Monday, August 31, 2009


New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, who took over as the new chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) Monday, said creation of the post of chief of defence staff (CDS) is in the national interest.
He took over as the chairman, COSC from outgoing Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta. The COSC was constituted to coordinate among the three forces till the time a consensus is reached on the creation of a CDS.
“I think the sooner we shift to CDS the better. It is under consideration of the government. It is in the national interest to shift to the system,” Kapoor said after the taking over ceremony.
Kapoor, who was commissioned in the Indian Army in June 1967, took over as the army chief on Sep 30, 2007.
Having taken an active part in the 1971 Bangladesh war, he has commanded a brigade on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, a division under a strike corps during the army’s deployment along the border with Pakistan after the Dec 13, 2001 attack on parliament and a corps on the Indo-China border. He also headed the Northern Command.
Kapoor has also represented the country as the chief operations officer for all United Nations Forces deployed in Somalia from 1994 to 1995.


New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) Vice Admiral Nirmal Kumar Verma, who once commanded India's sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat, today took over as the new Navy chief.

Vice Admiral Verma, who was till now the Eastern Naval Commander at Visakhapatnam, assumed responsibility as the head of world's fourth largest Navy from incumbent Admiral Sureesh Mehta, who retires from service.

Verma, who was born on November 14 in 1950, was commissioned into the Executive Branch of the Navy on July 1, 1970 and during his long service spanning nearly 39 years, he has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments.

His sea command experience includes the Leander-class Frigate INS Udaigiri, Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvir and the flagship aircraft carrier INS Viraat.

Soldiers ‘will continue to protest’

Soldiers will continue protesting until the minister of defence tables a decent wage offer, the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) said on Friday.

Army protesters face boot

SA soldiers a disgrace (Audio)

"We call on the minister to table a decent offer, failing which we will initiate further programmes of protest starting on September 2," said Sandu president Mosima Mosima.

This would be in the form of pickets, petitions and protest marches in a push for a salary increase of 30 percent across the board.

Mosima said the soldiers had not defied a court order when they went to the Union Buildings on Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning the High Court in Pretoria would not give soldiers permission for a planned march to the Union Buildings.

Later, they tried to enter the grounds of the Union Buildings, which houses the president’s office and other key departments, allegedly damaging vehicles and setting a police van alight, before being dispersed by police using rubber bullets and teargas.

"At the time of receiving the court’s judgement, soldiers had already assembled at the designated area, and the police suggested that the soldiers should be moved to another venue, which will not disturb the CBD, where leaders of the union will inform them of the outcome of the court."

He charged that when they arrived at the Union Buildings, police sprayed part of the group with water and that was when chaos erupted.

"This unfortunate incident leads to a series of events which end up in excessive, brutal and unnecessary action by police," said Mosima.

He said their members were shot with rubber bullets while running for cover after a police water cannon sprayed them with water while they were about to sit down to listen to union leaders.

Spokesman for the union Jeff Dubazana said dismissing soldiers for ’going to the Union Buildings would not solve their "shameful" salary position.

"The minister [Lindiwe Sisulu] cannot dismiss members.... some of them were on leave of absence while others were protected by the Constitutional Court judgment of 2007 that ruled that soldiers cannot be denied leave to participate in a protest."

Sandu said it would pursue contempt of court proceeding against "all military leaders and civilian management".

The union said it was not opposed to people acting criminally to be charged, but was against a witch-hunt on members for merely being at the Union Buildings on Wednesday.

Dubazana said none of their members have been suspended or dismissed.

"Reports from members are that there is a tension between them and management who want to identify soldiers who were at the Union Buildings."

The uMKhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has called for the de-unionisation of the security cluster following the soldiers’ protest.

"Soldiers are the protectors of the Constitution and their allegiance lies with the country... there is always an expectation that a soldier must have pride, honour, duty and sacrifice amongst qualities that define his or her patriotic actions." said national secretary Ayanda Dlodlo.

Dlodlo said MKMVA has called on President Jacob Zuma, the Minister of Labour Membathisi Mdladlana and alliance partners to review the unionisation of the security cluster in the interest of national security.

The security cluster includes the defence, the police, intelligence and the metro police.

Veterans opposed to military unions

The government must review the unionisation of the military, veterans said.

"... We have and will always oppose the unionisation of the security cluster especially based on the fact that there is a thin line between mutiny and protest action by soldiers," the Umkhonto we Sizwe and Azanian People’s Liberation Army military veterans’ associations (MKMVA and APLAMVA) said in a statement today.

Soldiers were the protectors of the Constitution and their allegiance lay with the country, they said, adding that there was always an expectation that a soldier’s patriotic actions be defined by pride, honour, duty and sacrifice.

"We therefore call on... President Jacob Zuma, Parliament, government and the judiciary to review the unionisation of the security cluster, which includes the defence, the police, intelligence and the metro police.

"It is in the best interests of the nation that the security cluster is de-unionised.

"The state has a responsibility to take care of the members of the security establishment and to make sure they are treated with the dignity deserved of those who bear allegiance to the flag.

"There are proper channels of communication within the security cluster and where there is a need for improvement it should be done," MKMVA and APLAMVA said.

They were reacting to Wednesday’s violent protest over pay by soldiers, which left a policeman and several soldiers injured and all troops who took part under threat of dismissal.

Before the protest, the SA Nation Defence Union said it had waited five weeks for a response by the employer to wage demands tabled in the military bargaining council.

This meant collective bargaining on the improvement of soldiers’ salaries had effectively come to a standstill, it said.

The veterans today said this form of strike action should not be condoned and could never be justified.

"The tendency that is developing whereby everyone protests every time there is a problem without interacting or going through the correct channels is disturbing as it breeds a culture of non-engagement and feeds a culture of unpatriotic citizenship," they said.

"We must always remember that there are lives that were sacrificed and the cost to attain these freedoms and rights was paid with the highest price that we can never even repay."

The veterans acknowledged there were problems in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and that there had been ever since it was integrated with the former liberation armies.

"Officers from the former South African Defence Force have over the years failed to address the grievances that have been raised...," they said.

"Our members have been discharged by the same people as they are not supportive of the transformation in the national defence force.

"The salary parity in the army is a disgrace and a major concern as the low-rank members of the national defence force are earning less than security guards and this is unacceptable in light of their duty and responsibility."

Among other things hampering morale in the SANDF were the removal of the benefits which previously offset soldiers’ low salaries and the failure to promote veterans, some of whom were taking home salaries of R600 after deductions.

Nonetheless, there were "channels of engagement", like the bargaining council, they said.

"... All parties must be honest and the representative of our people’s government must be responsive to the grievances raised."

They had resolved to meet the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu to "discuss and resolve" the issues threatening the country’s stability and undermining the SANDF’s role, the veterans said.

2 killed, 4 injured in separate strikes on CRPF in Kashmir

At least two jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed and four others injured in two separate militant strikes in Srinagar on Monday.
In a first incident, militants opened indiscriminate firing in Lal Chowk area, killing two CRPF jawans. The militants also reportedly lob grenades on CRPF’s G/28 battalion, situated in Maisuma area injuring four jawans.
Following these incidents, the security forces cordoned off the Lal Chowk, and Aftab Market for search operations.

Bhutto had asked PAF to be ready to attack India’s N-sites: Beg

Slain former premier Benazir Bhutto had directed the Pakistan Air Force to be ready to attack India’s nuclear facilities in case Pakistan’s atomic installations were targeted in 1990, former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has claimed.
Bhutto, the then prime minister, issued the directive to the PAF after reports surfaced that the US, Israelis and Indians were allegedly planning to attack Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, Beg told a TV news channel in an interview.
He did not give further details.
Beg also claimed that the Saudis had given “bags full of money” to late politician Mahmood Haroon to woo political leaders to join the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, which was formed in 1988 to ensure that Bhutto did not return to power.
The money was also meant to fund IJI’s election campaign, he said.
The former army chief said Haroon had claimed that the “money bags” were so heavy that his “shoulders hurt for days”.

Harpoon modification a threat to India: Navy Chief

With the US accusing Pakistan of illegally modifying Harpoon missiles, which could be used to strike Indian targets, Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta on Monday said New Delhi had been pointing to the "danger of proliferation" on several occasions.

