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India-US defence pact not against Pakistan: Bush
US President George Bush Thursday assured his Pakistan counterpart Pervez Musharraf that the US-India defence pact was not directed against Islamabad and that Washington will not allow the balance of power in South Asia to be disturbed.

The assurance came in a 30-minute telephonic talk between the two leaders Thursday. They exchanged views on various matters, including peace and security in the region and strengthening and sustaining cooperation in the war against terror.

Confirming the conversation, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said both leaders exchanged views on regional and global issues, reports Online news agency.

Bush reportedly appreciated the performance of Pakistani security agencies in capturing Hashim Qadeer, a main accused in journalist Daniel Pearl's murder.

Musharraf has taken bold decisions for eradicating terrorism and extremism, said Bush.

He said: "We have held out assurances to President Musharraf that the US is fully alive to Pakistan's defence and security requirements and will fulfil them."

Bush said the US will continue to support both Pakistan and India for peace in the region and resolving the Kashmir issue.

Musharraf reiterated that Pakistan was determined to stamp out terrorism and extremism in all its forms.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:22 AM


Rajya Sabha
Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A document entitled ‘New Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship’ was signed on June 28, 2005 during Defence Minister’s official visit to the US from June 27-30, 2005. The ‘Framework’ updates the ‘Agreed Minutes on Defence Relations between India and the United States’ signed in January 1995 and seeks to advance common security interests such as maintaining security and stability; defeating terrorism and violent religious extremism; preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related materials, data and technologies; and protecting the free flow of commerce. It includes provisions for cooperation to enhance the capabilities of the US and Indian armed forces to deal with terrorism, disasters and the spread of WMD; expand the defence trade, production and technology relationship with the US; and promote regional and global peace and stability, jointly or with others, through expanded interaction with other nations, exchange of perspectives of international security issues, increased intelligence exchanges, capacity building of other countries for peace-keeping operations and collaboration in multinational operations when it is the common interest.

The Framework is expected to enlarge available sources and options for the acquisition of defence equipment, provide access to advanced US defence technologies, help strengthen and modernize the Indian Armed Forces and increase our leverage and strategic maneuverability in international affairs.

No participation by Indian Armed Forces in any military action initiation by U.S.A. against international terrorism is contemplated or implied in this arrangement. Participation in any operations will be guided by the national interest and principles of our foreign and defence policies, including our independent stand on international issues.

The ‘Framework’ includes provisions for co-production of defence equipment and collaboration in multi-national operations “when it is in their common interest”. It also provides for increased opportunities for a two-way defence trade and transactions, including technology transfer, collaboration, co-production, and research and development, and the setting up of a ‘Defence Procurement and Production Group’ under the US-India Defence Policy Group (DPG) to advance these objectives. Together with progress on the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP), the ‘Framework’ is expected to open the way for the supply of advanced technologies, including defence technologies, to India.

The ‘Framework’ is expected to add the United States to our existing sources of defence equipment suppliers and increase India’s options and bargaining power in the acquisition of defence technology and equipment.

This information was given by the Defence Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee in separate written replies to Shri Shahid Siddiqui and Shri A Vijayaraghavan in Rajya Sabha today.


Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:41 AM


India tests short-range surface-to-air Trishul missile - defense sources
India successfully test-fired a short-range, surface-to-air missile from a remote range in eastern Orissa state, defense ministry sources said.

The Trishul, or trident, missile was fired at 11:58 am from the testing site at Chandipur 200 kilometers northeast of the state capital Bhubaneswar, the sources said.

Powered by a two-stage solid propellant system and fitted with a 5.5 kilogram fragmented warhead, the missile achieved a target range of 9.0 kms, the sources said.

The range can be enhanced with the completion of its other trials, the sources said.

The 3-meter long Trishul has already been tested on the sea and also against moving targets. It flies at supersonic speed and has a triple battlefield role for the three services -- army, navy and air force, the sources said.

Trishul is part of India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, which was launched in 1983 to develop and produce a wide range of missiles for surface-to-surface and surface-to-air roles.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:00 AM


The Pakistan Connection

It is almost a truism to say that when a terrorist attack takes place in a Third World country, Western powers and the Western media dismiss it as an example of the internal tensions that beset that country. But when a similar or even, a lesser attack takes place in a Western country, it becomes an event of global significance. The international news channels are full of nothing else. There is talk of international conspiracies. And the world community is asked to sit up and take note of the rogue states that are now threatening the peaceful existence of white people.

I hesitate to make this point again and again because it can be misinterpreted to suggest a certain insensitivity towards the victims of terrorism in Western countries. The truth is that I was as agitated as any American over the 9/11 attacks and wrote what must be one of my most emotional columns after that tragedy, echoing the global feeling that, as the world united against the terrorists, we were all New Yorkers that day.

The London bombings have been even more emotionally wrenching for me. I was born in London, I went to school there and it remains one of my most favourite cities in the world. Even though I was many miles away when the bombers struck, I reacted as though my home had been violated and the attack had reached me personally.

But as bad as I felt about those incidents, there is still no getting around the fact that when it comes to terrorism, the West follows a double standard. There is one rule for the Third World. And one rule for the developed world.

We still don't have a final figure for fatalities in the London bombings but even the most pessimistic estimates suggest that the eventual death count will not reach even one-third of the number of innocent people who died in the 1993 Bombay serial blasts. While I share in the general mourning for the Londoners who were killed by cowardly terrorists on 7 July, my question is: how many Westerners mourned the Bombayites who were blown up by terrorists?

At that stage, the Western world reacted as though the violence was a consequence of India's own domestic problems. When we protested that this was not so, nobody was willing to listen. We produced evidence that the bombers had been part of Dawood Ibrahim's gang of international criminals. We proved that the plastic explosive had been shipped in from West Asia. And we provided testimony from those bombers whom we were able to apprehend. They all said the same thing — that they had been trained in camps in Pakistan.

Nobody took us seriously. Nobody believed that there was an international terrorist conspiracy. Nobody paid any attention to Dawood Ibrahim. And as for the Pakistani connection, well, they said, that was just India being paranoid and blaming everything on Pakistan as usual.

Fast forward to a decade later. In the aftermath of 9/11, almost all of the things that we said about the Bombay blasts were repeated by the FBI. It was an international conspiracy, we were told. The bombers came from West Asia. They were sponsored by Osama bin Laden, who hid out in Afghanistan under the protection of Pakistan's ISI. And when a list of global terrorists was circulated to police forces all over the world, the Americans were now quite willing to put Dawood Ibrahim on it.

Consider also the response to the London bombings. It now seems clear that though there may have been a shadowy West Asian mastermind, the vast majority of the men who planted the bombs were of Pakistani origin. Some of them may have been born in the UK, but they had been back to Pakistan and perhaps had been trained in the deadly craft of destruction by Pakistani experts. Now, British teams are combing Pakistan to find evidence of the terror networks. They have finally worked out that the modus operandi of theBombay blasts was remarkably similar to the London incidents: a series of bombs timed to go off within minutes of each other. They now concede that there is a connection in the style of the bombings.

All this should make the West stop and rethink its policies towards terrorism — and towards Pakistan. It has long been an article of faith among Western politicians that while there may be the odd extremist organisation in Pakistan, the government is clean as a whistle and that General Musharraf himself is a kindly, philanthropic figure, fighting the good fight on behalf of his Western mentors.

In fact, as India has been warning for nearly two decades, this view of the Pakistani establishment is not only dangerously naïve, it can also have fatal consequences for helpless civilians in the West and in India.

India has repeatedly made the following points:

In the 1980s, the CIA spent billions of dollars helping the ISI set up camps to arm and train Islamic jehadis who were sent into Afghanistan to fight the Russians. At that stage, Osama bin Laden was an US ally, whom Washington regarded as a freedom fighter. (Though why a Saudi should want to fight for Afghan freedom was never made clear.) Once the Afghan jehad was over and America withdrew, Washington was extremely naïve if it believed that it could just walk away from these terror camps. The jehadis needed new targets. And the ISI knew how to train them — and where to send them.

We argued that the Kashmir insurgency began in 1989 just as the Afghan operation ended. The international jehadis (Saudis, Yemenis, Sudanese etc) who had come to fight in Afghanistan were now being diverted to Kashmir. The next step would be for them to target civilians in the rest of India. And eventually, the terror would reach the West. Nobody listened to us. Instead
they bought the Pakistani propaganda about a Kashmiri freedom struggle.

After the Bombay blasts, we appealed again to the international community and warned that the terror was spreading. We said that ISI had now become a state within a state and posed a danger to world peace. Nobody listened to us again.

When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan on behalf of their ISI mentors, destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas and forced Hindus to wear a yellow band, we tried to draw the West's attention to this appalling situation. Nobody cared; not even when IC-814 was hijacked to Kandahar as part of an ISI operation and three dangerous terrorists were released from Indian prisons and promptly found shelter in Pakistan.

One of those terrorists, Maulana Masood Azhar, openly addressed meetings stirring up anti-Indian and anti-American feeling. The second, Omar Sheikh, killed the American journalist Daniel Pearl when, as a new book reveals, he came too close to unraveling ISI's links with the terror networks. The third, Latram, came back to Kashmir to murder more civilians. The Pakistani authorities did what they could to help all three — just as they continue to provide shelter to Dawood Ibrahim (and Osama bin Laden?).

Two years ago, Benazir Bhutto told the HT Leadership Initiative in Delhi that retired Generals and ISI bosses had made millions out of the Afghan operation. They now ran private armies and terrorist camps. They were out of the reach of the Pakistan government. The West paid no attention to this shocking revelation by a former Pakistani Prime Minister.

Now, after the London bombings, Pakistan is suddenly the focus of global attention. General Musharraf has promised to crack down on terrorists, his nose growing longer by the minute. Washington has asked Pakistan to close down the terrorist camps. And there is a growing recognition that the real threat to world peace does not come from Iraq or Iran. It comes from Pakistan.

I am glad that the message has finally got through. My only regret is that if the West had listened to us in the immediate aftermath of the Bombay serial blasts, then thousands of lives could have been saved, both in India and in the West.

