Coming Soon
It's been a while, but as they say, better late than never. We finally made some time to redesign our blog and soon we will have our own independent website. The blog helped us reach a huge audience and generate a lot of interest in this area. As a result, the format and (utility) of the blog seems overwhelmed, hence the transittion to the dedicated site. The URL for the new site and content will be disclosed soon. Till then, enjoy the blog and continue to contribute to our posts.
 
 
India deploying Agni missiles, says Atre
New Delhi, Aug. 31 (PTI): India has started deploying both the short range 700 km. Agni I as well as intermediate range 2,000 km.-plus Agni II surface to surface missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads with DRDO scientists training the army missile group on their launch techniques, according to the country's top scientist, Dr V K Atre.

"We have completely developed systems for these two missiles and a certain number of them have been delivered to the army", the outgoing DRDO Secretary told newsmen indicating that after the success with these missile, they would "soon go in for launch of the longer range 3,000 km version of the missile Agni III".

"The technique for longer range missiles exists. We are in the process of putting it together", he said hinting that some technical hitches had to be overcome before going ahead with the launch of the Agni III.

Retiring after a tenure of over five years in the top post, Atre said that along with developing short, medium and longer range missiles, Indian scientists were also working on developing an anti-missile defence system as well as Airborne early warning system.
For the first time, the top DRDO official said that Defence scientists were training the army missile group personnel on the technique of firing, mounting warheads and other technical parameters of surface to surface missiles.

The Army has recently raised the third missile group 334 for induction of the Agni I missile. It has already raised two missile groups 333 and 355 for 150 to 350 km range Prithvi missiles.




Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 1:52 PM

 

Steering Failure Causes Arrow-2 To Miss Target
A faulty steering mechanism in the Arrow-2 interceptor caused the rocket to miss its target in the most recent test of the anti-missile system, Israeli officials said.

The Aug. 26 test, held in the Point Mugu range off the California coast, was the eighth for the system and the 13th of the Arrow-2 interceptor missile, said Boaz Levy, director of the Arrow program at the MLM division of Israel Aircraft Industries.

This was the Arrow-2’s second test failure, but the two are not related, Levy said.

The failure occurred after on-board sensors identified the short-range air-launched target, and while the interceptor was maneuvering toward it, said Arieh Herzog, who directs the Israel Missile Defense Organization. An MLM-made electronic component that controls the thrust vector nozzles directing the yaw — the sideways motion of the missile — failed and the test had to be aborted.

Levy and Herzog briefed reporters at the Israeli embassy here.

This was the first test against a short-range air-launched missile launched from a C-17A transport aircraft, Herzog said. It was intended to test the Arrow’s ability against longer-range missiles with separating re-entry vehicles like Syria Scud-Ds and Iranian Shihab-3s, he said.

The Israeli anti-missile system, developed jointly with the Pentagon, is being tested in the United States because test ranges in Israel have severe limitations.

Herzog and Levy could not say when investigation of the failure would be completed or when U.S. tests of Arrow will resume.

Both said the technology behind the failed component was developed in the 1990s and thus obsolete. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the inventory of Arrow-2 interceptors in the Israeli military possibly could be upgraded with new components, the officials said.

Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing have a co-production agreement to make Arrow-3 interceptors, which will have different components from the ones onboard Arrow-2, Levy said.




Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 5:43 AM

 

Russian Reluctance on Israeli Deal Hinders India’s ASW Aircraft Plans
India’s coastal patrol capabilities are being severely compromised by Russia’s refusal to be part of a deal that would have Israeli firms upgrading the Indian Navy’s Russian-built Tupolev Tu-142 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft.

India originally turned to Russia for upgrade work to be done on the eight aircraft, but balked at the $888 million price tag placed on the work earlier this year by Rosoboronexport, Russia’s arms export agency.

The Navy then approached Israel Aircraft Industries, Lod, and Elbit Systems, Haifa, to upgrade the Tu-42s in Israel with multimission avionics and electronic warfare systems.

An Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) official said Russia’s consent is mandatory because the aircraft would be going to a third country for the upgrade work. The official said that because Russia will not enter into a tripartite agreement with India and Israel, the upgrades will not be done by the Israeli firms.

Among the roadblocks to a deal were royalty payments to Russia and Moscow’s insistence that Russian Sea Dragon electronic warfare systems be part of the upgrade plans, MoD and Navy officials said.

A Navy official said the service now plans to ask the government to scrap the upgrade program and instead launch a global tender to replace the eight aircraft.

Tupolev officials in Moscow were not available for comment by press time.

India in 2001 started talks to purchase an unspecified number of P-3 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft from the United States, but no deal has been made.

Russia finally agreed to enter into a similar agreement when India wanted the Israeli Phalcon radar installed on three Russian-built Il-76 aircraft for the Indian Air Force’s airborne warning and control system aircraft program. That deal was struck early this year by the outgoing National Democratic Alliance government after nearly a year of negotiations and debate over royalties to be paid by Israel to Russia for allowing the latter’s platforms to be upgraded in a third country, the Indian Defence Ministry official said. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

India’s efforts to lease four Tu-22 bombers and buy two to four Il-38 maritime surveillance aircraft from Russia also are stalled in negotiations.

The Navy has urgently searched for maritime surveillance aircraft after it lost two of its five Il-38 aircraft in an accident in October 2002.

The current maritime surveillance fleet includes the eight Tu-142s and the three Il-38s. “This is inadequate to meet the maritime surveillance needs of the country,” the Navy official said.

The Tu-142 is a nuclear-capable bomber that can fly from Mumbai to Johannesburg, South Africa, and back without refueling and is the key to the Navy’s ASW operations, said a senior Indian Navy aviation official.




Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:15 PM

 

Blaze Guts Part of Classified Indian Military Facility
A fire partially destroyed an ammunition depot of a classified military research center in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, police said Aug. 27.

A police spokesman said the fire broke out late Aug. 26 at the Indian Air Force’s Aviation Research Center in a remote town of Orissa’s Cuttack district, some 30 kilometers from the state capital, Bhubaneshwar.

Air Force sources in New Delhi said the blaze destroyed the section where small-arms munitions are stored.

“The section containing heavy weaponry has been spared,” a source said in New Delhi after firefighters put out the blaze early Friday.

Thousands of people living in villages around the research center were evacuated as a precaution after ammunition began exploding inside the depot.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:11 AM

 

India fires warning to Pakistan
At a time when peace efforts are slipping and terrorist infiltration into Kashmir is picking up, the much celebrated Agni-II missile test on Sunday may have been deliberately timed to send a message to Pakistan, many believe.

But Indian officials insist the testing of India's most potent nuclear missile was purely for technical purpose.

The test also came a week before foreign ministers of the two countries are to meet in New Delhi to lay the grounds for the first meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President General Pervez Musharaf in New York during the UN General Assembly in end-September.

On Sunday, Pakistan was quick to respond by calling for "strategic restraint" in the "interest of both nations".

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman said his country was not in "favour an open-ended arms race in South Asia."

The third test of Agni II came a week before the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan are set to meet in New Delhi to review the peace progress and finalise the agenda for Singh and Musharaf to discuss in New York.

Pakistan on Sunday hinted that it would take up the issue of strategic restraint with India during the September 5-6 meeting of the foreign ministers in New Delhi which any way would be clouded by India's renewed allegation that terrorist infiltration from Pakistan has picked up.

Indian officials said they are concerned about the rising infiltration levels, threat to moderates among Hurriyat that in turn has affected dialogue with them, and the losing momentum of peace process. "In fact losing momentum of peace talks is directly linked to the rising infiltration levels and other developments in Kashmir," a senior official said.

They point out that the radio communication across the border between terrorists in Kashmir and their contacts in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have also gone up drastically.

Besides, the infrastructure of terrorism is "alive and active" in Pakistan with many terrorists camps reopening and several others shifting to new premises, the official said.

Level of infiltration, radio communications across the border, and terrorist camps in Pakistan are among the major yardsticks with which India measures Pakistan's seriousness to end state support to Kashmir terrorism.

The official pointed out that in the last couple of months number of terrorists who have come in from across the border has shot up to new heights. "And a few hundred terrorists are waiting at the launch pads. The situation is almost back to the days before Parliament attack," he argued.

Last week the Cabinet Committee on Security met to finalise the Indian stand for the foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi. And the meeting decided to articulate India's concerns regarding infiltration.

There was no immediate confirmation if Agni-II test on Sunday, just a week before the highest formal diplomatic exchange between Manmohan Singh government and Musharaf regime on bilateral issues, was deliberately meant to send out a message to Pakistan.

But the timing smacks of the usual Indo-Pak missile antics. Till this morning, India had not received any formal notification from Pakistan about intended missile tests. The two sides are to notify each other before any missile tests as part of existing confidence building measures.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:10 AM

 

Bush claims credit for averting Indo-Pak war
Keen to achieve as much political capital out of the policies that he has promoted during his four years as president, George W Bush is taking credit for preventing a possible fifth war, a nuclear one, between Pakistan and India.

Bush's achievements listed on a 19 chapter web site, highlights the fact relations between Islamabad and Washington could never have been better, particularly considering the fact that Pakistan was at one time a very stubborn supporter of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

"Three years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries in the world that recognised the Taliban regime, and the al-Qaeda was active and recruiting in Pakistan without serious opposition. Today, the US and Pakistan are working closely in the fight against terror and Pakistani forces are rounding up terrorists along the nation's western border," the Daily Times quotes one of the web site chapters, as saying.

The chapters also dwell on the Bush Administration's achievements' vis a vis bringing Japan, South Korea, China, and Russia to the negotiating table for discussions with North Korea on ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme, besides other landmark results.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:08 AM

 

Israeli and American officials term Arrow test a partial success
Israeli and American defense officials are calling last Thursday's Arrow missile test in California "a partial success," despite a malfunction that prevented the interception of an air-launched test target. The test demonstrated the Arrow's ability to identify the warhead of an Iranian Shihab-3 missile, according to the head of the ballistic missile defense program at the Defense Ministry, Aryeh Herzog.

The Pentagon is considering another test to demonstrate the Arrow's ability to distinguish between the missile's engine and warhead.

Analysis of the test indicates the malfunction was caused by failure of an electronic component in the missile guidance system. The system was okayed before the test by the component's developer, a senior engineer at Israel Aircraft Industries who was present at the launch.

IAI engineers reviewed the test and informed the U.S. Missile Defense Agency that all of the early warning systems on the ground worked smoothly.

The joint Israeli-American verdict was that the malfunction was "a localized problem" unrelated to the mission's nature and difficulty, and that it was "due to "environmental conditions" that could not have been anticipated in ground checks.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 5:55 AM

 

PAC-3 TEST SUCCESSFUL
The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Army conducted the PATRIOT Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile Seeker Characterization Flight (SCF) test at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., today at 6:55 a.m. Preliminary test data indicate the test was successful.

Objectives included the collection of data and analyses of the system/missile capability to detect, track, and close with the target, the PAC-3 missile seeker data in a flight environment, and the missile closed-loop homing guidance performance in flight. While not a specific objective of the SCF, the PAC-3 missile intercepted the HERA reentry vehicle target.

The PAC-3 missile is a high velocity, hit-to-kill missile and is the next-generation PATRIOT missile being developed to provide increased defense capability against advanced theater ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and hostile aircraft.

The first two PAC-3 missions consisted of missiles with special instrumentation packages in place of the seeker and the missions were structured to verify critical systems and missile performance prior to conducting target intercept flight tests. This SCF mission is the first flight test of a PAC-3 missile with a seeker. The remaining PAC-3 missions will consist of 16 PAC-3 missiles intercepting different classes of targets.

Lockheed Martin Vought Systems, Dallas, Texas, is the prime contractor responsible for missile development. The seeker is produced by Boeing North America, Duluth, Ga.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 5:54 AM

 

Revamp of armed forces a priority: Pranab
Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee has directed his ministry officials to "hasten" new schemes for modernisation of the armed forces, holding that if additional funds are required he would ask the finance minister to "sympathetically consider" the issue.

Though the defence allocation was hiked to an unprecedented Rs 77,000 crore in the 2004-05 budget, only around Rs 1,000 crore will be left for procurement of new weapon systems.

Almost the entire projected capital expenditure of Rs 33,483 crore will go towards already committed liabilities like the "Hawk" advanced jet trainer project, the "Phalcon" AWACS contract and the "Admiral Gorshkov" aircraft carrier package deal, among others.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:07 AM

 

Defence Ministry To Seek More Funds
The defence ministry will be seeking additional funds from the finance ministry for the current financial year. Top authorities of the defence ministry have asked their officials to hasten clearance of some major schemes for the procurement of new platforms for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy.

IAF, which has a fleet strength of 45 squadrons, faces the danger of rapid depletion with more than 300 ageing MiG-21 fighters scheduled to be phased out in the next two years. Its replacement — the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft — will be ready for final induction only in 2011.

Though the Navy has finalised a $1.2 billion deal with the French company DCN-International for building six Scorpene submarines under licence at Mazagaon Docks, the deal is yet to receive clearance from the cabinet committee on security.

There was a 16 per cent hike in this year’s defence budget. Officials said the capital outlay was only enough to take care of the already signed deals like the Advance Jet Trainers, Phalcon AWACS and aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, leaving a paltry Rs 4,000 crore for new purchases.

Officials said a major review of the weapons procurement system had been started to speed up arms purchase as officials in the ministry had been directed not to slow down while clearing new orders.

As part of new measures, the ministry has directed close monitoring of various modernisation schemes to ensure that capital outlay funds aren’t surrendered.

Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee has directed his officials to fasten the work on setting up of the country’s first-ever National Defence University, with the land for the purpose being identified soon.

“The first step toward this would be taken in the current financial year,” officials said.

They also said the government was working on total parity of pensioners between those who retired on January 1, 1986 and before, and modified parity for those who retired on January 1, 1996.

They revealed an inter-ministerial committee had been set up to examine the issue by the department of pensions.


LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:06 AM

 

Pranab set to pass defence hat
Pranab Mukherjee’s defence ministry has projected a shortfall of nearly Rs 7,000 crore despite an unexpected hike in allocations for the armed forces in the Union budget and has said it would be hard put to take up new projects.

This is at a time when the three armed forces have been pushing for clearances of projects that they say are a must.

The navy chief, in particular, has repeatedly expressed concern over the decline in force levels. The navy is pushing for clearance of the Scorpene submarine deal, among other high-value items on its shopping list like maritime surveillance aircraft.

Defence sources said the finance ministry has assured that funds would be made available to the armed forces if required. But that still leaves the armed forces with little freedom to sample international markets for military hardware.

The sources said that with Mukherjee practically ruling out an “omnibus” probe into a series of defence deals struck by his predecessor in the last few months leading to the elections, there was no question of revising the contracts that have been signed.

The defence ministry is all set to ask for additional supplementary provisions in another three months.

The defence allocations by finance minister P. Chidambaram total Rs 77,000 crore, a hike of more than Rs 11,000 crore over the last year’s Rs 65,300 crore.

Defence secretary Ajai Vikram Singh has told the parliamentary standing committee on defence that despite the allocations, the ministry would be left with only Rs 1,000 crore after meeting committed liabilities. This essentially means that the contractual obligations entered into by the previous government when George Fernandes was defence minister was absorbing almost the entire capital expenditure.

The ministry has told the committee that its allocations for 2004-05 appear to be huge but it had actually projected a requirement of Rs 86,457 crore. The ministry said new schemes and projects involving an expenditure of Rs 6,918 crore were close to finalisation. But the budget has not provided for such requirement.

The total capital outlay for the armed forces is Rs 33,400 in the budget. But the forces had projected a requirement of Rs 52,983.31 crore.

Singh said in view of this situation, the ministry would process “cases up to the point where it needs financial approval of the ministry of finance or the cabinet committee on security”.

Over the last year, Fernandes shook off the ennui forced by allegations of corruption in defence deals and pushed through huge contracts to acquire, among other military equipment, the aircraft carrier Gorshkov from Russia, the British Hawk advanced jet trainers and the Israeli Phalcon airborne early warning systems.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:36 AM

 

Israeli Arrow missile fails to hit target in California test
An anti-missile missile under development by Israel and the United States missed its target Thursday in its latest test off the California coast, a spokesman said.

The Arrow missile failed to intercept an air-launched missile over the Pacific and both fell into the water, said Chris Taylor, spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

"The engineers don't yet know what happened," Taylor said.

It was the 13th Arrow intercept test and the eighth test of the complete weapon system. Officials have not said how many of the tests have been successful.

Last month, an Arrow hit a missile launched from a platform on the ocean range off Point Mugu.

The Arrow system is continuing to undergo development after first being deployed by Israel after the Gulf War, when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at that nation.

In Thursday's test the Arrow was trying to hit a short-range, air-launched target. Taylor described the target only as representative of a threat that Israel might encounter.

A C-17 aircraft dropped the target missile 360 miles west-northwest of San Nicolas Island, its booster ignited and it flew correctly, Taylor said. Radar picked up the target and the Arrow was launched from San Nicolas.

The intercept should have occurred at 10:10 a.m. PDT west-southwest of San Nicolas, which is about 70 miles southwest of the Los Angeles coastline.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:35 AM

 

CNN not CIA alerted Clinton to Pokhran 98
Former US President Bill Clinton was surprised when CNN and not the CIA announced that India had carried out fresh nuclear tests in 1998, claims former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

In his recently released book - Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb, Talbott is quoted by the Daily Times as saying that New Delhi had succeeded in forcing Washington to pay serious and sustained attention to it with the nuclear tests.

He further revealed that about a month before Pokhran (April 1998), India's then Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath had given assurances to Washington that New Delhi would exercise nuclear restraint.

India shrugged off both international condemnation and sanctions that followed the tests, and to Washington's annoyance and dismay, France and other countries began to feel that not doing business with India wasn't practical in the long term.

The 14 rounds of "strategic dialogue" held after Pokhran between Indian and the United States, Talbott said, had led to an overall transformation in the quality of relations between the two countries. They began to collaborate in areas that had in the past been considered taboo.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:35 AM

 

LOC fencing will not divide Kashmiris: US experts
The fencing of the Line of Control in Kashmir will not create divisions between the people of the area, claim two American experts.

Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Centre and Professor Steve Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of a recent book on Pakistan, believe that fencing the LOC is a temporary solution to a larger issue.

Krepon also believes that "the introduction of the jihadi warriors does add to their (Kashmiri) misery because it means that the Kashmiris get caught in the crossfire between the jihadis and the security forces".

Cohen refuses to 'conjecture'. He thinks India and Pakistan should not be looking for "total victory" in Kashmir. Each side should instead be able to claim "partial victory".



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:33 AM

 

Let's exchange prisoners, Pak tells India
With the thaw in its relations with India, Pakistan has suggested that all 947 prisoners currently held in jails in both countries be release as part of the bilateral peace process.

Pakistan had offered to release all Indian prisoners held by it in exchange for Pakistanis held in Indian jails, an official here said.

