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.