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Friday, July 25, 2003

 
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, showing the thumbs-up sign before he took off in a Sukhoi fighter aircraft in Pune on Sunday. — Reuters the Hindu 23 Jun 03
Pune June 22. India had no reason to worry irrespective of whether the United States went ahead with its plan to sell `offensive' aircraft such as F-16 to Pakistan as it had Sukhois to match, the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said here today.
"First, the U.S. has described as false the report that it is intending to sell F-16s to Pakistan," Mr. Fernandes said. "Second, even if we assume that they are going to sell it, we need not have any reason to worry about it as we have our own aircraft to match," he said.
Most of Pakistan's armoury was either U.S.-made or made in China, hence there was no reason to worry as it was a business deal between two countries, he added.
To a question on the growing number of accidents of MiG aircraft, the Minister said, "on the contrary the rate of accidents has come down". "From the time the MiGs were inducted into the IAF, there has been accidents, but it is only now that they are being more noticed by the media."
He was particularly critical of the media dubbing the MiG aircraft `flying coffins' and said it was a great injustice to the pilots of the aircraft.
`The MiG is a high-performance machine and to prove that there is nothing wrong with the aircraft, the then Air Chief Marshal, A.Y. Tipnis, flew the single-seater aircraft hopping from one airbase to another when he had taken over as the Air Chief," Mr. Fernandes said.
On his 40-minute flying sortie on board the IAF SU-30 MKI at the Pune airbase. "I am wiser after the flight today. So much needs to be known. I am leaving with the conviction that our fighter pilots' work is to be made easier than it is. A physical situation can knock out the pilot, it is not enough to say that he went in the defence of the country," he said.
On the ways to prevent MiG accidents, he said "people need to be educated about the dangers to aircraft from bird-hits and must be made aware of the importance of keeping the surroundings (of the airports/air bases) clean to prevent birds from nesting in these places".
U.S. reply awaited on troops for Iraq
On the issue of sending troops to Iraq, Mr. Fernandes said India was awaiting replies to certain queries from the U.S. before taking any decision. The NDA partners had discussed the issue on Saturday at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. — PTI, UNI
Trishul test-fired
Balasore June 23. For the second consecutive day, Trishul, was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from here today.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the surface-to-air missile, was launched from a mobile launcher at around 5.15 pm. — PTI

Another test-firing
Balasore, (Orissa), June 24. The short range surface-to-air missile Trishul was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea, for the third consecutive day today.
The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher at 1.20 p.m., ITR sources said

Nod for mobiles in J&K
NEW DELHI JULY 2. The dream of having a cell-phone in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir received a boost after the Union Home Ministry cleared the proposal for starting the service in the State.
The proposal would have to be finally cleared by the Ministry of Defence.
PTI

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Electronic warfare systems for J&K
By Sandeep Dikshit the HIndu 3 Jul 03
NEW DELHI JULY 2. The Ministry of Defence is planning to put in place an elaborate network of electronic warfare (EW) systems in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast to help the security forces counter the terrorist threat. The idea is to equip the security forces with improved and upgraded communications infrastructure to counter the advanced communications systems being used by terrorist groups.
Some systems have already been set up in Jammu and Kashmir and satisfied with their performance, much bigger projects — Rikki-II and Rikki-III are underway.
The Army is essentially following a two-pronged approach in equipping its men combating low intensity warfare with the latest electronic devices. The first is to spot intruders through hand-held thermal imagers and the second is to detect, jam and record communications between insurgents and their command headquarters. Officials expect the systems to be deployed in most parts of the State in two years provided the reluctance of officials to finalise major equipment purchase decisions does not come in the way.
While binocular and monocular variants of the thermal imagers capable of detecting body heat at night are man-specific, the setting up of low-intensity conflict electronic warfare (LIC-EW) systems is a complex process. In technical terms, they comprise two parts — electronic support measures and electronic countermeasures — that have to be integrated. The equipment then has to be painstakingly customised to specific requirements. Its installation will help detect the source of radio transmissions. Jamming of transmissions is being carried out in a limited manner through the "Rikki-I" projectand the two subsequent projects are expected to lend further teeth to these operations.
Of the companies that had responded to the Defence Ministry's request for proposals, two were shortlisted. With the technical evaluations having been nearly completed, the commercial bids of Thales of France and Elta of Israel will be opened soon. The lowest bidder is expected to be invited for negotiations, as per Central Vigilance Commission norms.
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MiG crash
Ferozepur July 7. A MiG 23 fighter plane of the Indian Air Force today crashed into paddy fields near Mahianwala Kalan village around 30 km from the district headquarters, police said.
The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Nikhil Gupta, ejected safely and was slightly
The HIndyu 8 JUl 03
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No troops for Iraq without explicit U.N. mandate: India
By Amit Baruah The HIndu15 Jul 03
NEW DELHI July 14. India today formally decided not to send its troops to Iraq under the American and British command. As expected, the Cabinet Committee on Security considered the issue and politely declined the request of the United States.
After a 90-minute CCS meeting at the Prime Minister's residence, the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said: "The Government of India has given careful thought to the question of sending Indian troops to Iraq... were there to be an explicit U.N. (United Nations) mandate for the purpose, the Government of India could consider the deployment of our troops in Iraq."
In essence, the decision makes it clear that if there is an explicit U.N. mandate in the form of a clear Security Council resolution, then New Delhi could consider the deployment of Indian troops in Iraq; not otherwise.
The CCS meeting was presided over by the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, the Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, K.C. Pant, the National Security Adviser, Brajesh Mishra, as well as Mr. Sinha.
Official sources said that just before Mr. Sinha read out a prepared statement on the troops issue, Mr. Mishra telephoned the U.S. Ambassador, Robert Blackwill, and conveyed the Government's decision not to deploy troops.
Mr. Sinha said: "Our longer-term national interest, our concern for the people of Iraq, our long-standing ties with the Gulf region as a whole, as well as our growing dialogue and strengthened ties with the U.S. have been key elements in this consideration (of the American request)."
"India remains ready to respond to the urgent needs of the Iraqi people for stability, security, political progress and economic reconstruction. Were there to be an explicit U.N. mandate for the purpose, the Government of India could consider the deployment of troops in Iraq.
"In the meanwhile, Government of India is ready to contribute to the restoration of infrastructure, medical, health, educational, communications and other civilian needs of the Iraqi people. As a concrete gesture of our support to the Iraqi people, we are already planning to set up, jointly with Jordan, a hospital in Najaf in Iraq," the statement added.
Official sources explained the phrase "in the meanwhile" as indicating that India would do everything possible to help the people of Iraq between now and the possible enactment of a U.N. Security Council resolution on the deployment of troops. The Government was "correct" in formally conveying the decision not to deploy troops under the present conditions to the U.S. Ambassador before the "news" became public knowledge.
The CCS decision comes exactly a week before the monsoon session of Parliament gets under way. With this, the Vajpayee Government will be in a position to fend off any criticism from the Opposition on the Iraq troops' issue. The principal Opposition party, Congress, had made it clear that it would raise this issue in Parliament. Some constituent members of the ruling National Democratic Alliance were also against the deployment of Indian troops.
The first public indication that the Government might say "no" to the American request came from the Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, when he said in Washington that there were "grey" areas and "unresolved ambiguities" in the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483.
The sources made it clear that domestic political considerations were the key factor that determined the Government's decision. The U.S., too, had requested the Government of India to decide one way or the other its request to deploy the troops.
Ties will continue: U.S.
In a related development, a U.S. Embassy spokesman stated: "As we have said before, this was a decision for the Government of India to make... while we had hoped India would take a different decision, the transformation of U.S.-India relations will continue as before. India remains an important strategic partner for the U.S."
Separately, the Foreign Office spokesman welcomed the formation of a new "governing council" in Iraq.
He maintained that this was a positive development that marked the first stage in the involvement of the Iraqi people in their affairs as envisaged by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483. The spokesman said New Delhi had "noted" that this "governing council" did not just have advisory functions, but had executive authority as well.

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Pilot escapes Jaguar fire, IAF denies crash Indian express 23 Juol 03
Ambala, July 22: In the second mishap involving an IAF fighter aircraft in less than a week, a Jaguar today caught fire and veered off the runway during take-off from the Air Force station here but the pilot was rescued by firefighters.
The incident took place at about 4.15 pm when the aircraft was about to take off for an exercise sortie.
An IAF spokesman said in Delhi the pilot of the aircraft, Flt Lt S. Kanvinde, aborted the take-off as he noticed the fire. Kanvinde was pulled out of the burning aircraft by fire tenders.
Eyewitnesses said the aircraft caught fire near a watertank and three fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames. ‘‘The extent of the damage to the aircraft is being assessed and a court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident,’’ the spokesperson said, adding it was not a crash.
In Ambala, the Air Force authorities wouldn’t confirm the crash and insisted everything was normal. Even the officer incharge at the Air Force Station told some officers, including the tehsildar sent by the district administration, that they didn’t need any help as it wasn’t a crash. Repeated efforts to contact Air Force Authorities proved futile.
Last week, a MiG-21 crashed in J-K killing both the pilot and the co-pilot. This was the seventh air mishap involving fighter aircraft of IAF this year. In all, two Jaguars, two MiG-23 and three MiG-21 aircraft have crashed in the past six months.
Ten IAF fighter aircraft have crashed in Punjab and Haryana since April last year - four of them MiG-21s, and three each of MiG-23 and Jaguar. Today’s crash was also the fifth at the Ambala Air Force Station. In May 2002, a Jaguar crashed while flying and its pilot was killed. The second incident occurred in Novembr 2002 in which a Jaguar fighter plane crashed at village Dalipgarh near here killing 13 people
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India Signs Deals for six submarines with france
Indian Express 23 Jul 03
Chennai, July 22: India is all set to obtain six submarines from France, French Ambassador to India M. Dominique Girard said today. Addressing mediapersons here, the Ambassador said that India is soon going to firm up a deal with the French government to buy Scorpene submarines which are second only to nuclear submarines in performance.
These submarines, which can be used for combat, would be built in India in a technology transfer venture, Girard said. France is the third-largest supplier of defence equipment to India after Russia and Israel.
Apart from defence equipment, India is also buying 43 civilian planes. These would be Airbus short range planes, he said.
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MiG that crashed, killed 2, was bought second-hand IAF bought decommissioned aircraft from Ukraine; Air Chief says: ‘Not as if it’s junk’ Indian express 20 Jul 03
bhavna VIj Arora
New Delhi, July 19: The MiG 21 which crashed in Srinagar earlier this week, killing both the pilots, was an aircraft the Ukraine Air Force had decommissioned. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had purchased it second-hand three years ago.
This was the third MiG 21 crash this year, and a dozen had crashed last year.
The IAF, in the past four years, purchased over 15 MiG 21 (Type 69) trainers from Romania and CIS countries - all second-hand and decommissioned by their air forces.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, when contacted, said that the IAF had been purchasing second-hand aircraft from the CIS countries since mid-1990s. However, he could not confirm, off-hand, that the particular aircraft which crashed five days ago was from the lot. ‘‘I will have to check that,’’ he said. About the aircraft having been decommissioned, he said there was nothing like ‘‘decommissioning right across the world.’’
‘‘It’s just that one may not want it, but some other may,’’ he said. However, the Air Chief assured that the aircraft were overhauled and a guarantee and warranty obtained for them. ‘‘A technical team goes from here to check and ensure that the aircraft being purchased have total technical life, which differs from one MiG variant to another, depending upon engine type and airframe. It is not as if we are buying junk,’’ he added. He said the blackbox of the MiG 21 which crashed in Srinagar had been found and an inquiry was on.
‘‘As of now, it appears that everything in the aircraft was ticking till the moment of the crash,’’ he said. The IAF had been phasing out its own MiG 21 trainers gradually as their technical life expired. However, in the absence of modern training technology like simulators, the Air Force had been buying these aircraft from CIS countries. Moreover, sources added that there were only four simulators for over 300 MiG aircraft, and they were all old and outdated.
‘‘They cannot simulate the technology and techniques of modern warfare,’’ said sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD). India has now started to manufacture simulators for the upgraded MiG 21-Bison at Nasik.

