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Monday, April 11, 2016

The general, the 'spy' and no talks with India

April 09, 2016 20:52 IST
Nawaz Sharif may have permitted the trial of Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists for the Pathankot attack.
But this fell apart because of General Raheel Shareef's keenness to make Kulbhushan Jadhav the centerpiece of global attention.
Ambassador G Parthasarthy, a former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan, reveals the Pakistan army chief's gambit against India.
Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif
IMAGE: 'The worst kept secret today in Pakistan is that the country's elected prime minister and its overbearing army chief loathe each other.' Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters
Ever since 'Indian spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav appeared on Pakistan television screens in Pakistani military custody, the generals in Rawalpindi have been jumping around excitedly, to get India condemned, for allegedly backing terrorism in Pakistan.
They have, however, only succeeded in bringing more grief to their country's already low international credibility, resulting from its denial of being a State sponsor of terrorism.
They have, for years, also been looking for a 'smoking gun' to establish that India is a State sponsor of terrorism in Pakistan. In attempting to do so, they have shot themselves in the foot all too often.
Pakistan's de facto ruler, General Raheel Shareef, chose not to be present when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He separately met President Rouhani, swagger stick in hand, the next day.
The obedient army spokesman dutifully tweeted that his exalted boss had given evidence to the Iranian president about the evil Indians using Iranian soil to destabilise the exalted Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
An obviously irritated President Rouhani bristled with anger, when he was asked about this, noting that India, like Pakistan, was regarded as a friendly country, by Iran. The Iranian embassy reiterated this a few days later. Pakistan now faces a dilemma.
Anything Jadhav says while in Pakistani custody will be brushed aside as being made under coercion. If the Pakistan military releases him, he could well point out some unpleasant truths about Pakistan.
Finally, if indeed he is a R&AW agent, he would not have been so dumb as to enter Pakistani territory, and more so its volatile Balochistan province, when he could operate comfortably from Iran, or elsewhere.
Pakistan's ludicrous behaviour has been heightened after it found its credibility in the Arab world sinking. Prime Minister Modi's visit to Saudi Arabia signaled a further erosion of its influence, in what Pakistan has historically felt, was its backyard -- the Gulf region.
Pakistan had certainly not bargained for, or envisaged a situation, when Saudi Arabia and its Arab Gulf neighbours would be cooperating actively with India, in dealing with Islamic radicals and seeking enhanced security cooperation with New Delhi.
This is happening, despite the fact that Mian Nawaz Sharif has personally been the recipient of Saudi patronage and protection, for decades.
The worst kept secret today in Pakistan is that the country's elected prime minister and its overbearing army chief loathe each other.
This is more so, after the army unilaterally commenced operations across the Punjab province -- the heartland of Nawz Sharif's political power -- without bothering to take the prime minister's approval.
While Sharif could countenance the army unilaterally acting in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, bordering Afghanistan, he realises that he must look silly in the eyes of his Punjabi brethren when the army acts similarly in Punjab, on the very day that bomb blasts took a heavy toll of life in the Punjab capital, Lahore.
It is not surprising that these developments have inevitably cast a shadow on the already strained and complex relations with India.
Nawaz Sharif himself has a record of links with organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. But he has no particular affection for southern Punjab Deobandi groups like the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
It is for this reason that Nawaz Sharif appeared more than forthcoming in responding to India's request for action against the Jaish-e-Mohammed, led by Masood Azhar, the mastermind of the December 13, 2001 attack on India's Parliament.
While it would have been difficult -- if not impossible -- for the ISI to hand over Azhar to India, his foot soldiers could always have been treated as expendable and tried in Pakistan.
But all this fell apart because of Raheel Shareef's keenness to carry forward his ideas to establish a kangaroo court, to make Kulbhushan Jadhav the centerpiece of global attention.
Many of our analysts have focused primary attention on what the hapless Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said about the 'peace process' being 'suspended,' while averring that no more meetings between foreign secretaries being 'scheduled.'
What they, however, failed to note was that Basit was actually intending to get across the views of his patrons in the Pakistan army's GHQ about the 'evil R&AW agent' Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Basit, like many other Pakistani diplomats, must be following the prudent procedure of acting according to the political winds in Islamabad and the army's GHQ in Rawalpindi.
And Basit, like his colleagues, must have noted that the political winds today are in favour of the general in Rawalpindi, rather than the prime minster in Islamabad.
What does all this foretell for the future?
It seems clear that while Nawaz Sharif recognises the need to be seen as being reasonable in dealing with India, General Shareef has other priorities.
Nawaz also has other facets to his personality. He realises that Prime Minister Modi has expended considerable political capital by reaching out personally to him.
He will have to host a very sparsely attended SAARC Summit in Islamabad later this year if the Indian prime minister acts difficult and makes his displeasure and grievances evident at the summit, especially if Pakistan is seen to be not acting reasonably on the Pathankot attack.
These are issues of secondary importance to General Raheel Shareef, for whom the strategy of how to take advantage of Kulbhushan Jadhav being in his custody needs to be the focus on continuous and indeed exclusive attention.
India needs to play it cool in the light of these developments. General Shareef calculates that given China's continuing support, Pakistan and the ISI have nothing to worry about on the possibility of UN Security Council action against Masood Azhar.
He will have the assets of Muhammed Saeed and Masood Azhar ready for crossing the LoC when the Himalayan snows melt in July. He also evidently believes that the Obama administration is not likely to do anything substantial to put the squeeze on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Pathankot attack to book.
Can New Delhi change these dynamics of American and Chinese policies anytime soon?
Realists like this writer will be quite sceptical on this score. Despite this, it serves India's interests quite well to keep persevering with moves that keep Pakistan on the defensive on issues of terrorism, while focusing attention on what Pakistan is doing in promoting radical terrorists outfits for use in both India and Afghanistan.
New Delhi would do well to counter efforts by Pakistan and China to contain it, by more proactive military cooperation with neighbours on the land and maritime borders of both these countries.
G Parthasarathy

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pakistan’s Coziness With Non-State Actors Represents the Single Greatest Global Nuclear Security Threat

Pakistan’s willingness to use unpredictable and radical non-state actors puts its nuclear arsenal at risk.
By Ibne Ali
March 30, 2016
Cold war history is a cautious testament to the deterrent capabilities of nuclear weapons. Times have changed, however. Today, in South Asia, Pakistan’s strategic manipulation of its nuclear capability to conduct a proxy war with India is pushing the region towards a catastrophic scenario.
Simply put, Pakistan is pushing the boundaries of what it can get away with. A country embodying contradictions since it came to existence last century, Pakistan has given more and more cause for worry over the years, particularly since 2007. As world leaders gather in Washington, DC, for the Nuclear Security Summit, they would do well to study the shortcomings of this nuclear U.S. ally. At the heart of the problem is not Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, but its treacherous, self-destructive and parochial, alliance with extremist elements, whose machinations are inevitably corrosive to the country’s fragile democracy.
Pakistan’s perennial non-unitary behavior, as political scientist and nuclear strategy expert George Perkovich puts it, creates ambiguity in its strategic intentions for its nuclear-armed rival, India. The Islamic state’s use of extremist militants against India with little or no state control over them, he rightly warns, creates a deadly sense of ambiguity in the country’s strategic intentions.
The longstanding debate over why Washington should be alarmed by a nuclear ally’s strategy of fostering terrorism saw a decisive shift in the aftermath of Peshawar school attack. As the coffins of more than 130 uniformed children killed by the Taliban in December 2014 rolled out, the mood changed in Pakistan. There were expectations that the incident would shake the conscience of those who had hand-reared the gun-toting militants and prompt a change in the country’s decades-old policy of using terror networks as an instrument of foreign policy. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went as far as saying that the state would not make any distinction between good and bad Taliban any more, in what was seen by some as a self-incriminating proclamation, conceding the state’s collusion with militant outfits.
But 15 months since the atrocities at Peshawar, little appears to have changed fundamentally in Pakistan’s approach to dealing with its home-grown militant groups, many of whom continue to function autonomously. Following the Peshawar massacre the pressure on Islamabad to ‘do something’ was enormous. Expectedly, it talked the talk. But what followed only confirmed that it was going to be no more than cosmetic posturing.
After getting several political parties to agree on a twenty-point national action plan on counter-terrorism, the Sharif government swiftly swung into action. In addition to arresting thousands, it lifted a six-year old moratorium on death penalty, and executed 319 people in less than a year. Since then, rather unsurprisingly, it has emerged only 2 percent of those arrested had any connection with militant groups. Meanwhile, a majority of those executed had nothing to do with terrorist activities.
Even though the number of terror attacks on Pakistani soil has come down over the past year, giving a facade of success on the ground, the progress is largely hollow. What has been conspicuously lacking in the counter-terrorism action plan is Pakistan’s will to dismantle its jihadi industrial complex that incorporates several terrorist networks. Since 2000, despite international condemnation, nearly all jihadist militant groups based in Pakistan are still flourishing and openly recruiting with impunity.
For example, despite a $10 million bounty on his head, Hafez Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)—the group that masterminded and executed the 2008 Mumbai attack—comfortably runs another well-oiled propaganda group, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which has a network of 300 educational centres, all in the guise of a religious charity. Saeed’s close aide, who was on trial for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, was released from jail last year.
LeT and similar groups highlight where the fears over the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal lie. For it’s not so much the activities of these jihadist groups as their potential far-reaching access into the security apparatus that causes severe discomfort. U.S. scholar John Mueller has made a compelling argument debunking fears of Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of even the most steadfast and single-minded terrorist groups or other non-state actors. Even if they did, he argued, the rogue group would be hard pressed to furtively acquire the technical know-how for a successful launch or detonation. He, however, did not account for a range of complexities uniquely besetting a country like Pakistan.
With three military coups since independence, Pakistan’s military presents a unique mix of dangers and risks. United in their target but disunited in their techniques, the myriad actors—the army, the civilian government, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and militant groups—running this deeply troubled country are often difficult to tell apart and blur together.
Out of this mix, however, Islamist groups now hold the greatest sway over the masses. This is particularly worrisome in the wake of the current global climate of hysteria whipped by the likes of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab. Islamic fundamentalists’ appeal and grasp over the masses is dangerously far reaching and only growing deeper. Earlier this month, the huge turnout for the funeral procession of the police guard who killed the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, for criticizing blasphemy law reflects widespread support for extremist views in the country.
Moreover, consider LeT—arguably the largest jihadi group in South Asia, with a base of several thousand fighters, many of whom are well-educated, debunking the myth that extremism is the consequence of poverty and ignorance. LeT’s largest jihadist cohort comes from the Punjab region, which is also the largest recruiting ground for the Pakistani army. More alarmingly though is the kinship many fighters have with those in the army, national institutions, and political elite, as revealed by several independent studies. Shockingly, one militant’s obituary went as far as claiming a close familial relationship with a director of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission.
The smouldering antipathy towards the West in general and India in particular is not limited to the radicals alone. Evidence of deep-seated radicalization in the Pakistani army’s middle and lower ranks, sections of whom collaborate with the ISI to train and handle militant groups, has been mounting for years. This radicalization is the result of a deep-running long-term resentment against their own government’s alliance with the United States during its war on terror, which over the years has forced them to turn on the militant groups they themselves nurtured over three decades and with whom they share common religious ideologies.
The real danger, thus, lies in Pakistan’s refusal to acknowledge its own deep-seated malaise. Just days before the Nuclear Security Summit, Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs, remains adamant on branding India as a bigger danger to Pakistan’s security than home-grown terrorism. There are no indications that suggest Pakistan’s willingness in recalibrating this deadly calculus in the region either. Islamabad’s steadfast refusal to reduce the number of its nuclear warheads following the Pakistan-U.S. Strategic Dialogue in Washington earlier this month only strengthens the supposition that the country’s military cannot separate its institutional interests from its broader security policy towards India and Afghanistan.
Pakistan must realize that similar to any fraternity, the exclusive nuclear weapon states club expects its members to abide by certain conditions. The ability of these states to demonstrate a state monopoly over the deployment of physical force and restricting the use of their nuclear endowments to deterrence purposes are among the most important conditions in the clique’s unwritten rulebook. Pakistan’s use of non-state actors in pursuit of its foreign policy objectives and willingness to ‘use’ nuclear weapons in a conventional conflict may not revoke the country’s membership in this club, but its administrators reserve the right to introduce new stringent rules for its members.

The author is a UK-based South Asia expert.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Think West: Modi’s Visit to Saudi Arabia

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a resounding victory in the Indian general elections in 2014, leaders from around the world rushed to congratulate the new prime minister-elect of the world’s biggest democracy. In the Persian Gulf, however, the reaction was cautious. Egypt and Qatar were initially the only two countries from that region to congratulate Modi on his win.
According to analysts in the region, Modi’s personal reputation among the public and polity alike in the Gulf has suffered because of the riots between Hindus and Muslims that took place in Gujarat while he was chief minister of the state in 2002.
However, Modi’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s sixth king, the late Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia later in 2014 made clear that even if the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had reservations, India was too important to risk upsetting relations.
A trip to Saudi Arabia next month will be Modi’s second visit to the Gulf after a previous stop in UAE. It comes at a turbulent time. The Syrian crisis, the war in Yemen, the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which has helped depress global oil prices, are all events with direct implications for Indian interests.
The India-Saudi relationship has historically been cordial, based on mutual needs and transactional interests. There are nearly 2.5 million Indians working in Saudi Arabia, and nearly 7 million working in the larger Gulf region. India also imports nearly 80 percent of all its oil, with much of it coming from Saudi Arabia.
The two pivotal diplomatic events between Riyadh and New Delhi have taken place within the last decade or so, namely the Delhi declaration (2006) and the Riyadh declaration (2010). The former was a historic moment, as then King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud became the first head of the House of Saud to visit India in 51 years. During his visit and following consultations with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his administration, the two countries revisited ties to strengthen cooperation and engagement. More importantly, this visit also laid the groundwork for much greater security, intelligence sharing and counterterrorism cooperation.
The new era of relations paid dividends with the 2012 deportation of Syed Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Jundal, a wanted name in India with links to the Indian Mujahideen and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). Ansari was accused of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the 2010 Pune bombing, and was believed to have aided in several other terror strikes across India. His delivery to India by Saudi Arabia caught many analysts off guard.
The Delhi and Riyadh declarations clearly played important roles in bridge-building between the two countries. The inclusion of security and counterterrorism elements in bilateral ties is significant, particularly given the influence Riyadh can exert over Pakistan (Pakistan’s prime minister and army chief have visited Saudi days before Modi’s visit). However, Saudi Arabia is adapt at diplomatic ruses and plays on its core interests in a much brasher manner than India is perhaps used to. This will pose a challenge for Indian policies towards a more “East-looking” House of Saud, specifically if the question of addressing issues with Pakistan comes heavily into play.
Still, the positive developments have continued. In December last year, the Saudis deported Mohammed Assadullah Khan (aka Abu Sufiyan), a terrorist with established links with LeT. Khan was arrested by Riyadh after Indian and Saudi security agencies shared intelligence. In February this year, Saudi Arabia also deportedone Muhammad Abdul Aziz, known as the “godfather of the jihadist movement in Hyderabad.” Aziz was reportedly on the run for more than ten years. Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force for the first time in August last year made a staging visit to Saudi Arabia while on route to military exercises in the United Kingdom. This stopover was seen as highly symbolic for India-Saudi ties in the security sphere.
‘Think West’
At a recent speech in New Delhi, India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar used the term “Think West” when describing India’s policy outreach towards the Gulf. It suggests a new push towards more concrete strategic policies for West Asia.
“If the eastern front is building upon longstanding policy, the western one is relatively more recent conceptually, even if India has had a historical presence in the Gulf. The Indian footprint there has resulted in a community of 7 million that is an impressive source of investment and remittances. But it was an evolutionary happening that was relatively autonomous of strategic calculations. Our energy dependence on the region was also dictated more by markets than by policy,” Jaishankar said. “The interplay among these (Gulf) nations actually offers us new avenues of cooperation. I can confidently predict that ‘Act East’ would be matched with ‘Think West.’ ”
This “Think West” approach may be very timely. Saudi Arabia, like its compatriots in the Gulf, is now actively looking east to develop its core interest, selling oil. As growth in Western economies slows and the U.S. becomes energy self-sufficient thanks to its shale revolution, the markets with the greatest thirst for Middle East’s oil lie in Asia, and are led by the likes of China, India, Japan and South Korea. This fact alone now warrants these economies taking a greater interest in the complicated and daunting task of understanding the Middle East in all its complexity.
Meanwhile, Riyadh is increasingly interested in investing abroad. Saudi Aramco, the state’s national oil company is reportedly already mulling an investment in Indian refineries to boost its Asian footprint.
Modi’s visit is aptly timed to pitch for a larger Saudi economic footprint and to make more space for Indian interests. When King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died in January last year, New Delhi announced a day of mourning in his honor, signaling the emphasis India was placing on its ties with Saudi Arabia. The Saudi-India dynamic is a layered cake, with many levels of agreement and disagreement. Currently ties are headed in the right direction, and it now remains to be seen what kind of new push, if any, Modi himself can bring to this engagement.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Q & A - 'Pakistan's minorities, majority scared today - mosque-military alliance decides all, including Pathankot'

 Jan 18 2016 : The Times of India (Pune)
Q & A - 'Pakistan's minorities, majority scared today - mosque-military alliance decides all, including Pathankot'

Pakistani writer Farahnaz Ispahani is author of `Purifying the Land of the Pure'. Speaking with Srijana Mitra Das, Ispahani, who's married to former diplomat Husain Haqqani, discussed how Pakistan's minorities were systematically marginalised, persecution politics, Preambles ­ and Pakistan's fears over Pathankot:
You say Pakistan started by being liberal.
Well, Jinnah was a pretty secular man, a Shia Muslim from Mumbai, which is very pluralistic. Not even a year after Partition, Jinnah made a very powerful speech about religious minorities being equal citizens ­ but in his lifetime, that radio address doesn't make air! Powerful bureaucrats and politicians gave orders not to run it ­ to this day , the tape hasn't been found. But that script was found.
Very early , it was clear that for Pakistan's religious minorities to be equal citizens was going to be very difficult.The first major sign was PM Liaquat Khan giving the Objectives Resolution soon after Partition, talking about a Muslim nation. Right off, the Preamble was not secular ­ anyone who's not Muslim was already not being addressed in the same way .
In 1947, Pakistan had a healthy 23% non-Muslim population. Today , that number's 3-4%. That's counting the poor Ahmadis ­ now, every Pakistani who needs a passport must sign a form saying you consider Ahmadis non-Muslims. There's religious hatred everywhere.In America, Donald Trump says put Muslims into camps. But what makes Pakistan different is laws ­ the state itself is discriminating against people.
Why did Pakistan's politicians begin persecution politics?
People like Liaquat had come from India. They didn't have natural constituencies in Pakistan, no hometowns or voters ­ they turned to the mullahs for support. There was what i term `Muslimisation' from 1947-51 ­ a massive decline in Hindus and Sikhs because of Partition, making Pakistan more Muslim demographically . Then came `Islamic Identity' over 1958-71, with statesponsored textbooks rejecting pluralism, trying to forge Pakistani identity pu rely on Islam. Mohenjo Daro, Taxila, Sufism ­ all were marginalised.
From 1974, stage three Islamisation was legislation against minorities, the first law by Bhutto which made Ahmadis non-Muslim. Bhutto was under great pressure between clergy and military . He thought this was a temporary measure. But it wasn't ­ and it didn't help him either. From there to 1988, Zia does the rest.Stage four is terrorism and organised violence from the 1990s.
Organised by?
Jihadi groups, organised by the mosque-military alliance which owns everything now. They decide.
Things were going well with Modi and Sharif. But these groups have no interest in good relations with India.Anyone who knows this, like my husband and i, saw something like Pathankot coming.
JeM was banned 13 years ago ­ now, they're saying, we're closing their offices. What offices? I thought they were banned. People are being killed. And there's no justice for 60,000 Pakistanis eit her who died in terrorist attacks on churches, mosques, temples.
I was there when Benazir Bhutto, Salman Taseer, Shah baz Bhatti, died. I wanted to record the truth. My Pakistan had Faiz, qaw walis, poetry, Marx.
It wasn't this.
But it was where 1% practically owned the nation?
Of course ­ and 1% now pays tax. The middle class can't afford being middle class anymore, it's been wiped out. And the way the rich live is amazing. There's no relationship between these realities today.
Do Pakistan's minorities live in fear now?
Minorities are in a bad place. Shia massacres have been ongoing. Hindus, Christians, everyone who could leave, left. Those remaining are the poorest.
No one's looking out for them.
Is there no social support?
Many people who spoke up for a more liberal country were killed, like Saleem Shahzad and Sabeen Mahmud. Recently, NYT's correspondent was apparently raided. Now, even people from the majority think differently .
People are really scared to speak.
When you suppress freedoms, you take away natural ways people come together and find something bigger than themselves.
India also suffered Partition ­ but your Preamble is secular. That was such a gift from your leadership.
But India's leadership follows its citizens laying down the secular line ­ why not so in Pakistan?
We had our first democratic election only in 1970 ­ and Bhutto was hanged.Benazir wasn't allowed to finish her terms. Nawaz Sharif wasn't allowed to finish his terms.
The 2008-12 regime was the first democratically elected civilian government that finished its term.
Imagine, we're just on our second democratically elected government.And look what's happening already to Nawaz Sharif. Look at Pathankot.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


France Raids Mosques, What Was Found Should Have Us Demolishing Them ALL.
French police raided a mosque Sunday, finding what they call a “staggering” amount of weapons, ammunition, and terrorist propaganda.
Following the Islamic terror attacks in Paris that killed over 130 people, France has begun raiding mosques, despite cries of “Islamophobia” and racism. However, what police found Muslims hiding there is more than enough to have us demanding they all be torn down.
 In a controversial move, a mosque in Lagny-sur-Marne was thoroughly raided by French authorities Sunday after its members were suspected of supporting the Paris terror attacks and the Islamic State What they found was absolutely chilling.
France 24   reports that police uncovered massive stash of 7.62mm Kalashnikov ammunition and ISIS propaganda videos. A revolver and “jihadist documents” were also found at the home of one of the mosque leaders.
At least 334 weapons were confiscated and 232 Muslims were arrested, with 22 under surveillance with travel bans and 9 placed under house arrest.
This is the third mosque to be closed in France since the Paris attack on November 13. As a result of the terror attacks, 2,235 homes have been subsequently raided.
 “In 15 days we have seized one-third of the quantity of war-grade weapons that are normally seized in a year,” France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told Express  .
Police also found recordings of religious chants “glorifying the martyrs of jihad linked to the terrorist organisation Jabhat al-Nusra,” the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, the prefecture added.
 While those of us on the right warn that more gun control will only leave us defenseless, France has proven it with their own failed policies. All but banning weapons hasn’t stopped Islamic terrorists from obtaining them, as these raids have shown. This is one instance where we should learn from the mistakes of others, rather than making more of our own — mistakes that will cost more American lives than we’ve already seen lost at the hands of those who follow Islam, Allah, and his pedophile prophet.
President of the local Muslim association, Mohammed Ramdane, criticized the police’s closure of the mosque, blaming them for setting up local Muslims.

The ISIS videos were found among an abundance of teaching material for Muslim children of a connected madrassa.
“Nothing has been found,” he claimed. “Nothing is hidden, we don’t hide anything.”
 So far, the Schengen Agreement allows the EU’s 400 million residents and other non-EU nationals to freely cross Europe without showing an ID or waiting to be screened. Because of it, thousands who support Islamic terror and wish to terrorize European civilians are now in Europe.
Although the left attempts to argue that most mosques won’t harbor weapons or terrorists, we must remember that it only took a handful of Muslims to slaughter more than 130 people in Paris. Of course, political correctness has perpetuated these attacks, making witnesses afraid to come forward with information for fear they will be labeled racist or Islamophobic.
Still, these mosques are teaching from the Quran, the same book that contains 109 verses that command all Muslims to be violent and slaughter unbelievers in order to receive an eternal reward. In case any of these imams or Muslim mosque goers decide that the Quran is actually peaceful and not to be taken literally, they only need to look at the only “interpretation” that Allah said matters — Muhammad’s.
As the messenger of Allah, Muhammad wasn’t only charged with preaching the divine revelation, but modeling it for followers to copy. Because Muhammad beheaded, raped, enslaved, and conquered until the day of his death, Muslims must behead, rape, enslave, and conquer as he did. If they do not emulate their prophet to the best of their ability, the Quran states   that they are hypocrites who will share hell with their infidel friends.
Because Islam is enshrouded by the term “religion,” we have been fooled into thinking that it must be tolerated and even respected. We must buck the notion that all religions are created equal. All religions are ideologies, and therefore, can never be equal. Because Islam is more violent and produces more terrorists than any other religions combined, tolerance of it would mean our own non-existence.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Wreath laying at Amar Jawan Jyoti on 01 Jan 15
New Delhi – The Medical Services of Army, Navy and Air Force under the unified umbrella of Armed Forces Medical Services have a rich heritage. The health care system continues to strive and preserve the health, fitness and the indomitable spirit of our soldiers, sailors and airmen and their families in both war and peace besides its care to the veterans. In remote and forward areas these services are extended to Para Military Forces and civilians too.
On the occasion of 251st Anniversary of AFMS, the Chief of Army Staff  Gen Dalbir Singh visited the Research And Referral (RR) Hospital and the Base Hospital to interact with the patients and wished them good health and early recovery in the new year.
A Homage Ceremony was also organised at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate on 1st January 2015.  Wreaths were laid by the Lieutenant General BK Chopra, Director General AFMS and Senior Colonel Commandant and the three Director General’s Medical Service of Army, Navy and Air Force to pay homage to the martyrs.
The AFMS has delivered selfless and dedicated service in providing aid to civil authorities in UN Peace Keeping Missions and natural or manmade disasters. During the recent flash floods in J&K, over 100 medical teams of AFMS were mobilized for providing medical aid to more than 95,000 flood affected civilian population, which were highly appreciated. Over the years, AFMS has earned a formidable reputation in India and abroad and have always lived up to the motto, ‘Sarve Santu Niramaya’.

Budget 2015-16: Riding on hope

Budget 2015-16: Riding on hope

India is at an interesting stage and well positioned for presenting Budget 2015. With political developments and reduction in crude oil prices, there is expectation that the new central government, presenting its maiden full budget on 28 February, will make a powerful yet balanced statement. With a rejuvenated focus on foreign policy and foreign investment stance to elevate India’s status as an investment destination, foreign governments and investors alike, have expressed high hopes. Finance minister Arun Jaitley has his task cut out, despite the economy exhibiting signs of recovery from macroeconomic challenges, with industry calling for unbundling of reforms for various sectors. The full-year budget could emerge as the most incisive tool for cutting through the growth bottlenecks and shouldering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative. In the run up to the budget, BMR Advisors in association with CNBC TV 18 and Mint conducted a survey on the stakeholders’ perception of how this budget would deal with fiscal policy and tax matters. We received overwhelming response from over 175 tax and finance heads of leading Indian business houses and multinational companies and tax experts. The responses provide a useful insight to stakeholders’ key expectations from the upcoming budget—proposals to spur economic growth, liberalization and rationalization of entry rules for foreign investment in key sectors, establishing certain, clear and consistent tax regime to revive investor sentiment, revamping the dispute resolution frameworks for tax disputes, and announcement of incentives for infrastructure, power and other capital-intensive sectors. Expectations on economic reforms In pursuit of the Make in India initiative, the government is likely to prioritize reforms agenda over measures to contain the fiscal deficit. This sentiment has been resonated by over 77% of the respondents who said the government would put the thrust on economic growth over fiscal deficit management. This would require an efficient balance between monetization of resources for reforms agenda and the sources of revenue. It is likely that we shall see a structured divestment plan to fund budgetary spending. More than two-thirds of the respondents expect the government to unveil systematic plans of divestment in identified state-owned firms. Also, it is pertinent to mention that nearly 53% of the respondents said the government could also resort to rationalization of outlay for LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) subsidy, though it could be a combination of better targeting of the subsidy. In the past, although the current government’s political wing has vehemently opposed foreign investment in multi-brand retail, investors expect the government may consider relenting its earlier stand, along with formalizing the move of raising foreign investment cap in Insurance to 49%. As many as 64% of the respondents say that foreign investment could be further liberalised. It would be interesting to watch for government’s take on measures to tackle the so-called parallel economy. Following through apex court’s directive to establish a special investigation team for retrieval of unaccounted offshore money, it remains to be seen how the government cracks down on the defaulters. More than 40% of the respondents say it is premature to expect the government to iron out a roadmap for dealing with the parallel economy in the budget. Tax policy framework and reforms Dispute resolution and administrative reforms: A look at the state of protracted disputes before the appellate and judicial forums and associated cost, in terms of time, efforts and resources, it appears imminent for the government to consider overhauling dispute resolution forums and embrace international best practices by introducing alternative dispute resolution forums for expeditious resolution. Nearly half the respondents believe that the government would announce measures for realigning existing forums and propose new forums for tax litigation. Further, around 535 of respondents say the budget would include proposals for accepting recommendations put by the Tax Administration Reform Commission to overhaul the tax administration. Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS): In the backdrop of OECD’s intense endeavours on BEPS concerns, it would be interesting to see whether Jaitley announces measures to gear up the domestic tax law for tackling tax abusive practices, such as treaty shopping. Mindful of Government’s commitment to evolve a stable and investor-friendly tax regime, more than 40% of the respondents expect the government to steer clear of such radical announcements in this budget. It would be useful if the government sets out its approach to the OECD’s work on BEPS, as this would keep multinationals abreast of Indian government’s take on BEPS aspects. GAAR and indirect transfer provisions: The preceding government’s move to introduce general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) and prescribing rules for taxability of indirect transfer with retrospective effect received the most flak from the investor fraternity in past few years. In relation to GAAR, the discussions have revolved around Indian tax administration’s ability to implement a sophisticated legislation. In view of the lack of preparedness amongst the tax administration and absence of detailed guidelines (apart from basic rules released in September 2013), it seems unlikely that the government would let GAAR provisions assume effect from 1 April. Nearly 77% of the respondents expect the government would defer GAAR to continue building positive investor sentiment. Insofar as rules for taxability of indirect transfer are concerned, it remains to be seen if the government yields to recommendations of the Shome committee. Nearly 62% of the respondents expect the government to provide a sigh of relief to investors in this regard, by withdrawing, or clarifying, the indirect transfer provisions. Transfer pricing (TP) litigation and other tax controversies: With Indian TP disputes taking up a lion’s share of global tax litigation, TP continues to bother corporates mainly on account of high value and arbitrary adjustments. To allay concerns, it is imminent for the Government to evaluate measures for simplification of TP provisions, the view being echoed by approximately 63% of the respondents to the survey. To deal with wider set of tax controversies and demonstrate the government’s commitment to develop clarity, certainty and consistency in tax regime, it is important for the department of revenue to consider releasing periodical notifications clarifying ambiguous aspects of tax laws. More than 58% of the respondents are hopeful that the government would commit to such measures in the approaching budget. There are early signs that this approach has found favour with the government and the administration, as the new government has clarified several aspects in past nine months Direct taxes code (DTC) and goods and service tax (GST): Even after five years of deliberation, the fate of most ambitious direct tax reform of the erstwhile government—the DTC—remains uncertain. With economic growth featuring high on the government’s agenda and many of the provisions of DTC already finding a place in the existing statute, it seems unlikely that the government would rush through implementation of DTC in the current budget. Nearly 61% of the respondents echoed the sentiment that DTC would not be legislated in the current budget. Insofar as GST is concerned, the constitutional amendment bill was tabled in the last Parliament session in December with an objective of passing it in the upcoming budget session. The bill is required to be passed by both houses of Parliament and ratified by half the state legislatures before the model GST legislation is introduced. The present government has shown immense grit and determination in bringing GST by tabling the bill, discussions with state government, giving favourable statements during press releases, etc. Due to this, a large number of respondents (nearly 80%) expect that GST-related announcements are likely to feature in the budget proposals. Respondents also feel hopeful regarding roll out of road map for implementation of GST. We can merely pray for better sense in opposition to support the GST bill. Tax rates and incentives Incentivize manufacturing sector: Given the spotlight on the Make in India initiative, the industry is hopeful that the government will introduce tax incentives in the upcoming budget to boost local manufacturing, particularly for small and medium size business. Excise duties on automobiles, capital goods, consumer durables, etc, were lowered in February last year to provide an impetus to the manufacturing sector. These benefits were later withdrawn in December. Also, domestic manufacturers in certain industries are facing the issue of inverted duty structure. The survey results are divided on this aspect, with nearly 50% of the respondents hopeful that excise duty sops would be re-introduced along with reduction in customs duty rates on import of raw materials; nearly the same number of respondents (50%) are either skeptical about reduction in tax rates or feel that it is unlikely, given the tight fiscal position. I anticipate that with price of crude oil cooling, customs duty will be imposed. Though, the issues relating to inverted duty structure are likely to be addressed. Impetus to infrastructure, energy sectors and exports: In the spirit of the Make in India initiative, the government is expected to announce measures to spur growth in infrastructure, power and other capital-intensive sectors. Nearly 78% of the respondents say tax holidays and benefits for these sectors could be extended. However, nearly 45% of the respondents expect that the government is unlikely to withdraw the levy of minimum alternate tax and dividend distribution tax (DDT) on special economic zone (SEZ) developers and units. However, it is widely anticipated that DDT regime would be re-jigged. Considering the sluggish growth of exports, there is an urgent need for increasing export benefits to ensure the competitiveness of Indian products in international markets. Besides policy benefits, such as, continuation of interest subvention scheme, increase in rates of duty drawback to exporters, we could witness introduction of simplified procedures to ensure timely processing of indirect tax refunds. The poll results exhibit high hopes in the export industry participants with nearly 65% respondents expecting enhanced export benefits. Exemption from special additional duty (SAD) and reduction in SAD rate: SAD at 4% was introduced in 2005 vide amendment in the Finance Act, 1994, in order to bring the importers at par with manufacturers paying value-added tax (VAT) and central sales tax (CST) on domestic procurements. Despite a gradual reduction in CST rate over the years from 4% to 2%, SAD on import continues to be levied at 4%, creating a dissonance between taxes paid on components and products manufactured in India and imported into India. The poll depicts a divided opinion on the possibility of exemption from SAD and reduction in SAD rate in the forthcoming budget. Whilst nearly 36% of the respondents expect a reduction or exemption, an almost equal proportion (32%) anticipate no such relaxation. While on one side, reduction in SAD rates will eat into the government’s revenue flows, on the other side, a continued SAD rate of 4% poses a threat to IT industries, the growth of which is on top priority list of the government considering recent initiatives such as Digital India, Make in India and Smart Cities. Imposition of Swachcha Bharat Cess on services: In the wake of the Swachcha Bharat Abhiyaan, the government is considering proposals for creating specific fundflow for financing the campaign. While there is a positive sentiment for Swachcha Bharat Abhiyaan, an incremental cess on services will be seen as an additional burden on consumers and run counter to the government’s agenda of providing affordable services, especially to rural and backward areas. Nearly 46% of the respondents say there is high probability of a third cess (over and above education cess and secondary and higher education cess) being imposed on all services by way of service tax amendment. REITs and InvITs: The Last year’s budget introduced provisions dealing with taxation of real estate investment trusts (REITs) and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs), and provided partial pass-through status to them. With a view to give filip to REITs and INVITs as alternate financing vehicles for large infrastructure projects, it is expected that the government would further rationalize the taxation provisions applicable to REITs and InvITs. Approximately 46% of the respondents expect the government to announce proposals to this effect. In summary, at a macro level, it is expected that the government would stay committed to a high-growth agenda leveraging on economic reforms package, policy level and administrative measures for unlocking bottlenecks in investment and tax policy for inducing certainty and lending a spur to the manufacturing sector. Our scorecard on expectation quotient can be reviewed only on 28 February once the finance minister tables budgetary proposals. The author is managing partner, BMR Legal. The views are personal.

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Narendra Modi to inaugurate air show, push Make in India

Narendra Modi to inaugurate air show, push Make in India

Aircraft in a preview ahead of Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru. For the first time, some states that want to be partners in defence production are also participating in the exhibition, including Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Photo: PTI Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to urge the world’s biggest aerospace companies to “make in India” when he opens the country’s biggest air show in Bengaluru on Wednesday, seeking to use it as a springboard for the ascent of defence manufacturing in India. Hearing Modi’s inaugural speech at the biennial Aero India will be delegates from 328 foreign companies, who will join counterparts from 295 Indian firms participating in the event. Past editions of Aero India have featured defence ministers flagging off the event, which showcases the latest in aerospace technology. “We want to set make in India as the major theme of the exhibition and see ‘Make in India’ progress in the defence sector also,” said G. Mohan Kumar, secretary, department of defence production, ministry of defence. Make in India is one of the signature programmes of the Modi government, which the prime minister launched on Independence Day with a call to foreign companies to manufacture in India products ranging from plastics and paper to satellites and submarines to help the country lessen its dependence on imports, boost exports and create jobs. India, which procures most of its defence requirements from foreign manufacturers, is expected to spend $120 billion on arms acquisitions over the coming decade. India’s total defence budget allocation is estimated to be $620 billion from fiscal 2014 to 2022, of which 50% would be on capital expenditure. The annual business opportunity for Indian companies—both public and private sectors—is expected to reach $41 billion by fiscal 2022, according to a report released by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and Centrum Capital Ltd on 6 February. “I believe that the Indian defence sector is at an inflection point and poised to grow at a sustainable high rate in the next decade,” said Sandeep Upadhyay, a senior vice-president at Centrum Capital. The renewed focus from the government on streamlining the policies and cultivating a conducive investment climate is likely to enthuse potential investors to consider it as a strategic investment alternative, Upadhyay said. India has increased the foreign investment limit in defence manufacturing to 49% from 26% to make it more attractive for overseas companies to invest in the country. For the first time, some states that want to be partners in defence production and are keen to set up defence-related industries and special economic zones are also participating in the exhibition, including Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Also for the first time, defence minister Manohar Parrikar will chair a Make in India defence manufacturing investors’ summit and global chief executive officers (CEOs) conference. “The backdrop of Make in India at the show this time makes it an excellent platform for us to strengthen existing partnerships and activate new ones,” said John Brosnan, managing director, India and South-east Asia, BAE Systems Plc, Europe’s largest defence company. India is the largest operator of BAE Systems’ Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft with 123 ordered, of which over 90 have been delivered to the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The Indian Hawks in service have clocked 75,000 flying hours. BAE Systems has commenced contract negotiations with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on a potential order to supply products and services for the manufacture of 20 Hawk aircraft. The aircraft will be built by HAL in Bengaluru. European aircraft maker Airbus Group NV, which has said it will partner with the Tata group to make Avro cargo planes locally if it wins a government contract, will be flying in its A400m cargo plane from Japan. “We have been used to partnerships in India as is shown by our long-standing collaborations with several Indian public and private companies as well as R&D (research and development) organizations and academic institutions,” said Yves Guillaume, president—India, Airbus Group. “We are enthusiastic about the Make in India campaign and are ready to leverage our existing local partnerships and invest in new ones to make the most of it. Aero India offers the perfect setting to discuss our plans to make in India with various stakeholders. We look forward to our participation in the show,” added Guillaume. On the last two days of the show, Airbus will organize a recruitment fair at its pavilion for experienced aviation engineers. Thirty-three countries are participating in this year’s Aero India; the US will be the biggest in representation with 64 companies, followed by France (58), the UK (48), Russia (41), Israel (25) and Germany (17). Some of the world’s biggest aircraft and most lethal fighter jets will be showcased at the event. These include the Lockheed Martin F-16C, the F-15C Eagle, the Boeing KC-135, the Boeing C-17 A Globemaster III, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon and the Dassault Rafale. In December, the Indian defence ministry said that the defence ministers of both France and India had agreed to finalize the sale of 126 Rafales to India in a deal worth an estimated $15 billion, but the deal is still stuck in last-minute negotiations. Around 300 CEOs from Indian and foreign industries are expected to attend the event, and round-table meetings of Indian corporate leaders with those from abroad are scheduled. The role of cybersecurity in defence, aerospace and civil aviation, public-private partnerships, integrating the Indian aerospace industry with the global supply chain, creation of infrastructure and enhancing regional-rural connectivity, empowering and incentivizing Indian micro, small and medium enterprises in the defence and aerospace sectors, and using defence offsets to create a vibrant domestic defence industrial base are among some of the topics to be featured at seminars. The government expects the number of business visitors to rise by nearly 50% from the last edition to 150,000 this year.

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Defence equipment business has companies interested like never before

According to KPMG India, the defence ministry expects the defence budget to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% to touch $64 billion in the financial year 2020. Photo: Hindustan Times Bengaluru: The government’s Make in India programme, the belief it will spend far more aggressively than its predecessors on upgrading the country’s armed forces in terms of equipment, and growing opportunities presented by offsets are encouraging well-heeled conglomerates to venture into the defence equipment business. On Wednesday, at the Aero India 2015 exhibition and conference in Bengaluru, Bharat Forge Ltd and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group detailed their foray in the defence equipment manufacturing space, joining the Tata Group, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), the Godrej group and the Mahindra Group that have been in the business for some time. For over 15 years, India has tried to interest its private sector in the business and while it has succeeded in doing so to some extent, domestic defence manufacturing is dominated by defence public-sector undertakings (DPSU) and the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB), which together have an 80-90% share. Such efforts are finally coming to fruition now because of three reasons. The first is the pressing need to modernize India’s armed forces. “A vast percentage of our equipment is of the 1970s and 80s vintage and have reached their end of life status,” said Amber Dubey, partner and India head of aerospace and defence at consultancy firm KPMG. “Our technology gap with China is increasing by the day and needs to be arrested and reversed as a national priority.” According to KPMG India, the defence ministry expects the defence budget to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8% to touch $64 billion in the financial year 2020. The growth will primarily be driven by capital expenditure—the component of the defence budget used for creation of assets and expenditure on procurement of new equipment. India will see a total defence budget allocation of $620 billion between financial year 2014 and 2022 of which 50% will be on capital expenditure, according to a report released by the industry lobby the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and financial services company Centrum Capital Ltd this month. The annual opportunity for Indian companies—both state-owned and private—is expected to reach $41 billion by financial year 2022 and $168 billion cumulatively, it said. The second is the government’s ambitious Make in India campaign aimed at attracting foreign companies to invest in India’s manufacturing sector. The local manufacture of defence equipment is at the heart of the Make In India programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the inauguration of Aero India 2015 on Wednesday. Thecountry imports nearly 60% of its defence equipment, spending tens of billions of dollars, he added. “There are studies that show that even a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. If we could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in the next five years, we would double the output in our defence industry,” Modi said. He said it will be no longer enough to buy equipment and simply assemble in India. “India’s frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors can help reduce costs. India can also be a base for export to third countries,especially because of India’s growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond,” Modi added. The third reason is offsets—a policy that requires any foreign arms manufacturer securing an order worth more than Rs.300 crore from India to source components worth 30% of the value of the order from India. The offsets opportunity is expected to be worth $15 billion within the next 10-15 years, assuming that several proposed purchases are completed on time, according to KPMG. It could be worth much more. The minimum opportunity for domestic entities is $75 billion, given the 30% offset requirement, Edelweiss Securities Ltd said in a July 2014 report. On Wednesday, Modi said that the government is reforming defence procurement policies and procedures. “There will be a clear preference for equipment manufactured in India. Our procurement procedures will ensure simplicity, accountability and speedy decision-making,” he said. The government has raised the permitted level of foreign direct investment in the defence sector to 49%. “This can go higher, if the project brings state-of-the-art technology. We have permitted investments up to 24% by foreign institutional investments. And there is no longer a need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake,” Modi said. Industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items. Where it is needed, the process has been simplified, he said. The results can already be seen, said one executive. Srinivasan Dwarakanath, chief executive officer of Airbus India, said a clutch of private companies, including conglomerates, are entering the aerospace and defence sector. “Five years ago, there were only defence PSUs but now there are many private companies. This is mainly because there are several defence and aerospace development programmes dedicated to India. For that, you need private companies with deep pockets,” Dwarakanath said. On Wednesday, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure Ltd said it has formed three wholly owned subsidiaries—Reliance Defence Systems Pvt. Ltd, Reliance Defence Technologies Pvt. Ltd and Reliance Defence and Aerospace Pvt. Ltd—to pursue growth opportunities in the defence sector. The companies plan to start by manufacturing naval utility and army utility helicopters. So why are these private companies entering aerospace and defence? Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), controlled by Mukesh Ambani, set up two defence subsidiaries—Reliance Aerospace Technologies Pvt. Ltd and Reliance Security Solutions Ltd—in 2011. The company will enter the defence space by investing and signing new deals with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) primarily towards offset arrangement of defence equipment, the Edelweiss report said. RIL recently signed an agreement with French defence firm Dassault Aviation SA. The company has also signed agreements with Raytheon Co. and The Boeing Co. of the US and Siemens AG of Germany for homeland security systems. Mahindra Group launched Mahindra Defense Systems division in 2000 and spun this off as a separate company in July 2012. The company makes artillery systems and armoured vehicles and hopes to increase revenue to $430 million by FY16E from the current $51 million. The Tata Group expects revenue of around Rs.2,500 crore, or more than $400 million, from its defence and aerospace business in the year to 31 March. Tata Sons Ltd said the current order book size of Tata Group in the sector is more than Rs.10,000 crore. Mukund Rajan, a member of the group executive council and brand custodian of Tata Sons, said that in financial year 2014, the group invested more than Rs.320 crore in the defence and aerospace sector. Bharat Forge, a part of the Kalyani Group, is looking at setting up manufacturing plants for artillery guns, anti-tank missiles, armoured vehicles and aerospace components and Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) is aiming to build submarines. Bharat Forge chairman and managing director Baba Kalyani said the company will set up four manufacturing plants in India this year. “It’s time now for action,” Kalyani said on Wednesday. The Godrej Group plans to focus on developing niche manufacturing capabilities in building engines, providing maintenance, repair and overhaul services, and supplying replaceable components known as line-replaceable units. Kalyani Group will form a joint venture with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd to develop and manufacture high-technology systems for the defence sector. Their joint venture company will include a wide range of technologies and systems, like missile technology, remote weapon systems and advanced armour solutions. Kalyani will hold 51% of the stake in the company while Rafael will hold 49%. “We believe in the vision of Make in India and our proposed joint venture with Rafael is a step in this direction,” Kalyani said in a statement on Thursday. “As part of our global strategy, we form alliances to develop military applications based on our proprietary technologies and in Kalyani Group we see a lot of synergy and opportunities for growth in new markets and especially in India which is strategic market for us,” said Brigadier General (Retires ), Itzhak Gat, chairman, Rafael. Dubey of KPMG said companies will need to choose the technology, scale, alliances and business model with care, or risk a sour experience. “Defence manufacturing is a long gestation but profitable business, provided one can be humble and patient,” he added. Tarun Shukla contributed to this story.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

India - US News

INDIA-US DEFENCE :: taking ties to a new level
The India-US strategic partnership has been described as India’s “principal” strategic partnership. US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit as the chief guest on Republic Day is likely to give a fresh impetus to this relationship. While the relationship is substantive and broad based, the impressive achievements of the strategic partnership are to a large extent attributable to the successful implementation of the ten-year Defence Framework Agreement signed in June 2005. The renewal of this agreement will be a major item on the bilateral agenda during the summit meeting. The aim should be to take defence cooperation between the two countries to the next higher trajectory.
Defence Framework Agreement
Defence Cooperation has many dimensions. These include senior officers’ visits and military exchanges; joint military exercises; the sale, purchase and joint development of weapons and defence equipment; the transfer of military technology; intelligence sharing; cooperation for counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation; joint patrolling of the sea lanes of communication against piracy and terrorism; jointly providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after natural calamities; and, coordination in transnational anti-drug trafficking activities. India and the US have participated extensively in all of these activities since the path-breaking Defence Framework Agreement was signed.
Under the Defence Framework Agreement, India and the US had agreed to conduct joint and combined exercises and exchanges; collaborate in multinational operations if it is in common interest; strengthen capabilities of militaries to promote security and defeat terrorism; promote regional and global peace and stability; enhance capabilities to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; increase opportunities for technology transfer, collaboration, co-production, and research and development; expand collaboration relating to missile defence; strengthen abilities of the armed forces to respond quickly to disasters, including in combined operations; conduct successful peacekeeping operations; and, increase exchanges of intelligence. The agreed institutionalised framework for cooperation under this agreement included the bilateral mechanism of the Defence Policy Group and under it the Defence Procurement and Production Group and the Defence Joint Working Group.
Recent summit meetings have resulted in further fleshing out the scope of defence cooperation. During the Obama-Manmohan Singh summit meeting in September 2013, the two leaders called for “expanding security cooperation between the United States and India to address 21st century challenges.” They endorsed a Joint Declaration on Defence Cooperation “as a means of enhancing their partnership in defence technology transfer, joint research, co-development and co-production.” President Obama appreciated India’s decision to participate in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise that was hosted by the US Pacific Command in 2014.
During the Obama-Narendra Modi meeting in September 2014, the two leaders stated their intention to expand defence cooperation to bolster national, regional, and global security. It was agreed that the two countries would build an enduring partnership in which both sides treat each other at the same level as their closest partners, including defence technology transfers, trade, research, co-production and co-development.
Prime Minister Modi and President Obama welcomed the first meeting under the framework of the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative in September 2014. They endorsed its decision to establish a task force to expeditiously evaluate and decide on unique projects and technologies which would have a transformative impact on bilateral defence relations and enhance India's defence industry and military capabilities. They welcomed cooperation in the area of military education, joint training and exercises, cooperation in maritime security to ensure freedom of navigation and unimpeded movement of lawful shipping and commercial activity and decided to upgrade the scope of the annual joint naval exercise Malabar.
The two leaders reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by terrorism, most recently highlighted by the dangers presented by the Islamic State, and agreed to make joint efforts to dismantle safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks and to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-Company and the Haqqanis. They asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.
Defence Trade and Technology Initiative: Breaking new ground
The most notable achievements of recent summit meetings have been the enhanced cooperation in the field of defence trade and technology. For several decades, India’s procurement of weapons platforms and other defence equipment had remained mired in disadvantageous buyer-seller, patron-client relationships like that with the erstwhile Soviet Union and Russia. While India has been manufacturing Russian fighter aircraft and tanks under license, the Russians never actually transferred weapons technology to India.
The country has now diversified its acquisition sources beyond Russia to Western countries and Israel. From the US, India has purchased weapons platforms and other items of defence equipment worth around USD 10 billion over the last five years. Major procurements have included the troop carrier ship INS Jalashva (USS Trenton), six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for India’s Special Forces, ten C-17 Globemaster heavy lift transport aircraft, 12 Boeing P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft and 12 AN-TPQ37 Weapon Locating Radars. Another six C-130J and seven C-17 aircraft are expected to be purchased over the next few years. Also in the acquisition pipeline are M-777 light artillery howitzers for the mountains, Apache attack helicopters and Chinook medium lift transport helicopters.
However, none of the recent deals with the US have included transfer-of-technology (ToT) clauses. There is now a growing realisation in India that future defence acquisitions must simultaneously lead to a transformative change in the country’s defence technology base and manufacturing prowess. Hence, it is imperative that whatever India procures now must be procured with a ToT clause being built into the contract even though it means having to pay a higher price. The aim should be to make India a design, development, manufacturing and export hub for defence equipment in two to three decades.
In September 2013, deputy secretary of Defence Ashton Carter, soon to be appointed US Defence Secretary, offered India a “Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI)” under which the US will share sensitive cutting edge defence technology and permit US companies to enter into joint production and co-development ventures with India. The US offered a list of ten joint production projects to India. According to Carter, "These include a maritime helo, a naval gun, a surface-to-air missile system, and a scatterable anti-tank system.” He said, "We changed our mind-set around technology transfer to India in the Department of Defence from a culture of presumptive no to one of presumptive yes."
The next generation Javelin anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is another key candidate for joint production, though so far the US has been hesitant to offer its seeker and warhead technology and the MoD has decided to acquire Israel’s Spike missile for the time being. India is also looking for high-end counter-IED technologies. In future, the two countries will conduct joint research and development for new weapons systems and the US may even offer nuclear power packs for submarines and aircraft carriers and fighter aircraft engines. Cooperation of such a high order will raise India’s technology base by an order of magnitude and help the country to move several notches higher in its quest for self-reliance in defence production.
Contours of future cooperation
Before stepping down as Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel had nominated Frank Kendall, the Department’s Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, as the DTTI’s American lead. With Ashton Carter becoming Secretary of Defence, the initiative will get a fresh boost. The extended Defence Framework Agreement should take stock of the goals of the 2005 agreement that have not been fully achieved and should profess a renewed commitment to achieving these.
The foremost in this category is the transfer of weapons technology. The US knows by now that nothing matters more than this to India. There has been no progress in cooperation on BMD technology. This needs to be rectified. Intelligence sharing is limited to ongoing counter-terrorism operations at present. It should be extended to the sharing of databases as well, particularly the terrorism database maintained by the US NCTC and India’s NATGRID.
Prime Minister Modi’s government has raised the FDI limit for defence joint ventures (JVs) from 26 to 49 per cent equity participation. It is likely to be open to modifying the offsets policy, which is considered a stumbling block. The agreement should take into account the Indian PM’s exhortation to industry to “make in India”. The two governments should act as facilitators for their public and private sector companies to form JVs for the joint design and development and co-production of future weapons platforms. The export laws should be suitably amended so that weapons and equipment can be exported to achieve economies of scale.
Discussions for the new Defence Framework Agreement should explore ways to incorporate military officers from both sides into the high-level Defense Policy Group and the annual Strategic Dialogue; formalise information sharing; bring leaders from the US Pacific Command and Indian regional commands into bilateral defence discussions; and, develop a framework for prioritising bilateral and multilateral exercise engagements. Bilateral exchanges on defence strategy and defence transformation should also be extended to young parliamentarians and scholars in strategic and security studies think tanks.
There is mutual recognition of the adverse implications of China’s increasing assertiveness and the need to work in unison with the international community to uphold the unfettered use of the global commons like the sea lanes of communication, space and cyberspace. China’s recent belligerence in the South China Sea and its assertiveness in dealing with the dispute over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands with Japan have undermined international and regional confidence in its desire to resolve disputes peacefully. India is building robust military intervention capabilities and the armed forces are engaged in the process of formulating a doctrine to give effect to these capabilities.
Though India values its strategic autonomy and recognises that each bilateral relationship is important in its own way, the policy makers realise that the geo-political contours of the 21st century and peace and stability, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, will be shaped through cooperative security. In future, India may conduct joint military operations with the US in its area of strategic interest in a contingency in which India’s vital national interests are threatened. Though India would prefer to join intervention operations under Chapter 7 of the UN flag, it may be open to joining a “coalition of the willing” to safeguard its vital national interests

Brig Narinder Dhand (Veteran) 
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