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Monday, 5 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 05 Aug 2013
China building world’s highest airport near Tibet

Beijing, August 4
China is building the world’s highest altitude civilian airport close to Tibet as part of a plan to develop infrastructure in the strategic Himalayan region.

The 4,411-m-high Daocheng Yading airport is under construction in Garzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, state-run Xinhua news agency has reported.

The Bangda Airport in Qamdo Prefecture of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region is situated 4,334 m above sea level.

So far, China has built five airports at Gonggar, Lhasa, Bangda, Xigaze and Ngari in Tibet Autonomous Region.

The rapid development of air infrastructure in Tibet coupled with rail and road development raised concerns in India as it provides massive advantage to China to move its troops and equipment, overcoming the geographical problems in one of the remotest regions of the world. Meanwhile, the Bangda Airport, which was closed for repairs, is expected to resume operations tomorrow.

The airfield was closed on June 22 so that its 19-year-old runway could be repaired, the Tibet branch of the Civil Aviation Administration said.

The airport has two routes in service, one linking Qamdo and Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and another linking Qamdo and Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

PLA stops Army from patrolling in Ladakh

Leh/New Delhi: Amid a spate of incursions by China in Ladakh, PLA troops are also resorting to tactics like preventing the Indian Army from patrolling posts in this sector along the border which was well within India’s territory.

In what is being described as an aggressive approach by China, the tactics came to the fore in the wake of yet another incident last week when Indian troops launched “Tiranga” patrol from the Trade Junction area in North of Ladakh for two posts located 14 km up in the higher reaches along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indian army personnel were stopped by the Chinese troops who came mounted on heavy and light vehicles, official sources said today. — PTI

Worry for India

    The 4,411-m-high Daocheng Yading airport is under construction in Garzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province
    So far, China has built five airports at Gonggar, Lhasa, Bangda, Xigaze and Ngari in Tibet Autonomous Region
    The rapid development of air infrastructure, coupled with rail and road development will lend a massive advantage to China over India as regards movement of troops and equipment to the area
Paramilitary forces to go in for advanced weapon simulators
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, August 4
Revamping its training modalities to hone up the skills of its personnel to deal with multifarious operational situations, the central armed police forces (CAPFs), as paramilitary forces under the Home Ministry have been rechristened, are going in for advanced small arms training simulators.

While some CAPFs have already inducted arms training simulators procured from various agencies, these are limited in numbers and vary in design and performance parameters. They also lack some features that could provide a holistic training environment.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, according to sources, is devising a policy to induct advanced weapons simulators that would be standard across all CAPFs and meet their training requirements at various levels. The Border Security Force has been tasked to frame up the policy and define technical specifications for all CAPFs, sources added.

The armed forces have also adopted the use of training simulators in a big way. Besides being cost effective and efficient, they enable training in all weather conditions and provide a scientific and precise feedback to instructors on the ability and skill levels of a trainee.

Unlike a convectional firing range, a training simulator with its large screen can provide a host of operational scenarios like built-up areas, jungle, desert, mountains or rural country side, create different environmental and climatic conditions like rain, fog, night, windy etc, and throw up static as well as moving targets.

“Since CAPFs are deployed across diverse environments like counter-terrorist operations in built-up areas as well as in the countryside and combating left wing extremism in jungles besides undertaking operations in densely populated areas, advanced training simulators would psychologically orient troops to adapt easily to any kind of situation and increase their confidence matters,” an officer said. “Adversaries have increasingly become more lethal and unpredictable, with heavy firepower at their disposal. In such situations a high level of skill and morale is crucial,” he added.

The Home Ministry is looking at procuring simulators which would be able to provide a user defined three-dimensional interactive scenario and able to simulate targets for up to 10 firers at a time at ranges up to 1,000 metres for individual training as well as group exercises such as ambush, VIP protection, hostage rescue and counter assault, sources said.
BSF to get Rs 3,665 cr to develop infrastructure
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4
The Border Security Force (BSF), among the world’s largest border guarding agencies, has been sanctioned Rs 3,665 crore to develop infrastructure and related amenities to meet its operational and administrative requirements.

