Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Saturday, 21 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 21 May 2016

Pak court says try Lakhvi for abetting 26/11
Lahore, May 20
Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and six others accused in the 2008 Mumbai attack case will be individually charged with abetment to murder of 166 people who died in the carnage, a Pakistan anti-terrorism court ruled today.

A senior official said the court did not allow cross-examination of the suspects. The prosecution had filed an application in the anti-terrorism court, Islamabad, two months ago, requesting it to make an amendment to the charges against the suspects of abetment to murder of each individual in the carnage.

The trial court had in March reserved the verdict. As many as 166 people, including six Americans, were killed and more than 300 injured in the attack in November 2008 by 10 Pakistan terrorists. — PTI
Israel defence chief quits
Warns of ‘extremist’ rise under PM Netanyahu
Jerusalem, May 20
Israel's defence minister resigned on Friday, saying the nation was being taken over by ‘extremist and dangerous elements’ after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved to replace him with a far-right politician in an effort to strengthen his coalition.

Political sources say Netanyahu has offered long-time rival Avigdor Lieberman the defence portfolio. The Defence Ministry also runs civil affairs in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians struggling for statehood live in friction with Jewish settlers.

“To my great regret, I have recently found myself in difficult disputes over matters of principle and professionalism with the prime minister, a number of cabinet members and some lawmakers,” outgoing Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said, reading, grim-faced, from a statement at his Tel Aviv office.

“The State of Israel is patient and tolerant toward the weak among it and minorities ... But to my great regret extremist and dangerous elements have overrun Israel as well as the Likud party, shaking up our home and threatening harm to those in it,” he said, hinting he might quit the ruling party.

Netanyahu rebuffed Yaalon’s criticism. “The reshuffle in portfolios did not result from a crisis in faith between us. It resulted from the need to expand the government so as to bring stability to the State of Israel given the great challenges it faces,” he said in a video statement.

Netanyahu, who doubles as foreign minister, added that he had offered the top diplomatic post to Yaalon but was refused.

Yaalon's departure could put a new dent in domestic and Western confidence in the Netanyahu government. Lieberman, whose appointment has not yet been confirmed , is inexperienced militarily and famed for his past hawkish talk against Palestinians, Israel's Arab minority and Egypt. — Reuters
Why Defence Ministry Is Considering A Cut In Standing Military
At 1.5 million strong, the Indian military is the third largest military in the world. But now, it could go in for "right sizing" of "force structure" or in simple terms a drastic cut in manpower. An 11 member committee led by Lieutenant General DB Shekatkar (retired) has been constituted for this.
Sources told NDTV that the committee - which will submit its report by August - has been tasked to look into areas of "overlap" and convergence within the three forces - Indian Army, Navy and Air Force - allowing for a reduction of manpower. 

The committee has been also asked to identify areas to "rationalize manpower", examine possible areas of multi-tasking by troops. Finally, the committee will also suggest ways to "optimize" the combat potential by induction of more technology as against more boots on the ground.

The exercise, in part, has been necessitated by a burgeoning revenue, pension and salaries bill. This year the pension bill is a staggering Rs. 82,332 crore, about Rs. 12,000 crore more from the last financial year. The salary and pension and the revenue expenditure put together is more than the money available to buy new weapons systems this year. And, the rising trend in revenue expenditure is only likely to increase in the coming years.

"If my memory serves me right in 1982, the pension bill was about 300 crore, in 1992 it went up to 12,000 crore and last year (2015-16) the same pension bill stood at about 60,000 crore," Amit Cowshish, a former but one of the most respected Defence Accounts Officer told NDTV.

"Every year there is a huge gap in amount asked for and amount allocated.  I don't think it is possible to sustain the growth (in allocation) which is expected by MoD," he said.

One of the casualties of this fund crunch is the Mountain Stike Corps - aimed countering any aggression from China. About 80,000 more men are to be added and it is likely to cost over Rs. 60,000 crore.  "At this rate you can forget the Cyber Command, the Space Command and the main problem with the Mountain Strike Corps is paucity of funds" Mr Cowshish added.
China gears up while India dithers
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, will now be known as commander-in-chief of the military's joint operations command centre. The title, bestowed on a fatigues-clad Xi by the State media towards the end of April, is largely a symbolic reaffirmation of his existing authority over the People's Liberation Army. Xi is attempting to consolidate his control over China's institutions and the title is primarily to reinforce the image of Xi as the man in charge. While previous Chinese presidents had delegated operational decision-making to the PLA, Xi wants to have operational powers as well.

On his visit to the joint battle command centre of China's Central Military Commission, Xi urged officers to build a command system that was "capable of winning wars." According to Xinhua, the State news agency, he said, "The current situation requires battle command to be highly strategic, coordinated, timely, professional and accurate." He also said that "All must be done with the ultimate goal of improving battle command capacities and measured by the standards of being able to fight and win wars."

This move is part of Xi's massive reorganization of the PLA, transforming it from a collection of distinct regional units that operated with a degree of autonomy to a more streamlined, top-down organization. The Chinese leader is also actively purging the military's officer corps, arresting dozens on charges of corruption and firing others for incompetence, while cutting some 300,000 troops from the army's bloated ranks.

This unprecedented reorganization of the PLA is a rolling process that will continue over the next few years, with 2020 set as the target date for all the changes to be in place. This is the most sweeping and fundamental reorganization of the PLA since the 1950s, when Russia helped Beijing create a post-civil-war military largely modelled on the Soviet system. The current reorganization is likely to strengthen the hold of the Communist Party of China over the military and is aimed at enhancing the professionalism of the force. There still remain many unanswered questions about the future trajectory of the new Chinese reform program, including what it means for the top-heavy leadership structure, and what role the reserves and the country's civilian militias will play in national defence and in projecting Chinese power abroad. But what remains certain is that the Chinese military of the near-future will be very different from the Chinese military of the recent past. And this is, predictably, causing consternation in the region and beyond.

While China has taken the issue of military reform by the horns, India continues to be lackadaisical about the defence structure. Appropriate institutional frameworks that enable a nation to effectively leverage its capabilities - diplomatic, military and economic - in the service of its strategic interests still do not exist in India. Though many in the government have lamented at the paucity of long-term strategic thinking in India, nothing substantive has been done by successive administrations to stimulate such thinking.

The National Security Council still does not work as it ideally should. The headquarters of the three services need to be effectively integrated with the ministry of defence. The post of chief of defence staff is the need of the hour for single-point military advice to the government. The fact that successive Indian governments have failed to produce a national security strategy is both a consequence of institutional decay as well as a cause of the inability of the armed forces to plan their force structures and acquisitions adequately to meet future challenges.

Yet, the Indian politico-bureaucratic establishment is not the only guilty party here as the Indian armed forces also have a lot to answer for. Their top leadership has shied away from making tough choices about reducing manpower strength; about adjusting the inter-service budgetary balance; and about restructuring the nation's professional military education system. No military anywhere in the world gets all the resources from its government that it deems adequate but an effective military organization should be able to optimize the use of whatever is at its disposal.

Resources alone, however, will not make the Indian armed forces the envy of its adversaries. It is the policy direction set by the military leadership and the quality of training imparted to its manpower that will make the difference. The debate on the wide-ranging changes that India's defence set-up needs should have been initiated long back by the armed forces themselves.

The questions that need to be debated and answered include: does India have a 21st-century military in terms of doctrine and force structure? Have the doctrines and force structures evolved in line with the equipment that the nation is spending its resources on? Do India's command and control processes reflect the changing strategic and operational requirements? Does the Indian military have the capacity to initiate military actions on very short notice and actually conduct military operations that result in something other than a stalemate, something that India might have wanted to do during Operation Parakram in 2001-02 but could not? Have the Indian armed forces got the balance between capital and labour right?

The armed forces will have to find a way to strike a balance between growing manpower shortage and the easing of budgetary constraints. The services have no option but to modernize their human resources policy - recruitment, retention, promotions, exit et al that will make a huge difference to the satisfaction levels of the rank and file.

It is disappointing to see the service headquarters continuing to resist greater integration. Inter-services rivalry also continues to be as vicious as in the past. The government, meanwhile, can always point to the malaise within the armed forces as an excuse for not undertaking any meaningful defence reform on its own. India, for example, finds itself in a peculiar position of having a strategic forces command but no CDS, partly because of the differences among the three services.The debate has got stuck on the issue of the CDS whereas the nation needs to be thinking seriously about integrated theatre commands, allowing the three services to share their resources and enabling a reduction of manpower at various levels. Today's military challenges cannot be tackled without a real integration up to the command level.
Eye on India, China raises Tibet military command rank to expand its combat role
The move to raise the Tibet Military Command's authority level would put it directly under the command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) ground forces.
China has raised the rank and status of its western Tibet Military Command to widen its scope for missions and combat preparedness, in a move analysts in Beijing said was aimed in part at fortifying the border with India.

