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Thursday, May 15, 2003

 
India and US to sign deal on tech for hydrogen fuel
Sonu Jain Indian Express 16 May 03
New Delhi, May 15: George W Bush has a roadmap for hydrogen economy and India will take its first step towards becoming a willing partner towards realising it. In the next few days, the Government will sign an agreement with the US on 18 areas of cooperation dealing with cleaner and more efficient ways of using electricity and water.
Hydrogen is one of the most important areas of cooperation to improve the worlds climate and is seen as the most concrete of the 18 proposals at this stage. Bushs vision of the International Partnership is that consumers in participating countries will have a practical option of purchasing a competitively priced hydrogen-power vehicle, and be able to refuel it near their homes and places of work by 2020.
According to US officials, with the first agreement that will involve developing cutting-edge technology on hydrogen, $ 5 billion would be released over the next three years. This agreement assumes significance in the light of the fact that US does not acknowledge the multi-disciplinary process laid down by the Kyoto Protocol to cut down on green house gas emissions and has adopted a path of public-private partnerships. India is one of the countries trying to put pressure on the US to ratify the Kyoto protocol.
India, on its part, defends it by saying that there have always been bilateral agreements with the US in the past. We have always done a good job in the past and this is just a continuation of that, said K C Mishra, secretary, Ministry of Environment and forests.
While the formal bilateral agreement will be signed between the two governments, in the case of Hydrogen, NTPC is likely to be a key partner. They have been working with the US agencies on developing cleaner coal in the past. Now, they have expressed interest in developing know-how on the use of hydrogen in power plants to meet Indias growing electricity demands.
All these 18 projects have been put under the umbrella of climate change. The US chief negotiator on climate change Harlan Watson was here this week to be part of the second meeting of the working group on climate change where these proposals took a more concrete shape.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests is going to be the nodal agency from India and the US department and Energy and USAID will be at the forefront on the other side.
Apart from developing technology on hydrogen, this agreement will cover issues like clean alternative fuels, decentralised energy, regulatory framework, outreach and communication. US agencies like NOAA and EPA will also come into the picture.
The US government sees similarities with India one, the nature of source of energy, coal is similar. The other is the diverse nature of markets India offers a lot of smaller vehicles that can be used for fuel-cell technology more effectively than just cars in the US.
The other countries that form a part of this vision are Japan, Canada, Australia, cananda, Iceland, Italy and the UK. The reason they have decided to work with India is the vast scientific and research talent pool that the country offers.
We dont want India to get up and then start identifying viability for fuel cell, we want it to be part of use while the technology is being evolved. Also, Indian scientists have done phenomenonal work in working on fuel cell, said an official of the US government who took part in discussions of the working group.

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Indian Express 16 May 03
Unipolar power cant exist alone Addressing a gathering at the Council of Foreign Relations, New York, on May 7, National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra underlined the importance of Indo-US relations in the emerging new world order. Excerpts from his speech:



September 11, 2001, demonstrated the reach of global terrorism and its ability to bridge the asymmetry in power and strength between the terrorist and his victims. The coalition, formed to fight this scourge, achieved its immediate purpose of restoring a popular government in Afghanistan, but its composition does not enable it to tackle global terrorism comprehensively since not all its members have a firm commitment to this objective.
The military action in Iraq involved another coalition of the willing, and in the process opened up divisions within the UN Security Council, European Union and NATO.

Today, we hear two prognostications of the evolving new world order. The first is of a unipolar world with the US taking the principal decisions on international political and economic issues.
According to this theory, the dominance of US power would drive the impulse to unilaterally shape the world in its image, brushing aside any dissenting opinion. The other model is one of a world comprising multiple political poles, suggesting that a certain level of tension between the poles will maintain an equilibrium in which the dominant pole can be kept in some check.
While pondering on the viability of the model of a unipolar world, we need to recognise that the post-Cold War order has been profoundly influenced by globalisation. Inspired by and now itself driving the technologies of the information age, it affects every aspect of human and group activity. No country or society has remained immune from this phenomenon. The consequences of globalisation cannot be localised within national boundaries...
Even States with the most advanced technical means are increasingly unable to fully control international flows of disease, illicit drugs, funds and weapons. The international information networks of terrorism and the proliferation of WMDs among its state and non-state practitioners can only be countered by cooperation between democratic societies through information exchanges and intelligence sharing.
Today, a regional epidemic like SARS becomes a global problem overnight. The ongoing arguments about whether more real-time information might have halted its spread prove the point of global interdependence. Such global interdependence means that even a unipolar power needs cooperative action in pursuit of its various objectives.
The current crisis over North Korea is an example. The question is also one of resources. If a terrorist network is smashed in a failed or failing state as Afghanistan was under the Taliban there would obviously be costs for the reconstruction of the state. The external assistance for Afghanistans reconstruction is now about $250 million a year; it would need to be increased and sustained over many years. The cost of restoration after the last Gulf War was higher, and that of Iraqs reconstruction is expected to be much, much higher. No single world power, however rich, would want to take on this kind of financial burden, at the expense of its taxpayers.
On the second model, we should realise that in the real world, an arrangement not in conformity with geopolitical realities cannot be sustained. It is an unquestionable fact that USA is the pre-eminent power in the world today...It would make poor political or economic sense for a country or a group of countries to set itself up as an alternate pole in opposition to USA.
Most countries advocating a multipolar world also affirm that they attach great importance to relations with USA. What they seek is an ethic of plurality and consensus which would ensure that collective decisions give due weightage to their legitimate interests and concerns...
Nearly sixty years ago, after the end of World War II, America was in a similar position of political, military and economic pre-eminence. Then, a mature American communitarian impulse inspired the creation of a multilateral global architecture. The UN, the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF are all products of this internationalism. The challenge today is not to demolish these edifices, but to address their shortcomings, some of which are serious.