The development projects include construction of 111 barracks and 10,300 residential quarters for accommodating troops, 210 office buildings and allied working facilities and two composite hospitals.

The funds were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs yesterday, under the 12th Five Year Plan estimates. This will address one of the main concerns of the BSF for providing infrastructure at training centres and various establishments.

The BSF, like other Central armed police forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs, requires additional infrastructure as the forces is undergoing significant expansion. Over the past few years, 29 battalions, along with corresponding Sector Headquarters and Frontier Headquarters, have been raised.

The BSF has a strength of about 2.4 lakh personnel, including a miniscule proportion of recently inducted women constables, which make up about 180 battalions. It is primarily responsible for the peacetime management of the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh international borders.

It has also been mandated for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations and disaster management.

In addition to its existing duties, the Central government is also considering handing over the management of the Indo-Myanmar border, currently being guarded by the Assam Rifles, to the BSF.

This will involve raising 45 battalions deployed under 12 Sector Headquarters that will make up four Frontier Headquarters.

The BSF will also be increasing the strength of its women constabulary, many of whom are deployed on border-guarding duties and manning check-points along the border.

In a new move, the force has decided to induct woman officers to head units comprising women constables.

To cater to the needs of women personnel, the BSF has set up special accommodation, dining facilities and essential amenities exclusively for them at different border outposts (BOPs) and some other field and training establishments where women constables are deployed.

The BSF has 609 BOPs on the Indo-Pakistan and 802 BOPs on Indo-Bangladesh border. In order to reduce the inter-BOP distance for effective surveillance of border areas, a move to construct additional 509 BOPs, including 383 along the Indo-Bangladesh border and 126 along the Indo-Pakistan border, at an estimated cost of 1,832 crore is under way. This project is expected to be completed next year.

Funds for upkeep

    Rs 3,665 crore sanctioned to develop infrastructure and related amenities to meet the BSF’s operational and administrative needs
    The development projects include construction of 111 barracks and 10,300 residential quarters for accommodating troops, 210 office buildings and allied working facilities and two composite hospitals
    The funds were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs under the 12th Five Year Plan estimates
Air Cmd Jasjit Singh passes away
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 4
One of the prominent strategic affairs experts Air Commodore Jasjit Singh (Retired) passed away today following a brief illness. He is survived by his wife and two sons, one of whom retired from the IAF and the other is a serving in the Navy.

Jasjit Singh (79) was discharged from a hospital in Gurgaon last week. His funeral at Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment was attended by a large number of friend and admirers, including serving officers.

Jasjit Singh, who headed the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, was over the past few years overseeing work of the Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS), that is dedicated to modern and futuristic trends in air power. Besides being a prolific writer of books on a range of strategic and security issues, he was a regular contributor to journals dedicated to these issues.
An aircraft carrier
Still a long wait for the Indian Navy

IN a week from now the Cochin Shipyard will launch the country's first-ever indigenously built aircraft carrier. The carrier is, however, at least five years away from being inducted into the Indian Navy which, in turn, is struggling to keep afloat its current solitary aircraft carrier, the vintage British-origin INS Viraat. The indigenously built Indian Aircraft Carrier (IAC) or Air Defence Ship as this project was formerly known is to be christened INS Vikrant, which incidentally is the same name that was given to India's decommissioned (in 1997) first-ever aircraft carrier that was bought from the UK in the early 1960s.

The IAC is considered to be of paramount importance to the Indian Navy keeping in view that it is, in naval parlance, an instrument of sea control. With India's maritime border and interests extending to the Gulf, east Africa, South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and as far as the South China Sea, the aircraft carrier, which is literally a floating air base, is of critical importance for force projection and sea control. With piracy unabated off the coast of Somalia and the country's peninsular tip region being a major sea lane of communication, especially that for the supply of oil and gas, and straddled by the choke points of Strait of Hormuz and the Malacca Straits, an aircraft carrier clearly has its importance. The importance of the IAC has further risen with reports of China acquiring its first aircraft carrier and hence increasing its sea control capability. Beijing has plans to induct more aircraft carriers in the years ahead.

