Saturday, December 20, 2008

Iran Sends Warship To Gulf Of Aden

Iran Sends Warship To Gulf Of Aden
(NSI News Source Info) December 21, 2008: Iran has sent a warship on a patrol mission to the Gulf of Aden amid continued reports of ship hijacking by Somali pirates in the region.
According to a report by Fars News Agency, the Iranian warship arrived in the Gulf of Aden after traveling some 4,000 maritime miles and carried out a naval exercise in preparation for a potential clash with the pirates.
The Iranian ship is to join vessels from the US, Denmark, Russia, Italy and other countries to create a security corridor in the pirate-infested waters.
The deployment comes after Somali pirates hijacked the Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship, Delight, operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in the Gulf of Aden in November. The attack was the second since August 21, when Iran's Diyanat ship was boarded by about 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades after passing the Horn of Africa.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels going from Asia to Europe and the Americas every year.
International warships have increased cooperation to crack down on buccaneers; however, pirate raids have not abated in the Gulf of Aden. Earlier in December, a member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Parviz Sarvari warned that Iran is mulling over a military option against Somali pirates.
Attacks by heavily-armed Somali raiders in speedboats have prompted some of the world's biggest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and send cargo vessels around southern Africa, causing a hike in shipping costs.
Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center, earlier told AP that there have been more than 100 attacks on ships off the coast of Somalia, resulting in the hijacking of more than 40 vessels so far this year. He added that 14 vessels and more than 250 crewmembers remain in the hands of pirates.


(NSI News Source Info) December 20, 2008: Introduction to LFI/LFS:Despite of its name - Frontal Interceptor - the LFI will have considerable ground attack capability. Many compare LFI with American JSF and this may be misleading: JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) is primarily a medium-range strike aircraft with significant air-to-air capability.
The LFI, however, is intended to be primarily a fighter with extended ground strike capability. What Russia needs is a replacement for MiG-29, which can match the famous Fulcrum not only in air-to-air performance but also in cost of production. This will not be easy. The LFI must also improve on Fulcrum's ground attack capability.
But what about LFS? Well, by upgrading its existing fleet of MiG-29s to SMT standard Russia managed to add many years to the Fulcrum's effective service life at a very low cost. However, there is a need for a small ground attack aircraft with considerable air-to-air and VSTOL capability to supplement the MiG-29SMT as well as to supplement / replace older ground attack aircraft, such as Su-25. The LFS can be safely compared with American JSF in terms of technical requirements, which were formulated by RuAF's 30th Scientific Research Institute in 1998 and presented to Russian aircraft designers.
In the future Russian air force will look something like this: long-range interceptors will include Su-35s (or several other possible variants, such as Su-30M and Su-37) and MiG-31M, which later will be replaced by MFI (either MiG 1.42 project, Sukhoi's S-37, or some new development). Russia's medium-range strike aviation will gradually shift from aging Su-24s to Su-27IBs. In tactical fighter aviation MiG-29SMT will serve for quite a few years to come and will eventually be replaced by some LFI design, perhaps based on existing Mikoyan "I-2000" design, and supplemented by LFS. Tactical strike aviation will shift from Su-25 to LFS. As to long-range strategic bombers: it's a whole different story with many unknowns.
In accordance with the conditions set by Russian Ministry of Defense, all competing LFS projects by various design bureaus must be submitted for review to the Russian Air Force during September-October of 1999. The main three competitors are: Mikoyan, Sukhoi, and Yakovlev. All three have certain advantages: Mikoyan made a lot of progress on MFI and LFI projects and is believed to have developed some new interesting technologies, Sukhoi's main advantages are its good financial standing and S-55 project, and Yakovlev bureau is an expert in designing VSTOL aircraft. The new rules of the competition, established by Russian government, will assign the two unsuccessful competitors as subcontractors in charge of particular components of the victorious LFS project. This is a cost-saving measure and co-operation between the three design firms is essential to the project's success.
At the moment it is impossible to predict which of the three design companies will win: very little information is available on the competing projects. It is known, however, that the design requirements determined by Russian Air Force include: supercruise capability ( sustained supersonic flight without afterburners), internal carriage of primary weapons, and VSTOL capability.What is known about the competing LFS designs is this: Mikoyan's early LFS design was to be powered by two 80-kN engines, possibly RD-33/RD-133. However, this had to be changed: as a cost-saving measure, Air Force requires that the aircraft is to be powered by a single Lyulka-Saturn AL-41F turbofan, which will be a common engine for the future MFI and Su-27IB aircraft. This would allow to decrease production and service costs. Sukhoi's known LFS design is the S-55 aircraft with tandem tri-plane configuration (similar to Su-35 and Su-37), powered by a single AL-41F engine with a 3D thrust-vectoring nozzle.
It is still unclear whether LFI and LFS projects will become one aircraft. The LFS designation is very general, meaning literally a light frontal aircraft. This seems to include the LFI concept. It is entirely possible that Russia will seek extended international co-operation on this project. Sukhoi already offered Poland to participate in the development / production of S-54. There is a large number of countries which in a few years will be looking to replace their aging MiG-21s, MiG-29s, Su-25s, etc. It is rather unlikely that many countries will be able to afford American JSF, so they will look for something more affordable, which also doesn't come packaged with American political demands. The LFS project is certain to attracts attention from Russia's largest arms buyers - China and India - as well as from smaller customers who are looking to improve their offensive capabilities, like Yugoslavia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, etc.Development of Russia's LFI (logkiy frontovoi istrebitel) lightweight tactical fighter has been dramatically accelerated after the Russian Air Force decided its priorities for the next 10 years.
Revealed here exclusively as the I-2000 (Istrebitel {fighter} 2000) project, the aircraft is due to become operational in 2005 as Russia's basic front-line fighter. It is also likely to become the leading export product of the Russian aircraft industry. Available information on the I-2000 indicates that it will be closely comparable to the US Joint Strike Fighter, operating in both the air-to-air and air-to-surface roles.
The aircraft comes from a long line of Mikoyan lightweight fighters, such as the MiG-15 and MiG-21. It is about the same size as the MiG-21 (shorter by 1.3m but wider by 4.5m), but noticeably smaller than its immediate predecessor, the MiG-29. Take-off weight is estimated at around 12 tonnes; maximum take-off weight at about 16 tonnes.The design requirements for I-2000 call for reduced radar and infrared visibility and very high manoeuvrability, as well as short take-off and landing. The aircraft will have a blended fuselage/centre wing and a thick wing centre-section, with curved leading and trailing edges. The unusual aerodynamic configuration and powerful thrust-vectoring engines should provide excellent agility. Take-off and landing runs are short thanks to a specially designed landing gear that permits approaches at high angles of attack.
According to official sources, single and twin-engined variants of the LFI are under consideration. The graphics show a twin-engined variant with an all-new power plant. No engines of the required thrust currently exist in Russia.The first design of a very light new-generation fighter was prepared by Mikoyan in the early 1980s, when design work also began on the heavy fighter, the MFI (sometimes known as the 1-42). The result was 'Product 33' powered by a single RD-33 engine from the MiG-29. It was of conventional design, appearing similar to the US Lockheed Martin F-16.
Although work on Product 33 became well advanced, it was not ordered due to the air force's reorientation towards multi-role aircraft - the lightweight Product 33 could be used for close air combat only. The basic Product 33 design is being offered by Mikoyan to China as the FC-1 fighter.
The only competition within Russia for the I-2000 is the S-54, developed by Sukhoi from an advanced trainer design of the early 1990s.The S-54 is essentially a smaller, single-engined Su-35, with a more conventional layout than the I-2000. The status of the S-54 is unknown, but is thought to be in the initial stages of development. Having no real Russian Air Force support, the S-54 is intended for export as a complement to the heavy Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft sold to China and India.
It has been decided that the heavy fifth-generation MFI will not enter serial production. It will, however, begin flight tests this August as a technology demonstrator. Mikhail Korzhuyev, recently appointed Mikoyan's general director, said that flights of the MFI are now a matter of honour for the company.The aircraft has been ready for flight tests for about five years, but grounded for lack of cash. An extensive upgrade programme for the MiG-29 is to continue in parallel with development work on the I-2000.
Current Status:
It was recently disclosed officially that an agreement had been signed beween the heads of the two states, India and Russia, to extend the military co-operation between the two countries. Now the previous relation of buyer and seller will no longer be true, as they will be equal partners in the development of the advanced 5th generation Light Frontline Fighter which would be a true rival to the US JSF program. A recent project in which the two countries had cooperated was the development of the PJ-10 Brahmos Supersonic Stealth cruise missile which stands practically invincible at present. India excels in the field of computers and information technology, something which Russia still lags behind in. In the PJ-10, the base was the Russian Yakhont anti-ship missile and the guidance system, onboard computer and all-the-major software were Indian. We expect the contribution of India in similar fields even in the development of the LFS. The LFS being a frontline strike fighter will also need perfect offensive strike capabilities, during night and day, smart software for an advanced fire-control system and high resolution image from the radar.

