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Thursday, 18 December 2014

From Today's Papers - 18 Dec 2014


















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/pak-army-hits-back-with-10-airstrikes-in-khyber-area/19198.html
Pak Army hits back with 10 airstrikes in Khyber area

ISLAMABAD, December 16
According to a tweet by Major General Asim Bajwa, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistan's military on actionable intelligence has carried out several raids, including 10 airstrikes, in Khyber Agency today.
He tweeted: “The tragic incident has saddened the COAS, but our resolve has taken new height. Will continue go after inhuman beasts, their facilitators till their final elimination.”
Meanwhile, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif reached Peshawar and vowed to continue the fight against the militants until they were completely eliminated from the country.
General Sharif said: “This ghastly act cowardice of killing innocents clearly indicates they (militants) are not only enemies of Pakistan but enemies of humanity.”
“They have hit the nation’s heart, but let me reiterate they can't, in any way, diminish the will of this great nation,” the Army Chief was quoted saying by the ISPR DG.
PM calls all-party meet
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called an All Party Conference (APC) in the aftermath of the terrorist attack, DawnNews reported.
Leaders belonging to all parliamentary parties are expected to be in Peshawar tomorrow. The meeting is expected to begin at 11:30am and will be held at the Governor House.
Information Minister Senator Parvaiz Rasheed and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have been tasked by the Prime Minister to contact parliamentary leaders and request them to attend the meeting. Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in Peshawar, has already announced a three-day countrywide mourning after the school attack.
The Prime Minister has described the attack as a "national tragedy unleashed by savages". "These were my children. This is my loss. This is the nation's loss," he said.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/india-looks-to-lease-another-nuclear-sub-from-russia/19132.html
India looks to lease another nuclear sub from Russia
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
India is in talks with its old-ally Russia to take a second nuclear-powered attack submarine on lease. This is in addition to the three being built in India, of which the first one, the INS Arihant, set sail for sea trials yesterday.
At present, India operates a 8140-tonne nuclear-powered submarine, the INS Chakra, leased from Russia in December 2011 at a cost of $970 million for 10 years. The vessel is from the Akula class and the second vessel being sought is also of the same class.
When asked if India is in talks with Russia for a second nuclear submarine, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said: “This is an open secret... we are asking for extended lease (of the INS Chakra) or a second submarine because it helps us in training the personnel.”
He along the three service chiefs laid wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to mark Vijay Divas. On December 16, 1971, Indian forces had liberated Bangladesh and the day is observed as Vijay Divas.
The Indian side is looking at the hull of the Iribis, a Russian Akula class submarine that was never completed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990.
On the INS Arihant he said “Yesterday it started its sea trial. It takes almost 10 to 12 months. All types of trials are conducted during this time".
Parrikar expressed confidence that India could handle the Sydney-style hostage crisis. “I think we are definitely much better prepared than probably what we were in the earlier years. I think we are well-prepared,” he said.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/musings/the-nation-owes-veterans-a-salute/18999.html
The nation owes veterans a salute
Two years ago it was early November that I happened to be in Boston for academic engagements. Aware that the USA observes very few holidays, I was a bit surprised that November 12, Monday, was a national holiday, on account of the Veterans Day.
The day was marked by public rallies, parades and church services. At many places the American flag flew at half mast. Rich tributes were paid to the veterans for their sacrifices in keeping America secure and safe. To quote President Obama “So long as I am the Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well you have served us because no one who fights for the country should have to fight for a job or roof over their head or the care they need when they come home”. The spirit of pride amongst the war veterans was palpable from the reverence and gratitude extended by the public for the men who once adorned the uniform.
A few days later, I had the privilege to be invited for lunch at the Harvard Faculty Club by Major Jean, a World War II veteran. After early retirement, he taught mathematics at Harvard University for over four decades. It was over lunch that I got a historical perspective on the Veterans Day. It started as a tradition to mark the Armistice Agreement between the Allies and Germany ending World War I, which came into effect in 1918, on November 11 at 11th hour. A year later, to commemorate the Armistice Day, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed that the day should be a solemn occasion to express gratitude for the victory; to all those who laid down their lives in service of the nation. There were public gatherings, parades and a brief suspension of business activities at 11 am.
 In 1926 the US Congress declared that Armistice Anniversary should be commemorated with prayers and thanksgiving. In 1938, November 11 was made an official holiday and the same was ratified again in 1978. In case November 11 happens to be a Sunday, then the next Monday was to be observed as a holiday. Of the 44 US Presidents, 31 had a military background  — 12 held the rank of General.  
 The Indian Army earned rich laurels for its professionalism and valour, especially during the two World Wars. Post Independence, the Indian Armed Forces have acquitted themselves with distinction in safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty, both against external and internal threats. They are at the fore front during disasters. Their credentials in upholding the nation's secular character and democratic values are impeccable. Whereas society is proud of its military, yet it has fallen short in according the honour the veteran soldiers deserve.   
 While the yearly calendar is cluttered with days of reckoning, there is no occasion when the nation remembers its veterans. Even in the armed forces, there are numerous days which are commemorated in the true regimental spirit but none is dedicated exclusively to the veterans.
December 16 is observed by the three Services as 'Vijay Divas' (Victory Day) to mark the historic victory in the 1971 Bangladesh war. It will be befitting if this day could be commemorated as the 'Veterans Day' by the countrymen; an occasion when the nation could solemnly salute its soldiers for repeatedly taking the call to defend the motherland. After all, what a soldier seeks in return for the supreme sacrifice is pretty little: honour, dignity and shared understanding.


http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/want-them-to-feel-the-pain-pakistan-taliban-on-school-attack-635376?utm_source=ndtv&utm_medium=top-stories-widget&utm_campaign=story-3-http%3a%2f%2fwww.ndtv.com%2farticle%2fworld%2fwant-them-to-feel-the-pain-pakistan-taliban-on-school-attack-635376
Want Them to Feel the Pain': Pakistan Taliban on School Attack
Peshawar, Pakistan:  Nearly 100 children were killed in Pakistan on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the city of Peshawar, taking hundreds of students and teachers hostage in the bloodiest insurgent attack in the country in years.

Troops surrounded the building and an operation was under way to rescue the remaining children, the army said. A Reuters journalist at the scene said he could hear heavy gunfire from inside the school.

Pervaiz Khattak, Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province of which Peshawar is the capital, said 84 children had been killed.

It was not immediately clear whether some or all of the children were killed by the gunmen or in the ensuing battle with Pakistani security forces trying to gain control of the building.

Outside, helicopters hovered overhead and ambulances ferried wounded children to hospital.

An unspecified number of children were still being held hostage in the school, a provincial official said, speaking some three hours after the attack began.

The Pakistani Taliban, who are fighting to topple the government and set up a strict Islamic state, have vowed to step up attacks in response to a major army operation against the insurgents in the tribal areas.

The hardline Islamist movement immediately claimed responsibility.

"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females," said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. "We want them to feel the pain."

The army said in a statement that many hostages had been evacuated but did not say how many.

"Rescue operation by troops underway. Exchange of fire continues. Bulk of student(s) and staff evacuated. Reports of some children and teachers killed by terrorist," the army said in a brief English-language statement.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack and said he was on his way to Peshawar.

"I can't stay back in Islamabad. This is a national tragedy unleashed by savages. These were my kids," he said in a statement.

Military officials at the scene said at least six armed men had entered the military-run Army Public School. About 500 students and teachers were believed to be inside.

One student inside the school at the time of the attack told a private television channel: "We were in the examination hall when all of sudden firing started and our teachers told us to silently lay on the floor. We remained on the floor for an hour. There was a lot of gunfire.

"When the gunfire died down our soldiers came and guided us out."


http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/12/15/ottawa-quietly-apologized-to-india-after-canadian-soldiers-appeared-with-posters-of-sikh-radicals-at-temple/
Ottawa quietly apologized to India after Canadian soldiers appeared with posters of Sikh radicals at temple
OTTAWA — Canada apologized to India in 2011 after a ministerial inquiry confirmed that military personnel had participated in a Remembrance Day event at a Surrey Sikh temple that “glorified terrorists.”

