defence and security news

archives


Friday, January 31, 2003

 
Fernandes calls for review of Sino-Indian ties AGENCIES [ THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2003 03:57:28 AM ] (Downloaded from Economic Times on 31 Jan 03)
NEW DELHI: Setting the tone for the upcoming high-level visits to China, defence minister George Fernandes on Wednesday said Beijing and New Delhi were not a threat to each other and the time had come to 'rearrange' mutual ties keeping in view the ground realities. Asserting the two countries were working on the complex boundary issue in a "mature and Asian civilisation manner", he said at the concluding session of the three-day seminar on 'Asian Security and China in the Period '03-10', organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis. He said China and India had now acquired a certain degree of consensual mutuality on the vexed border problem. "We have our differences but we are working on them — though the pace has been referred to as glacial," the defence minister said announcing that he would soon undertake a visit to China.His tour is likely to be followed by an official visit by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Labelling China as a regional heavyweight, Mr Fernandes said as a bigger power "we expect China will also discharge its responsibility and accommodate our interests and reciprocate the spirit in which we are conscious of Beijing's sensitivity on certain issues."

posted by promila 6:43 AM

 
Major reshuffle in Indian Air force

Press Trust of India

New Delhi, January 31 In a major reshuffle in the Indian Air force, Air Marshal M McMahon has been appointed the new vice-Chief of Air staff at Air headquarters here.
He replaces Air Marshal S.G.Inamdar who retired on Friday after 40 years of distinguished service in the IAF.
In other changes effected, Air Marshal S.P.Tyagi, who is presently Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Central Air Command, has been shifted as AOC-in-C South western Air Command in Ahmedabad, an official release said.
Air Marshal B.M.Bali, on promotion, has been appointed the new AOC-in-C Central Air command and Air Marshal Ajit Bhawnani has been appointed as Senior Air Staff Officer at Central Air Command.
Air vice-Marshal S.Y.Savur promoted to the rank of Air Marshal has been appointed as Senior Air Staff Officer Eastern Air Command and Air vice-Marshal P.K.Mehra as the new assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) at Air headquarters here, the release added.
Express India 31 Jan03

Pak plans to strip PoK 'govt' of all powersBISHESHWAR MISHRA TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2003 12:00:44 AM ]
NEW DELHI: Put off by his vehement opposition to the raising of Mangla dam's height by 40 feet, the military rulers of Pakistan have decided to divest Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) "prime minister" Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan of his powers.A report to this effect, available with the Indian government, indicates that PoK "president" Maj Gen Mohammad Anwar Khan (who represents the Pakistan government) is gradually taking over all civil powers. The report also indicates that even the PoK supreme court will be rendered defunct soon.The raising of the Mangla dam's height would primarily serve to divert PoK's water to the drought-affected farmers of Pakistan's Punjab province. The people and leaders of PoK have been protesting against this, alleging that the step would submerge the entire Mirpur district. When the dam was constructed in 1960, over 80,000 people were rendered homeless with the old Mirpur town getting submerged.PoK premier Sikandar Hayat Khan had demanded that if the Pakistan government goes ahead with this project it would have to compensate not only those who would be displaced now but also those who were affected earlier. He had also demanded a share in the revenue from the electricity being generated from the dam.Hayat Khan has also alleged that the PoK "president" was putting pressure on him to accept the draft proposal sent by the federal government which sought to abolish the office of PoK "prime minister", the PoK supreme court and the office of the chief election commissioner and reduce the number of seats in the PoK "legislative Assembly" from 48 to 26.Anwar Khan has already transferred the PoK "chief secretary" Mohammad Naeem against Hayat's wishes and appointed Shahid Raft. Anwar Khan has also instructed all departments to stop putting up files to the "prime minister", resulting in complete confusion in the bureaucracy, the report says.It adds that Anwar Khan has ordered the re-introduction of army monitoring teams to oversee the working of the PoK "government". This means that the army would be directly involved in the day-to-day working of the PoK "government". Meanwhile, Maj Gen Wasim Ashraf, commander of the Muree division which oversees PoK affairs, has directed Sikandar Hayat Khan to immediately submit a performance report, signalling that his days are numbered.



Rolls-Royce pitches for A-I, AJT deal PTI [ FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2003 04:11:14 PM ] Times of India 31 Jan 03
NEW DELHI: Rolls-Royce Plc, a UK-based aero engine giant, on Friday announced that it was bidding for engines for Air-India's aircraft acquisition plan and was also hopeful of the deal for the Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), powered by Adour engines, going through soon."We are hopeful of Indian Air Force's AJT deal coming through soon," Tim Jones, managing director of Rolls-Royce India said here. He said that for the Air-India's long haul aircraft, his company was offering the "world leader Trent 800 engines".His statement comes even as top officials of several multinational armament giants are in India to pitch for lucrative defence contracts worth billions of dollars in anticipation of the government giving the go-ahead in the next two weeks to long pending defence deals.French Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin, Italian Defence Minister Antonio Martino and high level delegations from the Czech Republic, Russia and UK are also to attend the upcoming Aero-India 2003 at Bangalore.Major participants at the Bangalore Air Show will include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, Dassault, Raytheon, Bell Helicopters and others as officials indicated that major deals like the AJT and acquisition of French Scorpene submarines are likely to sail through. Jones said that a major announcement was expected at the air show, probably for a tie-up with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics for licensed production of the medium range transport aircraft to replace the ageing Antonov-32.


