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Friday, September 4, 2009

Firing across LoC to disguise infiltration: Army Chief

New Delhi: Strong words have come from the Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor about the firing from the Pakistani side at the Line of Control. General Kapoor says that the firing is to disguise infiltration into India.
He said that militants are trying to infiltrate across the LoC before the onset of winter.
"Infiltration attempts are on before winter sets in but our Army is alert. Attempts will be made to disrupt the peace and stability of J&K before the onset of winter. The firing across the line of control is to enable infiltration to be carried out," he said.
"We exercise maximum restraint due to ceasefire violation, but we do retaliate to the firing," he added.
Responding to disturbing reports from US scientists that Pakistan has increased its nuclear arsenal the Army Chief said that India needed to check on the status of Pakistan's nuclear weapons before deciding what to do.
"There is a need to confirm the status of Pakistani nuclear weapons and then only we can taken steps to deal with things," he said.

Soldiers’ union up in arms

Arrests for ‘breach of discipline, defying orders’ are unlawful — Sandu

TENSIONS between the defence ministry and disaffected soldiers neared breaking point yesterday following the arrest of 38 troops at a military base south of Johannesburg.

Police and army officials were tight-lipped about the exact reasons for the arrests, but the 18000- member SA National Defence Union said the action was part of “a campaign of terror” being waged by the defence ministry.
Reports last night quoting the defence ministry said 33 of the 38 arrested soldiers had been released. There were unconfirmed reports that “scuffles” broke out at the Doornkop base between the arrested soldiers and the military police, who were backed up by the police.
General Nhlanhla Ngwenya, chief of the SA National Defence Force, told The Times the soldiers had been arrested for “breach of discipline and defying orders”. He said action was unrelated to the recent illegal protest march at the Union Buildings — and the subsequent suspension of 2000 soldiers.
Ngwenya said: “The soldiers are facing various charges, but I cannot confirm if they were charged with mutiny.”
The Doornkop soldiers were reportedly taken to police headquarters in Pretoria yesterday for questioning. Some were later released but, Sandu said nine others had appeared in a military court.
The union’s national secretary, Pikkie Greeff, said: “One person was released, and 15 others were released after a few hours of being locked up.’’
He said nine soldiers had appeared before a military court and had applied for bail late yesterday.
“What concerns us is that our members were locked in the cells with no access to legal representation. They were detained without charges,’’ Greeff said.
“We will lay a civil claim against the minister of defence and get an interdict to stop her from detaining our members unlawfully.”
Greeff said that the arrests “took place very arbitrarily — those who arrived [at the base] first were detained. It took us six hours to locate them.
“We are concerned, but we will wait to see what happens [today].”
Soldiers at Doornkop, who did not want to be named, told The Times: “Some soldiers on the police’s list were not even at the Union Buildings last week.”
Defence ministry spokesman Sam Mkwanazi said he would not “speculate” about whether the soldiers were facing charges relating to an alleged plot to kidnap Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu.
Sisulu last week cancelled a visit to a hospice at the Lenasia base following allegations — apparently contained in an intelligence report — that disaffected soldiers planned to kidnap her and some generals.
Sandu said yesterday that an application to stop the dismissal of 2000 soldiers as a result of last week’s protest “is on track”.
The ‘‘temporary dismissal letter’’ sent to the soldiers gives them 10 days in which to make representations why their dismissal should not be made permanent.
Greeff said the minister has until the close of business today to explain what regulations she applied to fire the troops, failing which the union will go to court.

