Saturday, July 22, 2017

US Admits Inconsistency In Describing Jammu & Kashmir, But No Policy Change

Recently in one of its statements, the US described it as "Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir" and this week it said the "Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir"

WASHINGTON: US officials have acknowledged that there have been inconsistencies in the American description of Jammu and Kashmir, but insisted there was no change in its policy saying the "pace, scope and character" of any discussion on Kashmir is for India and Pakistan to determine.

"Our policy on Kashmir has not changed," a State Department spokesperson told PTI.

The clarification came after questions were raised about the different ways the US has described Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently in one of its statements, the US described it as "Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir" and this week it said the "Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir".

In June while designating Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a "specially-designated global terrorist", the State Department had said the militant group has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014 attack in "Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir".

India, however, had played down the nomenclature by the US, saying similar terms had been used previously too.

India Protests US Reference To POK As ‘Azad Kashmir’ In Terror Report

India has reason to feel satisfied that the report refers to the Indian state as “Jammu & Kashmir” instead of its previous reference to it as “Indian-administered Kashmir”....

by Neeraj Chauhan

NEW DELHI: India has lodged a strong protest with the US over the state department’s “Country Report on Terrorism 2016”, released on Wednesday, referring to Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as “Azad Jammu & Kashmir” even as it states that the area is being used by terrorist groups to target India.

The Indian government approached US authorities after the release of the report. An official spokesperson of the external affairs ministry told TOI, “The government has seen the mention of the term ‘Azad Jammu & Kashmir’ in the US state department’s country report on terrorism for 2016. We have raised the matter with the US authorities and lodged our protest.”

This is the first time the US has referred to PoK as “Azad Jammu & Kashmir” despite the fact that the region is closely controlled by the Pakistan military in the face of Indian protests. Till recently, the US has used the nomenclature “Pakistan-administered Kashmir”. The report, however, praises India’s efforts to combat terrorism.

On the other hand, India has reason to feel satisfied that the report refers to the Indian state as “Jammu & Kashmir” instead of its previous reference to it as “Indian-administered Kashmir”.

The report, in the section on US government-designated foreign terrorist organisations, talks of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and says “the outfit conducts its operations primarily in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and Afghanistan”. It adds: “HUM operates from Muzaffarabad in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, as well as several cities in Pakistan”.

Similarly, while talking about Hafiz Saeed-led Lashkar-e-Taiba, responsible for several attacks in India including 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the state department report says “the precise size of LeT is unknown, but it has several thousand members in Azad Jammu &Kashmir and Pakistani Punjab; Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Provinces in Pakistan; and in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, India”

Muzaffarabad is the headquarters of LeT and other anti-India terror groups and PoK is used to launch terrorists into India and plan attacks on Indian military and civilian targets on the direction of the Pakistani army.

TOI’s attempts to get a response from the US embassy remained unsuccessful. Some officials believe that even if PoK has been termed as zad J&K’ by US report, it doesn’t diminish the indictment of Pakistan for providing support and shelter to terrorists and cross border terror.

However, officers associated with defence matters said the US should use more correct terminology. An officer said, “Azad J&K is often used by Pakistani government, its military and terrorist organisations like Hizbul Mujahideen, LeT, JeM, etc.” The report has flayed Pakistan for not taking action against terror groups.

China’s Grip Over The Vast Indian Market Shows How The Onus Is On China To Pursue Peace And Reconciliation

In the long run, China’s ownership of US debt is shifting the balance of power in its favour. But who cares about the long run? America has bet the shop, and its bottom dollar, on its consumption

by Chidanand Rajghatta

If China initiates a war against India, New Delhi should have no problem convincing the world that Beijing started the fire fight. After all, everything is “Made in China” these days!

Jokes about Made in China have proliferated ever since the manufacturing superpower whipped its billion strong workforce into assembly lines. Here’s a naughty one: Everything is made in China, except babies; they are made in vachina. And then there’s the guy who goes to the optometrist: “Read the last line, please …” “Made in China”.

On a serious note, China pretty much owns the world, mainly on the strength of its manufacturing for the rest of the world, particularly the US, and including India. So when one hears all the war-talk and sabre rattling coming from Beijing, you have to wonder: How come India has allowed China to have a run of its cellphone market? How come Indians are lapping up Oppo and Vivo and OnePlus (all three from the same Chinese company BBK) and other Chinese gizmos?

If you don’t know about BBK Electronics Corporation, now is a good to time to find out. Founded in 1995 by a Chinese engineer-entrepreneur named Duan YongPing, it is now the world’s second largest maker of mobile phones after Samsung, having overtaken even Apple in its hot run. 

Hell, BBK pretty much owns Indian cricket now! You heard that right. A country that can’t wield a bat for nuts has suddenly made deep inroads into this colonial game that India has embraced with a passion. Earlier this year, Oppo ponied up more than Rs 1,000 crore to sponsor the Indian cricket team for the next five years. And Vivo shelled out more than Rs 2,000 crore for IPL rights till 2022. How long before Virat Kohli’s bat sports a “Made in China” logo now that Oppo jerseys have already made their debut?

At first blush, this can be deeply disturbing. Some folks might ask – how can you expect our soldiers to guard our borders when the national team is sporting Oppo jerseys and using Vivo phones modelled by Ranvir Singh? One way to look at it is to see what’s happening to the US. Almost everything in an American home is now Made in China; China still owns more than a trillion dollars in US debt.

Owning US Treasury notes helps China grow its economy by keeping its currency weaker, exporting goods to American consumers addicted to cheap goods, and creating millions of Chinese jobs. Selling debts or T-notes to China also helps the US economy to grow, keeps interest rates low, and gives American consumers cheap consumer goods.

In the long run, China’s ownership of US debt is shifting the balance of power in its favour. But who cares about the long run? America has bet the shop, and its bottom dollar, on its consumption. Will it consume itself to … penury? oblivion? death? Or will it be China that will go under the weight of its credit built on hard work and slavish enterprise? Many people have explained the conundrum with a familiar example. If an individual owes a bank a few thousand dollars, the bank will be after him to repay. But if the bank has lent the individual a billion (or trillion in this case) dollars, it is the bank that is under pressure and could go down the tube if the individual defaults (Indian banks and industries are all too familiar with this situation in recent years).

So inasmuch as China has the US on a hook as lender, the US too has China by the short and curlies – as a debtor. The joke goes that when Americans got a cheque for $500 some years ago so they could spend it and galvanise the US economy, the first thing they did was buy a “Made in China” flat screen TV.

Of course, India is nowhere in the US league of indebtedness, not to speak of not having the greenback as the worldwide reserve currency. Still, the situation illustrates how vigorous trade can have unexpected consequences.

India’s vast market, illustrated vividly by the advances made by Oppo and Vivo, shows how the onus is also on China to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation to keep its economy ticking and growing. The responsibility is not just India’s.

Denial of $350 Million Aid To Pakistan Reality, Not Policy: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis

Jim Mattis' predecessor Ashton Carter was the first US Defence Secretary to refuse that certification

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has said that his refusal to give certification to Congress that Pakistan was taking action against the Haqqani network is not a reflection of a new tougher policy against Islamabad, but simply an assessment of the current state of play.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said yesterday that the Trump administration will not provide USD 350 million in coalition support funds to Pakistan after the US Defence Secretary said he cannot certify that Islamabad has taken "sufficient actions" against the dreaded Haqqani network.

"This is simply an assessment of the current state of play. It is not a policy. It is a reality. You know, we are just defining the realities," Mattis told reporters yesterday.

When asked if the withholding of USD 350 million coalition support funds was part of the Trump administration's new policy towards Pakistan, he said "No".

Responding to questions, Mattis dispelled rumours that the National Security Adviser Lieutenant General H R McMaster would be leaving soon for an Afghan-related assignment.

Pakistan-based Haqqani network is blamed for a number of high-profile attacks on US and Western interests in war-torn Afghanistan.

Russia's Su-35 Fighter: The Only Thing You Need To Know

by Sébastien Roblin

The Su-35 may be the best jet-age dog fighter ever made and a capable missile delivery platform—but whether that will suffice for an air-superiority fighter in the era of stealth technology remains to be seen.

The Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E is the top Russian air-superiority fighter in service today, and represents the pinnacle of fourth-generation jet fighter design. It will remain so until Russia succeeds in bringing its fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter into production.

Distinguished by its unrivalled manoeuvrability, most of the Su-35’s electronics and weapons capabilities have caught up with those of Western equivalents, like the F-15 Eagle. But while it may be a deadly adversary to F-15s, Eurofighters and Rafales, the big question mark remains how effectively it can contend with fifth-generation stealth fighters such as the F-22 and F-35.


The Su-35 is an evolution of the Su-27 Flanker, a late Cold War design intended to match the F-15 in concept: a heavy twin-engine multi-role fighter combining excellent speed and weapons load out with dog fighting agility.

An Su-27 stunned the audience of the Paris Air Show in 1989 when it demonstrated Pugachev’s Cobra, a maneuver in which the fighter rears its nose up to 120-degree vertical—but continues to soar forward along the plane’s original attitude.

Widely exported, the Flanker has yet to clash with Western fighters, but did see air-to-air combat in Ethiopian service during a border war with Eritrea, scoring four kills against MiG-29s for no loss. It has also been employed on ground attack missions.

The development history of the Su-35 is a bit complicated. An upgraded Flanker with canards (additional small wings on the forward fuselage) called the Su-35 first appeared way back in 1989, but is not the same plane as the current model; only fifteen were produced. Another upgraded Flanker, the two-seat Su-30, has been produced in significant quantities, and its variants exported to nearly a dozen countries.

The current model in question, without canards, is properly called the Su-35S and is the most advanced type of the Flanker family. It began development in 2003 under the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), a subcontractor of Sukhoi. The first prototypes rolled out in 2007 and production began in 2009.

Airframe and Engines

The Flanker family of aircraft is super maneuverable—meaning it is engineered to perform controlled maneuvers that are impossible through regular aerodynamic mechanisms. In the Su-35, this is in part achieved through use of thrust-vectoring engines: the nozzles of its Saturn AL-41F1S turbofans can independently point in different directions in flight to assist the aircraft in rolling and yawing. Only one operational Western fighter, the F-22 Raptor, has similar technology.

This also allows the Su-35 to achieve very high angles-of-attack—in other words, the plane can be moving in one direction while its nose is pointed in another. A high angle of attack allows an aircraft to more easily train its weapons on an evading target and execute tight maneuvers.

Such maneuvers may be useful for evading missiles or dogfighting at close ranges—though they leave any aircraft in a low-energy state.

The Flanker-E can achieve a maximum speed of Mach 2.25 at high altitude (equal to the F-22 and faster than the F-35 or F-16) and has excellent acceleration. However, contrary to initial reports, it appears it may not be able to supercruise—perform sustained supersonic flight without using afterburners—while loaded for combat. Its service ceiling is sixty thousand feet, on par with F-15s and F-22s, and ten thousand feet higher than Super Hornets, Rafales and F-35s.

The Su-35 has expanded fuel capacity, giving it a range of 2,200 miles on internal fuel, or 2,800 miles with two external fuel tanks. Both the lighter titanium airframe and the engines have significantly longer life expectancies than their predecessors, at six thousand and 4,500 flight hours, respectively. (For comparison, the F-22 and F-35 are rated at eight thousand hours).

The Flanker airframe is not particularly stealthy. However, adjustments to the engine inlets and canopy, and the use of radar-absorbent material, supposedly halve the Su-35’s radar cross-section; one article claims it may be down to between one and three meters. This could reduce the range it can be detected and targeted, but the Su-35 is still not a “stealth fighter.”


The Su-35 has twelve to fourteen weapons hardpoints, giving it an excellent load out compared to the eight hardpoints on the F-15C and F-22, or the four internally stowed missiles on the F-35.

At long range, the Su-35 can use K-77M radar-guided missiles (known by NATO as the AA-12 Adder), which are claimed to have range of over 120 miles.

For shorter-range engagements, the R-74 (NATO designation: AA-11 Archer) infrared-guided missile is capable of targeting “off boresight”—simply by looking through a helmet-mounted optical sight, the pilot can target an enemy plane up sixty degrees away from where his plane is pointed. The R-74 has a range of over twenty-five miles, and also uses thrust-vectoring technology.

The medium-range R-27 missile and the extra long-range R-37 (aka the AA-13 Arrow, for use against AWACs, EW and tanker aircraft) complete the Su-35’s air-to-air missile selection.

Additionally, the Su-35 is armed with a thirty-millimeter cannon with 150 rounds for strafing or dog fighting.

The Flanker-E can also carry up to seventeen thousand pounds of air-to-ground munitions. Historically, Russia has made only limited use of precision-guided munitions (PGMs) compared to Western air forces. However, the capability for large-scale use of such weapons is there, if doctrine and munition stocks accommodate it.

Sensors and Avionics

The Su-35’s most critical improvements over its predecessors may be in hardware. It is equipped with a powerful L175M Khibiny electronic countermeasure system intended to distort radar waves and misdirect hostile missiles. This could significantly degrade attempts to target and hit the Flanker-E.

The Su-35’s IRBIS-E passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar is hoped to provide better performance against stealth aircraft. It is claimed to able to track up to thirty airborne targets with a Radar-cross section of three meters up to 250 miles away—and targets with cross-sections as small 0.1 meters over fifty miles away. However, PESA radars are easier to detect and to jam than the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars now used by Western fighters. The IRBIS also has an air-to ground mode that can designate up to four surface targets at time for PGMs.

Supplementing the radar is an OLS-35 targeting system that includes an Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST) system said to have a fifty-mile range—potentially a significant threat to stealth fighters.

More mundane but vital systems—such as pilot multi-function displays and fly-by-wire avionics—have also been significantly updated.

Operational Units and Future Customers

Currently, the Russian Air Force operates only forty-eight Su-35s. Another fifty were ordered in January 2016, and will be produced at a rate of ten per year. Four Su-35s were deployed to Syria this January after a Russian Su-24 was shot down by a Turkish F-16. Prominently armed with air-to-air missiles, the Su-35s were intended to send a message that the Russians could pose an aerial threat if attacked.

China has ordered twenty-four Su-35s at a cost of $2 billion, but is thought unlikely to purchase more. Beijing’s interest is believed to lie mostly in copying the Su-35’s thrust-vector engines for use in its own designs. The Chinese PLAAF already operates the Shenyang J-11, a copy of the Su-27.

Attempts to market the Su-35 abroad, especially to India and Brazil, have mostly foundered. Recently, however, Indonesia has indicated it wishes to purchase eight this year, though the contract signing has been repeatedly delayed. Algeria is reportedly considering acquiring ten for $900 million. Egypt, Venezuela and Vietnam are also potential customers.

Cost estimates for the Su-35 have run between $40 million and $65 million; however, the exports contracts have been at prices above $80 million per unit.

Against the Fifth Generation

The Su-35 is at least equal—if not superior—to the very best Western fourth-generation fighters. The big question, is how well can it perform against a fifth-generation stealth plane such as the F-22 or F-35?

The maneuverability of the Su-35 makes it an unsurpassed dogfighter. However, future aerial clashes using the latest missiles (R-77s, Meteors, AIM-120s) could potentially take place over enormous ranges, while even short-range combat may involve all-aspect missiles like the AIM-9X and R-74 that don’t require pointing the aircraft at the target. Nonetheless, the Su-35’s speed (which contributes to a missile’s velocity) and large load-carrying abilities mean it can hold its own in beyond-visual-range combat. Meanwhile, the Flanker-E’s agility and electronic countermeasures may help it evade opposing missiles.

The more serious issue, though, is that we don’t know how effective stealth technology will be against a high-tech opponent. An F-35 stealth fighter that gets in a short-range duel with a Flanker-E will be in big trouble—but how good a chance does the faster, more-maneuverable Russian fighter have of detecting that F-35 and getting close to it in the first place?

As the U.S. Air Force would have it, stealth fighters will be able to unleash a hail of missiles up to one hundred miles away without the enemy having any way to return fire until they close to a (short) distance, where visual and IR scanning come into play. Proponents of the Russian fighter argue that it will be able to rely upon ground-based low-bandwidth radars, and on-board IRST sensors and PESA radar, to detect stealth planes. Keep in mind, however, that the former two technologies are imprecise and can’t be used to target weapons in most cases.

Both parties obviously have huge economic and political incentives to advance their claims. While it is worthwhile examining the technical merits of these schools of thought in detail, the question will likely only be resolved by testing under combat conditions. Furthermore, other factors such as supporting assets, mission profile, pilot training and numbers play a large a role in determining the outcomes of aerial engagements.

The Su-35 may be the best jet-age dog fighter ever made and a capable missile delivery platform—but whether that will suffice for an air-superiority fighter in the era of stealth technology remains to be seen.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Still Alive: US Defence Secretary James Mattis

"I think Baghdadi's alive... And I'll believe otherwise when we know we've killed him," Mattis said

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary James Mattis said he believes Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi is still alive, shooting down claims he was killed in an air strike.

"I think Baghdadi's alive... And I'll believe otherwise when we know we've killed him," Mattis said.

"But, we're going after him. We assume he's alive," he told reporters yesterday.

Last month, the Russian military claimed it had struck a meeting of Baghdadi on May 28 near Raqqa, Syria, in which Baghdadi was possibly killed.

Multiple other reports in recent weeks have suggested that Baghdadi was killed in Iraq or Syria. Since making his public appearance as "caliph" in 2014, he has not been seen.

Pentagon officials have said that Baghdadi no longer is involved in the Islamic State's day-to-day operations. Mattis, however, said Baghdadi still has a role to play in the outfit.

Responding to other questions on Afghanistan, the Pentagon chief said the policy review is not complete yet.

He said he has not used the presidential authorisation to increase the troop number in the war-torn country by 4,000.

"You fight wars for a reason. You don't just fight wars - I'm going to go fight a war now. There's got to be some end state to it, especially when you take a democracy that does not want to go fight wars and have to be able to compel the people to think. Maybe they got their act together here. Maybe this makes sense. So, you come up with a political reason for it," he said.

"There was a political reason for going after Osama bin Laden. He attacked New York City. So, there's a decision at the political level," Mattis said.

"Once you get the policy right, then you have to get the strategy right... Because if you don't know where you're going, good luck when you take off on your journey," he said.

Billions Could Die If India And Pakistan Start A Nuclear War

The world fears of Pak nukes falling into the hands of religious zealots

by Zachary Keck

With the world’s attention firmly fixated on North Korea, the greatest possibility of nuclear war is in fact on the other side of Asia

That place is what could be called the nuclear triangle of Pakistan, India and China. Although Chinese and Indian forces are currently engaged in a standoff, traditionally the most dangerous flash point along the triangle has been the Indo-Pakistani border. The two countries fought three major wars before acquiring nuclear weapons, and one minor one afterwards. And this doesn’t even include the countless other armed skirmishes and other incidents that are a regular occurrence.

At the heart of this conflict, of course, is the territorial dispute over the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, the latter part of which Pakistan lays claim to. Also key to the nuclear dimension of the conflict is the fact that India’s conventional capabilities are vastly superior to Pakistan’s. Consequently, Islamabad has adopted a nuclear doctrine of using tactical nuclear weapons against Indian forces to offset the latter’s conventional superiority.

If this situation sounds similar, that is because this is the same strategy the U.S.-led NATO forces adopted against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the face of a numerically superior Soviet military, the United States, starting with the Eisenhower administration, turned to nuclear weapons to defend Western Europe from a Soviet attack. Although nearly every U.S. president, as well as countless European leaders, were uncomfortable with this escalatory strategy, they were unable to escape the military realities under girding it until at least the Reagan administration.

At an event at the Stimson Centre in Washington this week, Feroz Khan, a former brigadier in the Pakistan Army and author of one of the best books on the country’s nuclear program, said that Pakistani military leaders explicitly based their nuclear doctrine on NATO’s Cold War strategy. But as Vipin Narang, a newly tenured MIT professor who was on the same panel, pointed out, an important difference between NATO and Pakistan’s strategies is that the latter has used its nuclear shield as a cover to support countless terrorist attacks inside India. Among the most audacious were the 2001 attacks on India’s parliament and the 2008 siege of Mumbai, which killed over 150 people. Had such an attack occurred in the United States, Narang said, America would have ended a nation-state.

The reason why India didn’t respond to force, according to Narang, is that—despite its alleged Cold Start doctrine—Indian leaders were unsure exactly where Pakistan’s nuclear threshold stood. That is, even if Indian leaders believed they were launching a limited attack, they couldn’t be sure that Pakistani leaders wouldn’t view it as expansive enough to justify using nuclear weapons. This is no accident: as Khan said, Pakistani leaders intentionally leave their nuclear threshold ambiguous. Nonetheless, there is no guarantee that India’s restraint will continue in the future. Indeed, as Michael Krepon quipped, “Miscalculation is South Asia’s middle name.”

Much of the panel’s discussion was focused on technological changes that might exacerbate this already-combustible situation. Narang took the lead in describing how India was acquiring the capabilities to pursue counterforce strikes (i.e., take out Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in a preventive or more likely preemptive strike). These included advances in information, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to be able to track and target Islamabad’s strategic forces, as well as a missile-defense system that could take care of any missiles the first strike didn’t destroy. He also noted that India is pursuing a number of missile capabilities highly suited for counterforce missions, such as Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Maneuverable Reentry Vehicles (MARVs) and the highly accurate BrahMos missiles that Dehli developed jointly with Russia. “BrahMos is one hell of a counter force weapon,” even without nuclear warheads, Narang contended.

As Narang himself admitted, there’s little reason to believe that India is abandoning its no-first-use nuclear doctrine in favour of a first-strike one. Still, keeping in mind Krepon’s point about miscalculation, that doesn’t mean that these technological changes don’t increase the potential for a nuclear war. It is not hard to imagine a scenario where the two sides stumble into a nuclear war that neither side wants. Perhaps the most plausible scenario would start with a Mumbai-style attack that Indian leaders decide they must respond to. In hopes of keeping the conflict limited to conventional weapons, Delhi might authorise limited punitive raids inside Pakistan, perhaps targeting some of the terrorist camps near the border. These attacks might be misinterpreted by Pakistani leaders, or else unintentionally cross Islamabad’s nuclear thresholds. In an attempt to deescalate by escalating, or else to halt what they believe is an Indian invasion, Pakistani leaders could use tactical nuclear weapons against the Indian troops inside Pakistan.

With nuclear weapons introduced, Delhi’s no-first-use doctrine no longer applies. Indian leaders, knowing they’d face incredible domestic pressure to respond, would also have no guarantee that Pakistani leaders didn’t intend to follow the tactical use of nuclear weapons with strategic strikes against Indian cities. Armed with what they believe is reasonable intelligence about the locations of Pakistan’s strategic forces, highly accurate missiles and MIRVs to target them, and a missile defence that has a shot at cleaning up any Pakistani missiles that survived the first strike, Indian leaders might be tempted to launch a counterforce first strike. As former Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon wrote in his memoirs (which Narang first drew people’s attention to at the Carnegie Nuclear Policy Conference in March): “India would hardly risk giving Pakistan the chance to carry out a massive nuclear strike after the Indian response to Pakistan using tactical nuclear weapons. In other words, Pakistani tactical nuclear weapon use would effectively free India to undertake a comprehensive first strike against Pakistan.”

One factor Indian leaders would be forced to consider is how the other third of Asian nuclear triangle, China, would react. Although the Stimson Centre event focused primarily on India and Pakistan, China has always been the primary focus of India’s nuclear program. Beijing is also a staunch if informal ally of Pakistan, with a growing economic stake in the country. It is this multi-polarity that is the hallmark of the second nuclear age.

Zachary Keck is the former managing editor of the National Interest.You can find him on Twitter: @ZacharyKeck

Armed Forces In Media: Soldiers, Don’t Fall Into The TRP

Stick to this kind of hot air, please
by Manmohan Bahadur

Having hung up my uniform some years back, I look up with pride at Air Chief Marshal I H Latif, a spirited 94-year-old. I am awed by Indian Air Force (IAF) Marshal Arjan Singh, who still serves the nation at a sprightly 98. Then there are many other legendary Faujis who did their duty and retired gracefully from public life.

They left behind a legacy of selfless service while in uniform, and continued to serve the cause of India in their own quiet way after retirement by joining NGOs, business houses, writing books — and by commenting on matters military and national security in the media.

These veterans did not have one distraction: there was no social media and 24×7 news television. They were helped by the relative anonymity of the written word, and the absence of prime-time television. Today’s veterans have not been so lucky. Some, it seems, have been smitten by the seductive trap of television studios.

Are they damaging the very institution that gave them the credibility to face those cameras? The Indian armed forces do not deserve a certificate of valour from anyone.

One doesn’t have to go about trying to outshout a fellow TV panellist who draws puerile ‘lessons’ from the way the army chief ’s Gurkha hat is tilted. Or from someone else who says that the Indian Army is ‘a mercenary force serving the ruler of the day’.

Veterans who get into an argument on such issues need to be reminded of the famous quip by British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, ‘Being powerful is being like a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.’

The shelling of schools at Naushera, Kashmir, by Pakistani forces earlier this month had Pakistani panellists belittling the Indian Army. Some retired members of the Indian armed forces brought no good to themselves or the army by joining them in a slanging match.

Which brings one to the question: why are such ‘guests’ called to TV studios to insult our institutions in the first place? Many TV channels seem to be totally unconcerned about the incalculable harm they impart by pitting one shouter against another only for the sake of TRPs. In the bargain, the Indian armed forces are losing big time, with some bristling veterans on shows much to blame for playing into the hands of the TV anchor.

So, should the mud-slinging be countered? It squarely comes down to the government to safeguard the reputation of the Indian armed forces and build up credibility so that GoI’s word counts. Pitching veterans on its behalf to further a cause, and playing on the sentiments Indians have towards their armed forces, can succeed only up to a point. When jingoism takes over and some veterans get involved, the effect is opposite and damaging.

Veterans are patriots, not nationalists. A nationalist blindly worships his country, and does not see the warts. A patriot acknowledges the warts and still worships his country while working towards removing the blemishes. In veterans, Indians see patriots, not nationalists. The media plays abig role in how the Indian armed forces are seen — and see themselves. Which is why these TV channels should refrain from prioritising everything at the altar of TRPs.

The writer is a former air vice-marshal, Indian Air Force

India Follows China’s Path To Factory Power

India's ambition to rise as a great power has received a strong boost from abroad, in the form of massive investment from foreign manufacturers.

The Indian government recently implemented its new Goods and Services Tax (GST), marking the country's largest tax reform since its independence in 1947. The launch of the new tax regime is aimed at simplifying India's complicated central and state tax system, unifying India's $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market.

While there is a lot of scepticism toward India's market unification reform, foreign companies appear to be confident about their prospects in the country. As part of the latest tax reform, India imposed a 10 percent duty on imported smartphones and some other electronic products, which has incentivized global smartphone manufacturers to accelerate their plans to set up plants in India. According to media reports, Foxconn plans to invest up to $5 billion in building new factories in the country. In June, Samsung announced it would invest 700 billion won ($608.28 million) to expand its production capacity in India, with monthly output expected to reach 10 million smartphones and 200,000 refrigerators by 2018.

Chinese mobile phone manufacturers are also investing in India. Brands like OPPO, Vivo, Lenovo and Xiaomi have set up plants in India, intensifying competition in the country's smartphone manufacturing sector. As early as four years ago, China's mobile phone industry, including brands, original equipment manufacturers, part suppliers, packaging suppliers and materials suppliers, started to enter the Indian market. In addition to smartphones, Chinese home appliances manufacturer Midea Group also announced recently that it would invest 800 crore ($123.98 million) to set up a factory in Pune, a city in western India. The factory is expected to be operational by the end of 2018 and aims to generate 500 jobs over the next five years.

The global auto industry is also eyeing India. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said Tesla is having talks with the Indian government to seek temporary relief from import duties ahead of establishing a local factory. A 60 to 100 percent duty is charged on imported foreign-made cars in India. In June, Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp announced plans to become the first Chinese auto company to build a manufacturing facility in India. During the period from 1995 to 2000, Hyundai, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota and other automakers started to produce cars in India. And since the Indian government allowed 100 percent foreign ownership in the automobile industry in 2000, there has been a sharp increase in investment by automakers in India.

This massive influx of investment by foreign manufacturers is of great significance for India's economy, employment and industrial development. If in the past India lacked capital, a developed manufacturing sector and skilled manufacturing workers, the foreign manufacturing inflow is now helping India address the problem, backing up the government's "Make in India" initiative. India mainly needs to do two things: first, enhance opening-up toward foreign companies and issue preferential conditions to attract foreign investment; second, provide sufficient labour resources. The Indian government also needs to open up its domestic consumption market. Foreign companies entering India have gradually shifted their focus from simple marketing and labor-intensive production to research and development. For instance, in 2015, China's Huawei Technologies Co invested $170 million to set up a research and development centre in India and promised to join the "Make in India" campaign.

It should be pointed out that what is happening in India occurred in China two decades ago. Just like what happened with China during its reform and opening-up, the arrival of foreign manufacturing will greatly enhance India's ability to develop its manufacturing sector, which will help in cultivating a large number of skilled workers, managers and factories.

China should be calm seeing India's rise. To cope with competition from India, China could start working on a more effective growth strategy for the new era now.

The influx of foreign manufacturers is addressing some of India's weaknesses and enhancing its manufacturing ability, with Chinese companies also playing an important role in the process. This is a repeat of China's introduction of foreign investment, which is why it is likely that India may succeed.

Global Times

Russia Delivers Mi-171E Helicopter To Pakistan

A military version of Mi-171E Helicopter

Russian Helicopters, delivered a Mi-171E civil helicopter in a convertible version to the representatives of Pakistani southern province of Baluchistan, the company said Friday

MOSCOW — Mi-171E helicopters belong to the Mi-8/17 series, which was developed and introduced in the 1970s, with dozens of variant modifications created to suit various operating conditions, climates and customers developed since then. A total of over 12,000 Mi-8/17s are in service in over 100 countries.

"This is the second convertible Mi-171E helicopter delivered to Pakistan this year," the statement read.

The vehicle comes in a convertible version, which can be used for transport as well as for carrying 13 passengers and a flight attendant. In transport mode, the helicopter is capable of carrying up to 27 passengers and up to 4 tonnes of cargo.

The contract for delivering of the helicopter was sealed in December 2016, the company added.

The company supplied the first Mi-171E helicopter to Pakistan in April.

Fake Chinese Spares Went Into Dhanush Artillery Gun: CBI Files FIR

A soldier mans a Swedish-made 155 mm Bofors Gun along the Indo-Pakistani border

NEW DELHI: China-made parts camouflaged as 'Made in Germany' found their way to the production line of indigenised Bofors guns used by the army, prompting the CBI to file a case against a Delhi-based company.

Besides Sidh Sales Syndicate, the CBI also registered a case against unidentified officials of the Guns Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, under criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery for supplying fake and cheap China-made spares passing off as Made in Germany for Dhanush guns, the FIR alleged.

Dhanush is the indigenised version of the Bofors artillery guns which performed exceedingly well during the Kargil conflict in 1999.

The CBI alleged that the supplier entered into criminal conspiracy with the unidentified GCF officials to supply duplicate spare parts (bearings) used in the manufacture of Dhanush guns.

