Russia And The U.S. Sell Arms To Both Sides Of India Pakistan Tension

Posted: November 27, 2014 in War Is The New Economy

As the tensions rise between India and Pakistan both the U.S. and Russia sell their weapons to both sides. It’s often reported in the media that a clear line exists between which side Russia and the U.S. supports, however it must be understood such a line doesn’t exist

India and Pakistan Both Look For Weapons

Pakistan Courts Both US and Russia on Defense

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Pakistan for a day-long visit on Thursday. During his visit to Islamabad, Shoigu met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the two addressed several issues related to security and defense cooperation between Russia and Pakistan. The two countries will sign an important memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation that will form the foundation of their growing defense partnership. Although Russia is a major arms exporter to Pakistan’s rival India, it is looking to shore up its involvement in Pakistan amid that country’s growing appetite for Russian hardware. Most recently, Pakistan concluded a deal to purchased MI-35 Hind helicopters from Russia.

According to Dawn, Russia’s decision to court Pakistan as a defense customer was in part spurred by growing ties between the United States and India. Although Russia has been major military supplier for India — providing up to 75 percent of Indian military hardware needs in certain years — the United States has been steadily growing its defense partnership with India. With a government less committed to Indian ideals of non-alignment in charge in New Delhi, India has grown closer to the United States on a series of defense matters. In 2014, India became the largest foreign buyer of U.S. weapons, importing $1.9 billion in military hardware from the United States. In August, reports emerged that the U.S. had overtaken Russia as India’s top arms supplier over the past three years. Sensing an opportunity on the other side of the security dilemma on the subcontinent, Russia has chosen to focus its efforts on courting Pakistan.

A factor limiting Russia-Pakistan cooperation on defense matters is Pakistan’s status as a U.S. ally. Although the U.S.-Pakistan alliance has grown increasingly dysfunctional, particularly since 2011, the two countries continue to cooperate on a range of security issues. Shoigu’s visit to Pakistan comes at time when Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif (no relation to the prime minister) is in the United States for a series of meetings with U.S. defense and national security officials. As the United States withdraws from Afghanistan, it values Pakistan’s cooperation. The success of Pakistan’s ongoing campaign — Operation Zarb-e-Azb — against militants in the country’s western tribal regions, on the Afghan border, will be an important determinant of Afghanistan’s security post-2014.

While in Washington, Gen. Sharif took the opportunity to clarify a statement made earlier by Pakistan’s Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz that Pakistan would ignore militant groups that do not “pose a threat to the state” — a statement that drew considerable criticism in the United States and political rivals in Pakistan. Gen. Sharif, serving as an ambassador for Pakistan’s defense establishment, told his interlocutors in Washington that the Pakistani military will not discriminate in its campaign against militants. “Zarb-e-Azb is not just a military offensive but is a concept to defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The anti-terror campaign is not restricted to Waziristan and Khyber tribal areas but covers the whole country,” he said. Gen. Sharif added that he would not allow the emergence of anything like the Islamic State in Pakistan. Sharif, who took over as Chief of Army Staff in late 2013, specializes in counter-insurgency.



Pak-India arms race

And sense of priorities

The Pak-India arms race is a matter of concern in the best of times. But considering how the present escalation is taking place in the wake of serious LoC and working boundary violations, it seems the feel-good factor of some months ago – when even Modi postured for peace, briefly – has definitely transformed into an old fashioned stare-down confrontation. India has conveyed its new sense of priorities to its friends in China as well. For the immediate future, at least, the focus will be on painting India as immensely powerful, and how it now holds a prominent position on the international stage.

There must be a more thorough reflection in Islamabad, though. The BJP’s chest-thumping, despite initial talk of friendly ties, was not entirely unexpected, especially for Pakistani audiences. Therefore, there must be a comprehensive debate about the need to respond, in kind, every time New Delhi ups the ante. Already both countries have delivery systems, capable of carrying nuclear and conventional loads, that cover practically the length and breadth of the traditional rival. Perhaps it is time, at least till the present government plays out its hard-line policy to win whatever brownie points it is banking on from the public, to shed the old reflex-action approach.

