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Thursday, 10 March 2016

From Today's Papers - 10 Mar 2016

The Indian Ocean challenge
G Parthasarathy
China has resisted every effort of India to enhance its role in eastern neighbourhood
IT is a truism that in any country including India, the coastal population inevitably focuses attention on maritime security, while those far from the sea remain fixated on land borders. India’s security challenges across its land borders with Pakistan and China have only accentuated this trend. Moreover, with its focus on import substitution, rather than export promotion, India’s share in world trade fell significantly in the first four decades after Independence. With its economy collapsing in 1990, India was forced to drastically change its outlook towards domestic, regional and global economic issues. What followed has been the growing integration of India with the global economy, and its emergence as a constructive and increasingly important partner, with a growing market for trade and investment. We have since moved from an economy afflicted by what was once pejoratively described as the “Hindu rate of growth” to becoming a vibrant, emerging economy. 

Foreign trade and investment have inevitably become focal points for accelerated economic growth in India. We have wisely embarked on increasingly integrating our economy, with the fastest growing economies of the world, in East and Southeast Asia. We now have Comprehensive Economic Partnerships with the 10 members of ASEAN, ranging from Myanmar to the Philippines, as also with Japan and South Korea. We are negotiating a free trade agreement with Australia and have endeavoured to undertake similar arrangements with our SAARC partners. Moreover, ASEAN-led forums like the East Asia Summit have led to an Indian strategic role across the Bay of Bengal, which traverses the Indian Ocean and western Pacific, crossing the disputed waters of the South China Sea. Progress on economic integration in South Asia has, however, been slow, primarily because of Pakistani recalcitrance. Significantly, tensions and disputes with China have not adversely affected a blossoming trade and investment relationship between India and China — the world’s two most populous countries.

Despite these developments, India cannot ignore the fact that China has acted as a spoiler in every effort New Delhi has made to enhance its role in its eastern neighbourhood. Beijing vigorously opposed our participation in economic and security forums linked with ASEAN, including the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit. China continues to maintain links across its borders with Myanmar, with some of our northeastern separatist outfits. We are now steadily moving towards a more proactive response to counter these Chinese efforts. Our aim remains to develop viable security architecture across and beyond our eastern shores. Concerns about Chinese military bases and inroads across the Bay of Bengal will continue. But, concerted diplomatic efforts, with partners like the US and Japan have enabled us to strengthen the security of our eastern sea-lanes. China has not succeeded in its efforts to secure a predominant role in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or the Maldives. This will, however, remain a continuing challenge for us.

While India has fashioned policies to safeguard the security of its eastern shores, the same cannot be said for what is transpiring in our western neighbourhood, across the Arabia Sea. It is here that we cannot now overlook the implications of China’s new thrust, at not only establishing a virtually permanent presence in the Indian Ocean, but also by its doing so in collusion with Pakistan. New Delhi should carefully note Chinese moves to outflank us on our western shores, through a network of roads and ports. The Chinese strategic objectives are based on a Silk Road Economic Belt that links China with Central Asia, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, the Persian Gulf States, Russia and the Baltic States. Beijing’s 21st century Maritime Silk Route, in turn, extends from China’s coast to Europe through the Indian Ocean. China is simultaneously building ports across the Indian Ocean, in Asia and Africa. What India cannot afford to ignore is that while the silk road envelops both its eastern and western neighbours, this road links up with the Maritime Silk Road and the Indian Ocean, in the Pakistani Port of Gwadar, located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

Gwadar is perilously close to India’s sea-lanes, linking India to the oil-rich Persian Gulf, from where we get over 70 per cent of our oil supplies. China has now secured virtual control of the port facilities in Gwadar, after pledging $46 billion to Pakistan, to promote its ambitious silk route projects. Over a decade ago, then Pakistan President Musharraf told an audience in Islamabad, just after the visit of then Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, that in the event of a conflict with Pakistan, India would find the Chinese navy positioned in Gwadar. Given its difficulties in obtaining bases in countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, China feels Pakistan is a crucial partner, in its quest to have base facilities, strategically positioned close to the Straits of Hormuz and astride India’s vital sea-lanes to the Persian Gulf, where around seven million Indians live. China has simultaneously commenced an effort to strengthen Pakistan’s navy, with the supply of four  frigates and eight submarines, to reinforce these efforts.

