Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shipyard takeover underlines govt's defence urgency

KOLKATA (Reuters) - India's Defence Ministry will take over a commercial shipyard to build military vessels for its navy, the junior defence minister said on Tuesday in a move underlining a new urgency in upgrading defence capabilities.

The Hindustan Shipyard is strategically located in Visakhapatnam, where the government intends to build frigates, destroyers and submarines for the navy from later this year.

"Hindustan Shipyard is being taken over by the Ministry of Defence," Pallam Raju, the junior defence minister, said in Kolkata, capital of the eastern state of West Bengal.

"There will be suitable investments regarding alterations and modernisation of the shipyard, suiting the requirement of the Indian Navy," Raju told reporters in the biggest commercial city in the region.

The exact capacity of the Hindustan Shipyard was not immediately clear, but India wants to build 100 warships over the next 10 years and phase out old vessels.

Experts said the takeover would help India improve its ageing naval fleet.

"It signifies our indigenous capabilities and the fact that the navy needs more ships," said Commander P.V.S. Satish, a naval officer.

Last month, India launched its first nuclear-powered submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles and has plans to induct two aircraft carriers, including one from Russia.

Military ships are currently built in three shipyards, but the government decided to take over the Hindustan Shipyard to speed up defence modernisation, defence officials said.

The Defence Ministry would upgrade other existing shipyards and take over smaller ones to help speed up plans to build more military vessels and submarines, defence officials said.

India is one of the world's biggest arms importers. The government plans to spend more than $30 billion over the next five years to upgrade its largely Soviet-era arsenal to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China.

London, Aug 25 (IANS) India’s outgoing envoy to Britain Tuesday defended Richard Dannatt as a “gracious host” after the British Chief of the General S

London, Aug 25 (IANS) India’s outgoing envoy to Britain Tuesday defended Richard Dannatt as a “gracious host” after the British Chief of the General Staff was revealed as having served his Indian and other guests with a fiver-a-head cut-price meal a year ago.

Sir Richard Dannatt, who is soon to retire, hosted then High Commissioner Shiv Mukherjee, visiting Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor and 21 others for a reception in August last year at his plush Kensington Palace residence.

But rather than delicacies from the nearby upmarket Harrods superstore, they were given pastries, cheese and salmon bought from the supermarket Tesco.

The entire meal cost a mere 123.58 pounds - or 5.15 pounds per person, the British media reported, lauding the British army chief for how frugal he is.

Ruling Labour MPs had apparently planned to discredit Dannatt after he criticised the government for failing to provide proper kit for troops in British Afghanistan, by portraying him as a champagne-guzzling member of the military elite.

But Mukherjee sprang to the Dannatt’s defence Tuesday, saying the party last August was “elegant and very, very enjoyable”.

“It was a wonderful party - exactly as expected from the chief of a professional army,” he told IANS.

“Mrs Dannatt and the chief of army staff made us personally welcome at and the food was wonderful. We didn’t feel it was cut-price at all.”

British newspapers said the Labour MPs’ bid to target Dannatt had “spectacularly backfired”.

“It was part of a suspected plot to blacken his name ahead of his retirement this week, when he is expected to step up his criticism of the way the armed forces have been treated by Labour,” reported the Daily Mail.

Dannatt has spent as little as five pounds per head on meals for political and military top brass and paid just 1.49 pound each for bottles of wine bought from a duty free cash and carry in Calais, France. He also bought sausages for these meals at Lidl, a cut-price supermarket chain.

One military source told the paper: “Sir Richard hasn’t put a foot wrong - and this proves it. Whatever these Labour politicians were planning to do, they’ve failed spectacularly, scoring a massive own goal, because their expenses claims are a thousand times worse.”

Talks with Pak not possible till terror ends: India

NEW DELHI: The second Indian heads of missions meet kicked off on Monday with foreign minister S M Krishna reiterating that it is not possible

for India to have meaningful talks with Pakistan at this stage because Islamabad has not done enough against terrorism. Krishna, however, added that India would like to address its differences with the neighbouring country through dialogue.

While the recent Sharm el-Sheikh joint statement did not come up for discussion on the first day, India's senior diplomats are expected to engage in an "interactive" session to review neighbourhood policy. There has been a demand from many Indian ambassadors for greater clarity on India's neighbourhood policies, which they have to defend in the countries they serve.

The ambassadors' conclave is also expected to discuss the impact of the global financial crisis, Asia-Pacific security (which is a euphemism for China) and a session vaguely named India 2020.

Apart from the foreign minister, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and Kapila Vatsyayan also addtressed the envoys. They also had a long session with National Security Adviser MK Narayanan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Ahluwalia and commerce minister Anand Sharma are expected to address the diplomats on Tuesday.

In his session witt the envoys, Narayanan focused on India's relations with the US, particularly the opportunities and challenges with the new Obama administration. The general consensus at the end of the discussions was that the jury was still out on whether the quality of engagement with the US would improve in the Obama years or not.

Krishna, in his address, said the new dialogue architecture would reflect the increasingly global character of bilateral dialogue between the two countries. "India's established capabilities in high technology and our unimpeachable record of using these technologies in a responsible and transparent manner are creating opportunities for upgrading our access to high technology from the major powers,'' he said.

On Pakistan, Krishna continued, "We have maintained that a stable Pakistan at peace with itself and the region is a desirable goal. We wish to address our differences with Pakistan through dialogue."

"At the same time, we made it clear that a meaningful dialogue will only be possible following the fulfilment by Pakistan of its commitment not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist activities against India,'' he added.

Earlier, welcoming the envoys for the conference, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao in her opening remarks spoke of the role, the agenda and the challenges confronting Indian diplomats.

Maoists strike in Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar

Rourkela/Patna/Ranchi, Aug 25 (PTI) Maoists struck on the second day of their 48-hour bandh in three of the five states -- Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar-- today blowing up a railway station and community centre besides trading fire with the police.

In Orissa, around 90 ultras, including 15 women, triggered a powerful explosion at the Roxy railway station, about 80 km from Rourkela, causing extensive damage to the building, the police said.

An assistant station manager, a porter and a guard were held captive by the Maoists for over three hours before being released with a warning not to run trains during a shutdown, the sources said.

The Naxals also torched over eight dumpers and heavy vehicles at the railway station on the Rourkela-Barsuna railway route used for transport of iron ore and minerals to the Rourkela Steel Plant and other units, Inspector-in-charge B C Sahoo said.

Orders Issued : 60% 2nd installment of 6th CPC arrears

The Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance has issued OM No.1/1/2008-IC dated 25.8.2009 regarding payment of second instalment of arrears on account of implementation of Sixth Central Pay Commission's recommendations.

Link :


The central government, after consultation with the state governments, has amended the Indian Administrative Service (Pay) rules w.e.f. January 1, 2006. Higher Administrative Grade of Rs.67,000-79,000 for Additional Secretary level officers in the Government of India has been cleared. Where all other groups of officers/staff will be drawing two installments of 6th Pay Commission Arrears, these officers will be drawing one more additional arrear package.

ALSO REMEMBER : The MACP which was earlier applicable only to GOI is now applicable to all state level IAS too. 

Government may monitor phone calls

NEW DELHI: The government is planning to set up a centralised agency to monitor phone calls as part of a security exercise against terror acts. In the present dispensation, service providers can tap phones and provide details of conversations on the recommendations of the Union Home Secretary or a designated police official not below the rank of Joint Secretary. — PTI

No place to honour India's war dead

There is a huge disconnect somewhere between the voter and the voted. Only a few weeks ago the nation commemorated the 10th anniversary of India’s Kargil victory on July 26. The response on the streets and from the media was overwhelming. Kargil martyrs were remembered with reverence.
Those who had fought and survived told the tales of those who died on those treacherous mountains — some tortured by their captors — to a nation that knows and feels the relevance of the sacrifice of their brave soldiers. And yet, till date, no government has thought it necessary to build a National War Memorial in Delhi.
The towering memorial we have at India Gate is a testimony to the honour bestowed by the Britishers on imperial India’s soldiers who fought for the Crown in World War I and the Afghan War. They found it necessary to erect the memorial as a symbol of gratitude to some of the best soldiers that ever fought under the Union Jack. Over 70,000 soldiers of Imperial India died in these wars.
Built by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens, the bricks that have been used to construct the 39.62 metre-high and 27.43 metre-wide arch, have the regimental numbers of fallen heroes. The memorial recounts the valour of our boys who fought in France, Flanders, Iran, Mesopotamia, East Africa and in the North-West Frontier Provinces. Since 1971, a flame has burnt beneath the arches, as a mark of respect to our soldiers.
The armed forces’ proposal to construct a war memorial has been languishing in the file cabinets of the Delhi government for over three decades now. The plan of the armed forces envisages the construction of the memorial beneath the lawns of the India Gate.
Except for a small wall, which too will be barely visible to the pedestrians in that area, there is no construction that will spoil India Gate’s visage. Beneath the surface will be a spacious memorial, a monument that will record the names of our martyrs; where citizens and bereaved families can visit in sombre silence to pay homage to those who gave their today for our tomorrow.
Memorials for soldiers and civilians who have died fighting to preserve their nations’ security and core values are common all over the world. In fact, these memorials are inevitably preserved with due care and memorial services are utilised to imbibe patriotism in the younger generation. As an example, school children constitute 70 per cent of the millions who have visited the Memorial Hall of China’s War of Resistance against Japan.
The Americans have built their World War II Memorial in the most revered area of Washington DC. The memorial is flanked by the famous Washington Monument on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other. Opened in 2004, the memorial honours the 16 million Americans who took part in the war effort, of whom 400,000 died.
The Taukayyan War Cemetery in Burma is the largest war memorial in that country. It has the graves organised in four sectors, housing the remains of the dead in Meiktila, Akyab (Sittwe), Mandalay and Sahmaw sectors.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains cemeteries in 150 countries. The Debt of Honour Register of the Commission lists 1.7 million Commonwealth soldiers and thousands of civilians who died in the two great wars, their remains being buried in 23,000 burial sites. There are thousands of Indians listed in the register.
Six nations make the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, including India. However, back at home, we have reached a state where ex-servicemen have to go to the extent of returning their medals to the President for getting a fair pension deal. Concerns for Delhi’s visage are hardly obvious when one sees the new metro alignment coming up with no concern for blending it with the existing landscape.
Paradoxically, those who fought to keep the Tricolour fluttering are yet to find solace even beneath the lawns of India Gate.

States to prepare top Naxals’ profiles

Aug. 24: The Centre has asked Naxal-affected states to prepare a profile of the top Maoist leaders in order to assist security forces to plan precision attacks against the ultras. The government’s strategy to strike at the helm of the Naxalite movement in the country took a final shape during the CMs conference on internal security on August 17.
A senior home ministry official said that state governments have been asked to prepare a profile of the top leadership of the CPI(Maoist), even as security forces have been asked to target the top Maoist leaders in the first major offensive being launched against Naxalites in the country.
The home ministry on Monday issued advisories to nine Naxal-affected states, in the wake of the bandh called by the CPI(Maoist) in five states in protest against the alleged arrest of two senior members of the outfit. Ministry sources pointed towards intelligence inputs suggesting that Maoists might target important places like Railways, telecom, roads and power stations. The advisory from the Centre came within hours of the Maoists’ blowing up a stretch of railway track in Latehar and a mobile phone tower in Palamau in Jharkhand on Monday morning. Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have been asked to maintain utmost vigil and beef up security against possible strikes by the Maoists targeting vital installations.
Sharing details of the fresh strategy being drawn to counter the growing threat from LWE, a senior ministry official said: "The states have been asked to profile the top leadership of the Maoists operating in their territory. Each profile should include a picture of the Maoist leader, his level of involvement in the outfit and other details of his activities."
The Central and state police forces have been asked to gather intelligence on Maoist leaders controlling the financial and operational activities of the outfit. "The aim is to target at the root of the Naxal movement. If security forces are successful in cracking down on the CPI(Maoist) politburo and central committee leaders, it will have an adverse impact on their cadres operating at the lower level," the official explained.
Home minister P. Chidambaram said that the government’s response to LWE is "police action’’.

China deployment in Tibet puts India on alert

Aug. 24: China’s recent deployment of about 50,000 troops in Tibet as part of a military exercise comes as yet another warning that India has to undertake rapid expansion of its infrastructure and modernisation of air fields in the border areas as well as military modernisation in the years to come to safeguard its security interests, Indian defence sources have indicated. Sources said the Indian Army did not amass more troops on the Indian side of the border in response to the increased Chinese military presence in Tibet.
China, which annexed Tibet six decades ago, and which covets large parts of Arunachal Pradesh has rapidly expanded its road infrastructure right up to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Sino-Indian border.
Indian defence sources said that China is aided by the geographical factor, in that large parts of its border with India are on the plains while the Indian side has a much more difficult topography to negotiate on its side of the border. China still continues periodic transgressions into Indian territory although there have been no skirmishes in the recent past on the LAC.
It may be recalled that China was a major topic of discussion at the recent meeting of the National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As reported earlier, Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor had then informed the Prime Minister that India would have to undertake rapid military modernisation including acquisition of modern air defence and artillery guns, especially in view of the fact that there have been no acquisitions of these armaments in the past several years.
While China is a worrying factor for India, Pakistan also is a major worry especially in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. India is also worried that Pakistan has misused and will continue to misuse the billions of dollars of American military aid to acquire armaments to be used against India instead of against the Pakistani Taliban.

Two jawans held with fake notes worth Rs 1.7 lakh

Two jawans of the Territorial Army, posted in the frontier Poonch district, were arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police after fake currency worth Rs 1.7 lakh was recovered from them.

The jawans have been identified as Mohd Aslam and Inayat Hussain of village Kalai in Poonch.

Recovery of fake currency notes from the custody of two jawans of the Territorial Army has raised serious question marks over the penetration of Pakistani intelligence within the Indian armed forces and the police have started investigations to track down the channel of the counterfeit currency notes.

Both the jawans were recruited in the TA battalion more than five years ago and were attached with 27 Rashtriya Rifles, the police said.

After the arrest of these two jawans, a group of Army jawans of 17 Rajput led by two senior Army officers of the Major rank clashed with the Station House Officer (SHO) of Poonch police station Kuldeep Khajuria inside the Army camp in Poonch on Monday.

SHO of Poonch Kuldeep Khajuria says that after the arrest of two jawans of TA Battalion he had sent a police party to pick another suspect named by the TA jawans during preliminary investigations to Malti general area near the Line of Control (LoC) on Monday morning.

"I received a message from local Armymen claiming that the Commanding Officer of 17 Rajput wanted to see me near Michale Gate in the Army camp," Khajuria said. "When I reached the Army camp my PSOs were told to stay near the gate and I was escorted inside the office of the commanding officer," he added.

Khajuria alleged, "as soon as I entered the office of the CO I found more than 8-9 Armymen, including two senior officers of Major rank present inside the office but the CO was not present. Without wasting any time the Armymen thrashed me which led to a scuffle between all of us. When I raised an alarm and managed to come out of the room my PSOs reacted and sent a flash message to the district headquarters." After some time when senior Army officers and police officers arrived on the scene unruly Army jawans were found handling their weapons. Khajuria alleged the Armymen opened fire as well to scare away policemen present at the spot.

According to the police, an FIR against the senior Army officers and their jawans was lodged in the Poonch police station and charges under Section 307, 332, 342 and 147 have been slapped against them. A separate FIR over recovery of fake currency under Section 489-B and 109 was also filed and they have been booked to further carry out the investigations in the case, the police said.

Ministry of Defence spokesman in Jammu Lt Col Biplab Nath when contacted maintained he was not aware whether any clash took place between Armymen and the local police and was not in a position to offer any comments. He, however, added two Territorial Army jawans were arrested by police after currency notes worth Rs 1.7 lakh was recovered from their custody.

Air Mobility in the Very Large Dimension

The C-17 continues to be a major player in the heavy air transportation business
Even though it is not one of Boeing’s newest products and despite the US government's decision to stop the production of the aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft remains one of the company’s most profitable assets. Moreover, the gigantic aircraft continues to be the backbone of the US Air Force’s strategic heavy-lift capability and is indispensable for America’s and NATO’s operations across the globe. As reported yesterday, Boeing has received a $1.15 billion modified contract for the C-17 sustainment partnership fiscal year 2009. Within a large range of services, the Long Beach-based company will further ensure programme management as well as material and equipment management and will provide engine management and long term sustainment planning. The contract comprises the support of the US Air Force (USAF) as well as of Foreign Military Sale (FMS) operators of the C-17.

The aircraft which was developed during the 1980s and early 1990s and joined the Air Mobility Command (AMC) of the USAF in 1993, has since been sold and leased to a number of US allies, such as the UK (5), Australia (4) and Canada (4). With the C-17, the British Royal Air Force is the only European force which can, at present, provide heavy air-transportation from within its own inventory. Since first deliveries were made to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in late 2006, the C-17 has also proven to be of great assistance to Australia in deploying and supporting troops as well as providing humanitarian support to Papua New Guinea (2007) and Burma (2008).

To depict the C-17’s transport capacity, the Royal Australian Air Force explains, on its homepage, that the Globemaster is large enough to transport the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank, Black Hawk, Seahawk or Chinook helicopters, three Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters or five Bushmaster infantry vehicles. It has three times the carrying capacity of the C-130 Hercules. Compared to the 45 ton cargo capacity of the Il-76 – one of the major airlift platforms for the current supply of NATO forces in Afghanistan – the C-17 operates in another league in its ability to transport up to 70 tons.

The C-17 in the skies of the Persian Gulf

In addition to the above named customers, as well as of the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability Programme detailed below, Boeing’s Globemaster will now take to the skies of the Persian Gulf. Both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have signed FMS contracts with the United States for the procurement of C-17s, respectively in mid 2008 and early 2009. After the Qatar Emiri Air Force received its first C-17 this month, the UAE is still waiting for the delivery of their first aircraft. During this year’s International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, the UAE has signed deals worth $3 billion to purchase twelve C-130Js and four C-17s, becoming the sixth international customer for this aircraft type. Qatar bought two Globemasters and is now anticipating the delivery of the second aircraft by late 2009.

"Qatar's selection of the C-17 reflects the strong international interest we continue to see in this advanced airlifter – especially in the Middle East, where it brings unparalleled capabilities for military, humanitarian and disaster-relief missions," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing Global Mobility Systems vice president of Business Development, during the hand-over ceremony for the first C-17 of the Middle East country. According to media reports, Boeing has also identified India, Japan, the Netherlands and Singapore as potential future buyers. In June, India short listed the C-17 as its new Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft (VHTAC). The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to acquire ten C-17s through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales framework. The first aircraft are expected to be delivered three years after a contract is signed, according to Indian officials.

A further key asset for NATO’s logistic capabilities

During the past few weeks the C-17 has not only made news with deals and deliveries, but has further gained a new reference for its ability to meet complex airlift requirements in a multi-national framework. This framework has been dubbed Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) Programme and includes the NATO member nations Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States, as well as Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden. After these countries jointly acquired three C-17s, in a 30-year programme somewhat similar to the NATO AWACS programme, the first aircraft was delivered on 18 July to the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, by pilots from Norway, Sweden and the United States.

"The HAW was created as an answer to help other nations meet global reach commitments," said Colonel John Zazworsky, HAW commander. "Airlift is very expensive and for some nations this provides an alternative to having to front that entire cost alone." The nations' varying investments, including a portion of the unit's 131 personnel, dictate their amount of annual flying hours. For example, Romania contributed funds toward the initial cost of purchasing the aircraft, and have eight personnel assigned to the unit in exchange for 200 flying hours. The NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA) will handle acquisition, logistics support and financial matters.

SAC 01 has begun operational missions in support of the nations' requirements in early August and anticipates flying roughly 630 hours before the end of 2009 and more than 3,100 flying hours in 2010, all of which will be flown by multi-national aircrews, regardless of the nation to which the mission belongs.

Keeping the production running

And in addition to the above success stories, the US Air Force ordered an additional 15 C-17 Globemaster IIIs worth some $2.95 billion back in February, keeping alive the production of the aircraft, which had been on the verge of closing down as orders had significantly been reduced. The US Air Force will operate a total of 186 C-17s when delivery of all ordered aircraft have been completed and has, thereby, demonstrated its further commitment to this platform.

Keeping the production line open was of paramount importance to Boeing since the uncertain status of the European heavy airlift capabilities has not been resolved and the Globemaster III is virtually the only alternative to the Il-76 so far leased by NATO members for their support of military operations abroad.

The recent export success of the aircraft, even though still small in numbers, and the potential for further contracts to be signed in Asia as well as, perhaps, due to a growing NATO requirement, should enable Boeing to keep production and services for the aircraft on a profitable level.

Key specifications

• Crew: 3 (2 pilots, 1 loadmaster)
• Length: 53 m (174 ft)
• Wingspan: 51.75 m (169.8 ft)
• Height: 16.8 m (55.1 ft)
• Wing area: 353 m² (3,800 ft²)
• Engines: 4x Pratt & Whitney F117-PW-100 turbofans, 180 kN each
• Payload: 170,900 lb (77 tons)

• Cruise speed: Mach 0.76 (450 knots, 830 km/h)
• Range: 2,420 nm (4,482 km)
• Service ceiling: 45,000 ft (13,716 m)

INS Viraat goes to sea sans fighter jets

The Indian Navy is proud of her sole aircraft carrier, INS Viraat. Rightly so. The first aircraft carrier, Vikrant is now a museum of sorts to enlighten citizens on the history of the Indian Navy. Thank God, she did not become a floating hotel as one entrepreneur had proposed. Remember the 1971 war India fought against Pakistan? It was in that war that INS Vikrant had actively participated and pounded military targets in the then East Pakistan with success. Well, it is history now.
INS Viraat filled the vacuum created by the departure of Vikrant to a great extent. Sea Harrier jump jets take off from her flight deck and also land vertically while the carrier is on the move full steam ahead. Quite a feat indeed to take off and land on an airfield that is afloat and on the move. Pilots of the Sea Harrier have to be really good at map reading on sea too. Initially the carrier had a complement of 30 jet fighters on board. Over a period of time the number has considerably reduced. Some crashed and some were worn out and some became unserviceable for technical reasons. I am sad to say that a naval fighter pilot Lieutenant Commander Saurav Saxena was killed when his Sea Harrier crashed on a training flight from the base in Goa this week. The number of fighter jets has reduced further and the tally today is just eight single seater fighter jets and three twin-seater trainers. Of the initial tally of thirty, half of the fighter jets were lost in accidents and were never replaced for one reason or the other. A sorry state of affairs indeed.
INS Viraat was in the dry dock for an extensive repair and a major refit. The aim of the exercise was to enable the 50-year-old aircraft carrier to slog on for an additional period of five years. The plan was fine but had a major snag. Did anyone think of procuring fighter jets to complete a strike force of thirty machines? The forward planners are not to blame because as per the original plan both INS Viraat and the Sea Harriers on board were to be decommissioned by 2009. However, that was not to be because successive governments were indecisive on new procurements. Imagine an aircraft carrier without its attack elements- the fighter jets. It is like fielding a tiger in battle without its teeth. Sad scenario.
A carrier battle group of two aircraft carriers is the immediate requirement of the Indian Navy; this would be necessary to make her presence felt in the Indian Ocean and surrounding waters. With China making aggressive moves in the Indian Ocean, it is high time our planners and decision makers woke up and took decisions that will make India militarily strong.


Jawahar Nehru at the time of Independence had envisioned Indian Navy operating with at least three air craft carriers to achieve its strategic interests in Indian Ocean. Whosoever succeeded him as the prime minister, irrespective of his political affiliations, pursued Nehru’s vision and worked towards acquisition of air craft carriers for Indian Navy.
To add to this vision was her daughter’s who in early 70s tasked the Indian Navy to avail all means to ensure that India enjoys dominance over Indian Ocean. Consequently, the Indian nuclear scientists commenced working in 1971 on production of a compact nuclear power plant suitable for installation on nuclear submarines. The construction of nuclear submarines (ATV programme) was started in 1974 and to avail the Russian help a delegation visited Russia in 1982 during which they were introduced to a Russian Charlie Class nuclear powered cruise missile submarine (K-43), the submarine that was later leased to Indian Navy.
India rolled out its first of the ATV nuclear submarines named ‘Arihant’ and became the only sixth country in the world to possess under water nuclear capability. The launching of the nuclear submarine by India with Russian collaboration speaks of the kind of defense relationship that they enjoy with each other. Albeit, the development has altered the balance of power in the region and added a new dimension in Pakistan’s threat perception.  Since the on board missiles outfit comprise Club and Sagarika missiles with respective ranges from 300 to 1000 kms, the Indian nuclear submarines will be Pakistan specific. There is a need for Pakistan to acquire its own sea based nuclear capability over time to counter the impending threat.
Coming back to the Russian connection in Indian Nuclear submarine development it established a training centre for the Indian sailors at Vladivostok in 1982 to train them on handling of nuclear submarines and qualified the first batch in 1983. They were then trained at sea on board K-43 that was later inducted in Indian Navy for two years on lease as INS CHAKRA. The Indian submariners were imparted extensive training on board by a group of thirty Russian experts that remained on board through out its operations with the Indian Navy. INS CHAKRA covered 72000 NMs wherein the on board nuclear reactor remained critical for over 430 days during its service with the Indian Navy. After expiry of the lease of INS CHAKRA in 1990, a similar deal was re-negotiated with the Russians in 2001 with two aims. One, to keep the Indian navy personnel trained on board INS CHAKRA current with the nuclear submarines operations and two, to avail Russian expertise to complete its own ATV. As per the deal, India would fund two under construction nuclear submarines under Project 971 Nerpa (Akula Class nuclear submarines) with the first one to be delivered in 2004. However, the process got delayed and the final terms of agreement were finally signed in 2004 along with the contract for Admiral Gorshkov, the air craft carrier. It was also initially agreed that four Indian crews would be trained in Russia on board Akula Class submarines, the submarines would be leased for between three to ten years and that India would pay lease money worth US $ 25 million every year. Transfer of the first Akula Class Submarine to the Indian Navy was planned for August 2007 however; it was later postponed to September 2009 mainly due to the increased expenditures on its completion. Later on an accident on board the first designated Akula submarine for the Indian Navy during its sea trials further delayed the delivery. The second submarine is stated to be transferred to the Indian navy by 2010 however; the same also would likely be delayed much further. However, there are reports that Russia might transfer its own operational Akula Class Nuclear Submarines to India to compensate for the delays in meeting the delivery schedule.
As Russia is nurturing India to turn it into a global power so is United States. It was with the expertise of the later that India was able to install its first low frequency transmitter in the south of the country to communicate with the submerged submarines deployed over long distances. France also came handy in lending a great support to India in the provision of sonars expertise and helped it install the same on board India’s ATVs. This courting of India in nuclear field by UN Security Council members who keep on voicing their concerns on nuclear proliferation, is despite the fact that India has a chequered history in safe guarding its nuclear stockpiles. Christopher Pine, a nuclear safeties expert working with Natural Resource Council in Washington has categorized India’s nuclear safe keeping practices as worse with the least nuclear safeguards in the whole world. As per Press Trust of India’s report of 12 April 2006, three people were arrested for selling a Kilogram of enriched uranium contained in India’s Atomic Energy Department sealed box. There was also news that reported arrest of one Ravinder Singh, an agent of India’s Intelligence agency ‘RAW’, trying to sell India’s nuclear secrets to other countries. In November 2005 two British Companies were suspended for aiding India’s nuclear capable Agni missile programme and a US court also fined ‘Fibre Materials’ a company that clandestinely exported missile control panel to India, which was reversed engineered by Indian DRDL and used on Agni Missiles systems.
The way the India is being all around nuclearised by the UN Security Council members, there is no option for Pakistan but to focus its energies to acquire sea based nuclear capability to thwart Indian hegemonistic designs and threat to its own sovereignty. India’s clandestine activities in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province and the North Western Frontier Province, speak of the threat that it poses to the national security of Pakistan. Pakistan has always worked to preserve its national security and bears no inclination to rule or influence littoral states through age old medium, the seas.
(The writer is retired Naval Officer and free lance contributor, By: Javed Arshad )

An Indian admiral and a Chinese blogger

By Hari Sud

Toronto, ON, Canada, — Two persons, one in India and the other in China, have independently created a ruckus about India’s existence as an independent country.
In India the retiring chief of naval staff, Admiral Suresh Mehta, at a public function in New Delhi on Aug. 10, described China’s power as beyond India’s match and suggested that India stop chasing the mirage of equaling it.
In China, a recent article by a relatively unknown but well-connected author, Zhan Lue, suggested that India should be broken up into 20 to 30 smaller states – in other words, “Balkanized.”
Both men directly and indirectly declared that India has no future. While India is yet to discipline its admiral, China immediately described the article as unauthorized.
Mehta is a well-known and outspoken person. Last year he openly asked Russia to arrange the delivery of the aircraft carrier Gorshkov or refund the US$500 million India had paid for it. In the Indian military establishment such outbursts are uncommon.
Mehta is a highly professional and disciplined military commander. It is extremely rare that someone in his position would step into the political and diplomatic limelight while still in office. But sometimes people on the verge of retirement do have political ambitions, which may explain Mehta’s outspokenness.
Everybody knows that China’s navy is twice as big as India’s. But is it modern enough to pass the Strait of Malacca and fight a well-equipped Indian navy?
India’s navy has the most modern land-based air surveillance capabilities, aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, P-8I submarine hunters and Brahmos missiles. China’s navy is all about stolen technology; reverse-engineered missiles and a handful of modern Russian-built ships. Its aim is numbers, not quality. Moreover, if the Chinese were to leave their flanks undefended they could find the map of China completely altered by their enemies.
The good admiral in India was politicking and wished a larger piece of the defense budget for the navy. He took the opportunity at the National Maritime Foundation for a swipe at the political establishment.
He is not the first admiral to publicly undermine his own country. The late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., chief of U.S. naval operations under former U.S. President Richard Nixon, complained about the state of the U.S. fleet to a Congressional committee. Nobody believed him. When asked whether he would prefer to command the U.S. or the Soviet naval fleet, he replied the latter. Within a year he was retired.
The Indian admiral went far beyond his role as a naval officer, suggesting that cooperation rather than conflict should be the core Indian policy toward China. He did not realize that China through the millennia of its history has never compromised. It has faced defeat and subjugation from outsiders but never compromised. Cooperation with the Chinese is possible on their terms only.
The trust deficit between India and China to which Mehta referred is the outcome of China’s occupation of Indian territory since 1957, although the Bandung Conference declaration of 1955, to which China is a signatory, emphasized non-interference and non-aggression.
As for Zhan Lue’s point in China’s Global Times, it seems he borrowed his thought process from Pakistani intellectuals who wish India to be a weakened state for Muslim hordes to rule again. Zhan wrote that India’s sense of unity is weak and China’s best option would be to remove India as its rival in Asia. He even suggested that India be broken up into 20 to 30 sovereign states along the lines of its current provinces, and argued that China and India cannot co-exist.
The Chinese intellectual expressed his views under a pseudonym, although the hand of official Chinese policymakers in the publication cannot be ignored. It is typical for Chinese officials to float an idea to test its reception, and later deny it.
The Chinese have become paranoid about India’s fast growth in the last ten years. They have been making noises about India’s bad economy, bad political state and bad infrastructure. In fact, India’s economy has grown at about 9 percent for the last seven years.
For many Chinese like Zhan, India is a thorn that needs to be removed. But few see China’s major weakness – an economy completely export-dependent and earnings deposited in U.S. banks. Many do not realize how bad their economy could be hit if the West decided to cut back on Chinese imports and do away with borrowed Chinese money.
The timing of Zhan’s article is also critical. It coincided with the commissioning of India’s domestically built nuclear submarine in July. The Indian submarine is superior to China’s and makes its goal of dominating the Indian Ocean harder, which explains Zhan’s outburst.
The Indian admiral’s outburst and the Chinese unofficial statement put together lead to one conclusion: India must increase its defense budget by double digits every year for the next ten years. This will ward off any Chinese menace and make Indian admirals and generals happy.
Even today, soldier for soldier, India’s defense budget is comparable to China’s. India’s defense spending is US$30 billion for its 1.2 million troops. China’s budget is close to US$65-$75 billion for its force of 2.6 million.
China’s offensive capabilities in the Himalayas are limited. Its lifeline – one railway line passing over 300 miles of permafrost – cannot support a big military force. Its current force is insufficient to mount a successful attack on India through the Himalayas.
What is driving China’s overconfidence? With the United States as its debtor, China feels it has neutralized the United States. This is true to some extent, but China has a tendency to overestimate its power.
China also dislikes the Russians, except for their military hardware. For 60 years Russia’s focus was Western Europe and the United States. With the Cold War over, that focus has now shifted. Presently, the Russians will not take kindly any Chinese moves of the type they staged in the Ussuri River in 1967. The same is true with Vietnam.
Taiwan is a separate matter, as the Chinese have cooled the issue a bit to win the U.S. export market.
China’s trump card against India is Pakistan – although its own permanent troubles with tribesmen in the Northwest Frontier Province have dealt a deathblow to its India ambitions. But still, China can hobnob with Pakistan against India.
The United States has been making noises about India being a regional power. Both U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her recent India visit, and Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke have said the same. Somehow India has to align with the United States and get over all the issues that dampen their relationship. The recent climate change spat or the ongoing Indo-U.S. nuclear reprocessing problems and other issues have set the clock back. But with China breathing down its neck, India has to find allies.
India should raise its defense budget to US$50 billion in five years, which it can afford. Its economy in five years will hit the US$1.6 trillion mark. Similarly, one can expect China’s defense budget to increase in the same proportion.
India’s success will be determined by its alliances with other powers, which is the key to its future. If in doubt, take the example of Britain, which allied with the United States to win two world wars in the last century; otherwise it might well have become a Nazi state since 1945.
(Hari Sud is a retired vice president of C-I-L Inc., a former investment strategies analyst and international relations manager. A graduate of Punjab University and the University of Missouri, he has lived in Canada for the past 34 years. ©Copyright Hari Sud.)

