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Karachigate : Did the Indians Kill the French engineers ?

by : himalove
Saturday October 24, 2009 - 15:41

Date : May 13,2002

Source : ASHGABAT (PPA) —

European and Russian observers have voiced similar opinion that, in all likelihood, India may have engineered the recent brutal killing of French engineers in Karachi who were overseeing construction of Khalid class (Agosta B90) submarines, reports PPA correspondents Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat and Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow.

"Only India stands to benefit from this massacre [of French engineers]," said a western European diplomat based in Central Asia. When asked to explain his point of view, he said, "India has recently concluded agreement to build six Scorpene class French submarines.

First of these submarines will be ready in 2006 and till that time India has no way to counter the sub-surface superiority of Pakistan’s Agosta [submarines].

Moreover, Indian shipbuilding industry is in no shape to undertake construction of submarines right away. It will be at least 2 to 3 years before India can up date its shipbuilding facilities to begin construction of Scorpene. India will benefit immensely if [submarine] construction programme of Pakistan is thwarted."

Similar view, with a new twist, was expressed by Genandy Kamarov (not his real name), a retired officer of KGB.

He said, "Forgive my perverted mind if I see sinister designs where there may be none but the Karachi incident smacks of RAW-MOSSAD connection."

Kamarov explained that according to his own sources, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called in Mossad director Ephraim Halevy in the third week of February and gave ’precise instructions’ to ’get the assassins of Danny Pearl.’

According to Kamarov’s theory, ’precise instructions’ to get Pearl’s killers include close collaboration with RAW because Pakistan is one of the few countries where Israel does not have an effective network of its own.

Referring to a recent incident where an American ’free lance journalist’ was detained at Karachi airport because he was carrying a video film showing entrance gate of Karachi central prison, Kamarov said someone high up intervened and procured release of the ’journalist’ along with the video.

Why the video of main entrance of Karachi jail ?, asked Kamarov. Is it part of Israeli plan to get at killers of Pearl?, he wondered.

Elaborating on his theory, Kamarov said, "It is the first time since 1972 that an Israeli prime minister has issued direct orders to get at assassins of a Jew.

Now, if we assume that RAW and MOSSAD are working jointly to get at Pearl’s killers — and there are reasons to assume that they are working together. Pearl, before his kidnapping, was staying with an Indian lady in Karachi who had been denied Pakistani visa but somehow managed to get it and came over to Karachi.

The same Indian lady intervened for release of the American journalist who was carrying video of Karachi jail.

What is the connection between Pearl and this other American journalist, and who is that Indian lady?" "Now, remember that in the shadowy world of espionage and betrayal, there are no friends and no enemies.

We all have our jobs to do and we work without emotion, in cold blood. If RAW is helping Mossad get the Pearl killers, RAW will want something in return.

That ’something’ can be a workable plan to halt Pakistani submarine plan because at the moment Indian armed forces are superior to Pakistan in every respect but one : They don’t have anything to counter the threat posed by Agosta submarines."

For all intent and purpose, it appears that Kamarov’s theory stands on solid ground because the Karachi massacre seems to have achieved a heavy blow to Pakistan’s Agosta 90B submarine programme.

By extension, it has also caused a substantial damage to Pakistan’s economy in terms of investors’ confidence.

No one but India stands to gain from this tragedy.

Concluding his remarks, Kamarov said, "Indians cannot hope to get their Scorpene submarines till 2006 and they will do everything to prevent Pakistan from getting an edge over India in terms of sub-surface vessels till that time."

The fact that India’s shipbuilding facilities are in shambles and India has no way to build submarine quickly, is supported by Strategic Affairs, a highly respected professional journal, which carried these remarks in its September 2001 issue : "Ironically, the simulator acquisition is taking place at a time when India’s domestic submarine-building programme is mired in uncertainty because of the poor state of its shipyards."

News from Indian quarters also suggests India’s undisguised happiness over the sad incident. Indian Express on 9 May 2002 quoted a jubilant Indian naval analyst : ‘‘There will no doubt be a loss of confidence among the French. Other group of specialists from France will be apprehensive about coming to Pakistan." says Commodore Uday Bhaskar, Deputy Director, India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Given the fact that some of India’s ’strategic assets’ are scattered along its coastline, within easy reach of silent Agosta, India seems quite willing to make all efforts to halt Pakistan’s indigenous manufacturing plan of sub-surface boats.

Failure to do so is not desirable for Indian policy makers because in that case they will have to remain subdued till 2006 when first Scorpene will be able to set sails with Indian flag.

The Indian Navy plans to build 26 submarines in the next 30 years but the only shipyard capable of building them, Mazgaon Dock in Mumbai, needs a considerable infusion of money to develop the infrastructure.

There is no indication yet that the Defence Ministry has that kind of money.

Indian attention is now focused on the French Scorpene submarine, which is to be built in India under license from DCN. Here too, the poor state of infrastructure at Mazgaon Dock could be an obstacle. Even if funds are released by the year-end, it could take two-to-three years to modernize the yard.

Scorpene has been designed and developed jointly by DCN (Naval Construction Directorate) of France and Izar (formerly Bazan) of Spain. Under code name Project 75, India is planning to build and acquire 30 submarines, raising the total number of sub surface vessels in its fleet to 45 within next 30 years. Scorpene, hailed as "silent killer" is the first submarine India plans to build.

Later, the construction plans may include Russian Amur class submarines. Scorpene is said to be superior to Agosta although no substantial reasons are offered to prove its superiority.

In realistic and practical terms, Scorpene is inferior to Agosta in all respects but one : it provides a more ’silent’ platform.

The main advantage conventional submarines such as Agosta and Scorpene have over nuclear submarines is their element of surprise.

A conventional submarine moves silently while a nuclear submarine makes a peculiar ’signature noise’, created by its atomic reactors.

Under optimal thermal conditions, a conventional submarine like Agosta or Scorpene is almost impossible to detect in deep waters.

The only drawback of conventional vis-à-vis atomic submarines is that they have to come up periodically to ’snorkel’ and charge their batteries.

This drawback has also been rectified with introduction of MESMA (Module d’Energie Sous-Marine Autonome) independent air propulsion system which gives it under-water endurance quite comparable to nuclear submarines.

Both Agosta and Scorpene are equipped with this system. Except for ’noise factor’ Scorpene, though pricier, is not superior to Agosta.

Scorpene has a maximum range of 6400 nautical miles at 8 knots while Agosta can go almost twice that distance at higher speed : 11000 nautical miles at 11 knots.

Scorpene has a rated endurance of 50 days while Agosta has the endurance of 68 days, a clear advantage when you are operating away from your home base. Both Scorpene and Agosta can operate at a depth of more than 350 meters.

Agosta has the ability to ’sprint’ for a reasonable distance at a speed exceeding 40 knots.

According to a report carried by Hindustan Times on 22 February 2002, highly-placed sources in New Delhi and Moscow informed that India is negotiating with Russia for the lease of an unfinished Akula-II (Shark) Bars class nuclear submarine.

Work on this submarine was about 85 per cent complete when its construction stopped in 1996. This unfinished submarine is reportedly "sitting" at the Amur Shipbuilding Plant at Komsomolsk-na-Amur in eastern Siberia.

Negotiations for its lease have been going on for over three years. It is expected that by the end of this year India will get possession of this submarine which is capable of launching atomic warheads.

Another indication of Indian Navy’s nuclear ambitions also came from Hindustan Times, which on 15 February 2002, informed that officers of the Indian Navy and Air Force have commenced training at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Trombay, to learn how to handle nuclear devices.

A nuclear submarine, even though equipped with nuclear warheads, will be ineffective against Pakistan for the time being because it will lose its element of surprise against stealthy Agosta 90B.

By derailing Agosta project, India can hope to maintain sub surface superiority till 2006 when its Scorpene submarines will begin floating out of the construction dock.

Reportedly, India also has 3 Amur class submarines in advanced stage of construction in Russia though the information could not be confirmed from independent sources. India is also aware of the painful fact that with retirement of INS Vikram from the service, Indian Navy has only one aircraft carrier, INS Viraat.

The alleged aquisition of the STOBAR carrier Gorshkov and the MiG-29K’s to operate from it are not going to be enough to provide the kind of air superiority India craves - the sortie rate from this carrier isn’t enough and the aircraft doesn’t have the payload/range of a catapult launched type.

 PPACourtesy : www.thereporter.net



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