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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

1988 batch IPS Officers to be IG Police (GP 10000)....


1. 72 IPS Officers of 1988 batch have been empanelled to the rank of IG by Government.
2. A formal order is likely to be issued soon.

Three killed in Kashmir fighting

At least two militants and an Indian soldier have been killed in a gun battle near the Line of Control which divides the disputed region of Kashmir.
The incident happened in the mountainous Poonch district in Jammu early on Wednesday.
A group of militants were trying to cross over into India, a senior army officer said.
Both India and Pakistan claim the disputed territory and have fought two wars over it.
Army officer Gurdeep Singh told the BBC that a group of militants were trying to cross over into India along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar area.
"The troops noticed their movement and challenged them. This led to fierce fighting between the two sides in which an army major and two militants were killed," he said.
Security forces were carrying out combing operations in the area to find out whether there were more "dead or alive" militants who had crossed over, Mr Singh said.
The army said it had foiled many attempts by militants to cross the de facto border this year.
Last week, Indian troops said they had shot dead five militants who had crossed the LoC in the Gurez area.
Seventeen militants and eight Indian soldiers were killed in a five-day-long gunbattle at Kupwara near the LoC in March.
The army says that over 70 "infiltrators" had crossed over into India from Pakistan this year, up from 45 in 2008.

State 'gifts' prime plot in city to babus

MUMBAI: On August 31, the day the election code of conduct was announced, the state government completed some unfinished work in a hurry—it issued orders to allot a prime plot at Kalina to a housing society comprising bureaucrats, police officers, mid-level state government officials, personal assistants and private secretaries of ministers. This is the same plot, near Hotel Grand Hyatt, that was offered by the state to the Pakistani government for its consulate three years ago, which Pakistan reportedly turned down.

The state housing department order, a copy of which is available with this newspaper, directs the Mhada to allot the one-acre plot to the Maitri Cooperative Housing Society. The society will have to pay only about 40% of the market value of the land, which, according to real estate experts, could be worth anywhere between Rs 60 crore and Rs 70 crore. However, Mhada officials claim that a part of this plot will also be used to construct middle-income and high-income flats. Residential property prices in Kalina are in the range of Rs 11,000 to Rs 12,000 a sq ft.

The chief promoter of the 84-member society is A M Vasarkar, additional collector in the Slum Rehabilitation Authority.

Some prominent members of the society include transport commissioner Deepak Kapoor, Mhada’s chief vigilance officer Jawhar Singh, additional commissioner of police Sunil Ramanand, deputy police commissioner S S Salunke, Pimpri Chinchwad municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma, private secretaries to chief minister Ashok Chavan, Chandrakant Pulkundwar and Sanjay Yadav, private secretary to deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, P D Malikner, additional private secretary to Union aviation minister Praful Patel, Sanjay Khandare, and personal secretary to irrigation minister Ajit Pawar, Suresh Jadhav.

“The government approved the society’s proposal and the housing department has issued the relevant orders to Mhada,’’ a Mantralaya source told TOI on Tuesday. According to sources, the society will get a floor space index (FSI) of 2.5 to construct the residential building.

Over the years, the state government has been generous in allotting prime housing plots to IAS and IPS officials. In July 2004, it magnanimously allotted a 3,824 sq m plot in the heart of Cuffe Parade to the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society at a hugely concessional rate. The society comprises MPs, MLAs, MLCs, bureaucrats and senior personnel from the armed forces, whose 30-storey tower with about 100 flats in two wings is now coming up.

On July 9, 1999, just a day before the code of conduct was announced in Maharashtra, the state government allotted a plot to the Patliputra Housing Society, comprising 50 IAS and IPS officers at Four Bungalows, Versova. A case filed by lawyer-activist Y P Singh against the allotment is still pending in the Bombay high court.

On the same day that the plot was allotted to Patliputra society, the government also issued a GR (government resolution) allowing government officials to sell their flats situated in such properties.

Some of the prominent members of the Maitri housing society:

1) Sudhir Thakre——-secretary, rural development department
2) Bipin Shrimali——secretary to deputy CM
3) Harshdeep Kamble—deputy secretary to deputy CM
4) Kailash Pagare—- pvt secretary to minister of state for housing
5) Chandrakant Thorat—- pvt secretary to higher and technical education minister
6) Rajkumar Sagar————pvt secretary to minorities development minister
7) Ashutosh Dumbre————-IPS
8) Satyanarayan Bajaj———-pvt secretary to minister (MSRDC)
9) Kshatrapati Shivaji———-CEO of MIDC
10) Anil Kale——-commissioner, women and child welfare
11) Hussein Mukadam——personal assistant to minister of state for housing
12) Pandharkame————desk officer in housing department
13) Prakash Pawar——-pvt secretary to minister of state for public health
14) Navnath Jare———-OSD to agriculture minister
15) Yashwant Gadekar——senior police inspector
16) Hiralal Sonawane——-pvt secretary to transport minister
17) Ejaz Naqvi—————deputy secretary, Mantralaya
18) Ramchandra Davle—-assistant police commissioner
19) Dilip Gavde————additional collector
20) Satish Gadve————Block development officer, Pune

CRPF to get intelligence unit

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will soon have its own intelligence wing.
“We have started the process,” said A.S. Gill, CRPF Director-General, confirming the decision.
The para military force, expected to begin playing a enhanced role in countering the Maoist threat, will have 10 intelligence officers per battalion, attached to 150 of its battalions.
The CRPF currently relies on state and central agencies for intelligence inputs.
The home ministry has also approved a proposal to add 38 new battalions -- or more than 38,000 men and women -- to the 60-year-old CRPF, which is already the country’s largest paramilitary force with 2.7 lakh personnel.
In the revamp planned, the CRPF, which earlier worked to supplement the state police and took directions from the latter, will now do so at an equal footing with the state police in Maoist dominated states. “A coordinated offensive is needed to clear the areas where left wing extremists have built their bases,” said Gill.
The Maoists have killed 249 security personnel in the last six months, more than eight times the number killed by militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
The CRPF counts the flushing out of Maoists from Lalgarh in West Bengal as one of its major successes. “We have arrested 34 listed Naxals in the past one and half months of operations being jointly carried out by the CRPF, the BSF and the West Bengal police,” Gill added.

