoul.
Billionaire’s Howitzers to Test Defense Policy: Corporate India
India’s aim to procure 75 percent of its defense supplies locally in a decade is in jeopardy as companies struggle to navigate rules on manufacturing and selling weapons.

Billionaire Baba Kalyani’s group, which plans a prototype of India’s first privately-built Howitzer gun next year, will be unable to test it as regulations prohibit firms from using military facilities, said Amit Kalyani, executive director at Bharat Forge (BHFC) Ltd., the flagship firm of the group. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (MM)’s proposal for a venture with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. was denied by the government, which didn’t give a reason for the rejection.

“This is not rocket science,” Kalyani said in an interview. “We need to just study what other countries have done. There are examples of a strong partnership between the defense establishment and the private industry.”

The world’s largest importer of arms last year may miss its target to boost local supplies as nebulous regulations threaten to derail Kalyani, Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (LT) and Mahindra’s plan to tap the annual 867.4 billion rupee ($14 billion) market. Rules don’t specify the type of weapons companies can build or the restriction on partnerships.

“There is a lot of talk about encouraging private industry in defense,” said Deba Ranjan Mohanty, chairman of Indicia Research & Advisory, a New Delhi-based defense researcher. “When a state decides to open up its defense production, it needs to devise a strategy to see it through. Otherwise, it’ll all be empty talk.”
Lanka seeks more training slots for its officers in Pak
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, July 7
Pakistan could well become the training ground for more and more Sri Lankan military personnel as they are finding it increasingly difficult to undergo training in India, thanks to factional politics of Tamil Nadu.

Colombo asked Islamabad to allot more training slots to its military personnel during the recent visit of Pakistan Army chief, Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to Sri Lanka.

Significantly, the request was made days after two Lankan military officers were forced to abandon their training at the Defence Service Staff College in Wellington in Tamil Nadu because of the anti-Lanka sentiments in the state, fuelled by both the ruling AIADMK and Opposition parties.

It is understood that New Delhi had offered to Colombo to shift these two officers from Wellington to the Higher Defence Management Course (HDMC) at the College of Defence Management in Secundrabad due to concerns over their security in Tamil Nadu. However, Lanka declined the offer, saying the HDMC was not in line with the initial purpose of sending the officers for training in India.

Unofficially, however, Colombo’s argument was that New Delhi should have either not sent these officers to an institute in Tamil Nadu or, having done so, ensured that they were allowed to complete their training, regardless of the situation in the state.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has even demanded that New Delhi scrap the training programme for Lankan military personnel, keeping in view the sentiments of the people of her state. However, New Delhi has not taken any such decision as that could cast a shadow on bilateral relationship. Informed sources here said New Delhi desired a strong defence relationship with Lanka but could ill-afford to ignore the views of the political outfits in Tamil Nadu, especially since Colombo has not precious little to provide succour to a vast majority of its Tamil population.

Pakistan, meanwhile, is believed to be seriously considering increasing the training slots for Lankan personnel at its training institutes such as the National Defence College (NDC), Pakistan Army Command and Staff College and the Physical Training School.

In the past, Pakistan assisted Lanka in the war against the LTTE by supplying high-tech military equipment. Their ties also foster on a strong mutual Sino-Pakistan and Sino-Lanka relationship, as Beijing maintains deep interest in the economic and military development of both Lanka and Pakistan. Lanka started buying arms from Pakistan in a big way in 1999.

Trouble in India

    Colombo asked Islamabad to allot more training slots to its military personnel during the recent visit of Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to Sri Lanka
    The request was made days after two Lankan military officers were forced to abandon their training at the Defence Service Staff College in Wellington in Tamil Nadu because of the anti-Lanka sentiments in the state
    Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has even asked New Delhi to scrap the training programme for Lankan military personnel
Indian defence team in South Korea
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 7
A joint delegation of the three armed forces today left for South Korea to boost defence ties. Led by Chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, the delegation will be in the East Asian country for four days, meeting top officials.

In 2010, New Delhi and Seoul had entered into a crucial joint research and manufacturing agreement with South Korea to co-develop and co-produce military equipment. India has such agreements for co-developing and co-producing military equipment with its long-time “friend” Russia and other ally, Israel.

During the visit, Air Chief Marshal Browne is scheduled to call on Kim Kwan-Jin, Minister of Defence, and would also be meeting General Jung Seung-jo, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), General Sung Il-Hwan, Chief of Staff, South Korean, Air Force and Rear Admiral Jung Jin Seob, Commander, South Korean Navy’s Second Fleet.
Engaging China
Slow steps forward

Defence Minister A K Antony’s official visit to China is significant since both India and China have shown willingness and maturity in engaging with each other, even as some issues remain contentious. The minister’s announcement that both the nations would resume joint military exercises shows the will to move on, in spite of hawks on both sides expressing disquiet. Indeed, a Chinese general had warned India not to “stir up” trouble by increasing military deployment in border areas just days before the minister’s visit. However, the Chinese leadership has distanced itself from him.