At the event, according to internal documents, the Punjabi-speaking officer now running to become a Liberal MP warned his colleagues not to let themselves be photographed near posters of “martyrs” of the movement to create an independent Sikh state called Khalistan out of the Punjab area in India.
That officer, Lt.-Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan, was acclaimed Friday as Justin Trudeau’s Liberal candidate in Vancouver South and has been criticized in recent days by some critics of the Khalistan movement in Canada for attending the 2011 event.

However the internal document show that Sajjan was ordered to attend the event.

Internal correspondence from 2012 indicates Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged that government officials and MPs were playing with fire attending events like the Remembrance Day ceremony and the annual Vaisakhi parade in Surrey, where some floats have included posters of Sikh radicals.

The government “must adopt a much more rigorous process for screening event invitations,” Harper wrote to a Conservative MP who had complained about government representatives being compromised.
The revelation that Canada apologized to India, which according to one expert underscores a risk of trying to win support in immigrant communities, was contained in a Dec. 8, 2011 email from Harper’s office.
It was in response to complaints from some Punjabi-Canadians that religious fundamentalists would hijack a solemn day to honour the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers.

“Canadian Armed Forces members were invited to attend a Remembrance Day event; this was not expected,” wrote Katherine Coutinho, then a communications officer at Harper’s regional office in Vancouver.

She added that Gen. Walter Natynczyk, then chief of defence staff, “has apologized to the Indian High Commissioner.”

National Defence has continued to provide vehicles and personnel for the Vaisakhi parade, which draws more than 200,000 people, after being assured by organizers they’d be vigilant in avoiding future embarrassments, according to an internal document dated Aug. 7, 2013.

That document, from Defence Minister Rob Nicholson’s office, said such events are important to help find Indo-Canadian recruits and ensure Canada’s military is “inclusive.”

The 2011 Remembrance Day event, hosted by the Dasmesh Darbar temple, was intended “to recognize the sacrifices of Canada’s soldiers,” according to a report at the time in The Vancouver Province newspaper.

The armed forces contingent appeared in front of a giant “Honouring our Fallen” poster accompanied by photographs of Sikh soldiers during the two world wars.

But nearby was a large poster of prominent Sikh militants who died during the Indian army’s raid on the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984. A picture of the ceremony with that in the background was published in The Province.

Wearing a blue turban in the poster was Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, the leader of the separatist Sikh militants who died during the Amritsar raid.

Another militant whose poster is featured to this day in the temple, but which was not captured in photographs sent to The Sun, is the late Talwinder Singh Parmar. Parmar was the B.C.-based mastermind behind the 1985 Air India terrorist bombing that was conducted in retaliation for the Golden Temple raid.
Temple President Davinder Singh Grewal, who confirmed that his temple has long displayed a poster honouring Parmar, rejected on Friday the notion that the posters at the 2011 event were glorifying terrorists.

“They are freedom fighters,” he said, adding Parmar was never convicted before he was killed in India in 1992.

However, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Josephson, in a 2005 acquittal of two Sikh leaders charged in the Air India bombing, noted that both the Crown and defence accepted that Parmar was the plot mastermind.

At the time of the temple event, Sajjan had just been appointed commander of the reserve B.C. Regiment. Sajjan, a former Vancouver policeman, was decorated for achievements during three tours as a soldier in Afghanistan, was also featured as a role model in the Conservative government’s “Welcome to Canada” handbook for new immigrants.

Sajjan confirmed in an interview that he attended the event, but said it was no coincidence that photographers didn’t capture him near the posters. “I did not take part in those pictures because I didn’t think it was appropriate.”

Documents from Nicholson’s office make it clear that Sajjan was under orders to attend the event, and that he warned his superior officer after arrival that his men shouldn’t appear near the militant posters.

Sajjan also advised his colleagues to do the same, but that advice was rejected, said the the letter, which also cleared him of faulty decision-making.


http://www.outlookindia.com/news/article/Defence-Colony-Renamed-as-Veer-Bhoomi-Chowk/872994
Defence Colony Renamed as 'Veer Bhoomi Chowk'
The Defence Colony entrance round-about was renamed as 'Veer Bhoomi Chowk' today at an event organised to commemorate Vijay Diwas.

