Indian Army Commander: China’s Presence in Pakistan-administered Kashmir “Increasing Steadily”, China’s First Aircraft Carrier May Be Nearly Ready, Photos Released Days Before Robert Gates Visit to Beijing, Taiwan Inaugurates Missile Ships amid Buildup Vow to Offset the Perceived Military Threat from China, Former Minister of Railways Executed for Act of Sabotage and Espionage Charges in North Korea, Pyongyang Strengthens Submarine Drills Near Border, Threatens Action for US-South Korea Military Exercises, Sri Lankan Army Commander in Indonesia Defence Relations to Be Enhanced, Iran’s Oil Exports to China Increased 62%, Tehran Moscow Underline Increasing Cooperation in Oil Gas Fields, Russia Begins Refuelling Iran Nuclear Plant, China and Russia Fingered in German Industrial Espionage, Washington Gears for High-Stakes Sea-Based Missile Defense Test, With Eye on South China Sea U.S. Might Place Troops in Australia, Russia to Continue Military Conscription for Next 10-15 Years
China’s Presence in PoK “Increasing Steadily”: Army Commander
China’s presence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is “increasing steadily” and its troops are “actually present” along the Line-of-Control, a top Army commander said, adding the Chinese footprints are “too close for comfort” for India.
“Chinese presence in Gilgit-Baltistan and the Northern Areas is increasing steadily… There are many people who are concerned about the fact that if there was to be hostility between us and Pakistan, what would be the complicity of Chinese. Not only they are in the neighbourhood but the fact that they are actually present and stationed along the LoC,” Northern Army commander Lt Gen KT Parnaik said here last week while addressing a seminar.
He said China’s links with Pakistan through PoK “lends strength” to the “nexus” between the two countries which is a cause of “great security concern” for India.
“As part of (China’s) ‘strings of pearls’ policy, Chinese footprints are too close for comfort,” Parnaik added.
The Army commander said such a nexus between the Chinese and Pakistani military “jeopardises our regional strategic interests in the long run and and facilitates speedy and enhanced deployment of Pakistan armed forces to complement China’s military operations and thus outranks India.”
He said China has been found to be involved in the construction of numerous roads and and several hydro-power projects inside PoK.
Beijing is laying a web of roads that run across areas as distant from each other as Skardu in PoK and Kunming in China near Myanmar border.
China has already constructed roads connecting all its highways to logistic centres and major defence installations that dot the border with India and the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in south-eastern Jammu and Kashmir.
The Times of India | April 5, 2011
Chinese Warship May Be Nearly Ready
The Chinese state news agency has posted photographs of an aircraft carrier under reconstruction that appears to show the warship near completion. Captions with the photos said that the work would end soon and that the carrier was expected to sail later this year.
[...] Xinhua’s headline with the photos said: “Huge warship on the verge of setting out, fulfilling China’s 70-year aircraft carrier dreams.” One caption said: “A few days ago, domestic online military forums consecutively published photographs of the Varyag aircraft carrier being reconstructed at China’s Dalian shipyard. From the pictures, we can see that this project is entering its final stage.” The caption noted that construction on the ship’s bridge was almost done, with the exception of a radar system.
[...] The appearance of the photos came just days before Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited China. Military officials tested the fighter while Mr. Gates was in Beijing, which led to a puzzling and awkward diplomatic moment between Mr. Gates and President Hu Jintao.
Continue Reading >> The New York Times | April 7, 2011
Taiwan Inaugurates Missile Ships amid Buildup Vow
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou inaugurated a squadron of missile boats Thursday as he pledged to continue the island’s military buildup to offset the perceived military threat from China.
The fleet of 10 locally manufactured missile boats joined the navy following a ceremony presided over by Ma at the northeastern naval base in Suao.
Ma, the initiator of detente with the island’s giant neighbour, said tensions with the mainland have eased significantly since he came to power in 2008 but insisted Taiwan needed a deterrent against Beijing which claims the island as part of its territory.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 7, 2011
Two Former Ministers Executed in North Korea – Seoul Newspaper
[...] The newspaper reported that the North Korean former minister of railways, who occupied the post in 1998-2000, was executed over the blast case at a railway station in April 2004. This explosion was qualified as an act of sabotage targeted against a special train of a North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, who was on the way back from China.
The minister was accused of classified information leakage. The routes and the schedule of Kim’s trips were accessible only for his bodyguards and secretaries, as well as the railway minister.
Continue Reading >> ITAR-TASS | April 4, 2011
N. Korea Strengthens Submarine Drills Near Border
North Korea has intensified submarine drills near the tense Yellow Sea border with South Korea, putting Seoul defence officials on alert, a report said Thursday.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper, citing a Seoul military source, said the North had been staging exercises involving five or six submarines at the Bipagot submarine base on its west coast since last month.
They feature the signature 325-tonne submarines as well as the new and bigger Shark-class submarines called K-300, it said.
“It’s highly unusual for them to beef up submarine drills in March so we’re intensely monitoring the situation,” said the source.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 7, 2011
N. Korea Threatens Action for US-SKorea Drills
North Korea warned Friday that its military would not remain a “passive onlooker” if South Korea and the United States continued joint military drills, state media reported.
The threat came from Ri Yong-Ho, a vice marshal of the North’s armed forces, at a meeting attended by top government, military and party officials in Pyongyang.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 8, 2011
SL, Indonesia Defence Relations to Be Enhanced
Sri Lankan Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya’s official visit to Indonesia has resulted in further strengthening the longstanding and excellent defence relations between the two nations and their armed forces.
Army sources say that it also provided opportunity to explore further defence cooperation between the two countries.
Continue Reading >> Daily News | April 6, 2011
Iran’s Oil Exports to China Increased in 2011
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s crude oil exports to China increased 62 percent in the first two months of 2011, Xinhua reported.
In January-February 2011, Iran’s crude exports to China increased 62 percent compared to the same period last year.
During the mentioned time, China has totally imported 45.73 million tons half of which has been supplied by the countries in the Middle East.
Iran’s crude oil exports to China reached 4.11 million tons during the two months. Iran has been second biggest crude supplier to China.
Saudi Arabia exported 8.19 million tons of oil to China and it was ranked first supplying 20 percent of the Asian country’s oil demand during the same period.
Mojnews | April 6, 2011
Tehran, Moscow Underline Increasing Cooperation in Oil, Gas Fields
Iranian Deputy Vice-President for Economic Affairs Ali Aqa Mohammadi and Chief Executive of Russia’s Gazprom Company Alexei Miller in a meeting in Moscow underscored the necessity for the further promotion of mutual cooperation between the two countries in the oil and gas sectors.
Continue Reading >> Fars New Agency | April 7, 2011
Russia Begins Refuelling Iran Nuclear Plant
Russia on Friday resumed loading fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant after it had to be removed because of an apparent technical fault, news reports said.
Continue Reading >> AFP | April 8, 2011
China and Russia Fingered in German Industrial Espionage Alert
Industrial espionage by China and Russia is becoming easier thanks to computer hacking, officials warned German business leaders on Thursday, adding that police need data logs to track computer break-ins.
A conference heard that the annual cost to German companies of data theft was at least 20 billion euros (nearly 30 billion dollars).
[...] “Russia and China are the main sources of so-called industrial espionage in Germany,” Schroeder said.
Continue Reading >> Monsters and Critics | April 7, 2011
U.S. Gears for High-Stakes Missile Defense Test
The United States is preparing for its first test of a sea-based defense against longer-range missiles of a type that officials say could soon threaten Europe from Iran.
Continue Reading >> Reuters | April 7, 2011
With Eye on South China Sea, U.S. Might Place Troops in Australia
American troops might soon find themselves serving in Australia as the United States looks for better access to the South China Sea, the source of much friction between China and many other Pacific nations.
During testimony on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Adm. Robert Willard, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, said Australians would like to see an increase of U.S. military activities Down Under.
[...] U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he has a group studying the idea of U.S. troops rotating through existing Australian bases, but he doesn’t want to create any new permanent bases in the Pacific. And he remained diplomatic when asked whether such a plan would be about keeping China in check.
[...] The United States and Australia have been on the same side of every major war since World War I. Australia has the largest group of troops from a non-NATO country fighting in Afghanistan.
Continue Reading >> CNN | April 8, 2011
Russia to Continue Military Conscription for Next 10-15 Years – Medvedev
The Russian Armed Forces will continue using a mixture of conscripts and contracted recruits for the next 10-15 years, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.
Russia is in the process of reforming its armed forces by shifting the focus away from a largely inefficient body of conscripted soldiers toward a smaller professional army.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | April 4, 2011
Russia Hopes Turkey Will Eventually Give the Green Light to the South Stream Gas Pipeline Project, “Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”, “Project is Not in the Best Interest of Ukraine and the Country is Working against it”, Iran Plans to Invest $90 Billion in South Pars Gas Field, U.K. Royal Dutch Shell Drilling 17 Gas Wells in China, Beijing Urges Quick End to American-Led Airstrikes in Libya, Considers the Security Situation in the Asia-Pacific as “Volatile”, Points to the U.S. Reinforcement of Military Alliances and Rising Suspicions in the Region, Seeks to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours, Will Stick to a Defensive Military Doctrine, The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India Not China, South Korea U.S. Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea, Singapore Thailand U.S. Conclude Military Drill, Naval Exercises Between the Philippines and Malaysia, Venezuela’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America, Joint Ghana U.S. Jungle Warfare Exercise Ends
Russia hopes Turkey will approve South Stream
Russia hopes Turkey will eventually give the green light to the section of the South Stream gas pipeline project that crosses its territory, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Turkey has not given its consent to the laying of part of the 15.5-billion-euro marine pipeline across its Black Sea territory. South Stream is designed to diversify Russian gas export routes, and will stretch to Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and then on to Italy and Austria.
[...] The land section of the pipeline will go across Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria, with whom Russia has already signed intergovernmental agreements.
Continue Reading >> RIA Novosti | March 22, 2011
“Turkey to OK South Stream When Conditions Met”
Energy Minister Taner Yıldız said Turkey would still abide by the terms of a 2009 agreement with Russia over a proposed underwater pipeline that will carry natural gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine.
South Stream, controlled by Russian Gazprom and Italian Eni, is planned to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and on to Europe via Italy and Austria. In an exclusive interview with Today’s Zaman, Yıldız reaffirmed the Turkish position on the $21.5 billion pipeline project called South Stream, saying nothing had changed on the Turkish side. “We are still waiting for the environmental impact studies, as well as feasibility studies, on South Stream to see if the required criteria demanded by Turkey are met. If met, there is no question we would give our approval to the project,” he said.
Continue Reading >> Today’s Zaman | March 26, 2011
Minister: Ukraine Works Against South Stream
The South Stream natural gas pipeline project is not in the best interest of Ukraine and the country is working against it, according to Ukrainian Minister of Energy Yuriy Boyko.
Boyko said his country is undergoing “tense discussions” with Russia, the main country supporting the project, set to deliver gas to southern and central Europe, bypassing Ukraine.
“South Stream is a political project of our Russian partners, who want to create an excess of transit capacities for gas, like what they did back in the day for oil,” said the Ukrainian minister, quoted by MIGnews.
Boyko said that in collaboration with Ukraine’s “EU partners,” the country will be putting efforts so that in the end the pipeline be not built.
Sofia News Agency | April 2, 2011
Iran Plans to Invest $90B in South Pars
Iran’s Oil Ministry plans to invest about $90 billion in South Pars gas field in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi said.
According to Mirkazemi, about $60 billion of the mentioned amount will be allocated to the upstream projects and about $30 billion to the downstream sector, SHANA News Network reported.
The official also noted that an extra $20 billion will be invested in the petrochemical projects of the giant field.
Mirkazemi further said that the Oil Ministry plans to complete the developing projects of all the remaining phases of the field within 35 months.
The Iranian oil minister also stressed the need for foreign investment in the site to speed up the projects, saying that once all the phases of the South Pars come on stream, the field can produce 25 million cubic meters of natural gas and about 40,000 barrels of liquefied natural gas per day, making the country’s annual revenue from the field hit $110 billion, Press TV reported.
The South Pars gas field is located in the Persian Gulf in the border zone between Iran and Qatar. The field’s reserves are estimated at 14 trillion cubic meters of gas and 18 billion barrels of liquefied natural gas.
Payvand Iran News | April 1, 2011
Shell Drilling 17 China Gas Wells
U.K. oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA.LN) is drilling 17 wells in China, including for tight gas and shale gas, Reuters reported Sunday, citing Chief Executive Peter Voser.
If drilling is successful, Shell plans to spend $1 billion a year during the next five year years on shale gas in China, Voser was quoted as saying.
MarketWatch | March 20, 2011
China Urges Quick End to Airstrikes in Libya
China escalated its opposition to American-led airstrikes on Libya on Tuesday, joining Russia and India in calls for an immediate cease-fire and suggesting that coalition forces were imperiling civilians by exceeding the United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.
[...] China’s response to the campaign has been the most forceful, warning that the assault could bring about a “humanitarian disaster.” In a news briefing Tuesday, Jiang Yu, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, called for an end to hostilities. “We’ve seen reports that the use of armed force is causing civilian casualties, and we oppose the wanton use of armed force leading to more civilian casualties,” she said.
China was one of five countries to abstain from the United Nations resolution that authorized the allied airstrikes against the forces of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, which have been seeking to crush a rebellion against his four-decade rule. Russia, Brazil, India and Germany also abstained, while South Africa joined nine other Security Council members in supporting the resolution approved last week.
In its decision to abstain rather than block the resolution through its veto power, China said it was heeding the wishes of the Arab League and the African Union.
Continue Reading >> The New York Times | March 22, 2011
China to Reinforce Trust With Neighbours
The Chinese government on Thursday said it viewed the security situation in the Asia-Pacific as “volatile”, pointing to the United States “reinforcing” regional military alliances and rising suspicions among China’s neighbours.
In a national defence white paper issued on Thursday, China said it would seek to expand confidence-building measures with its neighbours, as well as stick to a defence policy that was defensive in nature.
The white paper, the seventh that China has issued since 1998, portrayed a strained regional security environment, describing the Asia-Pacific region, in particular, as “volatile.”
“Relevant major powers are increasing their strategic investment,” said the paper. “The United States is reinforcing its regional military alliances, and increasing its involvement in regional security affairs.”
Continue Reading >> The Hindu | March 31, 2011
The World’s Largest Arms Importer is Now India, Not China
India has spent US$80 billion to modernize its military to keep up with China and now, India has become the world’s number one arms importer according to Swedish think-tank keeping tabs on global arms transactions. India makes up 9 percent of global arms purchases while China has 6 percent of market share in comparison.
“India has ambitions to become first a continental and [then] a regional power,” Rahul Bedi, an analyst with London-based Jane’s Defence Weekly, told AP.
“Just from what they have already ordered, we know that in the coming few years India will be the top importer,” said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at SIPRI told the International Business Times.
SIPRI’s report stated India’s defense budget for the coming fiscal year is in the region of $32.5 billion, 40 percent more than in 2009. In addition, India will spend over $50 billion in the next five years to modernize its military – including purchasing new fighter jets and aircraft carriers.
“The kind of purchases that India is buying, no country in the world buys,” added Bedi of Jane’s Defence Weekly. India has also been importing 82 percent of its weapons from Russia and plans to purchase 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets worth $30 billion in the next decade.
SIPRI also included in its report:
Average volume of global arms transfers in 2006-2010 increased 24 percent from 2001-2005.
Asia and Oceania accounts for 43 percent of arms imports, Europe for 12 percent, 17 percent in the Middle East, 12 percent in the Americas and 7 percent in Africa.
The largest arms importers are locate in Asia with India accounting for 9 percent of all imports, 6 percent in China, 6 percent in South Korea and 5 percent in Pakistan.
USA remains the world’s largest exporter of military equipment and totals 30 percent of global arms exports in 2006-2010; of which 44 percent were exported to Asia and Oceania, 28 percent in the Middle East and 19 percent to Europe.
EconomyWatch | March 30, 2011
S. Korea, US Conduct Large Military Exercise in Yellow Sea
A large-scale South Korea-U.S. military exercise in the Yellow Sea seeks to prepare for North Korea`s use of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, submarines and special forces to destroy or blockade major infrastructure in the South.
Continue Reading >> Donga.com | March 24, 2011
Singapore, Thailand, US Conclude Military Exercise
Singapore, Thailand and the United States concluded the trilateral “Exercise Cope Tiger 2011″ at Korat Air Base in Thailand on Friday.
[...] About 100 aircraft and 34 ground-based air defence systems were deployed.
[...] More than 2,300 personnel took part.
Continue Reading >> Channelnewsasia | March 26, 2011
Military Exercises Strengthens RP-Malaysian Relations
The ten-day military exercises between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy, which concluded March 25, has been beneficial to both parties and was a success in its purpose, the Naval Forces West (NFW) claimed. The activity opened on March 16.
Continue Reading >> Zamboanga Today | April 1, 2011
Hugo Chavez’s $15 Billion Weapons Purchase Concerns Latin America
With the acquisition of hundreds of tanks, helicopters and bulletproof vehicles as well as submarines and missile networks, Venezuela is arming itself at a speed unprecedented in the history of the South American country.
Continue Reading >> McClatchy | March 21, 2011
Joint Ghana, US Military Exercise Ends
The Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2011 jungle exercise, conducted by personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the United States Marines, has ended at Achiase Jungle Warfare in the Eastern Region.
[...] The two-week training exercise comprised 100 troops from GAF and 42 US Marines.
Continue Reading >> Vibeghana | March 22, 2011
The Kremlin says it will nearly double the military wages and increase the number of military officers.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday police and other law enforcement agencies will also get wage hikes starting next January.
Russia’s Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said that an army lieutenant will get an average monthly wage of 50,000 rubles (about $1,700), about twice as much as the current salary.
He also said that the military will also increase the number of officers. Over the past two years the number of officers was reduced from 355,000 to 150,000.
Serdyukov was quoted by news agencies as saying Wednesday that the armed forces will now need 70,000 more officers because of the plans to form additional units.
The Canadian Press | February 2, 2011
Less than 24 hours after the breakdown of its nuclear dialogue with the six world powers in Istanbul, Iran announced plans Sunday, Jan. 23, to send a fleet of warships, including a home-made destroyer, on operational and intelligence-gathering missions to the Red Sea and on to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal. DEBKAfile’s military sources: Parts of the fleet will in fact be deployed in the three waters around Israel’s southern and western shores.
DEBKAfile | January 23, 2011
The Chinese Army is believed to have built an underground “Great Wall” that stretches for more than 5,000 km in the Hebei region of northern China. Citing the People’s Liberation Army’s official newsletter, the Ta Kung Pao daily of Hong Kong on Saturday said China’s strategic missile squadron, the Second Artillery Division, built a massive underground tunnel to conceal nuclear weapons, including the Dongfeng 5 intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 13,000 km.
Since 1995, the Second Artillery Division has mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers to build a network of tunnels stretching for more than 5,000 km below the mountain regions of Hebei, China’s state-run CCTV reported. “A missile base has been built hundreds of meters underground and can withstand several nuclear attacks,” CCTV said. “People refer to the network of tunnels connecting to the missile base as the ‘Underground Great Wall.'” In March 2008, CCTV broadcast a documentary which revealed that the PLA had been building underground facilities enabling it to launch a counterstrike in case of a nuclear attack.
The Chosunilbo | January 20, 2011