defence and security news

archives


Monday, December 08, 2003

 
India Enhances Defense Alliances with Brazil, S. Africa
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI.NEW DELHI

Indian officials this week announced they have signed a defense pact with Brazil and reached agreements with South African officials that will further defense ties with that country.
The accord with Brazil - signed here Dec. 2 by visiting Brazilian Defense Minister Jose Veigas Filho and his Indian counterpart, George Fernandes - will allow the two countries to collaborate on several military aviation programs, including air surveillance systems, an Indian Defence Ministry official told DefenseNews.com on Dec. 2.
“Brazil has a well-developed air defense surveillance system, and there is a good possibility of collaborating in this area,” the official said. “The two countries have also agreed to collaborate in shipbuilding systems and sub systems such as avionics, software and ordnance.”
The Indian defense minister also offered Brazil the opportunity to buy India’s indigenously developed Advanced Light Helicopter and Light Combat Aircraft.
Another highlight of the growing Indo-Brazilian defense partnership is the establishment of a working group that will formulate concrete proposals for defense industry and military-to-military cooperation, the Defence Ministry official said.
India already has decided to purchase five Brazilian executive jets for its Air Force VIP squadron at a cost of $162 million. Manufactured by Brazil’s Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica S.A., or Embraer, the Legacy jets will replace aging Avros aircraft in the Indian Air Force’s VIP squadron.
During the fourth meeting of the Indo-South African Joint Committee, held here Dec. 2-3, India and South Africa decided to explore joint development of defense weapons and equipment.
They also agreed on training for Indian troops by South African experts, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.
“India and South Africa discussed the possibility of joint development in field guns, setting up of ammunition factories along with India’s state owned Ordnance Factories,” a senior ministry official said Dec. 3.
India and South Africa have exchanged several defense delegations, and India has bought from South Africa defense equipment ranging from shells for howitzer guns to receivers for the Indian Army’s Samyukta electronic warfare program.
India and South Africa already agreed to establish at Nalanda, in the Indian state of Bihar, a factory to produce 155mm ammunition for self-propelled howitzer guns. Somchem, a subsidiary of South African giant Denel Ltd., will collaborate with India’s state-owned Ordnance Factories Board, Calcutta, to set up the facility.
The two countries’ delegations for the meeting were led by their secretaries of defense - Ajay Prasad of India and JB Masilela of South Africa
--
No Final Price Agreement on Russian Carrier, India Says
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

Indian Defence Ministry officials said Dec. 4 that the long-pending deal for the acquisition of a decommissioned Russian aircraft carrier has not been finalized, though New Delhi and Moscow have agreed on the cost of refitting the ship at a Russian yard.
Defence Ministry officials said serious differences on whether to outfit the Admiral Gorshkov with the Russian Kashtan-M missile defense system or with the Israeli Barak system persist.
“It will take months to finalize the price of the MiG-29K aircraft for the carrier and the purchase of missile and anti-missile systems aboard the carrier,” one Defence Ministry official said.
The Navy already has purchased seven Barak systems at around $40 million, and one system for its fleet’s sole aircraft carrier, the INS Viraat.
A Russian diplomat in New Delhi said Dec. 4 that the Kashtan-M system is equal to the Barak system in capability at half the price. The diplomat claimed the Kashtan system can engage four cruise missiles simultaneously.
The Defence Ministry’s announcement clarifies Navy chief Adm. Madhavendra Singh’s Dec. 2 announcement that the two countries at last had agreed that India would pay a total of about $666.6 million for the Admiral Gorshkov. Defence Ministry officials said that price - down from Russia’s earlier asking price of $1 billion - covers only the ship’s refitting by SevMash Enterprise, Severodvinsk, Russia.
Russia in October 2000 offered India the Admiral Gorshkov free of cost, but only if India agreed to pay for the carrier’s renovation in Russia
--
India, U.S. Boost Technology Ties
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

India and the United States have agreed to formalize a framework that would enable New Delhi to obtain so-called dual-use technology from the United States.
“The decision can jump-start Indo-U.S. relations to new levels,” a senior official of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.
The decision came at the third Indo-U.S. High Technology Cooperation Group meeting held here Nov. 20. The session was co-chaired by Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal and Kenneth Juster, U.S. undersecretary of commerce, the Indian officials said.


The framework on dual-use technology - meaning it has civilian and military applications - can result in allowing India to acquire civilian nuclear, space and other advanced technologies from the United States, an Indian Defence Ministry official said.
“The decision is historic, as it allows New Delhi to acquire cutting-edge technologies from the United States and the West.”
Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs revealed that under the framework, Washington has the right to verify end users of the technology.
“India will have to strengthen its export-control laws and educate its private sector about America’s strict regulations to stop nuclear proliferation,” a U.S. diplomat said.
The United States on several occasions has opted not to transfer to India technology Washington deemed too sensitive, which has hampered research programs here. One such program, the Light Combat Aircraft, was stalled because the sale of 40 General Electric engines for the aircraft was blocked. And several Sea King naval helicopters were grounded after the United States denied the shipment of critical components due to sanctions imposed in 1998. Those sanctions have since been lifted.
“We need a number of dual-use technologies for our ongoing important defense programs, such as Su-30MKI combat aircraft program and Lakshaya unmanned aerial vehicle program,” said Nalani Ranjan Mohanty, chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Bangalore.
Mohanty said that the United States is a pioneer in such technologies and HAL is keen to forge partnerships with U.S. defense companies for such programs.
The MoD official noted that India urgently needs “cutting-edge technologies from the United States and the West to help establish its nuclear command and control structures.”
He also said India is urgently trying to acquire information warfare systems and advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, which could be established only with the help of U.S. and other Western defense companies.
“India would consider technology transfer as an important parameter for a robust military relationship between the two countries,” said Mahindra Singh, an independent analyst and retired Army major general.
The United States enacted the multilateral Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1967, which restricts transfer of nuclear and related technologies.
India conducted its first nuclear test in May 1974 after the deadline for signing on to the treaty had passed. India is not a signatory to the treaty. This stopped the flow of nuclear technologies to India, so the country turned to the Soviet Union for defense technologies.
“India could enter into joint collaboration with the United States in the space program, including the military space program, once the framework on dual use technology is cleared,” the MoD official said.The framework must not be formally approved by officials and Washington before such collaboration can more forward.
E-mail: vraghuvanshi@defensenews.com .
India To Maintain Mongolian Weaponry
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

India has agreed to repair and maintain Mongolia’s entire weapon inventory, including the upgrade of its MiG-21 aircraft, said a senior Defence Ministry official here.
The decision was taken Nov. 11 during a meeting between Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes and Jugderdemid Gurragchaa, the visiting defense minister of Mongolia, the same official said. This will be the first time India has ever undertaken the repair and maintenance of another country’s full inventory of weapons.
A large delegation of Indian defense technology experts - including ordnance engineers, infantry and artillery technicians, and aeronautical engineers - will visit Mongolia next month to prepare a feasibility plan for the repair and maintenance of all of Mongolia’s weaponry.


Baljit Singh Menon, deputy spokesman of the Indian Defence Ministry, told DefenseNews.com on Nov.11 that Gurragchaa and Fernandes in delegation-level talks emphasized defense cooperation to promote overall bilateral relations.
During the talks both the leaders explored the possibilities of capacity-building and training in areas including information technology, peacekeeping, and equipment repair and maintenance, Menon said.
The Mongolian delegation evinced a keen interest in peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, he said.
India and Mongolia traditionally have had good political and cultural relations which have been expanding since the restoration of democracy in Mongolia.
Gurragchaa, who is in India on an eight-day visit, will return to Mongolia on Nov. 18.
Gurragchaa was accompanied by Maj. Gen. Dash Magsarjav, chief of the Policy Implementation and Coordination Directorate; Maj. Gen. Choijamts Ulaankhuu, air defense chief of chief of the military’s General Staff; Lt. Col. Donrov Ganbaatar, foreign relations specialist; and Zala Ul, a counselor with the Mongolian Embassy here.
India Seeks Link with Pakistan via Coast Guard
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

An Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official told DefenseNews.com on Dec. 4 that New Delhi has proposed to Islamabad the establishment of communication links between the Indian Coast Guard and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency.
The offer is part of a series of efforts, including a cease-fire that began Nov. 26, directed at improving ties between the two hostile neighbors.
“The communication links could cover matters relating to the humanitarian aspects concerning fishermen of both countries,” the MEA official said. Hundreds of Indian fishermen are in Pakistani jails, the official claimed.


India also has proposed flag-level meetings between the two maritime forces every six months, the official added.
The communication linkage between the two forces would not affect the Indian Coastal Guard’s modernization program, a senior Coast Guard official said. Plans call for the Coast Guard to acquire 30 new offshore patrol vessels and fast patrol vessels, two hovercrafts, six naval surveillance helicopters and an undisclosed number of fixed-wing maritime reconnaissance aircraft in the next five years.
--
Indian Fleet To Add Two Aircraft Carriers by 2010, Navy Chief Says
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

The conclusion of a long-awaited deal for India’s acquisition of a retired Russian aircraft carrier means that the Indian Navy, due to decommission its only existing carrier in a couple of years, will add two to its fleet by 2010, the service’s chief said Dec. 2.
The details of the Navy’s acquisition of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov were concluded last week, with both New Delhi and Moscow agreeing to the price tag of $666.6 million, Indian Navy chief Adm. Madhvendra Singh said. Negotiations for the ship, which will be refitted in Russia, had dragged on for three years due to differences over the price and other terms. The final deal will be signed during an upcoming, but not yet scheduled, visit here by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.
Singh told DefenseNews.com that the warship, armed with a squadron of MiG-29K aircraft, will be ready for induction in four to five years.


The Admiral Gorshkov will increase the Navy’s force multiplier capabilities multifold, and the service will be able to challenge its potential rivals more effectively, Singh said. The ship’s weapons package includes superior missile systems more capable than any Asian navy today, he added.
Singh also disclosed that by 2010, India’s indigenously built aircraft carrier, known as the Air Defence Ship, will be in service, carrying another squadron of MiG-29K aircraft. The Navy’s MiG-29K fleet will provide the service with a strike-fighting edge and enhanced intercepting capabilities.
The government’s defense acquisition council also has approved the 10-year shipbuilding plan, under which the Navy will order 30 warships from domestic and foreign shipyards, Singh said.
He noted the Navy today faces the daunting task of providing security for 2.1 million square kilometers of sea around India’s coasts, including 1,157 islands under Indian control.
With the beginning of a ceasefire at the India-Pakistan border in Kashmir, Singh predicted India now will face insurgency threats from the sea.
Singh said the Navy’s goal in holding joint exercises with foreign navies this year is to gain experience in curbing activities such as terrorism, transportation of weapons of mass destruction through Indian Ocean shipping lanes, and trafficking of weapons, humans and drugs. In the past year, he said, the Navy conducted joint exercises with 13 foreign navies, including those of the United States, Russia, France and Singapore.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report from New Delhi.
Indian Army Outlines Big Weapon Buying Blueprint
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

The Indian Army has drawn up a blueprint for modernizing the service in what will be the largest procurement effort in decades.
Lt. Gen. Ashok Chaki, the Army’s deputy chief of procurement, said Oct. 28 the service must upgrade arms, surveillance equipment and command, control and communications systems to maintain an edge over its adversaries.
The 10-year procurement plan, estimated to cost around $15 billion, was submitted to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in October, a senior Army planning official said Nov. 14. The modernization blueprint also envisions a complete overhaul of existing weaponry.



The Facts:
modernization buys The Indian Army in the next 10 years wants to buy: * New advanced command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, and information warfare systems, as well as upgrades to existing systems. * Nuclear, biological and chemical equipment, such as protective gear, detection and alarm systems, modulators, vaccine agents, bio-agents and radio protectors. * Agni, Reflex and Kornet surface-to-surface missiles and Igla surface-to-air missiles, and air defense system upgrades. * Equipment to upgrade the night-vision capabilities. * Unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostats. * Various versions of 155mm guns, rocket launchers and other weaponry. SOURCE: Defense News research
A Defence Ministry official said Nov. 10 that the MoD is considering ways to finance the plan during the next decade. Army officials expect the program to get government approval in December, with bids being solicited in January or February. Deliveries could begin in June, they said.
Arming the Troops
“Our foremost priority is to modernize the Infantry and Rashtriya Rifle Units, which are engaged in combating insurgency and cross-border infiltration,” Chaki said. “The aim is to enhance their lethality, survivability and surveillance capability.”
He said that the equipment procured for these units will include hand-held thermal imagers, short-range battlefield surveillance rad ar, unattended ground sensors, high-resolution binoculars, under-barrel grenade launchers, multiple grenade launchers and sniper rifles with night sights.
To increase troop movement, new high-mobility vehicles are being sought, and the engines of existing ones will be modernized.
Chaki said that emphasis also is being put on boosting conventional warfare capabilities, particularly in procuring thermal imaging sights for tanks, various types of surveillance radar, unmanned aerial vehicles and aerostats.
India To Upgrade Missile Arsenal
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

India’s sole missile manufacturer has been authorized by the government to upgrade the military’s aging surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles, a job expected to be worth about $15 billion over 10 years.
The Ministry of Defence in October authorized state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL), Hyderabad, to perform life-cycle extension work on all types of missiles that have accumulated in the last 25 years in the inventories of the Army, Navy and Air Force, BDL Chairman Purusthottam Mohandas said Nov. 4.
He said trials on some upgraded Soviet-era SA-6 and SA-8 surface-to-air missiles have begun at BDL factories in Hyderabad and Medak.


Mohandas said BDL hopes to begin serial modernization work on these missiles in January at about 20 percent of their original cost, at several hundred billion dollars.
The Army has about 40,000 SA-7 and SA-14 man-portable missiles; Tigercat missiles; and SA-6, SA-8, SA-9 and SA-11 missiles that have piled up for the last 25 years, a senior Army air defense official said Nov. 10.
Sixty-five percent of these missiles are virtually unusable and require urgent mid-life extension, the Army official said. Upgrades will include replacement of propulsion and guidance systems and new warheads, all of which BDL will manufacture.
The Army’s request in 2000 to the Russian manufacturers of these missiles to conduct the upgrades garnered little interest, the Army official said. Because these missiles cannot be used, the Army’s air defense capabilities have been cut by 50 percent, he said.
Currently, there is no provision in the Army’s 2004 budget of $7.2 billion for refurbishment of the missiles, and special funds need to be allocated for the mid-life extension work, he said.
The Indian Air Force has the largest stockpile of SA-2 and SA-3 surface-to-air missiles, a senior Air Force official said. The service has about 10,000 of these missiles and nearly 80 percent of them are not combat worthy.
The Air Force five years ago submitted a missile refurbishment plan to the Defence Ministry, and the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was asked to begin refurbishing SA-2 and SA-3 missiles. No work has been done to date, the service official said.
A senior DRDO scientist said the agency’s current focus is on developing indigenous missiles, not refurbishing aging missiles.
E-mail: vraghuvanshi@defensenews.com .
India Aims To Project More Power
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

By 2020, India wants to be a world power with influence spreading across the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Gulf and the four corners of Asia.
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said one big step in realizing this goal will be the coordination of military and civil government agencies.
“War in whatever form can be won only through multiple levers of power,” Vajpayee told the Combined Commanders Conference of the three Armed Forces here Nov. 1.


Strategy in the globalized 21st century requires synergy among security agencies, the military, diplomats and Finance, Commerce, Energy and other agencies, he said.
“As a policy, the present government under Vajpayee has been more open on India’s defense policies and its national aspirations than any government in the past,” Mahindra Singh, a retired Army major general, said Nov. 6.
Singh said that the government feels a need to create a situation where Pakistan is not considered a big nation in South Asia. India should expand its horizons globally, Singh said, to attain greater superiority in matters concerning defense, economics and diplomacy.
During the Nov. 1 conference, Vajpayee asked defense planners to shed their sub-regional mindset and craft instead defense strategies that extend beyond South Asia. He said the country’s security concerns extend from the Arabian Gulf in the west to the Strait of Malacca in the east, from Central Asia and Afghanistan in the northwest to China in the northeast.
So Indian Army, Navy and Air Force commanders are working on ways to project military power to more than 50 nations, senior military officials said. They are seeking more defense and military cooperation with Arabian Gulf and Central Asian nations, as well as India’s friendly neighbors in Southeast Asia. In the past three years, New Delhi has signed memoranda of understanding to share intelligence of terrorist activities and to exchange training of military forces, with most Central Asian republics, one Defence Ministry policy planning official said.
As a next step, India is conducting more bilateral exercises and exchanges and sharing defense advice with friendly nations. The military officials said the contact will help multinational operations.
The end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union jolted many of India’s 50-year-old strategic and security assumptions, Vajpayee said. Defense cooperation with Russia was badly disrupted, and many of India’s other relationships and alliances suffered. While Russia remains a close ally, its willingness to help India now is tempered by Russian dependence on the West, especially the United States.
“The changed circumstances of the Indo-Soviet strategic alliance greatly affected India’s room for diplomatic maneuver in the world,” he said.
India is not developing an offensive military strategy, a Defence Ministry spokesman said. Rather, the emerging global economic power is trying to forge greater military relations with its neighbors and emerging friends across the world.
“India’s concern is to be vigilant about the security environment in these regions, which will have implications on its defense policy ultimately,” said spokesman Amitabha Chakrabarti. “Our aim is certainly not offensive military projections.”
Big Plans
In the next decade, Indian defense planners want to:
* Improve military logistics in Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
* Increase military interaction with Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
* Have more naval interaction with South Africa and other African countries, and Iran, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and other Arabian Gulf nations.
* Extend infrastructure, logistics and material support to Myanmar to contain Chinese activities.
Meanwhile, the three armed forces are preparing to spend up to $100 billion over 15 to 20 years to improve India’s strike capabilities.
Included in that spending plan:
* The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to spend another $30 billion to add 360 planes, including airborne early warning and control systems, and modernize more than 200 aging combat aircraft, a senior IAF planning official said.
India’s no-first-use nuclear doctrine requires the country to deliver nuclear weapons and prepare defenses against possible incoming nuclear strikes by introducing missile defense systems and upgrading communication and surveillance systems, the official said.
* The Army will spend another $25 billion to buy tanks, air defense systems, radar and 2,000 self-propelled artillery pieces and to upgrade T-72 tanks. Some $10 billion will be spent on ammunition, said one Army planning official.
* The Indian Navy will spend about $20 billion to buy aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, maritime surveillance aircraft and other ships and gear. The Navy’s 10 principal combatants would be equipped with anti-missile missiles; command, control, communications and intelligence systems; and cruise missile launchers, a senior Navy planning official said.
“India is not aiming to build overseas naval bases, but we are aiming to induct a variety of warships to make a strong presence in the Indian Ocean to make India a force to be reckoned with,” said Navy chief Adm. Madhavendra Singh.
Singh said Oct. 14 that fulfilling India’s dream to have a full-fledged blue-water Navy would need at least three aircraft carriers, 20 more frigates, 20 more destroyers with helicopters, and large numbers of missile corvettes and anti-submarine warfare corvettes.
E-mail: raghuvanshi@defensenews.com.
India’s HAL To Supply 10 Helicopters to U.S. Customs
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

India’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has bagged an order for 10 indigenously made Dhruv advanced light helicopters to the U.S. Customs Service.
HAL Chairman Nalini Ranjan Mohanty told DefenseNews.com Nov. 26 that the inquiry for the purchase came through Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), with whom Bangalore-based HAL has a marketing agreement.
Under the agreement, IAI, Lod, Israel, would integrate the centralized avionics package aboard the advanced light helicopter for the international market.


Mohanty said HAL and U.S. Customs would ink the final agreement on the purchase in the next two months. The Dhruv helicopters will be sold to the U.S. agency for about $5 million.
The Dhruv is designed to perform military tasks such as assault, reconnaissance, anti-tank and anti-submarine warfare and is developed in collaboration with Eurocopter, Marignane, France. About 40 percent of its components are made in India.
Weighing about 5 tons, the Dhruv is in the same class as the Mitsubishi MH 2000, Dauphin, EC-155, Super Lynx, S-76, Bell 412, AB 139 and PZL W-3A, a HAL official said.
HAL has delivered close to 30 Dhruv advanced light helicopters to India’s defense forces, which in September placed an order for 50 additional helicopters. The Dhruv is powered by two TM 333-2B2 engines built by Turbomeca of France.
Vietnam To Buy Indian Weaponry Under Defense Accord
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

As part of its effort to increase military alliances in Southeast Asia, India on Nov. 17 agreed to supply a wide range of weaponry to Vietnam.
During a delegate-level meeting here, New Delhi agreed to supply Vietnam with an unspecified number of military communication systems and ammunition for artillery and mortar systems, and to upgrade Vietnam’s 120 MiG-21 aircraft and 100mm and 130mm artillery systems, a senior Indian Defence Ministry official said. The talks were co-chaired by Ajai Prasad, India’s permanent defence secretary, and Senior Lt. Gen. Nguyen Huy Hieu, the visiting vice defense minister of Vietnam.
Though the value of the entire package is around $600 million, the Indian Defense Ministry official said Nov. 17, India has agreed to accept only $300 million as a gesture of friendship.


He said the details of ugrading the MiG-21s and artillery systems - including where the work will be performed - have not yet been been decided.
India also agreed to train Vietnamese Navy forces at Indian naval training facilities, the official added.
In August, India also agreed to sell coastal patrol craft to Hanoi on a concessional basis, to train Vietnamese personnel to maintain and operate the vessels and naval weapons, and to help Vietnam build a warship in Vietnam’s Bason shipyard.
India by the end of 2006 will deliver to Vietnam two coastal patrol craft at a cost of $3 million each, to be built by state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd., the official added.
In turn, New Delhi has sought Vietnam’s help in training Indian Army personnel in Vietnam for jungle warfare.
Baljit Singh Menon, deputy spokesman of the Indian Defence Ministry, told DefenseNews.com on Nov.17 that the further strengthening of bilateral defense cooperation - including increased interaction between the two countries’ navies and coast guards - dominated the talks.
India’s HAL Is Eager For Aviation Ventures
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) wants to forge international joint ventures that will better position the Bangalore-based company to become an aviation industry hub for Southeast Asia.
To that end, HAL Chairman Nalini Ranjan Mohanty is looking for a Western industry partner for India’s ongoing multirole transport aircraft (MTA) program.
Mohanty said the partner would join the program “as an equity partner and provide expertise in the manufacture of avionics and engines.” He declined to discuss the companies being considered, but said a partnership agreement is expected very soon.


