Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 28 April 2014

From Today's Papers - 28 Apr 2014

India test-fires new interceptor missile

Balasore (Odisha), April 27
In a significant milestone in the direction of developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system, India today successfully carried out its maiden Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) test-fire meeting the mission objectives.

“The PDV mission is for engaging targets in the exo-atmosphere region at more than 120 km altitude," Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) said after the trial conducted on Odisha coast.

“Both the PDV interceptor and the two stage target equipped with motors were specially developed for the mission. The target, developed for mimicking a “hostile ballistic missile approaching from more than 2,000 km away”, was launched at 9.07 am from a Ship in the Bay of Bengal,” it said.

“In an automated operation, radar based detection and tracking system detected and tracked the enemy’s ballistic missile. The computer network with the help of data received from radars predicted the trajectory of the incoming ballistic missile,” it said.

The PDV that was kept fully ready, took-off from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from here, once the computer system gave the necessary command for lift-off, the DRDO release said.

“The interceptor guided by high accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS) supported by a Redundant Micro Navigation System moved towards the estimated point of the interception,” it said.

Once the missile crossed atmosphere, the heat shield ejected and the IR (Infrared) seeker dome opened to look at the target location as designated by the Mission Computer.

With the help of Inertial Guidance and IR Seeker the missile moved for interception. “All events were monitored in real-time by telemetry/range stations, at various other locations. The mission was completed and the interception parameters were achieved,” said Ravi Kumar Gupta, noted defence scientist and Director, Directorate of Public Interface of DRDO.

All the mission objectives were met, a senior DRDO official said, adding a significant milestone was achieved in the direction of developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system with the successful trial.

Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to the defence Minister, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Director General of DRDO, congratulated the mission team.

Many distinguished defence scientists and senior officials of DRDO were present during the PDV mission. — PTI

Two-layered defence system

    The DRDO said the PDV mission is for engaging targets in the exo-atmosphere region at more than 120-km altitude.
    A significant milestone was achieved in the direction of developing a two-layered ballistic missile defence system with the successful trial, it said.
 Gallantry awards not a matter of right, rules AFT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 27
The Armed Forces Tribunal has held that an individual cannot stake claim to a gallantry award as a matter of right. Disposing of a petition filed by a Subedar, Gurcharan Singh, the Tribunal’s Chandigarh Bench ruled, “We are of the view that such awards are not a vested right and cannot be claimed as such.”

Observing that there was nothing to suggest that the processing of the citation suffered from any irregularity, the Tribunal said the petitioner was not unfairly denied any award despite his strong individual perception be being worthy of a decoration.

The petitioner’s grievance was that he was not awarded the Shaurya Chakra for his actions while serving with 5 Sikh Light Infantry in Doda in Jammu and Kashmir, where he had shot dead three terrorists in counter-insurgency operations.

He had contended that though he was recommended for the Shaurya Chakra by his commanding officer, his citation was rejected by higher authorities. He claimed that despite having a better operational profile, he was superseded and had lost out on promotion to the rank of Subedar Major by just one mark.

He claimed that apart from killing terrorists, he had earlier been seriously wounded in a mine blast during Operation Parakram in 2002 and had been declared a battle casualty. The petitioner contended that had he been awarded the gallantry award for his actions in counter-insurgency operations, he would have got four additional credit points and would have got promoted.

Subedar wanted Shaurya Chakra

    The petitioner, Subedar Gurcharan Singh, approached the AFT with a grouse that he was not awarded the Shaurya Chakra for his actions while serving with 5 Sikh Light Infantry in Doda, where he had shot dead three terrorists in counter-insurgency operations.
    He had contended that though he was recommended for the Shaurya Chakra by his commanding officer, his citation was rejected by higher authorities.
    Disposing of a plea filed by Gurcharan, the Tribunal’s Chandigarh Bench said: “We are of the view that such awards are not a vested right and cannot be claimed as such.”
 Women in uniform
SSB too takes the right step

Though traditionally security forces have remained a man's domain, for quite some time the doors have started opening for women in various capacities. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the first central security force to offer them positions in lower ranks, will now recruit women officers as well. With this SSB joins the league of other security forces like the CRPF, Central Industrial Security Force and the BSF which too have recruited women as officers. What is even more reassuring is that women officers selected on merit will be inducted for combat roles.

For too long society has viewed women as physically inferior to men. Add to it other societal prejudices and women have been continually denied their due place in the defence as well as security forces. However, in more recent times forces such as the BSF have shown the way and affirmed their faith in the endurance ability of the so-called weaker sex. Besides, the increased posting of women constables, during ceremonial events such as Beating the Retreat as well as at tough terrains marks a significant shift. Indeed, absolute equality still eludes them and forces like the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force is yet to take the much desired step of having them on board as officers. But clearly with many women playing a key role on the borders and in the Naxal-infested areas a beginning has been made. The government's resolve to increase women's strength to 20 per cent in various security forces will enable them to make greater inroads in the male bastion.

In a country, where the safety of women is of paramount concern, nothing perhaps is more heartening than the sight of the fair sex in uniform. It not only marks a triumph for those donning the uniform but also sends out right signals to others. Sure by itself it may not translate into India becoming a safer place for women, yet any step that recognises a woman's strength and capabilities can go a long way in ensuring her equal status in society.
Should we review India’s Nuclear Doctrine?
For India it is wiser to retain nuclear weapons for “deterrence only” because of the manifold and futile increase in risks involved in adopting any more aggressive option for their use
Sheel Kant Sharma
The purpose behind India’s nuclear tests in 1998 was to demonstrate weapons capability and to remove any doubts about its determination to be a state armed with nuclear weapons. Attempts persisted even after 1998 to compel or persuade the government in New Delhi to roll back and to accept several restraints as a non-nuclear weapon state. The document brought out in August 1999, therefore, was yet another definitive step to assert India’s status without ambiguity. This was in the form of the Draft Report of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) on “Indian Nuclear Doctrine”. It articulated, in some detail, the considerations of the eminent strategic thinkers who formed the NSAB at that time. This was followed up, as is well known, by a brief Press Release in January 2003, entitled, “The Cabinet Committee on Security Reviews Operationalization of India’s Nuclear Doctrine,” which contained an official and concise statement of the Doctrine. This put an official imprimatur on the NSAB document.

Present context

Since it was the BJP-led NDA government that took the actions described in previous paragraph it is important to recall this background in the present context. The BJP in its manifesto promises to

“Study in detail India's nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times.”

One must see this promise in the manifesto in terms of the language used in the two existing documents. The word “review” in the title of 2003 Press Release can be traced to a process described in the 1999 document in the following terms:

“This document outlines the broad principles for the development, deployment and employment of India's nuclear forces. Details of policy and strategy concerning force structures, deployment and employment of nuclear forces will flow from this framework and will be laid down separately and kept under constant review.”( para. 1.6).

The promise in the BJP manifesto would seem thus to follow up on the previous work when the party was in power. That the successor UPA government maintained the position is a mark of the objective factors underlying continuity. This is discernible in the statements of PM, the NSA and the present Chairman of the NSAB in recent years which conform to the crux of the Doctrine developed by the previous government, namely, no-first-use. Therefore, clear statements made by the BJP President and Mr Narendra Modi disavowing any intention to depart from the posture of no-first-use (NFU) should ideally let matters rest. However, since the manifesto has sparked commentaries it may be useful to recap the basic features of the Doctrine.

Minimum deterrence

The pursuit of a doctrine of credible minimum deterrence (para. 2.3 of the 1999 document) has a defensive orientation in its policy of “retaliation only”. The 2003 Press Release, reinforces the deterrent by qualifying retaliation as “massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage” ( para. 2(iii)). The flexibility implied in these terms can be seen when read in conjunction with para. 3.1 of the 1999 document which spells out the requirements from India’s nuclear forces as “..effective, enduring, diverse, flexible, and responsive to the requirements in accordance with the concept of credible minimum deterrence.”

These precise words should suffice to dispel doubts voiced in some commentaries about the nature of massive retaliation, particularly in a scenario of tactical weapons’ use by Pakistan. Nor should the maintenance of a triad of airborne, land and sea base deterrent, as envisaged in 1999 document, imply any departure from the defensive posture that the NFU entails. In fact, the Doctrine as developed during the first five years after the Shakti tests charts out a wise and careful path for safeguarding India’s security by addressing the characteristics of its particular security environment. The Doctrine was transparent enough in contrast with the opacity that characterised this security environment.

Credibility of deterrence comprises not only sufficiency, survivability and commensurate systems of command, control, communication and intelligence but also credibility of the country in today’s world. The world has moved far ahead from the early phase of nuclear age which was, to say the least, marked by lack of restraint on the utterances of the powers that had the weapon. These weapons over the past seven decades have assumed a different character and image. Since their use will endanger all life in the planet, nuclear weapons cannot be accepted as weapons of war. So long as they exist, their only role in security can be as a deterrent against use by an adversary.

The Doctrine as it stands today is in keeping with this contemporary perspective and is responsive to the realities of a globalised world. India is the only nuclear weapon state that has a doctrinal commitment to the abolition of these weapons as a security objective. The Doctrine comprises elements which are inherently time-dependent; particularly those in the key paragraph 2 of the 2003 Press Release which pertain to building and maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent, non use against non-nuclear weapon states, continuation of strict export controls and engagement with global efforts in the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in general. The NFU is a constant, whereas the other elements of the Doctrine may change over time. Therefore, to revisit the doctrine in tune with the current times makes ample sense.