posted by promila 4:39 AM


Thursday, January 30, 2003

 
China-Pak. nuclear links cause concern: Sinha
By Amit Baruah
NEW DELHI Jan. 27. The External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said today that "reliable and widespread reports of Chinese nuclear and missile proliferation cause deep concern" to India. Inaugurating a conference on `Asian Security and China in 2000-2010', Mr. Sinha, in a gentle criticism of China, said that some of the "wounds inflicted" by the 1962 conflict had been slow to heal. "The Chinese position on issues such as Sikkim and India's candidature to a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council sows doubts. There is also a sense of disappointment over the pace of improvement in the relationship."
Mr. Sinha's direct comments on the Chinese-Pakistan nuclear proliferation link will be of some interest given the fact that New Delhi has rarely expressed public concern on such issues that impinge on India's national security. China has repeatedly denied its Pakistan "link".
Mr. Sinha has pointedly expressed concern that the pace of improving bilateral ties had been slow. He, however, debunked the theory that conflict between India and China was inevitable. India neither pursued nor made policy towards China with the view that a conflict was inevitable. India's approach to relations with China would remain forward-looking and infused with optimism. "India's policies will not be based on fear of Chinese power nor envy of China's economic achievements. They will be based on the conviction that a prosperous India is inevitable. So is a strong and prosperous China." Mr. Sinha said that India and China were too large and too strong to be "contained or cowed down by any country, including each other". India sought to develop relations with China on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel, mutual sensitivity to each other's concerns and equality.
"Despite the fact that the India-China border spans thousands of kilometres of territory and there exist material differences in perception, the two countries have been successful in maintaining relative peace and tranquillity for over 25 years."
India-China relations had diversified and a series of dialogue mechanisms were in place, including on subjects such as counter-terrorism, security issues, policy planning and the boundary question. Also, bilateral trade had grown from $264.8 million in 1991 to 4.3 billion during January-November 2002.
Referring to the fear of being swamped by Chinese goods in 2001 when India lifted the last of its quantitative restrictions, he said, "Far from being swamped by imports, India-China trade figures reflect in India's exports and imports."
India and China, he claimed, had shown wisdom in advancing their bilateral relations even as contentious issues such as the border dispute were taken up separately.
"Economic integration and an overall improvement in relations has not been held hostage to differences over specific issues, however important these issues are. The wisdom of adopting such an approach to India-Pakistan relations is self-evident. I hope our neighbour will not keep its eyes forever shut to this truth."
The Minister said the rise of China engaged the attention of scholars the world over. "There have been negative scenarios as well as positive scenarios outlined... Often, the conclusions drawn reflect personal convictions of the scholars concerned. In general, academics of the realist school tend to see China as a potential hegemon in Asia — a country which seeks to throw the United States out of the region... Liberal scholars, on the other hand, see China as a positive force within Asia..."
"The rise of India is similarly an issue which has attracted academic debate. There are many who see the emergence of India on the world stage as part of an inevitable and inexorable process of history," Mr. Sinha said.
The Hindu 28 Jan 03

Take 'risks for peace', U.S. tells India, Pak.
DAVOS (SWITZERLAND) JAN. 26. The United States today asked India and Pakistan to take "risks for peace" in the subcontinent and work to normalise relations.
Addressing the World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of over 2,000 political and business leaders here, the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said "it is crucial that they both take risks for peace on the subcontinent and work to normalise their relations".
``No American `hidden hand' can remove the distrust between India and Pakistan. That they must do for themselves."
Gen. Powell said he believed the U.S. was instrumental in calming tensions between India and Pakistan last year, but added that there was still much to be done.
``The United States has extended a helping hand to both India and Pakistan; we stand ready to do so again.''
Iraq `failed the test'
Gen. Powell said that Iraq had ``failed the test'' with its weapons declaration and the U.S. was willing to launch an attack on its own if the U.N. Security Council shrank from disarming the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein. In a speech to muster European support for a tough line against Iraq, he made few concessions to European doubts about the wisdom of invading the country while U.N. inspectors were still searching for suspected weapons of mass destruction.
He mixed reassurances that the Bush administration would be patient and consult its allies with warnings that time was short and Washington would not wait forever.
``We are in no great rush to judgment today or tomorrow but it's clear that time is running out.''
``Multilateralism cannot become an excuse for inaction,'' he said, referring to opposition to an early war among key veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council — France, China and Russia.
"We will work through these issues patiently and deliberately with our friends and allies... Let the Iraqi regime have no doubt, however. If it does not disarm peacefully at this juncture, it will be disarmed at the end of the road. We will not shrink from war if that is the only way to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. We continue to reserve our sovereign right to take military action against Iraq alone or in a coalition of the willing."
The Hindu 27 jan 03

New Delhi Jan. 26. The Brahmos missile, three varieties of attack helicopters, T-90 tanks, mine ploughs and Mobile Decontamination System were among the country's latest sophisticated defence acquisitions and inductions unveiled at this year's Republic Day parade here today.
Topping them all was Brahmos sophisticated cruise missiles developed jointly by India and Russia. With a velocity 2.8 times of the speed of sound, they are capable of hitting a target 290 km away with a warhead of up to 300 kg.
The three attack helicopters were MI-17 IV, indigenously-developed `Dhruv' Advanced Light Helicopter and Lancer, specially-designed for anti-terrorist operations.
Possessed with a high degree of mobility, protection and fire power, the T-90 tank is rated among the best in the world.
Mine ploughs mounted on T-72 tanks are helpful in movement of troops through minefields.
Also of relevance in an era of biological weapons was the indigenously-developed Mobile Decontamination System, used for decontamination of vehicles, equipment, personnel, their clothing, facemask and terrain against biological and chemical warfare agents. — PTI
The Hindu 27 Jan03



posted by promila 7:28 AM

 
Terror’s changing tack
The militants’ renewed attempt to target women in J&K needs to be urgently defeated
One of the more unfortunate social realities of this region is the tendency to regard women as repositories of community honour. Constant are the efforts, therefore, of fundamentalists everywhere — no matter their religion — to subjugate women through arbitrary diktats and physical threats.
The manner in which the Taliban ruled a nation through the often violent suppression of women is well-documented, but it is by no means unique. A state that has long prided itself on the liberal values of Kashmiriyat is today fighting a rearguard battle against assorted groups that make their presence felt by attacking, or threatening to attack, women who do not conform to their own extremely narrow vision of the world.
How dangerous they can be was confirmed when three young girls were killed in Hasiyot in December, allegedly for not wearing the burqa. The widespread repugnance and anger that met this attack actually provoked the perpetrators of the outrage to ‘apologise’ for the killings and reassure the people that the burqa was not mandatory.
Yet, soon after this so-called apology, a group calling itself the Harkat-e-Jehad-e-Islami has issued a stern warning to women in the J&K police to quit their jobs or face ‘serious consequences’. It has also reiterated that girls should be married by the age of 15 and that the local imams must ensure this.
Fighting the perpetrators of such terror is particularly difficult given the anonymous manner in which they function. The name of the outfits they claim to represent is unfamiliar and their writ may appear on a poster in a remote corner of the Valley.
For instance, a group calling itself the Laskar-e-Jabbar, raised a ruckus over the burqa issue several months ago and then seemingly disappeared, only to emerge again in early January demanding that women quit their jobs and stay at home.
There must, however, be links between these various groups. The Harkat-e-Jehad-e-Islami, interestingly, in its recent statement had referred to the Laskar-e-Jabbar’s earlier order, which seems to suggest a connection between the two. Fighting this lot, therefore, could be a bit like battling the wind.
Perhaps, the only way their influence can be neutralised is by creating public opinion against them — there is nothing that makes the terrorist operating in the Valley more anxious than the possibility of an eroded support base. But the people will only stand up against such arbitrary and cowardly attacks if they gain the confidence to do so.
The first task then for the Mufti government in J&K is to ensure the security of the people in general and women in particular. The message must go out to the remotest corner that the elected government of the state will protect the right of citizens to pursue a lifestyle of their choosing.
Expressindia.com30Jan03