AK-47s Popular Weapon For Militants

AK-47s Popular Weapon For Militants (NSI News Source Info) December 20, 2008: Angola, whose long civil war ended six years ago, is trying to curb decades of violence by collecting and destroying weapons, especially the cheap AK-47s that have flooded the region in the last two decades. So far this year, the government has collected over 50,000 illegal weapons, many of them AK-47s. These are publicly destroyed, several thousand at a time, and reduced to scrap metal. The AK-47 has become as much of a curse for Africa as many major diseases. Not just in the places you hear about, like Somalia, Angola, Congo and Sudan, but in many others as well. Easy availability of firearms has produced a murder rate in South Africa that is, per capita, ten times what it is in the United States. In many parts of East Africa many rural tribes got access to cheap AK-47s. This has resulted in traditional crimes, like stealing cattle or land, turning into bloody war. In western Kenya alone, there have been hundreds of deaths from tribal clashes in the last two years. The violence has caused thousands of people to flee their homes, and wrecked local government in many areas. Sending in additional police and soldiers has quieted things down somewhat. But the local guys with the guns know where to hide, and the government reinforcements don't. So, eventually, the police will leave, and the AK47s will still be there. Angola has not got a lot of tribal animosity, and is paying cash for weapons, especially assault rifles and machine-guns of all types. Foreign aid organizations have adapted by hiring some of the local gunmen, to protect the relief operations from all the other gunmen. That just takes money away from more socially acceptable work. But the guns cannot be ignored. Local bad guys can steal a lot more armed with an AK-47, than in the old days when all he had was a spear or an axe. The disruptive effect of all these guns has halted, or reversed, decades of progress in treating endemic diseases. Death rates from disease and malnutrition are going up. All because of several million Cold War surplus AK-47s getting dumped in Africa. The world market for such weapons was glutted by the late 1990s. All that was left was Africa, but only if you were willing to sell cheap. The gunrunners were, and still are, although not so much in Angola, where police have cracked down on illegal arms sales. The cheap AK-47 also made it possible to use 10-14 year old children as soldiers. This was a new development, because the old weapons (spears, swords, bows) required muscle. But now, if you could lift a ten pound AK-47 and pull the trigger, you were a killer. Child soldiers changed everything, because warlords could just kidnap kids and quickly brainwash them. These armies of child killers made insurrection and anarchy more common. Tens of millions of Africans fled their homes to avoid these tiny terrors, and many of those refugees died of starvation or disease. These victims were just as dead, even if the bullets didn't get them. In fact, few AK-47 victims died from bullets. It was the massive fear, and breakdown of society, and the economy, that killed most people confronted by all these cheap AK-47s. The kids weren't very good shots, but if they got close enough to you, they were capable of unimaginable horrors. This influx of cheap AK-47s also created something of a gun culture. That has led to an increase in locally made weapons. In Nigeria, for example, there are the "Awka Guns," named after the southern city of Awka, which developed a tradition of handmade firearms in the 1960s, when it was part of the breakaway Republic of Biafra. The Biafran rebels needed weapons, and Awka, which had been a center of metal working for over a thousand years, mobilized thousands of metal workers to build crude firearms. The weapons manufacturing continued after the war, mainly to supply hunters, gangsters, and anyone needing an illegal firearm for any reason. The cheapest of these weapons is basically a single shot pistol firing a .410 (10.4mm) or 20 gauge (15.6mm) shotgun shell. This is for a young thug, or a homeowner desiring protection. Accurate enough for something within 5-10 feet. Not much good for hunting. These cost $25-$40 each. The Awka gunsmiths also make full size (or sawed off) shotguns (single or double barrel), that sell for $80-$250. These could be used for hunting. There are also handmade, 9mm revolvers for about $100. These weapons are found all over the country, but mostly in the south, and mostly among those who can't afford to pay a thousand dollars or more for a factory made weapon. On the down side, these weapons are more dangerous to use, often lacking a safety switch, and prone to exploding, rather than firing, when the trigger is pulled. Ironically, people out in the countryside, where there are still dangerous animals that a gun can protect a village from, have fewer firearms. That's because there's more money, more to steal, and more demand for weapons in the cities.

U.S. Raven Fly High In Italy

U.S. Raven Fly High In Italy
(NSI News Source Info) December 20, 2008: Italy has certified the U.S. Raven UAV (RQ-11B) for use by military and civilian operators in Italian air space. There are many civilian uses of UAVs (police, security, traffic control, search and rescue), but, worldwide, aviation authorities are reluctant to allow UAVs into the air outside of military training areas. In the U.S., FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) insists that only UAVs that can see as well as a human pilot can be used within the United States. No UAVs have this capability (as it requires mounting several more vidcams to reproduce the view from a cockpit, and more communications gear to transmit all that data). The FAA believes that the many aircraft (plus gliders and balloons) that are already in the air, without transponders, make these "enhanced" (with additional sensors) UAVs a necessity. The FAA has the final word on what is allowed to fly in the United States. For the moment, unenhanced UAVs can only fly in specific zones that have been cleared, via an FAA order, of all aircraft lacking a transponder. The FAA has cut the border patrol some slack, and allows Predator UAVs to patrol the Mexican and Canadian border. While the Predator weighs over a ton, the Raven weighs under five pounds. This is less than most birds involved in the hundreds of damaging collisions with aircraft each year in the United States. But what worries the FAA here is that 61 percent of bird collisions take place at very low altitude (under a hundred feet), and only 8 percent take place above 3,000 feet where most UAVs operate. Italy appears to regard the Raven as another bird, and less likely to collide with an aircraft, as the UAV is in view of its operator when in the air. Currently, Ravens are in the air over 300,000 hours a year for combat missions (mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan). So far, over 9,000 Ravens have been delivered or are on order. The Raven B (RQ-11A), introduced this year, weighs a little more (4.3 pounds), but has much better sensors, and the option of carrying a laser designator. Raven B flight performance is better as well. This little machine, that looks like a toy, has revolutionized battlefield intelligence and made a dramatic change in the way infantry leaders run battles. The 4.2 pound Raven A is inexpensive ($35,000 each) and can stay in the air for 80 minutes at a time. The Raven is also battery powered (and silent), and carries a color day vidcam, or a two color infrared night camera. Both cameras broadcast real time video back to the operator, who controls the Raven via a laptop computer. The Raven can go as fast as 90 kilometers an hour, but usually cruises at between 40 and 50. It can go as far as 15 kilometers from its controller, and usually flies a preprogrammed route, using GPS for navigation. The Raven is made of Kevlar, the same material used in helmets and protective vests. On average, Raven can survive about 200 landings before it breaks something. While some Ravens have been shot down, the most common cause of loss is the communications link failing (as the aircraft flies out of range, usually) or a software/hardware failure on the aircraft. The flight control software has a "failsafe" mode, so that when the radio link between aircraft and operator is lost, the aircraft will immediately head for home (where it was launched from). Raven B has a rescue beacon in the tail, that puts out a location signal. If a helicopter can be used, the downed Raven can be quickly retrieved and repaired. The big advantage with Raven is that it's simple, reliable, and it works. A complete system (controller, spare parts and three UAVs) costs $240,000. The UAV can be quickly taken apart and put into a backpack. It takes off by having the operator start the motor, and then throwing it. This can be done from a moving vehicle, and the Raven is a popular recon tool for convoys. It lands by coming in low and then turning the motor off. Special Forces troops like to use it at night, because the enemy can't see it, and often can't hear it as well. The controller allows the operator to capture video, or still pictures, and transmit them to other units or a headquarters. The operator often does this while the Raven is flying a pre-programmed pattern (using GPS). The operator can have the UAV stop and circle, in effect keeping the camera on the same piece of ground below. The operator can also fly the Raven, which is often used when pursuing hostile gunmen. Larger UAVs (like the 350 pound U.S. Army Shadow 200, and Predator type aircraft) are being equipped with better anti-collision devices. Research indicates that UAVs equipped with these new systems will be less prone to collision than small commercial aircraft (which typically have only one pilot, who is often distracted while in the air.)

Indonesia At Guard From Islamic Militants After Mumbai Blasts

Indonesia At Guard From Islamic Militants After Mumbai Blasts (NSI News Source Info) December 20, 2008: The recent Islamic terror attacks in Mumbai, India caused a stir, because it seemed that such an attack could just as easily take place in Indonesia.
The army held some drills, to test their ability to respond to such an attack. But many Islamic religious leaders here are not so sure Indonesians could carry out a "Mumbai.". Unlike the rest of the Islamic world, there is a more lively struggle between the different flavors of Islam in Indonesia. While the Islamic conservatives and radicals are prominent here, they are unable to form and keep Islamic terror groups going. The reason is that the vast majority of Indonesians have long practiced a local form of Islam that uses many aspects of pre-Islamic religions, and local cultures. The Islamic conservatives, espousing a stricter form of Islam that is native to Arabia, are seen as foreign and trying to force alien customs on Indonesians.
This makes it difficult for Islamic militants to hide, recruit and obtain financial and material support. But the Islamic radicals continue to push for the adoption of Islamic law and, ultimately, a religious dictatorship. This has caused Islamic moderates (who represent the majority of Indonesians) to more forcefully oppose the radicals.
Indonesians can be very violent when pressured (the word "amok" came from here), but are pretty mellow most of the time, until pushed too far. The Islamic radicals keep pushing, and now there is increasing pushback. Al Qaeda's number two guy, Egyptian Ayman al Zawahri, issued an audio message praising the Indonesian terrorists executed last month (for murdering 202 people in 2002). It was this attack that turned the majority of, generally tolerant, Indonesians against the Islamic militants. Al Qaeda has acquired a reputation for mindless butchery of innocent Moslem civilians, mainly because of the Islamic terrorism practiced in Iraq, so Zawahri's praise for the Indonesian terrorists does little to help Islamic militancy in Indonesian. The Indonesian Islamic militants have pushed an "indecency" law through parliament. This is the sort of thing where a law that won't be enforced was passed to keep the Islamic militants happy.
If the new law were enforced, it would cause serious problems. For example, in Papua New Guinea, many tribes have dress (or undress) customs that violate the new indecency law. Trying to enforce this interpretation of "indecency" in Papua would enflame the violent separatist attitudes that already exist.
On the island of Bali, the largely Hindu population threatens violence if the new law is enforced there. Christian parts of the country are equally hostile to this new law that was written with Islamic conservatives in mind. In East Timor, the violence has subsided, but unemployment remains high, there is little economic development and most of the population remains dependent on foreign food aid for survival. Similarly, the government budget is mostly foreign aid, and there are growing problems with corruption (and attempts to suppress press reports of it.) This sort of thing tends to produce more civil unrest eventually. December 11, 2008: Islamic militants resumed violence in the Maluku islands, burning down a church and over 40 homes of Christians. Police quickly dispersed the mob of Moslems, who had accused a Christian school teacher of criticizing Islam in the classroom. This kind of violence is not just religious, but also ethnic.
The Melanesians of Maluku are largely Christian, while the Malay migrants from other parts of Indonesians are Moslem. Islamic radicals gain a little more traction in the Maluku islands, because it gives the local Malays another weapon in their efforts to dominate the Melanesians (who the Malays tend to look down on as a bunch of savages). Religious violence is often not just about religion.

India Wraps Smerch Tests

India Wraps Smerch Tests (NSI News Source Info) NEW DELHI - December 20, 2008: The Indian Army has received and begun inducting the 36 Russian-made Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) ordered in 2006 for $450 million. The Army wrapped up flight stability, accuracy and consistency tests last month at India's missile testing range at Chandipur, in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, Army sources said. The 9K58 Smerch is designed to defeat soft and hard skin targets, artillery and missile systems. Smerch fires the 300 mm 9M55K rocket. This has a solid propellant rocket motor. Firing range is from 20 km to 70 km The contract includes combat vehicles, auxiliary equipment, fire control systems, and training. The Smerch can fire up to 12 anti-surface or anti-air missiles rockets in a salvo. Their range of 70 kilometers, extendable to 90 kilometers, is longer than India's current artillery.

Russian Missile Regiment To Go On Duty With Topol M Dec.24 - SMF

Russian Missile Regiment To Go On Duty With Topol M Dec.24 - SMF (NSI News Source Info) MOSCOW - December 20, 2008: A regular missile regiment, armed with the Topol-M (SS-27 Stalin) ICBMs, will go on combat duty in the Ivanovo Region on December 24, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said Friday. "A regular missile regiment, armed with the latest Topol-M mobile missile systems, having no analogs in the world, will enter combat duty with the Teikovo missile formation," a SMF press release said. The first two Topol-M mobile missile battalions, equipped with six mobile launch systems, have already been put on combat duty with the 54th Strategic Missile Division near the town of Teikovo, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Moscow. At present, Russia deploys Topol-M ballistic missiles as the mainstay of its land-based component of the nuclear triad. As of 2008, Russia's SMF operated 48 silo-based and six mobile Topol-M missile systems. The missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. missile defenses. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill using terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys. It is also shielded against radiation, electromagnetic pulse, nuclear blasts, and is designed to survive a hit from any known form of laser technology.

Russian Warships Arrive In Havana

Russian Warships Arrive In Havana (NSI News Source Info) HAVANA - December 20, 2008: Three ships from Russia's Northern Fleet arrived in Havana Bay on Friday as part of the Russian Navy's first visit to Cuba since the Cold War. On arrival the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer fired a 21-salvo "international salute," which the country's coastal artillery returned. The destroyer and two support ships will remain in Havana Bay until Tuesday. Alexander Moiseyev, a counselor at the Russian embassy in Cuba, earlier said the visit "will help enhance the traditionally friendly ties between the armed forces of the two countries." Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the group command will meet with Cuban Navy officials, the mayor of Havana and Russian embassy staff. The Russian sailors will lay wreaths at a monument to Cuban national hero Jose Marti and the Soviet Internationalist Soldier Memorial. Cubans will also have an opportunity to visit the Russian ships. The visit to Cuba completes a Caribbean tour by Russian battleships, which included stops in Venezuela, Panama and Nicaragua. Russia announced last year that its Navy had resumed, and would continue, to build up a constant presence throughout the world. The Russian destroyer Admiral Chabanenko sailed into Havana Bay. The Russian warship arrived for the first time since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, as Russia flexed its muscles close to the United States and showed off renewed cordiality with CubaThe Russian destroyer Admiral Chabanenko sailed into Havana Bay. The Russian warship arrived for the first time since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, as Russia flexed its muscles close to the United States and showed off renewed cordiality with Cuba Meanwhile, another Northern Fleet task force started a visit to Lisbon on Friday. After the visit, which will last until Monday, the group will sail through the Strait of Gibraltar, visit several ports in the Mediterranean, and take part in joint exercises with Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

Season's Greetings from NSI News Source Info

To Our Readers & Viewers Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year 2009 And A Year That Is Filled With Peaceful, Quite Moments

Best Wishes From Staff & Management of NSI News Source Info

Mumbai Terror Attacks Give Pakistan Food For Thought: Gates

Mumbai Terror Attacks Give Pakistan Food For Thought: Gates
(NSI News Source Info) Washington - December 20, 2008: The US thinks Pakistan-based militants' implication in the Mumbai terrorist attacks is giving Islamabad some food for thought as it considers how it should deal with terrorists operating on its soil. "I think they're beginning to understand that the extremists in ungoverned spaces in their west have become an existential threat to Pakistan," US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an interview aired Wednesday. "And, I think that's one of the reasons the army is back in the fight, and one of the reasons why I hope that we will be able to work closer together in the future," he told the Public Broadcasting Service, according to the US defence department. Renewed Pakistani military action targeting Al Qaida and Taliban terrorists lodged in the western part of their country benefits Pakistan and assists in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan, he said. Looking ahead, the US "will clearly be looking for ways to have a stronger partnership with Pakistan. To see if we can help them with some of their economic problems, and at the same time, encourage them to take (more) action in these ungoverned spaces in western Pakistan where the Taliban and Al Qaida and some of these other violent extremists have found sanctuary", Gates said. A US government review of the strategy and tactics employed in Afghanistan recognises "the importance that Pakistan plays in success or failure in Afghanistan and the need for us to work closely with Pakistan and to view Afghanistan more in a regional context than in isolation", Gates told PBS interviewer Charlie Rose. Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf ultimately failed to dissuade citizens living in ungoverned areas of western Pakistan from allowing Al Qaida and Taliban militants to cross the border into Afghanistan to launch attacks on US, coalition and Afghan security forces. Musharraf resigned Aug 18. Meanwhile, the Taliban stepped up their operations in Afghanistan. A new government replaced the one headed by Musharraf, but Pakistani military efforts against militants operating in their country remained uneven, until recently. The Pakistanis "withdrew from the fight earlier this year, which frankly, gave the Taliban an opportunity to surge into Afghanistan", Gates said. But, "now the Pakistanis are back in the fight", Gates said. This development, he said, is causing Taliban and Al Qaida members operating in the border region "to watch their backs". Pakistani forces also are working hard, Gates said, to safeguard the truck convoys that carry military supplies from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Most people don't know that the Pakistanis "have lost several thousand men; soldiers killed in this struggle in the western part of Pakistan. They have been in the fight", he said. But through it all, Pakistan remains a valued friend and ally of the US, Gates said. "They have captured and killed more Al Qaida than anybody in the world, except maybe us."