Deterrence, prevention and defence are accepted elements of a national security strategy. But today, the international terrorist is often an irrational individual, ready to sacrifice his and innocent lives for an extremist cause, acquiring WMDs and using unorthodox techniques to overcome asymmetries of strength. There can be no deterrence against irrational behaviour. Prevention and defence are also almost impossible. In such cases, extraordinary measures have to be taken in the interests of security. This is where a smoothly operating world order with a functioning consultative mechanism can help to provide legitimacy.
It is from these strands that a new world order would be woven. What we need is a constructive and continuing dialogue on the management of global interdependence.

In the world order defined by the Cold War, India and US were not really allies though, to be fair, nor were they enemies. India-US relations reflected a lack of engagement, coupled with wariness and a periodically recurring suspicion whenever the shadow of the Cold War fell over our region.
In the post-Cold War world (and even in the post-9/11 world order), the situation is dramatically different. We have shared geo-political interests and economic opportunities, which can bind an enduring partnership. This was the perception that led PM Vajpayee to declare, nearly five years ago, that the two countries could be natural allies, which have yet to fulfil the promise of their cooperation.
We know that President Bush fully shares this vision for an enduring India-US partnership. The US National Security Strategy states, The US has undertaken a transformation in its bilateral relationship with India based on a conviction that US interests require a strong relationship with India.
We are the two largest democracies, committed to political freedom protected by representative governments. India is moving towards greater economic freedom as well. We have a common interest in the free flow of commerce, including through the sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean. Finally, we share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia. This is a succinct statement of our complementarities and convergences.
It is particularly refreshing that our two countries are now looking at the full scope of the Indo-US relationship. To speak very frankly, what really stunted the growth of our bilateral relations in past years was the tendency to look at Indias role only within a South Asian canvas and to see South Asia solely as the theatre of an India-Pakistan zero sum game.
India has broken free of these limiting confines, which the Cold War ideologies sought to impose. It has land borders of well over 3000 km with China and Southeast Asia. It has maritime borders with Indonesia and Thailand. Its exclusive economic zone spans the waters almost from the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Malacca. As your National Security Strategy recognises, it straddles the commercial sealanes and oil routes from the West to East Asia.
...I have set out these facts in some detail, illustrating Indias wider political, economic, security and strategic interests, to reiterate that to view India solely through a South Asian prism would be an analytical error. In our view, the world made this mistake in May 1998, in its reactions to Indias nuclear tests. Our security concerns, which prompted that decision, are better understood today.

Given its history, Indo-US relationship needs to liberate itself from a number of misconceptions and prejudices of past years. I think we have made considerable headway on this path with good impact on our relations. Our leaders are in regular touch with each other on the phone and through letters. Regular exchanges of visits at the political and senior official levels have resulted in a harmonisation of our position on a number of issues.
Nowhere is this engagement more visible than in defence and security...On a diverse range of other subjects, Indias interactions with USA and its reactions to US statements or actions have been governed by a pragmatic understanding of realities, rather than doctrinaire ideologies.
This does not imply that there are no longer any differences between our two countries, but there is certainly a realisation that there is far more that unites us than divides us. We have had differences including over issues like our nuclear programmes, but a sustained bilateral dialogue with a frank exchange of concerns has led to a far better mutual understanding on these issues.
I have been saying very candidly that a trinity of issues high technology commerce, civilian nuclear energy cooperation and collaboration in space can take the Indo-US relationship to a qualitatively new level of partnership. India has consistently followed responsible policies on non-proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies and has strict export control regimes for dual-use technologies. The sharp contrast with others in our near and extended neighbourhood is evident for all to see.
We believe that our discussions with our American partners on this subject are on the right path and hope that the road to free high technology commerce will be cleared of the hurdles of misconceptions.
We have to cover the same path for civilian nuclear cooperation and collaboration in space. Here again, I have to say that the obstacles come from remnants of Cold War thinking and are not in consonance with our mutual interests. India has repeatedly asserted and this is acknowledged internationally that its nuclear and missile development programmes are entirely indigenous. We have not violated any of our bilateral commitments or international obligations. We will continue to restrict the development of these programmes to the minimum levels required for our national security.

