After Three Failures, Miracle Awaits Nirbhay Test Success on May 31st

After Three Failures, Miracle Awaits Nirbhay Test Success on May 31st
After Three Failures, Miracle Awaits Nirbhay Test Success on May 31st

With three failures and without clearance from the technical committee formed to recommend rectification measures, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is all set to conduct a fresh experimental trial of homegrown subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay on May 31.

After Three Failures, Miracle Awaits Nirbhay Test Success on May 31st
After Three Failures, Miracle Awaits Nirbhay Test Success on May 31st

With three failures and without clearance from the technical committee formed to recommend rectification measures, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is all set to conduct a fresh experimental trial of homegrown subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay on May 31.

However, the move to put the missile into trial with faults in the system has left a section of scientists worried. While navigational and hardware problems still persist in the weapon system, glitches in Nirbhay flight control computer are yet to be rectified.

So far, of the four tests of Nirbhay missile, three have met with failure. Though the missile covered a distance of nearly 1,000 km during its second trial on October 17, 2014, and was claimed as successful by the DRDO, it could not maintain low height as intended.

Sources said an independent technical committee was formed after the failed fourth trial in December last year to identify faults in the missile sub-systems and suggest remedial measures.

Even as the committee refused to give a go-ahead for the test, the top brass of DRDO is adamant on going for fresh trial. They are expecting a miracle to happen but with defects in the system, failure is a foregone conclusion,'' said a defence scientist on condition of anonymity.

During Aero India 2017 in February, Director General of DRDO S Christopher had said the suggestions of the technical committee have been incorporated and the missile is ready for trial.

Sources said Nirbhay cruise missile, which was powered by a turbofan engine earlier, will be tested using a turbojet engine this time.

The first test flight conducted on March 12, 2013, was a failure as the missile fell down only after 20 minutes of flight.

On October 16, 2015, the missile during its third test nose-dived into the sea after covering only 129 km in 11 minutes.

Nirbhay's fourth trial on December 21, 2016, was aborted midway as the missile changed its course due to late deployment of wings.

Before third and fourth trials, 'The Express' had raised doubts on the outcome of the tests as the missile had faults in the flight control and navigation software.

Having a strike range of nearly 1,000 km, the two-stage missile is six metres long. With a diameter of 0. 52 meters and a wing span of 2. 7 metres, Nirbhay weighs around 1,500 kg and can carry a warhead of 200 kg.

Designed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) and launched in 2004, the projected date of completion of Nirbhay was December 31 last. It was, however, extended until June 2018 after a review.

Christopher chose to ignore the queried about the faults in the missile system.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372850-after-three-failures-miracle-awaits-nirbhay-test-success-on-may-31st

China Says No Information On Indian Jet, Asks New Delhi To Stick To Arrangements

China Says No Information On Indian Jet, Asks New Delhi To Stick To Arrangements
China Says No Information On Indian Jet, Asks New Delhi To Stick To Arrangements

We hope India can stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides and avoid disrupting peace and stability at the border areas," Lu said.

China Says No Information On Indian Jet, Asks New Delhi To Stick To Arrangements
China Says No Information On Indian Jet, Asks New Delhi To Stick To Arrangements

We hope India can stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides and avoid disrupting peace and stability at the border areas," Lu said.

China said today it has no information on the missing Indian Air Force Sukhoi fighter jet with two pilots on board and asked India to stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides to maintain peace.

For the situation you mentioned, I have no relevant information to offer at the moment," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters when asked about the missing Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet and whether China would assist India in finding the plane that took off from the Tezpur base in Assam for a routine training sortie nearly 24 hours ago.

The fighter plane has since been untraceable.

We have been following the situation in South Tibet (Arunachal Pradesh) very closely," he said, apparently referring to reports that the jet was flying over the area before it was reported missing.

At the same time, he referred to the border dispute between India and China, saying that "first of all on the eastern section of the India-China border, China's position is consistent and clear.

We hope India can stick to the arrangements reached between the two sides and avoid disrupting peace and stability at the border areas," Lu said.

China's curt reaction came amid a growing discord between the two countries on a host of issues, including the recent visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing considers as Southern Tibet.

The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control. While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute also covers the 'Aksai Chin' area, which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.

Two days ago another spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said there was "no change" in China's stand on India's membership bid into the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG). That statement came ahead of the 48-member elite grouping's plenary meeting scheduled next month in Bern, Switzerland.

China has also repeatedly blocked India's efforts to impose a UN ban on Pakistan-based JeM leader Masood Azhar.

Last week, India boycotted China's Belt & Road Forum in Beijing over concerns emanating from a project under the ambitious initiative that runs through Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

India opposes the USD 46-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and boycotted the event over sovereignty concerns, though 29 heads of state and government attended the BRF.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372849-china-says-no-information-on-indian-jet-asks-new-delhi-to-stick-to-arrangements

US, India To Revive 'New Silk Road' To Counter China's Belt And Road Project

US, India To Revive 'New Silk Road' To Counter China's Belt And Road Project
US, India To Revive 'New Silk Road' To Counter China's Belt And Road Project

The US has revived two major infrastructure projects in South and Southeast Asia in which India would be a vital player, a move that could potentially act as a counter to China's ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

US, India To Revive 'New Silk Road' To Counter China's Belt And Road Project
US, India To Revive 'New Silk Road' To Counter China's Belt And Road Project

The US has revived two major infrastructure projects in South and Southeast Asia in which India would be a vital player, a move that could potentially act as a counter to China's ambitious Belt and Road initiative. The Trump administration has resuscitated the 'New Silk Road' initiative, first announced by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in July 2011 in a speech in Chennai, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South and Southeast Asia. India will play a significant role in both projects.

A brief outline of the two projects was made available in the administration's maiden annual budget yesterday, which indicated that the 'New Silk Road' project would be a public-private initiative in which India would be a key player.

The US state department said the budgetary request of its South and Central Asia will support the two initiatives: the New Silk Road (NSR) focused on Afghanistan and its neighbours, and the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor linking South Asia with Southeast Asia.

This request will be leveraged through side-by-side collaboration with regional countries, other bilateral donors, multilateral development banks, and the private sector. It said "the importance of. the New Silk Road grows" as the transition in Afghanistan continues and the US "strives to help the Afghan people succeed and stand on their own.

The state department said it will deepen support for the objectives through "far-reaching" public diplomacy programs.

According to James McBride of the Council on Foreign Relations, the New Silk Road refers to a suite of joint investment projects and regional trade blocs that have the potential to bring economic growth and stability to Central Asia.

Following the surge of 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan in 2009, which President Barack Obama's administration had hoped would lay the groundwork for complete withdrawal a few years later, Washington began to lay out a strategy for supporting these initiatives through diplomatic means," Mr. McBride said.

Announcing her vision for a New Silk Road, Hillary Clinton had said in Chennai: "Turkmen gas fields could help meet both Pakistan's and India's growing energy needs and provide significant transit revenues for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tajik cotton could be turned into Indian linens. Furniture and fruit from Afghanistan could find its way to the markets of Astana or Mumbai and beyond.

But the New Silk Road strategy took a back seat during Barack Obama's second term when John Kerry occupied the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the state department.

Simon Denyer, the China bureau chief of The Washington Post, recently wrote that Hillary Clinton's idea never really got off the ground, and the Obama administration was criticised by experts for responding negatively to China-backed The New Development Bank.

Through the Belt and Road initiative, China aims to link itself with markets in Europe and Africa through Asian countries and the Indian Ocean. India opposes one of the projects under the initiative as it runs through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The US $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor links China's restive Xinjiang region to Balochistan's Gwadar port, built with Chinese funding. The port could potentially be used as a naval outpost for the Chinese military.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372848-us-india-to-revive-new-silk-road-to-counter-china-s-belt-and-road-project

What Really Ails The Sukhoi, India's Premier Fighter

What Really Ails The Sukhoi, India's Premier Fighter
What Really Ails The Sukhoi, India's Premier Fighter

The Sukhoi-30MKI is a twinjet multirole fighter aircraft developed by Russia's Sukhoi and built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

What Really Ails The Sukhoi, India's Premier Fighter
What Really Ails The Sukhoi, India's Premier Fighter

The Sukhoi-30MKI is a twinjet multirole fighter aircraft developed by Russia's Sukhoi and built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

One of the Sukhoi-30MKIs flown by a squadron leader and flight lieutenant went missing near the China border on Tuesday. The fighter jet went missing soon after getting airborne from Tezpur. No trace of the twin-engine fighter or the two pilots was found till late Tuesday night despite a major search operation.

Sukhoi-30MKIs, which are the latest and the most potent fighters in IAF's combat fleet, have had technical issues in the past. This incident is worrisome since the IAF has already lost seven of the 240 Sukhoi-30MKIs.

Sukhoi fleets were grounded in April 2009 and December 2011 after crashes in Pokhran region of Rajasthan and Wade-Bholai village near Pune respectively.

The first Sukhoi-30MKI crashed on April 30, 2009, in the Pokhran region of Rajasthan killing one pilot. The fleet was grounded for around three weeks. It was found during the investigation that the crash was caused by the incorrect position of critical switches behind the pilots. Modifications were then made in the fighter to rectify the problem.

On November 30, 2009, another Sukhoi-30MKI crashed in Jathegaon, some 40 km from Jaisalmer. The crew ejected safely while the cause of the crash was attributed to accidental ingestion of a foreign material in the engine intake.

On December 13, 2011, a Sukhoi-30 MKI crashed 20 km from Pune at Wade-Bholai village. The crew ejected safely and the post-crash investigation revealed that it was due to a malfunction in the fly-by-wire system.

On February 19, 2013, a Su-30MKI crashed at the Pokhran range during the rehearsal of the Iron Fist Exercise. The aircraft's right wing exploded soon after completing a training mission. Both the crew ejected safely.

On October 14, 2014, another Sukhoi crashed20 km from Pune's Lohegaon Air Force Station. Both the pilots ejected safely and a team of Russian experts came to India the following month to evaluate Sukhoi fleet. An investigation revealed that pilots were ejected out of the aircraft due to a fault in the ejection system.

On March 15, 2015, a Sukhoi-30MKI crashed near Barmer in Rajasthan while undertaking a routine training sortie. Both the pilots ejected safely.

It may be recalled that in 2016 when Manohar Parrikar was defence minister he had admitted that the Sukhois did have a problem.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372847-what-really-ails-the-sukhoi-india-s-premier-fighter

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts
Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts
Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

The Defence Acquisition Policy, which awaits approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security, has selected four key strategic platforms that require private participation – submarine, helicopter, single-engine aircraft and armoured vehicle/main battle tank. The policy proposes one strategic partner for each platform that will act as a ‘System of Systems’ integrator and partner with not just original equipment manufacturers or foreign suppliers, but other domestic manufacturers with defence capabilities. seeks to create an ecosystem for micro and medium and small enterprises who will contribute to the strategic partner.

BloombergQuint looks at which Indian and foreign companies currently have capabilities in each of the four platforms identified by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), an arm of the defence ministry that cleared the policy.

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

The government plans to build at least six submarines at an estimated cost of Rs 60,000 crore under its Project 75 (l) in various shipyards across the country. The DAC had approved the project in 2014 but the contracts were withheld till a Strategic Partner Policy was finalised. The diesel-electric engine-powered submarines will be equipped with advanced air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems that allow submarines to remain under water for a longer duration.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and France’s DCNS could be in the fray for the OEM status, while Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd. d Larsen & Toubro Ltd. have capabilities to build submarines as strategic partners.

DCNS is involved with P-75, so they will certainly remain in the picture, but ThyssenKrupp is the only one which has proven AIP today. DCNS doesn’t have anything called an AIP, while the Russians are ahead on AIP than DCNS. We have our own indigenous AIP solution developed along with Defence Research and Development Organisation,” said Jayant Patil, senior vice-president and head of defence and aerospace at L&T.

L&T is the only company which participated in the construction of country’s first indigenous nuclear submarine, Arihant.

Although we don’t speak about Arihant in public, in the strategic program we have an involvement.

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

The government has floated a proposal seeking private sector participation to build 110 indigenous helicopters under the Naval Utility Program. These helicopters will replace the Navy’s Cheetah helicopters. The program, spread over 10-15 years, is likely to cost close to Rs 12,000 crore. U. S. based Bell Helicopters and Europe’s Airbus Helicopters could vie to become partners. The third player, Italy’s Leonardo Helicopters (erstwhile AugustaWestland), has been blacklisted by the government.

In India, the Mahindra Group and the TATA Group have capabilities to build helicopters. Mahindra Defence has been supplying aerostructure parts to Airbus and in January last year, extended its partnership with the European aircraft maker to build military helicopters in India.

TATA Son’s arm, TATA Advanced Systems Ltd. tied up with Boeing in November 2015 to make aerostructures and parts for the U. S. major’s AH-64 Apache Helicopters.

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

India has been looking to replace its aging fleet of over 200 MIG-21s fighter aircraft for many years. As a short-term measure, India struck a government-to-government partnership to acquire 36 Rafale aircraft from France for more than $8. 5 billion. The off-the-shelf acquisition of Rafale was a setback to the country’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Programme. India is now looking for a strategic partnership to build single-engine multirole aircraft locally. American F-16 fighter aircraft maker Lockheed Martin, Sweden’s SAAB Group that makes Gripen, and Rafale maker Dassault Aviation of France could be in the fray to be OEMs.

Indian companies in the space include TATA Advanced Systems, which already has a tie-up with Lockheed Martin to make aerostructures for the C-130J Super Hercules.

The Adani Group is said to be in discussion with SAAB for a tie-up to manufacture Gripen-E in India, according to a February report in the Mint. Reliance Defence has partnered with Dassault Aviation to make aerostructure parts for Rafale aircraft. The joint venture will execute an offset obligation as the deal requires Rafale to engage Indian suppliers for components. However, while Rafale is a twin-engine fighter, the government seeks a strategic partnership for a single-engine aircraft.

The new indigenously-built Tejas Aircraft for IAF.

Defence Acquisition Policy: Indian And Foreign Firms That May Vie For Contracts

The government has already invited proposals for armoured vehicles under its ‘Make in India’ program, seeking bids from Indian companies to showcase prototypes of armoured vehicles to be used by the army and para-military forces. ur consortiums including L&T, M&M, TATA Motors-Bharat Forge and TATA Power-SED have been shortlisted and are undergoing technical evaluation. The Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program has been kept outside the strategic partnership, said L&T’s Patil.

The armoured vehicle platform will primarily replace the aging fleet of main battle tank Arjun. The government has already started replacing the old Arjun tanks with Russian-built T-90 tanks. The value of orders in this segment would be upwards of over Rs 30,000 crore, he added.

Only one program in the armoured program is yet to be initiated, which is the MBT (main battle tank). If it is an SP (strategic partner), they may not allow us, but if there are four FICV players in India, they would bid for the MBT. FICV and MBT technologies are not different. What is different is the physical power or mobility in terms of mass,” said L&T’s Patil.

Indian players shortlisted for the FICV program will bid for the MBT program. Foreign companies in the space include U. S. based General Dynamic and state-owned Russian firms.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372846-defence-acquisition-policy-indian-and-foreign-firms-that-may-vie-for-contracts

Pakistan Army's Tit-For-Tat Video Shows Damaged Indian Posts

Pakistan Army's Tit-For-Tat Video Shows Damaged Indian Posts
Pakistan Army's Tit-For-Tat Video Shows Damaged Indian Posts

Pakistan Army's Tit-For-Tat Video Shows Damaged Indian Posts
Pakistan Army's Tit-For-Tat Video Shows Damaged Indian Posts

The Pakistan Army has released a video purportedly showing heavy damage caused by the Indian military posts across the Line of Control, in a tit-for-tat action after the Indian Army released a clip of the "punitive fire assaults" on Pakistani positions.

Pakistan Army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor in a brief statement with the video, posted on the army's Facebook page, alleging that India on May 13 had targeted innocent civilians.

In befitting response, the Pakistan Army destroyed Indian posts in Nowshera Sector," he said.

The 87-second video purportedly shows heavy artillery pounding several Indian positions, which were completely destroyed. The Pakistan Army's footage was released in an apparent reaction to the Indian Army releasing a video of the military action which showed some structures in a forested area being destroyed.

The Indian Army yesterday said it launched "punitive fire assaults" on Pakistani positions across the LoC, inflicting "some damage", days after two of its troopers were beheaded.

The Pakistan Army, however, dismissed as "false", the Indian Army's assertion of destroying its posts in the Naushera sector.

Sources in the Indian Army said the strike was a message to Pakistan that it will take stronger action with increased frequency against any infiltration attempts from across the border.

The 22-second video released by the Indian Army showed concrete structures being reduced to rubble amid plumes of smoke and balls of fire.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372845-pakistan-army-s-tit-for-tat-video-shows-damaged-indian-posts

Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade

Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade
Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade

Russia's defense minister says the military has received a steady flow of new weapons allowing it to maintain a "strategic parity'' with NATO.

Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade
Russian Defense Minister Boasts About Arms Upgrade

Russia's defense minister says the military has received a steady flow of new weapons allowing it to maintain a "strategic parity'' with NATO.

Sergei Shoigu said in Wednesday's speech before lawmakers that Russia's nuclear forces have been equipped with the new Yars intercontinental ballistic missiles with an enhanced capability to penetrate any potential missile defense.

The navy has commissioned three new Borei-class nuclear submarines armed with the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Shoigu said their number will reach seven by 2021. He said that after 2021 the military will also start receiving a modernized version of the Tu-160 long-range bomber.

Shoigu noted that the planned deliveries of the new T-50 fighter jet and the S-500 air defense missile system will significantly strengthen Russia's air defenses.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372843-russian-defense-minister-boasts-about-arms-upgrade

90 Militants Active In North Kashmir: IGP

90 Militants Active In North Kashmir: IGP
90 Militants Active In North Kashmir: IGP

About 90 militants were active in north Kashmir, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Munir Khan said today and stressed that the army was ready to face the challenge of infiltration along the Line of Control (LoC).

90 Militants Active In North Kashmir: IGP
90 Militants Active In North Kashmir: IGP

About 90 militants were active in north Kashmir, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Munir Khan said today and stressed that the army was ready to face the challenge of infiltration along the Line of Control (LoC).

We have reports that there are attempts of infiltration, but we have no reports that there is enhanced infiltration," Khan told reporters at Sopore, 52 km from here.

Stating that the Baramulla sector had always been a traditional route for infiltration, he said, "I am happy to tell you that our army there is ready to face that and they have been facing it.

Referring to infiltration attempts at Nougam sector last week, the IGP said they were foiled and four militants killed.

Similarly, there have been attempts of infiltration at few other places in the same sector but the army successfully sent them back and foiled their attempts.

Around 90 militants were active in north Kashmir, comprising Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts, he estimated.

Khan said there would be no distinction between a common youth joining militancy and a cop-turned-ultra. Whenever anyone, whether a policeman or a common man, goes that way, he becomes a criminal and treatment for either of them is simple and there would be no distinction.

If he is a militant, he is a militant, that is all," the IGP said.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372844-90-militants-active-in-north-kashmir-igp

Trump Meets With Israel’s PM Netanyahu

Trump Meets With Israel’s PM Netanyahu
Trump Meets With Israel’s PM Netanyahu

US President Donald J. Trump met Monday with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered remarks together shortly after the President visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the the Western Wall.

Trump Meets With Israel’s PM Netanyahu
Trump Meets With Israel’s PM Netanyahu

US President Donald J. Trump met Monday with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered remarks together shortly after the President visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the the Western Wall.

The President’s visit to the Western Wall marks the first time a sitting President of the United States has made the visit and he said this of the experience, “I was deeply moved by my visit today to the Western Wall. rds fail to capture the experience. It will leave an impression on me forever.

Mr. President, I appreciate the fact that you went to the Western Wall and you’re the first acting President who’s done that. e people of Israel applaud you for it,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed the President and First Lady saying, “You are always welcome here. The Prime Minister thanked President Trump for visiting the Western Wall and for his “deep commitment to Israel’s security, it’s well-being, and it’s future.

Trump Meets With Israel’s PM Netanyahu

We had a terrific discussion today. And when I say terrific, it encompasses everything. We can talk about deregulation, we can talk about economics. I think we quote each other. We understand each other and so much of the things that we wish to accomplish for both our countries,” said Prime Minister Netanyahu. But I want to thank you especially today for your deep commitment to Israel’s security, its well being, and its future. I have no doubt that, as we work together, you and I, the alliance between our countries will grow ever stronger. I want you to know how much we appreciate the change in American policy on Iran, which you enunciated so clearly just an hour ago.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was one of the first world leaders to visit the United States after President Trump’s inauguration and today’s visit is one more step the President has taken to reaffirm the bond of friendship between the United States and Israel. esident Trump said this of our partnership, “We are great allies. We have so many opportunities in front of us. But we must seize them together.

President Trump spoke of America’s desire for peace for Israel and how Israel and the United States have a friendship built on a shared love of freedom, and a shared belief in human dignity. The President also discussed the important work of defeating violent ideologies and welcomed the action and support of any nation that would help Israel and the United States in that effort. The President discussed working even closer with Israel saying, “I believe that a new level of partnership is possible and will happen. One that will bring greater safety to this region, greater security to the United States, and greater prosperity to the world.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372841-trump-meets-with-israel-s-pm-netanyahu

Grant Or Loan: U.S. Keeps Options Open On Military Aid To Pakistan

Grant Or Loan: U.S. Keeps Options Open On Military Aid To Pakistan
Grant Or Loan: U.S. Keeps Options Open On Military Aid To Pakistan

Grant Or Loan: U.S. Keeps Options Open On Military Aid To Pakistan
Grant Or Loan: U.S. Keeps Options Open On Military Aid To Pakistan

The Trump administration has slashed its foreign military financing (FMF) to Pakistan from USD 255 million to USD 100 million for 2018 fiscal, but has kept its options open whether it would be a grant or should be converted into a loan, according to a US official.

While we may use FMF to leverage loans for some countries, we will still maintain the flexibility to use it as grant assistance where needed," a state department spokesman told PTI when asked about the budget proposal of USD 100 million in foreign military funding to Pakistan.

This budget focuses on bilateral FMF assistance requested for Israel (USD 3. 1 billion), Egypt (USD 1. 3 billion), Jordan (USD 350 million), and Pakistan (USD 100 million)," the spokesman said yesterday.

Last year, the US assistance to Pakistan under the state department budget was USD 534 million, which included USD 225 million towards foreign military funding.

In all, the state department has proposed a massive USD 190 million reductions in its financial aid to Pakistan as compared to 2016 fiscal. The current 2017 fiscal ends on September 30 this year.

On Monday, the White House said that FMF to Israel and Egypt would continue to be in the form of grant while for Pakistan it would be a loan but a final decision would be taken by the state department.

The Foreign Military Funding or FMF for Pakistan would be provided in the form of a loan guarantee," said Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management of Budget in the White House.

Responding to questions, Mulvaney said the Trump administration has proposed to convert its FMF program to many countries from aid to financial loan.

Pakistan is one of those countries.

This is one of the options that the administration had explored in its internal deliberations, but the request itself does not make that determination," the White House later clarified indicating it might revert to the original financial grant to Pakistan to sell military hardware if need be.

Whether the funding is provided through grants, or as a subsidy for a guaranteed loan, is an option the state department can exercise to ensure our foreign assistance best supports our national interests," the White House said.

Our argument was instead of giving somebody USD 100 million, we can give them a smaller number worth of loan guarantees and they can actually buy more stuff. We did not change it for Israel. We did not change it for Egypt," said Mulvaney.

In another major development, the Trump administration in its annual budget for 2018 fiscal beginning October 1 this year has proposed to end the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund (PCCF), which was budgeted as USD 9 million in both 2016 and 2017.

PCCF was designed to build the counterinsurgency capabilities of Pakistan's security forces engaged in operations against militant extremists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

While the counterinsurgency purpose underlying the PCCF account and the maintenance of close US-Pakistani military ties remain important administration priorities, these needs have been met through other accounts, including Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET), since the FY 2014 Request," the White House said in its budgetary explanation.

The state department said the USD 100 million in FMF to Pakistan will be used to advance US national security interests in that country by supporting Pakistan's capacity to improve stability and security and fight terrorism, including through the elimination of safe havens for terrorist and militant organisations.

The money would be used to continue efforts to build the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency capabilities of Pakistan's security forces to improve security in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, achieve progress on joint US-Pakistan objectives, including bilateral efforts to decimate core al-Qaeda elements and confront the emerging threat posed by ISIS-Khorasan Province.

Funds will also improve Pakistan's ability to participate in US-led Coalition Maritime Forces and patrol its maritime borders to stem the flow of illicit materials and personnel, it said.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/372842-grant-or-loan-u-s-keeps-options-open-on-military-aid-to-pakistan

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