Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

From Today's Papers - 12 Nov 2013

MoD gives more time to Agusta
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 11
The Defence Acquisition Council under the Ministry of Defence today decided to postpone the purchase of new set of “Barak missiles’ meant for Indian naval warships.

It was decided to get the proposal examined by an independent group within the MoD. The purchase of Israeli Barak missiles had been pending for some time because of allegations of corruption by the company in 2006.

The issue was referred to the Attorney General who advised the the MoD to take its own call. The Navy needs the missiles as its numbers have dwindled.

Separately, the MoD has decided to hear copter- maker AgustaWestland’s version on alleged corruption in Rs 3,500-crore VVIP copter deal. A show-cause notice had been issued to the company on October 21.
 Joint commands
Need for greater synergy in the armed forces

In an era when warfare is getting more sophisticated and complex with the ongoing revolution in military technology, there is need for greater synergy. It therefore makes sense for the Indian armed forces to move towards establishing joint commands. In a latest proposal that has been under discussion for some years now, the three services have proposed the setting up of three altogether new joint commands which would be headed by each of the three services. The proposed commands are the Special Forces Command, the Cyber Command and the Aerospace Command which will involve the merger of assets of the three services and will be headed by a Lt General rank officer belonging, respectively, to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

The rationale behind a Special Forces Command is because all three services have their respective commando units and, to a large extent, share the same equipment and yet have separate training institutes. There are some differences, however. For example, Chariot warfare is unique to the Marine Commandos just as high altitude high opening and high altitude low opening parachute manoeuvres are unique to the Army Special Forces. However, a combined Special Forces Command could result in a better appreciation of a situation and therefore better employment of Special Forces resources considering that each situation could be different and may need expertise that the other service has. Then again, both the Aerospace Command and the Cyber Command would be in keeping with these new dimensions, i.e. space and cyber that have become a full-fledged integral part of future warfare.

The government needs to, in fact, consider merging the existing operational commands of the three services and form tri-service Theatre Commands. This means that instead of having four Army commands, two Air Force commands and one Naval command on the western front vis-a-vis Pakistan, it may be a better idea for the country to have one consolidated Western Theatre Command. The government could similarly consider doing the same on other fronts such as on the eastern, northern, southern or Indian Ocean fronts. The specifics would require intensive debate. There is no doubt that the need to evolve more jointness and synergy between the three services is long overdue.
On Kashmir, Pak dumps Mush plan, backs plebiscite
Azhar Qadri/TNS

Srinagar, November 11
A Kashmiri separatist leader who met a top adviser of Pakistani Prime Minister in New Delhi on Sunday said she sensed a change in policy of the new government in Islamabad, which “admitted” to her that former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s policy on the region was a “mistake”.

Aasiya Andrabi, who heads the radical all-women separatist outfit Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of Nation), met Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs in New Delhi.

Andrabi, the only woman among the Kashmiri separatist leaders who met Aziz, said she shared her “concerns” with Sharif’s adviser.

“We have taken a decision that we will stand for the right to self-determination, nothing less than that… we ensure you we are with you,” Andrabi quoted Aziz as telling her during the meeting. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir, Dukhtaran-e-Millat’s general secretary Nahida Nasreen and Andrabi’s close aide Fehmeeda Sofi were also present at the meeting.

Andrabi said Sharif’s advisor “admitted” that Musharraf’s policy, which was amajor change in Pakistan’s traditional approach on Kashmir, was a “mistake”.
Will give Pak benefit of doubt but not at India's cost: Khurshid
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, November 11
Amid strain in ties with Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will meet Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz tomorrow evening on the margins of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Gurgaon.

Ahead of the crucial meeting, Khurshid was quoted as saying in an interview to an Australian newspaper that the new government in Islamabad was grappling with a very difficult situation. ''Our view is that we should give them time and benefit of doubt but not at our cost," he added.

Khurshid also did not appear hopeful in terms of deliverables from his meeting with Aziz. ''If you look at the ground reality and you look at the result of our meetings, it is very disappointing. Particularly in recent times, meetings have been somewhat disappointing if not counter-productive," he said.