Ladakh DM claims Chinese intrusion

Srinagar, Sept. 8: Chinese troops entered a part of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir in January this year and retreated after threatening shepherds to vacate the area or face the consequences, according to the district magistrate, Mr Ajeet Kumar Sahu.
Mr Sahu conveyed this to the divisional commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir on January 4, saying this was brought to his knowledge by shepherds and villagers living close to the international border.
The district magistrate then deputed a sub-divisional magistrate, who confirmed that Chinese soldiers had warned shepherds on the Indian side of the border. “They (Chinese) claimed the area belonged to China,” the district magistrate’s letter said.
The defence ministry officials here are not ready to confirm the district magistrate’s version. But, army sources admit that some Chinese soldiers entered the Indian side of the border and painted some stones and rocks red.
India and China fought a war in 1962 and they have still not resolved their border row.

The new X, Y, Z of security

Sept. 8: In a smart move to cut down the security cover of VIPs, the Centre intends to create three fresh categories in addition to the existing X, Y, Z and Z-Plus categories of security cover.
Under the new rules, which are in the initial stages in the home ministry, the number of security personnel assigned to VIPs covered under existing categories could be reduced without making drastic cuts in their security. Currently, as many as 60 security personnel are deployed to guard one VIP with Z-Plus security, 30 personnel for Z cover, eight for Y and three for each VIP with X security cover.
The fresh categories will be created between X and Y, Y and Z, and Z and Z-plus. For instance, VIPs in Z category (30 security personnel) will suffer a cut of at least 10 security personnel if the ministry feels their cover is exaggerated. While the pruning for X and Y categories has already been completed, ministry sources said Z and Z-Plus will follow soon. The Centre is also disengaging central paramilitary force personnel, such as ITBP commandos, from VIP duty.
Former Union home minister Shivraj Patil, who has not relinquished the Z category cover allocated to him when he was in charge of the ministry, has apparently left the home ministry in a fix. "There is no move to scale down Mr Patil’s security cover. Under the fresh arrangements being worked out, those VIPs who have two escort vehicles will be given only one, and instead of double armed guards at their residence, only one armed guard will be provided," a senior MHA official said. Interestingly, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah , who enjoys Z-Plus cover, faces a shortage of security personnel during his visits to Delhi. "Even though he has seven escort vehicles, each car does not have three security personnel, which is the requirement," the official said.
Meanwhile, Union home minister P. Chidambaram has given a free hand to the officers concerned to scale down the security of VIPs with "exaggerated" cover. Sources indicated there is a proposal to scale down the security of SP general secretary Amar Singh, former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, National Commission of Scheduled Castes chairperson Buta Singh, former external affairs minister Natwar Singh and Lok Janashakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan among others. The home ministry is of the opinion that security should be provided only to those who either face credible threats or hold constitutional posts. "If we manage to disengage even 100 security personnel initially, it creates manpower for at least two police stations," the official said.
The NSG cover given to Z-Plus protectees like UP chief minister Mayawati, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav will continue. There will also be no pruning of the security cover of senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Dr M.M. Joshi, who are perceived as facing high threat levels.
The Centre recently withdrew X category security given to former Chief Justice of India Y.K. Sabharwal, former MPs Govinda and Anwar Hussain, UP politician D.P. Yadav and some local leaders from the Northeast states.

Maoists training school kids in Lalgarh camps

Following in the footsteps of the LTTE and Taliban the Maoists of Lalgarh are experimenting with a combat technique that could transmute the history of Red terror once and for all.

Introduction of school students into the “people’s war” has given the joint security forces a creased forehead so to say. If monthly intelligence inputs received by the West Midnapore police administration is to be believed then at least 225 school students are undergoing training at various places of the wooded terrain spread over 500-600 square km area.

The Maoists of Lalgarh in West Midnapore district now directly commanded by their Andhra Pradesh comrade Kishanji are running at least seven training camps in various forests where they are giving school students —- some dropouts after being indoctrinated others compelled to join —- training to use and fabricate various kinds of weaponry.

They are being trained to plant landmines and fire from sniper rifles, a senior police officer said quoting the intelligent inputs. The security forces are linking the seven murders of alleged CPI (M) members in the past 5 days to the running of security camps. “These people were punished for informing the police about the Maoist activities,” the official said, adding hordes of people were fleeing villages.

The Maoists are working with a strategy. Short of enough manpower supplies from the other States, they want the students, all below 16 to engage the police in gunbattles. “This will not only create problems for the security forces while launching retaliatory strikes but also they will have to bear the brunt of the villagers and face human rights questions if these students are killed during the encounters.”

According to information the camps were being run in the dense Sal-Mohua forests of Garulia, Bhalukbasar, Kumar-bandh, Banishole, Andharia, Bhulagora and Baropelia. Most of these places had been taken by the joint security forces in the initial stages of operation flush-out in Lalgarh.

