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More war games on the Indian calendar

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Red Flag exercise, India to participate

F-16C aggressor during Red Flag 06-1
Image from Wiki

What is more fun than flying a fighter jet? Taking part in a training exercise with the best in the world and that is where some Indian pilots are headed.

Defense minister AK Anthony revealed that India will be taking part in the “Red Flag” exercise, along with NATA and US military allies in August 2008. Given the recent fiasco by the Chinese, this is another slap in their already upset face.

The “Red Flag” exercise, according to the Wiki

The Red Flag exercises, conducted in four-to-six cycles a year by the 414th Combat Training Squadron of the 57th Wing, are very realistic aerial war games. The purpose is to train pilots from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries for real combat situations. This includes the use of “enemy” hardware and live ammunition for bombing exercises within the Nevada Test and Training Range.

With two teams, Blue being the good one and Red being the “enemy” team, Indian pilots will get to see, practice and engage American Pilots from the 57th Wing’s 57th Adversary Tactics Group.

What caught my eyes was the fact that India has recently signed up with Russia to jointly develop a 5th gen. fighter aircraft and transport planes.

Is this the American way of inviting India to do business with them, given that a whole bunch of American defense firms now have offices in India?

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  • why do the Indian armed forces slavishly use the same uniforms and titles (brigadier or major general, admiral etc) and row of medals on the chest as the Europeans? Can’t they be a bit original and opt for something uniquely Indian?

    TO be frank, I have no idea why, when we can adopt the British system of education, parliament, railways ..why not army titles? Morover, the Indian touch to it comes in the form of Param Vir Chakra, Mahavir Chakra, Keerti Chakra and others. Along with Brigadier, Colonel and major - there are havildar, naik, lance naik, subedar and Sepoy.

    ANd finally SIkh regiment, Jat regiment, Bihar regiment, Gorkha Rifles, Rajputana rifles, Rajput regiment and so on.....
    What's so slavish about it?

  • Edsa:

    Pity you dismiss the Pentagon’s assessment of Kargil. The Pentagon is the world’s ultimate fighting machine and surely their opinion matters - not that of the two squabbling Asian neighbours fighting each other with European weapons.

    Really, your arguments seem very educated till one reads through them a second time.

    Until 1990, the United States provided military aid to Pakistan to modernize its conventional defensive capability. The United States allocated about 40% of its assistance package to non-reimbursable credits for military purchases, the third-largest program behind Israel and Egypt. The remainder of the aid program was devoted to economic assistance. Sanctions put in place in 1990 denied Pakistan further military assistance due to the discovery of its program to develop nuclear weapons.

    And that extract was from here.

    It is a truth universally known that India and Pakistan were fighting the Cold War by proxy. While Pakistan got the Yankee money, India hobnobbed with the Bolsheviks. While Pakistani kids got Coca Cola, Indian kids got Misha and Soviet Union.

    While this is not intended to start a Indo Pak gun battle on UD space, I just wanted to clear your misplaced view of world history.

    Besides, your quip about Pentagon being the world’s ultimate fighting machine has had me shaking in mirth.

  • Calling them terrorist is hardly fair - terrorist to whom? Have they got an objective?

    I really have no dog in this argument but did you seriously, with a straight face, say that it's "unfair" to call the LTTE a terrorist group?

    And oh, thank you for your comments.

  • Edsa

    Dear Sidhu,
    Thanks for the comments.
    The LTTE is a guerilla group and the Indian army, trained mechanically with the British instruction manuals, just couldn't pacify the LTTE. (Calling them terrorist is hardly fair - terrorist to whom? Have they got an objective?)

    Pity you dismiss the Pentagon's assessment of Kargil. The Pentagon is the world's ultimate fighting machine and surely their opinion matters - not that of the two squabbling Asian neighbours fighting each other with European weapons.

    Isn't it fair to say that the Indians are using craft (like the MIGs and Harriers) that are beyond their capabilities? They are simply not at ease with alien machines, not having ever used them in active service. Why blame politicians for selecting MIGs? It is only those who have used these craft that can advise on their purchase like the Chinese, not the semi-literate, corrupt babus in the Lok Saba.

    As for fighting the US, Russia & China - I meant that they have huge experience in real war conditions and India will be totally lost should it have the misfortune to confriont them.

    A last point: why do the Indian armed forces slavishly use the same uniforms and titles (brigadier or major general, admiral etc) and row of medals on the chest as the Europeans? Can't they be a bit original and opt for something uniquely Indian?

  • Back-stabbing? Oh, the horror!

    DO check the link, I mentioned. I don't quite understand the horror part of it yet.

    Medieval concepts? Then why doesn't every country just have a couple hundred suicide bombers instead of a full fledged army.

    because it could not act without repercussions from the international community


    what community? The LTTE is a classified terrorist organization in Europe, North America and India. Who will respond? Tamil supporters? They will be promptly jailed.

    For whatever reason Prabhakaran may be scared or concerned about, he definitely wants to be in India's good looks - even though Norway is the official mediator, Prabhakaran desperately wanted a venue in India.

    as they’ve taken a very much hands-off approach

    That's exaclty whay I'm saying, the reason why LTTE exists.

    you’ve still to address the data on the size and duration of the IPKF’s ‘peace-keeping’ effort.


    Oh, I have to? It sure wasn't a successful mission. I thought we agreed on that. IPKF left on the request of the Sri Lankan government.
    More reasons here

  • A Virile Nagalingam
    IPKF failed because contrary to their expectation of maintaining “peace” in the region, they had to indulge in actual military operations. IPKF’s never aimed to wipe out LTTE, for that matter Rajiv Gandhi would have probably survived if Indian Army indulged in backstabbing like LTTE and squished Prabhakaran back in 1987. (link)

    Back-stabbing? Oh, the horror!

    How do you strike someone in a military combat who doesn’t want to fight you? So if my claims are high handed and pompous - your words undermine the facts.

    my words undermine the facts? If the Indian army is depending on outmoded, medieval concepts of what is 'fair' in combat, then they are surely without hope.

    your point about India being able to squash the LTTE is without merit because it could not act without repercussions from the international community. The reason Prabhakaran isn't keen to bring back memories of the assassination is because he, like the JHU/JVP, is mostly concerned and afraid of what western powers can do to his logistical support. He is pretty much not concerned with what the Indian gov't or military has to do as they've taken a very much hands-off approach.

    that is why most LTTE satelite-tv propaganda is broadcast not to TN but Europe and Canada.

    you've still to address the data on the size and duration of the IPKF's 'peace-keeping' effort.

  • Vaiko? I was thinking more on the lines of say Karunanidhi who pens down poems for LTTE's dead meat.

    IPKF failed because contrary to their expectation of maintaining "peace" in the region, they had to indulge in actual military operations. IPKF's never aimed to wipe out LTTE, for that matter Rajiv Gandhi would have probably survived if Indian Army indulged in backstabbing like LTTE and squished Prabhakaran back in 1987. (link)
    And adding to the misfortune, IPKF violated human rights and committed atrocities, creating more enemies in the process.

    As for judging the efficacy of Indian military is concerned - what do you think Prabhakaran is scared of? Indian politicians or the Indian army? Prabhakaran never had the nerve to accept the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. In his first international media conference after 12 years, he mentions:

    "I do not want to comment on an incident which happened 10 years ago. I want to forget the past. Don't dig into the past." Link

    And in another interview,
    " Asked if the LTTE could promise that it would not commit such acts (Like Rajiv's assassination)again, Balasingham went on: "We have made pledges to the government of India that under no circumstances we will act against the interest of the government of India."

    How do you strike someone in a military combat who doesn't want to fight you? So if my claims are high handed and pompous - your words undermine the facts.

    and if it matters, I didn't mean to say because of supporters in South India, IPKF failed. The reason why LTTE is not considered a threat like say - Pakistan's ISI is because LTTE was partly trained by Indians under the orders of Indira Gandhi and there's a regional or linguistic bond between LTTE cadre and South India.

  • A Virile Nagalingam
    The Indian army fared badly even against the LTTE

    LTTE has never been a primary enemy to India, unfortunately there are some elected Indian leaders who are known sympathizers, for all its fame LTTE is just another terrorist organization, the day India perceives it as a direct threat, LTTE might as well pack its bags. Voluntarily.

    The day VAIKO can be used as a legitimate reason for the IPKF's failure in Lanka...oh wait..you just tried to do exactly that!

    I'm guessing that the 2-year commitment of up to 100K soldiers meant that the Indian government thought that the LTTE was a bunch of lolly-licking school-children, walking to grammar lessons, right?

    Also, Rajiv Gandhi was pretty much chopped liver, for his assasination pretty much ushered in an era of ignoring the LTTE's support network in south india?

    don't overextend your analysis of the Indian military's efficacy--their efforts in SL certainly didn't achieve much but creating a movement to pull them back.

  • Edsa:

    If you saw the Bolly film ‘Rang de Basanti’, you got to hear that the Indian air force lost over 70 MIGs just flying around - no war involved !!

    So if there was a war, how would these pathetic pilots fare?

    I think you saw just one half of Rang De Basanti. Either that, or your only knowledge about the IAF and the MiG incidents are from Bollywood alone. Either way that was a tasteless/careless statement that relies a lot on assumptions and less on data.

  • Runa
    could LMAO over this, it’s like a blind judge overlooking the swimsuit round in a beauty contest

    Sidhu,
    That was fantastic! :-)

    Edsa,

    Do you really beleive the stuff that you wrote or are you trolling and looking to get a rise ?

    If the Pentagon had such a bad opinion of the Indian Army do you really think they would have wooed the Indian Govt in 2003 to send 15,000 troops to Iraq? Its a known fact that the Indian soldier is amongst the toughest in the world - much more acclimatized to harsh weather conditions ( the Kargil that you sneer at is only one example ) and therefore the Pentagon was pretty keen to have some Indian help on the ground in Iraq.

    I did not want to get into this discussion but -as part of an Army family - I cannot let unfounded assertions go unchallenged.

  • Edsa,
    I must thank you too for forcing me to recap my forgotten knowledge, mostly History and Geography. And I must apologise for the discussion is somewhat digressing from the actual post...
    Agreed, there was no territory called 'India', for that matter, there was no definite country anywhere in the world 10,000 years ago. The various invaders did have trouble from the tribes and long before the British came, there was Asoka who first formed the territory that evolved as India, though the tribes themselves were not united, one major root cause of why there were too many changes to the territorial line.


    with no conception of gardens or architecture etc

    that's ridiculous , Google for - Thousand pillar temple, AJanta Ellora caves, Warangal fort, Ramappa temple,Simhachalam temple, Annavaram, dates ranging from 2nd century B.C. to 12th Cenury A.D.
    These are the places I've personally visited, and sadly I've traveled in only 3-4 states in India, I'm not too happy they are all temples, but historically they have a lot of significance and architecturally - some things are best left unsaid. Babur must have been blind not to have seen them.

    Gandhi preferred non-violence - no stomach for fighting


    That's contradicting to itself. Gandhi fought non-violently. He never said he didn't like fighting against injustice/tyranny. He just followed a different path-that made sense to him and his millions of followers.


    The Indian army fared badly even against the LTTE

    LTTE has never been a primary enemy to India, unfortunately there are some elected Indian leaders who are known sympathizers, for all its fame LTTE is just another terrorist organization, the day India perceives it as a direct threat, LTTE might as well pack its bags. Voluntarily.

    The US Pentagon (which monitors all conflicts) thought the Kargil stand-off was unimpressive

    I could LMAO over this, it's like a blind judge overlooking the swimsuit round in a beauty contest (so much for Sidhuisms. Pah.) WHat matters in Kargil is what India and Pakistan think. Not what U.S pentagon thinks.

    By the way, India has not lost MIGs but also some 16 Naval Harriers - without any sea war!

    Now coming to the actual point, the MIGs are imported pieces of equipment coming through various levels of diplomatic discussions by politicians who have little idea of what a MIG is. Think of it, Indian aircraft haven't shot each other in 'friendly fire'. One more reason why Operation Red flag exists, so countries can work together in a joint exercise.

    Can you imagine India confronting the US or China or Russia?

    Indian wars are because of disputes over territory, India and U.S. have no territorial disputes (of course, Silicon valley and New Jersey might one day be a point of argument :) ), India and Russia too do not have direct territorial disputes. China and India cannot afford to fight each other directly, though CHina is possibly a stronger power. But does strength really matter? U.S. should technically have won the Iraq war in a couple of months, if not weeks.

    ANd one relevant point to the post - Operation red flag in 5 parts on youtube

  • Edsa

    Thanks, Sidhu, for your comments.
    There was no defined territorial entity called India 10,000 years ago - the few scattered kingdoms that may have existed have made no mark for their fighting prowess. The various invaders had no trouble overcoming any local groups. The Mughals had little opposition - Babar the first emperor in his famous memoirs thought the Indians were a primitive lot - half naked, lived in hutments, with no conception of gardens or architecture etc
    It is the Mughals who introduced attractive buildings in India.

    The British did face some resistance but they were mostly the Muslim rulers. The Hindus are definitely not a war-like race and ever ready to compromise. Gandhi preferred non-violence - no stomach for fighting. India became one territory only in the 19th century thanks to the British.

    The Indian army fared badly even against the LTTE when they went to assist Sri Lanka in the 70s. They returned in disarray wwith quite a few casualties. The US Pentagon (which monitors all conflicts) thought the Kargil stand-off was unimpressive - rather amateurish.

    By the way, India has not lost MIGs but also some 16 Naval Harriers - without any sea war!
    Can you imagine India confronting the US or China or Russia?

  • If I remember clearly, I saw this documentary - Fighter Pilot: Operation red flag a long time ago, and it seemed to be a joint exercise involving many nations from the European Union, Canada and other countries receiving high end training in the United States especially for joint operations. My interpretation of the exercise is slightly different from what one may get from wikipedia.
    While I cannot comment on why India is being included now, there may be more than one reason - rising regional popularity and strength, better confidence building measures established between India and the U.S, and an opportunity to open up a a market in India for U.S. equipment including fighter planes.
    --

    So if there was a war, how would these pathetic pilots fare?

    That's the first time I'm hearing it, I was an Air Force Selection Board cadet for 10 days(Air Force Selection Board-Mysore) I did not qualify in the end. The selection exercises and the chance of meeting air force squadron leaders and pilots of IAF influenced my life greatly. THe whole testing and selection process and from what I hear from my friend who was selected - is PERFECT. IAF men are men of honor and valor. There are MANY exercises where IAF proved its mettle, it's unfortunate that MIG planes crash, the minimal doubts cast over the pilot's efficiency are baseless. (related Link 1, Link 2)

    The Chinese were 200 miles within Indian territory before Nehru knew what was happening.


    Obviously, mistakes were made and Indian paid the price for it. And remeber, India NEVER attacked any country firsthand in the past 10,000 years, for better or worse we have a good defense policy and NO offense policy.

    China is younger than India, being born in 1949


    THat's a very obtuse view, China declared itself as a people's republic under VERY different circumstances compared to India's independence. Technically, there has been no official end to Chinese civil war started in 1927, they might have as well declared their state in 1940 making them 7 years elder to free India, nothing changes in reality. If they were to declare and end to the civil war next year, China will be re-born in 2008, 61 years after free India. CHina will still be a stronger, nuclear power with less problems than that of India and pursue a form totalitarian state suppressing its own people.

    What the heck, even Internet access to web pages carrying certain topics is state controlled.

    I just wonder why India collects a formidable arsenal of weapons purchased from the top aggressors - US, EU, lsrael and Russia.


    Any country will buy weapons from the devil himself if required, India buys stuff from the "top agressors" because they are the ones who make better stuff. What if we buy weapons from say- Somalia, would it really help us in any way?

    Who is the enemy??


    Politically, there are no permanent enemies, at the same time there are no permanent friends. Be prepared - is the motto.

  • Edsa

    If you saw the Bolly film 'Rang de Basanti', you got to hear that the Indian air force lost over 70 MIGs just flying around - no war involved !!

    So if there was a war, how would these pathetic pilots fare?
    Come to think of it, India has never fought with any comparable enemy like China or Russia. When there was a clash with China in 1962, India was beaten badly. The Chinese were 200 miles within Indian territory before Nehru knew what was happening.

    China is younger than India, being born in 1949 and the very next year, it entered the Korean war and forced the US to withdraw from N Korea. And it has ample experience in Vietnam and elsewhere.
    India's only war experience is with little neighbour, Pakistan. I just wonder why India collects a formidable arsenal of weapons purchased from the top aggressors - US, EU, lsrael and Russia.
    Who is the enemy??

  • A Virile Nagalingam
    While I agree with you, should they not be training/ selling them that? Instead of playing war games on planes? Or is this like those time share things, invite you out for a fun weekend on them and make you sit through a presentation?

    I think Indian pilots have had the chance to fly everything but the F-22 and joint-strike fighter, but as those planes are coming into service (to replace the f-15, f-16, f-18 and Harrier) I think the Indian airforce would like a chance to buy the new stuff and bypass the limitations of the old models.


    On a side note “Defense concerns“, you don’t see that word anymore. I had to put on my Indian/ British hat to get that one right.

    I think that's a symptom, like my cricket fascination, which stems from my family history of Anglophilia.

  • American defense concerns could potentially make more money by cornering the market on nontraditional military material–exoskeletons, nano-scale weapons, etc.

    While I agree with you, should they not be training/ selling them that? Instead of playing war games on planes? Or is this like those time share things, invite you out for a fun weekend on them and make you sit through a presentation?

    On a side note "Defense concerns", you don't see that word anymore. I had to put on my Indian/ British hat to get that one right.

  • A Virile Nagalingam
    What caught my eyes was the fact that India has recently signed up with Russia to jointly develop a 5th gen. fighter aircraft and transport planes.

    Is this the American way of inviting India to do business with them, given that a whole bunch of American defense firms now have offices in India?

    I think there's enough support for military expansion now to source funds for not only this fighter but a whole range of useless crap. American defense concerns could potentially make more money by cornering the market on nontraditional military material--exoskeletons, nano-scale weapons, etc.

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