China’s interest in having a military presence astride the Straits of Hormuz arises from the fact that this narrow 2-mile-wide corridor is the route for the transportation of 17 million barrels of oil per day (mbpd), with 15.2 mbpd traversing thereafter through the Straits of Malacca, which includes 80 per cent of Japan’s oil supplies. The entire Indian Ocean Region, extending to the Gulf of Aden, accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s oil production and 57 per cent of the world’s oil trade. Not surprisingly, the US has positioned its powerful 5th Fleet in Bahrain to oversee the security of these vital sea-lanes. The nature and extent of US interest in this region could well change, as the US itself is becoming a net exporter of oil and gas. Moreover, apart from the rivalries of external powers, stability in this region is being adversely affected by Iranian-Saudi rivalries, which have a sectarian dimensions.

Ideally, it would be useful if the major Asian oil importers — India, China, Japan and South Korea — cooperated on developments that threaten the security of vital sea-lanes and energy corridors. But, given existing tensions and suspicions, this may be too much to expect anytime soon.
Trans-border tunnel in Jammu spurs quest for detection tools
India seeks Israel’s knowhow to tackle tunnelling in sensitive zones
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
The discovery of a 30-foot-long and 10-foot-deep tunnel running through the international border (IB) in the RS Pura sector of Jammu district has highlighted the need for a tunnel-detection technology.

India has been finding it difficult to fulfil its plan to equip the new anti-infiltration system with a tunnel-detection technology. It has sought information on the tunnel-detection system from Israel, which claims to have used such technology to guard its borders and prevent cross-border attacks.

“The possibility of more tunnels being found along the IB cannot be ruled out. The BSF discovered the tunnel in the RS Pura sector only after a portion of the tunnel had caved in. But what if there is a tunnel made of concrete? India needs technologies to detect such tunnels,” said a government official.

“The Israelis claim to have seismic technology and ground-penetrating radars. But these tools can only work up to a certain depth. They are useful for Israel which has a shorter border with the West Bank and Gaza strip as compared to our border (IB). It is yet to see how to use the radar technology along the Indian borders,” said a security official.

A 2012 BSF committee, constituted to submit a report on patches along the IB where the water level is low and the soil is conducive to digging tunnels, said there were areas vulnerable to tunnelling in Jammu and Punjab.

The committee report said the radar technology would not be able to detect deep tunnels like the one found in Jammu in 2012 which was 30-foot-deep.

At present, the BSF has been using counter-measures such as driving tractors over areas vulnerable to tunnelling and second-tier deployment along the IB in Jammu. But even these measures cannot pinpoint the exact location of a tunnel.

Besides, the BSF believes persons (from Pakistan) may use underwater and aerial means to infiltrate into the country. “This could be done using machines to move under the surface of a river meandering between India and Pakistan,” said the official.

Anti-infiltration system
The anti-infiltration system with the tunnel-detection technology, which India plans to procure, is called the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management Solution (CIBMS). It integrates sensors, communication, infrastructure, response, and command and control. It will be set up along the IB with Pakistan, including the unfenced gap. The CIBMS system has also been planned to counter infiltration with the use of technologies such as SONAR.
Retired Army General to conduct security audit
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 9
While a multi-agency security audit across J&K was conducted following directions by the Governor NN Vohra on January 15 this year, the BJP-led NDA government has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of former Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Philip Campose for the purpose.

The panel, headed by Lt Gen Campose, shall inter alia suggest measures to strengthen security of various military establishments across the country, including Jammu and Kashmir. The committee is expected to submit its report by March 31 this year.

“Security arrangements in military establishments are dynamic in nature and are periodically reviewed. The observations and recommendations of these reviews are progressively implemented to maintain a robust and strong response mechanism to emerging threats, stated an official document.

On January 15 Governor NN Vohra had reviewed the arrangements for the safety and security of all vital civil and defence establishments and installations in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.

