Issuu on Google+

final April cover 4:GEOPOLITIC COVER2.qxd

4/6/2011

4:06 PM

Page 1

AN ALTERNATIVE IN AFGHANISTAN

geopolitics VOL I, ISSUE XII, APRIL 2011  ` 100

D E F E N C E  D I P L O M A C Y  S E C U R I T Y

THE

HOWITZER SAGA DEALING

WITH LANDMINES

MARCHING AHEAD

THE DEFENCE MINISTER WANTS INDIA TO HAVE A GREAT MILITARY, BUT DOES OUR BUDGET REFLECT THAT?


JAPAN 10-11-16-17.qxd

4/7/2011

4:00 PM

Page 59

21st century maritime security. The P-8I provides India with the most advanced maritime patrol solution. With its high-bypass turbo fan jet engine, fully connected mission system and next-generation sensors, the P-8I delivers unmatched mission effectiveness and range. It also brings a commitment to Indian industry to a value-added, long-term partnership.


Contents New P-4-5.qxd

4/7/2011

1:27 PM

Page 2

COVER STORY (P38)

Military Provisions Are budgetary allocations for Indian armed forces adequate for a country expected to play a global role? Three distinguished military officers, one from each service, discuss.

SPECIAL FEATURE (P18)

FOCUS (P44)

HORRORS OF LANDMINES

SEAWAY THUGS

The issue of landmines is haunting the Indian armed forces and police. It is time now to look at various existing technologies to detect these dreaded devices.

Finally, the world’s patience is giving way to some stern actions against the Somali pirates. India is devising ways to take them on.

SPECIAL REPORT (P29)

DEF BIZ (P26)

INTERNAL SECURITY (P54)

VOLATILE ACQUISITION

THE OFFSETS GAME

PARAMILITARY SPYING

There are more questions than answers to the Defence Ministry’s keenness to acquire the Howitzer M777 gun from the US through the FMS route.

While the government’s policy on the offsets clause is fine on paper, there are various issues that make it difficult to implement.

Having one’s own and separate intelligence network will provide the muchneeded independence in intelligencegathering for enhancing the operational efficiency of the individual force.

www.geopolitics.in

(4)

April 2011


Contents New P-4-5.qxd

4/7/2011

1:28 PM

Page 3

KIDNAPPING AS A TOOL (P50)

CONSTRUCTION AID (P58)

FISHY ISSUES (P62)

MOMENTOUS SHIFT (P66)

Whenever Maoists face major reverses in their fight against security forces, they use the abduction strategy to achieve their objectives.

It’s high time for the international community, particularly India, had a re-look at the strategy towards Afghanistan based on the ‘reconstruction approach’.

Instead of politicising the issue of stray of fishermen, India and Sri Lanka need to consider water between them to be a common heritage, not a contested territory.

The Dalai Lama’s sudden decision to renounce politics has deeper international implications. It is also a huge concern for Tibetans living in India.

SPOTLIGHT (P10) ARE WE REALLY SAFE? Indian nuclear plants can draw lessons from the tragedy of the Fukushima reactors in Japan. The Indian establishment has risen to the occasion and is willing to modify its safety parameters.

DIPLOMACY (69)

THE LIBYAN TURMOIL

g GEOPOLITICS

THE EUROPEAN UNEASINESS WITH THE

Editor-in-Chief

CHANGING AMERICAN STRATEGY IN THE

K SRINIVASAN Editor

ARAB WORLD IS THE UNDERPLAYED

PRAKASH NANDA

FACTOR THAT EXPLAINS BEST WHAT IS

Sr. Correspondent

HAPPENING IN LIBYA THESE DAYS.

ROHIT SRIVASTAVA Publishing Director

Director (Corporate Affairs)

ROHIT GOEL

RAJIV SINGH

Conceptualised and designed by Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd., from D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -110 013, Tel: +91-11-41033381-82 for NEWSEYE MEDIA PVT. LTD. Managing Editor: TIRTHANKAR GHOSH All information in GEOPOLITICS is derived from sources we consider reliable. It is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. Opinions/views expressed by third parties in abstract or in interviews are not necessarily shared by us. Material appearing in the magazine cannot be reproduced in whole or in part(s) without prior permission. The publisher assumes no responsibility for material lost or damaged in transit. The publisher reserves the right to refuse, withdraw or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code. The publisher will not be liable for any loss caused by any delay in publication, error or failure of advertisement to appear. Owned and published by K Srinivasan, 4C Pocket-IV, Mayur Vihar, Phase-I, Delhi-91 and printed by him at Nutech Photolithographers, B-240, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I, New Delhi-110020. Readers are welcome to send their feedback at geopolitics@newsline.in.

www.geopolitics.in

(5)

AN ALTERNATIVE IN AFGHANISTAN

geopolitics VOL I, ISSUE XII, APRIL 2011  ` 100

D E F E N C E  D I P L O M A C Y  S E C U R I T Y

THE

HOWITZER SAGA DEALING

WITH LANDMINES

MARCHING AHEAD

THE DEFENCE MINISTER WANTS INDIA TO HAVE A GREAT MILITARY, BUT DOES OUR BUDGET REFLECT THAT?

Cover Photo: Press Information Bureau, Government of India Cover Design: Ruchi Sinha

April 2011


Onlooker.qxd

4/7/2011

2:28 PM

Page 4

gONLOOKER UNRAVELING THE TANGLE

A NEW report released recently by the Century Foundation, entitled Afghanistan: Negotiating Peace, said it consulted extensively with US officials in carrying out research and making recommendations. The report’s main proposal is to have the United Nations Secretary General name a “facilitator” to supervise peace talks among Afghans and foreign stakeholders in Afghanistan. While no individual was specified, Jim Dobbins, a member of the task force that produced the report and a former US top envoy dealing with Afghanistan, suggested three possibilities: former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former UN representative to Afghanistan (and Century Fund Task Force Co-chair) Lakhdar Brahimi, or Staffan de Mistura, the current head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). De Mistura is already promoting peace talks and international buy-in to a process initiated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He has convened ambassadors from the United States, Afghanistan’s neighbours and other interested parties several times this year in Kabul in what is called a “Silk Road” initiative and hoped to hold a conference in Istanbul later this year to endorse a “stability pact” for Afghanistan. The 15-member Century Fund Task Force also travelled widely, consulting various parties in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Iran did not respond to a request to visit Tehran, Brahimi www.geopolitics.in

met with the then Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki outside Iran and there were contacts with Iranian academics as well, said Jeffrey Laurenti, the Century Fund’s Director of Foreign Policy programmes. An upcoming report for another think-tank, the Atlantic Council recommends both multilateral and bilateral talks between the US and Iran to discuss Afghanistan’s political future. In a speech before the Asia Society in New York, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged a “diplomatic surge” this year to complement the military offensive and efforts to accelerate Afghan economic development. “Both we and the Afghans believe that the security and governance gains produced by the military and civilian surges have created an opportunity to get serious about a responsible reconciliation process, led by Afghans and supported by intense regional diplomacy and strong US-backing,” she said. The Century Fund report said: “For all sides, the longer negotiations are delayed, the higher the price is likely to be for restoring peace at the end.”

(6)

NEPALCHINA BHAI BHAI!

CHINA’S ARMY Chief recently wrapped up a high-level visit to Nepal and signed a new aid deal with Kathmandu’s military that further cements ties between the two neighbours. General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, led the first visit by a high-level Chinese military delegation to Nepal in 10 years. The 70-year-old General signed two agreements with his Nepalese counterpart, General Chhatraman Singh Gurung, in which he announced $19 million worth of aid to the Nepalese Army for infrastructure development. “The purpose of my visit is to strengthen friendship and cooperation between Nepal and China,” Chen told reporters. “This cooperation is not only conducive for our people but also for the world peace and the Asia Pacific region.” Chen, who led a 15-member delegation including the top security official from neighbouring Tibet, held talks with Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and Defence Minister Bishnu Paudel. The Nepalese Army is seen as the only strong state institution and the Chinese are keen on investing in it. The former monarchy until its end in 2008 acted as an ally for the Chinese. With the monarchy gone, they are on the lookout for a trustworthy ally and the Nepalese Army could well be the one.

April 2011


Onlooker.qxd

4/8/2011

12:50 PM

Page 5

O N L O O K E R ERASING A BLOODY PAST SRI LANKA’S military is finding new ways of establishing its invincibility. The military headquarters of the army’s 51st Division that was inaugurated at Kopay near Jaffna some time back has reportedly been built on a graveyard of the Tamil Tigers that was cleared explicitly for this project. Although there is no outward feeling of rancour at this move by the army, deep down there is a feeling of anger at what is perceived as an insensitive and wanton attempt to insult the memory of those who fought against the majority Sinhala rule. And now the government has added insult to injury. If clearing the cemetery was an insult, building the 51st division’s headquarters is seen as adding salt to their wounds. Apparently, Kopay was not the only graveyard that was destroyed; there are several others in the Jaffna Peninsula area that were cleared to rid the region of any remnants of the LTTE.The childhood home of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the LTTE founder too, was demolished as part of this strategy. His home is situated at Valvettithurai in the Jaffna Peninsula. The graveyards have been an important element of the LTTEs ‘martyr’s cult’ programme.When the Sri Lankan Army took over Jaffna in 1995 it had destroyed many of these graveyards that were restored painstakingly by the LTTE when they wrested back control to reflect the sacrifices being made for a Tamil Elaam. Graveyards for Tigers killed in battles with the Sri Lankan army or police were not created, but buried and the “tuyilam illam” or resting place became an emotional magnet for the locals. Many Tamils are either too scared of

official retribution, or too apathetic to mark the commemoration since the rebels’ defeat last year. Over 20,000 insurgents were killed during the three-decade conflict. One such cemetery was turned into a playground; another in Jaffna was converted into an army camp. Suresh Premachandiran, an MP from northern Jaffna, says his party, the Tamil National Alliance, has tried in vain to stop the demolition of war cemeteries.”Destroying graves is unacceptable,” he said. “Those people who were buried there are humans. They fought for the Tamil people,” he told the BBC. The response came thick and fast on the net from outraged Sri Lankans, one website onlanka.com said: “The LTTE is a ruthless terrorist organisation banned even in the United Kingdom. A terrorist organisation cannot have legitimate cemeteries on the soil of a sovereign state. The BBC should understand this bare fact. The LTTE was not the sole representative of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka reserves the prerogative and the legitimate right to build military camps on any part of the land of the nation. Illegal cemeteries are not allowed in any part of the territory in Sri Lanka. There is an absolute necessity to bury memories of the treacherous LTTE terrorist group in the interest of the future of all Tamils and the generations to come. No remnant of terrorism should be left to observe as it would affect the psychology of the Tamil youth of today and tomorrow.”

WHERE ARE WE?

US SECRETARY of State Hillary Clinton has described relations between the United States and Pakistan as “very challenging”, a tacit admission of strained ties between the key allies. Clinton said Islamabad was caught between wanting to help and dealing with its own extremist threat. “It’s a very challenging relationship, because there have been some problems. It’s a very difficult relationship, because Pakistan is in a hard position, trying to figure out how it’s going to contend with its own internal extremist threat,” she said. “But I think, on the other hand, we’ve also developed good lines of communication, good opportunities for cooperation, but it’s something we have to work on every day.” “We were very appreciative of getting our diplomats out of Pakistan, and that took cooperation by the government of Pakistan,” she said. “We have cooperated very closely together in going after terrorists who pose a threat to both us and to the Pakistanis themselves.”

SYRIA’S PRESIDENT ASSAD VOWS TO DEFEAT PLOT PRESIDENT BASHAR al-Assad has told parliament Syria will defeat those behind a “plot” against his country. “Syria is a target of a big plot from outside” he said in his first speech since anti-government demonstrations erupted in midMarch. Although much could be read into the nuances of his 45-minute address to parliament in Damascus, he did not come up with anything dramatically new or www.geopolitics.in

tangible to break the cycle of disturbances and pacify outraged activists angered by the deaths of scores of protesters. Buoyed up by huge officially-encouraged demonstrations of popular support, Mr Assad did not look or sound like a leader who thought his days were numbered. Addressing an adulatory parliament, and with crowds of regime loyalists chanting slogans of praise outside, he clearly believed he was talking from a position of strength. He felt strong enough to admit that the state had failed to meet the daily needs of many citizens, and had failed to deliver more swiftly on political reforms that he said had been in the pipeline since 2005.

(7)

April 2011

g


Global Watch 8-9.qxd

4/7/2011

12:10 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

GLOBALWATCH

PEACEBUILDING THROUGH STATEBUILDING? Statebuilding has emerged as a global policy priority and new paradigm for building peace in post-conflict societies. However, the practice of statebuilding is full of dilemmas for which there are no simple solutions, argue DAVID LANZ and DIDIER PÉCLARD PEACE CONUNDRUM: Enhancing people to people's indigenous capacities

www.geopolitics.in

(8)

April 2011


Global Watch 8-9.qxd

4/7/2011

12:10 PM

Page 27

g GLOBALWATCH

F

OLLOWING THE verdict of a referendum on self-determination last month, South Sudan looks set to become the world’s youngest independent state come July 2011. The international community, which already has a massive presence in the region, is preparing a series of ‘statebuilding’ programme geared to maintain peace as Africa’s largest county splits in two. South Sudan will thus become a test case for statebuilding, which has emerged as a global policy priority and begs numerous questions: What is statebuilding? How has the concept evolved? Why is it currently en vogue? And what are the dilemmas associated with peacebuilding through statebuilding? From liberal peacebuilding… The end of the Cold War freed international organisations of their bipolar constraints and sparked great enthusiasm about (finally) realising the promise of collective security enshrined in the UN Charter. Thus, the UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali proposed “An Agenda for Peace”as his blueprint for the new era. Boutros-Ghali’s vision included ‘peacebuilding’ in post-conflict contexts, which he defined as “action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict”. A series of operations were thus deployed — to Namibia, Angola, Cambodia, El Salvador and Rwanda among others — with the aim of building peace by overseeing elections, disarming combatants, resettling refugees and spearheading far-reaching political and economic reforms. The success of these operations was mixed at best. There were some abysmal failures, such as Rwanda and Angola, where the violence that broke out after the peacebuilding operation had been deployed was worse than the initial civil war. In other countries, peacebuilding succeeded in creating relative stability, but the performance of most post-conflict governments was a far cry from the aspirations of ‘liberal peacebuilders’. Critics like Roland Paris attributed this failure to the shock that political and economic liberalisation produced in states wholly unprepared for such far-reaching changes. Others maintained that promoting a Western model of democracy is futile in countries that do not have the necessary institutional structure; it took European countries centuries to develop such a framework.

www.geopolitics.in

…to statebuilding The common recommendation resulting from this critique was that more sustainable peacebuilding required an increased emphasis on building political institutions through which the transformation of postconflict states could be managed. The emergence of statebuilding as the primary tool for peacebuilding was fostered by two developments in world politics post-9/11. One was that ‘failed states’— alternatively called ‘weak’ or ‘fragile’ states — came to be seen as security threats, providing safe havens for terrorists, and generating unwanted immigration. ‘Fixing states’ through statebuilding has thus become a realpolitik challenge. This was compounded by the US experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the consolidation of the state proved to be far more difficult and costly than the invasions that brought the new regimes to power. Second, a fragile state has increasingly been framed as an obstacle to development. For example, at last year’s UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), it was often said that no fragile state had managed to achieve even one MDG, and that such countries accounted for 75 percent of the ‘MDG deficit’. In line with Paul Collier’s call to focus aid on the “Bottom Billion”, statebuilding has thus emerged as a remedy for poverty alleviation and economic development in post-conflict societies. These factors provide the background against which statebuilding has become a global policy priority and as such, “a new paradigm” for building peace in post-conflict societies. Thus, UNDP and the World Bank run a joint programme on statebuilding in fragile and post-conflict situations; the US and the UK have declared it a priority, as have major think tanks. The OECD, through its Development Assistance Committee, has been particularly proactive. Its reports have set the standards for international statebuilding policy, encouraging national development agencies to take up the issue. The trend toward statebuilding is somewhat problematic, because the remedies prescribed are often overly normative and mechanical: fragile states are seen as sick patients in need of treatment, or as problems that can be ‘fixed’ through social and political engineering. The latest OECD reports, however, offer a more complex picture. They go beyond a strictly functionalist approach, according to which the state provides certain public goods — security, public infrastructure, education, health, etc. — and the role of international statebuilders is

(9)

simply to improve on this delivery. Instead, the reports emphasise the intangible dimensions of the state, such as its legitimacy, as well as the importance of statesociety relations. The reports also remind international donors that statebuilding is a deeply political and primarily endogenous process that requires context-specific knowledge and responses -— not a ‘cookiecutter’ approach. Walking the talk? It remains to be seen whether the international community is able to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to statebuilding. Indeed, the practice of statebuilding is riddled with dilemmas. The mantra that ‘statebuilding promotes peace’ cannot conceal the multiple tradeoffs and contradictions between the two objectives. In the interest of peace and stability it can make sense to accommodate ‘spoilers’, for example through a power-sharing agreement, as in Bosnia, but these very actors may also undermine the emergence of an effective state in the long run. Likewise, a heavy international presence may be crucial to maintaining peace in the short run, as in East Timor and Kosovo, but unfortunately this can then lead to donor dependency, and discontent in the host society. Moreover, elections are a necessary step for statebuilding, but they can contribute to re-igniting violent conflict, as recent events in Côte d’Ivoire show. South Sudan is a case in point for these dilemmas. To strengthen statebuilding, donors should channel funds through the new government in Juba. However, in a country where 85 per cent of the population is illiterate, and formal state institutions remain underdeveloped, it is tempting for donors to simply circumvent the state and fund NGOs on the ground instead. Furthermore, statebuilding programs that build the capacity of government agencies inevitably strengthen the party that is currently in power. In the case of South Sudan, this would be the former SPLM rebels. Statebuilding efforts would then be unavoidably bolstering their political leverage, despite the group’s questionable commitment to democracy and allegations of corruption. South Sudan shows that there is no panacea for dealing with the dilemmas of statebuilding. A first step, however, is to recognise that states are formed in a protracted and often messy process of negotiation, over which international actors have only limited control. (ISN) April 2011


JAPAN 10-11-16-17.qxd

4/8/2011

1:17 PM

Page 60

g GEOPOLITICS

SPOTLIGHT

IS NUCLEAR ENERGY INHERENTLY UNSAFE?

Japan's nuclear emergency has led to the questions all over the world about the safety and stability of nuclear power. In India, anti-nuclear voices have become louder and sharper. But RAJIV NAYAN dismisses most of their concerns and argues that Indian nuclear establishment is on the right track www.geopolitics.in

(10)

F

UKUSHIMA-I has become a household name today. After the strongest earthquake of the past 140 years, Japan faced the deadly Tsunami, which brought death and destruction in the country. Among others, one of the serious damages occurred at one of the nuclear energy production centres of Japan: Fukushima-I. International media flashed updates about the nuclear reactors located in the complex. The update accompanied discussions and assessments of the unfortunate situation at the complex as well as pondering on the global nuclear renaissance. For one week, fire and explosion in one reactor after another kept coming. Side by side, the apprehension of a complete meltdown and subsequent radiation release dominated the global. Fukushima-I houses six units of power reactors. During the earthquake, units 4-6 were under periodical inspection. The other three units (units 1-3) were automatically shut down. However, the Tsunami knocked down the onsite emergency diesel generator set which affected the cooling of the shutdown plants. The Tokyo Electric Power Corporation started injecting seawater to cool the reactors. Subsequently, the Japanese Self-Defence force also used helicopters to spray water on the reactors. At the time of writing, between 50 and 100 workers were fighting the battle to douse the rising heat from the different units to prevent the complete meltdown of the fuel core. To a great extent, they succeeded in stabilizing the situation. People from the nearby areas were evacuated as a precaution against increased radiation. The situation appears to be improving gradually. Partial restoration of power to these nuclear plants has taken place and soon expected to be restored fully. Although food and seawater developed contamination, Japanese authorities maintained that the radiation level had started coming down not only in the Fukushima complex but also the areas surrounding and near Fukushima. A release of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry informed that all the workers who worked to restore the electricity plant of the reactors are not under threat. The release informed, “Workers put on Full Face-piece Respirator with charcoal filter, TYVEK Suit and so on, which are

ARE WE REALLY SAFE?: Japanese tsunami has stirred the world, including India and has raised a big question mark on the future of nuclear energy

April 2011


JAPAN 10-11-16-17.qxd

4/7/2011

3:57 PM

Page 61

g SPOTLIGHT

effective radiation protection equipments, and after the operations contamination was examined. Therefore, the internal exposure of the workers was controlled at very low level. Until now the internal exposure has not been reported.” An International Maritime Organisation briefing noted: “International flight and maritime operations can continue normally into and out of Japan’s major airports and sea ports, excluding those damaged by the Tsunami…” However, Tokyo Electric Power Company officials admitted that they had underestimated the earthquake and its impact at the level of planning. The twin tragedies and the consequent radiation danger have stirred the world, including India. The world has experienced a variety of reactions including reviewing of long-term national nuclear energy plans, shutting down of old nuclear power plants in some countries (possibly temporarily) and a complete debate on all aspects of nuclear energy. Environmentalists are up in arms all over the world; even supporters of nuclear energy are demanding augmenting of safety measures. Risk and emergency preparedness are becoming the new phrases in talk shops. In sum, anxiety and future uncertainty are dominating not just discussions but also policy decisions. Quite naturally, India cannot remain insulated to global developments. Television news channels found a new item to run its news machine for 24 X 7. Later, the issue sneaked and started dominating the space of the print media as well. Several issues of nuclear energy came up for discussions. Safety was, of course, providing the overall direction of all the discussions. A number of commentators felt that if an advanced industrial country like Japan with rich resources cannot run safe reactors at the time of crisis or natural calamity, the situation could be worse for a country like India. There are some obvious questions. Is nuclear energy inherently unsafe? Will Indian nuclear plants eventually meet the fate of Fukushima reactors? The answer is simple: nuclear energy is not inherently unsafe. The World Nuclear Association informs: “In over 14,000 cumulative reactor-years of commercial operation in 32 countries, there have been only two major accidents to nuclear power plants at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the latter being of little relevance outside the old Soviet bloc.” The Fukushima complex has been affected by an accident (earthquake and Tsunami), struggling to avoid a nuclear accident www.geopolitics.in

and successfully issuing warning to population to vacate the potentially affected area. In fact, people were evacuated and a large number of people left Tokyo to escape radiation if the rescue mission fails to control the situation in Tokyo. People had enough time to take safety measures even in the Fukushima case. India faced two major accidents involving nuclear power plants in recent years. One was the earthquake in Bhuj and the second Tsunami in 2004. Nothing happened to any of the reactors. Let us talk about the Boiling Water Reactors (BWR), which are in operation in Fukushima. Years ago, in 1979, reactor number 2 of the Three Mile Island had a similar problem. The reactor had faced the problem of the meltdown of the nuclear fuel core. The incident, on the one hand, led to the end of new nuclear procurement in the US and, on the other, it instigated a debate about the modification in nuclear reactor and complex designs. For example,

THE TWIN TRAGEDIES AND THE RADIATION DANGER HAVE STIRRED THE WORLD, INCLUDING INDIA one of the suggestions was to include a robust filtration system. Sweden even installed the filtered vent systems in the Barseback reactors it operated in a number of countries. Other alternatives to deal with melting of the core came up. India has been operating two BWRs in Tarapur. These units are the Tarapur Atomic Power Station TAPS-1 and TAPS-2. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) records: “The safety of these BWR plants was reanalyzed few years ago and reviewed by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB). Following this, the two BWRs at TAPS- 1&2 have been renovated, upgraded and additional safety features back fitted to latest state of art safety standards.” Other 18 operational reactors of India are Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors(PHWR). These reactors have a different kind of design. The NPCIL informs, “The PHWRs are of different design than that of BWRs and have multiple, redundant and diverse

(11)

shutdown systems as well as cooling water systems.” In BWRs, the heat generated through nuclear fission in the core sets off circulating water to boil which finally produces steam. The generated steam is radioactive. It directly drives a turbine. Then the steam is cooled in a condenser and transformed back to liquid and it circulates back through the reactor. The PHWRs do not allow boiling of primary loop water. This kind of reactor has an arrangement for running the reactor when power breaks down as happened in Fukushima. It has design features to withstand earthquakes and severe flooding. In a press conference during the Japanese crisis, the head of the NPCIL said, “The Indian PHWRs, built from those at Narora after early 1990s, were enclosed in a calandria vault, which was surrounded by a pool of water of 260 tonnes.” Moreover, it was the exposure of the back-up generator to Tsunami that plunged the plants into crises. This problem may be addressed by keeping the backup diesel generators at a safe distance. This lesson has been underscored by Indian scientists in one of the press conferences they addressed during the Japanese crisis. Though India has made many improvisations in the design of the PHWRs (they are CANDU type reactors — the CANDU is an abbreviation of Canada Deuterium Uranium; the CANDU reactor was built by Canada), the Canadian government released a statement — soon after the Fukushima mishap — which highlighted the safety features of these kinds of reactors. Some of these were as follows:  A design that can use passive convection cooling for the primary systems to keep the reactor cool in the absence of power;  The use of dousing tanks high in the reactor or containment building that work on gravity, which can be used to replenish secondary side inventory and refill the steam generators, as required, to continue heat release in the event of a loss of power;  Use of ceramic uranium fuel pellets that tolerate high temperatures;  Two independent and diverse shutdown systems;  Calandria vessel that contains the fuel rod assembly and heavy water moderator; and,  High-density, reinforced concrete containment walls, almost a meter thick. India has required institutional and regulatory frameworks for ensuring nuclear safety. (Continued on page 16)

April 2011


Panorama 12-15.qxd

4/7/2011

12:24 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

PANORAMA

TURBO REACTIONS! Japanese tsunami has been like a giant wave that is lashing against the Indian 'nuclear' establishments. Here is an A to Z of what it means to India and the world. “THE DEPARTMENT OF ATOMIC ENERGY AND ITS AGENCIES HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO UNDERTAKE AN IMMEDIATE TECHNICAL REVIEW OF ALL SAFETY SYSTEMS OF OUR NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS, PARTICULARLY WITH A VIEW TO ENSURING THAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND THE IMPACT OF LARGE NATURAL DISASTERS SUCH AS TSUNAMIS AND EARTHQUAKES.”

“THE ACCIDENT AT THE FUKUSHIMA PLANT, TRIGGERED BY JAPAN'S STRONGEST EARTHQUAKE, MAY FUEL PUBLIC CONCERN ABOUT THE SAFETY OF NUCLEAR POWER. WE CAN’T CLOSE OUR EYES TO PEOPLE’S CONCERNS, WHICH MAY BE HEIGHTENED AFTER THE JAPAN ACCIDENT. OUR NEW LAUNCHES WILL HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND PUBLIC SENTIMENT AND NATURALLY, THIS PROCESS WON'T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.”

SHIV SHANKAR MENON NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR

DR MANMOHAN SINGH PRIME MINISTER

SHREYANS KUMAR JAIN CHAIRMAN, NUCLEAR POWER CORP OF INDIA

MAY 4, 1987

SEPTEMBER 10, 1989

MAY 13, 1992

MAY 31, 1993

(KALPAKKAM) Refuelling accident damages reaction core

(TARAPUR) Radioactive iodine leaks at above normal levels

(TARAPUR) A malfunctioning tube causes plant to release 12 curies of radioactivity

(NARORA) Plant suffers a fire at its steam turbine blades. Shutdown lasted a year.

MAY 13, 1994

FEBRUARY 2, 1995

DECEMBER 26, 2004

NOVEMBER 25, 2009

(KAIGA) During construction, an inner containment dome meant to contain radiation collapses

(KOTA) Plant leaks radioactive helium and heavy water into the Rana Pratap Sagar river

(KALPAKKAM) During the tsunami, sea water enters intake tunnel of plant. Plant shut down

(KAIGA) Employees fall ill. Tests show tritium content in urine of 92 employees who drank water from cooler. A disgruntled staff had poured radioactive heavy water into it.

“WE HAVE TECHNICAL KNOW-HOW, BUT NUCLEAR POWER IS ESSENTIAL. URANIUM SHOULD BE RE-CYCLED AND USED TO MAKE FUEL, OTHERWISE WE WILL HAVE TO IMPORT. IF WE DON'T USE NUCLEAR POWER, WE WILL HAVE TO IMPORT COAL ALSO IN THE FUTURE. WE NEED A DIALOGUE ON NUCLEAR CONTRIBUTIONS.” ANIL KAKODKAR FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION

“WE HAVE ASKED ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION TO LEARN LESSONS FROM JAPAN. WE STORE OUR FUELS DIFFERENTLY. IN JAPAN, THEY STORE HYDROGEN FUEL. WE HAVE ASKED FOR A DETAILED REVIEW OF DESIGN AND SAFETY FEATURES, WHICH THEY (ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION) WILL SUBMIT TO PRIME MINISTER.”

N-mishaps in India

www.geopolitics.in

(12)

April 2011


Panorama 12-15.qxd

4/7/2011

12:24 PM

Page 27

g

4,780 MW is the power-generation capacity of all our N-plants taken together

PANORAMA

60 years is the design life of a modern nuclear power reactor

India's N-stock

Rawatbhata  1 X 100 MW  1 X 200 MW  4 X 220 MW  2 X 700 MW

India has 7 nuclear plants with 20 reactors



PLANT LOCATION

J&K

Seismic Zones 

Haryana  4 X 220 MW

Zone I (least active)

 Zone II (least to moderate)

Narora, Uttar Pradesh Kakrapar, Gujarat Tarapur, Maharashtra Kaiga, Karnataka Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu Rawatbhata, Rajasthan

SEISMIC ZONE

IV III III III II II II

 Zone III (moderate)  Himachal Pradesh   Zone IV (high) Punjab   Zone V (highest)  Uttarakhand Higher zone represents Arunachal greater risk Haryana  New Delhi Pradesh   Uttar Pradesh Sikkim     Assam  Nagaland Rajasthan   Bihar  Meghalaya  Manipur Tripura     Mizoram  Madhya Pradesh  Jharkhand Gujarat West Bengal      Chhattisgarh How India fared  Orissa  KAKRAPAR, GUJARAT —  Operations continued after the Bhuj Maharashtra  quake, 2011 Narora  2 X 220 MW

Madhya Pradesh  2 X 700 MW

Mithi Virdi  6 X 1,000 MW Kakrapar  2 X 220 MW  2 X 700 MW

Tarapur  2 X 160 MW

Haripur  6 X 1,000 MW







Build by same firm that supplied reactors to Fukushima

Andhra Pradesh

 2 X 540 MW

Karnataka

Jaitapur  6 X 1,650 MW



www.geopolitics.in

 TARAPUR, MAHARASHTRA — Not impacted by Latur quake, 1993  KALPAKKAM, TAMIL NADU — Power generation was stopped for a week after the 2004 tsunami. But no permanent damage.

Types of N-reactors in India





Kalpakkam  2 X 220 MW

Tamil Nadu Kerela

Kovvada  6 X 1,000 MW

 

Kudankulam  1 X 1,000MW  4 X 1,000MW

    

Nuclear Power Reactor Under Construction Ongoing Projects Project Launched

BOILING WATER REACTORS (BWRS): Use water to drive turbines. Heat is produced by nuclear fission. This causes the water to boil, producing steam. The steam drives the turbine blades, producing electricity. PRESSURISED HEAVY WATER REACTORS (PHWRS): Uses heavy water to drive the turbines.

Proposed Projects

(13)

April 2011

Graphic: Ruchi Sinha

Kaiga  3 X 220 MW  1 X 220 MW




Panorama 12-15.qxd

4/7/2011

12:24 PM

Page 28

g PANORAMA

Risk factors world over

Nuke Power Share of Electric Grid India 2.2%

China 1.9%



US



France



Britain



China

10 out of a total 104 reactors are located in seismic zone V — the highest.

Brazil 2.9% USA 20%

Russia 18%

None out of its 58 reactors are in a high seismic zone.

None of its 19 reactors in high seismic zone. Without nuclear power plants, these countries would have to turn to other means to generate electricity. Solar and wind power are increasing as part of the grid, but in big ozone depleting, ice melting nations like the US, Russia and China, fossil fuels are the most available way to keep the lights on.

13 reactors in total, no official clarity on seismic zoning.

“THIS ACCIDENT IS RAISING A CERTAIN NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CONCERNING THE SAFETY OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES AND ENERGY CHOICES. FRANCE CHOSE NUCLEAR ENERGY, WHICH CONTINUES TO BE AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF HER ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND THE FIGHT AGAINST GREENHOUSE GASES.”

“I'VE ALREADY INSTRUCTED OUR NUCLEAR REGULATORY AGENCY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE TAKE LESSONS LEARNED FROM WHAT'S HAPPENED IN JAPAN AND THAT WE ARE CONSTANTLY UPGRADING HOW WE APPROACH OUR NUCLEAR SAFETY IN THIS COUNTRY.”

“WITH THE TSUNAMI AND EARTHQUAKE, WE DO NOT HAVE ROOM TO BE PESSIMISTIC OR DISCOURAGED. WE ARE GOING TO CREATE JAPAN ONCE AGAIN FROM SCRATCH. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THE JAPANESE PEOPLE MUST HAVE STRONG RESOLUTION TO MOVE FORWARD AND OVERCOME THESE DIFFICULTIES.”

NICOLAS SARKOZY PRESIDENT, FRANCE

BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT, US

NAOTO KAN PRIME MINISTER, JAPAN

www.geopolitics.in

(14)

April 2011


Panorama 12-15.qxd

4/7/2011

12:24 PM

Page 29

g PANORAMA

Nuclear Power Reactors Globally

New nuclear power projects underway 70

60

Slovakia: 2

Pakistan: 1

Iran: 1

Argentina: 1

Brazil: 1

USA: 1

Finland: 1

France: 1

World Total: 60

4

Japan: 2

3

Canada: 2

10

Korea RO (South): 5

20

India: 5

30

Russia: 10

40

China: 27

50

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

0

Of the 442* power stations worldwide, the US has the most. A look at the US vs the BRIC nations. USA: 104 Russia: 32 India: 20 China: 13 Brazil: 2 *Avg power station generates 1 gigawatt of electricity. Assuming each power station does that amount, then 442 gigawatts is enough to provide electricity to 309.4 million people. 6 Brazil 2

5 1

2

China 13

4

How the reactors react to quakes, tsunamis

India 20

3

   

Nuclear reactors have sensors that measure and detect the earth movement triggered by seismic activity. The moment the acceleration of the earth a value known as the Operating Basis Earthquake, the reactor automatically starts shutting down. Once the reactor starts shutting down, an emergency cooling mechanism is also activated. Reactors typically have diesel generators as backups as power likely





fails after massive earthquake or due to tsunami water. Batteries are also provided to power the cooling mechanism if diesel generators fail. If all power supply and backups fail — like in Fukushima — the reactor is in a state known as Station Blackout. In such situation, meltdown is the only option. However, Indian N-plants are designed for convention-based cooling even in a Station Blackout state.

“THE COLOSSAL TRAGEDY THAT HAS STRUCK JAPAN HAS NO DOUBT PUT CONSTRUCTION OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS INTO THE PUBLIC GAZE, AND EVERYONE IS ASKING THEMSELVES, CAN NUCLEAR ENERGY REALLY BE SAFE? THE ANSWER IS CLEARLY THAT IT CAN BE AND IS SAFE, BUT ONLY IF THE RIGHT DECISIONS ARE MADE ON NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS' LOCATION, DESIGN, AND OPERATORS.”

“JUST LIKE JAPAN, CHINA IS PRONE TO EARTHQUAKE DISASTERS. THE THREAT OF A MELTDOWN AT JAPANESE NUCLEAR PLANTS HAS ALREADY PROMPTED FOR SAFETY INSPECTION OF THE COUNTRY'S NUCLEAR FACILITIES AND BACKLASH AGAINST PLANS TO INVEST IN NEW PROJECTS. ”

DMITRY MEDVEDEV PRESIDENT, RUSSIA

WEN JIABAO PREMIER, CHINA

www.geopolitics.in

(15)

Russia 32

2

USA 104

1 0

50

100

The Waste Factor Where do we put this radioactive junk? Unlike the US, some countries recycle a portion of the uranium. The rest of the high level waste gets stored deep under ground in special geological centers. Two years ago, the US closed one of those disposal centers. Yucca Mountain is no longer used to dump high level radioactive waste caused by nuclear power generation. Total waste estimate: 29.6 million cubic metric tons in 366 facilities worldwide. Avg nuke waste per unit: 300 cubic tons of low to intermediate level waste stored on site on in special near surface facilties. And 30 tons of high level waste is generated per 1 gigawatt annually. Avg coal waste per unit: 300,000 tons of coal ash annually.

April 2011


JAPAN 10-11-16-17.qxd

4/8/2011

1:19 PM

Page 62

g SPOTLIGHT GETTING ALERT: Will Indian nuclear plants eventually meet the fate of Fukushima reactors? However, the Indian establishment has risen to the occasion and is willing to modify its safety parameters. Inset: Logo of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board — the institutional arm of nuclear safety in the country (Continued from page 11)

The AERB is the institutional arm of nuclear safety in the country. It is supposed to develop policy for radiation and industrial safety. For the purpose, it evolves safety Codes, Guides and Standards for sitting, design, construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of different types of nuclear and radiation facilities. It is responsible for licensing or granting approval of each stage of the work mentioned above. Also its job is to see that Indian nuclear facilities are complying with the rules and regulations under which permission has been granted. The AERB has a system of review and assessment, regulatory inspection and enforcement in this regard. It reviews nuclear emergency, safety reviews for transport of radioactive and nuclear materials among other functions. For nuclear emergency, state and local level officials are trained to handle the situation. The Indian Prime Minister has promised strengthening of the AERB to strengthen nuclear safety. India interacts with the international community for nuclear safety. Although bilateral exchanges do take place, yet the most valuable exchanges take place through international organisations. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) are the two most important institutions through which nation-states, including India, share experience about nuclear safety. IAEA has set safety standards for nuclear facilities and has codified published documents on nuclear safety. It also extends safety assistance to its member countries. In its meetings, the safety unit of the IAEA had appreciated India’s safety record, plan and management a couple of years ago. WANO, which has a chapter in Tokyo, aims at augmenting “the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants worldwide by working together to assess benchmark and improve performance through mutual support, exchange of information and emulation of best practices”. India has commendable legal framework to ensure nuclear safety. The Atomic Energy Act, the principal legal authority for undertaking legal business in the country, has a www.geopolitics.in

special section elaborating nuclear safety. In many other sections, too, the act has provisions for nuclear safety. For example, the act mentions how the transportation of radioactive substances is to be handled. There are other acts in the Indian legal framework such as Atomic Energy (Working of the Mines, Minerals and Handling of Prescribed Substance) Rules, 1984; Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Wastes) Rules, 1987; Atomic Energy (Factories) Rules, 1996; Atomic Energy (Control of Food Irradiation) Rules, 1996; and Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004, which help in nuclear safety administration and enforcement. Moreover, the regulation and guidelines framed under the Atomic Energy Act provide further details for nuclear safety. Any nuclear facility which is not complying with these regulations and guidelines may face partial or complete shutdown. As a precautionary measure, the atomic energy establishment envisions “beyond design

(16)

basis accidents” which may result in a radiation emergency in the public domain. For the purpose, “Off-site Emergencies” and on-site Emergencies plans are drawn. One of the guides for safety is on the Site Considerations of Nuclear Power Plants for Offsite Emergency Preparedness. At the very outset, the guide makes it clear that any nuclear power plant will be ‘designed, constructed, commissioned and operated in conformity with nuclear safety standards.’ The guidelines also demand that for nuclear power plants, authorities should strive to select ‘sites with low population densities’. Yet another Guide on Quality Assurance in Sitting of Nuclear Power Plant (No AERB/NPP/SG/S-10) lays down: “Nuclear safety should be the fundamental consideration in the identification of the items, services and processes to which the QAP [Quality Assurance Plan] applies. A graded approach based on the relative importance to nuclear safety of each item, April 2011


JAPAN 10-11-16-17.qxd

4/7/2011

12:18 PM

Page 63

g SPOTLIGHT

INDIA HAS COMMENDABLE LEGAL FRAMEWORK TO ENSURE NUCLEAR SAFETY

service or process should be used.” There is also a guide on “Extreme Values of Meteorological Parameters”. This guide prescribes taking into consideration of meteorological parameters such as wind speed, rainfall intensity as well as total rainfall, storms, cyclones, maximum and minimum temperature for designing nuclear facilities for nuclear safety. This guide further clarifies: “Structural safety requires that structures important to safety shall be designed to withstand the extreme values of these parameters likely to occur during the lifetime of the facility.” There are other nuclear safety guides such as Management of Nuclear Power Plants for Safe Operation; Maintenance of Nuclear Power Plants; Commissioning Procedures for Pressurised Heavy Water Based Nuclear Power Plants; Surveillance of items important to safety in Nuclear Power Plants; Preparedness of the operating organisation for Handling Emergencies at www.geopolitics.in

Nuclear Power Plants; Management of Radioactive Wastes arising during operation of PHWR Based Nuclear Power Plants; In-Service Inspection of Nuclear Power Plants; and Operational Safety Experience Feedback on Nuclear Power Plants As per the nuclear safety guidelines, “Each nuclear power station of the present generation has an Exclusion Zone surrounding the power station in which no habitation is permitted and this area is under the administrative control of the plant authority. An area of larger radius outside the Exclusion Zone is declared as the Sterilised Zone where growth and development is restricted. The Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) extends further beyond the Sterilised Zone.” One of the guidelines for setting up any nuclear power plant is that it should meet the design parameter of Operating Basis Earthquake. In the Indian regulatory system, Operating Basis Earthquake has been defined as “the maximum ground motion that can be reasonably expected to be experienced at the site area once, with an estimated return period of about 100 years”. Also, the regulatory system lays down that the reactor design should be compliant of Safe Shutdown Earthquake (SSE) — the maximum level of ground motion expected to occur once in 10,000 years. In other words or putting it more simply, the Indian design and the licensing system have already taken the earthquake factor into account. Besides, unlike the Japanese reactors, the Indian nuclear reactors are in the lower seismic zones. A few in India have questioned the proposed Jaitapur nuclear security complex for a number of reasons. First, the parallel was drawn to multiple units housing the Fukushima site, and it was claimed that multiple units multiplies the danger of radioactive release. Critics are failing to realise that the emerging crises were handled in a much better fashion with the same resources and efforts at one site. Imagine

(17)

six units of Fukushima scattered at places far away from each other. For the authorities who were battling the grave situation would have given up their efforts long back. The second complaint is that the Jaitapur site is prone to Tsunami. This fact has been refuted by the Atomic Energy Establishment. It is much above the seal-level to face the Tsunami. Moreover, after the 2004 Tsunami, the Indian atomic establishment erected a huge protection wall around Kalpakkam, which is nearer the sea. One of the scientists also informed: “The mean sea-level near the Prototype Fat Breeder Reactor (PFBR) site was 6.7 metres, the PFBR plant’s grade-level was more than 15 metres. A Tsunami bund, with 5.5 lakh tonnes of stones, had been built on the shore near the PFBR. There were four diesel-generator sets to provide alternative electricity in case of station black-out and they were located in different places where sea water could not reach.” These experiments may be used at Jaitapur. Third, Evolutionary Power Reactors of Areva (the French company) , which may be installed at the site, are being scrutinised. Regulators of a few European countries, including France, have asked for redesign of the reactor. A former atomic energy chief has expressed satisfaction. Quite possibly, Areva may have already offered a modified design. Otherwise, the Indian nuclear establishment may test these reactors on their safety parameters before licensing its operation. Thus, safety is not going to be compromised. The Japanese incident, certainly, gave worrying moments to the international community. The anxiety raised a big question mark on the future of nuclear energy. However, the Japanese experience gives two big lessons. First, the policy decision should not be taken at the time of tension and anxiety. Second, nuclear safety is an evolutionary issue. One has to be on a constant alert and keep changing design, legal, regulatory and institutional requirements according to the emerging reality. The Indian nuclear establishment has risen to the occasion and explicitly sent the message to the country and outside that it is willing to modify its safety parameters in the light of the Japanese experience. For sure, there is no room for complacency. Indian nuclear safety culture will act as a bulwark for Indian nuclear energy. (The author is Senior Research Associate at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi) April 2011


Landmines 14-16 New.qxd

4/7/2011

12:30 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

SPECIALFEATURE

BLASTS THAT MATTER Landmines are one of the major issues haunting the Indian armed forces and police. UDDIPAN MUKHERJEE delves into the various existing technologies to detect these dreaded devices, especially the anti-personnel ones, and argues that the major impediment is to detect plastic landmines

TRUE GRIT: Hollywood blockbuster Hurt Locker, that swept the Oscars last year was a riveting cinematic recreation on the horrors of land mines and the psychological and physical scares that they leave on people

www.geopolitics.in

(18)

April 2011


Landmines 14-16 New.qxd

4/7/2011

12:30 PM

Page 27

g SPECIALFEATURE

I

T IS not without reason that the Chhattisgarh police is planning to arrange a conference focusing on the role of technology in anti-insurgency warfare. The Special Task Force (STF) dealing with anti-Maoist operations in the state has been entrusted to examine the modalities of this conference. Among other things, the STF and the state police seek knowledge in detecting landmines, which pose a grave threat to the security forces not only in the state, but in almost all the Maoist-dominated areas of India. Undoubtedly, landmines pose a formidable challenge to the world community. It is both a theoretical and a practical problem to determine the location of each and every landmine in a geographical area. To defuse them thereafter is an additional difficulty. In fact, one of the last century’s unsolved problems is the landmines left behind from wars and insurgencies. It is estimated that 15,000-20,000 victims are claimed per year due to landmines. The US State Department reports that a total of 45-50 million mines still remain to be cleared worldwide. Research also tells us that around 100,000 mines are detected and destroyed per year around the globe. Thus, going by the present rate of clearance and assuming no new mines are laid; a simple calculation shows that it will take another 450 - 500 years to get rid of all the existing landmines. However, according to some estimates, roughly 1.9 million new mines are being placed annually! Interestingly, mines are inexpensive — costing as little as $3 each and hence, of late, have turned out to be the poor rebel’s potent weapon. But, on the other hand, they impose devastating consequences on the affected populace. In 1995, a survey conducted in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Mozambique found that one in three victims of mine-blasts died. And as would be explained later, many of the victims are children. For example, in Afghanistan, the survey found that, on an average, 17 in 1,000 children had been injured or killed by landmines. For those who survived the blasts, the most common injury reported was loss of a leg. Loss of arms, blindness, and shrapnel wounds were also found to be frequent. In a January 2011 Issue Brief published by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (New Delhi), Rahul Misra asserts that there are as many as 10 million mines in Cambodia and one in every 236 Cambodians is an amputee. Laos, according to Misra, is the most-troubled country. It had two million

www.geopolitics.in

A WORLDWIDE BAN MARCH 1, 2011, marked 12 years since the international treaty banning antipersonnel mines became a binding international law. A total of 156 nations are parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, and another two have signed but not yet ratified. China, India, Russia, and the United States are among the 37 states that have not yet joined. But nearly all of those states are in de facto compliance with most of the treaty’s provisions. Every NATO member except the US has foresworn the use of anti-personnel mines, as have other US allies, including Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite President Obama’s creation of the Land Mine Policy Review in 2009, the US still has not agreed to sign the Mine Ban Treaty. The agreement, if signed, would require the US military to destroy a stockpile of over one million mines. Paradoxically, India, along with Russia, China and Pakistan, remains one of the largest producers of landmines, even if not an active user. Globally, 13 countries produce anti-personnel mines, many of which are taking measures to

reduce their mine production. India has the sixth largest stockpile of landmines (estimated to range between four and five million anti-personnel mines) in the world. But India refuses to become a party to the international Mine Ban Treaty, though it supports the vision of a world free from the threat of anti-personnel mines. India’s official stand on the Mine Ban Treaty is three-fold. First, India has legitimate security concerns as it shares long borders with Pakistan and China. Therefore, landmines are needed to defend its long borders. Second, India has consistently argued since 2005 for the availability of cost-effective, alternative technologies and proposes that once such technologies are available it would ban anti-personnel landmines. Third, India has always argued that it perceives landmines as defensive weapons and believes that they are primarily laid to check infiltration and stop hostile movement from across the Line of Control.

one of the most problematic issues facing Vietnam is that it continues to view the landmine as a necessary and legitimate weapon for self-defence. Furthermore, the medical bills for survivors of such blasts can bankrupt families. Many victims have to undergo multiple surgeries. Children who lose limbs require multiple prosthetic devices over Anti-Personnel Mines their lifetimes. Even the rumours associAnti-Tank Mines ated with landmines may halt all normal activity in an affected area. For example, a Blast Mines (Designed to Fragmentation Mines 1999 study claims that in Mozambique, a cause severe injury to a (Designed to project town of 10,000 was deserted for four years person) fragments across a wider because of a rumour that mines were area) present. Later, a three-month clearance Anti-Personnel Mine (Blast Type) Components operation found only four mines. InciPressure Plate dentally, the extensive mine contaminaPlastic Firing Pin Mine tion of Afghanistan’s fertile valleys has Casing Detonator Explosive reduced agricultural production in those Main Explosive Charge Charge areas. A 1995 study by Andersson and his group estimated that without mines, agricultural land use in Afghanistan could increase by 88-200 per cent. Generally, mines are of two types: antipersonnel and anti-tank. It is the former which is a major cause of concern in the Stake Mines Bounding Mines Directional Mines long-term. Ironically enough, anti-personnel mines were first used in World War II tonnes of ordnance dropped on its territory to prevent opposing soldiers from clearing between 1964 and 1973. Also, as per the brief,

TYPES OF MINES

(19)

April 2011


Landmines 14-16 New.qxd

4/7/2011

12:30 PM

Page 28

g SPECIALFEATURE

www.geopolitics.in





to metal mines and firing pins but cannot religoal at 99.6 per cent, and the US Army’s allowanti-tank mines. The original anti-personnel ably find plastic mines. Infrared detectors able false-alarm rate is one false alarm in mines were improvised from hand grenades effectively detect recently-placed mines, but every 1.25 square metres. However, no existand simple electric fuses. Since then, mine they are expensive and limited to certain teming detection system meets these criteria. design has changed substantially. Modernperature conditions. Also, thermal neutron Nonetheless, there are a number of general day mines can deliver blasts of lethal pellets activation detectors are accurate but are large techniques of detecting landmines, which extending in a radius of up to 100 m. Some are for field use, slow and expensive. may be enunciated in a nutshell. designed to resemble toys or other everyday Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is sensiMagnetometers: It is marginally effective in objects, such as pens and watches. Presently, tive to large mines, has good coverage rate at a its de-mining operations and good only for at least 350 mine types exist, manufactured by distance and with signal processing, can disclose-in (point) detection. The approach is some 50 countries. criminate anti-tank mines from clutter such effective for ferrous metal while has problems Anti-tank mines are larger and more powas rocks beneath the ground surface. This with plastic and non-ferrous metal. erful than anti-personnel mines. However, type of radar, however, remains expensive Radar: This technique has the potential for anti-personnel mines are the most common and cannot detect anti-personnel mines. wide-area applications. However, it has probtype of mines, yet the most difficult to find In 2005, Frigui, Ho and Gader proposed a lems with detecting plastic mines in some because they are small and often made of real-time software system for landmine category of soils. plastic. Anti-tank mines generally contain detection using GPR. The system more metal than do anti-personnel DEMINING TECHNOLOGY includes an efficient and adaptive mines and are thus more easily detectable by simple metal detectors. Magnetometers: Electromagnetic preprocessing component; a hidden Markov model (HMM)-based Both types are buried as close to the Induction:  detector; a corrective training comsurface as possible and are found in a  ponent and an incremental update variety of soils and terrain: rocky or of the background model. The prosandy soil, open fields, forested areas, Radar:  posed software system was applied steep terrain, and jungles. to data acquired from three outdoor For both types of mines, detonation is typically caused by pressure, Light Detection test sites at different geographic locations, using a state-of-the-art although some are activated by a tripand Ranging Infrared array GPR prototype. The results wire or other mechanisms. Thus, the (LIDAR):  Sensors: indicated that, on an average, the major challenge for a land-mine  corrective training component detector is to do its job without havimproved the performance of the ing direct contact with a mine. It also GPR by about 10 per cent. must be able to locate all types of Way back in 1993, researchers mines individually in a variety of at Livermore invented a Micropenvironments. ower Impulse Radar (MIR). The Although hundreds of varieties Visible Light Sensors: Millimeter Wave Sensors: invention led directly to batteryexist, anti-personnel mines generally operated pulsed radar that is can be classified as either “blast” or remarkably small and inexpensive, had a Infrared sensors: This again has potential for “fragmentation” types. Blast mines are wide frequency band, and worked well at wide-area detection but may be affected by buried at shallow depths. They are triggered short ranges — all necessary attributes of soil disturbance and thermal effects. by pressure, such as from a person stepping landmine detection systems. Millimeter wave sensors: It has the potential on the mine. The weight needed to activate a MIR’s small size, light weight, and lowfor wide-area detection, albeit at a slow scanblast mine typically ranges from 2 to 10 kg. power requirements made it superior to any ning rate. Moreover, it can fail to discriminate This indicates that these mines are easily previous attempts to use GPR to detect landmines from surroundings. triggered by a small child’s weight. They mines. MIR’s ultrawide bandwidth was the Visible light sensors: The major problem with cause the affected object (e.g., foot) to blast source of high-resolution imaging capabilisuch devices is that they cannot detect buried into fragments. ties that differentiated it from similar landitems, though they might detect mines plantBlast mines typically are cylindrical in mine detection technologies. Furthermore, ed at the surface. shape, 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) in diameter, and the ability to group individual MIR units in Light detection and ranging (LIDAR): Its 1.5-3.0 inches (4-8 cm) in height. Generally, arrays increased the speed and coverage area potential use is against recently emplaced they contain 30-200 gm of explosives. The of the detection work. mines and surface-laid objects. casing may be made of plastic, wood, or sheet In laboratory tests, the prototype MIR Electromagnetic induction: They are only metal. Plastic-encased blast mines are someclearly distinguished plastic antipersonnel good for point detection of metal mines. By times referred to as “non-metallic mines,” but mines from surrounding soils. In field tests at its very nature, it has problems in detecting nearly all of them contain some metal parts, Fort Carson in Colorado and Fort A P Hill in plastic landmines. which are usually the firing pin and a springVirginia, funded by the US Defense Advanced Apart from the detection technologies washer mechanism, weighing about a gram. Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the sysmentioned above, dogs and other ‘sniffers’ are The major obstacle in detecting mines is tem performed well, though at a slow pace. the most viable. Nevertheless, they have high that close to 100 per cent of the mines in any Naturally, more research in this direction ongoing expenses, are subject to fatigue and area must be found with few false alarms, i.e., would bear real fruits in proper detection of can be fooled by masked scents. As has been mistaking a rock for a mine. The United landmines, especially the plastic ones. pointed above, metal detectors are sensitive Nations, for example, has set the detection

(20)

April 2011


DefBIZ Cover.qxd

4/7/2011

12:38 PM

Page 1

geopolitics

DEF BIZ UNDER A CLOUD Has the plan to acquire the M777 gun from the United States gone awry?


DefBiz 22-25.qxd

4/7/2011

2:31 PM

Page 22

DEF BIZ LOCKHEED IN TALKS WITH BDL US AEROSPACE major Lockheed Martin, which has already formed a joint venture with the Tata group for making aerospace components in India, is exploring further tie-ups with both private and governmentowned defence organisations. According to Lockheed Martin India Private Limited Managing Director Jagmohan Singh, the company was looking forward to potential partnerships, including with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). Initially, it would go for production of anti-tank guided missiles, provided it gets clearances from the governments of the US and India. “We have sought the approval of the US government and are hopeful of receiving it soon. After getting a go ahead from the Indian government, we will start working with local com-

panies to get the production facilities here,” Singh informed recently a symposium organised by small-scale industries. Though the ongoing talks with Indian companies are at initial stages, the company’s focus in Hyderabad would be on missile systems for which it wants to tie up with local industry apart from BDL that makes missiles for the country’s forces. “If given a chance we will associate ourselves with local industry and try to set up production facilities in Hyderabad, Bengaluru or Chennai,” he said. Tata Lockheed Martin Aerostructures, the JV between Tata Advanced Systems and Lockheed Martin, will be manufacturing aerostructures for C-130 J aircraft of the latter that was inducted by the defence forces early this month. The JV is one of the three new aerospace units being set up here by the Tata group.

www.geopolitics.in

g ASHOK LEYLAND TIES UP WITH KMW ASHOK LEYLAND Defence Systems (ALDS), a newly-formed company in which the Hinduja flagship Ashok Leyland holds 26 per cent stake, has formed a strategic alliance with German heavyweight KraussMaffei Wegmann (KMW ) in the development of advanced defence systems for the Indian defence establishment as well as other defence forces worldwide. The scope of the co-operation will initially include the development of armoured wheeled vehicles, recovery vehicles, artillery and combat systems, bridge laying systems and other similar products. ALDS brings to

this strategic alliance the expertise and experience of designing and developing defence vehicles that has made Ashok Leyland the largest supplier of logistics vehicles to the Indian Army with over 60,000 of its Stallion vehicles forming the Army’s veritable logistics backbone. KMW will provide the technology and the technical assistance that will be required for the development of these defence systems. A 170-year-old company, KMW leads the market for highly protected armoured wheeled and tracked vehicles. The armed forces of over 30 nations worldwide rely on the German firm’s systems.

IAF CHOPPER FLEET TO FLY HIGH

THE INDIAN Air Force (IAF) helicopter fleet is all set to get a boost during the next nine years with plans for inducting 300 attack, transport and observation choppers in advanced stages of implementation in deals worth $5.5 billion. Among the choppers to be inducted will be 12 VVIP transports, 22 attack, 15 heavylift, 130 medium-lift and 120 light utility helicopters of varying types, sizes and capabilities. The deals for most of these helicopters are expected to be signed during 2011-12, with the acquisitions being completed before 2020, according to IAF sources. Among the first procurements will be the 12 VVIP transport helicopters for the Palambased Communication Squadron. India had signed an $800 million (`3700 crores) deal with British-Italian helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland for its AW-101

(22)

platform in March 2010. The three-engined AW101s, which will provide safe, secure and comfortable domestic journeys for the President, the Prime Minister and other senior political leaders, are scheduled for delivery in late 2013. These will replace the existing VVIP fleet of aging Soviet-era Mi-17s. The IAF will also induct 80 Mi-17-IV over the next couple of years to augment its medium-lift capability. It is also in the final stages of deciding on 50 additional Mi-17s over and above the 80 it ordered in 2008 for $1.3 billion. To augment its existing two squadrons of 30 Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack choppers, the IAF is on the verge of concluding a $500 million contract for 22 combat helicopters, for which US aerospace major Boeing’s AH64 Apache and Russian Mil’s Mi-28 are in contention. The IAF is also testing two platforms, again from Boeing and Mil, to meet its need for 15 heavy-lift helicopters to replace the four Mi-26s. To replace its ageing 1970s vintage fleet of 75 Cheetahs and Chetaks, the IAF is in the process of procuring 64 light utility helicopters (LUH). The IAF currently operates 300 helicopters of various types, 100 of which will be phased out by the end of this decade as the 300 new choppers start arriving.

April 2011


DefBiz 22-25.qxd

4/7/2011

2:31 PM

Page 23

g THE FIRST SIGHT

ISRAEL’S NESS PLANS JVS

THE AIRBUS Military A400M has completed a challenging series of tests to determine the lowest speed at which it can take off — known as minimum unstuck speed or Vmu. During the tests, performed at Istres in France, the aircraft’s nose was raised until a special ‘bumper’ fitted to the rear fuselage struck the ground at the maximum pitch-up angle of 13 degrees.

THE FIRST A330 MRTT Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) for the UK Royal Air Force is here captured with trailing its two underwing hose and drogue refuelling lines, as well as one from its centreline fuselage refuelling unit. The photo was taken from Spanish Air Force F-18 during a recent handling qualities flight as the FSTA nears civil and military certification.

PE FUND FOR DEFENCE SECTOR SREI, A leading infrastructure provider and financing company, is planning to float a private equity (PE) fund dedicated to India’s defence and security sector. The fund, with an initial corpus of $150 million, is set to be the first of its kind. But even before the fund gets conceived, Srei and its listed group company Shristi Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (SIDCL), which specialises in infrastructure develwww.geopolitics.in

opment and civil engineering work, are also exploring manufacturing opportunities in the defence sector and eyeing two international companies for a possible joint venture. Speculations are that negotiations may even lead to a buyout by Srei. While one of these companies is a subsidiary of Thai conglomerate Tyco Fire and Security, the other is a Finnish player. Both are into defence component manufacturing.

(23)

ISRAEL’S NESS Technologies Inc. is exploring forming a joint venture with an Indian state-owned defence company or a private technology company as it looks to expand in the burgeoning defence market for command and control systems. The company’s Indian arm currently caters to the local defence market only via government-to-government deals. India purchased Ness’ command and control software for the Phalcon radar for airborne warning and control system (AWACS) from Israel. “This will continue to be the route this year. But this could change next year, either through a JV or through direct sales to Indian agencies, including defence PSUs (public sector units),” Satyajit Bandyopadhyay, President and Managing Director of Ness Technologies India (Pvt.) Ltd, said in a press interview recently. Ness’ command and control systems span a range of airborne, naval and on-ground platforms and can be deployed on unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite launch vehicles. Its devices can also be carried by foot soldiers and commandos for both regular military and anti-terrorist operations. Israel has sold both unmanned aircraft and AWACS systems to India in significant numbers, and the Ministry of Defence has projected more requirements for the former. Ness employs about 3,000 people in India and aims to double this in the next three years.. “We are looking to hire 1,000 people this year itself, mainly in our Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai centres,” Bandyopadhyay said. Ness has offices in Chennai and Pune as well. The expansion is targeted towards augmenting its outsourced product engineering services as well as IT. April 2011


DefBiz 22-25.qxd

4/8/2011

12:48 PM

Page 24

DEF BIZ

g

RAFAEL MAKES BUMPER PROFITS ISRAEL ARMS major, Rafael has made profit of $170 million in the financial year 2010, $58 million more than the last year’s profit. Rafael’s order backlog in 2010 was $3.5 billion, comprising 1.8 years of sales activity, of which 74 per cent is intended for export to countries in Europe, Latin America, the US and the Far East. In 2010, Rafael completed development of “Iron Dome” for short-range rocket and missile defense, and delivered it to the Israeli Air Force, and is developing “David’s Sling” for medium-range defence. In addition, Rafael’s

TROPHY, an active defence system against anti-tank rockets, mounted on Merkava Mark-4 tanks, became battle proven in an IDF operational activity near Gaza. Vice Admiral (Ret.) Yedidia Yaari, President and CEO of Rafael, said: “These achievements, joined by a positive start of 2011 will create further growth for the company. The company’s high-quality human resources, together with investing in research and development, enable Rafael to offer a diverse array of capabilities and products at the forefront of advanced technology.”

HCL’S `300 CRORE DEAL WITH IAF IT HARDWARE firm HCL Infosystems has bagged an order from the Indian Air Force to deploy wideband CDMA-based portable wireless network at a cost of over `300 crore. The WCDMA network will provide backbone connectivity and ensure video interactivity for video calls, cross connectivity with other communication platform like IP-based communication within the Air Force Network, HCL Infosystems

SMALL ARMS FOR PRIVATE FIRMS

THE MANUFACTURE of so-called small arms, or weapons such as pistols, assault rifles, carbines and machine guns that are carried by infantry soldiers, may soon be opened to private companies. Officials from the ministries of Home Affairs, Defence and Commerce, as well as senior intelligence and police officers met industry representatives in February to discuss issuing licences for making small arms to the private sector, according to responsible government sources. Although there is no

www.geopolitics.in

official data on the size of the market in India, a safe guess is that the emerging market could be worth `3,000-4,000 crore. Currently, only the government-owned ordnance factory board’s units in Ichhapore and Kanpur manufacture small arms for domestic use and export. The February 17 meeting discussed establishing the entire supply chain of small arms — from manufacturing to end use, location of units, vendors’ qualification and security whetting, excise-related issues, award of contracts, trials and guarantee of purchase, said one of the persons mentioned earlier. Four groups were formed to come up with feasibility reports on opening up the sector. Incidentally, the government is likely to buy nearly 250,000 units of small arms, with around 43,000 to be imported. There is a sudden spurt in orders, owing primarily to antiNaxal operations and other internal securityrelated issues.

(24)

has said in a statement. The WCDMA network will be integrated with the Air Force Network (AFNET), which has been deployed earlier by HCL Infosystems. The 3G network will also have transportable mobile base stations for establishing communication with higher echelons even from remote locations in the country. HCL Infosystems will implement the whole project on turnkey basis.

May 2011 2010 April


DefBiz 22-25.qxd

4/7/2011

2:31 PM

Page 25

g IAF FINALISES ORDER FOR 10 C-17S THE INDIAN Air Force is set to place orders for 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlifters in a deal valued at $4.1 billion. Discussions between the IAF and the US Air Force (USAF), as well as the In-

dian Ministry of Defence and the US Department of Defense concluded on February 15, with Boeing accepting the detailed terms for 30 per cent mandatory offsets clause. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which is the final authority for

major defence and other acquisitions, is about to approve the deal funds for the purchase of the C-17s that have been approved for the fiscal 2010-11. It is believed that there would further orders as IAF’s fleet of Soviet vintage heavy strategic lift IL-76 aircraft is already 26 years old. These aircraft are being modernised and would serve the IAF for about 10-15 more years. In d i a has about 20 IL-76 aircraft and the IAF may eventually go in for about 25 C-17s.

`85,850 CRORE FROM SPECTRUM THE DEPARTMENT of Telecom (DoT) believes that the exchequer can get a minimum of `85,850 crore by selling just 50 per cent of the airwaves the Defence Ministry vacates. Its calculations are based on the assumption that about 20 MHz of second generation (2G) and an equal amount of third generation (3G) can be sold to mobile phone companies if the Defence Ministry was to free up these radio frequencies. In total, the telecom ministry is seeking that the armed forces vacate up to 80 MHz of airwaves for commercial telephony. The broadband wireless spectrum auctions in India last year delivered the government an unexpected bonanza of `38,543 crore ($8.25 billion), twice the amount predicted by analysts. The 3G and broadband spectrums jointly fetched `1,06,000 crore for the government against its estimates of `35,000 crore. The telecom department’s projections are part of its response to the Defence Ministry’s latest threat that it will not release additional airwaves for commercial use. It also marks the first time that the department has put a value to the airwaves it is seeking from the armed forces. Defence Minister A K Antony had recently told Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that the telecom department had failed to meet all timelines on building an alternative communication network for the armed forces, and warned that it could

www.geopolitics.in

result in the services stopping all vacation of airwaves. As per the MoU between both ministries, the armed forces were to vacate 25 MHz for 3G and 20 MHz for 2G. This will happen in a phased manner and will be linked to the completion of the alternative network that the DoT is building for the defence forces. Besides, the telecom department was also slated to set up an exclusive defence band and defence interest zone for the armed forces to keep its part of the bargain. While the armed forces have already freed up 15 MHz 3G spectrum, which was sold during last year’s auctions, and also vacated 15 MHz 2G spectrum, which has been allocated to new operators, the remaining airwaves — 10 MHz spectrum in 3G (for two operators) and 5MHz in 2G — will be released only after the alternative optic fibre network being built by BSNL is completed. It is estimated that the telecom department may earn more than their estimates if 20 MHz each of 2G and 3G airwaves are auctioned. But for this, the armed forces’ support is crucial since the DoT, in a study last year, has observed that there are no 2G airwaves available with it in the 900 MHz band, while only tiny bits are available in the 1800 MHz. (The 900 MHz and 1800 MHz are the two frequency bands in which 2G airwaves are present).

(25)

May 2011 2010 April


Offset Syndrome 22-24.qxd

4/7/2011

12:45 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

DEFBIZ

THE OFFSETS GAME A CLOSER LOOK While the government's policy on the offsets issue seems fine on paper, there are various issues that make it difficult to implement, explains SAURAV JHA

T

HE ONE word that was on everybody’s lips at Aero India 2011 was: ‘Offsets’. As it well might have been given that a slew of foreign acquisitions by the Indian military, not the least of which is the $10 billion-plus MMRCA deal, are in the offing. However, while most domestic players would naturally want to jump on the offset bandwagon, it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at the nature of the offset game as it stands today. As a result of the lessons learnt postKargil, the Indian establishment realised that www.geopolitics.in

it had to undertake a significant conventional force modernisation programme in order to maintain deterrence amidst a nuclear overhang. However, it was evident that the largest chunk of this modernisation plan involved the import of systems from overseas. Clearly this was unacceptable in the long run since without an indigenously equipped military there is no real independence in foreign policy. To redress this, a Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was introduced by the government in 2002 which began to chart out a

(26)

plan for indigenisation. This procurement guide went through several iterations in the last decade beginning with a ‘buy’, to “buy and make”, to “buy and make Indian” and finally “make”. Indeed, the DPP has charted a course, which mirrors the emergence of new capabilities in Indian industry, India’s everburgeoning weapons procurement budget and the decline of Western military capital acquisitions. These factors have contributed to India being able to exercise far greater prerogative in a world arms market where buyers with money and industrial capabilities are April 2011


Offset Syndrome 22-24.qxd

4/7/2011

5:25 PM

Page 27

g DEFBIZ troversial since some commentators have proposals, monitoring offset provisions, helpbeginning to hold sway. In fact, the time is suggested that this essentially defeats the ing with policy improvement, liaising with the ripe for India to embark on its stated goal of purpose of a ‘defence offsets policy’ altointegrated defence staff and service headreversing the current 30:70 ratio of indigenous gether given that the MoD has, over the quarters, advising in consultation with the to foreign equipment in the inventory of its years, fought to segment defence offsets military and DRDO areas where offsets are to armed forces by 2020. from the broader national offsets policy. be preferred and of course promoting the Cut to circa 2011 and we see the latest iterThe argument is that global arms majors, export of eligible products and services. ation of the DPP, i.e. DPP-2011, which puts who are in any case reluctant to see the rise While the offsets issue seems to be doable great stress on an offset policy that mandates of low-cost competitors, will simply use this on paper there are actually several issues that for any weapons purchase of more than as an excuse to get non-core IT-related work that seem to be cropping up with its imple`300 crore from abroad, 30 per cent of the and repeat manufacturing items sourced mentation. For one, foreign companies comtotal value will have to be re-invested back in from India. A focused offset policy, on the plain that there aren’t enough entities in the India by the overseas vendor/beneficiary. The other hand, would compel global majors to Indian sector to tie up on offsets and that not ways in which this can be done, are manifold: look seriously at cultivating India’s emermany have the capacity to absorb a broad through direct purchase, execution of export gent small and medium enterprises for range of capabilities. This complaint seems orders, licensed production, technology defence-related work. to have been addressed in DPP-2011 by transfer, joint production partnerships and One way to ensure that offsets do result in broadening the offsets clause to be disforeign direct investment. the absorption of stateThus, as we can see from of-the-art technologies the above, an offset is essenis by enabling the sotially a counter-trade mechacalled multiplier mechanism for re-routing funds nism which would relax back to the home country in the value requirement order to spur sector developon the basis of the level ment domestically. Imporof technology being tantly, any foreign vendor offered. DPP-2011 pitching for Indian sales has seems to reflect this to firm up a detailed offset when it states: “The DAC plan before it can secure a (Defence Acquisition given contract since the Council) may, after due DPP-2011 states: “Offset condeliberation, also predition will form a part of the scribe varying offset RFP and, subsequently, of percentages above 30 the contract. Offset condiper cent or waive off the tions as specified in the RFP requirement for offset will be binding.” obligations in very speDPP-2011, however, allows cial cases. Such direcoffsets to be bankable, i.e. any tions may be made offsets in excess of obligations applicable for different under a specific contract will classes of cases or for remain valid for a period of AN ACCENT OF INDIGENISATION: Defence Procurement Policy-2011 individual cases two financial years after the puts great stress on offset policy in terms of weapon purchase depending upon the facconclusion of the contract in tors involved such as question. These credits could type of acquisition, strategic importance of chargeable in the civil aviation and internal then be discharged against new RFPs that are the acquisition or technology, enhanced security markets. DPP-2011 explicitly states: floated in that two-year period. However, ability of Indian defence industry to absorb “The list of eligible offsets now cover most there is a restriction on the transferability of the offset, export potential generated, etc” aspects of civil aerospace, including aircraft, these credits between players with DPP-2011 Many vendors also feel that the goverboth fixed wing and rotary, air frames, airexplicitly stating that banked offset credits are nance mechanism for offsets isn’t sufficiently craft components, avionics, aircraft design non-transferable except between the main responsive to absorb all-round inputs on poland engineering services, aircraft material, contractor and the sub-contractors within the icy making. DOFA is a particular target for technical publications, flying training instisame acquisition programme. criticism and is being painted as an inadetutions, and technology-driven institutions. The offset regime is governed by the quately equipped bureaucracy ill-suited to A wide range of weapons and services for Defence Offsets Facilitation Agency (DOFA), deal with the avalanche of offsets that is counter-terrorism have been included in the which has been set up under the auspices of expected to result in the next few years. A list of products under ‘internal security’. the Department of Defence Production proposal to set up an office for DOFA at DelThese changes will provide a wider range of (DDP). DOFA aims to be a single window hi’s Pragati Maidan has been pending for offset opportunities to vendors participating agency that facilitates the implementation of sometime now. in defence procurements and encourage the offset policy outlined by the Ministry of However, the greatest impediment to building up of indigenous manufacturing Defence (MoD). Its roles, therefore, include making offsets truly useful is the 26 per cent capability in crucial areas.” assisting potential vendors in interfacing with FDI cap according to both domestic and This move has actually been pretty conIndian industry, technically evaluating offset www.geopolitics.in

(27)

April 2011


Offset Syndrome 22-24.qxd

4/7/2011

5:25 PM

Page 28

g DEFBIZ

“OUR APPROACH TO OFFSET IS MEANT TO INFUSE

“WITH RESPECT TO OFFSET POLICIES, WE ARE VERY

TECHNOLOGIES INTO LOCAL INDUSTRY RATHER THAN JUST FULFILL OFFSET OBLIGATIONS. THIS APPROACH NOT ONLY GIVES A BOOST TO LOCAL INDUSTRY BUT ALSO REDUCES THE OVERALL COST OF OUR PRODUCTS. THE DEFENCE PROCUREMENT POLICY OF 2011 GIVES US AN OPPORTUNITY TO WORK IN DUAL AEROSPACE DOMAINS. SOUTH AFRICA WOULD BE A GOOD CASE STUDY. AFTER SOUTH AFRICA PURCHASED GRIPEN, WE WENT IN AND PURCHASED COUPLE OF COMPANIES. WE REVAMPED THE SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE INDUSTRY ON A LARGE SCALE. THEY BECAME SO STRONG THAT NOW THEY ARE EXPORTING VARIOUS SYSTEMS. IN FACT IDAS OF HAL DHRUV IS DEVELOPED AND PRODUCED BY SAAB AVITRONICS IN CENTURION, SOUTH AFRICA.”

PLEASED THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA TOOK SUCH A DISCIPLINED APPROACH IN UPDATING THE DEFENCE PROCUREMENT PROCEDURE. THANKS TO THIS REVIEW, GUIDELINES FOR OFFSET POLICY WERE EXPANDED TO INCLUDE CIVIL AEROSPACE, INTERNAL SECURITY, TRAINING PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE, THIS OFFERS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR INDIAN COMPANIES, AS WELL AS GLOBAL BUSINESS SUCH AS RAYTHEON, TO LOOK MORE BROADLY AT AVENUES OF PROMOTING INVESTMENT IN THE INDIAN DEFENCE SECTOR. WE SEE THIS AS A POSITIVE DEVELOPMENT FOR RAYTHEON GOING FORWARD AS WE EXPAND OUR PARTICIPATION IN INDIA'S DEFENCE, SECURITY AND CIVIL SECTORS..”

INDERJIT SIAL, COUNTRY HEAD, SAAB INTERNATIONAL INDIA

WILLIAM BLAIR, PRESIDENT, RAYTHEON INDIA

“THE OFFSET GUIDELINES ARE

“WE (WANT) TO MEET OUR OFFSET OBLIGATIONS TO THE UTMOST SATISFACTION OF OUR CUSTOMER. AS OUR AIM IS NOT JUST TO COMPLY WITH THE RFP OBLIGATIONS, WE HAVE GONE A STEP FURTHER BY OFFERING INDIA THE OPPORTUNITY FOR AN UNMATCHED INDUSTRIAL PARTNERSHIP, WHICH WOULD MAKE IT A TRUE PARTICIPANT IN THE EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON PROGRAMME. WE ARE INTERESTED IN THE INDUSTRIALISATION OF THE INDIAN AEROSPACE AND DEFENCE INDUSTRY, THEREBY LEVERAGING THE SIGNIFICANT ENGINEERING TALENT THAT LIES HERE. THAT IS HOW WE SEE OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH INDIA - NOT JUST COMPLYING WITH OFFSETS, BUT SUPPORTING INDIA’S SELFRELIANCE.” DR. MATTHIAS SCHMIDLIN, CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR, EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON, INDIA

www.geopolitics.in

foreign companies. In fact, this is the one aspect of the offset game where we do seem to have some consensus. The limit, according to most foreign vendors, precludes the possibility of transferring any meaningful technology. A move towards 49 per cent seems to be desired by many industry players. All in all, while offsets certainly represent a massive opportunity for Indian industry, there is a need to be very vigilant about what exactly is being transferred. Monitoring and implementation must always reflect the philosophy that the aim is to reverse India’s import dependency in the defence sector with a view to having 70 per cent indigenous arms by 2020. Unfortunately, at the moment, offsets seem hostage to a lack of ideas going forward and the will to really step on the gas for indigenisation.

(28)

STRUCTURED TO ENHANCE THE AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE INDUSTRY, SUPPORT THE MATURITY OF THE TECHNOLOGY BASE, INCREASE INDIGENOUS CAPABILITY TO BUILD AND SUPPORT DEFENCE PLATFORMS AND ENHANCE THE GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR FIRMS OF ALL SIZES. INDIA'S DPP AND OFFSET REGIME IS A VERY PROGRESSIVE MOVE BY THE GOVERNMENT AND WILL BRING TANGIBLE BENEFITS TO INDIA. THE REVISIONS SO FAR HAVE MADE REAL IMPROVEMENTS, BENEFITING FROM PAST PROCUREMENT EXPERIENCE AND FROM WELL-MEANING GUIDANCE FROM THE INDUSTRY. THE GOVERNMENT'S RELEASE OF THE NEW DEFENCE PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES FOR 2011 IS A VERY PROGRESSIVE STEP. WE WELCOME THE NEW REVISIONS ON BROADENING THE APERTURE OF OFFSET CREDIT TO INCLUDE CIVIL AEROSPACE AND INTERNAL SECURITY.” MARK KRONENBERG, VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, BOEING DEFENSE, SPACE & SECURITY

April 2011


Howitzer 29-31.qxd

4/7/2011

12:49 PM

Page 17

g GEOPOLITICS

DEFBIZ

HOWITZER MISFIRES AGAIN There are more questions than answers to the Defence Ministry’s keenness to acquire the M777 gun from the United States through the FMS route, writes ROHIT SRIVASTAVA

I

NDIA’S QUEST of two decades for upgradation and modernisation of its artillery seems to have got stuck in quicksand. The much-awaited induction of ultra-light howitzer BAE system’s M777 (with its 155 mm diameter barrel) under the foreign military sales route has come under a controversy. Incidentally, the M777 will be the first artillery gun induction since the Bofors guns were acquired in the late 80s from Sweden. The leaked field trial report of the gun, a copy of which was sent to the Army through a mail, listing proof about the shortcomings of the gun, is the latest roadblock that has hit the howitzer acquisition. The Army took cognizance of this and has constituted a Court of Inquiry under a three star General to look into the matter. The `3,000-crore ($647m) deal for 145 M777 howitzers, which was finalised in 2010 between the US and India, had a controversial beginning. In July 2009, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) black-listed several firms after investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Singapore Technology

www.geopolitics.in

(ST), which was slated to provide its Pegasus 155mm lightweight howitzer, was one of them. This opened the road for the BAE system to push for its gun. The initial proposal was floated in 2008 by the Indian Army and there were only two contenders: BAE and ST. The ST Pegasus was 155mm/ 39 caliber with 5.4 tonnes weight and can fire three rounds in 24 seconds in burst mode. The M777 is of similar caliber but weighs 4.2 tonnes. India was left with only one option, as there were only two portable guns: the Pegasus and the BAE 155 ultra-light. India approached the US government in 2009 for the BAE 155 ultra-light howitzer, which had around 70 per cent US components and required US government’s approval for export. As Guy Douglas, spokesperson of BAE, otherwise a British company, said: “The gun is made in the US and the IPR is predominantly held in the US. Obviously there is a supply chain involving the US.” The deal got approval from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which said in its January 2010,

(29)

notification, of a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of 145 M777 155mm LightWeight Towed Howitzers with Laser Inertial Artillery Pointing Systems (LINAPS) and associated parts, equipment, training and logistical support for a complete package worth approximately $647 mn. The logistics and maintenance support would be provided by the BAE and Mahindra Defence System in a joint venture. Sources in the Defence Ministry suggest that the Indian Army wanted an operational gun which could be deployed immediately on the field. The urgency of India to increase its indirect fire capability in the north-east against China compelled it to go for acquisition without wasting time.

VOLATILE ACQUISITION: The leaked field trial report of the M777 howitzer gun came out of the realm of secrecy, exposing vulnerability of acquisition process

April 2011


Howitzer 29-31.qxd

4/7/2011

12:49 PM

Page 18

g DEFBIZ The need for a light artillery gun was felt during the 90s and the Indian Army made a proposal for such guns during 1999-2000. The purpose was to increase the offensive capability of mountain divisions in the north-east. The efficiency of Bofors during the Kargil war proved the usefulness of indirect artillery fire in the mountains. A proposal was, therefore, made for 100 guns, which got approved in the year 2001. The light howitzer was to constitute five regiments with 18 guns each — three regiments for the north-east and two for the air borne regiment. Ten guns were to be in reserve. The number of guns was later increased to 145 as the Chinese capabilities in the north-east enhanced, sources said.

TO BRING UNIFORMITY WITH 155MM GUNS BOFORS, INDIA CHOSE 155MM LIGHT HOWITZERS Lt Gen Vinay Shankar, former DG, artillery, says, “We need light howitzers for two basic requirements. First, we have difficult terrain

and some areas are not easily accessible, vulnerable and tactically important. We need adequate artillery to defend. Second, we should be ready to go beyond our border to secure national interest.” Sources in the Army suggested that India had a plan for two air mobile division, which could be deployed in places like Nepal, Mauritius, Afghanistan to secure Indians and their interests and in our island territories if and when the contingency arose. Each of these would have an artillery regiment of light howitzer gun. The Indian Army had the option to go for smaller caliber guns like 102/120mm guns, manufactured by Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) but it decided to standardise

BE SHORT OF: The various fronts in which the M777 Howitzer gun has failed, include its compatibility, its air portability trials and the sighting system that deals with night vision

www.geopolitics.in

(30)

April 2011


Howitzer 29-31.qxd

4/7/2011

12:49 PM

Page 19

g DEFBIZ its artillery to single caliber and wanted to have more destructive power. Thus, to bring uniformity with 155mm guns Bofors, India chose 155mm light howitzers. The155mm is the optimum caliber across the globe. The majority of the guns are 155mm/45 calibers, but to keep the weight light the Indian Army chose 39 caliber gun. The expected range with this caliber is said to be 30 km. The range of any gun depends upon the length of the barrel; the longer the barrel, the longer the range. Controversy The real controversy, however, is about the leakage of the field trial report. The report suggests that the gun’s performance was not up to the mark. The Army staff quality requirements — parameters, on which any product for acquisition has to qualify — were not fully met. Sources revealed that the gun’s performance on some of the key parameters like air portability, range, accuracy, etc. was not satisfactory. Since the gun would be purchased through FMS and would be operational, the purchase of the gun was not subject to failure or success in trials. The trials are not being referred to as field trials but as ‘confirmatory trials’. That clearly shows that the purchase of the gun was almost certain. India was paying for the trial cost unlike other trials where the costs are borne by the contender. The trials were conducted in Sikkim. Highly-placed sources in Ministry have said that the “gun will be purchased. We don’t have any other option. The result of the trial proves that the gun is good and will not compromise on the operational capability of the Indian Army”. Even the Army has reasoned that no gun or any other weapon system for that matter can ever satisfy all our requirements. India’s requirements are unique and varied; no system can be designed to cater to all conditions. Thus, we have to compromise every time we buy anything. At first glance, the argument does sound correct but it is not that simple. Reliable sources point out that the gun has only performed to the optimum level. The Army factored in the minimum requirement from the gun and knows where the gun will be used, as there are places in mountains where it can be deployed either by road or by helicopter. The mountainous areas, unlike the plains, do not offer unhindered range. Thus, if a gun can hit the required distance on the plains, it may not be perfect for longer range in the mountains. Thus, it is possible that www.geopolitics.in

QUESTIONS ARE MANY: Will artillery procurement of Indian Army remain caught in a maze?

THE REAL CONTROVERSY, HOWEVER, IS ABOUT THE LEAKAGE OF THE FIELD TRIAL REPORT the Army has either been arm-twisted to accept the BAE system or time is running short and the Army is left with no choice. As a senior artillery officer said on condition of anonymity, “The Indian Army needs a gun. Whatever is available you have to pick. You can’t have a perfect solution, there are no perfect systems, and there are trade offs.” He further added, “Among light howitzers, there are just two manufacturers, BAE and ST. Forget BAE, but if you require a gun, then why not the one from Singapore?

(31)

India blacklisted ST on charges of corruption. Fair, but what about the corruption or inefficiency within the defence public sector units? They have not been able to perform up to the mark. Numerous allegations of retagging of imported products in the name of indigenisation are ignored. The national interest has been compromised by delays and escalation in cost.” There are speculations in the Defence Ministry that Singapore Technology is behind the leak. But the ministry seems determined to go ahead with deal. Sources associated with ST have denied these allegations and clarified that they have no interest in this deal, as being an FMS with US they always knew they had no chance. But they also pointed out that why any deal, which has US connection, never gets postponed and go through mostly, of late through the FMS route, even when the alternate system is available at a competitive price. Even in this controversial deal, the offset and technology transfer, which has become cornerstone of our acquisition policy, doesn’t apply. April 2011


OLD file Cover story 38-43.qxd

4/7/2011

4:23 PM

Page 48

The right stuff, all the time, on time Welcome to Cruising Heights



Cruising Heights is India's leading magazine of Aviation. The magazine enjoys immense reputation and credibility for its quality reporting and analysis on issues relating to every aspect of the aviation business. Published every month, it is India's best known aviation magazine with equal interests in air cargo, travel and tourism.

 One of the first true aviation magazines of the country, Cruising Heights was started with the idea of supporting professionals in the airline business to make informed choices on a variety of subjects-from ground handling to cargo to airport development-all of which are dramatically transforming the Indian aviation scene. We also target the aviation enthusiast who is keen to be informed on what's happening in the aviation business. Over the years, Cruising Heights has received accolades from the Minister of Civil Aviation, Aviation CEOs, Airport Developers, Travel Agents Associations and others for its path-breaking stories.



 Cruising Heights reports on all facets of the Aviation and Aerospace environment with dedicated news and regular feature sections in each issue on airlines, airports, policy and personalities in the country & the region.


OLD file Cover story 38-43.qxd

4/7/2011

4:23 PM

Page 49

India’s best known aviation monthly from Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd. Get your copy today. Call 91-011-41033381 Mob.: 9650433044


Periscope.qxd

4/7/2011

12:54 PM

Page 12

PERISCOPE

g GEOPOLITICS

Mitali gets gallantry award EVEN BEFORE the Army decides to accord permanent commission to women and allow them in combat, Mitali Madhumita’s “Sena Medal”, the first to be awarded for gallantry to a woman Army officer, has broken another male bastion that promises to remain etched in Indian military history. This comes amid the raging debate over women’s permanent commission in the Army and vindicates the stance of all aspiring permanent commission women officers. History was created on February 25 at the ‘Yodha’ hall of the ‘DOT’ division of southwestern command, when Lt General S K Singh, General Officer Commanding in Chief conferred the medal on Major Mitali Madhumita, who hails from Orissa, in the investiture ceremony held at the Hisar cantonment. An officer of the Army Education Corp, Mitali has been given a gallantry award for the exemplary courage, grit and valour displayed by her after the attack on the Indian embassy by terrorists in Kabul (Afghanistan) on February 26, 2010. She helped in saving a number of lives of those severely wounded in that attack. A total of 19 persons including seven Indians had been killed in that incident. At that time, she was not a part of combat arms but her job was to teach at facilities in Kabul. But when the incident took place, she immediately rushed to the spot and saved the lives of those buried under the debris after the attack without caring for her life.

ARMY CHIEF HONOURED GENERAL V K Singh became the first Indian officer to be inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ of US Army War College, Carlisle, USA, on March 11, 2011. This distinction is extended by the US Army to all officers from friendly foreign countries, who rise to the

ARMY TO HAVE AKASH

THE CABINET Committee on Security (CCS) is reported to have decided to induct the indigenously-produced and developed Akash surface-to-air missile defence system into the Indian Army. It will be deployed on both the western and eastern fronts of the country’s borders. It is understood that the Indian Army will now place orders for two regiments of the missile system, which has already been inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF). The total order for the Army stands at `14,180 crore at present. The IAF has inducted two squadrons of the missile system and is looking to place

www.geopolitics.in

post of ‘Chief ’ of their respective armies, after attending the coveted course at the US Army War College. A “Masters” degree in Strategic Studies is awarded on completion of the course. General V K Singh (then Brigadier) had passed out from the US Army War College in 2000-01.

(34)

orders for another six that will be based in the c o u n t r y ’s north-east to counter China. They will be procured at a cost of `6,200 crore. The ‘regiment’ is the Army equivalent of an IAF squadron. The lowreaction-time Akash, which is 5.6metre-long, is designed to neutralise multiple aerial targets attacking from several directions simultaneously, with a digitally-coded command guidance system, in all-weather conditions. It can even take on sub-sonic cruise missiles, which is a useful potential given the fact that arsenals of both hostile neighbours — Pakistan to the west and China to the north — are equipped with rippedoff versions of the American Tomahawk. The Akash induction will help the Indian armed services replace the obsolete Russian-origin Pechora and OSA-AK missile systems.

April 2011


Periscope.qxd

4/7/2011

12:54 PM

Page 13

g ARJUN TANK INDUCTED OVER 37 years after the project was commissioned by the government, the indigenous Arjun tank has been formally inducted into the 75 Armoured Regiment at Jaisalmer. It happened in mid-March. According to Lieutenant General A K Singh, General Officer Commanding-inChief (GOC-in-C) of the southern command, 45 Arjun tanks were inducted. It may be noted that 75 Armoured Regiment is the only Indian armoured regiment to be raised on foreign soil during the 1971 Indo-Pak war at Gadra road (now in Pakistan) on March 12, 1972. The tank comes with a 120 mm main rifled gun with indigenously developed

APFSDS ammunition, a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun, and a 12.7 mm machine

gun. It is powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp, and can achieve a maximum speed of 70

Army ready for quick mobilisation CAN INDIAN Army mobilise troops within 48 hours? The Army believes it can and will seek to validate its answer at an annual exercise involving about 10,000 personnel in the Rajasthan-Punjab region in May. After terrorists attacked Parliament in December 2001, the government had ordered Army mobilisation. But Operation Parakram took 27 days, by which time sufficient international diplomatic pressure had built up to preempt any military strike on Pakistan. Since then, the Army has been working hard to bring down its mobilisation time. Reports say that better road management, offloading, rail links, equipment and man-management have reduced the time to 48 hours and every strike corps had been working at reducing its mobilisation period. Army’s preparedness will be tested in the two-week exercise, Vajra Prahar, that will involve the Ambala-based 2 Strike Corps, besides elements from the Patialabased 1 Armoured Division, Meerut-based 22 Division and Dehradun-based 14 Divi-

www.geopolitics.in

sion, also called Rapids. Earlier, the Army used to launch an attack after an entire formation had gathered, but the new approach is for small battle groups with command-and-control abilities carrying out early launches. As elements have to be gathered from far-flung places, it’s important to plan in advance. Incidentally, the Pakistani army had held a war game last year near its India border with around 50,000 troops mobilised in three days from one end of that country to the other. Former Army Chief General V P Malik had once pointed out that distances in Pakistan were shorter. “We took 20 days to mobilise troops for Operation Parakram. The lesson learnt was to reduce the time, which brought forth the doctrine of cold start for strategic re-location. Today, we are in a much better position,” he had said. Every year, the three corps take turns to hold war games. Last year, 21 Corps had its first drill based on nuclear biological chemical warfare.

(35)

km/hr (43 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It has a fourman crew: commander, gunner, loader and driver. Automatic fire detection and suppression, and NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protection systems are provided. Allround anti-tank warhead protection by the newly-developed Kanchan armour is claimed to be much higher than available in present third generation tanks. In March 2010, the Arjun was pitted against the T-90 in comparative trials and performed well. Subsequently, the Army placed an order for an additional 124 tanks on May 17, 2010.

Bold Kurukshetra with Singapore Army INDIAN ARMY and Singapore Army have just completed a month-long joint exercise named ‘Bold Kurukshetra 2011’ at Babina in Jhansi. The exercise began on March 1 and continued until March 29. It involved multi-tiered planning, use of new generation equipment and joint execution of mission by artillery batteries and combat groups. Besides matching each other’s capability in artillery fire power, the two armies also honed their skills in anti-militancy exercises. Exercise Bold Kurukshetra is an annual event between the two armies. Singapore Army sends its armoured divisions to India and practices with Indian armoured divisions. Singapore lacks facilities to train its forces due to shortage of land mass. This was the sevent edition of the exercise.

April 2011


Number Game 36-37.qxd

4/7/2011

1:23 PM

Page 4

15,000

OFFICERS’ SHORTAGE

IN THE armed forces has been addressed and accordingly, several measures, including increasing the intake of Short Service Commission (SSC) officers, have been initiated to meet the shortfall.The extent of shortage of officers is around 12,349 in the Army, 1,818 in the Navy and 837 in the Air Force, while the shortage of pilots in the Air Force is about 426. There is, however, no significant problem of shortage of personnel below officer rank in the armed forces. In addition, all officers, including those in the Short Service Commission (SSC), are now eligible to hold substantive rank of Captain, Major and Lieutenant Colonel after two, six and 13 years of reckonable service respectively. The tenure of SSC officers has been increased from 10 to 14 years.

49

CASES OF CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS

BY PAKISTAN were reported along the border in Jammu and Kashmir since 2010. 44 ceasefire violations were reported in 2010, while five such cases have happened in this year so far. The Government of India has taken up the issue of ceasefire violations with Pakistan’s military authorities at the appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotline, flag meetings as well as weekly talks between the Director Generals of Military Operations.

6

FIRMS TO BE BLACKLISTED

www.geopolitics.in

313

g GEOPOLITICS

NUMBERS GAME

ARMY PERSONNEL LOST THEIR LIVES SINCE 2009

IN OPERATIONS across the country. The details are as follows: The Army lost 114 men in 2009, 187 men in 2010, and 12 in 2011 till March 8. Moreover, eight personnel were killed in 2009 and 15 in 2010 from Rajasthan. All these casualties were reported from Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, the Navy lost one of its personnel during operations in 2009, but saw no casualties in 2010. The Air Force saw no casualties at all in the last two years.

ON THE recommendation of the investigative agencies to the Defence Ministry for being involved in ‘illegal gratification’ in the Ordnance Factory Board scam in 2009. The four international companies that have been recommended for blacklisting by the CBI, include Israeli Military Industry (IMI), Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK), German Rheinmetall Air Defence and Russian Cooperation Defence; while two Indian firms are T S Kisan and Company Private Limited (New Delhi) and R.K. Machines Tools Limited (Ludhiana). The decision to take penal action against the firms would be decided in consultation with Law Ministry and the Central Vigilance Commission. According to the ministry, the Israeli firm IMI has been provided all available documents and has been directed to submit its reply to the show-cause notice within 15 days. Due to the blacklisting process, several Defence Ministry acquisition projects have either been stalled or been scrapped, which include the artillery modernisation programme and upgrading of existing Indian Army howitzers.

(36)

3

PROPOSED PORTS IN ORISSA CONSIDERED A security threat. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has raised objections to setting-up of three proposed ports in Orissa’s Balasore district. The area is extensively used by DRDO and armed forces for test firing of missiles and various weapons. Out of three ports — Ichudi, Chandipur and Bahabalpur — proposed in Balasore district, the DRDO has raised objections to Ichudi port on the grounds that it would be operating close to the launch complex used by it to test fire missiles. “Movement of ships will pose a security threat to DRDO installations. Further, proposed ports fall within the notified area of DRDO and Indian Air Force (IAF) where dynamic trial and firing of unproved armament stores are bring conducted on regular basis,” said Defence Minister A K Antony, adding that no specific alternate site is suggested by the DRDO.

April 2011


Number Game 36-37.qxd

7

4/7/2011

1:23 PM

Page 5

g OFFICERS PUNISHED

FOR BEING guilty of sexually harassing women colleagues in eight cases reported since 2008. And of these seven officers, three each were from the Army and the Air Force and one from the Navy. According to record, are four cases from the Army and one from the air force in 2008, and, one from the Navy and two from the Air Force in 2009. Fortunately, there are no cases of sexual harassment of women officers in the three services in 2010 and none has been reported till date this year. The government has taken steps to check recurrence of such incidents in the future. In the Army, all commands are directed that cases of sexual harassment will be viewed very seriously and strict action taken against the perpetrators and commensurate punishment meted out to them so that the same acts as a deterrent for others. The environment has been sensitised in order to maintain a healthy and respectful relation with fellow or superior lady officers. Same kind of well laid down procedures and regulations exist for Navy and Air Force also.

NUMBERSGAME

5609

CASES IN 18 MONTHS

in the scheme of AFT is expected to take care of any problem relating to accessibility of the tribunals to the servicemen and ex-servicemen. The constitution of the tribunals has brought down the number of officers and jawans approaching High Courts through writ jurisdictions. The regional bench at Chandigarh disposed of the maximum number of 1897 cases since 2009, followed by 1525 cases by the principal bench.

HAVE BEEN recorded by Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which was instituted in 2009. Considering the successful running of principal bench at Delhi and regional benches at seven locations — Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Guwahati, Kolkata, Chennai and Kochi — the government has decided to set up one more regional bench at Mumbai. The provision for Circuit Benches

5300

CRORE IS THE AMOUNT THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING TO INVEST

IN DEFENCE Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) projects for upgrading existing facilities and setting up new ones for various programmes. The projects include setting up a new Aeronautical Test Range for `1,300 crore, Aerostat Test Range for `500 crore, Electronic Warfare test range for another `500 crore. The programmes and projects are likely to be completed in the next three to ten years period depending on various government clearances and other procedures.

9

58,000 KM ROADS, FIVE AIRFIELDS IN TIBET

ARE PART of infrastructure development programme, undertaken by China for the construction of roads, railways and airfields. To enhance the military profile, the total road network in the Tibet Autonomous Region is assessed at 58,000 km in 2010, along with five airfields becoming operational at Gongar, Pangta, Linchi, Hoping and Gar Gunsa.

LAKH WORTH DISABILITY COMPENSATION FOR SOLDIERS www.geopolitics.in

(37)

HAS BEEN announced by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his 2011 budget proposals. Defence personnel, who have suffered 100 per cent disability during the course of their government service, will henceforth get a one-time compensation of `9 lakh on par with paramilitary personnel fighting Maoists. And those who suffered less than 100 percent but over 20 per cent disability, would be provided a proportionate amount as one-time compensation.

April 2011


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11.qxd

4/7/2011

2:20 PM

Page 42

g GEOPOLITICS

Photo: PIB

COVERSTORY

www.geopolitics.in

(38)

April 2011


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11.qxd

4/7/2011

2:20 PM

Page 43

MONEY

MATTERS

The defence allocation in this year’s annual budget amounts to `1, 64,415.49 crore ($36.03 billion). That represents an 11.59 per cent growth (`17,071.49 crore) over the previous year’s budget. Of this `7,872.68 crore has been earmarked for revenue expenditure and the balance `9,198.81 for capital expenditure. In totality, revenue expenditure has grown by 9.01 per cent to `95,216.68 and capital expenditure by 15.33 per cent to `69,198.81 crore. Overall, this year’s defence budget is 1.83 per cent of the projected GDP of the country and 13.07 per cent of the total Central government expenditure. Roughly speaking, in 2011-12, the Army, with an approximate budget of `83, 415 crore, accounts for 51 per cent of the total defence budget. The Air force, with `46,151.78 crore, accounts for 28 per cent and the Navy’s share is 15 per cent at `25,246.89 crore. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been given `10,253.17 crore while ordnance factories (OFs) `776.79 crore. The major share is for the Army and that is because of the large scale provision under revenue expenditure, which is primarily driven by pay and allowances. In terms of capital expenditure, the Air force with a budget of `30,223.83 crore is the most capital-intensive, followed by the Army (`19,163.07 crore), Navy (`14,657.83 crore), DRDO (`4,628.3 crore), and OFs (`399.96 crore). On the revenue side, although the growth has been necessitated by the increase in pay and allowances, there has also been an increase in the budgetary provision for other revenue items to cover maintenance and services. Are these budget allocations adequate for a rising power like India, which is expected to assume more global responsibilities in the days to come? This question is all the more relevant if we view the 11.59 per cent rise against the backdrop of about 11 per cent inflation over the last one year. Besides, the total allocations in the budget are far below the minimum 3 per cent of the GDP that the armed forces of the country have been expecting for years. The figure has not touched even the mark of 2 per cent of the GDP that successive Standing Committees on Defence in India’s Parliament have been recommending. Most of all, do our budgetary allocations reflect the concerns raised by many distinguished experts over steady increases in the defence expenditure of Pakistan and China, our potential threats? Incidentally, China has increased its official defence expenditure for 2011 by 13 per cent to $ 91.5 billion while its actual expenditure on defence is likely to be close to $ 150 billion (3.5 per cent of its GDP). All this is not to suggest that there is no scope for rationalisation in India’s defence expenditure. Timely decisions on procurements and increased efficiency in domestic defence production will save money. Last but not the least, in the wake of various scandals that the country has been witnessing of late, the need of financial transparency in the Indian military is too important to be overstressed. In the pages that follow, three distinguished military officers have offered their views on the subject. Over to them… www.geopolitics.in

April 2011


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11.qxd

4/7/2011

4:51 PM

Page 44

g COVERSTORY

SATISH NAMBIAR LT. GENERAL (RETD.)

P K BARBORA AIR MARSHAL (RETD.)

AVNISH TANDON VICE ADMIRAL (RETD.)

Lieutenant General Satish Nambiar achieved international recognition as the first Force Commander and Head of Mission of UNPROFOR, the United Nations Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia, between March 1992 and March 1993. He was commissioned from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) into the 20th Battalion of the Maratha Light Infantry in December 1957. He retired as the Deputy Chief of the Army Staff in August 1994. He had the honour of serving as the Colonel of the Mechanized Infantry Regiment of the Indian Army from June 1988 to till retirement in August 1994. Excerpts from the interview:

Air Marshal Pranab Kumar Barbora was commissioned as a fighter pilot in June 1970 and saw action in the 1971 war with Pakistan. During his service career, he has had the distinction of being part of the team during formation of the first Jaguar Squadron of the IAF and also inducting the Air Combat Simulator into the IAF, the first of its kind in Asia. He has held many operational assignments. He was the Air Attaché in Russia and retired as the Deputy Chief of Indian Air Force and earned a reputation for his outspoken and frank assessment of issues. He is the first person from the North-East to reach such a coveted position. Excerpts from the interview:

Are you satisfied with the defence budget for 2011? I think it is a fair allocation. But the redeeming feature one sees this time is that last year’s budget allocation has been utilised after a long, long time. For years and years the allocations have not been utilised, they’ve lapsed which I think in many ways indicates that we may be getting our act together in terms of balancing the acquisitions against our projected plan. The other thing I would like to add here is basically related to the often propounded theory of the budget being per centage of GDP. You know they said this budget is only 1.8 per cent of GDP and that it should be 2.5 or 3 or whatever. I’ve never agreed with that philosophy because my logic has always been that, firstly, you make your plans and your projections for our national security requirements and the government should be asked to meet them. They may be able to meet it in full; in fact no country in the world, even the United States ever does meet budgetary demands in full. You know what the armed forces ask for is never (given) because most of the time you are overestimating your requirements. Besides I have never followed the

Your views on the budget? Let me put it this way — what is 12 per cent (hike)? Twelve per cent just caters for partially, the inflation. So by saying 12 per cent, I don’t think it has any relevance because the cost factor keeps going up every year. But when you talk of the overall increase in the percentage of GDP, which varies between 2.2 and 2.4 per cent of our GDP that is given to our defence services, it is nothing very much. But the beauty of this whole thing is we have been the biggest importer of weapons in the last few years. Okay fine. The reason for that of course is many. Our PSUs and DRDO have not come up to the expectations, so we have to spend abroad. Also, whenever any service has demanded something very seriously — except for one odd aberration like the Indian Army’s requirement for artillery has been pending for such a long, long time — the government has given us the money — albeit late. It does have an indirect effect on the defence preparedness of the nation. Not that we are incapable of taking on any kind of a threat, but we could have definitely performed far better if we had the assets that we had wanted at the correct time. Is 12 per cent okay?

Commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1961, Vice Admiral Avnish Rai Tandon had a distinguished career. He had the rare distinction of being Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of two of the Indian Navy’s three naval commands: the Southern Naval Command and the Western Naval Command, from where he retired on March 31, 1998. Earlier, he had commanded the Western Fleet and been the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. As Controller of Warship Production and Acquisitions, Admiral Tandon was responsible for the design and construction of warships like the INS Delhi class and submarines. As Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Policy and Plans he worked closely with the MoD and other ministries while being responsible for financial and force planning for the Indian Navy. Excerpts from an interview:

www.geopolitics.in

(40)

Are you happy with this year’s defence budget? Let me explain one thing: Army and Air Force have to work within the national boundary of India. So when you are talking of defence, they can’t cross the boundary. If they do, it is an inimical act, whereas the Indian navy is operating all across the Indian Ocean. What are the roles that the Navy has to play? For coastal defence, you can come anywhere, you can land anywhere. India’s coastline is 7500 km. There are also islands. Therefore, if a pirate operates off Lakshadweep, the Army and the Air Force cannot immediately go there. Then, we have 200 nautical miles of what is called Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which has also to be patrolled and resources within the EEZ are all sovereign resources of India. So, the definition of defence is slightly different in case of the Navy as opposed to the Army and Air Force. Are you then saying the budget for the Navy is inadequate? Let me clarify that. General Sunderji was the

April 2011


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11.qxd

4/7/2011

5:08 PM

Page 45

g COVERSTORY

logic that the budget should be a percentage of the GDP, because my point has always been — and now really in many ways being indicated — as your GDP grows, your budget grows even if your allocation is just one per cent. The basic thing is your requirements. The government has to meet it and they will meet it to the extent they can. One of the things, right from the time I was in service, and following events later, I have found that notwithstanding the allocations, if in an emergency situation the defence forces are required to have more (money), I don’t think the government has ever been found wanting in giving the (funds). But who is responsible for the money lapsing all these years? I think a lot it has to do with the system that we follow. In fact, it is basically the civil bureaucracy that has not being accountable. Will you elaborate? Where is the accountability? If things go wrong, the armed forces are to blame and on the other side, the political establishment can be blamed that you have not made enough allocations, the bureaucrats are never found answerable. But the irony is that they are the ones who are the sort of go-between, between the armed forces and the political establishment. This relationship should have been straightened out long ago. I don’t think it has yet been straightened out. Should the armed forces interact directly with the political masters? You don’t require an interpreter any more. Obviously, the civilian bureaucracy has a place, in the sense that the Minister could ask them, consult them, use them for their inputs but they should not be the interface. This is where I think the problem lies, unless, of course, they are accountable. I make this point, not because of any antipathy to the civil servant but the system has not yet been straightened out. You think that is the primary reason for the lapse of money or the issues are not being taken up on time? I think so. You see the person taking the decision must also be accountable for it. That does not always happen in this case because these chaps take the decision in

www.geopolitics.in

No. It’s not sufficient. But every year why is it, that we are surrendering money back to the government? It’s not that in the defence services we have not made out a plan. We’ve got plans for 15 years in place, but when it comes to the clearance of a project, I feel because of the so-called compulsions of the government in other areas, they do not clear our projects. This results in getting something late and unfortunately depending on country-tocountry that we are importing items from. At the end of the day, we get the same item at a higher cost. There is also the urgent need to streamline the defence budget… No. Each service has its own norms of how to bid for a budget and how to utilise the budget. There will be occasions when the money is allocated to you whether on the revenue side or on the capital side. And for reasons an item that I was looking at within this financial year, is not being cleared because of various reasons. I have got the budget, now what do I do? I go in for an item which is not high on my priority list. So, it derails the priority of the service if things like this happen. You spoke about the lack of utilisation of the budget. What is the prime reason? There are other loopholes also. I am not going to be service-specific but many a time what happens within the system is that they tend to change our QRs that is the qualitative requirements of a system. And when we do that, whether it’s DRDO or a foreign company or anyone, obviously it will take more time. And the product is not going to be available to you by a specific time. So once we have decided what it is that we want, please don’t keep changing your requirements. One of the reasons why this happens is that there is this ‘holy cow’ attitude about the armed forces in this nation: no debate, no discussion. Because of lack of debate and discussion, there is less of accountability. Yes, let’s talk about the LCA: Light Combat Aircraft. Let’s forget about when it was conceived, thought and came into place — I don’t know. I’ve attended so many meetings on this subject. We had quarterly meetings, that were attended by everyone. Okay, they will give a timeline for the product and in the next

(41)

first to postulate that the maritime borders of India are important. It was agreed by the Chief of Staff that the Navy’s budget should be 18 per cent of the budget. We are talking about 1987. In 2005-06, the Navy’s budget was 17.5 per cent and in 2007-08 the budget reached 18 per cent. But since 2008-09 it has been going down. Now it is 15 per cent. My point is that the naval plan seems to be slowing down. Are the allocations under the R&D heading appropriate? The Navy’s experience with the DRDO is that we have had very few successful projects. There are any number of projects that didn’t take off. But we had some successes such as the Brahmos missile, which is a joint venture of DRDO and Russia. There are other electronic warfare systems which have come late from the DRDO but certainly are acceptable. Now my question is: Are we getting enough new technology from the DRDO? We haven’t received much of new technology in spite of the fact that we have funded substantially. It is the Navy which has funded the Advanced Light Helicopter project when it was nowhere on the horizon. It is the Navy which said we would take fighter aircraft for operating on seas. We are ahead in judging and appreciating the capability of DRDO. I am not sure we need to put more money into DRDO. I think we should put more money into DRDO where there is privatepublic partnership (PPP). Coming back to the macro picture, what do you think of an emerging power like India allocating less than two per cent of the GDP to defence? Our budgetary figure at this point is 1.83 per cent. Over the years we have remained at around two per cent. We have not exceeded more than 2.5 per cent at any stage except for one year in 86-87 when we were at 3.16 per cent. It was a year when there was a jump of 35 per cent which, of course, got negated very soon when money fell short due to the drought of 1987. So we had between 2 and 2.5 per cent for 20 to 25 years. By the way, we tend to forget defence expenditure as percentage of government expenditure. Everyone says that defence is buying up 20 per cent of the government expenditure. They call it very derisively as nonplanned expenditure. Now, in this case, we have never exceeded 17. 81 per cent which is around 3.16 per cent of our total budget

April 2011


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11.qxd

4/7/2011

5:09 PM

Page 46

g COVERSTORY SATISH NAMBIAR LT. GENERAL (RETD.) the sense that it is on file. Okay, yes the face is the political head but the man who has taken the decision is the faceless bureaucrat. Here again the armed forces are also partially to blame because they have again a system where, and this I say with a lot of self-criticism which one endured even while in service, that you know with each change of head — the Chief — sometimes your priorities change. That’s idiotic. I mean there may be very few exceptions, it can’t be the rule. Every time the Chief comes in there are different priorities. That is another reason why some of these things fall behind in terms of acquisitions or pursuing it to the logical end. Some new chap comes in and he thinks—the joke that I have always highlighted in terms of our leadership is that — at every level of command, from the battalion Commander to the Chief of the Army Staff, the chap who assumes the charge, starts from the basis that all his predecessors were nuts and he’s going to sort out the system. That can’t work. Obviously, the chaps who have worked before you were as capable if not better. The increasing use of foreign military sales equipment comes in at hugely inflated costs as opposed to the tendering system… Well I’m not too sure that you can blame the armed forces for that because the armed forces hold a piece of the equipment. The manner in which you get it and what are the arrangements for it is not for the armed forces to decide. That is for the political class and for the bureaucracy... Your concern is only the equipment. You tell us what equipment there are, few pieces of equipment and you evaluate them. Now you know in this evaluation process, there are allegations that sometimes there are favourites, but this is a human failing, but if you’ve got the right people, people of integrity doing it, then it’s okay. This business of direct sales, government-to-government I think is related more to the lack of ability to negotiate this tendering process, I don’t think the armed forces come into that. What is your take on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in defence production? The present position makes for lit-

www.geopolitics.in

P K BARBORA AIR MARSHAL (RETD.) meeting, almost all of them want a delay. But are we willing to hold the PSUs or the DRDO or even the private sector which is coming in, accountable for it? We just say, okay blacklist a private firm but are we going to blacklist our HAL? Have we blacklisted our ship-building yards? We haven’t because unfortunately those PSUs are employing our people. So, there is a little bit of a mix-up between national requirement of security and a bias towards the HR side. Do you think budget is in sync with our perspective planning? Yes It is in sync. Unfortunately again, because of the priorities at times going haywire, because of the timeline in clearances of various projects and also indigenous manufacturers not living up to timelines or the quality of the product, we are suffering. Finance is not an issue. Anytime we wanted something specific, the government has agreed to it, albeit a little late. Do you think the private sector in this country has a role to play in defence production? Today, we are restricted to 26 per cent FDI. I have said so categorically earlier also, if someone will have only say 26 per cent FDI in a company that he is joining up for a defence-related issue, he doesn’t have control of the company to be able to perform to his requirement. So, he finds that he is restricted. He is not going to give out his niche technology. He’ll say why should I part with this when I hardly have any say in the company? But, I presume there must be some other issues which do not allow the government to straightaway say, okay, from 26 per cent I increase it to 49 per cent. Like I have mentioned earlier and say it again, Pakistan does more export than we do in defence items because of our rules and regulations. It is high time we took stock of all this. We have produced along with Russia, the Brahmos missile. How many have we exported till date? Because there is no export, the indigenous production cost is going up. You know every year they give a big chit to the government saying I have made so much money. Who have you made it from? You have made it from us! From left hand to right hand…

(42)

AVNISH TANDON VICE ADMIRAL (RETD.) in these 20 years. That’s not too much of insurance for the country’s security. Even this insurance is one part of the story. The other part is that we should have enough to maintain our power in the context of our immediate neighbourhood that is always ready to create problems for us: Pakistan on the west and China on the north and east. Till a few years back, we were not on China’s radar, but now that we are, it is always doing something to us. We have to worry as far as the land border is concerned. The role of our air force is going to increase manifold in future wars. Do you agree that our defence budget is not in sync with our military vision? There is a problem and I will only tell you the process. There is not only a ‘Babu’ in the ministry of defence; there is another also in the department of defence finance which is controlled by the Ministry of Finance. So, even if a ‘Babu’ agrees on finance side in the Defence Ministry, he will say I have an adversary in the Ministry of Finance. Yes, I agree that 1.83 per cent of GDP for defence is not enough. We need something like 1820 per cent of the government expenditure on defence, while we are at 14-15 per cent. They say that we are giving you a ten per cent hike but inflation is 11 per cent. Do you think there is some room for streamlining the defence budget? Almost every year, the armed forces have not been able to spend the allocated money though the last year was an exception. I have already talked about the negative role ‘Babus’ play in Defence-finance. In earlier years, it was as if they were under a directive that if `100 crore were allocated, at least `20 crore will not be spent. They keep sending the file up and down, so the money is allotted but not spent. I have worked with them for many years. They just don’t let you spend. It’s just a charade they have allocated so much to you. They have allocated as per what is called ‘REZ’ or revised estimate which comes by December, knowing pretty well that you can’t spend the whole amount in the next three months. They will say negotiation is going on. But then why did they increase the money in revenue expenditure? Let me explain the revenue expenditure. It is the expenditure spent on maintenance of the human resources and the mechanical equipment. In our case, this is to say allowances, petrol, ammunition, etc. All this

April 2011


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11.qxd

4/7/2011

5:09 PM

Page 47

g COVERSTORY

tle incentive for companies to set up shop here? I was a member of the Kelkar Committee and we went into this aspect in some detail, basically it was related to allowing our private industry to get into this whole business of defence sales. So my personal view is, which I think is the recommendation we made, that is we should allow private industry to participate in this endeavour. That, of course, has a number of implications because obviously they have to be assured of returns and then the other aspect, of course, is that many of them may want to wish to have tie-ups with foreign companies. That I think up to a certain percentage was recommended by us. Obviously, we should not go in for a complete foreign company (setting shop) because I don’t think it is a very wise thing for a country like our’s since defence industry is of a globally competitive nature. You need it if the domestic defence industry — that is simply not there — has to get a fillip? It’s a shame for a country like our’s. They have the capability, they have the wherewithal, and they have all the good intentions. But they must obviously being a company, be assured of some returns. And that is where I think even the R&D aspect comes in that either the government should provide these R&D resources. And I think there is some rethink on this probably. But it can only be to the extent that security does not get compromised. What about offsets, how does it help when there is no clarity on many of the banking credits? I don’t know the intricacies of this whole thing. You are talking of this offset bank, so I won’t try and comment. But my basic philosophy on this is that your offset should include even policy decisions, unrelated to defence. I mean even if we are investing in defence equipment which someone is very keen to sell you, even your foreign policy decisions you should be able to manipulate or get them to adjust it. I mean, in the sense it cannot be written into an agreement. But to that extent, particularly now that we are going in for such big acquisitions and things like that, I do think that we must get some benefits out of it towards furthering our national security interests.

www.geopolitics.in

You take it from Peter and give it to Paul. Now we have to be seriously thinking about our export norms. Firstly, we’ve got to be serious about timetables. We are still lost in our offset policy; we do not know how to apply offset policy. I have said so categorically. There are countries which are applying 100 per cent offset. Like offset policies of South Korea or Netherlands which are working beautifully. Why can’t we pick up the good points from them and apply to our system and modify it to suit our requirements? Now we just say 30 per cent offset, 50 per cent offset — do you know, out of the hand figure, another ten years, the offset should bring in $40 billion? Where are we going to pump it? Who can absorb this? You require corporate houses of very big nature in India to be able to take on that much money plus investment and then do the exports as well. But in the last six months I have noticed there is a definite push in the Ministry of Defence to streamline this offset issue. But we are still far, far away. What about the exorbitantly high prices for purchases through FMS route? Look, there are certain policies of the government which I am in no position to really comment about as to how they go about accepting the bids and how they allocate bids. But there are some provisions in the defence procurement system which says that I do not necessarily have to go to the lowest bidder also. The government has the loophole to go to another bidder and also remember it is finally a political decision. After we, the services, put up a request for an item, we have evaluated the systems. We have said compliant non-compliant, depending on the number of bidders. Then the bid is opened for those who are compliant. But at times something else may be available to you that is also compliant but compliant in a better manner. One is raising this particularly in the context of the recent aircraft acquisition. The costs have been phenomenal, far above what was sold elsewhere. The FMS route moves faster because it is immediately a government to government deal. No more tender etc etc. Anytime there is a tender in any kind of a deal, it’s a long haul. Two years at least.

(43)

is part of revenue expenditure. Now in the case of Army it’s huge at about 75 per cent; so, there is very little left for capital expenditure (modernisation, etc). In the Navy, revenue expenditure was 40 per cent — we have always tried and not let it go beyond 45, because our money goes into highly complex machines called ships and submarines, which cost a lot of money. The Navy has only 50,000 people in ships and another 50,000 in dockyards, depots, etc. So, when our revenue expenditure for this year is around 40 per cent, we have some more money to pay for ship building which is constantly going on. Now, how should we streamline? We must develop the system of financial empowerment. It has been there since 1991 but needs more teeth. By this, a large number of things which are required for revenue expenditure don’t have to go every time to finance defence for clearance. Your take on the role of FDI and PPP in our defence sector as you mentioned that the DRDO’s contribution is not much to talk about. FDI, perhaps, is not a correct word in defence but we should say FDI in terms of joint venture. Here both money and technology are important. For example, in the case of ISRO, we have done very well and we have done most of the research with the help of Russians. We have managed to become totally self-sufficient or let’s say very self-sufficient in terms of space technology, but in defence let’s say it’s a mind block. Defence is holy cow. You can have a scam of a lakh rupees in telecom but that’s not serious. For you more serious is the bribe of `64 crore in the Bofors gun deal. So, defence being the holy cow, every thing about defence needs to be dissected and should be transparent. Let us remember that no FDI will come to set up industries like the Tatas, L&T etc. So what I’m saying is the FDI in terms of JV (joint venture) with big industrial houses of India should be encouraged. I don’t think we should worry too much about secrets of defence being leaked out because it’s the user that finally matters and what is being put in equipment has to be latest and certainly suited to the user. I think there is a huge opportunity for the foreign investments in joint ventures. We also have eight defence public sector undertakings; you will have to make a consortium of private, public and foreign industries.

April 2011


Navy and Piracy 44-46228.qxd

4/7/2011

1:31 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

FOCUS

SEAWAY THUGS: Finally the world's patience is giving way to some stern action against the Somali pirates. India is at the forefront of this exercise to protect the critical routes to Europe across the Horn of Good Hope

SAVING OUR SEAFARERS

T

HE HIJACKING of the Egyptian cargo vessel MV Suez, with six Indian crew members onboard, by Somali pirates has once again brought to the forefront concerns

www.geopolitics.in

The increasing number of seahijackings by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden has created a number of challenges for India. SHISHIR UPADHYAYA identifies them and suggests some remedies

about the safety of Indian seafarers. Apparently, the hijackers have demanded over $ four million ransom to release the ship and crew. However, the ship owners have communicated their inability to pay the huge

(44)

ransom, putting the lives of the crew at risk. The families of the crew members, running from pillar to post, seeking government and public empathy, may draw some consolation from the fact that almost all crew April 2011


Navy and Piracy 44-46228.qxd

4/7/2011

1:32 PM

Page 27

g FOCUS members held hostage by Somali pirates in 2010 and even before that were released in good health, albeit after being held for several months. Therefore, the crew of MV Suez will also be eventually released safely (perhaps, on the payment of a reduced ransom). The first time that the question of safety of an Indian crew made national headlines was when the MV Stolt Valor, a Japanese tanker with an Indian Master and some Indian crew, was hijacked by Somali pirates. The protests by the families of the sailors prompted the government to deploy the Indian Navy on anti-piracy patrols in October 2008. The Indian Navy has since done yeoman’s service having safely escorted over a thousand ships and successfully thwarted several pirate attacks. However, the threat of piracy has in no way reduced and pirates continue to operate with impunity all over the Arabian Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean, even coming close to Indian shores. In 2010, the Somali pirates hijacked 49 ships and held over 1000 crew members hostage. India provides over 6 per cent of the manpower to the global shipping industry including a majority of officers; therefore, many of the ships hijacked include Indians onboard. There have been instances of ships being hijacked even in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor or IRTC in the Gulf of Aden (a narrow sea lane under naval patrol), right under the ‘noses’ of warships. This year, more than 12 ships were hijacked in the first six weeks. Going by statistics, it would appear that 2011 could as well be a bad year for our seamen. How are the pirates managing this and what are the options before the international community? Challenges A key challenge being faced by the navies in combating piracy is the lack of adequate legal mechanism for trial of the pirates arrested. According to the latest study by the UN, nine out of the ten pirates arrested at sea are actually released since international laws require the warship arresting the pirates to hand them over to the civil authorities concerned in its country. Thus, pirates arrested by a Norwegian warship would need to be transported to Norway to stand trial. This poses a huge logistical challenge and, therefore, most navies are not keen to undertake this exercise. The net result is that most pirates are let go scot-free — after having their arms and equipment dumped overboard — only to return to business with more experience. This is grossly counterproductive to naval efforts. The other key challenge to warship patrols www.geopolitics.in

is the formidable task of maintainHELD HOSTAGE BY SOMALI PIRATES ing constant surveillance of the entire region under threat. According to a study, on an average, a warLiqiud Petrolium Gas Carriers ship has about ten minutes notice to respond to a ship under attack from pirates. This implies that only a warship (with a helicopter) within about Bulk Type-Carriers 20-30 miles from the victim ship is in a position to take necessary action, to chase away or apprehend the pirates. Currently, the area under Tankers threat from pirates would require about 350 ships on task, but no more than 30 ships are generally available on patrol. Dhwos (Small Wooden Ships) Thus, more often than not, the pirates capture the merchant ship well before any warship arrives on the scene. In such a situation, the Yatchs warship has an option of carrying out a commando raid to secure the ship. Marine commandoes are trained in anti-hijack operations Fishing Vessels and can accomplish such operations with relative ease against the illtrained pirates. But, inherently this is a risky option, since there is risk of Tugboat collateral damage or the crew members getting injured or even killed. People wonder why the Indian government does not consider the Cargo Vessels of Various Types option of commando operations to secure the release of MV Suez with Maersk Albama. As the ship and the lifeboat Indian crew. After all, we have one of the were heading towards Somali waters, at an finest navies in the world and our highlyopportune moment, US marine snipers skilled marine commandoes have given an onboard the USN destroyer (on orders from excellent account of their skills and capabiliPresident Obama) shot and almost simultaties in various operational missions. Moreneously killed all the three pirates holding over, in the many instances of hijacking, a the Master captive. The remaining pirate few such commando operations have been onboard the Maersk Albama was quickly attempted and all have been successful, overpowered by the crew and later arrested. except that in some cases, a few crew memThe ship and the crew were thus rescued bers lost their lives or were injured in the with no loss of life or property. crossfire. Notable instances of successful The Samho Jwelry, a South Korean-owned commando operations are that of the Maerbut Malta-flagged chemical tanker, was sk Albama and the Samho Jwelry. hijacked in January this year by 13 Somali The Maersk Albama, a US-flagged vessel, manned by an American crew, was hijacked pirates somewhere in the high seas between by Somali pirates in April 2009 about 240 Oman and India, en route from UAE to Sri miles off Somalia; the first instance of hijackLanka. The 21-man crew comprising eight ing of an American ship since the early 19th South Koreans (including the Master), two century! The Master was held captive by Indonesians and 11 Burmese were forcibly three Somali pirates onboard a lifeboat while directed to take the ship to Somalia. Meanone pirate was present with the crew while, a South Korean naval destroyer, which onboard the Maersk Albama. The ship was had arrived on the scene, shadowed the being steered towards Somali waters with Samho Jwelry, probably without the knowlthe lifeboat (which had the Master held at edge of the pirates. gunpoint by three pirates) following. At some stage a few pirates onboard the Meanwhile, a USN destroyer arrived on Samho Jwelry were seen disembarking to the scene and commenced shadowing the launch an attack on another Mongolian vessel

1 6 4

8 2 14 1 12

(45)

April 2011


Navy and Piracy 44-46228.qxd

4/7/2011

1:32 PM

Page 28

g FOCUS citizens onboard the SV Quest in March this year could have been precipitated by the Maersk Albama incident. Thus, before the option of commando raids is considered by the government, the element of risk (which will vary in each case) and reprisals would have to be factored.

COLD STATISTICS A GLOBAL maritime watchdog, International Maritime Bureau (IMB), says that pirates captured a record-setting 1,181 hostages in 2010 as ship hijackings in waters off Somalia escalated. Pirates seized 53 vessels worldwide last year. All but four of them were off the coast of Somalia. As regards Indian hostages, about 495 Indian sailors were held hostage by Somali pirates in the last four years. Barring 64, all of them have been released safely last year. Of the 64 sailors, 11 crew members of Rak Afrikana, were just set free in midMarch, presumably after paying high ransoms. Other Indians still captive are on MV Iceberg-I, MV Suez, MV Asphalt Venture, MV Savina Caylyn, and MV Sinin. According to the Indian Shipping Ministry, MV Savina Caylyn and MV Sinin have 26 Indians as crew members — they were hijacked this year, in January and February, respectively. On March 15, the Indian government decided to incorporate changes in its Navy’s rules of engagement against pirates in the Indian Ocean, widening the scope of its offensive operations but within the framework of international laws of the seas. Rules of Engagement are set of regulations and action proposed for the armed forces before they are sent into operations that may involve defensive and offensive actions against enemies. It is understood that the government has accepted an Indian Navy proposal to allow merchant vessels to take armed guards on board — like some commercial airlines take in sky marshals — and create “strong rooms” in which the crew members can take shelter and from which they can send SOS during an attack so that the naval commandoes will get the opportunity to storm the ship without the risk of any collateral damage. The armed guards, akin to sky marshals deployed on civil airliners to prevent highjacking, are likely to be drawn from retired personnel of Navy and Coast Guard, who are well-versed in maritime and security matters.

www.geopolitics.in

Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma in the region. At this juncture, the naval commandoes onboard the South Korean destroyer launched a daring operation to rescue the ship and its crew. Eight of the 13 pirates were killed and five arrested. The Master, caught in the crossfire, was shot in the stomach but later survived while the other crew were rescued safely. The Mongolian ship being targeted by the pirates was also saved. Commando operations are a feasible option but there are a few salient challenges which must be clearly understood. First, the shipping industry is largely multinational in nature and the merchant ships of today are akin to floating multinational enterprises. For example, a ship owned by a German business house could be registered in Panama, managed by a Greek company, insured by an American company, re-insured by a UK company, chartered to a Korean client for carrying Chinese cargo and manned by crew from India, Bangladesh and Philippines. Over 10 different countries involved in one ship! Thus, before any government decides to launch a commando operation, it would have to factor the interests and sensitivities of all the stakeholder states since there is a risk of collateral damage. Moreover, some countries may prefer to pay ransom rather than risk the lives of their crew. Secondly, time is of essence and the period available for confabulations with all stakeholders is very limited, generally about four to five days when the ship under the custody of pirates is headed for Somali waters. In the case of the Maersk Albama and the Samho Jwelry, the ship-owners were from the same country whose navy carried out the operation. The Maersk Albama was not only under the US flag but its entire crew was also American. Further, some analysts have suggested that commando style operations could lead to increased violence by Somali pirates and trigger off a dangerous trend. Some analysts claim that the killing of the four American

(46)

Options The challenges before the government of India are also being faced by many other maritime states. The truth is that navies are not omnipresent and the area to be kept under surveillance is simply too large to cover with the 30-odd ships on patrol. The key thus lies in privatising some of the security requirements. The shipping industry is already turning to private security arrangements ranging from passive deterrent devices such as barbed wire fencing to active measures such as armed guards. Many hijacking attempts by Somali pirates have been successfully deterred by use of private security. Even a rudimentary security mechanism could effectively delay an attack allowing more time for warships on patrols to react. Private security has always been used on land though it may be a new phenomenon at sea. The high seas, today, are no longer vast desolate regions, but akin to lonely stretches of highways where highway robbers prowl. Thus, private security can be used effectively in combating piracy, however, this would need to be effectively closely coordinated with naval forces and regulated by international laws. As regards commando operations to rescue ships and crew, it is felt that navies would need to make their decisions based on the unique factors of each case. It may be easier to launch such operations in cases where the ship is located about two to three days steaming distance from Somali waters and also where the primary stakeholder and the navy involved are from the same state. But, in cases where multiple stakeholders are involved it would be difficult to launch any operations without the assent of all parties concerned and more often than not, paucity of time would preclude such an option. Finally, the ideal strategy to combat the pirates would be an effective synergy of private security measures employed by the shipping industry — in close coordination with naval forces — and proactive special operations by navies to deter pirates from operating with impunity. This will save many Indian seafarers from Somali pirates. (The author, a senior naval officer, is presently with the National Maritime Foundation. Views expressed are personal) April 2011


Internal security cover.qxd

4/7/2011

1:45 PM

Page 1

geopolitics

INTERNAL SECURITY NEEDING INTELLIGENCE BACKUP Paramilitary forces are developing their own intelligence-cadres


Internal Security briefs.qxd

IS INTERNAL SECURITY

4/7/2011

1:52 PM

B R I E F S ANTI-NAXAL OPS: SPECIAL FORCES IN, UAVS OUT THE INDIAN Air Force (IAF) has said that it has deployed Garud Special Forces commandos and four choppers for anti-Naxal operations but withdrawn the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) operating in Maoist bastions in Chhattisgarh. To protect its choppers from Maoists attacks, Garud commandos have been deployed on these helicopters to retaliate whenever such a situation arises. “Four IAF choppers are operating in Raipur, Dantewada and Jagdalpur areas. We also used to operate UAVs in these areas to track the Naxals but they have been withdrawn,” IAF chief P V Naik told reporters recently. The IAF chief said the choppers “carry a Garud Special Force member on board who mans the gun, which is not the integrated part of the helicopter”. On the withdrawal of UAVs from anti-Naxal operations, Naik said, “Beyond a certain season, it loses its surprise element... And these UAVs were not meant for what they were being used for.” He said the IAF withdrew the UAVs after it found that it was not able to meet the requirements. On the Rules of Engagement (RoE) in Naxal-affected areas, the IAF chief said very “stringent” rules have been provided to the IAF for firing back when its choppers come under attack from the Naxalites. “We follow very stringent rules as we don’t want any collateral damage to take place in our own territory and we can fire only at the source of fire which is determined by the captain of the chopper,” Naik said. It is to be noted that after the IAF lost one of its personnel in Raipur during the last general elections, it had sought rules of engagem e n t from the governm e n t for tackling the issue.

www.geopolitics.in

Page 4

g INDIA, BANGLA TO REDRAW BORDER INDIA AND Bangladesh have reportedly agreed to redraw their 4,100 km boundary. Straightening of the boundary would include ending the contentious issue of over 200 enclaves located in each other’s territory. The deal would be announced when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Dhaka immediately after the West Bengal elections. The visit in all likelihood could take place in June. The broad contour of the border agreement reflects India’s aversion to disturbing settled populations and exchange of territory. This essentially means Bangladeshi enclaves in Indian territory will remain with India, while Indian enclaves in Bangladesh will remain with them. This might mean a little bit of area transfer mainly from India to Bangladesh. The people would be given a choice to decide, if they want to be Bangladeshi cit-

izens or Indians. Enclaves are small areas that are in the middle of another country. The straightening of the boundary would make for easier policing, and if necessary, possible fencing of the border. Many parts of the Indo-Bangla border are already fenced. A headcount is currently underway in the enclaves on both sides — 130 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh and 95 Bangladeshi enclaves within Indian territory. However, by straightening out the 4,100-km boundary, India may end up losing some land because it has more enclaves on the other side that would be absorbed by Bangladesh. The 130 Indian enclaves, known locally as “Chitmahals”, occupy some 20,000 acres while the Bangladesh Chitmahals in India occupy about 12,000 acres. In effect, India would end up losing around 8,000 acres.

AIR WING FOR MHA FINDING ITSELF wanting in times of exigencies, the Home Ministry is likely to move a proposal in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to have its own dedicated fullfledged air wing by 2013, sources say. The Centre aims to have 25 helicopters, maximum four medium-range aircraft having a capacity of 125 seats and a number of smaller 2030 seater aircraft in the air wing that will be manned by the BSF. Although the BSF currently has an air wing, it is poorly managed and has only four obsolete Avro aircraft of which only two are fit to fly. The Home Ministry's proposed move, it is said, came in the wake of its dissatisfaction with the Indian Air Force (IAF)'s inadequate response in certain crunch situations caused by Left-wing ex-

(48)

tremism, insurgency in the Northeast and the Kashmir separatism and in times of disasters. Paramilitary officers complained that during certain key operations against the Maoists in Chhattisgarh and Orissa they lost the advantage as the IAF could not send its choppers in time for deployment. The proposal, to be put before the CCS, will include full-scale maintenance and repair centre and, hence totally selfsufficient and independent of the IAF, including the pilots who will be picked up from the paramilitary forces and trained. To check the misuse of the aircraft and the choppers by top officers of the paramilitary forces, the Home Ministry will also bring out extensive set of rules on the use of the air wing.

April 2011


Internal Security briefs.qxd

4/7/2011

5:00 PM

Page 5

g

B R I E F S IS

NO ARMY OPERATIONS AGAINST MAOISTS: GENERAL VK SINGH GENERAL VK Singh, Chief of Army Staff, has categorically stated that the Indian Army was not involved in any ground operations against Maoists in the country. “There are

no Army operations against the Maoists. We are only involved in training and guiding the paramilitary forces fighting them,” he told in a press interview.

ORISSA, ANDHRA MAOISTS HEADING FOR A SPLIT? ARE THE Maoists a divided lot? It seems so from the list of prisoners that they have sent to the Orissa government. The Orissa Maoists led by Sabyasachi Panda seem to be unhappy with the large number of the Andhra Pradesh cadres that the committee leaders want freedom for, according to intelligence sources. Senior intelligence sleuths say that the Maoists’ selection of cadres, who they wanted to be released in exchange of abducted Malkangiri District Collector R Vineel Krishna recently, could drive a wedge down the cadres. Of the nine Maoists named in the list, only two — Gananath Patra and Tapan Mishra — were from Orissa. The rest — Sriramulu Srinivas, Ashutosh, Sobha, Gunti Prasadam, Padma, Iswari, Sarita and Gokul Kulpidia (a truck driver held with Padma, Iswari and Sarita) — are

A PR NDH AD R ES A H

VS

either from Andhra Pradesh or Jharkhand. Incidentally, Sabyasachi’s wife Subhashree — in jail since January 2010 — differed with the Maoists and said Krishna and Majhi should be released without ORISSA any condition. While appearing in the court recently, she told reporters that the process of bringing the Maoist problem to an end should start from Orissa. It may be noted here that while the Maoists sought withdrawal of cases against Padma, wife of top rebel Rama Krishna, and Shobha, wife of top guerrilla Kishenda alias Prashant Bose, there was no such demand to free Subhashree. Besides, the two Orissa Maoists who figured in the demand list — Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sanghactivists Gananath Patra and Tapan Mishra — belong to upper castes. Oriya cadres are mostly tribals. They are upset because nothing has been achieved so far to appease their tribal support base, officials say.

DoT PLANS TASK FORCE FOR TELECOM ROLL-OUT IN NAXAL AREAS IN A move to reach telecom services to Naxal-affected areas, the Department of Telecom is planning to set up task forces at the district levels to help roll out and protect telecom infrastructure. The task force will comprise local youth in Naxal-affected districts and will be constituted in collaboration with the state governments. It may be noted that telecom services have not reached a large part of the states such as Orissa and Bihar where the fear of Naxalites is preventing operators from venturing into these areas. Even if they do set up a tower, it is damaged by anti-social elements. Therefore, the department is looking at roping in local people — youth, ex-servicemen — in protecting the infrastructure. This will not only enable them to avail the benefits of communication but also act as source of employment. The Ministry of Communications has already asked the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to take the first step and roll out 500 new base stations across 31 districts in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. The districts being covered include Dantewada, Dhanbad and Singhbum, which are some of the worst Naxal-affected areas in the country. These areas have been neglected in terms of telecom infrastructure development. Chhattisgarh, for example, has a tele-density of only about 5 per cent compared to the national average of 56 per cent.

www.geopolitics.in

(49)

INTERNAL SECURITY

COBRA COMBAT FOR MP NAXAL MENACE SOME 300 personnel of the Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA), a special anti-Naxal force, have been deployed in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district, to combat the growing presence of the Left-wing rebels. The deployment is part of a strategy to surround Naxal-hit areas in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. The Centre will decide standard operating procedures for them. COBRA, a unit of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), was set up in 2008 at a cost of `1,390 crore, of which `899 crore was spent on land and infrastructure. Around `492 crore will be used for manpower training over three years. In the first phase, these battalions were trained at the Army’s insurgency and jungle warfare training centre in Mizoram and the CRPF’s anti-terror training centre at Silchar. Of the 10 COBRA battalions trained in guerrilla warfare, nine have already been deployed in Maoisthit states.

April 2011


Kidnapping 50-53.qxd

4/7/2011

1:47 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

INTERNALSECURITY

MAOISTS’

WINNING FORMULA While the Maoists have been successful in capitulating “the State” in a series of abductions in many parts of the country, the government continues to struggle in formulating any coherent framework of response either for negotiation with, or for coercive action against, the abductors, points out DEEPAK KUMAR NAYAK KIDNAPPING AS A TOOL: Whenever Maoists face major reverses in their fight against security forces, they use the abduction strategy to achieve their demands

www.geopolitics.in

(50)

April 2011


Kidnapping 50-53.qxd

4/7/2011

1:47 PM

Page 27

g INTERNALSECURITY

O

as long as Maoists do not indulge in any N FEBRUARY 16, just two days unlawful activity.” State Home Secretary U N before the scheduled videoBehera, on the same day, declared, “All anticonference of Union Home Naxal combing operations in the state will be Minister P Chidambaram with stopped,” and that the state government was the Collectors of 60 Maoist ready to talk to the maoists. (CPI-Maoist)-hit Districts to gauge the Late in the night of February 17, the impact of the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) maoists sent a press release written in Telugu for the affected districts, R Vineel Krishna, to reporters, saying that Someswara Rao, forDistrict Collector of Malkangiri in Orissa, mer Professor of Economics at Sambalpur was abducted by the Maoists while he was University, Haragopal, retired Professor of returning after an ‘interaction programme’ Political Science, Central University, Hyderin Kudumulu Gumma block of the district. abad, and Dandapani Mohanty, the GanjamAlong with the District Collector, the Maoists based convener of Political Prisoners Release had also abducted two junior engineers. Committee, be appointed mediators. After One of them was freed on the same day and was sent back with a note giving an ultimatum of 48 hours Maoist Related Abductions: 2005-2011* for the release of the Collector and the junState 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 ior engineer, Pabitra Andhra Pradesh 11 01 01 25 00 Majhi. The Maoists raised a number of Bihar 23 08 03 64 20 demands seeking to Chhattisgarh 07 130 90 57 30 block certain developJharkhand 00 10 26 15 58 ment projects, and relief for tribal populaKarnataka 00 01 00 00 00 tions, but the princiMaharashtra 00 00 02 00 00 pal objective of the Odisha 00 04 13 11 25 abduction, beyond the theatre it generated, West Bengal 00 00 00 08 58 was to secure the Total 41 154 135 180 191 release of a number of *Data: till March 14, 2011 incarcerated leaders and cadres. These three days of intense negotiations, the mediincluded, specifically, Central Committee ators announced, on February 22, in Member Motilal Soren alias Ashutosh Sen, Bhubaneswar, that the hostages would be set arrested in March 2009 from Rourkela, Srirafree and safely returned within 48 hours. mulu Srinivas, Gananath Patra, Jeevan Bose, Meanwhile, CM Patnaik declared, “We Ganti Prasadam, Sirisha alias Padma, Ishwill certainly honour the commitments wari, Roja Mandangi alias Sarita from Malkamade to the mediators.” Of the 14 original ngiri jail; Central Committee Member Sheela Maoist demands, eight were agreed upon: di, from Jharkhand Jail and Padma from Chhattisgarh Jail; tribals and Chasi Mulia  The Odisha government would write to Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) workers in Koraput Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to take and Malkangiri jails; and Sitanna Hikaka of action on the extremists demand for Dumsil village, reported to be a close aide of release of Maoist Central Committee Maoist ‘Chief’ Ram Krishna, allegedly taken (MCC) members Sheela di and Padma. away by the Police from Narayanpatna on  Scheduled Tribe (ST) status would be givNovember 25, 2010. en to the Konda Reddy and Nukadora On February 17, 2011, Orissa Chief Secrecommunities. tary Bijaya Patnaik disclosed that the  The multi-purpose Polavaram project of demands include discontinuation of OperaAndhra Pradesh would be halted. tion Green Hunt (OGH), the joint anti-Nax Pattas (land allotments) would be given to alite (anti-Left Wing Extremist, LWE) operatribals dispossessed of their land in the tions by state police and central paramilitary districts of Malkangiri and Koraput. forces, and withdrawal of security forces  Irrigation projects would be executed in (SFs) from the Malkangiri district. On the Maribada and Maniamkonda villages in Maoists demand to stop OGH, the Naveen Malkangiri. Patnaik government conceded, “There will  Compensation based on the High Court be no coercive action by the security forces (HC) order would be given to the kin of

MASTERS IN KIDNAPPING

www.geopolitics.in

(51)

Tadangi Gangulu and Ratanu Sirika who died in custody.  Relevant laws would be drafted to regulate mining operations in Mali and Deomali bauxite mines.  The government would ensure minimum displacement of tribals and adequate compensation wherever development projects were implemented. On March 4, 2011, the Odisha High Court granted conditional bail to four Maoist cadres, identified as Roza Mandangi (21), an Adivasi woman from Koraput, Gokul Kuldipia (42), a jeep-owner, Andaluri Iswari (30), an activist with a women’s group in Vishakhapatnam and Kendula Sirisha alias Padma, wife of senior Maoist leader Ramakrishna, 2010 2011 Total whose release had 04 00 42 been demanded by the Maoists. As for 34 00 152 the release of 30 06 350 Ashutosh Sen, 27 22 158 Srinivas Sriramulu, Gananath Patra 00 00 01 and Tapan Mishra, 02 00 04 it agreed to exam45 03 101 ine the cases on their merits. On 46 03 115 withdrawal of cas188 34 923 es against tribals, the government agreed to review the cases against 629 tribals lodged in Odisha jails. Further, the government noted, “We have been taking suo moto action for withdrawal of minor cases against tribals. In the past, 9,013 cases involving petty offences by the tribals have been dropped. The state will, within a period of three months, review cases against the tribals held on charges of Maoist activities and land-related disputes in Narayanpatna area. The process will start in 15 days.” In the interim, a media storm had been raging across the country over the Malkangiri Collector’s abduction, and a number of demonstrations in his support had been organised in Malkangiri, Bhubaneswar and other locations in Odisha. Vineel Krishna was eventually released on February 24, and returned home to a hero’s welcome. Several questions, however, lingered. The abducted Collector’s location was known virtually throughout the drama, and reports suggest that local officials were in touch and were even delivering food and supplies to him, yet the state government did not April 2011


Kidnapping 50-53.qxd

4/7/2011

1:47 PM

Page 28

g INTERNALSECURITY

IT HAS BROUGHT GREATER SENSITIVITY TO MY LIFE

The 2005 batch IAS officer, R Vineel Krishna, was born and brought up in Hyderabad. Krishna completed B Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Madras in 2001. The young, energetic and bold Krishna, who joined as the District Magistrate of Malkangiri in December 2009, was taken as a hostage along with Junior Engineer Pabitra M Majhi by the armed Maoist rebels. After remaining in Maoist captivity for eight days, he was released on February 24. In an interview to KISHORE DASH after his release, Krishna shared his feelings during his days of captivity. Excerpts: On the eight days as a Maoist hostage. It was quite tense all the while. I was constantly worried about my family, well-wishers and how they were coping. Somehow, we carried on for a week. On the living conditions in the tribal areas I was not new to the villages in the cut-off area. The conditions there are bad as the area is totally remote and inaccessible. Besides, normal people did not come to the camp much. We were in a secluded location and naturally, the conversations were minimal. But it was a life-changing experience. The episode of staying in the jungle and experiencing how Adivasis live has brought greater sensitivity to my life. On going back to those areas Let me think. We need to serve people, even if they live in the cut-off area. Yes, it is definitely remote, but that should not stop anyone from reaching out to people and ensuring that development takes place in that area. All-round development of the people across the district would be my motto and I am working on that mission. On the release The Maoist had the plan to set

www.geopolitics.in

(52)

me free on February 25, but the news that was aired on the radio on February 24 morning said that the “mediators turned down the additional conditions put up by Maoist leaders”. Their fresh appeal compelled the Maoists to rethink and release me on the same day. They brought me to the “praja court” (people’s court), attended by 1500-2000 Adivasis. First, the Maoist leaders made speeches, hitting out at the government’s failures. Then they asked me to respond. I said I cannot answer for what happened decades back. I concentrated on what I have done. I told them that while I cannot boast of having done great things, from the bottom of my heart, however, I can say that we have been trying to bring some development to the area. On the ordeal I constantly kept thinking of my family. In fact, that was the only thing I kept thinking about and I remember my thoughts very well. On the deal The government did what it thought right. I have no more to comment. On mediator Professor Hargopal Yes, I know him. He had taught me Public Administration in a Hyderabad- based coaching institute while I was preparing for the Union Civil Services Examination.

April 2011


Kidnapping 50-53.qxd

4/7/2011

1:48 PM

Page 29

g INTERNALSECURITY The government officers were released after consider any options other than immediate 12 days in Naxalite custody. and complete capitulation. On his return, Four years later, the Naxalites abducted P Krishna made a statement that was deeply Sudhir Kumar, Member of the Legislative sympathetic to their actions. Assembly (MLA) for Hyderabad city, from his According to media reports, moreover, he house in Basheerbagh in Hyderabad, Andhra was in touch with his wife over the phone Pradesh, in 1991. He was released, again, after throughout. The Maoist leaders and cadres Civil Liberties activists intervened and the govwho were released in the exchange for the ernment released some top Naxalite cadres. Collector had been arrested after great In 1993, present Andhra Pradesh Tribal efforts and significant loss of life on the part Welfare Minister Pasupuleti Balaraju, the of the police and paramilitary forces, and then Congress MLA from Chintapalli, was would inevitably return to violence, costing abducted along with IAS officer Dasari Srinifurther lives. vasulu and a few engineers. Balaraju and Despite the extraordinary media attenothers remained in Naxal custody for more tion this incident received, the reality is that than three weeks. They were released after the Maoists have routinely used abduction the government agreed to free PWG leader as a tactic to arm-twist both the state and the Kranthi Ranadev and other cadres from jail. central governments to secure operational relief or release of leaders and cadre in the past as well. Indeed, the South Asia Terrorism Portal database records at least 923 incidents of abduction by the Maoists between 2005 and March 14, 2011. The data indicates that Chhattisgarh, with at least 350 such cases over this period, has been the worst afflicted by such actions. Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha have also been seriously affected. Many of these abductions have included government officials, and have resulted in the release of Maoist leaders and cadres that keep unfolding now and then. Indeed, this has been an enduring trend, and one of the MAOISTS TARGET: Senior officials and politicians tactics the Maoists have been able to consistently rely upon to More recently, Block Development Officer secure transient objectives, particularly Prashant Kumar Layak was abducted from including the release of cadres and suspenhis office in Dhalbhumgarh, around 180sion of SF operations. kilometres southeast of Jharkhand capital Even in the early phases of the revival of Ranchi, on February 13, 2010. The Maoists the Maoist movement, in the 1980s and early threatened to kill Layak if their demands 1990s, the rebels had carried out a series of were not met within 72 hours. The demands high-profile abductions of politicians and included the freeing of 14 arrested Maoists, officials. The most prominent among such the withdrawal of forces from Ghorabandha incidents included the 1987 abduction of 11 Police Station area, an end to search operagovernment officials, including seven Indian tions, and a compensation of `10 lakh to the Administrative Service (IAS) officers, by the family members of Sanjiv aka Somen MunCommunist Party of India-Marxist Leninist da, who had allegedly been killed by the [People’s War Group] (CPI-ML-PWG) at Nagrik Suraksha Samity (NSS)-Police comAddateegala in the East Godavari District of bine at Jiyan. The outcome was a foregone Andhra Pradesh. The N T Rama Rao governconclusion. CM Soren, like CM Patnaik, sucment yielded to the Naxalite demand to cumbed to the demands to secure the release top PWG leaders from the Rajahrelease of the BDO. mundry Central Jail, including Wadkapur Again, in Lakhisarai (Bihar) on August 29, Chandramauli, after Civil Liberties activist K 2010, the Maoists abducted four policemen — G Kannabiran negotiated with the Naxalites. www.geopolitics.in

(53)

Sub Inspectors Rupesh Kumar and Abhay Yadav, Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Lucas Tete, and Havildar Ehtesham Khan — after the encounter and ratcheted up the stakes by demanding the release of eight prominent Maoists in Bihar’s jails: Jai Paswan, Vijay Chourasia, Prem Bhuian, Pramod Barnawal, Ramvilas Tanti, Ramesh Tirki, Arjun Koda and Rattu Koda. The Maoists then executed Lucas Tete in the night of September 2, after two ‘deadlines’ given by them had passed without response from the government — beyond appeals for the release of the abducted policemen — and warned that the remaining hostages would also be killed unless their comrades were released. On September 6, however, the three surviving policemen were released after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar conceded to the Maoists demands and had announced safe passage for some 200 extremists, out of the area in which they had been substantially contained by augmented forces. In the latest incident, on March 3, 2011, cadres of the Maoist-backed People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) abducted a policeman from West Midnapore District in West Bengal. The government, on the brink of assembly elections, has again been put on test in this case, which remains currently still unresolved. Despite an unending cycle of Maoist abductions and state capitulation, it is clear that no government has yet formulated any coherent framework of response, or created the necessary pool of trained resources, either for negotiation with, or for coercive action against, the abductors. Nor has there been any effort to assess the cumulative costs of such incidents to the state, and the impact these have had on SF morale, capacities and operations. If anything, this apparent flip-flop, compounded by the outcome of the Vineel Krishna’s abduction, can only underline India’s continuing inability to deal firmly with hostage crises. In what threatens to become a recurrent nightmare, more Maoist leaders and cadres, incarcerated at great cost in sweat and blood by the SFs, can be expected to routinely walk free, even as operations are compromised or suspended, every time the rebels hold a gun to someone’s head. (The author is a Researcher at Institute for Conflict Management, New Delhi) April 2011


Paramilitry.qxd

4/8/2011

1:37 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

INTERNALSECURITY

Most of the paramilitary forces are developing their respective intelligence units. The rationale is that having one’s own and separate intelligence network will provide the much-needed independence in intelligence-gathering to enhance the operational efficiency, reports ROHIT SRIVASTAVA.

PARAMILITARY ESPIONAGE www.geopolitics.in

(54)

April 2011


Paramilitry.qxd

4/8/2011

1:37 PM

Page 27

g INTERNALSECURITY

I

ndia has been facing numerous security threats since its Independence. Today the threat has multiplied from insurgencies to Maoism in large parts of the country. While dealing with these threats, the vital need of sound and right intelligence that is actionable is direly felt by the security forces. No wonder, why after every major terrorist attack the first debate that begins in the country is on intelligence — did we have any prior intelligence or not; if yes, was it shared among the agencies and was the intelligence worth reacting to? The Indian intelligence set-up is a complex web of agencies. During 1960s, after the defeat in the war with China in ‘62 and the war with Pakistan in ‘65, the need for an external intelligence agency was felt. In ‘68, Research and Analysis Wing was established as an external intelligence agency and Intelligence Bureau (IB) was restricted to internal intelligence only. Over the last two decades, new threats have thrown new challenges for intelligence sleuths, particularly those involved in counter-insurgency (CI) and anti-Naxal operations. They require accurate and precise intelligence for any operation. The IB has not been able to do justice while the paramilitary forces resent doing intelligence work. It may be noted that the onus of providing local intelligence to CI forces is with the local police. The local police have the required force strength, penetration, access to local population and trust, which are absolutely vital to gather intelligence. But the CI experience has shown that in most cases the local police is either not motivated to collect or doesn’t have confidence in sharing information with the paramilitary. As a result, the lack of intelligence hampered, thus, the effectiveness of paramilitary forces, who, invariably come to the picture while confronting the enemy. This is particularly true in Naxal-affected areas where the local intelligence is non-existent as the police have generally vacated the police stations or the police penetration in the interior is very little. To overcome these shortcomings, the paramilitary forces (PMF) have begun intelligence-gathering in their areas of operation. However, it is now increasingly felt that there is the need of a dedicated cadre for intelligence-gathering in order to be really effective for CI operations. At present, the only PMF with a dedicated cadre/ branch for intelligence is the Border

www.geopolitics.in

Security Force (BSF). The branch is called G branch and has, reportedly, been very successful in Kashmir. Speaking on condition of anonymity to Geopolitics, a senior BSF officer with considerable experience of intelligence in Kashmir said, “Intelligence is a must. Every good organisation will give 35 per cent of the share of results to intelligence with its meagre strength of one per cent workforce.” The success of BSF’s ‘G’ branch was first seen during the ‘71 war. The intelligence network on the border played a significant role in the war. Since then, the branch has been playing important roles in border management and insurgency, especially in Kashmir and the Northeast, where its officers have been deployed in counter-insurgency duty. ITBP Recently, the central government approved the Indo Tibet Border Police, responsible for guarding 3488 km of the Sino-India border, to set up its own independent intelligence network. This has

THERE IS A NEED OF A DEDICATED CADRE FOR INTELLIGENCEGATHERING IN PARAMILITARY FORCES been in response to last year’s suggestion that the ITBP should have a separate intelligence wing as part of the `3,000-crore restructuring and modernisation plans. A responsible source in the ITBP said, “The restructuring of the force was envisaged to make the operational capability in line with the present situation. The restructuring will be to increase the number of battalions and create uniformity in the battalion strength. The number of companies per battalion will be fixed to six.” ITBP is also involved in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh. The battalions involved in the operations require intelligence and the units do gather intelligence for operational effectiveness, but a dedicated cadre will be developed at every level of the organisation, it is felt.

(55)

Sources suggest that the proposed intelligence cadre will be headed by Inspector General (IG) at the ITBP headquarter, followed by a DIG at the frontier level, and then by a SP and other officers at the sector level. The force strength will be of 400 for all of India. The ITBP at present has 45 battalions. Sources informed: “At the border we do have intelligence capability and we are the lead agency on the Indo-Tibet border but now the system is being institutionalised and we will have earmarked manpower, infrastructure, budget, training and special equipment. At present our people have other responsibilities too.” Training for the intelligence cadre will begin in April and will be provided by the force itself while other agencies will provide specialization. Every rank will have different training modules. The training will be provided to ranks from head constable to DIG. Officer cadre will be trained in news analysis, intelligence analysis, and geographical information system — a very essential tool for a force operating in the most difficult terrain above 18000 ft. Constables and junior officers will be trained in intelligence gathering, interception of radio and wireless and observation. Sources suggest that the real reason for this new setup is the in-house capability for intelligence processing and analysis. This will help them in coordination with the “Multi Agency Centre” in the Home Ministry. It may be noted that the Kargil review committee had suggested the concept of a lead intelligence agency (LIA). The BSF has been marked as the LIA for the Indo Pakistan border except the Line of Control (LoC), the ITBP for the Indo-Tibet border, RAW for external intelligence, IB for internal intelligence and the Indian Army for LoC. A PMF officer at IG level said, “It’s a good concept which is working well. We meet formally and this has helped in removing mental blocks and reaching out to one another.” CRPF and CISF The Central Reserve Police force (CRPF) has been under immense criticism for its inefficiency in Kashmir last year and antiNaxal/Maoist operation in central India. A senior CRPF officer said, “We have no intelligence; we are looked down by the locals and the support from local police is minimum.” According to him, “J and K Police is a good local intelligence unit (LIU) but the same can’t be said about the April 2011


Paramilitry.qxd

4/8/2011

1:37 PM

Page 28

g INTERNALSECURITY

STRONG GUARD: Paramilitary forces along with army and local police work unifiedly in tandem during naxal operations

police in Naxal-affected states.” Recently, the CRPF appointed an officer as IG intelligence, who is mandated to create an intelligence cadre within the organisation. Three years back, the proposal was sent for raising the cadre and only since last year have officers been sent to intelligence agencies for training. Sources have informed that 10 special police officers per sector will be earmarked for intelligence-gathering and analysis. The CRPF has 14 sectors across India and every unit will have designated personnel for intelligencegathering. But the pace seems very slow. An officer related with the intelligence branch in the CRPF said, “It’s too early to suggest on force structure, it is like talking about a child when the marriage has just taken place.” The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), since its inception in 1969, has had its intelligence cadre, which is part of every unit. Intelligence training is in its training curriculum. The CISF also trains its officer cadre at CBI, IB and other PM centres, but its field intelligence is gathered from LIUs. www.geopolitics.in

NEW THREATS HAVE THROWN NEW CHALLENGES FOR INTELLIGENCE SLEUTHS Coordination and trust In India, the paramilitary forces operate with the Army in Kashmir under unified command and with local police in Naxal areas. The need, therefore, for coordination is said to be vital. The forces do cooperate but the laurels that one gets for every successful operation is something no one likes to share with sister organizations and that is where the problem begins. Sources in PMFs suggest, “In our area of operation (Kashmir) when we request the Army to support, they react very slowly. They don’t enter into battle; they just pro-

(56)

vide outside coverage.” But, the army sources have a different version. They say that “many a time the PMF intelligence is not only faulty but misplaced. We have had bad experiences in past; so, we are cautious. We can’t risk fake encounter allegations.” The lack of coordination has often to do with officers and their own rapport with one another. A very senior paramilitary officer said, “Since you have to work simultaneously, by and large, overlapping does take place. During execution there are some problems.” He further said, “Unlike the IB which can only develop sources, we create sources, gather information, develop it and then transfer it to operational troops. Every organisation believes in guarding the sources whereas the same trust is not shown by other agencies”. At the same time, however, some senior paramilitary officers point out that if the local police does good intelligence work and IB penetration in the interior areas is increased, the need for PMF intelligence will be very little. All told, the LIU is most suitable for local intelligence as the PMF cadre is always an outsider in a diverse nation like ours. But that is not happening. April 2011


Diplomacy Cover.qxd

4/7/2011

4:59 PM

Page 53

geopolitics

DIPLOMACY

FUTURE WORRIES What are the implications of the Dalai Lama’s renunciation of political power?

AFGHANISTAN NEEDS MORE TRADE THAN AID

A HOLISTIC APPROACH IS NEEDED TO DEAL WITH THE FISHERMEN OF INDIA AND SRI LANKA


Afghanistan 58-60.qxd

4/7/2011

2:03 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

DIPLOMACY

It is high time for the international community, particularly India, to have a re-look at the strategy towards Afghanistan, based on the “reconstruction approach” and consider helping the country play its traditional role of facilitating trade and commerce through its territories, argues GULSHAN SACHDEVA

RETHINKING RECONSTRUCTION

D

ESPITE TREMENDOUS resources made available to Afghanistan by international community, very little debate has taken place on the issue of aid ownership, reverse resource flows and decisions concerning nature and place of aid projects. With proper implementation of reconstruction projects, many issues conwww.geopolitics.in

cerning governance, legitimacy, corruption, sustainability of the Afghan economy and regional cooperation can be tackled, which in turn can help in improving security situation. In the last four decades, the country has witnessed diverse projects of nation-building and socio-political transformation. The current international project of building democracy and market economy is mandated by the

(58)

United Nations and being implemented mainly by the western alliance led by the United States. This is truly an international project where more than 70 nations have committed over US$ 90 billion for Afghan reconstruction. So far, the US government had pledged about $70 billion, out of which a significant portion has already been disbursed. More than 50 per cent of this aid has gone into building the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. These figures do not include resources provided for about 100,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan. The next major commitment to Afghanistan is from Europe. Individual Member States of the EU and the European Commission are also making significant contribution to security and justice reforms, development and reconstruction, counter-narcotics, etc. The EU has also deployed a police mission. Together they have committed around $12 billion for reconstruction activities. Besides, almost all EU nations are also participating in NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission with around 30,000 troops. Their military involvement in Afghanistan has been controversial at times because of the limits of their deployment and “national caveats” on many of their troops. Many EU nations committed themselves thinking that it would mainly be a peacekeeping and reconstruction effort rather than a project of “war on terror’ in which they have to engage with the resurgent Taliban. Moreover, there were problems of coordination with other international partners as well as within the EU nations. It is clear that Europe’s commitment to Afghan reconstruction is long-term, even if some of the European nations withdraw their troops from the ISAF in the next few years. Japan has pledged around $1.8 billion to reconstruction. Together with the UN, Japan is a leading nation in Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and also involved in the construction of the KabulKandahar highway and Kabul international airport terminal. China has committed about $130 million in grants to Afghanistan. It remained disengaged in the country until the Afghan administration opened its energy, mineral and raw material to foreign investors. In 2007, Chinese companies were selected as preferred bidders for the Aynak project, the second-largest copper mine in the world. China plans to invest $2.9 billion in the project; with investment reaching to $5 billion in the future. The Chinese company also plans to build a 400 MW power station and a railway line to facilitate exports. It is becoming clear that in any future scenario, China April 2011


Afghanistan 58-60.qxd

4/7/2011

5:32 PM

Page 27

g DIPLOMACY will be more involved in Afghanistan. Iran has spent about $300 million in Afghan reconstruction mainly in infrastructure and capacity-building. Russia has also made settlement of Afghanistan’s debt to former USSR, which according to some Russian expert estimates, totals to $10 billion. With a broad understanding that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is crucial for regional stability, India is also trying to play an active role. So far it has pledged assistance worth $1.3 billion. Indian projects cover areas like road construction (218 km ZaranjDelaram road), power (transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul), Salma dam project, construction of parliament, and many projects in the areas of agriculture, telecommunication, education, health and capacity-building. More than thousand young Afghans also come to India every year on short and longterm fellowships. To justify our projects, we are always told that the population of Afghanistan has a very positive perception of Indian activities in the country. Many opinion polls do show that Afghans have a favourable opinion about India. But we should not confuse Indian popularity with these few projects. India is popular in Afghanistan as an idea because of democracy, development and secularism. It is also very popular among ordinary Afghans because of Indian films and serials, which are shown on different TV channels daily. So, India would have been popular in Afghanistan with or without these projects. The projects, which will have bigger impact in the long run, are in the areas of human resource development and fellowships, which actually involve very little resources. As a result of joint international efforts, large gains have been made in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, and women empowerment which need to be consolidated. More than five million Afghan refugees have returned home since 2002. The number of school-going children has grown from under one million in 2001 to more than 7.5 million (37 per cent of them are girls). Since 2000, 9000 new schools have been built and more than 1,47,000 teachers have been trained. The percentage of people living in areas where basic healthcare facilities are made available has increased from 9 per cent in 2002 to 85 per cent. Nearly 76 per cent of children under the age of five have been immunised. Due to reduction in child mortality, the lives of approximately 500,000 children have been saved since 2003. For the first time in decades, Kabul has round the clock electricity. It is remarkable that despite a difficult www.geopolitics.in

KEY MILESTONE: The Kandahar-Kabul highway is one of the key construction projects of Afghanistan legacy, the macroeconomic stability in Afghanistan has been maintained with high growth rates. Till 2007, inflation remained reasonably low and the exchange rate has been stable. More than a dozen private commercial banks, four private airlines and 13 microfinance institutions are operating in the country. Today, about 13 million Afghans have mobile connections. This represents roughly half of the population. One million now use the internet. Broadly free and privately owned media sector has developed. Presently, Afghanistan has seven national TV stations (of which six are private), numerous radio networks, plus a diverse

and increasingly professional print media. According to government sources, about 12,000 kms of roads have been rehabilitated, improved, or built. This includes the 2,200km-long ring road which connects all major town of Afghanistan, national highways, provincial roads and rural roads. Although poppy cultivation is still a very serious problem, there has been reduction in the area under cultivation since 2007. The strategic location of Afghanistan will always be important for India, particularly in the context of difficult India-Pakistan relations. However, the county’s importance for India is much bigger than perceived in this narrow context. Once Afghanistan becomes stable, trade through Pakistan and

(59)

April 2011


Afghanistan 58-60.qxd

4/7/2011

2:03 PM

Page 28

g DIPLOMACY

“CONSTRUCTION AID” United States: The US government has pledged about $70 billion, out of which a significant portion has already been disbursed. More than 50 per cent of this aid has gone into building the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police. These figures do not include resources provided for about 100,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan.

China: China has committed about $130 million grants to Afghanistan. It remained disengaged in the country until Afghan administration opened its energy, mineral and raw material to foreign investors. In 2007, Chinese companies were selected as preferred bidder for the Aynak project, the second-largest copper mine in the world. China plans to invest 2.9 billion in the project; with investment reaching to five

Afghanistan could also alter India’s continental trade. By 2015, India’s trade with Europe, CIS plus Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan would be in the range of $500 to 600 billion annually. Even if 20 per cent of this trade is conducted through road, $100-120 billion of Indian trade would be passing through Afghanistan and Central Asia. With improvement in IndiaPakistan relations, an important portion of Indian trade, particularly from the landlocked northern states including Jammu & Kashmir, will be moving through Pakistan and Afghanistan. With the possibility of this trade passing through Afghanistan and central Asia, most of the infrastructural projects in the region will become economically viable. While looking at the regional economic dynamics, it is clear that both India and Pakistan would be paying huge economic costs for not cooperating in Afghanistan. If trade stops in Pakistan, many road and other infrastructural projects will never become viable because of low volumes. Similarly, the North-South corridor involving Iran will never be able to significantly alter India’s continental trade. Despite the difficult security situation and limited capacities, Afghanistan could emerge as an important player in regional economic cooperation. This has major implications for regional peace and stability as well as India’s linkages with the Eurasian region. High economic growth in both Central and South www.geopolitics.in

billion in the future. The Chinese company also plans to build a 400 MW power station and a railway line to facilitate exports.

Europe: The European Union has committed around $12 bn. for reconstruction activities. Besides, almost all EU nations are also participating in NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission with around 30,000 troops.

Iran: Iran has spent about $300 million in Afghan reconstruction mainly in infrastructure and capacity building.

Russia: Russia has made settlement of Afghanistan’s debt to former USSR, which according to some Russian expert estimates totals to $10 billion.

India:

Japan: Japan has pledged around $1.8 bn. to reconstruction. Together with the UN, Japan is a leading nation in Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and is also involved in the construction of Kabul-Kandahar highway and Kabul international airport terminal.

Asian regions may push policy makers to work for integration strategies. Policy-makers in Afghanistan believe that after decades of war now the country has a unique opportunity to realise its potential as a ‘land bridge’ between Central Asia, South Asia and the West Asian region. Increasingly it is pointed out that with enhanced cooperation, land-locked energyrich Central Asia could be connected to energy-deficient South Asia. Similarly, Afghanistan could also realise significant revenues as transit fee and improve its economic activities in the process. The country is already playing an important role in various regional organisations like Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC), etc. It has also initiated an institutional mechanism called Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA). The first RECCA was held in Kabul in 2005, second in New Delhi in 2006, third in Islamabad in 2009 and fourth in Istanbul in 2010. Through various declarations, countries in the region have also accepted the centrality of Afghanistan for economic cooperation. In this context, the recently-concluded Afghanistan-Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement (APTTA) is also important, though it is still a partial agreement designed to exclude India. Under the agreement, Afghan trucks are allowed to carry

(60)

India has pledged assistance worth $1.3 billion. Indian projects cover areas like road construction (218-km Zaranj-Delaram road), power (transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul), Salma dam project, construction of parliament, and many projects in the areas of agriculture, telecommunication, education, health and capacity building.

Afghan transit export cargo to Pakistani ports and also to the Wagah border. If implemented properly, this has the potential to boost Afghanistan’s development and regional trade. Over time, it may also create insurmountable pressures within Pakistan and Afghanistan to open up trade across the border with India. It is realised that the projects implemented through the Afghan government institutions have relatively better success rate. Still, very few donors trust the Afghan government institutions. The whole reconstruction approach involving Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) and tied aid (involving mainly donor citizens and companies) needs to change fundamentally. For long-term sustainability, Afghanistan ultimately has to play its traditional role of facilitating trade and commerce through its territories. If proposals concerning regional economic cooperation originating from Afghanistan are implemented by other countries, this could ultimately improve chances of peace in the entire Eurasian region including India and Pakistan. (The author teaches at Jawaharlal Nehru University and has headed the Asian Development Bank and the Asia Foundation projects on regional cooperation at the Afghanistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kabul) April 2011


final geo subcscribe

 D

add:final geo subcscribe

E F E N C E

g

add.qxd

 D

10/30/2010

2:19 PM

Page 2

I P L O M A C Y

 S

E C U R I T Y

geopolitics

P R E PA R I N G F O R F O U R T H G E N E R AT I O N W A R

geopolitics VOL I, ISSUE IV, AUGUST 2010  RS 100

D E F E N C E  D I P L O M A C Y  S E C U R I T Y

SCRUTINISING

AFSPA

HAL SPREADING

Our readership is, to simply put it, Fortune 500;

AMMUNITIONS TO

INFANTRY

WINGS

 DIPLOMATS

INDIA-FRANCE

COMING CLOSER

 POLICY MAKERS  CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY SUBSCRIBE

RACE UNDER WATER The key to India’s aspiration for controlling the seas by neutralising Pakistan’s policy of sea-denial lies in augmenting the submarine-based offensive capability

 GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

NOW!

 WORLD BODIES



Please accept my subscription for 12, 24 and 36 issues of geopolitics Name___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ph. No.________________________________________________ Payment

Cash



Cheque



e-mail_________________________________________________________

Cheque/DDNo. _________________________________________________________

Drawn on_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Date_______________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________________ NO. OF ISSUES

NEWSSTAND PRICE

DISCOUNT

YOU PAY

YOU SAVE

12

` 1200/-

15%

` 1020/-

` 180/-

24

` 2400/-

20%

` 1920/-

` 480/-

36

` 3600/-

25%

` 2700/-

` 900/-

Cheque / DDs should be drawn in favour of

NEWSEYE MEDIA PVT. LTD. Send your subscription to Newsline Publications Pvt. Ltd., D-11 Basement, Nizamuddin (East), New Delhi -110 013 Contect us on : +91-11-41033381-82, e-mail: geopolitics@newsline.in


Sri Lanka & Indian 62-64.qxd

4/7/2011

2:09 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

DIPLOMACY

FISHY FRONTIERS Instead of politicising the issue of the straying of fishermen, it is time that India and Sri Lanka take a holistic view of the problem, consider the water between them to be a common heritage, not a contested territory, and devise a mutually-beneficial roadmap for the fishing community, argues N MANOHARAN

F

ISHES KNOW no frontiers; fishermen choose to ignore them for various reasons. Wherever sovereign coasts are in proximity (as in the case of India-Pakistan, IndiaBangladesh and India-Sri Lanka), straying of fishermen is normal. Although India-Sri Lanka relations are presently at an all-time high, shooting and harassment of Indian fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy has come as a potential irritant in bilateral ties. With the Assembly polls in the state of Tamil Nadu round the corner, the issue is expected to get further politicised. There is immense pressure from Tamil Nadu on New Delhi to act decisively. Victory or defeat of parties in the Assembly constituencies of 12 coastal districts of the state depends largely on the stand and action taken on the issue by the parties. Colombo also has domestic political compulsions due to the upcoming local polls in the northern areas of Sri Lanka. India and Sri Lanka share a maritime border www.geopolitics.in

of over 400 kilometres that spreads along four different areas: the Bay of Bengal in the north, the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar in the centre and the Indian Ocean in the south. In the Palk Bay region, the minimum and the maximum distances between the coasts of two countries are around 16 km and 45 km, respectively. This means territorial waters of each country in some areas stray into the other’s. Till the ethnic conflict broke out in Sri Lanka in the early 1980s this was not an issue. But, with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) emerging as a dominant militant group, with a naval wing of its own (Sea Tigers), things changed for the worse for fishermen on both sides. They were caught in the crossfire between the Sri Lankan Navy and the ‘Sea Tigers’. The ‘Eelam War IV’ in Sri Lanka has now come to an end with the defeat of the LTTE, but the fishermen issue continues. When the ethnic war was on, the Sri Lankan Navy was focused on ‘Sea Tigers’ and the movement of LTTE boats around the island.

(62)

Straying of Indian fishermen was overlooked, except to monitor goods smuggled in and out of northern Sri Lanka that would help the LTTE’s war-making capabilities. After the war, the Sri Lankan Navy is back to its primary task of patrolling the island’s maritime borders. The monitoring is also aimed at preventing the possible return of LTTE cadres, who fled from the island during the height of the conflict in 2009, to revive insurgency all over again. Security concerns still persist in Sri Lanka. Its Navy, therefore, has not let its guard down. Moreover, fresh from its victory over the LTTE and also support from countries like China and Pakistan, Sri Lanka has become more assertive about its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Relaxation of fishing restrictions along Sri Lankan coasts after the war has led to Sri Lankan fishermen to venture into the seas around. Indian fishermen, who thus far enjoyed monopoly over the resource-rich waters, have now got competitors in the form of their Sri Lankan counterparts. At times, this leads to conApril 2011


Sri Lanka & Indian 62-64.qxd

4/7/2011

2:09 PM

Page 27

g DIPLOMACY

A WAY OF LIFE: The big trawlers are completely changing a way of life for fishermen both in India and Sri Lanka. And the consequences are the bitter clashes between the two sides

frontation between the two fishing communities, and, in turn, draw the intervention of naval forces of either country. The main complaint of Sri Lankan fishermen has been against mechanised Indian trawlers that indulge in pair, mid-water, pelagic, and bottom trawling and in turn severely damage marine resources and the sea bed. Ironically, most of the trawlers from Tamil Nadu are owned by merchant capitalists from non-fishing castes and other social backgrounds. The entry of ‘outsiders’ has not only threatened the local customary laws of fishing communities, but also turned several traditional fishermen from owners to labourers. These fishermen wage earners work under what is known as “fisheries compulsions”: the lesser the catch, the meagre the incentives and the fear of losing the job. They have little chance of being gainfully employed other than in the fishing sector. The risks, therefore, is worth taking by crossing the international boundary line and poach in untapped Sri www.geopolitics.in

Lankan waters. If they are shot in the process, they try to claim compensation by maintaining that the shooting has taken place inside Indian territorial waters. For them, the value of ‘life’ is cheaper than the compulsion of ‘livelihood’. Also, the trawler sector in Tamil Nadu is politically influential and financially sound making it more obdurate to solutions that could cut down its profit margins. Straying of fishermen also takes place inadvertently due to ignorance of imaginary marine boundaries, engine failure or even due to sudden turbulence at seas. But, to be fair to Sri Lanka, not all Indian fishermen who stray into Sri Lankan waters are arrested or shot. Sri Lankan fishermen, who venture on high seas for ‘multi-day fishing’, are also caught poaching in Indian waters off coasts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and even Orissa. They are, however, not shot at but arrested and prosecuted. Overall, the issue is complex and evades easy solutions.

(63)

Holistic approach What is, hence, required is a comprehensive and humane approach leading to pragmatic solutions on an urgent basis. It is surprising that despite the existence of certain practical arrangements to deal with the issue of bonafide fishermen of either side crossing the international maritime boundary line, firings on fishermen continue. The Joint Working Group that met in January 2006 agreed to, i. Examine the possibility of not arresting straying fishermen within five nautical miles of the maritime boundary on either side; ii. Consider releasing the small fishing boats along with the fishermen on humanitarian grounds; and, iii. Enhance coordination between the two navies to curb illegal activities. However, whether this agreement is being followed in letter and spirit is a big question. At the outset, the right to life of fishermen should be respected; then there is the livelihood issue. It should be noted that the use of force against April 2011


Sri Lanka & Indian 62-64.qxd

4/7/2011

4:57 PM

Page 28

g DIPLOMACY

“EVERY POSSIBLE MEASURE WILL BE TAKEN IN ORDER TO IMPROVE RELATIONS WITH SRI LANKAN AND INDIAN FISHERMEN. LARGE SCALE FISHING USING TRAWLERS IN THE INTERNATIONAL WATERS HAD SOURED THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FISHERMEN OF BOTH COUNTRIES .”

INCREASING INCIDENTS OF FISHERMEN KILLINGS, TORTURE AND ARRESTS IN THE RECENT PAST HAVE BECOME A REGULAR THING. THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR THIS IS TO GET BACK KATCHATHEEVU. ATTEMPTS WITH THIS EFFECT WOULD BE MADE CONSULTING CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.”

REAR ADMIRAL WEERASEKERA, M KARUNANIDHI, NORTHERN COMMANDER CHIEF MINISTER SRI LANKA NAVY TAMIL NADU Indian fishermen, who cross over advertently or inadvertently into the other country’s marine borders, leading to death, does not happen even at marine boundaries with countries like Pakistan. This happens only at the India-Sri Lanka borders. The Sri Lankan Navy, therefore, should take greater care in handling straying Indian fishermen. To avoid shooting incidents due to “mistaken identity”, ‘coordinated patrolling’ between marine forces (Sri Lankan Navy and Indian Coast Guards) of both countries can be considered. Additionally, developing fish farming extensively in Indian waters would prevent fishermen from venturing into other waters in search of a ‘big catch’. India can also consider leasing fishing blocks, especially those identified as ‘surplus total available catch’, from Sri Lanka. Through this, Sri Lanka could also earn much-required foreign exchange. To preserve marine resources and to provide enough sustenance to the traditional marginal fishermen of both the countries, it is important to impose a strict and complete ban on mechanised trawlers. However, given the dependency, immediate phasing out of mechanised trawlers from coastal fishing may be difficult. But, it has to be done sooner than later. What should be done with these large trawlers that cost about $ one million? There are numerous options that one can explore. As an alternative, these large trawlers could be encouraged to venture into high seas in India’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs) rather than into territorial waters of Sri Lanka. With suitable modification, they can also be used as patrol boats by the Coast Guards. Presently, the www.geopolitics.in

“INNOCENT

“THE

FISHERMEN ARE OFTEN SHOT AT OR TORTURED BY THE SRI LANKAN NAVY AND THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT IS DOING NOTHING TO PROTECT THEM. THERE HAS BEEN AN ESCALATION IN ATTACKS ON TAMIL FISHERMEN AT SEA DURING THE UNITED PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE GOVERNMENT’S RULE.” NITIN GADKARI, PRESIDENT BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY (BJP)

Indian Coast Guards face immense shortage of patrol vessels. Reinventing sustainable fisheries is vital for solving many issues. The issue ultimately lies in proper fisheries management. If adequate fish population is maintained in the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar areas, most of the fishermen would not find the need to venture into other’s ‘territories’. India also can consider taking on Katchchativu Island, that has been on the centre of controversy, on long-term lease. As a bigger neighbour, India has been accommodative to Sri Lankan sensitivities on the issue to the extent of gifting the strategically-vital Katchchativu Island despite opposition from Tamil Nadu. It should be noted that the Maritime Agreements of 1974 and 1976, which fixed marine boundaries between India and Sri Lanka, were done much before the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that came into force in 1994. New Delhi never asked for renegotiation in the light of this new development, despite immense pressures from Tamil Nadu to wrest the island back from Sri Lanka so as to protect the interests of its fishermen. Colombo should take note of this and reciprocate accordingly by taking a liberal approach on Katchchativu Island and its visitors. As an additional safety measure, the Indian Navy’s proposal of fitting Global Positioning System (GPS) in every boat should be implemented. GPS provides the fastest and most accurate method for fishermen to navigate, measure speed and determine locations. Costs of installation could be shared by the centre and Tamil Nadu, with a token contribution from the

(64)

“WE NEED TO BE CONSCIOUS OF THE SENSITIVITIES ON THE SRI LANKAN SIDE AND OF THE SRI LANKAN FISHERMEN WHO HAVE STARTED FISHING. INCIDENTS IN THE LAST TWO MONTHS HAD CAUSED MUCH CONSTERNATION IN INDIA AND THE SECURITY OF INDIAN FISHERMEN WOULD ALWAYS RECEIVE THE HIGHEST PRIORITY.” S M KRISHNA, EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER

fishermen concerned. Apart from training the fishermen about its usage, the local administration should sensitise them on the dos and don’ts in international waters. Apart from respecting the rights of their Sri Lankan counterparts, Indian fishermen should voluntarily try and avoid using trawlers that damage plankton and in turn make the seabed unfavourable for breeding of new fishes and prawns. There is already an agreement between the fishermen of two countries on this, but it is not adhered to. Arranging frequent meetings between fishing communities of both countries could be explored so as to develop a friendlier atmosphere on mid-seas during fishing. ‘Solution from below’ has greater chances of success than a ‘solution imposed from above’ by the governments. There have indeed been meetings between fishing communities since 2003, but erratic and not so fruitful in terms of tangible results. If they are systematised and institutionalised, one can expect them to be more successful. It is important that whatever agreements, reached by the fishing communities amongst themselves, receives strong backing from the governments and their marine forces. Else, these meetings will be exercises in futility. Overall, if the issue is not approached holistically, the marine frontiers between India and Sri Lanka will remain fishy and troubled. It is better if water between India and Sri Lanka is seen as a common heritage than a contested territory. (The author is Senior Fellow, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi ) April 2011


Dalai Lama 66-68.qxd

4/7/2011

2:13 PM

Page 26

g GEOPOLITICS

DIPLOMACY

MOMENTOUS SHIFT IN THE

TIBET MOVEMENT The Dalai Lama’s sudden decision to renounce politics has deeper international implications. BHASKAR ROY analyses DISTRESSFUL SITUATION: Dalai Lama's decision to renounce politics but will remain as spiritual leader and continue to advocate meaningful autonomy for Tibet, is a major cause of concern for Tibetans

www.geopolitics.in

(66)

T

HE DALAI LAMA’S announcement on March 10 that he would step aside from his political role and concentrate on religious work was dismissed within hours by the Chinese as a “trick”. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Wu said: “He has talked often about retirement in the past few years”, and described them as “tricks to deceive the international community”. Tenzing Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, took this decision after deep consideration. By repeating his intention to retire for the last several years, he was preparing his people for the eventuality. The Dalai Lama’s Kashag (Cabinet) or the Kashag of the Tibetan Government in exile, and his top emissaries knew the day would come. But when such a leader, acknowledged as the face and spirit of the Tibetan movement, decides to relinquish his political responsibilities, opposition and dismay from the people are natural. There is also concern how the new inheritors of this huge responsibility take forward this mission. The Dalai Lama’s decision was irreversible. Although at 76, he enjoys excellent health, he knows his life is not infinite. As he said, he wanted to set up a democraticallyelected government by the people. The electorate comprises Tibetans outside Tibet/China. This move will not only contrast with the Chinese government’s dictatorial system in Tibet but also make an impression on the international community. The Chinese cannot resolve the Tibet issue in the near future unless they drastically change their approach, was the Dalai Lama’s message. The Chinese have reneged on their agreements and words. The May 23, 1951, 17point agreement (for the peaceful liberation

April 2011


Dalai Lama 66-68.qxd

4/7/2011

2:14 PM

Page 27

g DIPLOMACY of Tibet) signed between the Chinese Central Government and the local government of Tibet gave the Tibetans far more autonomy and liberty than anything they can even think of today. It promised continuity of the established status, functions and powers enjoyed by the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the ninth Panchen Lama. Income of the monasteries would remain untouched. Like all minorities of China, the Tibetans would be allowed to preserve and develop freely their language, customs, habits and religion without interference from the central government in Beijing. The Tibetan leaders reconciled with the fact that their legitimate independence was overrun by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and still settled for the best under the conditions. The West did not come to their aid. But all these came to nought soon after when Mao Zedong got engrossed in an internal power struggle and adopted a hard-line Stalinist policy of repression. This led to the Tibetan people’s uprising of 1959 in which about a hundred thousand Tibetans were killed, and the Dalai Lama fled to India with his followers and supporters. Since then, the Tibetans suffered a harrowing time under Communist rule, especially during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). They lost what they had got under the 17-point agreement, and their lot has not improved very much since. A Beijing-based Chinese NGO, the Gongmeng Law Research Centre in China, produced a study in 2008 pointing out that the money spent in Tibet by the Central government rarely reached the Tibetans and mainly went to the Hans. Instead of taking cues from the study, both the NGO and the study were banned by the government. The March 14, 2008, Tibetan uprising was to draw the attention of the international community to the plight of the Tibetans. This was the year of the Beijing Olympics. The revolt was crushed and the Dalai Lama was blamed for inciting the uprising though there was no evidence. It is no wonder that Beijing has failed miserably to win over the hearts and minds of the Tibetans. The government has banned the display and possession of the Dalai Lama’s photographs. The virulent Chinese propaganda against the Dalai Lama does not impress anybody other than the members of the Chinese Communist Party. The Dalai Lama is impervious to such insults as “wolf in lamb’s clothing”, the “serpent’s head” and www.geopolitics.in

other such labels. There are some uncorroborated reports that sections among Chinese agencies had considered assassination of the Dalai Lama in the late 1980s and 1990s. The Chinese government has decreed that all new living Buddhas, including the next Dalai Lama, will be found and ordained by the central government. That just cannot convince the Tibetan people. The 11th Panchen Lama, recognised by the Dalai Lama, has been despatched to oblivion by the Chinese government, and they have put up their own. The 11th Panchen Lama selected by the Chinese, on the other hand, has found no following among the Tibetans. The Chinese government has also declared that the 15th Dalai Lama will be found in Tibet by them. The history of the Dalai Lamas is witness to one of them being a Mongolian. Therefore, the next Dalai Lama can be from anywhere, as the 14th Dalai Lama has declared. And that will be the relevant and the real Dalai Lama for Tibetans inside China and in the rest of the world. There are no two opinions on the issue. The Dalai Lama’s declaration to step aside from his political responsibilities came at a time when the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) convened in Beijing for its annual conclave. Deputies (representatives) from all over C h i n a including Ti b e t

(67)

were gathered there, and those concerned with the Tibet question could discuss immediately on his decision. In the background was the Dalai Lama’s thought, or decision, that there may not be any 15th Dalai Lama, and that he was a mortal. But he also said that he might live for more than a hundred years. This is not medically impossible given the state of his health and the sharpness of his mind at 76 years. Predictably, there was an immediate response from the Tibetan Deputies gathered in Beijing. Tibet’s Communist Party Secretary Zhang Qingli, a hardliner, described the Dalai Lama as a “wolf in monk’s robe” an epithet used by Premier Zhou Enlai after the Dalai Lama fled to India. Zhang also charged him with trying to “split” China, which is a common Chinese refrain. The responses of the two top ethnic Tibetan officials should be something that the Chinese government should take into consideration. Although both of them were clear that Tibet was part of China, Qingba Puncog, Chairman of the Tibetan People’s Congress, said that as a Living Buddha and a religious leader the Dalai Lama did have some influence on his believers, and his death would have “some minor impact on Tibet”. Padma Choling, the head of the Tibetan local government, went a step further to state that it was not “upto anyone” to abolish the “historical process” of the reincarnations of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The statement of Qingba Puncog and Padma Choling, to say the least, challenges some of the fundamentals of the Chinese government’s policies and positions on the Dalai Lama and the religious process of recognising Living Buddhas: one, they reiterated the relevance of the Dalai Lama to Tibet and the Tibetans in China; and, two, they do not subscribe to the Chinese government’s policy of politicising the reincarnation process. The new structure of the Tibetan government in exile is expected to play a more dynamic, two-pronged role in the international arena, especially the West. The Dalai Lama, as a religious leader of modernity, will continue to campaign for the freedom and development of Tibetan religion, language, culture, heritage and the freedom of spirit and thought, and protection of ecology and environment of Tibet independent of the Chinese. This is the duality of dharma yogi and karma yogi according to Hindu philosophy, which is April 2011


Dalai Lama 66-68.qxd

4/7/2011

2:14 PM

Page 28

g DIPLOMACY

REVERED EXIT: The Tibetan cabinet has accepted the Dalai Lama's decision to retire as the political head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, but parliament has still not agreed closely linked to Buddhist philosophy in many ways. These issues form part of the Dalai Lama’s “middle way” autonomy proposal for Tibet and the Tibetans. The new political leaders of the exile government will be free to debate issues among themselves unconstrained by the Dalai Lama’s religious philosophy and utter restraint. These are political men and women, well experienced in the West and Western political approaches in which freedom of religion, thought and expression play a very significant role. There is a Tibet caucus in the US Congress and one in the EU Parliament. It is very possible that an NGO be raised on the fringes of the United Nations to make their point whenever the Assembly meets. A much more vibrant and organised action can be planned and executed with UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva. Internationally, the Tibet contact groups like the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) can feel much more free to raise their campaign without looking over their shoulders to see if they have the Dalai Lama’s approval. In brief, a new force to demand the minimum rights of Tibetan people in Tibet has been unleashed, which will be welcomed by the democratic world. This force, however, www.geopolitics.in

is unlikely to raise demands, which portends the break-up of China’s territorial integrity. Generally unnoticed and unspoken, there has been a slow erosion of support for China’s hardline Tibet policy from traditional centres. The most important is Taiwan. From the initiation of Taiwan under KMT (the party that ruled China before the Communists took over) rule, Tibet was recognised as an integral part of China. This was because the KMT claimed that it was the real government of China and the two sides would unite one day. A body called the Mongolia Tibet Affairs Commission (MTAC), located in Taiwan but also funded by China, was established. This was to counter the Tibetan, and then Mongolian, separatist movements. The MTAC was abolished by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) after President Chen Shui-bian came to power in Taiwan in 2000. Since then, the Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan, which confirms that even after the KMT returned to govern Taiwan the old commonality on Tibet with Beijing no longer exists. Russia, which follows the erstwhile Soviet Union position of endorsing China’s policy in Tibet, is beginning to feel international pressure. The Kalmayka Republic of Russia is overwhelmingly Buddhist and its President is an ardent follower of the Dalai Lama.

(68)

Japan, a predominantly Buddhist country, which did not counter Beijing’s claim on Tibet and still does not, has arrived at a situation when it can become neutral, saying it is China’s concern but Tibetans as always are free to visit Japan. Many feel that India is caught in a cleft with the new changes in the Tibetan exile government. This is not correct, and can be handled well. The Dalai Lama is an honoured guest in India, the Tibetans are refugees openly in India, India does not recognise the Tibetan government in exile, it is not allowed to conduct political activities in India, but they are allowed to act as per Indian laws. China suspects that India cooperates with the US on the Tibet issue. This remains a suspicion, but China has accepted India’s declared position. The Dalai Lama’s move has raised serious concerns in China. Writing in the People’s Daily (March 22) English edition, Li Hongmei said that the Tibetan government inexile was poised to be “ruled by terrorists”. Ms Li Hongmei is no ordinary journalist. She is the editor of the on-line edition of the newspaper that in turn is the mouthpiece of the CCP. This alarm is the collective understanding of the Chinese authorities, and the message is to alert the international community to prevail upon the Tibetan government in-exile and other pro-independence Tibetan groups like the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) not to disturb the stability of Tibet through sabotage. Li Hongmei likened the TYC to terrorist organisations like the Al Qaida. The article also hinted that China would use all force at its disposal to root out any challenge in Tibet. Earlier (March 14), Tibet CCP Secretary Zhang Qingli had warned a “severe crackdown” on separatist and disruptive activities in Tibet. Zhang’s statement on the sidelines of the recently-concluded NPC Session makes it abundantly clear that Tibetans in Tibet and other parts of China will lose more of the liberty they have left. Such policies will not only disturb the situation in Tibet but further sharpen the Tibetan-Han divide to an irreconcilable situation. A new Tibetan movement, then, is on the block. There is no amicable solution in sight. The best situation available for China is to revisit the 1951 17-point agreement and Deng Xiaoping’s approach, and work with the Tibetan government in-exile. No country in its right sense is planning to disintegrate China. Beijing should be confident about that. (The author, a retired civil servant, is a veteran China-watcher) April 2011


Libya 69-71.qxd

4/8/2011

1:42 PM

Page 17

g GEOPOLITICS

DIPLOMACY

BEHIND THE LIBYANTURMOIL It seems that Europe is not prepared to play the role of a second cousin to the United States in determining the future contours in the Arab world that is under turmoil. This underplayed factor is the most important one in explaining what is happening in Libya these days, argues RSN SINGH ECONOMIC STAKES: Unrest in Libya pushes oil prices to its highest level

www.geopolitics.in

S

INCE THE exit of President Mubarak in Egypt, the geopolitical contours of the Arab world have been changing rapidly. What was touted as a revolution for democracy has now degenerated into pure international power politics. This is particularly true in the case of Libya, where there seems to be a clear clash of interests between the United States and its leading European allies. Libya with its vast oil resources is too important for Europe, to allow it to lapse into uncertainty because of the recent changes in American policy towards Middle East and North Africa. Europe, particularly Italy and France, in that order, had invested too much in Gaddafi. The way the internal situation in Libya has developed, partly indigenous and partly orchestrated by the US, Gaddafi’s ouster has become imminent. Nevertheless, some of the European countries like France and Italy do not want to surrender their influence in Libya to the US. Accordingly, France inspired the formation of the rebel Libyan National Council (LNC) as the country’s legitimate government and quickly recognised it in early March 2011, thereby

(69)

preempting the US. The Libyan National Council has 31 members with Officers In-Charge for foreign affairs, military affairs and importantly for governance of Libya’s oil sector. The council’s leader is Mustafa Abdul Jalil, a former Deputy UN Ambassador, who broke away from Gaddafi. Till today, the US, which is backing the ongoing armed action by NATO on Libya, sanctioned at the behest of a hyperactive France, has not yet accorded recognition to the National Libyan Council. The fault lines The 6.4 million Libyan people continue to be divided over regional and ethnic lines in the ongoing ‘Civil War’ since February 2011. Even geography conspires to accentuate this division: 90 per cent of Libyans inhabit only 10 per cent of the area, primarily along the coast. Tripolitania in the west and Cyrenaica in the northeast are the two major population centres with a population density of 50 persons per square kilometre, but in the remaining areas it is less than one person per square kilometre. These two population centres are separated by one of the most formidable

April 2011


Libya 69-71.qxd

4/8/2011

1:42 PM

Page 18

g DIPLOMACY desert in the world, wherein in certain areas it rains once or twice in a decade. The other region is Fezzan in Southwestern Libya, which constitutes 30 per cent of the country’s landmass. The people inhabiting this area are basically pastoralists, who cross borders of Algeria, Chad and Niger. The population in Fezzan is estimated to be 0.45 million, i.e. nearly eight per cent of the total population. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica sided with Axis and Allied powers respectively during World War II. Subsequently, when Libya was granted independence in 1951 and King Emir Sayid Idris al-Sanusi, a Cyrenaican was installed as the head of the state with the support of Western powers. The people in Tripolitania resented while the people of Cyrenaica celebrated. In 1969, when a 27year-old Gaddafi along with 70 young army officers, overthrew King Idris in a bloodless coup, the reaction was in the opposite order. Under Idris, Cyrenaica benefited politically and economically. Idris in fact could not break the shackles of his Cyrenacian identity primarily because that was where he derived his power from. Gaddafi on the other hand, tried to promote nationalism by repudiating the tribal system and by creating an Arab nationalist regime. It may be mentioned that Libya has 140 tribes and clans. Gaddafi’s search for a new national identity for Libya floundered due to the exigencies of political power. His power base essentially lay in the west to the central part of Libya. Euphemistically speaking, the Cyrenacian tribes were punished by Gaddafi all through his rule. It is these tribes which now sensed an opportunity and decided to strike back. Gaddafi, meanwhile, is being stoutly supported by his own tribe Gaddadfa as well as Al-Magarha tribe. The regional and tribal fault lines, in this fourth largest country in Africa, have therefore hardly been bridged over the years. Viewed thus, what is happening in Libya is far from an ‘Arab Revolution’. It is the events in Tunisia and Egypt that have provided the opportunity and impetus. This is despite a sound economy. Libya has a very generous social security programme especially in the fields of housing and education. External dimension and linkages The external dimension and linkages to this so-called revolution in the case of Libya cannot be ignored. The Arab Revolution in Egypt led by Nasser had significant impact on Libya. This revolution was at the height of Cold www.geopolitics.in

"OPERATION SAFE HOME COMING" Operation Safe Home Coming of 15000-odd Indians from Libya was truly a well-coordinated Inter-ministerial effort. The operation was successfully concluded at 0700 hrs on March 13. Spread over 14 days' starting from February 27, the operation involved arrival of 53 flights including that of Air India, Kingfisher, Fly Dubai, Emirates, Egypt Air, Jet Air and Emirates. The passengers were received at Delhi (Terminal 2) and Mumbai. The operation was coordinated by Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Department of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defence and the State Governments of UP, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. Evacuation of Indians from Libya was conducted with the help of IL-76 Plane, Naval Ships and Commercial Vessels from Libya to Egypt, Malta and Tunisia. Indians were airlifted from Tripoli, Alexandria, Djerba, Sebhe and Malta. Ministry of External Affairs had deported officials to set up facilities at Alexandria, Malta, Djerba and Sebhe and to assist in the evacuation process. On arrival, passengers were provided with assistance to return to their hometown by train, road or air. Major Indian firms operating in Libya were briefed and assisted on regular basis to receive their workers. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, Secretary (East) Latha Reddy and Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Dr A Didar Singh led the coordinated Operation Safe Home Coming. War and as an outcome there was request of British and American bases to be evacuated from Libya. It may be recalled that Britain and Libya had signed a 20-year friendship treaty and in 1954 US had setup the Wheelus Air base near Tripoli. By 1970, the British forces and American bases were withdrawn, and consequently, cooperation including in the field of defence between USSR and Libya intensified. The coup by Gaddafi in 1969 should be seen as an adjunct of the Cold War. The discovery of oil in 1959 had raised the geopolitical stakes of the Soviet Union, US and Europe in the country. At the time of independence, Libya was one of the poorest countries in the world. Its most significant

(70)

exports were metal scraps of World War II. Today, Libya is one of the world’s tenth richest oil-producing countries and of course Africa’s richest. Libya holds the largest proven reserves in Africa followed by Nigeria and Algeria. 80 per cent of the reserves are located in the Sirte basin. This basin constitutes the heart of Libya running from the approximately the center of the country to the coastline in the north. It also extends towards the west for some distance and to the east, falling short of the border with Egypt. As per estimate, only 25 per cent of the Libyan oil has been explode mainly due to sanctions, which was effective for at least two decades. The UN and the US lifted sanctions in 2003 and 2004, respectively. If the Cold War was the impetus for the coup by Gaddafi, this time, Libya is engulfed by a different kind of revolutionary wave, which many consider as being inspired and abetted by the West. It appears regime changes are being sought for an orderly transfer of power in the Arab world, because most of the dispensations have outlived their age and utility. Most of these ruling dispensations turned into family businesses and so has Libya under Gaddafi and his eight sons. Only a popular swell on the ground, engineered or otherwise can uproot them. Given the wherewithal and monopoly over instrument of war and violence of the rulers, it is impossible to bring regime changes without external support. The entire script is being calibrated with Egypt serving as the epicenter. But in case of Libya, the calculations have been upset because of Gaddafi’s tenacity and his selfdestructive ways. He has been using the safety and security of his own people as a bargaining chip in dealing with the rest of the western world. He and his sons are displaying acute paranoia and therefore the ruthlessness in dealing with the situation. The ruling dispensation in Libya therefore can be very unpredictable and dangerous. Gaddafi — The darling of the West The exigencies and greed for power has seen Gaddafi sway between socialism and capitalism from anti-Americanism to proAmericanism. Libya till late 2003-04 was treated a terrorist and pariah state by the West, after the bombing of the Pan Am aircraft in 1988 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie. Unnerved by the US invasion of Iraq and the consequent fate of Saddam Hussain and the rising discontent due to sluggish economy caused by sanctions, Gaddafi was compelled to make a complete ‘U’ turn. He began to placate the West by takApril 2011


Libya 69-71.qxd

4/8/2011

1:42 PM

Page 19

g DIPLOMACY

MISRULE EPITOMISED: People protesting for peace in Libya ing formal responsibility of the Pan Am bombing in 2003. Following this, the rehabilitation of Gaddafi in the international community was most dramatic especially after the payment of compensation to US victims of the Pan Am bombing in 2008 by Libya. Following the emergence of this new relationship between the West and Gaddafi, the major oil companies were once again active in Libya. They stepped up oil exploration, using Enhanced Oil Recovery Techniques. Libya had proposed to increase its oil production by 40 per cent, i.e. from 1.8 million barrels/day to three million barrels/day by 2013. Assessment The turnaround by Gaddafi and his bonhomie with the West was strategic coup of sort. Libya became one of the most ardent supporters of the ‘war against terrorism’. In fact, Libya was touted as a fine example of responsible change in the discourse of Islamic fundamentalism. Italy signed a friendship treaty with Libya in 2008. The treaty included a nonaggression clause. Also, Italy paid $ 5 billion to Libya to compensate for the colonial rule. Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, was awarded a PhD degree by www.geopolitics.in

the London School of Economics, allegedly, after having accepted 1.5 million pounds donation from Libya. All the major oil companies of the West were enthusiastic about the fresh and increasing prospects in Libya. It was a happy situation for the West. What went wrong then? The regime change in Egypt, which ushered in the so-called ‘Jasmine Revolution’, if Wikileaks are to be believed, was engineered by the US for which it had been working since 2007. Egypt was to serve as the pivot for the geopolitical change in North Africa. The European powers, particularly France, were not comfortable with the happenings in Tunisia and to an extent in Egypt. When it comes to the North African region, the Europeans do not see it through the US strategic prism. The economic stakes of the North African region and Europe is intertwined, because of geography, separated as they are by only the Mediterranean Sea. It is pertinent to note that most of Libya’s oil exports are to the European countries i.e. Italy-38 per cent, Germany-19 per cent, Spain-8 per cent, France-7 per cent, China-7 per cent, Greece-3 per cent, etc. Importantly, the oil sold by Libya to Europe is lighter and

(71)

sweeter, which implies that it has low sulphur grades. The heavier crude oil is exported to Asian countries. In addition, oil supply from North Africa to Europe is most timely and cost effective. In the recent years, there has been rapid increase in export of gas from Libya to Europe. In 2004, the 540-kilometrelong Green stream pipeline between Libya and Italy became operational. This pipeline has a capacity of 11 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year. North Africa, particularly Libya, is therefore critical to the very well-being of Europe. It is for this reason that the French have taken the lead. It is for this reason that against all norms of international diplomacy, Italy has repudiated its 2008 friendship treaty with Libya and has allowed its military bases to enforce the no-fly zone. Europe has given clear message to the US that they consider North Africa to be their vital area of concern and influence, and therefore expect the same kind of reciprocation for their role in the US-led intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The author is a former official of Research and Analysis Wing, Government of India) April 2011


Tech Scan.qxd

4/7/2011

5:40 PM

Page 24

TECH SCAN

g

DRDO PLANS THREE PROJECTS THIS YEAR

THE INDIGENOUS development of a field gun, first launch of ‘Nirbhay’ (a long range missile) and first test flight of Agni-5 are three major initiatives ahead of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2011. The controversial Bofors gun is the last imported field

gun the armed forces have. The new Indian field gun will be an Industry-DRDO-driven venture.Already 4-5 industries have been identified for the project, according to Dr V K Saraswat, Chief of DRDO. The gun in both versions (towed and self-propelled) will take a few years to develop and would be a major project led by the domestic industry. The launch of the longrange, sub-sonic, cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’, being developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru and the RCI, Hyderabad is also expected to get into the flight trials mode this year. The third project is Agni-5, the beyond 5,000-km, long-range ballistic missile, which will be flight tested in 2011.

LAKSHYA-2 PERFORMS LOW-ALTITUDE TESTS INDIA HAS conducted lowaltitude trials with its developmental Lakshya-2 target drone, with the aircraft performing high-g manoeuvres at altitudes as low as 82ft (25m). According to DRDO, on a test conducted on December 20, 2010, the drone flew 5.4nm (10km) at an altitude of 82ft, with an average altitude deviation of less than 3ft. On December 23, it flew the system for 10.8nm at an altitude of 490ft towing a target that was flown at a height of 164ft. The tests had four objectives. The first was to assess the Lakshya-2's flight-control system and ability to use autonomous

AKASH MARK-II BY 2012 DRDO IS currently working on a improved Mark-II version of the surface-toair missile and will have its first flight-test by end of 2012. Akash Mark-II version will carry minor critical improvement over Mark-1 variant and will not be a completely new missile, New MK-2 will have better accuracy and will also be little faster then the current variant. Mark-2 variant will also will have faster reaction time to cover the threat and will have an minor extended range to the missile which will be 10 to 12 km improvement over the Mark-1 variant. Mark-2 variant will be replacing old Soviet Unionacquired SA-3 GOA (Pechora) SAM systems. India's plans to fortify North Eastern border area with China by installing Akash MK-1 close to the border there www.geopolitics.in

(72)

waypoint navigation with GPS updates. DRDO scientists also looked at its ability to fly programmed low-altitude flights in both clean and tow body configurations, and to perform high-g manoeuvres in both regimes.

The process also assessed the deployment of the Lakyhya-2 on its mobile launcher, and introduced new features in its ground control station.

ISRO'S 'LUNAR TUNNEL' COULD BE FUTURE BASE INDIAN SPACE Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists have discovered a giant underground chamber on the moon, which could be used as a lunar base by astronauts for i n t e r- p l a n e t a r y missions. Scientists at the Space Applications Centre (SAC), using data gathered from Chandrayaan-I's Terrain Mapping Camera and Hyper Spectral Imager (HySI) payloads, found a 1.2km-long buried, uncollapsed and near horizontal lava tube. The hollow cave situated just above the lunar equator on the nearside of moon,

can accommodate a large number of astronauts and scientific instruments, and also protect them from hostile lunar environment. “Such a lava tube could be a potential site for future human habitability on the moon for future human missions and scientific explorations, providing a safe environment from hazardous radiations, micro-meteoritic impacts, extreme temperatures and dust storms,” according to A S Arya of SAC, Ahmedabad , who led a team of scientists reporting the findings in 'Current Science'. April 2011


Tech Scan.qxd

4/7/2011

2:17 PM

Page 25

g ROBOTS KNOW WHEN TO HIDE THE CREATION of robots that can hide from humans while spying on them brings autonomous spy machines one step closer. The spy approaches the target building under cover of darkness, taking a zigzag path to avoid well-lit areas and sentries. He selects a handy vantage point next to a dumpster, taking cover behind it when he hears the footsteps of an unseen guard. Once the coast is clear, he is on the move again — trundling along on four small wheels. This is no human spy but a machine, a prototype in the emerging field of covert robotics. It was being put through its paces at a demonstration late last year by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories at Cherry Hill, New Jersey. With an aerial drone to their credit (see “Unseen watcher in the sky”), the compa-

www.geopolitics.in

ny now wants to design autonomous robots that can operate around humans without being detected. What makes the robot special is its ability to build a computer model of its surroundings, incorporating information on lines of sight. The robot is fitted with a laser scanner to allow it to covertly map its environment in 3D. It also has a set of acoustic sensors which it uses to distinguish nearby footsteps and their direction. Lead engineer Brian Satterfield says the robot was designed to operate within four constraints: “Avoiding visible detection by sentries of known locations, avoiding potential detection by sentries whose positions were unknown, avoiding areas in which the robot would have no means of escape, and, as this robot was designed to run at night, avoiding areas that were well lit.” To make it hard to spot in the dark, the robot was painted black. If the robot believes it is in danger of being detected by an approaching sentry, it will try to get to a place where it can hide, Satterfield says. His comment is an example of how natural it is for us to talk about such robots as if they understand how they are perceived and have a “theory of mind”. “Lockheed Martin’s approach does include a sort of basic theory of mind, in the sense that the robot makes assumptions about how to act covertly in the presence of humans,” says Alan Wagner of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who works on artificial intelligence and robot deception. But the level at which the robot’s software operates is probably limited to task-specific instructions such as, “if you hear a noise, scurry to the nearest dark corner”, he says. That’s not sophisticated enough to hide from humans in varied environments. “Significant AI will be needed to develop a robot which can act covertly in a general setting,” Wagner says. “The robot will need to consider its own shape and size, to have the ability to navigate potential paths, [to be aware of] each person’s individual line of view, the impact that its movement will have on the environment, and so on.” Satterfield’s robot was built with off-theshelf components. Both he and Wagner say that specialised hardware which is more compact and quieter will improve

(73)

future robots’ mobility and their ability to stay hidden. “There are very few fundamental limits that would prevent robots from eventually conducting extended covert missions and evading detection by humans,” Satterfield says. Lockheed Martin’s work looks ready to emerge, albeit quietly, into the real world. The US army recently solicited proposals for a “persistent surveillance” robot with concealment capabilities and suited for extended deployments. Later this year, the US Department of Defense is expected to back that up with cash awards for working designs.

UNSEEN WATCHER IN THE SKY IN 2006 Lockheed Martin developed a stealthy aerial drone, known as Stalker, for US special forces in Afghanistan. Launched by hand, it weighs 6 kilograms and has a 3metre wingspan. The electric-powered drones it replaced are quiet, but Stalker is designed to be even quieter, with a “hush drive” combining a silenced electric motor and a special propeller. Stalker is said to be inaudible beyond 80 metres away, and can fly at night with the aid of infrared sensors and low-light cameras. Stalker can also accurately deliver a payload weighing up to 1 kilogram, such as remotely operated cameras or microphones for eavesdropping on a target.

April 2011


Rigt Angle.qxd

4/8/2011

2:58 PM

Page 35

GEOPOLITICS

g

Right Angle

THE MILITARY AND THE MEDIA

I

n a democracy, there is always a “love and hate” relationship between the media and the military. A journalist wants information but the military is not always in a position to tell the truth. American generals never spoke the truth when they were losing the war in Vietnam. There are times when the journalists themselves get influenced by the military. During a war, the journalists often move along with the troops and begin to identify themselves too closely with the officers and soldiers. On the other hand, there are times when the military officers succumb to the charm of the media glamour. They lose the balance and discipline and say things which may not be the reality but ensure for themselves headlines and temporary glory. In this age of “breaking stories”, it is entirely possible that the scoops are based on uninformed Prakash and out-of-proper-context information that has been “disclosed” by the military sources. In this column I had once discussed how General McChrystal was relieved of duty in Afghanistan over a Rolling Stone magazine article by journalist Michael Hastings. The article quoted McChrystal making derisive comments about top officials in the Obama administration. But this time I want to highlight the developments in India that I find quite disturbing. A leading TV journalist recently asked Army Chief General VK Singh about the involvement of Lt. Col Prasad S Purohit in the Samjhauta train blasts and in spreading the cult of “Hindu terror” in the country. The Army Chief replied that “Purohit is an aberration” and that he would ensure that such people have no place in the Army. I think this was a dangerous reply. The charges against Purohit are far from being proved. Besides, the dreaded LeT of Pakistan was declared a banned organisation by the United Nations on the basis of the reports of the US intelligence agencies that it had caused the blasts. But the Indian agencies all of a sudden discovered the hands of the “Hindu terrorists” after the NDA government was voted out and the UPA assumed power at the centre. As it is, there has been always a crisis of credibility of the central investigative agencies if the record of poor conviction of their accused is taken into account. More often than not, they have been more loyal than the king of the day. We later were told of the “definite” hands of the “Hindu terrorists” like Purohit in the Samjhauta blasts on the basis of the “confessions” of one Swami Aseemanand. But now the same Swami tells the Court that his statement was extracted forcibly by the investigating agencies! Given this, I think it would have been proper for the Army Chief to reply that the law would take its own

www.geopolitics.in

course and Purohit, if found guilty, would be dealt with accordingly. In stead what he did was that he pronounced Purohit guilty, even before the accused has been formally charge sheeted! The Army leadership has also not shown the maturity in dealing with the much-maligned Adarsh Housing Society in Mumbai. The charges were that in the name of Kargil war widows, top officials of the armed forces formed a housing society on the land belonging to the Defence ministry. The defence minister and the Army Chief took the charges very seriously, ordered enquiries and threatened to take actions against the wrong-doers. The truth, as it has emerged now, is that the application for the formation of the Society did not refer to the war widows and what is more important, the Defence Ministry has admitted in an affidavit submitted to MumNanda bai High Court that it has no record of the land in question to prove ownership! This is not to suggest that there were no wrong doings in the Adarsh Society. But the violations of the rules here have to be dealt with at the civilian level. And that is being rightly done. I think there was nor reason for the Army leadership - I understand Defence Minister AK Antony’s concerns; after all, he is a politician — to issue threats openly and repeatedly to the officers — both retired and serving, just because the media went hyper via “breaking news” - without doing any thorough research. The same is the case with the so-called Sukana scandal. Here a senior General has been punished for issuing a no objection certificate to a school building on a property that did not belong to the Army. He thought that the school would prove beneficial to the children of Army personnel in the area. There were never any monetary considerations. But, he has been punished on the ground that he was influenced in his decision by a superior in the Army headquarters and that he had not informed his then immediate superior in Kolkatta, who, incidentally, happens to be the present Army Chief, and who came to know the clearance through hyped media reports. I have tremendous respect for the Army Chief, who, my sources say, is one of our finest officers with impeccable integrity. I think the problem with him is that he thinks that all in today’s media in India also value integrity. Unfortunately, that is not true. Many of our media leaders believe in power without accountability. Why should our armed forces, one of the very best Indian institutions, be hyper-sensitive to what these media leaders say and write?

(74)

prakashnanda@newsline.in April 2011


Document1

4/6/2011

9:43 AM

Page 1


Cover story 38-43 NEW 06-04-11139.qxd

RNI NO. DELENG/2010/35319

4/7/2011

6:00 PM

Page 37


Geopolitics_April_2011