Monday, 11 March 2013

Nirbhay’s maiden launch tomorrow

India’s first subsonic missile all set to be tested for its full range of 1000 km
Country’s first subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay (Fearless) is all set to be tested for its full range of 1,000 km on Tuesday from Chandipur, Odisha.
BrahMos is the country’s supersonic cruise missile.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) technologists said on Sunday preparations were in full swing for the launch of the two-stage surface-to-surface missile that uses a turbo-jet engine. The Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a DRDO facility in Bangalore, has designed Nirbhay — a derivative of pilotless target aircraft Lakshya. The Research Centre, Imarat, Hyderabad, has developed Nirbhay’s crucial avionics while other DRDO laboratories have played their part in developing it.
Nirbhay, which looks like an aircraft, can drop warheads. It can be remotely controlled and brought back. In this mission, there are no plans to recover it or use it to drop warheads.
Nirbhay takes off from a road mobile launcher after a booster engine kicks the first stage. After the booster separates, the second stage, which has a turbo-jet engine, cruises at an altitude of 500 metres to one km. It will travel for a long time at a speed of 0.67 Mach. Aviation kerosene is the fuel.
“It will cruise in the atmosphere like an aircraft and it is capable of travelling up to 1,000 km,” said a DRDO missile engineer. “The biggest advantage with Nirbhay is that it can be launched from land, air and sea. It is a potent system,” he noted.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Indian Army orders Cheetal helicopters from HAL


Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been awarded a contract by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) for delivery of new Cheetal helicopters to the country's army.
The Rs4.18bn ($77.2m) contract covers production and supply of 20 helicopters, as well as associated equipment to the army.
Under the contract, which represents the first Cheetal helicopter delivery order for the service, HAL will also deliver training to pilots and technical crew.
Ordered for boosting the army's ability to conduct high-altitude operations in areas such as Siachen, the aircraft are being procured following persistent delays in acquiring new 197 light utility helicopters (LUH).
HAL has so far delivered nine out of the ten Cheetal helicopters ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2006.Manufactured by HAL as a company funded programme, Cheetal is an upgraded version of the Cheetah helicopter featuring more powerful Turbomeca TM 333-2M2 turboshaft engines, which offer higher payload capacity of 90kg at an altitude of 6km.
Based on the Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama, the lightweight, high-performance helicopter has been designed primarily for conducting operations in hot and high conditions, and can also be used for personnel transport, casualty evacuation, surveillance, logistics air support, survey and rescue missions.
Equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system for engine control, the helicopter is fitted with an electronic backup control box (EBCB) system that automatically takes over engine control in case of an FADEC failure.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Italy's Finmeccanica delays results over India probe


 Italian defense group Finmeccanica has delayed publication of its 2012 results after a bribery probe connected with the sale of 12 helicopters to Indian authorities, it said on Thursday.

After a board meeting, Finmeccanica said it had postponed the approval of its full-year accounts from March 12 to a new meeting to be held no later than April 30, to "evaluate the impact of recent economic events on its balance sheet."

Finmeccanica is at the centre of an Italian probe alleging that it paid bribes to win the 560 million euro ($750 million) contract awarded in 2010 to its Anglo-Italian helicopter unit AgustaWestland.

An Indian delegation is in Italy to collect evidence relating to the probe, which escalated last week with the arrest of the then head of Finmeccanica, Giuseppe Orsi.

The Italian investigation is putting pressure on the Indian government, already buffeted by a string of graft cases. It has also become a political issue in Italy ahead of parliamentary elections on February 24-25.

Italian prosecutors accuse Orsi of paying bribes to intermediaries to secure the helicopter deal back in 2010, when he was head of AgustaWestland. According to the arrest warrant, the Indian tender was twisted to favor the Italian firm.

What Would India Do If Pakistan Plunges Into Civil War

In 1971, India intervened militarily on behalf of Bengalis in the civil war in East Pakistan, dividing the country in two and helping to create Bangladesh.In 2013, prospects of another civil war in Pakistan — this time one that pits radical Islamists against the secular but authoritarian military — have led once again to questions about what India would do. What would trigger Indian intervention, and who would India support?

In the context of a civil war between Islamists and the army in Pakistan, it is hard to imagine Pakistani refugees streaming into India and triggering intervention as the Bengalis did in 1971. Muslim Pakistanis do not see India as a refuge, and Taliban fighters are likely to seek refuge in Afghanistan, especially if the United States leaves the region.

A more selective spillover, such as the increased threat of terrorism, is possible. But a civil war inside Pakistan is more likely to train radical attention on Pakistan itself than on India.

In fact, the real problem for India would be in Afghanistan. India has already staked a claim in the Afghan endgame, so if Islamists seek an alliance with an Afghan government favoured by India, New Delhi’s best option might be to side covertly with the Islamists against the Pakistani army. But this is unlikely, because for India to actually side with Islamists, US policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan would have to change dramatically.

India arrests man accused of spying for Pakistan


Indian police say they have arrested a man suspected of passing military secrets to arch-rival Pakistan.

The man, an Indian citizen, was held in the western state of Rajasthan near the two countries' border.

Police say he passed details of military exercises held last week to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence.

India and Pakistan frequently accuse each other of spying. The arrest comes after weeks of tension over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The alleged spy is accused of "passing information related to Indian defence installations and military activities", senior police officer DS Dinkar told AFP news agency.

One report says his telephone calls to a relative in Pakistan, who it is alleged works for Pakistani intelligence, were intercepted.

The man was arrested by army intelligence at his house in a village near the town of Pokhran on Sunday and is being questioned by security agencies.

He appeared in court in Jaipur on Monday and was remanded in custody, police sources said.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

India, France sign deal on $ 6 bn Surface to Air Missile


Said Manmohan Singh talks on $ 10-billion deal for Rafale fighter aircraft are 'Progressing well'
 
New Delhi - India and France today Concluded negotiations on the Short Range Surface to Air Missile Nearly worth of $ 6 billion falling on the talks Between French President Francois Holland and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who aussi Said talks on $ 10-billion deal for Rafale fighter aircraft are "Progressing well".
 
After a comprehensive talks, the leaders Exchanged views were Said number was of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest ties Including defense, civil nuclear cooperation, counter-terrorism and situation in Mali.
 
That India is observing Holland's first Asian destination for a bilateral trip, Singh said this Demonstrates the importance of this relationship entre le two countries.
 
"President Holland and I Exchanged views on a number of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest. Reviewed We progress on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project and reiterated our commitment to early implementation icts as soon as the business and technical negotiations, Which Have Made Good progress, are completed, "Said Singh has joined the press event Effective talks.
 

Indian MoD Statement On VVIP AgustaWestland Copter Purchase

This is an unedited statement by the MoD on the acquisition of VVIP helicopters for the IAF, currently suspended the arrest of Effective Finmeccanica CEO Giuseppe Orsi.

The Facts: In August 1999, the IAF is responsible for carrying Which out VVIP communication task, the Proposed replacement of Mi-8 helicopters due to VIP severe operational constraints, Such as, Inability of Mi-8 to operate at night and in adverse weather , Inability to operate safely at places beyond 2000 meters in elevation etc.. IAF felt the need for the replacement of Mi-8 helicopters as They Were Completing Their total technical life.

2. A comprehensive RFP was Issued in March 2002 to 4 Which Responded vendors. The Technical Evaluation Committee shortlisted three helicopters and flight evaluations accordingly Were Conducted. Since, EH-101 of M / s. AgustaWestland was not certified for 6000 meters of altitude year, it did not participate in. the flight evaluation. The Russian helicopter Mi-172 Could not comply with mandatory 7 Operational Requirements (ORs). After flight evaluation, EC-225 of M / s. Eurocopter France was found suitable for acquisition.

India confirms progress in the discussions on the Rafale


President François Hollande arrived in India on February 14 for a two-day official visit. Accompanied by a string of French business leaders, the Head of State assured that help to advance certain issues critical to industrial France.

Questions about the sale of the Rafale did not fail during the joint press conference of François Hollande and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on February 14.

"Discussions on the MMRCA contract (multirole combat aircraft) are progressing well," he told the Indian Prime Minister told reporters.

Progress also recognized by the French President: "The Prime Minister (Indian) and I have seen progress in the discussion and I am hopeful that we can reach a conclusion."

"We're not there to sign contracts but to move files," said the Elysee L'Usine Nouvelle. Indeed, neither the sale of Rafale or the contract to build two EPRs at Jaitapur will be finalized at the time. French side, it was noted that the Indian Army has not used its large contracts signed during state visits.

Good karma for the Rafale Indian


Dassault. The first foreign sale of the "best fighter in the world" would be for this year. The visit to New Delhi François Hollande had to give a policy framework for industrial agreement. Interview with Eric Trappier, the new president of Dassault Aviation.

The happiest man of French industry in 2013 could be Eric Trappier, 52, president of Dassault Aviation since January 9. The sale of the Rafale to India (126 units for approximately $ 15 billion) is expected this year, as all seem to announce the formal and informal indicators. This agreement should give a nice workload for the French Dassault, Thales and Safran. The first 18 aircraft of this market will be assembled in the factory Merignac.

François Hollande's visit to New Delhi and Mumbai, the 14 and 15 February, five days after the Aero India in Bangalore, should give a political framework for the industrial agreement and establish a long-term strategic partnership between France and Asian giant. "Our technical and commercial approach, and visiting the president's political demonstrate a comprehensive understanding," said Eric Trappier. Edelstenne, who gave him orders in January and Serge Dassault were also in Bangalore, with three Rafale Air Force.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

India deliver seven MiG Moscow by 2014


Russia will deliver by 2014 in the Indian Navy on board Mig-29K/KUB seven hunters, said Tuesday the director of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Alexander Fomin.

"Under the contract signed in 2010 on the delivery of 29 MiG-29K/KUB the first four hunters were provided [to the Indian Navy in December 2012]. Seven other devices must be delivered before the end of 2013 "said M.Fomine leads the Russian delegation at the International Aeronautics and Space Aero India 2013.

MiG-29KUB are embedded multirole fighter designed to ensure air supremacy to carrying air defense to reach surface targets with precision weapons, day or night, whatever the weather.

BAE developing next generation Training capabilities for the Indian Hawk


BAE are pleased to announce the extension of the Teaming Agreement with Elbit to develop next generation Indian Hawk airborne simulation capabilities.

BAE will jointly develop leading edge airborne simulation technologies as a response to the Indian Air Force (IAF) Virtual Training System (VTS) requirement. The requirement was first outlined in a Request For Information issued in 2009 and the companies have now extended the teaming agreement in readiness for a formal request from the IAF. This combined effort will build upon both companies extensive experience in the airborne simulation field and incorporate synthetic radar, electronic warfare, countermeasures and weapons into the Hawk Mark 132 mission system architecture. 

It will provide enhanced fast jet training on the Hawk Mark 132 allowing additional skills to be taught to pilots smoothing the transition to front line fast jet Squadrons. The Hawk Mark 132 VTS will revolutionise the IAF pilot training system and make India a world leader in fast jet training.

India Expected to Sign Deals at Major Show


NEW DELHI --- South Asia's biggest airshow kicks off in India on Wednesday, global armament Where FIRMS will be vying for multibillion dollar contracts from the world's biggest import of weapons.

India Launched the biannual event in Aero India 1996, three years before a mini-war with Pakistan Prompted New Delhi to go on a global shopping spree for tens of billions of dollars' worth of hardware to equip icts million-strong military.

A total of 78 countries Have Confirmed Their attendance, while companies from 27 of 'em will showcase latest products at the Their five-day show in Bangalore the hub of India's aviation, space and IT industries.

Rafael Systems to Present at India


Israeli Rafael to present a variety of air defense systems it is Developing at the 2013 exhibition AeroIndia

The Israeli defense company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will present a wide-range of capabilities and technologies at the exhibition AeroIndia 2013, Which will begin this week in India. In the framework of the exhibition, the company will present Numerous air defense systems for the first time, the Iron Dome system Including for Countering missiles and short-range rockets.

Other items That will be presented at the exhibition are the Stunner missile, the David's Sling interceptor system for Protecting against medium-range missiles and rockets, the Spyder air defense system based on the Python-5 and Derby surface-to-air missiles and the MIC4AD, a command and control and air defense missile systems. In the field of precision armaments, Rafael will present the Spice system - an advanced system precision That Provides advanced capabilities to ordinary bombs, and the Spike family of electro-optic multi-purpose missile for ranges of up to 25 kilometers, Which Can Be Launched from a variety of platforms.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tejas Winter Trials At Leh Last Month

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) HAS put out this bunch of stunning photographs of the latest round of winter trials of the LCA Tejas in Leh - the world's Highest air base - in January this year. Will update this post with details of the trials.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

With Engine Project, India Aims For Unmanned Strike Aircraft


 India HAS Refocused homegrown Kaveri engine project icts, originally Intended for icts Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), to developmental unmanned attack aircraft power, is selon Defence Ministry source.

One reason the Kaveri was to power Shifted year unmanned air vehicle strike (USAV) ​​Was That Missile Technology Control Regime restrictions Prevent foreign suppliers from India selling engines That Could give unmanned aerial systems has ranks Greater Than 300 kilometers, the MoD source said.

The engine aussi Would Be used in unmanned combat aerial vehicle year (UCAV) under development.

The Defence Ministry Publicly HAS not abandoned the Kaveri for the LCA, the goal prototype aircraft's Being is powered by the General Electric F404 engine, and a higher-thrust GE-F414 engine has-beens selected to power the Mark of LCA-2 model.

India Hands Over a Dornier Surveillance Aircraft to Seychelles


The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony handed over a Dornier aircraft to monitor the Foreign Minister of Seychelles Mr. Jean-Paul Adam at a function here today. The Maritime Surveillance aircraft will be used to guard the extensive coastline of the island nation in the Indian Ocean. The Dornier 228 Manufactured by the defense public sector Undertaking, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) will be supported by the aussi HAL for maintenance team on site to enable the new user to get the requisite expertise.

The DO-228 is a highly reliable, multi-purpose, fuel efficient, rugged, light weight twin turbo prop aircraft with a retractable tricycle landing gear.

India pledges $1 million to UN-backed mission to Mali


The money raised at the conference will go into a UN trust fund

New Delhi: India has pledged $1 million to the African-led International Support Missions to Mali, which is witnessing violence by militants.

Unequivocally condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, official spokesperson in the ministry of external affairs said the fight against the scourge of militancy should be unrelenting.

He also said India has pledged $ 1 million at the donors’ conference which was held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, earlier this week.

Anti-Maoist ops: IAF copters to get four commandos each Stock


NEW DELHI: IAF to deploy HAS Decided now Garud commandos on each Stock oven icts of helicopters Logistical Undertaking duties in The ongoing anti-Naxalite operations, even as the faces flak for strength leaving behind a Chhattisgarh policeman grievously injured, as well as Mi-damaged icts 17 Maoist stronghold unguarded in a last month.

IAF aussi schedule to complain to the home ministry about the "failure" of the Police Forces to "sanitize" the required 1.5-km area around the helipad since helicopters are vulnerable The most while taking off and landing.

The Mi-17 medium-lift helicopter was forced to make emergency landing Effective year coming under fire from Maoists while descending for a casualty evacuation in the Mission district of Chhattisgarh Sukma on January 18. While the pilots did a good job of landing the helicopter safely, Which was hit by 19 bullets as Many as, what Followed thereafter has come under criticism.

Monday, 28 January 2013

INDIA TESTS NUCLEAR-CAPABLE MISSILE


An Indian news report says India has successfully tested a medium-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile fired from an underwater platform in the Bay of Bengal.
The Press Trust of India news agency says the missile would soon be ready for deployment on platforms, including a nuclear submarine.
India's Defense Ministry spokesman was not available for comment.
Pallava Bagla, a defense expert, said Sunday's test off the east coast was 14th in the series with a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles). It would complete India's nuclear triad - the capability to launch missiles from land, air and below the sea.
India and its nuclear-armed rival Pakistan routinely test different versions of their missiles.

The submarine INS Indian Sindhurakshak will leave Russia after modernization


After a Russian shipyard modernization Zvyozdochka, the submarine Kilo class is ready to join the Indian Navy.

According to Itar-Tass, the submarine INS Sindhurakshak sail January 29.

The submarine has been modernized in Severodvinsk shipyard Zvyozdochka. It was equipped with cruise missiles Club-S radar Porpoise and the refrigeration system has been modernized.

The INS Sindhurakshak is the 5th submarine to be repaired and upgraded by the shipyard Zvyozdochka. The first, INS Sindhuvir, was handed over to the Indian Navy in 1999.

India's Vikramaditya to undergo final trials in mid-2013


India's delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is to undergo trials this summer prior to its delivery to the Indian navy.

Trials cannot commence before June as the port of Severodvinsk, at which the ship is moored, will be icebound until then, Russia's embassy in New Delhi said in a statement on its website.

An Indian navy source separately confirmed that "delivery acceptance trials" will take place this summer, setting the stage for final delivery to the Indian navy.

"On acceptance of the ship from the builder, it will be formally commissioned with the Indian tri-colour being hoisted on top of ship, after which it will start its journey towards India," said the embassy.

"The navy intends to commission the ship in Russia and sail it back to India by October-November 2013. It is expected to join active service by December."

The Vikrmaditya underwent 100 days of sea trials in 2012, culminating in successful flight trials involving RAC MiG-29K/KUB aircraft flown by Russian pilots in November.

Dream of fitting Kaveri engine onto LCA-Tejas over


The dream of fitting Kaveri engine being developed indigenously onto the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft LCA-Tejas appears to be as good as over.
“Kaveri engine as such will never come into LCA,” P S Subramanyam, Director of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), a DRDO lab, which is the nodal agency for the design and development of LCA with HAL as the principal partner, said here. Noting that LCA-Mark 1 and Mark 2 will have engines from GE, he, however, said the LCA would support Kaveri engine’s flight tests and demonstrations and certification.
“As and when there is support required by the Kaveri engine, LCA will give support of its flying test facilities”, Subramanyam said. He expected flying tests of Kaveri engine to lead to its fitting into unmanned air systems. Subramanyam said Kaveri engine-fitted LCA would not go into the Services. “In the production aircraft (LCA) going into the Services, Kaveri engine will not be there.”

Kaveri engine, originally intended to power the LCA, was taken up for development by the Bangalore-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) about two-and-half-decades ago, but the project has been dogged by delays, with the DRDO lab not being fully able to overcome technical challenges and development snags.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO Director General V K Saraswat said unmanned air systems would see the integration of Kaveri engine for different applications. Kaveri engine will be demonstrated on board an Indian origin aircraft, added Saraswat, also Secretary in the Department of Defence (R&D).

Sunday, 27 January 2013

India test fires missile from under sea, completes nuclear triad


After a smooth countdown at 1.40 pm today, India's missile, named BO5, emerged effortlessly breaking the balmy waters of the Bay of Bengal. The missile was launched from an approximate depth of about 50 metres, simulating exactly the conditions as would prevail during an operational launch from India's indigenously made nuclear-powered submarine bINS Arihant. The missile whose name has been variously given as Sagarika or at times K-15 or even Dhanush has finally been christened as BO5 and is a medium-range ballistic missile.

After emerging from the water, the missile followed a copy book track of its trajectory and hit its target about six minutes after launch in a very precise manner. The trajectory was tracked using several cameras and radars specially deputed for this launch.

This is the fourteenth consecutively successful launch of this potent weapons system which has till now always been done in complete secrecy. This was the last developmental launch and now the weapons system is ready to be integrated with the Indian submarines, says AK Chakrabarty, the man who designed and perfected this naval missile system and is also the director of the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad. He spoke exclusively to NDTV on board the ship which controls the missile launch. This sophisticated technology has been mastered only by the USA, Russia, France and China. India has now joined this select club of five, and has now completed what is called the nuclear triad, which essentially gives India the capability to launch at will its nuclear weapons from air, land and sea.

India parades brand-new intercontinental ballistic missile


India used its annual Republic Day parade to display its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile, just hours after the country’s president made loaded comments about its relationship with long-time antagonist Pakistan.

Republic Day, nominally a national holiday celebrating the introduction of a constitution following independence, is traditionally a display of nationalistic fervor, capped by a massive procession showing off all the latest military hardware.

The pride of place this year was taken by Agni-V, a new-generation missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads as far as China and central Russia, which has been developed at a cost of more than half a billion US dollars. Although the missile underwent a successful test launch in August last year, this was the first time it has been shown to the wider public.

With a range of at least 5,500 km (with some experts claiming its true “classified” reach is actually 8,000 km) the project puts India in an elite club of nuclear superpowers with intercontinental capabilities. The only other countries with such weapons are the US, Russia, UK, France and China (Israel also produces long-range missiles, but does not officially possess nuclear weapons).The display was covered closely by Chinese media, which have previously reacted warily to India’s desire to develop a longer-range weapon.

HAL to hand over 2 Rudra helicopters to Army


The Indian Army will be handed over the first two weapon system integrated (WSI) version of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH-Mk-IV) Rudra, during Aero India 2013.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) chairman R K Tyagi told Express that Rudra will also be available for customer demonstration flights during the show. "Rudra will definitely add more teeth to Indian Army and we will roll out more production units to the squadron," he said.

Express had earlier reported that around 70 Rudras will fly out of HAL to meet Army's initial requirements.

"In addition to the redundant flight critical systems, IR suppressor, armour panels, crashworthy features and self-sealing fuel tanks enhance the survivability of the helicopter in the battlefield environment," Tyagi said.

Rudra can carry a mix of weapons providing it with capability to search and destroy any target. Systems like electro-optic pod, helmet-mounted sight and fixed sight facilitating firing of the onboard weapons (20 mm turret gun, 70mm rockets and Air-to-Air missiles), makes it an unforgiving machine.

DRDO working on Rs 6k cr AWACS project


 India has started to develop a Rs 6,000 crore Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) programme, scientific adviser to the defence minister, Dr V.K. Saraswat, informed the media here on Friday.

“The AWACS will be able to penetrate into enemy territory for longer distances, not physically, but by way of radars and electronic warfare systems. The Government of India has given its clearance for the programme and the DRDO has begun to work on it,” said Dr Saraswat, who is also the director-general of DRDO.

Asked what benefits AWACS offer as compared to the AEW&C system that India currently uses, Dr Saraswat said that a combination of both systems is used all over the world. However, AWACS gives better coverage -- 360 degrees as compared to 270 degrees by AEW&C. The AWACS can fly at higher altitudes, for longer distances and for longer durations, he said.

Two AEW&C aircraft will be ready this year and all the three aircraft that the Indian Air Force has ordered will be delivered by 2014, Dr Saraswat added.

The first made-in-Bengaluru missile, Nir­bhay, is ready to be launched next month. Dr Saraswat said that the long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile was in the final stage of integration and has very good stealth features. “Nirbhay will be flight tested next month from Chandipur in Orissa,” said P. S. Krishnan, director, Aeronautical Develop­ment Establishment, DRDO.

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Top 5 Navies of the Indo-Pacific


Who’s No. 1?
Rather than rank Asian navies by tiresome (if essential) bean-counting measures, why not rank them by the standard that truly matters, namely their capacity to execute the missions national leaders entrust to them—and thence to fulfill operational and strategic aims? The seafaring nation that best matches purposes with power, political aspirations with strategy and forces, stands the best chance of achieving its goals. Also crucial is the threat environment, the true arbiter of how much naval power is enough. What better way to assign the title of Asia’s top navy? Herewith, my list of the Top 5 Indo-Pacific navies:

1. South Korean Navy.The American, Chinese, and Japanese fleets garner most of the attention, but Seoul has quietly assembled a navy that fits with South Korea’s modest goals, such as countering North Korean depredations in offshore waters and intercepting missiles Pyongyang may loft the South’s way. The navy boasts a contingent of Aegis destroyers, along with helicopter carriers and other state-of-the-art warships. This panoply of hardware allows the ROK Navy to take part in seaborne ventures alongside the U.S. Navy and other advanced forces. For my money the ROK Navy stands an excellent chance of executing the missions assigned to it.


2. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Like the ROK Navy, the JMSDF is modest in size yet well-equipped, sporting Aegis destroyers, light aircraft carriers, and an elite diesel submarine force. It also enjoys the advantage of operating as a combined force with the U.S. Navy. The security alliance not only supplements Japan’s national defense but also sharpens up seamanship and tactics within the officer and enlisted corps. In fact, I might rate the JMSDF Asia’s top sea service but for Tokyo’s informal cap on defense spending at 1 percent of GDP. This limits the navy’s size and ambitions at a time when the geopolitical situation is swiftly deteriorating. Tripling the 1 percent figure would approximate a reasonable standard for a nation at peace. Whether Japan’s newly installed LDP government can shatter that ceiling remains to be seen.

3. U.S. Navy. The U.S. Navy doubtless remains the world’s foremost, ship for ship and plane for plane, but it has scattered assets around the globe despite talk of a pivot to Asia. That attenuates its standing in the Indo-Pacific. Rather than pivot to Asia, the navy plans to dribble a few more assets into the region over several years. Whether Washington will step up the pace—concentrating forces in the Indo-Pacific to match its Asia-centric strategy with steel—is one open question. How many assets will be in the inventory is another. Admiral J. C. Wylie points out that Congress makes strategic decisions through the budgetary process, whether lawmakers realize it or not. Quite so. Sea power is a political choice, not a birthright. Observers in the region understand that, whether your average congressman does or not. Tracking trends in the fleet’s size and disposition will say much about the direction of U.S. maritime strategy.



4. Indian Navy. New Delhi’s naval project continues to make fitful progress. Engineering problems with the Vikramaditya, nee Admiral Gorshkov, dominated headlines last year. Such deficiencies are correctable. More worrisome is the slow rate of “indigenization,” meaning the domestic defense industry’s capacity to design and manufacture high-tech military gear. Unable to supply its own needs, the Indian military continues to procure armaments from a variety of foreign suppliers, creating interoperability, logistical, and maintenance challenges for itself within the force. On the other hand, New Delhi has exhibited remarkable foreign-policy restraint, confining its ambitions to the realm of the achievable. So long as political leaders refrain from writing checks the Indian Navy can’t cash, the nation can tolerate quite a few fits and starts in its naval buildup

.

5. People’s Liberation Army Navy. China-watchers, including yours truly, have made much of the PLA Navy’s rapid maturation into a top-tier force. Material progress has made Beijing a worthy strategic competitor in short order. But the quality of Chinese vessels and aircraft remains opaque to outside observers, in large part because the fleet doesn’t ply the sea constantly in the manner of a U.S. Navy or JMSDF. China’s navy operates its equipment under real-world conditions too seldom to let outsiders render confident judgment. Whether Chinese mariners are becoming proficient is another unsettled question. A safe guess is that they lag behind the other fleets on this list in the all-important human dimension, simply because seafarers hone their skills by going to sea—a lot.
But the core problem besetting Beijing is one of its own making. Its foreign-policy ambitions have outrun the size and capability of the fleet. If the leadership means to uphold the interests it has carved out all along the Asian periphery, ranging from Japan to the north to the Strait of Malacca to the south, the PLA Navy still has a long way to go. Armed forces that disperse assets everywhere find themselves weak everywhere. Chinese leaders could learn from Indian self-restraint in this respect. Will they? Don’t hold your breath.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Boeing Delivers Indian Air Force's 1st C-17 to Flight Test


LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 23, 2013 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] on Jan. 22 delivered -- on schedule -- the first of 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters for the Indian Air Force (IAF). India's first C-17 will now enter a U.S. Air Force flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, Calif. Boeing is on track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year and five in 2014.

"The C-17 met the stipulated airlift requirements of the Indian Air Force when it flew field evaluation trials in India during June 2010," said Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, Air Attaché at the Embassy of India. "It was exciting to see the C-17 fly again, this time with Indian Air Force markings, as the airlifter completed its first-flight milestone on Jan. 11. We look forward to the day that the first IAF C-17 flies over India."

"The C-17's ability to operate in extremely hot and cold climates; transport large payloads across vast ranges; and land on short, austere runways makes it ideal for India's airlift needs," said Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 program manager. "We value our continued partnership with India and the U.S. government and will provide dedicated support as India's first C-17 enters flight testing."

India's Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. government on June 15, 2011, to acquire 10 C-17 airlifters, making India the largest C-17 customer outside the United States. The governments finalized the Foreign Military Sales contract for the airframe on June 6, 2012.

New RAF unit strengthens relationship with United Arab Emirates


The RAF's 906 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) was stood up in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on 15 January 2013, marking a significant milestone in relations with the UAE.

Based at Al Minhad Air Base in the UAE, 906 EAW’s tasks will include the provision of support to air transport links between the UK and deployed operations in Afghanistan, as well as logistic support to deployed forces.

The newly-stood-up EAW will also be responsible for supporting RAF aircraft conducting joint exercises in the region. The RAF’s Typhoon and E-3D Sentry aircraft have recently been exercising with multinational contingents at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE.

Aircraft have also joined the Advanced Tactical Leadership Course that has been hosted for the past 10 years by the Emirates.

906 Expeditionary Air Wing in the United Arab Emirates [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2013]
Air Commodore Phil Beach, UK Air Component Commander, 83 Expeditionary Air Group, was at Al Minhad Air Base to mark the formal stand-up of 906 EAW. He said:
The standing up of 906 Expeditionary Air Wing in the United Arab Emirates marks an important milestone for the RAF and underlines the continued strong relationship that we share with our UAE friends.

In Kashmir, we are preparing for a nuclear war


Police in Indian Kashmir diffuse circular advising its citizens to build underground shelters "where the whole family can stay for a fortnight" in the event of a nuclear war in the disputed region between India and Pakistan two nuclear powers.

"If the shock wave does not arrive within five seconds after the flash is that you were far enough away from the place of explosion," says the circular, entitled Protection against nuclear, biological and chemical .

"The force of the blast last a minute or two ... Cuts and bruises are no different from ordinary injury. The blindness is temporary and should go for a few seconds, "it added.

According to the Deputy Inspector General of passive defense in the police in Indian Kashmir, Mubarak Ganai, the circular part of a regular program of preparation for the passive defense - protecting people in the event of war. Its distribution would thus not related to recent tensions with neighboring Pakistan.

Tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) have revived in January after several deadly incidents between soldiers of both sides. Since 1947, the two countries have clashed twice over Kashmir.

India Buys 99 GE F414 Engines to Power LCA


India and the US have finalized a Rs 3000-crore deal for supplying 99 jet engines to be used in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’ being developed by the DRDO.

Around two years ago, India had selected the American company General Electric over its rival European Eurojet 2000 for the LCA Mark II program expected to be ready around 2014-15.

“The deal worth Rs 3,000 crore has been finalized with the US for procuring 99 engines for the LCA Tejas MkII,” DRDO officials said here.

As per the contract, the order could be for 99 engines initially but India will have the option of ordering another 100 engines in the future.

The engine on offer for the LCA Mark II is GE F-414 engine, which are more powerful that the GE F-404 engines fitted in the first batch of LCAs that the Indian Air Force would receive in near future.

The need for changing the existing engines in the LCAs was felt after the IAF found out that the GE-404 engines were not providing enough power to the aircraft and more powerful engines were needed for the purpose.

The DRDO is developing the LCA Mk II to meet the Air Force requirements and it will have latest technological equipment including the Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) radar and would be able to carry more payload than the LCA Mk I.

HAL to be integrator of fighter jets in MMRCA project: Def Min


The Defence Ministry has suggested that the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. would be the lead integrator for producing 108 multi-role combat aircraft in the country after French firm Dassault Aviation sought to play a bigger role in the multi-billion dollar project.

"The role of HAL is already defined in the Request for Proposal for the MMRCA project. It says that the main body, aero-engines, air frame and the integration shall be done by the HAL," Secretary (Defence Production) R K Mathur said on Monday at the Aero India 2013 press conference here.

The top official in the Department of Defence Production was asked to clarify on the role of the HAL in the project in view of the demand made by Dassault Aviation.

Dassault, which has bagged the IAF deal for supplying 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, has asked the Ministry to define the role of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. in the project.

As per the tender, first 18 of the 126 aircraft are to be supplied by Rafale from its facilities and the rest 108 are to be license produced and integrated by the HAL at its facilities here.

Saft Opens a battery plant in Bangalore, India


The French manufacturer Saft has inaugurated Tuesday battery plant in Bangalore, India, enabling it to double its production capacity in the country, he announced.

These additional capabilities will enable Saft to meet the growing demand for energy storage in India, especially for power plants and renewable energy programs, while meeting the demand for battery backup of the defense sector and the oil and gas industry , the company said in a statement.

The factory of 7,000 square meters must also supply the Indian market rail (subways and trains at high speed), while major investment projects are planned over the next five years.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Delhi gang-rape case starts in fast-track court


Legal proceedings in the fatal gang-rape attack on a student in India's capital began Monday in a fast-track court for crimes against women that has stirred debate over how best to deliver justice to rape victims.
Five men face charges they raped and murdered a 23-year-old woman aboard a moving bus in the capital last month in an assault that shocked many in the country for its brutality. A sixth suspect in the attack claims to be a juvenile and his case is being handled separately.
The court was also to hear arguments Monday from defense lawyers appealing for the case, currently being held in a closed court, to be opened to the public, court officials said.
"There is an immense interest in the public in this case, let it be all out in the open court," one of the defense lawyers, A.P. Singh, said.
Police say the victim and a male friend were heading home from an evening movie Dec. 16 when they boarded a bus, where they were attacked by the six assailants. The attackers beat the man and raped the woman, causing her massive internal injuries with a metal bar, police said.
The victims were eventually dumped on the roadside, and the woman died two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Cure That Is Worse Than The Disease


 India is in an uproar over the January 8 th Pakistani army attack on two Indian soldiers and the beheading of one of them. This is made worse by Pakistan insisting they are blameless and it is India that is the aggressor because of three Pakistani soldiers killed since January 6th. Indians point out this sort of nonsense has been going on for decades and it’s time to stop it. India has been trying to make peace with Pakistan for over fifty years but the Pakistani military is not interested. A constant state of tension with India is good for the Pakistani generals, who can justify getting more of the national wealth to defend against this fictional “Indian aggression.” More and more Pakistanis are realizing that they have been deceived and now the generals are under pressure to halt their illegal acts. This includes crimes within Pakistan, like the secret kidnappings and murders of Pakistanis. Most of this happens in the southwest (Baluchistan) but it’s also used against journalists or politicians seen as a threat to the military. More Pakistanis are up in arms over the three decades of military support for Islamic terrorist groups. Originally meant as a weapon against India (whose military was unbeatable) and corrupt politicians and businessmen, the terrorists are now seeking to seize control of the government, form a religious dictatorship, and fire most of the officers. India now threatens to attack if the border violence does not stop, but the Pakistani military continues to deny any responsibility for it. The Pakistani military, instead of providing security, has conjured up new threats. What the Pakistani generals believed was a cure for the nation’s problems has turned out to be a curse that is worse than the disease.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

India to store missiles near Pak & China borders


 India has launched a major plan to construct underground shelters for storing missiles, rockets and ammunition close to the borders with Pakistan and China. Apart from providing better logistics on the front in the event of a war, these underground dumps will also ensure critical war-fighting ordnance is better protected from enemy attacks as well as the weather.
Sources said Army chief General Bikram Singh is keen that at least 2,000-2,500 metric tonnes of ammunition that is "expensive and operationally important'' should be stored in such underground shelters in the operational areas of the Northern and Eastern Army Commands, a report in the Indian media said.
With Beijing being considered the "real long-term threat'' despite the current tensions with Islamabad along the Line of Control, two pilot projects have been taken up for construction of "underground and tunnelled'' storage of ammunition in Leh and Sikkim along the "northern borders'' with China.
Initially, Army, DRDO and other experts had selected five sites in the north-east and two in J&K for the underground shelters. The choice was narrowed down to a site each in Leh and Sikkim with the help of "geo-technical reports'', which looked at 40-50 parameters, for the pilot projects.
"Once the first two projects take off, similar ones will be undertaken along the western border with Pakistan. The underground shelters will make it difficult for the enemy to detect and destroy our ammunition dumps. Both China and the US store most of their ammunition in tunnels, caves and other underground shelters,'' said a source.

India and Pakistan: Getting Along with the Peace Process


The incident of killing and mutilation of two soldiers of the Indian Army—and especially the beheading of one of them— by intruding Pakistani forces on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) has threatened to derail the India-Pakistan peace process. On the back of the public outcry over the incident, a usually soft-spoken Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement that there cannot be “business as usual”. The government has decided to “pause” the implementation of the liberal visa regime on ‘technical’ grounds. Against this backdrop, the following questions come to mind: is India-Pakistan peace process sustainable? Can they be de-linked from the events on the ground, especially in Kashmir? Can Pakistan’s fledging democracy be a partner in this long and tardy path of peace?

Scepticism about the longevity of bilateral dialogue has been a perennial feature of discourse on India-Pakistan relations ever since the two countries restarted the peace process in the aftermath of the ghastly Mumbai attack with the Indian government extending a hand of peace in spite of certain reservations expressed in the country regarding the future of the peace process.

The two countries have been observing a ceasefire along the LoC since 2003, although the number of ceasefire violations has increased over time. From the Pakistani side there has been a slow move towards increasing contact with India without at the same time insisting on the ‘core issue’; in effect, Pakistan seemed to be adopting a holistic approach towards its relationship with India. Two reasons are self-evident for this new Pakistani approach. First, there appears to be a broad understanding among the political parties in Pakistan to stay engaged with India with the objective of reducing bilateral tensions. Second, there is a conscious effort not to over-emphasise India as a enemy, which inevitably empowers the Army and emboldens its position vis-à-vis the political forces in Pakistan.

Beijing is choking (and can't hide it anymore)


China is choking; thick smog has engulfed major cities on the country’s eastern coast including Beijing since 11 January 2013 and it looks unlikely to clear up soon. The US Embassy in Beijing operates an Air Quality Index (AQI) based on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards in major Chinese cities. On 12 January, Beijing's reading on the AQI was above 700 for the particle PM 2.5 during the major part of the day.1 PM 2.5 is the smallest but most dangerous particle for respiratory health. The city authorities have issued an advisory for people to stay indoors as a precaution. Beijing’s smog, while recurrent, has been at its worst this winter and is an example of what is wrong with China’s political economy. China’s unending pursuit of the mythical comprehensive national power is fraught with many inherent contradictions. While environmental challenges like the unprecedented smog are the most dramatic as well as serious manifestations of these contradictions, there are other issues such as a floating population, suppressed wages and land monopoly that are equally pertinent but less visible to an outsider. While it is difficult to narrow down the causes of China’s environmental challenges, a few significant ones can be identified.
Unequal Natural Distribution

China has always faced major resources challenges. Its national water distribution pattern denotes that. Its densely populated and industrialized provinces are water stressed. To solve this problem, China has undertaken a massive south-north water transfer scheme that is costly, technologically challenging and also involves a massive relocation of people. However, this is underway despite these challenges.
Energy Challenges

Friday, 18 January 2013

Rudra attack version for Aero India 2013


Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. said it will unveil the long-awaited weaponized version of its Rudra advanced light helicopter at Aero India 2013 next month.

The army will get its first indigenously built Rudra choppers, powered by twin Shakti engines, before the end of the government's fiscal year March 31, HAL Chairman R.K. Tyagi told The Times of India newspaper.

"The combat capability of ALH is enhanced with an electronic warfare suite and counter-measure devices such as flares and chaffs dispensers," Tyagi said.

"Sighting systems such as electro-optical pod and helmet-pointing systems have been integrated to augment target aiming capabilities."

The Rudra uses an integrated architecture display system with multifunction displays for the pilot and has weapons such as a 20mm turreted gun, 70mm rockets and air-to-air missiles.

The Rudra -- one of the names of Lord Shiva considered by Hindus as destroyer of enemies -- will be used for airborne assault, logistics support, reconnaissance, casualty evacuation and, thanks to thermal imaging functions, antitank warfare.

Indian Rafale: Nothing new under the sun


Some French media have packed a bit yesterday, referring to the fact that India can control up to 189 Rafale combat aircraft, 63 more than the 126 contract currently under negotiation. This possibility, raised during the visit to France by the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs, is actually not new. Since the beginning, it was officially stated several times, the Indian program MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) shall relate to 126 aircraft, with optional bracket including a possible reordered a lot additional of 50% the initial contract (ie exactly 63 devices).

In the final against the Eurofighter, Rafale has emerged in 2012 as first choice for the Indian authorities.These are, therefore, entered into exclusive negotiations with the French team, led by Dassault Aviation industrially. Discussions are continuing with a view to ending - happy that Paris hopes - in 2013. A period which may seem long but is easily explained by the complexity of the contract, which involves a significant transfer of technology to the Indians to make their future aircraft on site.

Navalized version remains a hypothesis

These are for the Indian Air Force New Delhi but could possibly use if she wants to equip its Rafale aircraft carrier. Since its inception, the French combat aircraft has, indeed, been declined in a navalized version, in service since 2001 in the Navy, which implements from Charles de Gaulle. Appontant on a track with oblique strands stop and catapults launched by the French aircraft carrier, the Rafale is also able to embark on buildings with a platform instead of catapults (but always with an oblique track and stop strands), which is the case for new Indian aircraft carrier Vikramaditya and Vikrant. Studies by French engineers have validated the feasibility of this configuration. For the moment, India has never officially mentioned in the MMRCA project, device integration navalisés for its naval aviation, which will normally be equipped with Russian MiG-29K. But it seems clear that the authorities in New Delhi have been spared this potentiality. This would explain the appearance in any case, during the competition between manufacturers, views of artists with a Eurofighter navalisé (version of the expert opinion is technically infeasible, except redoing the plane, since it n was not originally designed for the stresses of carrier aviation, such as the need to train more robust and a reinforced structure for landings). Not forgetting of course the studies carried out in France on the ability to implement a Rafale with a springboard. Just in case ...

Dassault Rafale Pushes Up Order To India, India Says 'Good Wine Takes Time'

Wire agency reports today suggest Dassault Aviation and the French government are looking to persuade the Indian government to IMMEDIATELY exercise options for 63 additional Rafale fighters over and above the 126 it looks to contract as MMRCA acquisition of the share. A proposal of sorts was raised by When the French foreign minister's India Salman Khurshid visited Paris last week. "Presently the contract under negotiation is for 126 aircraft order we are talking about the follow-up," AFP quoted a source as saying. It aussi quoted the Indian foreign minister as saying, When Asked about When a contract signed Would Be, " We Know Good French wine takes time to mature and so do good contracts. The contract details are Being Worked out. Already HAS A decision taken beens , just wait a little for the cork to pop and you'll have some good wine to taste . "

India may buy more Rafale than expected

While India is negotiating with Dassault Aviation Rafale purchase of 126, an option of 63 additional aircraft is also being discussed, according to AFP. A scenario that would increase the value of the order of 12 to 18 billion.

It is not 126 but up to 189 Rafale that India could order Dassault Aviation AFP. Contract that happen to be worth 12 to 18 billion dollars according to the Indian press. This scenario of 63 optional units have been raised by the news agency during the visit of Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Paris last week.François Hollande is due to visit India in mid-February.

"There is an option to purchase 63 additional aircraft for which a separate contract should be signed. Currently negotiating the contract covers 126 aircraft," said a source close to the talks. But "also known as the following," including slices additional commands, added another source.

First aircraft delivered after signing three

As a reminder, in January 2012 the Rafale was chosen by India Eurofighter (manufactured by BAE Systems, EADS and Finmeccanica). Since the two sides are negotiating. The first 18 Rafale would be built in France, following the 108 assembled in India by Hindustan Aeronautics aerospace group. "The first aircraft will be delivered three years after signing the contract," said one of the sources told AFP.

"This is the time necessary for the production chain, the Indian army having first need seater aircraft while Dassault as other manufacturers currently producing cars," said an expert. India seeks compensation (offset) up to half of the contract for the benefit of the industry. Dassault and HAL should identify areas where Indian industry can contribute to the program. "The negotiations are progressing well off-sets", provided a source familiar with the matter.

India Mulls Big Jump in French Rafale Order


 India could buy up to 189 of the Rafale fighter jets currently being used by France to bomb Islamist militants in Mali, sources close to negotiations on the multi-billion dollar deal have told AFP.

The possibility of an additional 63 jets being added to an expected order for 126 was raised by India when Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid visited Paris last week, they said.

“There is an option for procurement of an additional 63 aircrafts subsequently, for which a separate contract would need to be signed,” a source said. “Presently the contract under negotiation is for 126 aircraft, but we are talking about the follow-up.”

The Indian press has estimated the value of the deal for 126 Rafales at $12 billion (nine billion euros). A 50 percent increase in the number of planes ordered would take it to around $18 billion in a huge boost for the French defense industry.

India selected French manufacturer Dassault Aviation as its preferred candidate to equip its air force with new fighter jets in January 2012. Under the deal on the table, the first 18 Rafales would be built in France, but the next 108 would be assembled in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

“The first aircraft will be delivered three years after signature of the contract,” the source added.

An industry expert said the time lag reflected India’s request for two-seater jets rather than the one-seater model that Dassault currently produces.

India has insisted that the deal involves significant technology transfer and that Indian suppliers secure work equivalent to around half of the value of the contract.

Pakistan urges India to cool rhetoric over Kashmir


 Pakistan urged India on Thursday to tone down the "Pakistan bashing" over a spate of military clashes in Kashmir between the nuclear-armed neighbors, and again offered foreign minister-level talks to try to cool tensions.
"I think it is important not to let this cycle escalate into something which becomes even more ugly than it is today," Pakistani High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said in an interview with Reuters. "Let's try to see if we can cool down and resume normal business."
Three Pakistani and two Indian soldiers have been killed this month in the worst outbreak of tit-for-tat violence in Kashmir since India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along a de facto border there nearly a decade ago.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since partition in 1947, two of them over the Himalayan region that both claim.
Following public and media outrage after India said one of its soldiers had been decapitated, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there could be "no business as usual" with Pakistan, and the army chief said his commanders should retaliate if provoked.
Bashir said India could have worked with Pakistan to get to the bottom of what happened instead of "stirring raw emotions and upping the rhetoric", adding that "Pakistan bashing has become fashionable" in India.
He told Reuters that the killing of the soldiers on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir was not carried out by Pakistani troops.

India awakens to its grass-roots power

It’s common these days for people to compare India with China and conclude that maybe democracy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In India, they note, power shortages force factories to rely on generators, and investors may spend years trying to gain title to land for construction. In China, by contrast, power plants, factories and entire mega-cities seem to sprout overnight. Sleek trains streak across China’s countryside while Indians cram themselves into — or cling to the tops of — wheezing old buses.

These are caricatures, of course: Most Chinese cannot afford to ride on their high-speed rail; New Delhi’s Metro is modern and efficient. But when I asked about the comparison, a senior Indian official did not dispute the advantages of a one-party state in propelling infrastructure projects forward. Instead, he told me, India has advantages of its own.

You can see the possibility of one such advantage emerging from the extraordinary month of ferment, protests and soul-searching that has followed a horrific gang rape here Dec. 16.

The details of that crime have been told and retold: A 23-year-old woman and her boyfriend boarded what they thought was a public bus, only to be brutally beaten and, in the woman’s case, repeatedly raped and then left bleeding on the road. She died days later.

It is more than the random brutality that captured Indians’ attention. The victim’s story spoke to “the aspirations of new, young India,” the feminist author and publisher Urvashi Butalia told me, “not of the already rich but of those who can just begin to see the opportunities that may be offered by a changing country.”

The victim was from a poor farming family but was training as a physical therapist. She was lower-caste but dating a Brahmin. They had just seen “The Life of Pi” in one of the capital’s new malls — public spaces that allow young men and women to socialize as never before.

“New, young India” reacted to her barbarous end with an outraged determination that stunned those in power. Facebook- and text-message-fueled demonstrations at first demanded vengeance against the rapists; evolved into demands for better policing, better-lighted streets and swifter justice; and then moved into broader conversations about prejudice against females in schools, bureaucracies, offices — and inside families.

India’s lively media jumped on board and have not let up. In one investigation, a CNN-IBN television crew challenged a father who had disowned his daughter after her rape. “She should have protected her honor,” he said.

“Was it her fault?” the (female) reporter pressed.

A Sunday talk show took up workplace harassment (“Have you slept with your boss?” it asked in an instant poll, to which 3 percent said yes) and suggestive dancing in Bollywood movies (“Is it time for cinema to introspect on how it portrays women?” Eighty-six percent said yes.).

Newspapers invited women to tell their stories, anonymously if they chose, and reported old crimes that had received no attention when they occurred. Unimaginable ugliness and despair have been exposed in an unrelenting torrent: rapes inside homes, kept secret; rapes that police refuse to investigate; rapes by police of rape victims seeking justice. Some Indians bridle at the picture being presented to the world.

But the world has seen something else as well: thousands of Indians taking action, not as members of a particular party, caste or religion but as individuals joining to demand more responsiveness from their government and to talk about changing their culture, attitudes and schools.

The protests build on a similar grass-roots uprising against corruption last year. This time, protests of solidarity have taken place in Bangladesh and Pakistan and as far away as Egypt.

In China, state-controlled media “have really been going to town on this,” Butalia told me. Though she has worked for decades to raise awareness about violence against women in India, she found herself bridling at Chinese reporters’ loaded questions, “as if you can’t even walk out of the house” in India. “China does not release reliable statistics about rape,” she noted.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

India increases Rafale fighter jets' order


India could buy up to 189 of the Rafale fighter jets currently being used by France to bomb Islamist militants in Mali, sources close to negotiations on the multi-billion dollar deal have told AFP.   The possibility of an additional 63 jets being added to an expected order
for 126 was raised by India when foreign minister Salman Khurshid visited Paris last week, they said.

"There is an option for procurement of an additional 63 aircrafts subsequently for which a separate contract would need to be signed," a source said.

"Presently the contract under negotiation is for 126 aircraft but we are talking about the follow-up."

The Indian press has estimated the value of the deal for 126 Rafales at $12 billion (nine billion euros).

A 50% increase in the number of planes ordered would take it to around $18 billion giving a huge boost for the French defence industry.

India selected French manufacturer Dassault Aviation as its preferred candidate to equip its air force with new fighter jets in January 2012.

LoC peaceful after DGMOs talk: Antony to Cabinet


The Line of Control is peaceful since the top military commanders of India and Pakistan agreed on Wednesday to de-escalate the tension triggered by last week's brutal killing of two Indian soldiers.

The LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, the scene of repeated ceasefire violations, has been
quiet and the tension has eased since the telephonic talk between Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs), army sources said.

The issue of Indo-Pak tension came up on Thursday in the Union Cabinet meeting which was briefed by defence minister AK Antony and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on the situation arising out of the January 8 incident in which two Indian jawans were killed, one of them beheaded by Pakistani troops.

Antony told the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that tensions have eased on the LoC since the 10-minute talk between the DGMOs on Wednesday, sources said.

He told the meeting that the ceasefire has been holding since on Wednesday and there has been de-escalation of tension, the sources added.

The Indian DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia and his Pakistan counterpart Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem had on Wednesday agreed not to allow escalation of tensions along the LoC.

Pakistan's DGMO conveyed that orders have been passed to the troops to strictly observe the ceasefire and exercise restraint, according to Indian army spokesman.

Khurshid told the meeting that Pakistan has indicated readiness for bilateral talks instead of its earlier suggestion for a UN probe into the incident, the sources said.

Coast Guard identifies vessel which rammed fishing boat off Kozhikode coast


KOCHI: The Coast Guard on Thursday identified the Panama flag merchant vessel which rammed a fishing boat off Kozhikode coast injuring three fishermen.

According to Coast Guard officials, the vessel has been identified as M V Isumo. ''We have directed the vessel to come to Kochi for further inquiry in connection with the incident," the Coast Guard officials said.

Officials said that the vessel immediately fled the scene after the accident and the vessel was traced after the Coast Guard launched a Dornier aircraft and two fast patrol vessels to track it.

It was on Wednesday afternoon that three fishermen were injured when their boat collided with the merchant vessel off Beypore coast near Kozhikode. The fishing boat sank in the collision and the fishermen were rescued by another fishing boat which was in the vicinity.

52-year-old man arrested for entering ISRO centre using fake ID


 In a security breach, a 52-year-old man entered the sensitive area of ISRO's cryogenic engine testing centre at Mahendragiri near here using a fake identity card and was arrested along with two others who facilitated his ingress.

Police said Jaya Singh, who is the father-in-law of the space agency's contract employee Krishnakumar, had entered the area using a fake ID card given by him and an ISRO contractor Diraviyam before he was picked up on suspicion by the Central Industrial and Security Force manning the centre.

Singh gave contradictory replies when questioned by the CISF who later handed him over to police.

Singh, an employee of the Oman Government Transport Corporation, claimed that he had come only to have a look at the centre where the cryogenic engine was tested but he also entered the liquid propulsion testing area, both out of bounds for outsiders.

Krishnakumar and Diraviyam were arrested for giving him the fake ID card to gain entry into the centre, police said.

All the three have been booked on charges including trespass, forgery and violation of the Official Secrets Act.

ISI fomented BTAD trouble to destabilize country: Gogoi


Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today blamed both external forces, including Pakistan's ISI, and internal elements for fomenting trouble in BTAD area in the state to destabilise the country.

"The trouble in BTAD area last year was a part of a greater design by both internal and external forces like the ISI to not only to destabilise Assam but the country as well," Gogoi told reporters here.

"The role of insurgents and ISI is there. These forces were certainly involved in the Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts (BTAD) trouble. Otherwise how did it happen," he asked.

The ongoing CBI probe will reveal the anti-national forces as well as those from outside involved in the BTAD violence, he said.

The involvement of some political forces in the month- long violence that claimed about a hundred lives and left about 4.5 lakh people homeless, would also be exposed by the CBI investigation, he said.

The role of the social networking media was also being investigated. "Otherwise from where were the bulk SMSes (about northeasterners living outside the region to be targeted following the violence and resulted in mass exodus) sent?"

As the social media cannot be regulated in a democracy, the state government in consultation with the Centre is trying to work out a strategy for such a situation.

New Indian Political tones of Hip Hop


Almost a decade ago in 2004, the National Hip-Hop Political Convention attracted numerous youngsters in the process of politicizing hip-hop. Russel Simmons’s Hip Hop Summit Action Network made its waves marking the days of real political reckoning and making formal political agenda. Two years later, Nas’s album Hip Hop is Dead generated much furor, especially from the South which was articulated through T-shirts claiming ‘Hip Hop Ain’t Dead. It Lives in the South.’Subsequently, Mickey Hess authored a book asking Is Hip Hop Dead? (Praeger, Westport, 2007). Moving from these all scenarios from its heartland in America, hip-hop has generated much vibrancies in South Asian context. Various albums in Hindi, Tamil, and other languages attracted wider audiences. Remarkably, those all were away from muchpolitical articulations.
Nevertheless, a new band called Mappila Lahala has come up with its first hip-hop single Native Bappa (written and directed by Muhsin Parari) on December 31, 2012. In only two days of its release via YouTube, it got more than one-lakh hits (which will be much more through its sharing via social networking sites). Apart from the enthusiastic responses in social networking media, regional television channels and print media alike provided an exciting coverage. This recent knockout of a hip-hop song in South India has to be read with its underpinned political content. Native Bappa is a sorrowful monologue of a father whose son has been labeled and arrested as a traitor and terrorist and now has been killed. He expounds the police arrested his son charging they found bombs with his son. He says that his son is scared of even the crackers, forget the explosives. However he also says that now his wife is telling that if their son is a traitor, she doesn’t want to see his dead-body as he deceived the nation. The father, whom the son introduces as a reluctant secularist, at first defends his son disregarding all allegations but due to the frequent terrific experiences of police-interrogation and due to the deep sadness of realizing he has lost his son, at the end of the song, he says he also doesn’t want to see son’s body.
This single hip-hop speaks loudly to the wider political contemplationsall over the world in which the stereotypes about Muslims constantly avow them as extremists and terrorists. With these stereotyping, Islam and its followers fall into a stigma in which they cannot express their innocence. Once you are labeled as a terrorist, no one can rescue you even if you negate it
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