This shows the "danger of proliferation and we have been telling this from time to time," Admiral Mehta told reporters soon after handing over the baton to his successor Admiral Nirmal Verma here.

"This has nothing to do with (Pakistan's) self defence and it is against Indian interest," Mehta said.

He, however, said "Harpoon cannot be changed too much and Pakistan will need some time to do the alteration on the missile to strike land targets."

Referring to Indo-Russian BrahMos joint missile venture, Mehta said it was first developed as a land attack cruise missile and now it is being modified as a ship-based weapon.

Admiral Verma, who was asked about the US charge against Pakistan about Harpoon modification, said the Navy's endeavour would be to ensure nobody came within the striking distance of India and launch such missiles.

"Our endeavour during maritime operations is to ensure that no body comes within a (striking) distance and launches such missiles," he said.

On whether India was concerned over Pakistan modifying Harpoons, Admiral Verma said, "We should have confidence in our armed forces. They are equipped, trained and have tactics to counter any threat."

Referring to the maritime capabilities perspective plan of the Navy, he said, "Threats will be there. We have to take care of them and counter them."

On Admiral Mehta's comments regarding India not capable of matching China force-by-force, Verma said it was one way of looking at force level of the two countries.

However, he said, Mehta has already clarified his comments.

"What we should look at is our capability. Whatever we have is to counter the threats and take care of our maritime interest. We have to be capable of countering the threats," he said.

Referring to the increasing Chinese presence in the Indian ocean, the new Navy Chief said every country has the right to pursue its interest in international waters.

UAC-HAL's Multirole Transport Aircraft JV To Be Incorporated Next Month

When Indian Defence Minister AK Antony visits Russia next month on an official visit, the two countries will formally incorporate a joint venture (upgrade the existing Inter-Governmental Agreement or IGA) for the joint development and production of the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), agreed upon back in early 2006. The documents of incorporation were finalised by senior HAL/MoD officials before and during the recently concluded MAKS-2009 air show at Zhukovsky outside Moscow. Workshare aspects have already been worked out between the two countries.

Very much like the agreement on BrahMos, the agreement will chart out production for the armed forces of India and Russia, in addition to friendly third countries, a list of which has already been drawn up and will be enshrined as an annexure to the main agreement document. According to sources, the agreement also contains the agreed joint intention to spin-off (to be pioneered by HAL's Aircraft Research and Design Centre, Bangalore) and market a civilian variant of the MTA in the form of a 100-seater passenger airplane for which HAL will be the lead partner and principal integrator. The Indian part of serial production of the MTA, when ready, will take place at HAL's Transport Aircraft Division in Kanpur.


Chandrayaan II on course : ISRO

Claiming that India’s first moon mission was a great success, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today ruled out any delay in Chandrayaan II despite Chandrayaan I mission being terminated abruptly.
ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair speaking to reporters said that the snags in Chandrayaan I would not result in delay of Chandrayaan II, which is supposed to be launched in 2012.
“There are some marginal corrections that would be applied for the mission”, he said.
Nair said ISRO will set up a high-level committee, as a standard procedure to analyse the failure. He said that the environment around the moon was much more severe than what we anticipated.
“We survived for 315 days which is a good record. Many such experiments have burnt within a month in the past”, he stated.
“We are disappointed with the development, but have managed to get the large volume of data. We went through that and are contended with the results”, he said.
“The mission was a great success. Before the launch we had set up success criteria and technology objectives. We have found that all the instruments on the spacecraft worked satisfactorily as a result we could collect large volume of data”, Nair said.
A day after the abrupt end to the lunar mission, ISRO claimed that the 95 per cent of the objectives were completed.
“More than 70,000 images of the moon were captured. It showed the most important region of surface. We had joint experiments with NASA scientists wherein the signals from our spacecraft was sent to US satellite which were captured successfully”, the chairman added.
The ISRO chairman was talking to reporters at the backdrop of eighth international conference on Low Cost Planetary missions in Goa, which will be kicked off tomorrow at Cidade de Goa.
Nair said that the malfunction in computers onboard spacecraft led to the failure in communication.
“We tried to recover the communications for the entire day yesterday”, he said adding, “the power signals which go to the computer systems failed and we had to terminate the mission”.
The ISRO scientists present at the press conference said that spacecraft is 200 kms away from the moon and it will take 1000 days to hit the lunar surface.
India has already initiated discussions with USA and Russia to use their radars to track the spacecraft which is revolving in the orbit.
When asked about the responsibility of abrupt end, Nair quipped, “only I am responsible”.

change of command

K.N. Sushil will take over from Vice-Admiral Sunil K. Damle as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command on Monday.

This is no way academicians should express their angst

The premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) say the recommendations of the Goverdhan Mehta committee report on the pay scales for the premier institutions were not fully accepted by the government. However, the author of the report, Goverdhan Mehta, believes that while the angst of the IIT faculty members is understandble, they should not have acted in an unbecoming manner, especially since it could affect the image of Brand IIT. In a chat with Leslie D’Monte and Kirtika Suneja, he explained, inter alia, the challenges and limitations while drafting the report. Edited excerpts:

The IIT faculty has protested against the new pay regime and expressed its angst by boycotting classes and even displaying placards. What do you feel about this as an academician?

The faculty reaction to the decision taken by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the manner of expression was indeed surprising. This has happened despite the fact that our committee had consulted all the IITs and other stakeholders and by and large accommodated most of their expectations.

It is wrong on the part of IITs to express their angst in this manner. Though their concerns are legitimate, this is no way academicians should express their angst. Their concerns, if grave, will be paid attention to but one can’t compromise on the dignity of the institution one represents or individual faculty.

Was there anything in the IIT wishlist which could not be accommodated?

Yes. There was one point of disagreement. The IIT directors wanted fresh PhDs as assistant professors and we did not allow that. We wanted PhDs with some research experience in the industry so that they can launch themselves into research immediately. Experienced PhDs have a sufficient level of maturity and independently do research and that is when they imbibe the attributes of a mentor. This could be one reason why the IITs have established themselves as premier institutes for undergraduate studies but are not known for their research.

What challenges did you face while drafting the report?

We were limited in some ways because prior to our report, two more reports had come out and had already enhanced the pay structure. However, the scenario had changed for us because a lot more institutes like IIITs, NITs, etc had come up that were not included in other reports. So, our committee had to deal with enormously diverse institutions.

The Sixth Pay Commission had already given the benefits to central government employees in the form of a generous package. Then came the UGC report on similar lines followed by our report. Our challenge was how to help the premier institutions because we could not go beyond the ambit of the UGC guidelines. So, our motivation was to provide as much benefits to the premier institutes in the backdrop of these two reports besides introducing some elements to retain, attract and encourage faculty to promote research. Our report has enhanced individual faculty’s earnings.

You were also in the panel of the Yash Pal committee on ‘Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education’. Do you feel that such incidents can mar the reputation of our premier institutes?

I personally feel that such incidents would affect the reputation because being in academics you must be concerned about your conduct and conform to the values of your institute. Even if there is a feeling of being let down or angst, you must show that you are different from the rest and express it that way. If our academicians articulate their unhappiness in such a way for a few thousands of rupees, then the institutes’ esteem will take a beating. More than money, it is the research environment and culture that attracts people to academics. So, we need to create that infrastructure and ambience for them besides the monetary compensation.



