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Sunday, 24 November 2013

From Today's Papers - 24 Nov 2013

 N-capable Dhanush missile test-fired

Balasore, November 23
India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable Dhanush ballistic missile from a naval ship off Odisha coast on Saturday. "Strategic Forces Command (SFC) successfully tested the Dhanush missile today from a naval ship," said MV K V Prasad, Director of the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur near Balasore.

The surface-to-surface Dhanush, a naval variant of India's indigenously developed 'Prithvi' missile, was test fired at around 11.10am from a location at Bay of Bengal by the SFC of the defence force.

The single-stage, liquid propelled Dhanush has already been inducted into the armed services and is one of the five missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), defence sources said.

"The trial was conducted by the SFC of the Indian defence force in co-operation with DRDO," a defence official said.

Dhanush missile is capable of carrying conventional as well as nuclear payload of 500 to 1,000 kg and hit both land and sea-based targets. — PTI
 China sets up air defence zone over disputed islands with Japan

Beijing, November 23
China today established an air defence zone over disputed islands administered by Japan, a move that can exasperate tensions between the two countries.

The defence ministry announced the establishment of East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone which comes into operation from today. Chinese combat jets conducted air patrols over disputed islands claimed by Japan, hours after Beijing's announcement.

Shen Jinke, spokesperson of the People's Liberation Air Force (PLAF), said “two large scout aircraft carried out the patrol mission, with early warning aircraft and fighters providing support".

The ministry warned that the aircraft flying over the area should seek permission failing which they are liable for action, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The zone includes the airspace within the area enclosed by China’s outer limit of the territorial sea, it said specifying boundaries in the East China Sea, where the uninhabited disputed islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan were located.

If enforced strictly, the new Chinese law could spark off major military tensions with Japan, which has been administering the group of islets believed to be rich with minerals and hydro carbons.

China stepped up its protests over Japanese control from September last year after Tokyo bought the islets from a private Japanese party, which Beijing said amounted to nationalisation of the islands and pressed its fleet of war ships to patrol aggressively with that of Japanese patrols. — PTI
Afghanistan seeks tanks, field artillery and attack helicopters from India

150 battle tanks, 120 (105 mm) field guns, a large number of 82 mm mortars, one medium lift transport aircraft (AN-32), two squadrons of medium lift (24) and attack helicopters (24) and a large number of trucks and jeeps form a part of the wish list that Afghanistan has handed over to New Delhi to arm itself ahead of the 2014 NATO draw down. Afghanistan has also sought allied paraphernalia for training, maintenance and upkeep of the equipment.

Highly placed sources in the government have told Headlines Today that Afghanistan army also wants New Delhi to set up a military training facility for its officers and soldiers in Afghanistan and provide a training team immediately. The training is for English language, counter insurgency operations, ordnance-weapons & stores management and also vehicle repairs.

This is assistance apart from the 2 billion dollar aid India is providing to rebuild Afghanistan. India is providing a 2 billion US dollar line of credit to Afghanistan for infrastructure development projects including construction of dams, roads, bridges, Parliament, Schools, hospitals and training facilities. "India is working very closely with the US, Russia and several other countries on Afghanistan-post 2014 draw down and all like minded powers have one goal. Afghanistan cannot be permitted to slide back into the tumultuous days of Taliban at any cost. An effort is being made to synchronize the rebuilding effort,'' sources said.

And in a powerful signal to India, Afghanistan has turned down Pakistan's request for both training their service personnel and a generous line of credit to take "what they want'' from Pakistan ordnance factories. "Pakistan's all powerful Army Chief General Ashfq Pervez Kayani had visited Afghanistan and offered to train the Afghanistan army - both officers and men and also equip the Afghanistan army. One officer even attended the Command and Staff College in Quetta but in his assessment report after the course said officers in future should be sent to Staff College, Wellington (India),'' sources added.

More than 400 Afghan army officers have trained at National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakvasla, Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun and Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai in the past three years alone. A total of 1200 Afghan National Army officers have been trained by India. "And back in Afghanistan they proudly wear the NDA, IMA & OTA insignia on their uniform. Though the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has set up a training base for Afghan officers and enlisted men in Afghanistan itself - communication remains an issue. Therefore they prefer to undergo training in India. We give pre-commission training to 50 officers every year - but call for 150 applications and the cadets undergo an examination similar to services selection board (SSB) in Kabul itself,'' sources added. India does not weed out applicants based on their ethnic background. India is training Afghan cadets and officers from diverse ethno-religious backgrounds including Pashtun, Tajik and Uzbeks.
Military leadership must be involved in decision making: Former Army chief VP Malik
CHANDIGARH: Former Army chief Gen (retd) V P Malik on Saturday slammed political leadership for not involving army in decision making on nation's security, saying "lack of trust" between the civil-military officials was affecting strategic policies.

He said that the decision making process in India is "fractured", which leaves out many stake holders associated with the issue.

"Services chiefs were not informed about the nuclear tests until just two days prior to the big day even though the armed forces are meant to be the user in the event of a nuclear war," Malik said.

Similarly, the Armed forces were also unaware that India had manufactured chemical weapons until it had destroyed its stock following the signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention, he said.

"The fact which bothers an Indian soldier is the absence of his voice in critical decision making," he said.

Malik was speaking at the launch of his new book "India's Military Conflicts and Diplomacy: An Inside View of Decision Making".

He stressed that armed forces must be involved in all decision making processes with which they are associated.

"Political leadership never involved the military leadership, which resulted flawed decisions in many times," the former Army chief said.

General Malik's book talks about some strategic events in which he was personally involved during his long service in the Indian Army.

He said that the Army was not kept in the loop when the decision to send the troops to Sri Lanka was taken.

Malik also raised questions over the "suspicion of the political leadership" while involving the military leadership in decision-making process.

Malik said this "lack of trust and mutual understanding between the civil-military official is affecting the strategic policy". He stressed on the need for the inclusive decision making for the interest of the nation.

It was always the bureaucracy in the ministry of defence (MoD) which decide everything which is resulting in the little involvement of the Armed forces leadership in higher defence management and policy planning, Malik said.

He said the leadership must understand the need of the forces and criticized the attitude of the politicians for not giving the "due respect" to the martyrs of the Sri Lanka operation.
Army brass meets, decides to finetune selection process
BHOPAL: Selection Centre Central (SCC), Bhopal, an Army institution responsible for carrying out personality assessment with a view to select suitable officers for the Armed Forces, organized the Annual Commandants' Conference on November 21-22.

Lt Gen BS Pama, director general recruitment, Maj Gen AK Sahgal and number of senior officers from selection centres of the army, air force, navy, coast guard and Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) involved in selection of potential officers for the armed forces were present.

Maj Gen Sahgal stressed upon the need to constantly refine the selection procedures to keep pace with latest developments in hiring and changing socio-economic values of society. The conference deliberated on a number of issues that affect selection of suitable candidates for armed forces, which face an acute shortage in the officer cadre. The two days' intense deliberations focused on measures to enhance the selection process including institutional and technological refinement for keeping pace with current socio-economic and cultural realities.

Lt Gen Pama, DG recruitment, said he is fully aware of the constraints and challenges faced by the selection centres but despite the odds the selection boards have been doing a commendable job.
Need for prudence in defence acquisition plans: PM

India will continue to confront formidable security challenges in the neighbourhood, but needs to exercise prudence in defence acquisition plans due to the economic slowdown, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday.

Addressing the combined commanders' conference here, the prime minister also said the country needs urgent and tangible progress in establishing right structures for higher defence management and appropriate civil-military balance in decision making.

He also highlighted the political leadership had highest faith in the military's institutional rectitude.

The prime minister said though the country needs to take into account the capabilities of its adversaries, the long-term acquisition had to be planned on the assumption of limited resource availability.

"We need to match our investment in military equipment and forces to our national resources. During most of the past decade, we have had the benefit of average annual growth rates of eight percent.

"But the past two years have seen slow growth, uncertain international economic climate marked by volatile exchange rate fluctuations and the possibility of fragmenting trade regimes," he said.

Manmohan Singh said he had no doubt the country would overcome current economic slowdown, but "we will have to exercise prudence in our defence acquisition plans and cut our coat according to our cloth".

The driving principle was to create a military that is driven by abiding interests, as opposed to the transient threats, he said.

Referring to the role of internet in the age of globalisation and worldwide surveillance done by the US, he said India needs to develop comprehensive national power, which he defined as the "amalgam of economic, technological and industrial prowess, buttressed by the appropriate military sinews".

The prime minister said India must take advantage of a favourable international environment to build a domestic defence industrial base.

"For too long, we have debated the merits of private versus public sector. It would be more useful to think in terms of aggregate national capacity," he said.

He said that just as economic pendulum is shifting inexorably from west to east, so is the strategic focus, "as exemplified by the increasing contestation in the seas to our east and the related 'pivot' or 'rebalancing' by the US in this area".

He however sounded a note of caution too.

"This, to my mind, is a development fraught with uncertainty. We don't yet know whether these economic and strategic transitions will be peaceful, but that is the challenge this audience must grapple with institutionally," he said.

Referring to "continuing turmoil in West Asia" and Asia Pacific region, he said the country's strategic horizons should also include the need to protect its global seaborne trade in goods, energy and minerals, the well-being of Indian expatriate communities worldwide and the growing global footprint of Indian capital.

Noting recent concerns raised about the nature of civil-military relations in the country, he said: "Let me assert, clearly and unequivocally, that the political leadership of India has the highest faith in its military and its institutional rectitude within the democratic framework."

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