IN sum, therefore, the political leadership in both countries sees value in building upon the natural links between our two democracies in a globalising world. The India-US relationship is not a single-issue relationship. Our friendship is based on a broad range of shared values. Societies of this size and complexity, by their very nature, cannot agree on all issues. Our disagreements are now increasingly discussed with the candour and confidence injected by the recent transformation of our bilateral relationship. Both combating terrorism and forging a new world order demand close and solid partnerships among democratic societies, which value freedom, pluralism and entrepreneurship. These are the values that unite India and the US.
To fulfil this potential, we have to ensure that the firm broom of cold logic decisively sweeps out the cobwebs of Cold War misconceptions and blinkered mindsets. We are working hard at it.
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MiGs will remain mainstay of IAF Indian Express 9 May 03
Express News Service
New Delhi, May 8: The MiG fighter aircraft fleet is the mainstay of Indian Air Force and will remain the mainstay of the air force, and every effort was being made to reduce the rate of accidents and provide better training to the fighter pilots, Union Minister of Defence, George Fernandes, asserted in the Lok Sabha today.
Responding to a calling attention motion on the situation, arising out of frequent crashes of MiG aircraft in the country, Fernandes defended the aircraft and blamed the media for painting a wholly negative picture all the time.
He said former air chief A.Y. Tipnis had covered every airforce base in the country in a one seater MiG 21 after he became chief, as well as his farewell to prove it is not a flying coffin or any coffin. But the media did not highlight this because for the media anything positive is propaganda and anything negative is news, he said.
In a written reply, Fernandes said the root cause for fighter aircraft accidents were human error, technical defect, bird hit, and other causes. The bulk of accidents (38 pc) are due to human error followed by technical defect (37 pc). The majority of human error accidents, are caused due to error of skill, judgement, poor airmanship, non-compliance of instruction, lack of situational awareness, etc, it said. He also said that although there was no direct relationship between lack of an Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) and aircraft accidents, the Centre had decided to induct AJT to ensure smooth transition of trainee pilots to the frontline fighter squadrons equipped with high technology aircraft.
In fact, it was the issue of inducting AJT that appeared to be the theme of the discussion today. Congress(I) MP, Jagmeet Singh Brar, who raised the motion said the airforce had lost over 135 MIG aircrafts and 200 pilot since 1965. Apart from the tragic human cost, the nation had lost thousands of crores of rupees which could have been saved by investing in AJTs.
He alleged there was deliberate delay in acquisition of AJTs and cheap spares were being used a charge denied by Fernandes. Both Brar and Congress (I) MP Lakshman Singh referred to the petition signed by 150 MPs handed to the PM over a year ago demanding that acquisition of AJTs be expedited. Fernandes said India was on the threshold of acquiring AJTs and alternatives were being considered. He also said there had been a steady fall in the accident rate of MiGs and his ministry would do anything to reduce the accidents further.
Brar, however, remained dissatisfied with the reply and announced that he was walking out a good hour after the rest of his mates had staged a walk out
GSLV blasts off, places 1,800-kg satellite in orbit
Sandhya Soman Indian Express 9 May 03
Sriharikota, May 8: India today inched closer to entering the lucrative global satellite launch market when a second developmental flight of the indigenously-built GSLV rocket successfully placed a 1,800-kg GSAT-2 satellite into the geosynchronous transfer orbit, 17 minutes after a perfect lift-off.
After GSLV-D2s lift-off at 4.58 pm, ISRO chairman Kasturirangan said: It is a great day. It was a text-book flight. It is one of the most memorable events, a major milestone for ISRO and a proud technological achievement. He congratulated his team at ISRO Mission Control Centre in Sriharikota and elsewhere.
Exactly 17 minutes after lift-off, the final cryogenic stage injected the GSAT-2 satellite into the geo-stationary transfer orbit with a perigee (nearest point to earth) of 180.04 km and an apogee (farthest point to earth) of 36,000 km. Later, the satellite would be positioned in its geo-stationary orbit at 48 degree East longitude.
Once the GSLV series is declared operational, ISRO would be able to launch 2,000-kg satellites for strengthening Indias communication systems. Initial assessment of telemetric data and the signals picked up by ground stations in Indonesia and Canada showed the satellite was performing as expected.
The main thrust of our space programme is to become self-reliant so that development could be made in all areas including education, tele-medicine and communications, said Kasturirangan.
He said there was demand for 200 transponders from broadcasters and communication system operators. But the next significant development in the field of space technology would be the indigenous development of cryogenic engines, which is in its second stage of development.
Kasturirangan said ISRO hoped to use indigenously developed cryogenic engines for satellite launch within two years. Till then, the five remaining cryogenic engines obtained from Russia would be used

