Friday, September 11, 2009


Ministry of Home Affairs is understood to have decided to increase induction of IPS officials at least for the next 10 years from this year onwards in order to overcome shortage of IPS officers.

Near revolt in cabinet forces PM to loosen austerity belt

Strong opposition from ministers belonging to allied parties have forced Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to partially roll back the stern austerity measures his government had announced.
DMK leader and Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran pointed out how the exercise of saving on air travel could end up in the government actually spending more.The directive to travel economy class, in particular, had many ministers up in arms, sources said. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar recalled how, when he was defence minister once, his Russian counterpart and other Russian officials were shocked to find him travelling economy.
DMK leader and Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran pointed out how the exercise of saving on air travel could end up in the government actually spending more. He recalled how his staff had to travel two days ahead for a meeting outside the Capital and the government had to foot the hotel bills.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma spoke of the practical difficulties involved. Ministers, he said, have to travel frequently and often have to hop across continents at short notice.
National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah literally put his foot down on travelling economy. There is no leg space for him there said the tall leader.
Some ministers also pointed out the Ministers of External Affairs, Home, Finance and Defence have their own aircraft to fly while they are dependent on public carriers.
The PM finally put an end to the controversy. You can take special permission for flying business class, he told them.

BSF women at Pak border from today

Sept. 10: At the crack of dawn on Friday, Border Security Force buglers at the Attari-Wagah India-Pakistan border will welcome India’s first women troopers, who will simultaneously take up position at observation posts along both the Punjab and West Bengal frontiers.
The first batch of 178 BSF women, all aged between 18 and 25, who were inducted after a grand passing-out parade at Kharkan camp near Hoshiarpur, have already reached their designated positions and will begin duty in the morning.
"Of the first batch, 60 girls have been posted to West Bengal and the rest (118 troopers) to Punjab," BSF DIG (G Branch) Jagir Singh said.
The women troopers’ arrival comes as major relief for women belonging to farming families in Punjab’s border villages who can now join the men in working on farms across the electrified security fence. These women had not been able to cross this fence since it was constructed in the early 1990s since the BSF had no arrangements to be able to frisk and search females.
This will mean substantial savings for many small farmers who were forced to hire labour to till their farms on the Pakistan side.
Mr Jagir Singh said the new recruits will also handle normal travellers and be on duty during the daily retreat ceremony, attended by nearly 20,000 spectators every evening. "Though all trained in weaponry, the girls for the moment will not be deployed in combat roles and will not be required to carry arms," he added. The officer expla-ined that of the 700 women recruited into the BSF, two batches had completed their training. The remaining batches will be inducted in the coming months after completing their compress-ed 38-week training course at the Kharkan camp.
BSF units in Punjab have constructed special facilities, including private living quarters, independent recreational areas and even was-hrooms reserved for the "la-dies" in every office block.

Hizb militant surrenders

A Hizbul Mujahideen militant today surrendered before the Army in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, defence officials said.
Hizb militant Asif Mazid, alias Kamra,n surrendered before the Rashtriya Rifles in Gurmal area of Doda district, they said, adding he handed over some ammunition.
Meanwhile, the police today busted a hideout and seized a cache of arms and ammunition in Reasi district. During a search operation in the Hajam Nagar area of the district today, the police busted a hideout in pastureland and seized 120 rounds of AK rifle, 20 Pika rounds, one pistol and a wireless set. — PTI

China ‘replaces’ police with army along Ladakh border

With fresh reports of incursion in the Ladakh region, a local councillor has reiterated that Chinese troops frequently intrude into the Indian territory and even threaten Indian shepherds.
“Last year when shepherds from 5-6 villages were grazing cattle in our winter pasture area ...the Chinese troops troubled them. They (Chinese troops) pressurised the villagers to leave the place,” Nawang Norboo, councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) representing the Nyoma block, said in Demchok village. Norboo said Beijing seemed to have beefed up the troops along the border.
“One change we witnessed during the past one year is that when we asked the villagers about their interaction with the Chinese troops, they told us that earlier they had an interaction with the Chinese Border Police but for the first time they saw troops of the People’s LiberationArmy in the area,” he added.
Official sources have said the Chinese troops entered nearly 1.5 km into the Indian territory near Mount Gya, which is recognised as the International Border by India and China, and painted the word 'China' in Cantonese on the boulders and rocks there with red spray paint. The incursions were reported from the area generally referred in the Chumar sector east of Leh. — ANI