Defence Minister Antony has called on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and also held talks with his counterpart, Chang Wankuan. Premier Li Keqiang had made India the first stop after he assumed office, signalling the importance Beijing assigns to its relations with India. The change in leadership is rightly seen by New Delhi as an opportunity to build better ties, something that China too seeks. However, both sides know that the unresolved Indo-China border issue has the potential to become a stress point, as the incursion by Chinese troops into the Depsang Valley in April showed. It took a while for the situation to be defused. The border dispute is an old one and there can be no quick fix. Sincerely and painstakingly building trust between the two sides would lay the groundwork for any lasting solution.

India and China are already taking some confidence-building measures on the Line of Actual Control. With senior officials from both sides working on the draft of a border defence cooperation agreement, there is an expectation of tangible progress being made in the foreseeable future. The recent high-level exchange of visits between Chinese and Indian leaders shows how continuing attempts to bridge political differences can improve relationships as the two Asian neighbours cooperate by increasing their “strategic communication”. Increasing diplomatic and military ties even as trade prospers is the best way for the two nations to build trust that would also help in sorting out longstanding issues.
Antony calls for closer ties between India, China
Beijing, July 6:

Calling for closer military ties between India and China, Defence Minister A.K. Antony today said that it would be easy to maintain peace along the borders if both the forces have trust, mutual respect and confidence.

"If the military leadership on both sides from the top to the ground formations can maintain both trust and mutual respect, and confidence, then it is easy to maintain peace and tranquillity at the border areas," Antony told Political Commissar of National Defence University General Liu Yazhou.

Antony visited the academy of People's Liberation Army in Beijingtoday on the second day of his official visit.

During the meeting, the Defence Minister and Liu agreed to enhance military exchanges between the two countries.

Antony had yesterday held wide-ranging discussions with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Defence Minister Gen Cheng Wanquan on a host of issues, including maintaining peace and tranquillity at the borders.

In his interaction with Liu, Antony recalled his meeting with Premier Li and Gen Cheng.

"India and China are close neighbours. Our relations are expanding in many areas," he said, adding that he had detailed discussions with the Chinese leadership on bilateral ties.

"Both sides are and have clear consensus that we must maintain peace tranquillity and stability at our borders. In that endeavour, military-to-military cooperation is an important aspect," he said.

Accompanied by a high-powered delegation consisting of top officials from Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, Antony went round the sprawling 15,000 sq.m. varsity campus evincing keen interest in China's defence forces' training programmes for the officers of all its three forces.

Officials said Antony had expressed interest to visit the top military academy to study the Chinese pattern as India has recently launched its National Defence University in New Delhi which was expected to be ready in the next few years.

Indian officials said that efforts are on currently to evolve combined training programmes for all the forces.
India worried over PLA's expanding transborder military capabilities
NEW DELHI: India is likely to raise the expanding transborder military capabilities of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), including its stepped-up exercises in the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, when defence minister A K Antony leads a top-level delegation to China from July 4 to 7.

Sources said while India will "reassure" China that it has absolutely no intention of joining any multi-lateral strategic grouping that seeks to "contain" Beijing, it will also underline several "bilateral concerns" that need to be addressed.

"There are legitimate concerns about PLA's military capabilities, assertiveness and intentions, its massive infrastructure build-up along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and, of course, incidents like the Depsang incursion in Ladakh in April," said a source.

India, however, is keen to progressively enhance military ties with China, keep "communication channels open" and "eliminate potential" for Depsang-like incidents to reoccur.

The two sides will also discuss resumption of the joint Army "Hand-in-Hand" (HiH) counter-terrorism exercise towards end-2013 after a five-year gap as well as explore establishing the fourth border personnel meeting (BPM) mechanism near Lipulekh-Mana Pass in the "middle sector" after the existing ones at Chushul, Nathu La and Bum La.

The keenness to "constructively engage" with China's military leadership can be gauged from the fact that Antony's delegation, apart from defence secretary R K Mathur, will include Eastern Army commander Lt-General Dalbir Singh Suhag and Southern Naval commander Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, who are slated to take over as the next Army and Navy chiefs in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The Indian delegation will visit Shanghai, Beijing and the Chengdu Military Area Command, which controls Tibet and almost the entire disputed LAC.

Though the need to fortify de-escalatory mechanisms to prevent face-offs between the two armies will be stressed during the trip, India is in "no hurry" to ink the new Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) proposed by China earlier this year.

"The revised BDCA draft submitted by China is being examined," said a source. MoD was perturbed by the earlier draft since it suggested that both sides should freeze troop and infrastructure levels along the LAC.

MoD is in the process of getting the Cabinet Committee on Security's (CCS) final nod for raising a new mountain strike corps (40,000 soldiers), apart from two "independent" infantry brigades and two "independent" armoured brigades, to plug operational gaps along the LAC as well as to acquire "some ground offensive capabilities" against China. Moreover, India is belatedly trying to counter the major infrastructure build-up by China over the last couple of decades.

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