No doubt political and military circles in both countries know that one of the abiding lessons of the 20th century was that arms races do not necessarily make countries stronger; sometimes they hollow them out economically. A central piece of US Cold War strategy, especially since the Regan days, was to milk the Soviet Union by forcing an unaffordable arms race on Moscow. Besides, both Pakistan and India have far more serious issues to turn to. Together, they make for one of the world’s largest concentration of people living in absolute poverty. Surely both governments will more points from respective populations if they divert resources presently consumed in missile tests to poverty alleviation, or to their health and education sectors. To be fair, Sharif has clearly tried harder, and more sincerely, for peace. Modi must understand that no matter how carefully choreographed his belligerence, there is a point beyond which the protagonist cannot control the narrative, and is himself forced into reaction.



 The U.S. and Russia Provide Weapons For Profit
Diplomacy is For TV

IDEAS 2014: Pakistani defence minister says Russia ready to sell RD-93 engine directly to Islamabad
01 December 2014

A recently concluded defence co-operation agreement between Russia and Pakistan will be followed up by the latter purchasing the Klimov RD-93 aircraft engines directly from Russia, Pakistan’s defence minister has told IHS Jane’s .

Speaking at the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) 2014 in Karachi, Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif said: “We are now looking to purchase aircraft engines like the RD-93 from Russia. This is important for us.”

The Sino-Pakistani-produced JF-17 Thunder fighter is powered by the Klimov RD-93, but previous engines were purchased by China from Russia and supplied to the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra, where the JF-17s are manufactured.



India is the world’s largest arms importer. It aims to be a big weapons dealer, too.

November 16

For more than a decade, India shopped around the world in search of a deal for more than $1 billion worth of helicopters to replace about 200 of its military’s aging light-utility aircraft.But in August, the new national­ist government surprised many when it abruptly scrapped the request for global bids to buy the helicopters in favor of manufacturing them in India instead.

In recent months, India has reversed two more proposals for buying transport aircraft and submarines and decided to make them at home. It’s part of an ambitious new push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to foster a domestic arms industry, within a greater nationwide initiative Modi has called “Make in India.”

India is the world’s largest buyer of weapons, accounting for 14 percent of global arms imports, almost three times as many as China.

Over the next seven years, India is likely to spend more than $130 billion importing arms, officials say, to upgrade its understocked, Soviet-era arsenal with modern weapon systems.

India’s military modernization can generate billions of dollars worth of business for American companies, but it also helps strengthen the nation’s strategic role in the region — at a time when the Indian and U.S. militaries are conducting more and more joint exercises. The massive buying spree coincides with India’s growing border tensions with China and Pakistan, and the approaching drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan this year.

The United States has surpassed Moscow as India’s biggest arms supplier. In the past three years, India spent nearly $14 billion importing weapons, of which more than $5 billion worth were purchased from the United States. Russia was a close second, with a little more than $4 billion in arms sales to India.

Analysts say that closer defense ties between India and the United States are a key part of what both countries hope will be an improved relationship, and what President Obama has called “the defining partnership of the 21st century.”

But for American companies, working with India can be frustrating, and the country ranks low on the World Bank’s global “Ease of Doing Business” index. The slow pace of decision-making, a 49 percent limit on foreign investment in Indian defense firms and mandatory obligations to invest in local defense manufacturing remain irritants for American businesses.

India’s fiercely independent foreign policy stance and its reluctance to fully embrace the United States as an ally often have hindered a full strategic alliance.

Now, Modi wants to upend ­India’s arms-importer tag and turn the country into not only a defense manufacturer but also a major weapons exporter, much like China has become in the past several years.

“We dream of making India strong enough to export defense equipment to the world,” Modi said in August after christening India’s largest home-built naval warship. “Instead of having to import every little defense hardware, we want India to become an exporter of these equipment over the next few years.”

To realize this goal, the government removed the laborious license requirements on almost 60 percent of the defense products for private manufacturing companies. Earlier this year, the government raised the limit on foreign investment in the defense industry from 26 percent to 49 percent to encourage more partnerships with foreign investors.

“We want that the global defense companies should come to India not merely to sell to us but also to manufacture here and export to other countries,” said Amitabh Kant, secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in New Delhi.

But that still may not be enough to bring critical defense technologies to India, foreign defense companies say.

“Quantitatively, raising the cap from 26 percent to 49 percent is a step in the right direction,” said Pratyush Kumar, president of Boeing India, which has secured ­two-thirds of the defense trade with the United States. “Qualitatively, nothing changes because it doesn’t give control to the foreign investor.”

Analysts say India has speeded up defense decisions.

The United States and India have hastened discussions since May on specific projects for co-production, such as antitank guided missiles, carrier-based aircraft launching systems and unmanned aerial vehicles, said Rahul S. Madhavan, director of aerospace and defense policy at the U.S.-India Business Council in Washington.

“These are not offers that come every day,” he said. “India is now almost on par with NATO countries if you look at the kind of defense technology that are being offered by the U.S.”

But critics say India is being torn by two competing goals: the nationalistic aspiration to produce weapons locally and the urgent need to fix the crippling shortages in the military.

The armed forces are desperate for new helicopters, submarines, combat jets and minesweepers, but even its tanks do not have enough shells. Soldiers are demanding lightweight bulletproof vests, assault rifles, night-vision equipment, combat boots and helmets.

In the past decade, key decisions on military acquisition have been delayed. Analysts call former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s two terms “the lost decade” for India’s defense sector.

“We lost a decade when absolutely nothing moved,” said Arun Prakash, a retired navy chief. “The last government blacklisted so many defense companies just at the hint of wrongdoing that the military was left with almost no sources to buy from. Purchases are put on hold, investigations go on interminably or are just forgotten. That has been really damaging to the armed forces.”

Officials say the government is likely to overhaul the policy of mandatory obligations to invest in India and align it closely with Modi’s manufacturing drive.

Despite the push, many defense experts say India is not ready to make a giant leap like China’s — from being the largest arms importer in 2006 to becoming the world’s sixth-largest defense exporter by 2011.

“Becoming a defense exporter is a noble aspiration but it will take a lot of doing,” Prakash said. “Given the current state of our defense research and industrial base, it is not something that will happen overnight.”



Warplanes: Russia Comes Through For Pakistan

November 26, 2014: Russia has agreed to sell Pakistan up to twenty Mi-35 helicopter gunships. Mi-35 is the export version of the most recent version of the Mi-24 helicopter gunship. This is a twelve ton helicopter gunship that also has a cargo area that can hold up to eight people or four stretchers. The Mi-24/35 can carry rockets, missiles bombs, and automatic cannon. It is used by over thirty countries and has a pretty good reputation for reliability. The design is based on the 1960s era Mi-8 transport helicopter.

For several years Pakistan has been seeking more helicopter gunships, in particular it wanted some new helicopters rather than used stuff to supplement, and replace the 35 American AH-1S and AH-1F gunships it already has. Over ten percent of these have been lost in the last few years in the tribal territories where helicopter gunships are badly needed, heavily used and frequently shot at.

For years Pakistan tried to obtain the 6.6 ton AH-1W model from the United States. This would have been a major upgrade for the Pakistani helicopter gunship force. Developed by the U.S. Marine Corps the W model was configured for naval use, and has two engines and protection against sea water corrosion. Like the AH-1F model used by Pakistan, the AH-1W has a crew of two and is armed with a 20mm, 3 barrel, autocannon (with 750 rounds) and can carry eight TOW missiles or 38 70mm unguided rockets. Typical sorties last about three hours (twice that of the AH-1F). The Pakistanis are also equipping their gunships with night vision (thermal imaging) equipment.

The U.S. refused to supply Pakistan with the W model or any other modern versions. This included the more recent AH-1Z.  That was because the U.S. wanted Pakistan to be more cooperative in dealing with Islamic terrorism. The Pakistanis repeatedly refused and have pretty much given up on getting more AH-1s from the United States. Meanwhile Pakistan sought other helicopter gunships from China (WZ-10), Turkey (T-129) and Russia (Mi-35) as well as heavily armed commercial helicopters equipped with electronics similar to those used on gunships. None of these other options seemed to be working until Russia came through with the Mi-35s. Part of the problem is that Pakistan has little cash to spend on new or used helicopter gunships and is hoping for a gift, or big discount from someone. There’s not a lot of that around for Pakistan, which provides sanctuary to Islamic terrorists who are hostile to all the nations that could provide new helicopters.

Another problem with Russia is that India is their largest export customer for weapons. But India is becoming disillusioned with Russia as a weapons supplier. Late deliveries, quality problems and inadequate support are all complaints that India finds Russia has no solutions for. So Russia apparently feels free to sell to India’s archenemy Pakistan. After all, Russia has long been the major weapons supplier to the other Indian archenemy; China.



