Sunday, August 15, 2010


मेरा भारत माहन
The Children in tricolor formation at the full dress rehearsal of the 64th Independence Day, at Red Fort, in Delhi on August 13, Photo Accredited By: Frontier India

Sunday, August 8, 2010

War within India- Point to be noted..

Recently Naxalites butchered 76 jawans of CRPF Company in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, but that was not the end...mostly our daily nationals are filled with similar type of incidents..The Red Corridor (Naxalism) is stretched from remote regions of Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh as well as in Bihar and the tribal-dominated areas in the borderlands of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Orissa, but the most interesting fact is that "CHHATTISGARH" always remain their favorite theatre of showcase.

1st Point to be noted...
Why plan such an elaborate attack in Chhattisgarh when you could have done the same thing (with a lot more ease) in Orissa or Jharkhand? Or Why to field complicated pressure bombs mostly in Chhattisgarh?

1. Loosing Support (Naxals)- They are loosing their liabilities in Chhattisgarh, local tribal’s are standing firmly against them, "Salwa Judum" is an example for it.

2. Significant Loses (Naxals)- The forces had made significant gains against the Naxals in Chhattisgarh in various combing operations (of course sources may differ), but the ground reality is that they are loosing more force then security personnel.

3. Growing Confidence (Security Personnel)- Jungles of Dantewada are once impenetrable for the police but now deep and regular patrolling is done by commandos.

4. Local Development- Administration or Govt. in Chhattisgarh are now focused on local development- like opening schools, panchayats etc. a clear unsatisfactory move as seen by the Naxals, as it endangers their race.

5. Fight for Existence (Naxals)- As they want to send shattering message by making Chhattisgarh as an idol to other naxal hit states, rolling back will hit their social and moral success/ego in other states.

Over all, the answer to the above question lies in the fact that Chhattisgarh can be a success against the Maoists.

2nd Point to be noted...
Why a country like India (having 4th largest most trained, professional standing army in the world) is loosing appetite in tribal terrains, against some thousands of unprofessional men and women?

1. Naxals: They are unprofessional (think twice!!)- Their strategy entails building up of bases in rural and remote areas and transforming them first into guerrilla zones and then as "liberated zones", besides the area-wise seizure and encircling cities, more over they are armed with Ak-47, INSAS, IED's, traditional guns like .303s etc. and well trained in guerilla warfare.

2. Failure of Intelligence: Intelligence normally is based on four things — money, ideology, conscience or enmity (MICE). A person becomes a police informer because of any of these four reasons, it's difficult for security personnel’s to work on this 4 points, moreover use of sophisticated or modern hi-tech weapons are impossible in dense forests, recent failures of using UAV's are good examples.

3. Grievance in Local Tribes: The complaint in local tribes is that many big companies like POSCO, TATA STEEL, MITTAL STEEL etc. lining up for steel, are predominantly interested in securing mining leases that will give them long term control over vast areas of land with enormous quantities of underlying ore. Local tribal’s are against it and thus naxals are taking advantage of them and in return grievances of the poor and indigenous people are made use of by the Naxal leadership.

4. Great Wall of Silence: If we peep into the last decade, it is clearly visible that even when the Naxalites boycotted elections in naxal hit states, they allowed their supporters to vote for the ruling coalitions, making a substantial difference to their fortunes. There is an understanding between the Naxals and the ruling coalition, resulting in no action by the government against the Naxalites.

5. Lack of Specialized Units: Administration must field security personnel well trained in Jungle Warfare and they must be familiar with local languages and beliefs, Grey Hounds of Andhra Pradesh and Koya Commandos of Chhattisgarh are well suited examples, local force like Koya Commandos has been trained in the latest methods of warfare – they are the ones who have been breaking the back of the Naxals in Chhattisgarh. Compared to them, the CRPF was a lumbering force comprised of men drawn from disparate states, USA did the same in Vietnam War, sending thief to catch a thief, and they created special task force "Green Berets- masters of warfare".

There is more to be written....but I agreed with the proposal that.."Use of Army is not a good option", of course it's another matter if you do not really care how many non-combatants you annihilate in order to achieve the immediate objective, like what USA did in Iraq while toppling Saddam (slaughtering thousands of Iraqi's), but they (naxals) are our people, USA would not do the same as they did in Iraq if they confront their own people in any domestic revolt...consequences of using army to suppress civil war against LTTE in Srilanka is known to all of us...moreover killing of innocent non-combatants by army men will only help naxals to gain momentum in their movement.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mathematical Tragedy- Patriot ABM Systems

On 26th July, 2010, Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), successfully conducted fourth consecutive Interceptor Missile test in Endo-Atmospheric regime at 15 Km altitude off ITR, Chandipur, Orissa.

Surely it was a moment of celebration for Indian scientists and a step towards indigenous Indian ABM (Anti Ballistic Missile), but I was busy in collecting
facts and figures in Math after inspired by a famous Mathematical Quote:

" If people do not believe that mathematics is simple,it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is. "
-- John Louis von eumann

The same once appeared true for MIM- 104 Patriot Surface to Air Missile, Patriot's primary mission is to serve as US Army's ABM System, The proliferation of ballistic missiles have in recent years become a major international security concern. This is also due to the widespread -- but incorrect -- perception that even conventionally-armed ballistic missiles are tremendously destructive.

This perception that ballistic missiles are inherently weapons of great destructive capability may have played a key role in the politics of the Gulf War. Iraq fired more than 80 modified Scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, causing 31 deaths, numerous injuries, and substantial property damage. However, with the exception of the Scud that hit a barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and killed 28 U.S. soldiers, the number of casualties caused by these Scuds was much lower than was generally anticipated. During the war, the Patriot missile system was credited with almost complete success in intercepting the Iraqi Scud missiles, and the low casualty rate (relative to the public's expectations) seemed to confirm Patriot's success. The belief on the part of the Israeli population that they were being successfully defended by Patriot was crucial in keeping Israel out of the war.

Since the end of war, the casualties caused by the Scuds have become part of the debate over the effectiveness of the Patriot missile defense system. Several analysts have cited the relatively low casualty rate as evidence of the success of Patriot, while others have argued that the same casualty data suggests that the Patriot may not have been very successful. more to read...

Well this article, as I already promised is not about Indian or US ABM capability but to shed light on- "To err is a Man (especially, when playing with Math)"....

" If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. "
-- Phil Pastoret

So, the story starts on February 25, 1991, when an Iraqi Scud hit the barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers from the US Army's 14th Quartermaster Detachment, after initial enquiry it was found that patriot's interceptor missed the scud by 600 meters, but again as usual my reaction was..How it happened?

To understand the mystery, one requires little bit knowledge of "Roundoff Error" (in Math or Computing) leading to "minute mathematical error", but I will try my best to explain:

The accident was an inaccurate calculation of the time since boot (when the system was started/installed) due to computer arithmetic errors. Specifically, the time in tenths of second as measured by the system's internal clock was multiplied by 1/10 to produce the time in seconds, i.e. PESA (Passive electronically scanned radar) radar of Patriot is required to scan the space (sky) in every 1/10th of a second, generally computer's internal clock- Quartz Clock is made up of crystals (as their oscillations are constant) which can oscillate (pizzo-electric effect), based on the number of oscillations time is calculated for example...let us suppose 100 oscillations of Quartz clock = 1 sec of UTC (Universal Coordinated Time), then it's easy to calculate 1/10th of a second = 10 oscillations. This number of oscillations of internal clock in Patriot system is multiplied by 1/10 (stored in 24-bit fixed point register) to get 1/10th of a second, since it is mandatory for patriot to scan the space in each and every 1/10th of a second.

In Patriot system 24 bit fixed point register is used to store the number- 1/10 as represented in fraction, in decimal (base-10) it is represented as 0.1 but in binary (base-2) the number represents a non-terminating expression i.e. 0.0001100110011001100110011001100....and so on, but the problem is, the register which was used to store 1/10 in binary has 24 bits of space thus digits after 24 bit positions are chopped or rounded off.

In particular, the value 1/10, which has a non-terminating binary expansion, was chopped at 24 bits after the radix point. The small chopping error, when multiplied by the large number giving the time in tenths of a second, led to a significant error. Indeed, the Patriot battery had been up around 100 hours, and an easy calculation shows that the resulting time error due to the magnified chopping error was about 0.34 seconds.

The number 1/10 equals 1/24+1/25+1/28+1/29+1/212+1/213+.... In other words, the binary expansion of 1/10 is 0.0001100110011001100110011001100.... Now the 24 bit register in the Patriot stored instead 0.00011001100110011001100 introducing an error of 0.0000000000000000000000011001100... binary, or about 0.000000095 in decimal. Multiplying by the number of tenths of a second in 100 hours gives 0.000000095×100×60×60×10 = 0.34.

A Scud travels at about 1,676 meters per second, and so travels more than half a kilometer in this time (0.34 seconds). This was far enough that the incoming Scud was outside the "Range Gate (Where the scud will next appear after last radar scan)" that the Patriot tracked. Ironically, the fact that the bad time calculation had been improved in some parts of the code, but not all, contributed to the problem, since it meant that the inaccuracies did not cancel.

Note: I have not explained fixed-point representation, as it is not handy for me to include each and everything...but little bit about it explained in the following paragraph [excerpted from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report]

The range gate's prediction of where the Scud will next appear is a function of the Scud's known velocity and the time of the last radar detection. Velocity is a real number that can be expressed as a whole number and a decimal (e.g., 3750.2563...miles per hour). Time is kept continuously by the system's internal clock in tenths of seconds but is expressed as an integer or whole number (e.g., 32, 33, 34...). The longer the system has been running, the larger the number representing time. To predict where the Scud will next appear, both time and velocity must be expressed as real numbers. Because of the way the Patriot computer performs its calculations and the fact that its registers are only 24 bits long, the conversion of time from an integer to a real number cannot be any more precise than 24 bits. This conversion results in a loss of precision causing a less accurate time calculation. The effect of this inaccuracy on the range gate's calculation is directly proportional to the target's velocity and the length of the system has been running. Consequently, performing the conversion after the Patriot has been running continuously for extended periods causes the range gate to shift away from the center of the target, making it less likely that the target, in this case a Scud, will be successfully intercepted.

" Pure Mathematics is the world's best game. It's more absorbing than chess, more of a gamble than poker, and lasts longer than monopoly. It's free, it can be played anywhere- Archimedes did it in a bathtub.
-- Richard J. Trudeau, Dots and Lines.

Monday, August 2, 2010

21st century Pakistan- A Survey

The Pew Global Attitudes Survey Report on attitudes in Pakistan is worth reading. Key points are that the Pakistani public does not like the US very much, has highly conservative traditional Islamic attitudes on a wide variety of issues, is highly concerned about Kashmir and has a fairly high opinion of the LeT.

The fact that concern about the extremist threat has declined compared to last year is not too surprising. After all, last year the headlines were about the Taliban taking over in Swat, which is less than a hundred miles away from Islamabad. This year, the army has retaken the areas of the NWFP near the capital, and the headlines are about other things. So I tend to think of this as just evidence that Pakistanis aren't idiots.

Pakistanis do have some attitudes that Americans can readily understand. They are very worried about the availability of jobs and have a low opinion of President Zardari. The low opinion of the civilian leadership relative to the military (22 percent have a favorable opinion of Zardari as compared to 65% favorable to the army) may be a clue to the reasons behind the decision to reappoint Kayani.

It is particularly worth noting that about two thirds of Pakistanis believe that the US is a military threat to Pakistan. At first, this startled me, but then I realized that most Pakistanis are probably just thinking that since the US has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, they might also invade Pakistan. They're not looking at force to space ratios, they're just assuming that the Americans are an aggressive foreign power. which has invaded other Muslim countries and is currently using drones to bombard Pakistan.

It will come as no surprise that Pakistanis think the US leans toward India in Indo-Pak disputes. Slightly more surprising is the strong endorsement of China:
About six-in-ten Pakistanis (59%) see the U.S. as an enemy of their country, down slightly from 64% in 2009. Only 11% now consider the U.S. a partner and 16% say it is neither a partner nor an enemy. By comparison, more than eight-in-ten Pakistanis consider China a partner (84%) and say they have a favorable opinion of the Asian superpower (85%).

India continues to outrank the Taliban as a threat to Pakistan, according to the Pakistanis surveyed:

When asked to name the greatest threat to Pakistan – among India, the Taliban and al Qaeda – Pakistanis are most likely to rate India as the greatest threat to their country (53%). Fewer than one-quarter (23%) say the same about the Taliban and hardly any respondents (3%) think that al Qaeda poses the biggest threat.

Respondents in Punjab are more likely than any other region polled (68%) to consider India the greatest threat. Threat perception is also high (71%) among supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), a party that has its strongest base in Punjab.

President Zardari now has poll ratings comparable to those President Bush had during his last year in office.

This poll suggests that American officials may be being realistic in tilting toward Kayani as opposed to Zardari. It also suggests that the Chinese are viewed far more favorably than the US is. This is probably realistic, because China is a reliable ally against India, has made some contributions to Pakistan's development, and is not currently bombing Pakistan.

On balance there is nothing really new or shocking about the poll, and in a lot of ways it resembles the same poll last year. That said, it is a useful summary of the reasons the US faces an uphill battle in Pakistan.