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Monday, 30 November 2015

From Today's Papers - 30 Nov 2015

Spy racket busted; BSF man, ISI agent held
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 29
The Delhi Police today busted an espionage racket by arresting a serving BSF man and a suspected ISI operative from whom classified documents having implications on national security were recovered.

Kafaitullah Khan, alias Master Raja (44), a resident of Kalai village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, is allegedly a handler of Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO) and head constable Abdul Rasheed is a dispatch rider with the BSF G Branch (intelligence wing) at Rajouri. Both are reportedly distant cousins.

“Khan has contacts in different security agencies through which he was procuring secret information, detrimental to the security of the country,” said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch). While Khan was arrested from the New Delhi railway station on November 27, Rasheed was arrested from Jammu today.

Yadav said Khan also had “sources” in the Indian Army and Indian Air Force.

Sources said Khan was enrolled in the BSF in September, 1989, but didn’t join the force. He joined the Jammu and Kashmir Police in 1990 but resigned after nine months. “He became an Over Ground Worker for the militants in the 1990s. The police had apprehended him several times but he could not be booked for want of evidence,” a source said.

“Rasheed is one of the main sources of Khan. Both of them have been arrested under the provisions of the Official Secrets Act,” Yadav said.

Sources in the BSF said the Delhi Police had contacted them regarding Rasheed around three days ago. “Upon interrogating Rasheed, we found that prima facie what the police said was true. He was giving information mostly about the units and locations of the army and the BSF. So we handed him to the police,” a source said.

An FIR (a copy is with The Tribune) in this regard was registered by the Crime Branch on November 16. The FIR reads that a secret informer informed the Crime Branch about anti-national activities supported by Pakistan-based intelligence operatives. “As per the information, the PIO (ISI agent) is having an Indian handler who is collecting information regarding the deployment of army and BSF in Jammu and Kashmir and passing it across the border, which can be hugely detrimental to national security,” the FIR read.

The FIR mentions that the handler is believed to have a pan-India network of informers. “Rasheed is passing secret information (about army, BSF, Air Force) to Khan in lieu of money and Khan is forwarding it to the PIO. The information contained can be directly or indirectly used by the enemy country,” the FIR said.

On November 26, Khan had reportedly boarded a train to Bhopal from Jammu. He was apprehended from Delhi on November 27 and few documents having implications on national security were allegedly recovered from him.

Khan had told the police that he was working as a library assistant at Higher Secondary School, Manjakote. “In 2013, he had visited Pakistan. During his stay there, he came in contact with an ISI agent and in lieu of monetary considerations agreed to provide secret information about defence forces,” Yadav said.
Dialogue only way to achieve better Indo-Pak ties: UN chief
United Nations, November 29
Improved relations between India and Pakistan could create a more conducive environment for the two nations to stem the threat posed by terrorism, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, asserting that dialogue is the only way for them to resolve the differences.

“I am convinced that dialogue is the only way forward for improving relations between Pakistan and India. I have urged leaders of both countries to resolve all differences through talks and have offered my good offices to that end,” Ban told PTI.

He noted that he has publicly called on both countries to exercise restraint in dealing with any incidents.

Given the significant threat terrorism has become to international peace and security, Ban said an improved environment between India and Pakistan could help both nations to tackle the threat posed by the scourge.

“I believe that an improved relationship between India and Pakistan could create a more conducive environment for both countries to stem the threat posed by terrorism,” he said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address to the UN General Assembly debate this year, had proposed a four- point peace initiative to which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had responded that Pakistan should address just “one issue” of giving up terrorism. The UN chief said that he is aware of the proposals on resuming talks between the two countries presented by leaders of both countries during the General Debate at the United Nations Headquarters this September.

“Terrorism has become a significant threat to international peace and security and is causing huge losses every day, as evidenced by recent horrific attacks in places such as Lebanon and Paris,” he said.

“Member States must work together towards curbing and eradicating this menace,” he said. He noted that Pakistan has suffered many terrorist attacks for which its people have paid a heavy price and the country’s authorities have been making efforts to combat terrorism on its soil. — PTI
3 new Commanders to take charge
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
Changes at the apex level in the Army are in the offing with the imminent retirement of several top commanders and some other officers completing their tenures. Lt General Rajan Bakshi, General Officer commanding-in-Chief, Central Command, is hanging up his boots on Monday and the slot is expected to be filled by Lt General BS Negi.

