Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Saturday, 5 April 2014

From Today's Papers - 05 Apr 2014

Seeking nuclear restraint
PM enunciates India's position

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants nuclear weapon states to come to an agreement where they would not be the first to use nuclear weapons against other countries. Indeed, his predecessor, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had first announced in 1998 that India would maintain a no-first-use nuclear strike policy. India has all along maintained that even as it has armed itself with nuclear devices, it wants to work at eliminating such weapons of mass destruction. Indian Prime Ministers have for long argued that the country is a reluctant nuclear nation, and remains committed to nuclear non-proliferation, in spite of having two nuclear weapon states as its neighbours.

While China has maintained its no-first-use policy since 2008, Pakistan has kept its option open; although it says it will use nuclear weapons against either nuclear or non-nuclear states only in the case of invasion or other attack on its territory. In recent years, it seems to have ramped up its production of nuclear weapons, especially smaller tactical weapons. An uncertain security situation in the country adds to a degree of worry about the safety of such devices.

Even as India remains committed to nuclear non-proliferation and its no-first-use declaration, the possibility of nuclear weapons coming in the hands of non-state actors remains a nightmare. So does the idea of tactical weapons in the hands of a hawkish military force. Rising tensions in the world have raised the possibility that even nations that have been working towards decreasing their nuclear stockpiles, or have abandoned their weaponisation programmes may change course. This would be disastrous, since even as the world has remained nuclear bomb free since 1945, nuclear weapons have proliferated in spite of the best efforts at non-proliferation. Indeed, the only way to ensure that nuclear bombs remain consigned to the dark days of history is to phase out such weapons of mass destruction. Dr Manmohan Singh has made the country's position clear. His is a voice of reason in a world which seems to be inclined towards ignoring such sanity.
China flexes its maritime muscle
Its aggressiveness has the Indian Navy worried
Air Marshal R.S.Bedi (retd)
China has been continuously building its military potential in pace with its growing economy. That’s how it has embarked upon a comprehensive military expansion in recent years. Its rising politico-military profile has led it to adopt an aggressive posture in the international arena. Its tiff with most of its maritime neighbours like Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other ASEAN countries is a reflection of this mindset. While these issues continue to simmer, China has raised yet another one causing alarm amongst the Indian Ocean littoral states, including India.

According to a recent report, a Chinese nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) has made a protracted foray deep into the Indian Ocean. It spent nearly two months loitering between the Gulf of Aden and the western coast of India before returning to the home base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea via the straits of Malacca. This is the first-ever Chinese strategic ingress into an area considered by India as its sphere of influence and through which pass 80 per cent of India's energy requirements. This has set alarm in the security establishment, particularly the Indian Navy.

China is also wary of India controlling the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean, for nearly three-fourth of its energy supplies pass through the straits of Malacca. It fears an Indian disruption at some critical juncture. That is why it wants an early solution to what it calls as its “Malacca dilemma”. This is an indication of what lies ahead so far as India's security and economic interests are concerned. A clash of interest is bound to result in challenges that would not be easy to surmount. The logic behind securing maritime bases by China in India's neighbourhood thus stands out clearly. The so-called pearls around India's neck ranging from Gwadar in Pakistan to Hambantota in Sri Lanka to Myanmar are not without purpose. Whatever reasons China may put forward in defence of its sortie in the Indian Ocean close to India, its strategic intentions are quite evident.

China's mounting aggressiveness in keeping with its maritime vision has the Indian Navy worried for long. Its lead in submarines, both in respect of nuclear-powered attack submarines and the conventional diesel-electric submarine is substantial, to say the least. Its fast-growing maritime hardware comprising destroyers, frigates and other naval assets has already altered the balance of power in the Indian Ocean. The nuclear submarine's quiet ingress into the Indian Ocean recently is a clear manifestation of this. Gradually the dwindling force level and progressive obsolescence as witnessed in the recent spate of naval accidents does not auger well for a navy that aspires to control the high seas.

Apart from the solitary nuclear-powered attack submarine, INS Chakara, on lease from Russia since 2012, India continues to struggle with its indigenous Arihant. Nuclear-powered submarines have a tremendous operational edge over the conventional diesel submarines. The submarine arm of the Indian Navy is largely obsolescent, if not obsolete. Diesel-electric submarines are no match to China's nuclear-powered submarines. No new platforms have been acquired for over a decade now. The Indian Navy is losing its edge very fast unless some urgent measures are taken immediately.

Lack of vision and a lackadaisical attitude towards security matters had led us to a national disaster in the past and sadly the scenario is no different today. Like in the past, the government continues to remain oblivious of the Chinese, as also of its own war capabilities. Nehru's rather undiplomatic statement that he had told his army to throw the Chinese out was an obvious reflection of this. The Indian response to the Chinese buildup continues to remain dismissal as hitherto. Our border infrastructure in comparison to the Chinese is lagging behind by decades. Down south in the high seas too, we are being challenged by an aggressive adversary. The state of (un)preparedness of the armed forces and the apathetic attitude of the political leadership today has all the ingredients of a potential disaster.

The military brass is once again going around with a begging bowl but the leadership remains unmoved. Unfortunately, the political leadership is not well disposed towards military matters. They are largely dependent on the bureaucratic advice. The bureaucrats have thus managed to exercise authority without responsibility. The proclivity to suspect every provisioning demand put up by the services and to delay its acquisition unmindful of its urgency frustrates the armed forces.

The deterrent potential of the Indian armed forces is thus gradually eroding, whether it is the Navy in the Indian Ocean or the Army up in the Himalayas. China's growing economy and its leadership's penchant for national security coupled with its global aspirations have led China to spend heavily on defence year after year. China's current defence budget at $131.57 billion is more than three and a half times of India's $36.3 billion. China is known to conceal its actual defence allocation, which may be many times more than what is made public.

With a defence budget under 2 per cent of the GDP and multiple peripheral threats, the armed forces face a serious predicament. Their diminishing potential as in the case of the Navy, which is supposed to guard our southern flank in the Indian Ocean, is a serious matter. It's time the politico-bureaucratic leadership in this country understood that neither diplomacy can be effective nor economic prowess sustained unless backed by a powerful military.
 Instructions issued on how Armymen will vote
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 4
Following a Supreme Court judgement allowing serving armed forces personnel to vote at their place of posting at ‘peace stations’, instructions have been issued on the procedure allowing officers, men and their family members to get enrolled as voters.

Despite the order, not many among the forces or their families will benefit as a large chunk is already registered for postal ballots. The apex court allowed IAF, Army and Navy personnel to cast their votes at the place of posting in case they happened to be posted at ‘peace stations’. Around 40 per cent of the 13 lakh strong Indian Army is based at ‘peace stations’ - largely used to recoup after tough postings or training.

The instructions lay down the procedure for getting registered. The local area commanders have been instructed to depute an officer to coordinate with the Election Commission - appointed Returning Officer in the district. Application for enrolment will have to be made on specified application forms and the verification by EC staff will be done through the local command and physical verification. All the personnel, who have been posted at ‘peace stations’ since January 1, 2014, can get registered as voters.

However, the court had said these personnel should not have opted to vote through postal ballot or proxy voting. As per figures given by the EC in court almost 13 lakh personnel are registered for postal ballots, which invariably get delayed and often reach the counting centres after result is declared.

Enrolment can be done till 10 days before the withdrawal. Since the court order came on March 25, the electoral process in 225 of the total 543 Lok Sabha constituencies had begun. Hence, in effect, the SC order will be effective only in 318 constituencies which will go to polls on April 17 or after. Voters in Chandigarh, Haryana, Delhi and parts of western Uttar Pradesh would have already cast their franchise by then.

Democracy in action

*n The instructions lay down the procedure for getting registered

* The local area commanders have been instructed to depute an officer to coordinate with the Election Commission-appointed Returning Officer in the district

* All the personnel, who have been posted at ‘peace stations’ since January 1, 2014, can get registered as voters
ISI guided 2008 bombing of Indian embassy in Kabul
NEW DELHI: Days after the Indian embassy was attacked by the Taliban on July 8, 2008, then national security advisor M K Narayanan got a phone call from Gen Keith Alexander, head of US' National Security Agency, informing him about tracing the bomber's calls to ISI officials in Peshawar.

Alexander told Narayanan they had intercepted calls from the bomber who was said to have received instructions from the top of the heap of the ISI. It led Narayanan to explode prompting him to say the 'ISI should be destroyed', an approach at odds with the sentiment of the Indian political leadership at that time. It was only by the end of July (almost three weeks later) that a high level CIA official from the US confronted Islamabad with the intelligence.

As Afghanistan transitions from a NATO-dominated security environment to a situation where it has to take care of itself, beginning with Saturday's presidential elections, the dangers of Pak-sponsored terror attacks on Indian interests remains real. India has increased security measures in its embassy and other facilities in recent weeks, but there is apprehension that Pak-supported elements could mount concerted attacks on Indian interests in Afghanistan. The idea today is the same as it was in 2008 - to make it difficult for countries like India to retain a presence there.

Amid the burning wreckage of the car bomb that rammed into the Indian embassy in Kabul that July morning killing a senior Indian diplomat, defence attache and over 37 others, investigators had found a mobile phone. Writing about that incident years later, US journalist Carlotta Gall says in her latest book that it was no rogue ISI operation.

This week she recounted to an interviewer, "The Afghans investigated and traced the calls made from that phone to a logistics man in Kabul, who helped the bomber get his car and explosives and drive to the target. And so they tracked him, and then they found his phone had several calls to numbers in Pakistan. And when they established what those numbers were, they discovered those were of high-level Pakistani intelligence officials in Peshawar. And I was told by Afghan officials that the owner of that phone was a high enough official in the Pakistani intelligence to be directly reporting to the headquarters in the Pakistani capital. So it meant that the Pakistani intelligence was directing the operation."

The Indian embassy would have been totally destroyed that day, had it not been for some crucial intelligence picked up the week before. Alerted, the Indian embassy built a series of hexa barriers outside the embassy compound. These barriers took the brunt of the bomb attack.

That intelligence itself, according to a Wikileaks documents, came from the Polish intelligence in Afghanistan and was passed to the US and Afghan services. It was the Afghans who told the Indians. The document, dated June 30, 2008, said, "Taliban are planning to carry out an attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. TB (Taliban) designated an engineer to take this action." "The bomber intends to use stolen ANA/ANP (Afghan National Army/ Afghan National Police) car, and wear stolen uniform. He speaks Dari with distinct Iranian accent. Allegedly, he is the owner of a ——— company," it said.

A news report by Ananta Aspen Centre and Delhi Policy Group on Friday observes Pakistan "is not likely to relent in its efforts to take control of the situation in Afghanistan to try and ensure a pliant regime in Kabul which keeps India out of the reckoning".

While Pakistan's intentions may not have changed, its capacities have. And it now has the added problem of a massive terror blowback itself from the very forces it has supported. In fact, some Indian security analysts say that terror groups attacking Pakistan could use southern Afghanistan as safe havens much in the same way that Pakistan lets the Afghan Taliban use its FATA regions and Balochistan to nurture terrorists for launching attacks in Afghanistan.
Mastermind behind fake army recruitment held
TRICHY: Cantonment Police here arrested a Tuticorin-based ex-serviceman on charges of creating fake call letters of Indian Army in order to facilitate the recruitment of 16 youth to the Army in September last year.

S Karuppasamy, 29, a resident of Vilathikulam in Tuticorin was arrested by a special team formed by the Trichy city police near the Central bus stand in Trichy on Thursday, said the Cantonment police. He was wanted for his involvement in a case regarding the issue of fake call letters to 16 people from Tirunelveli district to join the Indian Army in September 11, 2013.

"Karuppasamy, who had deserted from the Army, was the mastermind behind the fabrication of fake call letters and was absconding. The special team arrested him on Thursday. One Anna Maharajan, another army man, and Karuppasamy had lured 16 people to give Rs 1.5 lakh each by promising them call letters from the Army. The investigation revealed that they got about Rs 1 lakh each from the 16 youth," Arul Amaran, assistant commissioner of police (ACP-crime), Cantonment, said.

Kamaraj, 38, was arrested on March 26, 2014, for his connivance with Karuppasamy in the fake call letter case which had come to light last September when these 16 youth reported to an army camp in Trichy with call letters for appointment of soldiers (general duty).

In fact, the Army had dispatched call letters for 284 candidates but 300 people had turned up on that day. Officials led by Colonel G George, director-recruiting, Army Recruitment Office, Trichy, soon discovered that 16 call letters were fake. A spot investigation revealed that they were lured by Karuppasamy and Maharajan on the promise of securing an army job. All the 16 youth were then handed over to police. Police had booked and arrested them. However, the two main accused couldn't be caught immediately as Maharajan was serving in Lucknow at that time and Karuppasamy was absconding.

"After we requested the Army to send Maharajan for holding an inquiry he was sent to us. We arrested and produced him in the court after confirming his role in this case," said ACP Amaran.

Police have registered a case against the accused under several IPC Sections.

During a recent recruitment rally in Karur, Colonel George had alerted people not to fall prey to job rackets as Indian army recruitment is purely based on merit.
Open letter by an army kid to Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal
Dear Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal

Congratulations on being nominated or speculated to be future leaders of this great democracy called India!

I hope your election campaigns are going as strong as you would like them to be. At the same time, I hope that in the midst of your oh-so-hectic schedules, you occasionally take time off to keep in touch with us lesser mortals by reading the papers and following news stories.

You see, Sirs, I am the daughter of an officer in our country’s now (in)famous defence forces. Just a few days ago a C-130 jet crashed and killed 5 dedicated service persons.

What is but a series of media coverage and sending one of your party cadre to shout themselves hoarse in an Arnab Goswami show is no laughing matter for me- someone who has seen the lives of near and dear ones in my community being taken away, and seen young boys aged as young as five lose their father, and who is exasperated by the ignorant questioning of the credibility and skills of the men who lose their lives in such accidents.

Obviously it’s our fault, right? It’s obviously the fault of those military-men and defence officers that a ship’s engine caught fire and those young men died; that a MIG suddenly went haywire and crashed, that faulty battery missiles were loaded onto ancient relic Soviet submarines, leading to multiple deaths.
It’s obviously our fault, as well trained professionals, that we should be so callous as to take such steps.
We wouldn’t dare to even think, let alone suggest, that it could be the fault of a motley crew of bureaucrats who call the shots, with a set of politicians sitting in our ministries.

And how dare we even entertain the thought of calling our present Defence Minister and other political honchos to resign! It is clearly not their callousness, or lack of any sense of judgment on their part, that we have to deal with old throwaway junk-like defence equipment imported from our Soviet or American ‘friends’. And how foolish of us to even let a tiny surge of resentment and anger stir within us, at the likes of you and your party cadres, who almost rarely visit those serving at the borders, or have ever bothered thinking about those living in cramped submarines. How dare we even talk about it, or spread awareness about it, because obviously these are all nonissues, right?

Defence and armed forces, and the lives of scores of servicemen and officers, are not an election issue, are they?
But I am sorry, I cannot keep quiet anymore.

I am sorry, dearest politicians, because I refuse to shut up or lower decibels of my voice. I implore you to bring much-needed changes at the dawn of Elections 2014. Look to our country’s defence forces, and give them the respect and care that is long overdue to them.

Eventually, we must pause for a moment and realize how the lack of efficiency isn’t in these military-men, but in a country whose government has no sense of value for these lives. The problem is in our defence ministry and bureaucracy that is thoroughly corrupt, in our media that doesn’t have an inkling or clue about what life in the services is like, and lastly, in an ignorant Indian civilian population that is against sacrificing any of their privileged land, even a tiny bit, to build a war memorial for our troops; to give them at least that much respect because they deserve it.

It is high time that you got out of your apathy towards the armed forces and the lives of those who serve to protect this nation. But will you?

Yours most sincerely,
Sabah Kochhar
State of Indian Defence Industry – An Introspection
India’s lack of a strong and a robust defence industry is a matter of grave concern as it makes India dependent on imports from foreign countries for about 70% of her defence equipment requirements. The SIPRI Year Book 2013 lists India as the world’s largest arms importer accounting for 12% of the import share during the period 2008-12. Even prior to this period India had been listed as one of the world’s top three arms importers. The recent biennial Defexpo for exhibition of Land, Naval and Homeland Security Systems held from 06-09 February 2014 in New Delhi which saw participation of 567 arms companies from 32 countries is also indicative of India as a large arms market on account of the dismal state of the Indian Defence Industry and it calls for a serious introspection. The ramifications that such a high level of India’s import dependence for defence equipment will be having on the country’s national security are very obvious and thus need no reiteration.
…it is absolutely necessary in the national interest to be self reliant in defence equipment and for that it is an imperative that the Indian Defence Industry be developed at all costs.
The fact that India is a long way off in achieving its goal of being self reliant in defence equipment , does have a direct bearing on the operational preparedness, as also, on the operational efficacy of the Indian Armed Forces. The aspect of import dependency for defence equipment in the case of India becomes all the more worrisome and a matter of very serious concern because of the operational commitment of the Indian Armed Forces in manning the disputed borders with two of her adversaries, as also, employment in counter insurgency operations in the State of Jammu & Kashmir and the North East. Furthermore, it needs to be appreciated that having the third largest Armed Forces in the world with the Indian Army being the world’s second largest Army, it is absolutely necessary in the national interest to be self reliant in defence equipment and for that it is an imperative that the Indian Defence Industry be developed at all costs .
Current State of Indian Defence Industry
The Indian Defence Industry as late as 2000 basically consisted of the public sector entities of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), namely, 39 Ordnance Factories, nine Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The defence industry got opened to the private sector only in 2001 and presently the major private players are the TATA Group, Mahindra Defence, L&T, Bharat Forge of Kalyani Group, Kirloskars and Ashok Leyland. The performance of the Ordnance Factories and the DPSUs in-spite of having a large manufacturing base and liberal govt funding has been extremely poor because of govt’s protective policies, having a captive clientele in the Armed Forces, not keeping pace with modernisation and overall inefficiency which is inherent in public sector enterprises. MORE
Indian Strategic Studies: State of Indian Defence Industry – An Introspection
India, Russia sign Rs 2,600 cr deal for anti-tank ammunition
 New Delhi, March 31: 

India has signed a deal worth over Rs 2,600 crore with Russia to procure 66,000 anti-tank shells to meet the shortfall of critical ammunition faced by its armoured fleet including the latest T-90 tanks.

The two sides signed the deal on March 27 for the supply of anti-tank shells to the Army and agreement in this regard was inked by Defence Ministry officials from India and Rosoboronexport officials from the Russia side, Defence Ministry told PTI here.

The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the Prime Minister had recently cleared the proposal to acquire Mango 66,000 tank shells from Russia, they said.

Under the deal, Russia will also undertake transfer of technology on the production techniques of the specialised tank ammunition to the Ordnance Factory Board, which will produce it indigenously, they said.

Faced with shortage of weapon systems, the Defence Ministry has decided to form JVs with the Russian manufacturers to produce them in India like the rockets for the Smerch multi-barrel rocket launcher systems.

The severe shortage of tank ammunition was first highlighted by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh in a top secret letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March this year which later found its way to the media.

Gen Singh had noted in his letter that only three to four days of this particular ammunition was left in the inventory of the armoured regiments.

Later on, the Army had also informed the Standing Committee on Defence about the shortage and how the situation had worsened by the recent blacklisting of its supplier Israeli Military Industry (IMI).

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal