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Monday, 20 January 2014

From Today's Papers - 20 Jan 2014

Pak detains 27 Indian truckers at LoC
Refuses to release them till J-K Police free its driver held for smuggling contraband
Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, January 19
Pakistan continued to hold 27 Indian truck drivers in detention at a trading facility on its side of the Line of Control (LoC) near north Kashmir’s Uri town for the third day. This comes amidst announcement by the two countries to start 24x7 trade activity at the Attari-Wagah border yesterday.

A senior official here said Pakistan was seeking the release of its truck driver arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Friday for smuggling contraband into the state.

The Indian drivers along with their trucks are being held at the Chakoti trading facility on the Pakistani side of the LoC, said senior government official Ghulam Ahmad Khwaja, who is the administrative in charge of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

“They (Pakistani officials) are seeking the return of their arrested driver,” the official said. “They have informed their government and we have informed ours.”

The standoff began on Friday evening when contraband, believed to be 114-kg brown sugar worth about Rs 114 crore, was seized from a Pakistani truck at the Salamabad trading facility near Uri town.

The truck was part of a cross-LoC trade convoy entering Kashmir.

The standoff threatens to derail the confidence building measures initiated between the two countries in 2008 when it was decided to start several trading points along the LoC.

The official said 27 drivers are being held at Chakoti while 48 Pakistani drivers, whom Pakistan is refusing to accept without the arrested driver, are stuck at the Salamabad trading facility.

“They (Pakistani authorities) are adamant on the return of all 49 drivers,” said Khwaja, who was part of a state government delegation that met Pakistani officials on the zero-line at the LoC in a failed attempt to resolve the crisis. Khwaja said the Pakistani officials were also asking for the return of the seized contraband.

“They say the trial will be held there (in Pakistan),” he said. Cross-LoC Traders Union general secretary Hilal Turki said he was part of the delegation that met the Pakistani officials. “The Pakistani officials are adamant on the release of the arrested driver,” he said.
 DRDO machine detects lies from facial expression
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Interrogators will now be able to scientifically establish the veracity of statements made by a person through his facial expressions.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a new system that is able to detect the emotion of a person who is being interrogated or interviewed.

Referred to as the Automatic Deceit Detection and Interrogation System from Face Expression, the system uses a hidden camera to continuously record the subject’s face expression during the interview/interrogation. A computer with special software carries out a near real time mathematical analysis of the face expressions and is able to automatically determine the psychological state of the person, whether he is happy, sad, disgusted or afraid.

A senior DRDO scientist said there are seven universal expressions of emotion that include happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, contempt and disgust, each of which produce unique eyeball and facial muscular movements, which are recorded and analyzed to arrive at a conclusion.

DRDO scientists said that recent advances in facial image processing technology have facilitated the introduction of advanced applications that extend beyond mere facial recognition techniques and can be used to study expressions and analyze facial and hand movements.

The system is portable and being covert and non-intrusive, provides investigators and interviewers with a handy, reliable and user friendly tool that indicates possible deception by a subject. Since the subject may never get to know that his expressions are being analysed, it gives interrogators a tactical advantage.
India, Japan Should Focus On The Asian Strategic Framework – Analysis
Japan is clearly the flavour of the season as far as India is concerned. Japanese defence minister Itsunori Onodera was in New Delhi last week for consultations with his counterpart on how to strengthen and coordinate relations between the two sides in the security arena. In one of their rare visits, the Japanese Emperor and Empress were in Delhi in December. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be the guest of honour at this year’s Republic Day function on January 26, 2014.

With both India and Japan acknowledging the need to strengthen bilateral defence and security ties, a major chunk of the attention is likely to be on maritime security and anti-piracy efforts. While these are by no means unimportant facets of bilateral cooperation, more significant will be the role of India and Japan in shaping the Asian strategic order. Both the countries have a common and shared perspective on the Asian framework, even as it is an emerging one.

Having said that, Defence Minister Onodera’s visit focused on some of the tactical and policy issues for enhancing the level and pace of India-Japan bilateral cooperation. Cooperation between the two navies has been an on-going affair, but what has been low on the radar until now have been the links between the air forces of the two sides. This was given some emphasis during the recent visit with the two sides agreeing to encourage more staff exchanges and coordinate the possibility of staff talks between the Indian Air Force and the Japan Air Self Defence Forces as well as exchanges of test-pilots, professional exchanges in the field of flight safety and between two transport squadrons of the two air forces. Also agreed upon was promotion of exchanges on UN Peace Keeping operations between various Japanese agencies (such as the Japan Peacekeeping Training and Research Centre, Joint Staff College (JPC), Central Readiness Force of Japan Ground Self Defence Forces and the Indian Army’s Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK), and expert-level engagements on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and counter-terrorism between Indian Army and Japan Ground Self Defence Force. On the naval front, there were agreements on joint exercises between the Indian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces on a regular basis (with the Indian Navy to visit Japan this year). Some of the other aspects that were decided during Onodera’s visit included visit to Japan by India’s defence minister later this year and a decision to undertake high-level visits on an annual basis, conducting of the third 2+2 dialogue and the fourth Defence Policy Dialogue (Defence Secretary level).

While a rising China factor is undoubtedly an important consideration for both India and Japan as they strengthen their cooperation, the two have been careful not to invite Chinese wrath and thus have not made a mention of China in any of their statements. However, as mentioned above, there are any number of areas including freedom of navigation, anti-piracy, uninterrupted commerce, safe energy corridors and an inclusive Asian strategic framework that are becoming important to both India and Japan.

One of the key areas of potential cooperation is an arms trade relationship between the two sides. Japan’s lifting of a historic ban on export of arms under the policy guidelines issued in December 2011 has provided abundant opportunities for India and Japan to strengthen defence cooperation. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s decision is something that came about with a lot of prodding from Japanese industry, which have been keen on getting its share of the growing defence market pie. Given that Japan is a sophisticated naval power in the region with advanced technologies and weapon systems, the reversal of the ban will make it free to enter into agreements for joint production and co-development of systems with their select partners. Obviously, the decision has had its share of domestic criticism in Japan, with many viewing it as Tokyo potentially moving away from its post second world war pacifist posture.

As for India, even prior to the decision by Prime Minister Noda on lifting the ban, there was a Japanese proposal to sell New Delhi a multi-role amphibious aircraft, the US2, suitable for SAR (Search and Rescue) operations. The aircraft is significant for both the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to undertake humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in addition to more important search and rescue missions. A Joint Working Group (JWG) was put in place in May last year to work out the modalities of cooperation and the possible induction by the Indian Navy. The JWG is also studying the possibility of joint production, operation and training on the US-2i aircraft. Despite the Japanese inclination and the Indian interest, the deal has not been signed yet. Discussions on this were expected to be stepped up, with hopes that a deal would be announced during Prime Minister Abe’s visit, but this now seems unlikely. Sources now suggest that the second meeting of the JWG will take place in Japan this year and no decision is likely beforehand.

Meanwhile, there are other systems and platforms on the offer list, including electronic warfare equipment and patrol vessels among others. Given India’s general aversion to buying defence items off the shelf, Japan has gone the extra mile offering India the option of establishing joint ventures with Indian partners, both in the public and private sector. However, the Indian reaction so far has been subdued.

India has to get much more long-term and strategic in its defence diplomacy. While Tokyo made its intentions clear and official, New Delhi’s reaction has been less than forthcoming. On the US-2, India responded to Japan’s offer to supply the aircraft by asking the Japanese company to follow the usual route of tenders. Accordingly, in response to the Indian Navy’s Request for Information (RFI), there are three companies in the fray – Japan’s ShinMaywa, Canada’s Bombardier and Russia’s Beriev. While open tendering and transparent processes are to be encouraged, this is not how strategic ties are built. Japan’s offer of the US-2 was a strategic message that India missed, just as it did earlier with the MMRCA decision.

Even as the alliance relationship with the US is key to Japan, Tokyo has understood and acknowledged the need to strengthen relations with India and other like-minded democracies. The idea of an ‘arc of democracies’ has been a pet theme of Prime Minister Abe. The quadrilateral initiative among India, Japan, Australia and the US was also an initiative to forge closer security ties among these countries. A diamond initiative was talked about by Abe during his campaign days last year.

What do all these mean for India-Japan relations and the larger Asian strategic framework? Japan’s interest in defence trade with India is not entirely driven by commercial angles. While commercial factors are an incentive, a closer strategic partnership with Asian neighbours has become an important priority for Japan. In addition to the general concerns over the rise of China, Tokyo also has unresolved border and territorial issues with China. In the current context, the simultaneous rise of three powers – India, Japan and China – is a perfect design for conflict and rivalry. It does not help that China has had prior disputes with both Japan and India.

Both Tokyo and New Delhi want to create a stabler Asian order by redefining partnerships in the region. Can India and Japan take the lead in this regard and form a concert of nations that would bring about balance of power in the Asia-Pacific? The role of small and medium powers such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Philippines, and South Korea is significant. India and Japan have to be able to offer stable options to an aggressive China.
Japan wants India’s support on disputes with China
 Engaged in a territorial dispute with China, Japan on Thursday sought to rope in India’s support over “the recent Chinese provocative actions” saying a message needs to be sent to it collectively that status quo cannot be changed by force.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said dialogue is the only way to resolve the row created by imposition of restrictions by China in the East China Sea and other areas.

“For both India and Japan, China is an important neighbouring country. Both countries have important economic linkages with China. However, after the recent Chinese provocative actions, entire international community will have to send a message to China,” he told PTI in an interview in New Delhi.

“Both Japan and India should ask for a dialogue with Chinese side and tell China not to change status quo by force. These issues should be solved through dialogue and following international rules,” the Minister said.

He was responding when asked whether India and Japan could come together on issues with China as both the countries have territorial disputes with it.

The security situation in the region against the backdrop of recent tensions between Japan and China triggered by imposition of ‘Air Defence Identification Zone’ (ADIZ) over East China Sea and other areas by China came up during talks between Mr. Onodera and his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony on Monday.

During the meeting, Mr. Antony is understood to have told Onodera that India stands for freedom of navigation in international waters and application of global conventions.

After the ADIZ started creating tensions in the South East Asian region, India had stated that the issue should be resolved between the concerned parties through dialogue in a peaceful way and it was against use of force to resolve the matters.

Asked about an earlier proposal by Tokyo for forming a trilateral grouping of India, Japan and the U.S. to deal with challenges from China, Mr. Onodera said, “India and Japan have good ties with the U.S. Economically and internationally and in terms of military forces, these are big countries.”

He said that, “If India, Japan and the U.S. are in cooperation and send a common message to the Chinese side that will mean a lot.”

The Japanese Defence Minister said his country shares strong ties with both India and the U.S.

“We share the same interests in safety of sea lanes of communications and to secure the freedom of navigation. Trilaterally, India, Japan and the U.S. should be cooperating in these areas,” he said.

On his talks with Mr. Antony, Mr. Onodera said the two countries have decided to enhance their military ties and a number of decisions were taken during the meeting.

The two sides have agreed on cooperation in Peacekeeping Operations between their respective agencies along with cooperation between the Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces and the Indian Army, he said.

The two countries have also decided to conduct staff exchanges and discuss possibility of conducting staff talks between Japan Air Self-Defence Force and Indian Air Force and professional exchanges of test-pilots, professional exchanges in the field of flight safety and between their transport squadrons.

Keywords: Air Defence Identification Zone, Indo-Japan relations, Peacekeeping Operations, military cooperation, Itsunori Onodera, A.K. Antony, China-Japan disputes, territorial disputes, East China Sea, Japan, China
No Basis To Terminate Chopper Contract: AgustaWestland
 Official AgustaWestland statement: [AgustaWestland], a Finmeccanica company, confirms to have received yesterday from India’s Ministry of Defence a notification concerning the appointment of an arbitrator from its side, as requested by AgustaWestland on November 25 and December 4, 2013, as well as a termination notice of the agreement for the supply of 12 VVIP/VIP helicopters, consistent with yesterday’s press announcement by the Indian Ministry of Defence.

AgustaWestland still finds that neither the termination notice by the Ministry of Defence nor the show cause notice, from which this termination notice stems, offers adequate basis to take any action against the Company. It is the Ministry of Defence's admitted position (PIB release of MoD statement February 14, 2013) that the tender process has been duly followed. Accordingly, the termination notice received yesterday will have to be discussed within the framework of a fair arbitration process. To this end, AgustaWestland will soon propose the names of the persons for the purpose of selecting the third arbitrator by agreement of the parties, as requested by the Indian Ministry of Defence.

AgustaWestland remains committed to working with the Government of India to resolve the issues, to allow the Indian armed forces to receive the equipment they need and is ready to perform the remaining obligations under the agreement for the supply of the 12 VVIP/VIP helicopters. AgustaWestland will continue to support the three helicopters already delivered to and currently operated by the Indian Air Force.

Finmeccanica has already introduced stringent ethical procedures common to all Group companies that have harmonized their systems of rules based on the standards set by the parent company. These processes are reviewed regularly and have been further strengthened in correspondence with the most stringent international ethical standards. Also AgustaWestland applies the same strict procedures to prevent corruption in accordance with the updated Finmeccanica policies. In any case, AgustaWestland is ready to take the necessary actions, on top of the above mentioned arbitration measures, included in a mitigation plan already prepared. This plan includes a reduction to the workforce to readdress the company business model and the reallocation of existing working capital that will be reflected also on the supply chain. The completion of this plan, the positive company performance and the recent order intake will ensure a solid platform for revenues and cash flow [streams].
What It'll Take For India's Tejas To Be FULLY Ready
 Live video feeds from the helmet sights of three Tejas fighters enthralled an audience of officials and journalists today at Bangalore's HAL Airport ahead of the 'IOC-2' ceremony that cleared the LCA Tejas for entry into Indian Air Force service. Nice touch. And unlike the IOC-1 event two years ago, the IAF wasn't in a bad mood. On the contrary, there appeared to be genuine satisfaction. Rare stuff.

The Indian Air Force will begin receiving series production (SP) airframes from HAL over the next few months to service an order of 40 jets. The Tejas Mk.1 type now looks to achieve final operational clearance (FOC) -- a milestone that signals the platform is fully ready for all intended operational profiles and performance qualities -- by December 2014. Twelve short months to get a LOT of work done. But there's splendid momentum, high morale, a smiling IAF and a supposedly no-more-nonsense MoD to drive the team over the finish line in time. Well, here's the 12 month to-do list:

1. Expand flight envelope to -3.5 to 8G (Currently -2 to 6G).
2. 24° angle of attack (Currently 22°).
3. In-flight refuelling capability (Integration of Cobham probe complete).
4. Demonstration of Rafael ADS Derby BVR air-to-air missile.
5. Demonstration of Rafael ADS Python-5 IIR close combat missile (Related post here).
6. Completion of integration & demonstration of KBP Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 23mm cannon.
7. New design drop tanks for supersonic flight.
8. New radome to improve radar and electromagnetic performance.
9. Validate more efficient cooling system for aircraft braking assembly.
10. Additional weapons testing, including PGMs.

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