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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

From Today's Papers - 12 Apr 2016












http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/india-us-set-for-next-level-defence-ties/221194.html
India, US set for next-level defence ties
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his US counterpart Ashton Carter are all set to announce the next stage of Indo-US military ties even as India will be keen to project that its “not to close” to the US and balance out ties with China, its neighbour and Russia, its oldest military ally.

Parrikar and Carter are to meet tomorrow for formal round of talks in New Delhi and are scheduled to address a joint press conference.

Carter arrived in Goa on April 10 and has had meetings with Parrikar. Today the visiting US dignitary was welcomed on board India’s sea-borne aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, docked at Karwar Naval base located South of Goa.

In his remarks in Goa, Carter said it was critically important for the US and India to expand their military relationship, including greater cooperation on high-tech projects and ship and fighter jet development.

In the run-up to the Parrikar-Carter meeting, Indian officials had told their US counterparts that they would want Washington to stand guarantee for transfer of technology (ToT) if any US-based companies are to bid under the _‘Make in India’ plan for the fighter jet programme.

US companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin have submitted proposals for ‘Make in India’ fighter jets. New Delhi is looking for additional fighter jets once it signs the Rafale deal with Dassualt Aviation of France.

Before embarking on his trip Carter, while speaking in New York had assured New Delhi that technology transfer issues in case of co-production were “surmountable”.

Tomorrow Parrikar-Carter will discuss the further movement in Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). Parrikar is keen that DTTI talks be held with the possibility to ensure that centre’s flagship initiative ‘Make in India’ is made an integral part of it.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/at-commanders-meet-iaf-looks-to-enhance-ops/221195.html
At commanders’ meet, IAF looks to enhance ops
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 11
The Indian Air Force (IAF), which is currently battling its lowest strength of fighter jets in a decade, today started its bi-annual “commanders conference” to enhance its operational capability.

The five-day conference will be discussing various means and methods to improve operational capability, including the induction of new fighter jets. Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh inaugurated the conference this morning.

IAF Chief Marshal Arup Raha updated the minister on operational status of the IAF, security measures in vogue and the progress on infrastructure development, including upgrade of airfields.

The IAF showed how it has increased the aircraft serviceability and the corresponding increase in flying tasks of the IAF.

The IAF chief explained the focus areas and the future roadmap. Defence Secretary Mohan Kumar and Secretary (Defence Production) AK Gupta were also present at the meeting.

During this conference, senior leadership of the IAF would deliberate on issues pertaining to air operations, maintenance, human resources and administration. Aspects of support provided by the Defence public sector undertakings through indigenised production of prime equipment would also be discussed in a daylong session on April 13.

The IAF will be discussing the light combat aircraft, the Tejas, with high-level delegation from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.


http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/apr/11/india-military-veterans-help-fight-womens-rights
Can India’s military veterans join the fight for women’s rights?
The brutal gang rape and killing of Jyoti Singh in Dehli in 2012 propelled India into international headlines and sparked nationwide protests. The barbarity of the act outraged millions. But four years on, numerous shocking incidents of rapes in India continue to horrify the world. Delhi has earned the dishonourable title of “rape capital”, and there is still no let-up: the number of rapes committed in the city is increasing, according to national crime records.

In two separate recent incidents, girls as young as two and five years old were raped in Delhi. And in another horrifying episode in Uttar Pradesh in March 2016 a mother was gang raped in front of her three-year-old, and her two-week-old infant killed.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, an average of 92 women are raped in India every day. A survey compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation lists the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Somalia as the five worst states for women’s rights in descending order.

    As an Indian I say this with deep sadness, that our society is marked by patriarchy and misogyny

Inequality and violence against women and girls starts before birth. India’s minister of women and child welfare, Maneka Gandhi, says: “Every day around 2,000 girls are killed in the womb or immediately after birth in India.” The violence and inequality continues with 40% of the world’s child marriages happening in India.

As an Indian I say this with deep sadness, that our society is marked by patriarchy, misogyny and treatment of its women and girls as second-class citizens. Successive national and state governments, the judiciary and civil society have tried but are unable to safeguard women and girls.

The entire police force in India is in dire need of radical reform, and has to be sensitised to the rights of women and children. It needs far more women in its rank and file as well as equality in senior leadership positions. But how can we help to fill the massive vacuum left by our police?
Pedal power: how bicycles are changing what it means to be a girl in India
Rachita Vora in Mumbai
Read more

I believe that we should look to the veterans of India’s armed services. With 1.3 million active duty personnel and 2.1 million in reserve, it is one of the largest militaries in the world. These women and men are educated, disciplined, skilled and respect a chain of command.

The Indian armed forces are not immune to incidents of sexual violence. There have been reports of sexual violence against women from the security forces in Kashmir, for example. However, when Indian army chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, met the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, last week in New York, he emphasised the army’s zero tolerance for any form of abuse or exploitation against women and girls.

As an ex-serviceman myself, I know that respect for women is an ingrained part of the military code of conduct and is a value instilled when one joins the military academy and reinforced at the unit. A deep sense of regimental loyalty and ethos, as well as the image of the unit, acts as an incentive for good behaviour, combined with the terrifying prospect of strict disciplinary measures for misbehaviour.

    The tragedy of sexual and gender-based violence in India needs to be viewed as a national security issue

There are innumerable problems today in India that ex-service personnel could tackle. The tragedy of sexual and gender-based violence in India has reached epidemic proportions and needs to be viewed as a national security issue. Therefore, I propose that where ex-military strengths are needed the most are in protecting the rights and safety of all girls and women.

Can military veterans unite for a cause and see it through to the end? Former military personnel recently ran the One Rank, One Pension campaign, demanding a significant change to the current pension scheme for ex-service men and women. By coming together, they successfully raised the consciousness of the entire nation to their plight and also put pressure on policymakers and politicians to remedy the situation.

The Indian armed forces instil powerful leadership skills in their ranks that don’t vanish on retirement, combined with a deep sense of honour and discipline. Moreover, veterans who have retired often still feel a sense of purpose and service that can be channelled into upholding the rights of women and girls. This then serves a dual purpose – that of furthering human rights and equality in India and that of providing ex-service personnel a sense of community and usefulness.
My career’s biggest lesson: no women, no development
Patricia T. Morris
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“India’s military veterans are a great asset and can be helpful in assisting law enforcement agencies at a community level in raising awareness on the rights, inclusion, dignity and respect for women,” says retired Lt Gen Amarjeet Singh Kalkat. “These ex-service women and men can be found in every village of India and can serve as role models in their communities.”

They can add value by becoming champions by speaking up at the community level for the rights of women and girls, supporting and assisting local authorities in a massive advocacy campaign throughout India on gender equality and human rights. This can be easily taken to scale, from house to house and community to community.

They could also become part of an information network that keeps an eye on episodes of violence against women and girls and ensures law enforcement is kept appraised. And as people highly regarded in their respective communities, they can play an important role in preventing sexual and gender-based violence. Every ex-service person gets a pension. Financial remuneration is not an issue. It is to tap into their deep sense of “service before self”.

All evidence points to the fact that India’s future is dependent on its youth and its women. Empowering, educating and employing India’s women is critical for India’s economic progress. The ex-service personnel are a formidable “soft power” that can uphold the human rights of India’s women and girls and ensure their future, thus ensuring our own.


http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/User-Trial-of-Akash-Missile-System-By-Indian-Army-Successful/2016/04/12/article3375372.ece
User Trial of Akash Missile System By Indian Army Successful


BALASORE: Indian army on Monday successfully conducted a user trial of medium range supersonic Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) Akash from a defence base off the Odisha coast. The missile was fired targeting a pilot-less target aircraft (PTA).