"But so far we haven't received any response to our proposal (from India)," the official said.

"Of the total of 350 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, there are 247 civilian prisoners and 103 fishermen. Among the 597 Indian prisoners in Pakistani jails, there are 406 fishermen and 191 civilian prisoners," he said.

The official said that the offer for the release of the prisoners was made during the talks between the two countries this month. India and Pakistan held several rounds of talks in August as part of their composite dialogue process.

Official sources said of the 247 Pakistani civilian prisoners in Indian jails, the interior ministry had confirmed the nationality of 123.

The ministry is yet to confirm the nationality of 54 prisoners of Pakistani origin. "The remaining 70 Pakistani civilian prisoners in India have not yet been provided consular access by Indian authorities," a source said.

"Of the 191 civilian Indian prisoners, the nationality of 41 has been confirmed and they will be released soon along with Indian fishermen as announced by the interior secretary during the Pakistan-India talks on terrorism," the source said.

The sources said a majority of civilian prisoners detained in jails in both countries were those who crossed the border by mistake.

Many prisoners had completed their jail terms but were still behind bars either because of the non-availability of surety bonds or because their respective country had not confirmed their nationality, the sources said.

LINK




Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:32 AM

 

Govt must help Navy, IAF go hi-tech
Noting that both IAF and Navy were facing depletion in force levels, the parliamentary standing committee on defence has asked the government to take urgent corrective steps in the interest of national security.

The panel asked the defence ministry to make "serious and sincere efforts" to equip the armed forces with military satellites to keep "a watch on the border regions".

It also asked the government to take steps towards setting up an Aerospace Command to ensure India was strategically prepared to "counter any threat" that may emanate from space.

"Credible deterrence capabilities of the IAF has to be maintained to ensure air superiority in the region," said the committee.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:31 AM

 

101 dead: 36 yrs on, still no news
Relatives of the pilot of a military aircraft that went missing in Himachal Pradesh 36 years ago want the Indian Air Force (IAF) to do more to locate the bodies of the 102 victims who were on board.

"The IAF has not done enough for us. We cannot rest till the time the bodies of the crash victims are recovered and they are cremated with full honours," said Harbans Singh Sawhney, elder brother of Flt Lt H K Singh who was piloting the AN-12 aircraft on February 7, 1968, when it went missing over Lahaul valley.

"I am writing to the Defence Minister and the air chief to help locate bodies of the victims so that their families can cremate them," 75-year old Sawhney said.

He said the families were not satisfied with the search operations done by defence authorities immediately after the crash and again last year when the body of a soldier, Beli Ram, was recovered by a mountaineering expedition near Dakka glacier in the vicinity of the Rohtang Pass.

The body was found at an altitude of 14,000-ft on the Lahaul side of the pass.

Another trekking expedition last week found wreckage of the aircraft, leading the families of the victims to renew their pleas that the bodies are recovered.

None of those on the plane had survived the crash.

Initially it was thought that the aircraft could have ventured into Chinese territory and the defence personnel on board had been taken prisoner.

Search operations were launched once again last year by a team from the army and air force but adverse weather conditions halted the operation.

Search operations were re-launched after 35 years following information that the wreckage of the aircraft could be in the vicinity of the glacier.

These were abandoned again due to bad weather.

IAF search operations in 1968 had failed to even locate the wreckage of the aircraft as it had mysteriously disappeared over the snow covered peaks.

The aircraft, belonging to 25 Squadron of the IAF, was on a sortie from the air force base here to Leh. It was carrying four crew and 98 army personnel. Unable to make a landing at Leh due to unfavourable weather conditions, the aircraft was returning to Chandigarh base with another aircraft of the same type when contact was abruptly lost and it went missing.

The AN-12 version of military transport aircraft of Russian were inducted in the IAF in 1961 and phased out in 1993.

Singh had been named for the Vayu Sena Medal in 1967 but his father received the award only after his death.

LINK



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:28 AM

 

Air Chief may get F-16 spin over Israel
If the Americans don't play spoilsport, an Indian Air Chief may become the first in history to get into the cockpit of an F-16 fighter aircraft and take it for a spin in the skies.

Air Chief S Krishnaswamy could be presented this opportunity when he visits Tel Aviv on September 4 at the invitation of Israel's Vice Chief of Defence Staff Dan Halutz.

Sources said Krishnaswamy, who holds a test pilot licence and has flown the Mirage-2000 and Sukhoi-30, will be visiting two Israeli Air Force bases in course of his trip. This is when he could get his chance to get behind the controls of an American F-16.

The only thing that stands in the way of the Air Chief donning his fighter gear in Israel is a green light from the Americans.

Apart from flying, Krishnaswamy will review the progress of the $3 billion PHALCON AWACS deal for which an agreement was signed between India, Israel and Russia last year. India is seeking to fit the PHALCON on three IL-76 transport aircraft, even as Pakistan seeks to buy AWACS from Sweden.

In his capacity as Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, Krishnaswamy may also get a peek at the Soltam 155 howitzer. This is among the guns the Indian Army is currently examining and the contract could be worth Rs 5000 crore.

Krishnasswamy's visit to Israel comes on the heels of one made by Army Vice Chief Lt General Shantanu Chaudhary in June this year and another by Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash in July. Obviously, despite its support for the Palestinian cause, the UPA government is keeping the Indo-Israeli defence relationship as warm as ever.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 5:54 AM

 

Over 54 POW in Pakistan Custody: Govt
Over 1400 Indians, including 54 Prisoners of War, are lodged in various jails in Pakistan, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

"As per information, 54 Indian PoWs are presently believed to be in Pakistan's custody since 1971-72," Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh said in reply to a written question.

Government, through diplomatic channels, have been consistently taking up the matter with Pakistan, he said adding however, Pakistan has never acknowledged the presence of these Indian PoWs in their custody.

Singh said as per information, 938 Indian civilian prisoners, 412 fishemen were also believed to be in custody in Pakistan.

Since August one, 2002, India has released 35 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 93 fishermen, he said adding during the same period Pakistan had released 38 Indian civilian prisoners, two missing defence personnel and 623 Indian fishermen.

About 100 Pakistani nationals were facing trial in various courts in India, the Minister said adding, they can be released after completion of due procedure.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:28 AM

 

Pakistan's inevitable demise
It is as hard to predict the future boundaries in South East Asia as it is easy to see that Pakistan will soon not be there as we know it.

Pakistan is not the United States whose invincibility is tied to its unmatched military power. Similarly, Pakistan’s failure, or success, cannot be described in the language of state failure, which various objective criteria can measure.

Pakistan’s failure is linked to the failure of the idea of Pakistan, which, regardless of being called a subjective and contentious matter, remains the only factor that speeds up or has the power to slow down its descent into the dust bin of history.

Pakistan is unlikely to fail as a state; the downward trend in many indicators of state failure can be halted. Even the problems of the lack of economic opportunity, the booming birth rate, and the weak educational system could be effectively addressed.

What has become impossible to address is the nation’s ever losing focus on the objective for which creation of Pakistan was demanded: the idea on which its foundations were laid down, and the justification which brought Pakistan into existence.

Pakistan is being undermined for one reason: it is not a trivial state. Its very size (it will soon become the world’s fifth-most-populous state); its ties to many Arab and other Muslim states, especially Iran; its nuclear capabilities; and its critical geographic location mean that many powers also believe in the importance of Pakistan not surviving.

The days are gone when successive Pakistani governments used the argument of Pakistan’s survival as a matter of regional stability when approaching others for support and resources. They used to argue that the failure of Pakistan would be a multidimensional geostrategic calamity, generating enormous uncertainties in a world that craves order and predictability. That is not seen a plausible argument anymore. Perceptions and demands of the sustainers of Pakistan have completely changed.

A Pakistan-less South Asia would not place Iran, India and China at risk as it is no more providing them any protection. Instead any time it can play a role in attacks on Iran the way it played this role in the occupation of Afghanistan. Similarly, Pakistan is no more one of China’s staunchest friends as it used to be over the years. Iran would not be too deeply concerned about the fate of Pakistan’s large Shi‘a minority as the experience in Iraq shows and India would reap most of the fruits without any prospect of violence and disorder on its borders.

After brining Afghanistan to the present state, Pakistan is no more needed there. It is now the other way round. Finally, the rest of the world would not be concerned about the disposition of a failing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and fissile material, which it already knows is in “safe hands.”

Asking “which Pakistan is likely to quickly fizzle out?” provides another way of looking at Pakistan’s imminent demise. A number of possible future scenarios exist that imply Pakistan’s demise has become inevitable. The events of 2001 strengthened the hand of opportunist secularists at the center and weakened ethnic separatists. Thus, a replay of 1970 and a second partitioning of Pakistan are unlikely. If anything that can happen to it is total disappearance as a state.

Achieving the objective for which it was created is impossible. Due to political squabbling since day one and religious political parties changing their strategies, the mass movement towards achieving the objective of Pakistan has completely lost its strength. Religious parties exploited mass support in the form of demonstrating street power for achieving lesser and far deviated objectives than the objective which led to the creation of Pakistan. In the past, the religious parties received substantial support of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, who are now burying the evidence of this cooperation. The US is posing as if it had never pumped dollars into the religious parties when their services were needed for overthrowing Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Jihad against the enemies of America in Afghanistan. The way the present regime manipulated MMA and the way people are deluded by religious political parties, groups struggling in the name of Islam may never stage a comeback, they are very unlikely ever to transform Pakistan into the much-dreaded Islamic-state.

There are no signs of a demagogic or radical political movement emerging. Pakistan never had a truly leftist political movement; the hostility of the landowners, their alliance with the United States, the dominance of the army, and the Lasse-faire attitude of most Pakistanis enfeebled the left. Pakistan came closest to a radical political movement with the socialist government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who believed that only a populist movement could counter the army’s power. There are no signs that such a leftist movement could be repeated in the future. If the present experiment with a mixed military/civilian dictatorship should collapse, an increase in the appetite for pure authoritarianism is more likely.

The full restoration of democratic government and the efficient rebuilding of the Pakistani state is a future that is clearly impossible. Although most Pakistanis in the establishment are formally committed to the restoration of democracy, most are also uncomfortable with the idea of mass democratic politics. In Pakistan, democracy is still the avocation of the rich and influential, seen more as a civic obligation than a career. On this issue, Pakistan is well ahead of many Arab states but far behind thoroughly politicized and democratized India or Sri Lanka, and even behind Bangladesh. A truly democratic Pakistan is unlikely to emerge as the US has pinned all its hopes in the military and military is being trained on how to remain loyal to Washington and committed to gradual secularisation. The US mistrust by the politicians the military’s self-interest prevent the army from giving the politicians a free hand, and the politicians are so insecure and corrupt that they instinctively turn to the armed forces for political support. Pakistan will continue as a state that hovers on the edge of sham democracy till it hit the post.

The present arrangement of a military-led government will prevail to guide Pakistan into its permanent demise. Various outside actors will repeatedly challenge the legitimacy of the state, but not the army rule. Pakistan is in the ambivalent position of having an army that can neither govern nor allow civilians to rule. Thus, because the army itself established on the foundation of Iman (Faith), Taqwa (fear of Allah) and Jihad fi sabeelillah (Jihad in the cause of Allah) is an inherently Islamic institution (Musharraf may profess admiration for Ataturk but few of his colleagues share this enthusiasm), radical change is inconceivable. But the potential for polarization is beyond one can imagine.

What is considered as the army’s conceptual ability to plan a strategy of incremental change that would fundamentally reform Pakistan’s ailing institutions is actually what leads Pakistan into its disappearance from the world map. Analysts believed that Pakistan’s army is strong enough to prevent state failure but not imaginative enough to impose the changes that might transform Pakistan either in the image for which it was created or the image which the US wants it to adopt. Unfortunately, rather than transforming, the change that opportunist leaders surrounding general Musharraf have chosen will gradually fizzle out Pakistan into oblivion.

As for nationhood, despite its dominant position in the state due to which the army has a veto over any attempt to change the consensus view of Pakistan’s identity, it hardly seems willing to create an identity compatible with the vision of Pakistan, as well as with the objectives that led to Pakistan’s creation.

Pakistan’s most unique feature is not its potential as a failed state but the intricate interaction between the physical/political/legal entity known as the state of Pakistan and the idea behind Pakistan and the Pakistani nation. Few if any other nation states are more complex than Pakistan in this respect, with the Pakistani state often operating at cross-purposes with the purpose of its creation and Pakistani nation.

The state has certainly been failing for many years, but Pakistan’s creation and the Pakistani nation also are contested ideas, and the tension between them is what makes Pakistan an especially important case. Pakistan has neither fulfilled its potential nor the expectations of its founders and the people who gave their lives to make creation of Pakistan possible, but it is too big and potentially “too dangerous” for the “international community” to allow it simply to survive.

Regardless of all factors, the US has officially launched a war on the very basic ideology which is the basis of Pakistan. The state of Pakistan was thought to be more than a physical/legal entity that provided welfare, order, and justice to its citizens. Pakistan was to be an extraordinary state — a homeland for Indian Muslims and an ideological and political leader of the Islamic world. Providing a homeland to protect Muslims from the bigotry and intolerance of India’s Hindu population was important. The Pakistan movement also looked to the wider Islamic world, however, and Pakistan’s leaders have been concerned about the fate of other Muslim communities living under duress, stretching from Palestine to the Philippines.

This is exactly what is now known as “political Islam” of the “Islamists.” This is what the 9/11 Commission has admitted to be the “Islamic ideology” and called for a war on this ideology. Pakistan has to be dismantled because its raison de’etre has no place in the modern world in which crusade on Islam is now officially recognized. Islamic ideology is the threat and a war on it has been declared. Now think about the following words and comments by the creators on Pakistan. Imagine any nation under occupation or any Muslim leader now saying the following words. They would perfectly fit the well-defined category on which a war has officially been declared.

Note Pakistan’s Great Leader, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s reference to the Qur’an, Jihad, Islam and giving protection to neighbours in the following words at a rally on October 30, 1947:

If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Qur’an, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours… Do not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the task… You only have to develop the spirit of the Mujahids. You are a nation whose history is replete with people of wonderful character and heroism. Live up to your traditions and add to another chapter of glory. All I require of you now is that everyone… must vow to himself and be prepared to sacrifice his all… in building up Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam and as one of the greatest nations whose ideal is peace within and peace without… Islam enjoins on every Mussulman to give protection to his neighbors and to minorities regardless of caste and creed. [1]

These are the words which are sufficient to instantly declare anyone an “Islamist” preaching “Islamism” at which the US is at war. The US expects from the “moderate Muslims” to care about their poverty alleviation and forget about their brothers and sisters under oppression and occupation outside their countries. Musharraf has clearly mentioned this in his televised speech on January 12, 2002 and other "moderates” in the pages of New York Times tells Muslims in America to be American and give preference to their sons and daughters in American over their suffering brothers and sisters in Palestine.

In the earlier stages of this crusade at the time of creation of Pakistan, when the Muslim League adopted the Pakistan resolution on March 23, 1940, which called for the establishment of a sovereign, independent, and Islamic country, the following day, Lord Zetland, Secretary of State for the colonial India, wrote of his apprehensions regarding this proposition to Lord Linlithgow, the British viceroy in New Delhi, saying:

[T]he call of Islam is one which transcends the bounds of country. It may have lost some force as a result of the abolition of Caliphate by Mustafa Kamal Pasha, but it still has a very considerable appeal as witness for example Jinnah’s insistence on our giving undertaking that Indian troops should never be employed against any Muslim state, and the solicitude which he has constantly expressed for the Arabs of Palestine. [2]

These apprehensions were ignored for other reasons in 1947. However, creation of Pakistan on these grounds would have been impossible in 2004 and so is its survival at stake today when for the most powerful man in Pakistan words of its founders and the motive behind the Pakistan movement is no more than a joke.

Both the history and the future of Pakistan are rooted in a complex relationship between Pakistan the “Islamic” state — a physically bounded territory with an Islamic legal and international personality that would be guided by Islamic scriptures and traditions — and Pakistan the nation — mission-bound to serve as a beacon for oppressed or backward Muslim communities elsewhere in the world. Pakistan has bitterly failed at both the state and the nation level. The rot that started at the top has trickled to the roots and the nation as a whole is as oblivious of its responsibilities as is its leaders.

The forces that undermine Pakistan are nevertheless alive and well focused. Think about the following and count the days towards the end of Pakistan:

1).For the second year, Israelis have topped tourist list in Kashmir where businesses are changing the language of their outlets’ signboards from English to Hebrew. [3] We must note that after Israeli agents involvement in New Zealand and Canadian passport scams, the visitors in Kashmir are neither ordinary Israelis nor are they visiting Kashmir only for vacation purposes.

2).Pentagon recently stressed that it must train Pakistan military officers to increase Washington’s influence over the country’s armed forces. Paul Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee on August 10, 2004 that failure to train Pakistan officers could mean "pushing them into the one alternative, which is the Islamic extremists…It's not as though if we leave them alone, nobody else will go out to recruit them." [4]

3). Argument of “international community” led by the US goes somewhat like this: Iran must bring its nuclear program to an end and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal must be in safe hands, but Israel’s weapons of mass destruction must remain a “must-have.” [5]

4).The Pakistani government’s recent approach is to leave Kashmiris’ fate in the Indian hands and push Afghans back into Afghanistan so that the US could rule them as it may like. This is what is in total contradiction to the founding vision but this is what Pakistan is doing. Some 200,000 Afghan refugees have been living in the remote border areas of Pakistan, in poor and insecure conditions. In the past few months, as the Pakistani operations in the tribal area of South Waziristan have risen in strength, countless refugee home are destroyed and thousands of Afghans are pushed back into Afghanistan. [6] According to New York Times: “Refugees have been given as little as two hours' notice to leave before their houses were bulldozed, according to officials with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Some have returned to Afghanistan with no belongings, homeless once again.”

5).Almost all in the NGOs sector and many politicians to the level of former Prime Minter Zafrullah Khan Jamali, Pakistanis have come to believe that the source of Pakistan’s creation, the Two-nation theory is no longer valid. [7]

6).After facilitating occupation of Afghanistan, dictator Musharraf and his inner circle used the recent SAARC summit as a forum for direct and secret meetings with India's top brass. This was in order to consolidate a US inspired secret agreement to smooth the path for Pakistan in accepting Kashmir as an integral part of India. Musharraf announced the deal after a closed meeting with Vajpayee on January 6, 2003 when he said: "History has been made...The string that was broken at Agra has been repaired in Islamabad". After a phone conversation the next morning with Vajpayee, Musharraf confirmed that: "The deal was sealed". A cautious, secretive and incremental process has been adopted in order for India and Pakistan to work jointly in eliminating the threats to the understanding. Officials from Pakistan and India were very nervous as regards a leak.

7).Despite Pakistan’s surrender on every front, India signed a $ 1 billion sale of Phalcon Airborne Early Warning Systems deal with Israel in October 2003.