It is a shame that it took the cold-blooded murder of innocent Londoners to force the Western world to finally wake up and look reality in the eye.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 11:55 AM


US think-tank stresses on need for US-India military partnership

Washington July 25, 2005 4:27:55 PM IST

America must forge an operational military partnership with the Indian Army, which has a well-honed and exceptional high-altitude warfare capability, for carrying out counter-terrorist or counter-narcotic operations, a US-based think tank has opined.

The US Institute of Peace (USIP) says that the "recent US-led military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan", amply demonstrate the need for building such partnerships with friendly nations, particularly India which has the world's second largest army.

"There are reasons to believe that future Indo-US military co-operation is possible in political contexts and specific kinds of operations," says Author Christine Fair, a programme officer for South Asia at the USIP who authored the study report.

The Dawn quoted Christina as saying that India had disappointed the US when it refused to send troops to Iraq. "Notably, India has a well-honed and exceptional high-altitude warfare capability, of which few countries can boast," she adds.

Further hailing the capabilities of the Indian Army, she says in her report, that it has conducted operations successfully in desert and jungle terrains, tackled rural and urban insurgencies, and operated at home and abroad, basically in UN peacekeeping operations. Hence, the US and Indian troops must work together in joint military operations across the globe to ensure peace, she says.

Recognising the Indian Army's strengths, she writes that many foreign armies wanted to send their forces to India for training. "Following the Indian military campaign during the 1999 conflict with Pakistan in the Kargil and Dras sectors and Operation `Parakaram', the Indian Army action during the 2002 stand-off with Pakistan, foreign armies became increasingly interested in the Indian army," she says adding that after these two operations, several nations expressed the desire to send their officers for training to India.

The author describes the Indian Army's main task of guarding the country's borders with Pakistan and China as "onerous," given that of its 16,500 km of shared borders, 7000 kms are disputed. (ANI)

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 11:07 AM


India Seeks Missiles for Il-38
The Indian Navy plans to buy an unspecified number of state-of-the-art, air-to-surface missiles for its three Il-38 maritime surveillance aircraft.

The service has obtained approval from the Ministry of Defence to float global tenders next month, a senior Navy official said. The weapons will replace the Il-38s’ aging British Sea Eagle missiles.

The Navy official said the program will be worth around $100 million. Among those invited to submit proposals will be Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority, European missile house MBDA and Russia’s arms export agency, Rosoboronoexport.

Navy officials also have been talking to Russia about a deal that would provide two used Il-38s for a low price if the Navy bought Russian KH-35 missiles for its Il-38 fleet. The Navy official said that would make the KH-35 an automatic front-runner in the coming competition.

KH-35 Anti-Ship Cruise Missile

In 2001, the Navy ordered upgrades for its five Il-38s from Rosoboronoexport, but two of those planes crashed during a 2002 air show in Goa.

The service has been pressuring the Defence Ministry since then to approve the purchase of replacement planes and the modernization of the three Il-38s left in the fleet. One already has been upgraded and returned, and the two other planes are being upgraded now at the Russian Design Bureau Ilyushin. The cost of the upgrades has not been released.

The upgrades include an anti-submarine system, integrated radar, digital avionics, a thermal imaging system, infrared sensors, a sonobouy system, a magnetometer, navigation system, Novella mission sensor suite, Sea Dragon search radar, new navigation communication systems, thermal imaging/infrared cameras, magnetic anomaly detectors, electronic support measures and radar for tracking approaching missiles.

The Navy is sending a delegation to Russia in the next couple of weeks to discuss the purchase of two used Il-38SD aircraft, a roughly $10 million deal that has been approved by the Ministry of Defence.

The Navy official said the upgraded Il-38SD aircraft has a fully digital Sea Dragon suite designed to detect and intercept surface vessels and submarines within a range of 150 kilometers, as well as detect mines and carry out surveillance.

The suite also can detect airborne targets and can be linked to the Russian Glonass satellite navigation system, a Russian diplomat here said. The modernization will allow the aircraft to remain operational for a further 15 years.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:51 AM


Wanted: Engine Help
India is looking for overseas help to develop its Kaveri engine on schedule to power the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Sixteen years after the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) began the Kaveri project at the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bangalore, a special committee has been set up by the agency to find a suitable overseas technical partner to help with the engine’s development and co-production, a senior DRDO scientist said.

The Kaveri project has been so slow that it is now out of sync with the development of the LCA, which itself is more than a decade behind schedule, a Defence Ministry official said.

Even the Select Committee of the Indian Parliament on Defence, in its April report, “Standing Committee of Defence Fourteenth Lok Sabha,” that was presented to parliament, expressed serious concern over the inordinate delay in developing the Kaveri engine. The report noted that the Kaveri was given the go-ahead in April 1989 with a price tag of $87.8 million, with completion expected nearly eight years later.

The engine can “now get onto the LCA by 2012 at a revised cost of $852.6 million,” the committee said.

An internal DRDO committee has begun negotiations with several engine manufacturers, including Snecma in France; Rolls-Royce in the United Kingdom; General Electric, CFM International and Pratt & Whitney in the United States; and NPO Saturn and MMPP Salute in Russia, for help with the Kaveri program, the DRDO scientist said.

The Kaveri engine has undergone 1,300 hours of ground testing, including a high-altitude test in Russia, but is far behind the required 8,000 hours of flying before it is ready to power the LCA. As a consequence, the first 40 LCAs will be powered by General Electric’s GE 404 engine.

It was the procurement of those General Electric engines from the United States that temporarily derailed the LCA program. When the United States imposed sanctions on India in 1998 due to the latter’s nuclear testing, the engines stayed in America and General Electric withdrew its technical support personnel from India.

Those sanctions have since been lifted. The two LCA technical demonstrators and one prototype currently are powered by the GE 404 engine.

The Defence Ministry official admitted that if the Kaveri engine is not ready by 2007, it could be scrapped and India will have to buy engines elsewhere.

The official added that all the prospective foreign partners for development of the Kaveri have asked for details on the number of engines to be produced for the LCA. However, the number of LCAs to be ordered by the Indian Air Force is not yet clear, as the service has decided to buy a mix of aircraft and has ordered just 40 LCAs.

That the DRDO is asking for help now, nearly 16 years after the Kaveri engine project began, is another example of how the agency is letting down the Indian military, said Surya Pal Singh, a defense analyst and retired Indian Air Force air commander. He also pointed to the toll the delay in the LCA program has taken on the combat worthiness of the Indian Air Force.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:49 AM


GenNext aircraft in DRDO pipeline
The Defence Research and Development Laboratory here has begun work on a next-generation aircraft that would fly at hypersonic speeds, that is, seven to ten times faster than the speed of present aircraft. This aircraft would be four times faster than the Concorde, which used to fly between London and New York.

This means that once this aircraft is operational, a Hyderabad-Delhi flight that takes two hours now would be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes. The premier laboratory is home to the nation’s prestigious missile programme which includes the Brahmos, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul, Nag and Astra. “This month, we have established a sophisticated engine test complex to test the engine on the ground,” DRDL director Mr Prahalad told The Statesman. This computerised system would test 10 engines in the next one and a half years.

“Engines would be made here. We are in the process of developing them,” he added.
Presently, supersonic aircraft fly at around 1,000 km per hour at an altitude of 10 km.

He said his aim was to fly at hypersonic speeds, that is, above 4,500 km per hour. Or perhaps even higher. “I want to fly at least at 7,000 km per hour at an altitude of 30 km,” Mr Prahalad said.

Towards this end, Mr Prahalad has constituted a specialist core team comprising 35 of the DRDL’s best scientists. One fifty more are directly associated with the project. This team is already in the process of working out the aerodynamics, structures, engines, materials, needed for this aircraft to take off.
These elements are absolutely critical as hypersonic speeds cause rapid increase in temperatures because of the air flowing to the aircraft’s surface at several times the speed of sound.

“We are developing the technology needed to create a situation where hypersonic speeds are a reality. For this, both the science and the technology have to work. We are focussing on aerodynamics and system engineering,” Mr Prahalad explained.
Only three other countries — USA, China and Russia — are actively pursuing this concept.

“One of these four countries (including India) will succeed first,” he said. Given that the project is in its initial stage, Mr Prahalad refused to speculate on the costs involved. “There is sufficient money for research and development,” he said.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:48 AM


Russian Jet Maker Promises Stealthy Aircraft
Representatives from the Sukhoi Design Bureau say they are ready to launch a production line for a stealthy fighter jet similar to the F/A-22 Raptor.

The Sukhoi company makes the Flanker line of aircraft, which some industry analysts consider to be comparable to the top-of-the-line U.S. military aircraft.

Sukhoi officials boast that their latest aircraft have the same capabilities as American fighters when it comes to hitting air and ground targets, conducting electronic warfare and collecting intelligence.

“We do the same as the rest of the world,” said a Design Bureau official during the recent Paris Air Show through an interpreter.

And now, they say, they’ll be able to offer stealthy capabilities that the United States claims for the Raptor.

“It won’t have a bit more, or a bit less,” said the Design Bureau official. The Sukhoi official would not say when the first production stealthy fighters would come off the line. “That is classified.”

Some analysts say that’s an easy way for Sukhoi to say it can create a stealthy plane without needing to prove it.

But other industry experts say Sukhoi could get the technology to make a fighter stealthy enough to be a tough foe for the current U.S. combat fleet. The company has flirted with stealthy designs in the past decade, even test-flying the S-37 swept-wing fighter.

What the Sukhoi and the Russians have given up in stealth development, until relatively recently, they’ve made up for in maneuverability and other capabilities. With its thrust vectoring propulsion, Sukhoi Flankers can change direction with speed and agility. People stopped in their tracks when the company’s aircraft flew at the recent Paris Air Show.

“Sukhoi is not capable of building an aircraft as stealthy as F/A-22 Raptor,” said Loren Thompson, an expert at the Lexington Institute in Washington. “But it could build a fighter much stealthier than an F-15 or F-16.”

It’s something to worry about, he said.

U.S. military leaders and allies do — and moreover, about Russian’s willingness to sell technologically advanced aircraft to China. “The Chinese have been importing technology from Russia that’s as good as our own,” Thompson said.