MiG that crashed, killed 2, was bought second-hand IAF bought decommissioned aircraft from Ukraine; Air Chief says: ‘Not as if it’s junk’
Post-heroic war: Why US wants our troopsIndian Exress 19 Jul 03 Ejaz Haider4The Indian Government has finally refused to send its troops to Iraq and formally notified the Bush administration of its decision. But the issue is still open in Pakistan. The question of why the United States would want Pakistani and Indian troops in Iraq is important. There are three broad reasons for it. The first is legal. Despaired of winning the legal battle within the existing legal-normative framework, the US decided to use force to impact law. As history proves, on such occasions, great powers resort to force to establish a new legal-normative framework. This is what the US has tried to do; first, by using force and then by pushing the UNSC into giving legal cover to what was deemed illegal. This, the UNSC has almost done by eschewing the debate on the war’s legality. Yet, without a wider acceptance, the ground reality cannot be turned into a new legal norm. It is important to co-opt other states to contribute to post-war efforts. This is the second aspect, the political. The willingness of other states to work in post-war Iraq - whether under the occupying powers or the UN Special Representative - would, through state practice, establish the norm. The political is linked to the factor of legality. Indeed, the legality of the new norm can be firmly established only when the legal and the political can be made to overlap. Until there is a disconnect between the two, the political could always be challenged on the basis of it being illegal and the legal would always remain vulnerable to the vagaries of the political. The third factor relates to the operational deployment of troops. There are two issues here: the number of troops the US went to war with and the low-intensity war it has had to fight since hostilities were declared over by President Bush. The war was waged on the basis of the doctrine of ‘‘Shock and Awe’’ to achieve ‘‘Rapid Dominance’’. The concept was first put out in 1996 in a paper written by Harlan Ullman and James P. Wade et al for the National Defence University. Rapid dominance, as opposed to the Powell Doctrine of ‘‘Decisive Force’’, envisaged a smaller force capable of controlling and achieving mastery of the environment ‘‘at extraordinary speed and across tactical, strategic, and political levels (to) destroy the (enemy’s) will to resist’’. At least in theory, force under Rapid Dominance is to be applied pervasively and simultaneously. This entails for the plan to obtain not just physical but also psychological effects throughout the spectrum of combat by fielding a range of capabilities in order to render the adversary impotent. The concept emphasises the ability to dominate with smaller forces, rapidly, decisively and without necessarily inflicting high attrition on the adversary. Before the onset of the war, most US experts and strategists were convinced that the Iraqis would rise in revolt against Saddam Hussein and welcome the coalition troops. The relative ease with which the Iraq Front fell seemed to vindicate the original assessments. A smaller, rapidly advancing force dominated the environment and destroyed the enemy’s will to resist. Now we have the prospect of a long, low-intensity warfare. This kind of war and battlefield environment is very different from the first phase. Given the daily attacks on the US troops and the occupying powers’ obligations under resolution 1483, suddenly the ratios of space demand the deployment of a much larger force. But there is more, and this is what Edward Luttwak called the ‘‘post-heroic war’’ in his book, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace. Discussing the Kosovo war, Luttwak termed it ‘‘post-heroic’’, a war in which the US military sustained zero casualties. But equally interesting - and somewhat disconcerting for Luttwak - is the reluctance of the US military and political leadership to sustain casualties. This finds reflection in his narration of the famous incident of the Apache helicopter gunships that never flew. Luttwak’s point is that ‘‘modern, post-industrial societies’’ refuse to accept war’s human losses because post-industrial families have one or two children - ‘‘all of whom are expected to survive, and each of whom embodies a much larger share of the family’s emotional capital’’. (Indeed, Luttwak says that other factors like media and TV coverage may be peripheral and substantiates this by describing the aversion of the Soviet society to the deaths of its soldiers in Afghanistan and, now, in Chechnya.) This refusal to accept human losses and the political costs it entails for the leaders poses a problem for great powers (invariably post-industrial in this era) that have, historically, fought to secure not just vital interests but to sustain their great-power status, maximise their interests and even come to the help of allies where their core interests aren’t directly threatened: ‘‘They (great powers) could only remain ‘great’ if they were seen to be willing and able to use force even to protect interests far from vital, and indeed to acquire more ‘non-vital’ interests, whether in the form of distant possessions or further additions to their spheres of influence’’. In the past, great powers had a different demographic profile with families averaging six or seven children. Young deaths through disease and other causes were common and thus much more acceptable. That stoicism is absent in post-industrial societies. So, what should great powers that still need to fight wars that are not strictly defensive in nature do with the new, post-industrial demographic profile? In the battlefield this is partly answered by technology, what the world saw in Kosovo, and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. But while defeating the adversary through remote-controlled violence is one thing, holding ground and exploiting the gains there still require the deployment and employment of infantry and its supporting arms. And in a situation where ground forces are likely to face combat, even irregular combat, an army has to face up to and accept casualties. Luttwak’s way out: ‘‘Historically, societies unwilling to suffer combat casualties have turned to mercenaries, both foreign and ‘denationalised’’ local volunteers.’’ He mentions the British Gurkha regiments and the French Foreign Legion as two examples. This is precisely what Washington wants to do in Iraq. Bush’s presidential campaign cannot afford body bags even if it is a trickle. What better way than to pay to get troops from other states while keeping overall command as an occupying power and continue to pursue the agenda for which the war was waged. This is why it is so important for Pakistan not to send its troops to Iraq at this stage. As I wrote last week, let us wait for the events to unfold. - The Friday Times


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Book exposes Pak-Israel arms nexus times of india 25 JUL 03

PTI [ FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2003 12:00:57 PM ]

NEW DELHI: Most of the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union was fought by mujahideen and Pakistani soldiers using Israeli arms supplied after General Zia ul Haq entered into secret deals with the Israelis, a book published in the US has claimed.
The book Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History throws light on secret Pakistan Army-Israeli deals and their cooperation through the CIA.
The book claims that the deal was struck through the US Congressman Charles Wilson from Texas, a great pro-Pakistan activist who hated the Indians. He was the central figure to get these CIA-funded weapons for Pakistan and is credited in the book as the man who broke up the Soviet Union with the help of a 48-year old Houston woman with whom General Zia ul Haq also had an affair.
The book, written by journalist George Crile, says that Wilson made a proposal to General Zia to deal with the Israelis during Zia's first visit to US after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The proposal was made at a grand dinner hosted by the Houston lady, Joanne Herring, who was named later as Honorary Consul of Pakistan and became a critical player in the war.
"American liberals and human-rights advocates would never change their view of Zia as a thug, but his American visit was something of a triumph, and Joanne's dinner was part of the reason it succeeded," the book, whose excerpts were published by the US-based Pakistani newsportal South Asia Tribune, said.
The Pakistani-Israeli nexus was built up at a dinner hosted by Joanne. "Zia had dangerous decisions to make in the coming months about the CIA's involvement in his inflamed North-West Frontier, this was not the sort of proposal just anyone could have made. But by now, the Pakistanis believed that Charles Wilson had been decisive in getting them the disputed F-16 radar systems.
"As he (Zia) saw it, Wilson had pulled off the impossible. Now the Congressman, in his tuxedo, began to take Zia into the forbidden world where the Israelis were prepared to make deals no one need hear about."
Zia, ever the pragmatist, smiled on the proposal, adding, "Just don't put any Stars of David on the boxes," the book claimed. It adds, Wilson cut the Pak-Israel deal even without CIA's knowledge.
"Within weeks, they began developing an astonishing collection of weapons. The Spanish mortar, for example, was designed to make it possible for the mujahideen to communicate directly with American navigation satellites to deliver repeated rounds within inches of their designated targets. Global-positioning technology is well known today, but back in 1985 it struck Wilson as the most astonishing capability.
The weapon's name was purposefully misleading, chosen to conceal the fact that major portions of this "Spanish mortar" were being built by the Israelis. When the weapon was first used, it wiped out an entire Spetsnaz outpost with a volley of perfect strikes, the book said.
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Indo-Iran gas still in pipeline
C R JAYACHANDRAN/TIMESOFINDIA.COM

TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2003 01:28:41 PM ]
timeos of india 25 jul 03
NEW DELHI: The nascent peace process notwithstanding, India is still sceptical of the proposed Indo-Iran natural gas pipeline through Pakistan, fearing safety of the nearly $4-billion project.
Highly placed government sources said here on Friday that the government of India had serious security concerns in laying an overland pipeline from Iran through Pakistan despite the thaw in Indo-Pak ties.
India's apprehension over the onshore gas pipeline project passing through Pakistan was conveyed to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh, during his visit to New Delhi this week, sources said. Iran understood that safety was the top priority for India while deciding the medium of transportation of gas, they added.
The government of India also informed the Iranian minister that talks on the trans-border gas pipeline project would be futile till Islamabad restored normal trade and economic relations with New Delhi.
However, Pakistan had been maintaining that it would ensure the security of the proposed project.
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who had fully agreed with the proposal, was quoted as saying that the project would strengthen the economy in the region.
Iran, however, hopes that renewal of ties between New Delhi and Islamabad will help in expediting talks on the proposed gas pipeline project.
Sources said both India and Iran had agreed on a joint technical committee meeting soon to study the feasibility for the transfer of gas. A high-level official Indian delegation is expected to visit Tehran in October.
The joint Indo-Iran panel will look at three options to transport gas: a deep-sea pipeline, a land pipeline or sea tankers, sources added.
At the end of a two-day trip to India, Aminzadeh had said New Delhi and Tehran had agreed to resume discussions on the plan and prepare a report before Indian and Iranian foreign ministers meet in December.
But Aminzadeh added that India and Iran are studying "the feasibility of both an offshore and an onshore pipeline". He said Iran was hopeful that India and Pakistan would work toward making an onshore pipeline a feasible project, because it would be much cheaper and more beneficial for all three countries.
"We are optimistic that the economic justification (of the pipeline) will overshadow any obstacle, especially political differences," he said. "The gas pipeline is a gigantic project that can change the face of South Asia," he added.
According to Iranian officials, during his meeting with Indian officials, Aminzadeh saw "positive signs."
But any final decision will hinge on safety of imports, particularly because India may soon have a critical dependence on gas supplies for industry and development.
The proposed $4 billion pipeline would run 1,600 kilometres from Iran to the Pakistani province of Sindh before travelling another 1,000 kilometres to India.
The second option of a deep-sea pipeline from Iran to India is being given more attention following the raising of safety concerns for the onshore project. The offshore gas pipeline had earlier been kept on the backburner mainly due to the high cost and technical problems.
Iran had engaged Italy’s energy giant ENI for working on a feasibility study for the construction of an offshore gas pipeline connecting India with Iran.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) had expressed apprehensions on the deepwater pipeline stating that this would require huge investments and would also pose technical challenges.
NIOC had also stated that Iran was waiting for the results of the world’s first deep sea pipeline being constructed in the Black Sea which is only 2,000 metres deep.
India is currently importing 50 per cent of gas, with the figure going up as energy consumption is rising by about five per cent every year.
Officials said Iran has emerged as India's gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe. New Delhi and Tehran are working together to develop transport corridors from India to these destinations through Iranian territory. The officials hoped that this strategic cooperation between India and Iran would spell economic convergence for South Asia.
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We don't recognise Arunachal Pradesh: China

Anil K Joseph Indian Express 25 Jul 03
Beijing, July 25: Saying that it has not recognised Arunachal Pradesh as part of India, China on Friday alleged that "Indian people" crossed the eastern sector of Line of Actual Control in the North-Eastern state and not its forces as claimed by New Delhi.
Denying a report published in a Delhi newspaper that Chinese forces had transgressed into Indian territory near the LAC when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was visiting Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said China does not recognise that Arunachal Pradesh is part of India.
"We have noted the relevant report. China does not recognise the so-called Arunachal Pradesh mentioned by the Indian newspaper report," Kong said.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman on Thursday said that the Indian government was aware of the transgression of the LAC by a Chinese patrol on June 26, 2003 in Asaphila area of the upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. This is an area where there are differences in perception of the LAC between the two sides.
Kong said "as far as the incident mentioned, after investigations, we have found that the Indian side crossed the eastern sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). At the request of the Chinese side, the Indian people who crossed the LAC, returned to the Indian side of the LAC.”
China lays claim to 90,000 sq km of land in Arunachal Pradesh and does not recognise the North-Eastern state as part of Indian territory.
India accuses China of occupying approximately 38,000 square kilometres of territory in Kashmir. In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'boundary agreement' of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km of Indian territory in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to China.
Officials from the two sides have met 15 times since late 1980s in an effort to find a peaceful solution to the border dispute.
However, the little progress has been achieved with both sides only managing to exchange sample maps of the middle sector, the least contentious among the eastern, middle and western sectors.
Taking into account the lack of progress, during Vajpayee's visit to China, both governments appointed a special representative to explore from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relationship, the framework of a boundary settlement.
While India appointed National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra as its special representative, China named executive vice foreign minister Dai Bingguo as its special representative.
The two sides had also agreed on the continued maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and continued implementation of the 1993 and 1996 agreements including clarification of the LAC.
The first-ever joint statement signed by the Indian and Chinese prime ministers also reiterated their readiness to seek "a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through consultations on an equal footing."

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posted by promila 4:15 AM

 
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes, showing the thumbs-up sign before he took off in a Sukhoi fighter aircraft in Pune on Sunday. — Reuters the Hindu 23 Jun 03
Pune June 22. India had no reason to worry irrespective of whether the United States went ahead with its plan to sell `offensive' aircraft such as F-16 to Pakistan as it had Sukhois to match, the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, said here today.
"First, the U.S. has described as false the report that it is intending to sell F-16s to Pakistan," Mr. Fernandes said. "Second, even if we assume that they are going to sell it, we need not have any reason to worry about it as we have our own aircraft to match," he said.
Most of Pakistan's armoury was either U.S.-made or made in China, hence there was no reason to worry as it was a business deal between two countries, he added.
To a question on the growing number of accidents of MiG aircraft, the Minister said, "on the contrary the rate of accidents has come down". "From the time the MiGs were inducted into the IAF, there has been accidents, but it is only now that they are being more noticed by the media."
He was particularly critical of the media dubbing the MiG aircraft `flying coffins' and said it was a great injustice to the pilots of the aircraft.
`The MiG is a high-performance machine and to prove that there is nothing wrong with the aircraft, the then Air Chief Marshal, A.Y. Tipnis, flew the single-seater aircraft hopping from one airbase to another when he had taken over as the Air Chief," Mr. Fernandes said.
On his 40-minute flying sortie on board the IAF SU-30 MKI at the Pune airbase. "I am wiser after the flight today. So much needs to be known. I am leaving with the conviction that our fighter pilots' work is to be made easier than it is. A physical situation can knock out the pilot, it is not enough to say that he went in the defence of the country," he said.
On the ways to prevent MiG accidents, he said "people need to be educated about the dangers to aircraft from bird-hits and must be made aware of the importance of keeping the surroundings (of the airports/air bases) clean to prevent birds from nesting in these places".
U.S. reply awaited on troops for Iraq
On the issue of sending troops to Iraq, Mr. Fernandes said India was awaiting replies to certain queries from the U.S. before taking any decision. The NDA partners had discussed the issue on Saturday at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security. — PTI, UNI
Trishul test-fired
Balasore June 23. For the second consecutive day, Trishul, was successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from here today.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the surface-to-air missile, was launched from a mobile launcher at around 5.15 pm. — PTI

Another test-firing
Balasore, (Orissa), June 24. The short range surface-to-air missile Trishul was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur-on-sea, for the third consecutive day today.
The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher at 1.20 p.m., ITR sources said

Nod for mobiles in J&K
NEW DELHI JULY 2. The dream of having a cell-phone in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir received a boost after the Union Home Ministry cleared the proposal for starting the service in the State.
The proposal would have to be finally cleared by the Ministry of Defence.
PTI

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Electronic warfare systems for J&K
By Sandeep Dikshit the HIndu 3 Jul 03
NEW DELHI JULY 2. The Ministry of Defence is planning to put in place an elaborate network of electronic warfare (EW) systems in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast to help the security forces counter the terrorist threat. The idea is to equip the security forces with improved and upgraded communications infrastructure to counter the advanced communications systems being used by terrorist groups.
Some systems have already been set up in Jammu and Kashmir and satisfied with their performance, much bigger projects — Rikki-II and Rikki-III are underway.
The Army is essentially following a two-pronged approach in equipping its men combating low intensity warfare with the latest electronic devices. The first is to spot intruders through hand-held thermal imagers and the second is to detect, jam and record communications between insurgents and their command headquarters. Officials expect the systems to be deployed in most parts of the State in two years provided the reluctance of officials to finalise major equipment purchase decisions does not come in the way.
While binocular and monocular variants of the thermal imagers capable of detecting body heat at night are man-specific, the setting up of low-intensity conflict electronic warfare (LIC-EW) systems is a complex process. In technical terms, they comprise two parts — electronic support measures and electronic countermeasures — that have to be integrated. The equipment then has to be painstakingly customised to specific requirements. Its installation will help detect the source of radio transmissions. Jamming of transmissions is being carried out in a limited manner through the "Rikki-I" projectand the two subsequent projects are expected to lend further teeth to these operations.
Of the companies that had responded to the Defence Ministry's request for proposals, two were shortlisted. With the technical evaluations having been nearly completed, the commercial bids of Thales of France and Elta of Israel will be opened soon. The lowest bidder is expected to be invited for negotiations, as per Central Vigilance Commission norms.
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MiG crash
Ferozepur July 7. A MiG 23 fighter plane of the Indian Air Force today crashed into paddy fields near Mahianwala Kalan village around 30 km from the district headquarters, police said.
The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Nikhil Gupta, ejected safely and was slightly
The HIndyu 8 JUl 03
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No troops for Iraq without explicit U.N. mandate: India
By Amit Baruah The HIndu15 Jul 03
NEW DELHI July 14. India today formally decided not to send its troops to Iraq under the American and British command. As expected, the Cabinet Committee on Security considered the issue and politely declined the request of the United States.
After a 90-minute CCS meeting at the Prime Minister's residence, the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said: "The Government of India has given careful thought to the question of sending Indian troops to Iraq... were there to be an explicit U.N. (United Nations) mandate for the purpose, the Government of India could consider the deployment of our troops in Iraq."
In essence, the decision makes it clear that if there is an explicit U.N. mandate in the form of a clear Security Council resolution, then New Delhi could consider the deployment of Indian troops in Iraq; not otherwise.
The CCS meeting was presided over by the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and attended by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, the Defence Minister, George Fernandes, the Union Finance Minister, Jaswant Singh, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, K.C. Pant, the National Security Adviser, Brajesh Mishra, as well as Mr. Sinha.
Official sources said that just before Mr. Sinha read out a prepared statement on the troops issue, Mr. Mishra telephoned the U.S. Ambassador, Robert Blackwill, and conveyed the Government's decision not to deploy troops.
Mr. Sinha said: "Our longer-term national interest, our concern for the people of Iraq, our long-standing ties with the Gulf region as a whole, as well as our growing dialogue and strengthened ties with the U.S. have been key elements in this consideration (of the American request)."
"India remains ready to respond to the urgent needs of the Iraqi people for stability, security, political progress and economic reconstruction. Were there to be an explicit U.N. mandate for the purpose, the Government of India could consider the deployment of troops in Iraq.
"In the meanwhile, Government of India is ready to contribute to the restoration of infrastructure, medical, health, educational, communications and other civilian needs of the Iraqi people. As a concrete gesture of our support to the Iraqi people, we are already planning to set up, jointly with Jordan, a hospital in Najaf in Iraq," the statement added.
Official sources explained the phrase "in the meanwhile" as indicating that India would do everything possible to help the people of Iraq between now and the possible enactment of a U.N. Security Council resolution on the deployment of troops. The Government was "correct" in formally conveying the decision not to deploy troops under the present conditions to the U.S. Ambassador before the "news" became public knowledge.
The CCS decision comes exactly a week before the monsoon session of Parliament gets under way. With this, the Vajpayee Government will be in a position to fend off any criticism from the Opposition on the Iraq troops' issue. The principal Opposition party, Congress, had made it clear that it would raise this issue in Parliament. Some constituent members of the ruling National Democratic Alliance were also against the deployment of Indian troops.
The first public indication that the Government might say "no" to the American request came from the Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal, when he said in Washington that there were "grey" areas and "unresolved ambiguities" in the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483.
The sources made it clear that domestic political considerations were the key factor that determined the Government's decision. The U.S., too, had requested the Government of India to decide one way or the other its request to deploy the troops.
Ties will continue: U.S.
In a related development, a U.S. Embassy spokesman stated: "As we have said before, this was a decision for the Government of India to make... while we had hoped India would take a different decision, the transformation of U.S.-India relations will continue as before. India remains an important strategic partner for the U.S."
Separately, the Foreign Office spokesman welcomed the formation of a new "governing council" in Iraq.
He maintained that this was a positive development that marked the first stage in the involvement of the Iraqi people in their affairs as envisaged by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1483. The spokesman said New Delhi had "noted" that this "governing council" did not just have advisory functions, but had executive authority as well.

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Pilot escapes Jaguar fire, IAF denies crash Indian express 23 Juol 03
Ambala, July 22: In the second mishap involving an IAF fighter aircraft in less than a week, a Jaguar today caught fire and veered off the runway during take-off from the Air Force station here but the pilot was rescued by firefighters.
The incident took place at about 4.15 pm when the aircraft was about to take off for an exercise sortie.
An IAF spokesman said in Delhi the pilot of the aircraft, Flt Lt S. Kanvinde, aborted the take-off as he noticed the fire. Kanvinde was pulled out of the burning aircraft by fire tenders.
Eyewitnesses said the aircraft caught fire near a watertank and three fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames. ‘‘The extent of the damage to the aircraft is being assessed and a court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident,’’ the spokesperson said, adding it was not a crash.
In Ambala, the Air Force authorities wouldn’t confirm the crash and insisted everything was normal. Even the officer incharge at the Air Force Station told some officers, including the tehsildar sent by the district administration, that they didn’t need any help as it wasn’t a crash. Repeated efforts to contact Air Force Authorities proved futile.
Last week, a MiG-21 crashed in J-K killing both the pilot and the co-pilot. This was the seventh air mishap involving fighter aircraft of IAF this year. In all, two Jaguars, two MiG-23 and three MiG-21 aircraft have crashed in the past six months.
Ten IAF fighter aircraft have crashed in Punjab and Haryana since April last year - four of them MiG-21s, and three each of MiG-23 and Jaguar. Today’s crash was also the fifth at the Ambala Air Force Station. In May 2002, a Jaguar crashed while flying and its pilot was killed. The second incident occurred in Novembr 2002 in which a Jaguar fighter plane crashed at village Dalipgarh near here killing 13 people
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India Signs Deals for six submarines with france
Indian Express 23 Jul 03
Chennai, July 22: India is all set to obtain six submarines from France, French Ambassador to India M. Dominique Girard said today. Addressing mediapersons here, the Ambassador said that India is soon going to firm up a deal with the French government to buy Scorpene submarines which are second only to nuclear submarines in performance.
These submarines, which can be used for combat, would be built in India in a technology transfer venture, Girard said. France is the third-largest supplier of defence equipment to India after Russia and Israel.
Apart from defence equipment, India is also buying 43 civilian planes. These would be Airbus short range planes, he said.
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MiG that crashed, killed 2, was bought second-hand IAF bought decommissioned aircraft from Ukraine; Air Chief says: ‘Not as if it’s junk’ Indian express 20 Jul 03
bhavna VIj Arora
New Delhi, July 19: The MiG 21 which crashed in Srinagar earlier this week, killing both the pilots, was an aircraft the Ukraine Air Force had decommissioned. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had purchased it second-hand three years ago.
This was the third MiG 21 crash this year, and a dozen had crashed last year.
The IAF, in the past four years, purchased over 15 MiG 21 (Type 69) trainers from Romania and CIS countries - all second-hand and decommissioned by their air forces.
Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, when contacted, said that the IAF had been purchasing second-hand aircraft from the CIS countries since mid-1990s. However, he could not confirm, off-hand, that the particular aircraft which crashed five days ago was from the lot. ‘‘I will have to check that,’’ he said. About the aircraft having been decommissioned, he said there was nothing like ‘‘decommissioning right across the world.’’
‘‘It’s just that one may not want it, but some other may,’’ he said. However, the Air Chief assured that the aircraft were overhauled and a guarantee and warranty obtained for them. ‘‘A technical team goes from here to check and ensure that the aircraft being purchased have total technical life, which differs from one MiG variant to another, depending upon engine type and airframe. It is not as if we are buying junk,’’ he added. He said the blackbox of the MiG 21 which crashed in Srinagar had been found and an inquiry was on.
‘‘As of now, it appears that everything in the aircraft was ticking till the moment of the crash,’’ he said. The IAF had been phasing out its own MiG 21 trainers gradually as their technical life expired. However, in the absence of modern training technology like simulators, the Air Force had been buying these aircraft from CIS countries. Moreover, sources added that there were only four simulators for over 300 MiG aircraft, and they were all old and outdated.
‘‘They cannot simulate the technology and techniques of modern warfare,’’ said sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD). India has now started to manufacture simulators for the upgraded MiG 21-Bison at Nasik.

MiG that crashed, killed 2, was bought second-hand IAF bought decommissioned aircraft from Ukraine; Air Chief says: ‘Not as if it’s junk’
Post-heroic war: Why US wants our troopsIndian Exress 19 Jul 03 Ejaz Haider4The Indian Government has finally refused to send its troops to Iraq and formally notified the Bush administration of its decision. But the issue is still open in Pakistan. The question of why the United States would want Pakistani and Indian troops in Iraq is important. There are three broad reasons for it. The first is legal. Despaired of winning the legal battle within the existing legal-normative framework, the US decided to use force to impact law. As history proves, on such occasions, great powers resort to force to establish a new legal-normative framework. This is what the US has tried to do; first, by using force and then by pushing the UNSC into giving legal cover to what was deemed illegal. This, the UNSC has almost done by eschewing the debate on the war’s legality. Yet, without a wider acceptance, the ground reality cannot be turned into a new legal norm. It is important to co-opt other states to contribute to post-war efforts. This is the second aspect, the political. The willingness of other states to work in post-war Iraq - whether under the occupying powers or the UN Special Representative - would, through state practice, establish the norm. The political is linked to the factor of legality. Indeed, the legality of the new norm can be firmly established only when the legal and the political can be made to overlap. Until there is a disconnect between the two, the political could always be challenged on the basis of it being illegal and the legal would always remain vulnerable to the vagaries of the political. The third factor relates to the operational deployment of troops. There are two issues here: the number of troops the US went to war with and the low-intensity war it has had to fight since hostilities were declared over by President Bush. The war was waged on the basis of the doctrine of ‘‘Shock and Awe’’ to achieve ‘‘Rapid Dominance’’. The concept was first put out in 1996 in a paper written by Harlan Ullman and James P. Wade et al for the National Defence University. Rapid dominance, as opposed to the Powell Doctrine of ‘‘Decisive Force’’, envisaged a smaller force capable of controlling and achieving mastery of the environment ‘‘at extraordinary speed and across tactical, strategic, and political levels (to) destroy the (enemy’s) will to resist’’. At least in theory, force under Rapid Dominance is to be applied pervasively and simultaneously. This entails for the plan to obtain not just physical but also psychological effects throughout the spectrum of combat by fielding a range of capabilities in order to render the adversary impotent. The concept emphasises the ability to dominate with smaller forces, rapidly, decisively and without necessarily inflicting high attrition on the adversary. Before the onset of the war, most US experts and strategists were convinced that the Iraqis would rise in revolt against Saddam Hussein and welcome the coalition troops. The relative ease with which the Iraq Front fell seemed to vindicate the original assessments. A smaller, rapidly advancing force dominated the environment and destroyed the enemy’s will to resist. Now we have the prospect of a long, low-intensity warfare. This kind of war and battlefield environment is very different from the first phase. Given the daily attacks on the US troops and the occupying powers’ obligations under resolution 1483, suddenly the ratios of space demand the deployment of a much larger force. But there is more, and this is what Edward Luttwak called the ‘‘post-heroic war’’ in his book, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace. Discussing the Kosovo war, Luttwak termed it ‘‘post-heroic’’, a war in which the US military sustained zero casualties. But equally interesting - and somewhat disconcerting for Luttwak - is the reluctance of the US military and political leadership to sustain casualties. This finds reflection in his narration of the famous incident of the Apache helicopter gunships that never flew. Luttwak’s point is that ‘‘modern, post-industrial societies’’ refuse to accept war’s human losses because post-industrial families have one or two children - ‘‘all of whom are expected to survive, and each of whom embodies a much larger share of the family’s emotional capital’’. (Indeed, Luttwak says that other factors like media and TV coverage may be peripheral and substantiates this by describing the aversion of the Soviet society to the deaths of its soldiers in Afghanistan and, now, in Chechnya.) This refusal to accept human losses and the political costs it entails for the leaders poses a problem for great powers (invariably post-industrial in this era) that have, historically, fought to secure not just vital interests but to sustain their great-power status, maximise their interests and even come to the help of allies where their core interests aren’t directly threatened: ‘‘They (great powers) could only remain ‘great’ if they were seen to be willing and able to use force even to protect interests far from vital, and indeed to acquire more ‘non-vital’ interests, whether in the form of distant possessions or further additions to their spheres of influence’’. In the past, great powers had a different demographic profile with families averaging six or seven children. Young deaths through disease and other causes were common and thus much more acceptable. That stoicism is absent in post-industrial societies. So, what should great powers that still need to fight wars that are not strictly defensive in nature do with the new, post-industrial demographic profile? In the battlefield this is partly answered by technology, what the world saw in Kosovo, and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. But while defeating the adversary through remote-controlled violence is one thing, holding ground and exploiting the gains there still require the deployment and employment of infantry and its supporting arms. And in a situation where ground forces are likely to face combat, even irregular combat, an army has to face up to and accept casualties. Luttwak’s way out: ‘‘Historically, societies unwilling to suffer combat casualties have turned to mercenaries, both foreign and ‘denationalised’’ local volunteers.’’ He mentions the British Gurkha regiments and the French Foreign Legion as two examples. This is precisely what Washington wants to do in Iraq. Bush’s presidential campaign cannot afford body bags even if it is a trickle. What better way than to pay to get troops from other states while keeping overall command as an occupying power and continue to pursue the agenda for which the war was waged. This is why it is so important for Pakistan not to send its troops to Iraq at this stage. As I wrote last week, let us wait for the events to unfold. - The Friday Times


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Book exposes Pak-Israel arms nexus times of india 25 JUL 03

PTI [ FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2003 12:00:57 PM ]

NEW DELHI: Most of the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union was fought by mujahideen and Pakistani soldiers using Israeli arms supplied after General Zia ul Haq entered into secret deals with the Israelis, a book published in the US has claimed.
The book Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History throws light on secret Pakistan Army-Israeli deals and their cooperation through the CIA.
The book claims that the deal was struck through the US Congressman Charles Wilson from Texas, a great pro-Pakistan activist who hated the Indians. He was the central figure to get these CIA-funded weapons for Pakistan and is credited in the book as the man who broke up the Soviet Union with the help of a 48-year old Houston woman with whom General Zia ul Haq also had an affair.
The book, written by journalist George Crile, says that Wilson made a proposal to General Zia to deal with the Israelis during Zia's first visit to US after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The proposal was made at a grand dinner hosted by the Houston lady, Joanne Herring, who was named later as Honorary Consul of Pakistan and became a critical player in the war.
"American liberals and human-rights advocates would never change their view of Zia as a thug, but his American visit was something of a triumph, and Joanne's dinner was part of the reason it succeeded," the book, whose excerpts were published by the US-based Pakistani newsportal South Asia Tribune, said.
The Pakistani-Israeli nexus was built up at a dinner hosted by Joanne. "Zia had dangerous decisions to make in the coming months about the CIA's involvement in his inflamed North-West Frontier, this was not the sort of proposal just anyone could have made. But by now, the Pakistanis believed that Charles Wilson had been decisive in getting them the disputed F-16 radar systems.
"As he (Zia) saw it, Wilson had pulled off the impossible. Now the Congressman, in his tuxedo, began to take Zia into the forbidden world where the Israelis were prepared to make deals no one need hear about."
Zia, ever the pragmatist, smiled on the proposal, adding, "Just don't put any Stars of David on the boxes," the book claimed. It adds, Wilson cut the Pak-Israel deal even without CIA's knowledge.
"Within weeks, they began developing an astonishing collection of weapons. The Spanish mortar, for example, was designed to make it possible for the mujahideen to communicate directly with American navigation satellites to deliver repeated rounds within inches of their designated targets. Global-positioning technology is well known today, but back in 1985 it struck Wilson as the most astonishing capability.
The weapon's name was purposefully misleading, chosen to conceal the fact that major portions of this "Spanish mortar" were being built by the Israelis. When the weapon was first used, it wiped out an entire Spetsnaz outpost with a volley of perfect strikes, the book said.
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Indo-Iran gas still in pipeline
C R JAYACHANDRAN/TIMESOFINDIA.COM

TIMES NEWS NETWORK [ FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2003 01:28:41 PM ]
timeos of india 25 jul 03
NEW DELHI: The nascent peace process notwithstanding, India is still sceptical of the proposed Indo-Iran natural gas pipeline through Pakistan, fearing safety of the nearly $4-billion project.
Highly placed government sources said here on Friday that the government of India had serious security concerns in laying an overland pipeline from Iran through Pakistan despite the thaw in Indo-Pak ties.
India's apprehension over the onshore gas pipeline project passing through Pakistan was conveyed to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohsen Aminzadeh, during his visit to New Delhi this week, sources said. Iran understood that safety was the top priority for India while deciding the medium of transportation of gas, they added.
The government of India also informed the Iranian minister that talks on the trans-border gas pipeline project would be futile till Islamabad restored normal trade and economic relations with New Delhi.
However, Pakistan had been maintaining that it would ensure the security of the proposed project.
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who had fully agreed with the proposal, was quoted as saying that the project would strengthen the economy in the region.
Iran, however, hopes that renewal of ties between New Delhi and Islamabad will help in expediting talks on the proposed gas pipeline project.
Sources said both India and Iran had agreed on a joint technical committee meeting soon to study the feasibility for the transfer of gas. A high-level official Indian delegation is expected to visit Tehran in October.
The joint Indo-Iran panel will look at three options to transport gas: a deep-sea pipeline, a land pipeline or sea tankers, sources added.
At the end of a two-day trip to India, Aminzadeh had said New Delhi and Tehran had agreed to resume discussions on the plan and prepare a report before Indian and Iranian foreign ministers meet in December.
But Aminzadeh added that India and Iran are studying "the feasibility of both an offshore and an onshore pipeline". He said Iran was hopeful that India and Pakistan would work toward making an onshore pipeline a feasible project, because it would be much cheaper and more beneficial for all three countries.
"We are optimistic that the economic justification (of the pipeline) will overshadow any obstacle, especially political differences," he said. "The gas pipeline is a gigantic project that can change the face of South Asia," he added.
According to Iranian officials, during his meeting with Indian officials, Aminzadeh saw "positive signs."
But any final decision will hinge on safety of imports, particularly because India may soon have a critical dependence on gas supplies for industry and development.
The proposed $4 billion pipeline would run 1,600 kilometres from Iran to the Pakistani province of Sindh before travelling another 1,000 kilometres to India.
The second option of a deep-sea pipeline from Iran to India is being given more attention following the raising of safety concerns for the onshore project. The offshore gas pipeline had earlier been kept on the backburner mainly due to the high cost and technical problems.
Iran had engaged Italy’s energy giant ENI for working on a feasibility study for the construction of an offshore gas pipeline connecting India with Iran.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) had expressed apprehensions on the deepwater pipeline stating that this would require huge investments and would also pose technical challenges.
NIOC had also stated that Iran was waiting for the results of the world’s first deep sea pipeline being constructed in the Black Sea which is only 2,000 metres deep.
India is currently importing 50 per cent of gas, with the figure going up as energy consumption is rising by about five per cent every year.
Officials said Iran has emerged as India's gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Europe. New Delhi and Tehran are working together to develop transport corridors from India to these destinations through Iranian territory. The officials hoped that this strategic cooperation between India and Iran would spell economic convergence for South Asia.
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We don't recognise Arunachal Pradesh: China

Anil K Joseph Indian Express 25 Jul 03
Beijing, July 25: Saying that it has not recognised Arunachal Pradesh as part of India, China on Friday alleged that "Indian people" crossed the eastern sector of Line of Actual Control in the North-Eastern state and not its forces as claimed by New Delhi.
Denying a report published in a Delhi newspaper that Chinese forces had transgressed into Indian territory near the LAC when Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was visiting Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan said China does not recognise that Arunachal Pradesh is part of India.
"We have noted the relevant report. China does not recognise the so-called Arunachal Pradesh mentioned by the Indian newspaper report," Kong said.
External Affairs Ministry spokesman on Thursday said that the Indian government was aware of the transgression of the LAC by a Chinese patrol on June 26, 2003 in Asaphila area of the upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. This is an area where there are differences in perception of the LAC between the two sides.
Kong said "as far as the incident mentioned, after investigations, we have found that the Indian side crossed the eastern sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). At the request of the Chinese side, the Indian people who crossed the LAC, returned to the Indian side of the LAC.”
China lays claim to 90,000 sq km of land in Arunachal Pradesh and does not recognise the North-Eastern state as part of Indian territory.
India accuses China of occupying approximately 38,000 square kilometres of territory in Kashmir. In addition, under the so-called Sino-Pakistan 'boundary agreement' of 1963, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sq. km of Indian territory in Pakistan occupied Kashmir to China.
Officials from the two sides have met 15 times since late 1980s in an effort to find a peaceful solution to the border dispute.
However, the little progress has been achieved with both sides only managing to exchange sample maps of the middle sector, the least contentious among the eastern, middle and western sectors.
Taking into account the lack of progress, during Vajpayee's visit to China, both governments appointed a special representative to explore from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relationship, the framework of a boundary settlement.
While India appointed National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra as its special representative, China named executive vice foreign minister Dai Bingguo as its special representative.
The two sides had also agreed on the continued maintenance of peace and tranquility in the border areas and continued implementation of the 1993 and 1996 agreements including clarification of the LAC.
The first-ever joint statement signed by the Indian and Chinese prime ministers also reiterated their readiness to seek "a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through consultations on an equal footing."

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posted by promila 4:15 AM


Wednesday, July 23, 2003

 
2 more cops held in J-K for militant links



Mufti Islah Indian Express 15 Jun 03








Srinagar, June 14: The police-militant nexus came to the fore for the second time on Friday when J-K police arrested two more cops on charges of being involved in attacks on security forces. A Station House Officer (SHO) and a munshi were arrested over the same charges last week.
Kupwara’s SP S.D. Singh confirmed two more cops have been picked up for questioning and transferred to Srinagar. Those arrested are Incharge of Zachaldara police post in Handwara, Sub-inspector Abdul Ahad and Head Constable Farooq Ahmad Andrabi, posted at Kantpora-Lolab under Sogam police station. Singh said another cop has been detained. ‘‘We have lined up several more and are questioning the people,’’ he said.
Singh said two teams have been formed to uncover the nexus. ‘‘One team is headed by DSP Kupwara and another by the CIK,’’ he said. Police sources said the investigators are also working on some leads on the killing of then Law Minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone.





Hill Kaka’s untold story: NRIs came home to fight terrorists


A group of around 20 Muslim youth left their Saudi jobs for a cause


Arun Sharma Indian Express 15 Jun 03








Jammu, June 14: The most heroic story of the Indian fight against militants in Hill Kaka has its origin in Saudi Arabia.
A group of around 20 young Muslim men from Marah, a border village in Poonch, left their jobs in the Arabian kingdom, and came back to fight the terrorists. It was they who first took the battle to the terrorist camps at a height of 12,000 ft.
More young men have come back since and they have the support of friends in Saudi Arabia — each of the 100-odd Marah expats contribute 100 Riyal a month to finance their battle.
Highly-placed sources say that the Operation Sarp Vinash against the Hill Kaka terrorists would not have been possible but for the help of the non-resident Indians who returned.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Rajouri-Poonch range, S M Sahai, confirmed that some local Muslim boys left their jobs in Saudi Arabia, returned and offered to help in an offensive against terrorists in the Hill Kaka area. They were recruited as Special Police Officers (SPOs), he added.
Sources said that after a brief training in weapons and explosives, they were attached to an operation group — comprising jawans of 9 Para and police — which was formed to launch an offensive against militants on April 27. On the very first day, the group killed 14 militants at Panzabra in Hill Kaka. A jawan also lost his life.
Since then, the troops and police with the help of the local youth killed about 80 militants and smashed over 95 hideouts. The remaining militants fled the area and infiltrated to parts adjoining Rajouri, said sources.
What made them leave the comfort of petro-dollars to fight terror? The story began when Mohammad Arif came back from Saudi Arabia on vacation last year. A militant was killed in an encounter in the area and his colleagues thought Arif was the informer. He was abducted and later killed.
The revenge was not over. Militants started frequenting Marah and harassing women. Since most men are abroad, the village has mostly women, children and old people.
Then, Fazal Tahir, Arif’s brother, decided enough was enough. He chucked his job as a marble mason in Saudi Arabia, talked to his friends from Marah and decided to head home. Fazal knew what his mission was. He came back on June 26, 2002, and approached the Romeo Force at Palma.
He was attached to the troops at Surankote and was asked to provide information about militants to Captain Amar Sharma. ‘‘After a few months, Sharma got transferred and I started working with his successor Captain Tanvar Sharma,’’ Fazal said.
In the meantime, Fazal was joined by Mohammad Qasim, Molvi Ghulam Hassan and Haji Mohammad Aslam. On July 12, he, with the help of another villager, killed Rashid, the militant responsible for the killing of his brother.
‘‘However, as the things were moving at a snail’s pace, with no one interested in an all-out offensive against terrorists, we met Avtar Singh Badana at Delhi. He sent us to BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and he asked us to meet Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani,’’ Fazal said.
Fazal met Advani who directed him to Defence Minister George Fernandes. ‘‘As we were fed up of visiting politicians, we returned home and again approached the troops for help,’’ Fazal said.
‘‘We started recruiting village youth on our own and formed the Indian Peace Pir Panjal Scouts (IPPPS),’’ he said, adding that the police provided them the guns.
Then a militant who surrendered gave vital information; a villager who was approached by the militants to be an informer turned a double agent and gave the group details of camps. ‘‘As we had information about the number and location of militants, we decided to launch operations on our own. As Rs 1,500 given by the police to an SPO per month is too little an amount to sustain oneself, our people working in Saudi Arabia agreed to contribute 100 Riyals each per month for us,’’ he said.
As it was not possible to fight the militants without the backing of troops, they approached the troops and police till the operation group was formed in April this year. That was when the Hill Kaka plot changed course.





Military report says no dip in infiltration



Express News Service 20 Jun 03




New Delhi, June 19: Despite repeated assurances and claims by Pakistan, intelligence reports culled by Indian Army indicate that infiltration from across the Line of Control (LoC) is continuing unabated. Lt Gen Kamal Davar, heading the Defence Intelligence Agency, the coordinating agency for military intelligence, said that as per intelligence inputs, Al Qaeda elements were also involved in terrorist activities in J-K. ‘‘Terrorists don’t walk with labels but we feel that Al Qaeda is also operating in J-K,’’ he said.
On Wednesday, Davar pointed out that there was no perceptible change in infiltration levels despite assurances from Pakistan and UK. Pointing out that the Army was well placed to repulse the infiltration bids, Davar said nearly 182 terrorists had been killed in the past two months. On the border with Bangladesh, he said that efforts were being made to plug infiltration attempts by ISI-backed terrorists. ‘‘We have also forwarded a list of terrorist training camps operating out of Bangladesh and we are keeping tabs on them.’’
He rejected charges that there were intelligence failure in Hill Kaka, preceding Operation Sarp Vinash.


Terror reminder

Suicide attack on Jammu Army camp; 12 soldiers killed

Bharat Bhushan Indian Express 29 Jun03




Jammu, June 28: Just as Jammu and Kashmir was getting used to quieter days and life without suicide strikes, terror came back — with a bang. In the first suicide attack after the Prime Minister’s Srinagar Initiative and the resulting Indo-Pak thaw, two militants in Army uniform struck at the Sunjwan Army camp on Saturday, the third day of President APJ Abdul Kalam’s visit to the state, killing 12 soldiers.
Both the fidayeens, suspected to be Pakistani nationals, were later shot dead by Army’s Quick Reaction Team during a 5-hour gunbattle. Though no militant outfit has so far claimed responsibility, Army suspects either Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammad. Just two days ago, LeT’s chief commander Idris Gauri had said that the outfit’s cadres in J-K had been directed to step up attacks on security forces.
The attack on the Sunjawan camp comes 13 months after the fidayeen attack on the Kaluchak camp in which 35 Army personnel and their family members were killed. The militants entered the camp after cutting the barbed wire fence on the rear. They first shot dead a sentry and then, throwing grenades, entered the barracks and sprayed bullets on the sleeping jawans, killing 12 and injuring seven.
Brigadier J S Thind, commander of the Sunjwan brigade, in his brief interaction with mediapersons, came out with sketchy details of the incident. He said the two terrorists entered the barracks at around 4.30 am. They started firing indiscriminately.
Army’s Quick Reaction Team responded fast, killing both of them. Two AK rifles and some arms and ammunition were recovered. The camp housed 11-Dogras, JAK Li and Sikh Li, besides staff quarters and a training centre.



AJT suppliers run into trouble at home



Saikat Datta Indian Express 16 Jun 03




New Delhi, June 15: India's plans to acquire Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs) for its fighter pilots could come under a cloud with the two shortlisted firms battling financial problems and adverse internal reports.
While the manufacturer of the British Hawk trainer is battling the Treasury Department’s bid to block the much-needed sale of Hawk trainers to the Royal Air Force, the Czech L-159B is under strain following adverse reports from the Czech Air Force.
Trouble started at the British BAE Systems when its chairman Dick Evans reacted angrily to the Treasury Department’s efforts to block the sale of 30 Hawk trainers to the RAF. While BAE Systems was banking on the deal for funds to keep its Hawk production line alive, the British Government has decided to call for international tenders for the RAF’s trainers. Which means that Italian and South Korean jet trainers could elbow out the Hawk. It is not known whether New Delhi has considered these trainers.
The row has regularly been figuring in the British media, amid growing concern in New Delhi. In fact, successive Indian Governments have been sitting on the AJT acquisition for over 20 years.
While Hawk had been the front runner for several years, the Indian Government also shortlisted the Czech trainer L-159B last year due to its low price tag. Now, reports emanating from the Czech Republic suggest the Czech Air Force developed cold feet on acquiring the jets after a few crashes during trials and other problems surfaced in various key systems

Pak thinks we can’t attack, use that to advantage: Army



Saikat Datta Indian Express 18 Jun03








New Delhi, June 17: For years the Indian military has been considering how to tackle the Pakistani perception that India does not have the national will to strike. Now the army has recommended to the government that this perception be reinforced as a strategy to achieve the element of surprise in a war with Pakistan.
The recommendation is part of a major exercise undertaken over a two-day brainstorming session by the army top brass in Shimla, headquarters of the Training Command, on June 5 and 6. Those present included Army Chief Gen N C Vij, top army commanders, the director-general of military operations and senior MoD officials.
The fallout of the session, which drew from the lessons of Kargil and Operation Parakram, which could have far-reaching implications on shaping Indian military strategy for the future.
One area of concern was the steady erosion over the years of conventional parity against Pakistan due to savage cutbacks and lack of funds. The current ratio of Indian forces vis-a-vis Pakistan’s is 1.2:1, down from 1.75:1 during the 1971 Bangladesh War.
To correct this imbalance, the Army has recommended the creation of a pivotal Mountain Strike Corps that will essentially enhance its offensive capabilities in mountainous terrain. India currently has three strike formations — the Bhopal-based XXI, Ambala-based II and Mathura-based I strike corps. This is an effort to ensure that Indian forces maintain a 6:1 superiority ratio on the Western borders and at least 9:1 in the mountains.
It is understood that the army also wants the government to clearly enunciate its specific response to tactical nuclear weapons to deter the adversary. The Army Headquarters has recommended that the government also review its nuclear-biological-chemical (NBC) policies in light of specific threats made by Pak-sponsored terrorists on using weapons of mass destruction.
The Army has also called for an appropriate military response to grave provocations such as the December 13 attack on Parliament in 2001.
Significantly, the recommendations call for adequate reserve of arms by the Army in the event of a decisive war with an adversary at a critical time and place. During Kargil, the army had to rush in — once the conflict had started — battalions that were not acclimatised to the high-altitude regions.
Interestingly, army headquarters also calls for a clear-cut objective from the political leadership to enunciate their military aims. However, drawing on its experience during the Kargil war (where the troops did not cross the LoC) and Operation Parakram (where no military action was taken) the Army is also thinking in terms of preparing the armed forces to function under ambiguous circumstances.
This means that the political leadership should give a clearcut direction so that the overall military strategy can be put into action during emergencies.
The Army wants to create another North-West command by bifurcating the Nagrota-based 16 Corps to tackle the vulnerable Shakargarh bulge near Jammu, the scene of numerous decisive tank battles in past wars with Pakistan.





F-16s for Pak will be wrong signal: India



Shishir Gupta Indina Express 19 Jun 03




New Delhi, June 18: New Delhi has indicated to Washington that it would be sending ‘‘wrong political signals’’ if the US goes ahead with plans to sell offensive-capability platforms such as the F-16 aircraft to Pakistan.
It’s learnt this message was conveyed by Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani to US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at a meeting in Washington on June 8. Advani is not the only one to object to the F-16 sale to Pakistan because last year India had conveyed to the highest levels in Washington that ‘‘all bets will be off’’ if such a deal were to take place.
Essentially, India has made it clear that it would be difficult to make progress in key areas of defence and security if Washington were to arm Pakistan with offensive capability.
Quoting highly placed Washington sources, the Defence and Foreign Affairs Daily today reported that Rumsfeld broke the ‘‘disappointing news’’ of the proposed F-16 sale to Pakistan to Advani during a ‘‘very private meeting’’ on June 8.
The report says that the deal will be announced during Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s visit to Washington on June 24. Musharraf’s visit to Camp David is significant because it indicates the US is firmly behind the Pakistan President.
While New Delhi is tightlipped about the affair, it’s learnt that Advani categorically told Rumsfeld that selling of the Lockheed Martin F-16 multi-role fighters to Pakistan would send a ‘‘politically wrong signal’’ to the Indian nation. Without going into technical details, Advani signalled to the Rumsfeld that the planned deal would lead to instability in the sub-continent.
Apparently the F-16 deal that Musharraf is looking for envisages sale of 60-70 highly advanced offensive platforms to Pakistan. Before the US embargo on Pakistan in 1992, Islamabad was on the verge of procuring 28 F-16 aircraft from the US and had placed orders for another 43. But due to the embargo, Pakistan was later compensated by the US.
It’s understood that Rumsfeld told Advani that Pakistan had been asking for the F-16s for quite sometime. And that Defence analysts in the Bush Administration had now come around to say that sale of F-16s to Islamabad would not disturb India-Pakistan parity.
The Indian logic is that given Pakistan’s first-use nuclear policy, it would not be correct for US to give nuclear delivery capable F-16s to Pakistan. New Delhi’s argument for seeking close cooperation with US on trinity issues — dual use, civilian nuclear energy and space — is that it is for building defensive capability rather than exhibiting any offensive intent.
Analysts here feel that announcement of the F-16 deal during Musharraf’s visit to Washington would not only give a boost to the Pakistan President domestically but also signal that the US is applying no pressure on Islamabad on the issue of cross-border terrorism. There is another opinion: Musharraf will get the F-16s but there will be strings attached.


MiG-21s to serve for another 40 yrs



Tilak Rai Indina Express 20 Jun 03








Shillong, June 19: Chief of Air Staff S.Krishnaswamy today said at the Eastern Air Command Headquarters here that the nine varieties of the MiG-21 will continue to serve India for the next 40 years.
He was dispelling speculation that MiG-21 fighter planes will no longer be favoured for combat operation after recent accidents.
‘No threat of 2nd Kargil’

SHILLONG: Chief of Air Staff S. Krishnaswamy on Thursday allayed the apprehension triggered by the recent comments of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf about another Kargil like situation, saying there was nothing to worry about. ‘‘I am not paranoid about it,’’ he said. (Agencies)

The Air Chief said there is lot of drama in aircraft accidents and people start looking for the brand name. He compared aircraft accidents to road accidents and said in a bus mishap nobody bothers to inquire about the brand name.
Krishnaswamy said in the past ten years the number of Boeing 747 accidents was more than MiG mishaps and denied that there was a consensus building up to ground all MiG variation. He also said that light combat aircraft like the Advance Jet Trainers would be introduced soon and expressed confidence the Centre will support it. He added that securitywill be beefed up in the North-East Air Force bases.

MiG-21 phase-out begins, says minister; Air Chief says no way



Express News Service
Indian Expres 26 Jun03



New Delhi/ Ludhiana, June 25: In the face of criticism of the MiG-21s, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy today ruled out the phasing out of the accident-prone planes and reeled off statistics to establish that they were not, as popularly labelled, ‘‘flying coffins’’.
But Minister of State for defence Chaman Lal Gupta said in Ludhiana today that the Defence authorities had indeed started the process of phasing out the 21 series. However, he said, this had nothing to do with their accident rate.
Speaking to The Indian Express during an NCC function here, about 30 km from Ludhiana, the minister said: ‘‘It isn’t that we would be taking out all the aircraft in one go. With new, modern aircraft joining the force, the old ones would be gradually phased out.’’
Addressing a press conference on the procurement of advanced jet trainers in New Delhi, the Air Chief maintained that the aircraft, known as the IAF’s backbone, had an excellent flight safety record.
Despite some variants being nearly 30 years old, Krishnswamy pointed out that after averaging nearly 55,000 sorties in the last five years, it was one of the safest aircraft flying today.
‘‘With such a high number of sorties, a pilot has a 99.993 per cent of surviving the flight. That is easily one of the highest flight safety records for any aircraft,’’ he said. However, he had little to offer on the nearly 20-year-delay in procuring a AJT, which has been identified as one of the factors that could substantially reduce air crashes. Instead, he said the IAF had agreed to evaluate new tenders if the government decided to consider other aircraft.
The matter is pending with the cabinet, he said, which was expected to take a decision soon.
The La Fontaine committee, set up in 1982 to probe into an increase in air accidents, had recommended the AJT as a means to reduce such incidents during training.
‘‘The air force has evaluated both aircraft (the British Hawk and the Czech L-159B) and we have made our recommendations. However, there are procedures and methods which are required before we take a decision on the issue,’’ said Krishnaswamy.


Hurry up with AJT or price may be renegotiated: UK



Saikat Datta Indiand Express 27 Jun03








New Delhi, June 26: Britain has indicated to India to speed up the decision on Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) or the offered price may have to be renegotiated. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has reportedly urged National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra to expedite the deal ‘‘as the specifications may run out’’. This basically means that the time-bound Hawk offer for the IAF that was submitted in response to Indian tenders will have to be negotiated afresh.
Blair discussed the Hawk issue with Mishra during the bilateral meeting with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee on the sidelines of the 300th anniversary celebrations of St Petersburg on May 30.
However, Mishra reportedly told Blair that the Hawk deal is currently being examined for its fiscal implications by the Ministry of Finance after being cleared by the Ministry of Defence. India has plans to buy 66 Hawk AJTs from British Aerospace at the cost of over a billion US dollars. The UK manufacturer had submitted the latest proposal around 2000 and the deal was also discussed at Indo-UK defence consultative group meeting last week.
In the meeting, it also became clear that Hawk was still in the reckoning for the Royal Air Force order. Losing this order, UK officials told their Indian interlocutors, could jeopardise the production line and cloud its international market.
According to Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, the ‘‘final decision on the AJTs is pending with the Union Cabinet.’’ He told mediapersons on Wednesday: ‘‘If the Government decides to have a fresh look at the deal for purchasing the much-needed trainer for IAF, we will have to do it.’’
However, Government clearance for Hawk is getting complicated with the entry of Czech-US L-159B trainer into the AJT fray.





Kargil’s ghost lives on


The problem is that the Pakistan army does not want an end to Indo-Pak tension


INDINA Ezpress 27Jun03



By a curious coincidence, two former elected prime ministers of Pakistan who had between them ruled the country for a decade—mostly under the patronage of the army leadership—have indicted General Pervez Musharraf in no uncertain terms, even while Musharraf concurrently seeks a road map to the Kashmir solution printed in the United States. Benazir Bhutto has asserted more clearly this time that she had denied permission to Musharraf, as the head of military operations, to launch a military offensive in the Kargil sector, a war plan put into practice when he became the army chief. The plan apparently had been in existence since 1987, when General Zia ul-Haq is believed to have vetoed it as militarily foolish and diplomatically disastrous.
Nawaz Sharif has also indicated that he, as the elected prime minister of Pakistan, had “almost decided on a deadline for a peaceful resolution” of the Kashmir dispute, but it was sabotaged by the Kargil war. It needs to be recalled that Kashmir was not an issue during the election campaigns of either Nawaz Sharif in 1996 or that of Benazir Bhutto before that. The conclusion is inevitable: That the army in Pakistan purposely sought to derail any movement toward a solution to the Kashmir issue through its Kargil plan. In the process it sacrificed a lot of its brave soldiers who were also denied a honourable military burial, something that every professional military holds so dear as a tradition.
As regards Musharraf’s plea for a US-drawn road map for Kashmir, all he has to do is to remember the principle lying at the root of the road map for the Middle East: That of two sovereign states living peacefully side by side. This would naturally require the complete elimination of the use of terror as an instrument of policy that has been central to Islamabad’s strategy for two decades and its renunciation of its so-called moral and political-diplomatic support to separatism and violence. But if the revelations of Sharif and Bhutto were any indications, the army in Pakistan would be unlikely to seriously give up its preferred strategic vision that would also necessitate the army becoming a normal army.





Hope smuggles into Nathu La

Sikkim has not known this buzz since the 1975 merger. But as Rakesh Sinha finds out border trade with China will only legalise a contraband economy



FOR four long decades, the Pass of the Listening Ear could hear nothing except the groan of army convoys and the howl of winds tearing through the cold, rocky landscape. But on Monday, June 23, Nathu La picked up chatter, talk which both involved and excited it. As they raised a toast in Beijing, Atal Behari Vajpayee was telling Wen Jiabao that the high mountain pass should be re-opened to signal a new start in Sino-Indian relations.
In homes, offices and bars across Sikkim, lonely Nathu La suddenly holds centrestage. Not since the heady days of the Indian annexation of Sikkim in 1975 has any single event generated so much talk, curiosity and excitement here.
These are early days but the agreement in Beijing on re-opening that little window to Tibet — Wen Jiabao would prefer the mouthful Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China — is already playing on the mind. Overjoyed, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling is mooting a Lhasa-Gangtok bus service. Traders want to know how soon can they return to Yatung, 25 km from the Pass on the Tibetan side, where they did business till the 1962 war.
Vendors of Chinese merchandise in Gangtok — from electronics to crockery to what-have-you — say the re-opening of Nathu La should end the troublesome, largely illegal carting of goods through Sikkim’s western border with Nepal. Even Gangtok’s tour conductors are encashing the Nathu La re-uphoria, demanding steeper charges for the meandering, three-hour ride to the Pass. Their argument: it’s the place to go to.

Few trade routes in the world are as evocative the one linking Tibet and India. Its modern history in inextricably linked to the Great Game, to the British buccaneers who gave India a headstart in the post-colonial clash with China. It was an advantage Nehruvian India happily frittered away but that’s another story.
Go back 110 years to December 5, 1893. In Darjeeling that day, the governments of India and China formalised a border trade agreement not substantially different from the one reached in Beijing a week ago.
As late as the 1950s, old-timers remember, the traders would come in the summer months, through Jelep La and Nathu La, to Kalim-pong. That was the meeting ground for traders from the plains, the Marwaris, and from Nepal, as well as the locals and those from Darjeeling and Sikkim, perhaps Bhutan too. The khampas (Tibetan cowboys) would bring wool and salt. They would carry back spices and gee gaws.
Trade fell after China invaded Tibet in 1950 and shut if off from the rest of the world. By 1962, India and China and gone to war. Border trade was dead. In true Tibetan tradition, it may just have been reincarnated.



For centuries, traders and herdsmen slipped through Nathu La into the Chumbi Valley, a slice of Tibet between Sikkim and Bhutan. The gateway for muleback silk caravans — the other pass used was Jelep La which linked Lhasa to Kalimpong — it even ushered in the Dalai Lama in 1956 when he showed up on horseback to participate in the 2500th Buddha Jayanti celebrations. Two years later, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi rode through Nathu La to enter Chumbi Valley before turning towards Bhutan.
But Nathu La became a dead-end in 1962 when the Chinese decided to teach India a lesson. There were hostilities again in 1965 when Indian and Chinese troops traded fire over erecting a barbed wire fence.
Officials in Gangtok say the re-opening of the Pass will give a much-needed boost to Sikkim’s economy, until now largely agrarian. ‘‘There are no indicators yet of how the arrangement will work,’’ one civil servant says, ‘‘it’s too early. We can’t even hazard a guess on the volume of trade that will eventually take place. But you must remember that Sikkim offers the shortest route between Lhasa (400 km from the Pass) and Kolkata. So any trade will help us grow.’’
Adds another Sikkim government official, ‘‘Chinese goods have been coming via Nepal. All that will change. Plus we have a lot to offer. There will be trade in rice, edible oil, construction material and who knows what else. There’s no dearth of enterprise here.’’
But more than trade, the revival of the caravan route will serve as a release of local emotions. ‘‘It’s not just a question of de facto Chinese recognition of Indian Sikkim. People on both sides had never reconciled to the closure of the Pass.
“It was always a passage to their markets, their people, their own little world. And you suddenly put a lock on it. Governments may have had their reasons but that was hardly a solution,’’ says 70-plus Gyaltsen, insisting you first study the Institute of Tibetology’s collection of xylographs and thangkas, complete with accounts of the lives and thoughts of the masters.
Gyaltsen has a point: Nathu La’s re-opening is not just about Sino-Indian relations, de facto recognition from Beijing or the anticipated great leap forward for Sikkim’s economy. It’s also about a return to the times when the Pass of the Listening Ear picked up constant chatter on the caravan trail.



US requests more security for its establishments

Press Trust of India
Indian Express 29 Jun 03
New Delhi, June 29: With the threat of terrorist strikes, particularly a suicide attack, looming large, the US authorities have sought stricter security for their establishments in Delhi.
While security at and around the US embassy in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave is already intense, the American authorities are apparently concerned over the protective measures at the American Center, US Educational Foundation of India (USEFI) and American School.


posted by promila 7:37 AM

 
Sinha, UAE Army chief to talk security Indian Express 30 Jun 03

New Delhi, June 29: India and the United Arab Emirates will look to broaden co-operation on security issues during the day-long visit of UAE Armys Chief of Staff Lt Gen Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan while also laying particular emphasis on devising mechanisms to counter financial networks involved in funding terrorist organisations.
Lt Gen Al-Nahyan will be arriving in New Delhi tonight on the invitation of External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha. He is slated to hold delegation-level talks with Sinha on Monday even as plans are afoot to arrange meetings with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.
Third son of the UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the UAE Armys Chief of Staff is believed to be one of the key players in planning UAEs policies in important areas on security like counter-terrorism. While a host of issues are to be addressed during the delegation-level talks, official sources said, New Delhi will focus on ways to stem the financial flow to terrorist outfits.
With Dubai often acting as a principal hub for transmitting finances which end up in the hands of terrorist outfits, UAEs co-operation in the matter will be crucial. New Delhi is likely to impress upon the visiting UAE dignitary the need for setting up common mechanisms at various levels to curb the flow of money through illegal channels.
This apart, the issue of greater co-operation with UAE on caging some of Indias most wanted underworld criminals will also be discussed. According to South Block officials, talks on the subject will be held in the context of strengthening the existing treaty on mutual legal assistance between both countries. Lt Gen Al-Nahyan, who has travelled twice to India in 1991 and 1996, is likely to throw light on improving defence co-operation between the two countries
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Vij orders fortification of Army camps Indian Express 30 Jun 03 Bharat Bhushan


Jammu, June 29: A day after the Sunjwan camp was attacked by two fidayeens, Chief of Army Staff Gen Vij visited the camp and ordered that the camp and other Army installations in J-K with barbed wire fencing be fortified. According to sources, there are nearly 30 Army camps and installations across the state with barbed wire fencing around them.
Yesterday, two fidayeens crossed the barbed wire fencing around the camp and opened fire at the troops, killing 12 and injuring seven others, before being shot dead.
Though the Defence spokesperson here did not officially confirm the Generals arrival, sources at the camp informed that Vij has been briefed on the prevailing security situation by the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen Hari Prasad and GOC, 16 Corps, Lt Gen T.P.S. Brar.
Vij also reportedly spent an hour in the barracks where the fidayeens carried out the carnage and also had a view of the porous barbed wire fencing around the camp. He also visited the Military Hospital to enquire about the injured jawans.
In a meeting with senior officers later on, Vij expressed serious concern over the incident and ordered immediate fortification of the camp as well as other Army installations in the state.
Union Minister of State for Home Haren Pathak, who also visited the camp, was reported to have said that after yesterdays suicide attack, troops were put on high alert. He said though a little-known militant outfit Al-Nasreen had claimed responsibility for the attack, Lashkar-e-Toiba was suspected to be behind it.
Meanwhile, police arrested four Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HUJI) militants, including the outfits Afghanistan-trained supreme commander, while they were trying to sneak into the state in a truck from the Punjab-J-K border at Lakhanpur today




Congo-bound: IAFs largest peace force Indian Express 3 Jul 03


New Delhi, July 2: As nine helicopters, including gunships, leave for the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 12, it will form the largest contingent on a UN peacekeeping mission by the Indian Air Force.
The IAF will be accompanied by a company (roughly 90 troops) of infantry troops, which will be deployed as part of the multilateral peacekeeping force deployed in Congo. According to Air Headquarters officials, the IAF team will be deployed in the eastern part of Congo where the UN peacekeeping force is deployed.
New Delhis Iraqi fantasies Saeed Nazvi. Indian Express 4 Jul 03




Even if the Indian troops do not eventually go to Iraq, the degree of earnestness with which the issue has been discussed by South and North Blocks, seminarists, editorial writers and the public at large, must surely impress Washington how seriously India takes any request by the worlds sole superpower. The wheel will come full circle when Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal returns this week after detailed conversations on the subject with US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
The quest for an Indian division for Iraq, which also entails an accurate assessment of the post-war situation in the country, has coincided with the prime ministers several outings. In St Petersburg, he got an account of the ground realities in Iraq from the leader of a country whose spread across thepre-war Iraq was more comprehensive than any other. Russian President Putins assessment was that the Americans were hopelessly stuck in Iraq. The French, with less direct knowledge, held more or less the same view.
On the margins of the cocktail circuit, British diplomats could not suppress their sense of humour on their own predicament: No exit strategy had swum into their ken. The Chinese pursue Deng Xiao Pengs dictum: Put your head down and build your strength. The US was the most powerful country with which China, like India, desired the best of relations. War on terror was serious business and, like India, China too was full square behind the US in its war on terror. But when I touched on the question of troops being sent to stabilise the situation in Iraq, a Beijing University scholar began to laugh: To help the Americans or Iraqis?
Then there is that refrain on strengthening the UN in the documents signed in Beijing. After so many public commitments to the UN system, how does India suddenly resile from that position? How does New Delhi get around the resolution passed by Parliament? On this the dominant view appears to be that the second Security Council resolution on Iraq, giving recognition to the authority in charge in Baghdad, provides a loophole. But there still remain those forbidding political considerations.
The Americans have left no pressure point unattended in pushing the case for Indian troops. To make the proposal more appealing they have talked of the Indian sector in the north, mostly the Kurdish areas. Echoes of the various sectors in Berlin after the second World War? So far India has been coordinating military affairs with the Commander-in-chief for the Pacific. Should India send troops to Iraq, it will instantly begin to operate in the very heart of CENTCOM the Central Command the principal engine driving American activism worldwide. This one decision, it is being furtively suggested, will dilute Pakistans stature in the CENTCOM framework.
Americans are quite clear that they upgraded Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advanis recent visit to the US to the prime ministerial level in every detail of access and protocol because he is the second most powerful man in the government. But lobbying for the Indian Division was, it is speculated, one of the inspirations behind the upgrading. Why, even Brajesh Mishra, the prime ministers national security adviser, during his visit prior to Advanis, was granted an unprecedented audience in the Oval office. Recently, when a senior MEA official went to Iraq for a sort of reconnaissance, he could not meet Paul Bremer, US chief administrator. So severely was Bremer chastised by Washington for the lapse, that Indias ambassador in Baghdad Brij Tyagi, has by way of over-correction gained the sort of access to the US headquarters which is the envy of other missions in Baghdad.
All of this cannot but play positively on New Delhi which is still sorting out its thoughts on the issue. Dreamers in the foreign policy establishment were beginning to conjure up a slot in the Security Council, membership of G8 and, heaven knows, what else as quid pro quo. It transpires that at the high table in Iraq will also be a host of nations including Pakistan.
Much water has flown down the river since Finance Minister Jaswant Singh prepared a persuasive document for troop deployment. He thought payments could be arranged through the UN representative. But the visit of the high-powered Pentagon delegation to New Delhi recently helped to clarify that India would be sending troops in its own interest, not as a favour to the US, and that the annual cost to the Indian exchequer would be Rs 1,50,000 annually. The biggest fear, of course, is that given the unstable conditions in Iraq, the possible deaths of Indian soldiers will create a political upheaval in an election year.
When the troops for Iraq debate began, the world confronted an awesome power. The continuing mess in Iraq and Afghanistan is causing eyebrows to be raised: Are we witness to power or perceiving, once again, limits to it?
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The Hawk and ad-hocism The lacunae in defence procurement systems affect national security
Sudhir Jatar Indian Express 4 Jul 03


The two news items by Saikat Datta (AJT suppliers face trouble, June 13, and AJT suppliers run into trouble June 17) in The Indian Express bring out the fact that the Indian defence procurement systems do not cater to the need to acquire high-technology training and weapons systems in an acceptable time-frame. The parliamentary standing committee on defence also is critical of the fact that although two years of the X Plan period are over, the government has not finalised the defence plan indicating ad-hocism and a non-serious approach.
The AJT deal is under active consideration of the government for about the last 17 years. Initially, the Defence ministry short-listed Dassault-France for the supply of the Alpha Jet trainer along with the Hawk, although Dassault had ceased production of the Alpha Jet in 1986 itself! And now, the ministry has short-listed companies, which are financially in debt and technically inadequate. The government created the Defence Procurement Board on 24 August 2001, inter alia, to examine proposals regarding procurement procedures and consider cases for approval on a fast-track basis. It appears that the DPB is a non-starter and the AJT muddle continues to jumble.
War preparedness directly depends on the peace-time standards of training which in turn depend upon the level of sophistication of training aids. Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, AVSM, VrC, VM says in his path-breaking article on Indias defence spending (Issues and implications, Feb 3), The real area where Chinese military modernisation is rapidly changing the future military balance is in the field of air power... Concurrently, given the nature of relations between China and Pakistan, modernisation of Chinas military capability has a spin-off effect on building up Pakistans military-technological capabilities. The importance of acquiring a state-of-the art AJT to attain perfection in operating fighter aircraft, therefore, cannot be over-emphasised. The delay in acquiring the AJT has resulted in increasing air accidents entailing loss of lives of our fighter pilots, who are difficult to replace in a hurry.
Both the British Hawk and Czech L-159B are in deep financial trouble. British Aerospace (BAe) has officially announced 450 redundancies with another 470 workers jobs under threat. The British government is keen on the Indian order to protect jobs in BAes factory at Brough in east Yorkshire, in close proximity to the constituencies of deputy prime minister John Prescott and trade secretary Alan Johnson. The British politicians are thus using the Hawk to boost their electoral prospects at tremendous cost to the Indian exchequer.
The AJTs, especially the Hawk, are not state-of-the-art and entail enormous costs (about 45 per cent higher than the rest in the market). The Hawk is already more than 40 years in service. By the time BAe delivers it in 2007, it would be 44 years old. In 2014 when the Hawk is at age 51; the Indian Air Force will have to send it back to Britain to fit new wings!
The UK Treasury Department is of the view that the Hawk does not meet value-for-money criterion and would cost the British tax-payers at least £1b more. In fact, the Royal Air Force and the UK ministry of defence are negotiating with Aermacchi of Italy for the M-346 trainer for their military training flying system (MTFS) programme.
BAe is lately under a cloud on alleged bribery charges. Some of these allegations also figure in Tehelkas Operation West End. There are allegations in the United States based on CIA reports and rival firms that point to bribery in a Czech arms deal. The UK newspaper, The Guardian, has in its possession documents to substantiate these assertions. While the BAe has denied these charges, two senior Czech politicians have separately claimed of bribe offers last year in an attempt to prevent them voting against the £2b deal to buy Gripen fighter jets from a BAe-Saab joint venture.
The IAF has agreed to evaluate new tenders (No phase-out of MIG-21s, June 26). The government should not, therefore, waste any more time in short-listing afresh financially and technically suitable parties. The Union Cabinet should formulate a high-powered committee comprising the Chief of the Air Staff as Chairman, with Secretaries of Defence and Defence Production as members, and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff as member-secretary to finalise the deal in the next four months, that is, if the government means business and is really concerned about national security.
(The author is a retired Major General
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Purchase scandal: all unquiet in the Navys western front Commodore, who served as director in Delhi, and his entire team accused of financial impropriety, inquiry on Indian Express 5 Jul 03 Saikat Dutta



New Delhi, July 4: The Mumbai-based Western Naval Command, the sword arm of the Navy, has been rocked by a probe into a scam suspected to run into crores of rupees in the sensitive procurement directorate which deals with the induction of equipment crucial for the western fleets operational status.
The probe has already had a fallout: a shaken Navy has restricted the movements of a Commodore and taken the unprecedented step of disbanding the Materials Division, usually staffed by 8 to 10 officers. These officers have been attached to separate units, awaiting the findings of the Board of Inquiry.
The Flag Officer Commanding-in Chief, Vice Admiral Arun Prakash, is personally overseeing the investigations. Navy sources said that the tainted officers were suspected to have by-passed established procurement procedures to favour certain firms for illegal benefits.
Confirming the incident, the official Navy spokesman, Commander V Garg told The Indian Express that some officers have been identified and the Navy is conducting a thorough investigation into the matter. The Navy has taken a serious view of the allegations and appropriate action will be taken after the Board of Inquiry submits its report.
Although Navy officials are tight-lipped on the issue, its learnt that the Commodore involved in the scam also served as a director in one of the logistics directorates at Naval Headquarters in Delhi. This has fuelled suspicions that some officials presently serving in Delhi could also be involved in the scam.
Senior officials at the Western Naval Command got wind of the scam when several irregularities surfaced a couple of months ago. The suspected officer was immediately put under surveillance and during this period, investigators unearthed a network of naval officials.
In the first week of June this year, the Commodore was relieved of his command, his team disbanded as the Navy conducted a series of raids in and around Mumbai.
As the Command material superintendent, the Commodore was involved in the procurement of equipment worth crores, including key components for operational ships and other naval establishments under its jurisdiction. Senior Navy officers said that depending on the findings of the inquiry, a court-martial could be also ordered subsequently.
In extreme circumstances, they said, the investigation could even be turned over to the Central Bureau of Investigation


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MiG-23 crashes, upkeep suspect Indian Express 8 Jul 03

Ferozepur/ New Delhi, July 7: A MiG-23 Fighter plane crashed into the paddy fields in the Mahiyanwala Kalan village of Zira sub-division, 42 km from Ferozepur, this morning. The pilot, Flt. Lt. Nikhil Gupta, ejected safely and no other casualties were reported.
The crash took place around 11.30 am. An eyewitness, Mintoo Bihari, said the plane first grazed the distributory canal situated near the Zira co-operative sugar mill, then shot up into the overhead wires, uprooting almost a dozen electricity poles, before crashing into a tubewell shed.
Squadron Leader Naseer Ahmed of the Halwara airbase, who reached the spot on a helicopter along with a rescue team, said the plane was on a routine sortie and had taken off from the base around 11 am. The pilot was immediately whisked away and admitted to the Air Force hospital at Halwara.
While a Court of Inquiry has been set up, Air Headquarters sources said officials are now looking at maintenance problems which could be responsible for the snags in the aircrafts undercarriage. In fact, maintenance problems have been dogging the MiG series aircraft, including the upgraded versions of the MiG-21. Earlier this year, a MiG-21 Bison had crashed due to problems in its fuel assembly pump raising questions about the quality checks done while assembling the aircrafts engines.
A Russian team from MiG-MAPO, the original manufacturers of the Mikogayan aircraft, rushed to the MiG factory, Nashik, to help Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd to iron out problems.
IAF sources say when the undercarriage fails to descend before landing, it is usually caused by poor maintenance. Details of the crash would only be available when the Court of Inquiry submits its report. The crash comes barely a few weeks after Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy called a press briefing to assert that the MiG series of aircraft was airworthy.
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Weapon-locating radar from US to arrive today Saikat Dutta Indian Express 10 Jul 03

New Delhi, July 9: In the first major transfer of frontline military hardware from the US, India is set to receive the first of the ANTPQ-36/37 weapon-locating radars tomorrow. The equipment is expected to tilt the balance of artillery duels across the Line of Control in Indias favour.
Besides adding a significant punch to Indias firepower, the radars are a symbol of the growing Indo-US strategic relationship. In fact, ever since the first Defence Policy Group was set up after successful parleys between then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and his US counterpart Strobe Talbott, the radars have served as a test case for the fledgling strategic relationship.
Trishul back on track: Ministry
New Delhi: After facing several setbacks in the short-range surface-to-air Trishul missile, the Defence Ministry claimed the programme was back on track.
In an official release, the Ministry claimed ‘‘there is no proposal of downgrading the Trishul missile project’’. Admitting that there were ‘‘technical problems,’’ the Ministry claimed the ‘‘problems have been analysed and the requisite modifications effected in various guidance and sub-systems and in the composition of the propellant’’.
According to officials, four Trishul missiles were launched in full combat configuration from a combat vehicle between June 22 and 25, this year. _ ENS
New Delhi evinced an interest in the radars at the first meeting of the Defence Policy Group, set up to facilitate technology transfers as well as plan greater military-to-military cooperation between the two countries.
South Block sources said the radars were originally expected to arrive on Wednesday but the US military cargo aircraft carrying them developed a snag delaying its delivery by a day. The US agreed to sell 12 radars to India for about $ 180 million. Earlier, the US Army also agreed to loan a few radars to the Indian Army for training and a team of Indian artillery officers went to the US to familiarise themselves with the radar.
During the Kargil war, Indian gunners sorely felt the need for weapon locating radars and were at a considerable disadvantage as the Pakistanis used their radars to deadly effect. In fact, the Indian Army has been clamouring for these radars for years and Kargil revealed a major handicap in Indian defence as well as strike capabilities. While the Indian Army needs 40 radars, 12 will be from the US and the rest will be developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. In the absence of the technology, the Indian Army was looking at a Ukrainian radar before the US offered the ANTPQ-36/37.
The radars, say Army officers, will be a tremendous advantage in a tactical battle scenario and will prove effective in mountainous terrain where it is difficult to locate the source of artillery fire. During artillery exchanges in the Kargil conflict, Indian gunners had to constantly shoot and scoot to prevent Pakistani radars from homing in on their positions. Now armed with these radars, Indian gunners will be able to tilt the balance in their favour.
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Ground-level inputs arrive: what troops, if they go, need to be wary of Indian Express 10 Jul 03
Shshir Gupta

New Delhi, July 9: The decision to send troops to Iraq will finally be a political one based more on strategic considerations than anything else but ground-level inputs received by New Delhi paint a picture of instability.
These inputs, which form part of the governments assessment, are currently being debated in South Block. The salient points of this assessment, obtained by The Indian Express:
Delay in establishment of interim authority has led to disillusionment among Iraqi people who now suspect the occupying authoritys capability to bring back normalcy. Signs of increasing frustration even among those who suffered at the hands of the Saddam regime and this may lead to more organized attacks against the coalition forces and their supporters.

Situation in Mosul-Kirkuk highly sensitive and tense, series of armed clashes between the Arabs and Kurds, the latter being of Indo-European stock. These developments are significant, as the US wants India to send a division-level force (between 12,000-15,000 troops) to stabilize the area from North of Tikrit to Iraqs border in the north.
In Mosul-Kirkuk, regular incidents of attack on coalition forces and attempted looting of UN warehouses.
No evidence on who is behind these attacks but prime suspects: former Iraqi soldiers who have lost their jobs and livelihood; former Baath party members, Islamic fundamentalist groups opposed to coalition forces as well as criminal elements.
While Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and Kurdish Patriotic Union (KUP) leadership are for Indian troops in Northern Iraq, the situation may get complicated once coalition troops pull out due to political ambitions of the Kurdish leadership and the mistrust between the two main parties.
The other complicating factor is the presence of Turkish-Kurd Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) extremists in pockets close to Turkish and Iran borders. Any assertion from the PKK would have serious security ramifications in Turkey, which already has a brigade level force near Dohuk to carry out counter-PKK operations.
The inputs received in Delhi suggest that Indian troops will have to adopt an aggressive and proactive approach to stabilize the region, as well as maintain close liaison with neighbouring Turkey and the Kurdish parties.
However, given the current state of relations between US and Syria, Turkey and Iran, it appears that the regional countries are interested in a stabilisation force instead of US/UK coalition troops.
The attitude of regional countries towards Indian troop deployment also has sent mixed signals to New Delhi. Kuwait is supportive of New Delhis moves but Jordan and Turkey like to see Indian troops with a defined and clear-cut mandate. Saudi Arabia and Iran would like to see troops under the UN mandate. Syria has a long-standing opposition to any outside intervention in Iraq. Such mixed sensitivities of the neighbours indicate that India will have to factor regional security and economic ramifications if troops are involved in peace-enforcement mode. This is not to forget the repercussions on the minority audience back home if such a move is taken.
Factoring the trend of attacks on coalition forces, the broad feeling in South Block is that the Indian force should be prepared to handle a counter-insurgency role. This also means that the force will have to independent in operational and logistic requirements including medical support.
Simply put, this translates into substantial financial resources, which is currently being put at Rs 1300 crore a year, as well as maintaining uninterrupted supply lines from across the borders
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Ajay shukla Indian Express 16 Jul 03
High risks, low benefits

At the end of 1992, the US had asked India to quickly send a brigade group over 4000 soldiers to control the situation spiraling out of control in Somalia. Although there was already a UN Observer Group under a Pakistani commander in Somalia, there was no UN mandate for armed troop contingents to enforce the peace. Wisely, it was only six months later, after the UN approved a full-scale armed mission that India sent in a brigade, taking on responsibility for the whole of Southern Somalia. The Americans, like today, operated outside UN command. When setbacks in Mogadishu, like the famous Black Hawk Down debacle at the end of 1993, led to a US pull-out, the Indians had the legitimacy and stature to stay on, finally leaving in February 1995 with their reputation intact. Were it not for the UN mandate, India too would have had to evacuate ignominiously along with the Americans.
What India has lost in terms of an opportunity by not sending troops with the US will only become clear as the Iraq drama plays out. But this past experience shows that it has already gained by recognising that a UN mandate serves as more than a fig leaf, it provides real cover against insurgency in a foreign country.
Despite the cloak of principle in Indias polite demurral, the decision was actually based on calculations of realpolitik, both global and domestic. Which is how it should be. If principle alone bought international standing, India would have become a superpower in Nehrus time. But as we discovered then, prestige and stature does not equal power and influence. The logic behind such a decision must hinge on a simple question: is national interest served by backtracking from our idealistic disapproval of Americas invasion of Iraq, towards co-operation in that countrys restructuring? If there are great benefits to be obtained, principle can be sacrificed for pragmatism. Notwithstanding the keenness within sections of the government to link arms with Indias new strategic partner, there was broad opposition to the proposal within the strategic community, the press, the Opposition and within sections of the government itself. And so the bottom line was: no consensus, doubtful benefits, too much risk.
When India was first asked for troops, both the army and decision-makers within the Prime Ministers Office were for obliging the US. But at that time there was underlying Iraqi goodwill for America. Injured pride at their military defeat was tempered with relief at being rid of Saddam Hussein. Control the looters, fix the electricity and plumbing, the Iraqis told the Americans, and then leave. Going in then would have bought India goodwill.
But the rules of the game are now very different. With the Americans unable to control the vast spaces of Iraq, the continuing anarchy has bred Iraqi disillusionment and resentment. Saddams loyalists have regrouped and are continuing the fight. American commanders in Baghdad admit that the Baath Party has called in Syrian, Saudi, Yemeni, Algerian, Lebanese and Chechen fighters. American briefings have already started using the lexicon of insurgency: infiltration across the Iran-Iraq border, foreign militants and training camps. If the US had hoped that a new Iraq would radiate democracy into the Middle East, quite the opposite has happened. Fundamentalist fighters are being sucked into what was, for jehadis, a no-go country.
Keenly watching this struggle are the Iraqi people, unconvinced about whether America will stay or leave. In the Kafkaesque Iraq of today, even the wildest rumours have credibility. Saddams imminent reappearance is whispered of in many homes. An astonishing number of Iraqis believe that the US itself struck a deal with him and that he is alive and well. With guerrilla strikes becoming effective and Saddams recorded voice urging resistance, it is hardly surprising that the Iraqi people are reluctant to support an occupier who they believe could depart, leaving them to the mercy of a tyrant returned from the grave. The chickens of 1991, when America abandoned the Shia and Kurd uprisings, have truly come home to roost.
But while recognising the need to demonstrate staying power, the US cannot bring in more troops from their own army. Even while 230,000 American troops remain deployed in the Gulf region, most Americans still support their countrys involvement in Iraq. But sending in any more American boys will be laden with symbolism, recalling the slow slide into Vietnam, when US troops there rose from 16,000 in 1965 to 500,000 two years later. The additional forces, therefore, have to be coaxed from old allies like the UK or hopeful aspirants like Poland.
With vast experience in handling insurgency, an Indian division in Iraq would have probably brought control to any area where they were deployed. But what of the political price in the Middle East? An Indian troop presence there would stamp our name in many Arab perceptions alongside that of Israel. Islamist theorizers have long postulated a Christian-Jewish-Hindu axis against Islam. Indias secularity and the friendly association of Indian workers in the Middle East have so far insulated us from being portrayed as a Hindu entity. But soldiers carrying guns and, inevitably, using them against Arabs will gift credibility to this paranoid theory. This will resonate not just in Iraq but with our own jehadis in Kashmir as well.
What then could America offer India in return for being painted black in a region where it has such stakes?
New Delhi has not missed the lessons of the unfolding Israel-Palestine peace process where America has, over the preceding year, helped Israel create the conditions for a favourable settlement. Despite its public posturing, South Block knows well that American pressure has forced a Pakistani squeeze on jehadi groups in PoK. As Indian security forces in J&K gain ground against militancy, Pakistans only real influence there militant guns is steadily waning. India, like Israel, hopes for a settlement on its own terms with terrorism under control. Sending troops to Iraq, says this logic, will maintain the American squeeze on Islamabad.
Cooling down hotspots that breed Islamic fundamentalism is indeed a cornerstone of American strategy for the war on terror. And the road from Jerusalem may well lead to Srinagar. But this logic falters in the assumption that America will do for India what it has done for Israel. Pakistan, unlike Palestine, is a State with which the US has a vital and independent relationship, which it cannot jeopardise by pushing it beyond a point. Every American signal over the preceding months points to their belief that Pakistan has done what was needed and that the onus is now on India.
There are many reasons to push forward Indias strategic relationship with the US. American support will be essential for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, and eventually in legitimising Indias nuclear status. Its partnership in trade, its assistance in high-tech projects will be essential for Indias economic development. But this assistance will eventually come as a result of Indias long-term stability and balance, not by fighting Americas wars for it.
There are few images as definitive or symbolic as a countrys troops marching off an aircraft onto foreign soil. They represent the ultimate commitment of a nation to a cause. In this case, Indias benefit lies in the cause of UN multilateralism, not an American imperium. America may still be forced by casualties and domestic opinion to seek a UN peacekeeping mandate. Until then, keep the army at home.
(The writer is a correspondent with NDTV

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Be bold, US said, show 1998 (Pokharan) guts Sibal was told troops under UN would be too little, too late
Indian Express 18 Jul 03


New Delhi, July 17: Yours is a BJP government, you took the risk in 1998 (Pokharan II), take the initiative now as well. We know you may ask for UN cover or cite domestic concerns. We can get a UN cover but if you send troops right now, that will strengthen our friendship.
This was Washingtons messagewhich included a string of incentives as wellthat New Delhi chose to reject when it decided not to send troops to Iraq earlier this week.
The message, highly placed sources said, was conveyed by senior officials in Washington to visiting Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal who, in turn, summarised it for his bosses in New Delhi.
His assessment of Washingtons message, these sources said, was examined by the Cabinet Committee on Security before it said no.
In return for Indias support, the US, sources said, was willing to:
Accommodate an Indian army general as liasion officer at Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida as well as post 35 Indian officers at its command and control headquarters in Iraq.
Offer progress on the trinity issues: nuclear, hi-tech and space cooperation. Implied in this was that like Russia and France, US would be more accommodating towards India when it came to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for transfer of critical technologies.
Pick up the estimated $300-million tab for troop deployment.
Help India recover its investments made during the Saddam regime as well as get a share of the economic reconstruction efforts in Iraq.
Although Washington has said that New Delhis no wont affect tiesAmbassador Blackwill said this today as wellofficials here are concerned and are keeping their fingers crossed.
While the Indo-US joint working groups on peacekeeping are tentatively scheduled to meet in Washington on August 4, the JWG on counter-terrorism will meet the next day. The topic of Indian troops for Iraq will obviously come up at the peacekeeping JWG in case the meeting goes as per schedule.
The other significant event is the Indo-US meeting of Defence Policy Group scheduled for August 6-7 in Washington. Here Indian Defence Secretary Ajay Prasad is expected to explain New Delhis decision to Pentagons under secretary for policy Douglas Feith


posted by promila 7:33 AM


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