Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another Pakistani cadet wins ‘Sword of Honour’ at Sandhurst-UK It was another glorious day for Pakistani nation when another Son of the Soil proved his metal on a foreign land. Pakistan Army’s, Cadet Officer Muhammad Talha Zahid went under rigorous training at RMA Sandhurst, UK and proved himself THE BEST OF THE BEST by winning “Sword of Honour” for over seas cadets. He is the 5th Pakistani achieving this great honour.

Best overall cadets from different countries all around the world are sent here to get trained in this renowned military institution. A Pakistani winning the sword speaks itself of the high standards of Pakistan Army Military Training setup.

Beside the sword the cadet also won the following awards:

a) The Prince Saud Abdullah Faisal of Saudi Arabia Prize for Overseas Cadet for Best Academic Scores.

b) The Pakistan Defence & International Affairs (DIA) Prize for Best Performance at DIA by an Overseas Cadet.

c) The Brunei Prize for Best Performance at War Studies by an Overseas Cadet.

The ceremony was attended by High Commissioner of Pakistan and Army and Air Advisor. The individual has indeed made his nation proud on this great day and will surely prove to be a great asset for future of Pakistan Army.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

UK Defence Budget 2012 – Afghan withdrawal gives a budget boost

Forecast spending for 2012 has been lowered as government officials confirm the UK will pull out of Afghanistan by 2014. details what the UK Budget 2012 will mean for defence.

With defence spending now firmly falling under the auspices of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), no big surprises were expected from the UK Chancellor's budget speech today as regards personnel and equipment spend.

Budget 2012: comparing defence cost to previous years

Whilst defence spending will decrease from the 2011 figure of £40bn to £39bn in 2012, it will however account for a slightly higher percentage of total governmental spending. Defence will account for 5.71% of national spending, the second highest amount in the last six years, second only to 2010 when it accounted for 5.73%.
Infographic Defence Spend
This infographic illustrates the rise and fall of the UK's national spend in recent years, detailing the total defence expenditure within the budget and the precise percentage of government spending that is attributed to defence costs.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne did confirm that withdrawing British troops from Afghanistan, due to be completed by 2014, military spending is to be reduced from what was originally planned, saving some £2.4bn.
"The cost of operations - which are funded by the Government's Special Reserve and entirely separate from the defence budget - are expected to be a total of £2.4 billion lower than planned over the remainder of the Parliament," said Osborne.

Budget 2012: taking care of army personnel

Of the savings, £100 million will be used for much-needed improvements to military accommodation. In another move designed to improve living conditions for military personnel and their families, family welfare grants and council tax relief for armed forces members doubled.
UK Army troop numbers 2011 to 2020
Infographic showing the reduction in UK Army trained ground forces 2011 to 2020

However, this will not prove much comfort for the 22,000 members of who will lose their jobs in the run-up to 2015. In the initial tranche announced last September, 2011, the RAF and Gurkhas were the hardest hit by compulsory redundancies, with 500 airmen losing their jobs alongside 140 soldiers from the 3,500-strong Brigade of Gurkhas.
After 2015 further job losses are likely, as the army has been told to reduce numbers to 82,000 by 2020, which is one-fifth below current numbers, with more Gurkha redundancies expected.

Budget 2012: decisions still pending on F-35B

When the dust has settled on the 2012 Budget, Prime Minister David Cameron will likely announce any important changes to the military equipment purchase plan set out in the SDSR separately. This would include a decision on whether to revert to the F-35B short take off, vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter.
To work with the F25C carrier variation, the second Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales would need to be converted to a catapult assisted take off barrier arrested recovery (CATOBAR) configuration at a cost upwards of £1.8bn. The cost of the carrier programme has reportedly already doubled to £7bn.

China boosts military spending in 2012

China's defence budget will increase in 2012 by 11.2% amidst an intensifying strategic rivalry between the US and China that has led to concerns from the Pentagon about the confidentiality surrounding the Chinese defence budget.

Chinese National People's Congress (NPC) spokesman Li Zhaoxing said the planned increase would lift spending to CNY670bn ($106.4bn) in 2012, which is almost CNY67bn more compared to 2011.

The defence budget for 2011 was $91.5bn, a 12.7% increase over the 2010 budget.

Zhaoxing, however, described the budget as only 1.28 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is "relatively low" when compared with other countries, including the US, and stressed that it is aimed at "safeguarding sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity."

"China has 1.3 billion people, a large territory and long coastline, but our defence spending is relatively low compared with other major countries," Zhaoxing added.

China's official defence spending is the second largest in the world after the US, but actual spending, according to foreign defence experts, may be 50% higher as the nation excludes outlays for its nuclear missiles and other programmes.

The nation has been reporting double-digit increases in military spending for each year since 1989.

With more than two million personnel the nation's armed forces, also known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), is the biggest military in the world.

The proposed budget is expected to be approved by the parliament this week, with some analysts projecting that the Chinese military spending will surpass that of all 12 of its Asia-Pacific neighbours by 2015.

India's army chief says the country's security is at risk

ABC NEWS: India's army chief says the country's security is at risk, with an obsolete air defense system and critical shortages of tank ammunition, in another embarrassment for the beleaguered government.

Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh made the statements in a private letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that was discussed in Parliament on Wednesday after it was leaked to a national newspaper and television stations.

Defense Minister A.K. Antony said the government was addressing the concerns.

In the letter, Gen. Singh said the state of the country's artillery, air defense and infantry was "alarming."

He said the army was "devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks" and the air defense system was "97 percent obsolete."

The letter caused an uproar in Parliament, with angry opposition lawmakers accusing the government of neglecting the country's defense.

Antony tried to appease lawmakers, saying "defense preparedness is a top priority for the government," and that it was "determined to ensure India's security."

Opposition parties have accused the government of delaying defense purchases, leaving the armed forces with outdated equipment. They say delays and a lack of transparency in defense purchases have led to the creation of strong lobbies and influential middlemen, and encouraged corruption in the procurement process.

Opposition lawmakers also demanded that the government explain how a private letter to the prime minister was leaked to the media.

The army chief was recently locked in a battle with the government in a controversy over his date of birth in which he petitioned the Supreme Court against the government — the first time a serving general has dragged the government to court. He is due to retire in May but wants to serve another year, claiming army records were wrong.

The row escalated this week when the army chief claimed in a newspaper interview that he had been offered a $2.8 million bribe to approve the purchase of substandard trucks for the army.

Gen. Singh claimed he had informed the defense minister about the bribery attempt but nothing was done to investigate the charge.

An embarrassed Antony told Parliament on Monday that he had asked the general to take action, but the army chief had refused.

India has one of the world's largest armies, with 1.2 million active soldiers and nearly another million in reserves.

The Congress party-led government has been embarrassed by a recent series of scandals and charges of incompetence.

Last week, a leaked audit report showed the government had lost hundreds of billions of dollars by selling coalfields to companies without competitive bidding.

Senior ministers and officials have also faced corruption charges stemming from the hosting of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the sale of cellphone spectrum.

Friday, January 6, 2012

China warns US over new Asia-Pacific military strategy

BEIJING: China has warned the United States over its new military strategy, which includes a shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

The plan for a new, "leaner" military was unveiled Thursday by President Barack Obama at the Pentagon. 

Xinhua, the Chinese government's news agency, cautioned the US military against acting "like a bull in a china shop," but said the new strategy could help China by creating a "peaceful environment" in the region.

The Xinhua editorial warned the US against "flexing its muscles":

Obama on Thursday announced a plan that will include about $450 billion in cuts to the military over the next decade, The New York Times reported.

Monday, December 26, 2011

US Central Command urged greater trust with the Pakistani military

WASHINGTON: The head of US Central Command urged greater trust and communications with the Pakistani military on Monday amid a diplomatic crisis after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last month.

General James Mattis made his recommendations after his command, which oversees US military operations across a wide swath of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, released the results of its own investigation into the November 25-26 incident.

A joint US-Nato investigation unveiled last week portrayed a disastrous spate of errors and botched communication in which both sides failed to inform the other about their operational plans or the location of troops.

"The strongest take-away from this incident is the fundamental fact that we must improve border coordination and this requires a foundational level of trust on both sides of the border," Mattis said in a statement.

The deadliest single cross-border attack of the 10-year war in Afghanistan, the strike has plunged the precarious Pakistani-US alliance to its lowest ebb in a decade with both sides in dispute about the precise sequence of events.

Islamabad rejected the earlier US inquiry after the Americans insisted their troops responded only after coming under heavy machine-gun and mortar fire.

Although the US-Nato probe acknowledged the Americans had relayed "incorrect mapping information" to a Pakistani liaison officer that gave the wrong location for Pakistani troops at border outposts, the CENTCOM report made no mention of discipline of US or Nato personnel.

But Mattis directed Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) commander General John Allen to take a number of corrective actions to improve the now-moribund relationship with Islamabad, including fostering "improved, mutual trust" between forces working in the mostly lawless border areas.

Troops should also "clarify authorities, responsibilities, and standard operating procedures" in the area as well as conduct formal exercises and drills to improve coordination and reduce chances of conflict.

Mattis also called for "full disclosure of all border area facilities and installations" on both sides of the border, with updates using a shared database and map as well as organizing coordination visits.

The comments came as The New York Times reported that US officials believe a counterterrorism alliance with Pakistan can survive only in a limited form, as a deterioration in ties complicates the ability to launch attacks against Islamic extremists and move supplies into Afghanistan.

"We've closed the chapter on the post-9/11 period," the Times quoted a senior US official as saying. "Pakistan has told us very clearly that they are re-evaluating the entire relationship."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kayani, Allen did not discuss Nato supply: ISPR

RAWALPINDI: The ISPR has issued a statement saying that during the conversation between Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISAF Commander General John Allen the issue of reopening the NATO supply route did not come under discussion.

Earlier reports had indicated that this issue was discussed during a telephonic conversation between Kayani and Allen on 12 December 2011. (Gew News Report).