Acting upon the Governor’s directions, state DGP K Rajendra Kumar on January 22 said the multi-agency security audit of all vital civil and defence establishments and installations across Jammu and Kashmir was almost complete.

“Recurring terror attacks since September 2013 from across the International Border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) and more particularly this year’s January-2 attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot and Pakistan’s trans-border tunnel detected on March 3 this year are ample indicators of Pakistan’s mala fide intentions towards India, especially J&K,” said official sources.

The Governor had been speaking to the state Chief Secretary BR Sharma, Police chief K Rajendra Kumar, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda and senior Commanders of security forces urging them to undertake a time-bound review of all existing security arrangements.

While security and intelligence agencies conducted the security audit and later a report was submitted to the Governor, Pakistan’s secret tunnel detected 50 metres inside the Indian territory near AMK Post along the 198-km-long International Border in the RS Pura sector of Jammu district had sent the BSF into a tizzy.

It was third such tunnel found on the border since July 2012 exposing Pakistan’s sinister game plan of trying to push militants into J&K for staging terror attacks.

On July 27, 2012, the BSF had detected a trans-border tunnel dug by Pakistan from the Lumbriyal post in the Shakkergarh area on its side, which had entered 540 metres inside the Indian territory but had caved in due to rains near the Chalyari border outpost in Chachwal village of Samba district.

On August 23, 2014, Pakistan tried to replicate another trans-border tunnel, this time in the Pallanwala sector of Jammu district. It had also caved in due to rains after running 50 metres inside the Indian territory.
#BridgeOverYamuna: Indian Army is a professionally trained fighting force, not the department of public works
Well most Mumbaikars don't know the art of living. We know the art of surviving, the traffic, the pollution and the noise that comes with this city. One could say living here is an art in itself.

So I'm not going to comment on the merits of a World Culture Festival someone wants to have in a reserved forest. This is not something that concerns me. What does concern me and should ideally concern all of us is that the Indian Army's Corps of Engineers being asked to build temporary bridges across the Yamuna for this event.

These bridges will be dismantled after the event is over, so there is no real net infrastructure gain for the public as well. The last time we had to call the Army in to do last minute civilian infrastructure work was during the Commonwealth Games when the Corps of Engineers had to replace foot-over bridges that collapsed prior to the event. But the thing is those went on to become permanent infrastructure elements. The foot-over bridges exist today.

Yes, the Indian Army provides infrastructure support for the Amarnath Yatra and the Kumbh Mela. The former because of its location and the later because of the fact that the Kumbh Mela is something civilian authorities cannot handle on their own. Owing to the fact that it is attended by by over 120 million people, that's more people than the State of Tamil Nadu, actually more people than Maharashtra. It's about 10 percent of the country's population, so it makes sense to deploy the Army there. The Amarnath climb is in one of the most in-hospitable climbs on earth and the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir requires the army to be involved as the yatra occurs in the middle of what can be best described as a war zone.
Calling the Indian Army in to aid and assist a civil power is not something that must be done lightly. Apart form the obvious reasons that it demeans the role of the armed forces in our society to be asked to erect bridges for a World Culture Festival, we need to ask ourselves: Why can't the public works department of the government erect bridges or why it cannot plan in advance to have contractors employed to erect them.

If you look at the website of this 'World Culture Festival' you will see that it enjoys support from the Government of Delhi of Delhi; the Department of Arts Culture and Languages, Government of Delhi; the Public Works Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the Government of India. Which official in these departments is accountable for the failure of their department to plan in advance and have contractors build the bridges?

Surely, they would have known well in advance that bridges would be required. The army only comes in to aid a civil war in exceptional circumstances. This is because the President of India is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and it is not the other way around. To put it simply, the army works for the civilian government and not the other way around. This is what makes us different from Pakistan, India is not a military State. This means that the civil power only use the aid of the Army in absolute emergency situations, like a flood in Kashmir or where the civil power cannot operate without the aid of the Army like in Ambarnath or the Kumbh Mela.

Calling them to build a bridge across the Yamuna for an event sponsored by two state governments and the central government, an event that was planned well in advance is an absolute national disgrace. Irrespective of the event. The army should not be deployed to work where civilian powers can do the job.

