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Thursday, 25 December 2014

From Today's Papers - 25 Dec 2014


















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/raising-of-mountain-strike-corps-depletes-army-s-war-reserves/22290.html
Raising of Mountain Strike Corps depletes Army’s war reserves

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The raising of the new mountain strike corps, ostensibly to counter the threat from China, has depleted the Army’s war wastage reserves (WWR). This has now raised questions over the Army’s capability to sustain operations during a war.

War wastages reserves were used to meet the requirement of weapons and equipment for the new raising in the absence of adequate budgetary support.

“The problems we are facing, essentially, is slightly futuristic as we see it because we have to now make up all the stores that we have pulled out from the WWR. That requires additional infusion of funds,” Vice Chief of the Army Staff has stated before Parliament’s Standing Committee of Defence.

“We are not getting additional budget. A certain amount of about Rs 5,000 crore has been set aside saying that this is meant for the Mountain Corps. But this is not over and above the budget. So, we need money over and above the budget if we are able to make up all the stores and weapons which we have pulled out from the War Wastage Reserves for the initial raisings.” he added.

The depletion of the Army’s war wastage reserves come in the backdrop of reports citing critical shortages not only in some major weapon systems but also basic equipment such as boots, bullet proof jackets and assault rifles. Then there is the issue of continuing manpower shortage both in the officer cadre as well as the ranks.

The new strike corps, christened 17 Corps, got off the ground earlier this year.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/global-arms-treaty-comes-into-force/22049.html
Global arms treaty comes into force
United Nations, December 24
A landmark treaty regulating the $85 billion global arms trade came into force today, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon saying it will help prevent transfer of weapons to terrorists and human rights abusers and asked major arms exporters and importers to join the pact.

The Arms Trade Treaty, adopted by the UN General Assembly in April last year, is the first legally-binding multilateral agreement that prohibits nations from exporting conventional weapons to countries when they know those weapons would be used for genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

As of December 23, 60 nations had ratified the treaty and 130 had signed it, indicating that they intended to ratify.

India was among the 23 nations that had abstained from voting on the treaty resolution last year, saying the draft treaty annexed to the resolution is “weak on terrorism and non-state actors” and these concerns find no mention in the specific prohibitions of the treaty.

UN Secretary-General Ban said the treaty coming into force less than two years after it was adopted by the General Assembly “attests to our collective determination to reduce human suffering by preventing the transfer or diversion of weapons to areas afflicted by armed conflict and violence and to warlords, human rights abusers, terrorists and criminal organisations.”

He encouraged all nations, “particularly major arms exporters and importers”, to join the treaty. “With this in mind, I call on those States who have not yet done so, to accede to it without delay,” he said.

Major weapon producers like Russia, China, India and Pakistan have not signed the treaty.

Top arms exporters that have signed and ratified it include Britain, France and Germany. The US, the world’s top arms exporter, signed the treaty in September 2013 but the Senate has not ratified it.

Ban said the treaty marks the opening of a new chapter in the international community’s efforts to bring responsibility, accountability and transparency to the global arms trade.

“From now on, the States Parties to this important treaty will have a legal obligation to apply the highest common standards to their international transfers of weapons and ammunition,” Ban said in a statement.

Calling it a breakthrough in curbing human rights violations and reducing human suffering, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein hailed the treaty for establishing the highest possible common international standards for regulating the trade in conventional arms.

Following the adoption of the treaty last year, India’s Permanent Representative to the Conference of Disarmament in Geneva Sujata Mehta had said that from the beginning of the ATT process, India maintained that such a treaty should make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use especially by terrorists and other unauthorized and unlawful non-State actors.

India has also stressed consistently that the ATT should ensure a balance of obligations between exporting and importing states.

Mehta had said that India cannot accept that the treaty be used as an instrument in the hands of exporting states to take “unilateral force majeure measures” against importing states parties without consequences. “The relevant provisions in the final text do not meet our requirements.”

\/Meanwhile, an independent UN human rights expert said that while the ATT is a very important step to peace and security, numerous ambiguities remain in the text that could end up supporting the arms industry. — PTI


http://www.firstpost.com/business/economy/100-fdi-in-defence-how-modi-can-strengthen-india-against-china-pakistan-1993771.html
100% FDI in defence: How Modi can strengthen India against China, Pakistan
The biggest and the most immediate fallout from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States should be this: India allows 100 per cent FDI in defence. This is the crying need of the Indian armed forces, neglected for decades, if the national security issues have to be redressed hundred per cent.

The sooner this is done, the better. In the US, PM Modi had extensive and formal discussions with at least 17 captains of American corporate world and chatted with many more in a more informal set-up. Many of the American corporate honchos Modi met happen to be giants in the defence industry.

Incidentally, Modi had gone to the US after his government had raised the FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) cap in the defence sector from 26 to 49 per cent. But this is just not enough and Modi was conveyed this in as many terms by the American industrialist czars. They wanted 100 per cent FDI in defence, to begin with.

Right now, the Indian armed forces are in a state of pitiful neglect. Billions of dollars would be required to put the national security back on rails. If all the pressing needs of the three armed forces - the army, the navy and the air force - were to be met fully, the nation would require funds in excess of $100 billion.

And this has to be managed within the next three or four years, not decades, if India has to bolster its defence and come up with a credible and effective deterrent vis-a-vis China and Pakistan.

A developing country like India cannot generate this kind of money on its own. In fact, no developing country can afford to do so, barring one: China. And China is already doing this with an annual defence budget of over $ 188 billion, compared to the Indian defence budget of $47.4 billion as per the 2013 figures.

In fact, one needs to look at the top ten countries of the world with highest military expenditures for better clarity in this context.

According to a SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Fact Sheet of April 2014, the top ten countries in terms of their defence budgets in 2013 were as follows: the US ($640 billion) China ($188 billion), Russia ($87.8 billion), Saudi Arabia ($67 billion), France ($61.2 billion), UK ($57.9 billion), Germany ($48.8 billion), Japan ($48.6 billion), India (47.4 billion) and South Korea ($33.9 billion).

Modi's favourite punch line for attracting foreign investments - "no red tape, only red carpet" - is just not enough. Modi has to go beyond the rhetoric and after 140 days in office he has to walk his talk. His recently concluded US visit should be an eye opener in this context.

In fact, even allowing 100 per cent FDI in defence won't be enough. It would just be a signal that India is ready for foreign investment in a sensitive sector like defence. It would be a firm indication that India no longer treats the defence sector as a holy cow.

Consider the highly capital intensive defence projects that India needs to complete in double quick time to bolster its defences: the China-specific mountain strike corps ($11 billion), the MMRCA (Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft ($13 billion), the FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, a joint venture with Russia with at least $2 billion as India's cost share to begin with), the submarines project (which will cost minimum of $10 billion or so), and the artillery modernization project ($4 billion).

This totals to $40 billion and pertains to only a handful of big-ticket defence projects. There are dozens of other defence projects waiting for implementation, held up for either want of funds or technology or both.

Any serious attempt by the Modi government to deliver on the pressing requirements of the three armed forces will have two prerequisites: money and technology. Both these challenges can be effectively met if the government embarks on the 100 per cent FDI in defence route, to begin with.

But, as stated before, this alone won't be enough. Any prospective foreign investor would bring in his money into India only if he is hundred per cent assured that his investment will be worth it.

For this, the Modi government will have to drastically change the archaic rules and create a business-friendly environment. The argument that India has a strong and a stable government won't be enough insurance may be valid in context of the Modi government but it won't lead to foreign investors loosening their purse strings.

The Modi government will have to think big and act fast. Even after allowing 100 per cent FDI in defence, the government will have to persuade foreign investors to come and invest in India.

It is high time that the Modi government came up with not one but several Special Economic Zones (SEZ) exclusively for defence. The foreign investors will have to be wooed with liberal laws and business-friendly conditions like liberal tax holidays. India does not have a single SEZ exclusively for defence at present.

Indian private companies specialising in defence will have to be encouraged to forge tie-ups with leading foreign companies on a much bigger scale than presently. Only then will PM Modi's "Make in India" campaign will truly produce results.


http://www.firstpost.com/fwire/army-does-not-use-outdated-equipment-parrikar-2008847.html
Army does not use outdated equipment: Parrikar
Outdated military equipment is not utilised by the Indian army and government has a "well established procedure" to replace it, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told parliament Tuesday.

"Outdated equipments are not utilized by soldiers. The government has well established procedures to replace outdated military equipment," Parrikar said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

In reply to another question, the defence minister said: "Replacement of ageing and obsolete arms and equipment is part of modernisation of the armed forces which is a continuous process based on threat perception, operational challenges, technological changes and available resources."

Parrikar said the process is based on a 15 year Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), five year Service Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP) and Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP).

Procurement of required equipment and weapon systems is carried out as per the AAP (2014-16) in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) from various Indian and foreign vendors to keep the armed forces in a state of readiness.

"The expenditure on capital acquisition in respect of orders placed on Indian vendors and foreign vendors during the period 2011-12 to 2013-14 was 53.9 percent and 46.1 percent respectively," he said.


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