Navy’s first underwater ejection

Circa 1976, some time in March. The only Asian Carrier INS Vikrant with embarked squadrons of Seahawks, Alizes, Seakings and Chetaks was operating in the Arabian Sea. It was normal for a mix of aircraft to be launched at sea for various exercises. Then Commander Peter Debras who retired after rising to a flag rank was the pilot of IN 241. This Seahawk, a jet aircraft, was ahead of the Alize aircraft in which my Squadron Commander B D Vacha who is now with Air India and self were to be launched thereafter for a routine exercise. The Seahawk taxied up to the catapult and was centred and loaded by the flight deck crew. The aircraft is tensioned by the hold back unit which retains the aircraft even at full power till the additional steam power pulls the aircraft with it. The hold back unit breaks moments before the launch allowing the aircraft to develop full power to get air borne. The aircraft gets launched with the help of enormous steam pressure that moves a block along the launching rail with the aircraft towed with the help of a steel girdle. At the end of the stroke, the girdle falls off and the aircraft climbs away after being wing borne.Peter who was in the cockpit was all set to be launched. Unfortunately, even before the steam shot could be fired on signal from the flight deck officer, the hold back unit gave way prematurely and the girdle fell off. The aircraft started moving on its own power and covered some124 feet of catapult length in no time and rolled off the deck with the wings gasping for air. We were shocked as we saw the aircraft vanish in front of our eyes. Tally Ho who many years later became the chief of the naval staff was the captain and immediately initiated the manoeuvres to avoid the stricken aircraft and crew. The Chetak helicopter (called Jumbo), which is always hovering alongside just for such an eventuality was scanning the seas for some signs of life.By that time we parked the aircraft with the wings folded as if in prayers (on the carrier, fixed wing aircraft can fold their wings to optimise space) and joined others who were silent and shell shocked. After some time that looked like eternity the sight of an orange life jacket coming up brought hope. With prayer on every one’s lips, the Chetak picked up. Peter who had defied death was cheered heartily and received with great applause by all on deck.As reconstructed later, this was the first successful underwater ejection in the Indian Navy. The pilot had the presence of mind to delay the ejection till he was doubly sure that the carrier had indeed passed overhead and it was safe to attempt the ejection. He judged the moment by the fading noise of the churning propellers over his head. A moment too soon, he would have hit the propeller or the ship. If he had delayed the ejection for too long, water may have prevented the ejection mechanism from working with water ingress. It was a great moment for the fleet air arm that showcased the professionalism of its aircrew and all those who supported such missions. The pilot who joined the elite club of those who ejected successfully was given a golden tiepin and a tie from Martin Bakers who have a splendid record of successful ejections over sea and land. More importantly, Peter, who after his retirement is in Goa, lives on to tell the tale.

NCC OFFRS

NCC officers, who are covered under NPS (New Pension Scheme) are required to fill up the Application Form for allotment of PRAN and send the same to this office which may then be forwarded to NSDL by DDO/PAO concerned immediately if this has not already been done.

It may be noted that release of 60% arrears on account of 6CPC to the NCC officers will be subject to above action being completed.

Filled up Application Form may be forwarded by SPEED POST to PAY COMMISSION CELL, CDA(O) Pune latest by 15th Sep 09.




Naxals can hit low flying choppers, say officials

NEW DELHI: Naxalites may not have the capability to shoot down high-flying choppers but they are equipped to bring down helicopters flying at a height of around 1,000 feet -- turning all winged machines vulnerable while taking off and landing.

Although Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's chopper crash over the Nallamala forest area was an accident, security agencies consider the naxal-infested hilly and forested zones in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand quite dangerous for low-flying helicopters and suggest pilots to try to maintain a height of around 3,000 feet and above.

A senior home ministry official said, "Pilots of all state and private agencies are sensitised to this fact keeping in mind the vulnerability of these areas. Maoists have high-powered machine guns with which they can easily shoot down low-flying choppers while positioning themselves strategically atop any nearby hill."

Security agencies keep the areas surrounding the helipads secure with proper deployment. "However, similar security cannot be provided in areas where a pilot may do forced landing in emergency. Only earmarked helipads can be made secure through area domination," said the official.

Police and paramilitary forces had initiated the sensitisation exercise in November last year when they witnessed the first-ever incident of shooting by Maoists at an Indian Air Force helicopter in Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh. The IAF chopper was fired upon indiscriminately while taking off from a village in Bastar with sealed electronic voting machines (EVMs) during the state Assembly polls.

The helicopter's rotor blade, engine and fuselage were hit by bullets but the pilot -- Sqn Ldr T K Chaudhary -- somehow managed to fly it to safety in Jagdalpur, saving lives of passengers including poll officials. However, flight engineer Mustafa Ali lost his life in the incident.

Naxalites had later celebrated the incident and highlighted it in their quarterly bulletin -- Prabhat -- as a "historic event" in their armed struggle, mentioning it as an example of their being able to hit helicopters at will. The bulletin, being brought out clandestinely by CPI (Maoist)'s Dandkaranya Special Zonal Committee, clearly stated that the Red ultras had got capability to shoot down choppers and they would certainly do it in future.

National security advisor M K Narayanan, however, on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of naxals having such capability. While talking to a television channel, he, in the context of the CM's chopper accident, said, "Naxal strike seems extremely improbable. I would almost entirely rule it out. I do not think the naxalites have the capability to bring down helicopters."