M Parrikar MP, the Defence Minister says the Army was called to build the bridges in to ensure security for attendees. But this does not make sense, we don't see the Indian army doing infrastructure at the Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala where 30 to 40 million people visit on average in a year.

The Ministry of Defence needs to answer to Parliament why the Indian Army was deployed, the Ministry of Tourism needs to explain why they needed a platoon bridge in the first place, the Public Works Departments of UP and Delhi need to explain why they could not plan for this event in advance and have contractors put up the bridges.

This government is supposed to be about transparent and accountable governance and it's quite clear there is nothing transparent or accountable in this situation. The Indian army has been deployed in a non-emergency situation. The Defence Minister needs to explain why the Indian army is being used as a public works department.

Also, we need to know who is paying for the deployment of the army? Are we sending the Art of Living foundation a bill for using our armed forces? Minimal accountability means the AOL foundation take responsibility for the costs incurred in deploying the armed forces. The bill for this service should not under any circumstance be borne by the Indian taxpayer.
Kanhaiya Kumar's speech in JNU: `Indian Army rapes women in Kashmir` - Watch
New Delhi: After being charged with sedition, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Kanhaiya Kumar has stoked another controversy by saying that the Indian soldiers rape women in Kashmir.

Addressing students in JNU on the occasion of International Women's Day, Kumar said he would raise his voice against human rights violation and AFSPA [Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act] in Kashmir.

Kanhaiya was arrested by the Delhi Police on February 12 on charge of sedition for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at a cultural event organised on the campus on February 9 to commemorate the third anniversary of the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Reliance Defence gets 12 industrial licences
The licensing committee of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has approved 12 industrial licences to Reliance Defence, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure, for manufacturing of wide range of defence equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces and overseas market.

The licensing committee of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has approved 12 industrial licences to Reliance Defence, a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure, for manufacturing of wide range of defence equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces and overseas market.

Approval has been given to licences to the Strategic Business Units (SBU) under Reliance Defence Limited to address defence programmes in India and Overseas. “The foray of Reliance into these areas will give added traction to the government’s Make in India and Skill India initiatives,” says a company press release.

In the Aerospace segment, with licences to manufacture military aircraft and helicopters, the company will be looking at addressing the amphibious aircraft requirement of the Indian Navy pegged at R9,000 crore, light utility helicopters, an opportunity valued at more than R20,000 crore. In addition, there is a requirement of 160-200 medium to heavy helicopter, valued at R50,000 crore.

The transport and the combat aircraft requirements for the Indian Air Force in the next 10 years will be in excess of R60,000 crore.

In Land Systems, Reliance has got licences for manufacturing of Missiles & All Terrain Combat Vehicles. The key programmes in these segment includes short, medium and long range Missile Systems with program value in excess of R50,000 crore. The Indian Army will spend an additional R50,000 crore over next 10 to 15 years on different combat vehicles.

For the Naval Systems, Reliance is focusing on key systems as is evident from the licences for Air Independent Propulsion Technology and hull penetrators and connectors along with motor shafts and propulsion systems. Reliance Naval Systems is already working on C4I, Underwater systems, Weapons, Radars and Electro Optic Systems. Indian Navy has ambitious plans of inducting new vessels under different programs amounting to R300,000 cr. Typically, systems contribute 50 to 60% of the cost in case of Naval Warships.

In case of Unmanned Aerial Systems, the company is targeting different requirement from the Indian Navy, Army and the Air Force. Combined value of these programmes over next 10 years is expected to exceed R30,000 crore.

For the export market, Reliance Strategic Electronics Division (SED) plans to target the global market of R50,000 crore to manufacture night vision devices and surveillance devices.

There is a large market for combat vehicles in West Asia, Africa and South America. Reliance is aiming at developing an Infantry Combat Vehicle which will not only address the domestic requirement but can also address the global requirements estimated at R350,000 crore.

Reliance Defence & Engineering Limited, shipyard in Pipavav (Gujarat), a recent acquisition with controlling stake, have been down selected by the Russian government for the upcoming programme for four frigates valued at more than R30,000 crore.

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