Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Genocide General Mladic Extradited To Hague

Bosnian Serb genocide suspect Ratko Mladic was on a plane Tuesday en route to Netherlands to face war crime charges before a tribunal after losing an appeal against extradition, Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic said.

16 years after the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by troops under his command forced the West's hand in the Bosnian war.

Associated Press reporters at the Belgrade airport saw the Falcon jet take of from the Belgrade airport at 5:40 p.m. (1540 GMT), minutes after Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic said Mladic was on the airplane.

Italy Pledges Funding For Libyan Rebels

BENGHAZI, Libya -- Italy has pledged to provide Libya's rebels with fuel and hundreds of millions of dollars backed by frozen assets of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, the Italian foreign minister said Tuesday.

Libya's rebel national council has complained for weeks of dwindling funds, and has been desperately seeking to secure loans and financial backing from its Western supporters to help shore up its finances. Tuesday's agreement with Italy marks a major step forward for the opposition in addressing those needs.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, visiting the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya, said Italy would provide "for the needs of the Libyan people with a huge quantity of fuel and huge amount of money."

India One Step Closer To Finalizing Purchase Of 10 C-17

Old news really but officially acknowledged for the first time. It was a foregone conclusion India will offer some thing to the Americans for massaging their ego after the MMRCA fiasco.

Having said that, these beasts are a fantastic addition to our inventory.Unfortunately though  many of the advanced avionics used by the Americans and allies will not be given to India, instead IAF will find 3rd party sellers for their replacements.

Read Related News About This Deal
Read The Specification Of C-17 Globemaster with slideshow

After considerable diligence and mathematics, India is all set to purchase 10 C-17 Globemaster strategic lift aircraft from US for $4.1 billion, with upfront offsets of $1.12 billion.

The Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday will consider a revised proposal for purchase of C-17s which, for the first time, outlines the offsets including a High Altitude Engine Test Facility and Trisonic Wind Tunnel Facility valued at $510 million, for the Defence Research & Development Organisation.

India’s access to advanced technology air tunnel would be important as it has depended on Russian test facilities to evaluate the indigenous Kaveri jet engine, which was to be used in the LCA project.

The other half of the offsets, according to the proposal, would be shared between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for training and maintenance for the aircraft, Tata Consultancy Services for defence strategic communication systems and Defence Land Systems — a joint venture between Mahindra Group and BAE Systems — for armoured vehicles.

The original proposal had talked of Boeing fulfilling its obligations under the Defence Procurement Procedure “as per policy” and hence, the offset was not stated. Under the DPP, any foreign company bagging contract worth over $300 million has to invest back at least 30 per cent of it into the Indian defence sector.

However, sources said, the C-17 offsets would cost India an additional 7-8 per cent in the total outgo on the purchase as the US has explained that it would be paying more for Indian offsets than it could have got the same services and products from other sources.

With this offset promise, decks have been cleared for the biggest-ever Indo-US defence deal under the American foreign military sales (FMS) programme, a direct government-to-government contract.

The four-engine Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift aircraft is capable of carrying a payload of almost 170,000 pounds and landing even at small forward airbases with semi-prepared runways and can transport tanks and troops over 2,400 nautical miles.

Story Of Indian Defense Indigenization An Absolute Failure

Author Ajai Shukla

Defence indigenisation has long been more a Ministry of Defence (MoD) slogan than reality. Defence Minister A K Antony pays regular lip service to reversing the 70:30 ratio: reducing the foreign component of Indian defence from 70 per cent to 30 per cent. In practice, indigenisation has been, with apologies to Greta Garbo, an illusion, wrapped in a fallacy, cloaked in deception.

The empirical reality of “indigenisation” is evident in the Indian Navy, the only service that pursues indigenisation systematically (the Indian Air Force and the Army talk the talk but oppose indigenisation in practice, demanding aircraft, tanks and guns now, not ten years down the line). The navy takes justifiable pride in building most of its warships in Indian shipyards, but a closer examination reveals that indigenisation is only skin-deep. Defence shipyards have developed the crucial skills needed for designing and constructing sophisticated warships, and for harmonising myriad sensors and weapons into an integrated battle management system. But there is little headway in indigenising the multiplicity of components and systems that are the vital innards of a battleship.

Consequently, India’s four defence shipyards – the flagship Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai (MDL); Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers, Kolkata (GRSE); Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL); and the newly acquired Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam (HSL) – must necessarily look overseas for the engines, gas turbines, propulsion systems, gearboxes, generators, hydraulic systems, air-conditioning and countless other systems, which add up to the bulk of the cost of modern warships.

These are all lost opportunities for India’s private sector companies, which could be building these systems as their route into the lucrative business of defence production. Examine the figures. From the navy’s budget of Rs 21,000 crore this year (all figures rounded off), almost 60 per cent, or Rs 12,000 crore, is earmarked for capital expenditure. Of this, Rs 4,000 crore will be disbursed directly to foreign shipyards that are constructing Indian warships, while Rs 8,000 crore will be paid to Indian shipyards. On the face of it, that would appear like a healthy 66 per cent indigenisation rate, close to Mr Antony’s target.

Unfortunately, only a small share of this goes to the Indian shipbuilder. MDL retains just 25 per cent of the cost of each warship it produces, with 75 per cent being paid to foreign suppliers for the systems mentioned above. GRSE pays out 65 per cent and GSL remits 55 per cent abroad, not because they are better at indigenising but because their vessels use lower-end technology that is available in India.

The shocking statistic is that India has a 100 per cent indigenisation rate in jungle boots, blankets and similar low-tech equipment. But in critical technologies, we import 85 per cent of our needs. And in warship-grade and aerospace-grade components, we have indigenised just 5 per cent of our requirement; 95 per cent still comes from abroad. An example is Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Dhruv helicopter, designed and integrated in India, but 90 per cent foreign in physical content.

This regrettable situation exists largely because the MoD, particularly its Department of Defence Production (DDP), has failed to coordinate and sponsor the development of indigenous capability. Warship builders still import even warship- grade steel, the toughened alloy that comprises the basic structure of a modern battleship. This is not because the technology is beyond us. Years ago, India’s public sector metallurgical establishments – the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory; Mishra Dhatu Nigam; and Steel Authority of India Ltd – developed and manufactured warship-grade steel (termed D 40S), which has been used in the navy’s reputed Shivalik class frigates. But cross-ministerial coordination is needed to produce the relatively small volumes required for warship programmes while remaining profitable for both steel makers and shipyards. Essar Steel had offered to produce warship steel, subject to some conditions. But the MoD has preferred to continue reliance on import.

In 2003 the navy addressed the lack of depth in indigenisation with a “15 Year Indigenisation Plan”, which was subsequently revised up to 2022. This forecasts the warship programme’s requirement of equipment and systems, hoping for import substitution by bringing in the private sector. A similar initiative last year, broadened to all three services, was the DRDO’s “Technology Perspective & Capability Roadmap”, which details the technologies that the military requires and urges the private sector “to offer firm commitments in partnering the MoD in developing contemporary and future technologies as well as productionalising [sic] equipment required by the Armed Forces”.

But these useful baseline documents are only a starting point for an indigenisation thrust. Private sector corporations that are interested in defence production would still require handholding and funding for their initially non-productive R&D. The funding is available – each year the MoD has been earmarking some Rs 2,000 crore for “Make” procedure projects, without a single rupee having ever been paid out – but nobody in the MoD has taken clear ownership of such an initiative.

It is time for the defence ministry to step up to the plate. They have already identified 61 critical technologies – especially materials and components that can be used across a broad range of sub-systems and systems – that India badly needs for developing higher technological capabilities. A nationally synergised effort is needed, which must also explore obtaining specific technologies through the offset route.

We have learnt how to swim at the deep end of the pool, developing the complex abilities needed to design and integrate warships, aircraft and tanks, without developing the broader research and industrial ecosystem that sustains a defence industrial base. It is time to deepen and broaden indigenisation, by developing the materials, components and sub-systems that will not only substitute defence imports, but also provide technological “trickle down” to energise the national industrial base.

Israel to Buy 4 More Iron Dome Systems with US Aid

The U.S. is funding the production of four more batteries of Iron Dome missile systems, to assist Israel in defending against short-range anti-rocket attacks from Gaza and South Lebanon. According to the director of the U.S. Missile defense Agency, Army Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, speaking to the the US Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee, the proposed MDA budget includes funding for the procurement of four more batteries.

O’Reilly was referring to fiscal 2011 funding of $203.8 million added last June at the request of President Barack Obama. This funding was first direct US investment in the production phase of the project. Two Iron Dome units are currently deployed in the Southern area of Israel, near the Gaza strip. The combat tested system demonstrated its capability on April 7, 2011 intercepting eight rockets fired at the city of Ashkelon and Ashdod, during a recent series of hostilities between the Palestinians and Israelis. Over 50 rockets were fired at Israel through these engagements, most of them fell outside populated areas. Iron Dome’s battle management system tracked each of the rockets, determining which rocket could pose a threat and which provides low collateral risk that did not justify an intercept. the system also tacked back each of the launching points, assisting IDF suppression attacks.

The Israel Air Force is standing up the third Iron Dome unit, which is expected to become operational by year’s end. Three additional units are scheduled to deploy with the systems by the end of 2012, enabling the IAF to position defensive systems in the northern sector, along the Lebanese border and southern Israel while additionally protecting its air bases from missile and rocket attacks. Rafael is currently modifying the system to be truck mounted, thus becoming more responsive, capable of redeploying quickly between different positions. The truck mounted configuration will be unveiled at the Paris Air Show next month.

Videos Of Tamilian Genocide By Sri-Lanka Credible Says UN

Video footage of summary executions apparently committed during the Sri Lankan civil war appears to be convincing evidence of "serious international crimes," a U.N. special envoy said on Monday.

The charge adds to pressure on Colombo to submit to an international inquiry into allegations that thousands of civilians were killed at the end of its 25-year war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lankan authorities have rejected the video as falsified and responded angrily to U.N. criticisms, accusing the body of bias and of meddling in Colombo's domestic processes.

It has acknowledged some non-combatants were killed, but says the numbers have been inflated by LTTE supporters.

A video provided by Britain's Channel 4 television shows naked people with their hands tied behind their backs being executed against a backdrop of corpses of other men and women.

Since late last year, the United Nations has studied the video that allegedly showed acts committed during the civil war that ended in 2009.

"I conclude on the basis of the extensive technical evidence we obtained from independent experts that what is depicted in the video indeed happened," Christof Heyns, the U.N.'s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva. "I believe that a prima facie case of serious international crimes has been made," Heyns said. The evidence should be investigated by an international panel, he said.

He did not say what he meant by serious international crimes, which can be war crimes or crimes against humanity.

The video is a five-minute version of a minute of footage previously studied by the United Nations. Heyns said the longer version resolved "unexplained elements" in the first video.


Sri Lanka and the pro-LTTE diaspora have engaged in a propaganda war since well before the conflict ended, with numerous groups offering what they say is realistic footage or photographs of atrocities. Many later proved to be doctored.

The United Nations in April published the findings of a three-member panel Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed to advise him on "issues of accountability."

The Sri Lankan government on Monday again accused the United Nations of seeking to pre-empt its own Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which it noted predated the U.N. panel.

"It is disconcerting to note the haste with which some have sought to usurp the government of Sri Lanka's prerogative in deciding its domestic process," Minister of Plantation Industries Mahinda Samarasinghe, the head of the Sri Lankan delegation, told the Human Rights Council.

"We firmly believe that our home-grown process is capable of addressing the nuances of our unique situation," he said.

He also said the U.N. system needs to be free from bias.

"It is of paramount importance that high offices of the U.N. system are scrupulously impartial, independent and transparent and are seen to be so," he said.

Barely a month after the civil war ended, Sri Lanka shocked Western governments by engineering the adoption of a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that praised its victory over the Tamil Tigers, a group on more than 30 nations' terrorism lists.

That defeated a European-backed resolution condemning the civilian deaths at the war's end, pushed by nations angry that Sri Lanka refused pressure for a ceasefire in the final months.

The United States has warned that failure to investigate credibly the allegations and establish genuine reconciliation could lead to an international war crimes investigation.

Diplomats involved with Sri Lanka see that as unlikely, given the backing it has from China and Russia on the U.N. Security Council, but the Human Rights Council could still move for an inquiry.

South African President says Gadhafi ready for truce

Fresh explosions rang out early Tuesday near Tripoli, hours after South African President Jacob Zuma held talks with Moammar Gadhafi and signalled he was ready to accept an African Union plan for a cease-fire.

Around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, a pair of large blasts were heard about five minutes apart, as jets flew over the capital of Tripoli.

A Libyan government official said the first strike hit Abu Sita, a former military turned construction site about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city center. There was no immediate indication of where the second explosion occurred. Nor was there an immediate response from NATO, which has conducted regular strikes as part of its stated mission to halt Libyan leader Gadhafi's forces from killing innocent civilians.

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Expansionist China Deploys Missile Units Near Taiwan

Taiwan's top intelligence chief said China had deployed a new missile unit near the island, a lawmaker revealed Thursday, sparking concerns about the fragility of ties with the mainland.Related News About Chinese Missiles

Tsai Teh-sheng, head of the National Security Bureau, described the new unit, located in southern China, while replying to queries last week raised by legislator Lin Yu-fang of the ruling Kuomintang party.

"The unit, carrying the code number 96166 and based in Guangdong province, is indeed a new unit, probably a new ballistic missile brigade," Tsai said, without providing details, according to a statement released by Lin.
"Over the past few years, the People's Liberation Army has kept increasing its deployment of ballistic missile units in both quantity and quality opposite Taiwan," the intelligence chief was quoted as saying in the statement.

Taiwanese experts estimate that China currently has more than 1,600 missiles aimed at the island, mostly deployed in Fujian and Jiangxi provinces in the mainland's southeast, forecasting that the number will reach 1,800 next year.

Lin, a university professor specialising in military affairs, said China's continued expansion of its railway network also has helped boost the flexibility of its missile arm.The extensive rail network enables the weapons to be transported swiftly to the coastal areas when needed and even to be launched from railway cars.

On Thursday, in response to questions raised by another Kuomintang legislator, Tsai said that with restrictions on visits to the island being eased, Chinese intelligence agents have arrived disguised as tourists, academics and civil organisation staff.

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have eased since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang became Taiwan's president in 2008 on a platform of boosting trade links and allowing in more Chinese tourists.
However, Beijing still refuses to renounce the possible use of force against the island, which has ruled itself since the end of a civil war in 1949, should it declare formal independence.

The Pentagon said in an annual report to Congress last year that China's military build-up against Taiwan had "continued unabated" despite improving political relations.

The perceived threat has prompted Taiwan to seek more advanced weapons, mainly from the United States.

Taiwan Happy With U.S. Senate Push For F-16 Sale

Taiwan on May 29 said it welcomed a push by nearly half the U.S. Senate for the sale of dozens of F-16 fighters to the island in an arms deal Taipei said would help its dealings with China.

In a letter to President Obama last week, 45 senators urged the administration to swiftly approve the sale of 66 F-16C/Ds to Taiwan as the fast-expanding Chinese forces tip the military balance in the region, the foreign ministry said.

"We're pleased to see the bipartisan move in the U.S. Senate," foreign ministry spokesman James Chang said.
"The arms sale will help Taiwan boost its self-defense capabilities, thus giving it more leverage while engaging the Chinese mainland," he said.

Ties between Taiwan and China have improved markedly since 2008 after Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power on a platform of beefing up trade links and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

Taiwan applied to the U.S. government to buy 66 F-16 fighters in early 2007, but observers say Washington has held up the deal for fear of angering Beijing.

The United States in January 2010 approved a $6.4 billion arms package to Taiwan, prompting a furious Beijing to halt military exchanges and security talks with Washington.

During a trip to the United States earlier this month, Chinese People's Liberation Army Chief of Staff Gen. Chen Bingde renewed his objection to any U.S. arms sales to Taiwan.

India to send corrected list of fugitives to Pakistan in 2 weeks

New Delhi, May 30 (PTI) India will formally communicate to Pakistan about the errors in the list of 50 most wanted fugitives given to it by handing over a correct list within two weeks.

The CBI, NIA and other agencies were reviewing the entire list after finding two errors in it and India will formally convey to Pakistan about the mistakes and give a correct list within two weeks, government officials said.

The list was handed over to Pakistan during the Home Secretary-level talks in March. However, it was found that one person named in the list has been living in a Mumbai suburb while another person has been lodged in a jail in the metropolis.

Lockheed Says Little To No Damage From Cyberattack

Major U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin said May 29 it was investigating the source of a major cyber-attack one week ago against its information network, the company said.

"Lockheed Martin detected a significant and tenacious attack on its information systems network," the company said in a news statement released late May 28.

The company said the cyber-assault took place on May 21, and that quick action by its security team successfully repelled the attack.

"No customer, program or employee personal data has been compromised," Lockheed's statement said, adding that federal authorities had been notified.

"Throughout the ongoing investigation, Lockheed Martin has continued to keep the appropriate U.S. government agencies informed of our actions," the company said.

President Obama has been briefed about the attack, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

"It has been part of the briefing materials that he has," Carney said. "My understanding, based on what I've seen, is they feel it's fairly minimal in terms of the damage."

Lockheed Martin said its officials are working "around the clock to restore employee access to the network, while maintaining the highest level of security."

It did not mention the suspected source of the cyber-attack.

The company's information security team detected the attack almost immediately and took what is described as "aggressive actions" to protect all systems and data, the statement added.

The statement said that despite the attack, the company remains confident in the integrity of its "robust, multi-layered information systems security."

Federal officials, for their part, told U.S. media that the consequences of the attack for the Pentagon and other agencies was "minimal," and no adverse effect on their operations was expected.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 126,000 people worldwide. It focuses on design, development and manufacturing of advanced technology systems, including some of the military's most advanced weaponry.

Seventy-four percent of the company's 2009 revenue came from military sales, according to published reports.

Lockheed Martin's products included the Trident missile, P-3 Orion spy plane, F-16 and F-22 fighter jets, and C-130 Hercules military cargo planes among many other major weapons systems.

The company is a primary developer of stealth technology used in U-2 and SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, the F-117 fighter jet as well as the F-22 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter designs.

The corporation's 2010 sales from continuing operations reached $45.8 billion.

However, the stealth Joint Strike Fighter program has faced delays and cost overruns, and the Pentagon overhauled the program last year.

The initial estimate for each F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft was $50 million eight years ago, but more recent estimates were up to $92 million.

Meanwhile, NASA announced last week that a new spacecraft to ferry humans into deep space would be based on designs for the Orion crew exploration vehicle built by Lockheed Martin.

The Orion capsule, originally designed to take astronauts back to the moon, is a surviving component of the Constellation manned space exploration program canceled by Obama last year for being behind schedule and over budget.

The capsule will weigh 23 tons and NASA has no date set for a potential launch, said Douglas Cooke, associate administrator for NASA's exploration systems mission directorate.

There is also no final cost associated with the project.

Lockheed Martin is to continue its work on building the space capsule begun in 2006.

UK General Warns Against Afghanistan Pullout

Britain's most senior general in Afghanistan says that there must be no significant pullout of troops from the country until late 2012.

Gen. James Bucknall said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that U.S. reinforcements that arrived last year should stay for two more summer fighting seasons to hold gains against the Taliban.

He said any significant withdrawal of troops would send conflicting signals on commitment to the campaign there.

Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that Britain will pull out 450 troops from Afghanistan in the next year.

Bucknall predicted heavy fighting this summer in places like Helmand, where British troops are stationed.

Some argue that Osama bin Laden's death means that allied forces should speed up the pullout from Afghanistan.

On the other hand the news is Americans are holding truce negotiations with Taliban in Germany, the idea is to allow America to withdraw honorably and Taliban to take over the administration after a cooling down period so that it does not look like a disaster.

Russia Delivers Another Batch Of Naval Fighters MiG-29K To Indian Navy

Russia's MiG aircraft maker delivered a new batch of five MiG-29K/KUB carrier-based fighters to the Indian navy in May, the company said."A flight training simulator and other technical equipment has also been delivered," MiG said in a statement on Monday.

The two countries signed a contract stipulating the supply of 12 single-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUBs to India in January 2004. The contract is part of a $1.5-billion deal to deliver the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, currently being retrofitted in Russia for the Indian Navy.

India's first four MiG-29Ks and MiG-29KUBs officially entered service in February 2010. In March 2010, Russia and India signed a $1.5-billion contract on the supplies of 29 additional MiG-29K Fulcrum-D carrier-based fighter jets to New Delhi. The start of the supplies is scheduled for 2012.

The contracts for the jets also stipulate pilot training and aircraft maintenance, including the delivery of flight simulators and interactive ground and sea-based training systems.

The Indian Navy has named its MiG-29K squadron the "Black Panthers." The fighters will be based at an airfield in the state of Goa on India's west coast until the Admiral Gorshkov joins the Navy under the name of INS Vikramaditya in early 2013.

The Vikramaditya is expected to carry up to 24 MiG-29K/KUB fighters. The future indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant being built by India may also carry these aircraft.

Pakistan Army Terrified Of Indian Armys COLD START Doctrine

As it was pointed out before on this site that the "cold start" doctrine of Indian Army has given cold sweats to Pakistani Army and to counter that they have turned to short range tactical nuclear weapons. Pakistani army was desperate to stop the Indian Army which was impossible for it to do, in case of a sudden attack. Specially after the Mumbai attack.

Funny part of all this is they even blackmailed Usa and India that Pakistan will not co-operate with the investigation unless India Army stops aggressive movement in Punjab,Rajasthan and Kashmir. On one hand they perpetuate the worst crime of this century and when squeezed play the damsel in distress card.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Pakistani Base In Mehran Was Compromised By Its Own Commando

Pakistani intelligence agencies have taken into custody a former naval commando, who was court martialled earlier, and two other persons for their alleged involvement in a terrorist attack on a naval airbase in Karachi that killed 10 security personnel.

Kamran Ahmed, a former personnel of the elite Special Service Group-Navy, was picked up with his younger brother and a friend from Gulberg area of Lahore on Friday, sources said.

Ahmed was posted at the Pakistan Navy's Mehran and Iqbal bases before he was court-martialled about eight years ago for his involvement in a brawl with his superiors.

Since then, he had operated several petty businesses in Lahore.

TV news channels beamed pictures of Ahmed's military identity card and a photo of the former commando, which showed him with a beard and wearing a camouflage uniform.

Sources said Ahmed and the two others were taken to an undisclosed location for interrogation.

There were unconfirmed reports that he might have provided maps and important information about the PNS Mehran naval airbase that was targeted by a group of heavily armed Taliban fighters on May 22.

The attackers blew up two P3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and killed 10 security personnel, including a naval officer.

Four of the terrorists were killed or blew themselves up.

Authorities had earlier arrested six persons in connection with the attack.

Intelligence sources have said they believe that the attack on PNS Mehran could not have been carried out without "help from insiders".

“They have been detained in connection with the naval base attack and are under interrogation,” one intelligence official said, without giving details.

Imran Ahmed, another brother who was not arrested, told Reuters the two were taken away by intelligence officials on Friday. He gave no details.

An earlier arrest of a suspect in the Mehran base attack led to the arrest of the Ahmed brothers.

A second intelligence official said Kamran Ahmed served at Mehran and was court-martialed for assaulting a senior officer.The military court declared him mentally unfit for the job.

He was also under suspicion after a suicide attack on the naval war college in Lahore in 2008 but was not detained, the official said.“The suspect arrested earlier said Ahmed provided information about the base to a militant network, which carried out the attack.”

The Pakistani Taliban, which is allied to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Mehran base, but many analysts believe they had inside help.The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the death of Osama bin Laden in a US raid in Abbottabad on May 2.

Russia Purchases French Made Mistral Class Warship

France and Russia should sign a contract on four Mistral class helicopter carriers for Russia before June 21, when Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is to visit France, President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.Watch an interactive presentation and specs of this class of warships

"We have agreed everything with President Medvedev - the price, the timeframe, the transfer of technology, and the construction site," Sarkozy said.

"Contract negotiations are over; it only remains to decide when this contract will be signed: The deadline is June 21 because this is when Prime Minister Putin will come to Paris."

Medvedev and Sarkozy agreed earlier on Thursday that a contract will be signed within 15 days.

"We have reached a final agreement that this contract will be signed in 15 days. Two helicopter carriers will be built in France and two more in Russia," Sarkozy said after talks with Medvedev.

Russia and France in January signed an intergovernmental agreement to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Another two are planned to be constructed later at Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg.

However, contract talks stumbled over Russia's demand for the transfer of sensitive electronic systems.

Mistral ships are equipped with a NATO-standard SENIT-9 naval tactical data system and SIC-21 fleet command system.

It is not clear yet whether France has agreed to include the technology in the deal.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

France has two Mistral class amphibious assault ships in service and is building a third one.

This is further indications that all is not well with the Russian arms manufacturing unit. Slowly but surely they are getting more and more reliant on the west to provide them with newer and better weapons.

Unfortunately the Soviet edge on technology and innovation is no longer there, and a hapless Russian army has to deal with obsolete junk.
Hover over the circles to see the specification of that part or click on the specs button for the over view.

All Smiles On The First Day Of Talks Between Indian and Pakistan

Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan held first round of talks here on Monday on a number of bilateral issues, including progress in the probe of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Emerging after the talks, Home Secretary G. K. Pillai said that talks were ``extremely positive.’’ ``Progress made in certain direction, in the right direction,’’ Mr. Pillai told reporters on the first day of the two-day talks with Pakistani Interior Secretary Chaudhary Qamar Zaman.

Echoing the sentiments of his Indian counterpart, Mr. Zaman said the talks were ``very positive.’’ He said: ``Since, we have another day for the talks to still follow through, I am not going into the specifics,’’ he told reporters.

``But I can tell you with good amount of certainty that its been a very positive attitude displayed on both sides,’’ he said.

Pakistan has agreed to consider approaching a higher court to enable it to share with India the voice samples of seven Lashkare-Tayyeba (LeT) men, arrested in the 26/11 case.
This was apparently the only positive emerging for India on the first day of the home secretary-level talks between the two countries in the Capital.

The two delegations, led by home secretary G.K. Pillai and Pakistan's interior secretary Chaudhary Qamar Zaman, held discussions for almost five hours.

Mr. Zaman said there were issues that were yet to be discussed. ``We have issues that still we have to discuss. It’s been generally moving on in a good spirit and it has been a business like meeting,’’ he added.

Joint statement

The Pakistan Interior Secretary said that he planned to visit Agra on Wednesday. Mr. Pillai indicated that a joint statement would be issued on Tuesday.

Lasting for nearly five hours, the Home Secretary level talks also marked resumption of a structured high-level contact after the composite dialogue process was suspended in the wake of November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The two delegations are learnt to have covered a wide range of issues concerning the two neighbours, including counter-terrorism measures, smuggling of narcotics and inflow of fake Indian currency notes.

The talks come ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani as the two leaders are scheduled to watch India-Pakistan semifinal match of the World Cup cricket at Mohali in Punjab on Wednesday. The talks are also likely to cover dismantling of terror camps across the border and progress of Samjhauta Express blasts probe.

Now we must wait for the knives because behind those smiles you can see the sneer and it can be predicted with fair amount of surety that soon Pakistan will stab India in the back

Russia And U.S. Fail To Agree On Missile Defense Guarantees

Russia and the United States have failed to agree a final draft on legally binding guarantees on missile defense, although they have made some progress on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.

"Substantive progress has been made, but it was not formalized in documentary form," Ryabkov said, commenting on Thursday's meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville, France.

Moscow has been concerned by a U.S. reluctance to provide guarantees that its European missile defense system will not be directed against Russia.

SAAB In The Race For Indian Navy Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft Tender

May 29, 2011 By Saurabh Joshi - StratPost
Swedish defense and aerospace company SAAB is planning to offer its SAAB 2000 aircraft to the Indian Navy when it issues a Request For Proposal (RFP) for Medium Range Maritime Reconnaissance (MRMR) aircraft in the next few months.

The Indian Navy currently operates the Russian Tu-142 Bear and IL-38 aircraft, in addition to Dornier aircraft. It has also ordered eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft and is expected to buy an additional four.

The aircraft is built by US aviation company Boeing, which is planning to pitch a medium range ‘diet’ P-8 for the Indian Navy’s MRMR tender.

While the SAAB 2000 is being offered with the RBS-15 Anti Ship Missile and a fifth generation Selex AESA radar, what is also interesting is that SAAB is offering re-manufactured aircraft, since the company ceased production of the aircraft in 1999.

“We will take an existing SAAB 2000. We will re-manufacture it and build it up. So it will be ground zero flying hours. We will have all the warranties. We will have 35,000 flying hours. It will have 25 years of support,” said Tommy Hultin, SAAB’s Business Development Director for the program.

Hultin also says the Harpoon missile manufactured by Boeing, which India is already planning to acquire for the Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar and the P-8I aircraft, can also be configured on the SAAB 2000, which he points out, is one of the fastest turboprop aircraft flying.

Radar: Selex Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Maritime Surveillance Radar with long range search of 200 nautical miles. The interrogator functions of the Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) capability can be customized. The radar is paired with a Saab R4A AIS transponder receiver/transmitter system that marks maritime activity with an encrypted data link.

Electro-Optic (HDTV) and Thermal Imager sensors: For close range detection, identification and recording of surface objects and activities.

ELINT: Capable of intercepting and collect intelligence information consisting of detailed information of e.g. complex emitters active signal components, the relationship and the dynamics between active signal components.

ESM system: Automatically identifies RF (Radio Frequency) signal sources and Direction Finding of RF signal sources.

SPS system: Radar warning receivers, missile approach warning sensors, laser warning sensors as well as chaff and flare dispensers for self protection.

COMINT system: Enhances SIGINT capability by complementing the baseline ELINT system. Includes Direction Finder function and an Intercept System.

Command & Control (C2) system: Integrates and assists in controlling mission sensors and provides the user interface to mission operators, via four (4) workstations installed side-by-side in the cabin facing starboard, and to the pilots via a dedicated tactical display. The workstations also provide access to the mission communication system.

FLIR: Forward Looking Infra Red which can be used for identification of vessels. While performance depends on on environmental conditions such as fog, sea-state, salt percentage, it can typically be used within a range of 5-10 nautical miles.

SAAB says the aircraft can operate from high altitude airfields, ‘taking off with maximum load and fuel even at very hot temperatures’. With a cruising speed of 350 knots, it can climb to an altitude of 20,000 ft in 10 minutes and reach an operating area 1,000 nautical miles away within three hours. It can maintain position on a single engine even at a height of 20,000 feet.

The aircraft is said to be able to carry out a mission covering 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for 5.5 hours at an altitude of 2,000 ft, or longer patrol times at higher altitudes up to 31000 feet.

NATO Team Attacked In Afghanistan

At least five people were killed and about 30 wounded after twin bomb blasts struck the Afghan city of Herat.

The fatalities occurred after a roadside bomb in the centre of the city, which is not far from the western border with Iran.

In the second assault, a suicide bomber attacked the Nato-led Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) base on the outskirts of the city.

The Taliban recently declared a "spring offensive" of attacks in Afghanistan.

'Several attackers'

An Afghan intelligence official in Herat said the first attack was a "powerful" bomb blast.

"It happened at a busy place at a busy time. The windows of nearby buildings were broken. I was nearby when the explosion took place," he said.

Witnesses at the scene of the PRT base said gunshots could still be heard. It is not yet clear if there are more casualties.

At least two suicide bombers were said to have attacked the compound, while a number of insurgents tried to get inside.

''The attack on the PRT is still going on. We know there are several attackers. Helicopters are hovering overhead," a senior police official told in an interview.

He said shops had been closed and that police and army officers had been deployed across the city.

PRTs are typically joint military and civilian operations designed to help build up Afghan government capacity in a province. There are 28 of them across Afghanistan.

Most foreign reporters says Herat - a relatively peaceful city - is due to be soon handed to Afghan control, and so the attack is quite significant.

Earlier, Nato generals in Afghanistan apologised after civilians were killed in an air strike on Sunday.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had criticised the coalition for the attack, which killed nine people.

Serbian Police Cracks Down On Pro-Mladic Supporters

Serbian authorities detained 180 people who had attacked police injuring 32 during a protest against the arrest of Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic, an Interior Ministry spokeswoman said on Monday.
Many of those at the Sunday night rally in Belgrade were young people, some not even born during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Dozens of those detained by riot police wearing helmets, protective gear and shields were minors.

The Serbian Radical Party, whose leader is on trial in The Hague, brought in supporters by bus from across Serbia to rally for Mladic. Many came straight from Sunday soccer matches.

During the violence, 32 police and 11 protesters were hurt, and five cars and six shops also suffered damage, police said.

Mladic, indicted for genocide in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica during the war, was arrested on Thursday in a village 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Belgrade after 16 years on the run.

A Belgrade court ruled on Friday he was fit enough to face genocide charges at the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague and has served extradition papers.

US Navy Building Electromagnetic Rail Gun Or Big Daddy Gun

Back in March 2006, BAE Systems received a contract for “design and production of the 32 MJ Laboratory Launcher for the U.S. Navy.”(videos attached at the end of the article)
Imagine a gun which can destroy target 100's of miles away. Imagine that it fores a bullet at eight times the speed of sound. Flights of fantasy you say, reality says US Navy.This Super Gun or the Big Daddy gun has been described as the most powerful in the world after tests at a U.S. Navy firing range.

This weapon system is the electromagnetic rail gun (EMRG), which uses electricity, rather than chemical propellants, to launch projectiles at long-range targets. The EMRG is one in a family of the Office of Naval Research’s Innovative Naval Prototypes (INPs). An INP is characterized by high-risk, high-payoff technologies. If successful, an INP will lead to significant advances in Navy or Marine Corps capabilities.

The EM launch concept has been demonstrated as the Army and other services have recently fabricated and tested several prototype gun systems. Advanced materials and manufacturing techniques played a major role in this achievement. The engineering development necessary for a fieldable system is considerably more difficult than the laboratory systems.

The schematic in Figure 1 illustrates the essential components of an electromagnetic gun system, including a pulsed power supply, a rail gun, and a projectile package. A current level of one million amps is generated from the pulsed power supply,a capacitor bank, or a rotating machine, providing propulsion energy for the gun system. The current flows from the gun breech through one rail, across the armature (part of the projectile package), and then returns through the other rail. As a result, an intensive magnetic field is generated perpendicular to the plane of rail/armature. Accordingly, the current flowing through the armature and rails interacts with the magnetic field and results in an electromagnetic (Lorenz) force. The forces generated during operation act to accelerate the projectile forward and push the rails apart. In theory, the projectile can be accelerated to any velocity, but it is limited by the physical constraints of material strength and structural design.Rotating machinery has been identified as the most feasible solution to provide pulsed current at several million amps. The machine converts kinetic energy into electrical current over a short duration equivalent to interior ballistic cycles of traditional guns. Within weight and volume design constraints, the machine has to store energy as well as deliver enormous power.

A.Q Khan Says Preparation For Nuclear Strikes On India Continues

The Pakistani nuclear programme has been “running without any break” for the past 10 years and the process of uranium enrichment is in progress, too, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan claimed in an interview on Saturday.

“Although I have not been associated with the programme for the past 10 years, I know that it has been running without any break and the process of uranium enrichment is in progress,” the nuclear scientist said.

He said although the departments concerned were not giving “final shape to new nuclear weapons”, the material was being prepared and they could be assembled any time if required. Another bold face lie because it is out in the open that Pakistan is producing low level tactical nuclear weapon to be used against India.

Pakistan To Attack North Waziristan Soon

Pakistan has decided to launch an air and ground military offensive in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban on the border with Afghanistan, a newspaper reported on Monday.

The United States has long demanded that Pakistan launch an offensive in the region to hunt down the Haqqani network, one of the deadliest Afghan militant factions fighting American troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been reluctant, but has come under intense U.S. pressure to attack militancy after it was discovered that Osama bin Laden had been living there.

Four Naxals Arrested In Jharkhand

Four alleged Naxals were arrested today in Jharkhand's Simdega district and arms and ammunition recovered from their possession, police said.

Upon receiving specific information, the police carried out a raid in the district and arrested four members of a Naxal organisation called 'Pahari Cheetah' and recovered arms and ammunition from them, Simdega SP Anup Birthera told PTI.

The four arrested persons have been identified as Sanjay Gop, Praksh Sahu, Deepak Nayak and Lakhan Sharma, he said, adding that a 9mm pistol, a dozen bullets and large amounts of explosives were seized from them.

India Pakistan Secretary Level Talks Today Pakistan Wants Siachen

After a gap of three years, defence secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan on the long-pending Siachen issue will kick off here on Monday.

"Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar will lead the Indian delegation during the two-day talks," a Defence Ministry official said, adding that "India and Pakistan decided to resume the talks last year after both Prime Ministers met in Thimpu."

Pakistan's Defence Secretary Lt General (Retd) Syed Ather Ali arrived here yesterday for the 12th round of talks, which will conclude on Tuesday.

While the Pakistani delegation has two civilian officials and four military officers, the Indian side includes Special Secretary RK Mathur, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt General AM Verma and Surveyor General S Subha Rao, defence officials said.

F-16 An Irritant in India US Strategic Relationship : WikiLeaks

These are some excerpts from a wiki-leak cable which clearly shows that while the Ind-u relationship have grown yet the issue of F-16 sale to Pakistan by USA remains a minor irritant. The Indian Government and the Indian Air Force are both wary about these planes falling into the hands of Pakistan Airforce. Though it is a known fact that F-16's will do nothing for PAF if a war comes against India.

Indian Defense Minister while understanding the US-Pak issue is not ready to accept this deal at all.

DATE 2005-03-31 13:01:00
ORIGIN:Embassy New Delhi


E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/31/2010

Clinton And Mullen Meet With Pakistani Leaders To Apologize

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen met with Pakistani leaders today in an effort to shore up relations between the United States and Pakistan.

Clinton and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari, Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and Intelligence Chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Pasha.

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USA Upgrading F-22 Raptor

It has proved so difficult and expensive to upgrade the F-22 Raptor, whose stealthy body contains sensors and electronic brains, that the U.S. Air Force may take the unprecedented step of threading what amounts to a second central nervous system into a fighter jet.

By introducing an open architecture to one of the world's most tightly knit proprietary systems, service officials hope to make it much cheaper and easier to insert new technology - even gear developed for the F-35 Lightning II - into the stealthy air-superiority fighter.

"This jet has a very highly integrated avionics system. Because of that tight coupling and that highly integrated nature, it makes it very difficult, and we are highly reliant upon [Raptor makers] Lockheed Martin and Boeing to do any kinds of modifications to the jet," said David Weber, deputy director of the F-22 System Program Office (SPO) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Weber said the open-architecture effort is meant to allow the Air Force to open upgrade work to competition.

Today, he said, "the architecture is proprietary to Lockheed Martin, and we're kinda stuck with Lockheed Martin when we want to integrate something new."

Weber said the work is at such an early stage that the F-22 SPO has no guess how much it might cost.

This year, service officials plan to study the options, in part by issuing a request for information inviting contractors to suggest demonstration projects to help flesh out the alternatives.

"All of them have different ideas about how to go about doing this," Weber said.

In October through December, the service will award contracts to allow contractors to demonstrate ideas in a lab or flying testbed, said Col. John Williams, who runs the F-22 SPO's modernization office.

The SPO officials said Boeing and Lockheed would be welcome to bid on the demonstration contracts.

Lockheed, which had earlier proposed to essentially port the hardware and software architecture of the F-35 Lightning II into the Raptor, might respond to the Air Force solicitation with a similar proposal, said Jeff Babione, Lockheed's Raptor program manager. But Babione said the company might propose a different solution, depending on the service's requirements.

The Air Force will ultimately select one contractor to install the new architecture on its Raptors - ideally, said Weber, all 185 that will be built, less two losses.

"From our perspective, the fleet size is so small compared to where we wanted to be, our objective would be to make this applicable to all aircraft," he said.

The SPO deputy director said it may be deemed too costly to install the new architecture on the 34 oldest Raptors, which are currently used for training. Those planes are also not slated to get the Increment 3.2 upgrade, the next major group of hardware and software upgrades for the Raptor fleet.

But Weber noted that the new architecture might also make it cost-effective to bring those oldest Raptors up to the 3.2 standard.

If all goes well, development work could begin in earnest around 2014 as part of the development of Increment 3.2C, which is slated to begin installation in 2019 or 2020, he said.


As currently envisioned, the new network would be grafted onto the F-22's existing avionics, Weber said. The twin-engine jet's current network would continue to carry data between existing components, while upgraded ones would be linked by the new network. The data from both architectures would be translated and fused so that the jet continues to operate as a cohesive whole.

The installation of the new architecture might happen in one step, or it might proceed piece by piece, Williams said.

"Potentially, you could do it multiple times based on what you're trying to open up," he said. "You're opening up the [communication, navigation and identification]; maybe you're opening up the radar more, something like that. You may actually have multiple guys doing it, but it will be to a common standard."

As more systems are ported over to the new architecture, the older systems would wither away.

"Gradually, you'd have to start migrating some of the functions that we currently have in our core integrated processor away from the core integrated processor, so that everything doesn't flow through that piece," Williams said.

It may or may not be possible to migrate all of the Raptor's functionality.

"It depends on the degree we can open up the architecture," Weber said.

Lockheed's Babione said it might not be cost-effective to move everything to the new system.

The F-22 has received one upgrade - called Increment 2 - since it first arrived on Air Force flight lines in 2005. Those upgrades have added the capability to drop two 1,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions to the aircraft.

A planned upgrade, called Increment 3.1 and slated to begin this year, will add synthetic aperture radar mapping, the capability to carry eight Small Diameter Bombs, and other features.

In 2014, a software-only upgrade called Increment 3.2A will add electronic protection against jamming, better Link 16 receive capability and combat identification, and other improvements. In 2017, Increment 3.2B will add support for the plane's AIM-9X short-range and AIM-120D medium-range anti-air missiles, among many other upgrades.

In 2008, then-Pentagon acquisition chief John Young put the total cost of developing and installing Increment 3.1 and what became 3.2A and 3.2B at around $8 billion. The figure has likely gone up because the Air Force now plans to upgrade more F-22s.

Once the new architecture is installed, "if we want a new capability on the airplane, we can go out to industry with an RfI [request for information] and say, 'You all got good ideas; can you make it work with this architecture?'" Weber said.

The ultimate goal is to allow systems such as new radars to be "plug-and-play," as a printer might be to a desktop computer, he said.

This might allow the Raptor to use technology developed for the F-35 Lightning II without time-consuming and expensive integration work, Williams said

Afghan Security Forces Infiltrated By Taliban

For the past few months it has become increasingly clear that the Taliban has changed tact. It has realized that it is no match for the fire power of NATO forces. Thus it has started avoiding large scale fire-fights except in one or two cases. Even then they picked up the fight in the province of Nuristan where the coalition troop have no permanent base.

They have lost the two main opium producing provinces of Kandhar and Helmand which were their seat of power and generated cash through drug sales to keep them going. If they are to sustain themselves it is imperative that they do something to win it back.

Thus military and NATO officials, including the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, have predicted heavy fighting this summer. They have also predicted the Taliban will continue its campaign of terror and assassination. That campaign targets anyone who backs the Afghan security forces, peace talks with insurgents, or the Afghan government's reintegration program designed to lure Taliban foot soldiers back into their communities with offers of economic development for their villages.

"This is going to be a tough fighting season. The Talibs are not going to take these security gains laying down, and we have already seen them trying to come back. There are no certainties here," said British Maj. Gen. Phil Jones, a veteran of four tours in Afghanistan and NATO's point man on efforts to reintegrate Taliban fighters back into society.

To make high profile but small scale attack they have to get near high value targets. To do so they need to infiltrate the rank and file of the new Afghan National Army. Indications are that they might have already achieved this goal. Here is an example of what happened a few months back. A car with the license plate of a high-ranking Afghan general approached the gates of the Defense Ministry in Kabul last month. A special "A" pass also was on its windshield, so guards quickly waved it through.

Once inside, a man in an army uniform jumped from the car and stormed the ministry's main office building, an Afghan government official said. He gunned down two Afghan soldiers before being killed. The gunman also wounded an Afghan army officer, who died later at a hospital.

The man who drove the car with heavily tinted windows into the facility was the nephew of the general, the government official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information.

The Afghan army would never stop or search a vehicle driving into the ministry with a special pass on its windshield, the official said, adding that the general had not yet been told about the car or the involvement of his nephew, who is believed to have fled to Pakistan where many insurgent groups have safe havens.

The official said the investigation was still under way, and he would not elaborate as to why the general had not been questioned, or whether he even knew that a vehicle assigned to him by the ministry was used in the attack.

Another classic example of people inside the force helping and supporting Taliban effectively happened on the 21st of May, Afghan intelligence service said a soldier serving with the security unit at the main military hospital in Kabul picked up a Pakistani national and drove him to a mosque in the capital. There, inside a restroom, the man slipped an Afghan army uniform over a suicide explosives vest and got back into the soldier's official vehicle.

He was then easily driven through the gates. The attacker blew himself up in a tent being used as a cafeteria. The explosion killed six Afghan students and wounded 23 others. No foreigners were injured.

Police later arrested the driver - a soldier who had been in the army for eight months. NATO said the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network was responsible.

"The enemy is making huge efforts to infiltrate Afghan security organizations," Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister, recently told parliament.

The Taliban claim that indirect tactics, such as suicide attacks, assassinations and infiltration, are part of their new strategy against the government.

"The mujahedeen are able to infiltrate into the ranks of the enemy and are using these opportunities to attack," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said after the attack.

Since September 2007, the coalition has recorded 21 incidents in which a member of the Afghan security forces - or someone in a uniform used by them - have killed coalition forces. Forty-nine coalition troops, including at least 35 Americans, have been killed. At least six members of the Afghan security forces also died in the incidents.

Now it remains to be seen as to the way Taliban takes on Coalition troops this spring because it is quite clear that the Americans have failed to annihilate or reduce the fighting ability of the Taliban and it is believed they are lying low for the time being waiting for the Americans to move out . The second part of the strategy is to dis-credit the Afghan government by hitting high value targets, thus the general public will believe that the Afghanistan government is not in control and Taliban is the main power which can stabilize Afghanistan.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Vajra Corps Of Indian Army Launches Pine Prahar Military Exercise

Army's Vajra Corps, better known as "Defenders of Punjab", today began a 4-day exercise called Pine Prahar somewhere in the western sector.

The exercise envisages swift mobilisation of units and formations, and offensive manoeuvres.

In an interaction with journalists, Lt Gen Munish Sibal, General Officer Commanding of Vajra Corps, dwelt on various facets of the exercise.

He said Vajra Corps was fully ready to safeguard the border of the state at any given time.

Over 12,000 troops are taking part in the exercise.

The month long exercise includes ambitious integration of all force multipliers including the air force, battlefield transparency and enhanced mobility demonstrators in sync with the requirements of the future battlefield.

The culmination of the collective training is scheduled in the form of Ex' PINE PRAHAR' at the end of the month, during which a battle group with an all arms composition will practice offensive man- oeuvres across different obstacle systems. The exercise aims at validating the mission accomplishment capabilities of the battle group, incorporating enhanced integration of combat troops with tailor made organizations for C4 ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Recce), jointmanship and network centric operations.

Death Of Bin Laden Finally Avenged The Death Of Two CIA Operatives


For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998.

Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida's war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.

Their names probably will not be among those read at Memorial Day memorials around the country this weekend. Like many CIA officers, their service remained a secret in both life and death, marked only by anonymous stars on the wall at CIA headquarters and blank entries in its book of honor.

Their CIA ties were described to The Associated Press by a half-dozen current and former U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because Shah's and Hardy's jobs are still secret, even now.

The deaths weighed heavily on many at the CIA, particularly the two senior officers who were running operations in Africa during the attack. Over the past decade, as the CIA waged war against al-Qaida, those officers have taken on central roles in counterterrorism. Both were deeply involved in hunting down bin Laden and planning the raid on the terrorist who killed their colleagues.

"History has shown that tyrants who threaten global peace and freedom must eventually face their natural enemies: America's war fighters, and the silent warriors of our Intelligence Community," CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote in a Memorial Day message to agency employees.

These silent warriors took very different paths to Nairobi.

Hardy was a divorced mom from Valdosta, Ga., who raised a daughter as she travelled to Asia, South America and Africa over a lengthy career. At the CIA station in Kenya, she handled the office finances, including the CIA's stash of money used to pay sources and carry out spying operations. She was a new grandmother and was eager to get back home when al-Qaida struck.

Shah took an unpredictable route to the nation's clandestine service. He was not a solider or a Marine, a linguist or an Ivy Leaguer. He was a musician from the Midwest. But his story, and the secret mission that brought him to Africa, was straight out of a Hollywood spy movie.

"He was a vivacious, upbeat guy who had a very poignant, self-deprecating sense of humor," said Dan McDevitt, a classmate and close friend from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, where Shah was a standout trumpet player.

Shah - his given name was Uttamlal - was the only child of an Indian immigrant father and an American mother, McDevitt said. He had a fascination with international affairs. He participated in the school's model United Nations and, in the midst of the Cold War, was one of the school's first students to learn Russian. From time to time, he went to India with his father, giving him a rare world perspective.

"At the time, that was unheard of. You might as well have gone to Mars," said McDevitt, who lost touch with his high school friend long before he joined the agency.

Shah graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston and Ball State University's music school. He taught music classes and occasionally played in backup bands for entertainers Red Skelton, Perry Como and Jim Nabors. His doctoral thesis at Indiana's Ball State offered no hints about the career he would pursue: "The Solo Songs of Edward MacDowell: An Examination of Style and Literary Influence."

"He was one of our outstanding people," said Kirby Koriath, the graduate student adviser at Ball State.

Shah and his wife, Linda, were married in 1983, the year he received his master's degree. In 1987, after earning his doctorate, Shah joined the U.S. government. On paper, he had become a diplomat. In reality, he was shipped to the Farm, the CIA's spy school in Virginia.

He received the usual battery of training in surveillance, counterespionage and the art of building sources. The latter is particularly hard to teach, but it came naturally to Shah, former officials said. Shah was regarded as one of the top members of his class and was assigned to the Near East Division, which covers the Middle East.

He spoke fluent Hindi and decent Russian when he arrived and quickly showed a knack for languages by learning Arabic. He worked in Cairo and Damascus and, though he was young, former colleagues said he was quickly proving himself one of the agency's most promising stars.

In 1997, he was dispatched to headquarters as part of the Iraq Operations Group, the CIA team that ran spying campaigns against Saddam Hussein's regime. Around that time, the CIA became convinced that a senior Iraqi official was willing to provide intelligence in exchange for a new life in America. Before the U.S. could make that deal, it had to be sure the information was credible and the would-be defector wasn't really a double agent. But even talking to him was a risky move. If a meeting with the CIA was discovered, the Iraqi would be killed for sure.

Somebody had to meet with the informant, somebody who knew the Middle East and could be trusted with such a sensitive mission. A senior officer recommended Shah.

The meetings were set up in Kenya, former officials said, because it was considered relatively safe from Middle East intelligence services. It was perhaps the most important operation being run under the Africa Division at the time, current and former officials said. Among the agency managers overseeing it was John Bennett, the deputy chief of the division. He and his operations chief, who remains undercover, were seasoned Africa hands and veterans of countless spying operations.

Because of the mission's sensitivity, Shah bottled up his normally outgoing and friendly personality while at the embassy.

"This is the glory and the tragedy of discreet work," said Prudence Bushnell, the former ambassador to Kenya. "You keep a very low profile and you don't do things that make you memorable."

Officials say Shah was among those who went to the window when shooting began outside the embassy gates. Most who did were killed when the massive bomb exploded. He was 38. Hardy was also killed in the blast. She was 51.

The U.S. government said both victims were State Department employees. But like all fallen officers, they received private memorial services at CIA headquarters. Every year, their names are among those read at a ceremony for family members and colleagues.

Hardy's daughter, Brandi Plants, said she did not want to discuss her mother's employment. Shah's widow, Linda, sent word through a neighbor that the topic was still too painful to discuss.

Shah's death did not stall his mission. The Africa Division pressed on and confirmed that the Iraqi source was legitimate, his information extremely valuable. He defected and was re-located to the United States with a new identity.

Bennett later went on to be the station chief in Islamabad, where he ran the agency's effort to kill al-Qaida members by using unmanned aircraft. He now sits in one of the most important seats in the agency, overseeing clandestine operations worldwide. His former Africa operations chief now runs the agency's counterterrorism center. Both have been hunting for bin Laden for years. Both were directly involved in the raid.

Shah and Hardy are among the names etched into stone at a memorial at the embassy in Nairobi, with no mention of their CIA service. Shah is also commemorated with a plaque in a CIA conference room at its headquarters. Both were among those whose names Panetta read last week at the annual ceremony for fallen officers.

"Throughout the effort to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida, our fallen colleagues have been with us in memory and in spirit," Panetta said. "With their strength and determination as our guide, we achieved a great victory three weeks ago."

Bin Laden said the embassy in Nairobi was targeted because it was a major CIA station. He died never knowing that he had killed two CIA officers there.

Indian Army And French Army To Conduct Joint Military Exercise

The Indian and French Armies are set to begin a Army to Army Exercise series christened Exercise Shakti. “The air force and navies of the two countries have conducted joint exercises, while army units were scheduled to hold drills soon”, said the visiting French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet. The excercise is expected to be held in September or October this year in North India.

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India Russia Allies No More

Russia has cancelled both its "Indra" series of military exercises with India. Last month, a flotilla of five warships from the Indian navy's eastern fleet that went for joint naval exercises to Vladivostok in the Russian far-east, was turned back without any manoeuvres. The warships-which included the missile destroyers INS Delhi, INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay-were warmly received by the Russian navy, but when asked about the exercises, they were told the Russians had no ships to spare. On a request from the Indian fleet, a face-saving 'table top exercise or a land-based simulation, was carried out.

What rubbed salt in their wounds was that Russian warships sailed out for an exercise of their own, apparently belying their earlier claims. The cancelled exercise was hushed up even as the warships returned to Visakhapatnam. A befuddled Ministry of Defence (mod) was groping for answers when they were snubbed again. Last week, Russia informed the mod that it had cancelled the upcoming joint army exercises scheduled to be held in Russia in June. One of the reasons given was that the mod had not informed Moscow of the army exercises in advance. Petr Topychkhanov of the Carnegie Moscow Centre says the cancellation of the exercises does not reflect any change in relations with India. "One of the reasons could be the hard process of military reform in Russia. The Russian armed forces are unready for an international exercise at this stage," he says.

Since 2003, India and Russia have conducted five of the Indra series military exercises between the armies and navies of both sides. The last such exercise was held between Russian and Indian army units in Uttarakhand in October last year. In sharp contrast, India has conducted over 60 military exercises with the US. Indian defence officials admit that exercises with Russia are largely symbolic but are an important barometer of healthy ties between the two sides. The strategic partnership with Russia still holds.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony says that Delhi's proximity to Washington will not be at the cost of ties with Moscow. On the ground, however, ties have been on a roller-coaster ride. Russia is unhappy at losing a lucrative $10 billion contract for 126 multi-role medium combat aircraft. The iaf narrowed its choice to France's Rafale and Europe's Typhoon, ejecting US and Russian contenders. Topychkhanov does not rule out cancellation of the military exercises as a retort by the miffed Russians.

Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik visited Moscow recently to inspect progress on the joint Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (fgfa). The visit was also meant to mollify Russia and indicate India's commitment to the futuristic fighter which is expected to replace the most current fighter aircraft in the iaf's inventory when it is ready for squadron service in 2017.

Relations between India and Russia soured in recent years over the extended deadline for the refit of the aircraft carrier, Admiral Gorshkov. The refit slipped by four years and the its cost doubled to $2.3 billion. The carrier will now be delivered late next year. Deadlines for the acquisition of an Akula-II class nuclear-powered submarine have slipped by over three years. India paid $670 million for completing the submarine under a 2003 contract. This month, a 100-man Indian crew that had gone to Vladivostok to bring the vessel back returned empty-handed. There is no word on when the strategic submarine, which the navy desperately needs, will be transferred to India. Russia is reportedly keen that India pay for the completion of a second unfinished Akula hull at the Komsomolsk shipyard. This has been turned down by the navy.

The real issue is the poor sourcing of components for Russian-made equipment operated by the Indian armed forces. Over half the inventory of the three armed forces comprise equipment of Russian origin. "It takes nearly a year for us to get even export permissions from Russia. This severely impacts force preparedness," says a defence official.

Some of India's consternation over these delays may have spilled over at a meeting between navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and the visiting Russian navy chief, Admiral Sergeevich Vysotskiy, this January. Various department heads of the Indian navy read out the riot act on the poor serviceability of warships, aircraft and submarines to the Russian naval delegation. After the meeting, Vysotskiy privately conveyed his dismay at the ambush. The warning signs appeared at a recent joint meeting in Moscow when Russian defence officials refused to discuss military exercises. Evidently, it was a portent of the chill to come.

Is it only me or is there a red flag some where. Something is not right in this love fest is it? , heading for an acrimonious break-up.
Last week I read unconfirmed report that Russian company MIG 's director claimed on a radio program that they might think about supplying jets to Paki's.
Second point to be noted is Russians have allowed sale of JF-17 with russian engines to the Pakistanis.