Unwritten taboo

A reality check on the nuclear age today reveals two fundamental features: First, there is an unwritten taboo that has endured since 1945 and a plausible hope that use of the nuclear weapon may never be repeated, especially since that has not happened over the past seven decades. At the same time it is also recognised that global nuclear disarmament, while highly desirable, may not be practicable in the foreseeable future. However, US, UK and France, whose doctrine of flexible response differs from NFU, have been under considerable pressure to modify it to a posture of “deterrence only”; as witnessed, for example, in the debates about recent nuclear posture reviews in US and within NATO. One factor which has possibly inveighed against such a pressure is the requirement of extended deterrence for their allies like Japan and South Korea.

For deterrence only

For India it is wiser to retain nuclear weapons for “deterrence only” because of the manifold and futile increase in risks involved in adopting any more aggressive option for their use. India has no obligations to worry about extended deterrence. Alternative strategic postures involving a first use of nuclear weapons require, in order to be credible, a much more expensive and elaborate preparedness in terms of number, diversity, yield and deployment of arsenal. Even then the risk of retaliation is never ruled out. Each side during the cold war contemplated first use in terms of a disarming or decapitating first strike but failed to arrive at any guarantee against survival of adversary’s capacity and risks of retaliation. All the first-use posture implied was a runaway arms race and attendant peril of deterrence failure. These fears disappeared after the Soviet collapse.

Stupendous operational demands of a first-use posture make the deterrent neither “minimum” nor “credible”. NFU, in contrast, allows for credibility without requirements to build an all-consuming retaliatory capacity. Pakistan’s insistence on keeping a first-use posture as the equaliser against conventional asymmetry and related rush for tactical or battlefield nukes, is an expensive and perilous illusion, long discarded by even the cold warriors who realised the inevitability of escalation to a full nuclear exchange. Geographical contiguity and wide disparity in size should work to negate any gains, if at all imaginable, from a first strike and resulting nuclear exchange. India need not be drawn in to this trap since regardless of whether tactical or strategic the use of any nuclear weapon against India or its forces would trigger its massive and assured retaliation.

The technological possibilities about ballistic and cruise missile defence and attainment of survivable systems may be consistent with NFU as they should discourage, and increase the cost of, adversary’s first-use folly. The analysis here shows that the promised review or re-look may re-establish the validity of the main tenets of the Nuclear Doctrine in the context of changed perspective of the role and effectiveness of nuclear deterrence. However, the review of the doctrine in this perspective and dissemination of its outcome will serve the purpose of public outreach.

— The writer was a former Indian Ambassador to Austria & Permanent Representative to the UN office in Vienna & IAEA

Highlights of the 2003 doctrine

    Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent
    A posture of "No First Use" nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere.
    Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
    Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority
    Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states;
    However, in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons.
    Continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continued observance of the moratorium on nuclear tests.
    Continued commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament
Politics divides Indian Army

New Delhi,Apr 27 (TruthDive): Indian Army has never before been caught in a succession battle with a retired Chief of Staff spearheading the NDA opposition to the scheduled appointment by UPA.

A senior office has moved the apex court against the appointment. Involved is General V K Singh who is a BJP candidate and who has just stepped down as Chief of Army Staff. Singh had a spat with Defense Ministry on his date of retirement among many things.

For the first time, Indian Army was dragged to court by a Chief of Staff. Singh wants to stall the promotion of General Suhag to the top post as he had taken disciplinary action against the officer during his service. Secondly if the appointment is delayed by one month, BJP will be deciding and it means V K Singh. Among those in line for the top post is Singh’s daughter’s father- in- law is just incidental.

BJP moved the Election Commission to stop the government saying the appointment is done two months before retirement of Army Chief but UPA is going ahead and there are three months to go. BJP knows that Defense Minister A K Antony is going to thwart V K Singh’s game plan.

The Election Commission has overruled the BJP’s objection. Now, Swamy of BJP has written to President of India about the move of UPA to appoint a Chief to Indian Army in haste. The Defence Ministry has completed the process of succession and on May 1 the elevation of Suhag to Indian Army Chief post is expected.

Current Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh is fighting his former Chief for going ahead with ministry to appoint Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag. If Suhag misses the post, then Southern Army commander Lt Gen Ashok Singh will be in line. V K Singh’s daughter is the wife of Ashok’s son is yet another interesting fact.

Top Indian Army commanders were in New Delhi and posed for group photographs with the outgoing Indian Army Chief to present a picture of unity. V K Singh had asked CBI to probe Suhag’s purchase of parachutes but as Indian Army-instituted inquiry had cleared him, the agency did not go ahead.

V K Singh’s successor General Bikram Singh removed the promotion ban and Lt Gen. Suhag’s became Vice Chief of Indain Army in 2012. General Bikram Singh’s succession to top post was not without controversy as an NGO moved a court about a fake encounter in Kashmir. The NGO sources’ statement is backed by Indian Army’s military intelligence in Kashmir.

There is a court case filed by Ravi Dastane, a senior Lieutenant General and he claims it is his turn to be the Indian Army Chief. This stance is supported by V K Singh and he says that his relative is not in the running and that in service itself he could have taken action on Suhag, if he had wanted.
 UPA rush to pick Army Chief ethically wrong: VK Singh
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 26
Former Army Chief General VK Singh (retd) today opposed the reported move of the Congress-led UPA government to announce the new Chief of Army Staff on May 1 - three months before present incumbent General Bikram Singh retires.

General VK Singh, who is the BJP candidate from Ghaziabad, was in the city to campaign for SAD candidate Pawan Kumar Tinu. Talking to The Tribune, he said there were reports that the Union Government was keen to announce the new Army Chief.

“As per tradition, the government announces the names of services chiefs designate two months before the retirement of the incumbent. Since General Bikram will retire on July 31, the name of the new Army Chief should be announced on June 1. Going ahead with the announcement in the middle of elections will be ethically wrong,” he said.

He alleged that the UPA government was befooling ex-servicemen in the name of “One Rank, One Pension” (OROP) Scheme as nothing concrete had been done in this regard so far. “The KP Singh Deo Committee report on the scheme was accepted 26 years ago, but instead of issuing a notification, the Union Finance Minister is saying that the proposal has been accepted in principle,” he said.

About “shady defence deals”, he said there was a nexus between the politicians, bureaucracy and arms dealers. “There is a need to streamline the defence deals procedure,” he said.

Gen VK Singh differs from BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s stance on the drug inflow in Punjab. While Modi blamed the BSF and the Union Government for the illegal trade, Gen VK Singh says: “I will not blame only one agency. There is a need to have a holistic approach towards the issue and serious deliberations are required to end the problem.”
Gun battle ends in Shopian as third militant shot
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 26
The fierce gun battle that began yesterday ended with the killing of the third militant holed up in the debris of a house in south Kashmir’s Shopian district today. In all, five persons, including a Major, a soldier of Army’s elite counter-insurgency unit, and three local militants, were killed in the 18-hour gun battle. The lone militant who engaged security forces for the entire night was shot dead this morning.

Major Mukund Vardharajan (31) of Bangalore and sepoy Vikram were killed in a surprise attack four hours into the encounter in the Sheikh Pathri Karewa of Shopian, 60 km from Srinagar, yesterday.

The encounter began around 4 pm on Friday after a joint operation was launched by a unit of Rashtriya Rifles 44 battalion and Special Operation Group (SOG) of the J&K Police. The security forces had received a tip-off about the presence of three Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants in the area.

Two local militants, including group commander Asif Wani of Drubgam, and Shabir Gorsi, were killed in the first two hours of the gun battle.

“The Army team led by Major Vardharajan was taken by surprise as one of militants - Abdul Haq Malik - hiding in the debris fired indiscriminately, leaving two Army men critically injured. The Army officer was evacuated but he was declared brought dead at the military hospital,” the source said. Sepoy Vikram died on the spot and his body could not be retrieved throughout the night.

DIG (South Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said: “The encounter is over and three militants were killed. We have handed over the bodies to the families.” Defence officials said two assault rifles and a pistol were recovered from the scene.

The Hizb terror force

    Asif Wani of Drubgam (Pulwama): The category ‘A’ militant headed Hizb’s activities in the Kellar (Shopian) belt. Was formerly associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad but joined Hizb last year
    Abdul Haq Malik of Arwani: Key man who led the operations of the group in Kellar belt of Shopian
    Shabir Ahmed Gorsi of Kellar: This category “B” militant was wanted in a murder case and had escaped police custody in Shopian last year. He later joined the militant ranks
India test fires Akash missile

BALASORE, Odisha – For the third time in a span of five days, India ‘successfully’ test-fired the ‘indigenously developed’ surface-to-air Akash missile from the integrated test range at Chandipur here, the Press Trust of India news service reported on Saturday.

“Today's test fire of Akash was successful like trials of surface-to-air missile conducted on February 22 and 24,” the news agency quoted a defence official as saying. Indian defence official Ravi Kumar Gupta said that these tests were part of a series to equip two regiments of the Indian Army.

The news service reported that the Akash was India's first indigenously-designed, developed and produced air defence system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of approximately 25km. The multi-target and multi-directional air-defence system consisting of surveillance and tracking radars was designed to enable integration with other air defence command and control networks through secured communication links, it said.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal