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Saturday, 25 October 2014

From Today's Papers - 25 Oct 2014

 China on mind, MoD to speed up subs plan
Defence Acquisition Council meets today, may decide to build all six subs under the ‘75-I plan’ in India
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 24
The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will meet in New Delhi tomorrow and decide on speeding up the submarine building plan for the Indian Navy, besides taking a call on which next generation of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM's) will be used by the Indian Army.

The DAC, chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, is the apex decision-making body of the Ministry of Defence. It may decide to build all six submarines under the project ‘75-I plan’ in India. One of the MoD-owned shipyards or a private Indian shipyard could be selected to work in tandem with a foreign collaborator. Indian private companies have done a tremendous job in the nuclear powered submarine, Arihant. The hull of that vessel was built at L&T’s Hazira facility in India.

Originally, the project ‘75-I plan’ entailed that the first two submarines would be imported and the remaining being built in India. Six diesel-electric subs are to be built as a follow up to the existing ongoing construction plan for six subs, which are being made by French company DCNS in collaboration with Mumbai-based Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL). The first one will sail out in 2016.

The new project could go to a European or Russian builder. India is looking to arm the vessels with land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance. The Navy has only 13 operational vessels of which several of them are slated for re-fit to extend their life span and no more than half the fleet is available for deployment.

China, with its fleet of some 60 submarines is routinely making forays into the Indian Ocean, virtually challenging Indian supremacy in the island territories of the Indian Ocean. US Naval Institute (USNI), a 135 year-old US think-tank in a report on its website on October 21 had said: “India's sub-surface (undersea) challenge is likely to increase in the future”.

The People’s Liberation Army's Navy (PLAN) of China is well endowed. In July this year, the US Department of Defence released a report 'Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2014’ that listed the submarine prowess in the hands of Beijing.

“The PLA Navy continues to expand its operational and deployment areas further into the Pacific and Indian Oceans,” it said.

The DAC will also decide whether anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) for the Indian Army would be of Israeli or US parentage. It entails direct acquisition of around 900 launchers and 3,200 missiles of third-generation ATGMs, followed by transfer of technology to defence PSU Bharat Dynamics. In all, some 1,900 launchers and 37,800 missiles will be required to equip the Army's 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units.

Israeli "Spike" ATGM and the American "Javelin" ATGM are the two main contenders. US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in August offered to "co-produce" the ATGMs and also "co-develop" its fourth-generation version with India.

Decision on anti-tank missiles
The DAC will also decide whether anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) for the Indian Army would be of Israeli or US parentage. Israeli ‘Spike’ ATGM and the American ‘Javelin’ ATGM are the two main contenders
It entails direct acquisition of around 900 launchers and 3,200 missiles of third-generation ATGMs, followed by transfer of technology to defence PSU Bharat Dynamics
In all, some 1,900 launchers and 37,800 missiles will be required to equip the Army's 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units

IAF asks personnel not to use Chinese phone
New Delhi: IAF personnel and their families have been asked to desist from using Chinese 'Xiaomi Redmi 1s' phones as these are believed to be transferring data to their servers in China and could be a security risk. "F-secure, a leading security solution company, recently carried out a test of Xiaomi Redmi 1s, the company's budget smartphone, and found that the phone was forwarding carrier name, phone number, IMEI (the device identifier) plus numbers from address book and text messages back to Beijing," says an IAF advisory to its personnel. PTI
 Enforce counter-terror resolutions: India to UN

United Nations, October 24
India has told the UN Security Council that condoning the use of terrorism on account of perceived political purposes is counter-productive and the powerful world body must ensure its resolutions to combat the global menace are implemented without exception.

India’s Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji while speaking at an open debate on the “Working Methods of the Security Council”, highlighted the shortfalls in the council’s methods in drawing up mandates of UN peacekeeping operations and the impact of its working methods which dilute the international effort against terrorism.

“We strongly believe that the council must seriously and transparently take measures available to it under the charter to require member states of implement its resolutions on countering terrorism without exception. To condone the use of terrorism on account of perceived political purposes is counterproductive, and will engulf more and more member states in an ever-widening spiral of violence and destruction,” Mukerji said. “We therefore specifically call for the council’s working methods to include a mandatory time-bound reporting requirement to the wider membership of the United Nations on implementation of Security Council Resolutions on countering terrorism,” he said.

Mukerji stressed that terrorism was fast emerging as the single-most important challenge to the maintenance of international peace and security. He called for a beginning on the proposal by having a report to the wider membership of the UN with respect to the latest resolution adopted by the council last month.

One of the provisions in the resolution calls on member states to assist in criminal investigations relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts and foreign fighters. Other provisions were on improving cooperation among nations to take steps to stop the travel of foreign terrorists and to share information to identify them.

“Our concern is that the current working methods, which have been provisionally applied since the council was established, have deviated from the clear provisions, and indeed, objectives of the UN Charter, making the council ineffective and unrepresentative of the world as it is on October 23 2014,” he said. — PTI
 Security beefed up at airports after threat of AI flight hijack
Manas Dasgupta

Ahmedabad, October 24
A threat of hijacking of an Air India flight —from Ahmedabad to Mumbai or Mumbai to Kochi — by a terror organisation sparked an alert with authorities tightening the security at Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Kochi airports.

A dog squad has been deployed at the Ahmedabad airport to assist the central security staff.

Sources said the Ahmedabad airport authorities received a letter, a phone call and an e-mail today stating of a possible terror attack on the airport and hijacking of a flight from Ahmedabad. The police refused to disclose the source of the letter or the e-mail stating that it was under verification.

The local police, the Central Industrial Security Force and other authorities conducted a high-level meeting this evening to review security measures at the airport.
 Mehta first Sikh from Valley to become Lt Gen
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
Lieutenant General PS Mehta, a second generation Army officer, has become the first Sikh officer from the Kashmir valley to rise to the rank of lieutenant general. At present posted as Major General General Staff (MGGS), Western Command, Chandimandir, he was promoted as a three-star general this week.

Lt Gen Mehta, who is expected to be appointed a Corps Commander shortly, has his parentage in Shogapora (Badgam) and Singhpora (Baramulla) and studied at Presentation Convent School, Srinagar. He was commissioned into the Skinner’s Horse armoured regiment in September 1978 after passing out as first in the order of merit (gold medallist) from the OTA, Chennai.

In his service spanning over 36 years, Gen Mehta has commanded a T-90 Armoured Brigade and an Armoured Division, besides serving in counter insurgency environment and in the Military Operations Directorate.

As part of the recent promotions and posting orders issued by the Army Headquarters, Lt Gen Rajeev Tiwari, an Armoured Corps officer, posted at the Army War College, Mhow, will be taking over as the General Officer Commanding, 9 Corps at Yol in Himachal Pradesh, tomorrow. He will replace Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who will be moving as the Chief of Staff, Northern Command, at Udhampur.
Deep Threat
China’s Submarines Add Nuclear-Strike Capability, Altering Strategic Balance
One Sunday morning last December, China’s defense ministry summoned military attachés from several embassies to its monolithic Beijing headquarters.

To the foreigners’ surprise, the Chinese said that one of their nuclear-powered submarines would soon pass through the Strait of Malacca, a passage between Malaysia and Indonesia that carries much of world trade, say people briefed on the meeting.

Two days later, a Chinese attack sub—a so-called hunter-killer, designed to seek out and destroy enemy vessels—slipped through the strait above water and disappeared. It resurfaced near Sri Lanka and then in the Persian Gulf, say people familiar with its movements, before returning through the strait in February—the first known voyage of a Chinese sub to the Indian Ocean.

The message was clear: China had fulfilled its four-decade quest to join the elite club of countries with nuclear subs that can ply the high seas. The defense ministry summoned attachés again to disclose another Chinese deployment to the Indian Ocean in September—this time a diesel-powered sub, which stopped off in Sri Lanka.

China’s increasingly potent and active sub force represents the rising power’s most significant military challenge yet for the region. Its expanding undersea fleet not only bolsters China’s nuclear arsenal but also enhances the country’s capacity to enforce its territorial claims and thwart U.S. intervention.

China is expected to pass another milestone this year when it sets a different type of sub to sea—a “boomer,” carrying fully armed nuclear missiles for the first time—says the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, or ONI.

China is hardly hiding its new boomers. Tourists could clearly see three of them at a base opposite a resort recently in China’s Hainan province. On the beach, rented Jet Skis were accompanied by guides to make sure riders didn’t stray too close.

These boomers’ missiles have the range to hit Hawaii and Alaska from East Asia and the continental U.S. from the mid-Pacific, the ONI says.

“This is a trump card that makes our motherland proud and our adversaries terrified,” China’s navy chief, Adm. Wu Shengli, wrote of the country’s missile-sub fleet in a Communist Party magazine in December. “It is a strategic force symbolizing great-power status and supporting national security.”

To naval commanders from other countries, the Chinese nuclear sub’s nonstop Indian Ocean voyage was especially striking, proving that it has the endurance to reach the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s headquarters in Hawaii.

“They were very clear with respect to messaging,” says Vice Adm. Robert Thomas, a former submariner who commands the U.S. Seventh Fleet, “to say that, ‘We’re a professional navy, we’re a professional submarine force, and we’re global. We’re no longer just a coastal-water submarine force.’ ”

In recent years, public attention has focused on China’s expanding military arsenal, including its first aircraft carrier and stealth fighter. But subs are more strategically potent weapons: A single one can project power far from China and deter other countries simply by its presence.

China’s nuclear attack subs, in particular, are integral to what Washington sees as an emerging strategy to prevent the U.S. from intervening in a conflict over Taiwan, or with Japan and the Philippines—both U.S. allies locked in territorial disputes with Beijing.

And even a few functional Chinese boomers compel the U.S. to plan for a theoretical Chinese nuclear-missile strike from the sea. China’s boomer patrols will make it one of only three countries—alongside the U.S. and Russia—that can launch atomic weapons from sea, air and land.

“I think they’ve watched the U.S. submarine force and its ability to operate globally for many, many years—and the potential influence that can have in various places around the globe,” says Adm. Thomas, “and they’ve decided to go after that model.”

China's nuclear-sub deployments, some naval experts say, may become the opening gambits of an undersea contest in Asia that echoes the cat-and-mouse game between U.S. and Soviet subs during the Cold War—a history popularized by Tom Clancy's 1984 novel "The Hunt for Red October."

Back then, each side sent boomers to lurk at sea, ready to fire missiles at the other’s territory. Each dispatched nuclear hunter-killers to track the other’s boomers and be ready to destroy them.

The collapse of the Soviet Union ended that tournament. But today, as China increases its undersea firepower, the U.S. and its allies are boosting their submarine and anti-sub forces in Asia to counter it.

Neither China nor the U.S. wants a Cold War rerun. Their economies are too interdependent, and today’s market-minded China doesn’t seek global revolution or military parity with the U.S.

Chinese officials say their subs don’t threaten other countries and are part of a program to protect China’s territory and expanding global interests. Chinese defense officials told foreign attachés that the subs entering the Indian Ocean would assist antipiracy patrols off Somalia, say people briefed on the meetings.
Indian Army, PLA hold first Border Personnel Meeting at Kibithu
A Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between the Indian Army and the Peoples Liberation Army of China was held here on Thursday to strengthen military and border security ties.

Chinese troops joined Indian Army troops for joint celebrations of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Joint celebration of important events by troops of both countries forms part of Border Defence and Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed on this day a year ago at Beijing, Indian Army sources told ANI.

The Indian delegation, led by Brigadier Virendra Vats and the Chinese side,led by senior Colonel Hu Xiao Bai, exchanged views on issues of mutual interest followed by a cultural programme comprising folk dances by various tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and a friendly Volleyball match.

The meeting was held in an extremely friendly atmosphere and both sides reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC.

The meeting marked formalization of Kibithu (Wacha) as an additional point for BPM and flag meetings in Arunachal Pradesh. Similar meetings are also being conducted at Nathu La in Sikkim and Bum La in Tawang, the sources added.

As the BPM mechanism provides for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand)-Qiang is also under consideration.

BPM points along the LAC facilitates greater engagement between Indian Army and PLA which helps develop mutual understanding and cooperation between border troops.

These meetings are also helpful in resolving local issues related to help maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC.

This was the outcome of the 6th India-China annual defence dialogue, co-chaired by defence secretary R K Mathur and PLA deputy chief Lt-Gen Wang Guanzhong held at New Delhi February 25 last when it was agreed to "strengthen maritime security cooperation between the navies", step up exchanges of officers and cooperate in areas like peace-keeping, counter-terrorism and humanitarian disaster relief.

With political settlement of the border dispute remaining elusive despite 18 rounds of talks between special representatives, India and China are now slowly but steadily stepping up military engagement at "multiple levels" to "manage" confrontations along the 3,488-LAC.

In fact, amidst a verbal duel between both the Asian giants on the proposed construction of a road along the McMahon line in Arunachal Pradesh, delegations of the two countries concluded a two-day talks under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC), in New Delhi on October 25 last.

The talks aimed at finding ways to avoid stand-offs like the one in Chumar, Ladakh last month. The face-off had lasted for more than 15 days after the Chinese army patrol came into India when Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India.

The Chinese incursion had overshadowed the talks between Jinping and Modi when the latter had raised "serious concerns" over the repeated incidents along the border and sought an early settlement of the boundary imbroglio.
'Pradhan sevak' Modi spends first Diwali as PM with Indian Army in freezing Siachen
Srinagar: Narendra Modi paid a surprise Diwali visit to Siachen on Thursday, repeating his Independence Day theme of being a “pradhan sevak” who had come to “see and experience” the conditions faced by soldiers.

“No one has got the opportunity of guarding their motherland in these conditions. As a pradhan sevak, I have been able to see the conditions faced by you with my own eyes, experience it. The doctors accompanying us were keeping tabs on me...checking my BP and oxygen. This shows how precarious are the conditions you live in,” the Prime Minister told soldiers at the 12,000ft base camp of the glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.

Modi, who wished President Pranab Mukherjee from the spot, emphasised that he had not intimated the soldiers about his trip as there was “no need to announce one’s arrival when coming to one’s own family”.
“I have especially come on the occasion of Diwali to be with you. I am aware how it feels like to spend Diwali with your family. The happiness is different, but you are so involved in the devotion to your motherland that (your) family is spending Diwali somewhere else and you are somewhere else, guarding the motherland. My coming to this place will not fill the void of your family, but as a representative of 125 crore people...after being with you, I feel proud and satisfied,” Modi, for whom this Diwali was the first as Prime Minister, said.

“Till the time someone does not see these icy glaciers, he will not know the way our jawans work in the remotest parts of the country. Many slept pulling over a white snow blanket. Someone’s body is recovered after 21 years. Don’t know how many such families are there, still waiting for their loved ones.”

The allusion was to Havildar Tukaram Patil, who died in 1993 after falling into a crevasse and whose his remains were found last week as rain lashed the glacier. In August, soldiers had found the body of Havildar Gaya Prasad, who had died in similar circumstances in 1996.

In the visitors’ book, Modi wrote that soldiers who guarded the nation’s frontiers in such difficult conditions were no less than “rishis (saints) and sages”.

“The feeling of pride towards you is because every time, in every condition you are ready to live and die for the country. Today, the country has sound sleep because you are awake day and night. People can lead a life of peace because you face hardships. This has been the message of your life. And for this reason, let that be army, air force and navy... the whole country is proud of the armed forces.”

Modi said that while the armed forces were busy guarding the country, it was responsibility of the nation to realise their dreams and aspirations. “Your dreams and responsibilities are the responsibility of us all. It is unacceptable to me that you have depend on others for anything after you are out of the force. It is my duty and desire that you and your family live with pride and respect after retirement.”

Modi said the issue of armed forces was an “emotional subject” for him and his government was committed to building a National War Memorial. “How many decades have passed without one-rank-one pension. It was in my destiny that one-rank-one pension has been fulfilled, and preparations were being made for a National War Memorial, that we could all be proud of. The government is committed to the cause.”

The Prime Minister also lauded the role of defence personnel in rescue and relief, making specific mention of the recent Kashmir floods, in which government agencies had been criticised for alleged tardy response.

“The way forces pose a danger to enemies, in the same way our forces give life to us. There has been no natural calamity in which our forces have not participated... worked hard day and night. When Srinagar was hit by floods, the army jawans showed an exemplary work of humanity and sacrificed their lives in the process.”
Bail Plea Rejected to Indian Army Officials' Accused of Molesting

KOCHI: The Ernakulam District and Principal Sessions Court on Thursday dismissed the bail petition of two officials with the Indian Army who were accused of molesting a woman travelling in Kerala Express from New Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram. The bail petition was filed by A Jaykumar, 27, of Neduvathoor, Kollam, and D Shiju, 37, of Erumeli, Kottayam.

 The accused pleaded that they did not commit any offence as charged against them by the Railway Police. However, the court observed that the accused can prove their innocence during the trial of the case.
For `National’ Defence
The state police exploded the ISIS flag myth recently, saying that it was not a serious issue. This is contrary to the army’s statements which blew the “appearances” out of proportion and sounded a `national’ alert. The Government of India has maintained a massive presence of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir from the very beginning. It is believed that more than 600,000 regulars are stationed in the Kashmir Valley alone for `national’ defence.  New Delhi has never bothered to justify the scale of the military presence in the state for more than five decades. But it has found itself in a tight corner over the issue, especially at the international level. So, now New Delhi tries to manufacture excuses, through overt and covert means, for maintaining the number of troops it deems fit to fight the Kashmiri mindset.

After the army went to town about a few individuals hoisting ISIS flags in Srinagar and outlying districts, the gullible Indian has come to feel that the ISIS threat looms large in Kashmir and that the army, in huge numbers, and the AFSPA, are needed for guarding the unity and integrity of the country. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as well as security agencies have so far said that the ISIS has no presence in Kashmir. A few months ago, the Chief Minister clarified that a Kashmir youth based in Australia had reportedly joined the Islamic State, and added that none from Kashmir had travelled to Syria or Iraq to join the group. He recently termed the youth waving ISIS flags as ‘idiots’.

Before the devastating floods, the police in Srinagar had questioned several youth over the surfacing of ISIS flags in Kashmir. The police had also questioned a cameraman working for a Mumbai-based news channel.  Speaking at a police function in Jammu the other day, the Chief Minister said that the Government of India must reconsider its stand on revoking the AFSPA as militancy had declined in the state to a large extent and therefore such a law was not needed any more. It is an irony that world’s fourth largest army needs a draconian law to fight a handful of militants in Kashmir. The draconian law is a slur on democracy and has further tarnished the image of the country at international fora where they believe that India justifies crimes like rape and murder in the garb of `national duty’. Omar Abdullah has rightly demanded the revocation of the law, and the central government must consider the appeal.

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