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Friday, 8 April 2016

From Today's Papers - 08 Apr 2016

Peace process is suspended: Pak
India questions envoy’s statement
Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 7
Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit today said the peace process with India stood “suspended”, and there were no talks scheduled between the two countries as of now.

   The statement is being seen as a setback for bilateral ties as the word “suspended” had so far not been used by either nation to define the delay in holding a dialogue.

Interacting with the media here, Basit said, “There is no meeting scheduled as of now. I think at present the peace process is suspended.”

Basit was also non-committal on the visit by an NIA team to Pakistan: “It is not about reciprocity, but cooperation between the two countries.”

He went on to state that dialogue was not a favour by one country to another, and that if India was not ready for talks, Pakistan could always wait.

New Delhi was quick to hit back on both the issues. Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup cited today’s response of a Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson, who said: “I will again state that negotiations are the best means to resolve the issues. I have read the statement of the Indian Foreign Secretary you are referring to and in that also, there was an indication that the talks would take place.”

India, as such, has questioned Basit’s statement on “suspension of talks”.

Swarup said on March 26, before the visit of the Pakistan JIT, the Indian High Commission had formally conveyed to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry that “the terms of reference had been broadly agreed upon with the proviso that these would be on the basis of reciprocity and followed in accordance with extant legal provisions”.

Basit also sought to push the Jammu and Kashmir dispute back in the forefront. “It is the Jammu and Kashmir dispute that is the root cause of mutual distrust and other bilateral issues. Therefore, its fair and just resolution, as per the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is imperative. Attempts to put it on the back burner will be counterproductive,” he said.

The Pakistan envoy also raised the recent arrest of alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav by Pakistan security agencies, and said that it once again “irrefutably corroborates what Pakistan has been saying all along — we all are well aware of those who seem to create unrest and destabilise the country”.

On India’s request for consular access to Yadav, Basit said, “The request is under consideration, but can’t say when they would be given consular access.”

He also said that Pakistan “subscribed to China’s viewpoint on  Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Masood Azhar”.

India tried getting the JuD chief designated as a terrorist at the United Nations recently but the Indian move was stalled by the Chinese over a “technical hold”. China had subsequently said that Azhar was not a terrorist.
How psychology can help end war, even in Syria
London, April 7
People's self-esteem, their need to gain approval or avoid humiliation are psychological drivers that help fuel conflicts, and must be factored into attempts to bring about peace, says an expert.

Like most individuals, leaders of countries or armed groups may go to great lengths to protect their self-esteem, and this can make them deaf to reason, said Paul Randolph, a mediation expert at Regent's University London and author of a new book on the issue.

He said fear of humiliation has played a significant part in prolonging Syria's conflict, which has entered its sixth year.  A second round of peace talks to end the war that has killed up to 4,70,000 people is due to resume on Monday in Geneva.

Negotiators are expected to tackle the issue of a political transition in Syria, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s future.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is working with Russia to persuade Assad to step down, said on Tuesday there was no way to end the Syrian war with Assad still at the helm.

"It's a very, very complex situation there. But why leaders of nations will not step down is the same driver that prevents somebody from saying sorry... it is a shame for them, and shame is painful," Randolph told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Scientists have found that an attack on a person's self-esteem activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain, he said. "So when you're humiliated, your brain interprets it as if you're putting your finger in the fire... our brain doesn't like it and it won't allow us to do it," he said. That, combined with the desire to make a mark on the world - another expression of self-esteem - makes it hard for leaders to retreat.

What is needed in Syria is a "golden bridge", a concept from ancient China, which advises any wise conquering general to build a golden bridge on which his defeated enemy can retreat, Randolph added.

Mediation works
"All disputes are really very simple in the sense that it's about somebody wanting something and somebody else not being prepared to give it," said Randolph.

Each side usually has both rational and psychological elements to them. So psychology has a huge part to play in understanding and resolving disputes, and getting the parties to shift their positions from a degree of intransigence to being collaborative, he added.

Crucial to the process is for disputing parties to feel heard, which boosts their self-esteem.

"One of the extraordinary things about mediation is that if the parties feel heard, their anger subsides," Randolph said. That is when logic and reason can begin, and through negotiation the needs of both sides can be addressed. The aim is to end up with no winner or loser, but with both sides gaining, he said. — Reuters
Indian Army general pays tribute at Arlington National Cemetery
Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, commanding general, U.S. Army Military District of Washington and U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn hosted Gen. Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, Indian Army, during an Army Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., April 7, 2016.

This wreath-laying ceremony is important for building strong relationships with Indian Army counterparts, said Becker.

“We build trust and confidence with each other the more we do the military to military training exercises, visits to each other’s countries,” said Becker. “In this case, paying tribute to our Soldiers and all of our service members at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

The U.S. supports India's critical role as a leader in maintaining regional stability, according the U.S. State Department. Security ties are reflected in growing bilateral defense and counterterrorism cooperation. The United States and India also are developing their defense partnership through military sales and joint research, co-production and co-development efforts.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, Singh visited the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial. U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley hosted an Army Full Honor Arrival Ceremony at Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.

Ashok Leyland sets its sights high in defence
It wants to grow 10-fold in five years through strategic alliances

 Last month, Ashok Leyland Defence Systems, a division of Hinduja group's flagship, Ashok Leyland, roped in US-based defence contractor Lockheed Martin to develop combat vehicles for the Indian Army.

The technology sourcing agreement with Lockheed is the latest in a string of partnership deals from Ashok Leyland to step up its defence play and to reach a turnover of Rs 5,000 core over the next five years.

This, by any stretch of imagination, is an ambitious target, given that its current revenue is a little over Rs 600 core. However, it may not be entirely unachievable.

Since its inception in 1998, Ashok Leyland's defence arm has relied heavily on strategic alliances to win big contracts. Over the past decade, it has signed three deals with overseas players to boost its technological know-how. It is now looking to do the same with Lockheed.

Nitin Seth, president (light commercial vehicle & defence), Ashok Leyland, says the right technological support is critical to the success of a company trying to make a mark in defence manufacturing, given the huge initial costs involved in developing products.

"It is not that we cannot develop our own technology, but considering the time it takes and the money that is required (Rs 400-Rs 500 crore), it is better to source (platforms) which are in service," says Seth.

The latest deal, for instance, will allow Ashok Leyland to use Lockheed's platforms for its light-specialist vehicles (LSV) and light-armoured multipurpose (LAM) vehicles. In addition to giving it a foothold in the $1-billion armoured vehicle market in India, the tie-up will significantly boost its overall capabilities in providing mobility solutions for the army.

Defence mobility is one area Ashok Leyland is betting on heavily. Already, it is the largest supplier of medium- and-heavy vehicles to the army. Its warhorse, the Stallion, was used to carry troops to the battlefield during the Kargil war, and from 400 Stallions in 1998, the army today has over 70,000 Stallions, accounting for almost 80 per cent of its fleet of big vehicles.

Backed by Lockheed's technological support, Ashok Leyland is looking to bid for LSV and LAM vehicle programmes of the Indian Army. It believes the tie up will significantly shrink the time taken to develop the vehicle and also help it keep the costs low, as it won't have to start manufacturing from scratch.

Ashok Leyland sets its sights high in defence
A shot in the arm
If Ashok Leyland becomes a supplier of LSV and LAM vehicles, its revenue could straightaway get a boost of Rs 5,000 crore. Then, there is also the scope for recurring demand as the army doesn't change its models frequently. This means the business from these programmes could be four or five times bigger than what is believed today.

Ashok Leyland, however, is not banking on armoured vehicles alone to reach the Rs 5,000 crore target. It has also joined hands with Sweden's defence and security company Saab and is looking for an alliance with Bharat Forge to produce vehicles to carry guns and missiles. The idea, the company says, is to have a wide range of products under one roof to meet all requirements of the army.

So far this strategy has proved fruitful. Out of the 14 tenders to supply medium and heavy trucks floated over the past year, Ashok Leyland claims to be in the final stages (L1 stage) of at least 12 of these. However, it has not disclosed the deal value yet.

This means Ashok Leyland is proving to be cost-competitive in India. One way, it has achieved this is by localising production as much as possible. "In order to have a viable business in defence, one should have at least over 80 per cent localisation but for certain products we have achieved almost 100 per cent localisation," says Seth.

Its strengths are clearly reflected in its order book. It recently bagged a Rs 800-crore tender to supply 450 artillery tractors and Stallions and 825 ambulances to the army.

Yet, its future is not without challenges. Other major players, including Tata Advanced Systems, Mahindra Defence Systems and Bharat Forge, are also keen on the LSV and LAM programmes, increasing competition in the space.

This is the first time the Indian army has called for bids for these vehicles (1,300 LSV and 700 LAMs). Equipped with sophisticated technology, including thermal imaging and mounted machine guns, these vehicles are highly effective in combing and patrolling operations, be it within the city or along the border.

While the vehicle is popular worldwide, especially with the armies in the US, the UK and Iraq, it cannot be imported because the specifications for speed, power and weight differ based on local conditions.

Seth says while Ashok Leyland has a head-start with the platform provided by Lockheed, it will still have to make heavy investments in redesigning the product to acclimatise it to Indian conditions. Currently, the prototype of the vehicle, along with that of two other companies, is in the testing stage with the army. If Ashok Leyland wins the commercial bid, it will be in a position to start manufacturing by 2019.

However, because it takes a long time for defence contracts to materialise and the outcome even after the gestation period is unpredictable, the company is also looking at exports to safeguard its interests.
Delineating our defence posture
 Barack Obama’s comments on the nuclear threat in the Indian subcontinent may have rankled New Delhi, but the US President is right in hinting that India’s undefined defence posture compels its adversaries to prepare for the worst

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup has raised an important issue concerning India’s defence posture. Commenting on US President Barack Obama’s recent call for India and Pakistan to reduce their nuclear arsenal, he said that the US lacked an understanding of India’s defence posture. “India has a no-first use policy and has never initiated military action against any neighbour”, he said.

For one, his remarks are not entirely true; for another, it is unclear if he understood what ‘defence posture’ implies. What defence posture a nation should adopt against adversaries is defined by the political leadership in close consultation with the military leadership, based upon what political objectives are sought to be met by war. To say that defence forces are meant to safeguard territorial integrity is dangerous, since it leaves room for interpretations on the defence posture. India — when it was most needed — has not articulated its defence posture, since the May 1998 nuclear tests.

Consequent to the Pakistan-supported terror attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, India initiated Operation Parakram, a 10-month military stand-off with Pakistan. Throughout the crisis, India’s political and military leadership were out of sync on the defence posture. For the Army, which was ordered to mobilise its entire 12 lakh strength, the defence posture implied war. For the AB Vajpayee Government, the defence posture was unclear — it intended to go to war but developed cold feet. To save face, India’s National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra sought assistance from his American counterpart Condoleezza Rice to avert an imminent war. However, the Parliament of India was later told that the defence posture for Operation Parakram was coercive diplomacy, which the Government claimed had succeeded. If it had, Pakistan, not India, would have blinked first.

After the crisis, the Indian Army chief, General S Padmanabhan, publicly said, “Whenever there is a situation calling for the Army’s help, the latter’s role should be clearly defined to avoid confusion.” If there was confusion about defence posture within the Indian Army, think what the Pakistan Army would have done: It braced itself for the worst. India’s declaratory nuclear no-first-use policy became meaningless for Pakistan and the world during this crisis.

After Operation Parakram, while the Indian political leadership maintained stoic silence on the defence posture, the Indian Army sent confusing signals. On the one hand, it fenced the military-held Line of Control suggesting a strategic defence posture. On the other, it announced the Cold Start doctrine on the border implying an offensive posture.

Catering to the worst case scenario, the Pakistan Army acquired tactical nuclear weapons and declared a ‘full spectrum deterrence’ defence posture to plug operational gaps of the Cold Start. It also explained that while strategic nukes cater to the strategic and operational levels of war, the tactical level or the immediate battlefields had become vulnerable to India’s Cold Start. To fill this gap, the TNWs had been inducted into the inventory.

While the world was grappling with the fall-out of Cold Start and TNWs given the history of wars between India and Pakistan, the Indian military added more confusion to its defence posture. Declaring the need to protect borders from an aggressive China and a belligerent Pakistan, the Indian Army, in 2009, announced the need to prepare and fight a two-front war. It declared an offensive defence posture against China by raising the 17 Mountain Strike Corps. A naïve media fed stories of how the Indian Army would fight a war, if needed, in Tibet on Chinese soil.

Not to be left behind, the Indian Air Force, claiming to be the only Service providing dissuasive deterrence, raised its combat strength need from 39.5 squadrons to 42 squadrons for the two-front war scenario. Never mind that the Government has not told the Army and the IAF what it desires to achieve in war on two-fronts; the Army and the IAF do not have a combined assessment of the two-front threat; the two Services do not have a common doctrine to combat the two-front scenario; and most importantly, the two have not officially accepted that fighting a two-front war will be a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

Putting it squarely, the Army and IAF represent two domains of war. Even if the IAF were to get 42 combat squadrons there is little it can do. China today has mind-boggling capabilities regarding unmanned combat aircraft and ballistic and cruise missiles, and in the other four domains of war, namely, space, electromagnetic, cyber, and sea. What India needs is a defence posture against all six domains of war against China.

Pakistan, once again catering for the worst case scenario, sought interoperability with the Chinese military in 2009, which today far exceeds that of the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces at the height of the Cold War. Interoperability is the ability of two Armed Forces to operate together in combat environment with ease as one whole. This helps strengthen deterrence, manage crisis, shape battlefields and win wars. The invigorated Pakistan military which will be supported by the Peoples’ Liberation Army in all conventional war domains (land, sea, air, space, electromagnetic and cyber), without showing its hand, is the new military threat facing India. India’s defence posture of a two-front war is no longer relevant.

Given the strengthened defence posture acquired by Pakistan, shouldn’t India re-assess the need to build capabilities for a two-front threat? Instead of questioning the Services on their bizarre defence posture, the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence recently lambasted the Ministry of Defence for failing to provide war withal. This is putting the cart before the horse. Why must the nation spend finances on defence without a debate on defence posture? This is what all major powers routinely do.

The problem is that the Government has convinced itself and sounded the defence Services that it will not initiate war. Generals of the Army’s Northern Command have been telling the media that there will be no war. What they have not catered for is the worst case scenario. What if Pakistan, frustrated by India’s determination not to discuss the Kashmir resolution, decides to go to war?

More than war preparedness, what will let India down is its undecided defence posture during peacetime. Since war has its own dynamics such situations lead to disasters irrespective of the peacetime intentions of a nation. And this is what President Obama was referring to by calling on India and Pakistan to reduce their nuclear arsenals. Since that depends on the conventional arsenal of the two, the start point could be to discuss issues under the memorandum of understanding of the 1999 Lahore Declaration.

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