An infantry officer of 1978 seniority, Lt General Negi had earlier commanded the Leh-based 14 Corps that is responsible for the Siachen Glacier and the Line of Actual Control with China.

He moved as Commandant of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun in August. The names of two Lt Generals are doing the rounds for being posted as the IMA Chief.

Lt General Bipin Rawat, also an infantry officer of 1978 seniority who is presently heading 3 Corps at Dimapur in the East, is tipped to take over the reigns of the Southern Command at Pune, while Lt General Sarath Chand, an officer of 1979 seniority who is the GOC 4 Corps, is tipped to take over South Western Command at Jaipur when the respective incumbent commanders retire shortly.

Lt General Ashok Ambre has been appointed as the GOC of 9 Corps based at Yol under the control of the Western Command.

He relieves Lt General Rajeev Tiwari, who has been posted as the GOC Bengal Area at Kolkata. Lt General Amarjit Singh, GOC of the Ambala-based 2 Corps is also completing his tenure and is expected to move to Army Headquarters as a Principal Staff Officer. An officer from the Mechanised Infantry is tipped to take over 2 Corps.

Three top officers — Lt General KJ Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt General DS Hooda, GOC-in-C, Northern Command Command, and Lt General MMS Rai, Vice Chief of Army Staff — would retire in the latter half of next year.

Already some names of prospective officers who could be elevated as Army Commanders to fill these appointments are doing the rounds in the military establishment.
Coursemates of IAF’s_lone PVC awardee go down memory lane
Nirmaljit Sekhon’s squadron ‘Flying Bullets’ awarded President’s Standards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 29
As coursemates of Flight Lieutenant Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, the Air Force’s only recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, paid tributes to his gallantry and camaraderie at their annual get-together here today, the squadron to which he belonged to also got recognition for its services when it was awarded the President’s Standards yesterday.

For members of the 97 general duty (pilot) and 36 general duty (navigator) courses, who had passed out in June 1967, it was a nostalgic trip down memory lane as old reminiscences of their flying days and wartime experiences came alive. They had came from all over the country for the event.

Flight Lieutenant Sekhon was serving with No.18 Squadron at Srinagar and was decorated posthumously with the nation’s highest gallantry award for taking upon and shooting several Pakistani Sabre aircraft that had attacked Srinagar airfield during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. Sekhon’s Squadron, also known as Flying Bullets, had been raised on Gnat fighters at Ambala in 1965 and at present is flying MiG-27 ground attack aircraft. The President, Pranab Mukherjee, presented the Standards to 18 Squadron as well as No.22 Squadron at a grand ceremonial parade held at Hasimara.

“Nirmaljit was a gem of a person. Although a bit rustic, he had tremendous grit, determination and courage,” Wg Cdr Kamal Nath (retd), who holds a record of logging over 28,000 flying hours with the Air Force and later in the private sector, recalled. Sekhon was among the toppers of his course.

“Our course had 186 pilots, 27 navigators and three foreign cadets,” Wg Cdr CS Grewal (retd) said. “Two among us made it to the top with Air Marshal AK Singh and Air Marshal AD Joshi retiring as Commanders-in-Chief of the Western Air Command

and Strategic Command respectively,” he added. Among the course is Ari Cmde AD Karandikar, the IAF’s first Boeing 737 pilot, who later commanded the Communications Squadron, tasked with ferrying the top leaders, and logged a record of 13,900 accident free flying hours.
 Pakistan-Based Ring Hacks Phones of Indian Army Personnel: Report
Press Trust of India , 3 November 2015
A private consortium has claimed that phones of Army personnel, who had downloaded some mobile application related to news, had been compromised by hackers based in Pakistan.

However, Information and Technology department denied any such reports saying that nothing of this had come before them.

"Last year cyber-security researchers at Indian Infosec Consortium (IIC) discovered that large number of Indian defence personal were being targeted by malwares and viruses posing as defence news websites and mobile apps.

"The espionage ring was found to be operated by actors based out of Pakistan," the website of Ground Zero Summit 2015 said.

When contacted the speaker on the subject, IIC CEO Jiten Jain said that based on the code analysis of news mobile applications and websites it was discovered that the operation was running at least over a period of last three years.

"Thousands of mobile phones were affected by these applications. The details were handed over to security agencies about six months ago which promptly sprung in to action and sanitised the affected phones and systems," Jain said.

However, Director General CERT-IN (Computer Emergency Response Team-India) B J Srinath said he was not aware of any such report. "At least I am yet to come across any such report so far," he said.

According to the Consortium, which is a group of ethical hackers who came under one umbrella after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Pakistan intelligence agencies were able to capture all communication made by officials from their mobile phone like calls and SMS, handling of cameras and videos of the mobile phone remotely without the knowledge of the owner.

Jain said he will be submitting the details of his findings during the forthcoming Ground Zero Summit, a conference of ethical hackers and cyber-security expert, on November 5 to make people aware about possible danger from mobile applications.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

From Today's Papers - 28 Nov 2015

Israel tests hi-tech surface-to-air missile co-developed with India
Jerusalem, November 27
For the first time, the Israeli military has successfully tested from a ship an advanced surface-to-air missile co-developed with India which will be deployed to secure vital offshore assets like gas fields.

“A Barak 8 missile fired from an Israeli Navy ship successfully intercepted an enemy target registering 100 per cent success,” Israeli military sources said.

The Barak 8 was tested from a ship for the first time and intercepted a small drone simulating an enemy craft. The system extends the range of Israel’s aerial defence and should be operational in about two years.

“The next test on the system is likely to be held in December this year onboard an Indian navy vessel,” they said.

INS Kolkata is the Indian ship likely to be used for testing as the launchers and radars to track missiles are already installed on the vessel.

The missile is being jointly developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, Rafael and other companies.

Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will be assigned the task of producing the missiles with 32 initial ones to be fitted on INS Kolkata.

Israeli security sources said the missile system would be deployed to secure offshore gas fields.

It will help defend Israeli navy ships from anti-ship missiles like the Yakhont missile.

Designed to defend against a variety of short-to-long- range airborne threats, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drones and projectiles, Barak-8 incorporates a state-of-the-art phased array multi-mission radar, two-way data link and a flexible command and control system, enabling users to simultaneously engage multiple targets day and night and in all-weather conditions, defence sources here said. — PTI
Missile will ramp up naval warship potency
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 27
The long-range surface-to-air missile that has been successfully tested against a flying target from an Israeli warship will be the main stay of the Navy in the year to come.

The missile has a range of 80 km and height ceiling of 16 km. It will have the ability to simultaneously engage 12 targets with 24 missiles.

The DRDO is tasked with producing the propulsion rocket system, thrust vector system and certain other components.

The Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) has built the seeker and the last stage avionics.

Once the missile is okayed, frontline Indian warships will carry it. Fifteen warships, including the Vikramaditya and under-construction aircraft carrier Vikrant will have these. It’s easier to fit the missile on under-construction ships. Fitting it onto the existing platforms like the Vikramaditya will be a complex procedure and it will entail some cutting through the deck, a period of eight to nine months will be needed to do this.

The test was to launch the missile from a moving warship and verify its ability to identify and kill the target mid-air while even changing course mid-flight. The missile costs Rs 2,606 crore – approximately $450 billion.

This will be a generational shift over the in-use Barak 1 missile system which has been fitted on a host of naval ships, including aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The new missile guarantees protection to a ship from an aircraft or even a sea-skimming cruise missile.

Only a few missile systems offer protection to ships against aircraft and very few can stop sea-skimming cruise missiles. A sea-skimming missile is difficult to detect.
MHA seeks paramilitary forces’ views
New Delhi, November 27
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked for views and comments of all five paramilitary forces on the Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) recommendations.

In a letter, the MHA has requested the paramilitary forces — the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) — to send their views on the CPC’s report to the ministry by December 2.

BSF's Director General DK Pathak today said, “Discussions are going on (in regard to the CPC’s recommendations). We have asked for the views on it from all our formations. At this stage it is difficult for me to say if we are happy or not. Let the reaction of the force come, we will compile it and send it to the MHA.” — TNS
Three cheers to Indian Army as NDA toppers call it ‘first choice’
In 2015, the Indian Army is falling short by 18% with an existing strength of 40,525 officers, when it can accommodate 49,737 officers
IT CAME as a sigh of relief for the Indian Army, fearing a shortage of officers, when the toppers of NDA’s 129th batch showed their preference for it over the Navy or the Air Force.

