Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 10 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 10 Nov 2014

Fifth-gen fighter: India asks Russia to resolve tech-sharing, costing
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
In what could be a sign of fatigue in a long-lasting military relationship, India has conveyed to Russia that it cannot carry on with the proposed project to jointly develop and manufacture the next generation of fighter jets till Moscow addresses concerns about technology sharing and costing.

India and Russia are on the verge of inking one of the biggest defence manufacturing deals to develop and produce the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Its research and development (R&D) will cost $11 billion (Rs 66,000 crore) with India paying half of it. This will be followed by a potential $30 billion deal to make some 200 planes for the Indian Air Force. As negotiations have dragged on for four years since the FGFA was first announced, India has raised issues of technology; its transfer; New Delhi’s role in development of the plane and the actual per-unit cost of the plane.

Top sources said there have been no answers from Russian delegations at routine talks — the last one being a few weeks ago — and it probably needs political intervention to sort it out. The matter will be slotted for discussion when Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in New Delhi for the annual summit next month.

Under the existing terms, it is pointless to even think of signing the R&D contract. There are some key sticking points for the IAF that are holding up its decision, said top sources.

New Delhi says since it is paying 50 per cent of the cost, it should be doing half the work on the FGFA. At present, the Defence Ministry-owned public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) — under the proposal — is mandated to do only 13 per cent of the work.

India has asked Russia to convey the tentative cost on per-plane basis. Since six prototypes are flying, this would not be a problem. But so far, there has been no answer, a source said. The intellectual property rights of the plane would be held by Russia, which has so far, refused to fit HAL-supplied pieces without certification, meaning if India has to re-fit its own pieces, it will need the nod from Moscow.
No talks if firing continues: India to Pak

New Delhi, November 9
India today warned Pakistan against repeated ceasefire violations, saying there cannot be a dialogue with it if these continued.

“If repeated ceasefire violations take place, then the environment for dialogue itself suffers,” Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said at the India Global Forum meeting hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“There should be a dialogue. We will welcome it, but then the environment for dialogue has to be created by both countries.

“One of them cannot upset the environment and then say why dialogue is not taking place,” Jaitley said.

“When we further the discussions, it was through foreign secretary dialogue (called off in August), this was responded to by an immediate invite to the separatists, particularly keeping in mind elections in J&K at the doorsteps. Now, this we found completely unacceptable,” he added.

Pointing out that the situation has by and large been peaceful in the Kashmir Valley, Jaitley said: “We are expecting peaceful elections in the Valley notwithstanding efforts to disturb the environment.”

Regarding the border issue with China, Jaitley said India is keen to expedite the process of resolving the longstanding matter.

“As far as China is concerned, our economic relationship continues to grow, there are a lot of mutual investments in both countries and there is huge trade between the two countries,” he said.

“But then we have a pending issue of settlement of boundary itself and the commission appointed in 2003 for that purpose... we do hope it functions now expeditiously. We continue to have a meaningful dialogue with them,” he added. — IANS
LoC firing: India lodges protest with Pak
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 9
A day after Pakistan troops killed a soldier and civilian in Uri sector of north Kashmir, Indian Army today lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over “unprovoked” shelling.

Sources said Pakistan troops were told on the hotline at Kaman post in Uri, 117 km from Srinagar, that “ceasefire violation was not good for the decade-long ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC)”.

“We lodged a strong protest over the unprovoked firing and shelling through hotline,” said a Defence source. “There has been no response from the Pakistan so far,” he added.

There has been no ceasefire violation from Pakistan since Saturday evening.

“There was no ceasefire violation since last evening,” Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Farooq Ahmed Lone told The Tribune. “The situation was calm in the area,” he said after visiting the area on Sunday.

On Saturday evening, Pakistan troops fired with heavy machine guns and mortar shells at five Indian posts in Kamalkote sector, 120 km from Srinagar, resulting in the death of a girl, Gulshan, and Havaldar Mayapan of 11 Madras.

The exchange of fire had continued for almost two hours and the firing took place in an area spread to nearly 3 km along the LoC. Some of the mortar shells hit the civilian areas, which created panic in the area.