Flawed response to incursions

Incursions by the Chinese Army into Indian territory are making headlines in the media again. This is good. Not because the Chinese persist with trespassing into Indian territory, but because media coverage brings to light such disturbing happenings. Instinctively, not to say genetically, India’s political leadership prefers to hide the truth, to not “hurt our Chinese neighbours’ feelings” or “makes things worse”.

Keeping with India’s diplomatic tradition, Foreign Minister SM Krishna said after recent incidents of Chinese incursion, “With China, I think the boundary has been one of the most peaceful. So, there is no issue on that.” He added that there “is a built-in mechanism which is in place and which takes care of such incursions. India has so far acted with restraint, maintaining that the Line of Actual Control with China is not very well defined”.

We could ask the question: Why is the LAC not well defined? What is the point of successive National Security Advisers meeting their Chinese counterparts (they have met on 13 occasions since 2003) if they are not even able to define an ‘actual’ line? Apart from the fact that it proves the insincerity of the Chinese who are not ready to take the first step to calm the tensions, the exercise seems a waste of public money.

This time, the Army has had the courage to acknowledge the facts. The Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor, has admitted that New Delhi lodged a protest with Beijing following the incursion by a Chinese helicopter into Indian territory and the painting of some rocks along the presumptive LAC in red.

According to reports in the media, “the army is gathering evidence from the spots where Chinese troops had painted the rocks red”. What does ‘gathering evidence’ mean? Does it imply that the Army is not aware of what is happening on the LAC? If true, it is a serious and worrying lapse. This reluctance of India’s politicians and officials to acknowledge the truth is not new. It is probably a genetic feature of the Indian Foreign Service.

In May, when I spent some time in Munsyari, the last town before the India-Tibet border in the Kumaon Hills, I located the ‘historian’ of the area. Till the 1962 War, this tehsil used to be the main centre for business with western Tibet. Most of the Bhotias, the local tribe, lived on trade. Caravans used to depart from Milam, a village in Johar Valley, north of Munsyari, and proceed to the trade markets around the Kailash-Mansarovar area.

The old ‘historian’ told me a story which flabbergasted me. A gentleman native to the area, called Lakshman Singh Jangpangi, had joined the Foreign Service in the 1940s as a senior accountant posted at the Indian Trade Mart of Gartok, east of Kailash. In 1946, he was promoted to the important post of British Trade Agent. When India became independent, he continued to serve in the same position till he was transferred to Yatung in 1959.

I was told that Jangpangi, who from Gartok had a panoramic view of what was going on in western Tibet, had informed his Minister (Jawaharlal Nehru) that the Chinese had started to build on the arid Aksai Chin plateau. That was in 1951-52. Crossing the Indian territory, the road only became the address for official correspondence with the Chinese Government seven years later. It was finally debated in Parliament in 1959. Probably, the Government did not want to ‘hurt Chinese sentiments’; or it believed that the issue would be solved with the passage of time.

The most ironic part of the story is that Jangpangi was awarded the first Padma Shri given to a Kumaoni ‘for his meritorious services’. Was it for breaking the news or for having kept quiet? We will probably never know.

Today, if a courageous historian requests the Government to declassify the relevant file, he will be quoted Article 8 (1) (a) of the Right to Information Act: “There shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state.”

Incursions by the Chinese continued in the 1950s in Garwal (Barahoti), Himachal Pradesh (Shipki-la) and then spread to Ladakh and NEFA. Mao’s regime could have only felt encouraged by the Government of India’s feeble complaints. New Delhi was probably satisfied with its seasonal protests and the immediate denials by Beijing. Hundreds of such complaints have been recorded in the 14 Volumes of the White Papers published from 1959 to 1965 by the Ministry of External Affairs.

A telling incident is worth recalling. In September 1956, a group of 20 Chinese soldiers crossed over Shipki-la pass into Himachal Pradesh. A 27-member Border Security Force team met the Chinese the same day. The BSF team was told by a Chinese officer that he had been instructed to patrol right up to Hupsang Khad (four miles south of Shipki-la, the acknowledged border pass under the Panchsheel Agreement).

However, the BSF team was advised “to avoid an armed clash but not yield to the Chinese troops”. New Delhi did not quite know how to react. A few days later, Nehru wrote to the Foreign Secretary, “I agree with (your) suggestion … it would not be desirable for this question to be raised in the Lok Sabha at the present stage”.

The policy of the Government of India was to remain silent on this issue and eventually mention it ‘informally’ to Chinese officials. Finally, the Ministry of External Affairs informed Beijing: “The Government of India is pained and surprised at this conduct of the Chinese commanding officer.” That was 53 years ago. Is the situation any different today?

There is another irony. The Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr Omar Abdullah, has said that India has the right to respond: “It is our right to respond in case of ceasefire violations.” Of course, he was speaking about Pakistan and the other corner of his State. He would not have dared to use these words with China.

It is rather depressing. I have an Indian friend, knowledgeable in defence matters, who always tells me that one should not worry, that genes can evolve, even Darwin had said so. Is it just a matter of one or two generations before Indians get to acquire Chinese genes? Let us see.

Check Out

With Congress chief Sonia Gandhi taking serious note of The Indian Express report that External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his deputy Shashi Tharoor had made five-star hotels in New Delhi their temporary homes for over three months, the UPA government today asked them to vacate the hotel suites.
“I have requested both ministers to vacate the hotel rooms,” said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. His “request” came at the behest of Gandhi who, Congress sources said, was “extremely upset” with the “extravagant lifestyle” of the ministers. This flew in the face of the party’s emphasis on austerity in public life, sources said.
Krishna, staying in the Presidential suite at ITC Maurya for the last three months, was said to be moving to the Foreign Services Institute guest house while Tharoor was learnt to be checking out of the Taj Mahal Hotel for the Indian Navy guest house in Kota House.

Though Mukherjee asked the ministers to shift to the state Bhavans, Krishna maintained “I have made some private arrangements for my stay in Delhi. I will continue to make the same kind of private arrangements till I get my house that is fit enough to be occupied.”
Tharoor, writing on social networking tool Twitter, said he was spending his “own savings”. “I would be ashamed if I was spending the people’s money. But I’m not — I’m spending my own savings.”
Tharoor said he would much rather be in his “official house”. On the suggestion that he could move to Kerala House for the time being, Tharoor said: “I need 2 things daily that Kerala House doesn’t offer — a gym and some privacy. But I visit pretty often and meet people there.”
Congress spokesman Manish Tewari tried to downplay the issue but added that the ministers, in their own wisdom, “should have taken an appropriate decision”.

Driving force





The centenary monument at the HEMRL.
A WONDERFUL monument with a plaque reading “HEMRL Centenary Monument – 1908-2008…” occupies the foyer of the High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune. On top of it is a metal sculpture of the chemical structure of China Lake-20, or CL-20, a molecule that can be incorporated into both propellants and explosives. On its sides are wooden models of missiles developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Manish Bharadwaj, Scientist, and J.R. Peshave, Technical Officer, at the HEMRL, reading this correspondent’s thoughts, said: “This monument is our pride.”
Everyone at the laboratory, from A. Subhananda Rao, its Director, to the junior-most skilled worker is proud of its 100-year-old heritage. Way back in 1908, the HEMRL began functioning as the Chemical Examiner’s Office at Nainital (now in Uttarakhand). In the decades that followed, it underwent radical changes in its charter of duties, shifted locations and finally got established in Pune in 1936. In 1995, it was rechristened HEMRL.
Today HEMRL is the only laboratory of its kind in the country dealing with high-energy materials such as propellants and ammunition required for missiles, rockets, battle tanks, artillery, guns, rifles and carbines. It has developed warheads for missiles; liquid fuel for torpedoes; explosive reactive armour for battle tanks; mine inflammables to set waterways on fire; powerful explosives to demolish buildings; fuel-air explosives to clear landmines; smokeless propellants, anti-laser grenades and illuminating flares. It makes the lethal ammunition for Pinaka, the indigenously developed multi-barrel rocket launching system. It is developing nanotechnology in seven types of high explosives, including RDX (Research Department Explosive), HMX (Her Majesty’s Explosive) and ammonium perchlorate.
Most importantly, the HEMRL has developed diverse rocket motors that power a variety of missiles, including Agni-I and Agni-II, Akash, Nag and Trishul. Its latest achievement is the production of powerful motors that propel the K-15 missile. K-15 will be fired from under water, from the nuclear-powered submarine Arihant. The HEMRL also makes motors that help missiles perform manoeuvres to avoid detection by radars. It has developed motors that jettison the missile’s spent stages.
Subhananda Rao said: “Wherever explosives and propellants are there, we are there. Our quest is to provide ammunition for all the armaments of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force. That is why our motto is ‘Power Behind the Systems.’ Self-reliance is our forte. We emphasise safety and quality.” The HEMRL’s thrust area is solid rocket propellants. “We have developed an entire range of propellants for missiles such as ram-jet Akash, Trishul, Nag, Agni systems, Shourya and Prithvi Air Defence Systems,” said Subhananda Rao, who has designed and developed more than 30 propulsion systems for India’s tactical and strategic missiles.
S.N. Asthana, Associate Director, said: “Propellants developed by the HEMRL provide thrust to missiles and tank/gun munitions whereas explosives developed by it impart lethal power to warheads and projectiles.” B. Bhattacharya, Associate Director, said: “Name any missile system in India and it is linked to the HEMRL through motors, propellants or explosives.”
It is the propulsion system that makes a missile either a tactical one or a strategic one, such as an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) or an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). The propulsion systems for strategic missiles and K-15 missiles were developed by the DRDO’s largest laboratory.
The HEMRL has made important contributions to the development of India’s ballistic missile defence shield, the Advanced Air Defence System (AADS). In this system, an incoming “enemy” ballistic missile is knocked out in mid-flight by the DRDO’s interceptor missile. Three tests of such interceptor missile have been successful in a row.
Developing motors and propellants for missiles is quite different from making them for civilian launch vehicles. While launch vehicles for civilian applications can afford to have a slow lift-off, the DRDO’s missiles should accelerate fast. While the propellants on board civilian launch vehicles have a burn rate of 8 mm per second, the HEMRL-developed propellants have a burn-rate of 40 mm per second.
BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A. SUBHANANDA RAO, Director of the laboratory.
While rockets for civilian applications are launched in normal temperatures, DRDO-developed missiles function effectively at -40°0 Celsius at Siachen or +50°0 C in the deserts of Rajasthan. “So the propellants need a special casting,” said Subhananda Rao.
“We need to ensure 10 to 15 years of life for the missiles. We make motors with a high margin of safety and the capability for quick reaction too. They are high-acceleration motors,” he added. The DRDO’s missiles should withstand rigours and vibrations because they are moved from place to place. “So this class of missile motors have to be extremely robust and operate at extreme temperatures,” explained Bhattacharya.
For the canister-launched Shourya missile, the HEMRL has developed a generator that produces gas to push it out of the canister. The U.S., Russia and India are the only countries to develop the total technology needed for the gas generators.
The HEMRL was using RDX or HMX for missile warheads. It has now shifted entirely to HMX. It has developed the HMX composition for Akash and Nag. The laboratory had developed advanced demolition charges for use by the Army, Asthana said. These charges have civil applications, too. The laboratory has provided explosive cords to cut open the canopy of the Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas, to enable the pilot to eject in an emergency.
The HEMRL has embarked on the modernisation of gun ammunition. Its thrust is the modular charge system for gun propellants, which has an edge over the charge housed in cloth bags. The laboratory is mastering the technology of low-vulnerability (LOVA) propellants for gun ammunition. Amarjit Singh, Associate Director, said it had developed enhanced-energy LOVA propellants. This made them safer to use.
It has also developed the technology for making combustible cartridge cases (CCC) for gun ammunition. The CCCs are produced in partnership with a private industry. “The indigenous CCC technology has not only replaced costly imported brass cartridge cases, saving foreign exchange, but reduced logistic problems,” said Amarjit Singh.
The laboratory has synthesised CL-20. “It is a wonderful chemical. It can change the scenario of conventional explosives. We have given the licence to a private industry to produce it,” said Subhananda Rao. The HEMRL has developed FOX-7 (Field Ordnance Explosive) and also amorphous boron. “This [amorphous boron] is one of the greatest things to be produced here,” said Bhattacharya. The technology for developing amorphous boron was known only to a few countries.
A nanotechnology centre is coming up on the 340-hectare HEMRL campus. The laboratory has set up an Advanced Research Centre in High Energy Materials, funded by the DRDO, on the University of Hyderabad campus.
It has embarked on an ambitious programme in the area of insensitive explosives to overcome the problem of explosion by unplanned stimuli. “It will be of great advantage from the logistics point of view,” said Manish Bharadwaj.
EXPLOSIVE REACTOR ARMOUR
A visible success of the HEMRL is in developing the explosive reactor armour (ERA) for battle tanks. The ERA is a novel concept wherein the explosive reaction disrupts and defeats even the latest anti-tank missiles. A. Appa Rao, Associate Director, explained: “While the normal armour is passive, the ERA will react to the penetration of the incoming missile with the help of explosives sandwiched between armour plates. The explosives generate sufficient energy to destroy the incoming missile. The missile does not penetrate the entire thickness of the armour. The missile is deflected by an explosive force.”
More than 600 T-72 (CI Ajeya) tanks of the Army have been refurbished with the ERA. “We have developed a hybrid armour that can take care of tandem warheads and kinetic energy projectiles,” Appa Rao said.
A big facility of the HEMRL is coming up at Nashik. It will process propellants for large-sized case-bonded rocket motors. The facility, with more than 80 technical buildings and critical equipment, will process 100 tonnes of propellants a year. The processing will involve a new technology called pressure casting, which will improve the mechanical properties and energy of the propellants.
“The plant will meet the futuristic requirements of our missile programme,” said Subhananda Rao.

Powerhouse of technology

With 52 laboratories under it, the DRDO is one of the biggest and most versatile models of defence R&D in the world.
V.V. KRISHNAN

M. Natarajan, who retired as Director-General of DRDO on August 31.

WHEN M. Natarajan, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, laid down office on August 31 he must have done so with a sense of satisfaction. For, India’s Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun, which he “fathered”, has been inducted into the Army and the nuclear-powered submarine Arihant, which was built under the top-secret Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) programme of which he was the chief coordinator, was launched on July 26. Arihant has propelled India into an elite club of six countries with their own nuclear-powered boats.
A few days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched Arihant in Visakhapatnam, Natarajan told this correspondent: “I am happy that the boat is being launched during my tenure.” The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), of which Natarajan was the Director-General, funded the ATV project. Natarajan was also Secretary, Defence R&D, and Director-General, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
He capped his career in the DRDO – after having joined it in 1970 – by becoming its Director-General in 2004. For 30 years, he worked on several important projects relating to the design and development of tracked vehicles. He was associated with Arjun right from its inception at the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) at Avadi, near Chennai. He became the Programme Director of the Arjun project in 1987 and the Director of the CVRDE in December 1989. He ensured that India had its indigenous state-of-the-art Arjun and a self-propelled gun system Bhim.
Today, Arjun has gone into production and the Army’s 43rd Regiment is equipped with it. The Army had placed an order for 124 Arjuns. The Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi has delivered 45 tanks. On August 21, the first batch of armoured ambulances, which Natarajan designed and built, rolled out of the Ordnance Factory at Medak in Andhra Pradesh.
As Director-General, ADA, Natarajan gave a new direction to the development of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, which has done 1,163 sorties. Tejas is now ready for initial operational clearance. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has placed orders for 20 aircraft. Natarajan contributed to the mechanical systems of Tejas.
With 52 laboratories under it, the DRDO is one of the biggest and most versatile models of defence R&D in the world. Natarajan calls it “a technological powerhouse”. These laboratories, situated in different parts of the country, have proven competence in developing strategic military hardware and related technologies in diverse disciplines such as aeronautics, missiles, armaments and naval systems, combat vehicles, strategic systems, electronics, life sciences and materials. They have equipped the three services with MBTs, armoured ambulances, a variety of missiles, radars, the multi-barrel rocket launcher Pinaka, life-saving medicines, self-heating gloves and socks for soldiers posted at high altitudes such as Siachen and Leh, sonars, parachutes, carbon nano tube, and bullet-proof jackets.
The armed forces have become mightier with tanks capable of laying multispan bridges; vehicles that plant or sweep mines; robots that retrieve explosives; autonomous underwater vehicles; missile launchers; vehicles that monitor the use of nuclear, biological and chemical agents; underground shelters for use during chemical warfare; stretchers; laser guns; rifles; carbines; pistols; propellants; explosives; transgenic tomatoes; hybrid milch animals; aloe vera cream to treat frostbite; Leh Berry juice; ready-to-eat pulav and biryani; anti-leucoderma cream; composites; anti-corrosive paints; anti-fouling paints; and desalination plants, all developed by the DRDO.
A LANDMARK
The DRDO celebrated its golden jubilee in 2008. But the previous year itself it reached another landmark. The year witnessed the successful launches of Agni III, the underwater K-15 missile from a submerged pontoon, and the ballistic interceptor missile. Other notable events include the missile launch test of Tejas, which was the first step in its weaponisation, followed by flights with drop tanks and fuel transfer. The year also saw substantial success in the DRDO’s tactical programmes through delivery of radars, electronic warfare and armament systems.
In an interview to Frontline in Chennai on August 4, Natarajan underscored three issues that were of utmost importance to the DRDO – nurturing human resource, which is “a critical factor” in a defence R&D organisation; self-reliance; and the need to set up a Defence Technology Commission (DTC) as recommended by the Dr P. Rama Rao Committee.
Natarajan praised the contribution made by his predecessors to the growth of the DRDO. “With the definitive transformation that has taken place in the DRDO in the past five decades because of the efforts of my illustrious predecessors, the organisation can today be justifiably proud of being a technological powerhouse not only for defence but in multitudes of scientific and engineering disciplines with quantifiable success,” he said.
According to him, Arjun riding the sand dunes of Rajasthan; Tejas landing at Leh at the rarefied height of about 10,600 feet (3,180 metres), which proved the performance of its fly-by-wire technology; the launch of K-15 missiles from under the sea; the successful tests of the interceptor missiles, which are a forerunner to India building a missile defence shield; the demonstration of networked sensors in real-time operations featuring radars; electro-optics and satellites for a networked battlefield; specialised material for aircraft structures and the Navy’s ships; innovative biomedical appliances; and life-science products “bear testimony to the scientific prowess of the DRDO”.
CHALLENGES
With an eye on the future, the DRDO has embarked on projects to develop directed-energy weapons, anti-satellite capabilities, micro-satellites, very low-frequency communication, nano materials, advanced propulsion systems, a variety of sensors and seekers, navigation systems, electronically scanned array radars, fuel cells and batteries, AB-class steel for ship-building, and titanium alloys and carbon composites for aerospace applications.
“Each of these developments has its own challenges and more than 3,000 young and intelligent scientists are raring to be up to the task,” Natarajan said.
If the DRDO was building a multimode radar with a phased array, it could be improved upon to become electronically scanned so that the rotation of the antenna was not a constraint, he said. The challenge lay in how to package it into a small aircraft like Tejas or a medium combat aircraft because the space in the nose-cone of the aircraft is limited. “An even more daunting challenge is the development of high-end seekers made for missiles or satellites or electronic warfare systems,” he said.
These were indeed challenges because a large body of scientists was needed to work in the physics of developing these technologies.
Natarajan explained: “We need scientists, technologists, technicians, pure academics and scientific assistants [in the DRDO] because when you develop such high-end products, you also need to build specialised machines for manufacturing them.” He underlined the importance of leadership in science, technology and engineering.
BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Army’S 43RD Regiment is equipped with the state-of-the-art Main Battle Tank Arjun, developed by the DRDO.

Even a simple mechanical hinge in a door can be improved by reducing its weight and increasing its lubricity. “When you gain in acoustics, it does not make a screeching sound. A clever designer will package a restoring spring in it. All these parts will demand far more precision than the Aligarh hinge,” he said, as the others in the room burst into laughter.
“That is why academic support is important. Academics will have to work in tandem with us. It will be good for the country if academics learn how to migrate to industry and research centres for practical work and go back to the portals of academia so that they can train students and technicians,” Natarajan said.
Throughout the two-hour interview, he reiterated that “human resource becomes a critical factor” in the kind of endeavour that the DRDO was engaged in. “The strength for this foundation [the DRDO] comes primarily from its human resource, comprising scientists and technologists, technicians and scientific staff, all working with appropriately digitised tasks, and integrating their efforts into a whole.”
Natarajan said “the insatiable demand for advanced weapon systems and sensors cannot be met by the DRDO alone with its extremely limited manpower and infrastructure”. The solution to this lay in evolving innovative strategies to draw on the potentials of academia, business houses and industry besides structurally binding the stakeholders, the developers, the armed forces, industry and the government together.
The developers could be anybody – the DRDO, the public sector units or private companies. Natarajan said, “The Rama Rao Committee has sought to indicate the possible route to accomplish the goal. In this context its recommendation to evolve a DTC akin to the Atomic Energy Commission and the Space Commission assumes significance.”
(A committee headed by Dr P. Rama Rao, former Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, recommended in 2008 that the DTC restore the DRDO’s role in giving scientific advice in the purchase of weapons from abroad and formulate “a clear-cut policy on self-reliance”.)
He said policy initiatives should bind the DRDO, the services, public sector units, private companies and the academia together. “There has to be an overarching body [the DTC] which constantly reminds these independent entities that they should not operate in a disjointed manner. Otherwise, achieving self-reliance will become a difficult task,” he said.
For instance, he said, if the MBT Arjun, the LCA, the tactical missiles or the electronic warfare systems developed by the DRDO were to be “10 per cent deficient from the so-called ideal” and as a consequence were not allowed to enter production, the question of improving them or addressing the deficiency would be scuttled.
“For you do not even give a foothold to the product. The user may get away by saying it is not my job [problem]. But someone has to care for the product,” he said.
The issue was not one-to-one equipment replacement but developing total systems capability. In such a situation, deficiency in a system could be addressed by aggregating products developed in India or even by combining some imports.
He said it was the DRDO’s good fortune that its scientific community pressed ahead to bring about better communication and meeting of minds among the various stakeholders. “I am happy to have contributed to this subtle but significant change,” Natarajan said.
He quoted several instances of innovative work done by the organisation. Although the MiG-27 was not designed by the DRDO, it could add value to the aircraft because of its development of avionics for Tejas and other programmes at various aeronautical systems laboratories. Gallium arsenide solar panels developed by the DRDO’s Solid State Physics Laboratory in New Delhi and produced by the Gallium Arsenide Technology Enabling Centre in Hyderabad have been used in ISRO’s satellites.
Parachutes developed by its Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment in Agra were used in soft-landing its recoverable satellite (Space Capsule Recovery Experiment).
The CVRDE, which designed and developed Arjun, had nothing to do with Tejas but it successfully designed the gearbox for the aircraft. The centre also developed a power take-off shaft made of titanium alloy for aircraft. The shaft, which weighs less than 2 kg, transmitted 250 horsepower at 20,000 revolutions per minute. “A decade ago, one could not have dreamt that the CVRDE could develop these products,” said Natarajan.
Natarajan said: “I am fully confident that with the continued support of the government, the armed forces, the industry magnates, our academic institutions and well-wishers from the public, the DRDO will not only keep its flag flying high but march towards making the nation proud. The DRDO will contribute meaningfully to ensure the security of the nation and a smile on the faces of its billion-plus people.”

Egypt ammo on UAE aircraft?

KOLKATA: Part of the cargo that the UAE Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft, now parked in a remote bay near hangar 14 at Kolkata airport, could be ammunition procured from Egypt. This was allegedly being transported to Xiangyang in China.

This was revealed in a document that the customs department seized from the crew of the aircraft during interrogation. According to this document, an agreement exists between China and UAE through which, the former supplies weapons in return for ammunition from Egypt.

While this may have solved the mystery behind the ammunition in the cargo hold, officials are still not sure about the contents of three metal boxes that were also found. While the crew said that these boxes contained explosives, no details were provided as to their nature. In its report, the customs department has clearly mentioned that the cargo is hot'. This implies that it consists of ammunition and explosives.

In a statement released in Delhi by the external affairs ministry, it has been confirmed that the aircraft is carrying weapons which include "combat" missiles.

The unknown cargo has led to an impass? as India cannot be party to transit or proliferation of any banned material' through its soil. "If the goods in the boxes are illegal, diplomatic immunity will not work despite the friendly relations between the two nations," a source said.

If UAE refuses to disclose the mysterious contents, India may have to cancel the flight plan of the aircraft to China and escort' it back to the edge of Indian airspace over Arabian Sea. Indian Air Force fighter jets may do the escorting through Indian territory. According to defence ministry sources, they have not yet received any instructions to clear the aircraft.

Even as the UAE embassy is trying to pass off the incident as just a faux pas by an inexperienced employee, Indian authorities are trying to find out why the aircraft chose this particular flight path on its way to China.

"The aircraft could easily have flown across Pakistan and the area bordering Afghanistan into China. Did it avoid that route as US forces are active in the area?" an officer wondered.

Indian immigration authorities made it clear on Tuesday that the nine persons who landed in trouble after touching down at Kolkata on Sunday evening could leave if they wished to. But they would have to take a commercial jet instead of the C-130 Hercules. The team, all confirmed as UAEAF personnel, have refused to leave the country without the aircraft.

The nine-member team has been stranded in Kolkata for over 60 hours now following the aircraft's seizure by Indian Customs officers on charges of issuing false declaration.

Army intelligence officers are probing the role of a Delhi-based private agency that had made the flight arrangements and organised ground handling by Air India during its touchdown in Kolkata.

YO'S IN ACTION AT MHOW/INDORE

Bhopal, Sep 8 (IANS) Indian Army authorities at the Military Headquarters of War (MHOW) in Madhya Pradesh said Tuesday that they had launched an investigation to find out if their officials had allegedly ransacked furniture at a medical college in Indore Monday night, officials said.
Army officers, studying in MHOW, allegedly broke window panes and ransacked furniture of the Sri Aurobindo College of Medical Sciences (SACMS), Indore, late Monday in retaliation against medicos allegedly attacking two of their colleagues earlier in the day.
“The officers, yet to be identified, created ruckus at the college as they went there on some 30 to 40 motorcycles, pelted stones, entered the college hostel and ransacked furniture in the rooms and the mess,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Vipin Maheshwari.
“They however dispersed as police arrived,” he said.
Earlier in the day two army officers had picked up a fight with medicos while they were dropping a student of SACMS to the college hostel, officials said.
Following the fight police was posted at the college.
“Acting on the complaint of Lt Ramandeep Singh Negi, Banganga police Monday registered cases against 10 students of SACMS under various sections of Indian Penal Code and arrested Ayush Gupta and Akash,” a police officer said.
SACMS administration said that they had also lodged a complaint against the army officers alleging that they had forcibly entered the hostel premises at around 3 a.m. Tuesday.
“We have lodged a complaint against the army officers at the Banganga police station and expect prompt action,” said SACMS COO G.S. Khanuja.

Retired army personnel commits

Jalandhar, Sep 8 (PTI) A retired army personnel today allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in his house at Suranassi near here.

The deceased was identified as Mohinder Singh (50) who after his retirement as Captain in Indian Army was re-employed in the Ammunition Depot, police sources said adding that a suicide note was recovered from him, in which he stated that nobody should be responsible for his taking the extreme step.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered by the police and efforts were on identify the reasons due to which the deceased took the extreme step and committed suicide, police added.

Infiltrator shot dead

The Army today shot dead one infiltrating militant in the Keran sector in Kupwara today. An Army spokesman said a patrolling party of the Army spotted him and he was shot dead in an ensuing encounter. He said they were not certain if there were more infiltrators.
Meanwhile, the Baramulla police and 29 RR busted a hideout last light during a search at Naik Mohalla village in Pattan. One RPG, one RPG boaster, one wireless set with antenna (damaged), one IED battery, 5 kg of RDX, 1579 rounds of Pika ammunition, 31 un-serviceable rounds of Pika ammunition and other daily-use items were seized from the house of Nazir Ahmad Naik

Crack whip on anti-India forces, B’desh told

With a friendly government at the helm of affairs in Dhaka, New Delhi is understood to have once again asked Bangladesh to deport Indian insurgents like ULFA chief Anup Chetia. It, however, did appreciate some of the steps taken by the neighbouring country to deal with anti-India elements operating on its soil.
Visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, on her first official visit to India after the Sheikh Hasina government came to power in December last year, today held wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on a variety of bilateral issues as well as international developments. She also held meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Official sources said border management, infiltration, illegal migration, sharing of waters and terrorism dominated the discussions between the two foreign ministers. Krishna is said to have impressed upon her the need for closer cooperation in combating terrorism and emphasised the need for intelligence sharing and closer coordination.
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was also present at the delegation-level talks. The Bangladeshi delegation included Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes and Bangladesh High Commissioner Tarique Ahmed Karim.
Krishna praised the recent arrests of some Indian insurgents in Bangladesh while emphasising that more needed to be done by Dhaka to rein in the insurgent groups, which pose a threat to peace and security of India’s Northeastern states. He is also said to have taken up the issue of illegal migration from Bangladesh.
The Indian side used the opportunity to allay Bangladesh’s concerns over the controversial Tipaimukh Dam project, located near the confluence of the Barak and Tuivai rivers in Manipur.
Krishna told his counterpart that there would be no diversion of water and the project provided a ‘win-win’ situation for both countries. The Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has sought to use the dam issue to fan anti-India sentiments. In fact, the BNP had even boycotted a high-level delegation from Bangladesh, which visited India recently to inspect the dam.
Moni’s visit comes at a time when India’s relations with Bangladesh, marked by mistrust for years due to Dhaka allegedly providing a safe sanctuary to anti-India groups, have shows signs of looking up in recent days. Moni is here to do the groundwork for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India later this year.

Padmanabhiah eased out as Naga negotiator

K. Padmanabhiah, the Indian face of the negotiations with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M), has been told that his role as the Prime Minister’s representative, a task and job he held for a decade, has ended. The Home Ministry will now handle the talks.
A key figure will be the new Home Secretary GK Pillai, an energetic officer from the Kerala cadre who has worked on issues relating to the Northeast for over 12 years.
Padmanabhiah, a former Home Secretary, travelled to many countries to conduct talks with Naga leaders Isak Chisi Swu, chairman of the I-M group, which has had a ceasefire with New Delhi since 1996, and its general secretary Th. Muivah. He was told that his role was not being renewed from August 31.
In a telephone interview, Padmanabhiah said,“The interlocutor has done his job. I cannot go on permanently and have called it a day.”
For 10 years, Padmanabhiah conducted or took part in not less than 50 rounds of discussions with the Naga group although for the past five years he had become increasingly sidelined with a Group of Ministers (GoM) led by Oscar Fernandes leading the process.
That GoM no longer is functional and it is the Home Ministry that will now call the shots, openly.
Although Padmanabhiah was known to have kept the discussions on track (venues included Chiang Mai in Thailand, Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur), the talks appeared to be moving desultorily and headed nowhere with neither side energetically pursing proposals for a settlement.
On one side, the Nagas said they were studying the Indian and other constitutions (such as Nepal and Papua New Guinea) for the past couple of years to see what changes could be made.
On the other, the Indian government appeared to be disinterested in settling the issue because it was unwilling to stir a political hornets’ nest with the Naga demand for a homeland to be carved out of three neighbouring states of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
None of these states were willing to budge an inch on this claim although legally the Centre can, under article three of the constitution, rewrite state boundaries without consulting the states.
The explosiveness of that issue was visible during the period of his tenure in 2001 after Padmanabhiah signed an extension of the ceasefire in Bangkok with the NSCN (I-M) group which said that the peace would be without boundaries, a term that led to riots in Manipur and the eventual rollback of the clause by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Pillai has long experience of the Northeast having held the post of joint secretary in charge of that division in the ministry from 1996-2001. Unlike most New Delhi-based officials, he extensively travelled there, met ordinary people and interacted with local officials.
He is seen as the “humane” face of the Home Ministry although he is known to be extremely firm on issues of governance, corruption and inefficiency. During his term as commerce secretary, Pillai tried to develop programmes and policies in relation to the region, which were in tune with its needs. Top officials at the Home Ministry said a major part of the new strategy would be an inclusive approach, seeking to reach out to all sides in interactions and discussions, involving civil society groups as well.