Former Army Chief, Gen JJ Singh unveiled the new name at the event organised by Municipal Councillor Abhishek Dutt.

Dutt said in addition to the renaming, a wall would also come up at the spot, bearing the names of residents of Defence Colony who have participated in various wars fought by the Indian Army after independence.

Chief Arvinder Singh and senior journalist Nitin Gokhale also participated in the event.

Vijay Diwas (Victory Day) is commemorated every year on this day as it marks India's military victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war. The end of the war was marked by surrender of 93,000 Pakistani troops


http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/jaipur/state-on-army-iaf-radar/article1-1297077.aspx
State on Army, IAF radar


From missile launch pads to modern radar bases and on-the-way ammunition depots, the army and air force are sprucing up their operational preparedness and surveillance infrastructure on the country’s western front in Rajasthan, defence sources said.

Five districts of Rajasthan share a 1,070 km-long border with Pakistan with whom India has fought two full-fledged wars.

Though Rajasthan’s borders have remained relatively peaceful, defence experts feel that Pakistan’s overtly anti-India military establishment could push for creation of another front after Jammu and Kashmir in the near future.

Army sources said that the DRDO is executing two projects — a missile launch pad in Alwar and a missile interception base in Pali district — though the former has been held up due to opposition from villagers backed by mining mafia.

One of the biggest exercises taken up by the army is to set up a number of ammunition depots in Rajasthan — along the way from military bases in Mathura and Agra to the international border in Jailsalmer, Bikaner and Barmer.

At present, most of the ammunition and weaponry is transported all the way from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat as Rajasthan has limited storage facilities, the army sources said.

Official sources in the army said the idea behind establishing ammunition depots on way to the bordering districts is to increase mobility of the forces.

“The forces can move on and collect ammunition on the way. This will also help troops from Mathura and Agra who will not have to carry heavy ammunition with them,” an army official said.

According to a forest department official, army officials had even visited the Sariska tiger reserve looking for land to set up an ammunition depot.

“But they had to drop the plan since allotting land in tiger reserve is not permissible. They are now looking for an alternate location,” said the forest officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

As part of the plans, the Jaipur-based South Western Command has already decided to shift the 42 artillery division from Alwar to Bassi tehsil, around 30 km from Jaipur.

Sources said the army has started the process for acquiring about 5,000 bighas of land spread over three villages of Bassi.

The role of the SWC —  also called Sapta Shakti command — gained prominence in 2011 when the army prepared a proposal for internal re-organisation. The proposal had preferred the SWC for controlling strategic operations of the force after re-organisation of all the army headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force is also strengthening its radar system to detect and ward off air strikes from across the border.
Sources said the IAF is planning to set up state-of-the-art radars in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Barmer and Sri Ganganagar districts.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the radars are capable of detecting enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges of more than 320 km.

A modern meteorological device has also been installed at the Jodhpur airport to increase night visibility, even during foggy nights.

Airbases at Phalaudi in Jodhpur, Uttarlai in Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner will have similar devices soon.

Air force officials, however, refused to divulge details about the radar project.



From missile launch pads to modern radar bases and on-the-way ammunition depots, the army and air force are sprucing up their operational preparedness and surveillance infrastructure on the country’s western front in Rajasthan, defence sources said.

Five districts of Rajasthan share a 1,070 km-long border with Pakistan with whom India has fought two full-fledged wars.

Though Rajasthan’s borders have remained relatively peaceful, defence experts feel that Pakistan’s overtly anti-India military establishment could push for creation of another front after Jammu and Kashmir in the near future.

Army sources said that the DRDO is executing two projects — a missile launch pad in Alwar and a missile interception base in Pali district — though the former has been held up due to opposition from villagers backed by mining mafia.

One of the biggest exercises taken up by the army is to set up a number of ammunition depots in Rajasthan — along the way from military bases in Mathura and Agra to the international border in Jailsalmer, Bikaner and Barmer.

At present, most of the ammunition and weaponry is transported all the way from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat as Rajasthan has limited storage facilities, the army sources said.

Official sources in the army said the idea behind establishing ammunition depots on way to the bordering districts is to increase mobility of the forces.

“The forces can move on and collect ammunition on the way. This will also help troops from Mathura and Agra who will not have to carry heavy ammunition with them,” an army official said.

According to a forest department official, army officials had even visited the Sariska tiger reserve looking for land to set up an ammunition depot.

“But they had to drop the plan since allotting land in tiger reserve is not permissible. They are now looking for an alternate location,” said the forest officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

As part of the plans, the Jaipur-based South Western Command has already decided to shift the 42 artillery division from Alwar to Bassi tehsil, around 30 km from Jaipur.

Sources said the army has started the process for acquiring about 5,000 bighas of land spread over three villages of Bassi.

The role of the SWC —  also called Sapta Shakti command — gained prominence in 2011 when the army prepared a proposal for internal re-organisation. The proposal had preferred the SWC for controlling strategic operations of the force after re-organisation of all the army headquarters.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force is also strengthening its radar system to detect and ward off air strikes from across the border.
Sources said the IAF is planning to set up state-of-the-art radars in Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Barmer and Sri Ganganagar districts.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the radars are capable of detecting enemy aircraft and missiles at ranges of more than 320 km.

A modern meteorological device has also been installed at the Jodhpur airport to increase night visibility, even during foggy nights.

Airbases at Phalaudi in Jodhpur, Uttarlai in Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner will have similar devices soon.

Air force officials, however, refused to divulge details about the radar project.



http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/sharif-vows-action-plan-in-a-week-to-counter-terror/19514.html
Sharif vows action plan in a week to counter terror
eshawar/Kabul, December 17
Pakistan today pledged to have a “national plan” ready within a week to counter terror with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying “this entire region should be cleaned of terrorism”. This comes a day after Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants attacked a Peshawar school leaving 148 persons, including 132 schoolchildren, dead.

Army chief General Raheel Sharif, who flew to Kabul today, sought extradition of TTP leader Mullah Fazlluah. Raheel, accompanied by ISI chief Lieut General Rizwan Akhtar, told the Afghan civil and military leadership that terrorists were using Afghan soil to carry out attacks in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif while speaking to the media after an all-party meeting said they had unanimously decided to form a parliamentary committee, headed by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to chalk out a national plan of action in seven days and present it before the national leadership.

Members of the armed forces, intelligence and political parties will be a part of the committee. The government will present the plan before the nation after consultations with the military leadership, said Sharif.

The meeting was attended by leaders of various political parties, including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Imran Khan. “We announce that there will be no differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban and have resolved to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated,” Sharif said, adding “the fight against terrorism is our fight and to counter it, a holistic roadmap is needed”.
He thanked national leaders, particularly Imran Khan, for attending the meeting despite differences with the government. Sharif said not only Pakistan and Afghanistan but “this entire region should be cleaned of terrorism”. Sharif flanked by Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah and Imran Khan condemned the attack terming it the worst in Pakistan’s history. "This heinous incident is an example of the barbarism whose example cannot be found in the history," he said.
On the ongoing military operation against militants in North Waziristan, Sharif said: "Operation Zarb-e-Azb is continuing successfully but what we have decided today encompasses how to tackle terrorism from the whole country." Regarding lifting the ban on death penalty in terror cases, Sharif said, "We have proposed terror cases should be expedited."
"If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?" he said. Sharif also said important legal steps will be taken to plug loopholes in the justice system so that militants should not use them to escape punishment.
"To defeat terrorism we must unite... our armed forces have given many sacrifices to defeat terrorism and root out their hideouts," he said.
"I am gratefully to the national leadership for showing unity and confidence in me," he said.
In Kabul, Raheel Sharif sought Afghanistan help in battling the militants behind the massacre. The visit comes after it emerged that Taliban commander Umar Naray masterminded the attack. Sources said Naray had been issuing directives to militants for carrying out the attack.
“The time has arrived for Afghanistan and Pakistan to act together against terrorism and extremism with honesty and effectiveness,” Ghani said in a statement. Pakistan said it had shared intelligence with Ghani. 


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/pak-media-army-must-act-against-non-state-actors-like-jud/19587.html
Pak media: Army must act against non-state actors like JuD
Islamabad, December 17
Pakistan is reaping what it has sown and the military operation cannot stop the cycle of violence until the army acts against non-state actors like JuD and the Afghan Taliban, media here said today, a day after a deadly attack on a school in Peshawar left 148 persons dead.

“Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, despite all that has happened, despite the many sacrifices of the brave soldiers who have died fighting terrorists, you refuse to employ a blanket policy against non-state actors, while the military conducts operations against bad Taliban in FATA,” The Nation said in its editorial.

“... it continues to protect sectarian elements in Quetta, the Afghan Taliban and other ‘jihadi’ organisations such as Jamat-ud-Dawa. The country is reaping what it has sown over decades,” the write-up title ‘For Our Children’ said.

The Dawn said Pakistan should acknowledge that it does not quite have a plan or strategy as yet to fight militancy in totality.

“Denial will only lead to worse atrocities.” the editorial titled ‘New blood-soaked benchmark’ warned.

“Military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and counterterrorism operations in the cities will amount to little more than fire-fighting unless there’s an attempt to attack the ideological roots of militancy and societal reach of militants,” it said.

“Further, there is the reality that militancy cannot be defeated at the national level alone. Militancy is a regional problem and until it is addressed as such, there will only be a long-term ebb and flow of militancy, cycles destined to repeat themselves,” it said.

The Nation said the tragic incident offers a reality check and underlines the need to change the policy “the sake of our children, for the sake of our country’s future”.

“Only the truth will set us free,” it said.

The media also held the country’s intelligence agencies and politicians responsible for the brazen assault.

“Where was the intelligence? The military has emphasised so-called intelligence-based operations against militants in recent months, but this was a spectacular failure of intelligence in a city that ought to have been at the very top of the list in terms of a security blanket,” it said.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) is a terror outfit operating from Pakistan and is headed by Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed. PTI

Attack against basics of Islam: Afghan Taliban

Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has said in a statement that the attack by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on a school in Peshawar is "against the basics of Islam". According to The News, he also said the intentional killing of children, women and innocent people has to be considered by every Islamic party and government as against the religion.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/defence-projects-worth-rs-4-444-cr-cleared/19520.html
Defence projects worth Rs 4,444 cr cleared
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 17

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Ministry of Defence today cleared the upgrade of electronic warfare equipment for the Army and allowed the issuance of fresh tender to buy four specialised survey ships for the Navy. It, however, withheld an important project of the Indian Air Force and did not take on the agenda another one.

In all, proposal worth Rs 4,444 crore were okayed by the council.

The DAC, headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, could not arrive at a decision on a joint bid by Tata Sons Ltd and Airbus to replace the Indian Air Force’s vintage fleet of 56 Hawker Siddeley HS 748, a medium-sized turboprop airliner designed by British firm Avro in 1950s.

The Airbus-Tata are the only bidders and the IAF is looking for the DAC to use its authority and allow the purchase of small transport planes despite the fact that only one vendor has filed the formal bid.

The IAF is looking for twin-engine planes that can carry a payload of six to eight tonnes with cruise speed of 800 km per hour and 2,500 to 2,700 km range.

Sources said the DAC postponed the decision since it wanted a specialist briefing on the project. The proposal was postponed at the previous DAC meeting on November 23 as well.

The move to acquire additional 106 Swiss Pilatus basic trainer aircraft for the IAF at an estimated cost of Rs 8,200 crore, which was postponed on November 23, was not taken up today.

The DAC okayed a fresh tender for four specialised survey ships for the Navy with a new specification that will make the ships a bit bigger to accommodate a new set of helicopters. This will cost Rs 2,324 crore.

The DAC also gave its assent to the upgrade of the mobile integrated electronic warfare system, Samyukta, at a cost of Rs 1,682 crore besides a proposal for purchase of logistics for airdrop platform for heavy equipment for Rs 402 crore.

Another proposal of Rs 36 crore for acquiring propeller engine for offshore patrol vessel of the Coast Guard was also given a go-ahead.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/patna/Gaya-moves-up-on-defence-map/articleshow/45552960.cms
Gaya moves up on defence map
GAYA: A few years back, the shifting of Army Service Centre (N) from Gaya to Bangalore had caused much resentment among the Gayaites and an agitation was launched to prevent the shifting. But the establishment of prestigious Officers' Training Academy (OTA), only the third institution of its kind, the other two are located in Dehradun and Chennai, has more than made up for the loss both in psychological and economic terms.

Spread over more than 850 acre of land on the south western outskirts of the town, the Academy has lifted Gaya up on the defence map of the country. Whereas Army Service Cop that was shifted to Bangalore was headed by a brigadier rank officer, the Academy is headed by an officer of the lieutenant general rank, two notches above the brigadier.

With 'shaur gyan' and 'sankalp' (bravery, knowledge and firm resolve) as its motto, the OTA came into existence in 2011 to reduce the acute shortage of army officers as more than 14,000 post of officers lay vacant at the time of Gaya OTA Academy establishment. Being designed to train more than 700 officers of the Special Commission and Technical entry scheme categories, in the last three years, the Academy has achieved only about 50% of the capacity and infrastructure development goes on in full swing to physically and mentally train future leaders of the Indian Army in the conventional as well as modern warfare techniques. Evolution of biological, chemical and cyber warfare techniques has added to the challenge of the trainers as well as trainees. World class infrastructure and quality training is likely to attract more cadets from foreign countries. In the sixth batch of OTA trainees, which passed out on December 13, at least four cadets from Vietnam completed the basic military training at the Academy.

Earlier this year, Lt Gen Gopal Singh Bisht, the then commandant of Gaya OTA, during a speech delivered in the distance education directorate, Magadh University (MU), Bodh Gaya, expressed concern over the move of non-friendly countries to corrupt/paralyse the Indian Army information system and decode vital information and data base. Lt Gen Bisht favoured development of indigenous hardware/software for leak proof information and communication system.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/parrikar-clears-defence-projects-worth-rs-4-444-cr/article1-1297585.aspx
Parrikar clears defence projects worth Rs. 4,444 cr

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday cleared proposals to buy military equipment worth Rs. 4,444 crore, including four survey vessels for the navy for Rs. 2,324 crore.

Chairing the second meeting of the defence acquisition council (DAC) after taking over as defence minister, Parrikar approved projects relating to upgrade of the army’s electronic warfare equipment and the P-7 heavy drop platform for delivering combat payloads in the battlefield.

The DAC’s ‘acceptance of necessity’ (AON) for weapons is the first step towards making the proposed procurements in the coming years. The NDA government has cleared projects worth more than Rs. 140,000 crore since it was voted to power in May.

The army is on course to get its indigenous Samyukta electronic warfare systems modernised along with a maintenance contract for the next 10 years for Rs. 1,682 crore. The EW system consists of vehicles with equipment for surveillance, interception, monitoring and jamming of all communication and radar signals.

The DAC cleared ‘deviations’ relating to the P-7 heavy drop platform and the naval survey vessels. The approval concerns extending the life of airbags fitted under the platform for damage free touchdown of payload weighing less than 7 tonnes from eight to 15 years. It will cost Rs. 402 crore.

The naval survey vessels were approved two years back but a deviation in the project due to the naval utility helicopter being dropped required fresh clearance from the DAC. The navy now requires longer and heavier vessels for the substitute - advanced light helicopters.

The DAC, however, deferred decision on the joint bid by Tata Sons and Airbus to replace the air force’s Avro transport fleet, a project worth Rs. 12,000 crore. It has sought more details from the IAF.

On November 22, Parrikar had cleared a proposal to buy 814 artillery guns for the army at a cost of Rs. 15,750 crore to fill gaps in India’s defence capabilities. The army has not bought a single artillery gun since the Bofors scandal exploded in the late 1980s.

The artillery guns would be bought under the government’s “Buy and Make” procedure introduced last year to strengthen the indigenous defence sector. The plan is to go in for off-the-shelf purchase of 100 guns and manufacture the remaining in the country.

 

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