Centre plans social media checks to counter IS threat
Facilities at police stations across the country to be ramped up
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 1
In its efforts to counter the growing radicalisation of the youth and the threat emerging from the Islamic State (IS), the government has decided to keep tabs on social media websites and applications to check radical, at times false, propaganda. It has also decided to ramp up facilities at police stations across the country and train the forces accordingly.
The decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary LC Goyal and attended by top police and civil officers from 12 states, besides key counterterrorism operatives of central agencies.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will draw up a “blueprint” to counter radicalisation of the youth and possible spread of the IS. As the meeting was on in Delhi, three IS flags were seen fluttering in Mendhar sector along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. New Delhi is worried as a latest assessment by the US has indicated the IS may attack India to trigger a wider conflict.
The blueprint, expected to stress ‘community initiatives’, would involve religious leaders to prevent radicalisation, said a senior official who attended the meeting. The MHA will also suggest the strategy and means to check the spread of the IS agenda on the internet. “There is a need to not only monitor but also ideologically counter the IS in the cyberspace,” an official said. The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), which also participated in the meeting, shared tools to monitor the internet.
Sources said the MHA’s blueprint would lay down possible “red flags” for state police forces to follow on the ground and track signs of radicalisation.
Ticket bookings are being tracked and 20 youths have been prevented from leaving India for Syria.
The meeting also discussed how to ramp up institutional mechanisms for sharing information. At present, a multi-agency centre sends alert to all states. It was decided to strengthen the capacity building of the police officers in states through training programmes with the help of the central intelligence and security agencies.
Satellite phone intercept sends Army to look for terror moles
Service provider Thuraya was used by 26/11 attackers too
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh/New Delhi, August 1
An intercepted overseas call from a banned satellite phone service provider to a recipient located near Jalandhar has prompted a security hunt for the unauthorised use of such an instrument.
The service provider has been identified as Thuraya, a firm based in the United Arab Emirates, which was also used by Pakistani terrorists in the Mumbai attacks in November 2009. The use of Thuraya satellite phones is specifically prohibited in India under the Indian Wireless Telegraph Act.
The "suddenness" of the attack and the call interception has led to suspicion that these could be an attempt to revive Pakistan's "K2" (Kashmir and Khalistan) agenda. The army and Punjab Police have gone on a high alert and launched a joint operation in Punjab to thwart any possible "after shocks" of the Gurdaspur attack. Sources said the call was intercepted three days ago by an Army signals unit and the information was passed to the state police and intelligence agencies. Several agencies monitor wireless signals, including satellite and cellular calls, but it's the local police that has to verify the location and user of such calls.
The assessment of the security establishment is that five persons had crossed over for the Gurdaspur attack. While three were killed in the Dinanagar police station attack, the whereabouts of the other two are unknown.
Sources said following intercepts of a satellite phone conversation, the Army and the state police have launched a "sanitisation" drive in in two districts — Nawanshahr and Jalandhar — strategically located on the national highway.
This is the preferred route for movement of trucks and other public and private transportation from J&K towards Delhi and beyond, government sources said. A liaison meeting was held between Army officers and the Punjab Police on Friday. Jalandhar-based 11 Corps, including an officer of the rank of a Brigadier, were part of this operation with the Nawanshahr police. While the joint operation was originally said to be a confidence building measure, sources say the Jammu-Delhi stretch with a substantial Gujjar habitation is being sanitised.
Sources said, GPS sets recovered from the terrorists neutralised in J&K, particularly in Jammu-Sambha region, had route coordinates fed into them, which coincided with Gujjar locations.
India, China open 5th border meeting point
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, August 1
India and China today took another step to maintain peace along their disputed boundary running along the Himalayan ridge and opened their fifth border meeting point for local military commanders on either side to sort out local issues to prevent needless flare-ups.
Today, the two sides met for the first time at Daulat Beg Oldie in northern Ladakh. Located at an altitude of some 16,000 ft, the place had seen a three-week-long tense stand-off between the armies of either side in April 2013. It is at southern side of the Karokaram pass an ancient trade route between Leh and Xinjiang – China’s Muslim-dominated region. The Indian and Chinese delegations were led by Col BS Uppal and Col Song Zhoanli, respectively.
The meeting was scheduled to mark People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Day. The occasion was marked by salutations to the Chinese national flag and was followed by ceremonial address by both delegations’ leaders. The two sides reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border. A cultural programme showcasing Chinese culture and tradition was also organised.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi rolled out his China initiative, this was the second border meeting point to be opened. In mid-May, the first-ever meeting was conducted at Kibithoo (Anjaw district) in the extreme eastern area of Arunachal Pradesh on the banks of the Lohit river. A hotline was set up and the first meeting was conducted around the time Modi was visiting China between May 14 and May 16 this year.
Before these two new border meeting points opened, local commanders met at three points —Spanngur Gap at Chusul in Ladakh, Bum-La near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh and Nathu-La in Sikkim. Today a meeting was also conducted at Chusul, the Chinese were the hosts at Moldo Garrison. The delegations were led by Brigadier JKS Virk from the Indian side and Senior Colonel Chen Zheng Shan from the Chinese.
In April, the two countries had conducted a two-day annual defence dialogue with a promise of maintaining peace along the 3,488-km-long disputed frontier, a vision outlined by PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their September 2014 summit in India.
The militaries of the two countries are expected to control divergence of opinion at the LAC in a proper way, strengthen strategic mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and make contributions to safeguarding the regional and world peace and stability, Chang added.
The two armies stand virtually face-to-face across the Himalayan ridgeline and patrolling in disputed areas is common from both sides.
Capt who saved the day, and lives
A former Punjab Police DGP, then an Army Captain, recalls the battle hours that saw a fellow Captain display rare valour
I joined the Army as an Emergency Commissioned Officer in 1963. In the 1965 war, I was serving in 10 Mahar as a Captain. Orders came for our unit to move to the Jammu (RS Pura)-Sialkot border. I was commanding Alpha Company. We mobilised near RS Pura. Maj SD Mehta, the adjutant of the battalion, asked me to come to the sand model room for operational orders from our Commanding Officer, who told me in lighter vein, "Puran, it is not an exercise. We are really going into battle this time."
Our task was to enter Pakistan, attack Muhadipur and Rang Pur Jattan villages, capture and thereafter hold them. We marched into Pakistan in the middle of the night in a single-line formation. We were to form up about 100 yards in front of our target and launch a bayonet attack. The moment we entered Pakistan, we were subjected to heavy artillery shelling; their guns were booming and the sky was scarlet red, spitting hellfire everywhere around us.
My orderly, Nain Singh, who was advancing along with me, was suddenly hit by an artillery shell. He died on the spot. I could do nothing more except to entrust his body to our medical detachment and continue advancing.
We finally launched a battalion attack but to our surprise, the villages were deserted, and the Pakistani army had withdrawn. We took up positions there. My company was in the reserve. Charlie and another company were deployed with a small detachment of tanks in the front. Just a day before the declaration of ceasefire, Pakistan launched a well-planned and determined attack on our positions. We had to face heavy shelling. Their attack formations had moved very close to our forward positions.
Our Charlie Company had to retreat from its forward position. I was asked to launch a counter-attack and reoccupy the position vacated by the company.
We expected hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, but we got huge artillery support from our redoubtable support company commander Capt Ajit Singh. He set up his 3-inch mortars perfectly, zeroed in on to the FUP (Forming Up Place) of the Pakistan army unit, where the enemy troops had formed up for a final and frontal attack on us.
They came under effective and direct fire of our unit mortars. They had tanks for support. It was a question of minutes and we would have been engaged in a hand-to-hand fight and there certainly would have been heavy casualties on both sides. In fact, the Pakistanis had breached our forward lines in another company front and a few of their soldiers had come close to our tactical headquarters.
Our unit intelligence officer Lt Harjit Singh Pawar was killed by the infiltrating enemy troops.
The targeted mortar shelling by Capt Ajit Singh played havoc with the Pakistani assault line. It spread chaos and mortal fear in the enemy ranks and they had to withdraw.
When I moved to the forward position, we came under direct tank shelling of the enemy. I had a tank deployed by my side. It was not responding and retaliating. I was surprised and annoyed. I decided to crawl up to the tank to find out and admonish them to act fast. I went up to the tank, got up to see inside, but found the body of a crew member with his head slanging out. I saluted the soldier and crawled back.
We did not have to fight at all in the end. The hero for us was Capt Ajit Singh, who demolished the assault line of the enemy. His valour remains etched in my memory. A salute to you!
The writer retired as DGP, Punjab
Indian Army, PLA personnel hold maiden meet at Daulat Beg Oldie in Ladakh
"The Indian delegation was led by Colonel BS Uppal and the Chinese delegation by Colonel Song Zhoanli," he said, adding that the BPM on the occasion of PLA Day is organised every year by Chinese troops with great enthusia
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For the first time ever, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Saturday hosted an Indian Army delegation in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh sector of Jammu and Kashmir. The day marked a milestone in India-China ties at the border-troops level as the PLA hosted an Indian Army delegation for the first time in the area of Daulat Beg Oldie, a defence spokesman said. - See more at:
“The Indian delegation was led by Colonel BS Uppal and the Chinese delegation by Colonel Song Zhoanli,” he said, adding that the BPM on the occasion of PLA Day is organised every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm. “The occasion was marked by a salute to the Chinese flag and was followed by ceremonial addresses by the leaders of the two delegations. The proceedings reflected the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at a functional level at the border,” he said.
A cultural programme showcasing Chinese culture and tradition was also organised to mark the occasion. He said that both the delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment. “The delegation parted amidst a feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC,” he said.
Further, the spokesman said that “a ceremonial border personnel meeting (BPM) on the occasion of PLA Day was conducted today at Chinese BPM Hut in Moldo Garrison in Chushul Sector of Eastern Ladakh”. The delegations were led by Brigadier JKS Virk from the Indian side and Senior Colonel Chen Zheng Shan from the Chinese side, a defence spokesman said.
Indian and Chinese troops were last year locked in an over three-week long stand-off in the Chumar and Demchok areas of eastern Ladakh which was resolved by way of an understanding reached between the two sides to carry out disengagement and redeployment of border troops to restore the “status quo a
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Lt Gen MMS Rai takes over as Army’s new vice chief of staff
Rai replaced Lt Gen Philip Campose, who superannuated last evening. He was the Eastern Army Commander prior to his appointment as VCOAS.
Lt Gen MMS Rai on Saturday took over as the Vice Chief of Army Staff while Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who is tipped to be the next army chief, replaced the former as the new General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command in Kolkata.
Rai replaced Lt Gen Philip Campose, who superannuated last evening. He was the Eastern Army Commander prior to his appointment as VCOAS. A third generation officer in the army, Rai was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers (Bombay Sappers) on December 15, 1976, and joined an Armoured Engineer Regiment. He has held various staff and instructorship appointments and has attended various prestigious army courses, including the Defence Services Staff College Course at Wellington and Higher Command Course at Mhow.
He has rich operational and command experience and has commanded an Armoured Engineer Regiment, a Mountain Brigade in the Northeast, a Counter Insurgency Force in the volatile and highly militancy-infested region of J&K and a Desert Corps. Lt Gen Bakshi is an alumnus of National Defence Academy and was commissioned into Skinner’s Horse. Important appointments held by him include command of an Armoured Brigade in the Western Sector, a Division in the desert sector and a Corps in the plains sector of Punjab and J&K.
Prior to the appointment as Eastern Army Commander, he was Chief of Staff of Northern Command at Udhampur.