Chinese submarine docking at Pak no big concern: Navy
Kolkata, June 30
Amidst reports that a Chinese submarine had crossed the Arabian Sea and entered Karachi port last month, the Indian Navy today said it was not a matter of big concern but they were monitoring all such activities.
“Docking of a submarine belonging to some other country in a third country itself is not a big concern but we do monitor them, whichever submarines operate in our region,” Vice Admiral P Murugesan, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, told reporters here today.
India also has submarine capabilities and our submarines also go on dock in foreign countries, he said while speaking on sidelines of the launching ceremony of Navy’s Water Jet Fast Attack Crafts by defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE).
“We monitor them and then we see what are the precautionary measures we should take,” the naval officer said.
As far as naval cooperations are concerned, Murugesan said: “We are also having relations with numerous countries but we monitor in our neighbourhood who is interacting with which other navy. That is always briefed to the concerned authorities of the government and we do develop our navy to meet any challenges that might come out of such cooperation”.
On naval build-up in India’s neighbourhood, he said there is “no immediate concern”. “Our Navy is quite strong enough to look after our maritime interests in our area of interest,” he said adding that the navy is like an ambassador as they can go anywhere.
On indigenisation, the navy vice chief said as of now the Navy was not building anything in foreign shipyards and the entire order of 48 ships was being built only in Indian shipyards in Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa among others.
“It is a proud moment that our country has come to this status that we could build all our warships in India itself,” Vice Admiral P Murugesan said adding that the largest one, an aircraft carrier, was being built in Cochin shipyard.
Stating that the economic development around our oceans was very important for national development, he said realising the importance of oceans, India was budgeting growth of the Navy in a sustained manner. — PTI
113 feared dead as Indonesian military plane crashes into city
Medan, Indonesia, June 30
More than 113 persons were feared dead after a military transport plane ploughed into a residential area shortly after take-off in northern Indonesia on Tuesday, in what may be the deadliest accident yet for an air force with a long history of crashes.
“For the moment we know there were 113 persons (on board). It looks like there are no survivors,” Air Marshal Agus Supriatna told Metro TV in the Sumatra city of Medan, adding that some of the passengers were air force families. The crash of the C-130B Hercules aircraft, which went into service half a century ago, is bound to put a fresh spotlight on Indonesia’s woeful air safety record and its ageing planes. Officials said the plane plunged into a built-up area of the Sumatra city of Medan. Eye witnesses said it had appeared to explode shortly before it smashed into houses and a hotel.
An official at a nearby hospital who declined to be named said that 55 bodies had been brought in so far. In the first hours after the crash officials had said that only a crew of 12 service personnel were on board.
Black smoke billowed from the wreckage, and crowds milling around the area initially hampered emergency services rushing to the scene.
“We have been using heavy equipment such as earth movers to clear the wreckage of the plane,” said Romali, chief of Medan’s search and rescue agency, who has only one name. “We are still evacuating bodies from the rubble and we hope we can finish the operation tonight,” he said. The Hercules plane had been on its way from an air force base in Medan to Tanjung Pinang in Riau Islands off Sumatra. — Reuters
Rs 500 cr deducted from J&K flood fund
More than two lakh people, including tourists and non-Kashmiri labourers, were rescued and essential supplies like food, water and medicine were air-dropped in what the armed forces called "Operation Megh Rahat".
Even as senior ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government are hopeful that Centre will release a huge package for the flood victims in the coming weeks, the Union government has already deducted Rs 500 crore from the recently announced package of 1,667 crore to settle the bill of Defence Ministry.
Recently, the Modi government had announced release of Rs 1,667 crore for the flood-hit state.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry had submitted a bill of Rs 500 crore for relief and rescue operations undertaken by the Army and Air Force during last September’s flood in the state.
The Centre has now diverted Rs 500 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund to the Defence Ministry.
Last September, the Army and Air Force carried out relief operations named Operation Megh Rahat after many parts of Valley got flooded.
During the operation, the IAF air dropped food and relief items. Large number of stranded tourists were also airlifted from Srinagar free of cost.
Speaking to The Indian Express , J&K Education Minister Naem Akthar said that he was not aware whether any money has been diverted from the State Disaster Response Fund to the Army.
Minister of State for Power in the J&K government, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, however, termed it as an “unfortunate development”.
“They have been claiming that Army is helping people in the flood. It is very unfortunate that Army has now charged money for rescuing people who were in need of help,” Mir said.
“Will the Centre also charge bill to Nepal government for rescuing the civilians during earthquake?” he asked.
Pakistan's PM Nawaz Sharif, army chief Raheel Sharif discuss India's 'terror funding': Report
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif today discussed with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif India's alleged involvement in funding terrorism in the country, a media report said.
According to Dawn Online, the two also discussed matters of internal security and the war against terrorism.
The Dawn report claimed that alleged Indian funding for terrorism in Pakistan came up in the discussion.
The BBC in a recent report had also alleged that India had been giv ..
Army still to get proper bullet-proof jackets a decade after demand
NEW DELHI: Something as basic as proper bullet-proof jackets remains a distant dream for Indian soldiers. The Army is yet to get light-weight modular jackets almost a decade after it first demanded them, and six years after the proposal was cleared by the government.
The new jackets, coupled with proper ballistic helmets, were supposed to effectively protect the head, neck, chest, groin and sides of soldiers as well as allow them to move with greater agility during counter-insurgency operations.
It was way back in October 2009 that the defence acquisitions council had cleared the acquisition of 1,86,138 such bullet-poof jackets since the Army was short of that number from its authorized holding of 3,53,765 jackets.
Nothing has come out of it till now despite the Army's existing old and bulky jackets, which provide inadequate protection, themselves fast-approaching the end of their shelf-life in a year or so.
Given the operational urgency, defence minister Manohar Parrikar had last year announced the emergency procurement of 50,000 new jackets. But they, too, are yet to materialize. "The selection/procurement process is underway after the government sanction ... It will take at least another six months," said a defence ministry source on Monday.
READ ALSO: Quality concerns may further delay acquisition of bulletproof jackets for soldiers
The bigger case for 1.86 lakh jackets is still at the trial evaluation stage, with six vendors locked in competition. Each jacket's estimated cost was put at around Rs 50,000 when the project was approved, making it a total of around Rs 930 crore. All these jackets were to be inducted by 2012, with another 1.67 lakh jackets to be ordered in the second round.
But revision of technical parameters and re-floating of tenders as well as convoluted defence procurement procedures and politico-bureaucratic apathy have put paid to those plans. Several parliamentary committees have taken an extremely dim view of this "critical shortage" of bullet-proof jackets, slamming the government for "playing with the lives" of soldiers, as reported by TOI earlier.
The modular jackets are meant to provide "graded levels of protection" depending on the mission to be undertaken. The jacket would weigh less than 4 kg — with a trauma pad with all-around soft armour plate including front, sides, back, collar and neck — for low-risk/threat missions.
The jacket would weight 11.5 kg, with hard armour plates for front, rear, sides, upper arms, groin and throat, in turn, for high-risk missions. "The hard armour plates, in conjunction with the soft ones, are meant to withstand six rounds of 7.62mm x 39mm mild steel core ammunition fired from an AK-47 from 10 metres," said the Army.
Incidentally, as reported by TOI earlier, the long-pending quest to acquire new-generation assault rifles for infantry soldiers has also hit a dead-end. The 2011 tender for the new assault rifles with inter-changeable barrels is now likely to be scrapped.