Yet the fact remains that India is lagging behind in its aircraft carrier fleet. For example, the Navy has acquired the naval variant of the MiG 29 but is yet to induct the woefully delayed Soviet-origin Admiral Gorshkov (christened INS Vikramaditya) from which they are to be flown. The INS Viraat is well past its life while the new INS Vikrant is still some years from induction. Then again, the naval variant of the Light Combat Aircraft meant to be positioned on the IAC is yet to be even test flown. While next Monday's launch of the IAC will be an important step for the country, a long and arduous wait still lies ahead for the Indian Navy.
Moving towards demilitarising Siachen
The Siachen imbroglio continues to fester. India needs a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether Pakistan would move into occupied positions should India, in the event of demilitarisation of the area, vacate positions of advantage that it now holds
P.R. Chari

Speaking on the last Foundation Day function of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the Defence Minister, A.K. Antony, ruled out any possibility of de-militarising the Siachen Glacier, and re-stated India's inflexible position that it will only consider pulling back its troops after a joint India-Pakistan authentication is undertaken of the 109-km Actual Ground Position Line. Pakistan has opposed any such "authentication" as a pre-requisite to demilitarization.

The factual position is that India has gained physical possession of the Siachen Glacier. But the Line of Control, earlier called Ceasefire Line, ends at grid reference NJ9842 and beyond that point there is no legal boundary to demarcate the territory between India and Pakistan. Somewhat earlier, General Bikram Singh, India’s Chief of the Army Staff, had voiced his opposition to Indian troops being withdrawn from this “strategically important” region. He had said that India “possesses positions of strategic importance and we have expressed our concern to the government. It's now for the government to decide.” That was the surest way of ensuring that the jittery government would get paralyzed into inaction.
The history of the three-decade long India-Pakistan confrontation in this “highest theatre of conflict in the world” is only too well known. Briefly, the Ceasefire Line that was demarcated after the Karachi Agreement in 1948 and the Line of Control that resulted after the Simla Agreement in 1972 terminates in its northern extremity at map coordinate NJ9842. Neither of these agreements mention who has possession or title to the land north of NJ9842, apart from vaguely noting that the boundary would proceed "north to the glaciers". Probably, the assumption was that no dispute could possibly arise over such a barren and inhospitable region, and that it would remain a neutral undisputed No-Man's Land.

Historical perspective

Over to Saadat Hasan Manto. The tributes to Manto have flooded the liberal press in India and Pakistan as they celebrate his birth centenary. In truth, Manto belonged to neither India, where he was born on May 11, 1912, nor to Pakistan, where he died on August 18, 1954. He belonged to both countries. His conviction in the essential unity of the subcontinent is an essential aspect of his oeuvre that comes through in his haunting short stories that are truly vignettes of the violent times in which he lived his tragically brief life.
Manto excelled in a natural talent for structure and economy of words, racing ahead in his short stories to reach their final conclusion - denouement or surprise ending. A wry sense of humor led him to conclude his own epitaph with the words, “Under tons of earth he lies, still wondering who among the two is the greater short-story writer. God or he, Saadat Hasan Manto.”

The tragedy that gripped both newly born nations in 1947 finds an unforgettable reflection in one of his works, Toba Tek Singh. Readers would recollect the outlines of this inspired short story. It seems India and Pakistan decided to exchange the inmates of their lunatic asylums after they had exchanged the prisoners in their jails. In terms of these arrangements, Bishen Singh, re-named Toba Tek Singh after his village, was to be transferred to India from Lahore. Much tumult and confusion resulted in his mind as he could not understand how one country could become two, and why he should go away after having lived his life as Toba Tek Singh.

The situation of India and Pakistan in Siachen is no different. However, the subsequent narratives of the two countries on the Siachen dispute are strikingly dissimilar. Briefly, India's case is that, Pakistan began encouraging Western countries to send mountaineering expeditions to this ill-defined Saltoro-Kangri-Siachen region. Significantly, official U.S. maps at this time also began showing the boundary beyond NJ9842 as extending north-eastwards to the Karakoram Pass. To counter these developments India initiated its counter-moves with an Army mountaineering expedition being dispatched to this area in 1978. The news and photographs of this expedition were published in 'The Illustrated Weekly of India', to gain wide publicity for the effort. A new word "oropolitics" entered the vocabulary of politics, meaning the use of mountaineering for political objectives.

The operational paradigm

The nightmare scenario conjured up by the Indian Army was that China and Pakistan, already in occupation of some parts of the former princely state of Kashmir, could link up, and surround the Indian territory in Ladakh on three sides. The resulting loss of control over the Shyok Valley would then permit Leh to be threatened. The rest is history. India launched a swift attack in April 1984 to capture the Siachen glacier and gain control over the commanding Saltoro Ridge, and two strategic northern passes - Sia La and Bilafond La. Pakistan's desperate attempts thereafter to dislodge the Indian forces have not succeeded, and a state of no-war-no-peace has continued thereafter in this inhospitable area.

Moving on, a ceasefire was negotiated in end-2003 along the India-Pakistan Line of Control, which was extended thereafter to the Siachen area. No shot has since been fired in anger. But, that has not stopped the steady loss of soldier's lives due to accidents - falling into crevasses or being buried alive under avalanches - and developing pulmonary edema. Last year, some 150 personnel of Pakistan's Northern Light Infantry died in Gyari, south of the Saltoro Ridge due to an avalanche. Shaken by the disaster Pakistan's army chief, General Parvez Kayani had introspected: “We want this issue to be resolved and it should happen. It is a tough mission for us and them, which has its costs.” India, too, supports demilitarising the Siachen area but only after pre-conditions are met. There is moreover the huge drain of resources computed at around Rs 1,000 crore annually on the Indian side, and Rs 300 crore for Pakistan, which has significant opportunity costs for both countries.

Still, the Siachen imbroglio continues to fester. The most debilitating question asked in New Delhi is why it should show enthusiasm to reach a solution when it has the advantage of the high ground in Siachen and a larger economy to sustain this confrontation. Whenever, consequently, slight hope arises of sanity allowing some agreement to be reached, the holy cow of national security is invoked. The angst is then promoted that, if present positions are vacated, Pakistan would immediately grab this territory, and that it would be impossible thereafter to wrest the region back without a huge loss of lives. This frightens the politicians no end.

Towards demilitarisation

Perhaps, the time has come for the counter-factual aspects of the Siachen dispute to be set forth. Appreciating the north-west-to-south-east configuration of the series of mountain ranges in this region, how easy would it be for Pakistan to occupy the Siachen region if India vacates it? That, too, undetected by Indian aerial/ satellite reconnaissance to enable ground and air attacks? What would be the economic and human costs for Pakistan to remain in occupation of the Siachen and Saltoro region that are currently being borne by India? Pakistan would also become vulnerable to Indian attacks that could include the air dimension? Taking all these factors into account how would a cost-benefit analysis in this regard by Rawalpindi stack up? Has any such war-gaming exercise been undertaken in Indian military training institutions? Probably not. In any case, the results are unlikely to be shared with anyone outside the military establishment.

So, is there a solution to stop the continuing hemorrhaging of soldier's lives in Siachen? Attention might be drawn here to a book titled Realities of War, written by a journalist Sidney Gibbs and published just after the First World War. After describing the horrors of trench warfare and the appalling loss of lives in that war, Gibbs suggested that peace would have prevailed if half a dozen military and political leaders from each of the two sides had been sent to spend a week in the trenches. A similar solution will definitely work if India and Pakistan wish to solve the Siachen riddle.

Coming back to Toba Tek Singh, his tale ends badly. The fateful day for the transfer of lunatics arrives. Hindu and Sikh inmates are sent off to the Wagah border for being exchanged with the Muslim inmates from India. When his turn comes Toba Tek Singh refuses to move. He stands immobile in no-man's land, but is left undisturbed since he is a harmless old man, while the other transfers continue. Sometime during the night, he collapses. Barbed wire now separates India and Pakistan, but Toba Tek Singh lies in between them, on a bit of earth, that has no name.

That image would be the most fitting epitaph for the many lives lost and that are still to be lost in Siachen.
Jalalabad attack may cast shadow on Indo-Pak talks
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, August 4
The suicide attack on the Indian consulate in Jalalabad could not have come at a more inopportune time in India-Pakistan relations, given the fact that both countries are trying to put the dialogue process back on the track.

The attack, in which 12 Afghans were killed and more than 20 wounded, has also raised fears that Pakistan-based terror groups, covertly supported by Islamabad, are stepping up efforts to target Indian interests in the war-torn nation in the run-up to the withdrawal by foreign troops in 2014.

New Delhi has still not responded to Pakistan’s proposal for talks between the two neighbours on the Tulbul Navigation Project on August 27-28 and Sir Creek on September 16-17. It is learnt that the dates proposed by Pakistan have been sent to the ministries concerned for their response.

Sources said it was too early to say whether the Jalalabad incident could impact the process of resuming the third round of dialogue with Pakistan stalled since January this year.

New Delhi was awaiting fresh intelligence leads on the forces behind the Jalalabad attack, they said. However, it was more or less certain that Pakistan-based groups were involved in carrying out the attack.

The Pakistani establishment was quick to condemn the Jalalabad attack and dissociate itself from the incident. Islamabad, particularly, emphasised the fact that the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad was in close vicinity of the Indian mission. “Terrorism is the common enemy that countries in the region face. Collective endeavours would help effectively combat this scourge,” the Pakistan High Commission said.

Some reports from Kabul, meanwhile, suggested that Saturday’s attack was planned by Pakistan intelligence agencies and executed by Afghan insurgent groups. The Indian Embassy in Kabul had issued a security advisory to its nationals in Afghanistan on July 17, indicating a high probability of a direct attack. In fact, there also was an apprehension that Indian envoy Amar Sinha could be targeted.

Pakistan’s vehement opposition to India’s massive role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan is all too well known. Pakistan-based groups, particularly the Haqqani network, have in the past too targeted Indian interests in the embattled nation.

Observers say Islamabad would probably ramp up its covert support for the Afghan Taliban to consolidate its influence across the border obviously keeping in mind the situation likely to unfold after the withdrawal by NATO troops.

It is still not clear whether new Pakistan Premier Nawaz Sharif is on board as far as the ISI’s strategy of hurting Indian interests in Afghanistan is concerned. Ever since he assumed office in early June, Sharif has declared his commitment to improving ties with India. The Afghan issue could also figure during the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan singh and Nawaz Sharif in New York next month.

Anti-India offensive

    The attack on Indian mission has raised fears that Pakistan-based terror groups, covertly supported by Islamabad, are stepping up efforts to target Indian interests in the war-torn nation in the run-up to the withdrawal by foreign troops in 2014
    The incident has come at a time when the two countries are trying to put the dialogue process back on the track
    New Delhi has still not responded to Pakistan’s proposal for talks between the two neighbours on the Tulbul Navigation Project on August 27-28 and Sir Creek on September 16-17
    The dates proposed by Pakistan have been sent to the ministries concerned for their response
China stops Indian Army from patrolling territory
Amid a spate of incursions by China in Ladakh, its troops are also resorting to tactics like preventing Indian Army from patrolling posts in this sector along the border, which is well within India’s territory. In what is being described as an aggressive approach by China, the tactics have come to the fore in the wake of yet another incident last week when Indian troops launched its patrol “Tiranga” from the Trade Junction area in north of Ladakh for two posts located 14 km up in the higher reaches along the Line of Actual Control. The Army personnel were stopped by Chinese troops who claimed it was their territory, official sources said on Sunday.
US Army keen to learn from India's counter-insurgency ops
Impressed by the Indian Army's successful counter-terrorism operations, the US Army Chief has proposed joint training between the armies of the two countries.

Noting that there is much to learn between the militaries of the two countries, US Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno called for joint training to benefit from India's experiences in counter-insurgency in a tough environment and difficult terrain.

"We would love to do some joint training in the mountainous environment, because what the Indian Army has learned over the years, we would love to share what we learned about counter-insurgency and compare experiences and see how we can learn from each other and how we can direct that to use in the future, so for me it is something that is important," Odierno told PTI in an interview.

Odierno, 58, during a rare trip to India late last month, met his Indian counterpart General Bikram Singh besides holding meetings with Defence Minister A K Antony and visiting the Northern Command headquarters in Udhampur.

Highly impressed by the Indian military's successful counter-insurgency operations, he said, the US would like to learn from the Indian experience as to how to fight terrorists in a tough environment and difficult terrain.

When asked if the US would like to have joint exercises in Jammu and Kashmir where the terrain is difficult like that of Afghanistan, Odierno said he would like to look at that.
Odierno said that this is something that the US may be interested in but still need to take a look at by sending people to train in these types of environments.

"I think, we would like to look at...we send may be send some people to learn how you train and operate in those environment and those are kind of had some initial discussions on...much more has to be done. It is things like that we would be interested in," he said.

"Everybody recognises, India has so much in common with the US and that it is important for us to sustain a strong long-lasting relationship," the US Army Chief of Staff said.
"It is important for us to sustain a long-term relationship of one that is equal, one that respects each other's strategic autonomy, but that one that enables us to learn from each other to develop together, to deal with many of the issues that we face around the world," he said.

Indian and US troops have already held joint exercises in the past in the mountainous Ladakh region in 2003.

During his visit to the Northern Command he gained firsthand knowledge of India's counter-terrorism and counter- insurgency operations, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Northern Command has the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and the Nagrota-based 16 Corps which look after the counter- insurgency operations in the state.

Last month's visit was Odierno's second trip to India and the first as the Army Chief of Staff. The last time he visited India was in 2005/2006 along with then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in his capacity as her military adviser.

"As I travelled with the Secretary of State, she was there to reinforce how important the relationship between the two large democracies of the world was. And I think, this is something that has been ongoing for some years now," he said.

Recollecting the words of President Barack Obama that the US-India relationship is one of the most important strategic relationships that the US has, Odierno said in most of the important relationships foundation is strong on military to military ties.

"And I think, as we move ahead, it is important for us to recognise that we have much in common. I think because of the long term relationship we had of the US sending its officers to India for training and India sending officers to the US for training, it is just the first sign of how close we are."

Fresh from his India trip, the top American General said over the last 10 years, militaries of the two countries have been doing a lot of the same things, operating in harsh environments and conducting counter-insurgency operations.

"So we have a lot in common, a lot to learn from each other. I think, as we look ahead, we want to build from that common relationship that I think we have in our common experiences," he noted.

Odierno said the US military can also learn from the Indians on how they protect their long border.

"We do not quite have the same issues in the US. However, what we can learn from them, is the techniques that they use to protect their sovereignty and those techniques can be used by us as we might have to conduct operations in the future no matter where it might be, against whoever it might be there is a lot of lessons to be learnt," he said.

"It is my belief that not only with India but with all our partners it is important that it must be a community of nations together who work to fight terrorism. I think the more relationships that we can build who have common objectives about combating terrorism, is really important," Odierno said.

"I think, as we look forward, that would be important... that we work with India and many other nations involved," he added.

When asked if he sees India and US working/fighting together post 2014 against terrorists, Odierno said this is a political decision.

"I think, that is a political decision. I think that that is a decision that be made if it is seen in our country in the best interest. But I certainly believe, we can certainly share, lessons learnt, information, regarding terrorism. I think that is important as we face challenges in the future," he asserted.

Responding to a question on the recent Chinese incursions inside the Indian territories, he said, he was given the impression that this was a routine matter and things are under control.

"The impression I got talking to the Indian leadership (that this) was something fairly a routine (thing), something that they thought was very much routine actions among countries. There was good dialogue, you know, under good control and lot of restrain shown, and a lot of discussion. I think that's the impression I took from my conversations," he said.

Odierno said the US is willing to provide all help as the Indian Army embarks on the ambitious modernisation programme.

Modernisation of the Indian military also figured in his talks with the Indian leaders during his India visit, as the US General shared his thoughts on capabilities and on things like C-17, apache helicopters, how does the US use terrain equivalent to what India face.
Odierno said when he left India, he was significantly impressed by the true professionalism of the Indian Army.

"It is clear that they are focused on the right things. They are focused. They are having a disciplined force. They learn. They constantly adapt. To me that confidence and commitment is important and for me it was very impressive," he said.

"When you understand the conditions that they are operating in, especially in the Northern Command and have difficulties created by the terrain and the environment itself, it takes a very disciplined force and professional leadership. I think, I was impressed throughout my visit with the professional leadership that I saw," Odierno said.

"What I promised General Singh is that I will be as transparent as possible in providing them the assistance that we are allowed to share with, we will try to work as hard as we can so that they can acquire the best technology possible. We think that it is in the best interest of both," he said.

However, he acknowledged that sharing of some of the technologies sometimes is going to be a hindrance.

"What I would suggest that you have to prioritise what is most important and then my suggestion is that you have to dedicate yourself to long-term modernisation programme and also include the life-cycle cost to them. What that means is the ability to sustain over a long period of time," he said, when asked about modernisation efforts of the Indian military.

Odierno during his meetings in India had also talked about the importance of the US investment in cyber sphere.

"As we look as the warfare continues to evolve and part of that evolution is the new areas where our adversaries, where they try to get advantages, we have to learn how to operate those environments; cyber being one of them; space has been one for a while.

"So in my mind it is important as you look at the future that you have to understand the capabilities you need to operate under those environments. So we had initial discussions," he said.
HAL’s Cheetal Meets Indian Army’s Urgent Needs
The Indian Army has placed a $77 million order with Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) for 20 Cheetal helicopters, a re-engined variant of the Aerospatiale SA 316B Lama that was built under license in India as the Cheetah. The order is a short-term measure for logistics support to the Indian troops on the Siachen Glacier because of delays to the twice-bid competition for 197 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters (RSH). The future of that requirement is uncertain.

HAL has committed to “supply 20 Cheetals over the next four years besides providing training to its pilots and technical crew,” the company said in a statement. It has already delivered nine Cheetals from the 10-aircraft order the Indian Air Force placed as long ago as 2006, an HAL official told AIN. The company is building Cheetals at a rate of one every 16 months. The new version is powered by a Turbomeca TM333 2M2 engine.

“Cheetal is just a lifeline. It is needed urgently because the troops are in a rarified atmosphere and casualties have to be evacuated as fast as possible,” an army official told AIN. But with the production of aluminum rotor blades now ended in France by Eurocopter and the TM333 engine also now out of production, there is concern about the supply chain for the Cheetal. With HAL insisting on paying only the price for these items that was charged when they were in full production, a delay in deliveries is inevitable, an MoD official told AIN.

The Cheetal can operate at an altitude of up to almost 23,000 feet and has a range of 346 nm with an endurance of three and a half hours. The TM333 2M2 is fitted with a full authority digital engine control system (Fadec) and an electronic backup control box system that automatically takes over engine control in the event of a Fadec failure, said HAL.

The company describes the Cheetal as “a multirole helicopter, best suited for missions such as personnel transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and aerial survey, logistic air support, rescue operations and underslung loads.”

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