Tuesday, December 8, 2009

India, Russia seal N-deal

Better than 123

Provisions for transfer of enrichment and N-technology, which is denied in the 123 agreement with the US
Will bring uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies even in the event of termination of bilateral ties in this field for any reason

Other agreements

Military cooperation programme extended for another 10 years till 2020, on the after sales and product support of the Russian origin military hardware
A protocol for the joint development and production of multi-role transport aircraft for the armed forces

Moscow, December 7
India and Russia today signed a path-breaking broad-based agreement in civil nuclear field that will ensure transfer of technology and uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies to its nuclear reactors and inked three pacts in the defence sector.

The agreements were signed after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin here, during which they discussed a whole range of issues, including terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.

“Today we have signed an agreement that broadens the reach of our cooperation beyond supplies of nuclear reactors to areas of research and development and a whole range of areas in nuclear energy,” Manmohan Singh told a joint press conference with Medvedev.

The PM said the agreement would deepen and strengthen the already existing nuclear cooperation between the two countries under which four new nuclear reactors would be set up by Russia in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu and a site for the fifth one has been identified in West Bengal.

The new civil nuclear pact provides for uninterrupted uranium fuel supplies from Russia even in the event of termination of bilateral ties in this field for any reason.

The Indo-Russian pact on atomic cooperation is a significant document and goes much further than the 123 agreement between India and the US, officials said. The pact also has provisions for transfer of enrichment and nuclear technology, which is denied in the 123 agreement with the US.

Medvedev said the nuclear agreement opens the way for greater cooperation beyond Kudankulam. “The nuclear cooperation between the two countries have a very good future. We are satisfied with the cooperation and I hope today’s agreement will pave the way for greater cooperation in this field in the years to come,” he said.

Asked about provision of ENR to India against the backdrop of a G-8 resolution in July this year under which Russia and seven other countries committed that they will refrain from transferring such technology, he said: “Nothing changes for us.”

The Prime Minister said the agreement on nuclear cooperation is a major step forward and that both the leaders were satisfied over the agreement on nuclear power cooperation.

The two sides also signed agreements on extending their long term military cooperation programme for another 10 years till 2020, on the after sales and product support of the Russian origin military hardware and a protocol for the joint development and production of multi-role transport aircraft for the armed forces.

Manmohan Singh and Medvedev also discussed regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, in which both the countries have a stake and favoured a “stable and prosperous” Afghanistan.

India and Russia will intensify cooperation to meet the grave challenges of terrorism and religious extremism.

Noting that he was visiting Russia for the second time in six months, the PM said this reflected the close ties between the two countries. He said Russia is a major power and a factor of peace and stability in the international system. “India accords highest priority in its relations with Russia and this relationship stands on a firm footing and is not influenced by relations with any other country,” he said.

Calling Indo-Russian relationship as “multi- dimensional and multi-faceted”, he said the two countries have decided to raise the level of bilateral trade from the present level to $30 billion by 2015.

He said the two countries have identified areas like information technology and communication for giving that impetus.

The two countries also reviewed their cooperation in the United Nations and in multilateral fora and their role towards successful conclusion of the Copenhagen Summit on climate change. The Prime Minister said the relationship with Russia characterised by mutual trust and confidence reflecting a strong political commitment on both sides to contributing and strengthening the strategic relationship. Describing his talks with Medvedev as “very productive”, the PM said, “A stronger Russia is important for world peace.” — PTI

IAF goes hi-tech for pilot selection

The IAF is changing over to a new computerised system of selecting pilots that now does away with the earlier manual and subjective procedures for judging a candidate’s aptitude and reflexes.

As a pilot project, the DRDO has installed three such systems at the IAF’s service selection boards located in Allahabad, Varanasi and Mysore.

According to Dr W Selvamurthy, Chief Controller, DRDO, the IAF has placed an order worth about Rs 20 crore for additional such systems to be installed at its selection centres. These are expected to be in place within six months.

Each system has multiple nodes and can screen up to 100 individuals at a time. According to information released by the Ministry of Defence last month, the number of officers joining the IAF in the last three years was 463, 485 and 401, respectively.

“In today's environment, a fighter pilot is not just a flier, but a systems manager required to execute multiple tasks in an extremely short-time span, Dr Selvamurthy told The Tribune during a visit here. “The new system tests the time-sharing and workload management skills of candidates, whereas the older procedures were restricted to evaluating the coordination between the mind, limbs and eyes,” he added.

The system is based upon a simulated cockpit mock-up into which flight parameters and other information such as fuel state are fed. A candidate virtually flies an aircraft and his mental and physical responses and reflexes are recorded and analysed by specially developed software.

The system, according to experts, measures a wider spectrum of cognitive processes and is not only restricted to the measurement of reasoning as done by earlier intelligence assessments. It will measure different dimensions of cognitions like attention, memory, problem solving, decision-making, reasoning and concept formation.

It has taken the DRDO about six years to develop this system. The IAF was also closely associated with the project.

Navy foils pirate attack on tanker in Gulf of Aden

NEW DELHI: The Indian Navy on Monday prevented a pirate attack on a US-owned tanker in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's coast.

A Navy spokesperson here confirmed the attack on a private tanker that was flying a Norway flag. He said a naval ship prevented the pirates from taking control of the ship.

The incident occurred around 3 pm local time when MT Nordik Spirit, the tanker owned by Nordik Shipping Company, was sailing in the Gulf of Aden. The pirates made an attempt to hijack the tanker by firing small arms at the crew members.

"The crew immediately sent out a distress signal and the Indian Navy ship, which was in the vicinity, responded to the SOS call," the Navy spokesperson said.

"The warship flew out its helicopters with marine commandos and on seeing it, the pirates gave up their hijack attempt," the spokesperson added.

There have been several hijacks in the Gulf of Aden in the past two years on commercial tankers. In September last year, all 18 Indians on board a Panama-owned oil tanker were hijacked in the Gulf of Aden.

About 15 Somalian pirates were involved in the attack and had hijacked the vessel, bound for Mumbai from Suez, about 38 miles off the coast of Yemen. The ship was taken to Somalia where ransom was negotiated. 

Landing system lies defunct, blame game on

With the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and the Indian Air Force authorities playing the blame game over the replacement or repair of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Chandigarh Airport, it is the common man who is at the receiving end.

While the Chandigarh Airport Authority is blaming the local Air Force authorities for the delay, the latter has put the onus of the job on the AAI. None of the authorities is ready to take responsibility for the flights’ disruption and harassment faced by the passengers. Airport Director Suneel Dutt said, “The delay is entirely from the Air Force authorities’ side. They have to decide about the installation of the new ILS which is on their land. The authority to which the instrument belongs is responsible for its repair and replacement and not the AAI.” The ILS system which was working so far was installed by the Air Force on their land. It was a CAT-I system installed 15 years back which was later allowed to the assist in civil operations. 

Nepal: Surkhet Air Strip for Indian Air Force, Target Tibet

How will China react to the fresh agreement made in between the Government of Nepal and India that allows the Southern neighbor, China’s arch rival, to construct an Air Base for the Indian Air Force in Surkhet?
The Jana Disha Daily, the Maoists’ Party mouth piece dated December 7, 2009, claims that in the consultative meeting held between the representatives of the Government of India and Nepal, December 4-7, 2009, Kathmandu, the Nepali side has provided a clear go-ahead signal to India to construct the Air-Strip for the Indian Air Force.
It was earlier reported that India has already built air-strips deep inside Bhutan and an air-strip in Surkhet of Nepal will serve the Indian security interests in a much more enhanced manner, say experts.
As per the agreement the government of Nepal will have to allocate some ten hectares of lands in the area to construct the Air Strip.
It was reported that during the visit of Nepal’s Defense Minister Bidya Devi Bhandari to New Delhi in July 2009, Mrs. Bhandari had requested India to construct the Air-Strip for Nepal Army.
“The very idea of constructing an air belt in Surkhet is basically not a Nepali brain. Instead, it is the Indian mind to build an air strip right inside Nepal from where the Indian regime, should an imaginary war with China becomes a reality by 2012 as claimed by Bharat Burma, an Indian defense analyst, could pounce upon Tibet that adjoins the Nepalese border”, claim Nepal’s analysts.
Surkhet is close to the tri-junction, Kalapani, where China meets India in Nepali territory.
Nepal’s defense analysts claim that the Indian Army can strike the heartland in Tibet as and when India and China go to war.
How China reacts to this "benevolent" Nepal, gesture made in favor of India will have to be watched.

Indian Military Review Magazine To Be Released In January 2010

New Delhi, Delhi, December 6, 2009 /India PRwire/ -- IDYB Group, with a legacy of 77 years in publishing, have launched Indian Military Review, a monthly military magazine, designed to address the long standing needs of the armed forces, the strategic community and defence industry for a regular media on defence concepts, security issues and technology.

The inaugural issue of the magazine, which comes from the publishers of the ever popular Indian Defence Yearbook, will be released in January 2010. The print version of the magazine is also complimented with an electronic version, which will be unveiled on 1 January 2010.

Maj Gen (Retd) RK Arora, Executive Editor of Indian Military Review, says that the aim of Indian Defence Publishers was to reach every officer of the Indian armed forces. To meet that aim the magazine would initially be distributed free of cost to all units and formations of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The Editor, Gen Arora, is an established scholar and soldier of the Indian Army who sought premature retirement to take up the challenge of meeting the academic and intellectual requirements of the officers looking for quality inputs on defence matters. In his last appointment in the Army, before Arora took up the editorial task was to head the REDFOR (Red Forces) Branch at the Army's Training Command. REDFOR Branch collects and analyses information on China, Pakistan and potential adversaries so as provide the Army with the 'enemy's thinking, concepts and likely plans'.

Gen Arora holds post graduate degrees in Public Administration, Defence Studies & Management and Social Science. Besides experience in counter-insurgency, he was involved in the joint operations planning as secretary of the Joint Planning Committee in the Ministry of Defence and in the perspective planning for short and long term planning for acquisition of infantry weapons in Army Headquarters.

President Patil to confer general title on Nepal army chief

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s new army chief Gen Chhatraman Singh Gurung will head for India Friday on his first official visit abroad after assuming office at the invitation of the Indian Army chief, Gen Deepak Kapoor.

The highlight of the eight-day visit will be Indian President Pratibha Patil conferring the honorary title of general of the Indian Army on the 57-year-old. Due to their close proximity, the Indian and Nepal armies regard each other’s chiefs as the honorary generals of their own armies.

The Nepali general, who studied at the Indian Military Academy in Dehra Dun before being commissioned, will also attend, as special guest, the passing-out parade of IMA cadets on Saturday. Gurung is the second chief of the Nepal Army to be appointed from the ranks of commoners. He is also the first army chief to come from an ethnic community.

The general’s nomination in August came at a stormy time in Nepal’s history with his predecessor, the controversial Gen Rookmangud Katawal, locking horns with the Maoist government and defying the government’s attempts to integrate the Maoist People’s Liberation Army guerrillas into the state army. Though Maoist prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda tried to fire Katawal, he was foiled by the President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who re-appointed the general and caused the collapse of the Maoist government.

The effects of the presidential move continues even today with the Maoists, now in opposition, calling a series of obstructive protests to force the government to censure Yadav. They called a general strike Sunday and have announced a three-day general strike from Dec 20.

Gurung’s visit will strengthen ties between the two armies that became slack during deposed king Gyanendra’s attempt four years ago to seize absolute power with an army-backed coup. In retaliation, India suspended military assistance to the Nepal Army, including arms and aircraft provided at a 70 percent subsidiary. After the fall of the royal regime in 2006, India relented to resume non-lethal military supplies.

During his visit, Gurung will host a banquet for the Indian Army chief at the Nepal Embassy as well as meet top Indian security officials, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s national security officer M K Narayanan. 

Indian Army set to upgrade its weapon locating radar systems

The Indian Army is in the final stages of accepting for induction a newly developed weapon locating radar (WLR), designed and developed by Bangalore-based Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE), a senior defence research official said today.

“We have a long border. The product has been developed and is ready for acceptance. Bharat Electronics is ready to roll out the systems in bulk. The radar can look at objects from 30 kms. It can locate rockets and even give the trajectory and give an early warning,” S Varadarajan, director of LRDE, a Defence Research and Development Organisation lab, told reporters.

The Army is likely to place an order for the delivery of 29 WLRs worth Rs 1,500 crore, he said.

The foliage radar is also under development and the LRDE is looking for a collaboration. It is an airborne radar which can detect objects 20-30 kms away and can be deployed for internal security and help in low-intensity conflicts such as those resorted to by terrorists and insurgents, he said.

The radar will be ready for production in 2012, he added.

Varadarajan expects the Army to place orders with the Bharat Electronics Limited for a large number of WLRs.

LRDE is also in the advanced stages of developing a 300-km range radar for air defence applications.

“Gone are the days when radars are for specific purposes. Today a radar has got the capability for multiple functions. By 2012, the radars will be ready for commercial production,” Varadarajan said.

These technologies will be on display at the 7th international radar symposium India (IRSI) 2009 being held here during December 8-11.

The objective of the seminar is to provide a common platform for practicing radar scientists, engineers, manufacturers and users to share their experiences, issues and knowledge to carve out the technology path for better future, he said. Bharat Electronics, LRDE, Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers, Bangalore Centre, ISRO, HAL among others are sponsoring the symposium. I V Sarma, director-R&D, BEL said the company is gearing up to manufacture a wide range of radars for both civilian and defence applications. The company presently has orders worth Rs 4,600 crore in hand and for this fiscal, and it plans to deliver radars worth Rs 1,000 crore, a growth of 10 per cent over the last fiscal. He said the country is likely to capture about 10 per cent of the world market for radars in the next 10 years, worth about Rs 40,000 crore. BEL has dedicated three out of 17 strategic business units to manuacture various radars, he said.