Explaining what Narayanan said, a security official on Thursday said the NSA's statement might be valid for high-flying choppers, specifically those flying beyond 3,000 feet. But it cannot be true for low-flying helicopters as the naxals had already shown what they could do with their light machine guns while positioning themselves on hills.

Why cannot government employ the same kind of machinery to hit naxal hideouts in dense forest areas what they used during the massive search operation of the Andhra CM's missing chopper in the past 24 hours?

An official said, "We are now getting satellite images of these areas with the help of ISRO. But we cannot use air-power to hit the tribal hamlets as it will result in civilian casualties. It is difficult during ground searches to segregate Maoists from the local tribal population if they do not carry arms."

Dhruv spotted YSR's fallen chopper first


"The chief minister's helicopter has been located atop a hill 40 nautical miles, 73 kilometres east of Kurnool…" This was the message everyone was waiting for since Wednesday when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy's [ Images ] chopper went off the radar.
The above message was sent out immediately after Indian Air Force's Advance Light Helicopter, Dhruv, managed to track down the wreckage of the chopper carrying Reddy and four others.
IAF sources told rediff.com that the chopper from Bengaluru [ Images ] was sent out early Thursday morning after bad weather conditions prevented a sortie on Wednesday.
Two pilots and a rescue team manned Dhruv. The first signs of the wreckage were spotted between 8.30 am and 9 am.
IAF sources said they managed to spot the wreckage after scanning the forest area for an hour or so on Thursday morning. At first they were hopeful that there would be survivors, but as they began to close in they realised that none of the members on board the chopper could have survived.

Immediately after sending the message about the chopper to the Air Traffic Controller in Bengaluru, rescue commandoes on board Dhruv were pressed into action. They were air dropped immediately following which the operation to recover the bodies commenced.

The ALH has been used in the past for other rescue operations as well. ALH Dhruv is part of the Sarang display team of the Air Force. This chopper is stationed at the Yelahanka air force station in Bangalore.

The chopper is also pressed into service at the time of floods and also other rescue operations across the country.

Bahadurgarh mourns pilot Bhatia


A pall of gloom descended at the parental house of Gp Capt Sunil Kumar Bhatia, pilot of the chopper of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Reddy that crashed yesterday, here today.

A large number of residents converged at the residence of Bhatia’s uncle in Mahavir Park here to mourn the death of the pilot. Bhatia was brought up by his uncle and aunt after the death of his parents.
Hailing from the city, Bhatia, who was selected in the Indian Air Force a few years ago, was presently deputed as pilot of the Chief Minister’s chopper in Hyderabad.
Bhatia had been residing there with his wife Sanjana from Hisar and two sons - Kashish and Moksh.
Chief Security Officer ASC Wesley; and (right) Principal Secretary S Subramanyam
Chief Security Officer ASC Wesley; and (right) Principal Secretary S Subramanyam

Sunil, who had completed his primary education from a local school here, had shifted to Sainik School, Kunjpura, later to complete his education till class XII, from where he was selected in the Indian Air Force.
He had joined as a helicopter pilot two years ago, said his uncle Inder Pal Bhatia. He said Sunil was a bright and an intelligent student and had been brought up under his supervision after he lost his parents at an early age.

The debris of the Bell 430 helicopter, lies scattered at the crash site. — PTI
The debris of the Bell 430 helicopter, lies scattered at the crash site. — PTI

Some of the family members had left for Hyderabad after it was reported that Sunil and other members of the crew of the chopper had been missing along with the Andhra Pradesh CM.
Sources said Sunil’s father Satpal Bhatia was a teacher in the local government school. The house belonging to Sanjana’s parents in Urban Estate II, Hisar, was locked as her parents were reported to be away. Neighbours said they had gone to Gurgaon a few days ago.
Sunil’s father-in-law KC Thukral was an employee of Haryana Agricultural University. A family friend of the Thukrals said Sunil’s death coincided with his marriage anniversary yesterday. Meanwhile, Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda have expressed grief over the sudden and sad demise of Bhatia.

Vice-Admiral G M Hiranandani passes away

He was 78. The funeral was held at Malakkara on Thursday with full Naval honours, according to a Defence Ministry statement here.

Books


 Vice Admiral Hiranandani who held a Masters degree in Military History and a doctorate in Political Science embarked on authoring two definitive volumes on Indian Naval history - ‘Transition to Triumph’ and ‘Transition to Eminence’, depicting the history of the Indian Navy from 1965 to 1975 and 1976-90 respectively.
The Admiral is survived by his son Dr Manik G Hiranandani and daughter Ms Meera H Sanya.
Vice Admiral G M Hiranandani, a gallantry award winner, joined the Indian Navy in 1949. He had undergone extensive training in the United Kingdom with the Royal Navy at different stages of his Naval career.

