Archive for August 21st, 2006

Kashmir militants are a danger to world peace

August 21, 2006

The tortured land of Kashmir has been the source of political strife and military conflict between Pakistan and India for the best part of six decades, but only Pakistan can genuinely stand accused of using this as an excuse for both supporting terrorism and exporting it abroad.

Pakistan’s infamous Inter-Service Intelligence agency has not only armed and trained generations of Islamic extremists, but is also believed to have directed many of their terrorist attacks both within the disputed territory and in the crowded streets of India’s major cities.

The ISI is itself the protege of the CIA and a child of an even larger worldwide political conflict; the Cold War. Created in the US agency’s image, it has been regularly used to great effect in this troubled region. China, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet and Sri Lanka have all seen a considerable amount of intelligence activity and support for terrorist operations by the ISI.

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The ball is now squarely in America’s court

August 21, 2006

The direction in which the Indo-US nuclear cooperation deal is being steered by the US appears to focus more on non-proliferation aspects rather than civil nuclear cooperation. Thus deviating from the July 18, 2005 joint statement, as evident from the contents of the Bill HR5682 passed by the House of Representatives in June 2006.

The Bill which comes up for consideration before the Senate next month has created ripples in the minds of various political parties, strategic analysts, media and the top nuclear scientific community in India.

This culminated in a debate in the Upper House of the Indian Parliament on August 17. The prime minister’s statement with his detailed response to various points of concern keeping the July 18 Statement and the March 2, 2006 Separation plan as guiding documents has to a large extent helped clarify the Indian stand.

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Indo-American’s firm to build space launch facility in Canada

August 21, 2006

Planetspace, the US-Canadian consortium co-promoted by Indian-American entrepreneur, Chirinjeev Kathuria, has signed an agreement with Canada’s Nova Scotia province to build a space launching facility.

According to the agreement, Nova Scotia would set aside 300 acres of land on the island Cape Breton off the Canadian coast for the facility, reports said. PlanetSpace is also in talks with the Canadian Space Agency for Canada’s first commercial manned space programme, for which the new facility would be constructed.

“The facility will see orbital flights, similar to the Kennedy Space Center,” Mr Kathuria told newspersons. PlanetSpace estimates it will cost about $200m to build the spaceport at a site north-west of a town called Sydney Mines on Cape Breton. Rockets launched from Cape Breton, which is at the same latitude as the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the site of Russia’s Soyuz launches, would require less fuel to reach the International Space Station (ISS) than those launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US, according to a report in the New Scientist Space website.

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New freighter aircraft fly into India

August 21, 2006

As domestic and foreign airlines are increasingly cottoning on to the potential of India’s air cargo market, the country’s airports will be seeing new generation air freighters taking off in the months to come.

The growth in air freight services to and from India, especially in the wake of the burgeoning trade in the pharma and gem and jewellery sectors, has been attracting new and existing airlines in this space. Apart from the national carriers, Indian Airlines and Air India, new players such as Jet Airways, GoAir and Kingfisher Airlines have charted out plans to play a bigger role in the air freight market.

The air freight cargo has steadily risen from 4.16 lakh tonnes in 1998-99 to 4.91 lakh tonnes in 2000-01, 5.84 lakh tonnes in 2003-04 and over 6.20 lakh tonnes in 2004-05. The major items air freighted out of India are garments, machinery, components, pharmaceuticals, dyes, chemicals and perishables like fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish and meat. Air India, which currently has leased belly space on Falcon Aviation to meet demand on the Kerala-Gulf and the India-Germany sectors, is in the process of converting two of its A310 aircraft into freighter aircraft by September 2007.

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Indian finalises lease of two A-330s

August 21, 2006

Indian could soon be winging its way to London, more cities in the Far East and even Australia. The State-owned airlines has finalised an agreement for lease of two Airbus A-330 aircraft that will be capable of operating flights from India to destinations in Europe, Far East and beyond.

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Check-in tech for safe skies

August 21, 2006

Losing laptops could easily qualify as the tech-savvy frequent traveler’s worst nightmare. Ask Ashish Kaul, an Essel group senior executive, who “almost lost” his mobile phone last week after putting it through the scanner at the New Delhi airport. Ashish eventually managed to find his phone but terrorism threats are becoming part of our lives and such nightmares are likely to turn into reality more often than ever. And it’s not just your laptops and mobile phones; you might need a new ring of security around your electronics — MP3 players, digital cameras and storage devices and data that is forever mobile.

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Work on Mysore airport in October

August 21, 2006

After several assurances, the work on the much-delayed Mandakalli airport on the Mysore-Nanjangud Road may begin next month. It is set to be a Deepavali gift. 
 
With the Airports Authority of India (AAI) deputing three senior officers — one each for technical, engineering and administrative matters respectively — and release Rs 40 crore, it is now become certain that the modernisation work of the airport will be taken up in the next few days, a year after the MoU was signed between the Karnataka government and the AAI in October 2005.  Mysore MP C H Vijayashankar held a meeting with the officials here and discussed the project at length. 

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Uttaranchal airports to get uplift

August 21, 2006

In a bid to boost tourism in Uttaranchal, the central government is working on a plan to develop the aviation sector in the state. 
 
The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which owns the airports at Dehra Dun and Pantnagar in Uttranchal, has taken up the work to upgrade them, according to top government officials. 
 
Jollygrant Airport at Dehra Dun is being upgraded by the AAI for the operation of B-737/A-320 class of aircraft, considering the traffic potential and requirements projected by airlines.  For this purpose, the government is in the process of acquiring land of all those people rehabilitated in the Athoorwala and Jollygrant areas from Tehri. 

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IDBI lends Rs 500 cr to Jet

August 21, 2006

The executive committee of IDBI on Saturday sanctioned a Rs 500 crore (about $120m) loan to Jet Airways to fund the pre-payment of its aircraft acquisition. This is in addition to the $150m already sanctioned by SBI to the Mumbai based airline a week ago. The IDBI loan is for a two-year tenure at an interest rate of around 10%, sources said. Jet Airways is in the middle of a $2.5bn aircraft acquisition programme, wherein about 85% will be raised through debt.

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`Aviation geek’ giving airplanes a new lease on life

August 21, 2006

When Delta Air Lines entered bankruptcy last year, the Atlanta carrier looked to jettison some old airplanes that no longer were fuel efficient. Up stepped Brian Hollnagel.

The brash, 33-year-old Chicago native smelled a chance to acquire some cheap jets and make money by flipping them. Hollnagel bought 26 Boeing 737-200s. While the 20-year-old planes are ancient by domestic-airline standards, they still have some useful flying life left in them.

He already has found a home for many of the planes, including an oil company that needed a plane to ferry workers to Russia and Japan from Sakhalin Island.”We leave no stone unturned,” Hollnagel said.

His company, BCI Aircraft Leasing Inc., owns dozens of jets, but you’ll never see the moniker grace the side of a commercial airplane. The company buys planes and leases them to airlines for short periods, typically five to 10 years.

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