MoD grounds Amarinders building plans
Vikram Jit Singh Indian Express 14 May 03

Chandigarh, May 13: The Punjab government today stood completely exposed in its haste to remove the ban on constructions within 900 mt of the IAF base near Zirakpur with the Ministry of Defence declaring that the ban would be reimposed shortly.
Less than 24 hours after Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh declared that the state government was lifting the ban, MoD spokesperson Dr P.K. Bandhopadhyay made a categorical statement about reimposing the ban.
Delay in survey led to notification lapse
New Delhi: The Indian Air Force’s frontline airbases are under threat from unexpected quarters. With a May 2001 notification banning construction within a stipulated zone lapsing, state governments are free to declare the zone available to builders. As a result, key airforce bases, including the Sukhoi base in Pune and other bases at Halwara and Ambala, are in danger of being hemmed in by construction. Confirming this, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘‘As on date the notification has lapsed but it will be reissued soon.’’ According to him, the work to reissue the notification has started and it is going through various procedures before being issued afresh. The notification, under the Indian Works of Defence Act, 1903, had disallowed construction within 900 mt of all air force stations. It stated that the area measured ‘‘from the crest of the outer parapet’’ of the air force bases would be declared a no-development zone by the local authorities in keeping with the Act. As per the notification, the local administration was given a period of 18 months to set up a Board Of Officers with the local air force authorities, map the area and then specify the zone that would be barred from further construction. The notification set off debate in several states with the builders’ lobby opposing it. It is understood that the notification lapsed five months ago as the various air force stations were unable to complete the surveys - a mandatory stipulation under the Act. According to South Block sources, lack of cooperation from the District Collectors/Magistrates and the local municipal bodies prevented the surveys. ‘‘As per the notification, the Board Of officers cannot function without a representative each from the District Magistrate’s office and the local municipal body. Without them the surveys couldn’t be completed and the notification lapsed,’’ said sources at Air Headquarters. Saikat Datta
The notification on the ban had expired. The new notification will be in placed shortly after being vetted by the Law Ministry and other agencies concerned. He added: The letter of the Joint Secretary, Defence, Arvind Joshi, states that as of now there in no ban as the notification has expired. But that does not mean people can be allowed to construct. It is a security issue. The ban will be imposed shortly after the new notification.
The Punjab governments decision to lift the ban on political considerations has not only seriously jeopardised defence security but also placed at risk the hapless public. Hundreds of people with plots will now be left in the lurch with incomplete constructions once the ban is reimposed.
With Capt Amarinder going ga-ga over what now transpires to be merely a technical lapse, the state government babus also acted in haste and didnt clarify it with the MoD.
Amarinders media adviser B.I.S. Chahal initially refused to believe that the ban could be reimposed. I have checked with the Secretary, Local Bodies, and the Centre cannot reimpose the ban, was Chahals response.
When asked on the unseemly haste with which the government had pushed through the notification, Chahal said he would give a response tomorrow after getting it checked from the MoD by the state governments principal resident commissioner in New Delhi.
Understandably, the state governments order withdrawing the ban has created a stir in the MoD with the Defence PRO here sending newspaper reports to senior MoD officers.
The letter from Joint Secretary, Defence, Arvind Joshi to the CRPF on allowing construction at Hallomajra has also led to misgivings as it remains silent on the issue of the bans renewal, and gives a mixed message on allowing construction.
In the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, president Narinder Sharma said they would agitate against the ban. There are 500-600 plots on which people want to build. Building maps have started to come in for clearance but once the ban in reimposed, all construction work will have to stop. This ban is against public interest, he said
US to put hi-tech deals on fast track
Shishir Gupta Indian Express 15 May 03
New Delhi, May 14: Concerned at the slow progress in key areas of dual-use technology, civilian space and nuclear bilateral ties, the US has assured India that it will adopt a top down approach to push cooperation on these trinity issues.
At his recent meeting in London with National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is believed to have conveyed the message that Washington would give clear-cut political directions to the departments concerned to show progress in these critical areas.
The slow movement is despite President George Bush and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee deciding, as early as November 2001, to enhance cooperation in these key areas.
Vajpayee, too, raised the issue with Armitage on the latters visit to New Delhi last Saturday, stressing the need for Washington to push these areas on the fast track.
The first meeting of the bilateral high-tech (dual use) group is scheduled to take place on July 1-2, say sources. According to a US State Department spokesman the group, which was set up on February 4, will meet both in India and the US.
South Block feels that while there has been some movement on dual-use commerce, bilateral progress on civilian space and nuclear cooperation has not matched expectations on both sides.
A classic example of the slow movement on high-end technologies is the Phalcon airborne early warning control systems (AWACS) deal between India and Israel.
The US plays a significant role in giving the go-ahead to this $3.5 billion deal, due to its leverage with Israel and its support in development of the PHALCON radar, which is the heart of the force multiplier.
On January 10, 2002, Washington conveyed to India that it was giving a go-ahead to Israel on deal.
The same commitment was given to Defence Minister George Fernandes, who visited Washington a week later.
However, the fact is that Washington has still not conveyed its approval to Israel. This topic was again raised by New Delhi with Armitage last week and the latter assured that US will soon tell Tel Aviv to go ahead with the deal.

Test-fired for third time The Hindu 13 Apr 03
BALASORE MAY 12. For the third time in four days, India today successfully test-fired the Astra air-to-air missile from a fixed ground launcher at the Interim Test Range at Chandipur-on-sea, 15 km from here, defence sources said.
- PTI
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Time to procure AJTs is near, says Fernandes
By Sandeep Dikshit The Hindu 12 Apr 03
BARMER APRIL 11. The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said today that his Ministry had cleared the proposal for procuring advanced jet trainers (AJTs) for the Indian Air Force. But a decision on selecting one of the two front-runners was yet to be taken.
The Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, said he was unaware of the proposal having reached his Ministry as "it must have just arrived" at the expenditure wing. Funds would not be a constraint and the proposal would not be allowed to linger in the Ministry, he said, adding that the final decision on the deal worth several thousand crores would be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security.
The proposal for purchasing AJTs was mooted in the late 80s and is still doing the rounds in the Central Ministries. In the absence of jet trainers, the IAF utilises MiG-21 for advanced training. Since the Russian aircraft has low tolerance for mistakes, several MiG-21 aircraft have crashed while trainee pilots learn the ropes.
"The time for procuring AJTs is near," observed Mr. Fernandes after presiding over a function in this border district along with the Finance Minister. The latter inaugurated a polyclinic for ex-servicemen and honoured war widows.
Mr. Fernandes has alternated between hope and pessimism on the issue of AJTs. He has spoken of arms dealers obstructing a final decision. On occasions, he has claimed that a decision was at hand.
The Defence Minister defended the performance of the MiG fleet though two of them had crashed within a gap of a few days recently. Describing them as the mainstay of the IAF, he said there was no proposal to jettison the fleet now.
He maintained that the Government was alive to the proposal for the creation of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as part of reforms in higher defence management. The CDS would ensure provision of single point military advice to the civil executive and would rank "primus inter pares" in comparison to the other service chiefs. The proposal was mooted by the Group of Ministers on reforming the national security system. It had felt that the Chief of Staffs Committee (CoSC) had not been effective in fulfilling its mandate and needed to be strengthened by the addition of CDS and a Vice Chief of Defence Staff.
The office of VCDS (currently called Integrated Defence Staff) was created just over a year ago. "The proposal (for CDS) is alive and has been cleared by the Cabinet. It is a matter of time before it is in place," he maintained.
The Government had earlier said that it was essential to consult the Opposition before a decision of this magnitude was taken.
Highly placed sources said that senior Opposition leaders had been informally consulted and the proposal would be formally discussed with
'A successful launch' The Hindu 11 Apr 03
BANGALORE APRIL 10. In another significant milestone in India's space programme, the multi-purpose satellite INSAT-3A was successfully launched on board the European Ariane-5 rocket from the French Guyanese spaceport of Kourou, South America, today.
The ISRO chairman, K. Kasturirangan, and other top space scientists, including project director, R.K. Rajangam, who were present at Kourou, expressed their joy over the "successful launch".
PTI
Another MiG crashes The Hindu 8 Apr 03
By Our Special Corespondent
CHANDIGARH APRIL 7. About five persons were injured, two of them seriously, when an Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter jet crashed into the residential area of a milk processing plant in the Baldev Nagar area of Ambala soon after take-off around 11.45 a.m today. The pilot ejected safely.
According to district authorities, two of the seriously injured were rushed to the PGI and Sector 32 Medical College and Hospital here. A house and some vehicles were damaged and a fire broke out which was brought under control.Senior district and Indian Air Force officials rushed to the spot
Agni-III test-fire this year: Fernandes The Hindu 7 Apr 03
New Delhi April 6. India is developing `Agni-III', a long-range surface-to-surface missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, and is making all efforts to test fire it this year, according to the Defence Minister, George Fernandes.
"The test firing of Agni-III is overdue and we feel the need for that long-range missile as part of our policy of deterrence," he told PTI.
He said Agni-III would have a strike capacity longer than Agni-II, which has a range of over 2000 km.
Asked when Agni-III would be test fired, the Minister said, "the date has not been firmed up. Effort is to see that it is test fired this year".
On whether Agni-I and Agni-II have been deployed, he said, "Well, they are available for deployment." Asked whether these missiles would be with the strategic forces or the Army, he said that it would depend on the situation that would demand their use. He replied in the affirmative when asked if Agni-I and Agni-II were being produced.
Asked about other missiles being developed by the country, Mr. Fernandes said he would take pride in the success of `Brahmos', a supersonic cruise missile jointly produced by India and Russia. "Apart from Agni and Prithvi (a short-range surface- to-surface missile), supersonic cruise missile Brahmos is something exclusive. Nobody has this missile today," he added.
On whether Brahmos has reached the development stage, he said, "deployment comes when you start serial production. That stage has come in the sense that we are ready now. All tests are complete". Brahmos, which has a range of nearly 300 km, has three versions - ground-to-air, air-to-ground and the naval variant.
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MiG crashes, 4 killed The Hindu 05 Apr 03
Ludhiana April 4. A MiG-23 fighter of the Indian Air Force today crashed over a residential area at a village 20 km from here around 10.30 a.m. after it took off from the Halwara base, killing four members of a family. The pilot, however, bailed out safely.
A child belonging to the family remained buried in the debris after the wreckage of the aircraft fell over five houses at Mullanpur Dakha, damaging them substantially. - PTI
Probe ordered into MiG crash
By Our Staff Correspondent The Hindu 5 Apr 03
CHANDIGARH, APRIL 4. Seventy-year-old general merchant, Deewan Chand's life was shattered today as his only son, Raju, daughter-in-law Pammi, and Pammi's nephew, Sunny, were killed on the spot when a MiG-23 fighter plane crashed into five houses at Bank Colony in Mullanpur.
Deewan Chand's wife, Bimla Devi, was admitted to DMC Hospital in Ludhiana with 90 per cent burns, while three persons belonging to a neighbour, Parshottam Singh's family were admitted to hospital with 70 per cent burn injuries.
The crash reduced the five houses to a mound of debris. While fire tenders from Halwara air base and Ludhiana struggled to put out the flames, the authorities requistioned men and equipment to speedily remove the debris as a child was said to be still alive in the rubble.
Eyewitnesses who had helped the pilot, B.S. Gill, return to the base after he had bailed out said that according to the pilot the snag developed so suddenly that he could not even contact the Air Traffic Controller. The Air Force, which lost contact with him for an hour, decided finally to send a helicopter to trace any mishap. However, through a mobile phone of a villager, the pilot contacted the base.
While a court of inquiry has been ordered into the mishap, the Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, expressed shock and grief. He announced a grant of Rs. 1 lakh each for the deceased and Rs. 50,000 each for the injured. Air Force, civil and police officers rushed to the spot to supervise relief and rescue operations.
According to sources, with today's crash the total number of mishaps involving IAF fighter aircraft in Punjab and Haryana in the past one year has gone up to seven. These include two Jaguars, three MIG-21 and two MIG-23s.
Last year, a MIG had crashed into a market place in Jalandhar killing nine persons and a few months later another crashed in Moga district. A MiG-21 crashed at Fatehabad in Haryana while a Jaguar met with a mishap in Ambala, killing the pilot. A MiG-21 and a Jaguar crashed at Ambala in September and November, respectively. At least 12 people in the latter mishap.
'Prithvi' test-fired The Hindu 26 Mar 03
Balasore (Orissa) March 26. India today successfully test-fired the short-range missile `Prithvi', capable of carrying nuclear weapons, from the test range at Chandipur-on-Sea near here.
The missile had a perfect lift off from a mobile launcher at about 11.30 a.m., sources at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) said.
Meanwhile, a PTI report from Islamabad said that Pakistan in a reciprocatory move today test-fired a nuclear-capable missile with a range of about 200 km.
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INSAT-3A launch The Hindu 24 Mar 03
Bangalore March 23. After a delay of nearly two months, India's latest communication satellite, INSAT-3A, is all set to be launched on April 8, sources in the Indian Space Research Organisation said today. ``But advancement or postponement by one or two days cannot be ruled out,'' sources said.
The satellite would be lifted into space by European space consortium Arianespace's Ariane-5 rocket from Kourou in French Guyana.

posted by promila 10:54 PM


Monday, May 12, 2003

 
Five years after Pokharan II As a declared nuclear state, what we have is a credible limited deterrent
Jasjit Singh IndianExpress 12 May 03
After the initial hype when nuclear tests were carried out and India declared itself a nuclear weapons state five years ago, mercifully the rhetoric has been generally under control although many leaders felt compelled to say something even if they understood little about them. This factor alone demands that a continuing debate among the widest group of decision makers and opinion shapers should go on so that a clear understanding of the limits, capabilities and the most suitable nuclear weapons strategy is well understood across a broad spectrum of people.
Unlike conventional weapons, nuclear strategy needs to be clearly comprehended by political, bureaucratic and military establishments. It is therefore surprising that parliamentary panels like the 44-member all-party Standing Committee on Defence have consistently shied away from discussing even the broad policy, including the publicly announced official nuclear doctrine. Where do we stand in terms of capability to support the doctrine of credible minimum deterrence with nuclear weapons five years down the line? Reports have been emerging for nearly two years that Pakistans nuclear arsenal is superior to ours. In spite of its pathetic science and technology base, this has a certain truth because it acquired ballistic missiles and nuclear technology already in a developed state from China/North Korea, while we had to develop ours indigenously. But this so-called superiority has little meaning in actual terms. What is important is whether we possess a credible nuclear deterrent.
There is little doubt that we have sufficient quantity of nuclear warheads and fissile material to make more, with yields ranging from sub-kiloton to at least 60 (possibly 100) kiloton yield. Delivery systems in the shape of strike aircraft with ranges of 400-1,000 km exist in the air forces inventory. It is in the missile area that development needs to be expedited. We have the short range Prithvi missile which has undergone fairly extensive testing, but which is unsuitable for nuclear delivery in view of their short range. We have tested the 700-km range solid fuel missile, and testing of the 2,000-km has started. The 3,000-km missile is likely to be ready later this year. There is no doubt that we will finally have reliable ballistic missiles of requisite range and performance in spite of all roadblocks. But the reality is that a credible deterrent requires 5,000-km range solid fuel rail/road mobile intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM), deployed with operational units in adequate numbers along with at least an equal number of dummy missile units for deception purposes. And this seems to be some years away.
The operational reliability of future ballistic missile deserves close attention in future. The 1,500-km Agni technology demonstrator missile had achieved a success rate of only 66 per cent which is grossly inadequate. Testing of IRBMs has been less frequent, and adequate sample is not available to make an accurate judgement of operational reliability. While the DRDO has been confident that a couple of tests are adequate for induction and operational use of ballistic missiles, the experience in other countries, where technology has been commonplace for decades, would indicate the need for a far more extensive testing schedule.
There can also no doubt that a submarine-based nuclear deterrent provides the maximum survivability to the arsenal since a nuclear-powered submarine can remain underwater for long periods. But this also poses problems of central control because of communication challenges with submerged submarines at a distance from our coast. We have yet to build our own submarine, and work on the nuclear power reactor for a submarine has been going on for quite some time. If China, which has far more experience in building ballistic missiles and submarines with a vastly larger defence industrial base, is any indication, a reliable operational nuclear-powered submarine armed with IRBMs could be two decades or more away.
So what does the overall picture amount to? In essence it implies that we have a credible nuclear deterrent capability to deliver an adequate number of nuclear warheads of desired yield over short-medium ranges available with the air force, which also has extensive experience spanning five decades in strategic strike operations. And enough would survive for a punishing retaliatory strike on the aggressor. Building land-based mobile nuclear missile delivery capability is progressing well, but could take another 5-10 years to be operationally effective. The submarine-based nuclear deterrent could be further away. Meanwhile the present capability is adequate to provide a credible deterrent against Pakistan, while the need for other contingencies is not time critical.
What we have after five years as a declared nuclear weapon state, therefore, is a credible limited deterrent. In the ultimate analysis, this capability successfully deterred Pakistan from escalating the Kargil war in 1999. It was, no doubt, clear to Islamabad that on the path to a possible escalation, the air force would dominate its conventional air power and military capabilities while the army and navy were already placed in position to impose high costs militarily if it felt compelled to expand the waras indeed it had done in 1947 and in 1965. But at the end of that escalatory ladder Pakistan would have to face the prospect of losing major military-economic assets, forcing a situation where it would have to decide whether to reach for its nuclear button or not. At that stage, therefore, Islamabad would had to take into account Indian retaliation with nuclear weapons with the promised unacceptable level of punishment. Prudence demanded that it was better not to escalate in the face of Indian nuclear weapons capability. Hence Islamabad opted for the diplomatic route which required its own withdrawal, however grudgingly, and all the consequences that followed
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Astra again test-fired The Hindu 12 May 03