Bangladesh turns to Russia for submarines

 KOLKATA: When it became known to India that Bangladesh is on the hunt for two submarines for its navy, there was some consternation. More so when it came to be known that Bangladesh is negotiating with China for the Ming-class submarines. Something that India can do without at the moment is a spurt in military ties between China and Bangladesh. The level of anxiety has come down somewhat in recent times after information was received that Bangladesh is planning to procure the submarines from Russia.

“From reliable sources, we have come to know that Bangladesh is making efforts to move away from the China-centric approach where it comes to defence procurement. Nearly half of Bangladesh’s military hardware is sourced from either China or Pakistan. This provided an excuse for Chinese and Pakistani military presence along India’s east coast. Russia is different. India enjoys good relations with Russia and also uses military hardware built there. Better ties between Russia and Bangladesh are encouraging. We don’t believe that Russia will not do anything to harm India’s interests,” a highly placed source in Delhi said.

For years now, India has been attempting to keep the ‘dragon’s presence’ away from Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. In certain cases, India has even offered products and services at rates that would be convenient for these countries. By the end of this year, India hopes to deliver the ‘Barracuda’, a Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Mauritian Navy. The ‘Barracuda’, being fitted-out at Kolkata’s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) will be India’s first such export.

 “This is more of a diplomatic move rather than a financial deal. One can also call this a confidence building measure. Once Mauritius is satisfied with the NOPV, India may get more orders from this region. This is good diplomacy,” the source added.

According to sources in Dhaka, Bangladesh proposes to purchase two diesel-electric submarines from Russia. Plans are also afoot to procure aircraft for the navy. Bangladesh already uses Russian hardware in the form of Mig-29 fighters and military helicopters. In 2013, Russia allegedly offered a $1.5 billion loan to Bangladesh that would be used to purchase military hardware. The Bangladesh government wants the submarines to join its navy by 2019.

Bangaldesh air force’s fleet of eight MiG-29s is due for upgradation. So is its fleet of Russian made Mi-17 helicopters. HAL has maintenance facilities in India for both aircraft as they are used by the IAF as well. India has offered to upgrade and maintain the Mig-29s and helicopters at HAL facilities to bolster ties with Bangladesh.



U.S. Edges Out Russia To Become India’s Largest Military Equipment Vendor

By: Sam LaGrone
August 14, 2014 9:53 AM

India's P-8I Neptune.

In the last three years, the U.S. has surpassed Russia as the number one military vendor to India, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told the Indian parliament on Tuesday.

Starting in 2011, India has imported $13.9 billion in military equipment from the U.S. and $5.34 billion from Russia, Jaitley told the Indian Lok Sabha.

Big ticket U.S. equipment imported to India includes the Boeing P-8I Neptune — a version of the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft — Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules medium cargo transport, according to local press reports.

India is also close to signing a $2.5 billion deal for 22 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters, according to a Wednesday report in Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Despite the trend favoring the U.S., the Indian armed forces still field about 70 percent Russian equipment, ranging from submarines to tactical fighters.

India and Russia are partners on Brahmos PJ-10 anti-ship cruise missile and the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fighter. Russia is also working with India on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine — INS Arihant.

“India also wanted to diversify its arms suppliers as Moscow was proving to be an unreliable provider with extended delivery deadlines, exponential cost increases, and hurdles in transferring technology,” according to Jane’s.

India has also purchased $1.96 billion in material from France and $554.6 million from Israel, Jaitley said.

In response to India looking beyond Moscow for arms, Russia is considering an attack helicopter sale to India’s regional rival Pakistan.

Last week — in a visit to New Delhi — U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed future cooperative defense programs between the U.S. and India.



Helicopters to be bought from Russia
Published Nov 23, 2014 07:42am

ISLAMABAD: In a major breakthrough after Moscow lifted an embargo on arms sales to Islamabad, defence authorities here have finally given the go-ahead for purchase of Mi35M helicopters from Russia.

“The matter remained under consideration for many months. Now we have given Russians final go-ahead for the purchase of these helicopters,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told on Saturday.

The Mi-35M is a multi-purpose transport helicopter for combat missions capable of operating round the clock in mountainous terrain.

The defence minister, in an exclusive talk with, said these helicopters would be used in the fight against militants.

“Russia has now placed Pakis­tan in category B from D for arms sales, which means that Pakistan can buy weapons from Russia’s defe­nce market,” Khawaja Asif said.

He brushed aside an impression that the Russian defence minister’s visit to Pakistan might annoy New Delhi and Washington, saying that Islamabad-Moscow ties were not “at the cost of our relations with any other country”.

He termed it independent diplomacy, adding that Rus­sia is a regional power and Pakistan cannot ignore it.

“After US-Nato forces withdrawal from Afghanis­tan, security will be a bigger challenge for Afghanistan. So Pakistan wants Russian engagement in the Afghan peace process,” Khawaja Asif said. “We must forget what Russia did in the past and look forward to a new beginning in the region.”

“Pakistan sees Russia and China’s presence in the region as a source of peace and stability. This is why all three are getting closer on strategic matters,” Khawaja Asif remarked.

On relations with India, he said Moscow’s top defence official was briefed about the situation on eastern borders and relations with India.



US arms Pakistan before Modi visit

New Delhi (TruthDive): US like China is sending out a message that its foreign policy on South Asia will not change with Narendra Modi’s visit on September 29. It will follow the divide and rule policy in South Asia, with just ten days to go for Modi’s scheduled visit.

US will give $198 million worth MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) numbering 160 vehicles to Pakistan and it comes with spare parts, according to Dawn newspaper report today. The American State Department’s green signal comes for Pakistan’s military’s ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ operation against militants in North Waziristan which is a tribal area, the Dawn said.

In a release, the America-based Navistar will deliver the MRAP, said Defence Security Cooperation Agency. Navistar will give all logistics support and US agency has given the Congress the certification of the company with headquarters in Illinois and office in Michigan where it has a company selling defence equipment.

Navistar had a JV with Mahindra and Mahindra for supplying engines and later withdrew from it. Dawn says US has said that supplying the MRAP will not alter the balance in the region. Dawn quotes US who says that by arming Pakistan will only help security of its own boundary and helping a country like Pakistan is very important to the American foreign policy in the region.

The US government will depute Navistar representatives and government officials to Pakistan for 18 months to train Pakistan army of using the MRAP supplied to it. Last year, there were reports that MRAP vehicles were on the way to Pakistan which has been made official now.

Dawn claims that as US is withdrawing from Afghanistan and the war is over, it is arming Pakistan. The policy is always to keep Pakistan armed to check India despite it harbouring militants who work against it. Secondly, it wants to keep Pakistan on its side as China is gifting nuke weapons.



Experts Say Pakistan-US MRAP Deal Likely To Win Approval
Sep. 23, 2014 – 04:41PM


A proposed US sale to Pakistan of 160 MaxxPro MRAP vehicles is likely to win US congressional approval even though the war against the Pakistani Taliban appears to be ending, Pakistan experts say.

A proposed US sale to Pakistan of 160 MaxxPro MRAP vehicles is likely to win US congressional approval even though the war against the Pakistani Taliban appears to be ending, Pakistan experts say. (US Army)

ISLAMABAD — Analysts say that a proposition to supply hundreds of mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles to Pakistan is likely although the war against the Pakistani Taliban and its allies and affiliates is winding down.

The Sept. 19 notification from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency to US lawmakers of the possible $198 million foreign military sale to Pakistan, at its government’s request, outlined a package including 160 MRAPs, spares and repair parts, and training. The deal comprises “110 MaxxPro Dash DXM, 30 MaxxPro Base DXM, 10 MaxxPro Dash DXM Ambulances, and 10 MaxxPro Recovery Vehicles with protection kits,” according to the agency’s announcement. US company Navistar Defense produces the MaxxPro vehicles.

Brian Cloughley, a former Australian defense attache to Pakistan, said this is a reasonable number.

“At 12 per infantry company, this would fit 10 companies, with others for HQ, back-up, etc. — a pretty potent force,” he said.

When the proposed deal first became public in April, it was uncertain if Congress would approve. Cloughley, who expressed surprise at the deal, believes this is now much more likely to happen.

“It wouldn’t be put forward by the Pentagon if they thought it wouldn’t get through Congress,” he said. “No sense in buying fights you’re going to lose. So they must have had some assurance from the relevant committee that there will be approval.”

Pakistan’s security forces have faced a well-documented risk from IEDs that have caused the majority of its casualties during the past decade of counter-insurgency operations in the Tribal Areas.

Analyst Haris Khan of the Pakistan Military Consortium think tank said the security services’ operations have resulted in a lot of casualties attributed to IEDs and ambush tactics used by the terrorists, blaming many of these casualties on the use of regular four-wheel-drive Toyota Hilux pickup trucks to transport security personnel.

“These pickup trucks have no protection, even from 9mm ammo,” Khan said. “With this order at least they will be able to fill this gaping hole.”

This order could lead to further deliveries, Khan said, as “there is a good possibility that the Pakistani security services could receive more of these MRAP vehicles via EDA.”

Previously Pakistan attempted to find a solution by examining domestic and foreign options. Though most foreign options proved to be too costly, an agreement was negotiated in 2012 with Chinese company Poly Technologies for its CS/VP3 MRAP vehicle, which is generally similar to the MaxxPro. No deal materialized, however.

Pakistan’s state-owned Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) also sought to develop an indigenous four-wheel-drive MRAP vehicle, the Burraq. Though it has never been displayed in public, a prototype exists, and available images show it has been redesigned to increase the angle of its hulls V shape in order to increase survivability against under-vehicle explosions.

Last October, however, HIT said the Burraq was “on hold.” There has been no further news and the company has not commented on its status.

Cloughley, who has seen the Burraq, thinks it was adequate for Pakistan’s needs but has been quietly shelved.

The campaign against the Pakistani Taliban is winding down, with most terrorists either killed, captured or chased out of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, security is likely to remain troubled, and analysts said the requirement for MRAPs remains.

“It does seem a bit late in the game for the army to suddenly want MRAP vehicles, but it’s likely that negotiations have been going on for a very long time,” Cloughley said. “They will certainly be a most important force multiplier in the fight against terrorists, as IEDs are still the main battlefield threat.”

He noted they will not be operational immediately. “They will be a long time coming, and then there are a great many tactics to learn.”

Pakistan also is believed to be negotiating licensed production of the Chinese VN-1 eight-wheel-drive armored personnel carrier.

Khan said he believes that despite the MaxxPro deal, the VN1 program is likely safe as it is “fulfilling a long-overdue requirement for a wheeled [infantry fighting vehicle]. ?The VN-1 order is a planned program aimed for deployment with mechanized divisions and for fighting militants.”



Pakistan Gen Raheel Sharif visits US military training centre

The army chief reviewed the training system of the US team and appreciated their efforts.

CALIFORNIA (Web Desk) – Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has visited Fort Irwin National Training Center in California, Dunya News reported on Saturday.

According to ISPR, the Army Chief reviewed the professional training of troops and use of advanced equipment of warfare.

General Raheel Sharif also met senior military officials and trainers.

After arriving in Washington on Sunday, General Sharif held talks at US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, on Monday and later met the US Army chief, General Ray Odierno, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey and the deputy defense secretary, Robert Work, over the next two days. He also held meetings with US senators and other government officials.

It was General Sharif s first trip to the United States since he took over the post in November 2013, and the first of any Pakistani army chief since 2010.



U.S. State Dept. Official Was Handing Over Classified Documents To Pakistani Officials


American investigators intercepted a conversation this year in which a Pakistani official suggested that his government was receiving American secrets from a prominent former State Department diplomat, officials said, setting off an espionage investigation that has stunned diplomatic circles here.

That conversation led to months of secret surveillance on the former diplomat, Robin L. Raphel, and an F.B.I. raid last month at her home, where agents discovered classified information, the officials said.

The investigation is an unexpected turn in a distinguished career that has spanned four decades. Ms. Raphel (pronounced RAY-full) rose to become one of the highest-ranking female diplomats and a fixture in foreign policy circles, serving as ambassador to Tunisia and as assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs in the Clinton administration.

Ms. Raphel, 67, considered one of the leading American experts on Pakistan, was stripped of her security clearances last month and no longer has access to the State Department building.

The investigation is a rare example of an F.B.I. espionage case breaking into public view. Counterintelligence — the art of spotting and thwarting spies — is the F.B.I.’s second-highest priority, after fighting terrorism, but the operations are conducted almost entirely in secret. On any given day, Washington’s streets crawl with F.B.I. surveillance teams following diplomats and spies, adding to files that are unlikely ever to become public.

The senior American officials briefed on the case spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation. Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and Department of Justice declined to comment.

Ms. Raphel has not been charged with a crime. The scope of the investigation is not known, and it is unclear exactly what the Pakistani official said in the intercepted conversation that led to suspicion about Ms. Raphel. It is also not clear whether the conversation was by telephone, email or some other form of communication.

Still, the new details shed some light on the evidence that Justice Department prosecutors are weighing as they decide whether to bring charges. And they help explain why the F.B.I. viewed the matter seriously enough to search her home and State Department office, steps that would bring the investigation into the open.

Ms. Raphel is among a generation of diplomats who rose through the ranks of the State Department at a time when Pakistan was among America’s closest allies and a reliable bulwark against the Soviet Union. After retiring from the government in 2005, she lobbied on behalf of the Pakistani government before accepting a contract to work as a State Department adviser.

While the F.B.I. secretly watched Ms. Raphel in recent months, agents suspected that she was improperly taking classified information home from the State Department, the officials said. Armed with a warrant, the agents searched her home in a prosperous neighborhood near the Maryland border with Washington, and found classified information, the officials said.

Andrew Rice, a spokesman for Ms. Raphel, said: “Nothing has changed for Ambassador Raphel. She has not been told she is the target of an investigation, and she has not been questioned.”

In a sign of the seriousness of the case, Ms. Raphel has hired Amy Jeffress, a lawyer who until recently was one of the Justice Department’s top national security prosecutors. Ms. Jeffress served as a counselor to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on security matters, as the Justice Department’s attaché to London, and as chief of national security at the United States Attorney’s Office in Washington. She joined the law firm Arnold & Porter this year. Ms. Jeffress declined to comment.

Taking home classified information is a crime, but charges are rare. The Justice Department declined to prosecute Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales in 2008 for keeping information about the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program at his house. John M. Deutch, the C.I.A. director from May 1995 to December 1996, lost his security clearances but was not charged for keeping government secrets on his home computer.Samuel R. Berger, a former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in 2005 to a misdemeanor and paid a $50,000 fine for removing classified documents from the National Archives.

While the United States and Pakistan remain allies in the war on terrorism, tensions between the two countries have been frequently strained. American officials suspect Pakistan of supporting the Taliban and believe Pakistan has dispatched several double agents to collect intelligence from the United States government. Pakistani officials bristle at the C.I.A.’s use of drones and operatives inside the country.

This animosity has spawned a new generation of American Foreign Service officers who view Pakistan with suspicion, making Ms. Raphel and her generally sympathetic view of Pakistan out of step within the State Department.

Nevertheless, Ms. Raphel’s reputation as a seasoned diplomat with broad connections in Pakistan led Richard C. Holbrooke, who was then special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, to recruit her out of retirement to work at the American Embassy in Islamabad, helping to disburse aid money.

Her longstanding relations with Pakistan’s government have also made her an object of scorn in India, the bitter rival of Pakistan, and a country that has grown closer to the United States during both the Bush and Obama administrations. The Indian news media has aggressively covered the espionage case in recent weeks, with The Times of India describing Ms. Raphel as a “brazenly pro-Pakistan partisan in Washington” with a “pathological dislike for India which she did little to conceal.”

In 1988, Ms. Raphel’s former husband, Arnold L. Raphel, then the American ambassador to Pakistan, was killed in a mysterious plane crash with the president of Pakistan, Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq.

The cause of the crash was never determined, spawning numerous theories, including that it was an assassination and that nerve gas in a canister hidden in a crate of mangoes had been dispersed in the plane’s air-conditioning system.



Can’t keep waiting for stealth fighter, India tells Russia

The Indian “perspective multirole fighter” is to be based on the under development Russian FGFA called PAK-FA or Sukhoi T-50 (above), which undertook its first flight-test in January 2010, but will be tweaked to IAF’s requirements. (Getty Images photo)

NEW DELHI: Ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit here early next month, India has told Russia to come back with a plan to substantially reduce the delivery timeframe for the stealth fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) if it wants to seal the futuristic project by next year.

The plan till now was that India would begin inducting the stealth fighters only 94 months — at the earliest — after the two countries inked the final design and R&D contract, which itself has already been delayed by over two years by now.

“Russia has now been told that India cannot wait for a decade to get the FGFA. The delivery schedules should be compressed instead of IAF waiting for the FGFA till 2024-2025. The Russians will probably respond during Putin’s visit,” a defence ministry source said on Monday.

As was first reported by TOI, India is already upset with Russia for not giving its experts “full technological access” to the FGFA project despite being an equal funding partner. The final design contract, which is yet to be inked after missing the mid-2012 deadline, envisages the two countries chipping in with $5.5 billion each towards designing, infrastructure build-up, prototype development and flight testing.

With the 127 single-seat FGFA that IAF wants costing extra, India will spend around $25 billion on the entire project. India had already spent $295 million on it after inking the preliminary design contract with Russia in December 2010.

The Indian “perspective multirole fighter” is to be based on the under development Russian FGFA called PAK-FA or Sukhoi T-50, which undertook its first flight-test in January 2010, but will be tweaked to IAF’s requirements.

The delivery of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya by Russia to India was delayed by several years.

As per the initial plan, with Indian scientists and experts also being based in Russia, the Ozar facility of Hindustan Aeronautics in Nashik was to get three FGFA prototypes in 2014, 2017 and 2019 for test-flying by IAF pilots. The final production was to begin only around 2022. All these timelines, of course, have gone awry with the final design contract yet to be sealed.

With IAF down to just 34 fighter squadrons, when at least 44 are required, alarm bells have finally begun to clang loudly in the Indian defence establishment over the long delays in all its three fighter induction projects.

The indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft, first approved in 1983, for instance, will get final operational clearance only by mid-2015. But IAF will get what it actually wants, the four Tejas Mark-II squadrons, from 2022 onwards.

Vladimir Putin, who was the Russian prime minister then, walks near a new Russian fighter jet Sukhoi T-50, after its flight in Zhukovksy, outside Moscow on June 17, 2010. (Getty Images photo)

Negotiations for the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multirole combat aircraft) project for 126 Rafale fighters, too, are stuck with France yet to accept full responsibility for the 108 of the jets to be produced in India. “MoD wants at least two of the three projects (FGFA, LCA and MMRCA) to be speeded up,” said a source.



Untapped Russian market awaits Pak businessmen: ambassador
Says both countries should take sector specific measures to enhance mutual trade

LAHORE: Russian Ambassador Alexey Yurivich Dedov has said that Pakistani businessmen should explore untapped Russian market as Pakistani products can get right place there for being of good quality.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry here on Monday. LCCI President Ijaz A Mumtaz made welcome address while senior vice president Mian Nauman Kabir, vice president Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi, executive committee members, Russian Consul General in Karachi, Oleg Avdeev, and Honorary Consul of Russia in Lahore, Habib Ahmed, also spoke on the occasion.
The Russian ambassador said that both the countries should take sector specific measures to enhance mutual trade that does not reflect the existing potential. He showed optimism that both Pakistani and Russian businessmen could enter into joint ventures to benefit each other in their respective businesses and take the level of bilateral trade to new heights with a little sector specific effort.
Yurivich said that Russia has a lot to offer to Pakistani business community while Pakistani businessmen could learn much from Russians for the technological up-gradation of their industrial units.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Ijaz A Mumtaz said that Pakistanis are grateful to Russia for helping Pakistan establish a mega steel mill at Karachi, which has played a crucial role in the development of the country. Today, this steel mill is the biggest source of steel products catering to the demand of the country and value addition for related products. But since then no major initiative has been taken by Russia, he said.
The LCCI president said that both the countries need to warm up their relations for mutual benefit of their people and to play an overwhelming role in the international arena on a sustainable basis. He said that Pakistan’s share in total foreign trade of Russia is very insignificant, while trade balance is also in the favour of Russia. He said that though bilateral trade between the two countries was increasing gradually but it was not satisfactory and there was a lot of scope to enhance mutual trade volume.
Mumtaz said that Russia is a market of great importance for Pakistan with massive population together with neighbouring countries. He said that Pakistan could export textile, garments, rice, leather, sports goods, surgical equipments and pharmaceuticals to the Russian market while Russia can enhance export of power equipment, steel, urea, chemicals, etc to Pakistan.
Mumtaz said that oil and gas sector in Pakistan offers great opportunities to Russia which has the requisite experience and technology in this field. He said that Russia could evaluate the possibilities of collaboration with Pakistan for mining of marble and granite as well.
The LCCI president said the private sector of Pakistan could definitely take the lead in exporting various types of consumer goods to Russia; Pakistan could also supply all types of textile goods, leather & leather products, surgical goods, sports goods, agro-based products and food items, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and fish preparations, carpets and rugs, and pharmaceutical products etc. He said that Russia could also help in introducing Pakistani products in the areas under its influence
Mumtaz said that the profiles of Pakistani and Russian economies suggest brighter chances for joint ventures in sectors like food processing, oil, gas & mineral exploration, energy, engineering (heavy & light), transport equipments, automobiles, tractors, harvesters, machine tools, cement, fertilisers, industrial chemicals, plastic and rubber products, home appliances, etc where Russians are at the advance stage of development.



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