Archive for the ‘defence’ Category

Ministers must not resort to ‘cheap options’ on defence, says British Army chief

November 14, 2008

Ministers must not take “cheap options” when it comes to equipping the Armed Forces to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the head of the British Army warns today.

By Con Coughlin
The Telegraph (London)
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, General Sir Richard Dannatt says the Government has an “absolute responsibility” to provide the best training and equipment for the British men and women serving on the front line.

“If you are committing young people to battle they have to be given the best, and when circumstances change they have to be given the best again,” he said.

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt warns ministers must not take

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt warns ministers must not take “cheap options” when it comes to equipping the Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan

His comments came as the Ministry of Defence announced the death of two Royal Marines in southern Afghanistan, taking the British death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan to 300.

Gen Dannatt, who will retire from the Army next year, has been outspoken on defence issues since taking up his post in 2006.

In 2006, he warned that the Army could ‘break’ if British soldiers were kept too long in Iraq.

And in a leaked report last year, Gen Dannatt warned that years of Government under-funding and overstretch had left troops feeling “devalued, angry and suffering from Iraq fatigue.”

With Britain now preparing to withdraw its 4,000 troops from Iraq next year, pressure is mounting – from sources including Barack Obama, the US president-elect — for more British forces to be sent to Afghanistan.

But Gen Dannatt said that no more British troops should go to Afghanistan, insisting that the Army only has the manpower and resources to fight one foreign war at a time.

“The reason the Army has been under such pressure for the past three years is that we are committed to fighting two wars when we are only structured to fight one,” said Gen. Dannatt. “If we were to move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan we would simply replicate the problems.”

He said that many improvements had been made in equipping front line troops during the past two years, but serious consideration needed to be given as to whether it was sufficient that only 5 per cent of the government’s budget was devoted to defence spending.

“Is the amount the government spends on defence the right proportion?” he asked. “There are no cheap options on defence.”

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Russia Says U.S. Satellite May Be “Space Weapon” Test

February 16, 2008

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia‘s Defence Ministry said on Saturday a U.S. plan to shoot down an ailing spy satellite could be used as a cover to test a new space weapon.

The ministry said there was insufficient proof that Washington’s decision to fire a missile at the disabled satellite was to prevent a potentially deadly leak of toxic gas as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere.

“In our opinion, the decision to destroy the U.S. satellite is not as harmless as it is being presented….”

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China: No to U.S. Missile Shot at Satellite

 Navy Will Attempt to Down Spy Satellite

India, Vietnam Pledge Closer Strategic Ties

July 7, 2007

Nhan Dan
Vietnam Communist Government News
July 7, 2007

Vietnamese and Indian Prime Ministers agreed to officially establish a strategic partnership between the two countries at their talks in New Delhi on July 6.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh noted that the strategic partnership marked a new breakthrough in bilateral relations and pave the way for the two countries’ all-faceted co-operation to expand further.

The strategic partnership will support each country’s durable growth and prosperity and work for the sake of peace, stability, co-operation and development in the Asia-Pacific and the world, the two PM said.

To promote this new strategic partnership, the two government leaders agreed to further bolster the two countries’ political ties in addition to establishing a strategic dialogue mechanism at the level of deputy foreign ministers.

They also reached agreement on continuing strengthening security and defence co-operation, especially in training and the sharing of information on anti-terrorism, sea pirates and transnational crimes.

Discussing bilateral relations, the two PMs were of the view that the friendship and multi-faceted co-operation between the two countries have been constantly strengthening and developing fruitfully.

On trade co-operation, the two PMs agreed to continue working to bring two-way trade to US $2 billion in 2010 and US $5 billion in 2015.

In this area, the Indian side said they took note of Vietnam’s request to recognise the Southeast Asian country’s full-fledged market economy and pledged to take necessary measures to enable Vietnamese products to enter Indian markets so as to balance two-way trade.

The Indian PM informed the Vietnamese counterpart on his government’s decision to lend Vietnam a US $45 million credit with preferential treatments for the building of a hydro-electricity power plant.

On regional and international issues, PM Dung expressed his support for India’s “Look East” policy which was tailored to link India closely with Southeast Asia. He said Vietnam is willing to work as a bridge between India and other ASEAN countries so that all can work together for the goal of prosperity and stability in the region.

PM Dung took the occasion to thank India for its active support for Vietnam’s admission to the World Trade Organisation and its candidacy for the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council in the 2008-2009 term.

The Indian PM singled out Vietnam’s support to India’s quest for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.

PM Dung invited his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to visit Vietnam at a convenient time for both sides. Indian PM Singh accepted the invitation with pleasure and the visit will be arranged through the diplomatic channel.

* On the same day, PM Dung was taken through a host of activities, including paying a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial monument, visiting President Abdul Kalam, and meeting with several Indian leaders.

At his courtesy visit to President Abdul Kalam, PM Dung highlighted India’s aid and co-operation, especially in the fields of science and technology, education and training, credit and agriculture.

Discussing bilateral co-ordination at regional and international forums, the Vietnamese leader reaffirmed his country’s support for India’s bid to become a permanent member of the expanded United Nations Security Council while appreciating the South Asian country for backing its own run for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in the 2008-2009 term.

At the meeting with the Indian National Congress Party Chairwoman Sonia Gandhi and other leaders, PM Dung thanked the Party and the Indian people for their assistance to the Vietnamese people in the struggle for national liberation and re-unification and the present course of national construction.

He said he was pleased to know that the Indian Government, under the leadership governance of the Indian National Congress Party, has been persistent in its policy of enhancing ties with Vietnam.

During his busy working agenda, PM Dung also met Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) Shri Somnath Chatterjee in which he asked the congressman to call on political circles to make efforts to elevate the two countries’ relationship into a strategic partnership.

Such efforts would bring the two countries’ ties and the relations between the Vietnamese National Assembly and the Indian House of the People to a new level, PM Dung stressed.

At a meeting with General Secretary of the Communist Party of India A.B Bardhan, PM Dung highlighted the reliable and close relations between the two parties.

The Vietnamese public are highly conscious of the support given by the CPI and the Indian people, the Vietnamese leader said.

PM Dung also met with General Secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Prakash Karat and reiterated Vietnam’s wish to further strengthen Vietnam-Indian ties.

While receiving the leader of the Opposition of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), PM Dung spoke highly of the contributions of the Party president Shri L. K. Advani and the BJP to the consolidation of Vietnamese-Indian relations, saying that the two parties need further exchanges.

At all the meetings, Indian leaders warmly welcomed the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s visit, describing it as highly important to the two countries as they have recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Earlier on July 5, PM Dung said at the Vietnam-India Business Forum that the Vietnamese State and Government always created favourable conditions for Indian investors in Vietnam, especially Indian major groups to invest in fields such as information technology, electricity, oil and gas, metallurgy, coal, transport, agriculture, fisheries, food processing, health care and medicine.

At the forum, PM Dung witnessed the signing of a US $300 million co-operation agreement on hydro power plant construction, a US $200 million joint venture contract on oil and gas exploitation and an agreement on training.

During the visit, businesses of the two countries signed contracts and business agreements worth a combined US $4.5 billion. (VNA)