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Thursday, 2 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 02 Jul 2015

INS Vikrant memorial gets BMC nod
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, July 1
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has granted permission to erect a memorial to India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant that was sent to the scrap yard earlier this year.

The memorial will come up on a traffic island in South Mumbai close to the Western Naval Command, according to civic sources. “The standing committee of the BMC with support from all political parties has given the green light to the memorial,” said a senior civic official.

The memorial has been mooted by retired naval personnel who served on board the aircraft carrier. Commodore Medioma Bhada (retd), who served as a pilot on board the INS Vikrant, along with some of his former colleagues sought permission to erect memorial for the iconic warship that played a major role in the liberation of Bangladesh.
State remains major contributor to armed forces: Lt Gen Nair
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 1
Punjab still remains one of the top contributors to the armed forces for Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and other ranks. The number has almost doubled in the past three years.

This was stated by Lieutenant General RN Nair, Director General (Recruiting), during the raising ceremony of the Army’s interim Selection Centre North (SCN) for officers at Kapurthala on Wednesday.

He also announced that the shortage of officers in the Army has come down from 12,000 to around 7,000 this year.

General Nair said that according to the 2011 Census, the Recruitable Male Population (RMP) of Punjab is around 2.34 per cent which is the highest in the country.

The state has the highest quota of 1,400 seats out of the total 60,000 vacancies for JCOs and other ranks in the country.

“Punjab was subscribing to up to 3,000 vacancies until three years ago. The number has almost doubled to around 5,000 recruitments in 2014-15, one of the highest in the country,” said General Nair.

He also said that for the recruitment of jawans, the open rally system has now been linked with an online registration system.

“We sometimes received around 20,000 candidates in an open rally, making it difficult for us to scrutinise all of them in a single day. Now, the candidates have to first register themselves online for a rally on our department’s website and only after receiving confirmation, come for the rally,” he said.

Also to boost the officers intake from the state; the Army had decided to open an SCN with two selection boards for officers at Ropar.

The provisional SCN raised at Kapurthala military station will operate until March 2016 and thereafter, it will be shifted to a state-of-the-art 200-acre campus (presently under construction) at Ropar.

The proposal was conceptualised and initiated by Lt-General NPS Hira, presently the General Officer Commanding at Vajra Corps, a few years back.

The upcoming centre at Ropar will be the country’s fifth selection centre and will facilitate the intake of more officers into the armed forces.

According to sources, the Army has a shortage of around 7,000 officers, Navy and Air Force have a shortage of around 1,200 and 2,000 officers respectively.

The move has also come in support of the state government’s war against drugs as even today, it has been accused of failing to control the drug menace that has made its youth incapable of meeting the “good physical standards” of the Indian Army.

Besides allocating around 203 acres for setting up the SCN at Ropar, the state government has also allocated around Rs 5 crore for the development of the area in its vicinity.

Earlier, there were only four selection centres for officers — Allahabad, Bhopal and Bangalore for army and at Dehradun for the Air Force.

There was a long pending demand for a selection centre in Punjab. Young aspirants from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, and Jammu and Kashmir had to appear before the Special Selection Board (SSB) at these places to get selected as officers in the armed forces.

Now, with an SCN coming up in the state, it is expected to fill the shortage of officers in the third largest army in the world.
ITBP denies grabbing land at Milam post
BD Kasniyal

Pithoragarh, July 1
The ITBP has denied the allegation that it has illegally occupied a villager’s land at its Milam post on the China border in the Johar valley of Pithoragarh district. It said it had already paid for the land that it needs for future expansion of the sensitive border post.

The paramilitary force had to reply to the charge levelled by former Uttarakhand Chief Secretary RS Tolia last evening that the ITBP and the BRO had illegally occupied a villager’s land at the Milam post and were using the material of deserted buildings of villagers for their own purpose.

The ITBP in a press note issued here today said it has 0.903 hectares at the post which had been transferred to it by the special protection force that manned the border before the task was given to the ITBP. “The ITBP has always given the top priority to the security of the country as well as the interests of villagers at remote border posts,” it stated.

The paramilitary force said for further expansion of the post it had purchased a plot near the Milam post from the district administration for Rs one crore about two and a half years ago. “The land is barren and out of Milam village limits. Therefore, the question of the force grabbing the villager’s land does not arise,” said 14th battalion of the ITBP, which at present is manning the Milam border post.
e-application must to join Army ranks
Effecting a major change in its recruitment process, the Army has made it mandatory for all candidates desirous of getting enrolled into the rank and file to register and apply online.

While the process of online applications existed for the officer cadre, it has now been extended to the other ranks.

The new shift in policy comes around 17 years after the Army did away with the system of candidates submitting applications to the recruitment offices and instead introduced the concept of holding open recruitment rallies to bring in more transparency and check possible connivance of insiders with touts.

The recruitment rallies were introduced after a court of inquiry held at Ambala had revealed malpractices in recruitment. Open rallies did not require prior application or registration and instead candidates assembled at designated places on pre-announced dates and were screened for eligibility and fitness on the spot and shortlisted candidates, thereafter, had to undergo documentation, written tests and medical examination.

The new online procedure will be implemented with effect from September 1.
IAF told to plan for advanced weapons
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 1

In a significant ramp up for Indian air defence capabilities, the Ministry of Defence has given a green signal to the Indian Air Force (IAF) to plan for the latest ‘advanced weapons’ to be inducted in the arsenal.

The IAF is mandated as the sole agency to protect the vast India air space from incoming enemy missiles, UAVs, fighter jets and helicopters. The Army and the Navy have their own ‘area specific’ air defences for their formations.

The ‘advanced weapons’ will be transformation from the existing system of air defence missile to a ‘network centric’ approach that interconnect all available resources on a single platform. Real time imagery from truck-mounted radars, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and satellites will be available to ground-based commanders and senior commanders to react with the best possible weapon within range of the enemy threat.

The IAF has been tasked to look at appropriate technology for the future.

Sources said air defence was one of the priority areas of the ministry headed by Manohar Parrikar. The first priority will be the estimated Rs 18,000-crore plan to add the latest version of the surface-to-air missiles of the Akash series.

Akash system can simultaneously engage multiple targets in all weather conditions and can strike at targets at an altitude of 20 kms. It can also engage UAVs in addition to helicopters and fighter planes. At 96% indigenisation, it represents a major capability development for a crucial weapon system. The Army version is to protect armoured columns and bases and is designed for high mobility.
Indian Army busts hideout in J&K's Kishtwar district

NEW DELHI: Security Forces and JKP on Wednesday unearthed a cache of weapons and ammunition from a hideout near the remote area of Kasiyan in Kishtwar district. According to the Indian Army, the cache had potential to be utilised in abetting terrorist activity in the region especially during Ramzan and the forthcoming Machel Yatra.

"The deliberate search of the area of 48 hours led to the recovery of one AK-56 Rifle with three magazines, two Pistols with two magazines, one under Barrel ..

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 01 Jul 2015

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.


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