Divisional Cadet Captain (DCC) Rakesh Kadian, Battalion Cadet Captain (BCC) Abhishek Kundalia and Cadet Jitender Kumar who topped in Science, Social Sciences and Computer Science respectively, have chosen Army as their preferred career choice and will be heading to the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun for specialised training.

According to the recent data, the Indian Army in 2015 is falling 18 per cent short, with an existing 40,525 working officers, while it can accommodate 49,737 officers. The decision that the toppers of NDA have made is a positive sign, say experts.

Cadet Jitender Kumar, who got Commandant’s Silver Medal for standing first in Computer Science stream with the highest FGPA (Final Grade Point Average) and also bagged the Chief of Naval Staff Trophy for standing first among all the three streams, said that he wishes to join the Military Intelligence after completing his training at the IMA.

Kumar whose origins are in Haryana, first came to Pune after clearing the entrance exam for IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research). However, six months into the course, he came to know that he has cleared the NDA entrance exam, after which he quit the former institute. “I feel proud. I never thought I’d top the class when I came here. But after I stood first in the first term, I realised that it was possible to clinch the trophy. My grandfather and father both served the Army, so it was an obvious choice for me,” said Kumar.

DCC Rakesh Kadian, whose father is a farmer and mother a housewife, says that it was his uncle who inspired him to join the armed forces. Kadian, who hails from Jhajjar district of Haryana, says that the villagers respected his uncle who served the Army a lot. “My parents asked me to appear for the NDA entrance as they wanted me to be like my mamaji (uncle).” Kadian studied in R.E.D Senior Secondary School in Jhajjar, which has given 11 cadets to NDA in the past. “After my selection at the NDA, the rigorous physical activity didn’t bring me down because in Haryana, we’re used to tough physical work. Although communication was a hassle, as years passed by, my language skills improved,” said Kadian, who now speaks fluently in English. Kadian’s choice after training at IMA is Artillary, a branch of Indian Army.

BCC Abhishek Kundalia, who hails from Uttarakhand, comes from a military background. While his father has served the Navy, his uncle was an officer in the Army. Kundalia has set his eyes on the Gorkha Regiment, which he feels suits him the best. “We lived with the Gorkha infantry, and on a field visit, I loved it.” Kundalia hails from Dehradun, where the IMA is based. “There’s just one hill separating my house and the IMA, I’m excited to go back to my hometown,” he said.
Indian army foils major fidayeen attack, three ultras and a civliian killed, one solider injured
Indian Army on Wednesday repulsed a major fidayeen (suicidal) attack on the Gorkha Riffles (GR) camp when they killed three ultras before they could storm the facility at Tangdhar area near the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir's Kupwara district. A civilian, however, lost his life while a solider sustained injuries in the attack.

The incident occurred around 6.15 am when three fidayeens lobbed grenades and used under-barrel grenade launchers on the 3/1 GR camp at Tangdhar from the nearby ridgeline on the rear side of the facility.

Some grenades hit an oil depot setting off huge fire balls in the air. Plumes of smoke were seen blowing inside the camp as the troops swiftly engaged the ultras in a fierce gun fight. Special Forces were immediately rushed in to the area to smoke out the militants who were hiding outside the camp site.

Three ultras were later gunned down by the troops in a fierce gunfight. A civilian, working with army as generator operator, was also killed while a soldier received wounds in the attack.

The slain civilian has been identified as Tanvir Ahmed Sheikh of Tangdhar Kupwara. Some vehicles of the troopers were also damaged in the gunfight.

"The terrorists had tried to sneak into an army camp in the early hours firing indiscriminately which resulted in the killing of one civilian and injuring army personnel. The terrorists were effectively intercepted by the army's Quick Reaction Teams which hemmed them in a cordon thus preventing their escape. In the ensuing gun fight, three terrorists were killed," Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.

Indian Army also denied some reports that fidayeen had managed to storm the camp. "No, they (ultras) could not enter into the camp", said Colonel Joshi.

Indian Army has launched a massive combing operation to sanitise the area and find out if any ultra is hiding there. "Three weapons have so far been recovered from the dead terrorists. Operations are in progress to fully sanitise the area," said the defence spokesman.

Dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit has claimed responsibility for the Tangdhar attack. Muhammad Hassan Shah, spokesperson of the Jaish, called up a local news agency claiming that the three ultras "stormed the camp soon after fajr (morning) prayers and inflicted heavy loss to the troops."


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