For now, though, the United States has stealth and China doesn’t. The American rival is looking to even things out by developing metric-wave radar, said to have “high capability of detecting anti-radiation missile, high antistealth capability,” Richard Fisher Jr. wrote in an October 2001 report, “PLA and Chinese Society in Transition,” for the National Defense University Conference.

Fisher also said the PLA, or People’s Liberation Army, may be exploiting a technology called “passive-coherent” detection. Developed by Lockheed Martin, such sensors detect disturbances in television broadcast signals caused by aircraft and combine them with radar data to find stealthy aircraft.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:58 AM


Boeing in Talks with Indian Air Force To Supply F-18s
Boeing said on July 22 it had begun preliminary talks with India on selling and co-producing F-18 Super Hornet fighter planes, a month after New Delhi and Washington signed a far-reaching defense pact.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has plans to buy as many as 126 multi-role fighters for an estimated $9 billion, as it replaces its aging fleet of Russian-built MiG 21s.

“We have begun initial discussions with the IAF in terms of exploratory relationship building and to provide them with some initial information on the capabilities of the Super Hornet,” Chris Chadwick, Boeing vice president for the F/A-18 programs, told Reuters. “Their response has been very positive.”

The dual-engine F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet is flown only by the U.S. forces while the Hornet version is in the service of seven other air forces, Chadwick said.

He added the price per aircraft would depend on the configuration sought in the planned request for proposal by the IAF. The cost would also be determined by the kind of technology and weapons platform the U.S. government would allow Boeing to export to India, Chadwick said.

“We would be working at setting up a co-production facility for this aircraft in India,” he added.

In June, Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed the “New Framework for U.S.-India Defence Relations,” highlighting the growing warmth in ties between the two democracies.

The framework envisages greater cooperation in defense production and research, exchange of military technologies as well as more military exercises and training exchanges between the large armed forces of both nations.

The framework includes a move to push forward a U.S. offer to sell the anti-missile Patriot system to India, which perceives a threat from nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and China.

The Bush administration announced in March it would resume sales of F-16s to India’s rival Pakistan after a nearly 16-year break, widely seen as a reward for Pakistan’s support in the U.S.-led global war on terrorism.

The single engine, multi-role F-16 is built by Lockheed Martin Corp. Pakistan’s planned purchases would boost its fleet of about 32 F-16s acquired before the U.S. Congress cut off sales in 1990 over Islamabad’s nuclear program.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:57 AM


U.S. Said Losing Ground in SE Asia to China
China aims to displace the United States in Southeast Asia and has been busily building up its influence in that region while America remains preoccupied with the Middle East and terrorism, experts told a congressional panel on July 22.

Southeast Asia is the stage for a modern version of the “Great Game” — the 19th century Anglo-Russian rivalry in Central Asia, said Marvin Ott of the National War College.

“One player in the game has already made several moves, they’ve been very carefully thought through, they’ve already gathered a number of chips,” he told a hearing of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“The other player is distracted, focused elsewhere, hardly aware that the game has even started,” Ott said.

Other expert witnesses told the commission, which advises Congress on China policy, that Beijing’s strategy aims to restore the historic supremacy of China in a region where the United States has had strong alliances since the 1950s.

Former Pentagon official Dan Blumenthal said China sought to “break and fray” those alliances through arrangements with Southeast Asians that exclude the United States — most notably an East Asian summit to be held in Malaysia in December.

The Chinese military buildup documented in a recent Pentagon report showed an emphasis on missiles, destroyers and advanced aircraft that also supported these aims, he said.

“The idea here is to put doubts in the minds of allies and friends that the U.S. has the will and ability over time to continue to be the provider of regional security,” said Blumenthal, now at the American Enterprise Institute.

The United States had moved to counter that strategy by strengthening relations with Vietnam, India, Singapore, Japan and Australia, he added.

Bronson Percival, a retired U.S. diplomat who is a senior adviser to the CNA Corp. think tank, said close U.S. ties with Southeast Asia suffered from perceptions that America “has no discernible policy for Southeast Asia beyond counterterrorism.”

“We’ve built up such an overwhelming position, there’s certainly a whiff of complacency on the part of the United States,” Percival told the commission.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:56 AM


Mirage deal may not come through
The Indian Air Force's move to buy second-hand Mirage-2000-5 planes from Qatar has hit a roadblock. Officials say they are put off by the high price. The Government is also in a dilemma as the company that manufactures them is in the race for an IAF tender for 126 fighter planes.

Qatar's quote for the dozen Mirage-2000-5 planes is "too costly for second-hand planes that have been lying in the hanger for about three years," said a senior defence official.

There is also an ethical dimension to the problem. The French company manufacturing the plane is among the four companies approached by India for participation in the tender for 126 multi-role planes. The purchase of the second-hand planes, therefore, may cast a shadow over the fairness of the selection process for the 126 fighters, officials feel. India has 60 Mirage planes in its inventory and the lot from Qatar would have been sent back to France for modernisation before being inducted into the IAF.

The same logic so far has stopped the Government from considering a German company's plea to be considered for a submarine-building tender. The Navy, which already has four German submarines, could not accede to the plea as the company is facing bribery charges. The German firm appealed to the Government to reconsider its offer after the Delhi High Court cleared it of the bribery charges. It offered to consider providing second-hand submarines to the Navy to make up for the decline in the submarine force level while its offer was being reconsidered.

A French company is the only contender so far. Apart from reviewing an escalation clause, the deal is all but finalised. The Government would not want to consider the German firm's feeler because it would cast doubts on the fairness of the selection process. "How can we apply different standards for the Navy and the Air Force? There is no problem if there is uniformity. Let both take place simultaneously," said the official.

Boeing became the second U.S. company to initiate the campaign for the IAF order. While the company ruled out a full-fledged production line, it said it would actively consider technology transfer to Indian companies.

It has offered "Super Hornets" from the F/A-18 family of strike fighters. But officials say the possibility of a sale depended on the U.S. Government's permission. The choice of aircraft sub-systems to be transferred to India for local production to meet New Delhi's condition that one-third of the cost of the project must be of Indian origin will also depend on the U.S. Government's decision.

Officials of Lockheed Martin, its rival, have already visited India and offered an Indian production line for its F-16 aircraft.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:55 AM


Scorpene deal with France re-negotiated for technical details: Adm. Prakash
Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Arun Prakash, today said that the Scorpene submarine deal with France will be re-negotiated, but in terms of technical details, escalation of price, and warranty, and not in terms of price of acquisition.

Speaking to journalists on the 2nd anniversary of the journal ‘Force’, Admiral Prakash said at present the Indian Navy was only considering acquiring the Scorpene attack submarines from France, adding that the German firm HDW was not in the picture.

“The deal for Scorpene is to be re-negotiated, but only in terms of technical details, and aspects like escalation of price and warranty. Negotiations are only with DCN, and HDW is out of the picture,” said Admiral Prakash, adding, that the Scorpene in its present form would not to be equipped with the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system.

He further said that the Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles in its present form would be at the disposal of the surface ships only. Submarines, including the Scorpene, will not be equipped with it.

“As of now, the missile will be with the ships only. Making submarines compatible for Brahmos will involve a lot of design changes as well. The Brahmos, after all has to be fired vertically. Fitting submarines with Brahmos is not something likely to take place in the near future,” he said.

He further said that Navy was looking at various options for maritime reconnaissance aircraft, including the Hawkeye, adding, that the US has also agreed to offer the P3C Orion in this regard.

“The US has offered the P3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Whether the government floats RPF or goes in for a government to government dealing is something to be decided later. After all very few countries make maritime reconnaissance planes,” he added.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:54 AM


US will sooner or later back India's UNSC bid: Chinese media
Though the US did not back India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit, the Bush Administration will sooner or later support the country since it has emerged as an "integral part" of American policy in Asia, the Chinese state media said today.

"While Singh has got most of what the Indian Government wants from the White House, he failed to secure support from the Bush administration for its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council," the official Xinhua news agency said.

"... but his three-day visit is significant as he has tightened the ties between India and the United States," it said.

At the same time, Xinhua noted that former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill, said last week he was optimistic about the development of a strategic relationship between his country and India.

By the time, President George W Bush leaves office, the United States will have helped India secure a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Xinhua quoted Blackwill as saying.

"It may be premature for Blackwill to make such remarks. But he did send a veiled message that Washington, regarding India as an important strategic partner in South Asia, might, sooner or later, help New Delhi to fulfill its UN aspiration," Xinhua said.

Interestingly, China, which is working all out against the G-4 resolution on UN reforms, says it will not be an obstacle to India's UNSC bid.

Quoting unnamed analysts, Xinhua said the visit by a top leader from an important South Asian country also serves the US interests.

"What you're going to see, I think, is moving beyond just a bilateral relationship between the United States and India dealing with bilateral problems and more the United States and India in partnership dealing together with global issues," it quoted a senior US Government official, who asked not to be identified, as saying.

"Their relationship has been constantly upgraded from one of rivalry to friendly cooperation and from the close partnership to the strategic partnership," Xinhua said.

After entering the 21st century, the US-Indian strategic partnership features mostly in their military cooperation, it noted. Since 2001, the two countries have held at least two joint military exercises.

In addition to the signing of a 10-year agreement last month, which paves the way for joint weapons production, cooperation on missile defence and a possible lifting of US export controls for sensitive military technologies, the United States and India have also launched talks on energy cooperation, including the use of civilian nuclear power.

"Analysts believe India has become an integral part of the US strategy in Asia," the Xinhua article concluded.

China had yesterday given a guarded response on the growing India-US relations.

"We hope the US-India cooperation concerned will be conducive to safeguarding peace and stability in the Asian region," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Kong Quan had said when asked to comment on Singh's visit to the US.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:54 AM


Nuclear deal cements India as a key U.S. ally, says Washington Post
In a front page assessment today the Washington Post has said that the US decision to share civilian nuclear technology with India will now “ cement India as a key strategic U.S. ally in Asia for the coming decades “.

