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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

From Today's Papers - 14 Jan 2015

Parrikar warns Pak of ‘proactive steps’
Defence Minister says tough stance against proxy war will show results in 6 months
Ajay Banerjee & _Shahira Naim

Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Lucknow, January 13
In a strong message to Pakistan, India on Tuesday said it will take “proactive steps” to deal with “Islamabad-backed proxy war” in Jammu & Kashmir.

"On proxy war, the government is very clear about what is happening. We have taken a stand and though I will not like to tell you what is the exact action we are will be able to see the difference in six months in actual figures," Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters in Lucknow. "One difference is already visible... this year the number of terrorists neutralised is about almost 65%-70 % more than last year," he said.

Parrikar’s strong remarks came on a day when Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag slammed Pakistan for “supporting proxy war” in J-K. "Pakistan is supporting a proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir despite suffering casualties within their country," Suhag said while addressing a press conference in New Delhi.

"Recent strikes by terrorists reflect their desperation. It also indicates that the (terrorist) infrastructure or camps across the border are intact," said the Army Chief. Assessing the security scenario, Suhag said: "Our threats and challenges have been growing because of the active borders”.

Earlier, Parrikar made it clear that for any dialogue to take place, Pakistan should first stop ceasefire violation and intrusion of terrorists.

“The stand taken by the Ministry of External Affairs is clear. If any dialogue has to be initiated with Pakistan, they should first stop ceasefire violation and intrusion of terrorists,” said the Defence Minister. He said, "If it does not stop, then dialogue alone will not bring a solution.

That should be very clear and intention expressed should be reflected in performance and delivery on the ground."
The Army Chief said the troops and commanders on the ground have been given a free hand. “Commanders have a free hand to operate and retaliate in manner in which they think is appropriate,” he said.
Talking about the rise in ceasefire violations, Suhag said the action has slowly moved to the International Border and not the LoC.
"That is probably because of our counter infiltration grid which is stronger on the LoC," he said, adding that measures like 'obstacle systems' are making it difficult for the terrorists to infiltrate.
In Pak, Kerry says target terror groups posing threat to India
Afzal Khan in Islamabad

John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, on Tuesday said Pakistan must fight militant groups that threaten Afghan, Indian and US interests.

He said all militant groups should be targeted to bring security to the region.

"Terror groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other groups continue to pose a threat to Pakistan, to its neighbours, and to the United States," Kerry told a joint news conference in Islamabad with Pakistan PM’s adviser on national security and foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. “And all of us have a responsibility to ensure that these groups do not gain a foothold but rather are pushed back into the recesses of (Pakistan´s) memory. ... Make no mistake. The task is a difficult one and it is not done,” said Kerry. Aziz said the United States, being an influential member of the international community, could prevail upon India to work with Pakistan towards regional peace and economic prosperity.
“The cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks by India, followed by the recent incidents of unprovoked and indiscriminate firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and working boundary are a source of serious concern to Pakistan,” Aziz said.
Kerry said the United States was committed to deepening its security and intelligence cooperation with Pakistan to step up its offensive against militants.
Kerry said Washington, which has spent billions of dollars on military aid to Pakistan to help it fight insurgents, would provide an additional $250 million to provide food and shelter to internally displaced persons as a result of the operation.
He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif deserved a lot of credit for his leadership in reaching out to his neighbours to develop peace and understanding. “I can't emphasise enough that it is profoundly in the interest of Pakistan and India to move their relationship forward,” he added.
DRDO chief told to go before his contract ends
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
India’s top missile scientist Avinash Chander — associated with the AGNI-V project — and head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation has been removed from his post, a government notification said on Tuesday.

The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the termination of Chander’s contract with effect from January 31 even as no successor has been appointed. Chander, who was Secretary, Defence Research and Development-cum-Director General, DRDO and scientific adviser to the Defence Minister, had retired on November 30 last year on attaining the age of 64.

