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Saturday, 29 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 29 Nov 2014























http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141129/main2.htm
Holed-up militant killed, Jammu operation toll 12
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 28
Amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, the Army killed a fourth Pakistani terrorist this afternoon and wrapped up the gun-battle that began yesterday near Kathar village in Arnia sub-sector along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu.

Security forces recovered one more body of a civilian around 9.30 am from the encounter site, taking the death toll to 12. Overall, five civilians, three soldiers and four militants have died in the gun-battle.
Kathar is some 55 km southwest of Jammu.

The fourth ultra had overnight remained holed up in an abandoned Army bunker close to the border.

“With the killing of the fourth terrorist, who was hiding in a bunker, the operation has ended. At present, the area is being mopped up by the security forces. We have also recovered the body of a fifth civilian from the site of encounter,” DGP, K Rajendra told The Tribune.

Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Mehta said the fourth terrorist was eliminated around 12.05 pm. 

Firing from the Army bunker started around 9.30 am when Army moved its BMP vehicle close to the bunker, said a police officer.

The Army had positioned BMPs for the final assault last evening but they could not be pressed into service as some soldiers of the 157 Territorial Army were trapped in a post close to the bunker, he added. After the soldiers succeeded in getting out of the post, the final assault was launched and the terrorist was shot dead, he said.

‘Security chinks exposed’

* There was infiltration by terrorists through the ‘heavily guarded’ fenced border

* Then the terrorists carried out a terror attack before entering an abandoned bunker deep inside Indian territory

* This has exposed chinks in the security grid, a defence spokesperson said.

* The BSF claimed just before the Assembly polls that it had sealed the 198-km-long International Border.

Truce violation by Pak

Udhampur: Pakistani Rangers on Friday violated ceasefire by resorting to brief firing along the International Border in Jammu's Arnia sub-sector, just hours after it was hit by a terror strike. "There was a few rounds of firing from the Pakistani side on our positions on Pital border outpost area in Arnia sub-sector today," a senior BSF officer said. BSF troops, however, observed calm and did not retaliate, he said. There were no reports of any casualty. — PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141129/main6.htm
449 armed forces suicides, 24 Naval accidents in four years: MoD
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
In what is an indicator for future course correction in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the armed forces, there have been 449 suicides in three services in the past four years and 24 major and minor naval accidents during the same period. During the past 42 months, Indian Air Force lost 32 planes to crashes, eight incidents of fires or explosions have been reported at various ordnance factories while the DRDO is short of a whopping 2,776 scientists.

The Ministry of Defence has given these figures during the past four days while replying to questions from members of Parliament during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

Manohar Parrikar, who took over as Defence Minister on November 10, has his hands full if he aims to correct these numbers.

Parrikar told the Lok Sabha in a written reply today that the forces have collectively lost 449 men to suicides between January 1, 2011 and November 21, 2014 – about 47 months, making it roughly 10 suicides a month or one trained soldier killing himself every three days.

The Army, which deploys its men for long periods in the insurgency-hit areas, has seen 362 case of suicides while the IAF and the Navy fall behind with 76 and 11 cases, respectively.

The year 2011 saw 105 suicides in the Army. A total of 10 cases of fratricide have also been reported in the force. The defence minister listed “long tenures of continuous deployment” among several contributory factors.

A total of 32 Indian Air Force planes and helicopters have crashed between April 2011 and November 19, 2014 – a period of 42 months. The maximum number of crashes had taken place in 2011-12, when 13 aircraft were lost, the MoD told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Among the aircraft that crashed three were Su-30s, two Mirage 2000s, four Jaguars, three Mig-29s, one Mig-27, eight Mig-21s , two Mi-17 helicopters and one C-130J. The fleet of 194 Sukhoi-30MKI jets was grounded for almost three weeks after a crash on October 14. The Navy has seen 24 major and minor accidents since January 1, 2011, killing 20 persons. Four persons are missing.

For these accidents, 67 officers and others are facing action.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi had resigned after Submarine INS Sindhuratna caught fire on board mid-sea off the coast of Mumbai on February 26, killing two officers.

The MoD said in the Lok Sabha “there is a shortage of 2,776 scientists in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as there has been no enhancement of scientific manpower since 2001”.

The DRDO, a wing of the MoD, has been recruiting scientists against the vacancies caused by retirements, superannuations and resignations. The other causes of concern are fires and explosions at ordnance factories since January 1, 2013. The MoD owns these factories which produce weapons and ammunition. Incidents have been reported from Dehu road, Itarsi (twice), Chanda, Katni, Aruvankadu, Khamaria and Badmal.

Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said: “Steps are being taken to reduce manual intervention in various operations and processes.”

Alarming situation: IAF loses 32 planes

* 32 IAF planes and helicopters crashed between April 2011 and November 19, 2014, — a period of 42 months.

* The maximum number of crashes took place in 2011-12, when 13 aircraft were lost

* Among the aircraft that crashed are three Su-30s, two Mirage 2000s, four Jaguars, three Mig-29s, one Mig-27, eight Mig-21s , two Mi-17 helicopters and one C-130J



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141129/nation.htm#2
Defence production top priority, says Parrikar
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar got a thumbs-up from Lok Sabha today when he mentioned indigenisation of defence production as Government’s top priority in his maiden reference in the House.

Answering supplementaries for the first time during Question Hour today, recently appointed Minister of Defence said the government had initiated steps to reduce expenditure on arms import and increase exports instead. The government in 2012-13 spent Rs 30,370.80 crore on arms imports followed by Rs 38,202.66 crore in 2013-14, making India the world’s top arms imported contributing 12 per cent of the arms import globally.

Parrikar fielded queries well after being cornered by Konda Vishweshwar Reddy of the TRS who dissected Government data to ask what part of indigenous procurement claimed by the Government was made of imported components.

“I agree with my friend’s statement that figures hide more than they reveal. That is the basic principle of statistics,” Defence Minister said adding that in equipment manufactured in India, in most cases there is 50 per cent indigenization or at the most 90 pc.

“There is 100 per cent indigenisasation in a very few items,” the minister admitted while assuring the House that the government’s priority was indigenous procurement in the categories of “buy Indian” or at least “buy and make Indian”.


http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-11-19/news/56265542_1_lusofonia-games-procurement-goa
Empower army in such a manner that no one dares stare at India: Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister
 Transparent policy guidelines are critical to making procurement for the armed forces more efficient, says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Days after being entrusted with the sensitive portfolio, the former CM of Goa tells ET in an interview that his first target is to get a list of priorities drawn up. Edited excerpts:

The last time we met, in April, you said you were reluctant to leave Goa and move to the Centre?

I was reluctant but the PM and the party president were insistent. And a time comes when you cannot say no. They thought that my coming to Centre would serve a better purpose.

Is the perception correct that you have been brought into this position to bring transparency in defence procurements in particular?

Transparency was one and early decision-making was the other part of it, and both with some integrity. This (integrity) probably is something they saw in me. PM is the best judge.

How do you propose to bring transparency in the system?

I am in the process of understanding many things...a few stuck decisions. My target is to set a list of priorities. In Goa also, I got a list of local priorities drawn up - since things haven't been moving very fast on many issues. There are these tall MAP buildings, (naval quarters) you would have seen on your way to the airport. They have been stuck for the past six-seven years possibly because there isn't anyone to push it. It might be a small thing but I feel it's unfair if officers who are uprooted from somewhere else can't get accommodation for their families and that too in a peace zone. I am good at pushing things. I managed to get all the infrastructure for the Lusofonia Games (held in Goa in January) completed in ten months.

What are your priorities? Is the Rafale jet order among them?

I will not name a particular case, but yes, we need to create some policy guidelines framework along with time schedule so that procurement decisions are made quickly. You need to plan your trials and your entire procurement process so that you can receive equipment early; you do that and your procurement will be cheaper too. When people know you are going to take to time to decide they will build - I will not call it inflate - the delay into the cost.

You have also spoken against the rush to blacklist companies?

(In case of) helicopters, for example, there are hardly five-six manufacturers of a particular capability. If you blacklist three of them, then other two will blackmail you.

We need to come up with a policy spelling out who has to be blacklisted under what circumstances and for what period. For example, the Bofors guns were blacklisted long ago. My impression is they remain blacklisted. Now you have 450 guns with no spare parts coming in, you cannibalised the gun.

How do you propose to find funds for procurement?

I am going to ask the three chiefs, or four for that matter (pointing to a senior coast guard official) to prioritise their needs and then we can move forward. That is where your skill in planning comes into picture. A bullet may be procured in three months, a rocket in six months, but a fighter plane will probably take you a year or two years. We must plan accordingly.

I see it as a dilemma I faced with Goa Medical College. We buy a lot of equipment for the college but the problem starts when AMC (annual maintenance contract) kicks in. You get a very sophisticated ventilator and don't have a company maintenance contractor for it and they start breaking down after a year and remain unoperational for want of some small part. You can't do that with a gun, or a fighter plane.

That was the problem with the Sukhoi-30MKI when it was ejecting the pilots on its own. I think that has been sorted out. If I have an iPad, I can't get it serviced and am forced to buy another, but I can't replace Rs 400-cr equipment. The problem has been shifting the goal post after the tendering; you can't do that. There is also this problem, sometimes when you select an L1, the L2 who has lost out starts lobby against, digging for dirt on the L1. All these aspects have to be considered and the best solution is to ask the company to manufacture in India.

To what extent can India indigenise defence equipment? Is there an issue with offsetting where export obligations are not strictly defence related billings?

These aspects will definitely be looked into. I feel if you are indigenising with the first lot it can be to an extent of 50%. But you must understand, in a missile, if you look at the material component vis-a-vis the price, it could be just 25-30%. Technology costs. So we must look at how this 30% can be indigenised and work out a proper formula where the technology fee is very clearly defined from the material cost.

I would like to ask experts to sit with the concerned section of the forces and come out with very clear point wise answers to this.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20141129/main6.htm
449 armed forces suicides, 24 Naval accidents in four years: MoD
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 28
In what is an indicator for future course correction in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the armed forces, there have been 449 suicides in three services in the past four years and 24 major and minor naval accidents during the same period. During the past 42 months, Indian Air Force lost 32 planes to crashes, eight incidents of fires or explosions have been reported at various ordnance factories while the DRDO is short of a whopping 2,776 scientists.

The Ministry of Defence has given these figures during the past four days while replying to questions from members of Parliament during the ongoing winter session of Parliament.

Manohar Parrikar, who took over as Defence Minister on November 10, has his hands full if he aims to correct these numbers.

Parrikar told the Lok Sabha in a written reply today that the forces have collectively lost 449 men to suicides between January 1, 2011 and November 21, 2014 – about 47 months, making it roughly 10 suicides a month or one trained soldier killing himself every three days.

The Army, which deploys its men for long periods in the insurgency-hit areas, has seen 362 case of suicides while the IAF and the Navy fall behind with 76 and 11 cases, respectively.

The year 2011 saw 105 suicides in the Army. A total of 10 cases of fratricide have also been reported in the force. The defence minister listed “long tenures of continuous deployment” among several contributory factors.

A total of 32 Indian Air Force planes and helicopters have crashed between April 2011 and November 19, 2014 – a period of 42 months. The maximum number of crashes had taken place in 2011-12, when 13 aircraft were lost, the MoD told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. Among the aircraft that crashed three were Su-30s, two Mirage 2000s, four Jaguars, three Mig-29s, one Mig-27, eight Mig-21s , two Mi-17 helicopters and one C-130J. The fleet of 194 Sukhoi-30MKI jets was grounded for almost three weeks after a crash on October 14. The Navy has seen 24 major and minor accidents since January 1, 2011, killing 20 persons. Four persons are missing.

For these accidents, 67 officers and others are facing action.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral DK Joshi had resigned after Submarine INS Sindhuratna caught fire on board mid-sea off the coast of Mumbai on February 26, killing two officers.

The MoD said in the Lok Sabha “there is a shortage of 2,776 scientists in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as there has been no enhancement of scientific manpower since 2001”.

The DRDO, a wing of the MoD, has been recruiting scientists against the vacancies caused by retirements, superannuations and resignations. The other causes of concern are fires and explosions at ordnance factories since January 1, 2013. The MoD owns these factories which produce weapons and ammunition. Incidents have been reported from Dehu road, Itarsi (twice), Chanda, Katni, Aruvankadu, Khamaria and Badmal.

Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh said: “Steps are being taken to reduce manual intervention in various operations and processes.”

Alarming situation: IAF loses 32 planes

* 32 IAF planes and helicopters crashed between April 2011 and November 19, 2014, — a period of 42 months.

* The maximum number of crashes took place in 2011-12, when 13 aircraft were lost

* Among the aircraft that crashed are three Su-30s, two Mirage 2000s, four Jaguars, three Mig-29s, one Mig-27, eight Mig-21s , two Mi-17 helicopters and one C-130J



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-to-train-students-in-border-areas/articleshow/45314025.cms
Army to train students in border areas?
 NEW DELHI: Government on Friday hinted at taking up pilot projects to impart partial military training to students undergoing graduation degree in border districts.

Responding to a private member bill on providing compulsory military training in Rajya Sabha, defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that if the government can work out a module it can start this on a trial basis in certain districts "where there is enthusiasm, districts face border". He said module can be prepared for 50-60 hours training that can be done over a period of time.

"One can take it as a course; like the way history, maths etc, we can take one course of defence training. But I feel, along with this, what we need is nation building, character building," the minister said. But he ruled out any compulsory military training.

Parrikar added that after consulting members, the government will come out with an "appropriate mechanism" though it may take a few months. The bill, moved by BJP member Avinash Rai Khanna during last Parliament session proposed one-year compulsory military training in the age group of 14 and 15. Members from different political parties in the House supported the bill, which Parrikar said proved how "nationalism does not have a colour"

Though the minister appreciated the intent of the bill, he said compulsory military training was not possible since it would cost as much as Rs 60,000 crore annually. "...I would have supported the bill had I been sitting there (in opposition), but I am sitting on this side in government ....I will support the bill but I will point out issues which will create problems," Parrikar said.

He pointed out that providing military training to people in the age group of 14 and 50 is impractical. Even if government takes up the task to provide similar training to people in the age group of 17 0r 18 years to 25, it would mean training 14-15 crore eligible youth.

Asserting that nation-building and character development does not happen by military training alone, Parrikar said education system must do so, but "our teaching has slipped." He pointed out even National Cadet Corps (NCC) training has "diluted" although the strength has increased to 15.18 lakh now from 13.8 lakh 3-4 years back.

Giving a personal touch the minister said he had got admission for the National Defence Academy and then Army Corps of Engineers. "Because of some reason I could not join. So, probably, there is something genetic which attracts me to defence forces. May be that got me here," he said.

Stay updated on the go with The Times of India’s mobile apps. Click here to download it for your device.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indias-defence-imports-40-times-its-export-basket/articleshow/45313520.cms
India’s defence imports 40 times its export basket
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may want India to start exporting weapons in a major way, instead of importing them in large numbers, but it will take a lot of doing. Latest figures show India's arms imports are a staggering 40 times the size of its exports, and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has told Parliament that the total expenditure on "direct payments to foreign vendors for capital acquisitions" for the Army, Navy and IAF during the last five years stood at Rs 1,03,535 crore ($16.72 billion).

In sharp contrast, as per a written reply in Lok Sabha on Friday, the five defence PSUs, four shipyards and 39 ordnance factories as well as the private sector, all put together managed to export defence equipment worth just a paltry Rs 1,644 crore in the last three years. The figure in the first six months of the ongoing fiscal stands at just Rs 167 crore.

India, of course, has the dubious distinction of being the world's largest arms importer due to a stagnant defence-industrial base (DIB), which forces the armed forces to acquire 65% of their requirements from abroad.

The Modi government's rhetoric on the "Make in India" policy with greater private sector participation in the defence production sector will take several years — if at all — to materialize on the ground. It will need sweeping systemic reforms to revive the country's DIB from its prolonged stupor.

Sources, however, say the defence ministry is now working to "streamline" the "complicated" indigenous defence production policy. There is an attempt, for instance, to revive the provision for the government to fund 80% of the development cost of a weapon prototype, with the industry chipping in with 20%, in "high-risk projects".
The battle has to be fought on two fronts. First, a radical overhaul of the functioning of DRDO, defence PSUs, Ordnance Factory Board and shipyards is needed to ensure they can deliver cutting-edge weapons in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Concomitantly, the private sector has to be encouraged to enter defence production in a major way. "There has to be concrete government support with confirmed orders since defence projects are capital-intensive and have long-gestation periods," said an officer.

India will remain strategically vulnerable till it builds a robust DIB since supplies can be choked in times of need. China has assiduously built a strong DIB, making it the world's third-largest arms exporter, even though it also remains the third-largest importer.

India also does not still get the biggest bang for its buck. There is no concrete long-term planning to systemically build military capabilities, with the three Services continuing to squabble over the limited budgetary pie. Consequently, the armed forces continue to grapple with huge deficiencies in submarines, fighters, helicopters, artillery, air defence weapons, night-fight capabilities and the like.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/punjab/chandigarh/india-s-defence-ministers-her-weakness/article1-1290952.aspx
India’s defence ministers, her weakness
Of all the ministries, defence is of considerable importance. However, it has never been accorded the attention it requires. Starting with Baldev Singh, this ministerial berth has rarely been occupied by an appropriate dignitary. Krishna Menon’s contribution to the 1962 debacle was substantial. YB Chavan, who replaced him, did his best but allowed himself to be tied down in bureaucratic squabbling in modernisation of the military and force accretion in the army. Thus, in 1965, Indian Army faced larger and state-of-the art tank fleet of Pakistan and was constrained to field mountain divisions in the plains sector of Jammu and Kashmir. These divisions were neither equipped, nor trained for plains warfare. The corps headquarters, which led the offensive, was not raised fully when it had to join the fight. Indian Air Force, too, was not well placed vis-a-vis the Pakistani counterpart. If at the end of this conflict, Indian Army ended up on top, the credit rests with the troops, their commanders, and luck entirely.

In 1971, the main fighting was confined to what was then East Pakistan, where again superior strategy and Pakistan’s enormous disadvantage came into play. Kargil saw first the initial discord between the army and the IAF and, later, the lack of proper equipment with the army, when the-then army chief was constrained to remark: “We will fight with whatever we have.” Kargil was a minor action, where limited troops were deployed, and even then the resources fell short. As of now, the state of the military (all three services) is an area of concern.

Long history of neglect

The national security has a very long history of neglect, going back over a millennium. The point that emerges from repeated military defeats is that historically, national security has been a low-priority area. Even after independence, military has never been given neither the essential wherewithal it requires to fulfil its commitments nor a defence minister (barring two or three) who has adequate grasp of national security issues and the relevance of hard power in the viability and sustenance of soft state.

CDS system much needed

Post Kargil, a number of committees were constituted and these put out some important recommendations, which have since been hanging fire. The most important recommendation has been about adopting Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) system in its full spectrum. This was, later, diluted by Naresh Chandra Committee. The possibility of the full exploitation of India’s military potential continues to remain elusive. The creation of Integrated Defence Headquarters in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is a meaningless exercise and bureaucratic solution to sidetrack the inescapable requirement of the CDS. This arrangement just cannot meet the imperatives of future conflicts, more so the demands of a two-front conflict and the ominous threats that could emerge in the Indian Ocean region. India can ignore the imperatives of bringing in CDS system in its full form at its own peril.

Anthony era among the worst

AK Anthony brought little credit to this ministry. His sole contribution has been to blacklist each and every supplier of arms and choke military modernisation completely. The Ministry of Defence is staffed by generalists who have little knowledge of security-related issues and matters military. The biggest joke on the nation being that it is the defence secretary who alone stands responsible for the defence of India. In the MoD, authority and accountability are not synonymous.

The defence infrastructure along the northern border has huge gaps. The modernisation of defence forces is the crying need for close to three decades now and yet little has been done in this very vital area. The recent allocation of Rs. 80,000 crore for a range of equipment is a welcome move, but it will take a decade for all that equipment to get into the hands of the troops and will only meet glaring shortages.

False sense of security

To have a very large military without the essential wherewithal serves little purpose and can give us a false sense of security. This sad state of affairs has been brought about by an apparent neglect of this otherwise important ministry, both by placing a somewhat inapt minister and inappropriate staff repeatedly.

An ineffective defence minister cannot drive home the imperatives of adequate fund allocations for this ministry. Consequently, fund allocations to this ministry have been totally inadequate: generally less than 2% of the GDP (gross domestic product). One hopes the new defence minister will seek early reversal of this persistent neglect. With that kind of fund allocation, the debate on the distribution of resources between capital and revenue expenditure is meaningless.

We remain largest importers of arms

Even decades after creating Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), India remains the largest importer of defence equipment, which is low-grade generally. The DRDO has failed to demonstrate its prowess even in the field of reverse engineering and absorbing transferred technology. It functions directly under the MoD and is neither responsible nor accountable to defence headquarters.

Parrikar has to learn on job

All eyes are on the new defence minister, who is known for his competence and efficiency. Manohar Parrikar enjoys the reputation of a man who can grasp issues quickly. He understands the problems agitating the minds of the serving and retired defence personnel, but lacks the experience of how the central government functions, so he will need some time to understand the ways of the bureaucracy in South Block.

He is new to national security issues and, therefore, has to learn on the job, with no time to lose. He has made the right start by clearing the acquisition of long-required artillery guns. He should not rely entirely on bureaucratic advice but have structured interaction with the services chiefs. He will have to attend to the pressing problems of both veterans and the serving soldiers. The ministry staff does not seem to be alive to the deep bonding that exists between the serving and the retired military personnel. The maltreatment of one plays on the mind of the other, and affects the morale of the force.

Hostile environment

The security environment of the country—the bellicosity of our neighbours to the West and North, and the collusion between them—should be of serious concern to us. To add to this, the turmoil in the Middle East, the possible future developments in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the most likely fallout of these on Jammu and Kashmir is something that the new defence minister should keep in mind.

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