Are you above the law, high court asks navy

Mumbai: Deepak Kumar, 25, and Vijendra Sharma, 24 had trained hard to join the much-coveted marine commandos of the Indian Navy in 2007. In a few months, they were disgracefully shunted out of the force and reduced to mere sailors.
Both were given a summary trial and sentenced to 60 days and 90 days in detention. Thereafter, their ranks were stripped off as divers. And, they went through all this, without knowing what their offense really was.
The two officers moved the Bombay high court seeking a suspension of this order. The high court found out that there was not even a complaint attached to the records.
An affidavit filed by Commander M Subramaniam, commanding officer, INS Abhimanyu--the training hub of the Marcos--stated that the officers were charge-sheeted for striking a superior officer, absence from duty and use of threatening language. However, the court was irked by the affidavit which said, "Neither the Navy Act, 1957 nor the regulations formed there under specifically cater for providing of documents in respect of the summary trial to an accused."
"Are you above the law? You don't follow any rules and regulations?" responded Justice Bilal Nazki. The court has given time to the naval authorities till September 1 to decide whether or not they will withdraw the order removing the two officers. Otherwise, the court will set it aside and order the reinstatement of the Marcos officers.
"Even the British did not do this," justice Nazki had earlier remarked.
Satendra Kumar, advocate for the naval officers, cited two past judgments of the high court that said that it is the constitutional right of a person to know the offenses he is being tried for. At the time of their detention, prior to the summary trial, the two had asked for various documents like the charge sheet and complaints filed against them, but were denied the papers.
"The government of India spends Rs15 lakh on training each marine officer. Such arbitrary stripping of their ranks not only spells doom for their career but also puts the government's expenses down the drain," Kumar said.

Army trains its personnel to avoid collateral damage during in Kashmir

Rajouri, Aug 24: The Indian Army is training its personnel to avoid collateral damage during combat situations in Kashmir.

The security personnel are being trained about how to avoid casualties and collateral damage during the operations.

Rajouri district of the state hosted the army camp in a Corps Battle School.

"In the school, we have lot of classes being held on human rights violation what all the guiding principals are for us to operate in these areas. As regards to confidence building in the civilians, we do not react on general information, only hardcore information is reacted upon.

Then we carry police raps along with our operational troops. We do all activities in presence of police, lady police, village heads and the owner of the house," said Colonel Anil Rana, training instructor.

Troops are trained through mock drills of encounters and how to defuse IEDs planted by the ultras, in symmetrical warfare and how to minimise damage to life and property.

"By all these things , we avoid collateral damage. We avoid loss to civilians, we avoid loss to their property and we avoid all sorts of harassment to civilians," Rana added.

During training, soldiers are trained to deal with abandoned objects like pressure cooker, doll, radio set, tiffin and suitcase can be used as lethal explosives and how troops need to detect and neutralize.

Army has no plan to relax physical standard for Orissa tribals

Bhubaneswar: Indian Army has no plan to relax physical standard for tribal youths from naxal infested areas of Orissa during recruitment as requested by the state government earlier, a top official said today.

"Army has no plan to relax physical standard for tribal youths from naxal-infested areas. As such there is relaxation for tribals and people from hilly regions. No futher relaxation is required", said Lt General J K Mohanty, the chief of the central command.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had earlier told union Home Minister P Chiddambaram to take steps for relaxing physical standard for tribal youths many of whom join Left Wing Extremist (LWEs) groups due to lack of encouragement from defence forces.

"We can stop the tribal youths from joining LWEs by taking them in the defence service", Patnaik had also told defence minister A K Antony in a letter.

Lt Gen Mohanty, however, said that the Army had already launched a special recruitment drive in Orissa's tribal districts for taking more and more people from naxal-infested areas.

While rejecting idea of setting up a Kalinga Regiment in the Army, Lt Gen Mohanty said there was no need to open more regiments on regional basis.

To a question, he also said Army too had no plan to set up an Armed Force Medical College (AFMC) in the state.

Though Orissa's Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya had earlier claimed that the state government had given a proposal to the Army to set up an AFMC in Balasore, Lt Gen Mohanty said he was unaware of it.

Transfer of land to Indian army dangerous: Hurriyat (G)

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference led by jailed Syed Ali Shah Geelani Monday said that it would come up with a detailed report about the “dangerous” transfer of land to Indian army on permanent basis in Jammu and Kashmir.

A spokesman of the Hurriyat Conference told Press Bureau of India that a meeting of ‘Majlis Shora’�highest decision making body of the amalgam� was conveyed here under the chairmanship of acting general secretary ‘General’ Musa.

The meeting, he said, discussed threadbare the permanent transfer of land to army in Jammu and Kashmir.

 “Hurriyat Conference has decided to launch a vigorous campaign to acquaint people about this dangerous conspiracy,” he said.    

“The members observed that the matter was more serious than the transfer of land to Amarnath and a team of the Hurriyat Conference was constituted which would put detailed report before the Majlis shora in a stipulated time,” the spokesman added.

Accordingly, he said, the matter would be discussed with people from different walks of life before a final action plan is drafted. “The action plan will be brought before the people at an appropriate time,” he added.

Meanwhile, the spokesman said that the amalgam has taken strong exception to the statement by Director General of Police in which he termed premature the release of resistance leaders in the state.

“The statement is a proof that the establishment of democratically elected government in the state is mere delusion and farce. Jammu and Kashmir is practically a police state where police, security agencies and army take all decisions,” he said, adding, “The articulation of policy statement by police has no place in democratic system and should have come, albeit for sake only, through the civil government.” (PBI)

Army aspirant caught submitting fake certificates

ALLAHABAD: Vigilant eyes of the army personnel monitoring the army recruitment drive on Monday caught an aspirant who had successfully passed all

tests and his documents were summoned for final screening. What is shocking is that apart from fake certificates presented by the candidate originally a native of Assam, the involvement of personnel in the district collectorate has come to light who have allotted a registration number against the fake domicile certificate.

Colonel Ashwini Verma, who is supervising the rally, said that the candidate hailing from a poor economic background doubled up as a waiter-cum-cook at a roadside restaurant in Bahraich to earn a paltry sum.

There he came in contact with a tout identified as Umesh who charged Rs 8,000 from him and provided fake high school certificates, marksheets, character certificate as well as a domicile certificate. The registration number in the certificate had been provided by personnel in the district collectorate.

Cautioning the aspirants against resorting to fraudulent practices for appearing in the recruitment drive, Col Verma asserted that such persons would be weeded out and nobody can make it into the Indian Army on the basis of fraud.
He stressed upon the need of identifying the black sheep in the district collectorate who were possibly entertaining fake documents from touts in exchange of money.

On Monday, recruitment rally for soldiers (general duty) from Pratapgarh district, Gorkhas and Sikhs of UP and Uttarakhand was held while Tuesday would be the last day of the run.

Teachers at 2 IITs want pay raise, go on mass leave

New Delhi: Hundreds of faculty members of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) Bombay and Roorkee went on mass casual leave on Monday protesting disparities in pay. IIT Delhi professors will go on leave on Tuesday.
"The pay hike given by the government is at least 30 per cent less at the lower level (of faculties) and at higher level it is 40 per cent less than what we had asked for. It will be difficult for us to attract good faculty members," said Saumya Mukherjee, professor at IIT-Bombay.
Holding placards, the professors came out of the IIT-Bombay campus in a long line.
They said that to become a professor at any IIT, a student needs to have a PhD, which involves around six more years of study. This entails loss of income. Had they taken up a government job, they would have earned at least Rs 20 lakh, they claimed.
"The government is not even giving us the scholastic pay which is a compensation for the loss in earning," said another professor from IIT-Bombay.
"There is some dissatisfaction over the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations for our pay hike. I returned from abroad Monday morning and will discuss the issue with the faculty members," said IIT-Roorkee director S C Saxena.
Meanwhile, IIT-Delhi professors have said they would be going on a mass casual leave Tuesday to protest the same issue.
There was a meeting of all IITs in Chennai Sunday. The decision to protest was also discussed there but it was left to the individual organisations of faculty members to protest the way they choose.
"You know the problem with our pay hike. There is dissatisfaction among many," M. Balakrishnan, dean of post-graduate studies at IIT-Delhi, told IANS.
Similarly, at IIT-Guwahati faculty members are likely to go on a strike some time in the near future.
"There is disparity between the salary of an assistant and associate professor at IITs. The UGC scale for central university professors is more than for us. This is a key issue. There are other anomalies as well," IIT-Guwahati director Gautam Barua told IANS over phone.
"After the Chennai meeting, the association sent a memorandum to the human resource development (HRD) ministry. We expect the ministry to respond soon. As the director of my institute, I hope there will be no protest but I cannot say this with surety. Faculty association of my institute may go on strike anytime," he said.

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Army rolls out made in India T-90 Tank


BATTLE READY: The first T-90 main battle tank to be manufactured under license in India will roll out of Avadi, near Chennai.

New Delhi: India rolled out its first batch of the indigenously manufactured, Russian-designed T-90 tanks which will be India's main battle tank over the next three decades.
The successor to the T-72 tanks, the T-90 - renamed Bhishma after the Mahabharat stalwart - is the one of the most advanced tanks in the world. It has night fighting capability and can fire guided missiles from its turret.
It is also designed to ensure protection of crew from radio-activity in the event of a nuclear attack.
The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi in Tamil Nadu will make 100 T-90 tanks annually over the next 10 years.
This also signals a quiet burial for India's very own Arjun tank, which will now have only a symbolic presence in the Indian Army.
The Indian Army plans a fleet of over 1,600 of these Russian designed tanks by 2020. Over 600 T-90s have been acquired from Russia. The tank will be the spearhead of India's armoured corps and the mainstay of its offensive operations.
The production of this equipment resumed after a one year delay with India and Russia settling a dispute over transfer of technology. If delivered on time, the 50 tanks will allow the Indian Army to raise an additional armoured regiment by the end of the year.