On November 28, the government had issued a letter saying Avinash Chander would continue beyond his retirement date (November 30). His appointment was with same terms and conditions as he would be entitled to Secretary (DRD) before the date of retirement. The contract was to end on May 31, 2016.

PM Modi had last month said the 'laid back' attitude in the DRDO won’t be tolerated.
Demarcate LAC to check stand-offs: Army Chief
Stresses policy of ‘constructive engagement’ with China, ramping up infrastructure in the Himalayas
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
Explaining a multi-pronged approach on handling the growing military threat from China, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag today listed demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the first step to ensure peace while pursuing a policy of “constructive engagement” with the northern neighbour and stressed on building infrastructure in the Himalayas.
The General was addressing a press conference ahead of Army Day (January 15) where he said: “Unless the LAC gets demarcated the bigger issue of boundary cannot be resolved. It will definitely help. Once done, we will not have issues of transgressions and face off (between troops on either side)”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in September last year had said no real progress and lasting friendship was possible without speedy settlement of the boundary issue. Modi had called for defining the 3,448-km LAC to ensure peace, with its demarcation on ground to follow.
The LAC, a kind of de-facto border, runs all along the Himalyan ridgeline on an east-west axis. Since there is no demarcation of LAC on ground, the difference in perception on either side is anything between two and 20 km at various points, hence the dispute.
Troops on either side follow the 2005 protocol. As per the protocol, soldiers on either side have to show a banner to the other side asking to withdraw. Showing of banner is a standard-operating procedure and is called the ‘banner drill.’ It is done when troops of the two sides come face-to-face due to differences on the alignment of the LAC or any other reason.
General Suhag said: “Today the basic problem in certain areas is that of variation... the perception that LAC varies and because of the perception of LAC varying...Those are the areas which are disputed, which are sensitive. The moment demarcation takes place, all these problems will be resolved”.
General Suhag said there was a need to raise the country’s capabilities and infrastructure on the Northern Front to meet the “large capability gap”. Asked if the upcoming Mountain Strike Corps, was enough or more was needed, General Suhag said, “There is a constant review of threat perception and if required we will assess”. The existing Corps was being raised as per scheduled time-lines and would significantly enhance India’s capabilities.  “As far as other borders are concerned, we are following the policy of constructive engagement (where) China is concerned,” the Army Chief said.
Talking about the infrastructure development, especially along the Northern and North-Eastern borders (with China),
he said it “remains a priority to meet the large capability gap”. The road building project on 73 roads in the Himlayas is running years behind schedule and the Ministry of Defence has just approved four strategic railway lines in the mountains.
Fortify defence framework to combat threats
Kanwal Sibal
To be able to deal with threats, we have to first identify them. Historically, the threat to us has been from the west. Today, Pakistan has become the embodiment of that threat. We had no historical threat from the north, but now China embodies it. The eastern part of the country remains disturbed, with local insurgencies there having some external connections even now.
Southwards, seaborne threats are rising. The 1993 Mumbai attack and the subsequent 26/11 attack were staged from the sea, opening a new area of vulnerability. As our Home Minister has  pointed out, while our major ports are well secured, there are over 200 minor ports and 1,500 landing points which still appear vulnerable.
Further south, with the Chinese presence growing in the Indian Ocean area, we have to increasingly contend with a new threat to our security. India is, therefore, uniquely challenged as the threats are from all directions. India's territorial integrity is threatened. Two countries claim Indian territory: Pakistan and China. No other example exists of unsettled borders involving a country of India's size in an environment of conflict and competition.
Both Pakistan and China collaborate with each other against India, presenting us with a two-front situation. Both countries do not accept the territorial status quo, which alone could be the basis of eventual compromises. But Pakistan wants a part of Kashmir and China, at the minimum, wants Tawang. China has neutralised us strategically in South Asia by transferring nuclear and missile technologies to Pakistan.  Consequently, despite acquiring nuclear capability, India has not been able to deter sufficiently territorial and other pressures from China and Pakistan.
Under cover of its nuclear capability, Pakistan uses the instrument of terror against us. As is the case with its nuclear capability that Pakistan is constantly augmenting without any serious countervailing action from the West despite its nonproliferation phobias, the Western powers have been remarkably tolerant of Pakistan's terrorist affiliations too. This is a problem for us.
The argument that putting pressure on an ailing state like Pakistan will push it towards failure, raising the danger of its nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of extremists, is unconvincing when the US and EU are willing to impose punishing sanctions on a major nuclear power like Russia and seek its economic collapse.
India has not found an adequate answer to the terrorist menace from Pakistan as the option of serious punitive action carries great risks.  In our neighbourhood, the Taliban remains a disruptive force and ideology. The future of Afghanistan is uncertain, with the planned withdrawal of US/NATO forces as well as the pursuit of Pakistan's strategic ambitions there.
The rise of ISIL potentially adds to the menace of religious extremism that India faces. The question is whether this ideology will creep ever closer to India. We do not know how many Indians have joined ISIL. It is difficult to assess how many in India are vulnerable to this ideology. We cannot overlook the connection between this threat and extremist Muslim groups in India, which points to the need to properly manage our internal communal situation.
China is undermining our security in the south through its thrust in the Indian Ocean directed at Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Its submarines docked at Colombo very recently, signifying an increasing Chinese naval presence near our shores. China has repackaged its so-called String-of-Pearls strategy as the maritime silk route project. In the north, the economic belts it is promoting are intended to link other countries in the region economically to China, assisting the flow of Chinese goods.
China will thus become the centre to which the periphery is tied. It has vastly improved its military infrastructure in Tibet. We are feeling the pressure of this through its periodic intrusions into our territory. While additional border mechanisms to maintain peace and tranquility on the border are being agreed to by both sides, ironically, the military dispositions of both in the border regions are being simultaneously expanded. China wants to keep us under pressure on the border and not lose this leverage by resolving the border issue. It does not even want to clarify the Line of Actual Control so that it can have a free hand to engage in power play with us as needed. It is undermining our influence in our neighbouring countries, whether Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and even Bhutan. To counter us even more effectively in our own region, it is now seeking membership of SAARC.