2. AGP TO INCREASE FROM 9500 TO 10000 Rs.


Sukhoi/HAL FGFA a Indian Stealth Fighter

The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) being jointly developed by India and Russia will look substantially different for the two countries. While the Russian version will be a single-pilot fighter, the Indian variant will have a twin-seat configuration based on its operational doctrine which calls for greater radius of combat operations. The program is initiated to develop a fifth generation fighter aircraft to fill a role similar to that of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II, the world’s first fifth-generation fighter jets.
“The Indian FGFA is significantly different from the Russian aircraft because a second pilot means the addition of another dimension, development of wings and control surfaces,” said Ashok Baweja, chairman of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which is developing the aircraft along with Russia’s Sukhoi design bureau.
Speaking to media persons at the eighth Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC), Baweja said that both sides had moved closer towards identifying the key areas of participation in the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Programme (FGFA) for which both countries had signed a joint agreement in 2007. India would bring into play its expertise in composites, lightweight high-strength materials that significantly bring down the weight of an aeronautical platform.
The Russian aircraft is thus called because it is a successor to virtually every fourth and 4.5 generation fighter aircraft like the MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI in the inventories of both countries. It has been dubbed the ‘Raptorski’ for its similarity to the US F-22 Raptor that entered squadron service on December 2005
The first prototype of the Sukhoi Design Bureau’s PAK-FA ‘T-50′ fighter aircraft is set to fly in Russia next year. “We are in the process of defining what part of the contract to give to the Indian production agencies,” said Alexey Fedorov, president of the United Aircraft Corporation, the umbrella organization of Russian fixed-wing aircraft manufacturers. Fedorov said that the process of identifying the participation of Indian partners in the FGFA would be completed by the year-end or in the shortest possible time.
According to Baweja, it features stealth, or a drastic reduction in the aircraft’s radar cross-section or ’signature’, and the ability to ’super cruise’ or jet engines that fly stealthily without engaging noisy afterburners even at supersonic speeds, embedded weapons with the capability to engage multiple ground, sea and air targets and seamless communication between the fighter, other aircraft and ground stations. Baweja said that the first prototype of the FGFA was to fly next year with the AL-37FU engine. He said he would want an engine that had 15 to 20 per cent more growth than this engine in the final aircraft configuration. The FGFA is to enter squadron service by 2015 and will replace at least three classes of aircraft in the IAF
The joint-venture borrows heavily from the success of the Brahmos project but seems fated to repeat its story. By the 1990s, Russia, the world’s only operator of supersonic surface-to-surface missiles, had already perfected the Yakhont missile but lacked the funds to pursue its development. Indian stepped in with the finance in 1998 and the missile was re-launched as the Brahmos.
Designs for the PAK-FA have already been frozen by the Sukhoi design bureau, which means that Indian aircraft engineers have already missed out on the critical knowledge curve of aircraft design. Also, the unequal status of the Indian and Russian aviation industries means India will be the junior partner contributing very little except finance. “So if we have missed out on the design phase, we have to analyze the cost-benefits of acquiring only super cruise and stealth technology for $ 10 billion,” asks Air Vice Marshal Kak.
Decks were cleared for India to jointly develop and produce the fifth generation fighter aircraft with Russia, with New Delhi making the “final choice” on the matter and Moscow saying the work on signing contracts on the deal could begin soon. Observing that Russia had started developing the warplane about three years ago, visiting Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Sergei B Ivanov said “some time back, India showed interest in joining this project. It took them (India) some time to scrutinize the various options. “Now, India has informed us that a final choice has been made. We can (now) open up contractual work for Indian accession to the project,” Ivanov told reporters at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart A K Antony, after signing four documents. Although interaction has begun on the joint development and production of fifth generation fighter jet, the actual signing of agreements could take some more time.The two sides inked an inter-governmental agreement and a general contract for licensed production of the AL-37FU engines.The fifth generation fighter is based on the Sukhoi fighter and is expected to take its maiden flight in 2012 and inducted by 2015.

Talukdar new AOC of EAC

GUWAHATI, Aug 30 – Air Commodore Bhabani Charan Talukdar, a product of Sainik School, Goalpara, has taken over the charge of AOC, Advanced headquarters, EAC, Indian Air Force on August 17. Talukdar was commissioned into the IAF on December 14, 1974, after successful training at the NDA and AF Academy, Hyderabad.

He has flown Hunters and MiG-21 500 hours, there after changed to the helicopter stream and flown 3,000 hours on Chetak, Cheetah, MI-8 and MI-17.

He had the privilege of being the Air Officer Commanding of the highest operational air base of the world at Leh.

CAE to supply C130-J simulators to Indian Air Force

8ak: Can you please tell us about your C-130J Simulator development for India?

Chris Stellwag: CAE will be designing and manufacturing a C-130J full-mission simulator for the Indian Air Force under a subcontract from Lockheed Martin. As part of the Indian Air Force’s acquisition, Lockheed Martin will be supplying six aircraft and the C-130J full-mission simulator.

8ak: When will it go online?

Stellwag: We will deliver the C-130J simulator to the Indian Air Force Hindan Airbase in 2012.

8ak: Which other nations has CAE supplied these simulators to?

Stellwag: CAE has been Lockheed Martin’s training systems partner for the C-130J aircraft since its initial development in the mid-1990’s. CAE has designed and manufactured all the C-130J simulators in-service with militaries operating the C-130J, including the Royal Air Force (two C-130J simulators), US Air Force (five C-130J simulators), Royal Australian Air Force (one C-130J simulator), US Marine Corps (three KC-130J simulators), and Italian Air Force (one C-130J simulator). In addition to the C-130J simulator for the Indian Air Force, CAE is also currently developing two C-130J simulators for the Canadian Air Force and an HC/MC-130J simulator for the US Air Force Special Operations Command.
The C-130J simulator will be the first CAE has built featuring the CAE True(TM) electric motion system.

8ak: Will any of part of the simulator be developed in India?

Stellwag: Because this C-130J simulator for the Indian Air Force is a follow-on from similar C-130J simulators designed and manufactured for other militaries, none of the development is being done in India. However, once the simulator is delivered, the maintenance and support will be performed in-country.

8ak: Typically, what does a system like this cost?

Stellwag: The cost for high-fidelity, full-mission simulator for a military aircraft is often in the range of US$15 to US$25 million, though there are many variables that can affect the final price.

8ak: What other simulators do you have operational in the Indian market? Is the Indian military using any now? Is the Dhruv simulator completed?

Stellwag: CAE has delivered the following simulators to the Indian defence forces: An An-32 flight training device, a MiG-27 part-task trainer, a Cheetah full-mission simulator, and a Jaguar full-mission simulator. We are currently developing a DO228 flight training device that we will soon deliver. In addition, HAL and CAE have established the Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (HATSOFF), a joint venture equally-owned by HAL and CAE. As part of this new helicopter training centre, CAE is developing a full-mission simulator featuring CAE's revolutionary roll-on/roll-off cockpit design, which enables cockpits representing various helicopter types to be used in the simulator. We will design and manufacture cockpits for four helicopter types: the Indian Army/Air Force variant of the HAL-built Dhruv, the civil variant of the Dhruv, the Bell 412 and the Eurocopter Dauphin.

8ak: What other CAE products are you actively marketing in India? What is planned for the future?

Stellwag: We are marketing a range of simulation-based solutions, including battle tank driver/gunner simulators, CAE’s Common Database (CDB), emergency management response centres, UAV simulators, the CAE GESI command and staff training system, and our CAE Infront 3D Forward Observer Trainer.

8ak: How big is the Indian market for your products - Civil Vs Defence?

Stellwag: CAE believes the Indian market will be significant in the coming years in both civil aviation and defence for our portfolio of simulation-based solutions. Simulation offers a number of advantages, most notably cost advantages, that simply cannot be ignored in today’s uncertain economic and threat environment. The Indian market is of strategic importance to CAE and this importance is demonstrated in the investments that CAE has made in India.

8ak: Is it a competitive marketplace? Dassault Systemes just had a seminar on their Indian focus. Are they a big competitor?

Stellwag: Competition is fierce in all markets, and India is no different. One thing we like our customers to know is that CAE is somewhat unique in that the focus of the entire company is simulation and training. We invest approximately 10 per cent of our C$1.6 billion annual revenues on research and development specific to this niche, and we leverage simulation technologies between the civil and military markets. CAE has a long history of offering customers innovative, high-quality simulation equipment and training services, and we intend to continue setting the industry standard.

8ak: How is CAE’s integration with MacMet?

Stellwag: The integration has been completed, and we recently announced that Macmet Technologies Pvt Ltd. (CAE Macmet), acquired by CAE in July of 2007, will now operate under the name CAE India Private Ltd. Our strategy has been to establish regional operations in key defence markets around the world so that we can better serve defence customers from a local base, while still leveraging the global breadth and capability of the entire company. CAE India is one of our regional operations for our military business segment.

8ak: To conclude, could you tell us a bit more about CAE?

Stellwag: CAE is a leader in providing simulation and modelling technologies and integrated training solutions for the civil aviation industry and defence forces around the globe. With annual revenues exceeding C$1.6 billion, CAE employs more than 6,500 people at more than 75 sites and training locations in 20 countries. CAE has the largest installed base of civil and military full-flight simulators and training devices. Through its global network of 29 civil aviation and military training centres, CAE trains more than 75,000 crew-members yearly. We also offer modelling and simulation software to various market segments and, through CAE’s professional services division, we assist customers with a wide range of simulation-based needs.

The Indian market is of strategic important to CAE and this importance is demonstrated in the investments CAE has made in India. These investments include the acquisition of Macmet (now CAE India), the formation of the HATSOFF joint venture with HAL, and a 150-person engineering centre of excellence in Bangalore. For the civil aviation market, CAE has opened a new training centre in Bangalore, initially for A320 and B737NG training. CAE and the Airports Authority of India jointly own the Rajiv Gandhi National Flying Institute in Gondia, and CAE also manages the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), the Indian government’s national flying institute. With the Indian aviation industry as well as the Indian defence forces facing growth challenges, CAE believes simulation and training will continue to take on more importance so we will continue to make significant investments in India.

India to have first stealth fighter aircraft in four months

NEW DELHI, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- In its ongoing efforts to gain air supremacy, India will have its first stealth fighter aircraft in four month's time, a senior Indian Defense Ministry official said Sunday.
    "By this year end, India will acquire its first stealth fighter called Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft. The aircraft, which can attain a top speed of Mach 2 or twice the speed of sound without consumption of huge amounts of aviation fuel, is being developed by Sukhoi in Russia under a 3-billion-U.S.-dollar deal," the official said, on condition of anonymity.
    He said that the stealth aircraft will be inducted into the Indian Air Force in a short time after the country gets them from Russia.
    "It is to be equipped with high-end radars which can detect targets with maximum accuracy," he said, adding that many advanced technologies to be used in the stealth fighter have been adopted from the multi-role fighter aircraft Sukhoi 30 MKI.
    The two-seater Sukhoi 30 MKI, IAF's prime air superiority fighter aircraft, has a maximum speed of 2,500 kilometers per hour, with one mid-air refueling. It can travel as far as 8,000 km, making it a suitable platform to deliver strategic weapons.

Crashes, engine failures ground IAF trainer aircraft

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has grounded its entire fleet of HPT-32 initial trainer aircraft owing to a series of crashes and engine failures. This comes at a time when the force is facing an acute shortage of efficient pilots.

Authoritative sources in the IAF told IANS that recurrent engine failure of the Hindustan Piston Trainer (HPT)-32 aircraft - stationed at the Air Force Academy (AFA) in Hyderabad - is the reason behind the grounding since last month.

”The entire fleet of the HPT-32 has not been flying,” a senior IAF official told IANS, requesting anonymity.

The engine failures raised concern as the aircraft are handled by rookies for initial flight training.

On July 31 this year, an HPT-32 aircraft crashed at Annaram village in Jinnaram Mandal of Medak district and both the instructors on board were killed in the accident. In May last year a woman cadet of the AFA died during a crash. In this case fuel had leaked into the engine, causing it to burst.

The basic propeller-driven trainer, with two side-by-side seats, suffered more than 70 incidents between 1988 and 1995.

A group was constituted to study the aircraft, which is manufactured by the defence public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and which has been in service for three decades.

According to the study, the Avco Lycoming AEIO-540-D4B5 engine in the aircraft has registered more than 100 failures in recent months.

Usually around 140-150 cadets of the flying branch are trained on the HPT-32 and then graduate to the intermediate flight and weapons training aircraft Surya Kiran.

However, with the initial trainer being grounded, cadets are now directly being trained on the Surya Kirans affecting the training schedule of the pilots.

”We have got Surya Kiran trainer aircraft from across the country and also from SKAT (the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team) for training pilots,” the official added.

Last year, even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India said the IAF is facing an acute shortage of efficient pilots after failing to impart quality training. It attributed the discontinuity in training to lack of adequate state-of-the-art training aircraft with the IAF.

”HPT-32 aircraft used for Stage-I training is technologically outdated and beset by flight safety hazards. In spite of the loss of 11 pilots and 15 aircraft, it continues to be used today. Further, HPT-32 does not aid in the smooth transition of trainees to the next stage of training,” the CAG had said.

India set to get rights to mine Namibian uranium, diamond

NEW DELHI: As Canberra continues to hold out on supplying uranium to New Delhi, India is actively engaging the African sub-continent to fuel its
Namibia India
MoS for external affairs Shashi Tharoor welcomes Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba in New Delhi
civilian nuclear programme.

Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba’s visit to India, which started on Sunday, is linked to India sourcing uranium from the African nation, which is the sixth largest producer of uranium in the world. Sources said that discussions on uranium mining and supplies have been ongoing with Namibia for some time now.

Ahead of Mr Pohamba’s visit, the Cabinet approved signing of an MoU on mining, which covers not just uranium but also other minerals like copper and diamonds. The MoU, which is likely to be signed after discussions between Mr Pohamba and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, will give India the opportunity to tap Namibia’s rich mining sector. This includes the chance to get exclusive prospecting rights and the possibility of joint ventures in the sector.

With countries like Australia still holding out against supplying uranium to India due to their non proliferation ideology, India is turning to other uranium rich countries to ensure supplies for the civilian nuclear programme that will grow in the coming years. Apart from Namibia, India is also in talks with Kazakhsthan and Canada and already has a pact with Niger.

The Manmohan Singh government by giving the Namibian president the first state visit of the second term of UPA is also sending out a strong message that Africa is important for India. The Namibian president’s visit to India is a part of New Delhi’s “new outreach to Africa.” If India is looking for uranium, the interest on the Namibian side is on defence co-operation.

It is understood that the two countries are also likely to sign a defence co-operation agreement, which will institutionalise and formalise defence co-operation between the two countries. India and Namibia have a long tradition of defence co-operation with the Indian Air Force teams stationed in Namibia since the mid-90s. India has also been training the Namibian Air Force and has supplied helicopters to Namibia. This April, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited had got a $10-million order for supplying two Chetak and one Cheetah helicopters to the Namibian armed forces.

When contacted Namibia’s high commissioner to India Marten N Kapewasha said that he would not like to pre-empt the bilateral talks on Monday but did says that defence deals would be discussed apart from education and health and uranium.

The Namibian president will be accompanied by a 43 member delegation, which includes five ministers, senior officials and a business delegation.

Reliance on other archives

Indian rulers do not like history. It is difficult to understand why; is it a genetic problem? While for thousands of years, Chinese Emperors made sure that the details of their lives and times were noted for posterity, India has hardly any historical and political records of her past except for a few pillars and stone writings of Ashoka’s time. In China, the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals meticulously recorded life during the Xia dynasty, 5,000 years ago. 

This disdain for history has continued till our times. The recent controversy around a book on Mohammed Ali Jinnah is one more symptom of this deficiency. It is not my purpose here to go into the rights or wrongs of Jaswant Singh’s work (which I have not yet read), but it is sad that in the 21st century, ideology dictates what history should be.

What is the problem if there are 10, 20 or 50 versions of the same historical event? In any case, to ban a book because it does not paint the baddies black and the good guys white and therefore does not fit the party line may be acceptable in a totalitarian country, but certainly not in the world’s largest democracy.But there is worse. 

Today, Indian rulers have confiscated all recent historical records lying in the vaults of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Library or in South Block. The leaders in Delhi (whether they belong to the UPA or the NDA) have continued to confiscate the history of modern India on lame and fabricated excuses or because they believe that it belongs to them. 

The most notorious example is the report prepared by Lt Gen Henderson-Brook on the October-November 1962 debacle. Forty-six years after it was presented, the report is still kept in a locked almirah in the North Block Office of the Defence Secretary. 

Very few have had the privilege to go through the pages written by the Anglo-Indian general.

A few months back, defence minister A K Antony gave a written reply to Rajeev Chandrashekhar, a Karanataka Rajya Sabha MP who had asked about the status of the report. The minister made an amazing statement: “The Hunderson (sic) Brook Report on 1962 Indo-Sino war still remains classified and unreleased. Considering the sensitivity of information contained in the report and its security implications, the report has not been recommended to be declassified in the national security interest."

The fact that the name of the author of the report is misspelled tends to prove that Antony has probably not read the findings himself.

On December 31, 2007, when asked to decide if a report pertaining to the INS Khukri which sank south of Diu on December 8, 1971, could be declassified, the Central Information Commission (CIC) made an interesting remark.

The CIC recommended that the ministry should build “a storehouse of information” for scholars or historians. “We recommend that the Indian Navy and, in fact the Indian Armed Forces, build up their storehouse of information, as mandated u/s 4(1) of the RTI Act, 2005 for disclosure at the appropriate time for the benefit of the students of India’s defence and to enhance the people’s trust in the armed forces’ undoubted capacity to ensure national security.”

Babus must have slept on the recommendation since then.

During the arguments, the ministry of defence, in whose custody the files are, gave a most amazing argument: “The tactical evaluation and recommendations contained therein were still the basis of Naval strategy, so their disclosure would compromise security.” Indian naval strategy has not changed for nearly 40 years!

Today, the tragedy is that the Right to Information Act protects those who do not want India’s history to be known. Article 8 (1) (a) says: that “there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence.”

It is enough to cover for 100 years all blunders and mischief by those who have made India’s modern history, particularly the present ruling family. This practically bars any scholar or organisation from doing what is regularly done in the US: asking a court to verify if a specific classification is still justified after 30 years .

A ruling of the Supreme Court will probably be necessary to clarify this point. What are the strategic interests of the Indian State today? To protect politicians and babus?If you want to study the recent history of India, you have to rely on US or other Western archives.

Choosing a career? Think twice : READ IT CONSIDERING ARMY AS A CARRIER ..

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy looking for it. -Henry David Thoreau
This article is especially for young ones, who are in a position to opt for a career. In this period of globalisation everybody wants to come up in a fast track mood, wants to earn money with short cuts. So here choosing a career does have its great importance or else may result into lot of set-backs. If unfortunately, our choice goes wrong, our fate is punished like anything, because here in this materialistic world everything keeps on going, it never stops, our time, money, age, etc. and then no other option remains, only just to repent and blame our fate. So, we felt necessary to enlighten it.

Let us begin with the basics: What career means?
A career is an occupation or profession. A career is followed as one’s life’s work and the chosen career field must have some scope for advancement. To choose and plan a career, we should look into matters such as our household, the environment we live in, our interactions with people, etc. Whatever situation we may be in at present, we must keep those in mind while deciding on our priorities in search for a career or a job. Generally, it is observed that different people have different priorities, which determine the career and this includes-status, wealth, power, challenge and contentment.

Choosing the career path to success
Life is great till the point we are studying and gaining knowledge. The dilemma arises when it is time to move a step further and choose a career that will take us places professionally!

Making such a crucial career decision is not always easy, but it is one that needs to be made sooner or later. Many of us think that we know what it is that we want to do professionally. Such people usually fall into two categories:
  1. Those that really know what they're passionate about and choose a career field for the right reasons.
  2. Those who fail to make up their own minds and succumb to outside pressures, opting for a wrong career.
It is very amazing to see here that maximum number of people fall into second type of category.

Keeping these facts in mind, here are some simple steps we can follow to make the best career decision for ourselves:-
  • Clear our mind of preconceived notions.
  • Identify our interests and things that we are passionate about.
  • Draw a clear line between what our parents / family / acquaintances want we to do and what it is we would like to do. If both these are the same, that's good for us. However, even if it isn't, we still owe it to our self to be truthful and practical.
  • Imagine what we would be like to be doing, what we have chosen to do, say 5-10 years from now.
Once we have followed a practical and logical decision making process, we will feel closer to a balanced and right decision in choosing a career path to success.

Taking action: The action plan
Depending on our individual goals, plans and expectations, we should work towards devising our own career plan. We should always keep in mind our goals, value system, objectives, strengths and inherent weaknesses, etc. Once we have these guiding factors in mind, we should plan career path carefully and intelligently.

Analyse and set goals
There are many reasons to set goals in order to get a success in whatever we choose to do. It is generally seen that people with clear goals do better than those who fail to set goals. In the absence of clarity and direction, we tend to drift away from what is important. Set clear career goals and objectives so that they can guide and motivate us at every step of the way. The future is uncertain but the present is in our hands. We should do everything what we can to put in our best today and make our future more bright. Successful attainment is possible only through well defined and clear goals.
(To be continued)

Thinking Aloud : Foot in the mouth syndrome

Singh & Co make a lot of noise about terrorism and terrorists, but it is so much hot air. After nearly nine years, Afzal Guru is still waiting in his cell and the government is apparently in no hurry to hang him. The Maharashtra government has spent crores on beautifying Ajmal Kasab�s cell in Mumbai and is feeding him biryani and kofta curry, as if he were its special guest.
There are people who cannot open their mouths without putting their foot into it. Congressmen do it all the time. But one never believed Manmohan Singh would do such acrobatics. He is a careful man-generally careful with his words.

But in Sharm-el-Sheikh he seems to have been carried away, and made a fool of himself. Either he is not familiar with international diplomacy-which certainly is not his cup of tea-or the Pakistanis tricked him into it. Either way, they are having a gay time shouting from roof tops how they made rings round the great man from India and the poor fellow doesn�t even know what hit him.

Why did he do it? He had taken an army of babus with him, none of whom seem to have warned him about what he was getting into. Were they also tricked by the Pakistanis? Singh didn�t have to sign anything. He also didn�t have to mention the B-word, just as Nehru didn�t have to mention the K-word, when, like Singh, he too fell into a similar trap. You cannot say it was a result of a faulty draft. Nehru and faulty draft? Our prime ministers are so full of themselves that they become victims of their own verbosity and fall flat on their faces.

One can only say that Singh has a complex about Pakistan just as Nehru had a complex about Muslims. He (Nehru) had once said that he was a Muslim and it was his misfortune to be born a Hindu. With all his blah-blah about Ganga and all that, Nehru hated Hindus and the fact that he was born a Hindu. Does our man Singh also suffer from a similar complex? If so, it is a case for psychiatrists, not political pundits and the sooner Singh & Co enter a clinic for thorough analysis, the bettor for all of us.

It was the Congress, led by Nehru & Co, that was responsible for the division of India and this has given them a permanent guilt complex. The guilt complex has now mutated into a permanent complex about Pakistan, which of course, exploits it, whether it is Kashmir, and now, Sharm-el-Shaikh.

It is this complex that makes people like Singh say stupid things about Indian Muslims, who, he once said, should have first charge over India�s wealth. Singh has a habit�Singh has a habit of saying foolish things like this from time to time. Either he has no idea what he is saying or he is forced to say such things to solve his guilty complex. He can go on saying them to his heart�s content, except that he happens to be the country�s Prime Minister and his words carry weight in the world at large.

There is also another reason why Congress leaders always humiliate themselves before the Pakistanis, the same reason that led Neville Chamberlain to prostrate himself before Adolf Hitler. This is also a question of psychology and we should try and get at the bottom of it.

Chamberlain was a scrap iron merchant from Birmingham before he entered the Parliament and became his country�s Prime Minister. His party was split into two camps, one led by him and the other by Winston Churchill and others who were implacably opposed to Hitler and everything he stood for. Chamberlain was backed by big business, which was really big in England in those days, with business empires spread out all over the world, and huge colonial empires with all that they meant for their business. Chamberlain was their representative in the Parliament and was duty bound to stand by them.

Chamberlain believed he could always make a deal with Hitler or at least with German industrialists who backed Hitler to the hilt. Hitler was under no such obligation himself. He was his own man and his rise owed little to big business. Businessmen were supporting him because they were bound to. Otherwise they would have ended up in concentration camps or have their heads chopped off. They were therefore eating out of his hands, and it was through them that Chamberlain was dealing with Hitler. Hitler had nothing but contempt for the Chamberlains of England but he would play the usual cat-and-mouse game with them until it was time for him to strike.

Is Pakistan trying to do the same thing with Manmohan Singh and others of his ilk? Pakistan is too small a country and is no match for India, but it has now a powerful man as protector, none other than Barack Husain Obama.

The Americans are pouring money into Pakistan, as much as five billion this month alone, and nearly as much for the next three years. Most of these funds will be earmarked for the armed forces, just as the bulk of the previous aid was also used for building up the army. Americans have always been very fond of dictators all over the world and seem to have a special attraction for countries like Pakistan. It is not clear who is exploiting whom, as happened in Vietnam but, in the process, it is Pakistan that is getting all the cash, and, with it, all the arms.

There is also another issue. It is not at all clear that the government led by Manmohan Singh is really serious about fighting terrorism in the first place. Singh & Co make a lot of noise about terrorism and terrorists, but it is so much hot air. After nearly nine years, Afzal Guru is still waiting in his cell and the government is apparently in no hurry to hang him. The Maharashtra government has spent crores on beautifying Ajmal Kasab�s cell in Mumbai and is feeding him biryani and kofta curry, as if he were its special guest. If this is the way Pakistani terrorists are treated in this country, why should Pakistan or any other country believe that we are serious about terrorism?

Look at the way George W Bush and his administration treated terrorists after they drove the planes into the Trade Centre in New York and killed thousands of innocent people eight years ago? The US army marched into Iraq and Afghanistan, two Muslim countries, and ground them into a pulp. There has not been a single attack on the US since, though the killers are active elsewhere, including India.

The lesson of Sharm-el-Shaikh is that Pakistan can go on helping the terrorists as before and India can go on with the so-called dialogue process-which actually means nothing, since there can never be any kind of normalcy between the two countries-as if nothing had happened. The K-word and the B-word cancel each other out. It is clear who has been made a fool on the banks of the Nile. This is what happens when you do not know who are your enemies and who are your friends, and ultimately fall flat on your face, as Chamberlain did at Munich and our Race Course friend in the desert of Egypt.

Police Reforms and India’s 1861 Model Police Force

British in outlook and temperament, Nehru insisted on retaining the structure of British colonial rule in India. The only difference is that the last word now rested with the Indians rather than the British. Since 1947, no Indian politician in the "world’s biggest democracy" has deemed it necessary to significantly alter the colonial-era laws and regulations that govern the lives of the people, perhaps because such a structure gives them powers over the administrative machinery and by extension the population that are as all-encompassing as those once wielded by the British Raj.
Those who knew him saw India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as the quintessential "Brown Englishman." Nehru typified the intention of Lord Thomas Macaulay, one of the architects of British rule in India, to create a class of Indians that, in the words of his 1866 "Minute on Education," would be "Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect." So tentative was Nehru of the capacity of himself and his fellow Cabinet colleagues to administer the former British colony that he requested the last Viceroy of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten, to stay on as the newly Independent country’s first Governor-General. Mountbatten agreed and in the process tookover direct superintendence of key state functions including defense.

It was Mountbatten’s influence over Nehru that prevented the Indian Army from continuing its 1948 offensive in Kashmir and takingover the one-third of that territory that still remained under the control of the Pakistani forces that had invaded in 1947. Had the Indian Army not been halted by a premature ceasefire, much of the pain that has been witnessed in Kashmir over the previous decades may have been avoided. British in outlook and temperament, Nehru insisted on retaining the structure of British colonial rule in India. The only difference is that the last word now rested with the Indians rather than the British. Since 1947, no Indian politician in the "world’s biggest democracy" has deemed it necessary to significantly alter the colonial-era laws and regulations that govern the lives of the people, perhaps because such a structure gives them powers over the administrative machinery and by extension the population that are as all-encompassing as those once wielded by the British Raj.

Given the fascination for all things associated with the British colonial authorities, is it any wonder that the Police in India are still governed by the 1861 Indian Police Act? The British colonial authorities passed this Act in the aftermath of the first major revolt against their rule, the 1857 "First War of Independence" (or Mutiny, depending on whether one reads Indian or British textbooks). The Act gave the political masters of the country (then the British colonialists) absolute control over the Police, making them in effect their vassals. Police officers could be disciplined and transferred at will, and used where needed in any way deemed fit by those in authority. They became, in effect, the personal civil armed force of the Raj.

During the 100 years (1847-1947) of popular revolt against the British, the absolute power given under the law to each individual British administrator, known as a "Collector," was revealed in the wide range of their responses to Indian protestors in their districts. Some responded viciously while others were more sympathetic to the local population. Governors of provinces who wanted to "teach the natives a lesson" ensured a plentiful diet of Police brutality that in turn helped fuel greater and greater levels of resistance to the British occupation.

Because the basic framework of Police administration has changed little since 1861, India’s political masters have the same degree of control over the actions of the Police that was once enjoyed by the governors and collectors of the British Raj.

Today, the "democratic" chief ministers and home ministers in each Indian State wield these powers. Under the Constitution of India, law and order is a subject that falls within the jurisdiction of the state governments thereby reducing sharply the reach of the Central government into Police administration in the states.

As in the days of the Raj, the manner in which the Police functions depends primarily on the caliber and temperament of the State political bosses and not on a framework of values and best practices as ought to be the case. Chief ministers and home (interior) ministers who are effective and reasonably honest ensure that the force gets used primarily for the purpose for which it is intended; the preservation of public order and the prevention or detection of criminal activity. Others convert the Police into instruments of personal power and abuse, to the detriment of the ordinary citizen.

Despite its size and complexity, India is a relatively under-Policed country with about one Police officer for each 1,200 citizens as against the usual 1:250 ratio found in most western countries. Despite this, there are some 113,000 sanctioned positions for the post of beat constable that are unfilled. The reason for this is that many politicians ensure that only those who bribe them or who belong to the "right" caste or faith get selected to become a Police officer. The absence of professional standards for all but higher-level Police positions ensures that several entrants have matters other than the security of citizens as their first priority.

In the situation where India finds itself as one of the three focal points for jihadi terror (together with the United States and Israel), it would appear self-evident that the training of the Police force would be given a high priority. Yet till now, six decades after the British left, there is zero-repeat zero-training given to Police constables or indeed any member of the Police force below the level of assistant superintendent, usually the junior most position formerly held by a British officer.

It is a tribute to the civilisational values of the Indian people that despite this weakness in its administrative architecture, public order is relatively high, especially when compared to their neighbours. Even in the UK or in the United States it will be seen that crimes involving Indian-Americans are much less frequent in number than those involving those from countries that have sought to shed the heritage of India and embrace Wahabbism and its attitudes, such as Pakistan and increasingly Bangladesh. For example, even though Mumbai was swamped by torrents of rain at about the same time that Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, there was none of the law and order breakdown in Mumbai that was witnessed in New Orleans. Indeed, crime statistics actually fell during those weeks of flooding, perhaps because criminals too decided to stay at home during that period rather than pursue their vocation.

As during the period of the British Raj, the District Superintendent of Police (DSP) is the key officer in each district. Although DSPs are usually seconded to the State administration from the Centrally recruited Indian Police Service (IPS), the power of transfer is wielded by the Chief Minister and the Home Minister to ensure the DSP’s subservience to their dictates. It may seem fantastical but the reality is that the average tenure (within a district) of the Superintendent of Police in India is about six months. There are cases of Police officers (usually those unfortunate enough to be honest) that have been transferred as much as 11 times in one year, thereby playing havoc with the education of their children and the stability of family life.

Unless one is born with an Einsteinian intellect, it will take about six months for the District Police Chief to understand the local law and order situation as well as the capabilities of his or her personnel. After that, a minimum tenure of three years is needed to ensure that such knowledge as well as one’s efficiency and motivation is reflected in performance. Sadly, those given such long tenures within a district are almost always officers who are ultra-obliging of the whims of their political masters. Clearly, at least in matters of Police administration, things change very slowly in India, if at all.

The registration of false cases against political and personal opponents and the immunity given to friends of the powerful is endemic in India. The only saving grace is that the disease of maladministration in most parts of India is (as yet) nowhere near the levels reached in Pakistan and Bangladesh, two countries where Wahabbism has found secure nests and from where the Wahabbis seek to infuse their poison into India’s 157 million Muslims.

While it is true that few Police officers live on their salaries especially at the lower levels, what must be kept in mind is that India is not the only major democracy where greed has become endemic. Indeed the recent meltdown in some American and European financial institutions underscores the bias of "independent" agencies such as Transparency International that regularly, and usually justifiably, knock Third World countries for the prevalence of graft. In contrast, not one of these watchdogs could sniff out even a faint scent of the huge frauds that were festering in financial markets in the very countries in which they are located, frauds that have placed the international economy at grave risk of another Great Depression.

Yes, it is true that a significant number of Police personnel in India accept remuneration in excess of their salary and allowances. In other words, they accept bribes. When the House Rent Allowance of even the head of a Police Station (the Station House Officer) is so low even in the city of Mumbai (one of the most expensive in the world), it is difficult not to have mixed feelings for those who join the force and are cast out to forage for themselves within the metropolis without the financial means to have a survivable lifestyle. Unless the Indian state can provide accommodation and a viable lifestyle to the families of its Police forces, to expect them to be saints may be unrealistic. Sadly, unlike in the days of the British when the Police were very well cared for, in free India the standard of living of the (honest) Police constable has been reduced to but a tad above that of a street beggar. He has no training, no housing and certainly not a living wage.

The wonder is that despite such neglect by those in authority, the Police in India work an average of 16 hours per day and manage to keep the country within the ranks of the more stable in the world. Again, a huge part of the credit goes to the culture of India that ensures that the inhabitants of a millionaire’s mansion can exist peaceably next to a teeming slum, with not even a single guard for protection. This can be compared to, for example, South Africa or Russia where the rich are forced to barricade themselves inside of fortresses to ensure their survival.

When we come to weaponry and equipment, Mumbai 26-28/11 demonstrated on live television the Police force’s lack of firepower. For ten crucial hours they faced trained terrorist commandos while armed only with sticks or, at best, World War II vintage rifles. Except for the third of the Police force that is now used almost entirely for the security of the country’s political and official elite, the rest are pitifully armed. Also, such a high proportion of the total force set aside for bandobust (the ritual assembly of police officers along different points of a VVIP’s route and at the VVIP’s meeting places) is unreasonably high given that the total number of the worthies benefiting by such manpower-wasteful British Raj-style methods of protection is less than 2,000 in a country of 1.16 billion people.

Months ago, when Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi filed her nomination papers in the Raebareli constituency (the political bastion of the Nehru-Gandhi family) in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s television audience was witness to the sycophancy of senior administrators towards their political bosses, a level that must surpass even the high levels of subservience recorded during the period of the Raj.

The Director-General (DG) of the Special Protection Group or SPG (the elite force set up to safeguard VVIPs) was seen on television running alongside the car ferrying Sonia Gandhi to the town’s election center. What was the DG (SPG) doing at the time? Was he monitoring the situation and assessing threats? Or keeping in touch with his personnel from across the country tasked as they are with the protection of numerous worthies including the Prime Minister? Not exactly. He was brushing away rose petals from the vehicle’s hood! A crucial national security task indeed and certainly one deserving of the DG (SPG)’s undivided attention. It speaks well for the 58-year-old’s level of fitness that one of the most senior Police officers in the country was able to keep pace with Sonia’s vehicle, albeit with a slight panting towards the end.

Were such obsequious behaviours towards those in power be atypical they would not be a cause for worry. But they are becoming the norm. At least four major commissions have given suggestions for Police reforms-principally rescuing the force from the death-grip of the politicians-but they have been ignored. The Police continue to act as the personal militias of the powerful rather than the guarantors of law and order for the ordinary citizen.

Chinese incursion reported in Ladakh

Amid reports of incursions by Chinese troops and choppers, the Indian Army has raised its vigil and preparedness to the highest level in the Ladakh region along the 646-km-long border with China, the line of actual control (LAC).
Brigadier Murali Gopalkrishnan of the Northern Command told Hindustan Times that the locals had sighted Chinese choppers in Indian territory south of Chunar.Army sources said that they were getting reports about Chinese intrusion from the locals, often shepherds, who take their yaks to high altitudes for grazing.
What has raised concern is the reported intrusion of two Chinese choppers in the south of Chumar on June 21, and accordingly the army began patrolling the area.
Over the past one year, shepherds and the people living close to the borderline have been reporting the presence of Chinese troops.
These reports had been conveyed to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, who was on a three-week visit to Leh till August 28, sources said.
Chinese troops enter the vast cold desert while patrolling, but return to their side of the line of control. Barren mountains and the absence of a demarcated borderline often cause confusion on both the sides.
Brigadier Murali Gopalkrishnan of the Northern Command told Hindustan Times that the locals had sighted Chinese choppers in Indian territory south of Chunar.
He, however, said that this was “often a matter of perception”.
Over the past one and a half years, India too has set up its air base close to the Chinese border in the Aksai Chin area. It has also constructed roads to connect the Dault Beg Olde and Fukche airfields, which were operationalised on May 31 and November 4 last year, for the first time after the India-China war of 1962.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Northern Command) Lt Gen PC Bhardwaj said that sometimes “minor issues” cropped up and were resolved locally. “We continue to maintain a high degree of operational preparedness,” he said.
He made it clear that there had been “no major deviations and cordial relations are maintained”.

Pak consistently trying to target India

Lt Gen (retd) Shankar Prasad, reacting on the accusations of the United States that Pakistan is illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets in India, said Pakistan has been consistently trying to target India.

Shankar Prasad, said, "Pakistan forever is known for violating all laws and norms. It is quite possible that the missiles that the United States gave to Pakistan nearly 20 years ago have a limited range. The effort on the Pakistan is to see that it enhances its range so that they are capable of taking targets on India and cause devastating effect. Pakistan has consistently tried to do this and advertising it deliberately. Pakistan is trying to put caution on India and saying that it is better for you not to react to any of our misdeeds.

'Pak is Indo centric'

V P Malik, former chief of Army staff, Indian army, said that the focus of Pakistan is Indo-centric rather than countering terrorism.

'This is an infringement our sovereignty'

Hamid Gul, former ISI chief, reacting on the accusations of the United States that Pakistan is illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets in India, said, "They are trying to blind the Pakistan army and the armed forces. They are also trying to project its image as that of a rogue. They think that Pakistan can be brought down to its knee. This is an infringement our sovereignty. If Pakistan accepts the conditions of the US, then it is going to be external difficulties. If it does not accept, I think it is going to be financial crisis which they will have to bear."

‘Pak acquiring weapons systems to use against India'

Strategic Affairs & Defence expert of TIMES NOW , Maroof Raza, has said that Pakistan's actions are not out of character given its proliferation record.

Maroof Raza said, "Pakistan has in fact a history of acquiring missiles in particular from countries like North Korea and China and then modifying them and claiming these were developed by Pakistan and therefore they were indigenous technology."

He is of the opinion that these weapons cannot be used against terror groups and insurgents on the Pak-Afghan border but would obviously be used against India.

Raza speaking on how weapons were used against India, said, "The last set of financial funding that Pakistan received post 9/11 when it became America's ally on the war on terror. Bulk of the money that was received by Pakistan's armed forces was either unaccountable or used to buy weapons systems which would not get them to confront militants and terror groups on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border but were used to acquire weapons systems against India."

In conclusion, Raza said, "The central question is if the Americans are aware and I am quite convinced they are aware, how the Paksitani military continues to use American funding."

He further questioned as to why the US is repeatedly sanctioning billons and billons of dollars to Pakistan to acquire weapons systems like the Harpoon missile and the others.

In a development that could significantly increase tensions between India and Pakistan and spawn an arms race, the United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets.

A "New York Times" report quoting anonymous US intelligence and government sources describes the modifications as a potential threat to India.

American military and intelligence officials say they suspect that Pakistan has modified the Harpoon antiship missiles that the United States sold the country in the 1980s, a move that would be a violation of the Arms Control Export Act. The United States has also accused Pakistan of modifying American-made P-3C naval patrol aircraft for land-attack missions, another violation of United States law that the Obama administration has protested...

"The New York Times" report also says the missiles would be a significant new entry into Pakistan's arsenal against India. They would enable Pakistan's small navy to strike targets on land, complementing the sizable land-based missile arsenal that Pakistan has developed.

At night, Maoists rule Lalgarh

LALGARH (West Midnapore): The veneer of security is stretched too thin over the Maoist badlands of Bengal. And it can often be deceptive.

On paper, the Lalgarh Operation that started on June 18 to flush out Maoists is still on. Security forces are stationed at the outposts. The tarred roads are still being patrolled. But once the sun wanes and the shadows lengthen, the Maoists take over. If there’s a knock on the door late at night, villagers can only huddle together and pray. No security forces will come to the rescue.

Policemen and jawans stationed in the three districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia bordering Bihar and Jharkhand - a 2,100 sq km terrain of fields and forest - are aware of this imbalance of power. As are villagers. So, the indefinite bandh by Maoists over the past fortnight has been near-total. Many villagers have fled to nearby towns, while others have accepted the rebel diktat.

Take the case of Jhargram, the subdivisional town about 200 km from Kolkata. Well connected by both road and railways, Jhargram is a trading centre and tourist spot. Though hundreds of cops armed with sophisticated weapons have been standing guard here, the bandh call had turned the town into a graveyard.

Though over 50 companies of jawans, including central forces, are posted in the Maoist-domionated areas, the guerrillas have increased their area of dominance. They have even made into the district headquarters of Midnapore, killing local CPM leaders, ransacking their offices and forcing hundreds of party members to quit.

”More than 30 members and leaders of our party have been killed since the operation started,” admitted Bijay Pal, district secretariat member of CPM in West Midnapore. After torching more than 50 CPM offices, the Maoists are now holed in about 20 km from Midnapore town.

Hiran Maity of Sakhakhuli village of Lalgarh has mortgaged his utensils for a bagful of rice. He is a seller of broomsticks, but for the past 10 days he hasn’t sold any. Sarala Mandi, another villager, had walked 20 km to the local BDO office for relief. She returned empty-handed as the office was under lock and key.

The biggest impact of the bandh can be felt in Lalgarh, around 30 km from Jhargram that is the epicentre of the Maoist rebellion. The undulating terrain and the forest cover that stretches to Jharkhand is ideal for hit-and-run guerrilla warfare.

What triggered the Maoist upsurge? Years of deprivation, neglect and grinding poverty. The nearest block primary health centre from the remote forest hamlets of Belpahari is at least 16 km. Most villagers can’t avail subsidised rations, because their cards are lying with ration dealers. Villages like Amlashole, from where starvation deaths were reported in 2002, falls in this belt.

The village panchayats, mostly run by CPM and Jharkhand Party, had turned into symbols of corruption. Leaders, mostly non-tribals, used to call the shots, paying little heed to local problems. The disconnect paved the way for wanted Maoist ‘commander’ Kishanji and his face Chhatradhar Mahato.

But the Jangalkhand story is not just an outburst of deprivation. Riding on the resentment, Maoists systematically annihilated local CPM and Jharkhand Party bosses, sometimes with local support. The target was to crush an organised force like CPM and break the local intelligence network. This has come as a setback for security forces. Even tribal heads, who had a grip over the community, were silenced by Maoists.

PCPA, the 10-month old tribal outfit which emerged as the voice against police atrocities, has spread its tentacles to each nook and corner of the region wrenching areas out of the control of the forces and CPM.

Between November 2008 and June 2009, Maoists and PCPA men kept around 600 sq km of Binpur and Salboni blocks under seige. They wiped out the state machinery by hounding out police, closing down gram panchayats and preventing other government agencies from functioning.

Finally in June 2009, the government had to start a recapture operation involving 50 companies of security forces. But the operation proved far from easy, with Maoists expanding their area across 900 villages since the operation began on June 18.

The rising insecurity among the local CPM leadership has helped Maoists convince villagers that the CPM-led administration has withered away. As a result, no one has dared to defy the bandh. Instead of the pachayat office, businessmen and villagers have started approaching the rebels for help.

Will politicians follow judges in posting wealth details on website?

Dark clouds of suspicion have hung about judges for years because of their stubborn reluctance to make their assets public. It has finally been blown away by the winds of transparency generated by a full court resolution of the Supreme Court on August 26.

Many have since laid claim to this revolutionary happening, from RTI applicants to self-proclaimed judiciary watchdogs. But the credit must go to the judiciary, the judges and, of course, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan for being able to strike a consensus on posting their wealth sheets on the SC's official website.

The seed of this revolution was planted 12 years ago on May 7, 1997, when the full court of the SC decided that all judges, including the CJI, must declare their, their spouses and dependents assets and investments. But, they also took a decision to keep these declarations "strictly confidential".

The August 26 decision has punctured the confidentiality clause. This means, every new acquisition of asset or fresh investment by a judge, spouse or dependent will have to be put in the public domain.

The insertion of the confidentiality clause was mainly because the judges had feared harassment at the hands of unscrupulous litigants filing frivolous cases relating to their wealth. Have the judges overcome this fear? Not really, says the CJI. He wants to wait and watch the public's reaction.

Has this decision rendered the Judges Assets Bill redundant? Not really. It may need some changes, especially of the provision which barred access to wealth declarations through RTI applications. A law may still be necessary since the present declarations are voluntary in nature and it is always better to make things formal rather than keep it informal.

Sadly, the decision to make public their assets will not end the debate about the integrity of judges. If a litigant loses a case before a judge who is rich because of a flourishing practice at the Bar prior to joining the Bench, then he would invariably be the target of allegations of corruption. More so, because off-the-cuff allegations in hushed voices in the corridors of courts spread thick and fast. Judges, despite their bold decision, may have to live with this for some time.

At the same time, their decision to declare every addition to their asset and each new investment has lobbed the ball firmly back to the court of politicians who had recently stalled introduction of the Judges Assets Bill in Parliament.

The politicians declare their assets on affidavits only prior to contesting elections. Will they follow the judges and post on websites their assets and investments and update it with every new acquisition and money transfer?

At the time of elections, we come across affidavits telling how their riches have swelled dramatically in the last five years. During the last general elections, we saw how some managed to increase their wealth from lakhs to crores and from crores to hundreds of crores of rupees.

Will they explain the unusual rate of growth of their wealth? Revelations about the mean and modes to multiply wealth could provide ideas to a large chunk of citizens, who have been struggling for years to cross the poverty line. After all, politicians are the leaders of the masses who should voluntarily take the lead to remove all misgivings of the citizens about them.

UPA government's 100 days below par: Political parties

The first 100 days of the second innings of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government have been disappointing for the common man and its performance has been below par, say political parties.
'The performance has been pathetic. The government has failed to deliver both on the economic front and the issues of country's security,' G.V.L. Narasimha Rao, member of Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) national executive, told IANS.
Rao said the government had not been able to handle the drought situation and price rise and the 'worst hit has been the common man,' on whose welfare talk the Congress came to power.
The views are echoed by the Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Gurudas Dasgupta. According to Dasgupta, the performance of the UPA government has been 'unsatisfactory and not up to the expectation of common man'.
Manmohan Singh government took oath on May 22 for the second consecutive time following a sweeping victory in the April-May Lok Sabha polls.
The government's emphasis has been on infrastructure development, schemes for the poor like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, stimulus packages to pull the economy out of the global slowdown and deal with the drought situation and spiraling prices of essential commodities.
However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) feels that the focus of the government has been the big corporate houses rather then the farmers and working class.
'The government has been unable to control the rising prices of essential commodities, which are becoming unbearable for the common man, while concessions are given to big business houses,' CPI-M polit-buro member M.K. Pandhe said.
Pandhe also said the major beneficiaries of the schemes of the present government has been the upper strata of the society rather then the common which has been further pushed to the periphery of the society.
Kamal Akhter, Rajya Sabha MP of Samajwadi Party that has extended parliamentary support to the government, said: 'The government has failed to handle the problem of unemployment.'
Political parties are also critical of the government the way it has handled the issue of security.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi accused the government of 'surrendering the national interest' with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signing a joint statement with Pakistan in Egypt last month delinking terror from the composite dialogue with Islamabad and also included a controversial reference to trouble-hit Balochistan.
'On the issue of security, the government has taken mainly administrative steps without taking state governments into confidence and lacks people's participation without which it would be difficult to counter the problem of terrorism,' Pandhe explained.
However, according to historian Ramachandra Guha, 100 days could not be a yardstick to judge a government's performance.
'I am not sure if we can evaluate the government on what they have achieved and what they have not. Many things have happened and policies have been framed. I will give them 50-50,' Guha told IANS.
The criticism notwithstanding, the government is flagging certain decisions, like setting aside a whopping Rs.391 billion ($8 billion) for the UPA's National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme.
Also, the government saw through a historic Right to Education Bill that ensures free and compulsory education to children aged between six and 14 years, ushered a revamped Companies Bill and unveiled a draft direct tax code that will replace the nearly five-decade-old Income Tax Act.