The Army sources said it looked as if it was preplanned by the Pak Army to violate the ceasefire in the sector that is manned by the troops of Baramulla-based 19 Infantry Division.

“It has been most peaceful sector in Kashmir. We are surprised as to why Pakistani troops fired on our posts,” a source said.

The last major ceasefire violation in Uri sector in Kashmir region took place in October 2012, when Pakistani troops fired at Indian posts and a village in Churanda Uri, which left three civilians including a woman dead.
 Nuclear-capable Agni-II test-fired

Balasore (Odisha), November 9
India today successfully test-fired its medium-range nuclear-capable Agni-II missile with a strike range of more than 2,000 km from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast as part of a user trial by the Army.
“The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher from the Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range at around 9.40 am,” a Defence official said.

Describing the test of the state-of-the-art missile as successful, ITR Director MVKV Prasad said: “It was a user trial conducted by the Army.”

Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services and today’s test was carried out by the specially formed Strategic Forces Command of the Army as part of training exercise with logistic support provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the officials said.

The two-stage sophisticated missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, guided by a novel scheme of state of the earth command and control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system, they said. “The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the sea,” said a DRDO scientist.

The 20m-long Agni-II is a two-stage, solid-propelled ballistic missile. It has a launch weight of 17 tonne and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of more than 2,000 km. — PTI
 Armed forces to acquire 440 copters

New Delhi, November 9
Armed forces need to acquire 440 helicopters and most of them would be bought from Indian companies, including state-run HAL, to enhance capacity building, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said.

“Almost 440 helicopters between three services have to be acquired some will be acquired from abroad and most of them have to be domestically manufactured... we have also announced Indian entities can apply and even public sector (firms can apply) so as to have capacity building in India,” he said.

The government decision is expected to generate business worth over Rs 40,000 crore for the local industry in the Defence sector. Besides, India also intends to purchase 56 transport aircraft for which only private sector Indian companies are eligible.

“This time we cancelled the earlier decision and said they will be manufactured in India and Indian companies should apply and only Indian companies should apply which means Indian companies with joint ventures can apply,” he said.

The armed forces had projected their requirements to the Defence Ministry before the government scrapped a Rs 6,000 crore tender to procure 197 such helicopters for the Army and the Air Force. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has already started a project in Tumkur, Karnataka, for building light helicopters, which will have a capacity to lift 2.5 tonnes payload.

Jaitley further said the Defence Acquisition Council of India now meets every month. “I am sure it will continue to happen because the mechanism has been institutionalised,” he said. — PTI
 Sunken vessel was in good shape: Dhowan

Visakhapatnam, November 9
Dismissing reports that the sunken Torpedo Recovery Vessel A-72 was unfit, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan today said the ship was in a “good condition” and had been checked before it set sail.

Admiral Dhowan, who was here this evening to meet the family members of the sailor James Jacob who died after the vessel sank off the Visakhapatnam coast on Thursday night, told reporters, “before a vessel sails out, all its aspects are checked. The ship concerned was in absolutely good condition.” He said the Navy was doing all to search for the missing four Navy personnel.

"The Navy has already launched a full-scale Search and Rescue (SAR) operation and we will do whatever we can to trace the missing four naval personnel. A board of inquiry headed by a captain is in progress to investigate the circumstances that led to the mishap," Dhowan added.

Replying to a query whether the vessel was carrying crew members beyond its capacity that could have led to the mishap, Dhowan said the vessel was in completely "correct state". — PTI
Intense artillery fire in Ukraine's rebel bastion Donetsk
KIEV: Intense artillery fire broke out early on Sunday in Ukraine's separatist bastion of Donetsk, in a level of combat not seen in the region since a barely-observed ceasefire was signed in September.

Firing close to the town centre began to build up at 2.00am (2300 GMT Saturday), and could still be heard at the same intensity two hours later, AFP journalists in the area said.

However it was not immediately possible to evaluate the consequences of the artillery bombardment due to an overnight curfew imposed by the rebel authorities in Donetsk and nearby Makiivka.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) voiced concern Saturday after its monitors witnessed unmarked columns of tanks, howitizers and troop carriers moving through east Ukraine in territory held by pro-Russia separatists.

The OSCE report came a day after Ukraine's military said it had spotted a large column of tanks and other heavy weapons entering the country from Russia across a section of border that has fallen under control of rebel fighters.

Russia denies being involved in the fighting in the east. However, it openly gives the rebels political and humanitarian backing and it is not clear how the insurgents could themselves have access to so much sophisticated and well maintained weaponry.

Last March, Russian soldiers without identification markings took over the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea, and Moscow annexed the region shortly after.

The OSCE reports from the east came as fears mounted of a total breakdown in the ceasefire signed in September in a bid to end the war, which has killed some 4,000 people, according to UN figures.

Ukraine's military said there was bloody fighting on Saturday around Donetsk international airport, where government forces are defending a pocket of territory near the biggest rebel-held city.

Ukraine on Saturday reported eight of its soldiers killed within 24 hours. Seventeen other soldiers were wounded in shelling of government positions around the conflict zone, according to updates from the military.

Several military columns have been seen by foreign journalists in the east in recent weeks, and Ukrainian officials regularly accuse Russia of covertly deploying troops.

However, these reports are often dismissed by Moscow and by the separatist leaders as inaccurate or invented, while the OSCE's statement was important because it is likely to carry more weight.

"More than 40 trucks and tankers" were seen driving on a highway on the eastern outskirts of Makiivka, the OSCE representatives, who are in Ukraine to monitor the two-month ceasefire, said.

"Of these, 19 were large trucks — Kamaz type, covered, and without markings or number plates — each towing a 122mm howitzer and containing personnel in dark green uniforms without insignia. Fifteen were Kraz troop carriers," the report said.

Separately, the OSCE monitors said they had seen "a convoy of nine tanks moving west, also unmarked" just south-west of Donetsk.

The OSCE said all these forces were on territory controlled by the separatists' self-declared Donetsk People's Republic.

The Swiss foreign minister and OSCE chairperson-in-office, Didier Burkhalter, said he was "very concerned about a resurgence of violence in the eastern regions of Ukraine", and urged all sides to act responsibly.

Meanwhile, the Dutch foreign minister said Saturday that the remains of the last nine victims of flight MH17 may never be recovered from the Ukrainian battlefield where their plane was shot down four months ago.

Foreign minister Bert Koenders made the grim assessment in the city of Kharkiv, where he attended a memorial service for five more sets of human remains collected from the site of the disaster and flown to the Netherlands.

"We cannot say at this moment in any certain way... at what moment, and even if, we can recover the last nine" victims, he said of the air crash that killed all 298 on board, including 193 Dutch.

The shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on July 17 was one of the worst tragedies of a war. So far, the remains of 289 of those victims have been identified.

Ukraine and the West blame Russian-backed separatist fighters using surface-to-air missiles for the catastrophe, while Moscow has pointed the finger at Kiev's forces, in an incident that galvanised international shock over the chaos in a country bordering the European Union.

The conflict has sent relations between Western backers of Ukraine and Russia to their lowest level in decades.

"The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it has already begun," the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Russia's economy is suffering from European Union and US sanctions imposed in response to Moscow's support for the separatists. With Russia welcoming last week's rebel elections, which were billed as boosting the separatists' claim to independence, the sanctions look set to remain in place z-- and possibly be reinforced.

"We see no reason to lift any sanctions," Koenders said in Kiev, calling the rebel elections "illegal".
ISIS spreading tentacles in Pakistan: Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani security agencies have warned the government about the increasing threat from the ISIS militant group, a media report said on Saturday.

A classified report by the provincial government of Balochistan conveyed to the federal government and law enforcement agencies warning of increased footprints of the Middle Eastern terrorist group, also known by its Arabic acronym of "Daish".

The Dawn reported on its website that the 'secret information report' dated October 31 states that ISIS has claimed to have recruited a massive 10,000 to 12,000 followers from the Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kurram tribal district.

"It has been reliably learnt that Daish has offered some elements of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) to join hands in Pakistan. Daish has also formed a 10-member Strategic Planning Wing," the report from the Home and Tribal Affairs Department of Balochistan says.