Defence manufacturing
We have neglected our defences and failed to develop indigenous defence manufacturing capacities. We cannot be really secure if we remain import-dependent, or be a big power without some autonomy in defence manufacturing. We need to accelerate our strategic programmes to better ensure our security, as the military gap between India and China is growing. We need to consider whether to partially revise our nuclear doctrine in view of Pakistan's decision to introduce tactical nuclear weapons in the region.
Our borders are porous, especially with Nepal and Bangladesh. Both countries have been used by Pakistani agencies against our security. We need to control these borders better, but how to do it without destroying the “special relationship” with Nepal? How to integrate Bangladesh increasingly with our economy and simultaneously tighten border movement?
Cyber security has become a major concern. How do we protect our critical infrastructure against cyber attacks? Chinese companies have entered our telecom and power sectors in a big way. We are now inviting them into our railway sector. How do we manage the cyber threat even as we seek more Chinese involvement in the economy?
The social media has become the instrument of many kinds of threats to our security, especially terrorism and incitement of social conflict from outside our borders. How we monitor the social media without infringing on privacy and freedom of expression is a challenge.
China has acquired formidable economic power that is now translating itself into political influence and military strength. We should, however, not engage in an arms race with China. Our focus should be to build our defence capacities as rapidly as possible. The ‘Make-in-India’ policy, increasing the ceiling of FDI in the defence sector and opening it to the private sector are steps in the right direction.
We have to develop our sea-based deterrent rapidly. We have to preserve our strategic autonomy but enhance politico-military cooperation with the US, Japan, Australia and Vietnam to the extent that serves our interests and does not disturb the overall balance of our policies. The platforms for engaging China should be preserved but other platforms and relationships that hedge against China's aggressive behaviour should not be spurned. India has not been able to take advantage of the situation to build our defence capabilities against China when the latter has remained under a western arms embargo, but arms from those sources have been available to us. Russia had earlier become more reticent about arms sales to China, but is now releasing advanced arms to it, including the S-400 air defence system. Russia is also preparing to sell attack helicopters to Pakistan in a bid to pressure us to obtain more defence contracts.
Despite concerns about overdependence on Russia, it is strategically important for us to maintain a stable defence relationship with Russia, as it remains the source of defence equipment and technologies not easily available elsewhere. Our strategic autonomy, and hence our security, requires strong ties with Russia, which is currently under huge pressure from the West, reminiscent of Cold War years.
The assumption that we have no option but to have a dialogue with Pakistan, and that without good relations with our neighbours we cannot act on the world stage credibly has to be revised. Our neighbours need us more than we need them. Because our biggest problem with Pakistan is terrorism, we should insist on a link between dialogue and terrorism. Our threats from Pakistan will not be diminished by making concessions to it. We should not hold any discussion with Pakistan on Siachen. Opening up of LoC links in Kashmir and encouraging the idea of a united Kashmir is dangerous to our security as we do not fully control the ground situation inside Kashmir, especially its orientation away from Sufi Islam.
We should raise the issue of Chinese presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir more forcefully and not miss any occasion to protest at China-Pakistan agreements pertaining to that territory, just as China does with regard to Arunachal Pradesh.  We have to be tougher with Sri Lanka on the issue of China’s naval vessels docking in its ports, and about its advocacy of China, even within SAARC. We should also be more forthright with Nepal and the Maldives on this count.

Ties with Gulf, East

We should maintain a balance between our relations with the Gulf states and Iran, even though we have greater financial, trade, manpower and energy interests with the former. The Gulf states are the source of destabilising extremist ideologies that threaten us. The Al-Qaida has announced a new outfit for targeting South Asia. The Look-East policy strengthens our security in various ways by giving us an enhanced role in developing an Asian security architecture and countering Chinese north-south connectivities with the east-west connectivities that we are promoting. This policy has now been upgraded to ‘Act East’, which essentially means better implementation of our initiatives and policies.
Building a stronger relationship with Japan is important as it contributes to our security. A strong relationship with Israel serves our security interests, but it should be balanced with attention to the Arab world to maintain a degree of balance. The relationship with the US should be strengthened as much as possible but without any illusion that the US will get involved on our side in India-Pakistan or India-China differences. Good relations with the US, however, open diplomatic space for us in all directions. These relations should not be threat-linked, but interest-linked.
MoD cuts budget for new weapons
Diverts funds for daily expenses
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
Promised modernisation of weapon systems and equipment notwithstanding, the Ministry of Defence has ordered that Rs 13,000 crore in the capital budget — meant for weapons and new equipment — be shifted to the revenue side to meet _day-to-day expenses.

This is the second time in as many years that the MoD has done this. Last year in January, Rs 7,870 crore was moved from the capital account to its revenue account to take _care of its additional requirements. The budget for _acquisitions comes under the capital account heads of _the Army, Navy and the _Indian Air Force.

The diversion of funds for revenue expenditure means running the military at its current strength is proving to be more expensive with each passing year. The purchase of new guns, warships and fighter jets is pending. Each of the three services will have between Rs 4,000 crore and Rs 4,500 crore shaved off their capital outlays, officials confirmed.

The capital outlay in the maiden budget of the Narendra Modi government — which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented in July last year when he was also Defence Minister — was Rs 94,587 crore in the total defence allocation of Rs 2,29,000 crore. About 80% of the capital outlays go into committed liabilities – which are by way of contracts already executed for purchases. One of the reasons to re-allocate funds is a government decision to implement the demand of military veterans for ‘one-rank one-pension’ (OROP).

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who took over from Jaitley, has said the outflow for OROP is between Rs 6,000 crore and Rs 8,000 crore. But the controller-general of defence accounts has put it at Rs 14,200 crore. Last year, the decision was forced after financial constraint due to increased spending on account of fuel price hikes.

In the Defence Budget 2013-14, Rs 2,03,672 crore was allocated of which _Rs 1,16,931 crore was meant for revenue expenditure and _Rs 86,740 crore for the capital expenditure.
Army's artillery wing displays firepower, array of guns
DEVLALI (Maharashtra): The artillery wing of Indian Army on Tuesday demonstrated its prowess and deadly firepower at an exercise, where a wide range of sophisticated weapons were displayed.

The exercise, "sarvatra prahar", was conducted this morning in the ranges of School of Artillery here in Nashik district in north Maharashtra.

A plethora of equipment was employed, showcasing the might of Regiment of Artillery and awesome destructive power.

An entire range of guns, from indigenous 120mm mortars, 105mm Indian field gun, 105mm light field gun, 130mm medium gun to the sophisticated 155mm FH 77B Bofors and 122mm multi-barrel rocket launcher - BM-21 Grad were demonstrated before a gathering.

The gathering consisted of Army officers, cadets of National Defence Academy (NDA), reporters, top police officials and prominent citizens.

The gunners demonstrated accuracy, consistency and overwhelming power of artillery by depicting simultaneous engagement of targets by a number of guns, a defence release said here.

An array of new generation rocket and missile systems like Pinaka, Smerch and a model of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile were displayed.

Surveillance and target acquisition equipment like the unmanned aerial vehicles, surveillance sensors and weapon locating radars were also showcased.

These devices, when used in conjunction with the guns, are capable of augmenting the impact of fire power, thereby acting as force multipliers, the release added.

A special draw was the Cheetah and Chetak helicopters flown by Army pilots who displayed flying skills as they airlifted a 120mm mortar gun as part of the exercise for delivering firepower resources in inaccessible areas.
A homage to Indian Army
The Indian Army observes January 15 as Army Day every year to commemorate that day in 1949 when Lt. Gen. (later Field Marshal) K.M. Cariappa assumed office as the first Indian Commander in Chief (C-in-C) of the Army of Independent India, succeeding Gen. Sir Roy Bucher, the last British officer to hold that position. The designation of the Chief of Army Staff was not in vogue at the time — it would come later, on April 1, 1955, after passage of the Commanders-in-Chiefs (Change in Designation) Act, 1955, by the Parliament of India.

The Indian Army had just been carved up between India and Pakistan, which was rapidly proving to be a hostile neighbour. Old loyalties, national and regimental, had to be transformed overnight, and capital assets and finances divided as equitably as possible between yesterday’s friends who had become today’s implacable foes. Any other Army in the world would have broken under the strain. However, the Indian Army shouldered its burden and soldiered stoically on.

It saw the country safely through the First Kashmir War that suddenly burst upon it in September 1947, while almost simultaneously dealing with fairly sizeable military operations to ensure Hyderabad and Junagarh remain within the geographical dimensions of the country’s borders. A “hot peace” Line of Control had sprung up after the hostilities in Jammu and Kashmir (including the Ladakh region bordering Tibet) that had to be garrisoned and guarded permanently. The Sino-India war of 1962 added a third factor to an already tense equation. The Indian Army tackled this as well, but in a manner less than satisfactory, which did not lend creditably to the highest political and military leadership of the time, leaving the entire nation agonising over the outcome.

Army Day 2015 comes amidst high tensions all around, with gunrunners and explosive traffickers in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Gujarat, frequent high intensity shootouts with heavy calibre weapons between Pakistan Rangers and India’s Border Security Force along the Jammu-West Pakistan border, infiltration in the high altitude regions of Tithwal and terrorist attacks in Bengaluru.  The border conflict with China in 1962 set the stage for the strategic realignment of the Army. It would have to be present on two fronts facing outwards — a high-altitude Himalayan front against China, and a desert and plains front against Pakistan. Together with this, it has developed an additional “half front” of internal security and counterinsurgency, primarily in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast, which has also solidified into a permanent commitment for the Army. It can be safely assumed that this “two and a half front” deployment will continue as a permanent commitment for the Indian Army into the foreseeable future as well.

Army Day 2015 is, thus, an occasion for the Indian Army and its political leadership to reflect on the shape of things to come. The 21st century has brought new challenges for the Indian Army even as the old ones continue. New forms of warfare have appeared, ranging from the ever-present threat of nuclear adventurism by Pakistan to electronised information warfare, ultra high-technology cyber warfare to sponsored insurgency and terrorism. There is a crisis of human resources as well. Women officers are now entering the Army in increasing numbers in the officer ranks and their management requires attitudinal adjustments in an organisation traditionally visualised as male dominated. Budget resources have been a perennial problem and will continue to be so. Defence equipment are always high-cost acquisitions so “Make in India” in defence equipment is an option that will have to be exercised and enforced soon.

It would be trite to say that the Army has been carrying the nation on its shoulders ever since Independence, but that indeed is a simple statement of fact. The Army has much to be thankful for in its soldiers and officers, a God-given asset the nation and the Army are blessed with.
Russia seeks stronger defence ties with India

Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India as the chief guest at the Republic Day function, Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu will arrive in New Delhi on January 21 to meet his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar.

During his two-day visit, the Russian defence minister will be meeting Parrikar under a mechanism that was recently created for top-level Russia-India meetings. The two ministers will conduct the 15th meeting of the Russian-Indian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation where they will discuss the fifth generation fighter aircraft, multi-transport aircraft, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The two leaders will also talk about the offers, made during Russian President Vladmir Putin’s visit to India last month, on producing the ‘Kamov’ military helicopters in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. Also, India is possibly looking for additional Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft.

While the two ministers will also review the preliminary design for the export version of the fifth generation fighter jet – the PAK-FA, the two are not expected to move forward on having a $11-billion research and development contract for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).

The two countries have set up a joint venture, headquartered in Bangalore to design and develop the medium-payload multi-role transport aircraft. Its founders are Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), UAC and Rosoboronexport.

Ahead of the Russian defence minister’s this meeting, there was a visit by a Russian team to India when they conveyed to the Indian Air Force (IAF) that the basic prototype of the plane was already flying and the Indian version had just a few variations, hence a full-fledged R&D contract was a waste of time and resources.

In September 2013, the two countries were able to resolve the problematic issues on the draft design of the fifth generation fighter, having also agreed to build 200 aircraft worth about $30 billion. President of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Mikhail Pogosyan said in November that FGFA project is among top priority projects for Russia. “The projects of a fifth generation fighter jet and a military transport plane reflect our strategy on creating present-day high-tech products in cooperation with our partners.”

The two countries are the largest partners in the field of military-technical cooperation (MTC) – with over 70% of weapons and military equipment used by the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy made in Russia or the former Soviet Union. The Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) estimates the volume of weapons and military equipment supplied to India in 2013 at $4.78 billion.

Defence ministry to get technical advisor soon
IANS  |  Lucknow
January 13, 2015 Last Updated at 19:26 IST

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday said that a technical advisor will be appointed in the defence ministry in the next two months.

The advisor would oversee defence deals. Parrikar, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, said that middlemen will now have no place in such deals.

The former Goa chief minister, who was here to attend an event of the Central Command of the Indian Army, also said that as an experiment, recruitment in the army would soon be made online so that large crowds and chances of any fraud were minimized.

On disputes with neighbouring China, the defence minister said some had been sorted out with the Chinese and talks were on to address others.

He also announced that a recruitment rally (Bharti Rally) would be organised in Varanasi soon and added that a defence unit will be established in Kanpur to create jobs.

With regard to border tensions with Pakistan, Parrikar said the union government was aware about the proxy war being waged by that country and assured of a visible change in India's counter-strategy within the next six months.

Talking to reporters at the party headquarters in the state capital, he said that the Indian defence forces were doing their job well.

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