On a lost wing and a prayer: A MiG story Indian Express 30 jan 03


Mother of pilot killed in crash floats platform to campaign against MiGs


Satish Nandgaonkar




Mumbai, January 29: Kavita Gadgil’s world collapsed on a September night in 2001 when her 27-year-old son Flight Lieutenant Abhijit Gadgil became another addition to an infamous list, going down with his MiG-21 near Suratgarh in the Rajasthan sector. Eighteen months later and still unconvinced about certificates on the airworthiness of the aircraft — 12 MiG-21s crashed last year, 88 in the last decade and 158 since its induction into the IAF — Kavita has found an outlet to cope with her sense of loss: she has floated a platform for others like her, who have been seeking a rational explanation on the continuing MiG crashes. The Abhijit Air Safety Foundation this Versova woman set up recently seeks to unite parents, relatives and friends of over 100 fighter pilots who died in MiG-21 crashes. ‘‘My son died in peacetime operations. Like other young pilots, he is now just a statistic, showing up as a small line on TV each time a MiG-21 goes down.’’ Soon after he graduated as a fighter pilot, Abhijit joined the Sharks, the 52 Squadron, in Chhabua, Assam in 1997. A year later, he moved to the Panthers, 23 Squadron, at Suratgarh. Seven months into his marriage, Abhijit met his end in September, 2001. Moments after take-off on a night sortie, his MiG-21 went down. He had no time to eject. ‘‘Abhijit never stood a chance, his craft hadn’t climbed high enough for him to eject,’’ says Kavita whose husband Anil too flew IAF’s VIP planes before moving to Air India. ‘‘Fourteen more MiGs have crashed since Abhijit’s death. Something is seriously wrong somewhere and the authorities are afraid to tell us the truth. Youngsters like Abhijit are needlessly lost in peacetime operations and the outcome of probes into these crashes are never made public.’’ In Abhijit’s case, the IAF cited ‘‘pilot error’’ as the reason behind the crash. ‘‘The pilot error explanation has forever branded Abhi with what he never was: an unprofessional pilot,’’ says Abhijit’s elder brother Kedar Gadgil on the family website www.gadgil.com. The Gadgil family hopes the forum for parents and relatives of dead fighter pilots takes off. They plan to approach Defence Minister George Fernandes at a later stage. ‘‘We have just created it. If more people join in, we will formulate an action plan. A public interest litigation demanding greater transparency could be one of the options,’’ says Kavita — she can be reached at AASF@gadgil.com — who now hunts for others like her, all survivors of doomed flights.

US Army chief to call on Gen Vij, Pak on agenda



Express News Service



New Delhi, January 28: US army Chief Gen Eric K. Shineski, who is scheduled to visit India for the first time in the first week of February, will seek deeper military-to-military cooperation with his Indian counterpart Gen N.C. Vij. It is learnt that the Army headquarters will give a presentation on militancy in Kashmir and apprise Shineski of the weapons factories allegedly springing up in Pakistan to “aid terrorism”. The Army headquarters is also planning a visit by Shineski to forward areas in Siachen and the Kashmir Valley. Gen Vij is also likely to discuss Pakistan’s missile programme and its relationship with North Korea on nuclear and missile proliferation issues. He would also seek better interaction with the Florida-based Central Command as India’s interests stretch from the Malacca Straits to the Persian Gulf. ‘‘While we are talking to the US Pacific Command, Pakistan, which is a major focus of Indian strategic interests, comes under the Central Command. But Shineski will be looking beyond this divide and we hope he would take a holistic view of our concerns,’’ said sources in the Army. Indian Express 29Jan03J-K prisoners’ panel puts off meet, again






Srinagar, January 28: For the third time in a row, the joint screening committee set up to review cases of prisoners in Jammu and Kashmir postponed its meeting at the last minute today. No official reason was offered for the move. The postponement of the meeting, the first-ever by the panel, has given a setback to the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government’s healing touch policy, whose central point is the release of prisoners involved in minor offences. While sources here claimed the meeting was postponed because Financial Commissioner, Home, S.D. Singh was not available and that the decision was taken yesterday itself, reports from Delhi said the state government needed some time to collect documents considered essential by the Ministry of Home Affairs before release of any prisoners. The Home Ministry wants to study these documents in detail as criminal cases involve the state government as a party in court while cases under the Public Safety Act involve district magistrates and commissioners. The screening committee was supposed to discuss modalities for release of prisoners, especially the 85 who have either completed their detention periods or committed lesser offences. Their release had been put on hold earlier after the Centre objected to the manner in which some prisoners had been let off by the state. The meeting had earlier been put off on Jan 10 and Jan 17 after the Jammu-bound flight that a top Home Ministry official, Rakesh Ahuja, had to take to attend was cancelled due to bad weather. Indian Expres 29 Jan03



LoC: Army prepares for a harsh winter





New Delhi, January 27: The Army is going for tactical redeployment in Jammu and Kashmir, taking into account reports indicating that there will be no let-up in infiltration during the winter months and the changes made in the counter-insurgency (CI) grid with BSF moving out of the Valley. According to the security establishment, the Army has plans to strengthen troop deployment south of Kargil that will provide support to the formations manning the Line of Control (LoC). The tactical redeployment is not only on account of the BSF moving to the front but also increased threat perception from across the borders. The assessment is that Pakistan will continue pushing infiltrators even during the months of February and March using mountain routes south of Kargil. Cross-LoC infiltration continues at levels comparable to the past two years. The Army’s threat perception on cross-LoC infiltration has gone up with intelligence reports that Pakistan has purchased snow clothing and equipment in bulk from Scandinavian countries between August-October 2002. According to the reports, Islamabad placed orders for 1,000 sets of snow overalls, 500 pairs of snow boots and 150 snow binoculars last October. While these reports are being verified, the Army does not want to take chances. Incidentally, the Subrahmanyam Committee on Kargil had talked about Pakistan purchasing 500 pairs of snow boots in the run-up to the conflict. In view of these reports, the Army expects Pakistani infiltrators to use routes such as Marpo La in Drass sector, Kaobali gali in Mushkoh sector and other mountainous routes south of Zoji La. Thus, the Army has decided to beef up deployments in the area of responsibilities of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps and Nagrota-based 16 Corps. The military operations directorate is also working out plans to steel the backbone of the CRPF that will eventually replace the Border Security Force (BSF) for CI duties in the Valley. The decision to push CRPF into CI duties and move BSF back to the border was taken on the basis of Group of Minister’s report that border management forces such as the BSF should be manning the international borders. With the CRPF at the forefront of CI duties, the Army will push in more troops in the rural areas in the Valley in order to provide support to the para-military force. During his first visit to Northern Command after taking over as Army chief, General N C Vij this month apparently decided to hold back at least two divisions which were brought into J&K in the run-up to Operation Parakram. However, the Army Headquarters is still to take a decision on elements of a formation that is headquartered in the North-East but whose troops were brought in during Parakram. Indian Express 28 Jan 03




Infiltration still on in Kashmir, says US Economic Times 30 Jan 03PTI [ THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2003 09:58:43 AM ]
WASHINGTON: Muslim militants continue to slip into Kashmir despite Pakistani pledges to reduce the infiltration, making it harder to ease tensions between the adversaries, a US official said on Wednesday.The official, who asked not to be named, said Pakistan had reduced the infiltration last summer but the numbers had since gone back up, perhaps because Pakistan was disappointed its efforts had not triggered a positive reaction from India.The two countries, which have fought two of their three wars since 1947 over Kashmir, last year built up forces on their border and came to the brink of war after Muslim militants attacked the Indian Parliament.Asked if the Pakistani government was turning a blind eye to the movement of militants or actively promoting it, the US official replied: "It doesn't really make any difference. It's happening and it's not being stopped."New Delhi accuses Islamabad of arming and training militants who are waging a secessionist war in Kashmir for more than a decade. Pakistan denies the charge and says it provides moral and political support to what it describes as Kashmiri freedom fighters.Asked about ways to improve relations between India and Pakistan, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said one way might be to reduce such movements across the Line of Control."Many people are watching activity that is occurring across the Line of Control to see whether the rate of that activity, if it went down, might be an encouraging step," Powell told reporters after talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Mian Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri."We're looking for different ways to use our good offices to get a dialogue moving but at the moment I don't know that I can be more forthcoming than that," added Powell, who has visited India and Pakistan twice since late 2001 to try to ease tensions.



Fernandes calls for review of Sino-Indian ties AGENCIES [ THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2003 03:57:28 AM ]Economic Times 30 Jan 03
NEW DELHI: Setting the tone for the upcoming high-level visits to China, defence minister George Fernandes on Wednesday said Beijing and New Delhi were not a threat to each other and the time had come to 'rearrange' mutual ties keeping in view the ground realities. Asserting the two countries were working on the complex boundary issue in a "mature and Asian civilisation manner", he said at the concluding session of the three-day seminar on 'Asian Security and China in the Period '03-10', organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis. He said China and India had now acquired a certain degree of consensual mutuality on the vexed border problem. "We have our differences but we are working on them — though the pace has been referred to as glacial," the defence minister said announcing that he would soon undertake a visit to China.His tour is likely to be followed by an official visit by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Labelling China as a regional heavyweight, Mr Fernandes said as a bigger power "we expect China will also discharge its responsibility and accommodate our interests and reciprocate the spirit in which we are conscious of Beijing's sensitivity on certain issues."
Vast potential to recast Sino-Indian ties: Fernandes
By Sandeep Dikshit
NEW DELHI JAN. 29. The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, today said there was vast potential to rearrange the Sino-Indian relations. Both countries could not become `brothers' as in the fifties but they would definitely not be a threat to each other "and this has been reiterated at the highest levels,'' he said while delivering the valedictory address at a conference on `Asian Security and China in 2003-2010' organised by IDSA.
He said the Indian Government had taken certain consistent positions on matters that concern China and these included both Tibet and Taiwan. These had been conveyed to "our Chinese counterparts" at the appropriate level.
"I am happy to add that we are working on this in a mature manner. China and India have acquired a certain degree of consensual mutuality on the border issue. We have out differences but we are working on them — though the pace is glacial.''
Speaking prior to several high-level visits planned to Beijing, Mr. Fernandes pointed out that both nations had lived in harmony for thousands of years and it was only in the latter half of the 20th century that one noted the chequered nature of the relationship. Even if the reason was systemic of the cold war, the September 11 tragedy had altered the nature of the discourse about security and how it is to be prioritised in consonance with the Indian experience of dealing with a similar situation for the last two decades. "The Sino-Indian relationship is to be rearranged in this altered context,'' he said.
Pointing out the immense economic progress made by China in the last two decades, Mr. Fernandes felt there was a lesson for India on the importance of the national will, determination and collective discipline though the radically different political framework needed to be factored. However, the deification of the democratic ethos could not be an excuse for the inadequacy in India.
Rather uncharacteristically but understandably in view of the closer ties being fostered by both nations, Mr. Fernandes made a "personal digression'' and pointed out that he had been rather "erroneously'' described as a China baiter. "Many of my observations about China have been reflective of the democratic process that we have in India. I would urge our Chinese friends to note this trait of the Indian animal. As a parliamentarian, I am elected by the people and when I have been invited to join the Cabinet, my views and positions are derived from this democratic and parliamentary framework.
"If I have drawn attention to the anxieties generated due to some actions or words of China, it is a reflection of the perceptions of the polity. And as the Defence Minister, if I have referred to the asymmetry between India and China on the military front, it is to ensure that we in India acquire what we deem appropriate to assuage our security concerns. On certain issues, I have a personal conviction, and like some members of the Long March, I am 70 plus in age and we may be too old to radically change!''
He also referred to a perception in India that some actions ascribed to China are not in conformity with the degree of responsibility and rectitude that is associated with a major power. It appears that China has perhaps encouraged or endorsed a revisionist agenda on the Indian periphery and this causes anxiety more so when it heightens State-sponsored terrorism. The Hinud 30 Jan 03

Our nukes are only for India: Pak Economic Times 390 Jan 03AGENCIES [ THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2003 01:56:12 AM ]
WASHINGTON: Holding US partially responsible for the nuclear race in South Asia, Pakistan has said its nuclear weapons and missiles are "India-specific" and rejected criticism that it has not done enough to stop infiltration across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. He rejected criticism by India and US that Pakistan has not done enough to stop infiltration across the line of control. "Indians cannot be allowed to be accusers, prosecutors and judges in their own cause. We are prepared to do anything US suggests for monitoring." e said Pakistan does not want to isolate itself from US, Europe or Japan, because India would take advantage of that. Challenging India to allow international monitors and human rights investigators into the "zone it controls in the region," Mr Kasuri said, "India does not want UN observers. What is it that India wants to avoid? This movement is largely indigenous." He also said that Washington should remove Pakistan from a list of countries whose US-based male citizens over age 16 are required to register with the immigration and naturalization service, as Pakistan has taken a big risk on behalf of the US in the fight against international terrorism."Take us off the list, or at least use administrative discretion available under the law, in favour of Pakistan."


Jaguar crashes
Bikaner Jan. 29. An Indian Air Force Jaguar fighter aircraft crashed into the sand dunes at the Mahajan field firing range in this border district during an exercise last night, killing the pilot, Wing Commander Mukhopadhya, official sources said today.
The mishap occurred about 20 minutes after the plane took off for a night sortie at about 2200 hrs and disappeared from the range of the control room.
The pilot's body could not be retrieved.
- UNI the Hindu 30 jan03

Weekly Fatalities: Major conflicts in South Asia
January 20-26, 2003
Civilian Security Force Personnel Terrorist Total
INDIA 36 8 31 75
Assam 4 1 4 9
Jammu & Kashmir 13 5 24 42
Left-wing Extremism 2 2 3 7
Meghalaya 4 0 0 4
Tripura 13 0 0 13
NEPAL 4 9 21 34
PAKISTAN 3 0 0 3

South Asia Intellience Review. 30 Jan 03 SATP.org

Washington waiting for Iraq War and Exploring Musharraf’s Alternatives
By Shaheen Sehbai
WASHINGTON: Clear signs are emerging in Washington that a major policy change is in the offing as the Defense Establishment, Pentagon, CIA and the non-proliferation activists are getting sick and tired of General Musharraf’s U-Turns, specially his hollow denials of not transferring nuclear technology to North Korea and secretly supporting and propping up anti-US religious extremists in Pakistan.
“There is a pattern of misleading statements, assurances and claims and then string of evidence that whatever Musharraf has been saying publicly, he has been doing just the opposite privately,” an analyst in touch with the thinking of the US establishment told me last week.
The policy shift is already apparent in many ways. The hawkish media has started its salvos against Musharraf and his policies. Former CIA Director James Woolsey and informed analyst Mansoor Ijaz started off the tirade in Los Angeles Times with a joint piece. Before that the New York Times came out with the Pakistan-North Korea axis story.
But last week the most damning evidence of the Defense Establishment’s changing mood came in famous journalist Seymour Hersh’s story in The New Yorker Magazine, quoting a secret CIA report. Hersh and the report did not speak in vague tones. They categorically said Pakistan had provided nuclear technology to Pyongyang and Pakistan will pay a price for this, the question was how soon. View the New Yorker Report
Pakistani media would not have covered the Hersh story but what it said cannot be ignored by any one having Pakistan’s interest at heart. The following quotes would make this point very obvious:
“Last June, four months before the current crisis over North Korea became public, the Central Intelligence Agency delivered a comprehensive analysis of North Korea's nuclear ambitions to President Bush and his top advisers. The document, known as a National Intelligence Estimate, was classified as Top Secret S.C.I. (for "sensitive compartmented information"), and its distribution within the government was tightly restricted. The C.I.A. report made the case that North Korea had been violating international law—and agreements with South Korea and the United States—by secretly obtaining the means to produce weapons-grade uranium.
“The document's most politically sensitive information, however, was about Pakistan. Since 1997, the C.I.A. said, Pakistan had been sharing sophisticated technology, warhead-design information, and weapons-testing data with the Pyongyang regime. Pakistan, one of the Bush Administration's important allies in the war against terrorism, was helping North Korea build the bomb.”
“Within three years, however, North Korea had begun using a second method to acquire fissile material. This time, instead of using spent fuel, scientists were trying to produce weapons-grade uranium from natural uranium—with Pakistani technology. One American intelligence official, referring to the C.I.A. report, told me, "It points a clear finger at the Pakistanis. The technical stuff is crystal clear—not hedged and not ambivalent." Referring to North Korea's plutonium project in the early nineteen-nineties, he said, "Before, they were sneaking." Now "it's off the wall. We know they can do a lot more and a lot more quickly."
“According to the report, Pakistan sent prototypes of high-speed centrifuge machines to North Korea. And sometime in 2001 North Korean scientists began to enrich uranium in significant quantities. Pakistan also provided data on how to build and test a uranium-triggered nuclear weapon, the C.I.A. report said.”
“It had taken Pakistan a decade of experimentation, and a substantial financial investment, before it was able to produce reliable centrifuges; with Pakistan's help, the North Koreans had "chopped many years off" the development process, the intelligence official noted. It is not known how many centrifuges are now being operated in North Korea or where the facilities are. (They are assumed to be in underground caves.) The Pakistani centrifuges, the official said, are slim cylinders, roughly six feet in height, that could be shipped "by the hundreds" in cargo planes. But, he added, "all Pakistan would have to do is give the North Koreans the blueprints. They are very sophisticated in their engineering." And with a few thousand centrifuges, he said, "North Korea could have enough fissile material to manufacture two or three warheads a year, with something left over to sell."
“A former senior Pakistani official told me that his government's contacts with North Korea increased dramatically in 1997; the Pakistani economy had foundered, and there was "no more money" to pay for North Korean missile support, so the Pakistani government began paying for missiles by providing "some of the know-how and the specifics." Pakistan helped North Korea conduct a series of "cold tests," simulated nuclear explosions, using natural uranium, which are necessary to determine whether a nuclear device will detonate properly. Pakistan also gave the North Korean intelligence service advice on "how to fly under the radar," as the former official put it—that is, how to hide nuclear research from American satellites and U.S. and South Korean intelligence agents.
“In the past decade, American intelligence tracked at least thirteen visits to North Korea made by A. Q. Khan, who was then the director of a Pakistani weapons-research laboratory, and who is known as the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb. This October, after news of the uranium program came out, the Times ran a story suggesting that Pakistan was a possible supplier of centrifuges to North Korea. General Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's leader, attacked the account as "absolutely baseless," and added, "There is no such thing as collaboration with North Korea in the nuclear area." The White House appeared to take the Musharraf statement at face value. In November, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters he had been assured by Musharraf that Pakistan was not currently engaging in any nuclear transactions with North Korea. "I have made clear to him that any . . . contact between Pakistan and North Korea we believe would be improper, inappropriate, and would have consequences," Powell said. "President Musharraf understands the seriousness of the issue."
“An American intelligence official I spoke with called Pakistan's behavior the "worst nightmare" of the international arms-control community: a Third World country becoming an instrument of proliferation. "The West's primary control of nuclear proliferation was based on technology denial and diplomacy," the official said. "Our fear was, first, that a Third World country would develop nuclear weapons indigenously; and, second, that it would then provide the technology to other countries. This is profound. It changes the world." Pakistan's nuclear program flourished in the nineteen-eighties, at a time when its military and intelligence forces were working closely with the United States to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The official said, "The transfer of enrichment technology by Pakistan is a direct outgrowth of the failure of the United States to deal with the Pakistani program when we could have done so. We've lost control."
“Pakistan helped North Korea conduct a series of "cold tests," simulated nuclear explosions, using natural uranium, which are necessary to determine whether a nuclear device will detonate properly. Pakistan also gave the North Korean intelligence service advice on "how to fly under the radar," as the former official put it—that is, how to hide nuclear research from American satellites and U.S. and South Korean intelligence agents.”
That was the gist of the Hersh story. But read this with the changing public tone of the statements of US Ambassadors in South Asia, Robert Blackwill in New Delhi and Nancy Powell in Islamabad.
Blackwill has been making anti-Pakistan statements for a while but Nancy has just joined him and her very first reference to Pakistan being used as a platform for terrorism triggered a shock wave, with every political party and the government up in protest. They should have expected it anyway.
I can report on good authority that the media focus on Pakistan is likely to increase manifold in the coming days and as soon as the Bush Administration is through with a war against Iraq, or a decision not to do so, Pakistan will be the next item on the agenda.
What Pakistan should expect then is immediate imposition of sanctions as Washington did in 1990 when the Afghan war was over. That would mean so many things for so many people.
Firstly Pakistan is actively pursuing acquisition pf US Boeing aircraft and will have to pay a hefty down payment to the Boeing company. This down payment may already have been paid. If sanctions are imposed, as they will be because it is becoming clear that US administration will determine that Pakistan exported nuclear technology to North Korea, the Boeing deal will be the first to be hit.
Expect an F-16 type scenario then. Pakistan having made the down payment of millions, US administration imposes sanctions, no planes will be delivered and the money will be stuck.
What can Pakistan do in such a scenario. The best thing would be for the Army and the Generals in Islamabad to restore the credibility of their word. Musharraf has lost that credibility and no one no longer trusts him in Washington, whatever the present tone and tenor of supporting statements from the State Department or the White House.
A change of leadership, or handing over of real political power to the elected political government will restore some credibility as the Prime Minister can then sit down with the Americans and lay down the road map of the relations, based on realities on the ground, the Mulla upsurge, the rogue factor inside the army and rehabilitation of the real liberal and moderate political forces like Benazir Bhutto’s PPP and Nawaz Sharif’s PML.
The present lopsided political system which is geared to suit the dictator, no matter how serious a damage it may be doing to the country, has to go.
Once the genuine political leadership is restored, US should be told what are the limits of Pakistan’s cooperation, how far it can go, where it will stop and this will all be real and not just empty promises.
The fact is that the moderate political leadership is not anti-US, with Benazir and Nawaz Sharif still saying they are friends of US. Only they can contain the rising rightist wave, as Musharraf has not only failed to stem this wave but has actually helped it secretly.
Washington knows this secret deal. Evidence has already surfaced how Musharraf helped the MMA to contest the October elections by withdrawing hundreds of cases against the MMA leaders and by pushing the moderate forces out of the electoral contest by hook or crook. He has to pay the price for his misdeeds, and soon
SouthAsiaTribune 30 Jan 03

posted by promila 4:51 AM


Sunday, January 26, 2003

 
Indian Nuclear Command Plans Face Long Delay
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI
India’s quest to establish a credible nuclear command-and-control structure may not be realized for another 10 years due to inadequate funds and insufficient nuclear delivery systems, sources here say, adding that the country may turn to Israel and Russia for technical help.
“We are setting up the nuclear command structure,” Defence Minister George Fernandes told Defense News Jan. 8. “How we do it will never be made public.”
India announced Jan. 4 that the nuclear command-and-control structure would be formalized and New Delhi would retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons if attacked with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
“The Jan. 4 decision spells out formally, for the first time, India’s nuclear doctrine,” Mahindra Singh, retired Indian Army major general and independent defense analyst, said Jan. 9.
Defense News Intenent Edn 26 Jan 03
Officials See No Deal Soon With Russia
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI, NEW DELHI
Despite Defence Minister George Fernandes’ confidence that India finally will ink a deal for the Russian-built aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov by March or April, senior Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials say an agreement on the price to refit the ship and purchase related equipment has not been reached and it is unlikely the deal will be final that early.
The purchase of the aircraft carrier also is linked to the lease from Russia of an unspecified number of long-range Tu-22 M3 backfire bombers, capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and two Akula-class nuclear submarines, both of which India sees as priority items.
MoD spokesman Pradipto Bandyopadhyay said no official statement will be issued regarding Fernandes’ visit to Russia the week of Jan. 13, but reiterated the defense minister’s Jan. 18 announcement in Moscow that India and Russia have agreed to work toward getting the package — including the carrier, bombers and subs — finalized by the end of March.

Defense News Intenent Edn 26 Jan 03
posted by promila 7:27 AM

 
India showcases its military
prowess on R-day

January 26, 2003 13:24 IST

A grand spectacle showcasing the nation's awesome military might, economic growth, scientific and technological advancement and cultural diversity unfolded at the majestic Rajpath in New Delhi on Sunday morning, marking the 54th Republic Day celebrations.
A sense of pride was discernible among the hundreds who thronged to witness the annual martial and cultural extravaganza on a sunny morning, brushing aside intelligence reports of possible terrorist strikes.
The over two-and-a-half-hour programme commenced with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other dignitaries
observing two minutes' silence and laying wreaths at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay homage to martyred soldiers.
The formal ceremony at Rajpath began with President A P J Abdul Kalam arriving at the saluting base to preside over the celebrations for the first time since he became the head of the Republic. He was accompanied by the chief guest, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami .
The President presented the gallantry awards to the next of the kin of valiant martyrs on the occasion.
Also present on the occasion were Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, former prime ministers P V Narasimha Rao, I K Gujral, V P Singh and H D Deve Gowda, three chiefs of staff, Union ministers, Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Najma Heptulla, Leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi and members of the diplomatic corps.
The much-awaited parade kickstarted with a 21-gun salute to the President followed by showering of flower petals over the audience by four MI-8 and MI-17 helicopters flying in an inverted 'Ensign' formation.
The audience cheered and clapped as the Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra winners passed the saluting base at the head of the parade led by Major General N S Pathania, General Officer Commanding, Delhi area.
Much to the amusement of the audience came the world's only surviving horsed cavalry - the 61 Cavalry -- which was followed by the indomitable war machines of the Indian Army - led by its latest acquisition, the Russian-made T-90 tanks. Possessed with a high degree of mobility, protection and fire power, the tank is rated among the best in the world.
The MI-17 IV helicopter, the Indra-II low-level radar and the BRAHMOS - the Indo-Russian cruise missile system --had the viewers spellbound.
The state-of-art 700-km range 'Agni -I', the T-72 tanks, the indigenous Arjun Tanks, the 155 MM Howitzer 77b guns
and the indigenously developed Prithvi missile system brought to the fore the country's military prowess.
The unmanned aerial vehicle 'Nishant', the indigenously designed two-seater trainer Hansa, MI-35 helicopters and other
weapon systems were also displayed at the parade.
The mechanised columns were preceded by the contingents of the armed forces who marched in perfect unison to the
accompaniment of martial music.
With their shining turbans and resplendent attire, men of the Punjab, Sikh, Jat, Mahar, Bihar, Dogra, Madras and
Rashtriya Rifles marched past saluting their commander-in-chief, who appeared at ease in his first Republic Day appearance.
The confident march by the sentinels of the sea and the guardians of the sky was re-assuring that all was safe in the
hands of "our" Air Force and Naval personnel.
Another round of cheers was reserved for the marching contingent of ex-service personnel, who may have hung up their
uniforms but have not left their soldiery gait.
And if gait were the name of the game, could the camel contingent of the Border Security Force, including the camel
mounted band, the only one of its kind, be far behind?
The smart marching contingents of the para-military forces attired in their ceremonial best added colour and beat
to the parade. Making their maiden appearance in Republic Day parade was the Special Service Bureau, raised in 1963 and entrusted with the task of guarding the Indo-Nepal border.
The Delhi Police contingent, which has the distinction of winning the coveted Best Contingent Trophy for a record 11
times since 1987, struck a special chord with the locals.
The contingents of the National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme followed the military and
para-military forces.
Inspiring the younger generation were 21 National Bravery Award winners, who went past the saluting dais on caparisoned elephants.
If bravery was the motto of the youngsters, tourism, technological advancement and economic progress were the
themes of the tableaux that preceded them.
The beauty of the sea swept the audience away as the Lakshadweep tableau with fisherfolk performing 'Kolkali' (stick dance) led the cultural pageant.
The Bhagoria festival of Madhya Pradesh, the ruins of Hampi, the Mahabodhi Vihar at Bodh Gaya, the Warli paintings
of Maharashtra, e-governance in Andhra Pradesh, Ajanta and Ellora, the crafts village of Raghurajpur in Orissa, the blue pottery of Khurja in Uttar Pradesh, the 'Kalaripayattu' martial dance of Kerala, and the temple architecture of Tamil Nadu - all seemed to allure tourists and investors alike.
Of course, there were the popular destinations of Jammu and Kashmir with its 'Saaz-e-Kashmir' musicals instruments,
the Dona Paula beach in Goa and Delhi's pride - the Metro.
A cultural extravaganza by school students and folk artists projecting the country's unity in diversity, women's
empowerment and environment was the highlight of the day.
A breath-taking performance by the daredevil despatch riders of the Corps of Signals riding their bikes in perfect
harmony and balance, followed by an awe-inspiring flypast by Jaguars, Sukhois, MI-35 attack helicopters and transport
planes in 'Big Boy' formation capped the show as hundreds of balloons with tricolour went up the skies symbolising the
nation's resolve to make the third millenniuum India's millennium.
REdioff.com. 26 Jan 03.
India showcases Agni, BrahMos on Republic day


New Delhi, January 26: A grand spectacle showcasing the nation's awesome military might, economic growth, scientific and technological advancement and cultural diversity unfolded at the majestic Rajpath in Delhi marking the 54th republic day celebrations.
A sense of pride was discernible among the hundreds who thronged to witness the annual martial and cultural extravaganza on a sunny Sunday morning, brushing aside intelligence reports of possible terrorist strikes and consequent unprecedented security. Quiet
The over two-and-a-half-hour long programme commenced with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other dignitaries observing two minutes' silence and laying wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay homage to martyred soldiers.
The formal ceremony at Rajpath began with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam arriving at the saluting base to preside over the celebrations for the first time since he became the head of the republic. He was accompanied by Chief Guest Iranian President Mohammad Khatami who seemed to thoroughly enjoy every moment of the event.
The President presented the gallantry awards to the next of the kin of valiant martyrs on the occasion.
Also present on the occasion were Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, former prime ministers P.V. Narasimha Rao, I.K. Gujral, V.P. Singh and H D Deve Gowda, three Chiefs of Staff, Union ministers, Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Najma Heptulla, leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi and members of the diplomatic corps.
The much-awaited parade kickstarted with a 21-gun salute to the President followed by showering of flower petals over the audience by four MI-8 and MI-17 helicopters flying in an inverted 'ensign' formation.
The audience cheered and clapped as the Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra winners, the heroes of yesteryears, passed the saluting base at the head of the parade led by Maj Gen N.S. Pathania, General Officer Commanding, Delhi area.
Much to the amusement of the many foreigners among the crowd came the world's only surviving horsed cavalry—the 61 cavalry which was followed by the indomitable war machines of the Indian Army—led by its latest and lethal acquisition the Russian—made T-90 tanks.
Possessed with a high degree of mobility, protection and fire power, the tank is rated among the best in the world.
The MI-17 IV—equipped with the most advanced weapon system and rated as the world's most potent helicopter, Indra-II low level radar and topping it all the BrahMos—the Indo-Russian cruise missile system with a velocity 2.8 times of the speed of sound and capable of carrying a warhead upto 300 kg with a maximum range of 290 kms—all exhibited for the first time—had viewers spellbound.
The state-of-art 700 km range 'Agni -I', the T-72 tanks, the indigenous Arjun tanks, the 155 mm howitzer 77B guns—the pride of Indian artillery during the recent 'operation Vijay', and the indigenously developed Prithvi missile system capable of striking terror in the heart of the enemy by its long reach and destruction capability brought to the fore the country's military prowess.
Also of relevance in an era of biological weapons was the indigenously developed mobile decontamination system, used for decontamination of vehicles, equipments, personnel, their clothing, facemask and terrain against biological and chemical warfare agents.
The unmanned aerial vehicle 'Nishant', the indigenously designed two-seater trainer Hansa, MI-35 helicopters and other weapon systems were also displayed at the parade.
The mechanised columns were preceded by the contingents of the armed forces who marched in perfect unison to the accompaniment of martial music.
With their shining turbans and resplendent attire, men of the Punjab, Sikh, Jat, Mahar, Bihar, Dogra, Madras and Rashtriya Rifles marched past saluting their Commander-in-Chief who appeared at ease in his first Republic Day appearance.
Rajpath resembled a sea as the guided missile carrier INS Delhi and the 4000 ton INS Talwar cruised through it to the accompaniment of claps which sounded like waves crashing against the ships.
The smart marching contingents of the para-military forces attired in their ceremonial best added colour and beat to the parade. Making their maiden appearance in Republic Day parade was the Special Service Bureau, raised in 1963 and entrusted with the task of guarding the Indo-Nepal border.
The Delhi police contingent, which has the distinction of winning the coveted best contingent trophy for a record 11 times since 1987, struck a special chord with the locals.
The contingents of the National Cadet Corps and national service scheme followed the military and para-military forces.
Inspiring the younger generation were the 21 national bravery award winning children who went past the saluting dais on caparisoned elephants waving their hands with zest and enthusiasm.
Among them were the Geeta Chopra award winner Guddiben Kalubhai Mashar from Gujarat, who saved a two-year old child from a wild beast at grave risk to her life and Sanjay Chopra award winner Chandan Paswan alias Pintu, who saved two children from drowning in the tons river.
Expressindia.com 26 Jan 2003
Command centre is planned to tackle threat of rogue aircraft
Shishir Gupta
New Delhi, January 23: A high-powered committee has recommended the creation of a Joint Command and Analysis Centre (JCAC) under the chairmanship of an Air Marshal-level IAF officer to prevent a rogue aircraft from being used as a missile against vital installations, including Rashtrapati Bhawan, Prime Minister’s Office and nuclear installations.
Ten months ago, former Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) H.S. Khola along with senior IAF officials was mandated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to suggest measures to deal with a 9/11-like crisis. Khola, who submitted his report last month, apparently listed several steps that could be taken to bring the rogue aircraft down.
The matter assumed urgency after a Lufthansa cargo plane strayed into the no-fly zone area over 7, Race Course Road in the Capital on November 20.
In view of this incident, the Civil Aviation Ministry is studying the Khola report, and has asked the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) for its comments. The Khola proposals will be implemented by the Civil Aviation Ministry after consultations with the Home Ministry and Defence Ministry.
Among the Khola Committee’s recommendations:
• The JCAC be set up under the chairmanship of an IAF officer with the DGCA and top officials of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) as members of the action force.
• The JCAC will function under the overall guidance of the Crisis Management Group, which is headed by the Cabinet Secretary. Under the present structure, the CMG has a Central Committee headed by the DGCA and an Aerodrome Committee headed by the Airport Director. It is suggested that the JCAC be the third leg of the CMG.
• While JCAC can recommend action to bring down the rogue aircraft, Air Force jets could only box the plane and escort it down. Khola has reportedly left it to the CMG to take the final decision on shooting down the aircraft. This is a different approach from that of the US Air Force, which, post-9/11, has been authorised to shoot down rogue aircraft.
• Guidelines on the flight path and glide path of aircraft approaching in the vicinity of no-fly zone.
• The ATC should demarcate the no-fly zone over Rashtrapati Bhawan and Prime Minister’s residence.
• The commercial licence of the pilot flying the rogue aircraft or any plane violating the no-fly zone be cancelled.
According to DGCA sources, the BCAS has termed the JCAC’s recommendation as infructuous. The BCAS, in its comments to Civil Aviation Ministry, has said that the Air Force and Army are already members of the Central Committee; thus there’s no point in setting up another committee.
The final decision rests with the government. Further, if the JCAC is not empowered to direct Air Force jets to shoot down the aircraft, precious seconds will be lost before getting the decision cleared from the CMG.
The other problem is availability of fully-loaded Air Force fighters to tackle a rogue aircraft emergency. The IAF does not have fighters in the technical area of the Delhi airport or the neighbouring Hindon airport on a permanent basis. The fighters are only brought in on the basis of threat perception. All the Air Force has is so-called ‘‘operational readiness platforms (ORP)’’ that are activated on the basis of perceived threat.
It is another matter that the Air Force has the capability of getting a fully-loaded fighter into air within a minute in case the ORP is activated. This translates into the Air Force getting a fighter from Ambala airport to handle a rogue aircraft that has already entered into the no-fly zone.
Indian Express 24 Jan 03.


posted by promila 7:08 AM


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?