Khurshid said India would be able to say there was "adequate evidence" of Pakistan's intent to move forward on bilateral ties if it was "able to address the issue of dismantling of terrorist infrastructure that is targeted at India" and "some accountability is shown on what happened in Mumbai (26/11 terror attack) through the legal proceedings that are under way".

Tomorrow's talks between Khurshid and Aziz will be the first high-level contact between India and Pakistan after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York in September on the fringes of the UN General Assembly. Hours after his arrival here yesterday, Aziz held separate talks with various Kashmiri separatist leaders, which angered India.

Khurshid to meet Aziz today

Amid strain in ties with Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will meet Pakistan Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Tuesday evening on the margins of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Gurgaon. This will the first high-level contact between India and Pakistan after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York in September on the fringes of the UN General Assembly
India Again Considers Buying Israeli-made ATGM

NEW DELHI — The Israeli-built Spike anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is back on the Indian Army’s acquisition agenda. The potential purchase of the missile arose during a Nov. 11 meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), which likely will take up the issue again when it meets later this month, an Indian Defence Ministry source said.

The purchase of the Spike was put on hold in April as it was a single-vendor procurement from Israeli company Rafael. But the Indian Army is in a hurry to get advanced ATGMs.

The renewed interest in the Spike is unlikely to affect a US proposal to jointly produce the Javelin ATGM with India, the Defence Ministry source said, because the Army needs more than 20,000 advanced ATGMs. The Spike, if purchased, will be vehicle-mounted, the source said, while the Javelin will be man-portable.

The Army currently depends on Konkurs M and Milan ATGMs, which are less than 2,000 meters in range.

The Indian Army’s 2010 request for proposals (RfPs) for advanced ATGMs went to Rafael, Paris-based MBDA, US companies Raytheon and General Dynamics and Russia’s Rosoboronoexport. Only Rafael responded to the tender; the other companies balked at India’s technology-transfer requirements.

The Indian Army now proposes to buy third-generation Spike ATGM systems including 321 missile launchers, 8,356 missiles and 15 training simulators and associated accessories, along with transfer of technology. The Army would mount the Spikes on its Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.

US Deputy Defence Secretary Ash Carter formally proposed the joint development of the Javelin during a September visit to India. The Americans have agreed to sell about 6,000 man-portable Javelins to India within six to eight months of a contract signing, and for future needs the US can explore co-production of the missile and later work on the co-development of an ATGM tailored for India. The Americans have also agreed to transfer technology including the special process for manufacturing the Javelin’s warhead, rocket motor, propellant, guidance and seeker, but no algorithms for guidance, which an Indian Army official said is the core to any guidance system.

A team from Raytheon and Lockheed Martin has already briefed Defence Ministry officials on the possibilities of joint development of the Javelin.

India also is developing its own ATGM, the Nag.
Congress complains against misuse of defence photographs
 The Congress has complained to President Pranab Mukherjee against BJP's Madhya Pradesh unit for using a photograph showing Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs jointly paying homage to coffins of armymen in an advertisement issued in local dailies on November 9.

Allegedly, the advertisement also narrated "wrong" facts about the situation on the border and using such photographs for political purposes is unprecedented in the political history of the country, MP State Congress joint spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said in a statement here today.

Chaturvedi urged the President to take cognisance of the matter and take action in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. He also urged the President to ensure a ban on the use of such photographs, to serve political interests and take action against those involved in it.

The advertisement also presented "wrong" facts about the situation on the border, which amounts to "misleading" the electorate, he alleged.
Army kicks off high-tech 'digital soldier' project
The Indian Army has moved a step closer to the battlefield of the future, where command networks know the precise location of every soldier and weapon, with whom generals can exchange reports, photos, data and verbal and written communications.

On Monday, Army headquarters called in 14 Indian companies and issued them an expression of interest (EoI) for developing a Battlefield Management System (BMS). The BMS will integrate combat units — armoured, artillery and infantry regiments, infantry battalions, helicopter flights, etc — into a digital network that will link together all components of the future battlefield.

While precise costs are still unclear, vendors competing for the contract say the army expects to pay about Rs 40,000 crore for developing and manufacturing the BMS. This includes the software architecture and the hardware that will link together every component of some 500 combat units, each having between 500 and 900 soldiers.

The BMS acquisition is being pursued as a “Make” contract under the Defence Procurement Policy of 2013 (DPP-2013). The vendors will respond to the EoI with a detailed proposal, based on which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will shortlist two vendors or consortia as “development agencies” or DAs.

The MoD will pick up 80 per cent of the development bill for both DAs to build prototypes of the BMS. The winning design will form the basis of the system.

The army’s directorate general of information systems (DGIS) is overseeing the planned shift from a twentieth century to a twenty-first century battlefield. The communications backbone of the new digital architecture will be the Tactical Communications System (TCS), which is being pursued separately as India’s first “Make” project.

In addition, the army is working on a Command Information and Decision Support System (CIDSS) that allows commanders to control the battle; a Battlefield Support System (BSS) to manage artillery units; and an Air Defence Control & Reporting System (ADC&RS) that will control airspace.

The BMS will link these overarching systems to the cutting edge — the combat soldier on the front line. Each soldier and combat platform (tank, helicopter, jeep) will be a separate digital entity, whose location and state of combat readiness will be available to higher commanders.

The BMS will also allow the sharing of inputs from a range of sensors in combat units, including seismic sensors, battlefield surveillance radars, long range optical sensors and thermal imaging devices.

The full rollout of the proposed digital network will enable a divisional or corps commander to talk directly to, and receive images from, a soldier in the trenches or a tank on the front. “This is all about situational awareness,” explains a serving general who terms it “Blue Force Tracking”.

The vendors who received EoIs on Monday include eight companies that are already competing for the Rs 10,000-crore TCS contract — L&T, Bharat Electronics Ltd, Rolta Ltd, Tata Power (strategic electronics division), Hindustan Computers Ltd, Wipro, Electronics Corporation of Indian Ltd and ITI. The six additional companies competing for BMS include Bharat Forge, Punj Lloyd Ltd, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys Technologies, Tech Mahindra; and CMC.

Vendors have been given four months to form consortia, engage technology partners (who may be foreign companies), frame their proposals, and submit detailed proposals. Those will be evaluated by an Integrated Project Management Team (IPMT), which will then select two DAs.

The EoI enjoins the DAs to develop four “test beds”, or configurations of the BMS. These are for (a) armoured units; (b) mechanised infantry units; (c) infantry units in mountains, and (d) infantry units in jungle terrain.

The EoI specifies that 30 per cent of the weight in selecting a DA will go to the amount and level of R&D that a vendor will put into the BMS.

Another 30 per cent will rest on the amount of indigenous content that the BMS will contain.
Ex-Army Chief slams winding up of secret snooping unit TSD
New Delhi: Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh, who has courted controversy over secret military intelligence unit Technical Support Division on Monday slammed its winding up, saying people "inimical" to India's security would be happy.

Justifying creation of the specialised snooping unit, he said if it had not been disbanded, it would have been helpful in preventing a number of things happening on the border.

"I think the people who would be most happy with it being wound up, it would be people who are inimical to India's national security," Singh told PTI in an interview.

He was responding to a question whether he agreed with the criticism of the unit which was reportedly accused of undertaking some nefarious activities, such as snooping of Defence Ministry officials and attempt to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir government.

The unit was set up during Gen VK Singh's tenure as Army Chief between April 2010 and May last year. It was wound up soon after his retirement.

It was scrapped after a high-level committee headed by Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia recommended so along with a CBI inquiry into its activities.

"If TSD had not been wound up, a lot of things that are happening on the border, would not have happened," Gen Singh asserted. He, however, did not elaborate.

Commenting on allegations that the TSD was trying to destabilise the Jammu and Kashmir government, he said these comments are "laughable. If someone can write in a report that one crore was meant to destabilise the state government, that person does not have any brains."

During the interview, the former Army Chief spoke about a number of other issues like his age controversy which had reached the Supreme Court, his allegations about attempt to bribe him to clear purchase of Tatra trucks and accusations against him for attempting coup in January last year.