The test was conducted days after the army declared the weapon system a ‘dud’ and expressed its reluctance to accept the missile. After getting two regiments of Akash missiles with six firing batteries worth over Rs 15,000 crore, the army had claimed that the missile could not provide desired results on field.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which had developed the missile indigenously, seemed to be undeterred over the sudden change of mind of the army which is now planning to procure Israeli systems. According to the DRDO officials at Hyderabad, Akash missile is the only missile of its kind now available in the world.

Besides providing the army and air force for the battle field support, DRDO is all set to export the weapon system to the countries which have shown interest on it. “It is a useful weapon for both the army and air force and first successful model of the ‘Make-in-India’ initiative. The armed forces are scheduled to carry out a couple of more tests in next few days,” they informed.

The missile was launched from the launching complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea at about 12.35 pm. The test was aimed at gauging the flight consistency and effectiveness of the missile besides ascertaining the serviceability of the system in various conditions.

A defence official from New Delhi said the mission boosted the air defence shield of the country and re-validated the weapon’s operational efficiency. The missile was aimed at intercepting the aerial vehicle 'Banshee' at a definite altitude over the Bay of Bengal. The entire flight of Akash was captured by electro-optical tracking systems, he informed.

Akash is a medium-range surface-to-air missile and it can reach targets 30 km away. The 5.8-metre-long sleek missile has a launch weight of 720 kg and can carry a warhead of 50 kg. The missile is crucial to India's air defence programme as it will be used to counter ballistic and cruise missiles, enemy aircrafts and air-to-surface missiles.

The Akash missile system which is similar to the American Patriot air-to-surface missile system can track 64 targets simultaneously and the inbuilt radar can provide command to the launcher to fire 12 missiles at a time. The development of Akash missile had taken place under the country’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) three decades ago. Akash was formally inducted in the Army on May 5 and in the Air Force on July 10 last year.



http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/
Mind the dangerous gap
US wants a stronger Indian military to deter, not provoke, conflict with China
- See more at:

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/#sthash.Q6rgylh9.dpuf
If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so. The US has other interests as well, such as maintaining its military edge and ensuring that its “crown jewel” defence technology doesn’t find its way into the hands of adversaries like Russia. But for the foreseeable future, the US has interest in a stronger Indian military. This was not always true. Indeed, this was not the case about 20 years ago. The most significant difference between now and then is the growing capability and assertiveness of the Chinese military. Now, it is very important to be very clear about the very big difference between an interest in a stronger Indian military and an interest in an Indian military that is in conflict with China. America has no interest in the latter. In public, Americans often skirt around the topic of China in discussions of the US-Indian defence partnership. There are a number of good reasons for this, including the fact that this partnership is important for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with China. But one reason that mention of China is avoided is because of concern that public discussion will feed into a false perception that the US is trying to push India into a conflict with China. Unfortunately, ambiguity seems to have fed the Indian public’s anxiety.

So it is important to highlight the widespread consensus among thought leaders in Washington DC that no one seeks a military conflict with China. And we don’t want to see India in a conflict either. In fact, this is precisely the reason why a stronger Indian military is in America’s interest. Relative military weakness is provocative. The trajectory of China’s growing military capabilities threatens to widen the gap between China’s military capabilities and those of India. This is the kind of gap that increases the chance of conflict. And the US and India have an undeniable common interest in trying to prevent it from growing further.

Unfortunately, this common interest is often overshadowed and, instead, there is focus on the “foundational defence agreements”. As someone who worked on these issues while serving in the US government, it’s difficult to understand why this is the case because as Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently noted in this newspaper, these are “prosaic agreements” (‘The American hug’, April 2). They are basic arrangements that facilitate rather than compel military-to-military cooperation and certainly do not “prematurely foreclose” India’s options. They are a far cry from anything approaching a treaty or alliance, which suggests they are widely misunderstood or being criticised for political purposes. I hope that they are signed because they do help facilitate military cooperation, but they will not lead to some kind of military alliance.

Yet, Mehta raises an important topic in his article that warrants a substantive response. He suggests that signing these agreements portends “momentous shifts” in Indian foreign policy and positions India as a “frontline state” on a faultline between the US and China. With all due respect to Mehta, whose scholarship is quite impressive, this is an anachronistic assessment. Today, India is a global power. Even if the US sought to push India into becoming a “frontline state”, America does not and will not have the power to do so. It bears repeating that conflict between India and China isn’t in America’s interest, but even if it was, neither the “foundational agreements” nor anything else can compel India to take actions vis-a-vis China that aren’t in India’s national interest.

Indians should be more confident in the independence of their own government. The Indian government is fully capable of bolstering its defence relationship with the US while maintaining its complete sovereignty. India is a strong country, and the great irony in this debate is that it’s in America’s interest to see it become even stronger.

If the United States could flip a switch and make the Indian military more powerful than it is today, it would have every interest in doing so. The US has other interests as well, such as maintaining its military edge and ensuring that its “crown jewel” defence technology doesn’t find its way into the hands of adversaries like Russia. But for the foreseeable future, the US has interest in a stronger Indian military. This was not always true. Indeed, this was not the case about 20 years ago. The most significant difference between now and then is the growing capability and assertiveness of the Chinese military. Now, it is very important to be very clear about the very big difference between an interest in a stronger Indian military and an interest in an Indian military that is in conflict with China. America has no interest in the latter. In public, Americans often skirt around the topic of China in discussions of the US-Indian defence partnership. There are a number of good reasons for this, including the fact that this partnership is important for a range of reasons that have nothing to do with China. But one reason that mention of China is avoided is because of concern that public discussion will feed into a false perception that the US is trying to push India into a conflict with China. Unfortunately, ambiguity seems to have fed the Indian public’s anxiety.

So it is important to highlight the widespread consensus among thought leaders in Washington DC that no one seeks a military conflict with China. And we don’t want to see India in a conflict either. In fact, this is precisely the reason why a stronger Indian military is in America’s interest. Relative military weakness is provocative. The trajectory of China’s growing military capabilities threatens to widen the gap between China’s military capabilities and those of India. This is the kind of gap that increases the chance of conflict. And the US and India have an undeniable common interest in trying to prevent it from growing further.

Unfortunately, this common interest is often overshadowed and, instead, there is focus on the “foundational defence agreements”. As someone who worked on these issues while serving in the US government, it’s difficult to understand why this is the case because as Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently noted in this newspaper, these are “prosaic agreements” (‘The American hug’, April 2). They are basic arrangements that facilitate rather than compel military-to-military cooperation and certainly do not “prematurely foreclose” India’s options. They are a far cry from anything approaching a treaty or alliance, which suggests they are widely misunderstood or being criticised for political purposes. I hope that they are signed because they do help facilitate military cooperation, but they will not lead to some kind of military alliance.

Yet, Mehta raises an important topic in his article that warrants a substantive response. He suggests that signing these agreements portends “momentous shifts” in Indian foreign policy and positions India as a “frontline state” on a faultline between the US and China. With all due respect to Mehta, whose scholarship is quite impressive, this is an anachronistic assessment. Today, India is a global power. Even if the US sought to push India into becoming a “frontline state”, America does not and will not have the power to do so. It bears repeating that conflict between India and China isn’t in America’s interest, but even if it was, neither the “foundational agreements” nor anything else can compel India to take actions vis-a-vis China that aren’t in India’s national interest.

Indians should be more confident in the independence of their own government. The Indian government is fully capable of bolstering its defence relationship with the US while maintaining its complete sovereignty. India is a strong country, and the great irony in this debate is that it’s in America’s interest to see it become even stronger.
- See more at:


http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/us-wants-a-stronger-indian-military-to-deter-not-provoke-conflict-with-china-mind-the-dangerous-gap/#sthash.Q6rgylh9.dpuf

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