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Thursday, 12 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 12 Dec 2013

Militants kill CRPF man in Kashmir
Tribune News Service
Srinagar, December 11
A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer was killed and a jawan injured in a suspected militant attack at Nowgam on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway today.

The attack took place around 4 pm while CRPF personnel of 29 Battalion were patrolling the the Bemina-to-Pantha Chowk stretch of the national highway.

The attack was carried out by three car-borne militants.

CRPF Inspector General PK Singh said the patrol party was attacked by the militants with assault rifles. “Assistant Sub Inspector Udit Narayan was killed in the attack while a jawan sustained injuries,’’ he said. “The condition of the injured CRPF jawan is stable,” he said.

The IGP said the militants fired from a close range and sped away towards south Kashmir after the attack. CRPF men fired at the militants, but they managed to escape. After the shootout, police and CRPF personnel cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the militants involved in the attack. The search operation was on till late in the evening.
Army Chief gets US award
Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has been honoured with the Legion of Merit, a US military award given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

The award figures sixth in the order of precedence of the US military decorations. Worn around the neck with a purple ribbon, the award was received by Gen Singh from US Army Chief Gen Raymond Odierno on December 5 during his visit to the US.

The US Army’s website states that Gen Singh had helped the Indian Army to become the second largest trainer of Afghan national security forces after the US. A “full honour ceremony” was organised for the purpose at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall near Washington during which the 3rd Infantry Regiment - the oldest active duty outfit of the US Army and known as the Old Guard - was on parade in full colonial era ceremonial attire.

So far, the honour has been bestowed upon four Indian service chiefs - Field Marshal KM Cariappa, Gen Rajendra Sinhji, Gen SM Srinagesh and Admiral JL Cursetji.

During his visit to the US, Gen Singh discussed the US-India defence relationship with senior US military leadership.

Lt Gen Chakravarty is new NCC Chief

Lt Gen Aniruddha Chakravarty has, this month, assumed charge as Director General of the National Cadet Corps (NCC). He succeeded Lt Gen PS Bhalla, who retired on November 30. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla, Lt Gen Chakravarty was commissioned in the Rajput Regiment on December 15, 1976, and, among other command and staff assignments, served as the Chief Operations Officer and the National Senior at the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

The NCC, which comprises nearly 15 lakh cadets from schools and colleges across the country, has seen restructuring in the recent past to cater to its expansion plans. Some of the posts of the Deputy Director General - responsible for the functioning of the NCC’s 17 directorates and earlier headed by officers of the rank of Brigadier or equivalent - have been upgraded as Additional Director General, tenable by Major General or equivalent. Similarly, some of the posts of the Group Commander, earlier held by Colonels, are now being held by Brigadiers.
Motorcycle rally from Sikkim to Punjab

To commemorate the Battle Honour awarded to it for the Battle of Bogra in the eastern sector during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, 63 Cavalry is undertaking a motorcycle rally from Sikkim to Punjab.

The bikers astride four motorcycles, led by Lt Lionel Joseph Wilkins, were flagged off by Lt Gen KJ Singh, General Officer Commanding 33 Corps, from Yongdi in North Sikkim on October 30, and will reach the regiment location at Amritsar near the Indo-Pak border on December 15 to mark the victory at Bogra - when T-55 tanks had run through soggy paddy fields to target Pakistani forces.

The team will cover a distance of 2,795 km and en route will pay homage to martyrs. It has already held a memorial ceremony at the Bogra war memorial in Binnaguri. The route for the motorcycle rally has been selected to facilitate the bikers visit the borders of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and also pay tributes at all war memorials of the Regiment, besides visiting Alwar, where it was raised in 1957.

Book on Punjab’s military families

Punjab is known for its martial tradition and there are families that have risen to the call of arms over generations. This is now being documented in a book being published by the state’s Defence Services Welfare Department.

The book will contain pictures and details of nearly 300 families from the state who have sent three or more generations to the armed forces. The format of the book has been finalised and will go for publication shortly. The department is also working on publishing a coffee table book on all war memorials in the state.
Clear advice from service chiefs missing
The constitutional framework clearly lays down responsibilities of the Raksha Mantri, the defence secretary and the service chiefs. The first part of this analysis points out that the MoD can function effectively only on the basis of dynamic coordination between its civilian and military elements
N.N. Vohra
Over the past two decades, a growing number of former senior armed forces officers have been writing on issues relating to higher defence management. A criticism has been recurringly raised that impediments arise in functioning of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) because the civilian officers posted in the ministry exercise authority which far exceeds their mandate.

In any discussion on defence management it is extremely important to note that in our democratic parliamentary framework the power lies with the elected representatives, from among whom Cabinet ministers are appointed. The ministers are responsibile for managing the affairs of their departments and decide all important matters except those which are required to be submitted to the Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security, Prime Minister, President or other specified authorities. The civil servants working in these departments are the tools for assisting the ministers in finalising policies and then ensuring that the same are effectively executed.

Constitutional framework
The Constitution lays down the framework within which the union government and the states are required to carry out their respective responsibilities. List 1 of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution states that the union government is responsible for the “Defence of India and every part thereof”. The supreme command of the armed forces rests in the President. The responsibility for national defence vests with the Cabinet, which is discharged through the MoD that provides the policy framework for the armed forces to carry out their duties. The Raksha Mantri heads this ministry, the principal task of which is to obtain policy directions of the government on all defence and security related matters and see that these are implemented by the service headquarters and allied establishments.

Further, the Government of India (Transaction of Business) Rules state that all business allotted to government departments shall be disposed off by, or under the directions of, the minister-in-charge of the department, and in each department the secretary shall be the administrative head thereof, and shall be responsible for the proper transaction of business. Thus, constitutionally, the overall responsibility for the MoD’s functioning rests entirely on the Raksha Mantri and that for ensuring the business of the Department of Defence is transacted in conformity with the Rules is vested in the defence secretary.

In this context, the MoD is clearly responsible to the government for all matters relating to the defence of India and the armed forces and, further, as provided under the Defence Services Regulations, the chiefs of the three services are responsible to the President through the MoD for the command, discipline, recruitment, training, administration and preparation of war of their respective service. The civilian face of the MoD is represented by the Raksha Mantri, his junior ministerial colleagues, defence secretary and other civil servants.

The structure and functioning of the MoD has undergone very significant changes after the amendment of business rules and the establishment of the Integrated Army, Navy, Air and Defence Staff Headquarters of the MoD. The Intergrated Headquarters (IHQ) are involved with policy formulation regarding the defence of India and the armed forces, and are responsible for providing executive directions in the implementation of MoD’s policies.

Issues of contention

A frequently voiced dissatisfaction is that the civilians posted in the MoD do not have adequate experience of working in this arena and also do not have long enough tenures to gain specialisation for effectively dealing with military matters. This perception is largely true. Perhaps only a few among them, particularly officers at joint secretary level, may have done previous stints in the defence or home ministries. As regards tenures, while the Central Secretariat Service officers may serve for long periods, the deputationist officers appointed to director and joint secretary level posts enjoy average tenures of 5 years. It is necessary to remedy this situation.

Some commentators allege that the role of political leaders has been hijacked by IAS officers and what ordains in the MoD today is “bureaucratic control and not civilian political control of the military”. It has been further argued that the civil services have succeeded in having their own way essentially because the political leadership has little or no past experience or expertise in handling defence matters, have little interest, and lack the will to support reforms in the defence management apparatus. This line of thinking is carried forward to conclude that as the MoD does not have the confidence and capability to adjudicate on the competing claim and demands made by the individual services, each service largely follows it own course.

There cannot be any debate about the crucial need for the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) to work overtime for securing a level of jointness which will enable critical inter-se prioritisation of the varied demands projected by the individual services and based thereon, to evolve a closely integrated defence plan that has a 10-15 year perspective.

Some former senior officers opine that issues about civilian control have arisen essentially because successive Raksha Mantris have chosen not to exercise requisite influence and control and have been particularly amiss in never questioning the chiefs about the logic and assumptions relating to the execution of military plans, as this vital responsibility has been left entirely to the service headquarters. Operation Blue Star, Exercise Brass Tacks, Exercise Checker Board, IPKF operations in Sri Lanka and several other events are cited as examples of serious avoidable failures which happened because of the lack of clarity about the goals to be achieved and on account of major gaps in the operational plans.

It is regrettable that the records relating to past operations and wars remain clothed in secrecy, having the adverse consequence of successive generations of military officers being denied the opportunity of learning from past mistakes. This issue was taken note of by the Group of Ministers on National Security and a committee set up by the Raksha Mantri in 2002 to review the publication of military histories clearly recommended that histories of the 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars be published without delay.

The essence of coordination

Some commentators have gone to the extent of taking the position that difficulties arise in the functioning of the MoD because Raksha Mantris do not have past exposure to military matters. This is not a well founded notion. Having faced two world wars, USA and some European nations were compelled to enfore conscription for two to three generations of their youth. Consequently, for many years, a number of ministers in these countries had earlier served in the armed forces and had been directly exposed to military functioning. Today, however, even in these countries there may now be no elected person having exposure to military service. In India, we have never had any conscription and military service is voluntary. It would, therefore, not be logical to suggest that our Raksha Mantris should necessarily have been exposed to military matters.

It is disturbing to hear angry statements that the MoD has not been devoting timely attention to dealing with its tasks. During my days in the ministry I worked with eight Raksha Mantris, of whom five were the Prime Ministers, and can say without any hesitation, that even the Prime Ministers who held charge of the MoD remained most seriously concerned about national security issues while being overburdened with a horde of crisis situations on varied fronts. However, a factor which invariably came in the way of arriving at adequately prompt and satisfactory solutions, such as may have been possible in those troubled times, was our failure to present to the Raksha Mantri clear cut options based on the advice received from the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). In this context it is relevant to recall the virtually established practice that the chiefs would raise no significant matters in the Raksha Mantri’s Monday morning meetings but seek to discuss substantive issues only in one-on-one meetings with him and, if possible, the Prime Minister. Whenever the chiefs met the Raksha Mantri together and presented him with even a broadly agreed approach, there was no delay in the required decisions being promptly arrived at and speedily promulgated. I would reiterate the importance of ensuring that the MoD functions on the basis of dynamic coordination between the civilian and military elements.

In the late 1980s the MoD’s functioning was, among other factors, most adversely affected by a severe financial crisis in the country. Reckoning the understandable worries and tensions within the ministry, Prime Minister VP Singh, who was also the our Raksha Mantri, set up a Committee on Defence Expenditure (CDE) to review the existing defence set-up and recommend rationalisation of expenditure. I was then the defence secretary and Arun Singh, the committee’s chairman consulted me informally about the recommendations evolved by CDE. I gave him my personal opinion that while the proposal to create the proposed Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) set-up for advising the Raksha Mantri on all military matters would necessarily have to be processed for consideration at the political level, there appeared no difficulty whatsoever in implementing all other recommendations for enforcing economy, closing redundant ordnance factories, rationalising the finance wing functioning and enlarging the existing administrative and financial delegations. The COSC, after examining the CDE report, communicated that none of the committee’s recommendations would be accepted if the government did not accept the recommended restructuring of the COSC. To secure better resource management, the ministry went ahead and ordered financial delegation up to army command and equivalent, placed internal financial advisers in each service headquarters and directed several other useful changes.

Revamping defence management

The defence reforms process did not move much further till May 1998 when the successful nuclear tests at Pokhran catapulted India into the exclusive club of nuclear power states. This sudden development cast very high responsibility on the government, particularly the MoD, and led to the establishment of various arrangements and structures for handling strategic issues and decisions. The National Security Council was set up in November 1998 and a National Security Advisor (NSA) was appointed. Then, in summer 1999 came the Kargil War, which took the country entirely by surprise and generated grave misgivings about the failure of the defence apparatus and serious concerns about the army’s preparedness. The Kargil Review Committee (KRC) was set up to undertake a thorough review of the events leading up to the Pakistani aggression in Kargil and to recommend measures for safeguarding national security against such intrusions. The KRC report was speedily examined by a Group of Ministers (GoM) chaired by then Home Minister LK Advani. For undertaking national security reforms the GoM set up four task forces, one of which was on higher defence management. Among the foremost recommendations made was creation of the Integrated Defence Staff to improve the planning process, promote “jointness” among the armed forces and provide single point military advice to the government.

While the GoM endorsed almost all the major recommendations of the task force on higher defence management, the proposal regarding the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff got involved in the lack of collective support by the three services and failed to secure approval for want of political consensus.
Civil-military discord
Frequently voiced dissatisfaction that civilians posted in the MoD do not have adequate past experience of working in this arena or long enough tenures to gain specialisation

Some commentators allege that the role of political leaders has been hijacked by IAS officers and what obtains in the MoD today is bureaucratic control and not civilian political control of the military

A factor which invariably came in the way of arriving at adequately prompt and satisfactory solutions in troubled times was failure to present to the Raksha Mantri clear cut options based on the advice from the Chiefs of Staff Committee

The proposal to create the post of a Chief of Defence Staff is hanging fire due to lack of collective support by the three services and failure to secure approval for want of political consensus
Sharif presses for NSA-level talks with India on terror
Islamabad, December 11
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today said Islamabad and New Delhi should institutionalise a mechanism of meetings between their national security advisers to discuss matters related to terrorism as it would help allay concerns of the two sides.

Expressing satisfaction over the calm at the Line of Control, he said existing mechanism on LoC meetings need to be further strengthened. Sharif made the remarks while talking to Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan, who called on him here.

Sharif said Pakistan believes in friendly relationship with all its neighbours specially India, a statement released by the Prime Minister's House said. All issues with India have to be dealt peacefully and diplomatically through dialogue based on parity, it said.

"We have no option but to live in peace in the interest of the people of Pakistan and India," the statement said. Sharif said Pakistan and India should institutionalise the mechanism of meetings between national security advisers of the two countries to discuss matters related to terrorism. "It would help to allay the concerns of the two sides," he said.

India blames some sections of the Pakistani establishment for helping the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group for planning and executing the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The attacks had killed 166 persons.

The Pakistani Prime Minister said to maintain peace on the LoC, the DGMOs of the two sides should meet at regular intervals.

"I believe that sincere and constructive measures need to be taken to reduce tension on the LoC and to ensure that the ceasefire agreement of 2003 remains intact," said Sharif. He said his government is "committed" to improving relations with India. PTI|head
India Rejects BMP-3 Offer, Will Maintain FICV Program
NEW DELHI — India will not shelve its homegrown $10 billion Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program in favor of advanced Russian BMP-3 combat vehicles.

The decision was conveyed to the Russian side at the Nov. 18 meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation held in Moscow, officials said.

During Russian President Vladmir Putin’s visit to India last December, the Russians offered to transfer technology for its BMP-3 infantry combat vehicles if India agreed to shelve its indigenous FICV program, which will see production of 2,600 vehicles to replace aging BMP-1 and BMP-2 combat vehicles.

The FICV program will now get rolling as debate over the Russian proposal had pushed the FICV project into the background, said an Indian Defence Ministry source.

An executive of Russia’s Rosoboronexport in New Delhi said the company made the BMP-3 proposal because the Indian Army sought the vehicles, but the Defence Ministry would not agree with the condition that the FICV program be shelved.

The FICV project will be in the “Make India” category, which means only domestic companies will be able to compete. The selected company or consortium will develop an FICV prototype on its own although the government will fund nearly 80 percent of the development costs. Thereafter, production will be done in India by the winner.

The FICV project was approved nearly five years ago. Since then, India’s Mahindra Defence Systems has tied up with BAE Systems, Larsen & Toubro is working on overseas tie ups, and Tata Motors is also working to connect with overseas companies after its tie up with Rheinmetall was stalled following the blacklisting of the German company. State-owned Ordnance Factories Board is also in the race.

MoD now will shortlist two competitors to develop their prototypes, which will be put to trial.
BMP-2 Upgrade

Meanwhile, the Indian Army plans to upgrade the existing 1,400 BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles with advanced weapons and night-fighting capabilities at a cost of $1.8 billion. However, the MoD canceled a tender floated last year to purchase 2,000 engines for the upgrade because none of the domestic vendors fulfilled the engine’s requirements. Now a global tender is likely to be issued for the engines, the MoD source said.

When procured, the engines will be assembled at the Ordnance Factories Board.

The Army requires engines that can generate 350 to 380 horsepower and are easy to maintain and operate in extreme weather conditions. The BMP-2’s existing engine has only 285 horsepower and is not suited for cross-country mobility.

The upgrade of the BMP-2 will include advanced observation and surveillance, night-fighting capability, an improved anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system and a 30mm automatic grenade launcher. The upgraded combat vehicles will have an advanced fire control system and have the capability of loading two missiles in ready-to-fire mode.

The BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles carry soldiers into battle zones and provide fire support, an Indian Army official said
INSAS: Packing more punch

For decades soldiers have narrated a joke about civilians who pretend to be experts on arms: they can't tell bore from calibre and yet can be big bores despite having low calibre. After telling the joke, soldiers explain that the bore and the calibre, when they concern guns and rockets, mean just the same thing.

But of late, armies the world over are switching to lower calibres, and for good reason. Gone is the craze for the massive guns of the Navarone variety. The in thing is sleeker, lighter, more accurate conventional weapons. The concern for lightness, convenience and accuracy is greatest among the foot-slogging infantry soldier today as warfare now is shorter, bloodier and more intense.

The Indian soldier has been particularly hard-pressed. He has fought most recent battles at close quarters (Siachen, Golden Temple, Jaffna), in extreme conditions where, weighed down by his 5.1 kg Ishapore 7.62 mm rifle, he has found it hard to combat guerrillas. More so, as his rifle fires only one shot at a time and gives a jolt of 15 joules, akin to being rudely sandbagged in the middle of a battle.

Some of that is going to change. Within the next few months, the first Indian units equipped with a shining new array of personal weapons called INSAS (Indian small arms system) will be on parade at select regimental centres. The new rifle will be lighter by a kg, shorter by 18 cm, will fire a burst of three 5.56 mm calibre shots at a time and carry ammunition that, at 12 gm a bullet, weighs exactly half the current 7.62. He could thus carry twice as much ammunition as he does now.

It will also have a multipurpose fold able bayonet which could be used as a wire-cutter, saw, screw-driver and bottle-opener, tools generally carried in the soldiers' backpacks. The magazine is transparent plastic rather than the usual steel and the entire body of the weapon has been built with fibre glass reinforced plastic to conserve weight. "There is also the ethical question about the desirability of cutting trees to make guns," quips S. Venkatesan, director of the Pune based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE).

The new carbine and the light machine-gun (LMG) also have the same weight and size advantages. For paratroopers, commandos and other special forces, a version of the rifle and the LMG with foldable butts has been developed. "The idea," says Venkatesan, "is to make the foot-soldier's life easier and to make him more efficient without sacrificing on lethality."

After conducting trials in demanding conditions - including Siachen and Sri Lanka - the army vouches for this. "All is final now. The total re-equipment should be over within a few years," says a senior general in the Army Headquarters. This will involve one of the largest small arms order ever placed anywhere in the world after the Second World War, involving nearly two million rifles and nearly a million LMGs and carbines. "It is only in three decades that an army changes its rifle. And when it does, it had better be good," says V.S. Arunachalam, scientific adviser to the defence minister.

While the recent experiences in short, intense close-quarter battles provided the urgency for the 5.56 mm system, the Army Headquarters had projected the need for change from the 25-year-old Ishapore system as far back as in 1979. This was when other world armies were changing to 5.56 mm, beginning with the Americans and nato. Later, Pakistan too adopted a design from the West German small arms giant Heckler and Koch. "Only the communist powers stuck to heavier calibres," explains a general. "But chastened by the Afghanistan experience even the Russians have switched to a new 5.65 mm rifle called AKR."

After tests it was also concluded by the Indian Army that the additional range provided by the 7.62 weapons is unnecessary. "The 7.62 rifle is overdesigned. No soldier can effectively shoot at a range of 800 metres," says an army officer. Similarly, there was the crucial question of giving the rifle burst fire capability.

Many Indian generals believe that in the heat of the battle, jawans tend to poop off ammunition too fast and denying them burst fire is one way of restricting waste. However, close-quarter battle needs burst-firing capability. "Everything was studied, including figures from Vietnam and Korea where US soldiers used more than a lakh bullets to kill one enemy," says Venkatesan. Ultimately, a compromise was found in giving the rifle a three-round burst.

After evaluating various models in the world markets, Indian designers chose to play with the Ishapore design, making production easier. "There is 80 per cent commonality between this weapon and the old one." says P.K. Rao, assistant director of the small arms project at ARDE.

That, however, will cause a few problems. India's first modern rifle factory was set up in the aftermath of the 1962 war with China when, thanks to the new-found American munificence, an old, decrepit rifle plant from St Louis had been shipped to India. After equipping two generations of Indian jawans. the plant is now truly outdated. Thus the Ministry of Defence has no choice but to go shopping for an entirely new plant.

Offers are already coming in from Europe. But the army cannot wait that long and has been pressing for at least some supplies for specialised units. These are likely to be produced at existing facilities before a whole new small arms industry is built - adding a new dimension to India's armament manufacturing and exporting ability.
Myanmar, Indian army officers discuss military ties
 KOLKATA: The Myanmar Army's commander-in-chief Vice Senior General Soe Win and Indian Army's Eastern Command chief Lt.Gen. Dalbir Singh Tuesday discussed issues concerning security and enhancing of military ties between the two neighbours.

Gen Soe Win, on a visit to the Eastern Command headquarters in Fort William here, also discussed other aspects of mutual interest between the two countries, according to a defence ministry spokesman.

General Win, accompanied by his wife, is on a six-day visit to India starting Tuesday.

He left for New Delhi in the evening.
Coffin scam: Court discharges three former Army officials

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today discharged three former Army officials who were charge sheeted by the CBI in the 2002 "coffin scam" of the Kargil war, citing lack of evidence.

Special CBI Judge Poonam Bamba let off the then military attache in the Indian Embassy in the US, Major General (retd) Arun Roye, Col (retd) S K Malik, then Col F B Singh as the court did not find prima facie evidence to proceed against them in the case.

The CBI had filed the charge sheet in August
Indian Army 'misused government land to build golf courses for officers'
Parliamentary report says army built as many 90 courses on valuable land around the country
 India's Army top brass "grossly misused" valuable government land to build exclusive golf courses for its senior officers, according to a parliamentary report.

The Army is believed to have built as many as 90 "prohibited" golf courses around the country, many of them on land designated for training.

The public accounts committee report called on the Indian defence ministry to hold its own inquiry into how military land had been turned into private golf clubs which sold memberships to civilians and foreign diplomats.

According to the committee, club houses had been hired out to civilians as wedding and party venues but the funds generated had not been declared or passed to the government.

"The Committee deplores the gross misuse of golf courses and recommends that entire policy of golf courses be revisited and remedial action be taken to ensure that facilities for armed forces personnel are not abused in any manner," the report said.

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