In his autobiography 'Courage and Convictions', Gen VK Singh has stated that the recommendation for raising the secret military intelligence unit was made by National Security Adviser to hit back at Pakistan after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

On allegations that the unit was involved in some unwanted activities, the former Army Chief said, "A lie has many friends and truth has none...I have just said that people who will be very happy is the people who harm national interest."

Singh claims in the book that the NSA had asked then Army Chief Deepak Kapoor if the Army could create an organisation with covert capability to hit back at Pakistan but Kapoor was not receptive to the project.

The proposal was then made to him by the then Director General Military Intelligence Lt Gen RK Loomba, he writes in the book.

The intent was to increase the scope of the proposed intelligence unit to have tentacles in neighbouring countries and surrounding areas, the book says.

The unit has been mired in controversy after allegations were levelled against it that it was involved in snooping the telephones of important officers in the Defence Ministry and carrying out unauthorised operations in Jammu and Kashmir against the state government there.
Army chief Bikram Singh's photograph in poll poster, force may move EC
NEW DELHI: The Army may take up the issue of a photograph of Army chief gen Bikram Singh used on a BJP poll poster in Madhya Pradesh with the Election Commission.

The photograph showed Gen Bikram Singh saluting martyrs in Jammu.

The Army is thinking of taking up the issue with the Election Commission through proper channel, Army sources said here.

They, however, said a final decision in this regard would be taken at a higher level in the Army Headquarters as it involves two major national political parties.

The Congress had on Sunday sought derecognition of BJP in the wake of "provocative" advertisement issued by it in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, where the national flag and the photo of the Army chief were "misused".

Party spokesman Meem Afzal had said the AICC has approached the Election Commission over the advertisement which sends a "negative" image of the Congress.

The complaint was against Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state BJP chief Narendra Singh Tomar. He alleged that the BJP was seeking to drag the Army chief in politics by using his photo.
Army should not get involved in political matters: JI
The Jamaat-e-Islami on Monday formally responded to ISPR’s statement and clarified its position over party chief Syed Munawar Hassan’s controversial remarks, saying that Pakistan army is not entitled to directly involve in political affairs.
Speaking to media representatives after a meeting of the party’s Majlis-i-Shura (Supreme Council), General Secretary of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Liaqat Baloch said his party has rendered sacrifices to safeguard ideological as well as geographical boundaries of the country and has always acknowledged Pak Army’s sacrifices.
On Sunday, JI chief Syed Munawar Hasan’s recent controversial statements of giving the certificate of martyrdom to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakeemullah Mehsud and deriding military personnel who have rendered sacrifices in the war against terrorists, drew strong ire of the army which asked the JI chief to tender an unconditional apology.
Liaqat Baloch said that Pakistan Army should not get involved in political affairs directly, adding that ISPR’s statement, in which the army asked Syed Munawar Hassan to apologize to the nation, is a political statement which the military should have avoided.
“The nation is being involved in unnecessary debates,” said Liaqat Baloch who did not respond to reporters’ questions in his brief chat with the media.
The JI leader said his party leadership reviewed in the meeting the situation arising out of Syed Munawar Hassan’s statement.
In his remarks he issued in a TV talkshow last week, the JI chief had declared the killing of ruthless Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in missile strike as ‘martyrdom’, stating that Pakistan army soldiers who have rendered sacrifices in the ongoing fight could not be called ‘martyrs’ for their cooperation with the US.
The statement drew strong ire of the army which asked him to tender unconditional apology. Various political parties, including the PPP, ANP and ANP, condemned the JI’s remarks urging him to take his words back.
ISPR in a statement condemned the remarks as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘misleading’, saying that declaring the dead terrorists as shaheeds is insult of the shahadat of thousands of innocent Pakistanis and soldiers of Pakistan's armed forces.
During the Majlis-i-Shura meeting, Baloch said the country would have to get out of the drone war in order to establish sustainable peace.
He further said that martyrdom was a dignified rank which could only be conferred by “none other than Allah”.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal