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    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

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lunarchick - 02:32am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1807 of 1817)

-> News -> World -> Full Story Bush govt to take a fresh look at CTBT

March 30, 2001 20:52 Hrs (IST)

Washington: The Bush administration on Friday virtually reversed its stand on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), with its top arms control official telling a Senate Foreign Relations Committee that his government would examine it afresh.

Also, the recommendations of former President Bill Clinton's special advisor General John Shalikashvili favouring ratifying the CTBT will be examined, he said.

''We are mindful of the work that was done by General John Shalikashvili. We will examine the work closely. We still believe that there are flaws with the Treaty as it was voted down (in the Senate) in 1999. Nonetheless, we will continue to examine the elements of the Treaty as part of our overall strategic review,'' John R Bolton, Under Secretary designate in the State department on Arms control said.

Deposing before the committee for his confirmation hearings, Bolton said President Bush had given an indication to his administration that he has no intention of resuming nuclear tests.

''We do not see any need for such testing in the foreseeable future,'' he added.

The Republicans, who ensured that the CTBT was not ratified by the US Senate way back in 1999, have turned around to say they are now open to the idea.

After the failure of the measure in the Senate, the then President Clinton had appointed a committee headed by former Joint Chief of Staff John Shalikashvili to go into the reservations expressed by the Republicans on the CTBT.

Dismissing the reservations expressed by the Republicans, the General, in his report presented early this year, strongly favoured that the US ratify the treaty.

The ratification of the treaty is in the strategic interest of the US, he contended in his report. Even during his Presidential campaign, Bush said the treaty had several flaws, and if elected, his government would not ask the US Congress to ratify it.

Secretary of State Powell, during his confirmation hearings in January, reiterated that his administration would not ask the US Congress to ratify the treaty ''this session''.

lunarchick - 02:35am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1808 of 1817)

Army swears by `transparency' in defence deals

NEW DELHI: Responding to the Tehelka revelations, the Army on Friday assured that no single individual could influence a defence deal.

In an elaborate presentation, Army's deputy chief of staff, Lt General S S Mehta, took reporters through the long procedure involved in choosing a major piece of defence equipment.

The Army admitted the procurement system could be penetrated -- an indirect reference to the meetings between Tehelka's fake arms dealers and defence officials. But it asserted that the `penetration' could have no impact on the final decision on buying or rejecting a piece of equipment.

He said the arms manufacturers at times tried to use the media to get back into the reckoning for a contract. They tried to create delays in the purchase-process, to gain more time for bringing their products upto specifications.

The Army reiterated the government policy that it would not deal with middlemen and elaborated how the process of buying an equipment would begin.

Asked how the army went about insulating its officials from the influence of middlemen, Mehta would not comment on what was seen on the tehelka tapes since an enquiry was already on.

But he said every meeting between an official and a representative of a arms manufacturing firm should be recorded. The purpose of the meeting had to be mentioned. If a meeting took place outside the office, the Army headquarters had to be informed.

Though the general did not mention the tapes, it is unlikely that these procedures were followed by defence officials who `advised' tehelka reporters on how to bag a defence deal.

The Army wanted to particularly come clean on suggestions in the tapes -- though no direct evidence was offered -- that middlemen were involved in the purchase of T-90s tanks and the TGM Krasnopol smart artillery ammunition.

The presentation outlined step-by-step the procedure through which the two items were evaluated and recommended fit for the Army.

Giving dates and the rough composition of the evaluation teams, Mehta elaborated on trials conducted on the tanks in Russia and India. They included a trial in the Rajasthan desert in the peak of the summer.

The 15 men in the crew which actually tested the tank in field trials were drawn from five regiments. Several top officers and representatives from agencies like the Defence Research and Development Organisation witnessed the

lunarchick - 02:37am Mar 31, 2001 EST (#1809 of 1817)

SEE the bribes happen:

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