Quoting the U.S. Undersecretary of State, Nicholas Burns, the paper said that the nuclear agreement was “ a high water mark of U.S. - India relations since 1947 “.

The Post has also reported that with this deal the U.S. will now make available to India sensitive nuclear technology that can be used either in a civilian or a military program. It could also free India to buy the long sought after Arrow Missile System developed by Israel with U.S. technology.

According to the Post, the agreement does not call for India to cease production of weapons grade plutonium, which will enable India to expand its nuclear arsenal.

While announcing that the deal has catapulted India into a new league, the paper cautioned that “ the White House faces two major hurdles to put the deal into effect.One is altering the rules in the Nuclear suppliers group and the other is persuading Congress to change the U.S. Non Proliferation Act, which prevents sales of sensitive nuclear technology to countries that refuse monitoring of nuclear facilities “.

The Washington Post also reported that already an influential U.S. Congressman, Edward Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts has announced his intent to introduce legislation to block this deal. Along with Congressional pressure will come pressure from Pakistan. Said Markey “ you can be sure that Pakistan will demand equal treatment “.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:53 AM


India to set up aerospace command, says IAF chief
India is planning to set up an aerospace command to defend its assets in space and to overcome 21st century threats and challenges, said Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air Chief Marshal SP Tiyagi on Monday.

Tiyagi said the government was studying a proposal and consulting experts to set up the command. He stressed that such a command was needed and also foresaw a larger IAF role in the near future. “As the country’s economy grows, we would be short of energy by 2025. We need to protect our strategic boundaries by widening our role from Malacca Straits to Gulf and protect the flow of energy,” he said. However, he added that neighbouring countries should not be alarmed by the aerospace command or the IAF’s strategic role, as it was not directed against them.

The air marshal said the IAF needed to improve its weaponry, air-to-air fuelers and communication network to better cover “strategic boundaries”. He said the force would acquire 126 multi-role aircrafts and produce more Sukhoi aircrafts with Russian collaboration. But, he added that no decision about the nature and type of aircraft to be purchased had been taken yet.

Highlighting the IAF’s role in the counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir, Tiyagi said the force had been limited to providing logistic support. “But only the IAF is capable of changing the status quo existing along the Line of Control (LoC) or on the eastern border with China,” he said, clarifying that it was not possible for the Indian Army to change the status quo alone because of the difficult terrain. He indirectly demanded a role for the IAF in counter-insurgency operations, but said since international complexities would determine whether the “payoff” would be good.

The air marshal said war games with other countries had made cadets more confident about their capabilities. He said his forces had finished their exercises with France and Singapore and would be joining the exercises with US and British air forces.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:52 AM


Tejas PV-2 version to be ready soon
The Prototype Vehicle-2 (PV-2) version of Tejas, the indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), will be ready in a few days, said Ashok K. Baweja, chairman, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), here on Friday. The aviation major has also started talks with the IAF for the supply of 40 LCAs, he said.

Speaking to presspersons, Mr. Baweja said the limited series production of eight Tejas aircraft for the IAF is on. The IAF has indicated that it wants 20 more aircraft, with an option to procure another 20.

Under the LCA development programme, the flight envelope has been opened and the weaponisation is expected soon. With Friday's delivery of nine upgraded twin-seater deep penetration strike aircraft, Jaguar, to the IAF, Mr. Baweja said HAL's upgradation process for the batch of 19 aircraft has been completed. "HAL put in a cockpit with enhanced Nav-Attack capability for Jaguar," he said. On other HAL projects, Mr. Baweja said the first two Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft produced under license were handed over and the production of the Advanced Jet Trainer, Hawk, will be taken up along with the Dorniers for the Navy. A.K. Saxena, managing director of HAL's Bangalore Complex, said the series production of the Pilotless Target Aircraft, Lakshya, had begun. The first Lakshya from the HAL factory was handed over to the IAF on Friday. Mr. Saxena said the limited series production of the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) will be launched soon at HAL.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, said the earlier Sukhoi-30 aircraft will be next in line for upgradation at HAL, along with the MiG-29s.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:51 AM


Air force to upgrade Sukhois and MiG-29s
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will upgrade the first lot of Sukhoi-30s and some MiG-29s as part of its ongoing modernisation programme, the air force chief said here Friday.

Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi said that earlier versions of the multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft would be upgraded with the latest avionics and weapons.

"Upgradation is an ongoing process. In addition to the upgraded versions of MiG-21 and Jaguars, next in the line of upgradation will be the earlier versions of Su-30s we got from Russia," Tyagi told IANS.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function where he received nine refurbished Jaguar jets and the first pilot-less target aircraft Lakshya from Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The IAF will also begin upgrading the Russian-made MiG-29 fighters along with the Su-30s. "These will be followed by modernisation of Mirages and other fighter aircraft," Tyagi said.

As part of the multibillion-dollar Sukhoi deal, the IAF has received 50 Su-30s in phases from Russia. Another 140 jets will be produced by Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) under license from the Russian firms Rosvoorouzhenie and Irkut Research and Production Corporation.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 9:50 AM


Two Great Democracies
Two Great Democracies
July 18, 2005

U.S.-India relations are at an all-time high as President Bush welcomes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington today. Our two great pluralistic democracies are now positioned for a partnership that will be crucial in shaping the international landscape of the 21st century. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has recently said, "the United States is serious about its vision for the U.S.-India relationship," and welcomes India's ambition to become a world power.

Secretary Rice's first visit to India in March marked three important areas for expansion of the U.S.-India strategic partnership: economic policies; a formal dialogue on India's energy requirements, including civil nuclear; and strategic and military issues. Our respective private sectors will play a key role in all these areas.

The U.S. commitment to develop deep economic and commercial ties with India has never been stronger. U.S. exports to India are up by 50% and India's by 15% for the first quarter of 2005. The recent Open Skies Agreement with India is already increasing air traffic, and India is finalizing a large order for Boeing aircraft. Our revitalized Economic Dialogue focuses on finance, trade, commerce, energy and the environment.

Private enterprise and free markets are key to long-term progress. Effective public-private cooperation will address economic growth and development challenges far more effectively than micromanagement by governments. Governments after all are not the creators of wealth, the makers of markets, the wellspring of human energy and ingenuity. These are the productive forces of individuals, which governments must make special efforts to promote. Business activity and people-to-people engagement will be critical to the transformation of U.S.-India relations.

Nevertheless, governments play an important role in setting the ground rules for much business activity. Prime Minister Singh has put economic reform at the top of India's agenda. I recognize that these reforms must be politically viable to survive, yet there are a number of mutually beneficial strategic reforms that could contribute significantly to India's progress and encourage American business to invest in India's future.

The most prominent challenge is world-class infrastructure, which India must provide as a platform for higher sustained growth to achieve its vision of becoming a world power. Infrastructure is now a national priority, but bringing together federal and state authorities and public and private players is just beginning, and remains a tall order. Political stakes are high because those leaders who provide infrastructure to India's rural and urban millions will gain lasting popular support. Infrastructure challenges are complicated by the fact that India's federal and state fiscal deficits severely restrict necessary finances for development. India must invigorate private sources to finance long-term project development.

This means that the regulatory environment and attitudes towards private investment in infrastructure at the federal and state level must change. Investors need greater confidence to undertake infrastructure investments, especially in the power sector, where our new Energy Dialogue promotes increased trade and investment, including in civilian nuclear power.

Liberalization of India's financial markets would have significant positive ripple effects throughout the economy. Chronic budget deficits derive in part from wasteful government subsidies. Developing a truly long-term capital market that taps India's vast private savings must be a key objective, together with fiscal restraint and creative private-sector financial engineering that reduces government's "crowding out" in India's financial markets. Reducing government's dominance in banking is vital to these reforms as is lifting the ceiling on foreign direct investment in insurance and liberalizing India's emerging pension industry, with greater private participation and increased freedom for both foreign and domestic banks to invest in India's rising economy.

Continued progress in intellectual property rights, or IPR, is also helping India attract more U.S. investment in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. We share a major interest in science and technology, and India is proving to be a world-class player in these fields. As IPR protection improves, U.S. companies will become major investors, contributing capital, top quality science and technology, global management expertise, and new jobs.

Liberalization of India's retail sector is another strategic reform vital to India's future development. Today, India effectively prohibits foreign investment in the retail industry and permits a variety of restrictive practices favoring countless middlemen and preserving internal barriers that raise costs to India's consumers. International giants like Wal-Mart buy billions of dollars of goods in India annually to sell to foreign consumers. Current Indian law prohibits these same companies from selling goods to consumers in India. Likewise, agricultural reform and higher growth may be hampered without commensurate liberalization in retail and related businesses.

Increasingly it is understood in India that much can be gained from bold initiatives that liberalize India's economy and, in turn, generate popular political support. Such reform will improve living standards in ways the average citizen can feel and understand. Political credit will accrue to those in government with the vision to effect such change. Impressive results in the IT and telecom sectors already demonstrate the dynamic of less regulation, free foreign direct investment, freer trade in services, and consumer benefit. Broadening our investment in both directions is firmly in the interests of both our countries.

Finally, we must extend our growing strategic relationship. Cooperation on political issues -- from promotion of democracy abroad to global peace-keeping operations, to combating terrorism and WMD threats -- are at the core of the bilateral relationship. Defense cooperation has reached new levels and military cooperation in the tsunami disaster was unprecedented. A new defense relationship agreement signed recently by Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will guide our defense relations for the next decade in a wide variety of areas, including the enlargement of two-way defense trade, improved interoperability, co-production and greater technology transfer.

Prime Minister Singh's visit to the U.S. will mark the next stage as the world's two largest multicultural democracies reach for new heights in their relationship.

Mr. Mulford is the U.S. ambassador to India.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:28 PM


A personal account of Dr Manmohan Singh's first state visit to Washington, DC-
Washington, DC
July 18, 2005

Today, I got the rare opportunity to witness a truly historic and memorable event. I attended the official welcoming ceremony of India's Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and his wife Mrs Gusharan Kaur by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush at the White House. Bush rolled out the 'red carpet' for Singh's visit, which had all the trappings of a state visit. Present were all senior members of his cabinet and the ceremony included a 21-gun salute and marching bands. The two leaders walked side-by-side and inspected a long line of troops in dress uniform, which was followed by the national anthems of both countries. The ceremony concluded with welcoming remarks by both leaders. The ceremony, which included numerous community and political leaders of both nations, along with the families and children of embassy officials, cheered, waving small Indian and US flags.

The prime minister, who is on his first official visit to the United States, met with President Bush today and will be holding a series of high-ranking discussions with the US delegation over the next 2 days. Dr Singh's visit comes at a time when the US-India relationship has taken on new meaning as the US has indicated in no uncertain terms that India is an important, vital and strategic partner.

US officials indicated that the pomp was designed to emphasize the growing importance to the United States of India, a rising economic and military power whose newfound affinity for the United States is something Bush considers a major foreign policy success. The US has also been quick to recognize India as a regional power in South Asia as a means to containing China.

Welcoming the PM, President Bush said the visit reflects "the growing bond between our two countries". Bush said India has emerged as a growing economic superpower and added that the strategic relationships were never better than they are now. The President said the ties between the two countries were cemented by hundreds and thousands of Indian Americans who contribute so heavily to the US. He added, "Our nations believe in freedom, and our nations are confronting global terrorism."

Bush said the commonalities of the economic and strategic partnership were reflected during the tsunami tragedy, where India and the US, along with Japan and Australia played a vital role.

Acknowledging India as a fast emerging economic power, Bush said, "We look forward to building on our strong economic relationship." The ties between the two countries were never stronger than they are today, and he predicted it would grow further.

Dr Singh, in his acceptance address, said he greatly valued the warm invitation and hospitality afforded by President Bush. The prime minister said the visit would take forward the strategic relationship between the two countries. "There is vast potential for out countries to work together. From our talks, an agenda of co-operation will emerge," he said.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 2:07 PM


India upgrades Jaguars and Lakshya aircraft
Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday will hand over nine indigenous Jaguars and the first Lakshya aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) for combat operations and target practice, Indo-Asian News Agency (IANS) reported Thursday.

According to IANS report from Bangalore, built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at its Bangalore complex, the twin-seater Jaguars are deep-strike penetration fighters fitted with home- grown Navigation and Warfare Attack System (NAVWAS), which will help the IAF enhance fire power.

India's Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi will take charge of the upgraded Jaguars, and the pilot-less Lakshya, also built by HAL, will use in target practice, the news agency said.

The upgraded NAVWAS was jointly developed by HAL and the Defense Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) here over the past two years.

This was after Britain-based avionics firm, Smiths Aerospace, which was to develop the avionics-fitted mission computer, sought Rs. 140 million towards compensation for the delay in providing specifications by HAL.

"We took up the challenge to build the avionics suite for equipping the upgraded Jaguars with night attack capability, precision bombing and enough space for additional weapons," IANS quoted a senior HAL official as saying.

"The Jaguars completed the mandatory 500 hours of test flights for operational clearance and induction into the IAF squadron," the official added.

The IAF sought HAL's expertise to not only equip the Jaguars with the latest avionics, but also improve their airframe to fit in new armament pods for counter measures.

The decision to upgrade the Jaguar fleet by IAF was taken after its original manufacturer British Aerospace Systems (BAE) certified that the aircraft had a lifespan of a few more years in service.

The IAF flew Jaguars in the joint exercises with the US Air Force in Cope Thunder, Alaska in 2004 and drew special attention for their strike capabilities and maneuvers.

"As part of its modernization program, the IAF had ordered for 17 newly built Jaguars at 15 billion rupees and upgrading of its existing fleet in 2002. As IAF's main supplier and service provider, we had taken up upgrading of its Jaguar fleet, consisting of trainer and fighter aircraft," the official said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:54 PM


Indian Navy to hold joint drills with French, US counterparts
For the first time, Indian Naval warships and submarines will rub shoulders with US and French nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines in a series of manoeuvres over the next three months.

The quantum jump to war manoeuvres with state-of-art nuclear carriers and submarines would be heralded with holding of Malabar round of Indo-US exercises off the west coast by September end and with French Naval forces in the Gulf of Aden in November, highly-placed naval sources said here.

The Indian Navy would field its lone carrier INS Viraat conventional SSK class submarines and its Russian-acquired stealth frigates and destroyers in the exercises, which would see the US navy bringing in its frontline F-18 Hornets and F-15 naval fighters for the first time.

The sources said that US navy would also bring its upgraded P3C Orions long range maritime reconissance aircraft for the exercises to be held in the last week of September. The aim of the exercises is to weave interoperability among the frontline warships and weapon platforms of the US and Indian Navies”, the sources said.

The joint exercises with the French Navy are to be held in November end around the Horn of Africa, where French Naval warships including Nuclear powered carrier Charles De Gaulle and nuclear submarines from the French Indian ocean naval base of Djibouti would carry out advanced battle manoeuvres with Indian Naval warships in wargames codenamed Varuna IV.

In between, Indian warships for the second year in running, would conduct complex wargames with a powerful Russian naval flotilla in the Bay of Bengal in october.

The Russian battle group would comprise stealth frigates and Akula class nuclear submarines. Indian Navy has shown interest in acquiring these submarines on lease from Moscow. “Russians are bringing in some of their most powerful warships in exercises which are going to be of bigger magnitude”, sources said.

India, whose naval fleet has almost over 70 per cent of Russian weapons platforms, has held just one joint exercise with the Russian Navy last year. “The Russian wanted the exercises to be held every year and now it has been decided that these wargames codenamed Indra would be held in alternate years”, the sources said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:53 PM


IAF price for Mirages upsets Qatar
The Qatari authorities are reportedly upset over a "ridiculously low" offer the Indian Air Force recently made for 12 used French Mirage 2000-5 fighters that it has been in negotiations to buy from the Emirate.

Official sources said the IAF’s $375-million bid for the fighters — almost half the asking amount by the Qataris — indicated the Air Force’s "casual attitude" to acquiring the aircraft despite its rapidly shrinking fighter fleet and ostensible eagerness to bolster its operational capabilities.

"Pressuring Qatar into selling the Mirage 2000-5 fighters appears, in the light of the IAF’s present offer, to have merely been a tactic by India to stop them from being sold to Pakistan two years ago," a diplomatic source said, declining to be identified. The Qataris feel India is making a mockery of the purchase, he added.

During a visit to Qatar in January 2003, former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani is believed to have told the Qatari authorities that India would be forced to "reconsider" a major gas contract if the Sheikhdom decided to sell the Mirage 2000-5s to Pakistan as it was planning.

Qatar was reportedly under pressure from the US to "dispose off" the Mirage 2000-5s. The Americans had established a major base in Qatar for their invasion of Iraq and was apparently averse to the presence of French technicians for servicing the fighters. It was then decided to dispose the aircraft off to a fellow Islamic country.

Also, at the time, France had vociferously opposed Iraq’s invasion by the US and relations between Washington and Paris were bad, bordering on antagonistic.

According to official sources, the Qataris are believed to be demanding around $750 million for the fighters — nine single seat and three trainers — whose acquisition was cleared by India’s Cabinet Committee on Security in March. "The fighters have 80-85 per cent of their operational life intact," defence minister Pranab Mukherjee had declared in March, adding that talks for their acquisition would begin soon. Qatar had acquired the fighters in 1997 and had used them sparingly.

Thereafter, India is also believed to have indicated a willingness to pay around $650-700 million for the fighters when Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, visited Delhi in mid-April, signifying that further discussions were merely a "formality" before a price negotiation committee was constituted and the deal concluded.

But the "meagre" $375-million purchase offer extended by the eight-member Indian team led by Mr S.K. Sharma, joint secretary (air and acquisitions) that returned home on June 30 after a four-day trip to Qatar, is reported to have caused "offence" in the sheikhdom. Air-Vice Marshal K.K. Nohwar, who heads the planning division, was also part of the visiting team.

Official sources said the deal for the Mirage 2000-5s was to be a tripartite agreement involving the makers of Mirage, Dassualt Aviation, who would be responsible for upgrading the fighters with new avionics and mission systems before delivering them to the IAF by the year-end once India finalised their purchase from Qatar.

The IAF had planned on inducting the Mirage 2000-5s into a special squadron at Gwalior where its 49 Mirage 2000Hs, acquired in the mid-1980s are based. Ten additional Mirage 2000Hs the IAF acquired in the late 1990s have also been delivered and are in the process of being deployed at forward bases in the north.

Incidentally, the Mirage 2000-5 is one of four aircraft competing for the IAF’s tender for 126 multi-role fighters, but defence officials are quick to point out that the Qatari acquisition was not indicative of any preference for the larger buy.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 3:52 PM


'US to benefit over India's entry in UNSC'
WASHINGTON: It is in the US' interest to advance growth of India's power by supporting its candidature as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and accepting it as a nuclear State, a leading expert on US-South Asian relations has said.

US should provide advanced nuclear power technology besides increasing military and economic cooperation with India, including setting the goal of eventual free trade, Mr Ashley J Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and former adviser to then US Ambassador to India, Mr Robert Blackwill, said.

Mr Tellis' latest book 'India as a new global power - an action agenda for the US' is an in-depth strategy report for US-India relations. The book proposes the transformation of relations between the US and India with major implications for the future b alance of power in Asia.

Mr Tellis said that the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, to the US provided an excellent opportunity to take the NSSP (next steps in strategic partnership) several steps forward.

The US President, Mr George W Bush, has embarked on a course of action that would permit India more access to controlled technologies even though New Delhi did not surrender its nuclear weapon programme, refused to accede to the principal benchmarks laid down by the Clinton Administration, and subsisted in its position formally outside the global non-proliferation regime, said Mr Tellis. - PTI

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:53 AM


PM, Bush to cement broader US-India ties
Friday, 15 July , 2005, 07:35

Washington: US President George W. Bush will use a state visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh early next week to emphasise India's growing global influence, a senior US official said on Thursday.

"India is emerging as a global player, and we think on balance that's a good thing," the official told a small group of reporters on condition he not be named. "We have a lot to cooperate on."
"What you're going to see, I think, is moving beyond just a bilateral relationship between the United States and India dealing with bilateral problems and more the United States and India in partnership dealing together with global issues," the official said, without providing details.

Singh, whom Bush will welcome to the White House on Monday, last visited the United States in September 2004, when he attended the United Nations General Assembly and had his first meeting with the president.

Relations between India and the United States, on opposite sides in the Cold War, have been warming in recent years.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made India her first stop in March after being chosen for the post. Foreign Minister Natwar Singh has followed this up with a visit to the US.

The two sides have pledged to boost strategic ties and launch talks on energy cooperation, including the use of civilian nuclear power.

US and Indian defense ministers signed a 10-year agreement in late June paving the way for joint weapons production, cooperation on missile defense and possible lifting of US export controls for sensitive military technologies.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 10:43 AM


US-India nuclear cooperation a win-win for both
New Delhi: With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh making a seminal visit to the US next week, nuclear cooperation is turning out to be the litmus test of a rapidly evolving relationship, at least from the Indian viewpoint.

As nuclear cooperation has been the thorniest issue between the two long-time estranged democracies since India's nuclear test in 1974, both countries should take immediate steps to end the nuclear imbroglio. Such cooperation could take bilateral ties to a new era of sustained relationship for their benefit.

In January 2004, under a framework called Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP), signed in 2001, the US started dialogues with India to forge non-military nuclear cooperation which, along with ties in civilian space programmes and high-technology trade, forms three key areas of parleys.

However, the ongoing dialogues on nuclear cooperation have not moved forward to produce concrete results.

Recently, speaking to editors and analysts, US Ambassador to India David Mulford affirmed that President George W. Bush's offer to help New Delhi develop the nuclear energy option is a "serious one" and that the US is "now moving in a different direction".

It is high time for the US to make concrete steps to substantiate US statements on nuclear cooperation because it is the only way to add meaning to NSSP for the strategic advantages of both countries.

The US hesitation to sign a nuclear agreement with India could be owing to its perception that New Delhi would be the maximum gainer, not Washington. This is not true. Bilateral civil nuclear cooperation would certainly benefit the US too in the long run.

Firstly, forging nuclear cooperation could encourage India to actively help the US in its non-proliferation efforts.

India has already exhibited its clean track record and showed it is a responsible nuclear power: New Delhi's nuclear technology is primarily used for civil use; it has good track record on strict nuclear export controls and has institutionalised the nuclear export control with the passing of "The Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Bill, 2005"; and unlike some other countries India's nuclear arsenal has not led to any aggressive posture or militarism. Even the need for nuclear weapons is warranted by the compulsion of changed regional and international security environment.

Also, aligning with India, a country wedded to nuclear morality, could provide the US moral authority to project itself as the champion of nuclear non-proliferation.

Secondly, a fruitful outcome vis-à-vis civil nuclear cooperation could successfully pave way for India to join the Proliferation Security Initiative of the Bush Administration (PSI) in the US counter-proliferation efforts. India can prove to be a worthy and reliable partner in this regard.
Already, a number of countries have allied with the US for counter-proliferation and carrying out interdictions in land, air and sea routes. India is one of the most resourceful countries that can offer support and expertise to help to the interdiction efforts in South Asia and Indian Ocean region, promoting counter-proliferation goals.

Thirdly, cooperation with India will help increase her ability to play a stabilising force in Asia and the international arena in US interest.

The US has stated that it will help India play a major role in the regional and international affairs. If that is so, the US has to end restrictions on nuclear and high technology cooperation since they seriously limit India's ability to become a stabilising force in Asia and to play an effective role in international affairs, as Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said recently.

Fourthly, a civil nuclear cooperation between the US and India will facilitate them to become major allies so as to promote democracy in the region and beyond.

Fifthly, if the US abandons its hidden agenda to scuttle India's gas pipeline project with Iran through Pakistan and seriously forges nuclear cooperation, it would help sustain peace between New Delhi and Islamabad.

A positive US outlook will also help alleviate concerns of American critics that Washington secretly uses the prospect of nuclear cooperation merely to scuttle the Iran-Pakistan-India gas project in its bid to isolate Tehran and pursue militarism there.

Lastly, such nuclear cooperation and nuclear trade with India would provide huge financial benefits to the US.

For clinching a nuclear accord with the US, India, on its part, could give out assurances on non-proliferation and agree to place some of its civilian reactors under international safeguards of non-intrusive nature. This could allay US concerns on India's nuclear activities, facilitating a quick civil nuclear deal for mutual benefit.

Posted by Nikhil Khanna @ 9:17 AM


Pakistan may acquire US surveillance aircraft
The US reportedly offered to sell Pakistan over half a dozen naval Hawkeye-2000 surveillance aircraft during a briefing with Pakistani defense officials on board the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier on Monday.

Pakistani defense officials met with senior US Navy officials on the Nimitz, which is anchored some 170km off the Karachi coast.

The E-2C Hawkeye 2000 surveillance aircraft is part of Pakistan’s list of military equipment it hopes to purchase from the US.

Two Hawkeye aircraft were also flown to Pakistan’s naval station in Karachi, PNS Mehran, for a special demonstration.

Over the weekend, the commander of the USS Nimitz, Rear Admiral Peter H Daley, held a briefing on board the nuclear-powered carrier about the features of the spy aircraft for the delegation of Pakistan defense officials led by Defense Secretary General Tariq Wasim Ghazi, a retired general.

Equipped with the latest communication capacities, the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 is used to maintain effective contacts between land, air, and naval forces.

Pakistani officials also inspected F-18 jets during the visit.

Washington’s offer to sell the new surveillance aircraft to Pakistan follows serious concerns raised by Pakistani leaders over a ten-year India-US defense pact signed during a recent visit by Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee to the US.

Pakistan believes that India’s acquisition of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) air defense missile systems from the US could upset the regional balance of power and spur an arms race.

A senior Pakistani air force official told ISN Security Watch on Tuesday that Washington had offered Pakistan the same spy planes in the mid-1980s, but that “after flight tests and assessing our specific defense needs in the wake of the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, we decided against buying the system”.

However, the chief of the Pakistani air force, Marshal Saadat Kaleem, said he now supports the acquisition of mid-sized, early-warning and control aircraft. In an earlier talk with reporters, he said he hoped Washington would be willing to provide Islamabad with as many as ten of the aircraft.

Local defense analysts believe the US could be more amenable to selling the aircraft to Pakistan, as they are largely defensive in nature.

Pakistani air force officials said Islamabad would seek the latest version of the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 as well as air-to-air refueling platforms.

So far, US officials have not commented on Pakistan’s request for enhanced capabilities.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:14 AM


Defence framework not military alliance: Saran
The defence framework agreement signed last month between India and the United States is not a military alliance, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said at a press conference on Wednesday in the run-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington from July 18-20.

(In a related development, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh briefed Bharatiya Janata Party leaders A.B. Vajpayee and L.K. Advani on his forthcoming visit to Washington. Dr. Singh is scheduled to meet leaders from the Left parties on Thursday.)

Suggesting that there was some "misunderstanding" about the defence framework, Mr. Saran said it set out the "parameters" within which the two countries can potentially cooperate with each other if it is in their interest to do so.

"I do not think anybody can take exception to that," Mr. Saran said, adding that it could not have any adverse impact on India's very substantial defence ties with Russia and other countries. There should not be any apprehensions about India's relations with the U.S.

Asked about the criticism from the Left parties about the defence framework signed during the recent visit of Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Foreign Secretary declared that India was, is and would remain a non-aligned country.

The Foreign Secretary denied that India was disappointed by the stand taken by the U.S. in the United Nations' General Assembly asking member states to vote against the G-4 resolution seeking Security Council expansion.

"If the U.S. has decided to oppose the G-4 resolution there is not much we can do about it ... whether or not we go ahead with the resolution will again be based on the assessment that we will take together with our partners... " the Foreign Secretary said.

Terrorism issue

On the issue of terrorism, Mr. Saran remarked that the Indian position was that there could be no segmented approach to the issue, a point that was made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the recent G-8 summit at Gleneagles. India had a "strong hand" on the issue as Dr. Singh travelled to the U.S.

Asked about remaining sanctions on India from the U.S. side, the Foreign Secretary said that Washington had been told that New Delhi could not be a partner and a target at the same time. While some of the restrictions had been lifted, India was hopeful that this process would be taken to its logical conclusion.

Pointing out that U.S. high technology trade with China stood at $500 million, he said the figure for U.S.-India high technology trade, however, was only $100 million. According to the Foreign Secretary, there was a need to increase economic cooperation across the board between India and China.

Mr. Saran said the world was looking at India not because it was weak but because it was strong and referred to India's growing relationships with China, the European Union and other countries.

On the American-backed Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), Mr. Saran said India wanted to be among the core group of decision-makers and would like to make sure that PSI was in conformity with international law. He described Indian participation as an open question.

In a related development, a senior American official told presspersons that an announcement on civilian nuclear energy cooperation could be made during the Prime Minister's visit to Washington. (On his part, Mr. Saran said this issue should be looked at not as an event, but a process).


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:13 AM


Jakarta says no to Indian patrol in Malacca Straits
While Indonesia has been supportive of India’s participation in the ASEAN-sponsored East Asia Summit to be held in Malaysia in December, it has reservations about the idea of Indian Navy patrolling the Malacca Straits.

The Indonesian government plans to take up the issue with Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash when he arrives here later this month. The Admiral’s visit will coincide with the arrival in Indonesian waters of his navy’s pride, INS Viraat, on a goodwill mission.

A few years ago, during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Indian warships had escorted high-value American naval assets through the Malacca Straits.

‘‘We wish to make clear that the Strait of Malacca is not an international strait. It’s only for international navigation and the responsibility of its safety lies with the three states of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. While we realise that user countries have understandable interest in ensuring security, whatever efforts are being made will need to have the consent of these three states,’’ Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marty M. Natalegawa, who’s also the Director General for ASEAN Cooperation, told visiting Indian journalists.

Though the Indian and Indonesian navies have been conducting coordinated patrols — it started in September 2004 in the Six Degree Channel, west of the Strait of Malacca between the Nicobar Islands and Indonesia’s Aceh province — Jakarta points to sovereignty sensitivity when it comes to the Strait of Malacca.

The Indonesian government, which was initially praised for showing ‘‘flexibility’’ in letting American and Indian warships escort ships through the strait, is now under attack at home for the same reason.

Stung by reports which quoted American and Indian officials who described the escort-assignments as joint patrols, Jakarta has begun to draw a clear distinction between patrols and escorts: Any patrolling or policing of the strait can be the responsibility of only Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore’s trilateral patrols. Asked if the matter would be raised during the Navy chief’s visit, Natalegawa replied in the affirmative, saying ‘‘We will be engaging all relevant parties. What we need are not the physical presence of other navies but more cooperation in terms of training, information sharing and other aspects.’’

But others here don’t go all the way with the Indonesian stand. Philips J Vermonte of the Department of International Relations at Jakarta’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) told The Indian Express: ‘‘The Indonesian Navy couldn’t patrol the Strait of Malacca and formed coordinated patrols with Malaysia and Singapore. But it’s quite clear they are not adequately equipped to deal with the situation. To make the strait secure, we have to cooperate with the international community and think of ways of addressing home concerns.’’


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:12 AM


Thales offers latest missile detecting radars to India
French defence major Thales has offered an across-the-board technology transfer to India in state-of-art radar knowhow to help New Delhi move speedily towards bridging the gaps in its air space coverage, specially in detecting low flying intrusions.

Undeterred by the recent US efforts at political level to muscle into the lucrative Indian market, Thales with an almost 50 year presence in India has set up an Indian subsidiary and is also offering to set up joint ventures in the country.

Jean Paul Perrier, Chief Executive of the 13 billion Euro multi-European company, Thales said his company was now offering to India its latest three dimension Herakles multi-function radars for the Indian Navy's latest range of lethal indigenous P15 and P17 type frigates.

"The radars have the capability to detect incoming missiles, aircraft, helicopters as well as low-flying Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV'S) as well as guide missiles and other weapons to deal with these threats," Perrier told visiting Indian newsmen as the company unveiled the latest range of radars at Lnemore facility in the city suburbs.

The Herakles MFR-30 can perform in any weather conditions and have back scanning capability enabling it to release missiles to intercept incoming missiles threats, a capability which Indian armed forces lack so far.

"French companies will not shy away from competition. All we want is a level playing field to let our weapons platform and systems speak for themselves," he said.

Apparently brave words from a Chief Executive whose company recently had to face the unheard of re-tendering in the project to supply low-level transportable radars (LLTR) to India on full technology transfer, that too after completing price negotiations and the approval of the deal by the Indian Defence Ministry under the erstwhile NDA regime.

An unperturbed Perrier told reporters that his company was ready to bid again for the project as the French were offering the most sophisticated systems. He said the Thales offer included giving rights to Bharat Electronics to sell the radars in third countries.

"We were pitted against the Israelis, who could not match our systems and we are confident that we can outmatch any new bidders" Perrier said.

India was to procure 19 LLTR's under the deal with the rest to be manufactured by BEL under full technology transfer. Though there is no no official word from the Defence Ministry, high-level defence officials said the Israeli bid was rejected as it did not not meet Indian qualitative standards.

For over four years Indian Air Force has been clamouring for these radars to enable it to bridge atleaset the airspace coverage gaps along the Western and Eastern Frontiers, specially threat from the low flying intrusions. also negotiating with US Defence Communication majors Life Northcorp and Raytheon.

Besides the Radars, Thales is into major deals with Indian Army in providing terrorist communication intercept systems as well as new state-of-art systems for the army.

The Company has recently supplied Indian Army with 500 Hand Held Thermals for anti-insurgency night operations in Jammu and Kashmir. The thermals called sophie cameras are also under evaluation by the Home Ministry and the Border Security Force for electronic surveillance of frontiers.

Thales is also involved in a major way in installing night fighting visions for frontline Indian T-90 tanks and is bidding to retro-fit similar sights for over 1000 T-72 tanks under two major projects, he said.

Thales has also provided expertise and specialist equipment to the Indian Army to break into terrorist radio networks operating across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

Perrier said the company was also bidding for Indian Army's major global communication retrofit programme that should start in 2007.

"We have already put in our bids for major sub-systems for the project, including line of sight microwave high data links," he said.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:11 AM


INS Beas handed over to Indian Navy
Missile frigate INS Beas was handed over to the Indian Navy today. Eighty-five per cent of the warship has been made in India.

Its builders from the Garden Reach shipyard in Kolkata watched proudly as the warship was inducted into the Navy.

Indian built ships have won accolades abroad. At the international fleet review in England last month, many considered INS Mumbai the most impressive warship.

"When Prince Charles saw the INS Mumbai, he remarked that she is probably the smartest looking ship in that review. I heard later from a retired Royal Navy admiral there that they conducted a vote and the INS Mumbai was the best and the smartest ship in the fleet review," said Admiral Arun Prakash, Naval Chief.

Foreign components

The foreign components on the ship are mainly weapon systems like the Uran missiles or the Barak air defence system.

But India's software skills integrate the foreign systems into a hi-tech control room so that they function together smoothly, the most difficult part of ship design.

It's only the most hi-tech foreign weaponry that the Navy is looking to buy. The Chief today admitted he was eyeing the American F-35 fighter that's still years away even for the US Navy.

"Yes, if the F-35 becomes available we would be interested in it. If the US makes us an offer, we would be very interested in taking a look at the aircraft," said Admiral Prakash.

Best in the world

But on the Beas itself, there is absolute confidence that they are as good as the best in the world.

"I would say it compares exceedingly well with the best in the world. And what gives us the cutting edge is our officers and men, who are in any case the best in the world," said Captain SS Jamwal, INS Beas.

So the INS Beas is off to join the Western Naval Fleet in Mumbai, which is already India's strongest.

In the days ahead, if there are reports of an Indian ship patrolling the Straits of Malacca or searching a freighter for nuclear contraband, it just might be the INS Beas.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:10 AM


Indian gears up to induct AWACS
As India prepares to induct three Israel-made airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) into its air force, it has stepped up efforts to train military personnel in controlling the sophisticated aircraft that can look deep into enemy airspace.

Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel who participated in the Garuda-II aerial exercise in France last month gained valuable experience in AWACS operations and others will be sent abroad soon to be trained in controlling the aircraft popularly known as "eyes in the sky".

"Our AWACS controllers will be trained abroad before the Phalcon AWACS arrive," Air Vice Marshal S. Mukerji, the IAF's assistant chief of staff (operations), told reporters here Friday.

Under a $1.1 billion deal signed with Israel in March 2004, India will acquire three Phalcon AWACS fitted on Il-76 cargo aircraft. The deal followed complex negotiations between India, Israel and Russia that will supply engines and avionics for the aircraft.

Deliveries of the Phalcon AWACS are expected to begin in 2007, and the IAF has stepped up efforts to train and prepare its personnel for missions involving such force-multiplying aircraft.

During the Garuda-II exercise conducted June 15-30 in France, several IAF officers flew as observers in the French Air Force's AWACS and worked closely with their French counterparts in guiding missions from the aerial platforms that carry a mix of sophisticated sensors and radars.

The IAF is also looking forward to the US Air Force bringing in its AWACS for an exercise to be held in India in November.

"The modalities and level of the exercise are yet to be decided and we are not yet sure whether our controllers will be allowed on the US AWACS," said Mukerji, noting that the IAF was looking forward to gaining more experience in missions involving AWACS.

Group Captain Shreesh Mohan, who led the IAF team that participated in Garuda-II, said: "A ground based radar can look only a certain distance. But an AWACS in the air with its radars can look much further - the line of sight increases."

The AWACS can stay in the air for long periods and alert fighter jets about incoming enemy aircraft and also guide operations that involve going into enemy airspace.

Though IAF personnel worked closely with their French counterparts on the AWACS during Garuda-II, they were barred from actually controlling fighters during the exercise due to stringent French legal provisions that hold air traffic controllers responsible for all mid-air collisions.

Garuda-II marked several firsts for the IAF - its frontline Su-30 jets were deployed for the first time outside India for the exercise and the first time foreign aircraft were refuelled in the air by IAF's Il-78 flying tankers.

"The exercises exposed us to NATO operating philosophies and helped build inter-operability with the French Air Force. We worked together with the French as a good team. We were able to fight together in spite of language problems," said Wing Commander K.V.R. Raju, who led the complement of six Su-30s that joined the exercise.

Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:09 AM


Indian Navy’s 14th air squadron commisioned in Goa
The Indian Navy today commissioned its fourteenth air squadron at its premier Naval Air Base, INS Hansa at Goa.

This air squadron INAS 552 is the first one to be commissioned after a long gap of fourteen years.

The commissioning was done by S.C. Jamir, Governor of Goa. Almela Jamir, wife of S.C. Jamir unveiled the plaque.

The basic purpose of this air squadron will be to train pilots for navy’s Sea Harrier planes which are of British make. This air squadron will be under Western India Naval Command and will be under Rear Admiral Shekhar Sinha, Flag Officer in Commanding, Naval Aviation Wing.

Rear Admiral Sinha also said that a new air squadron having MiG 29K will be raised soon with a purpose to take out the war into enemy territories. This will enhance Indian Navy’s present reach and also bolster the defences.

“When the harrier goes on board the aircraft carrier we will always take the war to the enemy territory and therefore war has to be fought from the sea that is what these aircrafts are meant for. That is why I said our maritime interests. As the technology is advancing we require a little more advanced weapon system. So MiG 29K has a bigger reach, can fly for longer. It will have a little more advanced weapon system. As a result our ability to fight the war away from our homeland has improved. It is technologically advanced,” said Rear Admiral Shekhar Sinha, Flag Officer in Commanding, Naval Aviation Wing, Western Naval Command.

The Naval Air Arm is by itself a multi-faceted combat force and maintains diverse aircrafts as Sea Harrier, Seaking 42B, TU-142M, KM 31, Advance Light Helicopters and Unmanned Air Vehicles. It is placed at par with the air wings of the most advanced navy’s of the world.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 8:46 AM


Indian Army To Recruit Surrendered Insurgents
The Indian Army has decided to recruit about 14,000 troops from among Muslim insurgents who have surrendered in the last couple of months in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior Army official said July 5.

The troops will be raised for a couple of Army battalions that will operate in the forward areas of the northern Indian state to fight terrorists.

The state government of Jammu and Kashmir has agreed to the proposal from Army chief Gen. Jaswant Joginder Singh, the Army official said, and recruitment will begin in a month. The troops raised will be equipped with modern weapons and will operate around their villages along the Line of Control between India and Pakistan.

The Indian Army official said thousands of armed men belonging to more than a dozen Muslim separatist organizations in the state are ready to end terrorism, provided the Indian government gives them a rehabilitation package. Recruiting these men will neutralize many other armed men in Jammu and Kashmir, where thousands have died since the insurgency began in the early 1990s.

A ceasefire has been observed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir since November 2003, but hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are still stationed there. About 310,000 of the Army’s 1.1 million soldiers are in the state — 100,000 in the Kashmir valley, 185,000 in Jammu province and 25,000 in the Ladakh region. The regular troops are supported by an equal number of paramilitary and police forces. New Delhi unilaterally has withdrawn about 10,000 troops since November.

Making use of the ceasefire, the Army has completed construction of a fence along the 740-kilometer Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and plans to install sensors that can detect movement from a distance of up to three kilometers along the fence.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 6:40 AM


India Rules Out Accepting U.S. Missile Defense System
India on July 5 ruled out accepting a missile defense system from the United States.

”There is no question of accepting (a) missile shield from anyone,” Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee told a news conference in reply to a question.

”What we are interested in is developing our own missile program and we are doing that.”

The United States said last June that it was willing to talk to India about supplying missile defense systems.

”We are willing to talk to India about missile defense. Missile defense is very expensive. So it is not something that India will enter into lightly,” U.S. assistant secretary of state for arms control, Stephen Rademaker, had told reporters on a visit to New Delhi.

India and the United States last week signed a groundbreaking 10-year plan for military cooperation during a visit to Washington by Mukherjee.

India, a Cold War ally of the Soviet Union, has recently moved closer to the United States.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 12:10 PM


Indo-American Ashley Tellis Helps Evolve US-India Strategy
American policy makers in the Bush administration believe that they finally have new improved grand strategy toward South Asia, thanks to an Indian-American at the prestigious think-tank, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Mumbaikar Ashley Tellis, one of America’s foremost policy experts, has outlined the grand strategy in a forthcoming report entitled “India as a New Global Power: An Action Agenda for the United States” and scheduled for release July 14, four days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington.

As Tellis testified last month in the House of Representatives: "The record thus far amply substantiates the claim that India will be one of Asia's two ascending powers. It is expected that the Indian economy could grow at a rate of 7-8 per cent for the next two decades. If these expectations are borne out, there is little doubt that India will overtake current giants."

In the agenda Tellis argues that the United States must align with India because:

By 2015, it will have the fourth most capable concentration of power • It will be among the five major economies in 25-50 years • Can be a counterfoil to China • Can stabilize the region littered with failing states.

And this alignment must mean that the U.S. will:

Help India's power to grow to prevent China's dominance • End the illusory idea of military balance between India and Pakistan • Endorse India's membership in the UN Security Council, G-8, International Energy Agency • Remove objections to the Iran-India pipeline • Allow sale of dual-use technology, including nuclear safety equipment

In his policy brief, Tellis, who is a senior associate at the Pentagon-supported think tank, outlines American thinking and points out some of the potential challenges in realizing the new strategic goal towards South Asia of aiding Pakistan but at the same time recognizing India’s pre-eminence in the region. This may be the first time the U.S. is basing its South Asia strategy on positive engagement with Pakistan coupled with a clear acknowledgement of India’s ascendance. In the past, American policy makers have been afraid that support for one would upset the other - and, in fact, it did.

The objective of the strategy as outlined by Ashley Tellis in the new Policy brief published by the think tank is to enable India to become a great power while at the same time assisting Pakistan in attaining security and stability. "By expanding relations with both states in a differentiated way matched to their geostrategic weights," Tellis argues, "the Bush administration seeks to assist Pakistan in becoming a successful state while it enables India to secure a trouble free ascent to great-power status."

According to Tellis, these objectives would be achieved "through a large economic and military assistance package to Islamabad and through three separate dialogues with New Delhi that will review various challenging issues such as civil nuclear cooperation, space, defense co-production, regional and global security, and bilateral trade."

Tellis believes that "if you define power in terms of comprehensive national strength, it is unlikely that the United States will face serious peer competitors for at least another fifty years" but insists that India's continuing quest for security and for great power status must be recognized by the U.S.

It is instructive that when he spoke last year at the India Today Conclave, Tellis had put forth the following questions to his Indian audience: Can India develop a viable strategic partnership with the United States that serves both mutual interests and India's own unilateral interests? Can India develop a relationship with the United States that helps it enhance and magnify its own power?

According to Tellis, while India has every right to maneuver within the interstices of the international system, "but at the end of the day, there is one eight hundred pound gorilla that has to be engaged - and that is the United States.” He goes on to warn: "That gorilla is not going to go away. That gorilla has already put its nose for the first time in modern history, into the physical environment of the subcontinent. And it is in India's national interest, and important for its capacity to generate and magnify its power, to develop a productive and a collaborative relationship with the United States that enhances the interests of the two countries."

This transformation of relations between the United States and India, says Tellis, has occurred through a series of breakthroughs in bilateral diplomatic collaboration, military-to-military relations, counter terrorism cooperation, and public diplomacy.

And already this year, Tellis said, the Bush administration has unveiled a potentially far more radical initiative with respect to India-the United States has pledged to “help India become a major world power in the twenty-first century,” investing the energy and resources necessary to secure its untroubled ascent to great-power status.

Tellis believes that the United States should pursue the following grand strategic objectives towards India and Pakistan.

Vis-à-vis India, the United States should aim to rapidly complete the transformation in U.S.-Indian relations that has been underway since the final years of the Clinton Administration, and which received dramatic substantive impetus in the first term of President George W. Bush, in order to permanently entrench India in the ranks of America’s friends and allies. With the changes that have occurred both globally and in India since the end of the Cold War, a close bilateral relationship that is based on the strong congruence of interests, values, and inter-societal ties, is in fact possible for the first time in the history of the two countries.

Vis-à-vis Pakistan, the United States should aim to assist Islamabad to achieve a "soft landing" that reverses the still disturbing political, economic, social, and ideological trends and enable Pakistan to transform itself into a successful and moderate state. Because of the immensity of the problems facing that country, and because these difficulties are often viciously reinforcing, the Administration ought not to expect that Pakistan will be able to overcome all obstacles entirely by the end of President Bush’s current term. Consequently, U.S. objectives would be satisfied if Pakistan makes sufficient progress so that the trend lines with respect to good governance, stable macro-economic management, investments in human capital, foreign and strategic policy behaviors, and ideological orientation, are both positive and durable.

Tellis says he "would urge the Administration to pursue at least the following initiatives to be announced during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Washington on July 18, 2005, as a means of sustaining the momentum of the on-going transformation in U.S.-Indian relations:

Invite India to participate in the Generation IV, ITER, and Radkowsky Thorium Fuel (RTF) international research programs pertaining to the development of safe, proliferation-resistant, advanced nuclear reactor technologies. • Declare that, pending a permanent solution to the problem, the United States would permit India to purchase the requisite quantities of safeguarded low-enriched uranium required for its next fuelling of the Tarapur 1 and 2 nuclear reactors. • Inform the Government of India that the United States would not impede the construction of the Indian-Pakistani-Iranian gas pipeline so long as New Delhi cooperates by all means necessary-including by terminating or suspending work on the pipeline-if the international community were to consider penalizing Iran at some future point in time for persisting with its uranium enrichment program."

Despite all the controversies swirling around other foreign policies of the Bush Administration, it is worth remembering, says Tellis, that as far as India is concerned the President has got it absolutely right - indeed got it absolutely right even before he took office in January 2001:

"Often overlooked in our strategic calculations is that great land that rests at the south of Eurasia. This coming century will see democratic India’s arrival as a force in the world. A vast population, before long the world’s most populous nation. A changing economy, in which 3 of its 5 wealthiest citizens are software entrepreneurs. India is now debating its future and its strategic path, and the United States must pay it more attention. We should establish more trade and investment with India as it opens to the world. And we should work with the Indian government, ensuring it is a force for stability and security in Asia."

Apart from his association with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Tellis has become a valuable bridge between India and the US and continues as an advisor to the US government. He knows the Indian aspirations because he grew up there. He knows American constraints and burdens because he became an American, having come to the US in 1985. Tellis completed his master's from the University of Bombay and his PhD from the University of Chicago.

Previously, he served as senior adviser to the ambassador at the embassy of the United States in India. He also served on the National Security Council staff as special assistant to the president and senior director for strategic planning and Southwest Asia, becoming the highest ranking Indian American in the White House. . Before his government service, he was for eight years a senior policy analyst at RAND and professor of policy analysis at the RAND graduate school. He is the author of India’s Emerging Nuclear Posture, coauthor of China’s Grand Strategy: Past, Present, and Future, and has recently edited Strategic Asia 2004-05: Confronting Terrorism in the Pursuit of Power.

Some analysts are already suggesting that America’s new strategy is aimed essentially at containing and thus undermining China, whose giant economic strides are causing enormous worry in Washington. They say that the US does not believe in open competition, despite drum-beating about the virtues of free trade. For Americans, free trade means they should be free to export their goods to other markets but others must not bring their goods to the US.

Almost all economists agree that, should China continue to maintain the growth rate it has achieved in the last 15 years, in 20 years’ time it will have the largest economy in the world. This is something the US is determined to prevent; hence its provocative policies and statements concerning China. India is being groomed through trade offers and enhanced military and political interactions to take on China.

Will India and America live up to each others expectations? More crucially, in a unipolar world is India capable of playing the kind of role assigned to it by the 800-pound gorilla?


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:47 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.

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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.
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