"In furtherance of the said criminal conspiracy, unknown officials of GCF accepted the Chinese manufactured 'Wire Race Roller Bearings' supplied by Sidh Sales Syndicate which were embossed as 'CRB-Made in Germany'," the CBI said in the FIR.

The agency said production and performance of the Dhanush gun is extremely crucial for India's defence preparedness and "wire race roller bearing" is its vital component.

A tender was floated for the procurement of four such bearings according to the Rothe Erde drawing for 155 mm gun in which four firms had participated. The order was given to Sidh Sales Syndicate at the value of Rs 35.38 lakh in 2013, the FIR stated.

The order was further increased to six bearings at the cost of Rs 53.07 lakh on August 27, 2014.

The company supplied two bearings each on three occasions between April 7, 2014 and August 12, 2014.

The company submitted 'certificates in origin' showing the bearings were procured from CRB Antriebstechnik, Germany.

They were also embossed with the label, CRB-Made in Germany.

GCF tests showed that the bearings were unacceptable due to deviations in dimensions.

The company provided clarifications and assured that in case of non performance of the bearing due to manufacturing defects, they would replace the bearing free of cost and take corrective action for future supply.

"Consequently the bearings were accepted as a special case by unknown officials of GCF Jabalpur," the CBI alleged.

Information received by the CBI shows that the German company does not manufacture these parts.

It showed that Sidh Sales Syndicate got the six bearings manufactured by Sino United Industries (Luyang) Ltd Henan, China.

The agency also seized several emails which were exchanged between China and Sidh Sales Syndicate. The letter from Germany shown by the company was also on forged letterhead, CBI alleged.

The certificate of origin from Germany was also forged.

"The said forged letter and certificate were accepted by unidentified officials of GCF with ulterior motive and by abusing their official positions as such without ascertaining the genuineness of the said letter and certificates and cause undue advantage to Sidh Sales Syndicate and corresponding loss to the Government of India," the investigating agency said in the FIR.

CAG Slams Navy For Delay In ASW Corvettes Project

INS Kamorta, which is the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General has come down hard on the Indian Navy for causing inordinate delay in construction of four anti-submarine warfare corvettes.

In a report tabled in Parliament, the federal auditor said two of the four warships were delivered to the Navy were not fitted with required weapons and sensor systems due to which they could not perform to full potential as envisaged.

The CAG was severely critical of the Navy's Directorate of Naval Design (DND) for delay in finalising the design of the corvettes, saying approved designs were amended 24 times.

The Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), a defence public sector undertaking (DPSU), was issued letter of intent for the project in 2003 but major modifications in design of the ships continued till 2008.

The first corvette was delivered to the Navy in July 2014 and second one in November 2015. According to the contract for the project, the third corvette should have been delivered in July 2014 and fourth in April 2015.

"Against the 18 weapons and sensors to be installed on ASW Corvettes, audit observed that the two ASW corvettes delivered were not fitted with 'X' weapon and sensor systems. Thus, ASW corvettes could not perform to its full potential as envisaged," the CAG said.

Are Indian Armed Forces Ready For Intense Wars? The Answer Is 'Not Yet'

It will take the 15-lakh strong Indian armed forces another couple of years to become "fully fighting fit" with "optimal" stockpiles of ammunition

by Rajat Pandit

NEW DELHI: It will take the 15-lakh strong Indian armed forces another couple of years to become "fully fighting fit" with "optimal" stockpiles of ammunition, spares and reserves for "short and intense wars" under the Rs 23,700 crore worth of deals inked over the last 10 months, say sources.

But this does not mean the Army, Navy and IAF cannot effectively take on any adversary, if the need arises, in the interim period in as gung-ho a manner as ever. The armed forces continue to maintain "high operational readiness" all along the 778-km Line of Control with Pakistan amid fierce cross-border shelling duels as well as the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control with China, where rival troops remain locked in a tense but non aggressive face-off near the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction.

The crippling shortages in ammunition stockpiles or the war wastage reserves (WWR) came to the fore once again on Friday, with the latest CAG report tabled in Parliament holding "no significant improvement" had taken place to plug the critical deficiencies in availability and quality of ammunition supplied by the Ordnance Factory Board since March 2013.

Conducting a follow-up audit to its May 2015 report on the dismal state of "ammunition management in the Army", the audit watchdog held the stocks of 121 (80%) of the 152 types of ammunition were below the authorisation level required for 40 days of "intensive fighting" as per WWR norms.

"Further, availability of 83 (55%) types of ammunition was below the MARL (minimum acceptable risk level of ammunition stocks for 20 days) and 61 (40%) types were at a critical level (less than 10 days). Availability of high-calibre ammunition for tanks and artillery are in a more alarming state. Moreover, in the absence of fuses, 83% of the high-calibre ammunition currently held by Army is not in a state to be used operationally," it added.

But the CAG report does not take into account the flurry of contracts for ammunition and spares inked by Army (19 deals worth Rs 12,000 crore), IAF (43 deals for over Rs 9,200 crore) and Navy (37 deals for over Rs 2,500 core) under emergency revenue financial powers granted to them after the terror attack at Uri in September last year.

These deliveries from Russia, Israel and others to ensure stockpiles for at least 10 days of "intensive" fighting, however, will take time. The Army, for instance, will get the bulk of its Smerch rockets, Konkurs anti-tank guided missiles, 125mm APFSDS (armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) ammunition for its T-90S and T-72 tanks and the like by March 2019, with the rest coming by early-2020.

Deliveries to plug critical shortages in submarines, fighters, howitzers and helicopters will also take some time. The IAF, for instance, will get 36 Rafale fighters, armed with a wide array of missile and laser-guided munitions, in the 2019-2022 time frame under the Rs 59,000 crore deal inked with France last September.

The 22 Apache attack and 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters ordered from the US for Rs 22,000 crore will come between March-July 2019 and March 2020. Similarly, the bulk of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers, which can be swiftly air-lifted to threatened high-altitude areas along the LAC, will arrive from March 2019 to June 2021.

CAG Slams OFB For Critical Deficiency In Supply of Ammunition

The report also highlighted alleged irregularities and inefficiencies by various other entities relating to defence services (Representational Image)

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General has slammed the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for critical deficiency in availability of ammunition to the Army.

In a scathing report, which was tabled in the Parliament today, the CAG also criticised the OFB for inadequate quality of ammunition supplied to the Army since March 2013

The CAG said despite serious concerns highlighted in a high-level report on 'Ammunition management in Army' in 2015, no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the OFB.

"Shortfall in meeting the production target by OFB continued. Further, majority of the procurement cases from other than OFB which were initiated by Army headquarters during 2009-13 were pending as of January 2017," the CAG said in the report.

The federal auditor also lambasted defence research and development organisation (DRDO) for import a balloon costing Rs 6.20 crore under a project for development of aerostat surveillance system, saying it lacked rationale.

"Further, the project itself did not achieve its objective despite an expenditure of Rs 49.50 crore," the CAG observed.

Talking about safety aspects, the federal auditor said ammunition depots with shortage of fire-fighting staff and equipment remained accident prone.

The report also highlighted alleged irregularities and inefficiencies by various other entities relating to defence services.

The CAG also criticised the heavy vehicle factory in Avadi in Tamil Nadu for delays in supply of T-72 bridge laying tanks (BLT) which were scheduled to be delivered in a phased manner during 2012-2017.

The auditor blamed frequent changes in the design of T-72 BLT for delay in the project.

The heavy vehicles factory (HVF) also faced criticism from the CAG for placing an order for radiators to be fitted in T-90 tanks on a firm which had no prior experience of manufacturing them.

"The Factory accepted Radiators worth Rs 2.78 crore which did not conform to the stipulated technical requirements and rendered T-90 tanks fitted with such Radiators unacceptable to Army," the CAG said.

The report also said the Director General, National Cadet Corps gave contracts to overhaul 34 engines of microlite aircraft at a cost exceeding 50 per cent of the cost of a new engine, in deviation from the laid down procedure.

"Further, additional 110 microlite aircraft were procured at a cost of Rs 52.91 crore despite low utilisation of the existing fleet," it said.

The auditor also took strong note of the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi procuring 20 LAHAT missiles in spite of reservation of the foreign supplier due to technical constraints.

"During demonstration trials, the missiles failed to achieve the stipulated criteria/range of 1200M to 1500M. Army refused to accept the missile, thereby the payment of Rs 19.53 crore made to the supplier was rendered infructuous," it said.

In another finding, the CAG came down hard on the Army's Director General Military Intelligence for alleged violations of procedure in procurement of 20 numbers of Photowrite Systems and said 11 of them became non-functional within 3 to 22 months of procurement resulting in loss of Rs 21.28 crore.

IDN TAKE: What ISRO Must Learn From Other Space Agencies

The launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket July 14 with more than 70 satellites was captured in multiple views from a sharp-eyed orbiting nano-satellite and cameras positioned around the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Russian state space corporation, Roscosmos, released a video clip containing imagery of last week’s blastoff from several cameras placed around Launch Pad No. 31 at Baikonur, where the Soyuz rocket soared into space.

Lessons To Be Learned

Watch the Video, it is breathtaking in its presentation when compared to what ISRO's can offer, and the launch photographs of its latest mission posted below are equally stunning. Amazingly, some of the images of launch vehicles on the official ISRO website are models and not that of the actual rocket. I was struck dumb the first time I visited their website, that was ages ago. The present one after a major rejig is no better and my personal opinion is that it's bloody awful. The ISRO website seems to be stuck in a bit of a time warp, sporting clunky design, lacks important information, has poor navigation menus and is sparsed with some pretty poor quality images. The news section has hardly any news at all (no issues if the launch is classified military/defence related) and it is shameful that enthusiasts have to look at other sources for the latest news.

The videos are presented in some godforsaken proprietary application which is difficult to download. Why isn't ISRO using YouTube, unarguably the world's most popular and free video publishing facility, this way the videos can be downloaded and disseminated more easily wherein millions can view its achievements.

My past experience has proven that ISRO has a lot of information on its website, but the inbuilt search throws up some funny results, bad search results (from the user’s perspective) will make the users scurry away.

Having a professionally built website is not only beneficial, but necessary if ISRO wants to stand out amongst the competition. It will allow the organisation to be on top of the industry. A website is an extension of the business and brand, therefore it becomes imperative to present solutions and products in detail without having to make a blustery personal marketing pitch. An unprofessional website could lead to customers looking elsewhere for launch services. It is all about making the best possible first impression.

In this context, it is rather distressing that an organisation which can send 104 satellites into space cannot create and maintain a really good functional website.

Sample Images from ROSCOSMOS Website

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