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Monday, 11 November 2013

From Today's Papers - 11 Nov 2013

Russia, India, China to cooperate in tackling terrorism
Tribune New Service

New Delhi, November 10
Terrorism, drug trafficking and situation in Afghanistan and Syria were among the issues that figured prominently during a trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of RIC (Russia, India and China) countries here this evening.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the hour-long meeting at which they also considered ways and means to promote economic cooperation among the three countries. Earlier in the day, Khurshid held bilateral talks with both his Russian and Chinese counterparts, who are here for the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) ministerial conference beginning tomorrow. The RIC foreign ministers’ meeting assumes significance in the backdrop of the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited both Russia and China last month.

The three foreign ministers also discussed the issues related to the upcoming 9th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in Bali.

The three countries have been holding meetings at the foreign ministers’ level since 1996.

It is understood that Lavrov proposed coordinated action by the three countries at international organisations, including the UN. He also floated an initiative to convene a special ASEM conference on intercultural and interfaith cooperation in St Petersburg next July.“Manmohan Singh has at least listened our voice.’’
 Services chiefs want assets merged for 3 new commands
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, November 10
An ambitious proposal that aims to alter India’s war fighting strategies, the Chief of Staff Committee (CoSC), a body comprising the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and the IAF, has suggested that each of the three Services be given charge of a specific command to lead.

The CoSC has submitted a suggestion on three new commands, each one headed by the Army, Navy and the IAF, sources said. The Ministry of Defence will now initiate an in-house discussion on this. Before getting okayed, the suggestion will need a calibration at the level of the National Security Council and also the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the Prime Minister. This will entail a new working environment, new standard operating procedures and amalgamation of all assets and manpower.

In the past, the MoD opted for tri-services or staff formations. These have Commanders appointed by rotation from each of the three Services. The CoSC wants that the new upcoming Commands be entrusted with one service making it the overall in charge with officers and staff coming in from all three Services.

The CoSC is presently headed by IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne, and the baton will pass to Gen Bikram Singh on January 1 next year. The focus is on for having three new commands-the aerospace command, the cyber command and the special operations command. As per the CoSC suggestions, the IAF should get the aerospace command, the Navy should be in charge of the cyber command and the Army will be responsible for the Special Forces operations command, sources said. The logic for each has been assessed.

The need to have one Service in-charge of one command stems from the ‘not-so-smooth’ experience of India’s only operational theatre command at Andaman and Nicobar Islands which has a Lt-General, Vice-Admiral or Air Marshal heading it by rotation. This model had not been successful according to the feedback and assessment of the CoSC, hence the need to have one Service responsible for the command and draw the mandated resources from the other two.

The special operations command has been suggested by the 14-member Naresh Chandra taskforce on National Security. In its report to the Prime Minister last year, it had favoured setting up of an SOC. The report was of the opinion that the Indian Special Forces are not being utilised to their full potential and they needed to be brought together under the SOC, which would report directly to the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The Indian Army has some 10,000 special forces trained and kept ready for any ‘commando style operation’. The Special Forces with the IAF, called the Garuds, and under the Navy, called the Marcos, are too small in number to be sustainable on their own.

Also, the Army provides the National Security Guards with some its best trained men. This will be fitted within the newly increased capacities by way of specialised planes like the just-inducted C-130-J and the recently-inducted heavy lifter, the C-17. Both can land on mud-strips. The C-130-J demonstrated it at a recent exercise called Livewire in the desert. The proposal is to base the aerospace command with the IAF that will draw forces from the Army and Navy besides getting some component of the DRDO. In the future, the specialised ‘X-band’ radars, which can spot a six-inch object some 4,600 km away and can provide live imagery, can be aid to this command.

Altering war fighting strategies

    The focus is on for having three new commands-the aerospace command, the cyber command and the special operations command
    As per the CoSC suggestions, the IAF should get the aerospace command, the Navy should be in charge of the cyber command and the Army will be responsible for the Special Forces operations command
    The CoSC is presently headed by IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshall NAK Browne, and the baton will pass to Gen Bikram Singh on January 1 next year

India balances military exercises with US and China

Indian Navy on Tuesday began a 7-day naval exercise with US navy off Visakhapatnam

On Tuesday, in an almost too careful gesture of even-handedness, the Indian Navy began a seven-day joint naval exercise with the US navy off Visakhapatnam, even as the Indian Army kicked off 10 days of joint training with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China near Chengdu. The India-US exercise, codenamed Malabar, is the 15th in a series that began in 1992 and has become an annual fixture in the Indo-Pacific. The Sino-Indian exercise, codenamed Hand-in-Hand, is the 3rd in an engagement that began in 2007 but then endured a five-year hiatus.

Interestingly, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has taken pains to reduce the profile of the Indo-US Exercise Malabar. This is evident from the number and type of warships participating. Instead of the customary aircraft carrier battle group, the US has fielded a solitary Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer, USS McCampbell, and a few P3C aircraft. India is fielding just two warships, INS Shivalik and Ranvijay, and some TU-142M maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

This is a marked reduction from last year, when a US carrier battle group took part in Malabar 2012, with the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson escorted by three other vessels. The Indian participation included five major surface warships.

Exercise Malabar 2007, the highest profile ever, saw Australian, Japanese, Singaporean and American flotillas train with the Indian Navy off the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. China shot off a written questionnaire, while India’s Left Front parties, indignant at what they considered an anti-China gesture, staged political demonstrations along the east coast against the warships exercising 800 km away. That year, 13 major US warships had participated, including two aircraft carriers — USS Nimitz and USS Kitty Hawk.

That Defence Minister A K Antony has taken note of Beijing’s feelings was made clear in April, when India clumsily withdrew from a trilateral exercise planned with the US and Japanese navies off the coast of Guam. When American and Japanese officials arrived in Delhi for a coordinating conference, they were taken aback to be told that New Delhi would not participate.

New Delhi and Washington both cite budgetary cutbacks to explain the reduced profile of joint exercises. The declining US defence budget, compounded by the effects of sequestration (mandatory spending cuts), has in fact played a role, for example in the Pentagon’s cancellation of the Red Flag Exercise in Arizona earlier this year. But there is also growing conviction in Washington that New Delhi is toning down the US relationship, apparently to placate China.

Compounded these feelings is the MoD’s apparent inconsideration. Earlier this summer, a US two-star general arrived in Delhi for a scheduled meeting with a MoD official. When he arrived at South Block, he was told that his interlocutor had gone to Italy in connection with the AgustaWestland AW-101 VVIP helicopter investigation.

Notwithstanding this, the MoD exudes optimism about US-India defence ties. “Our navies are natural partners, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the bonds and personnel relations between our navies,” observed the MoD on Tuesday.

Yet, US defence expert and Pentagon watcher Manohar Thaygaraj said there was cause for worry. “The number and scope of joint exercises, which is usually cited as one of the strengths of the US India defence relationship, has been steadily declining, partly for budgetary reasons, partly for political ones,” he said.

Meanwhile, 160 Indian soldiers, who travelled to Chengdu, China, started “counter-terrorism training” on Tuesday with the PLA. The first exercise of this series, Hand-in-Hand, was held in Kunming in 2007, followed by a second in Belgaum the next year. In 2010, New Delhi suspended defence exchanges after China denied a visa to India’s top military commander in J&K. In July, during Antony’s visit to Beijing, it was decided to resume the series. Since November 2003, India has also carried out joint naval exercises with China, although these are far less sophisticated and operationally oriented than the Malabar series with the US, the Konkan series with the UK and the Varuna series with France.
Indian Army continues military operation in Lolab
ISLAMABAD: Indian army is continuing a military operation in Lolab area of Kupwara district in Indian occupied Kashmir for the last more than one-month period.

Media reports said, the troops of 18 Rashtriya Rifles, 28 Rashtriya Rifles, 31 Rashtriya Rifles and 9 Para have intensified their operation in most parts of the Lolab area including Donwari, Dorosawani, Dardpora, Gagle, Varnow, Gundmancher and Surigam, KMS reported.

"Since last 15 days army is continuously conducting late evening searches in our village and its adjoining areas," said, Ghulam Qadir Butt, a local resident of Gundmancher.

A senior army official while confirming the operation in Lolab told media that searches in the area were launched on October 4 and the operation was still going on.
Pakistani army condemns naming Taliban chief martyr
SLAMABAD: The Pakistan army has condemned a prominent Islamic political party leader who called the Pakistani Taliban leader killed by a US drone strike a martyr.

Syed Munawar Hasan, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, told a Pakistani TV station earlier this month that he thought slain Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was a martyr. He later implied that Pakistani soldiers killed while fighting Islamic militants are not martyrs because they are allied with the US

The army condemned Hasan's comments as "irresponsible and misleading" in a statement Sunday and demanded that he apologize.

The Pakistani Taliban have killed thousands of civilians and security forces in their quest to overthrow the country's democratic government and impose a harsh version of Islamic law.
Conduct preparatory classes for Army aspirants: Brigadier S.B. Sajjan
 “We are requesting all District Administrations to organise coaching classes for those aspiring to enrol in the Army under the various trades to help them perform better in the written selection test,” Brigadier S.B. Sajjan, Deputy Director General Recruiting (States), Headquarters Recruiting Zone, Chennai, said here on Saturday.

Addressing presspersons during the on-going eight-day recruitment rally of the Army at the Nehru Stadium, he said this would enable candidates who have passed Standard X or Plus-Two prepare well for the selection.

“For most of the trades, the eligibility is either a pass in Standard X or Plus-Two. Though the question paper for the written test is of normal standard, some boys are not able to clear it, even though they would have cleared the preliminary fitness and medical tests. Some District Administrations are offering coaching on a small level. It is possible for us to develop a uniform structure for coaching if the District Administrations are willing to administer it to deserving candidates through formal classes,” the Brigadier said.

The rally was being organised under the aegis of the Army Recruiting Office, Coimbatore, to recruit eligible men to serve in the trades of DSC, Soldier General Duty, Soldier Technical including Soldier Technical Aviation, Soldier Technical Dresser and Soldier Nursing Assistant, Soldier Tradesmen, and Soldier Clerk / Store Keeper Technical.

Candidates from 11 districts such as Coimbatore, Theni, Dharmapuri, the Nilgiris, Krishnagiri, Madurai, Namakkal, Erode, Dindigul, Tirupur and Salem, are participating in the rally.


Candidates should not fall for false promises of touts who promise a job, the DDG said. He urged candidates and parents to complain to the recruitment officials if they came in contact with such persons.

The rally that began on November 6 has so far seen 8,000 walk-ins and the Army expects at least 20,000 to attend when it ends on November 14.

“Increasing awareness about the opportunities in the Army is the only way to create interest about the Force. The Army is actively undertaking publicity campaigns in collaboration with the District Administrations to conduct awareness / motivational programmes in schools,” he said.

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