8).Despite dictator Musharraf’s sacrificing Pakistani soldiers for the US, the US kept on accusing it for secret nuclear pact with Saudi Arabia, [8] selling nuclear technology and for being not sincere to the US. [9] A CATO study called Pakistan’s cooperating “grudging and spotty.” [10] All these are in preparation for facilitating the US to make a U-turn on Pakistan any time it may decide to crush it directly or through India.

9).As the nation that was supposed to be mission-bound to serve as a beacon for oppressed or backward Muslim communities elsewhere in the world is lost in HBO, Z-TV and Sony, the government is devoted to revising school curriculum for teaching them submissiveness to occupation.

The above discussion may not reflect the extent to which Pakistanis as a whole have undermined Pakistan. What is undeniable and known is that ideologically Pakistan has long been dead. If there are any traces of it still linger on invisibly, the US war on it will deal with it appropriately. The left over physical existence neither makes a difference, nor would survive without its soul for too long.

All these might be very encouraging signs for the Islam and Pakistan bashers. However, we must not forget that the end of Pakistan could well lead to the beginning of “Jihad from Hind” (India) or the armies from "the East" of Arabia to which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made references 1400 years ago.

Notes:

[1]. Speech at a rally at the University Stadium, Lahore, October 30, 1947.

[2]. India Office Library, Document No. 609, and others, cited in Speeches and statements of His Excellency Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Organization of the Islamic Conference, 1988.

[3]. “For 2nd year, Israelis top tourist list in Kashmir,” Haaretz
19 August 2004. http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/466713.html


[4]. “Pentagon: US must train Pakistan officers,” Aljazeera, Wednesday 11 August 2004.

[5]. “Israel’s must-have,” editorial, Washington Times, July 22, 2004.

[6]. Carlotta Gall, “Pakistan Army Ousts Afghan refugees in Militants’ areas,” New York Times, July 21, 2004.

[7]. “Two-nation theory not valid today,” Faizul Haq, The Nation, March 01, 2003.

[8]. Arnaud de Borchgrave, “Pakistan, Saudi Arabia in secret nuke pact,” Washington Times, October 22, 2003.

[9]. “Pakistan without illusions,” editorial, New York Times, July 09, 2004.

[10]. Subodh Atal, “Extremist, nuclear Pakistan; an emerging threat,” Policy Analysis No. 472, March 5, 2003

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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 5:52 AM

 

6,000 Kashmiri men join Indian Army
Nearly 6,000 men from Jammu and Kashmir have been inducted into the Indian Army's counter-insurgency units deployed in the state, officials here said.

The men, recruited to six battalions of the Territorial Army – a civilian force of volunteers – from across Kashmir, have now returned to the state after training for deployment in operations.

"They are being attached to the Rashtriya Rifles to fight insurgents in Kashmir," a top official in the army's Northern Command told IANS.

The men – drawn from Doda, Poonch, Rajouri, Kupwara and Baramullah districts – were recruited into the Territorial Army as part of a special employment package framed by the Indian government for youth in the insurgency-hit state.

The army official said two objectives guided this recruitment. "We plan to use the local men actively in anti-insurgency operations and also keep them away from the influence of militants," he said.

The induction of these men is also expected to give "new teeth" to counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir, where over 3,000 militants are believed to be active, army officials said.

The Indian Army has been criticised by Pakistan for having deployed a large number of troops in Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad has been persistently charging New Delhi with using the troops to "quell the Kashmiris' indigenous movement for freedom".

India accuses Pakistan of training, arming and supporting guerrillas in Kashmir, a charge denied by Islamabad.

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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:43 PM

 

Boost Navy, IAF force levels
Noting that both IAF and Navy were facing depletion in force levels, the parliamentary standing committee on defence has asked the government to take urgent corrective steps in the interest of national security.

The committee asked the defence ministry to make "serious and sincere efforts" to equip the armed forces with military satellites with high-resolution cameras to keep "a watch on the activities in the border regions".

It also asked the government to take steps towards setting up an Aerospace Command to ensure India was strategically prepared to "counter any threat" that may emanate from space.

Despite the hike in defence allocation to Rs 77,000 crore in this year's budget, almost the entire capital expenditure would be spent on committed contractual obligations for several major defence deals signed by the NDA government, leaving only a paltry Rs 1,000 crore for new acquisitions.

"Credible deterrence capabilities of the IAF have to be maintained in all circumstances to ensure air superiority in the region," said the committee, urging the government to ensure that the induction plan of the indigenous light combat aircraft was not delayed any further.

Expressing its "extreme" concern about the ageing MiG series of fighters, which constitute nearly 75% of the combat fleet, the committee said the government should take the "required steps" to secure licensed production of the Mirage-2000 multi-role jets in India.

As for the Navy, the committee expressed unhappiness that there was still "no definite budgetary allocation" for the 15-year shipbuilding plan. "Immediate steps should be taken for allocation of funds to prevent any depletion of the naval strength and for optimal and efficient utilisation of the shipyards," it said.

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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:40 PM

 

Indian Army lose out to MNCs, IT
NEW DELHI: "Be an Army man: Be a winner for life," ran the advertising campaign. But despite the plethora of glossy ads, the armed forces are still finding it extremely difficult to attract bright youngsters bitten by the MNC and IT bug.

Despite an "authorised strength" of 46,280 officers, the Army is making do with only around 34,000 at present. What makes matters worse is that most of these vacancies are in "the fighting element" of the three Services. In the Army, for instance, the major shortages are in the ranks of lieutenants, captains and majors, who actually lead the troops into battle.

Expressing grave concern at the nearly 28 per cent shortage of officers in the Army, a key parliamentary committee has asked the government to make the short service commission (SSC) more attractive for youngsters

"The prime reason for lack of response to the SSC is the bleak future which awaits trained and disciplined officers once they are discharged barely after five years of service, with no prospects whatsoever either in public or private sector," said the parliamentary standing committee on defence.

The government should immediately take some steps to improve the career prospects of SSC officers, it said. These could range from more promotional avenues for SSC officers in their cadre to reservation and lateral transfer to PSUs, railways and central para-military forces. Moreover, even officers who have served for five years should get "pro-rata pension".

The committee also expressed its unhappiness at the "very poor rate" of induction of NCC cadets into the armed forces. "Specialised training should be imparted to NCC cadets to develop their communication skills and leadership qualities so that they can face the Services Selection Board more confidently," it said.

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Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 1:38 PM

 

Some Pak leaders linked to terrorism: Sami
By Shahzad Raza, Pakistan Daily Times, Tuesday Aug 24, 2004

ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leader Maulana Samiul Haq on Monday admitted that some religious leaders in Pakistan had contact with men who were labelled terrorists by the government.

“It is natural for those fighting along with us against the Russian occupation forces in Afghanistan to still have contact with us,” he said on a point of order in the Senate while condemning the recent police raids on madrassas.

Maulana Sami denied that the religious leaders from those madrassas were involved in the terrorists’ plot to blow up important government buildings.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat told the house that the government would not spare the abettors of terrorists only because they were maulvis. He said terrorists would not escape law enforcement agencies. Maulana Sami said the United States and the Pakistani government created the Taliban through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to defeat the Soviet Union during the Afghan war.

The interior minister said whenever the government started an anti-terrorist operation, the religious leaders alleged that it was targeting mosques and madrassas.

The interior minister said the government did not target madrassas but wanted to modernise them and a huge sum was allocated in the current budget for the purpose. The minister denied that police entered the Lal Masjid’s girls hostel.

Religious Affairs Minister Ejazul Haq said the government had already told clerics that the anti-terror campaign was not targeted against any madrassa or religious organisation. He asked the religious leaders not to portray terrorists as heroes.




Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 9:30 AM

 

MILITARY cooperation propelling India-US ties
Military cooperation between India and the US is a "vibrant, visible and proactive" force behind the transformation of their bilateral relations, a top American diplomat said on Monday.

Robert O Blake, chargé d'affaires at the US embassy in New Delhi, said military exercises by the two countries were bolstering the capability for joint operations to tackle terrorists and clandestine warfare, and the US was keen to sell India a wide array of defence hardware, ranging from radars to submarine rescue vessels.

Addressing Indian military officials at the Army War College here on the theme "US-India Relations: The Making of a Comprehensive Relationship", Blake said: "Without doubt, military cooperation remains one of the most vibrant, visible, and proactive legs powering the transformation of US-India relations."

"There is a growing and, I think, mutual desire to expand defence cooperation," he said, noting this was clear from the increasing frequency of training exercises, personnel exchanges and unit and ship visits.

Pointing out that the "political disconnect that hampered American defence sales to India" was a thing of the past, Blake said the US had sold 12 AN-TPQ/37 Firefinder weapon-locating radars worth $190 million to India. Two of these radars were supplied in July 2003 and two more would soon be deployed.

"The second major deal under negotiation is for the P-3 Orion naval reconnaissance plane. US officials describe it as a '3C-plus', meaning the version that would be sold to India would be equipped with latest avionics, including sensors and computerised command and control and weapons systems," he said.

India will also buy $29 million worth of special equipment to enhance the counter-terrorism capabilities of its special forces. It might also purchase chemical and biological protection equipment and submarine rescue vessels.

"The more the two countries exercise together, the greater the rationale to provide India with compatible equipment, communications and technologies. The Indian military establishment's desire to buy US equipment through the foreign military sales route and US willingness to sell state-of-the-art equipment to India are a happy convergence," Blake said.

With the lifting of sanctions in 2001, only major defence items valued over $14 million require Congressional notice for sale to India.

The "fundamental transformation" of bilateral ties was rooted the commitment of the US and India to political freedom, the fight against terrorism and trans-national threats, like the spread of weapons of mass destruction, drug trade, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking, Blake said.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:37 AM

 

Kashmir can send us to war: Pak
Pakistan said on Monday that the threat of war with India would remain until the Kashmir issue is resolved.

"Kashmir is the only issue between Pakistan and India, and the threat of war with India will remain as long as the issue of Kashmir is not resolved," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said in a speech to people in Pakistan's 'portion' of Kashmir.

"All negotiations will end in failure if the Kashmir issue is not solved," he said.

He also denounced Indian allegations that Islamic militants were still crossing from Pakistan despite Pakistani claims it has stopped them.

"There is no infiltration. There are no training camps in Pakistan," he said.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:37 AM

 

US lists military deals, special ties with India
The United States said on Monday that new military ties with India was a key plank of its emerging policy in South Asia and listed an impressive catalogue of arms deals with New Delhi that would inevitably , even if apparently unintentionally, trigger a fresh round of concerns in Islamabad.

Speaking at the Army War College in Indore, US Charge d'Affaires Robert Blake said recent military cooperation with India included joint training in jungle and mountain warfare, and an offer to sell to New Delhi chemical and biological protection equipment.

Their common quarry was terrorism. "Those who attack our societies, be it in New York, in Washington, in Mumbai, in New Delhi, or in Jammu & Kashmir, must be stopped. We condemn all terrorist violence, and let there be no doubt, we are with you 100 per cent on this issue," Mr Blake declared.

To help promote regional stability in South Asia, the US and India meet regularly to discuss "mutual concerns" in Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan.

"The US also supports continued efforts by India and Pakistan to better their relations," Mr Blake added. A copy of his remarks was made available by the US embassy.

"The relationship between our two countries transcends domestic politics, just as it did during the Clinton-Bush transition in 2001 and the BJP-Congress transition earlier this year," Mr Blake said, signalling a continuity of stable ties with New Delhi regardless of the party in power.

"Without doubt, military cooperation remains one of the most vibrant, visible, and proactive legs powering the transformation of US-India relations. This cooperation succeeds because of the Indian and US military establishments' mutual desire to move our relationship forward," the envoy said.

On the Indian side, there has been a tremendous effort to look to expand areas of mutual benefit, to look for partnerships, not antagonisms, and to look for regional collaboration, he observed. Mr Blake's list of military hardware - both sold and in the pipeline - was impressive.

In July 2003, two AN-TPQ/37 Firefinder counter-battery radars arrived and have been deployed in India. Two more radars, part of a 12 unit $190 million sales agreement under Washington's foreign military sales policy, will soon be deployed, having just completed their final quality testing.

The second major deal under negotiation is for the P-3 Orion naval reconnaissance plane. "US officials describe it as a "3C-plus" meaning the version that would be sold to India would be equipped with the latest avionics, including sensors and computerized command and control and weapons systems," Mr Blake said.

He added that India also plans to buy into the deep submersible rescue vessel (DSRV) system. Meanwhile, GE-404 engines for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) have already made their way here.

India will also buy $29 million worth of unique and special equipment to enhance the counter-terrorism capabilities of its special forces. They may also purchase chemical and biological protection equipment, he said.

He described as an area of great promise - and one that is of great strategic and commercial importance - the US-India Next Steps in Strategic Partnership initiative, or NSSP launched in January of this year.

This initiative will include expanded engagement on nuclear regulatory and safety issues and missile defence, ways to enhance cooperation in peaceful uses of space technology, and steps to create the appropriate environment for successful high technology commerce.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:36 AM

 

The Politics of Finding Terrorists - By Husain Haqqani
The Washington Post, quoting senior US and Pakistani officials, reported “new evidence” last week that suggests “that Al Qaeda is battered but not beaten, and that a motley collection of old hands and recent recruits has formed a nucleus in Pakistan that is pushing forward with plans for attacks in the United States”. General Pervez Musharraf’s regime, of course, is eager to take credit for its “cooperation” in the US-led war against terrorism. Usually reticent Pakistani officials, especially the Interior Minister, have been unusually forthcoming about recent successes in arresting Al Qaeda linked terrorist suspects, including some Pakistani nationals. The Interior Minister was even willing to hold a late night Press briefing hours before the Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was to formally accept his party’s nomination at the Democratic convention in Boston, to announce the arrest of the Al Qaeda man wanted for the 1998 terrorist bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

This recognition of an Al-Qaeda presence in Pakistan is quite contrary to the earlier approach of the military regime, which was to deny any links between Pakistani Islamist militants and the global terrorist network. The recent Pakistani statements are a personal vindication for me because I was vilified as ‘anti-Pakistan’ for suggesting an Al-Qaeda presence in the country of my birth barely two years ago. On July 7, 2002 London’s Financial Times published my article titled “Al-Qaeda’s New Enemy”, which said, among other things: “During the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance, militants from all over the Muslim world passed through Pakistan to participate in the Afghan Jihad. They were, at the time, supported by the intelligence services of the West as well as Islamic nations. Some of them created covert networks within Pakistan, taking advantage of poor law enforcement and the state’s sympathetic attitude towards pan-Islamic militancy. Now that al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been uprooted from Afghanistan, they are using their former transit station as a temporary staging ground for terrorist operations”.

I had also written in the same article, “Pakistan’s past support for Islamic militants fighting Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region of Jammu and Kashmir is an embarrassment the military government must face. The fear of being seen to back Kashmiri militants has led to Pakistani denials about any Al-Qaeda presence in Pakistan. But having made an irreversible commitment to opposing the extremists, General Musharraf no longer needs to deny that terrorists hiding in its cities pose a threat to Pakistan and the world”.

Soon after that article appeared, friends and acquaintances linked to the establishment started harassing me and my family members with charges of my writing “such things” at the behest of anti-state elements. My patriotism was questioned in a whispering campaign among the Pakistani journalist community. But now it turns out that I was a Pakistani patriot after all, guilty only of speaking the truth at a time not of the establishment’s suiting. In the covert operations world of the Pakistani establishment, timing is everything and those failing to follow the script undermine the complex “grand strategy” for regime survival often passed off as a plan for “saving” Pakistan.

Given the less than transparent nature of existing US-Pakistan relations, it is natural for the sceptics to wonder whether there is a political angle to the recent admission of local Al-Qaeda links and the spate of arrests in Pakistan. Pakistan is the only US ally that does not allow the US Central Command to post the details of joint operations as well as costs paid to Pakistan on Centcom’s website. Pakistan’s ability to “produce” Al-Qaeda figures at politically opportune moments has been widely noted in the US media. Recently, Pakistani sources leaked the name of an alleged Al-Qaeda computer wizard arrested in Lahore and later created a fuss over the leak by suggesting that the Americans had blown over a man the Pakistanis intended to use as a double agent inside Al-Qaeda. Such antics are tolerated by the Bush administration as it waits for the big prize, the arrest or killing of Osama bin Laden, but cannot build enduring trust between Pakistan and the United States.
In the US, President Bush’s many critics have wondered aloud if Pakistani regime is obliging its ‘paymaster’ by timing arrests of terrorists to coincide with the American election schedule. In Pakistan, the timing of the stepped up anti-terrorist effort, and the high level publicity given to it, has led to questions about General Musharraf’s intentions in domestic politics. He had promised to take off his military uniform by the end of the year and the Americans were hoping to use that as a fig leaf for accepting his regime as having completed its “transition” to civilian, democratic rule. If General Musharraf does not want to relinquish charge as the Chief of Army Staff, he needs to demonstrate his indispensability in the war against terrorism with renewed vigour. That way he might be able to avert the criticism that is certain to come his way if he does not give up his uniform.

The relative transparency of the US political system makes it difficult for officials to be blatant about linking political agendas to a national security issue such as the war against terrorism. In an article in The New Republic well before the Democratic convention, Spencer Ackerman and John B. Judis spoke of pressure on Pakistan by the Bush administration to produce some ‘high value target’ around the time of the Democratic Party convention to steal Mr. Kerry’s thunder. The suggestion was rejected as a conspiracy theory at the time. When Pakistan announced the arrest of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian, from the central Punjab city of Gujrat hours before Mr. Kerry’s acceptance speech, eyebrows were raised among even those Americans who are normally sceptical of conspiracy theories. But the Bush administration faces the check of a completely free media, a vibrant opposition party, and judicial and congressional oversights. Is it possible that the initiative to gain political advantage from arrests of terrorists came not from the Bush administration but from the Musharraf regime, which is America’s ally of convenience since 9/11 and has a special interest in the flow of economic and military benefits resulting from its “cooperation” in the war against terrorism?

Pakistan signed on for the war against terrorism as an extension of its establishment’s willingness to make it useful for the US in return for “the right price”. Pakistan’s first military ruler, General (later Field Marshal) Ayub Khan, had told US Assistant Secretary of State Henry Byroade as early as 1953, “Our army can be your army if you want us” and since then the Pakistani military leadership has seen alliance with the US as its meal ticket. At the present moment, Pakistan is receiving $700 million annually in bilateral assistance, $84 million monthly to defer costs incurred on the anti-terrorist effort and $1.7 billion in funds from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) where US support is crucial. Pakistan has also benefited from debt rescheduling and streamlining of remittances from overseas Pakistani workers. This significant cash inflow has enabled the government to balance its books, create an impression on economic growth and get back in the market for new weapons for the Pakistani military. As in the past, the economic component of the US aid package is aimed more at ensuring regime survival than sustained economic growth or real reform. To understand the priorities of the military regime, one need only note that while the US has been asked to provide $ 30 million for madrassa reform and $ 4 million for “training of Parliamentarians”, Pakistan’s military will get $ 350 million of the annual aid package. The regular payments for “costs” incurred on fighting terrorism on America’s behalf (which add up to almost $ 1 billion per year) go almost exclusively into the budget for the military and intelligence services.

As long as the US-Pakistan relationship remains a single issue alliance based on the quid pro quo of changes in Pakistani policy for US money, the regime in Islamabad will continue to be tempted to take its time in finding all the terrorists. This is a risky scheme but it conforms to the past pattern of Pakistani military regimes collecting rent from the US for Pakistan’s strategic “services”. Recently the 9/11 Commission called for a long-term US commitment to Pakistan, to ensure Pakistan’s stability and dependability as a US ally. The recommendation will bear fruit only if the US commitment is to the welfare of 150 million Pakistanis and not to the dominance of the Pakistani military-intelligence complex.

The writer is a Visiting Scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC. He served as adviser to Pakistani Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto and as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:35 AM

 

Indian Defence Ministry To Seek More Acquisition Funds
Despite the new government’s announcement of an 18 percent increase in India’s defense spending for the budget year ending March 31, 2005, defense planners are asking the Defence Ministry to release more funds for defense acquisitions this year.

Since most of the acquisition funds allocated are earmarked for deals entered into by the former National Democratic Alliance government, which lost power in April’s general elections, a Defence Ministry official said, the ministry will ask the Finance Ministry to make available at least $1.5 billion to finance new defense purchases.

The latest report of the Indian parliament’s Standing Committee on Defense, tabled in parliament Aug. 20, said that despite the higher allocation for defense, the Defence Ministry would have to seek additional funds.

Defense spending for the April 2004-March 2005 budget year is set for $16.79 billion, up from $14.15 billion for the preceding year.

Funds allocated for the current budget year will pay part of the bills for purchases such as the $1.5 billion retired Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov; acquisition of 16 MiG-29K aircraft for the carrier; $1.1 billion for Israeli Phalcon radar mounted on three Russian Il-76 airborne early warning aircraft; about $1.7 billion for 66 BAE SYSTEMS Hawk advanced jet trainers; and the $600 million purchase of four Embraer Legacy executive jets for the prime minister and president.

A senior Defence Ministry official said Aug. 23 that additional funds will be needed for new acquisitions, including 280 155mm self-propelled guns, Smerch multi-barrel rocket launchers from Russia, unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel, fifth-generation missiles and radar from overseas companies, and finalization of the $2 billion Scorpene submarine deal with France.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:36 PM

 

After 30-Year Wait, India Rejects Arjun for Combat
After waiting 30 years for its indigenously designed Arjun main battle tank, the Indian Army has decided the tank is too heavy for combat.

“It has been decided to use the Arjun main battle tank only for training purposes and not for combat purposes,” said a senior Indian Army official. He added that the Arjun’s weight makes the tank difficult to transport and inhibits maneuverability.

The Arjun order also has been trimmed from 124 to 80 since it will be used only for training, said the Army official. The first batch of five Arjuns were delivered Aug. 7 to the Army by the Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi in Chennai.

Another Army official said the 58.5-ton Arjun tank is much heavier and wider than the 46.5-ton Russian T-90 tank, which limits its operational mobility.

Problems plagued the Arjun from its inception in 1974 by India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation. The first prototype was conceived in 1984, but the Army found a variety of problems involving its weight, engine overheating and armor protection. Arjun was planned to be ready in 1990 and mass produced by 1997.

Following delays, the Indian government struck a memorandum of understanding with Russia in 2000 to procure 310 T-90 tanks. Under the deal, 180 tanks are to be produced under licensed production at the Avadi Heavy Vehicles Factory, and the remaining 130 will be provided to India either fully or partially built, and final assembly would be done in India.



An official of the Indian Ordnance Factories Board, which controls the Avadi factory, said production priorities at Avadi have been shifted, leaving only one assembly line to build Arjuns, while the other two will produce T-90 tanks and upgrade T-72 tanks.

A senior Indian Defence Ministry official would not confirm the Arjun order had been reduced, and claimed that the tank’s problems have been fixed.

The official acknowledged, however, there is a transportation problem because the Arjun is too large for the vehicles already used to transport the T-72 and T-90. Special transport vehicles have been ordered to move the Arjuns, he said.

The Arjuns will cost about $5 million apiece, sources said, which is higher than the T-90 tank because the cost of imported components in the tank have increased from 27 percent to 60 percent.

Early this year, an Israeli Lahat anti-tank missile was mounted on an Arjun tank. The Arjun has a 120mm gun, a 7.22mm machine gun for ground operations and a 12.7mm machine gun for the anti-aircraft role.

The 120mm gun has been procured from France’s GIAT Industries, the engine from MTU and the transmission system from Renk, both of Germany, and the fire control system from Oldelft Instruments of the Netherlands.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 4:23 PM

 

Saras: India's own civilian aircraft
India marked the successful inaugural flight of a 14-seater plane on Sunday, with hopes that the project could launch it into a global consortium for mid-sized aircraft.

"Saras", named after an Indian crane, took off over blue skies in India's technology capital of Bangalore, marking a milestone in the six year state-funded project.

The venture is a long haul for India, whose airlines buy all its passenger aircraft from global firms like Boeing and Airbus. India also sources most of its military aircraft from overseas, but makes some small military planes.

The Saras prototype cost around 330 million rupees ($7.1 million) to make at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).

India, with its low-cost engineers, is keen to emulate the success of Brazil's Embraer, the world's No 4 civilian aircraft maker, in the market for planes used in executive travel, cargo, surveys and rescue.

The Indian Air Force has expressed interest in buying six Saras aircraft, to be made by NAL in partnership with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and private firms.

India has been approached by a consortium that comprises Russia's Sukhoi design bureau and NPO Saturn, Boeing and France's Snecma with an offer to join as a partner, said N R Mohanty, HAL's chairman.



He added that some 5,000 planes of 60-95 seat capacity were expected to be sold across the world in the period up to 2020.

In order to build the plane India had to overcome US sanctions linked to India's nuclear tests in 1998. The country suffered in importing components after US imposed sanctions against export of civilian parts that could be put to military use after New Delhi staged nuclear tests in 1998.

S Prahlad, a project consultant and former head of NAL, said after the launch that about 60-70 per cent of Saras's parts were made in India but the engine and avionic equipment were imported.

He added, however, that there were still some hurdles to cross in building the aircraft.

"We have quite a lot to do before making Saras a commercially viable aircraft," he said.

Critics say Saras, at 6.9 tonnes, is 800 kg overweight in relation to its original estimate but its makers said the additional weight only added to passenger comfort. A second prototype with improved features is expected within a year.

The federal government is also looking at buying 30 planes, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said recently.

Saras can help connect remote corners of India's sprawling rural areas besides laying the ground for serving a lucrative global market, officials said. They said India could make such aircraft roughly 20 per cent cheaper than key rivals.




Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:18 AM

 

IAF marathon flyers outpace the best
From AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) assisted 'kills' to confusing US Air Force jargon, from diapers to sleep-inducing pills, from flying with RAF Tornados to chasing Japanese F-15 Eagles in mock combat scenarios; exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder in Alaska allowed young Jaguar pilots to fly into uncharted territory.

The 20,000-km roundtrip mission, which ended in Ambala on Tuesday, was the farthest the IAF had flown, IAF fighters had never exercised outside India and the IL-78 refuellers were exposed to the West for the first time in this unprecedented journey. IAF chief Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy was here to greet the 197 IAF personnel who flew to Alaska on June 21 on six Jaguar fighters, two IL-76 transport planes and two IL-78 tankers.

Cope Thunder, Jaguar pilots said, had helped them sharpen their combat skills, exchange operational tactics and understand the finer points of multi-operability as they exercised with air forces from the US, the UK, Germany, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.

Jargon used by the American pilots did fox the Indian pilots temporarily. They didn’t understand that when the Americans said “as fragged” they meant “as planned”, the Indian parallel for “hack” was “time-check” or that the US pilots called “fess up” to own up a mistake.

Flt Lt Vikas Tomar, a Jaguar pilot, said the Indian crew overcame this hurdle in the familiarisation phase of the two-week exercise. The pilots also took time to figure out the American twang and the accent of other participants during airborne communications. Diapers proved to be quite handy for them. Sqn Ldr M Sahdev said these gave `psychological comfort’ to the pilots.

The 'Zleep' pill experiment tried out by the IAF during the mission was quite successful. The short acting sleep inducers helped pilots go to sleep in changing time zones so that they could undertake long duration sorties. Sqn Ldr M S Nataraja, aerospace medicine specialist who accompanied the crew, said even foreign air forces were using pills for mock combat assignments at odd hours.

Complimenting the integrated efforts of the team, Air Chief Marshal Krishnaswamy said "each crew member had become a part of history." Asked if the IAF would be a regular feature in Cope Thunder, he said this was an expensive proposition and it was important to ascertain first that the advantages were worth the money spent.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:13 AM

 

IAF for multi-nation war games in South Africa
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will feature in multi-nation war games in South Africa next month with the US, German and British air forces, and the event is likely to be witnessed by visiting Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Riding on the crest of the success of its Jaguars in a similar exercise in Alaska last month, the IAF will be represented by four Mirage 2000 fighter bombers in "Exercise Golden Eagle".

"The contingent, led by Group Captain T.S. Ahluwalia, will leave the Gwalior air force base on Sep 11 with an IL-76 heavy transport plane and an IL-78 refuelling aircraft," the IAF chief, Air Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy said here Friday.

"President Kalam is likely to be in South Africa around that time to witness the exercise, being hosted by the South African Air Force," he added.

A similar exercise has been planned in India with the Singapore Air Force in October, with the visitors participating with six F-16 fighters.

As part of its efforts to familiarise itself with modern warfare, the IAF plans to hold another round of such exercises in France, the US and Britain next year.

"Our participation in the fortnight-long Exercise Cooperative Cope Thunder 04-01, hosted by the US in Alaska near Canada in July has brought laurels to the country, thanks to the high precision displayed by the fighter pilots in penetrating air defences and scoring direct hits on ground targets in the mountain ranges," Krishnaswamy stated.

The IAF had sent six Jaguars, two IL-76 heavy transporters, two IL-78 refuellers and a contingent of 200 personnel, led by Group Captain S. Nanodkar.

Air forces from the Asia-Pacific and NATO countries such as Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Germany and Britain too participated.

Early this year, a similar exercise was conducted by the IAF at Gwalior, where the US Air Force participated with F-15Cs and the combat skills of Indian pilots drew much appreciation.



Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:10 AM

 

S Asia key field in terrorism war: Rocca
By Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca told a congressional committee here that South Asia is a key battleground in a global war on terror that began long before the 9/11 attacks.

Testifying before the House International Relations Committee on the 9/11 Commission report and its recommendations, she said “very soon” after September 11, President Musharraf and the Government of Pakistan committed fully to support military operations in Afghanistan and, just as importantly, to move aggressively against terrorists within its own borders. “Pakistan is now a key ally. American diplomacy played a central role in bringing about this progress,” she added.

In a long and detailed assessment of post-9/11 Pakistan, the assistant secretary said that after the September 11 attacks, “President Musharraf did indeed make an historic, yet difficult decision to join the United States in the Global War on Terror. He cut the Pakistani government’s ties to the Taliban and permitted US forces access to Pakistani territory. Without Pakistani help, our victory in Afghanistan would have been far more costly and difficult,” she stated. She said the US had “encouraged” Pakistan to detain Al Qaeda and Taliban members and deny them use of its territory to organise attacks on US forces in Afghanistan. Washington has also provided assistance to help Islamabad achieve those goals. “We have tried to get at the root causes of terrorism, and assist Pakistan in revitalising its economy, transitioning to democracy, and reviving its educational system. We have also sought to foster reconciliation between India and Pakistan. Peace, if it can be achieved between these two long-time rivals, would do much to calm extremist impulses in the region,” she added.

Ms Rocca said the US had sought to assure Pakistan that the United States is a “reliable partner for the future.” President Musharraf had clearly stated his view that Pakistan should have a culture of “enlightened moderation.” At the same time, he had called on the US to address the “real concerns of the moderates” in Pakistan and the Muslim world. As the Commission had observed, the US must make a “long-term commitment to Pakistan as it wages a difficult and dangerous struggle against extremism,” she added.

Turing to military assistance, the US official told the Committee that bolstering Pakistan’s military capabilities had been “one of our top priorities.” Washington had “sought generally to respond to Pakistan’s legitimate defence needs” and old US-Pakistan military links had been revived. “Since 9/11, we have provided Pakistan $788 million in budget support and two separate tranches of debt relief that have allowed Pakistan to cut in half its official debt to the US, from $3 billion to $1.5 billion. The US official said education is “absolutely crucial” to Pakistan’s development as a moderate, democratic nation. “Since autumn 2001 we have provided $64 million to improve the quality of primary and secondary education at the classroom level. We are focusing on Balochistan and Sind provinces, areas that need the most assistance. We are training teachers and school administrators, establishing adult literacy centres, introducing early childhood education programmes, and increasing parental and community involvement in education. We are also reconstructing and furnishing 130 schools in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border,” she said.

Ms Rocca did not dwell long on the democratisation of Pakistan except saying that the US had provided $19 million for programmes aimed at making Pakistan’s democracy “more participatory, representative and accountable”.

There was much work to be done yet, she conceded. “Significant numbers” of Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives remain at large. “And even if Osama Bin Laden were captured tomorrow, much would remain to be done to ensure that the foundation of the prosperous, moderate society envisioned by President Musharraf has been properly laid,” she added.



Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:15 PM

 

MISSILE DEFENSE BRIEFING REPORT - American Foreign Policy

MISSILE DEFENSE BRIEFING REPORT NO. 153, August 30, 2004American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, DC
Editor: Ilan Berman

IRAN’S GLOBAL THREAT
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s rapid ballistic missile advances could soon put the United States at risk, a top Bush administration official has warned. Speaking at the 7th Annual Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville, Alabama on August 18th, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cautioned that the two remaining members of President Bush’s “Axis of Evil,” North Korea and Iran, pose a mounting ballistic missile threat to the United States. “North Korea, as we know, is working to develop and deploy missiles capable of reaching not just their neighbors, but our country and other countries as well,” Rumsfeld said in comments carried by the American Forces Press Service. “The same can be said of Iran.”The comments drew sharp criticism from Tehran. “Acquiring missiles which could have a range up to America is a new issue which we hear,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency (August 22) reports the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, as saying. “Such a program is not on our agenda and this propaganda of certain American officials is only for media consumption.”
WOOING CANADA AWAY FROM COOPERATION
As their country drifts closer to a decision on whether to participate in the Bush administration’s missile defense initiative, Canadian officials are receiving input from an unexpected direction: the Kremlin. Georgiy Mamedov, Russia’s Ambassador to Ottawa, recently penned an open letter to officials in Canada’s ruling Liberal Party. In it, he cautioned that the United States is misleading them regarding the ultimate aim of its missile defense program. The U.S. has a “detailed plan” for the development of space-based defenses, a move that “has certain potential for diminishing Russia’s security” and might spark a global arms race, Toronto’s Globe and Mail (August 20) reports Mamedov as warning. “[T]hink about what you are doing. Don’t hide your face in the sand.”
ABL MOVES AHEAD
The U.S. Air Force’s Airborne Laser (ABL) is moving toward two major milestones, Aerospace Daily (August 20) reports. The program, designed to provide an aerial platform for directed-energy boost-phase defense against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, will go through two pivotal tests by the end of 2004. The first is the initial firing of the ABL’s laser, known as “first light.” The second is an inaugural flight test of the laser’s fire control system. The program’s first attempt to shoot down a ballistic missile is not expected until sometime next year, however.
ARROW MISSES THE MARK
The Arrow Theater Missile Defense system has failed its latest test. The advanced anti-missile interceptor failed to destroy a sophisticated Scud-D type target missile in flight in a live fire test off the coast of California on August 26th, the Associated Press reported the same day. The trial, the second of the Arrow in the past month, follows Iran’s very public test of an extended-range version of its “Shahab-3” medium range missile in early August, as well as increasingly strident rhetoric from the Islamic Republic in recent weeks. Israeli officials, however, are putting on a brave face. Ha’aretz (August 27) reports that Aryeh Herzog, head of the Arrow Program at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, told reporters following the failed test that the malfunction had been “local” in nature, and expressed confidence that the advanced theater missile defense system was fully capable of intercepting Iran’s “Shahab-3.”
MISSILE DEFENSE AND THE SINO-RUSSIAN PARTNERSHIP
China and Russia are poised to conclude a major arms deal substantially bolstering the PRC’s missile defense capabilities, and its threat to Taiwan. According to the August 24th edition of Russia’s St. Petersburg Times, a new arms agreement between Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms dealer, and the Chinese Defense Ministry is currently in the works. As part of the deal, Beijing, which is already Moscow’s top arms client, will receive up to eight new batteries of Russia’s S-300PMU air defense systems, touted by Kremlin officials as superior to the U.S. Patriot. China, which already has 12 S-300 batteries, is expected to deploy the new units of the sophisticated theater anti-aircraft and anti-missile defenses opposite Taiwan, as protection for the growing number of short-range missiles already arrayed by the PRC against the island nation.

Copyright © 2004, American Foreign Policy Council.All Rights Reserved.



Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 1:50 PM

 

Dialogue with India satisfactory, says Pak Foreign Minister
By Dawn Staff Reporter
DAWN

ISLAMABAD, Aug 20: Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri has said that the peace process with India has been moving forward successfully.

Talking to newsmen in the parliament house lobby on Friday, he said that in the first phase the 8-point secretary-level composite dialogue had been completed on a satisfactory note as both the countries had taken 'positive' stance on contentious issues.

The foreign minister said that in the next phase of composite dialogue he would meet his Indian counterpart in New Delhi on Sept 5-6. The proposed meeting, he added, would take stock of the situation in the wake of the talks held so far and set lines for continuation of future negotiations.
He said President General Pervez Musharraf would meet Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September. Mr Kasuri expressed the hope that the two leaders would take steps to take forward the ongoing process of building confidence between the two countries and help find ways to resolve the core issue of Kashmir.
"Such sidelines meetings always prove helpful in defusing tension and creating a congenial atmosphere for furtherance of bilateralism," he stressed.

Referring to recent statements from various circles about Kashmir, he said "for Pakistan this issue is very important, because it is a major source of tension between the two countries. We would like to see that it is resolved to end the prolonged acrimony with India."



Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 9:24 AM

 

 
The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

Thank you, Nik Khanna & Jango Unwalla

 
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This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
Nikhil and Jehangir wrote an exhaustive article about the Cooperative Cope Thunder joint event. Their article was publihed in Vayu magazine. Click on the link below to read the in-depth article with amazing pictures courtesy of mark Farmer at topcover.com
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