MiG-21 crash kills pilot , Rajay Deep/Ravi Dhaliwal , Tribune News Service

MiG-21 fighter jet of the IAF crashed at this village in Muktsar district at 2 pm today. Pilot, Flight Lieutenant Manu Akhouri (22), hailing from Jharkhand, died on the spot.
The fighter jet C-1641, took off on routine sortie from Air Force station, Bhisiana in Bathinda district in the afternoon. After a few minutes of flying, it caught fire and came close to ground.
After circling twice over the village, it veered towards Muktsar and crashed with blast on the Bathinda-Muktsar main road, 500 metres from the village. The crash left six-foot deep pit at the site, which is 100 metres from a petrol station. Gurtej Singh, who works at Sunder Filling Station, said: “I saw burning jet hovering over my head and a blast took place in the air, before it crashed”.
Farmers working in nearby fields at the time of the crash said the fighter jet was in flames before it crashed. The pilot apparently to save the populated areas manoeuvred the plane towards fields for crash landing. When the jet came close to the ground, a bus was plying on the road. Apparently to avert an accident with the vehicle, the jet hit a tree and was blown to pieces.
The farmers witnessed the pilot ejecting with his seat with rapid pressure. However,he had succumbed to his injuries. The parachute of the pilot was lying beside the body.
Thana Singh, a farmer, said: “The fighter jet came down once but again started going upwards. After a few seconds it again came down and crashed”. Officers of Bathinda and Muktsar administrations and the IAF reached the spot.
Helicopters, ambulances and fire tenders reached the spot in a few minutes of the crash. The whole area was cordoned off and the IAF authorities launched probe.
Collecting scattered pieces of the plane had started, but the road could not be cleared till the filing of the report. Meanwhile, body of the pilot was taken for post-mortem examination.
Though IAF officials avoided meeting the media, Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar, Rajat Aggarwal said: “As per the IAF authorities, Manu was regular pilot. He took off from Bhisiana station and after routine sortie he had to fly back”.

Military Buildup Across the Himalayas: A Shaky Balance

In less than one year, China and India will celebrate six decades of bilateral relations capped by festivities in their respective country. This period, however, has been marked by a border war in 1962 that precipitated a long phase of antagonism and hostility between the two sides. Yet, there were several positive trends in their bilateral relations since the late 1980s that buoy the decline in mutual trust: regular high level political interactions; increasing bilateral trade that may reach $60 billion in 2010; boundary demarcation talks since 2003; and joint military exercises, which included two ‘anti terror’ exercises in 2007 and 2008. Most recently, during border talks in August in New Delhi, the two sides agreed to ‘seek a political solution’ to the boundary problems and work towards ‘safeguarding the peace and calmness in the areas along the border’ (Xinhua News Agency, August 6).

Notwithstanding these positive trends, the two Asian powers still suffer from a trust deficit and are increasingly concerned about each other's strategic intent, particularly over their respective military developments across the Himalayas. The Chinese side has specifically warned India of its ‘military initiatives’ in Arunachal Pradesh, a northeastern state of India that includes Tawang—home to one of Tibetan Buddhism’s most sacred monasteries—and claimed by Beijing (Asia Times, July 10), and New Delhi has raised the specter of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) ‘systematic upgrading of infrastructure, reconnaissance and surveillance, quick response and operational capabilities in the border areas’ (Indian Express, July 12). Besides border intrusion, incursions, air space violation and even on one occasion an ambush by PLA soldiers (, August 11) are causing immense concern to the Indian army. In 2008, there were reportedly “270 border violations and nearly 2,300 instances of ‘aggressive border patrolling’ by Chinese soldiers” (New York Times, September 4). Although leaders on both sides try to downplay the border sparring, there is ample evidence pointing to the further augmentation of defense forces and military infrastructure along the border. This could be the harbinger of a spiraling arms race.

Geographical Determinants

Geography is an important factor in the military infrastructure developments along the India-China border. A large part of China’s border lies along the flat Tibetan plateau, which gives China the advantages of higher operational and logistical capability for strategic planning during a military contingency. These favorable geographical settings allowed China to build an extensive network of roads, railheads, forward airfields, pipelines and logistic hubs that appear geared toward supporting military operations. Moreover, China is reportedly deploying intercontinental missiles such as the DF-31 and DF-31A at Delingha, north of Tibet, which can strike targets in northern India (Asia Times, July 9).

Unlike China, Indian troops are deployed on high mountains and have to negotiate a tougher terrain comprising of snow capped peaks, deep valleys, thick jungles and difficult mountain passes. Some of the Indian army posts can be accessed only during favorable weather conditions by animal transport and human porters [1]. Furthermore, a number of forward posts can only be serviced by helicopters for troop induction, logistics support and casualty evacuation. In essence, China enjoys geographical advantage and has built a sophisticated logistic network for conducting offensive operations against India.

Military Infrastructure

China has established a long distance rail link between Beijing and Lhasa and this service would later be extended to Xigaze, South of Lhasa, and then to Yatung, near Nathu La passes [2]. Further, Lhasa would be connected to Nyingchi, just north of Arunachal Pradesh, and the rail network would then run along the Brahmaputra River and the Sino-Indian border to Kunming in Yunnan. The rail project, when complete, would be a technological marvel, but it will be useful to keep in mind that it is being developed on the Tibetan plateau, and thus can provide China with a strategic advantage by enhancing the PLA’s logistic supply chain.

Furthermore, the Chinese authorities have announced plans to widen the Karakoram Highway, which links China to Pakistan, from the existing 10 meters width to 30 meters to allow heavier vehicles to pass throughout the year. According to an Indian military analyst, China has deployed “13 Border Defence Regiments, the 52 Mountain Infantry Brigade to protect Southern Qinghai-Tibet region, the 53 Mountain Infantry Brigade to protect the high plateau in the Western sector, the 149th Division of the 13th Group Army in the Eastern Sector and the 61st Division of the 21st Group Army in the Western Sector” [3]. This is a substantial military concentration, which can provide a forceful initial response in case of a breakout of hostilities across the Himalayas.

Similarly, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) has established airfields at Hoping, Pangta and Kong Ka, two airfields at Lhasa and an additional four in the region that can be rapidly operationalized [4]. Beyond just supporting fighter aircraft, these air bases have enhanced PLA airlift capability that includes division strength of troops (20,000), air-drop a brigade (3,500 troops) and helicopter lift of approximately two battalions. These figures are for a single lift [5].

In mid-August 2009, the PLA commenced a major military exercise that would be conducted over two months. The war game code named ‘Stride-2009’ (Kuayue-2009) involves nearly 50,000 troops drawn from the military regions of Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou, who would conduct operations over long distances. Significantly, one of the primary aims of the exercises is to test the PLA’s ‘capacity of long-range projection’ (Xinhua News Agency, August 11). The exercise would also marshal civilian assets such as high-speed trains traveling up to 350 kilometers per hour and commercial aircraft to move troops over long distances (China Daily [Beijing], August 12). According to Ni Lexiong,  a military analyst at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, “This is really about a rapid response to sudden events in Tibet and Xinjiang, but also the military will play an increasing role in moving supplies and responding to disasters” ( [Canada], August 11).

China's sprawling military infrastructure provides the PLA with a strong logistic back up, which enables the rapid deployment of troops and a robust offensive capability. India, on the other hand, is constrained by geography. In June 2009, General J.J. Singh, the governor of Arunachal Pradesh and former chief of the Indian Army stated, “Two army divisions comprising 25,000 to 30,000 soldiers each will be deployed along the border in Arunachal’ and “[deployment] was part of the planned augmentation of our capabilities to defend the country ... The increase in force strength is to meet the future national security challenge” (Reuters, June 8). These two divisions are specially trained in mountain warfare and would augment the number of Indian troops to 120,000 (, June 8).

Soon thereafter, in July 2009, the Indian Air Force (IAF) announced that it had planned to forward-deploy two squadrons (18 aircraft each) of Su-30 MKI advanced fighter jets at its airbase in Tezpur (150 kilometers south of the Chinese border) in Arunachal Pradesh. According to the IAF chief, “We have plans to improve infrastructure in the north-east. We’re upgrading four-five airfields and Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG). We’re also going to be basing a fleet of Sukhoi-30s in Tezpur in addition to the existing MiG 21s fighter jets” (, July 21). The ALGs are strategically located at Daulat Beg Oldie and in Chushul on the border with Aksai Chin in the proximity of Karakoram Highway. In addition, the IAF has plans to position Su-30 MKIs at Chabua and Jorhat in Assam, Panagarh in West Bengal and Purnea in Bihar (, July 10).

Interestingly, there is a maritime dimension to the military developments in the Himalayas. Located at an altitude of 14,500 feet, the Pangong Lake is under the control of both China (90 kilometers) and India (45 kilometers), but a stretch of about 5 km is disputed (Indian Express, October 6, 2008). Both sides have positioned patrol vessels and conduct routine surveillance. There have been regular incidents of transgression and incursions but both sides have exercised restraint and adopted a standard drill that helps disengagement; when boats from both sides come face to face with each other, they raise flags and shout ‘hindi chini bhai bhai’ (Indian and Chinese are brothers) and disengage. China operates 22 boats manned by 5-7 personnel each and India has deployed 2 large boats operated by 21 personnel each. In 2008, the Indian navy chief had visited the lake and India has plans to augment its capability by deploying more boats in the lake (Indian Express, October 7, 2008).

The Indian Ministry of Defense Report 2008-2009 has expressed concerns over China’s military capabilities and observed that ‘greater transparency and openness’ is critical but on a conciliatory note also stated that  India will ‘engage China, while taking all necessary measures to protect its national security, territorial integrity and sovereignty’ (Indian Express, July 12). There are fears in India about China’s military modernization and augmentation of military infrastructure along the borders. China has been increasing its defense budget on a regular basis and in 2009 it announced a  14.9 percent rise in military spending to 480.6 billion renminbi ($70.3 billion) marking 21 years of double-digit growth (, March 4). Yet, unofficial estimates place the total amount much higher than the figures the Chinese government claims.

The Indian military leadership has expressed concern about the growing military power potential of China. Admiral Sureesh Mehta, chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, categorically stated that “In military terms, both conventionally and unconventionally, we can neither have the capability nor the intention to match China force for force …” but cautioned that as China consolidates itself and builds its comprehensive national power and a powerful military, it is “likely to be more assertive on its claims, especially in the immediate neighborhood [sic].” Further, “It is quite evident that coping with China will certainly be one of our [India] primary challenges in the years ahead. Our trust deficit with China can never be liquidated unless our boundary problems are resolved” (, August 10).

In the 21st Century, China and India have emerged as major Asian powers and are engaged in building their respective strengths. The current trends in their bilateral political and economic relations augers well for Asian prosperity. Yet, the slow pace of talks on demarcation and delineation of the boundary (commenced in 2003), military infrastructure developments along the border, are some of the issues that remain uppermost in the minds of Indian planners and strategic analysts. The boundary dispute gains greater salience given the fact that China has resolved its boundary disputes with most of its neighbors, while its dispute with India remains unresolved. It is fair to argue that China is biding time to build its comprehensive national power including military capability reflected in Deng Xiaoping’s thought “tao guang yang hui," which literally translates as "hide brightness, nourish obscurity," and in Beijing’s interpretation, "Bide our time and build up our capabilities" and then challenge India at the time of its choosing.

IAF copters carry out flood relief operation in WB

Kolkata, Sept 10 (PTI) Indian Air Force today deployed two MI-17 helicopters to carry out flood relief operation in and around Pursura and Khanakul areas of Hooghly district, nearly 100 km northwest of here.

The two copters moved out of IAF station at Barrackpore and flew five sorties, dropping about 10 tonnes of relief materials in and around the two flood-hit areas, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.

Wg Cdr S T George, the Chief Operations officer, said, "Intermittent rains and thunderstorms are affecting the operations." However, IAF would provide relief and succour to the affected population despite inclement weather.

The food packets included water packets, biscuits, bread and other items provided by the state government, he said.

India's naval buildup a tryst with destiny

Kolkata, India — India has of late been significantly expanding its naval capabilities beyond the pale of maritime security. Its naval buildup is designed to give it significant leverage over its traditional foes and cement its position as an emergent player on the global stage.
History can mete out hard lessons, and India subjected itself to one of them in the last millennium. It fell victim to colonial enterprises that snuck into the subcontinent through its vast unguarded coastline. However, present-day India seems determined not to repeat the catastrophic errors of the past and is rapidly expanding its naval prowess.
More importantly, the present naval buildup is not driven by the mere desire to prevent a seaborne invasion. Its contours are far wider than mere coastal defense, and this is reflected in the nature of the naval buildup.
India is quietly raising a force with significant blue-water capability, including medium-sized aircraft carriers, multi-role destroyers and frigates, conventional and nuclear attack submarines and amphibious ships, which can facilitate over-the-horizon assaults. It even has a host of modern corvettes that could be classified as frigates in many modest-sized navies.
Like all ambitious navies, the Indian navy is also committed to having a powerful air force of its own, as well as space-based assets for surveillance and targeting, and has rolled out its first ballistic missile nuclear submarine for sea trials.
The buildup is driven by a variety of factors besides defending the shoreline. Over the years, India has become increasingly dependent on foreign oil to sustain its steadily growing economy. By any measure, India imports over 70 percent of its oil requirement. Most trade is seaborne as well, which means protecting sea-lanes assumes greater significance in the strategic planning context.
Then there is also the question of maintaining India’s suzerainty over an exclusive economic zone spanning some 2.02 million square kilometers, besides defending offshore assets such as Bombay High – an offshore oil field, 160 kilometers from the Mumbai coast. These are easily understood economic reasons for building up naval power and focusing on what goes on at sea with no apparent direct bearing on land conflict issues.
Strangely though, some of the most compelling reasons for India’s naval expansion may actually be land related. It is now widely known that India’s naval moves in the summer of 1999 helped end the Kargil conflict with Pakistan. When faced with the prospect of a long drawn-out naval blockade, Pakistan backed off and realized just how easily the Indian navy could gain sea control.
Policymakers in India sat up and took notice as well. They realized that the Indian Navy could prove a decisive factor in resolving a stalemate in the mountains. Defense Minister Jaswant Singh publicly stated in 2001 that the government had made the development of the navy a key priority. That support has continued even though the governing dispensation in New Delhi has changed.
India’s naval moves also play a central role in ongoing military tensions and long-term rivalry with China. India and its island territories sit astride some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, through which most of East Asia’s oil flows. The ability to interdict these supplies gives India a strategic bargaining tool that can be used vis-à-vis its northern neighbor in the event of a conflict over the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh in the Himalayas.
It can be argued that this factor actually sets an upper limit to the number of days a China-initiated border conflict could last, given the size of China’s strategic oil reserves and attendant costs.
Beijing is trying to efface this handicap. It is making forays into the Indian Ocean and increasing it blue-water capability with the addition of large destroyers and nuclear attack boats, and embarking upon the construction of at least two – some reports actually say six – relatively large (60,000 ton) aircraft carriers.
As part of a so-called “string of pearls” strategy – many in India see it as a euphemism for strategic encirclement – China is involved in “port development projects” in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan.
Even as recent reports of Chinese incursions along the Line of Actual Control that separates the two Asian giants makes headlines, India seems to have set in motion a very serious upgradating of its military presence in the Andaman and Nicobar island chain, located very close to the Strait of Malacca, a key gateway to the South China Sea.
In a recent seminar held at Port Blair, former Indian president and missile scientist Abdul Kalam suggested permanently basing naval assets such as carriers and nuclear submarines in the island chain, upgrading air defenses, and setting up a 250-megawatt nuclear reactor. It looks like India is set to future-proof itself against Chinese moves in the Indian Ocean.
One of the key aims of the string of pearls strategy is to give China coveted access to the Persian Gulf. Anticipating this, India is accruing the capability to influence Middle East countries in a more substantive manner. India has signed a number of defense pacts with Gulf States, the most notable being with Qatar and Oman on defense and security issues. According to some analysts, India may have actually extended a nuclear umbrella to these states in return for naval basing rights and anti-terrorism cooperation.
Former U.S. Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan said more than a century ago that the Indian Ocean was an “ocean of destiny,” and whosoever controlled it would dominate Asia. While Mahan has followers in the United States – which is probably why the United States maintains a significant presence at Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean 1600 kilometers south of the southern coast of India – he has found new ones in the Indian military.
Besides deterring India’s troublesome neighbors in the north through strategic persuasion, if not strategic coercion, the Indian Ocean remains the big pond where India is destined to play a major role in achieving regional supremacy.

VIEW: Second-strike challenges —Ahmed Ali Shah from Pakistan

Pakistan needs to acquire a matching capability, not only to restore balance in the region but also to assure second-strike capability. There are several options available to Pakistan, though each presents its own unique challenges

On July 26, 2009, India launched its first nuclear submarine, capable of launching nuclear ballistic missiles. While the submarine, Arihant, and its nuclear reactor are still undergoing trials, the Indians have already started building a second such submarine.

The upshot is that the induction of this capability would enhance India’s outreach in and domination of the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean littoral and beyond. Since the development presents a serious threat to Pakistan, in theory, it has the potential to spur an arms race in South Asia. The Indian Navy could threaten Pakistan’s brown water navy and be in a much better position to blockade Pakistani ports and choke the flow of trade from the Persian Gulf via the Suez Canal in the west and the Straits of Malacca in the east.

Pakistan therefore needs to acquire a matching capability, not only to restore balance in the region but also to assure second-strike capability. There are several options available, though each presents its own unique challenges.

The easiest option is to modify the existing fleet of conventional submarines. The most potent submarine with the Pakistan Navy fleet at the moment is the French Agosta-90B. One of the Agosta-90Bs, the PNS Hamza, is equipped with an air-independent propulsion system, which enables the submarine to remain submerged for longer periods.

Currently, Pakistan is the only country in South Asia in possession of a submarine with air-independent propulsion. With a few modifications to its torpedo tubes — they are already capable of launching Exocet missiles — the PN can launch nuclear cruise missiles. That would provide an instant second-strike capability.

Compared to nuclear submarines, conventional submarines are smaller, more manoeuvrable, quieter and more capable of underwater offensives against adversaries. The flip side is that conventional submarines are marred by lesser range and limited submersion endurance time. This, however, should be viewed in the context of PN’s modest regional ambitions, limited to brown waters only.

Arihant will carry the K-15 Sagarika, a submarine-based ballistic missile with a 700-km range. If Pakistan is able to equip its Agosta-90Bs with cruise missiles, e.g. the Babur cruise missile with a 500-km to 750-km range, then it can match India. Both submarines will require similar distance to carry out a nuclear strike. If Pakistan can meet the technological challenges, this capability could be achieved even before Arihant’s reactor goes critical and the Sagarika missiles become operational.

In that scenario, Pakistan can have assured second-strike capability before the Indians.

But this assurance would be limited and may last only till Arihant becomes operational. A submarine with longer range and greater endurance under water is necessary for a credible assured second-strike capability. Pakistan will thus require a nuclear submarine at some point.

For an easier way out, Pakistan can opt for the second option, i.e. removal of the air-independent propulsion system and the diesel engine on the Agosta-90B and make room for a miniaturised nuclear reactor, thereby increasing the range of the Agosta-90Bs and enabling them to stay underwater for longer periods. Theoretically, this option is possible, but literature does not indicate if any state has attempted such an experiment.

That said, the French Rubis Class nuclear submarine could be an inspiration in this context: it is the most compact nuclear submarine ever built, almost the same size as Pakistan’s Agosta-90Bs.

The challenge in resorting to the above option is miniaturising the nuclear reactor, which should be small enough to fit into the slim frame of the Agosta-90B. If Pakistan does overcome this challenge, it would be illogical not to develop a nuclear submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles.

But as noted earlier, each option has its own unique challenges. Building such a submarine will require tremendous work and technological effort. A larger submarine will be required with enough room for a nuclear reactor and ballistic missile containers, apart from the miniaturisation of the nuclear reactor and improving warheads. Whether Pakistan can overcome all these challenges remains to be seen. Even so, if we can miniaturise a reactor, there is no reason to think we cannot meet the other challenges.

In view of the above argument, it would only be logical for Pakistan to develop a similar indigenous capability, especially since Pakistan’s command and control structure also suggests the country needs a triad of nuclear forces.

Ahmed Ali Shah is a defence and strategic analyst. He can be reached at

Four MiG-29K fighter jets to join Indian Navy in October news

Moscow: The first four of 16 Russian-made MiG-29K/KUB fighter jets, purchased by India as the air complement for the upgraded Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya) aircraft carrier, will be delivered to the Indian Navy in October this year, reports quoting Indian defence sources say.
The 'K' series aircraft are navalised versions of the MiG-29 fighters currently in service with the Indian Air Force. While the MiG-29K designation refers to a single-seat version the MiG-29KUB refers to a two-seater, which are primarily trainers.

Image: US Navy
India had contracted for the supply of 12 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUBs to India as part of a $1.5 billion deal to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, currently being retrofitted in Russia for the Indian Navy in a deal signed on 20 January 2004.

The carrier part of the deal has since run into rough weather over cost escalations.
"The aircraft are expected to arrive in mid-October. They will be assembled and tested in flight. After that they will be put in service," the defence source has been quoted as saying.

Indian Navy inducts two fast attack crafts to boost surveillance

Kolkata, Sep 10 - ANI: The Indian Navy, which has been assigned the overall responsibility of maritime security, including coastal and offshore defence after the Mumbai attacks, today inducted two water jet propelled fast attack craft (WJFACs) in order to boost its surveillance capacity.

The safe operability of the new WJFACs in shallow waters and at high speeds, and their day-night surveillance capability coupled with enhanced fire power is expected to give a tremendous boost to combating such asymmetric threats emanating from the sea and further enhance the coastal security.

West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi commissioned here INS Cora Divh and INS Cheriyam at a colourful ceremony.

The ships that are of the new series of ten WJFACs designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, and are being inducted as a replacement of the earlier Seaward Defence Boats (SDBs).

These world-class ships are a sure testament of the Navys commitment to indigenisation. Conceived, designed and built indigenously at M/S Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd of Kolkata, these small yet highly manoeuvrable craft are ideally suited for their intended deployment along the coast.

Named after the pristine islands located in the Lakshadweep chain, INS Cheriyam and INS Cora Divh, are commanded by Commander Sudip Malik, and Commander N Hariharan respectively both specialists in Gunnery and Missiles.

The ships measuring close to 50 meters in length and displacing 325 tons, can achieve speeds in excess of 30 Knots. - ANI

Indian Army vacates camp in Kokernag

Srinagar: It was after eleven years on Thursday that tIndian army roops of 36 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) removed its Camp at Lissar village, four kilometers from Kokernag� pristine tourist destination� in the South Kashmir district of Islamabad.

While people express jubilations over the removal of the camp, troops have allegedly vandalized lush walnut and apple orchard�spread over 90 Kanals of land, to leave the land owners with anguish and pain.

Sources told Press Bureau of India that the troops have shifted its base camp from Lissar to Vujru Qazigund.

The camp, according to the locals, created tremendous hardship to the people after its establishment in 1998.

“The road through the camp was closed and people had to take long alternate routes to reach respective destination,” a villager, Nasir Ahmad told Press Bureau of India, expressing happiness that he and other villagers have no more to take long travel routes to reach home. “There will be no gun wielding men either to yell at us,” he added.

While people appreciated the civil administrations for heeding to their long cherished demand by removing the camp, damage to their orchard have brought anxiety on their faces.

“I had four and a half kanals of land under the camp. Several of the walnut and apple trees over it have been damaged while they used to take the entire harvest from it,” Ghulam Mohammad Malik, a local told Press Bureau of India.

He said that army has shown only 10-marlas of his land under its occupation as, he said, troops have managed to show that only 37 kanals of land were under its occupation.

“Army has prepared a list of villagers whose land was under its occupation for rent disbursement. However, they have shown only ten Marlas of land against each villagers and not the exact measure of property,” Malik said.

“They called several villagers inside the camp today and got their signature on paper to maintain the claims with regard to rent,” he added.

Another villager, Ghulam Qadir Sheikh, seconded Malik and alleged that while they were devoid of actual rent, nothing was been talked about the compensation on account of damage to the orchards.

“Rent cases are mere eyewash. There has been tremendous damage to our orchards besides they have erected many underground bunkers on the land,” he added.

The villagers also accused troops of decamping with fenced wire, put on the land for demarcation.

Despite repeated attempts, no army official including the concerned CEO of the army unit could be contacted for their version. (PBI)

China makes ‘inroads’ - Beijing paves patrol path, India stuck in red tape

New Delhi, Sept. 10: China has built roads well into India’s territory at a time Indian road construction to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), particularly in Arunachal Pradesh, is caught in red tape.
Beijing has constructed motorable roads running parallel to the LAC and has paved approach roads into Arunachal Pradesh, Indian sources have disclosed, elevating the nature of alleged transgressions from the usual incursions to building infrastructure.
“What we call Indian territory is different from what their perception of the LAC is. While our patrol forces (Indo-Tibetan Border Police or (ITBP)) have to walk days to reach the LAC, China has roads till what they perceive is the LAC,” a senior home ministry official told The Telegraph.
By the time India constructs roads reaching the LAC, the character of the actual line would have changed irreversibly, it is feared. China does not recognise the LAC or McMahon Line of 1914.
The patrols play a seemingly childish but psychologically important role in establishing territorial rights — much like the kings of the wild that mark out their spheres of influence by urinating.
The patrol parties use stuff less organic than body fluids — troops from both sides are known to leave along the LAC telltale articles identifiable with each other’s country. Favourite with Indian forces are Dalda cans and cigarette packs which Chinese troops painstakingly remove from what Beijing feels is its territory.
“With approach roads on their (Chinese) side and the absence of them on our side, their patrolling parties have more opportunities to collect the stuff and dump it back on what they perceive as the LAC,” said an official.
The marking-out ritual was stepped up in July by Chinese troops who apparently sprayed paint to scrawl “China” on boulders in Ladakh — something the Chinese foreign ministry has denied since.
An Indian China study group made of secretaries from the home, external affairs and defence ministries, besides the heads of the intelligence wings, had also recently recommended that roads be built fast.
Delhi has maintained a stoic silence, sheepishly conceding but publicly denying the existence of any problem.
In reality, however, the fault lies in the slow pace in the movement of files in the government.
Of the 27 roads being constructed to the Chinese border, 11 are in Arunachal Pradesh and they need clearance from the environment and forest ministry. For years, the files kept trudging through the slow corridors.
Four roads were cleared eventually, the number going up to nine recently. Clearances for the remaining two are still pending.
The recent clearances for the five roads came after the home ministry approached the empowered group of secretaries on border roads and sought waivers in view of “national security”, sources said.
According to official sources, work is in progress on 10 border roads meant to cover 196km. Here, 40.08km of formation work and 5.40km of surfacing work has been completed.
To showcase the recent headway, home minister P. Chidambaram had announced that work on the Phorbrank-Chartse-Point 4433 road had been cleared by the Supreme Court.
However, Chidambaram conceded on September 1 that although the pace of road construction to the Chinese border had picked up substantially, some distance still needed to be covered. The bulk of the problems of infrastructure lies in Arunachal Pradesh which China claims is its territory.

New N-E division with eye on China?

KOLKATA: The Army is creating a new Mountain Division for the Northeast, headquartered in central Nagaland or the adjoining areas of Upper Assam.

Although it will be stationed in an area when the Army is engaged in counter-insurgency operations, sources say the division could also have the task of keeping an eye on the Chinese border in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh, sources indicated.

The Army brass is keeping the plan under the wraps, since there were protests from China some time ago that induction of more troops in Arunachal could lead to an arms race in the region. The Army is cagey about the role of the proposed division.

"It is nothing much,'' a senior officer based in Dimapur said. "It is not that we are going to induct 50,000 new troops.'' According to the brass, the role of a new formation can't be determined properly until it participates in a war game. The formalities are yet to be completed, said another officer, although it is learnt that the proposal was sanctioned long ago.

Nagaland earlier had a division stationed there to fight insurgency the 8 Mountain Division which was subsequently shifted to Jammu and Kashmir and played a crucial role in the Kargil operations. Insurgency in Nagaland is now on a low key, after the two National Socialist Council of Nagaland factions entered into ceasefire agreements with the Centre.

Analysts say a division stationed in central Nagaland could have a counter-insurgency role in places like Tirap and Changlang in Arunachal which are not far from the Myanmar border. It could also be mobilized rapidly to the India-China border in Arunachal in case of an emergency. Places like Lohit and Dibang valley in eastern Arunachal, bordering China, are accessible from the area.

Placing the mountain division away from Arunachal would circumvent the problem of inducting more troops near the international border in contravention of international agreements, sources said.

It is generally acknowledged that China has an upper hand in the Arunachal sector of the border. With extensive road and railway infrastructure at its disposal in the Tibet plateau, China can quickly mobilize a large number of troops to the border. Chinese claim on Arunachal, incursions across the Line of Actual Control and presence of disputed areas, like Wangdong valley, Asaphila and Madan Ridge, have heightened India's concerns. Compared with this, the road infrastructure on the Indian side of the border lags far behind, especially in the central and eastern parts of Arunachal.

Frequent Chinese incursions across the LAC have prompted the strengthening of the Army presence in Sikkim by bringing back to north Bengal a division that had moved to J&K during the Kargil conflict, the sources said.

Don't create alarm over Chinese raid

NEW DELHI: After the Army admitted to Chinese incursions, external affairs minister S M Krishna cautioned against creating “excessive alarm” and maintained that India was closely monitoring the border with China.

“We have been monitoring the Chinese build-up along Arunachal Pradesh and elsewhere. Our defence preparedness is a continuing process,” Mr Krishna told a TV channel.

The external affairs minister has continued to downplay the incursions by Chinese troops into India after the Army admitted that incursions from the Chinese side had taken place. The matter is now set to be taken up with the Chinese in the next flag meeting between the two countries. “I would like to emphasise that there is an established mechanism to deal with such situations. Both sides have agreed that pending the resolution of the border issue, peace and tranquillity must be maintained on the LAC,” the external affairs minister said at the Editors Guild meeting.

He further assured that India’s border with China remained secure. “India is monitoring the situation constantly and there can and will be no lowering of our defences in this regard. Our borders are secure and it serves no purpose to create excessive alarm,” he said.

Sources said that it was important to look at the incursions in a “practical manner” considering the length of the border India shares with China. The government has continued to highlight the fact that India’s border with China is one of the most peaceful boundaries compared to the boundary lines with other countries.

Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor had last month admitted that Chinese helicopters had violated Indian airspace along the Line of Actual Control in Leh.

Indian army doctors return from Lanka

COLOMBO: Indian army doctors left Sri Lanka on Wednesday after treating more than 50,000 Tamil war refugees in the last six months in makeshift hospitals that they had set up in the north and east of the island nation.The 50-odd medical personnel carried out 500 major and 3,500 minor surgeries. Besides, 4,500 patients were treated in the day care centres and over 500 others were warded in the hospitals at Pulmoddai in Trincomalee district and Chettikulam in Vavuniya district.At a farewell function here, Indian High Commissioner, Alok Prasad, said that India had responded to the crisis by setting up, within 72 hours, a full-fledged hospital with all kinds of equipment, medicines, doctors and nurses in Pulmoddai. They treated over 7,000 of the war wounded and the sick brought in ships by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).When the war ended in May and about 300,000 refugees suddenly poured into Vavuniya, the Indians shifted to Chettikulam. “In all the six months, there were only two deaths in the Indian-run hospitals. Even these two cases had been brought to the hospital virtually dead,” Alok Prasad said