LeJ and ASWJ are anti-Shia groups of Sunni Muslims. The report states that the ISIS plans to attack military installations and government buildings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in retaliation to the army-led Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan and also plans to target members of the minority Shia community.

The Balochistan government called for heightened vigilance and security measures in the province as well as the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to prevent and preempt such attacks. It has moreover called for sensitizing law enforcement agencies on the issue and an increased monitoring of LeJ members.

The warning comes days after six commanders of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), including its now defunct spokesman Shahidullah Shahid, announced their allegiance to the ISIS, last month. The ISIS's presence has not been officially established so far.

The report by the security agency supports the views of Altaf Hussain, chief of Mutthida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the Karachi-based Muhajir party, who last month said that ISIS was slowly spreading in the country and posed a threat.

Security expert Ejaz Hussain believes that Pakistan faces a perceived threat from the ISIS but it can mature into a real threat if they succeed in aligning themselves with the splinter groups of mainstream militants groups, including the TTP.

"If the Pakistan security apparatus fails to check their footprints, it could be a setback for them in future. It appears that the IS wants to focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly the time when US forces begin to withdraw from Afghanistan. If not checked, IS will pose a major threat to South Asia and the Persian Gulf," Hussain told the Dawn.
Matching military infrastructure being created on Indian side: Arun Jaitley
Apparently with China in mind, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said the government is taking all steps to create matching infrastructure on the Indian side to realise its military potential.

Noting that “our immediate neighbours have already enhanced infrastructure in proximity to the borders”, he said  the government has initiated several steps to overcome road blocks such as procedural delays, environmental clearance and shortage of high-technology equipment to hasten the process of building roads in these critical areas.

Addressing the first meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry after the new government came to power, Jaitley said, “Based on the strategic reality of our neighbourhood, the government is taking all steps to create matching infrastructure on our side to realise our military potential.”

As far as India-China border roads are concerned, the government has initiated building of 73 roads with a total length 3,812 kms for development, a statement released by the Ministry of Defence said.

Out of this, 61 have been entrusted to Border Roads Organisation (BRO), totalling 3410 kms. BRO has completed 590 kms on 17 roads.

Work on the balance roads structures are under progress and in different stages of completion.

The army has prioritised 22 roads structuring upto 3000 kms for development.

The works on these roads have been taken up by BRO and are being intensively monitored by the Ministry for early completion, the statement said.

Giving details, Director General Border Roads Lt Gen A T Parnaik said that the completion of roads has been affected due to various reasons.

These include delays in obtaining forest/wildlife clearance, difficult terrain conditions, hard road structures, limited working period in a year due to extreme weather conditions, paucity of construction material and challenges posed by natural disasters like flash floods in Leh in 2010, earthquake in Sikkim in 2011, Uttarakhand floods in 2013 and Jammu and Kashmir floods this year.

Lt Gen Parnaik said efforts have been made to overcome the factors coming in the way through greater coordination with Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) , modernisation of BRO and induction of more units and resources.

Jaitley thanked MoEF for easing environmental clearances which has helped in progress of road construction.

He complimented BRO for their work in restoring road links during the recent floods in J&K. “BRO has been an effective initial responder in disaster management,” he said.

Taking part in the discussion, Members of Parliament belonging to various political parties highlighted the yeoman service provided by BRO to the nation since its inception in 1960, the release said.

They were, however, critical about the delay in completion of projects so crucial for the safety and security of the country.

They were also unanimous in their opinion that BRO should be spared of any budget cuts in the
event of austerity measures.

Some members wanted that BRO should undergo a “transformational change” to convert it into a highly efficient organisation.

Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Mallikarjun Kharge, Choudhary Babu Lal, Vijay Sampla, Raj Kumar Singh, Saugata Roy, Rajeeve Chandrasekhar, Mahendra Prasad, T K Rangarajan and H K Dua.

Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Defence Secretary R K Mathur, Secretary, Defence Production G Mohan Kumar, Secretary, Defence Finance Vandana Srivastava also attended the meeting.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal