Pentagon Report Outlines Fast Track PLA Modernisation by Brig (retd) Rahul Bhonsle
The Annual Report of the Department of Defence colloquially known as Pentagon’s Report on China’s Military Power has been released. The Report is mandated by the US Congress and provides a bird’s eye view each year of developments in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). An overview read in conjunction with the China’s White Paper on Defence 2010 highlights a significant trend, fast track modernization of the PLA. Rapid changes are evident across a swathe of transformational issues, conceptual underpinnings, allotment of resources and even in identity, it is no longer the vanilla term PLA commonly used for army, navy as well as the air force. Today we have the PLA Army (PLAA), PLA Navy (PLAN) and the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) with emphasis on jointness and network centricity, two buzzwords that the Chinese seem to have picked up from Iraq War 2003.
The Pentagon Report reflects an in depth analysis of Chinese White Paper which had sought modernisation from a higher platform, expanding strategic reach and conducting operations in “distant waters”. Mechanisation, Informationisation and Jointness are the key drivers aimed at creating joint operations systems. The investments made in defence hardware and technology has led to platforms and systems which are maturing and integration of these into the overall combat architecture is now moving apace. For the first time the Pentagon Report has included a chapter on China’s Evolving Maritime Strategy as a Special Topic indicating American concerns of Beijing’s rising naval ambitions.
The overall modernization of PLA continues under the operational rubric of Active Defence, not to be confused with a defensive strategy as this includes many offensive components such as punitive or self defence counter attack a euphemism frequently used for the 1962 war against India. There is however a subtle shift in increasing focus on power projection. This is evident in recent operational moves to deploy a small flotilla in the Northern Arabian Sea for anti piracy operations. The Pentagon believes that this capability will be enhanced by end of the decade.
In line with this trend emphasis of modernization is on the Second Artillery Corps with a wide range of ballistic and cruise missiles which will provide a shield for, “counter intervention”. With reference to India apart from a mention of the boundary dispute, the Pentagon Report has highlighted replacement of, “liquid-fueled, nuclear-capable CSS-2 IRBMs with more advanced and survivable solid-fueled CSS-5 MRBM systems.” The solid fuel missiles will provide considerable advantage in terms of transportation and redeployment as well.
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Geopolitical notes from India by M D Nalapat 02 Sep 2011
Some years ago, in the Indian site www.bharat-rakshak.com, this columnist had written of the NATO militaries as resembling an army of simians. Such a force - if let loose within a confined space – can create immense damage, but are unable to clean up the resultant mess. This is precisely what the world has witnessed in Iraq. Despite more than a decade of sanctions that directly resulted in nearly a million extra deaths during that period ( because of shortages created by the UN-approved measures), the regime of Saddam Hussein was able to provide food, energy and housing to the people of Iraq, whereas eight years after “liberation” by key NATO members, the country and its population are worse off than before the 2003 invasion that led to the execution of Saddam Hussein. As for Afghanistan, after a decade of the world’s most modern military force fighting against a ragtag band of insurgents, more than a third of the country is back in the hands of the Taliban, while a fifth of the rest is on the brink of a similar fate. As a consequence of its failure to subdue this force, NATO is desperately clutching at plans for engaging the “moderate Taliban”, an oxymoron if ever one was created.
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Hullabaloo in South China Sea by B Raman
Sunday, 04 September 2011 20:31
Indian Navy’s INS Airavat was asked by a Chinese naval ship to stay away from South China Sea. But INS Airawat didn’t change course. Subsequently, India has done well to clarify that it favours freedom of navigation in international waters and, therefore, INS Airawat had the right to be where it was because South China Sea is international and not Chinese waters
The Financial Times of London reported on September 1 that an unidentified Chinese warship had demanded that an Indian naval vessel identify itself and explain its presence in the South China Sea waters off Vietnam in July. It identified the Indian naval ship as INS Airavat.
According to the FT report, INS Airavat had visited Nha Trang in south-central Vietnam and the northern port of Haiphong in the second half of July. The FT said that the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the Indian warship had visited the country from July 19-22, but claimed that it had no information about the incident.
Rearmament of India by Rajeev Anantaram
New Delhi July 9, 2011, 0:04 IST
After several years of neglect, India is spending large sums of money to upgrade its armed forces.
During the Kargil War of May-July 1999, the Bofors artillery guns used their firepower with deadly accuracy and destroyed a large number of enemy bunkers and other fortified positions. But there was a problem: Pakistani cannons accurately targeted and destroyed a number of these guns. It was learnt, only after the war, that Pakistan’s gunners had “weapon-locating” radars that studied the trajectory of the shells fired by the Bofors guns to determine their position. And then the penny dropped: the Pakistani forces were better equipped than Indians. Alarmed, India, without further ado, bought similar equipment, called the ANQ Firefinder, from the United States.
In 2003, the Indian and French Air Forces held a joint exercise. It was found that the French pilots could hook on to the radar system of Indian fighter jets, though they were beyond visibility, and then bring them in the crosshairs of their missiles. In actual war, Indian pilots would have been sitting ducks. Exposed poorly in the exercise, the Indian Air Force is acquiring the same capabilities for its Mirage aircraft from France. Also in the works is a similar indigenous “Beyond Visual Range” missile called the Astra.
After a long pause, the rearmament of India has begun. New weapon systems are being acquired — combat jets, ships, tanks, artillery guns, missiles, radars, etc — and existing hardware is getting overhauled. Various think-tanks estimate that India will spend anywhere between $75 billion and $100 billion over the next seven years to bolster its military capabilities. The annual defence budget, at almost $41 billion, or a tad over 2 per cent of the gross domestic product, is at an all-time high. Off-book expenditure would make it at least a quarter higher. India finally has more staying power than Pakistan if there is war, defence analysts on both sides of the border have started to say.
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Pentagon Fears Listening Posts From China
September 2, 2011
A Pentagon report has found that a multibillion-dollar Chinese telecommunications company that has been seeking to make major inroads in the U.S. market has close ties to China’s military, despite the company’s denials.
The Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military, released last month, identifies Huawei as a high-tech company linked to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
At issue for Huawei is widespread concern among U.S. military and intelligence agencies that Huawei’s switches, chips and firmware contain “back doors” that can give China’s military the equivalent of listening posts all over the U.S. telecommunications infrastructure.
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Very important for India to ponder over before liberalizing entry of Chinese electronics software and hardware companies in India and getting equipment from them. Our Military must put their foot down.