The move to raise the Tibet Military Command's authority level would put it directly under the command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) ground forces, the Party-run Global Times reported on Friday, and allow it "to shoulder more combat assignments".

For possible conflict with India

A military expert in Beijing told the newspaper that the command "bears great responsibility to prepare for possible conflicts between China and India", but currently faced difficulties "to secure all the military resources they need".

The move would raise its authority, including the designation of troops, but also "expand their function and mission", the deputy director of the Political Work Department of the Tibet Military Command, Zhao Zhong, was quoted as saying. This would also boost their combat readiness, a military expert told the Global Times.

China announced sweeping military reforms in January and February, aimed at creating a more nimble fighting force and unified military command.

Following the reform, provincial military commands were placed under the control of a newly set up National Defence Mobilization Department under the Central Military Commission, which is headed by President Xi Jinping.

The Tibet Military Command, however, will be directly under under the PLA Ground Force, headed by General Li Zuocheng, who sits on the CMC.

Brought under the PLA

"The Tibet Military Command's political rank will be elevated to one level higher than its counterpart provincial-level military commands, and will come under the leadership of the PLA Army," the newspaper quoted a report in the China Youth Daily as saying.

This suggested that "the command may undertake some kind of military combat mission in the future," the Global Times quoted an unnamed source as saying.
"The promotion shows China is paying great attention to the Tibet Military Command, which will significantly improve the command's ability to manage and control the region's military resources, as well as provide better preparation for combat," Beijing-based military expert Song Zhongping told the paper.

Song was quoted as saying that "the Tibet Military Command bears great responsibility to prepare for possible conflicts between China and India, and currently it is difficult to secure all the military resources they need".

Border disputes

The newspaper noted that "border disputes between China and India have not been completely resolved", and in April when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar visited Beijing, his counterpart had said China "reacted positively toward setting up a military hotline with India" which was agreed during the visit.

Song, the military expert, said the Tibet Military Command required "specialist mountain skills and long-range capabilities, which need the deployment of special military resources".

"The promotion of the command's authority level shows the amount of attention China places on the defence of its southwestern borders. The higher the authority level is, the more military resources the command can mobilise," he said.

The Xinjiang Military Command may also be elevated in the future, the report said. Both commands are under the newly created Western Theater Command, the largest of five newly reorganised military regions of the PLA. Before the reorganisation, the Xinjiang command was part of the military region responsible for the western sector of the border with India and the disputed Aksai Chin region, while the Tibet command fell under the military region responsible for the eastern sector of the border.
Second Indian Army team scales Mt. Everest
Another Indian Army team scaled Mt. Everest on Friday, a day after the first team reached the summit, army officials said.

Army chief General Dalbir Singh commended the spirit of adventure, physical and mental toughness and skill levels of the army mountaineers who scaled the world's highest peak, which towers 8,848 metres above sea level.

The team of seven that climbed Mt. Everest on Friday was led by Major Mirza Zahid Baig.

On Thursday, a six-member team led by Lieutenant Colonel Ranveer Jamwal summitted the peak.

The army climbers were among the initial lot of mountaineers to successfully climb Mt. Everest after a gap of two years as the peak was closed due to deadly snow avalanches two years ago and the devastation caused by last year's earthquake in Nepal.

The 30-member Indian Army's Everest Massif Expedition 2016 was flagged off by Lt. Gen. M.M.S. Rai, Vice Chief of the Army Staff, on March 30.

Five members of the team will participate in the tough and intensive 'Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon' on May 29, 2016, considered to be one of the toughest trail marathons in the world.

The team, led by Lt. Col. Jamwal, a reputed climber, was at the Everest base camp when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake stuck Nepal on April 25, 2015.

Following the quake, an avalanche struck the Everest base camp from Mount Pumori and destroyed the camps of many expedition teams killing 22 international climbers and local sherpas. More than 70 others were injured, some critically due to severe head injuries.

The Indian Army's Everest expedition camp was also in the avalanche's path, but its members were safe.

The team had immediately taken control of the situation by regrouping and started helping in rescue operations by providing stretcher-bearers as well as providing shelter and rations to those in need.

As various agencies gradually moved their mountaineers down, the Indian Army team was the last to leave the Everest base camp.
Why Defence Ministry Is Considering

Why Defence Ministry Is Considering

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal