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Archive for December 18, 2009

Cigarettes kill, but don’t tell smokers?

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Cigarette pack warnings that remind smokers of the fatal consequences of their habit may actually make them smoke more as a way to cope with the inevitability of death, according to researchers

http://in.mobile.reuters.com/mobile/m/ShortArticle/p.rdt/eIN/CODDIN/noddlyEno…

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GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee : Making His List

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=518640&f=37

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Copenhagen climate summit obstacles by China cuts in to oppose Taiwan’s UNFCCC bid – The China Post

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment
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Hurdles loom in Sino-ROK Korea free trade pact – People’s Daily Online

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/6845722.html

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World Politics Review: India’s Defense Acquisitions Saga

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

India’s Defense Acquisitions Saga
By: Mayank Bubna and Raj Shukla

NEW DELHI — India has a long history of deferring critical choices for its armed forces, with defense buildups occurring always after military emergencies, rather than in anticipation of potential ones. The same is true today, when severe deficiencies in equipment and inventories have put archaic Indian acquisition norms in the spotlight, particularly in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks last year.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged problems with India’s defense acquisitions in a recent speech to the Combined Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi, saying, “I am aware that procedures for defense acquisitions and procurements are a matter of concern to the armed forces. We must ensure a balance between the needs of timely modernization and the necessity of conforming to the highest standards of transparency, probity and public accountability.”

But the hard reality is that apprehension about issues like transparency and accountability tend to relegate concerns about operational outcomes to the background.

Indian officials tend to justify the procurement system’s shortcomings by arguing that, while India may be bad, it is no worse than the rest of the world. But in fact it is grossly out of step with global trends in acquisition reforms. While the British recently moved on to “third-generation reforms” (accountability in the processing chain and timely deliverance), India has yet to implement first- or second-generation reforms (such as multidisciplinary manning of acquisition processes in the Ministry of Defense, involvement of the armed forces as stakeholders, and allowing the private sector to promote competition). There is a general obsession with procedural cosmetics over substantive structural reforms.

India’s national security strategy, especially with regards to acquisitions, has changed course several times over various administrations and wars. Yet it has also been consistently dominated by the cultural psyche of the Indian arms purchaser: New equipment should be “beautiful” — i.e., meet the technical parameters, even if it is not optimally designed. It should have “good bang for the buck” — i.e., low initial purchase costs, without factoring in long-term life-cycle costs. And finally, it should be “durable” — i.e. longlasting, even if it later becomes obsolete due to overuse or changes in requirements. Neither the changing nature of war nor the protean geopolitical backdrop of India’s immediate neighborhood has yet been factored into today’s acquisitions.

Technical officers involved in the acquisitions program still complain that the slow pace of acquisitions does not result from funding shortfalls, but rather from the lack of a long-term security strategy. For the current financial year alone, $8.5 billion has been provided for capital acquisitions in the Indian defense budget, with the total budgetary provision likely to reach $50 billion in the next six years. Impressive as this might seem, performance surveys reveal the under-utilization of the defense acquisitions budget by 15 to 20 percent annually over the past decade — woefully short of the desired levels.

Timely deployment of military capability and readiness of the armed forces have taken a direct hit as a result. The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent — and publicly known — illustration. One of the major reasons for such impediments are the endless loops of petty deliberations that mire bureaucratic procedures. Following a series of high-profile scandals, the labyrinthine nature of Indian defense procurements has become so complex and regulated that it has hampered the ability of the armed forces to match capacity with capabilities. In their current form, Indian acquisition processes are long on form but miserably short on outcomes.

Another problem is the reliance on foreign sources for procurements. Today, India imports about 70 percent of its defense equipment from abroad — a serious vulnerability, according to many observers. The government has recently tried to encourage a local military-industrial complex by offering financial support of up to 80 percent of the development cost incurred by Indian companies in the design of prototype defense equipment.

Yet, the shift to self-reliance, while admirable, is a very time-consuming and financially and structurally intensive process, one that demands patience. Elsewhere in the world, the trend has been to acquire what is easily available off the shelf. In the name of indigenization, however, the Indian scientific establishment has often blocked attempts to acquire equipment from global contractors, even as the bureaucratic complexities ensure that the Indian private sector lacks adequate incentive to step into the defense realm. Sixty-two years after independence, the Indian private sector has yet to develop an indigenous version of a main battle tank or artillery gun.

But the biggest hurdle continues to be a weak institutional framework. The existing relationship between the political class and the armed forces suffers from an imbalance, by which political bureaucrats have acquired a disproportionate role, with the armed services reduced to craven pleaders.

Indian defense acquisitions are thus hampered by three overriding problems: a lack of preparation for challenges to national security as they emerge; a desperate rush into arms purchases in the manner adopted during the Kargil war, when India exposed itself to the manipulations of arms suppliers; and, a tendency to resort to frenzied modernization to make up for lost years, thus whipping up needless war hysteria.

Having the means but lacking a meaningful and unambiguous end has left India floundering in its defense acquisitions process.

Mayank Bubna is a freelance war correspondent and consultant. He is presently based in India.

Raj Shulka is a research fellow at the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.

Photo: India’s AAD endo-atmospheric interceptor missile, being developed at the Program for Air Defense ABM missile production facilities in Hyderabad (Ajai Shukla, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 India License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/in/)).

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ஜோ டி குரூஸின் இரண்டாவது நாவலான ‘கொற்கை’ காலச்சுவடு பதிப்பக வெளியீடு: Korkai Novel

December 18, 2009 Leave a comment

15.12.09

அன்புள்ள நண்பருக்கு

வணக்கம்

‘ஆழி சூழ் உலகு என்ற தன் முதல் நாவல்வழி இலக்கிய உலகில் கவனம் பெற்ற ஜோ டி குரூஸின் இரண்டாவது நாவலான ‘கொற்கை காலச்சுவடு பதிப்பக வெளியீடாக சென்னைப் புத்தகச் சந்தையில் வெளிவரவுள்ளது. 1350 பக்கங்கள் கொண்ட நாவலின் விலை ரூ.800. இதற்கு டிசம்பர் 25ஆம் தேதிவரை முன்வெளியீட்டுத் திட்டம் அறிவித்துள்ளோம். முன் வெளியீட்டுத் திட்டத்தின் கீழ் விலை ரூ.480. நாவல் பற்றிய மேலதிக விபரம், பணம் செலுத்தும் முறை பற்றித் தெரிந்துகொள்ள இத்துடன் இணைக்கப்பட்டுள்ள அறிவிப்பைக் காண்க. முன்பதிவு செய்து நாவலைச் சென்னைப் புத்தகச் சந்தையிலோ தபால் மூலமோ பெற்றுக்கொள்ள அன்புடன் அழைக்கிறோம்.

 

அன்புடன்

Image001

(கண்ணன்)

Korkai Advt.pdf
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