He served on all classes of ships including battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers. Vice Admiral G M Hiranandani commissioned Indian Navy’s first guided missile destroyer ‘INS Rajput’ in 1980.

Hiranandani was also the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of Southern Naval Command at Kochi from 1985 to 1987. Thereafter the Admiral served as the Vice Chief of Naval Staff at New Delhi prior to his retirement in 1989. After retirement, the Admiral served the Union Public Service Commission for six years.

Withdrawal of 39 Mountain Division Fear grips people in Rajouri

Residents of Poonch and Rajouri districts are a worried lot with the Army initiating the process of withdrawal of more than 15,000 troops belonging to 39 Mountain Division from the area. The Army, however, has said that it is a routine movement and it has nothing to do with the demand of the PDP and the separatists for demilitarisation of the state.
“Militants were earlier afraid to come to our villages due to the presence of the security forces, but now that the troops are being withdrawn we fear the ultras may increase their activities in the area,” said Gafur Ahmed, a resident.
Members of the village defence committees (VDCs) who have been assisting the security forces in carrying out anti-insurgency operations too are worried as they fear that militants might now take revenge.
“The VDCs have been playing an active role in anti-insurgency operations. We also assisted the Army in ‘Operation Sarap Vinash’ in hill Kaka in 2003 when more than 60 terrorists were killed. Since then VDC members are on a hit list of militants,” said VDC member Ajaz Hussain, adding that “after the Army is removed we would become sitting ducks.”
“Yes, people in the area are afraid as they have apprehensions that the withdrawal of a large number of army personnel from the area would make them prone to militant atrocities,” Rajouri SSP Shafkat Wattali told The Tribune.
Wattali said that people of the area took up the issue with the IGP, Jammu range, on his visit to the area and the latter assured them that proper security would be provided to them. “There is a security grid in place in the area and we won’t let the militants have an upper hand here,” Wattali said.

Two cops killed in militant attack

Two policemen were killed at Tota Morha Dorimal village in Thanna Mandi tehsil, Rajouri, when militants attacked a joint patrol party late last night.
Shafkat Wattali, Rajouri SSP, said: “After getting information about the presence of militants in the area, a joint patrol party was rushed to the village,” adding that the area was cordoned off by the security forces and the encounter started.
The militants started firing on the patrol party, killing two policemen on the spot. The deceased have been identified as Aijaz Ahmed, constable, from north Kashmir’s Baramulla district and Khan Mohammad, special police officer, from Kalakote in Rajouri.
The SSP said a brief encounter followed with the militants, which was later suspended due to darkness. The operation was resumed in the morning. However, the militants might have slipped away taking advantage of the treacherous terrain and the dark. The search operation is still going on.

Underestimating India

The origins of many a war in history remain disputed to this day. The 1965 War between India and Pakistan, however, has the unique distinction of there being utter confusion over the date on which it began. For Pakistan this happened only on September 6 of that year, when the Indian army started its march on Lahore. Remarkably, this date is still observed as the “Defence of Pakistan Day” every year. For many Indians the war started on September 1 and lasted 22 days. For, at the beginning of September a taskforce of Pakistani tanks had attacked the Chhamb-Jaurian sector in a bid to make a dash for Akhnoor, the fulcrum of the supply line from the rest of India to Jammu and Kashmir. The assault was thwarted by this country’s use of air power.
It is a different matter that all the resolutions of the UN Security Council demanded of both countries to withdraw their troops to the “positions they had occupied on August 5”. Most significantly, exactly this was the basis of the Tashkent Declaration that Lal Bahadur Sashtri and Field-Marshal Ayub Khan signed in the Central Asian city under the Soviet auspices on January 10, 1966. The prime significance of August 5 is that on that day were detected massive infiltrations of Pakistani troops in Mufti and other irregulars into Kashmir. As in 1947, so 18 years later this was Pakistan’s first step towards wresting Kashmir from this country.

China Completely ruling out allegations of violation of airspace,

Completely ruling out allegations of violation of airspace, China claimed that its border petrol always abides by the rules and regulations of the land, and there is no truth in India's claim that Chinese copters entered Indian airspace in Leh on Monday.

The Chinese foreign ministry allayed charges formally releasing a statement through spokesperson, Jiang Yu, who said: "I want to stress that China's border patrolling has always been carried out strictly according to relevant regulations, will never cross the border and enter other countries' airspace or territory."

The statement came a day after the Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, alleged that there are noticeable incidents of Indian border violations by China, including the one noticed two months ago.

The Army Chief had said: "There has been one incursion of a Chinese Helicopter sometime back. At times this can also happen due to a navigation error but this is not to justify that the incursion took place. It has happened and that has been taken up in the Border Personnel meet with the Chinese."

China hopes that the newly-elected Democratic Party in Tokyo will continue to work for the peace, stability and prosperity of the region.

Indian Army launches major operation in Kashmir

Srinagar: A major combing operation is underway in North Kashmir’s Uri following reports of infiltration by a group of militants on Sunday night.

Sources told Press Bureau of India that Indian Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles (RR)  7 Madras and police on Monday morning launched a major offensive against militants in Choola area of North Kashmir’s Uri, following reports that a group of heavily armed militants have sneaked into this side of LoC on Sunday night.

The search operation, sources said, entered into the fourth day today and is being carried out by the joint forces in the forest area spread across 14 kilometers.

The large cut in the fence along the LoC in Lacchipora sector, sources said, added to the worries of the Army prompting them to start a search operation to flush out the militants. During the ongoing operation, sources said, Army keeps on firing scores of rounds to scare the militants and to track their location.

On Thursday, sources said, the operation entered fourth consecutive day, but the Army is yet to achieve a breakthrough.

“Even after carrying searches of a vast area from last four days, Army has been unsuccessful in tracking down the militants. With each passing day, the chances of their success turn bleak,” sourced added.

Meanwhile, a group of militants have been trapped by a contingent of Army in Nowshera Nad forest area in the Kupwara district.

Sources told Press Bureau of India that Army’s 56 Rashtriya Rifles on Thursday tightened noose around the group of militants that had sneaked into valley via Machil sector on Monday. In the encounter between militants and the Army, on Tuesday, five militants were killed, while others managed to break the Army cordon and flee from the spot.

On Thursday, sources said, Army was successful in cornering the militants at Nowshera Nad forest area. However, no reports of encounter were received till last reports came in. (PBI) 

Pakistan disturbed at reports of India planning nuclear test

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday picked up the cry about a suspected Indian plan to conduct another nuclear test, and said it hoped that a moratorium on nuclear testing in the region since 1998 would continue to be observed.
“We are obviously disturbed by the reports that India might be considering to conduct an additional nuclear test,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit.
He was referring to reports that the recent claim by the former defence scientist, K. Santhanam, of the failure of the 1998 thermonuclear device test, was in fact a ruse by the Indian nuclear establishment to pave the way for conducting another nuclear test.
The spokesman said Pakistan had proposed a regional restraint regime, which included a regional nuclear test ban treaty.
“Those proposals are still on the table. Meanwhile, we hope that the unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing effective since 1998 in the region will continue to be observed,” Mr. Basit said.
Nuclear arsenal
Responding to remarks by the Indian Army Chief, General Deepak Kapoor, expressing concern over reports of Pakistan’s expanding nuclear arsenal, the spokesman said it was Islamabad’s policy to maintain a credible deterrence at the “minimum possible level.” Pakistan was against an arms race in South Asia, which was why, he said, it had proposed the restraint regime, including a ban on further testing.
He also dismissed as “baseless” fears expressed by the U.S. of the continued proliferation risk posed by A.Q. Khan, the scientist revered by Pakistan as the “father” of its nuclear bomb but internationally disgraced for selling the country’s nuclear secrets abroad.
Dr. Khan is fighting a court battle to have security restrictions against him removed. After a Lahore High Court judge ordered the removal of the restrictions last week, a two-judge Bench of the same court slapped them back again on Wednesday following an appeal by the federal government. The next hearing on the appeal is posted for September 15.
“Our export controls are as comprehensive and effective as any NPT or nuclear weapons state and I can assure that the government of Pakistan is cognisant of its responsibilities in this regard,” the spokesman said.

Under a nuclear cloud

Given the public slanging match between India’s top scientists over the success of Pokhran II, the confusion itself calls for keeping our options open for future nuclear testing. In fact, quick and firm responses from the prime minister and a former president have only bolstered the credentials of this controversy, with various other voices joining the polemics. Even the foreign media is widely discussing, if not gloating, over the recent volley of remarks.
If one has followed India’s position on the subject, starting with former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s May 27, 1998, speech to the Parliament up until the Indo-US Agreement for Civilian Nuclear Cooperation signed on October 10 last year, we have gradually but firmly been closing our option for the ‘underground explosions’ type of testing. Surely, the benefits of such a commitment have been calculated, if not yet fully reaped.
The current debate becomes even more revealing in view of US President Barack Obama’s expressed commitment to work harder on his arms control agenda, including getting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) ratified in the US Senate. Ten years ago, the Senate had rejected the CTBT, thus taking the pressure off India, which had rejected the treaty draft in Geneva in June 1996, emerging as the global villain of nuclear peace.
Most experts, therefore, explain India’s decision to test in 1998 as one triggered by Clause XIV of the CTBT, which mandates that for the CTBT to come into force all 44 countries with nuclear reactor technologies (including India) must ratify it. Much hype centred around how, in case of this condition not being met within three years, a review meeting would be held to take ‘measures’ against defaulting parties.
The threat of ‘measures’, invoked in the early 1990s after North Korea’s withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), essentially implied challenge inspections and sanctions. This clearly left India with no choice but to test before such a review meeting was organised. So, the fact that we conducted our 1998 tests in a ‘hurry’ has been generally acknowledged by the scientific community.
This isn’t the first time that the veracity of India’s tests, especially the one claimed to have been a thermonuclear test, has been questioned. But this is first time that a member of the core team — K Santhanam — has raised his voice. What’s raising tempers is the fact that with the possibility of the US ratifying the CTBT, India is expected to come up with a counter-strategy — a difficult task given its transformed relationship with Washington.
Three moot questions seeking answers are: (a) how quickly and easily might the Senate agree to ratify the CTBT; (b) whether India has the required scientific data from its six tests to confidently move on to laboratory testing; and (c) whether in popular opinion, answers to (a) and (b) are clear, confusing or in the negative? By most estimates, the answers were always going to be confusing, except there now seems to be a perceptible tilt towards the negative, making public perceptions on nuclear issues pivotal to India’s security.
Given that nuclear weapons are primarily political weapons, and nuclear deterrence essentially a mind-game, their efficacy in achieving national objectives depends on what we’re ‘perceived’ to possess. Thus, such avoidable public controversies clearly undermine confidence in our national preparedness to deal with threats from nuclear adversaries. Clarifications also become crucial.
It is instructive to note that even at the height of the non-proliferation rhetoric, both China and France had conducted a series of tests before signing the NPT’s indefinite and unconditional extension in May 1995. Given this backdrop, our obsession with consistency rather than an evaluation of contingencies seems least inspiring.

Russia, India to sign new deal for Gorshkov overhaul

A new deal between India and Russia on the funds for the refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will be signed in mid-October, the head of the state technology corporation said on Thursday.
"An additional agreement will be signed," Sergei Chemezov, head of Rostekhnologii, told a news conference in Moscow.
Under the original $1.5 billion 2004 contract between Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and the Indian Navy, which includes delivery of MiG-29K Fulcrum carrier-based fighters, the work on the aircraft carrier was to have been completed in 2008.
However, Russia later claimed it had underestimated the scale and the cost of the modernisation, and asked for an additional $1.2 billion, which New Delhi said was "exorbitant".
After long-running delays and disputes, India offered in February 2008 to raise the refit costs for the aircraft carrier, docked at the Sevmash shipyard in northern Russia for the past 12 years, by up to $600 million.
Russia said it was not satisfied with the proposed amount and the issue of the additional funding remains unresolved.
Talks on the additional funding agreement are currently underway. Russia has pledged to finish the Admiral Gorshkov's overhaul as soon as possible and deliver it to India in 2012 if the additional $1.2 billion funding is provided by New Delhi.
According to Russian media, India has no alternative but to allocate the required funds, despite recent objections from the government's accounting office, because the Indian Navy desperately needs to replace its INS Viraat, which, although currently operational, is now 50 years old.
After modernisation, the carrier will join the Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya, and is expected to be seaworthy for 30 years.
Admiral Gorshkov is a modified Kiev class aircraft carrier, originally named Baku.
The ship was laid down in 1978 at the Nikolayev South shipyard in Ukraine, launched in 1982, and commissioned with the Soviet Navy in 1987.
It was renamed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In 1994, following a boiler room explosion, the Admiral Gorshkov sat in dock for a year for repairs. After a brief return to service in 1995, it was finally withdrawn from service in 1996 and put up for sale.
The ship's displacement is 45,000 tonnes. It has a maximum speed of 32 knots and an endurance of 13,500 nautical miles (25,000 km) at a cruising speed of 18 knots.