HAL in April 2002 signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s Irkutsk Aviation Production Association, Irkutsk, and Ilyushin Aviation Complex, Moscow, for joint development of the MTA.
The entire program is worth $350 million and is based on a 50-50 partnership between the Indian and Russian companies.
Mohanty said HAL in October invited Western firms to pick up equity shares in the program, based on individual investment.
HAL is looking for two partners, for avionics and engines, and clearance from the Russian partners is not necessary because the new partners’ shares would come out of HAL’s 50 percent, said one MTA program manager at HAL.
“We are expecting the project report to be finalized by end of this year,” the MTA program manager said, referring to a report HAL will submit to the Defence Ministry that defends the plan devised by the company and its partners.
Regional Aims
HAL is aiming, with such partnerships, to take advantage of India’s vast aeronautical infrastructure and inexpensive skilled labor to build an industry hub to serve Southeast Asia.
The Indian Air Force has projected a requirement of 150 MTAs, while the Russian Air Force has committed to buy 60 aircraft. The MTA also will be marketed to other countries, the program manager said.
Outlining the projected time frame, he said MTA will take its maiden flight in 2008 and go into production in 2009. Four MTA prototypes are slated to be manufactured at HAL’s Nasik facilities.
MTA Features
With an estimated price tag of $13 million apiece, MTA will have an 8-metric-ton cargo capacity. The MTA is being designed for a maximum takeoff weight of 55 metric tons and speeds of up to 870 kilometers per hour.
The flight range of the aircraft would be up to 2,500 kilometers with a 20-metric-ton payload. The range of MTA can be increased up to 6,000 kilometers with a 4.5-metric-ton payload, said a HAL engineer.
The aircraft will be equipped with a digital fly-by-wire system, fully pressurized crew cabin and cargo cabin, and have a rear cargo ramp.
The planned life cycle of the MTA is 60,000 flight hours, 40,000 landings and 30 years of operation.
E-mail: vraghuvanshi@defensenews.com .
India Tests BrahMos Cruise Missile
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

India on Nov.9 conducted the fifth successful test of its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in eastern India.
“After achieving the precision guidance capability in the surface-to-surface version from a fixed launcher in its fourth trial on Oct. 29, the missile was test-fired at 12:04 [local time] to check its other parameters,” said a Nov. 9 statement from the Indian Ministry of Defence.
With a range of 290 kilometers, the 8-meter-long BrahMos missile carries a conventional warhead weighing about 200 kilograms. The two-stage missile has a solid-propellant booster and liquid-propellant ramjet system. BrahMos is the first supersonic cruise missile that uses liquid ramjet technology.


The BrahMos system is being developed jointly by India’s Defence Research Development Organisation and Russia’s State Unitary Enterprise NPO Mashinostroyenia.
The 3-ton missile can be launched from a variety of platforms, including ships and aircraft India and Russia each have spent $150 million on the design and development of BrahMos since 1999.
Indian Air Force To Expand
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW DELHI

India’s Air Force chief said Nov. 7 the service plans to expand to keep pace with India’s move to become an economic super power.
Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy told a press conference in New Delhi that the Indian Air Force (IAF) would go from 39 squadrons to 60 squadrons over the next 10 years.
If India has a vision to become a major world power by the year 2020, “the forces must be capable of taking care of those interests,” he said.


But he said the expansion of the IAF was not intended to be aimed at any country, including traditional rival Pakistan.
“We are not Pakistan-centric ... Pakistan is meaningless to us,” he said.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947 and came close to another last year.
Last month, India and Israel signed a $1 billion deal for the sale of three Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems to the IAF.
Krishnaswamy said recent statements by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that the acquisition of new arms by India, including the Phalcon system, would fuel an arms race in South Asia, were “propaganda of sorts.”
“It is a part of a campaign by our neighboring country,” he said, adding India did not have any territorial or expansionist ambitions. “We are not here to invade any country ... The IAF is more concerned about the proper management and maintenance of its inventory.”
The actual induction of the Phalcon radar system into the IAF would take about three to five years as the technology involved is very complex, he said.
The air chief said there would be a series of exercises with the U.S. and British air forces next year to sharpen the skills of its personnel.
The U.S. Air Force will visit India in February for exercises that will include U.S. F-15 fighters.
In July, IAF personnel will go to Alaska, where four to six of the IAF’s Jaguar aircraft will take part in exercises.
The IAF has also been interacting with its Chinese counterpart. Seventy officers of the Chinese Air Force recently visited India’s Western Air Command, the largest and most important of its operational commands.
The Indian and Chinese navies will next week hold
Russia, India To Sign Aircraft Carrier by December: Official
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, MOSCOW

Russia and India plan to sign the contract for India’s purchase of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov within weeks, a Russian defense official said Nov. 5, according to Interfax.
“All technical and financial issues on the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier have been settled and the contract will be signed by December,” the news agency quoted an unnamed official at the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. “The details of the deal will be clarified during the Moscow visit of an Indian delegation headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”
Vajpayee is to make an official three-day visit to Moscow starting Nov. 11, Indian diplomatic sources in the Russian capital said Nov. 3.


The Defense Ministry official said the deal would be worth $1.5 billion.
Vajpayee, who will be making his second visit to Russia this year, will be accompanied by a delegation of Indian businessmen.
India is Russia’s traditional ally in southern Asia. The two countries resumed cooperation in the nuclear power sphere following a visit by President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi in October 2000.
Indian Army Plans Massive Upgrade to Infantry Forces
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

The Indian Army plans to modernize its 450,000-strong infantry, a move Army officials called the greatest change in four decades.
Defence Ministry officials promised last month to spend $800 million over three years to make the infantry 10 times more effective by improving firepower, communications and surveillance systems, said India’s infantry chief, Lt. Gen. Krishnamuthry Niagaraj.
The moves, which are intended to help the 1.1 million-troop Army better face low-intensity warfare with Pakistan, are being directed by Army chief Gen. Nimal Vij, who presented his proposals last month, Army officials said.



The Facts:
Modernization plan The plan by Indian Army Gen. Nimal Vij, at right, includes the purchase of about: * 250 Korent-E Anti-tank Guided Missiles, launchers and 2,000 thermal sights. * 300 light bulletproof vehicles. * 1,000 Anti-Material rifles. * 1,500 84mm Mark III rocket launchers* 4,000 new-generation carbines. * 200 anti-tank guided-missile simulators. * U.S. Special Operations weaponry. * 450,000 rounds of multi-purpose ammunition. * Several thousand unattended ground sensors. * Several thousand secure walkie-talkies. * Hundreds of secure very-high-frequency communication systems. * 200 foreign surveillance radar systems. n* 8,000 under-barrel grenade launchers.n 2,000 hand-held thermal imagers.n 1,000 night-vision devices.
The last such overhaul occurred in 1963, in the wake of the war with China, a Defence Ministry official said.
Army leaders believe that future wars in South Asia will be infantry-centric, Niagaraj said.
“Our priority is to augment firepower, night fighting, surveillance capabilities, and give greater mobility and communication skills,” Niagaraj said.
The infantry also is building Ghatak [Deadly] Platoons, which will be equipped with special weapons to carry out special land warfare operations, added Niagaraj.
The new weapons would be lighter but provide a heavy rate of fire with more accuracy, said one infantry officer.
Extra funds also have been allocated to acquire new clothing and other important materials such as sleeping bags, boots, rations and bulletproof jackets, which will allow infantry soldiers to carry only 25 kilograms of supplies, compared with the current level of 50 kilograms, the officer said.
Nagaraj said the U.S. arms would be used for airborne and amphibious operations.
A recently retired Army general said the new weapons would improve knowledge of the enemy, allowing more effective pre-emptive operations.
“This will also work as a deterrent to Pakistani Army and Pakistan-sponsored terrorists,” the general said.
But he also said that the move would put a strain on cash-strapped Pakistan, which would seek more military support from Saudi Arabia and North Korea, ultimately bringing a nuclear arms race to the South Asian region.
The news weaponry, including precision-guided munitions, would definitely degrade the enemy, said Army spokesman Col. Anil Shorey.
SOURCE: Defense News research
Indian, U.S. Set Joint Exercises, Exchanges for 2004
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

Indian and U.S. naval officials during the Nov. 20 meeting of the India-U.S. naval steering group here finalized the 2004 roadmap for cooperation between the two countries’ navies.
Cmdr. Vinay Garg, spokesman for the Indian Navy, told DefenseNews.com Nov. 20 that the schedule of joint activities the sea services will undertake in 2004 includes port visits; officer education exchanges; subject matter expert exchanges; visits of high-level officers; and annual exercises such as Malabar, anti-submarine warfare exercises, search and rescue exercises and explosive ordnance disposal exercises.
Last month , the two navies also sealed a new agreement to increase cooperation through naval personnel exchanges and combined training exercises for U.S. Marines and Indian forces.


The naval cooperation for 2004 was agreed Oct. 13 by Adm. Vern Clark, the U.S. chief of naval operations, and Indian Navy chief Adm. Madhavendra Singh during Clark’s visit here. Singh finalized the roadmap here Nov. 20 with visiting Vice Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet.
Garg said the United States has made an informal request for joint patrolling and monitoring of sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and securing the Strait of Malacca.
The Indian Navy conducts patrols of local seas, including the Strait of Malacca, independently. In specific cases, where there are incidents of piracy, the Navy and the Coast Guard join the navies of other countries in the region for joint operations.
However, the Indian Navy has never carried out joint patrols with a foreign navy.
The Indian Navy official said the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, will have to approve any joint patrols of the Indian Ocean.
Indian Coast Guard Compiles Wish List
Mission Area Expands for Maritime Role

By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

With its offshore patrol area increasing to 2.9 million square kilometers, the Indian Coast Guard will need around $700 million for procurement in the next three years to support its expanded mission, service officials say.
Defence Ministry officials here said the Coast Guard will get the funds it needs to meet security demands, including search-and-rescue operations, fishery enforcement and terrorist and crisis response.
“We are expanding multifold in view of greater off-shore security, marine environment security, maritime zone security and marine safety, scientific assistance and national defense,” Rear Adm. Sureesh Mehta, director-general of the Coast Guard, said Oct. 20. The service’s needs for the next 15 years were outlined in a procurement blueprint submitted to the government.


