Archive for ‘Military’

10/02/2016

U.S. and India consider joint patrols in South China Sea – U.S. official | Reuters

The United States and India have held talks about conducting joint naval patrols that a U.S. defence official said could include the disputed South China Sea, a move that would likely anger Beijing, which claims most of the waterway.

An Indian Navy personnel gestures on the deck of the newly built INS Kochi, a guided missile destroyer, during a media tour at the naval dockyard in Mumbai, India September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

Washington wants its regional allies and other Asian nations to take a more united stance against China over the South China Sea, where tensions have spiked in the wake of Beijing’s construction of seven man-made islands in the Spratly archipelago.

India and the United States have ramped up military ties in recent years, holding naval exercises in the Indian Ocean that last year involved the Japanese navy.

But the Indian navy has never carried out joint patrols with another country and a naval spokesman told Reuters there was no change in the government’s policy of only joining an international military effort under the United Nations flag.

He pointed to India’s refusal to be part of anti-piracy missions involving dozens of countries in the Gulf of Aden and instead carrying out its own operations there since 2008.

The U.S. defence official said the two sides had discussed joint patrols, adding that both were hopeful of launching them within the year. The patrols would likely be in the Indian Ocean where the Indian navy is a major player as well as the South China Sea, the official told Reuters in New Delhi on condition of anonymity.

The official gave no details on the scale of the proposed patrols.

There was no immediate comment from China, which is on a week-long holiday for Chinese New Year.

China accused Washington this month of seeking maritime hegemony in the name of freedom of navigation after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed within 12 nautical miles of a disputed island in the Paracel chain of the South China Sea in late January.

The U.S. Navy conducted a similar exercise in October near one of China’s artificial islands in the Spratlys.

Source: Exclusive: U.S. and India consider joint patrols in South China Sea – U.S. official | Reuters

14/01/2016

Xi’s new model army – The Economist

Xi Jinping reforms China’s armed forces—to his own advantage

CHINA’S biggest military shake-up in a generation began with a deliberate echo of Mao Zedong.

Late in 2014 President Xi Jinping went to Gutian, a small town in the south where, 85 years before, Mao had first laid down the doctrine that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed force not of the government or the country but of the Communist Party. Mr Xi stressed the same law to the assembled brass: the PLA is still the party’s army; it must uphold its “revolutionary traditions” and maintain absolute loyalty to its political masters. His words were a prelude to sweeping reforms in the PLA that have unfolded in the past month, touching almost every military institution.

The aim of these changes is twofold—to strengthen Mr Xi’s grip on the 2.3m-strong armed forces, which are embarrassingly corrupt at the highest level, and to make the PLA a more effective fighting force, with a leadership structure capable of breaking down the barriers between rival commands that have long hampered its modernisation efforts. It has taken a long time since the meeting in Gutian for these reforms to unfold; but that reflects both their importance and their difficulty.

The PLA itself has long admitted that it is lagging behind. It may have plenty of new weapons—it has just started to build a second aircraft-carrier, for instance—but it is failing to make effective use of them because of outdated systems of command and control. Before any substantial change in this area, however, Mr Xi felt it necessary to strengthen the party’s control over the PLA, lest it resist his reforms and sink back into a morass of money-grubbing.

The reforms therefore begin with the main instrument of party control, the Central Military Commission (CMC), which is chaired by Mr Xi. On January 11th the CMC announced that the PLA’s four headquarters—the organisations responsible for recruiting troops, procuring weapons, providing logistics and ensuring political supervision—had been split up, slimmed down and absorbed into the commission. Once these were among the most powerful organisations in the PLA, operating almost as separate fiefs. Now they have become CMC departments.

Power to the party

The political headquarters was the body through which the party kept an eye on the ranks and ensured they were up to speed on Maoist texts and the party’s latest demands. The loss of its autonomous status may suggest that the party’s role is being downgraded. Far from it. Now the party’s CMC (there is also a state one, which exists only in name) will be better able to keep watch. The body’s 15 new departments will include not only departments for politics but also for logistics, personnel management and fighting corruption. Mr Xi has already turned his guns on graft, imprisoning dozens of generals.

The second reform has been to put the various services on a more equal footing. The land forces have hitherto reigned supreme. That may have been fine when the PLA’s main job was to defend the country against an invasion across its land borders (until the 1980s the Soviet Union was considered the biggest threat). But now China has military ambitions in the South China Sea and beyond, and wants the ability to challenge American naval and air power in the western Pacific. A recent editorial in the Liberation Army Daily, a PLA mouthpiece, berated the armed forces for their “army-centric mindset”.

In addition to those for the navy and air force, a separate command has now been created for the army, which had previously run everything. On December 31st the CMC also announced the formation of a command responsible for space and cyberwarfare, as well as one for ballistic and cruise missiles (previously known as the Second Artillery Force, part of the army). There is also a new joint command with overall control of the various services, a little like America’s joint chiefs of staff.

Big changes are also afoot in regional command structures. China used to be divided into seven military regions. These were powerful and relatively self-contained; sharing or swapping troops and equipment was rare. Now, according to reports in the South China Morning Post, a newspaper in Hong Kong, the number will be reduced to five. Troops will be recruited and trained by the various services before regional deployment. This will ensure greater central control over the regions.

China has been talking about military reform for decades, but change has been glacial. Opposition within the armed forces has been intense. “If [reform] is not done properly,” wrote Sun Kejia and Han Xiao of the PLA National Defence University last month, “it could affect the stability of the armed forces or even all of society.” (The article was promptly removed from the Liberation Army Daily website.) Demobbed soldiers could make trouble—Mr Xi wants the number of troops to be cut by 300,000. State firms have been ordered to reserve 5% of jobs for laid-off veterans.

The recent reforms are more extensive than most Western observers had expected after the Gutian conference. But even so, they are incomplete. The army still holds sway over some appointments (all five chiefs of the new regional commands are army generals, for instance). The PLA has traditionally given higher status to combat units than to those providing communications, logistics, transport and the like, a misplaced emphasis in an age when information and communications are crucial in warfare. The reforms do little to correct that bias. Moreover, many details about them remain unclear. No one knows, for example, where the troop cuts will come from or what units will go into the new space and cyberwarfare command.

The first result of the reforms is likely to be confusion in the ranks, until the new system settles down. Dennis Blasko, an American observer of the PLA, says no one can be sure of the results until they are tested in battle. Amid the murk, only one man clearly seems to have got his way: Mr Xi.

From: http://www.economist.com/news/china/21688424-xi-jinping-reforms-chinas-armed-forcesto-his-own-advantage-xis-new-model-army

06/01/2016

Pathankot attack: Congress asks Modi to ‘fix responsibility’ – The Hindu

Scaling up the offensive against the government over Pathankot terror attack, the Congress on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fix responsiblity for the “grave security lapse” and suggested that some heads must roll.

People light candles during a memorial service for the Indian soldiers killed in a militant attack at Pathankot air base, in Mumbai on Tuesday.

“They should realize that it has gone wrong and resignations should happen. If there is a lapse, resignations should happen,” former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters at the AICC briefing when repeatedly asked whether Congress is demanding resignation of Home Minister Rajnath Singh or Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar into the matter.

“This government has totally failed. It has no system in place to protect the nation,” he added.

AICC Communication Department chairman Randeep Surjewala also said that the Prime Minister should fix the responsibility and take action against the Home and Defence Ministers.

“First responsibility is of the Prime Minister as he is the head of the government. Then Defence Minister and Home Minister are also responsible as they deal with the matter.

The Prime Minister should act decisively and not merely talk. “The Prime Minister should fix responsibility for this negligence and he reaches to the same conclusion that the nation has arrived at that there has been a huge lapse in the nation’s security, he should then take action against the Defence Minister and the Home Minister,” Surjewala said.

The party asked whether the Prime Minister and the BJP government would explain as to who was responsible for the “grave security lapse” as terrorists managed to reach Pathankot Air Base despite advance intelligence alert and reporting of prior incident.

Source: Pathankot attack: Congress asks Modi to ‘fix responsibility’ – The Hindu

31/12/2015

It’s official: China building second aircraft carrier as concern mounts over claims to South China Sea | South China Morning Post

China on Thursday confirmed it is building a second aircraft carrier, as its neighbours worry about Beijing’s new assertiveness to claims in the South China Sea.

Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning cruises for a test on the sea. Photo: AP

Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said the carrier had been designed in China and was being built in the port of Dalian in Liaoning province. The construction drew on experiences from the country’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, bought from Ukraine in 1998 and refitted in China.

Source: It’s official: China building second aircraft carrier as concern mounts over claims to South China Sea | South China Morning Post

29/09/2015

China’s Xi says to commit 8,000 troops for U.N. peacekeeping force | Reuters

China will contribute 8,000 troops for a United Nations peacekeeping standby force, China’s President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, a move that could make it one of the largest players in U.N. peacekeeping efforts.

unpeacekeepers.jpg

Xi’s pledge comes as China is trying to show it is a responsible international player amid concern over its growing military might and territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region. During a state visit to Washington on Friday, Xi agreed with U.S. President Barack Obama that both countries would increase their “robust” peacekeeping commitments. They are among leaders from more than 50 countries who pledged some 40,000 troops and police, as well as equipment or training for U.N. peacekeeping missions during a U.N. summit chaired on Monday by Obama.

“China will join the new U.N. peacekeeping capability readiness system, and has thus decided to lead in setting up a permanent peacekeeping police squad and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops,” Xi said. He also said China would provide $100 million in military assistance to the African Union in the next five years to support the establishment of an African standby force and to boost its capacity for crisis response.

At the later summit, Xi said part of a new 10-year, $1 billion China-U.N. peace and development fund set up by China would be used for peacekeeping operations. China would give “favorable consideration” to future U.N. requests for more Chinese engineering, transport and medical staff, but operations’ “exit strategies need to be timely formulated and executed”, Xi said.

Obama, who held tense summit talks with Xi last week in Washington, shook his hand vigorously as he left the podium on Monday.

OPERATIONAL EXPERIENCE

The U.S. military told dozens of U.N. ambassadors and military advisers in New York in July that the U.N. needed rapid response forces, equipment and training. Washington pays more than 28 percent of the $8.2 billion U.N. peacekeeping budget, but Beijing says it contributes more personnel to peacekeeping missions than each of the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

The top five troop- and police-contributing countries are Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Rwanda, according to August data from the U.N. website. China now provides around 3,000 of the more than 106,500 U.N. troops, police and advisers deployed by all countries, making it the ninth biggest contributor of peacekeeping personnel. Its largest contingent is in South Sudan, where it has played a growing diplomatic role and is a major investor in the oil industry.

Experts have noted that China’s expanding peacekeeping role in recent years parallels its desire to expand its military’s capabilities farther abroad and could provide logistical and operational experience. “They clearly want to create a more international armed force so they can operate in more challenging environments,” said Douglas Paal, director of the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

During his earlier address to the General Assembly, Xi tried to allay concerns that his country’s growing influence was a threat. “We are committed to peaceful development. No matter how the international landscape may evolve and how strong China may become, China will never pursue hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence,” he said.

Source: China’s Xi says to commit 8,000 troops for U.N. peacekeeping force | Reuters

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23/09/2015

Command and lack of control | The Economist

IF THE People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were a company, it would be about to lose its position as the world’s largest corporate employer. When troop cuts recently announced by Xi Jinping, China’s president, are completed in 2017, the ranks of China’s armed forces will have shrunk by 300,000 to 2m, putting it just behind Walmart, a retailer (see chart). It would still be by far the world’s largest military outfit.

When the downsizing was announced, at a big military parade on September 3rd, the cuts seemed no more significant than a round of corporate redundancies. Mr Xi’s own explanation—that they would help the PLA to “carry out the noble mission of upholding world peace”—also seemed to come straight from the gobbledygook of corporate obfuscation.

But recent commentary in China’s state media suggests that the reductions may presage something more: a long-overdue reform of the command structure of the PLA and a shift in the balance of the main military services. If so, one of the most important subsidiaries of the Chinese state is in for a shake-up.

The army has long been the senior service. Almost three quarters of active-duty personnel are soldiers. The navy and air-force chiefs did not have seats on the main institution for exercising civilian control over the armed forces, the Central Military Commission, until 2004. It was only in 2012 that an officer outside the ranks of the army became its most senior military figure. The army’s dominance is a problem at a time when China is expanding its influence in the South China Sea and naval strategy is looming larger.

Moreover, there has long been a split within the PLA between combat forces (which kill the enemy) and other operations (logistics, transport and so on) which are regarded as secondary. But in modern, high-tech warfare, non front-line services such as those responsible for cyberwarfare and electronic surveillance often matter more than tanks and infantry.

Embodying these outdated traditions is a top-heavy, ill-co-ordinated structure with four headquarters and seven regional commands. Many Chinese analysts argue that, as now constituted, the PLA would not be able to conduct modern information-intensive military operations which integrate all the services properly.

China has long talked about military reform. In late 2013 Mr Xi told fellow leaders that the command system for joint operations was “not strong enough”. It was duly announced that China would “optimise the size and structure” of the armed forces. China Daily, an English-language newspaper, said that a “joint operational command system” would be introduced “in due course”.

It now appears that these changes are under way. Mr Xi was recently quoted in PLA Daily, a newspaper, saying that “we have a rare window … to deepen [military] reform”. It is possible that Mr Xi’s anti-corruption purge, which has taken aim at two men (one now dead) who were once the country’s most powerful military figures, as well as 50 other generals, may have weakened opposition enough for change to begin.

The South China Morning Post, a newspaper in Hong Kong, recently published what it described as a radical plan devised by military reformers. This would scrap three of the four headquarters, reduce the number of regional military commands to four and give a more prominent role to the navy. It remains to be seen whether Mr Xi will go that far. But there is no doubt that, in order to fulfil what he calls China’s “dream of a strong armed forces”, he wants a leaner, more efficient PLA. To China’s neighbours, that would make it even more frightening.

Source: Command and lack of control | The Economist

07/08/2015

China’s Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers – China Real Time Report – WSJ

What should the U.S. do about China’s increased assertiveness in the South China Sea? As the Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon writes:

Beijing claims almost the whole sea—land formations, seabeds and open waters alike—and of late has been literally creating new facts on the ground, constructing 2,000 acres of artificial islands where only shoals or sand bars once existed. Beijing now says those efforts are nearly complete but acknowledges plans to place military assets on the islands, some of which may include substantial airfields.

Washington is deeply concerned and should continue pushing back against any Chinese enforcement of its “nine-dash line” claim to 85% of the region’s map. But the U.S. can’t stop China from building or modestly militarizing its new islands, nor should it try. Even if it rattles nerves from Tokyo to Manila, Hanoi and Washington, Beijing’s campaign is little more than an asymmetric way of establishing regional military presence—and one that even mimics American behavior over the years.

via China’s Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

23/06/2015

China unveils plans for V-Day parade|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn

China on Tuesday announced plans for this year’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II, including inviting militaries of other countries to participate in a parade on Sept. 3.

China unveils plans for V-Day parade

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, will attend the event and deliver an important speech, an official said at a press conference on Tuesday.

At the event, Xi will award medals to veterans and generals who participated in the war and family dependents of the deceased.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. It will be the first time for the country to hold a special parade to commemorate the victory.

Japan signed the formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, and China celebrated its victory the following day. September 3 was declared Victory Day.

 

via China unveils plans for V-Day parade|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn.

18/06/2015

China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters

China’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two more former senior officers were being investigated for corruption, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft which has already felled dozens of senior people.

In a brief statement, the ministry said that Kou Tie, former commander of the Heilongjiang military region in northern China, had been put under investigation last November for suspected “serious discipline violations”. He was handed over to military prosecutors last month.

The other officer was named as Liu Zhanqi, a former communications division commander for the paramilitary People’s Armed Police, also suspected of “serious discipline violations”, common wording for corruption. He was handed to military prosecutors last month as well.

The ministry gave no further details. Neither case had been reported before.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

The anti-graft drive in the military comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.

via China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters.

21/05/2015

Watch Indian Fighter Jet Land on Highway to Taj Mahal – India Real Time – WSJ

The Indian Air Force on Thursday landed a fighter jet on an expressway for the first time to showcase its ability to use national highways as runways in case of conflict.

The Mirage-2000 jet landed on a cordoned-off stretch of the Yamuna Expressway that leads to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal.

Test landing of a Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Indian Air force on the Yamuna Expressway near Delhi on Wednesday. India’s Ministry of Defence

The single-engine, single-seater combat plane is produced by Dassault Aviation SA of France. It can reach a top speed of 2,495 kilometers, or 1,550 miles an hour.

The jet took off from an undisclosed air base in central India. Facilities such as a makeshift air traffic control center, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties were set up in coordination with local agencies for its landing.

The air force has “plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The Mirage-2000 strike aircraft is a critical part of India’s fighter jet fleet. Its flying qualities and maneuverability came into prominence during the bombing of Pakistani positions in the Himalayas during the Kargil war in 1999.

India’s air force fleet however comprises mainly Russian-origin aircraft such as the Sukhoi and MiG planes.

via Watch Indian Fighter Jet Land on Highway to Taj Mahal – India Real Time – WSJ.

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