BALASORE MAY 11. India today successfully test-fired Astra, the indigenously developed air-to-air missile, for the second time in three days, from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, 15 km from here.
The 3.8-metre high and 10-inch thick prototype of Astra, to form the main interception armour of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft, lifted off from a specially-erected fixed launcher at 10.58 a.m. in Launch Complex No. 2 of the ITR.
``It is purely a technology demonstration. And the aim of repeated trial is to make the missile and its subsystem 100 per cent error-free,'' said a jubilant DRDO scientist.
The thrust of the current trial was ``to fine-tune its control and guidance system''.
- PTI
Printer
The GSLV-D2 launch vehicle taking off in Sriharikota on Thursday. The Hindu 9 May 03
SRIHARIKOTA May 8. India today took a step forward in realising the dream of placing its satellites in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit (GTO) following the success of the second experimental flight of the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), from the Indian spaceport, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, here.
The first successful flight was on April 18, 2001, when the GSLV D-1 placed a 1540-kg satellite, GSAT-1, in a geo-synchronous transfer orbit. From the GTO, satellites are lifted to their allotted slot by firing the boosters on-board the satellites.
The second developmental flight of the GSLV had a ``textbook'' lift-off at 4.58 p.m. today and stayed on course for 1013.34 seconds to place the 1800-kg GSAT-2 at the appointed slot, a geo-synchronous transfer orbit at the ``right height, the right speed and the right direction.''
``It is one of the most memorable moments. This is a major milestone for ISRO. I am proud of the technological achievement. Most importantly we have full confidence in the vehicle,'' the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman, K. Kasturirangan, said.
Two successful developmental flights are required to acquire the tag `operational' for a launch vehicle. With this flight, the GSLV has delivered and joined the ranks of operational vehicles. The GSLVs, named Mark-1, each costing about Rs. 150 crores, use the Russian cryogenic stage, a crucial part of the launch vehicle. This time, the ISRO Chairman made it a point to thank the Russian delegation for the perfect functioning of the cryo stage. Last time, the stage underperformed, leading to the satellite using up too much of its fuel on-board to reach its orbital slot.
This time the satellite was placed at a GTO of 180.2 km perigee (the nearest point to the earth) and about 36,000 apogee (the farthest point) and an inclination of 19.2 degree at the separation stage. ``The work of the launch vehicle is over. It performed very well,'' said the Mission Director, V. Perumal.
But with the present class of GSLVs, ISRO will not be able to launch its INSAT class of satellites, which are almost twice as heavy. ISRO achieved a 30 per cent gain in payload weight over the last launch through its innovations - enhanced propellant loading in the core solid motor, high pressure engine in the liquid propellant strap-ons and second stage and optimisation of structural elements. In fact, this is the heaviest satellite launched in India.
To launch the 4000-kg class of new INSAT satellites, Mark-3, the fourth generation launch vehicle, is needed. The configuration for this has been finalised and Rs.180 crores was allotted towards the development of systems. ISRO hopes to have the vehicle ready well before the end of the decade
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, and the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, in front of the Light Combat Aircraft, `Tejas', at a function at the Bangalore International Airport on Sunday. - AFP The Hindu 05 May 03
BANGALORE MAY 4. The indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) - the smallest, lightweight, single-engine, single-seat, multi-role, fourth generation combat aircraft - was named "Tejas" (radiance) by the Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, in Bangalore on Sunday.
Speaking at a function to christen the aircraft, the Prime Minister said even in the era of globalisation, in which free movement of goods, technologies and services was a recurring mantra, the country's defence modernisation programme continued to strive for maximum technological autonomy.
He expressed concern that in spite of adopting a responsible policy on missile, nuclear and dual use technologies and taking utmost care to avoid their proliferation, the country continued to face technology denial regimes which tried to impede its weapons development and other programmes.
In this context, Mr. Vajpayee referred to the policy adopted by the country on missile, nuclear, and dual use technologies, and said it was concerned, in the same way as other countries, that these technologies should not fall into the wrong hands.
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, referred to the cynicism expressed by many a few years ago about the LCA and the Advanced Light Helicopter project taking off, and complimented the scientists, engineers, and workers of the organisations concerned for completing the mission.
The Chief of Air Staff, S. Krishnaswamy, said the LCA reflected the total capability of the Indian aviation sector, and he was convinced that the world-class weapon of war could teach any adversary a lesson.
The Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director-General, Aeronautical Development Agency, V.K. Atre, in his welcome address, said the LCA had done 76 flights, and with the prototype vehicle about to join it, it would go supersonic shortly.
Also present on the occasion were the Union Ministers, Ananth Kumar and O. Rajagopal, the Karnataka Governor, T.N. Chaturvedi, and the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna.
Mr. Vajpayee, who witnessed some spectacular demonstrations by Tejas, said the American engines of the aircraft would soon be replaced by the indigenous Kaveri engines to make it 75 to 80 per cent indigenous.
Prithvi test-fired 30 Apr 03
Balasore (Orissa) April 29. India today successfully test-fired, for the second time in one month, the medium range surface-to-surface missile Prithvi, which can strike targets up to a distance of 250 km, a Defence Ministry release said. - PTI
The French Defence Minister, Michele Alliot-Marie, with her Indian counterpart, George Fernandes, at the South Block in New Delhi on Monday. - Photo: Rajeev Bhatt The Hindu 29 Apr 03
NEW DELHI APRIL 28. France has offered a long-lasting military relationship to India in view of the similar vision shared by both countries on the global geo-political situation. Deeper ties could particularly evolve in joint development, technology transfer and sale of hi-tech weapons systems, suggested the visiting French Defence Minister, Michelle Alliot Marie, during an interaction with presspersons here today.
"The intensity of Indo-French defence relationship will get deeper because not only do we have excellent bilateral relations but also have similar vision," she said adding that though most countries were in favour of international democracy, only those countries that had a credible defence deterrent would be heard.
Rounding off her interaction, which included a one-on-one meeting with her counterpart and delegation-level talks chaired by the two Ministers, Ms. Marie felt that France's opposition to the Iraq war had been endorsed by most countries. "It is not a fault if one is trying to avoid casualties. We find that almost all countries have the same conviction." Asked if she expected France to be penalised for opposing the line taken by the United States, she said, on the contrary, France would be rewarded for the position it had taken.
An official news release said that the meeting with the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, covered the global and regional security environment including Afghanistan and Iraq. Discussion also touched Mr. Fernandes' recent visit to China.
France has had intermittent ties in military-to-military relationship and is seeking to improve them substantially by offering technology for the indigenous production of missiles and submarines.
The French Minister was hopeful that the multi-billion contract for the construction of six submarines at an Indian shipyard would be signed before the end of the year.
French companies have also been playing a substantial role in India's quest for a light combat aircraft.
The Minister said France had offered the sale of its upgraded Mirage 2000-5 to India along with technology transfer. Though the latest Mirage version is one among several offers made to New Delhi, it is considered the frontrunner because one of the earlier versions is already part of the IAF fleet. Paris has also offered thermal imagers for the Army's T-72 and T-90 tanks and angular determination system for artillery.
The three service chiefs also called on Ms. Marie.
'Lakshya' test-flown The Hindu 28 Apr 03
Balasore, (Orissa), April 27. The indigenously built Pilotless Target Aircraft ``Lakshya'' was successfully test-flown from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur-on-Sea, about 15 km from here, today. It had already been inducted into the defence force in 2000. Today's flight was of a developed engine version used for reconnaissance on the battlefield including target acquisition. - UNI
Stealth Warship Launched. The Hindu 19 Apr 03
MUMBAI April 18. As the naval band played the marching tune of "Sare Jehan Se" and the crowd lustily cheered, India's first stealth warship was launched here today.
Before launching the indigenously designed and built frigate, Kaumudi Kumari, wife of the Navy Chief, Madhvendra Singh, applied a `tilak' on the ship's hull and broke a coconut on it. She named the frigate, "Shivalik" and pressed the launch trigger.
The deck of the "Shivalik" was lined with buntings made of the tricolour and its builders, workers and technicians at the Mazagon Docks were cheered by the naval and civilian dignitaries led by the Defence Minister, George Fernandes.
They released balloons of the tricolour. The "Shivalik" will acquire the initials `INS' (Indian Naval Ship) when it gets commissioned into the Navy, December 2005. It will undergo sea trials and fitting of weapons and other machinery. Now, the frigate only has the hull and the propulsion engine. After commissioning, it will undergo extensive trials on its systems onboard to ensure that they worked in tandem . Six months of trials will make the ship battleworthy.
By then Mazagon Docks would have launched two more sister ships of the "Shivalik" to be called "Sahyadri" and "Satpuda". The three frigates are of the design called Project 17 class which is unofficially called the New Nilgiri Class, named after the peaks and mountains.
The "Shivalik" is the lowest of the Himalayan ranges that extends 2500 km, offering beautiful scenic points and spots for skiing and rafting. This range and the ocean are part of the crest of the "INS Shivalik" with the Ramadao sword, a native of the range.
Mr. Fernandes said three more frigates of this class were on the cards. It was reported earlier that the stealth frigates are going to be the mainstay of the Indian Navy's surface combatants and the plan was to build a dozen of them.
The ``Shivalik'' and its sisters are 143 metre long and 16.9 metre wide (at beam). Their stealth character diminishes physical signatures - radar, infra red and sound - making it difficult for an enemy to detect and attack them.
For this, their decks are angled, the noise making machinery and equipment are placed on cushioned mounts and heat emission is controlled.
These frigates when fully armed displace 4,900 tonnes, much smaller than the Delhi class of destroyers, their weapons package is far more potent. These include anti-air and anti-submarine missiles and guns and also long range strike weapons.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, talking to reporters later, refused to identify the weapons.
Commodore Kang, chairman and managing director of the Mazagon Docks, said the sanctioned cost of the Project 17 frigates was Rs. 700 crores apiece at the prices of 1994 and one had to recalculate the cost on completion. He expected the figure to go up to Rs. 2,000 crores.



posted by promila 10:37 AM


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