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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 23 Sep 2015

Ahead of PM visit to US, Delhi clears Rs 16,500-cr copter deal
Warbird Apache, heavy-lift Chinook on the buy list
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 22
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today cleared the deal to acquire two types of specialised helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF)—one for undertaking attacks and the other for lifting heavy loads.

At present, the IAF uses Russian/Soviet-produced helicopters for both these roles.

The CCS okayed the decision to buy 15 of the 47F Chinook helicopters that will lift heavy loads and 22 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters. It is estimated to cost $2.5 billion (around Rs 16,500 crore). Both types of helicopters, which were used extensively in Afghanistan, are produced by Boeing, the Seattle-based US aerospace giant. There is an option clause of buying seven more Chinooks and 11 Apaches.

This is the first time since early 1960’s that India has opted for a “purely lethal use” platform produced in the US. Purchases over the past one decade from the US have largely been restricted to transport planes such as C-17 Globemaster-III and C-130-J Super Hercules, besides surveillance planes. Apache will be the first to cross the five-decade-old hurdle put up while India was part of the Soviet Union bloc during the Cold War (1946 to 1991).

In the past, “dual use” US-built platforms have been inducted, but never was a “only-a-war-waging-platform” inducted. This included the INS Jalashwa, a landing platform dock—a ship that can land troops close to the land, but has limited attack ability. It came with a clause that India could not use it in the event of a war. The other being the Boeing P8-I, primarily surveillance planes used by the Navy, that can also carry missiles to hit underwater submarines.

The 22 Apache Longbow gunships, armed with Hellfire and Stinger missiles, are expected to be attached with the “Strike Corps” of the Army based at Ambala, Mathura and Bhopal. The attack copters move in tandem with own tank columns and rain armoury onto enemy tanks. The Chinooks will be used in the mountains and to ferry guns and troops to inaccessible locations in the Himalayas. The newly set up Mountain Strike Corps headquartered at Panagarh will be its prime user.
Who won the '65 war?
Pakistan failed in its political objective, and so can’t claim victory
IT is rare to see two adversaries celebrating the same war as their respective victory! On September 6, 2015, Pakistan celebrated the 50th anniversary of Youm-e-Difa, or Pakistan Defence Day, with a 21-gun salute and a victory parade to commemorate its successful defence of Lahore against the Indian Army. The Youm-e-Difa, however, distorts its history to the extent that this war was initiated by Pakistan, not India. Also, it glosses over Pakistan’s failure to annex J&K, and its most successful operation of the war, wherein Pakistan army almost reached Akhnoor to severe India’s Jammu-Akhnoor-Naushehra-Rajauri-Poonch road.

India, too, is commemorating the 50th anniversary of this war: a war that many Indians thought had been forgotten and assessed as a stalemate by many. The fact that the Indian Government has woken up this year to celebrate the victory, for which 2,862 soldiers laid down their lives, is a reflection of its lack of strategic culture, apathy towards the profession of soldiering and the partisan politics that dominates our country.

Geopolitically, 1965 was the most appropriate time (and the last opportunity) for Pakistan to annex J&K by force. Politically, India was shaken after the demise of its first Prime Minister Nehru in May 1964. In comparison, Pakistan was politically stable with a higher percentage of economic growth. It was a strategic ally of the US and had been receiving the latest weapons and equipment, like Patton tanks, F-86 Sabre and F-104 Starfighter combat aircraft and the sidewinder air-to-air missile — the only usable air-to-air missile in that conflict. By ceding Shaqsgam Valley to China in 1963, it had established a long-term strategic partnership with China. Its only problem was of a false sense of optimism and strategic superiority; a common factor in all wars between India and Pakistan.

India was yet to recover from the ignominy of its horrible military defeat in the China-India war of 1962 and in the midst of making up strength of the armed forces which had been mindlessly reduced in the years before. The emphasis in the military facelift was on mountain warfare.

The war plan to ‘finish the unfinished agenda of J&K’ was approved by Pakistan military dictator Field Marshal Ayub Khan on May 13, 1965. Pakistan launched Operation Gibraltar by infiltration of nearly 10,000 armed soldiers and mujahideen into J&K on the night of 5/6 August to cause a revolt against India. When this failed and India succeeded in capturing strategic heights in Kargil and Hajipir Pass, Pakistan launched Operation Grand Slam on September 1 to capture Akhnoor with its strategic bridge over the Chenab. This led to India’s counteroffensives in the Sialkot and Lahore sectors and the decimation of Pakistan’s armoured offensive in Khemkaran and Asal Uttar. Pakistan celebrates defence of Lahore which was never a military objective of the Indian forces.

It was not a short 22-day war, as mentioned by some historians, but one which began with Pakistani infiltration on August 5 and ended on September 22, when both sides agreed to a ceasefire. 

So, who won that war?

In the classic military treatise On War, Carl von Clausewitz states that the “political objective is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purposes”. Pakistan, who initiated the war, failed in its political objective. It lost more territory (lost 1800 sq km of territory and captured 540 sq km), suffered more casualties, lost more tanks and guns and more importantly, faced domestic and international humiliation.

In a recent lecture in Lahore, Pakistan's historian and political economist Akbar Zaidi dispelled the Pakistani victory myth, saying that “there can be no bigger lie as Pakistan had lost terribly”.

With major advances in warfare technologies and their huge impact on operational art and tactics, our interest in the 1965 war should now be more to draw strategic lessons from than operational art and tactics. The first thing that strikes me is the near similarity with which Pakistan took the war initiative, under cover of its non-state actors. They were led by Pakistani regular army officers in 1947-48 and in the 1965 war. In Kargil war, they were replaced by some regular army personnel wearing mujahideen clothing. The mujahideen fa├žade continued, although none had participated in that war. In all these wars, there was distorted and disjointed version of Pakistani capabilities and intentions by our intelligence which enabled Pakistan to achieve strategic surprise. We reacted to adverse circumstances — always a bigger challenge — and yet kept the war scope limited. There was no political objective except to force Pakistan to vacate our territory. Such a strategy violates Sun Tzu’s dictum: “Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.”

What’s the relevance of a formal declaration of war which activates directions contained in the inter-ministerial War Book? And what about the ‘rules of engagement’ which are different for the usual terrorists and those who cross over to wage a 1965 or 1999-type war? Shouldn’t that discretion be left to the Chiefs of Staff Committee?

India’s defence and security report card has, by and large, been more positive than negative. Despite reactive strategic policies, ad hoc defence planning and decision-making, intelligence failures and surprises, the armed forces have maintained the country’s security and territorial integrity better than any other democratic, developing nation. And yet, many a time, we have failed to convert sacrifices and hard-won operational achievements into long-term strategic successes. That is because there is inadequate politico-military dialogue or political guidance in peacetime. Like, approaching the UN when we were doing well in 1947-48 or finishing the J&K issue in 1971, giving up Hajipir Pass was a strategic error in the 1965 war. Unfortunately, despite the important national security roles envisaged and expected of them, the armed forces are not adequately involved in strategic policymaking and planning level.

No two wars are fought in an identical strategic environment. To quote Sun Tzu again: “Just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare, there are no constant conditions.” At the strategic level, one requires a long memory but a longer vision. The next war, if there is one, will be different. The nuclear threshold, cyber capabilities and real-time information, assessments and actions will dictate political and military strategy, operational art and tactics. The uncertainty of peace with Pakistan requires continued vigilance and being ready for the next generation armed conflict.
Top American warships for naval exercise
New Delhi, September 22

Top of the line US warships and a nuclear powered submarine will be in the Bay of Bengal next month for a naval exercise involving the US, India and Japan. The USS Theodore Roosevelt, a 1 lakh tonne sea-borne aircraft carrier with space for 90 fighter jets and helicopters on board, will lead the US fleet.

It is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf and is used by the US to launch attacks on terror group IS-controlled areas. The nuclear powered warship is 332 m long and is one of the most potent warships from US’ Nimitz-class carriers.

Littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth, nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class submarine and guided-missile carrying cruiser USS Normandy will be part of the fleet for the naval exercise — ‘Malabar’.

The Indian Navy will field its stealth frigate INS Shivalik and warships INS Ranvir and INS Betwa, besides a diesel-electric powered submarine and a fleet tanker. The Japanese have so far confirmed the participation of its warship JS Fuyuzuki. — TNS
Nation salutes 1965 war heroes
President on Tuesday felicitated 1965 war veterans as he hosted a high tea at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Among those honoured were: Air Marshal Arjan Singh, a Five-Star General; Rasoonan Bibi, wife of Company Quarter Master Havildar Abdul Hamid, a recipient of Param Vir Chakra; and Zarine Mahir, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel AB Tarapore, a Commandant of Poona Horse, among others. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti.
Mussoorie residents pay tributes to 1965 Pakistan war martyrs
Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, September 22
A local historian and residents of Mussoorie _paid tributes to the martyrs of the 1965 war with Pakistan, which ended on this date, with cease-fire, 50 years ago.

Gopal Bhardwaj, a historian, tread on roller-skates with the National Flag from Garhwal terrace to Library Bazaar on the occasion.

Earlier, residents offered floral tributes at the portrait of the late Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was the then Prime Minister and had given the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ in the wake of the 1965 war.

While speaking on the occasion, Gopal Bhardwaj, Amir Ahmed and others said the day was being celebrated to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with Pakistan.

Bhardwaj said the war with Pakistan came at the time when India was moving gradually on the path of development after the Chinese aggression in 1962. The country was _also facing an acute food shortage and it was Lal Bahadur Shastri, who instilled confidence among the people resulting in the victory in the 1965 war.

He said several former students of various day boarding schools in _Mussoorie had participated in the 1965 war. They include Air Marshal Denzil Keelor, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Wing Commander Trevor Keelor, Vir Chakra, Vayu Sena Medal recipient and student of St George’s College.

He said his brothers _Lt Col KK Bhardwaj (retd) and warrant officer Air Force, Ram Kumar _Bhardwaj (retd) also served in the 1965 war at different locations.
Apache and Chinook in IAF; Modi govt’s biggest defence deals so far - See more at:
The Cabinet Committee on Security today approved the purchase of Boeing’s Apache and Chinook helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) in a deal worth around $2.5 billion. The deal for 22 Apache attack and 15 heavy lift Chinook helicopters with the United States coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US starting tomorrow. It is the single biggest defence contract signed in the first 16 months of the NDA government.

The contract is believed to have an option for follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches and four extra Chinooks. The deal for Apache is in two parts: one Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) contract will be signed with Boeing for the attack helicopter, while another will be a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US government for its weapons, radars and electronic warfare equipment. The Chinook, which was selected after extensive trials in 2012, is being acquired as a DCS deal.
- See more at:
The 22 Apache helicopters will replace IAF’s Mi-35 attack helicopters and will be armed with Hellfire missiles. Indian Army had also demanded 39 Apache helicopters for its aviation corps, which was approved by the UPA government, after army’s bitter and long-running dispute with the IAF for control of attack helicopters. These attack helicopters were to be deployed by the army as part of its three Strike Corps and for the new mountain strike corps being raised for China border. The army’s requirements could be met by signing a follow up deal with Boeing and the US government.

The Chinooks, which will replace the IAF’s ageing Mi-26 fleet, will be used for heli-lifting of heavy military equipment, including special artillery guns and supplies, to inhospitable areas of the North and the North-East.

This deal has been pending since pending since 2013, when cost negotiations had taken place, and Boeing had reportedly warned the defence ministry that it could not hold to those prices beyond September. Boeing had already given 10 price extensions and the last extension for a month was given on the request of the Indian government.

These helicopters are likely to be delivered within five years. The first helicopter is expected to enter the IAF within three years. The usual practice is for the defence ministry to pay 15 per cent of the negotiated value at the time of signing the contract, while the balance payments are made in accordance with the delivery schedule.

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