Mehta said the maritime service will be inducting medium-altitude ship-borne unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), remotely piloted combat helicopters, medium-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, new advanced off-shore patrol vessels (AOPVs), interceptor boats, advanced light helicopters and pollution-control vessels.
All will be procured within five to 10 years to meet current and new coastal security-related tasks.
Mehta noted that before year’s end, the Coast Guard will have inducted two interceptor boats, one hovercraft, one AOPV, an advanced light helicopter and four Dornier short-range surveillance aircraft. Some of these assets have been paid for; the rest will be paid during the next four years.
These new assets will help the service meet its new security-related responsibilities while rebuilding its capacity for other missions, the planning official said.
Looking Forward
Mehta said the blueprint included a plan for replacing aging aircraft and ships, as well as steps to bolster force levels and shore support infrastructure in the next 15 years.
The Coast Guard also will set up stations along the coast, Mehta said.
As for overall homeland security, the service will strengthen its 25 Operation Centers for more effective security in ports and waterways.
The present Coast Guard fleet consists of 55 vessels, comprising four AOPVs, nine offshore patrol vessels, 10 fast patrol vessels, 13 inshore patrol vessels, 11 interceptor boats, two seaward defense boats, six hovercraft and 43 aircraft. n
E-mail: vraghuvanshi@defensenews.com .
China, India Complete Historic Exercise
By BENJAMIN MORGAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, SHANGHAI

China and India on Nov. 14 conducted their first joint naval exercises off the coast of Shanghai as part of a drive to warm frosty ties between the two nuclear-armed Asian powers.
Led by the NS Ranjit, a 5,000-metric ton Russian guided missile destroyer, the INS Kulish, a guided missile corvette, and the INS Jyoti, a tanker, the Indian task force cast off from Shanghai at 9 a.m. local time, an Indian consular official said.
Joined by two Chinese warships, a light cruiser and a supply boat, as well as helicopters, they conducted five-hour rescue, firefighting and anti-piracy maneuvers in the East China Sea before the Indian ships set sail for home.


“The exercises, aimed at ensuring and improving coordination in search and rescue at sea, will be a stepping stone in enhancing inter-operability between the two navies,” India’s Ambassador to China Nalin Suire, was quoted as saying by the China Daily.
The decision to hold the exercise was taken during Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to China in June, when both sides agreed to bolster relations amid recognition of each other’s potentially vast markets.
The drill follows similar Sino-Pakistani war games earlier this month - the first time China had permitted any type of joint naval exercises as it seeks to raise its international profile as a legitimate regional power.
While the maneuvers are militarily insignificant the naval cooperation is seen as deeply symbolic for two countries still mending ties after a 1962 border war.
“Its historic significance lies in that the two countries are beginning to act upon and get to know each other,” R.P. Suthan, Eastern commander of the Indian Navy, told the Chinese government mouthpiece People’s Daily.
Chen Zhimin, a professor of international relations at Fudan University, added that the “the joint exercise signals a marked change to improve the relationship between China and India despite some border issues that have existed between the two countries for a long time.”
Since Vajpayee’s trip, China and India have redoubled efforts to finally demarcate their borders, including between the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, the scene of their war.
Aside from the political symbolism, the exercises reflect China’s need for cooperation in the Indian Ocean, but also concerns about its increased naval activity in the South China Sea, officials said.
“China’s Navy has been moving further south, with heightened activity around the Spratley islands and extending ties as far as Brunei,” said one senior naval officer.
Ahead of the drills, Beijing sought to reassure its long-time ally Pakistan that Sino-Pakistani ties would not be affected, though Pakistan and India are adversaries.
“Both of them are good neighbors of China, and I don’t think the development of China-India relations will affect the friendly relations between China and Pakistan,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
Fudan University’s Chen added that China is keen to maintain its cozy ties with Pakistan but also needs to improve its often tense relationship with India.
“China wants to make sure a balanced relationship exists between the three sides,” he said.
Indo-Russian Missile Strikes Target in Sea Test
By VIVEK RAGHUVANSHI , NEW DELHI

The first Indo-Russian joint venture in missile development reached a new height with the Nov. 23 firing of the BrahMos cruise missile, which successfully struck a target in the Bay of Bengal, a senior Indian Defence Ministry official said.
“A prototype of the BrahMos missile for the first time successfully destroyed a designated target at the missile testing center at Chandipur in the eastern state of Orissa,” the official told DefenseNews.com Nov. 24. “The firing was successful and the missile, after flying on its planned trajectory, hit the intended target.”
The test was carried out from two Indian Navy ships, the INS Kalinga and INS Rajput, the official said.


The Nov. 23 test was the sixth for the cruise missile, which is slated for commercial production by next year. BrahMos, also designated as PJ-10, will give the Indian Navy an edge over China in the region’s waters as it is a supersonic cruise missile, one Indian Navy official said.
India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya in 1998 established a joint venture for the development of the anti-ship missile. While the missile’s airframe, propulsion system and warhead are designed in Russia, its guidance system and software is designed at the Defence Research and Development Laboratory in Hyderabad, India.
Launched from a ship, the solid-propellant missile can fly to a height of 14 kilometers at Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound, on a preset trajectory. It carries a 200-kilogram conventional warhead. A sensor mounted on the missile enables a change of course during flight.
Officials here say the PJ-10 missile is being developed essentially to counter Pakistani Harpoon missiles and Chinese Moskit missiles.
Indian Air Force To Expand
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW DELHI

India’s Air Force chief said Nov. 7 the service plans to expand to keep pace with India’s move to become an economic super power.
Air Chief Marshal Srinivasapuram Krishnaswamy told a press conference in New Delhi that the Indian Air Force (IAF) would go from 39 squadrons to 60 squadrons over the next 10 years.
If India has a vision to become a major world power by the year 2020, “the forces must be capable of taking care of those interests,” he said.


But he said the expansion of the IAF was not intended to be aimed at any country, including traditional rival Pakistan.
“We are not Pakistan-centric ... Pakistan is meaningless to us,” he said.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947 and came close to another last year.
Last month, India and Israel signed a $1 billion deal for the sale of three Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems to the IAF.
Krishnaswamy said recent statements by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that the acquisition of new arms by India, including the Phalcon system, would fuel an arms race in South Asia, were “propaganda of sorts.”
“It is a part of a campaign by our neighboring country,” he said, adding India did not have any territorial or expansionist ambitions. “We are not here to invade any country ... The IAF is more concerned about the proper management and maintenance of its inventory.”
The actual induction of the Phalcon radar system into the IAF would take about three to five years as the technology involved is very complex, he said.
The air chief said there would be a series of exercises with the U.S. and British air forces next year to sharpen the skills of its personnel.
The U.S. Air Force will visit India in February for exercises that will include U.S. F-15 fighters.
In July, IAF personnel will go to Alaska, where four to six of the IAF’s Jaguar aircraft will take part in exercises.
The IAF has also been interacting with its Chinese counterpart. Seventy officers of the Chinese Air Force recently visited India’s Western Air Command, the largest and most important of its operational commands.
The Indian and Chinese navies will next week hold their first joint military exercises off the Shanghai coast.

posted by promila 1:36 AM

 
---
In Nahan, Army gets its cutting edge Saikat Dutta. Indian Express. 28 Oct 03.
A few weeks after Gen N C Vij took over as the army chief, he sent out a letter asking for a comprehensive review of the special forces, their training and the on-hold modernisation. The immediate beneficiary of the initiative was the Special Forces Training Wing. Within months, the Wing was upgraded to a full-fledged school, declared a category A establishment and placed under the Army’s Training Command (Artrac). In fact as Vice Chief of staff, Vij was in favour of modernising the force and then expand in 2007 when the objectives of the 10th plan had been achieved.
Eight months later, the Special Forces Training School, tucked away in the Himalayan foothills on the Himachal-Haryana border, is taking its first tentative steps in that direction. It helps that Artrac’s GOC-in-C Gen J J Singh commanded a strike corps during Operation Parakram and is aware of the strategic role that Special Forces can play in conflicts, conventional as well as unconventional.
Today Col V B Shinde, commandant of the School is busy planning a host of new courses that complement the proposed modernisation. ‘‘Even if we were imparting advanced skill to the special forces men, there is no standardised training for the Special Forces officers like the special forces courses in the US or UK. Some day the school could fill that gap ’’ says a retired senior general. At a point in time, it has also been proposed that the conventional infantry’s ghataks are also trained at the school to ensure a standardisation of the army’s special operations skills.
In the meantime, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) trooping into the School are picking up skills unheard of a few months ago. Through brainstorming sessions and exercises in the School grounds, they learn to be combat leaders in battle and polish their ability to plan and execute operations on their own. ‘‘It makes the teams independent and increases the potency of the special forces’ NCOs to cause damage to the enemy,’’ says an officer.
New surveillance techniques, target designation and other related skills are also finding a pride of place in the School.
Under the aegis of Artrac, NCOs are also travelling to key establishments to understand the strategic role they would have to play when the balloon goes up. ‘‘If they have to hit strategic targets, they must know what is where. Site visits help them appreciate the importance of particular structures and establishments and help them identify vulnerable points that could cripple the enemy,’’ says an officer. Interestingly, if the proposed Special Aviation squadron for the Special Forces comes through, the school will have a larger role to play. Alongside a rigorous fitness regime, the new breed of soldiers at Nahan are also expanding their intellectual horizons, key to the success of any special forces team. The ‘students’ discuss and analyse sharpshooting skills to gauge how to cause the maximum damage through minimum effort.
The Special Forces School is also looking at a substantial increase in funds; the Wing, so long, received an annual training grant.
---
Navy reworks personnel policy To induct skilled civilians as short service officers Saikat Duttta Indian Express 29 Oct 03
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 28: The Navy wants a few good men and has reworked its policy to induct them as short commission officers. In an overhaul of its personnel policy, that was ratified at the Navy’s senior commander’s conference today, the Navy is also looking at qualified civilians to be commissioned.
Chief of Naval Staff Madhvendra Singh reportedly initiated the new policy with twin objectives. One, to make up for the nearly 10 per cent officer shortage (about 950 officers). Two, to recruit civilians with special skills for technology-intensive jobs. In this direction, it is desperately looking for people with commercial pilot licences. ‘‘We need them to fly our Dorniers and other aircraft and we are willing to recruit them directly,’’ said official sources.
For the technology-intensive Navy, the smallest of the three services in terms of personnel, the officer-shortage hurts. With new technologies being inducted, the Navy has also worked out a new personnel policy, taking into account its requirements till 2010. It is looking at detailed profiles of its officers and sailors and pen pictures of each person will be available at the click of a button. ‘‘It will be an exercise to help us plan for the next generation of officers and sailors as well as prepare them for the challenges ahead,’’ sources said.
The only time that the Navy had briefly experimented with short service commission officers was in the aftermath of the 1962 border conflict with China. It soon gave them permanent commissions and discontinued with the experiment.
The Navy, with 140 ships, is looking to add another 60 ships, including three aircraft carriers and submarines.
----
Test put off for Agni-III, Brahmos takes off Indian Express 30 Oct 03
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 29: Even as the Indo-Russian cruise missile Brahmos was successfully test- fired from Balasore today, Defence officials said the induction of Agni-III surface-to-surface missile has been delayed as further tests have been postponed till next year.
Scientific advisor to the Defence Minister and DRDO chief V.K. Atre said: ‘‘Preparations are in full swing, but the tests will be carried out early next year.’’ Earlier, Defence Minister George Fernandes had said that the 3,000-km range Agni-III will be tested by this year-end.
The Army has already raised an artillery division, under the aegis of the Southern Command, for its missile regiments. While the Prithvi variants are being inducted, the Army will soon take in the 700-km range Agni-I, sources said. The regiments are expected to be operational by 2004-end.
Later, Atre said the DRDO is also planning to revive the Trishul missile project.

India-China naval exercises soon n Fernandes makes references to the proposed exercises while addressing senior naval commanders Indian Express 31 Oct 03
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 30: Indian and Chinese Navies will come together for the first time to conduct joint exercises in the middle of November. Two Indian warships have already been identified and despatched to conduct search and rescue exercises in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese are expected to send similar ships for the exercise, said sources at the Naval Headquarters.
The exercises are a result of Defence Minister George Fernandes’ visit to China. Fernandes made several references to the proposed exercises while addressing senior naval commanders on Thursday morning.
It is understood that the joint exercises are also a result of Beijing’s interest in forging ties with the Indian Navy, in a bid to keep ‘‘extraneous’’ influences out of the Indian Ocean. With the People’s Liberation Army’s focus shifting from land to sea-based forces, China is concerned about
the deepening naval cooper-
ation between New Delhi and Washington.
Both navies conducted 24 joint missions during the war in Iraq and warships from the US Pacific Fleet docked at Indian ports during the Afghan campaign.
China’s energy security, say sources, is another reason behind the Chinese military’s growing seaward outlook.
Addressing the senior commander’s conference, Fernandes appreciated the Indian Navy’s need for more ships and promised budgetary support for the Navy’s 10th plan projections. He also appreciated the progress of Project Seabird, which will serve as the new base for the Navy’s Western Command. The Naval Academy project at Ezhimala, he said, was progressing at a satisfactory pace.

--
Short on men, IAF decides to promote JCOs Air chief got survey done; to commission 17 Warrant fficers Indkijan Express 01 nOV 03
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 31: With its officer cadre dwindling and fewer people joining the services, the Indian Air Force has decided to look within. In the past six months, the IAF has closed doors on short service commission officers, bid goodbyes to those willing to leave and started a survey that would be path-breaking in its recent history.
While the sceptics sniggered and a spate of MiG-21s crashed, Air Chief S. Krishnaswamy ordered a survey, took a closer look at the Warrant Officers in the IAF and lobbied with the Government to ensure that those willing to leave would be allowed to do so. ‘‘We said our thank yous and bid our goodbyes,’’ says the Air Chief.
Force adds teeth to maritime patrol
NEW DELHI: The IAF is all set to tone up its capability to patrol maritime boundaries with the induction of the latest versions of the US-30 MKI. While it has at least 28 SU-30s in its fleet, the induction of the two upgraded variants may add another squadron to the force. ‘‘It is a little early to decide whether we will raise a new squadron but when we have the numbers we will,’’ Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy said. During the first induction in 1997, the IAF had raised the Hawks squadron. (ENS)
The nine-month survey looked at the qualifications of the airmen closely. ‘‘We were amazed to find 400 graduates, some even PhDs with brilliant records,’’ says Krishnaswamy.
After further selection tests, the IAF sent 17 Warrant Officers to officer school for training before being commissioned. In fact, the IAF has managed to substantially cut down on its officer-shortage while, at the same time, making it easier for those who would like to quit.
With the IAF looking at cutting edge technology, the service has also done away with excessive red tape to attract engineers. From now on, engineering graduates from IITs will find a pride of place in the IAF as entry-level tests have been done away with.
‘‘It is now a well-paying attractive career and those from the IITs have anyway undergone rigorous testing so we can do away with any entrance tests,’’ says Krishnaswamy.
The ranks are being tapped to impart additional skills to increase the force’s utility. A massive recruitment drive, aimed at unexplored areas, has also paid off. The IAF has picked up 100 recruits from areas such as Srinagar and Tripura.
The aggressive recruitment drive has brought in 44,000 applicants in the past six months and 4,000 have been selected for further tests.
The Air Headquarters has also decreed that air bases across the country be thrown open to the public on certain days. This, say officials, will ensure greater transparency and provide the IAF the publicity it has been seeking for the past few years.



New DG post to synergise Army Indian Express 4 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 3: In a major bid to synergise military operations, the Army Headquarters has created a new post of the director general of Operational Logistics, who will report directly to the Vice-Chief of Army Staff. It is understood that Lt Gen Matthew Mammen, who had served as the director general of Rashtriya Rifles has been appointed to the post.
According to South Block sources, the move was long overdue to improve synergy between the operational branches of the army and the top brass. Earlier, operational logisitics were handled by an officer of the rank of a major general and served under the Quarter Master General (QMG) of the Indian Army. However, the QMG reported to the army chief while the DGMO and the DGMI, being general staff officers, reported to the Vice-Chief.
With increasing operations, especially after Operation Parakram, the army decided to amalgamate the two branches. Sources say, creation of the post has helped the army tackle internal security duties with greater commitment.
The move is significant as it gives more powers to the Vice-Chief and makes him the nodal officer for military operations and an input provider to the Army Chief.

Plans for a leaner, younger Army on hold Saikat Dutta Indian Express 4 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 3: The Army’s plans to be a leaner, meaner and younger service have run aground. It is understood that Defence Minister George Fernandes has suggested that recommendations be forwarded to the Air Force and Navy for their views before the Ministry takes a final decision.
Such a move was already indicated in Fernandes’ written reply in the Rajya Sabha in July. He stated: ‘‘Since the recommendations encompass a wide spectrum of service-related issues, no timeframe for implementation can be indicated.’’ It is learnt that Fernandes had decided to give the issue more thought over concerns at the far-reaching implications the recommendations will have.
A Ministry spokesman confirmed that the Bagga Committee recommendations had been forwarded to the other two services for their views. In the aftermath of the Kargil war, where the Army found senior commanders unable to perform due to a high age profile, the government set up a committee to recommend a cadre restructuring. Set up under the chairmanship of Special Secretary (Acquisition) Ajai Vikram Singh, the recommendations were designed to introduce a younger profile of formation commanders, offer VRS and improve promotional prospects.
South Block, however, seems to have developed cold feet and sought the ‘‘advice’’ of the other two services. It is learnt the IAF and the Navy, still grappling with their own policies, had reservations on the faster promotions for their Army counterparts.
In its review, the committee took into account the Army’s pyramidal structure. With a number of officers being superseded, it was affecting morale. The age profile of the commanding officers of battalions and formation commanders was also on the higher side and had affected conduct of operations during Kargil.
On July 16, 2001, the Defence Ministry set up the committee to examine an Army HQ proposal for restructuring the officers’ cadre. The committee identified two related issues of age profile and cadre stagnation. It suggested several short-term and long-term recommendations for improving promotional prospects, as well as lower the age profile.
Short-term measures included additional deputational vacancies and lateral absorption while long-term measures included exit through voluntary severance schemes and creation of additional appointments. In fact, when the Army Training Command had been set up the Army had been sanctioned only one post for a lieutenant general. With the proposal, the Army hoped to create more posts to facilitate faster promotion.
--
IAF all set to upgrade missiles Indian Express 5 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 4: The Air Force’s missile inventory, worth thousands of crore, is slated for a major upgrade adding another 10-15 years to their shelf-life. According to retired Major General P. Mohandas, chairman and managing director of Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL), the decision was taken by Defence Minister George Fernandes a few months ago.
‘‘It is difficult for a country like ours to import new missiles. We have developed the capability to upgrade them. Only the US can afford to throw away old missiles,’’ he said. ‘‘We have the technology and will do it at one-third the cost abroad.’’
According to Mohandas, missiles which have completed their shelf-life ‘‘become unreliable and need refurbishing’’. Initially, the surface-to-air missiles Pechora and Osaka and the air-to-air R-60 MK missiles will be upgraded. BDL has also developed counter measures for the IAF, and flight trials will be conducted soon.
---
Yes Sir, Yes Sir no more, this is the strike corps Vikas Kahol Indian Express 01 Nov 03
CHANDIGARH, OCTOBER 31: No more sirring in the uniform now. Not if you happen to be in the Army’s 2 Corps, the strike formation. Address a senior officer as ‘sir’ and you will have to pay a penalty-a bottle of beer within six hours of the ‘misdeamenour’. No more late hours at work either. Evenings are for games. And officers found clearing files on Sundays or after the office hours will be declared ‘inefficient’.
These were some of the do’s and don’ts handed out by Lt Gen G D Singh, General Officer Commanding of the Ambala-based 2 Corps, in a DO letter. In one stroke, the General has tried to banish all that he thinks is fallacious in his army.
The edict decrees that all officers will henceforth address their seniors not as ‘sir’ but by their ranks. So, he would like to be called General.
The 19-page letter touches various aspects concerning soldiers. ‘‘It should be ensured that every soldier gets a break of one complete day in a week, and the officers should implement it ruthlessly.’’ Expressing his displeasure at the increasing paperwork, the GOC has ordered a more efficient use of the phone. Orders, he says, should be passed through log book in HQs. The order also calls for making JCOs and NCOs computer savvy.Frowning at the preponderance of danda-wielding guards in cantts, the General has ordered that they be banished at once. And the number of armed guards be reduced to the bare minimum.
General’s commandments • Vehicles: Tinted glasses are out • JCOs: More respect to them • Officers Mess: Ostentatious functions are out, so are entertainment programmes by officers wives • Unit activity: No AC in CO’s office • Leave: Full leave for everyone. • Soldiers: Not to be detailed as helpers to unauthorised persons, or as nannies, caddies or ball boys. • Canteens: No polythene please.
On the use of official transport, his instructions are clear-cut: it should not be be used for going to office, except by the Flag Officers, COs and PSOs who can’t claim transport allowance. Service transport will also not be used for going to club functions, private parties, schools, et al.
And certainly not on Sundays unless it is for collective welfare activity or for families of officers, JCOs, and other ranks while going or returning from leave.
Conceding that implementation will be dificult, the GOC states that officers can point out any lapses to him. In case of laxity in implementation, he would not ask for any explanation from the formation or unit but ask them to deposit Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 in the GOC’s fund from the commander’s fund or regimental fund. This would be an official transaction.
He concludes by asking the senior most officer in each station to help him implement the orders by calling him up on every 1st and 15th of the month.

Army begins putting money where General’s mouth is Rs 1.5 lakh penalty already paid Shishir Gupta 8 Nov 03 Indian Express
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 7: If it’s a Sunday and if it’s the II Corps, you work behind locked doors but loosen the pursestrings.
For defying the no-work-on-Sunday order of Corps Commander Lt Gen G D Singh - first reported by The Indian Express - the strike corps’ formations, stretching from Meerut to Delhi to the home base in Ambala, have already coughed up Rs 1.5 lakh as penalty.
Meerut has paid Rs 110,000 for its “sacrilege” while a Delhi-based formation has deposited Rs 5,000 as fine with the Corps headquarters. Rs 10,000 more as penalty is due. Ambala units will be poorer by Rs 30,000-40,000.
The joke in Army circles is that if the country decides to go to war on a Sunday, the enemy needn’t worry about the II Corps. Because, going by its General’s order, they simply relax on Sundays.
In his letter to all II Strike Corps formations based in Meerut, New Delhi, Ambala, Chandigarh and Patiala, Gen Singh directed that there will be no work on Sundays. Those who do can pay a fine.
Many who have to clear pressing matters have already started working behind locked doors. The penalty money is being deposited in the Corps fund for the welfare of officers and men. Those familiar with General Singh’s style of functioning say he had implemented similar orders in his previous posting as Commander of 31 Armoured Division.
Even the idea of ‘‘no sirring in uniform,’’ they say, first came from the then Army chief General K Sundarji who wanted his men to call him General and not Sir.
General Singh’s code, delivered to formations in September, also mandates that all ‘‘administrative duties’’ be done only on Saturdays and there would be ‘‘no working party’’ until 1.30 pm on working days. In short, if an officer has to move house, he can only do it on a Saturday. If he moves on a Sunday, he will be reported.
When the Army’s comments were sought, a spokesperson in Delhi said it was routine for Sunday to be a rest day and undertaking ‘‘administrative work’’ on Saturday. He confirmed that II Corps had imposed penalties on its formations.
IAF to double its air strike power Indian Express 8Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 7: The Indian Air Force is planning to almost double its strike power, as it is going to seek 30 more combat squadrons in the next 10 years from the government.
‘‘At present, we have 39-and-a-half combat squadrons and are looking at increasing this to 60 squadrons in stages,’’ Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Western Air Command Commander’s conference, he said the IAF has projected a need for increasing its fleet strength to 45 combat squadrons. ‘‘After filling holes in the present fleet, we plan to increase the number of squadrons in stages. We also need to keep in mind that we don’t have the capacity to make too many inductions at the same time,’’ he said.
Krishnaswamy also hinted at greater participation of the IAF in counter-insurgency operations, saying measures have been taken to synergise the Western Air Command with its Army counterparts - Northern and Western Command.
IAF is also looking forward to the early induction of Phalcon radars. ‘‘The design is new and it will take another four to five years before it can be inducted,’’ Krishnaswamy said.
He said IAF pilots have been sent to the US to fly F-16 Falcons, considered the most advanced aircraft inducted by the Pakistan Air Force. While Pak pilots have benefited from exercises in Gulf countries, this is the first time Indian pilots have got the opportunity to fly the US aircraft.
The Air Chief said IAF is also excited about the joint-exercises scheduled for next year. ‘‘In February, we will conduct joint exercises with US F-15s in Gwalior and our Jaguars will fly to Alaska for exercises.’’
Foothold in central Asia: India gets own military base Tajikistan:10 km from Tajik capital, Indian troops, air platforms to be stationed in Ayni; MoD staff work on runway, Rs 50-cr upgrade Shishir Gupta Indian Express 13 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 12: When Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee lands at Dushanbe tomorrow evening, a contingent of the Indian Defence Ministry’s military engineering services (MES) workers will be packing up after a gruelling day of building a runway at an air base that lies 10 km north-east of the Tajikistan capital. Welcome to Ayni, India’s first ever military base in a foreign country-post Sri Lanka.
A Defence Ministry spokesman today confirmed that New Delhi is involved in upgrading infrastructure at the Ayni air base and ‘‘has plans to station its troops’’ and air platforms in the near future to support its energy security interests in Central Asia.
Replying to a detailed questionnaire from The Indian Express, officials confirmed that New Delhi is revamping the Ayni air base as part of the ‘‘deepening India-Tajik defence cooperation.’’ This Tajik base has been lying in a dilapidated condition since 1985 and India is overhauling it at the cost of over Rs 50 crore.
The work involves building a runway that can handle fighter and heavy lift transport aircraft and steeling up existing hangars to house them. The MES will also build accommodation within the base in order to station troops, who will train Tajik forces and keep an eye on Indian interests in Central Asia.
Indian oil major ONGC Videsh Limited has tied up with Kazakhstan government for oil exploration in Alibekmola and Kurmangazi fields. OVL currently has 15 per cent stake in Alibekmola and 10 per cent in Kurmangazi oil fields that straddle the Kazakh-Russia border. Significantly, India and Tajik special forces held joint exercises in February this year.
Although the upgradation of Ayni base was cleared at the highest levels of Indian government, the repair work has begun in the earnest only couple of months ago with Air Chief S. Krishnaswamy playing a key role. Vajpayee gave the green signal, but it was Defence Minister George Fernandes and External Affairs Ministry officials who pushed the project towards fruition.
Last April, Fernandes, accompanied by then defence secretary Yogendra Narain and top MEA officials, quietly visited Dushanbe and signed the India-Tajik defence pact. Ministry officials say that Ayni is a symbol of mutual defence relationship between the two countries and sensitivities of Russia and China have been kept in mind.
Moscow, on its part, is eyeing Kulyab air base near the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and has established its military presence by setting up a base in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan last month.
However, Tajikistan’s neighbour Pakistan is suspicious about the defence cooperation between Dushanbe and New Delhi and believes it is part of the Indian plans to ‘‘encircle’’ Islamabad. It is learnt that Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf raised the air base issue with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmanov before the CICA summit in Almatty last June.
Vajpayee, who is meeting Rakhmanov on November 14, will push for expanding the bilateral relationship with Tajikistan that goes beyond defence and focuses on trade. Even though Ayni is a half-hour drive from Dushanbe, Vajpayee has no plans of visiting the base.



Coast Guard gets right to check borders Saikat Duta Indian Express 17 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16: Overriding the recommendation of Naval Chief, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, the Centre has decided to appoint the Coast Guard as the Lead Intelligence Agency (LIA) for gathering inputs and keeping tab on India’s maritime boundaries.
The move comes as a set back to the Navy as well as Singh who, as the service chief and chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), was keen that the job come to the Navy. According to sources, the government decided to stick to recommendations by the Group of Ministers which suggested the Coast Guard be the chief coordinator for gathering intelligence in coastal areas.
Two years ago, the GoM had recommended that on all borders, one service be the LIA and coordinate with other agencies that are involved in maritime security.
In accordance with the recommendations, the Home Ministry sent a proposal to the Defence Ministry last August, recommending the Coast Guard be appointed as the LIA to coordinate.

Army learns Parakram lesson, plants smart mines Saikat Dutta Indian Express 17 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 16: Heres' a lesson for the Indian Army from Operation Parakram, the post-December 13 build-up that promises a happy ending: lay fewer mines and make them more ‘‘people friendly’’. For the first time in more than 30 years, the Indian Army is gearing up to make one of the deadliest weapons a little more humane.
A fallout of the 10-month long deployment on the Western borders, an in-depth study conducted by the Engineer-in-Chief’s branch talks of more modern mines that are deadly, yet humane. This, South block sources said, is in keeping with the international agreement on use of landmines ratified by the UN. Strangely enough, the study came out of an internal Army recommendation which said that there was ‘‘excessive’’ mine-laying during Operation Parakram. With more than a million mines laid during Parakram, the Army’s key pivot formations were unable to move forward. After brainstorming, Army top brass realised that the slew of vintage mines was not the strategy for wars of the 21st century.
A study later the Army is talking smart mines - which can deactivate or neutralise themselves, or can be switched off by remote. Not only does this save lives and limbs of military personnel, it ensures civilians’ safety if they drift into minefields.
Arms majors Israel, South Africa, the UK and others have reportedly evinced keen interest in the new mines.
---
Navy says no to action against Greenpeace ship Indian Express 17 Nov 03
AHMEDABAD, NOVEMBER 16: The Gujarat Maritime Board’s (GMB) attempt to seize Rainbow Warrior, the campaign vessel of Greenpeace, has fallen through with the Navy turning down its request to act against the vessel.
GMB Port Officer Y.P. Deulkar said he has written seven letters to Navy and Customs seeking their help in seizing the vessel, anchored off the Alang coast in Bhavnagar since the last three days, but to no avail.
Deulkar said the Board was helpless as it did not have a boat to nab them. ‘‘When we chase them, they escape to the safety of international limits,’’ he said.
Board sources admitted on Saturday the Navy had turned down the request to act against Rainbow Warrior because the vessel was not anchored within jurisdiction.
Even Customs said they can’t act against the vessel. But Deulkar said he had notified the vessel’s captain that the ship was violating port limits. Ramapati Kumar, ship-breaking activist aboard Rainbow Warrior, told The Indian Express that the decision was surprising because Greenpeace had only been trying to expose the double standards adopted by the United Kingdom Government which allowed export of Genova Bridge for breaking at Alang while refusing to allow scrapping American ships in the United Kingdom.
Greenpeace said Genova Bridge had not been stripped of its hazardous material, contravening Indian laws and the Basel Convention, an international pact governing movement of hazardous waste. The ship was beached for scrapping at Alang on November 9. Board authorities allege Greenpeace came up with the allegation only after the ship was bought by an Indian ship-breaker.
Asked why GMB was against Greenpeace, Deulkar said: ‘‘They should come through proper channels and pay Customs and port fees.’’ Greenpeace’s Kumar said they had also applied to the Union Ministry of Environment.
‘‘Instead of targeting us, they should act against criminals who are violating laws,’’ Kumar said, accusing the Board of doing little to implement Supreme Court guidelines issued on October 14.
‘‘Clearly there are vested interests at work, when authorities choose to ignore the criminal and go after the witnesses,’’ said Ananthapadmanabhan, Executive Director, Greenpeace India, in a statement.

Hi-tech cooperation group: quartet issues discussed Final agreement likely during Indian official’s US visit Indian Express 21 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 20: India and the US concluded a fourth meeting of their High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) today, but a final agreement is only likely next month when Deputy National Security Adviser Satish Chandra travels to Washington to sign on the dotted line with his counterpart US Deputy NSA Steve Hadley.
US Undersecretary for Commerce Kenneth Juster and Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal continued their discussions in the capital today on the ‘quartet’ issues, namely, civilian nuclear cooperation, space, high technology and missile defence, but neither side was willing to reveal details.
‘‘We are now well into the process of resolving the issues, consistent with our respective laws, national security and international obligations, but entirely in the spirit of the new relationship between our two countries,’’ Sibal said. Even though India is not a signatory to major non-proliferation and missile treaties, Juster said the ‘‘framework of these regimes is of interest to India’’. Short of cooperation in civilian nuclear technology because of its obligations to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Juster indicated that India and the US could
cooperate in areas like nuclear safety.
At the FICCI gathering, Sibal pointed out that the key purpose of the dialogue was ‘‘explore ways in which restrictions and barriers could be overcome’’ on the ‘quartet’ issues. ‘‘The task is not easy, specially because the Indo-US bilateral relationship exists in a broader international context, and there are historical legacies to contend with...Situated as India is, in an arc of strategic proliferation, its understanding of the consequences of proliferation and commitment to preventing it is second to none,’’ Sibal said.
Juster sought to differentiate between sanctions imposed after India’s N-tests in 1998 to licensing requirements of the US government for the sale and transfer of items that could be put to possible dual-use.
Vintage Army mines to make an exit Saikat Durra Indian Express 21 Nov03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 20: While most countries would dispose of their stock of vintage mines periodically, the Indian Army deployed mines dating back to 1934!
It took more than six decades for the matter to come to the notice of Army Chief Gen N.C. Vij who has issued orders, asking the Master General of the Ordnance Branch to destroy all mines of pre-1960 vintage.
‘‘I was on a visit to the forward areas during de-mining operations and I discovered mines dating back to 1934 still in use,’’ said Minister of State for Defence Chaman Lal Gupta in an exclusive interview with The Indian Express. ‘‘When I discussed this with the Army Chief, he immediately ordered that these be disposed of.’’
Official Army spokesperson Col Anil Shorey confirmed that the Army had a stock of mines dating back years ago. ‘‘The Army Chief issued orders recently to dispose of the pre-1960 vintage mines and the bulk has already been taken care of,’’ he said. Gupta added that the disposal was part of an overall exercise to ‘‘modernise the Army’s existing inventory’’.
The Army sustained a large number of casualties during Operation Parakram due to the faulty design and age of the mines. An in-depth study conducted by the engineer-in-chief’s branch for a new mine-laying policy had severely criticised the faulty design of the land mines employed by the Army and called for a complete overhaul.
South Block sources said that most of the old mines, being metallic, had grown highly unstable, resulting in casualties. The Army, however, resisted a change due to a resource crunch.

Navy to hold joint exercises with US Seals Indian Express 212 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 20: Special forces of the Indian Navy will hold joint exercises with their US counterpart, the Navy Seals, next year. This was decided after a meeting of the Indo-US executive steering group on Thursday.
Vice Admiral S.V. Gopalachari led the Indian delegation which met Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Vice Admiral Robert Willard Commander of the US Navy’s 7th fleet. The focus of the joint exercise will be to improve the efficiency of anti-terrorist operations. So far, both navies have conducted five exercises, and according to Naval Headquarters sources, the exercises will be closer to actual combat conditions. While past exercises have focussed on improving bilateral understanding, future excercises will try and improve inter-operability, they added.
Both sides have planned a joint submarine related search and rescue exercise.
Israeli showpiece anti-missile system fails Navy’s tests, hard work ahead Saikat Dutta Indian Express 23 Nov 03
NEW DELHI,NOVEMBER 22: The Indian Navy’s latest Rs 1000-crore Barak anti-missile defence programme, acquired from Israel, received a setback last week when it failed to hit its decoy target off the Mumbai coast.
Highly placed sources said the Barak defence system was tested twice from the Navy’s indigenous showpiece, guided missile destroyer INS Delhi.
The Barak missiles’ test target was a Russian surface-to-surface missile with a deactivated warhead.
However, rather than destroying the Russian target, the missile is said to have taken off and plunged straight into the Arabian Sea. The same thing happened in the second round of tests.
In reply to a detailed questionnaire from The Sunday Express, the Navy spokesman said: ‘‘We have no comments to offer.’’
But the fact is that Israeli manufacturers Rafael and Israeli Aircraft Industries and Navy officials in Mumbai are working overtime to fix the problem.System fails
The Navy has contracted for at least eight Barak systems at the cost of over Rs 1,000 crore. The proposal for purchase of Barak was moved by then Naval chief Admiral Sushil Kumar and then Western Naval Commander Madhavendra Singh during the Kargil war to boost India’s sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat’s air missile defences.
The only tested Barak system is on the Godavari-class guided missile frigate INS Ganga. The vertically launched Barak is designed to counter sub or missiles such as Exocet or Harpoon (currently in Pakistan’s inventory) within a range of 10 km. The system has an eight-missile launcher, currently used by the Israeli, Singapore and Chilean Navy.
Another problem area the Navy is working on is to integrate the Israeli Barak system with its Russian radars and other systems. Top Defence officials call it a ‘‘temporary’’ problem.

--
Ceasefire:Govt for Siachen truce; we’re game: Pak Sishshir Gupta. Indian Express 25 Noiv 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 24: By proposing the extension of ceasefire to the 132 km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen and tagging the infiltration rider, the Vajpayee government has kept in mind the Army’s apprehensions about Pakistan’s Line of Control initiative.
The Army top brass, which today discussed the new initiative by Pakistan Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, was positive on cessation of firing along the 740 km long LoC in Jammu and Kashmir but wanted this extended to the AGPL, the scene of daily artillery duels.
Hours later, Pakistan said its ceasefire offer extended to the entire Kashmir region which also included the Siachen glacier. Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said he presumed there was no need for a separate ceasefire offer for Siachen as the Pakistan offer included the glacier.At the highest battlefield, the two armies use heavy artillery not for destruction but for effect: it keeps at bay all adventurous designs. With the Army on the Saltoro ridge right up to Indira Col, the Defence establishment fears that Pakistan may use the ‘‘no-firing’’ pact to occupy new positions on the Siachen Glacier. Unlike the LoC, the AGPL is not recognised by the Shimla Agreement.
But the Army top brass welcomed the ceasefire from Sangam to NJ 9842 because they had been receiving reports of militants trying to enter Tangdhar, Keran and Gurez sectors in North Kashmir before snow cuts off the passes. Although the area north of Zozilla Pass has received unusually heavy snow this winter, the passes to its south are expected to close only mid-December. The military operations’ assessment is that the troops will have to maintain vigil in the area south of Pir Panjal - Poonch and Rajouri sectors - so that infiltration does not take place during the ceasefire. The top brass is of the opinion that even if India were to fully reciprocate the Pakistani gesture, it would not hold its fire if there’s visible infiltration on ground.
‘‘While the 15 Corps area (north of Pir Panjal) will be snowed in, our focus will be on the 16 Corps area (to the south) to ensure there’s no infiltration,’’ a senior Army Commander said.
The LoC ceasefire, when it’s effected, will bring peace dividends to farmers in Poonch, Rajouri and Mendhar sectors. Cessation of firing from across the LoC will allow farmers to sow the Rabi crop.

-
56 years after birth, MHA hands over Jakli to MoD Indian Express Saikat Dutta 26 Nov 03
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 25: The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry is finally coming home. An order signed and stamped recently has finally brought the regiment - raised as a local milita to keep Pakistani intruders at bay - to the Ministry of Defence nearly 56 years after it was hastily raised to save Srinagar and other parts of the state.
In an order passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) following several meetings with the Army top brass, the regiment has been officially handed over to the Ministry of Defence.
Though under the operational control of the Army ever since it was raised, the regiment was maintained by the MHA as a historic legacy. The move is also part of an exercise by the government to rationalize the existing force structures keeping the Group of Ministers’ recommendations in mind. While the move is more than ceremonial, for the regiment - one of the youngest in the Indian Army’s history - it also means finding employment at par with the regular infantry battalions of the Indian Army outside the state.
Notes Lt Gen V.R. Raghavan (retd) in his seminal book Infantry in India: ‘‘India’s first Light Infantry regiment was born out of people’s response in 1947.’’ The population of Jammu and Kashmir formed local defence committees to fight the Pakistani tribal invaders and were later organised into militia battalions responsible for specific sectors. Since 1947, the regiment has built up a formidable reputation for operations in subsequent wars fought on the state’s borders, as well as winning a Param Vir Chakra in Siachen. Then Naib Subedar Bana Singh’s herculean effort on the Northern Siachen Glacier in taking out a Pakistani post is the stuff modern military legends are made of. While he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the captured post - considered the highest and the most difficult to maintain on Siachen - has been renamed as Bana Post in his honour. As Raghavan also notes, the regiment has 50 per cent Muslims and the balance are Hindus and Buddhists. The regiment’s soldiers are recruited exclusively from J-K.
Impressed with the hardiness the Ladakhi fighters showed at high altitude, the Army raised two Ladakh Scout battalions from the regiment. Both wings of the battalion performed with elan during the Kargil war.
‘‘The move means a greater confidence in the regiment and it will probably mean that it will now be employed elsewhere outside the state,’’ says Raghavan.
Two battalions were also awarded the Chief of Army Staff’s unit citation after the Kargil War

---
India, Russia to sign Gorshkov deal soon Indian Express 29 Nov 03.
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 28: India and Russia have decided to ink the deal for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, paving the way for the visit of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov in two months from now.
Defence Minister George Fernandes has written to his Russian counterpart, saying India would be ready to sign the deal in December or January, depending on his convenience. South Block sources said Fernandes had offered two possible dates, December 23 to 26 or January 23 to 26, when the deal could be signed.
Ivanov was scheduled to visit India by November-end but had to postpone his visit as negotiations were not through yet. The acquisition of the Gorshkov and its complement of MiG-29K aircraft has to be cleared by the Cabinet before it can be signed. The Indian government had expressed its inability to clear all procedures before Ivanov’s earlier visit.
Sources at the Naval Headquarters said the price negotiations for the aircraft carrier and the aircraft have been concluded. While the agreed price of the Gorshkov is $650 million upwards, the MiG-29K aircraft would come around $500 million.
Indicating the acquistion was near at hand, Chief of Naval Staff Adm Madhvendra Singh today said at Kochi that the deal would be through by this financial year. The naval chief said the ship would be operational for at least 25 years after it was commissioned.
Between real and imaginary threats Musharraf feels religious extremism is the biggest threat to Pakistan yet he has done little so far to curb it Indian Express 29 Nov 03 Najam Sethi
General Pervez Musharraf has once again surveyed the Pakistani landscape and arrived at some interesting conclusions. One, he feels that there is no serious external threat to the country. If India embarks on a massive arms buying spree, Pakistan will respond in kind to maintain the conventional balance. Two, he believes Pakistan could be seriously hurt by three internal weaknesses: (a) lack of political stability created by the continuing conflict over the Legal Framework Order; (b) provincial disharmony, especially over the water issue in Sindh and the bad law and order situation in Baluchistan; (c) religious extremism and violent sectarianism which is capable of destroying us.
The thrust of General Musharraf’s prognosis seems correct. All these factors form part of the equation representing Pakistan’s state of being. But his ‘‘solutions’’ beg some questions. In General Musharraf’s book, India seems the only possible external threat to Pakistan. But, following 9/11 when the US threatened Pakistan with ‘‘either you’re with us or you’re against us’’, is that realistic? Is it inconceivable that the US might one day pose the biggest threat to Pakistan if Islamabad were perceived to be aiding or abetting Islamic terrorists?
What if there were another big terrorist act in America in which some footprints led to Pakistan? Already, as the President has acknowledged, there are powerful voices in America asking whether ‘‘Pakistan is a friend or foe’’ for much the same reasons. For example, is Pakistan harbouring the Taliban resistance? Did it provide nuclear know-how to Korea and Iran? Is it doing enough to flush out Al Qaeda from its tribal borderlands? But leaving aside such scenarios, we must ask whether the potential threat from India should be met mainly by exploiting the newly generated fiscal and forex space in our economy to maintain the ‘‘arms balance’’.
Can we afford’ this? Wasn’t our nuclear deterrent supposed to rule out precisely such a crippling arms race with India? Shouldn’t the fiscal space be used instead to generate economic growth, jobs, infrastructure, education, health and empowerment of people so that a robust economy rather than a bloated army becomes the central element of national power? Musharraf’s assessment of Pakistan’s internal fissures is also problematic. It is true that the LFO is an impediment to political stability. But the idea that stability can be bought by resolving the LFO only with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal is wrong. The MMA is, by definition, a specific product of the peculiar external circumstances impacting on Pakistan’s border provinces in the wake of 9/11 coupled with the internal political vacuum created by Musharraf to keep the PPP and PMLN out of the reckoning. In other words, the MMA is the product of an abnormal and contrived situation. Hence it cannot be the peg on which to hang solutions for long term, institutional stability. That can only come about via a modus vivendi between the armed forces of Pakistan and its two mainstream political parties.
But on that score, regrettably, Musharraf has nothing original to offer.
His answer to the bad law and order situation in Baluchistan in which nearly 90% of the province’s territory is classified as ‘B’ grade no-go area is: ‘‘We’ll sort them out’’. By ‘‘them’’ he means a clutch of mischievous tribal sardars who are apparently inimical to the ‘‘national interest’’.
How many times have we heard this facile description of the problems of Baluchistan and their solution? General Ayub Khan ordered the bombing of Baluchistan; Z A Bhutto sent 100,000 troops to pacify the province; and General Zia ul Haq tried to buy it off with a few ship building contracts and a sprinkling of jobs in the federal bureaucracy. But the province is as anarchic and backward as ever; and alienation from the central government runs high.
Similarly, the water issue in Sindh cannot be washed away by undertaking some interactive trips to ‘‘explain the issue objectively’’ even as the representative leadership of Sindh is incarcerated or exiled for politically opportunistic reasons.
Musharraf is absolutely right in his assessment of the myriad dangers to Pakistan from religious extremism. But apart from exhorting ‘‘enlightened moderation’’, he has done little to effectively tackle societal intolerance. The problem is not just one of some extremist groups in society who need to be ‘‘sorted out’’ by a combination of better intelligence and select repression. Thanks to General Zia ul Haq it pervades even now. That is why the unfortunate perception is solidifying that Musharraf is playing games whenever he announces yet another ‘‘crackdown’’ on extremist elements in Pakistan.
In short, Musharraf seems acutely aware of the central problems facing Pakistan. But his well-intentioned solutions remain essentially short term survival tactics. What is needed is a longer term visionary strategy for Pakistan. (The Friday Times)

Radiological devices: Anytime, anywhere Joby Warrick Indian Express 01 Dec 03
TBILISI, GEORGIA: When police caught up with him on May 31, Tedo Makeria was headed toward Tbilisi’s main rail station, his lethal cargo hidden in boxes lined with lead so thick his taxi sagged from the weight. The suspicious policeman who halted the cab had barely cracked the trunk when he noticed the boxes and the distinctive labels that warned, ‘‘Danger: Radiation.’’
More police arrived within minutes, and a Geiger counter was produced. As Makeria smoked nervously in the back seat, officers flipped the instrument’s ‘‘on’’ switch and watched the needle leap off the screen. ‘‘At first we were just shocked,’’ Maj. Leri Omiadze, the ranking officer at the scene, recalled later. ‘‘Then we all started backing away slowly.’’ Inside Makeria’s boxes were two capsules of highly radioactive metals - strontium and cesium - of a type that terrorism experts say can be used in a ‘‘dirty bomb,’’ a device that spews radiation but does not trigger a nuclear explosion. A third container held a vial of brown liquid that Georgian police identified as the substance used in mustard gas, one of the earliest chemical weapons.
Only later did police learn Makeria’s role in the affair. He was a courier for criminals trading in components and materials for weapons of mass destruction. In a scheme still not fully understood, Makeria got the boxes from another Georgian, a man with a history of drug offenses. Makeria was to carry the boxes by train from Tbilisi to troubled Adzharia province, on Georgia’s southwestern frontier. Police believe they were then to be transported by other couriers across the border into Turkey or perhaps even Iran, for delivery to an expectant customer, whose identity remains unknown. What is certain is that the Georgians who sought to profit from selling components of a dirty bomb are far from unique.
There have been dozens of cases of trafficking in radiological materials over the past three years, along with what some weapons experts describe as a disturbing new trend. While most sellers of such materials traditionally have been amateurs - opportunists and lone actors in search of easy profits - authorities now see a surging interest among criminal groups.
In a string of incidents that stretch from the Caucasus and Eastern Europe to West Africa and South America, gangs have stalked and stolen radiological devices to sell for profit or to use in crimes ranging from extortion to murder. This new interest by smugglers and criminal networks complicates an already difficult task confronting governments: stopping terrorists from obtaining any of the tens of thousands of powerful radiological sources around the world that are currently in private hands or simply have been discarded.
In Georgia and other unstable corners of the world, radioactive materials are turning up on black markets alongside more traditional contraband such as drugs or Kalashnikov rifles. They are a currency of the global gray zone, a dangerous mixture of failed states, porous borders and weak law enforcement where the tools of terrorism are bought and sold.
The involvement of professional smugglers and criminals only increases the odds that radiological materials will end up in terrorists’ hands, US experts say. Already, the sheer volume of such materials in circulation has prompted scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to conclude, in a study released in September, that a dirty bomb ‘‘attack somewhere in the world is overdue.’’
So serious is the threat that both the Bush administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency have launched major initiatives within the past 18 months to find and lock up abandoned radiological material worldwide. At the Energy Department, Secretary Spencer Abraham has made preventing a dirty-bomb threat to a top priority, on par with long-established programs to secure nuclear stockpiles in the former Soviet Union.
A dirty bomb, or ‘‘radiological dispersion device’’ in the jargon of defence experts, is not a nuclear weapon but rather a crude device that uses conventional explosives or other means to spread radiation over a wide area. Compared to true nuclear weapons or even to biological or chemical weapons, they are technologically simple, and well within the grasp of international terrorist groups, nuclear experts say.
Documents seized from training camps in Afghanistan two years ago by US forces showed that Al-Qaeda leaders there planned to build a dirty bomb and may have begun gathering materials for one. Iraq, which struggled in vain for a decade to master the complexities of a nuclear weapon, built and tested a dirty bomb in the 1980s before abandoning the program on the grounds that it was ineffective against military targets, according to UN weapons inspectors.
Such a bomb would likely unleash panic and trigger economic and social upheavals. Even a moderately sized dirty bomb exploded in a modern city could contaminate large swaths of real estate with radiation, rendering some areas uninhabitable for months or years.(LATWP)
Gorshkov: Price fixed, deal soon Indian Express 3 Dec 03
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 2: India will soon sign a deal for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier with Russia as Naval Chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh today informed mediapersons that the headquarters was through with price negotiations. ‘‘The aircraft carrier had been negotiated at less than Rs 3,000 crore and would be a major addition to the Naval fleet,’’ Singh said addressing a press conference at the Navy Day
According to Singh, the aircraft carrier would be a ‘‘power projection carrier’’, unlike the past ones with the Navy which were ‘‘sea control carriers’’. Admiral Gorshkov can ‘‘take on a land-based air force’’, he said.
The Navy will be acquiring a squadron of MiG-29K aircraft for the carrier, followed by another squadron, he added. He refused to comment on whether the package deal included two Russian Akula class nuclear submarines and nuclear capable Tupolev-22M long-range strategic maritime bombers on lease.
Singh said the Defence Acquisition Council had approved the Navy’s 10-year plan to acquire 23 more warships, including an indigenous air-defence warship.
Russia for own anti-missile system, India sticks to Barak Indian Express 4 Dec 03 Saokat Dutta
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 3: The acquisition of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Navy appears to be on course barring Moscow’s insistence that India deploys Russian anti-missile system Kashtan-M on board the carrier instead of the Israeli Barak. According to sources, the Gorshkov contract was finalised on the lines of Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month. Though Russia, sources said, was keen on adding another $ 50 million to the deal, the price negotiating committee had concluded its deliberations.
Over the issue of installing Kashtan-M on the Gorshkov, sources said New Delhi agreed to test the system after the Gorshkov deal was signed. The Kashtan-M is priced around Rs 100 crore a piece and is at par with the Barak that the Navy currently uses on its frontline frigates and destroyers.
The Russian Kashtan combines powerful artillery armament and multirole missiles and can simultaneously engage four cruise missiles. Stated as a challenger to Barak, the Kashtan-M is in serial production and is onboard a number of Russian naval ships.
US Army officers to attend funeral
Indiane Espress 6 Dec 03
CHANDIGARH, DECEMBER 5: The young officer who was killed in sniper fire in Iraq will be cremated here with full US military honours. The funeral of Uday Singh (21) is likely to be attended by senior US officials, including a Brigadier General.
Steven. J. Stoiber, military attache in the US Embassy who will camp here till cremation, said: ‘‘Bringing the body from the UK will take seven to 15 days. Negotiations with the Indian government in this regard are on.’’ The ashes will be buried at Arlington cemetery near Washington DC.
The body will be embalmed after an autopsy, wrapped in a Class A uniform of the US Army and brought here with a US Army escort, he added. On the manner of Uday’s death, Steven said: ‘‘There is no clear-cut sequence of events. He was hit during a routine patrol and died on way to the hospital. The matter is under investigation.’’
‘‘His grandfather Wg Com Karat Singh Tanque (retd) was proud of him. They were close,’’ says Uday’s father, Col P.M. Singh (retd). In 2000, the family went back to the US. ‘‘He told me he wanted to join the US Army. He was selected for the US Marines Recruiting Station and he wanted to join the combat arm. ’’ During training at Fort Knox, he told his father it was tough. ‘‘He topped his batch.” The day he arrived this February, the war started. ‘‘Take care while I go to save the whole world,’’ read his message to the family just before he left for Iraq.
N Korea comes to ask for missile parts, India says pay for ship, forget arms
Indian Express Shsihir Gupta 7 Dec 03
NEW DELHI/DECEMBER 6: New Delhi has asked Pyongyang to cough up Rs 8 crore sovereign guarantee for North Korean ship Ku Wol San, that was ‘‘arrested’’ carrying missile parts and production manuals by the Indian Custom authorities off the Kandla Coast at the height of Kargil War.
Indian officials conveyed the demand during the meeting with North Korean Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kim Yong Il this week after the latter requested New Delhi to release the seized consignment of 177 tonnes of missile parts and manuals.
While the Government is tightlipped about the meeting, the North Korean Minister apparently impressed upon Indian officials that the consignment was meant for Libya and not Pakistan. Ku Wol San was ‘‘arrested’’ by the Indian authorities on June 25, 1999, but the ship-harboured at Kandla port-was released later that year on sovereign guarantee.
The missile equipment on board Ku Wol San had not been declared, instead the ship was shown to be carrying 13,000 tonnes of sugar. It is only after the consignment was examined by Defence Research and Development Organisation’s top missile experts that it was found that the seized material was for making Nodong I genre of missiles. The next stop of Ku Wol San was Karachi but the final destination was shown to be Malta.
During the meeting, New Delhi made it clear that as the seized material was part of the ongoing legal proceedings there was no question of India releasing the consignment to Pyongyang. The officials clearly conveyed to their North Korean counterparts that New Delhi was embarrassed after the seizure as it was against proliferation of nuclear capable missile technology. Instead of agreeing to Pyongyang’s request for release of consignment, the officials asked them to pay Rs 8 crore sovereign guarantee.
However, the Vice-Minister urged New Delhi to release the equipment saying that even the US had released a North Korean ship carrying a dozen missiles for Yemen. But New Delhi did not budge from its stand at the meeting and reiterated its stance on proliferation of missile and nuclear technology.

posted by promila 1:07 AM


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